Book – A Full Preterist Response to Reformed and Dispensational Critics The Second Coming, Judgment, and Resurrection of the Dead “ALL THESE THINGS” (MATTHEW 24-25/DANIEL 12:1-7) FULFILLED BY AD 70

 

 

A Full Preterist Response to Reformed and Dispensational Critics
The Second Coming, Judgment, and Resurrection of the Dead
“ALL THESE THINGS” (Matthew 24-25/Daniel 12:1-7)
FULFILLED BY AD 70
A DEFENSE OF GOSPEL ESCHATOLOGY
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright © 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this book (still in progress) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Michel Sullivan. Thank you for your consideration.

ONE
A FULL PRETERIST EXEGESIS OF MATTHEW 24-25

Introduction and Approach / AD 70 Survey of Matthew’s Gospel Approaching the Olivet Discourse – Matthew 3:2-12- John the Baptist’s Eschatology, An Exegesis of Matthew 5:17-18; 10:22-23; 13:39-43 16:27-28; Matthew 21-23 / The Disciples Question – Who’s Really “Confused”? / The End of the Christian Age or Old Covenant Age? / Signs / Coming of the Son of Man and Gathering the Elect/Resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 Fulfilled / The Abomination That Causes Desolation / The Great Tribulation / In Fulfillment of all That Has Been Written – Can AD 70 Have a Double or Typological Fulfillment? / Times of the Gentiles / “This Generation” / One or Two Coming(s) of Christ? – Division Theories Refuted / Marriage and Resurrection Motif

TWO
NT IMMINENCE – THE STAKE IN THE HEART OF FUTURISM. EXPOSING FUTURIST SCHEMES ON IMMINENCE

When Jesus Decides to Come, THEN it Will Happen Very “Quickly” / Soon Just Means Certainty / The Beginning or Inauguration of Fulfillment was Imminent Not the Consummation / Jesus’ Second Coming Could Have Been Imminent But it Got “Postponed” Due to First Century Unbelief / Ezekiel 7 and 12 – God’s Condemnation of Man Making “Near” Predictions to Be “Far off” Ones / Violating Sound Hermeneutics – Funneling Over a Hundred Clear Time Texts Through ONE Verse 2 Peter 3:8

THREE
THE SEVENTY SEVENS OF DANIEL 9:24-27 FULFILLED BY AD 70

Daniel’s Seventy Sevens Prophecy – Symbolic Period of Time or a Literal 490 Chronology? / To Finish Transgression, To Put an End to Sin, To Atone for Wickedness, To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness, To Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, To Anoint the Most Holy Place / Dispensational Gap Theory Refuted

FOUR
WHAT ABOUT THE “RAPTURE”?

An Exposition of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / John 14 / The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11

FIVE
ISN’T FULL PRETERISM JUST THE HYMENAEAN HERESY REVISITED DESTROYING THE FAITH AND HOPE OF THE CHURCH?

An Exposition of 2 Timothy 2:17-18

SIX
WHAT ABOUT THE RESURRECTION?

An Exposition of John 5:28-29 / An “About to Be” Resurrection in Acts 24:15, An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15

SEVEN
WHAT ABOUT ACTS 1:9-11?

Are There Any Indications Within the Book of Acts as to When Acts 1:9-11 Would be Fulfilled? / “In Like Manner” – Was Jesus’ Physical Body Seen Ascending on the Cloud? / Is Jesus Still in His Physical Body?

EIGHT
ESCHATOLOGICAL ESSAYS IN ROMANS

The Eschatological “Not Yet” of Justification Romans 4:24 – Response to the N.T. Wright Controversy / Romans 5 – Being Saved from the Coming “Wrath” Through the One That was “About to Come” / Paul’s Corporate Body of Sin and Death / Romans 8:18-23 – God’s Glory “About to” Be Revealed IN the Church Through the Liberation of Creation, the Adoption of Sons, and Redemption of Our (Corporate) Body / Romans 11 – The Salvation and Resurrection of “All Israel” / Romans 13:11-12 – God’s Hour of Resurrection/Salvation/Day was “At Hand” / Romans 16:20 – Satan would be Crushed “Soon”

NINE
ESCHATOLOGICAL ESSAYS IN HEBREWS

Hebrews 3-4; 10:25-37 – The Churches Anti-type “Another Day”/Sabbath Rest was “Approaching” “In a Very Little While and Would Not Delay” / Hebrews 8:13 – The Old Covenant was “Ready to Vanish” / Hebrews 9:6-10, 26-28 – Old Covenant Still Had a Legal Standing Until Christ’s Second Appearing / Hebrews 1 – Christ Was “About to” Consume His “enemies” and Make Them His Footstool When He Came “in a Very Little While” / Hebrews 11 – The NC “Better Resurrection” / Hebrews 12 – Receiving the Kingdom / Hebrews 13 – Looking for the [Enduring] City That was “About to Come”

TEN
A PRE-AD 70 DAT FOR THE BOOK OF REVELATION

ELEVEN
REVELATION 20 – A “THIS GENERATION” MILLENNIUM

Seven Historical, Exegetical, and Orthodox Points Which Proves the Full Preterist 40 Years Millennial View to be the Biblical One / All the Elements to the Millennium and the Analogy of Scripture Support the Full Preterist View of the Millennium

TWELVE
LIFE IN THE NEW CREATION REVELATION 21-22 – NO MORE DEATH, TEARS, AND PAIN

How Could This be Fulfilled for Us Today – “Just Look Around”?!?
APPENDIX 1 DID TONGUES AND PROPHECY “CEASE” IN AD 70?
An Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12
APPENDIX 2 SO WHAT NOW?
Ongoing Fulfillment/Application of Fulfillment / What Real “Hyper-Preterism is

Introduction and approach
My approach will be very simple to follow for laymen and scholars alike. First, I will begin going through Matthew’s gospel addressing the key eschatological texts in the teachings of John the Baptist and our Lord which will lay a contextual setting for giving a detailed exegesis of Matthew 24 – 25. In doing so, I will give a brief explanation of the various views on key eschatological passages from four views and then defend my view (Full Preterism): Premillennial Dispensationalism, Amillennialism, Partial Preterism, Progressive Partial Preterism and Full Preterism. Once we are finished with Matthew’s gospel and particularly Matthew 24 – 25, I will follow this same approach through the rest of the NT.
Matthew 3; 11; 17 – The Eschatology of John the Baptist
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Gk. egos)!” (Matt. 3:2):
“…You snakes—who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to (Gk. mello) send?” (Matt. 3:7 GNT)
“And even now (Gk. ede) the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.“ (Matt.3:10-12)
AN EXEGESIS OF MATTHEW 3:2-12 AND RELATED TEXTS – JOHN THE BAPTIST’S ESCHATOLOGY: THE WAY OF THE KINGDOM (THROUGH THE SECOND COMING) WAS “AT HAND”
When it comes to the Kingdom of heaven or Kingdom of God the NT teaches three aspects of fulfillment – 1. the “already” 2. the “receiving” and 3. the imminent consummation or “not yet” to the Kingdom promises. The Kingdom’s “already” and “receiving” in the NT can be seen in Jews and Gentiles entering Christ’s spiritual Kingdom through repentance and faith and observing it workout in their midst powerfully through Jesus’ healing and the driving out demons (and that of the disciples and Apostles). The imminent “not yet” aspect to the Kingdom points to God saving a remnant (Jews and Gentiles) while at the same time judging the wicked among Israel and closing the Old Covenant (OC) age while at the same time establishing the New Covenant (NC) age through Christ’s Second Appearing in AD 70. Israel had been waiting roughly two thousand years for the Messiah and His Kingdom and now within a span of forty years, it was truly “at hand” and within their grasp.
Unfortunately when most futurist eschatologies have addressed the eschatology of John the Baptist they are willing to develop a truly imminent “already” and “receiving” of the Kingdom promises as being “at hand,” but they have not been willing to see John’s eschatology as having a truly imminent “at hand” consummation to the Kingdom as it pertains to him coming to prepare the way of the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” or Second Coming of Jesus. As we make our way through the eschatology of John the Baptist, we will readily see that this later “not yet” aspect to the NT’s Kingdom promises were no less “at hand” than the “already” and “receiving” aspects to the Kingdom.
Matthew 3:3 / Isaiah 40:6-7, 10 John prepares the way for Christ’s Second Coming
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” (Matt. 3:3).
“The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.” (Isaiah 40:6-10).
What is “the way” in the desert that John is preparing as depicted elsewhere in Isaiah (to get a broader context)?
“He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,” (Isa. 26:4-7).
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isa. 35)
Who is the way and how does the Gospel make it level and fruitful?
All of the promises of God are yes and amen – that is, fulfilled “in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20). He is the embodiment of the Kingdom promises – the new Promised Land or the “Highway of Holiness” [“the way” (John 14:6)] in which all those who were to be saved (or ever will be in the eternal NC age) should enter and walk through faith and repentance.
The way of the Gospel would be level and smooth suggesting that the high mountains are the prideful among Israel that persecuted the poor and lowly and God would vindicate the poor and make low and level their prideful persecutors. The low valleys would be brought up to be level as well – perhaps suggesting that the Gospel for the poor would be manifested in such a way as to lift up the persecuted and heavy burdened from their religious suppressors. The rough and crooked in heart through the power of God through the Gospel would be made soft, smooth and straight. Through the gospel the level land would become fertile and blossom into God’s New Paradise/New Creation.
No one among Israel could boast that they had a right to enter this way of the Kingdom through being Abraham’s seed, because God was able, and in fact did turn stones (Gentiles) into the sons of God or living stones in which they (along with Jews) were built up a New Temple and New Man (Matt. 3:9/1 Pet. 2:1ff./Ephs. 2-3).
The message of John is to prepare the way for Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming!
Unfortunately, futurists have avoided doing a thorough exegesis of Isaiah 40 in order to understand that John was preparing the way of Christ’s imminent Second Coming (“great and dreadful day of the Lord”). This would be manifested in an imminent harvest judgment for the wicked and salvation for the righteous and repentant within the immediate context of Matthew 3:2-12.
In hermeneutics one is always called upon to go to the OT passage a NT author quotes, references, or “echoes” in order to find out how the NT author is using it, or see if there are other elements within that OT context that fits what the NT author is developing. This is also very important in that in Jewish hermeneutics often times even if a small portion of an OT passage is quoted, the reader or listener is expected to draw upon the entire chapter, section or theology of the quote. When we do this, we immediately find references of John preparing a way for judgment that harmonizes with John’s use of Malachi 3-4 in Matthew 11:10-14.
Here is Isaiah we quickly see that the way that is being prepared is not simply a way of an “at hand” “already” aspect to salvation, but includes Christ’s Second Coming in judgment as well. We immediately see what this voice is to cry out, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flower fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isa. 40:6-7) This is connected to the recompense judgment and giving of rewards, “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” (Isa. 40:10).
Isaiah 40:6-7 / 1 Peter chapters 1 and 4 – John’s imminent eschatology is Peter’s!
Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-7 in 1 Peter 1:23-24. The immediate context tells us that Peter’s first century audience was “ready” to receive the salvation and inheritance the OT prophets predicted would come at the revealing of Christ at His Second Coming. Later we are told by Peter that this coming salvation and “THE judgment” of “the living and dead” was “ready” to take place and that “the end of all things is at hand.” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17). Therefore, the contextual flow of Isaiah 40 tells us that John came to prepare the way of an “at hand” judgment and salvation “ready” to be revealed at Christ’s Second Coming.
Isaiah 40:10 / Matthew 16:27-28 – John’s imminent eschatology is Jesus’!
Again the message of the one crying out is that of a coming judgment through the Second Coming of Christ in the giving of rewards (Isa. 40:10). This passage is directly applied to Christ’s Second Coming in Matthew 16:27-28 and Revelation 22:6-12. Jesus taught that He was “about to” come within the lifetimes of some of His first century audience to reward:
‘For, the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father, with his messengers, and then he will reward each, according to his work. Verily I say to you, there are certain of those standing here who shall not taste of death till they may see the Son of Man coming in his reign.’ (Matt. 16:27-28 YLT).
Isaiah 40:10 / Revelation 22:6-12 – John the Baptist’s imminent eschatology is John the Beloved’s in the book of Revelation
Jesus through John the beloved in the book of Revelation, confirms the imminent fulfillment of John the Baptist’s eschatology in drawing upon Isaiah 40:10:
“The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Rev. 22:6-12)
The message John was to cry out (as we continue going down into Isaiah 40:10) was that of God (The Christ) coming in judgment/recompense/reward. The NT develops this as being fulfilled in an “at hand” AD 70 time frame.
John’s “preparing the way” of the Second Coming in Judgment of Isaiah 40 is John’s “preparing the way” of the Second Coming in Judgment of Malachi 3-4
Jesus clearly identifies John the Baptist as the Elijah that was about to come before the way of judgment (the great and dreadful day of the Lord) would take place in which He would suddenly coming to destroy His Temple in fulfillment of Malachi 3-4:
“As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “ ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matt. 11:7-15).
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me (John as Elijah): and the Lord (Jesus), whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple (AD 70 Matt. 23-24), even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.”
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness (Christ) arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah (John the Baptist per Jesus) the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Mal. 3:1-5; 4:1-6).
Here Jesus quotes and echo’s the way of Judgment and salvation through Malachi 3-4. John is the first messenger that prepares the way for God (Christ) who then comes suddenly to His Temple (in AD 70) purifying the priesthood and burns the wicked. Since AD 70 the Church is God’s purified and established kingdom of priests and kings. In AD 70 a clear “distinction” between the wicked OC kingdom and the NC righteous kingdom was revealed in power and great glory.
In Malachi 4:1-5 it is further elaborated that Elijah (whom Jesus says is John the Baptist) would come before this “way” of a fiery “great and dreadful day of the Lord” judgment would take place.
The book of James picks up various OT echo’s concerning the persecution of the rich over the poor (as does Malachi) and Christ coming as the Sun — in an “at hand” and “at the door” time frame to burn up the grass/wicked and bring salvation through the imagery of harvest rain to the righteous (James 1-5/Matt. 24:27-33, 34/Mal. 4:2).
The “at hand” “way” of the Second Coming – as Israel’s new deliverance from Babylon / New Exodus / Seeing God’s face – all on the way into the NC age or New Creation
Before leaving the theme of John/Elijah preparing the “at hand” “way” to the Second Coming of Christ to destroy His Temple in AD 70, it may also be helpful to see how this passage was understood among the Jews and then see how their interpretations could also fit an “at hand” AD 70 time frame. Beale and Carson’s work is helpful at this point:
“Nothing in the immediate context of Isa. 40 suggests that Isaiah is referring to anyone other than Yahweh himself returning to Israel as king (Goldingay 2005: 5–7), but the references to special sons in Isa. 7–9 and to the messianic branch in Isa. 11, along with the Servant Songs yet to come (beginning in Isa. 42), do indicate God revealing himself through a specially anointed agent. The “shepherding” imagery of a text as close to ours as 40:11 also dovetails with other prophecies in which a messianic figure is likened to a shepherd (esp. Ezek. 34).
C. Use in Jewish Sources. The most significant pre-Christian Jewish uses of Isa. 40:3 appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Rule of the Community declares,
And when these have become a community in Israel in compliance with these arrangements they are to be segregated from within the dwelling of the men of sin to walk to the desert in order to open there His path. As it is written: “In the desert, prepare the way of [YHWH], straighten in the steppe a roadway for our God.” This is the study of the law wh[i]ch he commanded through the hand of Moses, in order to act in compliance with all that has been revealed from age to age, and according to what the prophets have revealed through his holy spirit. (1QS VIII, 12–16) (All quotations from the Dead Sea Scrolls are from García Martínez and Tigchelaar 1997.)
In short, the Essenes at Qumran viewed their monastic community as the fulfillment of Isa. 40:3. This same interpretation is reflected in an allusion to this Scripture in 1QS IX, 19–20. An allusion in 1QS IV, 1–2 applies the metaphor of making straight paths to the establishment of justice, truth, and the respect for the precepts of God. An even longer explicit quotation of Isa. 40:1–5 appears in a fragment of another Qumran scroll (4Q176 1–2 I, 4–9), but not enough context has been preserved for us to know how it was used.
From a very different, Pharisaic branch of Judaism, Pss. Sol. 8:17 seems to allude to this text when it refers to the Jewish leaders’ (probably literal) grading of rough roads to Jerusalem to prepare the way for the conquering Roman general Pompey to enter the city. This part of the welcome was appropriate for a king, albeit ironic because the king was a foreign invader. Other texts, especially apocalyptic ones, allude to Isa. 40:4–5 with its topographical transformations and its expectations of seeing the Lord’s glory in the context of a coming new age (esp. 1 En. 1:6; Bar. 5:7; As. Mos. 10:4; see Brooke 1994: 130–31). Targum Isaiah at this point appears to change the focus from Yahweh’s coming to the people’s return (Snodgrass 1980: 27).
D. Textual Background. The MT begins, “A voice crying in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,” which the LXX essentially translates literally (changing only the participle to the genitive: “of one crying”). Matthew, like Mark, follows the LXX verbatim. But the parallelism within the OT verse would seem to require that “in the wilderness” modifies “prepare the way” (just as it does in the next line with “make smooth”) rather than “a voice crying,” as in the Gospels. The MT thus continues, “make smooth in the desert a highway for our God,” which the LXX renders as “make straight the paths of our God,” omitting the redundant “in the desert.” Matthew and Mark again follow the LXX verbatim, except that they change “of our God” to “his,” which scarcely alters the meaning.
E. Hermeneutic Employed. The difference between “a voice crying in the wilderness” and a call to “prepare a way in the wilderness” has often been exaggerated. Both in fact fit John the Baptist’s ministry; he (or the Synoptic writers) could easily have seen a double meaning in the position of the phrase in the Hebrew text, as rabbis often did in their exegeses. But the Hebrew also allows for such a double meaning to have been originally intended (Taylor 1997: 25–29).
Originally, Isaiah had in mind a preliminary fulfillment in the return of the Jewish exiles from distant lands to Israel. But his language already reuses “exodus” imagery, making it natural for the evangelists to reapply this imagery in the greater restoration from (spiritual) exile inaugurated by the ministry of Jesus to which John’s preaching pointed (see Childs 2001: 299). And given that no return from Babylon (or Persia or Greece or Rome) ever came anywhere close to fully ending Israel’s hard service, paying for its sins, or leveling (even metaphorically) all its rugged places, and certainly no event prior to Christ’s coming ever revealed the glory of the Lord to all humanity, it seems reasonable to suggest that Isaiah had a more distant, grander fulfillment in mind as well. Hagner (1993: 48) comments, “The words of Isaiah occur in a context of comfort and deliverance from the exile, but they also allude to Messianic fulfillment.” At the very least, that is how a group such as the one at Qumran would have taken it, so that they could apply it to themselves, demonstrating that the NT’s hermeneutic was not a novel appropriation of the text.[1] Jesus is the anti-type of the deliverance (through Cyrus, Ezra, and Nehemiah) and restoration of coming back into the land from bondage and slavery. He is the one that sets the captives free from the slavery of sin. He is the way of holiness found in the law by which a remnant of Jew and Gentile come into the Kingdom/Heavenly Land/New Creation. He is also the coming “Root of Jesse” that would stand as the “banner” along this “way” ushering in the “second exodus” (Isa. 11:10-12). This second exodus motif will be brought out further in our text where John is baptizing (in the Jordan) and later on in Matthew 4 (Jesus being tested in the wilderness as Israel was).
As far as understanding the building of a smooth road to be level for a conquering King – this too could be applied to AD 70. If un-repentant, a way was being prepared by another conquering King – and it was ironic that they shouted they wanted Caesar as their king at Christ’s trial and then Christ came in AD 70 as their King (in judgment through the army of the Roman Empire “Caesar”) to destroy their city and Temple.
Christ as “the way” did bring about the in-breaking of the Messianic or NC age from AD 30 – AD 70. In AD 70 Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming was fulfilled and the Church in the eternal NC age see Him “face to face” (Isa. 52:8/1 Cor. 13:12/Rev. 22:4-7). Amen! Selah.
Before leaving Matthew 3:2-3 I should point out that some Reformed theologians such as John Lightfoot have pointed out that one of the manifestations of the kingdom being “at hand” in 3:2 would be fulfilled in AD 70:
“1. The exhibition and manifestation of the Messias, Matt. 12:28; “But if I, by the finger of God, cast out devils, the kingdom of God is come upon you:” that is, ‘Hence is the manifestation of the Messias.’ See John 3:3, 12:13, &c. 2. The resurrection of Christ; death, hell, Satan, being conquered: whence is a most evident manifestation that he is that ‘eternal King,’ &c.: see Matt. 26:29, Rom. 1:4. 3. His vengeance upon the Jewish nation, his most implacable enemies: this is another, and most eminent manifestation of him: see Matt. 16:28, 19:28. 4. His dominion by the sceptre of the gospel among the Gentiles, Matt. 21:43. In this place which is before us it points out the exhibition and revelation of the Messias.[2] And if it seems a strange thing to understand the coming of the Lord in Malachi 3-4 to be fulfilled in AD 70 perhaps this additional quote for commentators such as Adam Clark will help assure the reader of this authors “orthodox” standing in these matters:
“Malachi 4:1: Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven – The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
And all the proud – This is in reference to Mal 3:15 of the preceding chapter.
The day that cometh shall burn them up – Either by famine, by sword, or by captivity. All those rebels shall be destroyed.
It shall leave them neither root nor branch – A proverbial expression for total destruction. Neither man nor child shall escape.
Malachi 4:2: You that fear my name – The persons mentioned in the sixteenth verse of the preceding chapter, ye that look for redemption through the Messiah.
The Sun of righteousness – The Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah; the Hope of Israel.
With healing in his wings – As the sun, by the rays of light and heat, revives, cheers, and fructifies the whole creation, giving, through God, light and life everywhere; so Jesus Christ, by the influences of his grace and Spirit, shall quicken, awaken, enlighten, warm, invigorate heal, purify, and refine every soul that believes in him, and, by his wings or rays, diffuse these blessings from one end of heaven to another; everywhere invigorating the seeds of righteousness, and withering and drying up the seeds of sin. The rays of this Sun are the truths of his Gospel, and the influences of his Spirit. And at present these are universally diffused.
And ye shall go forth – Ye who believe on his name shall go forth out of Jerusalem when the Romans shall come up against it. After Cestius Gallus had blockaded the city for some days, he suddenly raised the siege. The Christians who were then in it, knowing, by seeing Jerusalem encompassed with armies, that the day of its destruction was come, when their Lord commanded them to flee into the mountains, took this opportunity to escape from Jerusalem, and go to Pella, in Coelesyria; so that no Christian life fell in the siege and destruction of this city.
But these words are of more general application and meaning; “ye shall go forth” in all the occupations of life, but particularly in the means of grace; and: –
Grow up as calves of the stall – Full of health, of life, and spirits; satisfied and happy.
Malachi 4:3: Ye shall tread down – This may be the commission given to the Romans: Tread down the wicked people, tread down the wicked place; set it on fire, and let the ashes be trodden down under your feet.
Malachi 4:4: Remember ye the law of Moses – Where all these things are predicted. The Septuagint, Arabic, and Coptic, place this verse the last.
Malachi 4:5: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet – This is meant alone of John the Baptist, as we learn from Luk 1:17 (note), in whose spirit and power he came.
Malachi 4:6: And he shall turn (convert) the heart of the fathers (על al, with) the children – Or, together with the children; both old and young. Lest I come, and, finding them unconverted, smote the land with a curse, חרם cherem, utter extinction. So we find that, had the Jews turned to God, and received the Messiah at the preaching of John the Baptist and that of Christ and his apostles, the awful חרם cherem of final excision and execration would not have been executed upon them. However, they filled up the cup of their iniquity, and were reprobated, and the Gentiles elected in their stead. Thus, the last was first, and the first was last. Glory to God for his unspeakable gift!
There are three remarkable predictions in this chapter: –
1. The advent of John Baptist, in the spirit and authority of Elijah.
2. The manifestation of Christ in the flesh, under the emblem of the Sun of righteousness.
3. The final destruction of Jerusalem, represented under the emblem of a burning oven, consuming everything cast into it.
These three prophecies, relating to the most important facts that have ever taken place in the history of the world, announced here nearly four hundred years before their occurrence, have been most circumstantially fulfilled.”[3] I will disagree with Clark on one point here – and that is, the coming of the Sun of Righteousness is referring to Christ’s Second Coming (the great and dreadful day of the Lord) as depicted elsewhere in Matthew 24:27. Once we get to this text I will argue that it is Christ coming and shinning from the east to the west as the Sun/Son that is in view and not “as lightening.”
“People came to him from Jerusalem, from the whole province of Judea, and from all the country near the River Jordan. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan. When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, “You snakes—who told you that you could escape from the punishment (or “wrath”) God is about to send?” (Matt. 3:5-7 GNT, WUEST).

Many miss the theological and eschatological significance of John being in the wilderness baptizing Jesus and Israelites in the river Jordan. This marks the beginning of fulfillment for Israel’s new or second exodus and restoration promises. As G.K. Beale points out,

“Just as Israel was led by Moses and had to go through the sea at the exodus to enter the promised land, and just as the second generation had to do the same thing at the Jordan River under Josuah’s leadership, as a miniature second exodus, so again, now that Israel’s restoration is imminent through Jesus, true Israelites must again identify with the water and the Jordan and their prophetic leader in order to being to experience true restoration.

This is also in fulfillment of the prophecies of Israel’s restoration as a second exodus through water (Isa. 11:15; 43:2, 16-17; 44:27-28; 50:2; 51:9-11), especially through rivers (Isa. 11:15; 42:15; 43:2; 44:27; 50:2).”[4]

Unfortunately scholars such as Beale further miss (or I should say are reluctant to acknowledge at this point having been confronted with Full Preterism), is that this second or new exodus was going to take place within another forty year (roughly) generation time period (AD 30 – AD 70). Toward the end of this generation the unrepentant would experience a “wrath” that was “about to come,” not entering into God’s rest while the righteous followers of Christ would enter into God’s heavenly land – His “another day” “day approaching” “in a very little while” of which the old exodus generation was a mere type (Heb. 3-4, 8:13—10:37; 1 Cor. 10:11). Moses in Deuteronomy 31-32 predicted a coming “perverse and crooked generation” in Israel’s “later days” which would bring an “end” to OC Israel. This is the AD 30 – AD 70 new exodus generation predicted by the prophets.
I have referenced translations that render the Greek word mello in (v. 7) as the wrath that was “about to” take place as being more accurate than other translations and thus fits the immediate context of imminence that we have seen in (v. 2) and being consistent with the same imminence that will be developed in (vss. 10-12). These are the verses that Partial Preterists begin seeing fulfilled in AD 70. For example, John
Lightfoot is on target in identifying the wrath of 3:7 and the baptism John is performing as pointing to the AD 70 judgment,
“…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.
The receiving of John’s baptism signed and fenced those that received it from the ruin that was just coming.” “…Think here, if those that came to baptism brought not their little ones with them to baptism: when, by the plain words of the Baptist, those that are baptized are said to “fly from the wrath to come?” that is, ‘the wrath of God,’ that was not long hence to destroy the nation by a most sad overthrow.”[5] So in combining what we’ve learned so far from Beale, Lightfoot, and what the NT is teaching of John’s baptism ushering in a new exodus for Israel — we can glean that the unrepentant within this particular AD 30 – AD 70 generation was going to experience the unquenchable wrath of God while the repentant and followers of Christ would enter into the restoration and new exodus/Sabbath rest promises predicted by the OT prophets at Christ’s Second Coming or “great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:10-12).
It is at this point that Partial Preterist theologians begin seeing and developing the imminence of John’s eschatology to AD 70. John Lightfoot is on target in identifying the wrath of 3:7 and the baptism pointing to the AD 70 judgment,
“…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.
The receiving of John’s baptism signed and fenced those that received it from the ruin that was just coming. To this belongs that of St. Peter, Epist. 1. ch. 3:20, 21: in that manner as Noah and his sons were by water delivered from the flood, “so also baptism now, the antitype of that type, saveth us” from the deluge of divine indignation, which in a short time is to overflow the Jewish nation. Think here, if those that came to baptism brought not their little ones with them to baptism: when, by the plain words of the Baptist, those that are baptized are said to “fly from the wrath to come?” that is, ‘the wrath of God,’ that was not long hence to destroy the nation by a most sad overthrow.”[6] R.C. Sproul understands the imminence communicated in the metaphor of God having his ax at the root of Israel’s trees,
“The image of the axe does not indicate that the woodsman is merely thinking about cutting down a tree or that he has merely begun the task by striking at the outer bark. The image is that the task is nearly complete. The axe has already penetrated to the core of the tree, hinting that one more decisive stroke will make it fall.”[7] Kenneth Gentry also sees this as referring to an imminent judgment and wrath being poured out upon Israel in AD 70,
“The wrath about which John speaks “came down upon Jews of Palestine in an unparalleled manner in A.D. 70,” when the Romans furiously destroyed Jerusalem, the temple, and untold thousands of Jews. (Mt.3:10) – “Here John draws his imagery from God’s judgment against Assyria (Isa. 10:33-34): that sort of judgment soon will break out upon Israel.”[8] And of the winnowing fork metaphor Gentry also applies this to AD 70:
“…He who is coming” has a “winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (3:12). This anticipates AD 70.”[9] In further proving that the harvest gathering here was fulfilled in AD 70 Historic Premillennialist’s such as John Gill correctly point out that the threshing floor of this harvest judgment is local and addressing Israel in AD 70 (not an end of history or global event):
“Christ was just ready to publish; by which he would effectually call his chosen people among the Jews, and so distinguish and separate them from others, as well as purify and cleanse them, or rather the awful judgment of God, which Christ was ready to execute, and in a short time would execute on the unbelieving and impenitent Jews: hence it is said to be “in his hand”; being put there by his Father, who “hath committed all judgment to the Son”. That this is the meaning of the “Baptist,” seems evident, since “fanning” is always, when figuratively taken, used for judgments, #Isa 41:16 Jer 15:7 51:2. By “his floor,” is meant the land of Israel, where he was born, brought up, and lived; of which the Lord says, “O my threshing, and the corn of my floor!” #Isa 21:10.”[10] To this the book of Revelation agrees in that the coming “Day of God’s wrath” was imminently approaching its first century audience along with the harvest judgment scene in Revelation 6, 7 and 14. In 14:20 the bloody harvest scene covers “…the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” which commentators have long noted covers the distance of Israel. Israel is the local scene in which John and Revelation’s harvest judgment takes place.
The problem for Partial Preterist’s such as Gentry, is that this time of the end consummation of the harvest depicted here will be further developed by Jesus in Matthew 13 and 24-25. For a good explanation of the separation of the wheat from the chaff in our text as it relates to the final process of the harvest Morris writes,
“The thought of judgment is pursued and enlarged. John pictures the Messiah as having a winnowing fork in his hand. At harvest time the grain was threshed, for example, by having oxen tread it out, a process that shook the grain free from the husks but left them in the same heap. It was then winnowed: the threshed grain was separated from the husks by throwing it into the air, at first with a fork and later with a shovel (cf. Isa. 30:24). The heavier grain would fall straight down, but the lighter husks would be blown further away. If the winnowing fork is already in hand, the process of separation is about to begin (REB has “his winnowing shovel,” which would indicate that the last stage in winnowing is about to begin). The picture is one of imminent activity; judgment will not be delayed. And it will be wholehearted, for he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. The verb is unusual, but it clearly points to a complete cleaning out of the threshing floor. It is possible to understand this as meaning that the threshing floor will be cleaned by the removal of all the husks so that only the grain is left. But the further imagery of fire suggests that the cleansing will be by burning up the chaff. And he will gather his wheat signifies the preservation of those who are right with God, just as burn up the chaff the severe judgment of those who are in the wrong. Fire is often used in connection with the last judgment. That cannot be put out points to the impossibility of averting the punishment of evil. The putting of the wheat into the barn (Matthew has “his wheat” and Luke “his barn”) and the burning up of the chaff picture the satisfactory completion of the harvest.”[11] This is important to establish at this point since I will be arguing that Matthew’s/Jesus’ end of “this [OC] age” harvest gathering in Matthew 13:39-43 is the same AD 70 eschatological harvest gathering of Matthew’s/John the Baptist’s here in Matthew 3:12. And then once we reach Matthew 24:30-31 and 25:31-33ff. I will again argue that this is the same end of the OC age AD 70 separation/judgment that is taking place. Simply put – John’s eschatology is Jesus’ eschatology.
What of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire?

We have seen how the water baptism of John in the Jordan marked the prophetic second exodus that would be ushered in by Jesus and how the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” was Israel’s last days terminal generation. But what of the baptism Jesus would bring for Israel – through the Holy Spirit and fire? How could these be fulfilled by AD 70?
If you were a good Jew listening to John’s message of a coming Messiah who was going to baptize or pour out the Holy Spirit upon Israel within the context of a coming judgment, you no doubt would be thinking of Joel 2:28-32. On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 Peter delivers a sermon in which he identifies his contemporary “this corrupt (or crooked) generation” as the “last days” generation predicted by Moses (Deut. 31—32:5, 20/Acts 2:40) and that this generation (in context) was to call out to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for crucifying their Messiah and be saved from “the coming great and dreadful day of the Lord” predicted by Joel 2 (cf. Acts 2:16-40). So the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (manifesting in the miraculous speaking of known foreign languages) was a sign of an imminent coming salvation and judgment. Paul underscores this same imminence and purpose of tongues in his epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:6-8; 7:29, 31; 10:11; 14:21-25). It should not surprise us that since John came to prepare the way of an imminent “great and dreadful day of the Lord” judgment found in Malachi 3-4, that Jesus also would baptize Israel and pour out His Holy Spirit marking the same imminent “great and dreadful day of the Lord,” except through another prophet (Joel).
Let’s once again turn to the commentators for further support.
John Lightfoot writes,
“…it shall come to pass “in the last days.” We have elsewhere observed that by the last days is to be understood the last days of Jerusalem and the Jewish economy, viz. when the τέλος τοῦ αἰῶνος Ἰουδαϊκοῦ, the end of the Jewish world drew near. And there would be the less doubt as to this matter if we would frame a right notion of “that great and terrible day of the Lord;” that is, the day of his vengeance upon that place and nation. Which terror the Jews, according to their custom and fashion, put far off from themselves,…”[12] Adam Clark writes,
“Acts 2:20: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood – These are figurative representations of eclipses, intended most probably to point out the fall of the civil and ecclesiastical state in Judea: see the notes on Mat 24:29. That the Sun is darkened when a total eclipse takes place, and that the Moon appears of a bloody hue in such circumstances, every person knows.
Acts 2:21: Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved – The predicted ruin is now impending; and only such as receive the Gospel of the Son of God shall be saved. And that none but the Christians did escape, when God poured out these judgments, is well known; and that All the Christians did escape, not one of them perishing in these devastations, stands attested by the most respectable authority. See the note on Mat 24:13.”[13] “Acts 2:40: Save yourselves from this untoward generation – Separate yourselves from them: be ye saved, σωθητε: the power is present with you; make a proper use of it, and ye shall be delivered from their obstinate unbelief, and the punishment that awaits it in the destruction of them and their city by the Romans.”[14] Matthew Henry writes as a possible meaning of the “last days” here,
“…Or, in the days immediately preceding the destruction of the Jewish nation, in the last days of that people, just before that great and notable day of the Lord spoken of, v. 20.[15] “That one great thing which they should prophesy of should be the judgment that was coming upon the Jewish nation, for this was the chief thing that Christ himself had foretold (Mt. 24) at his entrance into Jerusalem (Lu. 19:41); and when he was going to die (Lu. 23:29); and these judgments were to be brought upon them to punish for their contempt of the gospel, and their opposition to it, though it came to them thus proved. Those that would not submit to the power of God’s grace, in this wonderful effusion of his Spirit, should fall and lie under the pourings out of the vials of his wrath. Those shall break that will not bend. First, The destruction of Jerusalem, which was about forty years after Christ’s death, is here called that great and notable day of the Lord, because it put a final period to the Mosaic economy; the Levitical priesthood and the ceremonial law were thereby for ever abolished and done away. The desolation itself was such as was never brought upon any place or nation, either before or since. It was the day of the Lord, for it was the day of his vengeance upon that people for crucifying Christ, and persecuting his ministers; it was the year of recompences for that controversy; yea, and for all the blood of the saints and martyrs, from the blood of righteous Abel, Mt. 23:35. It was a little day of judgment; it was a notable day: in Joel it is called a terrible day, for so it was to men on earth; but here epiphanē (after the Septuagint), a glorious, illustrious day, for so it was to Christ in heaven; it was the epiphany, his appearing, so he himself spoke of it, Mt. 24:30. The destruction of the Jews was the deliverance of the Christians, who were hated and persecuted by them; and therefore that day was often spoken of by the prophets of that time, for the encouragement of suffering Christians, that the Lord was at hand, the coming of the Lord drew nigh, the Judge stood before the door, James 5:8, 9. Secondly, The terrible presages of that destruction are here foretold: There shall be wonders in heaven above, the sun turned into darkness and the moon into blood; and signs too in the earth beneath, blood and fire. Josephus, in his preface to his history of the wars of the Jews, speaks of the signs and prodigies that preceded them, terrible thunders, lightnings, and earthquakes; there was a fiery comet that hung over the city for a year, and a flaming sword was seen pointing down upon it; a light shone upon the temple and the altar at midnight, as if it had been noon-day. Dr. Lightfoot gives another sense of these presages: The blood of the Son of God, the fire of the Holy Ghost now appearing, the vapour of the smoke in which Christ ascended, the sun darkened, and the moon made blood, at the time of Christ’s passion, were all loud warnings given to that unbelieving people to prepare for the judgments coming upon them. Or, it may be applied, and very fitly, to the previous judgments themselves by which that desolation was brought on. The blood points at the wars of the Jews with the neighbouring nations, with the Samaritans, Syrians, and Greeks, in which abundance of blood was shed, as there was also in their civil wars, and the struggles of the seditious (as they called them), which were very bloody; there was no peace to him that went out nor to him that came in. The fire and vapour of smoke, here foretold, literally came to pass in the burning of their cities, and towns, and synagogues, and temple at last. And this turning of the sun into darkness, and the moon into blood, bespeaks the dissolution of their government, civil and sacred, and the extinguishing of all their lights. Thirdly, The signal preservation of the Lord’s people is here promised (v. 21): Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus (which is the description of a true Christian, 1 Co. 1:2) shall be saved, shall escape that judgment which shall be a type and earnest of everlasting salvation. In the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, there was a remnant sealed to be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger; and in the destruction by the Romans not one Christian perished. Those that distinguish themselves by singular piety shall be distinguished by special preservation.”[16] And lastly a Partial Preterist author Kenneth Gentry writes,
“Acts 2:20 must highlight AD 70, for it appears in the very context of Jerusalem and incudes tongues-speaking which is a sign of coming judgment upon Israel (cf. Dt 28:49; Isa 28:11; 33:19; Jer 5:15; 1 Cor 14:21-22). Peter’s sermon not only blames the Jews for Christ’s recent death (Acts 2:22-23, 36), but urges the Jerusalemites to “be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40).”[17] The purpose of the baptism or outpouring of the Holy Spirit within Israel’s “last days” (not the last days of the Church age or that of world history) between AD 30 – AD 70 was to warn of an imminent judgment coming and to confirm that God was in fact including Gentiles to be built up as God’s new Tabernacle (Acts 10-11; Acts 15/Amos 9).
Baptism of fire – if you were a good Jew Malachi 3-4 would come to mind. Since we have covered Malachi 3-4 already and since the immediate context describes an imminent judgment of fire approaching, it is safe to say that this baptism of fire is also referring to the wrath that would be poured out upon the wicked in AD 70.
Before leaving this theme of baptism, perhaps the anti-type of a baptism that was in the process of “saving” the first century Christians in 1 Peter 3:20 is worthy of some comment at this point. Of this spiritual baptism of fire and persecution that would test the faith of Christians and eventually burn the wicked in AD 70 David Green writes,
“Union / identity with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection is the essence of spiritual baptism. In I Peter, it is the “suffering” or “fiery” aspect of spiritual baptism for Christians that is the running theme. Peter wrote his epistle to the persecuted, scattered Jewish believers who were living as aliens and strangers (1:1; 2:11). Many of them were being distressed by various trials (1:6), being slandered, reviled and maligned (2:12; 3:16; 4:4,14); their faith was being tested by fire (1:7).
This same baptism was predicted by Jesus in Matt. 20:22,23 (AV); Mk. 10:38,39 (cf. Lk. 12:50), where Jesus asked James and John, “Are you able to . . . be baptized with the baptism which I am baptized?” And they answered, “We are able.” And Jesus said, “. . . You shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.”
Christ was prophesying to His disciples that they were going to become sharers of His sufferings, i.e., they were going to be experientially / spiritually unified and identified with Him in His sufferings, death and burial. They were going to be “crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20; 5:24) through persecution, but were also going to endure unto victory through the power of Christ’s resurrection.
Union with Christ in His sufferings was further borne out in I Peter when Peter told his readers that it was their calling to patiently endure their persecutions, just as Christ when He suffered, kept entrusting Himself to God. (2:23) “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose” (4:1), and, “you share the sufferings of Christ” (4:12,13).
It was this spiritual baptism that was saving the first-century Christians. Just as a small remnant, eight souls (I Peter 3:20), had been brought safely through the flood waters in Noah’s day (I Peter 3:20), so was a small remnant (Rom. 9:27,29) being brought safely through the fire of God’s Last-Days wrath. (Matt. 24:38,39; Lk. 17:26,27; II Peter 2:5-9)
Their saving baptism was a refining, purifying baptism, as they were being sovereignly preserved by God through their persecutions until the end of the age. As Paul said in II Cor. 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (Cf. Acts 14:22).”
Green may be on to something here. The rain and wrath that God poured down upon the wicked of the land was for 40 days and nights in Genesis 7. As God had preserved Noah and his family through these 40 days, God was preserving and saving His Church during this 40 year transition period. This is similar to what we had seen in the development of the type and anti-type in the wilderness exodus motif 1 Cor. 10:11; Hebs. 3-4/Ps. 95. Just as God had preserved the faith of Joshua and Caleb during the 40 days of spying out the land and then another 40 years before entering it, God was preserving the faith of these Christians through the persecutions and fiery trials they were undergoing. As the gospel was going throughout the land, it was a living river that by AD 70 would have reached to the heads of the Christians producing salvation Ezek. 47. But for the wicked and unbelieving, the wrath of God remained upon them and thus they were in the process of perishing and would be finally swept away in the fiery flood that consumed and baptized Jerusalem in AD 70.
Let’s now turn our attention to how the various futurist systems have inadequately dealt with the eschatology of John the Baptist.
Premillennial Dispensationalism and John the Baptist’s eschatology
Matthew 3:2: The Dispensational position on our text is that the ‘kingdom” was a literal earthly kingdom to be established on earth through Messiah’s reign similar to that of David and Solomon’s reigns. It is pointed out that since this is what the Jews of Jesus’ day were expecting, it must be accurate. They believe that the kingdom was literally “at hand” BUT it got “delayed” or “postponed”:
“The rejection of Christ by the people delayed [or postponed] its [the kingdom’s] establishment until the Second Coming of Christ (25:31). The “character” of the kingdom today is described in the parables of Matt. 13.”[18] Therefore, Dispensationalism teaches “three phases” of the kingdom: First, a literal kingdom that was literally “at hand” but got postponed due to the Jewish rejection of Christ. Second, a spiritual aspect of the kingdom is introduced in the “seven mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” to be fulfilled during the present Church age found in the seven parables of Jesus in (Matt. 13:1-52). The third phase is the arrival of the literal kingdom (that got postponed the first time around) established on the earth at the Second Coming of Jesus (Matt. 24:29—chapter 25).
Matthew 3:3 & Isaiah 40: I find it interesting that one Dispensational author admits that John came to prepare a way for the remnant of Israel to be saved,
“John was thus a voice of one calling in the desert to prepare a remnant to receive the Messiah.”[19] If the mission was to prepare a way of salvation for the “remnant” of Jews (and thus not every Jew or a majority of Jews had to accept Christ), with the kingdom being “at hand,” then there was no need to have the kingdom postponed or delayed since the NT develops that a remnant of Jews (along with the Gentile inclusion) was indeed saved.
There is really no exegetical work done by Dispensationalists trying to examine the context of the passage John references in Isaiah 40 as being salvation 40:2 and judgment 40:6-7, 10 and how that relates to the imminent judgment scene John is developing within the immediate context.
Matthew 3:7: Some Progressive Dispensationalists such as John MacArthur, have given lip service to the “wrath [about to] come” in 3:7 as “possibly” being fulfilled in AD 70, but if so, only in a partial or typological way allegedly awaiting the ultimate fulfillment of God pouring out His wrath at Christ’s future (to us) Second Coming.[20] Matthew 3:10: In regards to God having already laid His ax at Israel’s tree some see it as a judgment upon Jerusalem, but don’t want to really reference it to AD 70 and the imminence that saturates the rest of Matthew 3:
“Judaism was in danger of being removed. Unless there was productive fruit in keeping with repentance (v. 8), God would remove the tree [tree=Judaism=Israel].”[21] Why are these Dispensational commentators afraid to point out that in AD 70 the kingdom would in fact be “taken” from Israel and “given” to the “nation” of the Church (Matt. 21:43-45)? Therefore, when the “at hand kingdom” would come in AD 70, the OC kingdom would be judged (with the kingdom being taken from her – the removing of her tree – ie. gather and burn up the chaff) and the remnant would experience salvation through their repentance and be “given” the kingdom (ie. gather His wheat into the barn).
However, MacArthur of 3:10 refreshingly and boldly writes,
“Irreversible judgment was imminent”[22] But he fails miserably to exegetically connect this “irreversible imminence” of (v. 10) with the immediate contexts of (verses 2, 7), and gives vague and shallow connections of v. 10) to that of (vss. 11-12).
Matthew 3:11-12: MacArthur does write concerning the baptism of fire,
“Because fire is used throughout this context as a means of judgment (vv. 10, 12), this must speak of a baptism of judgment upon the unrepentant.”[23] Here he connects the baptism of fire in (v. 11) with the “irreversible judgment [that] was imminent” of (v. 10), and with being burned up with unquenchable fire” in (12). But because being burned up with unquenchable fire for his theology means something that is connected with a far distant judgment at the end of world history — at best he can only make a thematic connection with the fiery judgments and not an actual and exegetical one connecting them as the same “imminent” judgment.
Louis Barbieri however does connect this baptism of fire with the Second Coming of Jesus in Malachi 3:
“Those who reject Him (chaff) would be judged and cast into eternal unquenchable fire (cf. Mal. 4:1).”[24] Matthew 11:10-15; 17:11-13: There seems to be a denial among Dispensationalists when it comes to Jesus’ teaching that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah’s coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord could occur (cf. Mal. 4:1-5). Most seem to think that this is fulfilled when allegedly Elijah will come in our future in fulfillment of Revelation 11. But John (as Elijah) came to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming and judgment (Mal. 3:1-2; Mal. 4:1-5; Isa. 40:3-7, 10). Dispensationalists are also exegetically impotent to connect the imminence throughout Matthew 3 with the imminence in the NT concerning the Second Coming of Jesus that John came to prepare the way for.
Weakness of this view
First, there is NO exegetical evidence whatsoever that John the Baptist nor Jesus, was ever offering a literal earthly kingdom that was “at hand.” A literal earthly kingdom was offered to Jesus and He clearly rejected it and went on further to develop that His kingdom was spiritual (cf. John 6). Everywhere Jesus describes His kingdom throughout the gospels, it is always described as a spiritual (spiritual water, bread, life, etc…) kingdom that is “not of this world” and when it would come it would not be visible, but would be realized “within.” The rest of the NT develops a spiritual kingdom never a literal or earthly one.
Secondly, there is NO exegetical evidence anywhere in the teachings of Jesus in the gospels or in the NT authors, that the kingdom John the Baptist and Jesus said was “at hand” got “delayed” or “postponed” thousands of years. Not a single verse!
Thirdly, it is the NT’s teaching that Christ’s “rejection” (ie. His death and resurrection) actually established the “already” aspect to Israel’s OT promises concerning the Davidic kingdom – hardly “postponing” them.
Fourthly, exegetically speaking the imminent “at hand” aspect of the Kingdom is connected to an “about to” come “wrath” or “irreversible imminent” eschatological harvest judgment that would result in removing Israel (the trees) (vss. 10, 12). There is really no exegetical work at all being done to harmonize all four of these imminent time statements to the harvest judgment and salvation imminently coming in AD 70.
Fifthly, Dispensationalism admits that John was coming to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming (“the day of His coming” / “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”) in a fiery judgment as predicted by Malachi 3:2-5/4:1-5/Isa. 40:3-4, 10/=Matthew 3:3, 10-12. However, men like MacArthur will not connect the exegetical dots in our passage let alone in the rest of the NT which teaches that the “Irreversible judgment [that] was imminent” in John’s day to his first century audience is the Second Coming event of which John came to prepare the way of – for that same first century audience!
Sixthly, Dispensationalism constantly ridicules Covenant Theology and Preterism for pointing out that the OT and NT uses highly apocalyptic/symbolic/metaphoric language in prophetic literature (not literal), and clearly John did not come to prepare a literal highway for Jesus to enter this literal kingdom on earth that they have imagined He was teaching in the book of Dispensationalism 7:7-77 apparently.
Seventh, If John came to prepare a way for the “remnant” of Israel to be saved in order for the kingdom and Christ’s Second Coming could be realized, then there was no reason to have the kingdom “postponed” because a “remnant” was saved prior to Christ coming in the judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.
Eighth, There is nothing but pure eisegesis and Dispensational dogma that separates John’s coming harvest judgment and salvation in Matthew 3 related to the kingdom’s arrival and what Jesus will teach on the same subject matter in Matthew 13.
This view has to read into the text (eisegesis) an offer of an alleged earthly/literal kingdom that is nowhere found here or anywhere else in the NT, a “delay” or “postponement” theory that is nowhere found here or anywhere else in the NT, and is confused and impotent on how all four imminent AD 70 references or images (vss. 2, 7, 10-12) harmonize within Matthew 3 let alone how the rest of the NT harmonizes them!
Strengths of this view
Dispensationalism is forced to at least accept that “at hand” is a genuinely imminent time statement for the first century audience John is addressing. But unfortunately as we will see later, when it comes to the kingdom being “at hand” associated with Christ’s Second Coming, “at hand” takes on a totally different meaning for the same first century audience.
Dispensationalism does accept that the coming of Christ in judgment found in Malachi 3-4 is the Second Coming event and not just “a” minor AD 70 coming (per Partial Preterism).
We can find points of agreement that the kingdom was genuinely “at hand” (but not “postponed”) and that Matthew 3:10-12 refers to the Second Coming of Christ to bring about an “Irreversible judgment [that] was imminent.” No debate on those points.
Amillennialism
Matthew 3:2: Concerning the kingdom being “at hand,” Amillennialism emphasizes the spiritual nature of the kingdom (over against the Premillennial Dispensational view) and that the kingdom’s “already” aspect was present or would imminently be present – realized in the heart, “bearing forth fruit” with their “repentance.” For example William Hendricksen writes,
“…heaven’s (ie. God’s) reign in the hearts and lives of men would begin to assert itself far more powerfully than ever before, was about to begin; in a sense, had even now arrived. Great blessings were in store for all those who, by sovereign grace, would confess and forsake their sins and would begin to live to God’s glory.”[25] Matthew 3:3 & Isaiah 40: Hendriksen sees Isaiah 40:3-5 as typologically being fulfilled when the remnant of Israel came out of the wilderness captivity of Babylon and back into the Promised Land through the restoration and preparing the way of God through Ezra and Nehemiah’s ministries. As far as how John prepares the way, he writes,
“…to prepare the way of the Lord, that is, by God’s grace and power to effect a complete change of mind and heart (see verse 2). This implies that they must make straight his paths, meaning that they must provide the Lord with a ready access into their hearts and lives. They must make straight whatever was crooked, not in line with God’s holy will. They must clear away all the obstacles which they had thrown into his path; such obstructions as self-righteousness and smug complacency (“We have Abraham as our father,” verse 9), greed, cruelty, slander, etc. (Luke 3:13, 14).
It is evident that, both in Isaiah and in John’s preaching as recorded by Matthew, “the wilderness” through which a path must be made ready for the Lord is in the final analysis the people’s heart, inclined to all evil. Though the literal meaning is not absent, it is subsumed into the figurative. The root idea is indeed the actual desert. “But the very sight of the [literal] wilderness must have had a powerful effect on stupid and hardened men, leading them to perceive that they were in a state of death, and to accept the promise of salvation that had been held out to them” (John Calvin on Matt. 3:3).”[26] So as one can see the Amillennialist is limited in his exegesis of an “at hand” kingdom only addressing its internal affects within the heart and not really dealing with imminent aspects of the kingdom’s arrival in the eschatological areas that are developed throughout the immediate context. Nor is there any discussion that within the context of Isaiah 40:3-5 the Second Coming is mentioned as a part of the way that is being prepared.
Matthew 3:7: In trying to address the “approaching wrath,” Hendriksen does not deal with the Greek word mello here and how it is used throughout Matthew’s gospel. If he were, he would translate it as the wrath that was “about to be” poured out upon the hypocrites and “Brood of vipers” to whom John is addressing. He does however connect this “wrath” with the Second Coming of Christ:
“…the final outpouring of this wrath is reserved for the future (Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9; Rev. 14:10).
“…this final manifestation of wrath (Zeph. 1:15; 2:2) is connected with the (second) coming of the Messiah (Mal. 3:2, 3; 4:1, 5).[27] Matthew 3:10: As usual futurists such as Hendriksen do not know how to deal with NT imminence and throw everything they can at it. Everything from the old viewing things from the two mountain tops and “prophetic foreshortening” to pointing out that AD 70 could be in view in that it was a near event. Note the Amillennialist’s struggle with John’s imminent eschatology and that of the NT’s in general:
“Judgment is at hand. The axe lies right in front of (πρός) or, as we would say, “at” the root, with sinister intent, ready to hew down one tree after another. Right now, therefore, is the proper moment to repent and to believe. In this connection see also Ps. 95:7, 8; Isa. 55:6; Luke 13:7, 9; 17:32; John 15:6; Rom. 13:11; 2 Cor. 6:2; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 1:3. Continued: … every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into fire. The question might be asked, “But was the day of the final manifestation of God’s wrath upon the wicked actually that close? Is it not true that many centuries have passed by since the Baptist spoke these words, and still the Lord has not returned for judgment?” The following facts should be borne in mind:
First, John reminds one of the Old Testament prophet who, in speaking about the last days or the Messianic age would at times look upon the future as a traveler does on a distant mountain range. He fancies that one mountain top rises up right behind the other, when in reality the two are miles apart. The two comings of Christ are viewed as if they were one. Thus we read “A shoot shall come forth out of the stock of Jesse … and he shall smite the earth” (Isa. 11:1–4). “Jehovah has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and … the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa. 61:1, 2). “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.… The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah arrives” (Joel 2:28–31). Cf. Mal. 3:1, 2. This has been called “prophetic foreshortening.”
Secondly, Jerusalem’s fall (a.d. 70) was drawing perilously near, and foreshadowed the final judgment.
Thirdly, impenitence has a tendency of hardening a person, so that often he is left in his present lost condition. Without genuine repentance death and the judgment are for him irrevocable and “at the door.”
Fourthly, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
Fifthly, as the references given above (p. 205, beginning with Ps. 95:7, 8) indicate, John was by no means the only one who emphasized the imminence of the judgment and/or the need of becoming converted right now. Therefore, if on this score we find fault with the Baptist we would also have to blame the psalmists, the prophets, the apostles, and even the Lord himself! Surely, no true believer is ready to do this.
Sixthly, all this does not necessarily mean that the Baptist himself always saw the present and the future in true perspective. See on 11:1–3. It only means that the Holy Spirit guided him so that in his actual preaching as here recorded he had a perfect right to say what he said.
The “fire” into which the unfruitful trees are cast is evidently a symbol of the final outpouring of God’s wrath upon the wicked. See also Mal. 4:1; Matt. 13:40; John 15:6. Jesus spoke about “the Gehenna of fire” (Matt. 5:22, 29; 18:9; Mark 9:47). This fire is unquenchable (Matt. 3:12; 18:8; Mark 9:43; Luke 3:17). The point is not merely that there is always a fire burning in Gehenna but that God burns the wicked with unquenchable fire, the fire that has been prepared for them as well as for the devil and his angels (Matt. 3:12; 25:41).[28] Hendriksen is throwing everything he can at John the Baptist’s teaching and how the NT develops imminence hoping that something will stick! If imminence is to be taken literally here, then AD 70 would fulfill this, but only in “foreshadowing” way. Why? Because Hendriksen assumes that this wrath associated with the Second Coming must be future and an world of history kind of event. Then on the other extreme he appeals to 2 Peter 3:8 and interprets it in such a way that imminence doesn’t have to be interpreted literally at all. So in this approach when Peter says “the end of all things is at hand” – it really didn’t communicate imminence to Peter’s first century audience because “at hand” could really mean thousands and thousands of years. Concerning his two mountain peaks illustration – the two were viewed to take place imminently together, because Jesus places his rejection in His first coming and His Second Coming to take place within the same AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 17:25/Luke 21:27-32). Since they both take place within the same “this generation” time frame, NT imminence can be interpreted literally and refer to Christ coming in the judgment upon Jerusalem and thus God pouring out His wrath upon those that had rejected His Son.
What is helpful from Amillennialists such as William Hendriksen is that they seem to recognize that John’s eschatology here is a microcosm of the rest of the NT’s eschatology. Therefore, how you interpret one is how you must interpret the other. Of course I have no disagreement on this point.
Matthew 3:11: In regards to what the baptism of fire is, Amillennialists tend to agree with the Full Preterist that this is indeed referring to the Second Coming:
“Nevertheless, it would appear from the context (both before and after; see verses 10 and 12) and from Joel’s Pentecost prophecy (Joel 2:30; cf. Acts 2:19), considered in its context (see Joel 2:31), that the ultimate fulfilment of the Baptist’s words awaits Christ’s glorious return to cleanse the earth with fire (2 Peter 3:7, 12; cf. Mal. 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:8).[29] Matthew 3:12: Simon Kistemaker seems to understand that John’s end time harvest metaphors here in 3:12 answer to the same end time harvest scene elsewhere in Matthew’s Gospel in the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 13:
“Throughout the Gospel of Matthew the theme of separation and judgment unfolds. The wheat is gathered into the barn, but the chaff is burned up with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:12); the weeds are separated from the wheat, and tied into bundles and burned, while the wheat is gathered into the barn (Matt. 13:30).”[30] As far as the threshing floor judgment, Hendriksen correctly connects it with the Second Coming,
Thus also Christ at his return will thoroughly clear the area where the judgment will take place. No one will escape detection.[31] Of the Christians or “grain” being gathered into the barn or kingdom, Hendriksen connects that with Christians inheriting the New Heaven and Earth in 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 at Christ’s Second Coming. And the same time frame is given for the unbelievers or “chaff” – they are thrown into the Lake of Fire for eternal punishment at Christ’s Second Coming (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).[32] After all this is the eschatological “not yet” to the kingdom promises.
Weaknesses of this view
It fails to honor the context in that the “at hand” of the kingdom is not just a spiritual “in the heart” “already” aspect to the kingdom, but includes the kingdom’s imminent “not yet” salvation and judgment motif throughout the passage. This is further evidenced in that it is the Second Coming that John was to prepare the way for in Isaiah 40:3-5, 10 and Malachi 3 and 4.
There is no study on mello in 3:7 which should be translated as a wrath that was “about to” be poured out upon those that would not repent.
It fails to understand or develop NT imminence in any kind of Biblical or consistent way.
Strengths of this view
There is some attempt to find the eschatological imminence or kingdom “not yet” promises being fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment – but not consistently.
The ax laid at the tree and the coming baptism of fire are correctly identified with the Second Coming event as predicted in Malachi 3 and 4.
Unlike Dispensationalism, there are not two different kingdoms or phases of the kingdom – one for Israel and another for the Church in which they separate the salvation and judgment harvest motifs here in Matthew 3 from Jesus’ parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13. Amillennialism seems to equate the two as the same end time harvest event.
This position correctly sees the eschatology of John the Baptist here to be a microcosm of the NT’s eschatology as a whole. Therefore, its struggle with John’s imminence here is its struggle with NT imminence.
Partial Preterism
Matthew 3:2-3: In regards to the manifestation of the kingdom being at hand John Lightfoot writes,
“1. The exhibition and manifestation of the Messias, Matt. 12:28; “But if I, by the finger of God, cast out devils, the kingdom of God is come upon you:” that is, ‘Hence is the manifestation of the Messias.’ See John 3:3, 12:13, &c. 2. The resurrection of Christ; death, hell, Satan, being conquered: whence is a most evident manifestation that he is that ‘eternal King,’ &c.: see Matt. 26:29, Rom. 1:4. 3. His vengeance upon the Jewish nation, his most implacable enemies: this is another, and most eminent manifestation of him: see Matt. 16:28, 19:28. 4. His dominion by the sceptre of the gospel among the Gentiles, Matt. 21:43. In this place which is before us it points out the exhibition and revelation of the Messias.[33] Matthew 3:7: John Lightfoot is on target in identifying this coming wrath to AD 70,
“…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.
The receiving of John’s baptism signed and fenced those that received it from the ruin that was just coming. To this belongs that of St. Peter, Epist. 1. ch. 3:20, 21: in that manner as Noah and his sons were by water delivered from the flood, “so also baptism now, the antitype of that type, saveth us” from the deluge of divine indignation, which in a short time is to overflow the Jewish nation. Think here, if those that came to baptism brought not their little ones with them to baptism: when, by the plain words of the Baptist, those that are baptized are said to “fly from the wrath to come?” that is, ‘the wrath of God,’ that was not long hence to destroy the nation by a most sad overthrow.”[34] Matthew 3:10-12: Gentry concedes a Preterist interpretation of 3:10-12,
“He [John] then warns just before Christ’s ministry begins that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees. (3:10) and that “He who is coming” has a “winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (3:12). This anticipates AD 70.”[35] R.C. Sproul,
“The image of the axe does not indicate that the woodsman is merely thinking about cutting down a tree or that he has merely begun the task by striking at the outer bark. The image is that the task is nearly complete. The axe has already penetrated to the core of the tree, hinting that one more decisive stroke will make it fall.
The fan refers to the winnowing fork used by a farmer to separate the wheat from the chaff. The farmer is not heading to his barn to get the fan. It is already in his hand and he is about to begin the winnowing.”[36] Matthew 11:10-14: Gentry writes of Matthew 11:14/Malachi 3-4,
“In Matthew 11:14 Christ declares John the Baptist the fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah’s return. When we read of this in Mal 3-4 we discover Christ will come to judge Israel.”[37] Weaknesses of this view
Unlike the Amillennial view, the weaknesses of this view is in its failure to harmonize and use the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation concerning the “great and dreadful day of the Lord,” the imminent coming judgment and wrath whereby the wicked are thrown into “unquenchable fire” (all being fulfilled in AD 70) with the rest of the NT’s teaching on these eschatological topics. There isn’t even any attempt to harmonize the coming harvest separation and judgment of Matthew 3 with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 13.
Strengths of this view
Unlike the Amillennial view, the strength of this view is that it seeks to take the imminence throughout Matthew 3:2-12 seriously and finds its fulfillment in the fall of Jerusalem.
Progressive Partial Preterism
Matthew 3:2-12: In response to the kind of vague comments Amillennialists give about a pure inward aspect of the kingdoms arrival and a call for repentance throughout all ages, Russell makes the point that the repentance in our passage is urgent for a specific immediate audience (the Jews) concerning a specific coming national judgment,
“These warnings of John the Baptist are not the vague and indefinite exhortations to repentance, addressed to men in all ages, which they are sometimes assumed to be; they are urgent, burning words, having a specific and present bearing upon the then existing generation, the living men to whom he brought the message of God. The Jewish nation was now upon its last trial; the second Elijah had come as the precursor of ‘the great and dreadful day of the Lord:’ if they rejected his warnings, the doom predicted by Malachi world surely and speedily follow; “I will come and smite the land with a curse.’ Nothing can be more obvious than that the catastrophe to which John alludes is particular, national, local, and imminent, and history tells us that within the period of the generation that listened to his warning cry, ‘the wrath came upon them to the uttermost.’”[38] Russell is also helpful in demonstrating that although the “way” John is called upon to “prepare” here in Matthew 3:3 is found in Isaiah 40, we still see the “way” of judgment found in Malachi 3-4 (as is quoted in Matt. 11:10) within our passage,
“It is impossible not to be struck with the correspondence between the language of the Baptist and that of Malachi. As Hengstenberg observes: ‘The prophecy of Malacki is throughout the text upon which John comments.’ In both, the coming of the Lord is described as a day of wrath; both speak of His coming with fire to purify and try, with fire to burn and consume. Both speak of a time of discrimination and separation between the righteous and the wicked, the gold and dross, the wheat and chaff; and both speak of the utter destruction of the chaff, or stubble, with unquenchable fire. These are not fortuitous resemblances: the two predictions are the counterpart one of the other, and can only refer to the self-same event, the same ‘day of the lord,’ the same coming judgment.”[39] Russell also does a great job of using the analogy of Scripture principle of interpreting scripture when he connects the Matthew 3:2-12 with that of the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:
“It is indeed surprising that expositors should failed to recognize in these solemn predictions the reproduction and reiteration of the words of Malachi and of John the Baptist. Here we find the same final separation between the righteous and the wicked; the same purging of the floor; the same gathering of the wheat into the garner; the same burning of the chaff [tares, stubble] in the fire. Can there be no doubt that it is to the same act of judgment, the same period of time, the same historical event, that Malachi, John, and our Lord refer?”[40] Weaknesses of this view
Russell should have spent some time on the use of mello in Matthew 3:7 to add strength to his case on imminence throughout Matthew 3.
Although doing a good job on showing how the context of Malachi 3-4 can be seen ever here in Matthew 3, he could have spent some time developing the context of Isaiah 40 of which John specifically references to make a case for an AD 70 judgment scene.
Russell’s view of a partial and literal “rapture” of Christians during the events of AD 67-70 at Christ’s parousia I believe is gravely mistaken and has some problems even here at the outset. Since he equates the gathering of Matthew 3 with Matthew 13, we should not that the tares are “gathered” at the same time as the wheat (actually they are gathered first). So if the eschatological “gathering” within John and Jesus’ teaching throughout Matthew’s gospel refers to the same event, then this would require that the wicked tares were gathered/raptured in the same way the righteous wheat were gathered/raptured. There is no discussion of this serious problem for Russell’s view and even modern day Progressive Partial Preterists that hold to his literal rapture theory taking place in AD 70.
Strengths of this view
As previously noted, Russell is strong in pointing out John’s references to Malachi here in Matthew 3 – and not just in Matthew 11.
His refutation of an Amillennial type general repentance spanning thousands of years in the kingdom being “at hand” is excellent when he points the reader to stay within the text itself arguing for a local, national, and imminence throughout Matthew 3 which exegetically points us to a first century audience being called to repentance for a particular national judgment coming in AD 70.
His appeals that Jesus is simply “reiterating” and “reproducing” the same separating harvest and fiery salvation and judgment scene as that of Malachi and John are excellent (Matt. 3=Matt. 13). We saw this point made by Kistemaker, but here we have more exegetical evidence demonstrating that both were fulfilled to close the OC age in AD 70 and are not referring to an end of the planet earth or history events.

MATTHEW 24-25

Virtually every eschatological system, scholar or commentary will tell you that whatever one’s interpretation of the Olivet Discourse (OD) is, it will dictate your eschatological views throughout the rest of the NT. Nowhere else in the gospels is Jesus’ teaching so clearly laid out concerning all of the main eschatological events: His coming/parousia, the end of the age, the passing of heaven and earth, the end of the age gathering (ie. the resurrection and judgment of the dead), and the end time signs marking the genuine nearness of these events. The rest of the NT is simply a reiteration on the time frame and nature of these eschatological events. D.A Carson has correctly pointed out that whatever your eschatological views are in interpreting Matthew 24-25, will be your views of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, the book of Revelation, and indeed will set the pattern for the church’s understanding of eschatology throughout the rest of the NT:
“…the discourse itself is undoubtedly a source for the Thessalonian Epistles (cf. G. Henry Waterman, “The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” JETS 18 [1975]: 105–13; David Wenham, “Paul and the Synoptic Apocalypse,” France and Wenham, 2:345–75) and Revelation (cf. Gregory Kimball Beale, “The Use of Daniel in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and in the Revelation of St. John” [Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1980], pp. 260–64, and the literature cited there). If so, then we may say that Jesus himself sets the pattern for the church’s eschatology.”[41] And yet because various futurist systems have been imposed upon the OD, it has perplexed many throughout Church history as Amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger admits while quoting Carson,
“For a number of reasons, the Olivet Discourse is one of the most difficult and disputed passages in the whole New Testament. As D.A. Carson notes, “Few chapters of the Bible have called forth more disagreement among interpreters than Matthew 24 and its parallels in Mark 13 and Luke 21. The history of the interpretation of this passage is immensely complex.” How one interprets this important text will go a long way in determining one’s view of the millennial age pre, a, or post.”[42] I could multiply quotes like these from virtually every eschatological system and view being taught today. Other than the agreement on the importance of giving an accurate exegesis of the OD because it will affect ones eschatology throughout the rest of the NT on the time and nature of fulfillment, there isn’t much agreement after that. And I will argue it is because futurists have been building upon a false and faulty foundation when approaching it.
By way of exegesis, I will be following Matthew 24-25 as a guide, but at points will be addressing the synoptic parallels found in Mark 13 and Luke 21 when relevant.
Four Main Views
As I give an in-depth exegesis of the OD, I will be interacting with four main eschatological views or groups. There may be some slight differences within each of these groups, but for the most part my descriptions are accurate. Therefore, before beginning our exegesis it will help the reader to get a bird’s eye view of them and their approaches to or Lord’s discourse on the last things. I will also give the strengths and weakness of each view.
Premillennial Dispensationalism
While Premillennialism has been around throughout Church history for a long time, Premillennial Dispensationalism has not – being around roughly for only about 150 years. Although this eschatological system has only been around for such a brief period, it still dominates the radio and television airwaves and has a large following. Because of this, I will be dealing mostly with the Dispensational aspect within Premillennialism in this work.
Weaknesses
As we will see later, this view (along with the majority of futurist views) is doomed to failure from the very beginning because it assumes that the disciples were “confused” in associating the destruction of the Temple, end of the age, and coming of the Son of Man to take place within the same time frame.
Another error this view teaches is that the “end of the age” or “the end” in the discourse is referring to the end of the planet or the end of the New Covenant Christian age.
It tends to teach that the signs in the discourse are being fulfilled right before our very eyes in the news and thus Jesus’ “rapture” for the Church could be an anytime event for us.
Since there is a radical distinction between the Church and Israel in this system with our current age being the Church age with Israel’s kingdom promises following it, the surrounding of Jerusalem or the desolation of the Temple in this system is not the Temple that Jesus and the disciples are actually looking at and discussing, but rather a future one yet to be rebuilt. Therefore, there is always excitement within this group and a twisting of OT and NT passages to fit an alleged “fulfillment” of Israel becoming a nation in 1948 and the talk of them re-building the Temple.
The Great Tribulation is seen as a future global event – not within Jesus’ contemporary generation or a local event.
Since the “end of the age” is understood within this view to be an end of world history event, the de-creation in verses 29, 35 likewise tend to be understood as referring to a literal de-creation or re-creation of planet earth events.
Although it is admitted by some of their leading theologians that “this generation” is referring to the AD 30 – AD 70 generation everywhere else by Jesus, it believes Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:34 is the exception. This automatically raises a red flag to any student of hermeneutics.
Jesus’ teaching that all these things would be fulfilled in a “this generation” time period, is interpreted as “the Jewish race will not pass away until all these things will be fulfilled.” Or another view is that the generation that is alive to see these end time signs be fulfilled is the generation that will witness the rapture and or then his return. Since the alleged TV “prophecy experts” of this view believe we have witnessed most if not all of these signs, many have taught that it is our generation that Jesus is addressing in the OD, or the generation that witnessed the “super-sign” of Israel becoming a nation in 1948.
It is also relevant to point out that this view believes in two comings of Christ. First, there is the “secret rapture” coming of Jesus “for” the Church, then there is the actual Second Coming of Jesus “with the Church” some seven years later to establish the kingdom by means of ruling on earth during a literal thousand year millennial period.
And while this view would agree that whatever your view of the OD is, it will dictate your views of these events throughout the rest of the NT – we can’t find a secret rapture coming then a Second Coming in the OD. Nor can we find any teaching on a literal earthly kingdom whereby Jesus rules on the earth for a thousand years etc…. Nor do we find any teaching on a judgment and resurrection of the dead prior to the thousand years and then one following the thousand years mentioned by Jesus in the OD or anywhere in the teachings of Jesus.
Strengths
The only strength that I can see with this interpretation of the OD is that it does interpret the coming of the Son of Man consistently through Matthew 24-25 as the actual Second Coming event. I will not take issue with that.
Classic Amillennialism
The classic Amillennial view is probably the most popular view throughout Church history. It has been held by the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformed Church. Although some Amillialists have held to a Partial Preterist interpretation of some of these eschatological events in the OD, the vast majority have not – especially when it comes to the coming of the Son of Man as being one future event. Therefore, it is this later version that I will address in this book.
Weaknesses
Like the previous view, it assumes that the disciples were “confused” in associating the destruction of the Temple, end of the age, and coming of the Son of Man to take place within the same time frame.
Like the Premillennial Dispensational view, its proponents believe the “end of the age” or “the end” in the discourse is referring to the end of the planet or the end of the New Covenant Christian age.
It tends to erratically chop up the Discourse believing some events refer to AD 70 while others are future. It separates the surrounding of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 from the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds – which is the Second Coming to take place at the end of the New Covenant Christian age to close world history. I say this view “erratically chops up” the discourse because the disciples connect all the events to be fulfilled together and Jesus in answering their question(s) does as well (after discussing all these events) when He says, “Most assuredly, this generation will by no means pass away until all these things are fulfilled.” Notice he does not say “some of these things” would be fulfilled in AD 70 while others would not – but “all these things.”
Therefore, it will become very apparent as we make our way through the OD that this view cannot deal with Jesus’ teaching that His coming would take place within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and thus its attempts to deal with NT imminence will also fall short of honoring God’s Word.
Strengths
Similar to the Premillennial Dispensational view, the classic Amillennial position consistently sees the coming of the Son of Man throughout the discourse as Jesus’ actual Second Coming. Unlike Premillennial Dispensationalism, it is a very simple view in that when the ONE Second Coming of Jesus takes place at the end of the age, the de-creation (and by implication the new arrives), and the judgment and resurrection of the dead occurs. And of course the rest of the NT follows this pattern.
Partial Preterism & Progressive Partial Preterism
Most Partial Preterists and Progressive Partial Preterists today and throughout Church history have been Postmillennialists. Why? Well, in order for their “optimistic” “eschatology of victory” to take place (that is the Christianization of every nation on planet earth before the Second Coming takes place), it needs to get some of the negative things for the Church to be fulfilled in the past (preterism). Therefore, this view arbitrarily uses the preterist hermeneutic to get the Great Tribulation, severe persecutions from the beast, Man of Sin, apostasy, etc…, in the past so that it can promote Postmillennialism.
Partial Preterism
Weaknesses
As the previous two views have errored, so too does this one when it assumes from the very beginning that the disciples were “confused” in associating the destruction of the Temple, end of the age, and coming of the Son of Man to take place together or within Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time frame.
Like the first two views outlined above, many Partial Preterist believe that the “end of the age” in the OD is referring to the end of world history or the end of the Christian age. This too is a major exegetical weakness of this position.
Strengths
Some of the things this view has going for it on an exegetical level is that it views all of the signs elaborated by Jesus to be fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” inspired time period. Therefore, the Great Tribulation and the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies and the desolation of the Temple are also events fulfilled by AD 70.
The de-creation in Matthew 24:29 is not literal but rather prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language referring to the end of Israel’s Old Covenant age or world in AD 70.
The coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds in Matthew 24:27, 30 is also prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language referring to Christ’s coming in judgment upon Jerusalem through the Roman armies in AD 70 – one of its main strengths.
“This generation” is interpreted as it is everywhere else in the gospels and that is Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 generation – thus “a” coming of Jesus, the signs, and the stars falling from the heavens etc…, were fulfilled within this inspired time frame. Unfortunately for this view, they do not include “the end of the age” as apart of “all these things” are fulfilled within that contemporary generation and so they need to insert that subject in Matthew 24:
Matthew 24:35-36 allegedly marks a division in the OD. At this point Jesus begins addressing His actual Second Coming and “end of the age” — attended by the literal de-creation of “heaven and earth” (and by implication the new arrives). In this section the judgment and resurrection of the dead follow as well.
Some of the positives of this view is that it tries to honor Jesus’ time frame claiming that most of verses 3-34 were fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.” In doing so, it also honors the use of OT prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language. Since Christ’s parousia and de-creation (and implied new creation) took place in AD 70, it also tries to honor most of the NT’s imminence passages.
The negatives to this view is that nowhere previous to Matthew 24-25 or after, do we find Jesus teaching on TWO comings to end TWO end of the age(s). There is only one, and it is said to take place within the lifetime of His first century audience (cf. Matt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 26:64) – ie. by AD 70. Therefore, the disciples in the OD do not ask about TWO comings of Christ. As I will develop later, their arguments to support TWO comings and two sections of the OD will not hold water. Their arguments that the OD teaches two comings is simply read into the text as is their theory that the rest of the NT teaches this two comings idea.
Progressive Partial Preterism
This view still falls within the realm of “Partial Preterism,” but since it seeks to try and solve some of the exegetical problems I have briefly addressed above within Partial Preterism, and at the same time has moved closer and closer to Full Preterism over the years, I have termed it “Progressive” Partial Preterism. Progressive Partial Preterists are fond of pointing out how Progressive Dispensationalism has “crossed certain lines” in their interpretations of key passages which undermine the Dispensational system. And if consistently played out (they argue) Progressive Dispensationalism should lead their theologians and students to Covenant Theology and or Reformed Eschatology. I find this ironic since Progressive Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar are no longer holding to a two parousia(s)/coming(s) theory of Jesus in Matthew 24-25 – this has undermined his Partial Preterism and if consistently played out should lead him and his readers into Full Preterism. In fact this has been the case for me and many other students that have read his materials.
I will be classifying J. Stuart Russell’s position as Progressive Partial Preterism because although he takes the Second Coming taking place in AD 70, he argued that we are still in the millennium and therefore the millennium of Revelation 20 has not been fulfilled. This is neither exegetical nor can it be considered Full Preterism. His view of a partial literal rapture is neither exegetical nor consistent with Full Preterisms understanding of a spiritual fulfillment of the Kingdom promises being realized “within” in AD 70.
Strengths
Unlike the previous three views, Progressive Partial Preterism does not assume that the disciples were confused in associating the coming of Christ in the OD with the destruction of the Temple and end of the age. This is an exegetical strength and refreshing to hear coming from this view.
This leads to another exegetical strength that cannot be found within the previous three as well, “the end of the age” or “the end” in the OD both are addressing the end of the Old Covenant age and not the end of the planet earth or the end of the New Covenant Christian age.
Like the traditional Partial Preterist view, all of the signs, the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies and the desolation of the Temple, the Great Tribulation and wrath, the de-creation in Matthew 24:29 and coming of Christ in verses 27, 30 are discussing prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language addressing the end of Israel’s Old Covenant age in AD 70. But unlike other Partial Preterists, there are no TWO parousia(s)/coming(s) of Christ or two sections in the OD for this group. The coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 is Christ coming in the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70. These are definitely strengths of this view and hopefully other Partial Preterists will follow.
Weaknesses
However, the exegetical weaknesses of this view should be clear enough in that it is now forced to teach that Jesus never discussed His actual Second Coming in Matthew, Mark and Luke and that the teaching on the Second Coming is really more of a doctrine that the Apostle Paul was given to develop (thus separating Jesus’ eschatology from Paul’s). This is a bizarre position to take to say the least. Because of this, some within this group don’t know if the NT teaches two comings of Christ or one with different manifestations/fulfillments (Some trying to call this “Realized Preterism”). Apparently it is so secret and confusing, that it has yet to be fully developed or “realized” in print or in any systematic way. It is attempting to fix on the one hand some of the exegetical problems within traditional Partial Preterism, while on the other, remain creedal so as to not lose their ministries, orthodox publishing contracts, or get excommunicated from their creedal churches (which is also the tightrope that traditional Partial Preterism has sought to walk).
Full Preterism
I will be arguing for the Full Preterist view of the OD which is none other than the organic development (or “Reformed and always reforming”) of the Classic Amillennial view and that of the Partial Preterist views.
A Synthesis of the Classic Amillennial & Progressive Partial Preterist Views
The disciples were not wrong in associating the destruction of the Temple with Christ’s coming and the end of the age (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The “end of the “age” or “the end” is referring to the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Progressive Partial Preterism).
All of the signs, the Great Tribulation, desolation of Jerusalem and Temple (wrath poured out upon the land) were local (not global events) fulfilled by AD 70 (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The “end of the age” and de-creation (and by implication the arriving of the new) are exegetically connect in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and are referring to the passing of Israel’s OC world or age and the arrival of the NC Israel’s world or age in AD 70 (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 is not a literal or bodily return of Jesus on literal clouds, but rather the language of the OT prophets, apocalyptic, symbolic language of Christ coming through the Idumean and Roman armies in judgment upon Jerusalem in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 is the ONE and actual Second Coming event which takes place at the end of the age and brings about the ONE arrival of the New Creation, judgment and resurrection of the dead (Classic Amillennialism).
The ONE “the parousia/coming” of Christ, de-creation (implied new), and eschatological harvest “gathering” at the end of the age – judgment and resurrection of the dead taught by Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31—chapter 25 (cf. Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3, 7, 13) sets the stage for the timing and nature of fulfillment for the rest of the NT (Classic Amillennialism).

CHAPTER 1

The End of the age

Were the disciples “confused?” Did they ask about the end of planet earth?

“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:1-3).
Virtually all futurist eschatologies begin their exegesis of the OD with a false assumption related to the disciples question in Matthew 24:3. That is they simply assume what they need to prove when they assume that the disciples were “confused” in associating Jesus’ coming and end of the age with the destruction of the temple. Since futurist systems separate these events by thousands of years, and the disciples linked them to be fulfilled altogether, they merely assume the disciples were mistaken and will not concede that it is their systems that are being imposed upon the OD that has created the confusion of this important passage throughout Church history.
Let’s first address each of the four views we will be interacting with and get their own words and views concerning the disciples questions.
Premillennial Dispensationalism
My former Pastor and College President John MacArthur has sought to refute Partial and Full Preterism and writes of the disciples question,
“Whether they fully realized it or not, the disciples were actually raising multiple questions in Matthew 24:3. “When will these things be?” refers to the destruction of the temple and the events surrounding that catastrophe. “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” deals with a larger eschatological subject – the question of how Christ’s victorious coming as Israel’s Messiah fits into the whole prophetic timetable.
As we shall see in chapters to come, Jesus’ answers by no means erased all the mystery from those questions. The interpretation of the Olivet Discourse is no easy undertaking.” [43] Hence according to MacArthur,
“…Christ’s only explicit remarks about the destruction of the temple are those recorded in verse 2, as Jesus and the disciples were departing from the temple (v.1). In the Olivet Discourse itself He makes no clear reference to the events of A.D. 70. His entire reply is an extended answer to the more important question about the signs of His coming and the end of the age. Virtually ignoring their initial question, He said nothing whatsoever about when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur. That is because those events were not really germane to the end of the end of the age. They were merely a foretaste of the greater judgment that would accompany His return, previews of what is to come ultimately.”[44] Please observe that MacArthur is reading into the text statements like Jesus “ignores” their question and does not tell the disciples when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur because it wasn’t really that important!?! The only “mystery” here is how MacArthur can’t see that the OT prophets taught that when the Temple was destroyed and judgment rendered upon Jerusalem was the event that would mark and bear witness of “Christ’s victorious coming as Israel’s Messiah!” The “end” that the disciples are asking about in regards to the destruction of the Temple and the “end” that Jesus discusses throughout the discourse (hardly “ignoring” it!), is found in (Dan. 9:24-27; Dan. 12).
And per MacArthur, allegedly Jesus doesn’t answer their question as to when the destruction of the Temple and judgment upon Jerusalem would take place in the discourse, but wherever it is, it is only a “foretaste” and “previews” what is ultimately to come? It is this kind of eisegesis (reading something into the text that is not there) that has caused the OD to be so confusing for so many. We will explore MacArthur’s double type fulfillment theory more when we get to Luke 21:20-22.
In a multi-authored book designed to refute both Partial and Full Preterism produced by Dispensationalists Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice we read:
“The disciples’ question in Matthew 24:3 is divided into two parts. The first question relates to the destruction of the Temple, which took place in A.D. 70. The second question, composed of two parts but related to one another, refers to events that are still yet to come. The disciples apparently thought that all three elements – the destruction of the Temple, the sign of Christ’s coming, and the end of the age – would occur at the same time. Yet this is not what Jesus was saying.”[45] And referring to Pentecost and Stanley Toussaint as authorities they quote:
“J. Dwight Pentecost tells us: ‘The questions showed that they had arrived at certain conclusions… To these men Christ’s words concerning the destruction of
Jerusalem was the destruction predicted by Zechariah that would precede the advent of the Messiah. In Jewish eschatology two ages were recognized: the first was this present age, the age in which Israel was waiting for the coming of the Messiah; the second was the age to come, the age in which all of Israel’s covenants would be fulfilled and Israel would enter into her promised blessing as a result of Messiah’s coming.’[46] “Stanley Toussaint echoes this notion: ‘This sequence is so clearly in view that Luke records the question concerning the destruction of Jerusalem only (Luke 21:7). That is, the disciples took the destruction of Jerusalem to be completely eschatological. Therefore, Luke records this question only, as though Jerusalem’s destruction would mark the coming of the King to reign. Bruce is correct when he asserts, ‘The questioners took for granted that all three things went together: destruction of temple, advent of Son of Man, end of the current age“[47] Let’s stop here just for a minute to observe that Dispensationalism is admitting that within Jewish eschatology the first “this age” for them was that of the law and the prophets and the “age to come” was that ushered in by Messiah – the NC age promised to Israel in her Scriptures. This will be important in the next phase of our exegesis when we identify what exactly the “age” is the disciples are asking about! But at this point all that is needed to observe is that like MacArthur, no exegetical evidence is given for this naked assertion that the disciples were confused in linking all three of these events together.
Amillennialism
Amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger writes on the importance of understanding the disciples question as it pertains to a correct understanding of what follows,
“The questions put to Jesus by the disciples are the key to interpreting the passage correctly. For the disciples, the destruction of the temple would be such a momentous event that it must mean the end of the age was at hand.
This assumption is clear from the three questions they asked: When will this happen? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age? The way the questions were phrased, the last two questions are clearly linked, the assumption being that the Parousia or the coming of the Lord and the end of the age occur at the same time. Jesus answered their questions but in doing so made plain that the coming destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem, while connected to God’s judgment on Israel, was not the Parousia nor the end of the age. National Israel would be cut off and her people dispersed to the ends of the earth. But another judgment will occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ, signaling the end of the age. Therefore, Jesus spoke of two judgments: a judgment to come on Israel within a single generation (the events of A.D. 70) and a final judgment at the end of the age (after an indeterminate period of time). What makes the prophecy difficult to interpret is the determination of which events belong to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and which belong to the future.”[48] Riddlebarger is correct in that the key to understanding the OD is to understand the disciples question(s) and how Jesus answers it/them. But again because Kim assumes that the disciples were wrong in connecting the destruction of the Temple to Christ’s coming and the end of the age, this leads to the second error of inserting TWO judgments within the OD that are simply not there – thus making the “prophecy difficult” to interpret.
Partial Preterism
In Kenneth Gentry’s (Partial Preterist) debate with Dispensationalist Thomas Ice, he unfortunately makes the same mistake Ice does regarding the question of the disciples and there alleged confusion or “bewilderment” when he writes,
“In these questions we sense once again the bewilderment among the disciples at Jesus’ teaching—a bewilderment such as is seen elsewhere in Matthew, as in their confusion about the “leaven of the Pharisees” (16:6-12), Christ’s death (vv. 21-23), the purpose of the Transfiguration (17:4-5), Christ’s interest in children (19:13-15), and the nature of kingdom service (20:20-25). Quite clearly Christ divides their question into two episodes in His answer: (1) He speaks about the coming Great Tribulation resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 (24:4-34, which is in “this generation,” v. 34); and (2) His distant future second coming at the end of history (24:36-25:46, which is after a “long time,” 25:19).”[49] And joining hands in the fundamental error of Dispensationalist Thomas Ice Gentry writes that the disciples “were wrong” that he can then insert his two sections/two comings of Jesus theory into the discourse hoping no one will notice,
“As House and Ice admit: “It is probably true that the disciples thought of the three events (the destruction of the temple, the second coming, and the end of the age) as one event. But as was almost always the case, they were wrong.” Thus, Christ divided up the events for them. The coming “tribulation” (24:36; 24:34; cp. 1Thess. 2:16) and was to be foreshadowed by certain signs (Matt. 24:4-8). But the Second Advent was to be at “that” far day and hour, and was not to be preceded by particular signs of its nearness, for no man can know it (24:36).”[50] I will address Gentry’s division theory of the discourse at Matthew 24:35-36ff. when we get to those verses, but for now I only want to document his eisegesis of claiming the disciples “were wrong” or “bewildered” in connecting the Temple’s destruction with Christ’s Parousia and the end of the age. Before leaving Gentry’s interpretation here I want to address the examples he gives in Matthew’s gospel of the disciples being confused – which is at least an attempt at some kind of exegesis to support an alleged confusion here in the OD. But as we will see Gentry ends up “proving too much.”
The first text Gentry cites is where the disciples were confused over the “leaven of the Pharisees” (Matt. 16:6-12). Unfortunately for Gentry, the text clearly states that they didn’t understand and thought Jesus was talking about literal bread (v.7) and then Jesus rebukes and corrects them (vss. 8-11). From there Matthew tells us that they then understood (v.12) “then they understood.” So on the first “proof text,” it only proves the Full Preterist case in that when the disciples are confused about something Matthew or Jesus explicitly states it!
The second text Gentry cites is where the disciples are confused over Jesus’ teaching of His impending crucifixion (cf. Matt. 16:21-23). Again, the text clearly explains this confusion in the words of Peter trying to correct Jesus and then the following rebuke of Jesus to Peter in (vss. 22-23). Again, where there is confusion or error Matthew or Jesus clearly points it out.
The third text Gentry cites is concerning the disciples’ confusion over the transfiguration (cf. Matt.17:4-5). Again, the text states their error of seeking to pitch tents for Moses and Elijah in that the Father rebukes them (v. 5). The first part of the disciples confusion was in their seeking the abiding “let’s make tents” of the glory of the OC (symbolized through Moses = law & Elijah = the prophets) along with the everlasting NC (Jesus = NC) (cf. 2 Cor. 3 & 4; we will address Matt. 24:35 being the passing of the OC heaven and earth later). The second thing they were confused on was why Jesus didn’t want them to speak of the vision (vss. 9-10). After all wasn’t Elijah coming in the vision a fulfillment of prophecy they asked (v. 10)? Jesus corrects their understanding of this by pointing out that Elijah’s prophecy had already been fulfilled in John the Baptist (vss. 11-12). Then Matthew as a responsible narrator clearly tells his readers that then they “understood” (v.13). None of this explicit confusion and correction is taking place within Matthew 24:1-3ff.
The fourth text that Gentry gives to buttress his case that the disciples were “bewildered” is in the case of the disciples being rebuked by Jesus when they were seeking to correct those who were brining children to Him (cf. Matt. 19:13-15). Jesus rebuking them makes it clear in the text that the disciples were in error and then He instructs them on the kingdom using the children as an example. Again, the text is clear that an error in understanding is present in the passage.
The fifth example Gentry gives is that of the disciples’ understanding of being great in the kingdom (cf. Matt. 20:20-25). Once again Jesus clearly states, “You do not know what you are asking,” (v. 22). Then He proceeds to instruct them that there can be no crown in the kingdom without suffering first (vss. 22-23). Then He follows this with instruction on humility (vss. 24-27). Where is Jesus’ statement that the disciples “…do not know what they are asking about” in Matthew 24:1-3ff. if this is the norm that we should expect in the OD?
When we carefully examine the “proof texts” or examples Gentry gives us in Matthew’s gospel we are forced to a different conclusion than Gentry offers us for interpreting Matthew 24:1-3ff. Again, in each of these cases Matthew is a very responsible narrator or Jesus as the great teacher, explains when there is confusion on the part of the disciples and when there isn’t. When we come to the one question broken down in three parts of Matthew 24:3 there is no hint at all from Matthew or Jesus that the disciples were confused let alone Jesus “correcting them” or “ignoring” (per MacArthur). At this point Gentry is just as much of an irresponsible “exegete” as MacArthur and Ice are – having read into the text the disciples’ alleged confusion into the Olivet Discourse.
But on the topic of “bewilderment,” we need to press Gentry on these comments regarding the disciples question and Jesus’ answer on the end of the age in the OD,
“Christ’s teaching here is extremely important to redemptive history. He is responding to the question of His disciples regarding when the end of the “age” (Gk., aion) will occur (24:3). In essence, His full answer is: when the Romans lay waste the temple…”[51] And that,
“The change of the age is finalized and sealed at the destruction of Jerusalem; allusions to the A.D. 70 transition abound: “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1)”[52].
And therefore this “change of the age” judgment in the context of the gospels is to be found even earlier on in John the Baptist’s teaching,
“Matthew records John’s warning that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (3:10). Here John draws his imagery from God’s judgment against Assyria (Isa. 10:33-34): that sort of judgment soon will break upon Israel. Indeed, “his winnowing fork is in his hand” already (Matt. 3:12).”[53] Of course I will not dispute that “the full answer to the disciples question” concerning “the end of the age” in Matthew 24:3ff. is “when the Romans laid waste Jerusalem in AD 70” – this being contextually tied to the end of the OC age and destruction of the Temple in AD 70, not the NC age or end of world history. And I have no problem appealing to Christ’s coming in the judgments of Matthew 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1; Matthew 3:7-12; to support my interpretation that the “full answer to the disciples question on the end of the age” refers to “when the Romans laying waste Jerusalem in AD 70.”
Obviously, Gentry is speaking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to what the “end of the age” is here in Matthew 24:3ff. What is even further confusing in reading Gentry, is that he identifies “the end” connected to the Great Commission in (Matt. 24:14) with AD 70! Well, the only “the end” being discussed in the OD is the “end of the age” the disciples asked about in (Matt. 24:3)!
Another problem for Gentry that we will discuss more in-depth later on in Matthew 24:30-31 is that he now takes “the end” and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 as referring to AD 70.[54] Well, if “the end” and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled in AD 70, and Jesus explicitly refers to Daniel 12:2-3, concerning the end of his “this age” in Matthew 13:39-43, then the end of the age gathering/resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3/Matthew 13:39-43 was fulfilled in AD 70. If not why not Mr. Gentry? Yet Gentry’s problems and that of Partial Preterism won’t stop here. Partial Preterism is now conceding that the “end of the age” or “this age” gathering and resurrection in the parable of the wheat and tares in (Matthew 13:39-43) is the end of the OC age in AD 70 and not the end of world history. We will take a look at this shortly. But since this is the case, we need to take God’s Word for what it actually teaches when the disciples were asked directed if they understood Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” here in Matthew 13:39-51:
“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.” (Matt. 13:51).
But to make matters worse, Gentry also now concedes that Matthew 24–25 does not necessarily need to be divided and that all of Matthew 24 could be addressing one coming of Christ in AD 70:
“Orthodox preterists see no doctrinal problems arising if we apply all of Matthew 24 to A.D. 70. We generally do not do so because of certain exegetical markers in the text. But if these are not sufficient to distinguish the latter part of Matthew 24 from the earlier part, it would not matter.”[55] Really? I think I will call Gentry’s bluff here. If a Partial Preterist doesn’t divide the OD as Gentry arbitrarily does, then Progressive Partial Preterists such as one of Gentry’s co-authors Gary DeMar, have no problem teaching that the disciples were not confused and that the “end of the age” is the OC age. Here we begin to see Partial Preterism giving the farm away to Full Preterism. To this view we now turn our attention.
Progressive Partial Preterism
We now turn our attention to a much clearer and exegetically accurate teaching from Partial Preterist or Progressive Partial Preterists on the “end of the age” in the OD.
Progressive Partial Preterist Gary DeMar
On the disciples question in Matthew 24:3 DeMar correctly writes,
“The disciples question involves three interrelated, contemporary events: (1) the time of the temple’s destruction; (2) the sign that will signal Jesus’ coming related to the destruction of the temple; and (3) the sign they should look for telling them that “the end of the age” has come. These questions are related to the destruction of the temple and the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system and nothing else.”[56] There is no reading into the text that the disciples are “confused” in order fix a problem that isn’t in the text by slipping in a “futurist solution” or agenda in the OD – that we have seen the previous views do. This is refreshing exegesis to say the least. And now notice that DeMar does something that Dwight Pentecost could not do in affirming that the Jews of Jesus’ day understood the end of the age to be the OC age of the law and prophets and thus that is the “end of the age” the disciples and Jesus are discussing throughout the OD. DeMar explains his position on the “end of the age” and then uses a quote from George Hill, to support its historical relevance,
“Notice that the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (kosmos), as some Bible versions translate the Greek word aion. In context, with the temple and city as their primary focus, they asked about the end of the “age.” They were asking when time would run out for the temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the covenant promises that were related to the Mosaic system of animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings, and the priesthood.
Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the age of the law and the age of the Messiah. The conclusion of the one was the beginning of the other, the opening of that kingdom which the Jews believed the Messiah was to establish, which was to put an end to their sufferings, and to render them the greatest people upon the earth. The apostles full of this hope, said to our Lord, immediately before his ascension, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? [Acts 1:6]. Our Lord uses the phrase of his coming to denote his taking vengeance upon the Jews by destroying their city and sanctuary.17
The “end of the age” refers to the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system with its attendant sacrifices and rituals.”[57] Connecting this with the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds throughout Matthew 24-25 he writes,
“Jesus never indicates that He has a distant coming in mind. There is nothing in the Olivet Discourse that would give the reader the impression that a distant event [such as the end the planet earth or NC Christian age] is in view.”[58] In the 1994 version of DeMar’s Last Days Madness he wrote the following concerning the “end of the age” in the OD,
“The “woes” of Matthew 23 and the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem were a result of all that John the Baptist and Jesus had been warning the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests regarding the judgment that would come upon them if they did not repent. “All these things,” Jesus cautioned, “shall come upon this generation” (23:36). It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” – the temple – that the disciples ask about the “temple buildings” (24:1). Jesus answered the disciples’ questions relating to the time and signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, always with the background of Matthew 23 in view, since His comments in that chapter had precipitated the questions (24:3). The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of Jerusalem. This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation of the New Covenant.”[59] Although these statements from Progressive Partial Preterist Gary DeMar are more accurate and exegetical in communicating that there was no confusion on the disciples’ part in connecting the end of the OC age with the destruction of Jerusalem and Christ’s coming to bring judgment upon the age in which the Temple they were looking at existed, DeMar has some problems he needs to address from me and Full Preterism:
Since he has taken the position that the “end of the age” in the OD is the OC age, will he now admit that the “end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-43 is also the end of the OC age? As we will see shortly, Gary has published his ministry partner’s (Joel McDurmon’s) book on Luke whereby he develops that the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43 is referring to the end of the OC age. Does Gary agree with this? And one of Gary’s co-authors Peter Leithart places the fulfillment of the parable of the wheat and tares at the end of the OC age in Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” as well. Does Gary agree with him?
Since Gary and American Vision published James Jordan’s commentary on Daniel, and Jordan concedes that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2/Revelation 20 was fulfilled in AD 70 at which time Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abrahm’s Bosom or Hades at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 – does DeMar also agree with this position that he has published? If he agrees with his Partial Progressive Partial Preterists that he co-authors books with and publishes, then the questions we have asked of Gentry apply to him as well – since Jesus identifies the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to take place at the end of the OC “this age” in Matthew 13:39-43, did the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 take place in AD 70? If yes, then the “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 24:30-31 is also the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 being fulfilled in AD 70. If not, exegetically why not – is the challenge that DeMar and some of his other Progressive Partial Preterists have not answered let alone articulated in any way up to this point.
And if the “end of the OC age” gathering/resurrection depicted in Matthew 13:39-43/Matthew 24:30-31/Daniel 12:1-4, 7, 13 were fulfilled in AD 70 according to Jesus’ teaching, then why wouldn’t Jesus’ teaching on John 5:28-29 be fulfilled spiritually as well in AD 70 since Jesus is once again appealing to Daniel 12:2? Or…
Since DeMar takes the Greek word mello as “about to be” virtually everywhere in NT eschatological contexts as referring to AD 70, then why wouldn’t Paul’s eschatology be consistent with Jesus’ when he appeals to Daniel 12:2 concerning an “about to be” resurrection of the just and unjust in (Acts 24:15 YLT)?
And since DeMar believes John’s version of the OD is found in the book of Revelation and virtually every commentator and scholar agree that the resurrection and judgment of the dead at the end of the millennium in Revelation 20 is the resurrection of Daniel 12, and Gary agrees that the content of the book of Revelation would come to pass in an AD 70 “shortly” time period, will he now conceded that the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20 was also fulfilled in AD 70? If not, hermeneutically and logically why not?
These are just a few challenges I have given to DeMar and other Partial Preterists over the years and I haven’t heard much from them. Why? Because they don’t have consistent exegetical answers and they would have to admit that they are getting closer and closer to Full Preterism – that’s why.
There are other modern Progressive Partial Preterists that are worthy to quote and address in identifying the “end of the age” in Jesus’ teaching as the OC age in AD 70, and not the end of the NC Christian age or world history.
Progressive Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon
Joel McDurmon (Partial Preterist Gary North’s son-in-law, and Director of Research for Gary DeMar’s American Vision) writes:
It is clear that Jesus did not have in mind the end of the world, nor did He mean the final judgment. Rather, Matthew 13:2430, 36-43 describe the judgment that would come upon unbelieving Jerusalem. During this time, the angels would “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (13:41) and these would be judged with fire. Many of them literally were burned in fire during the destruction of Jerusalem. During this same time, however, the elect of Christ— “the children of the kingdom” (v. 38)—will be harvested. While the explanation of the parable does not tell us their final end, the parable itself has the householder instructing the harvesters to “gather the wheat into my barn.” In other words, they are protected and saved by God.
This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians. Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege. This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).[60] I should also note that McDurmon goes a bit further than his mentor DeMar, in that he develops Jesus’ teaching on “this age” as the OC age, and the “age to come” in Pauline eschatology to be one and the same as Jesus’.[61] We agree with this but let’s examine the quote above and address the issues related to Paul’s “end of the age” teachings as being the same as Jesus’.
Once again McDurmon (like the other Partial Preterists addressed thus far) fail to address with any consistency (in what they are writing and what the analogy of Scripture teaches us), that the “end of the age” “harvest” “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:30-31 is THE resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 that they are saying was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70!
Further, Jesus and the rest of the NT does not develop the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 to be fulfilled at two different time periods – 1. At the end of the OC age in AD 70 and 2. At the end of the NC or Christian age to end world history. In McDurmon’s oral debate with Don Preston McDurmon was forced to acknowledge that it is possible that there was an AD 70 resurrection depicted in 1 Corinthians 15 and at the end of the millennium in Revelation 20, and yet he still argued that there would be a further literal fulfillment of these texts as well. Amazing indeed! These statements are not only not exegetically accurate, but they are not creedal as well. The Reformed creeds only know of one “end of the age” judgment and resurrection of the dead not TWO. Not only are Partial Preterists very arbitrary in their exegesis, they are arbitrary in calling Full Preterists “heretics” per the Reformed creeds. Selah.
Progressive Partial Preterist N.T. Wright
Another popular Partial Preterist worth noting would be N.T. Wright. Wright commenting on the Jewish concept of Christ returning bodily on a literal cloud at the end of time to end world history as a foreign concept to the Jewish mind is profound – even challenging for Wright’s own futurism. His identifying the “end of the age” as the Jewish age is also relevant to our debate and discussion.
“…there was no reason, either in their own background or in a single thing that Jesus had said to them up to that point, for it even to occur to them that the true story of the world, or of Israel, or of Jesus himself, might include either the end of the space-time universe, or Jesus or anyone else floating down to earth on a cloud. They hand not yet even thought of his being taken from them, let alone that he might come back; nor did they have any idea of another figure, earthly, heavenly, or something in between, who would one day come on a literal cloud. Had Jesus wished to introduce so strange and unJewish an idea to them he would have had a very difficult task; as often find in the gospels, their minds were not exactly at their sharpest in picking up redefinitions even of ideas with which they were already somewhat familiar.
The disciples were, however, very interested in a story which ended with Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem to reign as king. They were looking for the fulfillment of Israel’s hopes, for the story told so often in Israel’s scriptures to reach its appointed climax. And the ‘close of the age’ for which they longed was not the end of the space-time order, but the end of the present evil age (ha’olam hazeh), and the introduction of the (still very much this-worldly) age to come (ha ‘olam haba’) – in other words, the end of Israel’s period of mourning and exile and the beginning of her freedom and vindication.” [62] “Matthew is not, in other words, out on a limb from Mark and Luke at this point. The question at the start of all three versions, seen from within the story the disciples have in their minds, must be read to mean: When will you come in your kingdom? When will the evil age, symbolized by the present Jerusalem regime, be over?”[63] And Wright does not agree with the traditional Partial Preterist division theory of two comings of Jesus throughout Matthew 24-25 either. In footnote 104 in this section of the disciples question(s) he writes,
“Nor does he divide his chapter into two halves (vv. 4-35, 36-51) on the basis of this double question, the dealing with Jerusalem and the second with the ‘second coming’ (against France 1985, 335).”
And again on the Jewish two age structure and the end of the age in Matthew 13:39; 24:3; Hebrews 9:26-28 being the end of the OC or Jewish age Wright comments,
“The final promise, that Jesus will be with his people ‘until the close of the age’ (hoes tes synteleias tou aionos), belongs closely within the ‘two-age’ structure of chronology which we have seen to be characteristic of mainstream Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism, and also of early Christianity, particularly Paul. The point here is that the ‘age to come’ has now been launched with Jesus’ resurrection, and that the risen Jesus represents and embodies this new age, and hence becomes the human bride between it and the present one. His promise to be ‘with you always’ is thus at the same time the fulfillment of the Emmanuel promise, and with it of YHWH’s promise to be with even a small group of worshippers as though they were actually in the Temple itself. It is also the sign that in him the eschaton has come to birth, so that his people are guaranteed safe passage through the present age and into the long-awaited age to come.” (Footnote 42 reads, “On ‘the close of the age’ in Mt., cf. 13:39f., 49; 24:3 (where it is linked with the fall of Jerusalem and the parousia of Jesus). See too Heb. 9:26; 1 En. 16.1; 4 Ezra 7.113.”[64] For the exegetical problems and implications for not seeing Matthew 24-25 as the Second Coming event and avoiding how Jesus and the rest of the NT develops the resurrection of Daniel 12 as taking place imminently or at the end of the OC Jewish age, see my challenges to DeMar and the other Progressive Partial Preterists.
Let’s now move from more modern day Progressive Partial Preterists to some older ones such as Milton Terry and J. Stuart Russell.
Progressive Partial Preterist Milton Terry
Terry was spot on when he wrote of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the OD and elsewhere in the NT,
“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.”[65] Interestingly enough, Hebrews 9:26-28 is where we get the term “Second Coming” from and if the end of the age here is the OC age, then Terry’s logic and the analogy of Scripture would place the coming of Christ both in the OD and Hebrews 9:26-28 to be in AD 70. And to this the book of Hebrews confirms to us in the next chapter when His coming would take place “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).
While Terry has some insightful comments here in identifying the “end of the age” to be the OC age in AD 70 (following most of J. Stuart Russell’s exegesis), his exegesis of the OD is faulty at times. For example he seems to argue and prefer the interpretation that the eschatological “gathering” in Matthew 24:30-31 is some kind of limited literal rapture connecting it to the “one being taken” in Matthew 24:40-41,
“The sending forth of the angels, and the gathering of the elect, described in Matt. 24:31, whatever its exact meaning, does not necessarily depict a scenic procedure visible to the human eyes. If understood literally, it may, nevertheless, be only verbal revelation of what took place in such a supernatural manner as that no man might behold it and remain alive. It is said in verses 40-41 that at the parousia “two men shall be in the field; one is taken and the one is left…” “In such a miraculous rapture of living saints (comp. 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52) the person left may not have been permitted to see the one taken.”[66] The strength of his position here is that he at least uses the analogy of Scripture hermeneutic and equates the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 with that of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15 as the same event taking place in AD 70. Men like Gentry, DeMar, McDurmon, Mathison, etc… simply won’t make these parallels as Terry has done and Reformed theology traditionally has.
I will give a rigorous exegesis of Matthew 24:30-31 later on in our study, but for now let me point out a few exegetical weaknesses or problems that Terry was not able to address or overcome here – at least in my estimation:
As with the previous Partial Preterists, the resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12:2-3 takes place at the end of the OC age per Matthew 13:39-43. Therefore, if Terry is going to hermenutically argue for a “literal” “rapture” of all the living Christians at that time, then he must also argue consistently that a literal resurrection from the literal “dust” took place in AD 70 as well (cf. Dan. 12:2). Some Partial Preterists have actually tried to take this position! This to me makes no exegetical sense let alone is simply not historically accurate. We know that the Apostle John lived well beyond AD 70 into the time of Domitian’s reign in the AD 90’s. We also know historically that the living Christians fled Jerusalem to Pella (not literally “raptured”). And are we really to believe that history would not see physically the literal rapture of thousands of Christians let alone the empty tombs of the righteous and wicked per Daniel 12:2?!?
Not to mention if Paul had been teaching a literal “gathering” or “catching away” in the Thessalonian Epistles, he surely would have argued differently to refute those that were teaching that Christ had “already come” prior to end the OC age in AD 70. Surely Paul would have said something like, “Uh, hey guys remember Jesus and I taught you that this was going to be literal taking of you off of planet earth in a secret “rapture” and since you are all still here…., well, hello?!?” Or in refuting those that had believed the resurrection had “already” taken place in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 before the close of the OC age in AD 70. Again, if Paul had been teaching this literal rapture or literal resurrection of rotting corpses from the graveyards, we would expect to hear something along the lines of, “Uh, remember that Jesus and I have been teaching you that the resurrection is a literal biological event and so have you seen any evidence of this, hello?!?” So the implication is that Paul was developing a spiritual rapture or using apocalyptic language. Had Terry been consistent in his use of symbolic apocalyptic langue that he used up to this point in interpreting the OD, and had he been consistent with noting this would be the time of fulfilling the kingdom promise of it not being a literally seen or experience (ie. Luke 17:20-21) (447), he would have come to the conclusion that this was a “gathering” in the kingdom that was a “within” the person event and not a literal secret “rapture” one. I will be arguing for this position later on.
Progressive Partial Preterist J. Stuart Russell
I consider Russell a “Progressive Partial Preterist” for two reasons: 1. Like Russell, he erred on the spiritual nature of fulfillment when it came to Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on being “gathered” or “caught up” in the clouds of God’s Kingdom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70. And 2. He erred on the millennium believing it has yet to be fulfilled which is not Full Preterism and has a lot of exegetical errors of its own. But for the sake of our purposes at this point in examining the disciples’ question(s) and Jesus’ answer, Russell’s response is one of the boldest and clearest I can think of when he writes,
“It is not easy for the ordinary reader to follow the ingenious critic through his convoluted scheme; but it is plain that the disciples must have been hopelessly bewildered amidst a rush of crises and catastrophes from the fall of Jerusalem to the end of the world. Perhaps we shall be told, however, that it does not signify whether the disciples understood our Lord’s answer or not: it was not to them that He was speaking; it was to future ages, to generations yet unborn, who were destined, however, to find the interpretation of the prophecy as embarrassing to them as it was to the original bearers. There are no words too strong to repudiate such a suggestion. The disciples came to their Master with a plain, straightforward inquiry, and it is incredible that He would mock them with an unintelligible riddle for a reply. It is to be presumed that the Saviour meant His disciples to understand His words, and it is to be presumed that they did understand them.
3. The interpretation which we are considering appears to be founded upon a misapprehension of the question put to our Lord by the disciples, as well as of His answer to their question.
It is generally assumed that the disciples came to our Lord with three different questions, relating to different events separated from each other by a long interval of time; that the first inquiry, ‘When shall these things be?’—had reference to the approaching destruction of the temple; that the second and third question—, ‘ What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?’—referred to events long posterior to the destruction of Jerusalem, and, in fact, not yet accomplished. It is supposed that our Lord’s reply conforms itself to this threefold inquiry, and that this gives the shape to His whole discourse. Now, let it be considered how utterly improbable it is that the disciples should have had any such scheme of the future mapped out in their minds. We know that they had just been shocked and stunned by their Master’s prediction of the total destruction of the glorious house of God on which they had so recently been gazing with admiration. They had not yet had time to recover from their surprise, when they came to Jesus with the inquiry, ‘When shall these things be?’ etc. Is it not reasonable to suppose that one thought possessed them at that moment—the portentous calamity awaiting the magnificent structure, the glory and beauty of Israel? Was that a time when their minds would be occupied with a distant future? Must not their whole soul have been concentrated on the fate of the temple? And must they not have been eager to know what tokens would be given of the approach of the catastrophe? Whether they connected in their imagination the destruction of the temple with the dissolution of the creation, and the close of human history, it is impossible to say; but we may safely conclude, that the uppermost thought in their mind was the announcement which the Lord had just made, ‘Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down.’ They must have gathered from the Saviour’s language that this catastrophe was imminent; and their anxiety was to know the time and the tokens of its arrival. St. Mark and St. Luke make the question of the disciples refer to one event and one time—‘When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?’ It is not only presumable, therefore, but indubitable, that the questions of the disciples only refer to different aspects of the same great event. This harmonizes the statements of St. Matthew with those of the other Evangelists, and is plainly required by the circumstances of the case.”[67] And I particularly like Russell’s comments above that this interpretation of the disciples’ question “harmonizes” and or is “contemporaneous” with the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke. He elaborates further on this,
“The only point that requires elucidation here refers to the extent of their interrogatory. St. Mark and St. Luke represent it as having reference to the time of the predicted catastrophe and the sign of its fulfillment coming to pass. St. Matthew varies the form of the question, but evidently gives the same sense, — ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?’ Here again it is the time and the sign which form the subject of the inquiry. There is no reason whatever to suppose that they regarded in their own minds the destruction of the of the temple, the coming of the Lord, and the end of the age, as three distinct or widely separated events; but, on the contrary, it is most natural to suppose that they regarded them as coincident and contemporaneous.”[68] “…we do know that they had been accustomed to hear their Master speak of His coming again in His kingdom, coming in His glory, and that within the lifetime of some among themselves. They had also heard Him speak of the ‘end of the age;’ and they evidently connected His ‘coming’ with the end of the age. The three points embraced in the form of their question, as given by St. Matthew, were therefore in their view contemporaneous; and thus we find no practical difference in the terms of the question of the disciples as recorded by the three Synoptics.”[69] That is about as well put as it gets!
Full Preterism
Harmonizing Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s versions on the disciples’ question
On the issue as to why Matthew adds the question related to “the end of the age” and Mark and Luke do not – it may be interesting to note that “end of the age” in the Greek, (syntéleia toú aiṓnos) is an expression found only in the gospel of Matthew. I remember asking a Partial Preterist (Greg Bahnsen), many years ago, “Where do you see any justification in Matthew 24 for the teaching that when the Son of Man will come upon the clouds of heaven is is for the purpose of ending world history – when you teach that His coming in Matt. 24:27, 30 was to end the Jewish age in AD 70?” His answer was, “The disciple’s question in Matthew 24:3 on the end of the age – this referring to the end of world history.” My reply was, “If this is the case, then why would Mark and Luke not address such an important topic at the very outset of the OD?” Bahnsen brought up that within Matthew, Mark and Luke differences are seen in various aspects to Jesus’ such as Jesus adding the phrase “except for sexual immorality” in Matthew while Mark and Luke do not.” But this only begged the same question on a different topic, “Okay, then if there are grounds for divorce (and obviously that’s an important aspect to answering the disciples questions and or the Pharisees challenge on this topic), then why would Mark and Luke neglect to point this out to their audiences — who didn’t have the advantage that we do in reading Matthew along with Mark and Luke?” I thought it was providential that Bahnsen would bring this up an example, because I had just finished reading James Montgomery Boice on on this subject and others taking the “betrothal view” of the exceptive clause in Matthew 5 and 19 – thus harmonizing the synoptics gospel’s teaching on Jesus’ teaching here very well.
To be brief and to summarize this view – in Jewish law the first part of the marriage contract was conducted through betrothal. The two were considered “husband and wife” during this period even before their sexual consummation. A betrothed husband could write his “wife” a certificate of “divorce” if she committed “fornication”/pornia (not “adultery”) during this time period. This is why Matthew mentions this in the case of Joseph and Marry and Mark and Luke do not (cf. Matthew 1:19). Since this aspect of “divorce” within the betrothal period (first part of the marriage contract) within Jewish law was only applicable for Matthew’s Jewish audience, Matthew records the exceptive clause, while Mark and Luke do not (containing a Gentile audience or directed mostly to them). Also, in Jewish law a woman could not divorce her husband and this is why Matthew does not mention this while Mark does in their parallel accounts of the Pharisees challenge (Mark 10:12 / Matthew 19:9). Again – since the exceptive clause is brought up to a Jewish audience regarding the first aspect of a Jewish marriage (betrothal) Matthew addresses it, and since Jesus’ teaching here is not applicable to Mark and Luke’s Gentile readers it is omitted by them. Therefore, in essence the three harmonize well in that Jesus’ teaching on divorce agree – “what God has joined together let no man separate.”
So it is often times the different audiences being addressed in the synoptic gospels that dictate why something is left out or added that needs to be considered. Since the “end of the age” was a more familiar concept within Jewish eschatology, Matthew places it within his account while Mark and Luke do not. Since the “end of the age” is the OC Jewish age attended with Christ’s coming, we don’t lose any pertinent information in Mark and Luke’s accounts – AD 70 is still the subject in all three. Also worthy of note, is that within Matthew’s gospel there are more parables given, since the main purpose of the parables was probably to demonstrate that Israel was still in an exile condition (Matt. 13:10-17/Isa. 6:9-10). Therefore, this explains why Matthew’s version of the OD includes additional parables and OT eschatological echos that are not found in Mark and Luke’s versions (cf. Matt. 25).
Also an interesting point is that syntéleia toú aiṓnos and tṓn aiṓnōn, are only used six times in the NT – five in Matthew’s gospel and once in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:26) which again, is written to a highly Jewish audience (and the LXX of Dan. 12:4 being undoubtedly the source for both).
Here are some key hermeneutical steps the futurist willfully skips over from the very outset in interpreting the OD:
The Jews of Jesus’ day understood the phrase “end of the age” or end of “this age” to be the Old Covenant (OC) age of Moses and the prophets and the “age to come” to be the New Covenant (NC) or Messianic age. Therefore, applying a “historic hermeneutic” here, the “end of the age” or of “this age” (Matthew 13:39-43) in which they were currently living is referring to the end of the OC age at which time the NC or Messianic age of the Church would follow and reach maturity. As we have seen even Dispensationalists like Dwight Pentecost see this and yet dismiss it as nothing. Apparently they want Full Preterists and Reformed Covenant Theology/Eschatology to embrace their literal and unbelieving expectations the first century Jews had of a literal kingdom on earth, and yet they don’t want to embrace Jewish teachings of the same time period that identified “this age” as the OC law and the “age to come,” to be the NC or Messianic age. Nor would they want to accept the Jewish beliefs that would give credence to a 40 years transitional millennial reign of Christ between the OC age and the NC age – which fit perfectly within the imminent time constraints of the book of Revelation and is the Full Preterist view.
The hermeneutical immediate contextual argument fits the Full Preterist view as well – since the topic is the destruction of the Temple in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” of Matthew 23:36-38 and Matthew 24:1-2, the destruction of the Temple is the epitome to the end of the OC age, and not the end of world history.
When it comes to the disciples understanding on the time frame of these three events, they in fact did have the OT prophets as a guide as well. In the book of Daniel the consummation of the major eschatological events can be found in chapters 7, 9 and 12. Since many scholars correctly connect Daniel’s eschatological “time of the end” (not “end of time” – a futurist assumption) to Jesus’ teaching on the end of the age in Matthew 13, 24 and 28, the end of world history is not the subject. Another problem for futurist eschatologies is that Daniel’s “time of the end” eschatological events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of man and the arrival of the kingdom, all take place when the city and temple would be destroyed – stating clearly that “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together (see the consummation scenes in Dan. 12:1-7; Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; Dan. 9:24-27).
Another “immediate context” and “OT echo context” argument can be seen in Jesus’ previously teaching the disciples that all the blood from righteous Abel (from Genesis up to those He would send to them) would be avenged when the temple was destroyed in their “this generation” (Matthew 23:30-36, 38). Isaiah in his “little apocalypse” (Isiah 24-28) posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet, the resurrection, etc…) to take place together when the temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9).
In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught that the judgment and resurrection (“the time of the end” eschatological events) would take place at the end of their OC “this age.” Jesus specifically asks them if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes” (vs. 51). It doesn’t get any clearer than this! Why go beyond what is written when it comes to the disciples understanding of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age”?!? If they said they understood they understood, and surely Jesus doesn’t say anything to the affect, “Oh, but I know you don’t etc…”
Jesus had previously taught that He would return in some of their lifetimes (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1). So it would only be natural for them to equate His coming, with the destruction of the Temple, as being the end of their OC “this age.” No mysteries or “difficulties” here folks – only for the futurist.
Some such as Kenneth Gentry have pointed out that the disciples were confused on other issues in the gospel of Matthew and then use this to assert that this justifies importing their alleged confusion here in the OD. But again, this is a classic case of “proving too much.” Why? Because when the disciples are confused or wrong about something Matthew’s gospel clearly teaches us that this indeed is the case (ex. Matt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25). As in these other cases where it is clearly pointed out by Matthew (as a responsible narrator) or Jesus as the great teacher – that there is any inclination that the disciples are confused and a correction ensues. We just don’t have Matthew or Jesus giving such a scenario here in the OD. Therefore, there is no need to perform eisegesis – and read something into the text that isn’t there in order for futurist biases to be imported throughout the OD. Selah.
A Progressive Partial Preterist and Full Preterist understanding of the “end of the age” or “the end” being the OC age throughout the OD, harmonizes with the disciples question in the parallel accounts in Mark 13 and Luke 21.
The Partial Preterist and Progressive Partial Preterist cannot articulate the exegetical fact that Jesus’ teaching on “the end of the [OC] age” harvest “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:30-31 is Christ coming on the clouds ushering in the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 7, 13 – which some of them oddly see as being fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Gentry and Jordan). This is why Partial Preterists are afraid of dealing with the resurrection of the dead when it comes to NT imminence. It eventually leads to problems in their adherence to the Reformed creeds and confessions. Amillennialists see that these passages are in fact dealing with the resurrection of the dead, but will not bow before the exegetical evidence of God’s Word that this takes place at the end of the OC age and not the end of world history. And they too cannot deal with the NT imminence when it comes to Christ’s ONE parousia, the end of the age, and the judgment and resurrection of the dead. NT imminence concerning these eschatological events follow’s Jesus’ teaching in the OD that “all these things” (not “some of these things”) would be fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation.”
Part 2 – The end of the age signs – general and specific all fulfilled by AD 70
General signs
Before giving a brief exegesis of the general signs Jesus gives in Matthew 24:4-13, we should address what the various futurist views are teaching concerning them.
Premillennial Dispensationalism
Before there was Tim LaHaye and the Left Behind series (and now movie) making millions, there was Hal Lindsey and The Late Great Planet Earth making millions. Lindsey was the first Dispensationalist who really popularized sensationalistic date setting using the “signs” (Israel becoming a nation in 1948 being the main one) and Jesus’ teaching on “this generation” in Matthew 24 as a guide to catapult an imminent rapture and or return of Christ in our generation. In his famous book, The Late Great Planet Earth Lindsey wrote,
“Jesus said that this would indicate that He was ‘at the door,’ ready to return. Then He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place’ (Matthew 24:34). What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs-chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like forty years. If this is a correct deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives believe that this is so.”[70] “WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ”[71] This view was then fueled from the pulpits of such mega church Pastors as Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel (this was my home church and I am a graduate of Calvary Chapel Bible College 1989):
“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[72] In his book Future Survival (1978) Smith wrote,
“From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[73] Calvary Chapel proudly painted on the back of its bookstore (of which I would work) for all traffic to see, “Jesus is coming soon. God keeps His promises.” For Smith and Lindsey, Christ’s announcement that He is coming “soon” only “truly” meant Jesus was literally coming “soon” for our generation. Apparently when the inspired NT authors wrote within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period, “soon” can’t be interpreted literally – only when the Dispensational “Holy Spirit” led “prophecy experts” use the term it means what it says!
Lindsey began by admitting that a generation “was something like forty years.” Since 40 years have long passed, instead of throwing in the towel on his theory and repenting, Lindsey now claims a generation could be 40 – 100 years and therefore we should still be waiting for his interpretation to pan out.[74] If this doesn’t sound new, it’s because it isn’t. The “expanding” of “this generation’ is exactly what the last day’s cults of Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses have done when their false predictions concerning “this generation” don’t come true![75] Sign #1 – False Christ’s & deception
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:4-5)
“At that time many will turn away from the faith…” (Matt. 24:10)
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:11)
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24)
Dave Hunt has been another popular Dispensationalist teacher over the years who has followed Lindsey’s prophetic scheme. Hunt after appealing to the passages above and then stringing together some further NT passages concludes this “Major Sign is Here Today.”[76] This involves the teachings and influence of the Roman Catholic Church, with any ministry expressing unity or ecumencalism with the RCC such Billy Graham etc…, emphasis in the “signs and wonders” movement from John Wimber and Peter Wagner, the “name it and claim it” Faith movement, Robert Schuller and his Self-Love doctrine/movement, and on and on he goes.
Sign #2 – Wars and Rumors of Wars
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matt. 24:6)

[1] Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A. (2007). Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (pp. 12–13). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos.
[2] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, pp. 49–50). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[3] Adam Clark, Commentary on the Bible [1831] [4] G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Acaddemic, 2011), 412
[5] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[6] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[7] R.C. Sproul, THE LAST DAYS ACCORDING TO JESUS, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 23.
[8] Kenneth Genry, Thomas Ice, The Great Tribulation Past or Future?, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999), 18, bold emphasis MJS.
[9] Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, THIRD EDITION: REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 175. Bold emphasis MJS
[10] John Gill, John Gill’s Espositor, Online Bible Software, Version 2.10.06, 2007 Bible Foundation. www.onlinebible.us, emphasis added
[11] Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (pp. 62–63). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
[12] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Acts-1 Corinthians (Vol. 4, p. 30). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[13] Clark, Ibid.
[14] Clark, Ibid.
[15] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2068). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[16] Henry, Ibid., 2068
[17] Kenneth L. Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION: REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 342-343
[18] Charles Ryre, RYRE Study Bible, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1986, 1994,), 1420.
[19] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty NEW TESTAMENT edition, (Colorado Springs, CO, 1983, 2004), 24, emphasis mine
[20] John McArthur, The MACARTHUR Study Bible, (Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1997), 1396, 1518
[21] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Ibid., 25, bold emphasis mine.
[22] MacArthur, Ibid., 1397
[23] Ibid.
[24] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Ibid., 25
[25] William Hendriksen, & S.J. Kistemaker, NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY The Gospel of Matthew, (Grand Rapids: MI, Baker Book House, 1953 – 2001), 197
[26] Ibid., 198-199.
[27] Ibid., 204.
[28] Ibid., 205-206.
[29] Ibid., 208-209.
[30] Simon Kistemaker, The Parables of Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1980), 148.
[31] Ibid., 210.
[32] Ibid., 210-211.
[33] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, pp. 49–50). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[34] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[35] Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, THIRD EDITION: REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 175.
[36] R.C. Sproul, THE LAST DAYS ACCORDING TO JESUS, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 23.
[37] Gentry, Ibid., 175.
[38] J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia A Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1887 – 1909), 15-16
[39] Ibid., 14-15.
[40] Ibid., 23-24.
[41] Carson, D. A. (1984). Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (489). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
[42] Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for AMILLENNIALISM UNDERSTANDING THE END TIMES, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 2003; and Leicester LE1 7GP: England, Inter-Varsity Press, 2007), 157.
[43] MacArthur, John, The Second Coming Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books A Division of Good News Publishers, 1999), 77.
[44] Ibid., 80.
[45] Tim LaHaye & Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 155, emphasis MJS.
[46] Ibid., 155-156
[47] Ibid., 156
[48] Riddlebarger, Ibid., 163.
[49] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry Jr., The Great Tribulation Past or Future? (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999), 26, emphasis MJS.
[50] Greg Bahnsen, and Kenneth Gentry Jr., House Divided The Break-up of Dispensational Theology, (Tyler: TX: ICE Publishers 1989), 267, emphasis MJS
[51] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, ibid., 58, emphasis MJS
[52] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, ibid., 63 emphasis MJS
[53] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, ibid., 18
[54] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. He Shall Have Dominion (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009, Third Edition), 538-540.
[55] Ibid., 540.
[56] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68.
[57] Ibid., 68
[58] Ibid., 68
[59] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1994), 41, (bold and underline emphasis MJS).
[60] Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51.
[61] Ibid., 46-47.
[62] N.T. Wright, JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF GOD, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345-346
[63] Ibid., 346.
[64] N.T. Wright, N.T. THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645
[65] Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.
[66] Ibid., 447-448.
[67] James Stuart Russel, The Parousia The New Testament Doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1887 and reprinted again in 1990), 57 – 59. Also being used is the Online Bible’s software where Russell’s book is available electronically.
[68] Ibid., 67
[69] Ibid., 67
[70] Lindsey, Late., p. 54.
[71] Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, (New York: Bantam, 1980), 144 and back-cover.
[72] Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35.
[73] Francis X. Gumerlock, the Day and the Hour Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 2000), 290.
[74] Hal Lindsey, Planet Earth – 2000 A.D., (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front, Ltd. 1994), 3.
[75] Michael J. Sullivan, THE FAILED ESCHATLOGICAL JESUS OF THE LIBERALS, MORMONS,
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AND THE DATE-SETTING “HOLY SPIRIT LED” EVANGELICALS, http://www.treeoflifeministries.info/index.php?view=article&catid=35%3Apreterist-eschatology-all-prophecy-fulfilled-by-ad-70&id=118%3Amike-sullivan-&option=com_content&Itemid=75
[76] J. Dave Hunt, Flashes of Falling Away, https://www.raptureready.com/terry/james17.html

MY TESTIMONY ON HOW I BECAME A FULL PRETERIST – MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN

Here is the short version:  The Lord providentially guided me and opened my eyes to Full Preterism by allowing me to first experience the frustration, confusion and errors of Dispensationalism and then later seeing that a synthesis between the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view seemed more exegetical and Biblical (ie. Full Preterism – which for a brief season I didn’t know even existed).
Now the slightly longer and more detailed version.
Dispensationalism
As an aspiring young man seeking the ministry shortly after my conversion to Christ, I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College (CCBC – affiliated with Pastor Chuck Smith) and graduated in the late 80’s.  There I was indoctrinated in the confusing Dispensational system with all of its two programs and comings (for the Church & Israel) – 1. a secret “rapture” coming for the Church and 2. The second coming designed to establish an earthly 1000 years millennium for Israel  separated by two resurrection etc… .  And who can forget all of those very confusing colorful charts as well, trying to make sense of it all along with 3.  this alleged “gap theory” between Daniel’s 69th “week/seven” and the 70th etc… .  What a mess!
After I graduated CCBC, I went back to my home Church – Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and I began getting involved in the Jr. H.S. and H.S. programs.  I remember one New Year’s Eve – Pastor Chuck Smith was giving one of his famous “Prophecy Updates.”  His approach just didn’t sit well with me after being trained in hermeneutics and expository preaching – he simply read select passages out of Matthew 24 and assumed that everything that was happening at that time in the Middle East (and other current events “signs”) were for our generation and that he was “convinced” that the “Lord was coming soon to rapture” the Church.
Classic Amillennialism
After a brief stay at my home church I decided to further my theological training and attended another Dispensational Bible College – The Master’s College (affiliated with Pastor John MacArthur).  It was there that I was doing a report on “the kingdom of God” and had read several books – but this time a great deal of Amillennial or Covenant Theology material mixed in with Dispensational sources.  I quickly was converted to Amillennialism in that I saw no Biblical support for these Dispensational doctrinal distinctions such as:
1. Jesus allegedly offered a literal earthly kingdom to Israel.
2.  This kingdom allegedly got “postponed.”
3.  There wasn’t this major distinction between the Church and Israel – in particularly noticing that the Apostles hermeneutic in interpreting the OT was vastly different than Dispensationalism’s – applying OT promises to the Church (the very thing Dispensationalism said couldn’t be done etc…).
4.  The Amillennial hermeneutic and its use of the analogy of Scripture was so much simpler and better in that there was only ONE coming of Christ, attended with one judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of the age.  I thought all of my eschatological wows had ended!  But…
Partial Preterism
On a spring break from The Master’s College I met a former student in Post Falls ID, that was Reformed.  We had so much to talk about and he gave me one of his Pastor’s articles that he had written for a local News Paper.  The article was on how Dispensationalism was false teaching and he simply went through Matthew 24 demonstrating how all of the signs were fulfilled by AD 70 and that exegetically “this generation” was the AD 30 – AD 70 one.  He briefly touched upon NT imminence as well I believe.  Well, this just seemed so “exegetical” and simple too!  I began getting a hold of every Partial Preterist book I could – David Chilton, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Marcellus Kik, Greg Bahnsen, etc….
It wasn’t too long that the uneasiness I felt about Dispensationalism began coming back.  The “double vision” hermeneutics and confusion that I had left behind in Dispensational came back this time “seven fold” in the form of:  1. two comings of Christ – one in AD 70 to end Israel’s eschaton and the second (third?) coming to end history and end the Churches eschaton.  2.  Two Great Commissions to bring an end to… 3. Two end of the age(s) to… 4. judge the dead (one spiritual in AD 70 and an alleged literal one at the end of world history)… that would 5. Usher in two New Heavens and Earth(s) (one spiritual in AD 70 and an alleged physical one at the end of world history) etc….
Another source of uneasiness was that in all of the Partial Preterist material I had (to that date) gave a lot of exegesis of Matthew 24:1-34, but really none beyond verses 35-36 which were practically assumed to be referring to another coming of Jesus thousands of years removed from the one in the previous verses.  These two issues brought much uneasiness.
I remember giving a “persuasive speech” in my speech class and it was designed to convince the class (virtually all Dispensationalists) that the Great Tribulation is past, all the signs were fulfilled by AD 70, and that “a” parousia/coming of Christ took place at that time as well.  I thought it went well until the Q & A session kicked in.  Virtually every question or comment came out, “Aren’t you saying that the second coming took place then too if these other events were fulfilled in AD 70”?  I of course had to remind them that there were two comings in the NT which was followed by comments such as, “Yeah, but that doesn’t make much sense etc…”  I was thinking to myself that this two coming theory didn’t make much sense to me either – but I couldn’t let them know that!
Synthesis of Classic Amillennialism & Partial Preterism
I remember doing a study on Christ coming as a thief in my dorm room at The Master’s College and looking at the various conflicting views on this subject and the NT texts which developed it.  It was in that study I stumbled upon David Chilton’s comments that he took the coming of Christ as a thief in Matthew 24:43 as being fulfilled in AD 70:
“This interpretation [on the New Heavens and Earth of Rev. 21 and 2 Peter 3 arriving in AD 70] is confirmed by St. Peter’s further information:  In this imminent “Day of the Lord” which is about to come upon the first-century world “like a thief” (cf. Matt. 24:42-43; 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 3:3), “the elements will be destroyed with intense heat” (v. 10; cf. v. 12).”  (David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, p. 542, emphasis mine).
I thought to myself, “finally, someone that actually goes beyond verse 34 in Matthew 24, and sees what I’m seeing!”  When it was confirmed to me that there was only ONE coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25, it became clear that the rest of the NT follows that pattern and that the ONE Second Coming event was fulfilled in AD 70.  First let me provide you with a chart that gives you a visual of what I was looking at when it came to the conflicted nature of the Church on Christ coming as a thief, then I will provide another chart that shows once Matthew 24-25 is not divided, the rest of Pauline eschatology follows suit.

Christ comes “as a thief”
Passage
Partial Preterism
D. Chilton
Partial Preterism
K. Gentry
Pre-Trib. Rapture
J. MacArthur
Amill & Hist. Premill.
Matt. 24:43 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future  Rapture Future Second Coming
2 Peter 3:10 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future
Second Coming
Future  Second Coming
1 Thess. 5:2, 4 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future  Rapture Future  Second Coming
Rev. 3:3 AD 70 AD 70 Future  Rapture Future  Second Coming
Rev. 16:15 AD 70 AD 70 Future
Second Coming
Future  Second Coming

This is what was going through my mind at this point:
Premise #1If it is true that the coming of Christ as a thief is both the Second Coming and Rapture event (Matt. 24=1 Thess. 4-5=2 Pet. 3=Rev. 3; 16),…
Premise #2 – …and if it is also true that Christ coming as a thief was imminently and spiritually fulfilled in AD 70,…
Conclusion – …then it necessarily follows that when Christ came as a thief spiritually in AD 70, that is when the Second Coming and Rapture event was fulfilled.
I said to myself, “Really, is this someone [David Chilton] who sees what I’m seeing?  There isn’t this “two sections” or “two comings” of Jesus in Matthew 24?!?”  Well, providentially I was coming up on another break from college and my roommate invited me to stay at his house (in Sacramento, CA) so I tagged along with him.  I noticed that David Chilton didn’t live far away from this area and so I set up a lunch appointment with him.  When we met, I almost immediately brought up what he had written and asked, “If you take Christ coming as a thief in Matthew 24 to be AD 70, then you don’t divide Matthew 24 into two sections or comings – do you?  And if you don’t, perhaps you are seeing what I am, in that there is only one second coming of Jesus mentioned in the NT and it happened in AD 70?”  His response was priceless – he simply smiled at me and said, “Mike, there is a book you need to read by James Stuart Russell, The Parousia.  From there he invited me over to his house for a while and he just wanted to have small talk.
It was dawning on me- “What if the Amillennial view is correct in that there is only one second coming being discussed throughout Matthew 24-25 and the Partial Preterist view is correct that the Son of Man coming on the clouds and or “the parousia” happened in AD 70 (ie. that the second coming of Jesus happened in AD 70 and has already been fulfilled)?  This was followed with me doing my own study comparing Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and charting out the parallels and noting that these were one and the same coming of Christ!  It became very obvious to me that the Amillennial view which taught Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4-5 was accurate (ie. a correct use of the Analogy of Scripture hermeneutic), while at the same time the Partial Preterist view was accurate in that the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds – at the sound of a trumpet, happened within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (ie. an exegetical approach to the use of apocalyptic language and NT imminence).  The following chart expresses what was going through my mind at this point.
If A (Matt. 24) was fulfilled in AD 70 and yet is = to B (1 Thess. 4-5) and B (1 Thess. 4) is = to C (1 Cor. 15) then A (Matt. 24) is = to C (1 Cor. 15). And therefore, both B (1 Thess. 4) and C (1 Cor. 15) were also fulfilled in AD 70 just as A (Matt. 24) was.  Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other:

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

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

Matthew 24                     1 Thessalonians 4          1 Corinthians 15 

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

I would latter write David Chilton a private letter expressing that his smile made me feel uncomfortable in that it communicated to me that he knew what the truth was but he was sitting on it or compromising it.  He wrote me a scathing letter back expressing how my view would never amount to anything except to be a footnote in one of his books.  This letter was responded to by my second, in which I told him I would be praying that the Lord would discipline Him for compromising and suppressing the truth and for his pride.  Within a year or two, I had moved to Sacramento, CA (having dropped out of Master’s College – no need to go in debt for a theological education that was bogus) and was living two blocks from the hospital David Chilton ended up staying in (after his heart attack).  I took the church I was attending (a small Sovereign Grace Full Preterist Church) and our worship team and visited David in the hospital where we sang worship songs (I didn’t mention our correspondence).  We would later have lunch again, and David apparently did remember our correspondence and apologized to me for his letter and did say that he knew that the second coming happened in AD 70.  From there he contacted other Full Preterists such as Don Preston and would be more vocal about his convictions.
Then I would begin writing Gary DeMar and realized that he too did not believe Matthew 24 could be divided into two comings of Christ.  He assured me he would be addressing this issue in his next edition of Last Days Madness, which he did.
Let’s first get a bird’s-eye view of where everyone is on 1 and 2 Thessalonians and then I will address Gary’s problems:

Passages Full Preterism Partial Preterism Milton Terry Partial Preterist Gary DeMar Partial Preterist Keith Mathison Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry Amill. &
Hist. Premill. 
 
1 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future
1 Thess. 3 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 4 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future Future
1 Thess. 5 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future

But here are the problems with Gary’s current position which he has held to for way too long without progressing or “continuing in doctrine.”
Gary DeMar believes 1 Thessalonians 5 was fulfilled in AD 70.  One of the reasons he does so is because Paul uses the same phrases Jesus uses concerning the coming “birth pains” and Christ coming as a “thief” in Matthew 24.  Look at numbers 7 and 9 below:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 5 – Fulfilled in AD 70
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 9.  Birth pains (5:3 – fulfilled in future?)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

But why wouldn’t DeMar address the remaining 6 parallels or phrases Paul is getting from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 and import them into 1 Thessalonians 5? Because to do so, would bring to much attention to this parallel hermeneutic and have people asking and demanding why he doesn’t follow this same approach in paralleling Matthew 24:30-31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (see #’s 1-5 in chart)?!?
This begs another question for DeMar to answer – since he publishes James Jordan’s commentary on Daniel 12 – which supports Daniel (his soul) was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit eternal life, then why isn’t 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 descriptive of this spiritual AD 70 fulfillment?!?
Partial Preterist Keith Mathison in his book on Postmillennialism  took 1 Thessalonians 5 as fulfilled in AD 70.  One of his reasons for this was because of Paul’s use of “birth pains” (again see #9 below) and paralleled this phrase with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Still Future? 1 Thessalonians 5 – Fulfilled in AD 70
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8) 9.  Birth pains (5:3)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

But what about the other 7 phrases and parallels Paul uses in the rest of 1 Thessalonians 5 that He is getting from Jesus in Matthew 24? If Mathison is consistent in his use of parallelism and in using an identical phraseology heremeutic, then this disproves his first theory (he too no longer divides Matthew 24 – see his new book, From Age to Age) that Matthew 24:36ff. contains eschatological material that needs to be fulfilled in our future.
If parallels and similar phrases from Matthew 24 prove that 1 Thessalonians 5 was fulfilled by AD 70, then why wouldn’t the same hermeneutic of parallels and similar phrases prove that 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was also fulfilled in AD 70 (again #’s 1-5)?
Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry cites authors to support Paul is following Matthew 24 when he parallels and makes his Preterist case  that 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70.  But those same sources he uses, produce these parallels as well which Gentry arbitrarily ignores, because he knows if he was consistent in this use of the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation, it would lead him to Full Preterism.  Here is how Gentry understands Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Still Future? 1 Thessalonians 5 – Still Future?
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 9.  Birth pains (5:3 – fulfilled in future?)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

So why wouldn’t Gentry parallel Matthew 24:36-49 with 1 Thessalonains 5:1-8 to prove that both of these sections are to be fulfilled in the future?To do so would have Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 use the “birth pains” (an alleged future fulfillment) parallel to Matthew 24:8 – which he says was fulfilled in AD 70. This is a similar problem Gentry has if he compares Matthew 24 with Luke 17, in that Luke 17 makes it clear there are not two comings of Christ in view.  Luke mixes up AD 70 events to alleged future events, and allegedly future events, he places to be fulfilled in AD 70.
To make all of the 7 parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 would end up “proving to much” – in that everyone would be asking why not make the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 then?!? If Paul is following Jesus’ material in 1 Thessalonians 5, why isn’t he following it in 1 Thessalonians 4?!? (again #’s 1-5).
Another problem Gentry has created for himself is that he now teaches the resurrection of Dan. 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s parouisa in AD 70. Therefore, this begs another question for Gentry to answer – WHY isn’t 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 descriptive of the spiritual coming and spiritual resurrection of Daniel 7:13/Daniel 12:2 — that he says was fulfilled in AD 70?!?
It should be abundantly clear that Paul is following Jesus’ teaching Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4-5.  As G.K. Beale points out in his commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians – Paul practically follows the exact same chronology of Jesus in Matthew 24!  This is why the Classic Amillennial view and the Full Preterist view either have all of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 as fulfilled in the future or fulfilled in AD 70.  The analogy of Scripture demands one or the other.  But the first century imminent expectation demands the Full Preterist interpretation.
Full Preterism
At this point I was a Full Preterist (in the broad sense of the definition) and didn’t know it.  After I got back to The Master’s College and received Russell’s book (from Walt Hibbard’s GCB’s) and read his exegesis of Matthew 24 – I remember jumping up and down in my dorm room shouting, “YES!  I found someone that believes what I do (the NT only teaches one Second Coming and it was fulfilled in AD 70)!”  But then the depression and lonely feelings came back as I noticed that this author wrote the book in the 1800’s and was dead.  But I was determined to find out if there was anyone (alive that is) that believed and saw what I did.  I got onto the Internet and began debating my position on Matthew 24 with others online to see what would happen.  It wasn’t long before I got into contact with Ken Davies and David Green.  I was finally at peace and have been a Full Preterist now for 26 years and have never even thought of looking back.
Although the Lord (at least up to this point) never called me to be a Pastor, He did open the doors up for me to be a Full Preterist theologian, apologist, and author.  I enjoy writing Full Preterist articles on my two web sites:  www.fullpreterism.com and www.treeoflifeministries.info.  I  have also been blessed to be a co-author in House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?  In the book I wanted to have as our guiding foundation and apologetic to be the one that actually led me into the Full Preterist movement – that is a synthesis between the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view (or simply put – one of the Reformation’s cries, “Reformed and always reforming”).  The Full Preterist movement is nothing other than the “organic development” between these two Reformed eschatological views.  As I wrote in HD:
“1)  Partial Preterism – Imminence and fulfillment are accepted.  Christ appeared a second time at the end of the old covenant age.  There was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection of the living and dead which was attended by a passing of the old creation and arrival of the new in AD 70 (Dan. 12:1-4; Matt. 5:17-18; 13:39-43, 24-25; Acts 1:11; Rom. 8:18; 13:11-12; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37; 1 Peter 4:5-7; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 1-22).
2)  Classic Amillennialism – The New Testament teaches only one future coming of Christ, general judgment, and resurrection of the living and dead attended by the restoration of creation at the end of the age.”
“…The choice is simple. Either one continues propagating the myth that these two propositions within the futurist paradigm do not lead to a contradiction, or one accepts the organic development of full preterism which unites them.” (HD Second Edition, 139).
My exhortation to the reader studying Full Preterism
And again, here is a small portion of our conclusion in HD that I made a contribution towards and want to pass on to you as you study the Full Preterist position:
“As a Reformed believer, dear reader, you know that there is no middle ground between Arminianism and Calvinism.  You may have tried at one time to say that you were neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.  Or you may have acknowledged that the Bible teaches Calvinism, but you rejected the teaching because you were troubled by its implications.  Or you may have even been a closet Calvinist for years.  Though the road was perhaps difficult, you eventually embraced the doctrines of grace, and now you know there is no compromise position between the two doctrines.
Many Reformed believers today are having the same experience with the doctrine of preterism.  They are learning that it is also a hard pill to swallow and that it is nevertheless the doctrine of Scripture.  They are learning that it represents “the whole counsel of God” in the area of eschatology.  After we are confronted with biblical preterism, we may try to straddle the fence, but there is truly no middle ground.  Just as R.C. Sproul (Sr.) would consider a four-point Calvinist to be in reality a “confused Arminian,” more and more futurists, on their way to biblical preterism, are beginning to see that partial preterism is just “confused futurism.”  There is no biblical basis for “partial preterism” even as there is no biblical basis for “partial Calvinism.”  This is why partial preterism invariably leads to full preterism.  This is why Keith Mathison and Ken Gentry have both come closer to “hyper-preterism” since they wrote WSTTB.  Mathison now believes that the prophecy of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Gentry now believes that the resurrection in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This is why partial preterist theologian David Chilton became a full preterist before he passed away, even though he knew he would be creedally anathematized by partial preterists such as his publisher Gary North.
Though we consider futurists who condemn us to be our brothers in Christ, we must acknowledge that they have been confronted with the truth, and rejected it, and declared us to be accursed.  They would have done well to heed the wisdom of Gamaliel:  “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39). But instead, they are persecuting us and suppressing the truth, though ultimately to no avail.
The biblical record from cover to cover teaches us that taking a stand against traditions and authorities which nullify Scripture is not easy.  When leaders take their stand against the teachings of Scripture for the sake of tradition, that is when God raises up “the things which are not” (1 Cor. 1:28)—fishermen, shepherds, janitors, waiters, drivers, etc.,— to stand in the gap.  The rise of Reformed preterists within the history of the church can be likened to the conflict between David the shepherd and Saul the king, and between Luther and the One, Holy, Roman Catholic Church—small and humble beginnings, with powerful and profound results to be looked for in the future.
Preterists have been forced into the wilderness and caves by those who have felt threatened by our stand for the Word of God; and God continues to add to the number of men and women who are shunned by creedal futurists.  These believers have been driven out by Saul-ish spear throwers, but they find their purpose in defending the truth at all costs.  And as a result, they become God’s valiant warriors.
It took only a handful of committed Christians with a passion for God’s word to turn the Jewish and Roman world completely upside down with the gospel. God is not calling closet Calvinists or closet preterists, but faithful men to boldly proclaim His truth to His flock.  Be assured that persecution and tears will come, but if you faithfully proclaim and trust in God’s Word, He will keep your tears in His bottle and turn back your enemies, and in one way or another, He will vindicate you and the truth together in Him (Jer. 1; Josh. 1; Ps. 56).” (HD, 235-236).
This is why every HD book I sign and mail off, I list Jer. 1; Josh. 1 and Psalm 56 – because this has been my experience and exhortation I want to pass on to you.  That is, tears of pain and tears of joy will enter your heart when you see this truth and rejoice in God’s Word – and yet at the same time you will always have to be “strong and very courageous” never being “discouraged” to “fear the faces of men” or seek to compromise, for He will fight your battles, turn back your enemies, and His Word will not return to Him void!  This is your calling, your duty and your privilege.  Peace – Selah.

"CHRISTIAN" DISPENSATIONAL ZIONISM AND JOHN HAGEE'S 10 SIGNS REFUTED – ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD FULFILLED "IN CHRIST" NOT "IN THE LAND"!

(This is an excerpt taken from a much larger article/book I have been working on over the last 5 months.  It has not been edited yet, but still will benefit those that are studying this subject and are open to an honest and exegetical critique.  Enjoy!)
3.  The Eschatology of “Christian” Dispensational Zionism:
Introduction:  The modern day Christian Zionist movement is a consistent outgrowth and byproduct of Dispensationalism. This eschatological view of Bible prophecy has only been around for about 150 years. It was founded and systematized by the teachings of John Nelson Darby, and then picked up and popularized through Cyrus Scofield (The Scofield Reference Bible), D.L. Moody and Donald Barnhouse. Its largest boost has come through the radio and television airwaves.
Popular so called “prophecy expert” authors that litter the contemporary Christian book store shelves are Charles Ryrie (The Ryrie Study Bible), John Walvoord, Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, Grant Jeffrey, John Hagee, Chuck Smith and Hal Lindsey. Religious institutions peddling this false view of Bible prophecy are the Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary and the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem, Assembly of God Bible Colleges, Calvary Chapel Bible College, The Master’s Bible College and Seminary, etc.
U.S. presidents that have embraced this system have been Jimmie Carter and Ronald Reagan. Reagan told Tom Dine, AIPAC’s executive director; “I turn back to your ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if we’re the generation that is going to see that come about.” The remark was published by the Jerusalem Post and widely distributed by the Associated Press.  This raised red flags not just among the liberal left, but among conservative Christians that understood their Bibles better than Reagan and the “prophecy experts” he had been influenced by.
The ICEJ (The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem) was founded in 1980 with the goal to “comfort” Israel by educating Jews on their national heritage and convince them to leave other countries and come back into the land of Israel. I say “comfort” in quotations because it is the ICEJ’s agenda to usher in the “rapture” of the church which would involve in their theology – a 2/3’s death of the Jewish population during the Great Tribulation. This is ironic since they claim Preterists or those that don’t support their cause are anti-Semitic and yet their theology is the most insulting and dangerous view of the modern “Jew” today! The organization has joined up with the already entrenched and powerful Jewish lobbyists to support the Israeli land and policy agendas to the U.S. and other foreign nations.
Dispensational distinctions associated with the inclusion of the Christian Zionist movement include:

  • The separation of Israel from the Church in Bible prophecy.
  • A “literal hermeneutic” is drilled into the students and congregations of interpreting Bible prophecy – without ample training in studying the kind of genre (ex. apocalyptic figurative language) being studied or trying to find the literal meaning of the text.
  • The “gathering” in 1948 of Israel becoming a nation was allegedly the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and is the “super sign” for our generation.
  • The context and desolation of the first century temple Jesus and the disciples are talking about in Matthew 24 is ignored or double-fulfilled away in order for its theology to be forced into the text claiming that our generation will see another literal re-built temple to appear that will be desolated by the Anti-Christ who is allegedly “Alive and Well on Planet Earth.”
  • This system is known for the belief that whenever there is a war in the Middle East, a famine, earthquake, false teaching, missionaries sent into a foreign country, etc. these “signs” are being fulfilled right before our very eyes in the News. These events are supposed to indicate that the rapture of the Church followed by the second coming 7 years later is genuinely near in our generation.
  • Our generation is supposed to also witness a global Great Tribulation attended with a world-wide Armageddon war which has Russia and China as alleged players.
  • All of this is followed by a literal coming of Jesus on a literal cloud to earth. Once on earth, Jesus is allegedly going to reign on a literal throne in the literal city of Jerusalem for a literal 1,000 years in the land of Israel – as promised by God to Abraham.
  • Then another temple is going to be built with animal sacrifices taking place while Jesus allegedly smells the stench of these sacrifices as he sits and reigns on a literal throne in Jerusalem.

Before we begin getting into the eschatological errors of this group, we should point out that one of their founders and most outspoken “theologians” doesn’t even know the gospel.  Consider these comments given by John Hagee (One newspaper account puts it this way):
Trying to convert Jews is a “waste of time,” he [Hagee] said. . . .
Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha’i, needs to believe in Jesus, he says. But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced with Christianity, he says.
“The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses,” Hagee said. “I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.
“The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God until God gives him a greater revelation. And God has not,” said Hagee . . .[1]
These are extremely alarming statements that undermine the very gospel itself.  Clearly the faulty dispensational system and Zionism, have become an idol to this man (and to so many of his and the systems followers) so much so, that he/they have distorted the fundamental gospel message.  Jesus in the gospel of John chastised the Jews of his day for studying Moses (the law and the prophets) thinking that in that they would receive eternal life and yet Jesus says they testify of Him – “…and yet you (the Jews) refuse to come to me to have life” (cf. John 5:39-40).  Jesus chastised his fellow Jews of his day for trusting that they were “Abraham’s descendants.”  Yet Jesus informs them that they are no different than anyone else in that “everyone who sins is a slave to sin” needing to be set free only by Him and His words – and if they did not believe in Him they would die in their sins (cf. John 8:24, 31-59).  Peter quoting Moses in Deuteronomy 18 mentions that Moses predicted the coming “prophet” of Jesus and if they wouldn’t believe in him they would be “cut off” in the judgment of AD 70 and thus they needed to be “saved from that terminal “perverse and crooked generation” that Moses prophesied of and that they were living in (cf. Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:20-40; Deut. 18:15-19/Acts 3:17-23).  As I will demonstrate, they were judged and cut off at His coming in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70!  If not believing in Jesus in the first century didn’t work for the Jews, it is more than difficult to see how Hagee thinks things have changed since the arrival of the novel dispensational and Zionist movement for so-called  “Jews” today!
I point this out only to demonstrate that if this man doesn’t even understand the gospel because he is blinded by what he thinks the doctrinal implications of dispensational Zionism teaches, then it shouldn’t surprise us that he is wrong on virtually everything when it comes to eschatology.  Let’s examine some of this views on us being the terminal generation allegedly witnessing the signs that mark Jesus’ return.
Dispensational Zionist Signs Being Fulfilled In the News for Our Terminal Generation?
Here are John Hagee’s 10 signs (taken from his book, Beginning of the End, pp. 85-100) in which he asserts are proof that our generation is the “terminal generation” that will see the soon return of Jesus:
1.     An Increase in Knowledge:  Based upon Daniel 12:4 our terminal generation is supposed to be seeing the fulfillment of this passage through “technology” such as, airplanes, the TV, life-support and the Internet etc….
The Truth:  In context, the “knowledge” here is in reference to the work of Messiah and His coming salvation and judgment (previously discussed in Daniel 7; 9:24-27) which would be revealed in the prophetic “words of the scroll” concerning “the time of the end.”  Roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 Jesus and the NT authors are describing how Jesus and the Church is fulfilling OT prophecies and such “knowledge” of Jesus’ salvation and imminent judgment was increasing.  This has nothing to do with “technology”!
Daniel was told to “seal up” the vision because its fulfillment was “far off” (concerning Israel’s coming salvation and judgment) (Daniel 8:26).  John picks up where Daniel leaves off regarding the same prophetic material and was told “not to seal up” the vision, because the time was “at hand” (Revelation 22:10).  For this false system of theology/eschatology to interpret “far off” literally as hundreds of years but then turn around and interpret “at hand” spiritually as meaning thousands of years, is unspeakable logic and pathetic or apply inconsistent hermeneutics!
Obviously John Hagee and his Dispensational Zionist colleagues (similar to the unbelieving Jews during AD 30 – 70) have not paid attention to the increased knowledge on the time frame and spiritual nature of the salvation and kingdom that Jesus (as Messiah) and the NT writers were addressing.  Sad but true.
2.   Plague or Pestilence in the Middle East (Zech. 14:12-15):  Hagee amazingly sees these passages being fulfilled via the Ebola virus and or modern day radiation resulting from nuclear wars etc… – lol.  Wow.
The Truth:  It is true that plagues are described literally as in Exodus 7-12 and in the covenant curses and blessings say of Deuteronomy 28 or Leviticus 26 for example.  But these kind of covenant curses and blessings can also be used symbolically in the Bible and that is what I believe we have here in Zechariah 14:12, 15.  The NT informs us that prophetically there are two Jerusalem’s one earthly and literal representing the old covenant system, and the other spiritual and heavenly representing the new covenant system (Galatians 4:25-26).  The earthly and old could be shaken and removed, while the other could not (cf. Hebrews 12).  In Zechariah 14:2 the nations surround the earthly old covenant Jerusalem in the events surrounding AD 66 – 70.  During this historic time frame, the Idumean Zealots surrounded Jerusalem as did the Roman armies (consisting of all the known conquered nations of that time) and attacked her from within and without.
But in Zechariah 14 we also have a description of the spiritual new covenant Jerusalem and what would take place roughly during the same time period.  Here we see new covenant Jerusalem “raised up,” “when evening comes, there will be light,” “living water” flows out from her, and she is fully inhabited “never again will it be destroyed,” with the new covenant Messianic Kingdom being established (vss. 7-11).  We see a clear fulfillment of this in Isaiah 65-66 and Revelation 21-22.  Christians living in the new covenant age/Kingdom/New Jerusalem experience these spiritual blessings of eternal life.  But those outside the gates of the City are cursed living in spiritual darkness etc…  Here in Zechariah 14:11-15 we find the spiritual condition and judgment that befalls those that came (and continue to come) against God’s people in the New Jerusalem.  They are described as being cursed/plagued with all that they touch (ex. their animals) and having no water, while those within the New Jerusalem enjoy living water and all that they have (including their animals) are “HOLY TO THE LORD” (vss. 20-21).  This is prophetic and symbolic language describing those blessed in the Messianic Kingdom or those opposed and are thus cursed outside of it.
3.     The Re-birth of Israel in 1948:  Allegedly our generation witnessing the “budding of the fig tree” in (Matthew 24:32-34) is supposed to be a fulfillment of Israel becoming a nation in 1948. Also since Isaiah 66:8-10 speaks of Israel being born in a day, this too is allegedly speaking of 1948.
The Truth:  Hagee miss-interprets Jesus’ teaching here in the Olivet Discourse and twists OT prophecies to support his self-fulfillment World War III agenda.  If the budding of the fig tree is Israel becoming a nation in 1948, then what kind of fulfillment will Hagee give “…and all the trees” or “all the nations” in (Luke 21:29) happening in 1948?!?  These men seem to want to avoid this parallel passage and for obvious reasons.
Regarding Isaiah 66:8-10 Jesus taught that the covenantal status of Israel and her “kingdom” would be “taken” from her in AD 70 and be “given” to another “nation” “bearing the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43-45).  Peter understands the Church being that “nation” (1 Peter 2:9).  Isaiah 65-66 is a unit and when this nation is born and rejoicing takes place is when the New Jerusalem comes in her fullness according to chapter 65 and rejoicing takes place (cf. 65:18-19).  The writer of Hebrews and Paul in Galatians 4 (and elsewhere in the NT) identifies the Church as “Zion” and or the “heavenly Jerusalem” “the Church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:22-23).  The old covenant kingdom or Jerusalem would be “shaken” one more time (ie. in AD 70) with the new not being able to be shaken because she is spiritual or heavenly (Hebrews 12:27-29).  The time of this nation being born or inheriting the New Jerusalem and her land was “about to” take place:  “For here we do not have an ENDURING city (because it was about to be “taken” from OC Israel and “given” to NC Israel in AD 70) but we are looking for the city that is ABOUT TO COME” (Hebrews 13:14 YLT).  This is when Christ was going to come in a “very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).  Israel or the New Jerusalem being born anew or again imminently is also found in the book of Revelation which tells us its content would be fulfilled “shortly” and not 2,000+ years away (Revelation 1:1; 21:2–22:6-7, 10-12, 22).  Post AD 70 the nations are gathered into the New Jerusalem/Israel through the gospel (Revelation 22:17).  1948 has nothing to do with Isaiah’s restoration/birth of Israel motif in the Messianic or new covenant age – period!
Jesus’ Born Again experience and Israel’s/the Churches
In the book of Acts 13 we learn that Jesus’ resurrection and ascension was His born again experience:
“Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent…. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings – that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” (Acts 13:26, 30-32 quoting Ps. 2:7).
Jesus needed to undergo the process of being born again for His posterity and brethren – the Church (Heb. 2, 12:23). At Christ’s resurrection, He became the Churches “firstborn” or “firstfruit(s)” from among the dead ones (Cols. 1:15-18; 1 Cor. 15:20-21). But in what way was Christ’s resurrection the “first”? He surely was not the first to be biologically raised from the dead. His resurrection was the “first” in which Adamic (spiritual) death was overcome and would soon be overcome for the Church at His AD 70 return. Christ would conquer “the sin” of “the [Adamic] death” magnified through Israel’s Old Covenant “the Law” at His return to close and bring an “end” to the Old Covenant age in Jesus’ “this generation” (ie. AD 70–Mt. 24/1 Cor. 15). This process had begun with His resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The reference to Christ being the “firstborn” in Colossians is a new exodus theme. In the first exodus under Moses, God delivered Israel through the offering up of the blood of the firstborn lamb on the doorpost and through the sacrifice of Israel’s enemies – the first born among the Egyptians. This exodus and establishment of the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai resulted in God creating Israel as a heavens and earth (Isaiah 51:15-16).
The soteriological and eschatological pattern in the NT is that Jesus recapitulates Israel’s redemptive history, and then the Church follows. So just as Christ needed to undergo severe persecution and death before He would be raised and established as the “firstborn” from among the dead, so too the Church (pre-AD 70) was in the process of filling up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ (Cols. 1:24-27). The Church was thus in the process of being united to Christ’s death in baptism and being raised into His resurrection image (Rms. 6:8ff.). She was a seed being sown into the ground and simultaneously dying and rising into this new image of the heavenly man (1 Corinthians 15: 43ff.). The Church had to undergo sever persecution (described as “birth pains”), to function as a general sign that the coming of Jesus to “gather” Her (or raise Her from the dead) into the Kingdom would take place in the first century “this generation” (Mt. 24:8, 30-34; Lk. 21:27-32). Under the Old Covenant, unfaithful Israel was in a perpetual state of child labor and in pain being unable to give birth or bring salvation to the Gentiles (Isa. 26:27-28). But the faithful remnant united to Christ’s death and resurrection would bring these soteriological and eschatological “groans” in “child birth” to the Gentiles, and thus “all Israel would be saved” or raised from the dead (cf. Romans 8:22-11:15, 26-27). The remnant would be faithful to give birth to a nation (the Church) in a day (Isaiah 66:8).
I will be dealing with other OT texts Hagge twists to try and fit a 1948 fulfillment later in this article.
4.      The Jews Are Continuing to Return Home to Israel from Russia and Other Countries:  Supposedly Jeremiah 23:7-8 is the fulfillment of this modern day “sign.”
The Truth:  The Prophet Jeremiah deals with Israel coming back into her land under the spiritual leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra from the 70 years of Babylonian captivity (being in the North not modern day Russia).  This gathering back in the land in repentance (which fulfills the re-gathering promises) has nothing to do with 1948 – a gathering in the land in unrepentance.  This gathering in the land under Nehemiah and Ezra was typological of a gathering into the Messiah – the coming “righteous Branch” (vss. 5-6) in His kingdom, a heavenly land and New Jerusalem.  I will discuss the NT’s shift of being “in Christ” fulfilling OT’s “in the land” promises in a bit.
5.     Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile Rule:  Hagee amazingly claims the Six Day War in 1967 fulfills Jesus’ teaching concerning the fulfillment of the “times of the Gentiles” in (Luke 21:24).           
The Truth:   “There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.  They will fall by the sword and will be taken prisoners to all the nations.  Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:23-24).  First off, Jesus tells us that this event would be fulfilled in His contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 21:32).  Secondly, this event is contextually and grammatically connected to the fall of the Temple in AD 70 and the questions asked by the disciples regarding its destruction in vss. 5-7 and Jesus’ exhortation to that generation to flee Jerusalem when they see the armies surrounding the City vss. 20-23 (which we know the Idumean’s and Roman armies did with the Christians fleeing the city per Jesus’ instruction).  So the Gentiles trampling Jerusalem is clearly fulfilled in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 and the “times of the Gentiles” being fulfilled refers to the time prior to AD 70 when Gentile powers and nations (such as Rome) controlled the city.  Post AD 70 there is spiritual New Jerusalem that cannot be “shaken” or trodden down by any Gentile nation (“times of the Gentiles”) today.  This is the point and fulfillment of this passage and the events of 1967 have nothing whatsoever to do with it.
6.     International Instant Communication:  Hagge and others claim that without the technology of TV, the radio, satellites, etc… how could the entire planet earth view Jesus coming on a cloud in Revelation 1:7 and the two witnesses in Revelation 11?  Surely since these passages couldn’t be fulfilled prior to our day, the fulfillment was for our generation and the end times is right before us right?  Uh, not even close.
The Truth:  Hagee and other Dispensational Zionists think that the technology of TV is the only way Jesus could be literally seen by “every eye” of the “earth” at the same time (cf. Revelation 1:7).  First, Revelation tells us that its content would be fulfilled “shortly” (not in our generation thousands of years away removed from its first century audience) and this includes verse 7 which is under discussion here (Revelation 1:1, 7).  Secondly, “every eye” is qualified in the passage to be “those who pierced him” (first century Jews not all humanity) and “all the tribes of the land” (“tribes” being first century Jews with “land” being a better translation here than “earth”) would mourn at His coming.  Thirdly, “see” in the Greek has the meaning of “perceive” or “understand” and we use it today in the same, “Do you see (understand) what I am saying?”  Through the destruction of old covenant Jerusalem and her Temple in the historical events of AD 66 – AD 70, the Jews “understood” or “saw” that Christ had come through the Zealot Idumean and Roman armies.   
Let’s now turn our attention to the two witnesses of Revelation 11.  Of course Hagee takes the testimony of the two witnesses “literally” and if the entire globe or “the inhabitants of the earth” witnesses their death, then according to this kind of thinking it must imply the invention of the television. The two witnesses whom have the characteristics of Moses and Elijah, have to do with the testimony of the OT (the Law/Moses and the prophets/Elijah) and the people of the Land (not the globe–Rome and apostate Israel) seeking to silence this testimony. The number three and a half is a broken seven and represents a time of sorrow and pain. So this has reference to the rejoicing and coming together (of these at one time enemies – Rome and apostate Jerusalem) in a united cause to silence and put Christ and the testimony of the Church to death (cf. Matthew 24:9; Colossians 1:24). A global televised production of this alleged event, is so far removed from the context of the prophecy that it is just scary and desperate speculation on the part of Hagee and other modern day prophecy guru’s.                   
7.     Days of Deception (Jeremiah 9:5):  According to Hagee, Jesus’s second coming is imminent for our generation because “deception” is so rampant today in the world.
The Truth:  First, this is not a global heightened level of deception taking place on planet earth in this passage, but rather Jeremiah is dealing with the gross sins or deception of his contemporaries and exhorting them on how they have broken the Mosaic covenant and therefore the covenant curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 would continue to follow them if they would not heed him.  Those that were wicked and that would not heed his words would be carried off into captivity or fall by the sword (of the Chaldeans) (cf. Jeremiah 9:13-16).                 
8.     Famines and Pestilence (Matthew 24:7-8):  Hagee believes that the Ebola virus and AIDS fulfills this passage and thus World War III and Christ’s imminent return is near per Hagee’s view.  
The Truth:  Again, Hagee ignores the context of what the Olivet Discourse is all about – “the end of the [old covenant] age” (not planet earth) with the destruction of its Temple that Christ and the disciples are talking about!  Therefore, all of the signs mentioned here would be fulfilled in their contemporary “this generation” (AD 30 – AD 70) (Matthew 24:1-34).  I will demonstrate how these signs were fulfilled prior to AD 70 later in this article.
9.     Earthquakes (Amos 1:2; Zechariah 14):  Per this passage, Hagee believes that the increasing earthquakes today are signs of an imminent return of Christ which will lead to one large earthquake predicted in Amos 1(?) which will get everyone’s attention.    
The Truth:  The passage addresses a previous earthquake in Uzziah’s day but I don’t see anything in this text which suggests a future to us planet attention type earthquake predicted.
Perhaps Hagee is also appealing to a hyper-literal interpretation of Zechariah 14 once again.  Here the earthquake in Uzziah’s day is mentioned within the context of Jesus coming and the Mount of Olives splitting in two (Zechariah 14:4-5).  As we noted earlier, Jesus says that according to the OT scriptures (John 7:37-39=Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47; Joel 3:18) the living waters (of the Holy Spirit) which would flow from the Church (the Messianic Temple) is a spiritual fulfillment.  Therefore, to literalize verses 4-7 does not flow with the context and how the NT authors understand the fulfillment of this passage.  Likewise, the OT confirms a spiritual/apocalyptic/symbolic interpretation of God coming down upon the Mount of Olives, mountains and valleys being removed or spilt etc… (Isaiah 31:4; Micah 1:3-4; Habakkuk 3:6).  A visual scene of Jerusalem shows that the Mount of Olives is an obstacle in the way to and from Jerusalem.  Apocalyptic or symbolic language concerning this mountain splitting and a clear and level road being made simply means that God made a way of escape for the Christians in AD 66 by removing the apostate mountain of old covenant Jerusalem/Babylon.
Their physical flight from Jerusalem during this time (cf. Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-24= Josephus, Jewish War 2:20:1; 4:6:1; 4:7:3) is also described for us one again in the book of Revelation chapter 12.  The woman clothed with the sun and crowned with 12 stars having the moon underneath her feet is the church described as the faithful or New Israel. She is giving birth to a “male child” who is not Christ, but rather other members of the collective body of the church. In the Old Testament unbelieving Israel would be in labor groaning but could only give birth to “wind” and could not bear forth a child – or give birth and bring salvation to the peoples of the earth (cf. Isaiah 26:17-18).  However, faithful Israel is able to bring forth the male child and salvation for the world in one day (as we saw in Isaiah 66:6-14).  This is a reference to the time of the birth pains Jesus discussed in Matthew 24:8.  Old covenant Israel after the flesh would groan in pain wanting what the church had and was about to give birth as well, but because of their rejection of Christ, their womb was cursed only to give birth to wind. The sufferings and groanings of the Church were momentary and would bring forth salvation to the world. Here in Isaiah “a male child” also represents “her children” plural. So we have Israel becoming born again and transformed through the metaphor of child birth. This is not referring to Mary giving birth to Jesus. That this male child is given a rod to rule the nations is the fulfillment of the promise given to the church in Revelation 2:27.
The child being snatched up to heaven in verse 5 is but yet another description of what we saw of the two witnesses being raised up and called up to heaven in chapter 11. Resurrection and new birth are parallel concepts describing the transformation of the church as God’s new Israel and kingdom.
The mother fleeing and being given wings to flee to the desert for 1,260 days or 3 ½ years represents the church fleeing for safety to Pella as Christ exhorted her to do in the Olivet Discourse.  The Dragon represents Satan moving within his servants of the synagogue of Satan who persecuted the Christians and then sought to deceive them into staying within Jerusalem to fight the Romans.
In verse 10ff. we reach the consummation once again. Satan and the apostate heavenly civil and religious rulers of Israel are cast to the earth (cf. Matthew 24:29). These were the accusers of the brethren – a scene played out for us in the book of Acts of which the church finally receives “relief” from at Christ’s parousia (2 Thessalonians 2:14-16).  This is also the time of vindication in which they will rule over their enemies through the means of Christ coming to render upon their enemies “tribulation” and “wrath” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).
A mountain(s) in apocalyptic literature such as we have here in Zechariah 14 and in the book of Revelation are not always literal.  For example the persecuting apostate old covenant Israel is described as “Babylon” “Egypt” “Sodom” or “The Great City” in Revelation and the early Church was exhorted to “come out of Babylon, my people…” Through the imprecatory prayers of the church they had that mountain removed once and for all “shortly” in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 (Revelation 1:1; 8:8/Matthew 21:21-22; 11:8; 18:4).
In Zechariah the mountain that was once an obstacle becomes a smooth valley and or a way of salvation/escape.  Again this is the figurative language of the prophets and interpreted spiritually in the NT (Isaiah 40:34; Matthew 3:3; Luke 3:4-5).  Through Christ “I am the way” and His word, the Church found salvation and deliverance from their first century persecutors – old covenant Jerusalem.
10.    As in the Days of Noah (Matthew 24:36-39):   Hagee and other Dispensational Zionists claim that our modern day wickedness such as murders, rapes, kidnappings, assaults, child abuse, parental abuse, etc… are signs that our terminal generation will see the Lord’s return.  As the wickedness in Noah’s day resulted in the flood, so too Hagee reasons there is coming a worldwide Great Tribulation period.
The Truth:  Of course every generation throughout world history has been characterized with such wickedness and therefore could use Hagee’s reasoning that their generation was the “terminal” one.  But the facts are that Jesus’ contemporary generation was described as “perverse” and “adulterous” not just for their wickedness but specifically for rejecting their Messiah (Acts 2:40/Deuteronomy 32:5, 20; Mark 8:38-9:1; Matthew 24:34).  Jesus connects the wickedness of His contemporary generation for rejecting Him with the days of Noah in Luke 17:25-28.  As far as comparing a global flood with a global Great Tribulation period coming in our generation I have only two brief points.  First, I believe the Bible teaches a local flood and not a global flood (and time restraints will not allow be to develop this).  Secondly, the Great Tribulation is described in local terms – “There will be great distress/tribulation in the land and wrath against this people” (Luke 21:23).  The Great Tribulation period is described from Jesus to take place against Israel (“the land” not the planet) and “against this people” (again the generation of Jews that rejected Him as their Messiah).  And passages appealed to in the book of Revelation for a global Tribulation period quoting “earth” can and should be translated as “land” which is consistent with Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse.
Having refuted Hagee’s signs let’s now turn our attention to Jesus’ and demonstrate how they were fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation” (Matthew 24:4-34).
A Brief Exegesis of Matthew 24-25
“End of the age” – Were the disciples “confused?” Did they ask about the end of planet earth?   
All Dispensational Zionists begin with the disciples question in Matthew 24:3 and simply assume what they need to prove when they assume that the disciples were “confused” in associating Jesus’ coming and end of the age with the destruction of the temple.  Since the Zionists theology separates these events by thousands of years, and the disciples linked them to be fulfilled altogether, they merely assume the disciples were mistaken and not them or their system.  Here are some key hermeneutical steps the Zionist willfully skips:

  1. The Jews of Jesus’ day understood the phrase “this age” to be the old covenant age of Moses and the prophets and the “age to come” as the new covenant or Messianic age.
  2. In the book of Daniel the consummation of the major eschatological events can be found in chapters 7, 9 and 12.  Daniel connected the eschatological “time of the end” events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of man and the arrival of the kingdom, to take place when the city and temple would be destroyed – or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together (cf. see the consummation scenes in Dan. 12:1-7; Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; 9:24-27).
  3. In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught that the judgment and resurrection (“the time of the end” eschatological events) would take place at the end of their old covenant “this age.”  Jesus specifically asks them if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes” (vs. 51).
  4. Jesus had previously taught that He would return in some of their lifetimes (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1).
  5. Jesus previously taught them that all the blood from righteous Abel (from Genesis up to those He would send to them) would be avenged when the temple was destroyed in their “this generation” (Matthew 23:30-36, 38).  Isaiah in his “little apocalypse” (Isiah 24-28) posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet, the resurrection, etc…) to take place together when the temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9).

So before we even get to Matthew 24, the disciples could have discerned from such prophets as Daniel and Isaiah, that all of the eschatological events would be fulfilled when the temple was destroyed.  The record clearly states that the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on “the end of age” or the end of their “this age.”  And lastly, Jesus had already taught them that some of them would live to witness His return and the destruction of the Temple.  Therefore, they were NOT mistaken to associate and connect Jesus’ coming (to destroy the Temple [that they were looking at and discussing] in their generation) with His coming and the end of the age.
Just because Matthew (as a responsible narrator) or Jesus have elsewhere shown us where the disciples were confused in Matthew’s gospel, does not mean that they were confused here in Matthew 24:3.  In fact, when the disciples are confused or wrong about something they ask, Matthew’s gospel clearly teaches us, that this indeed is the case (ex. Matthew 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).
Milton Terry was spot on when he wrote of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the Olivet discourse and elsewhere in the NT (such as Hebrews 9:26-28):
“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.” Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442. After all the second appearing or coming of Christ to close the old covenant age is further described as Christ coming “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).
Therefore, since Matthew 24-25 is about Christ coming in judgment upon old covenant Jerusalem in AD 66 – AD 70 to bring an end to the old covenant age (not the planet earth or to end the Church age), the Dispensational Zionists are the ones confused in Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and not the disciples.  Having established that the discourse is about the end of the old covenant age and not world history or planet earth, we can readily see how all these things would be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 24:34).
“This generation”
In Matthew 24:34 Jesus clearly identifies that the “this generation” of the “you” (first century Jews not 21st. century ones) of whom He is addressing would not pass away before “all these things” (the signs, end of the age and His coming) would be fulfilled. The Greek word for “generation” here is genea and is used over 30 times in the N.T. and in each context it is never used as anything other than to address a 40 year generation or in particularly, the first century contemporary generation of Jesus, the disciples or their contemporary enemies. However, some of the Dispensational Zionists and their alleged “scholars” have admitted to this but claim Matthew 24:34 is the exception to the rule and thus they feel they have the liberty to make up their own definitions of the word to fit their theology. Let’s go over a couple of them.
The first false view claims that “this generation” is interpreted to mean, “the Jewish race will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.” There is simply no solid exegetical or lexical evidence for this use of genea in the NT. If the race of Jews was intended by Jesus or Matthew, they would have used the Greek word genos.
The second main error popularized by Hal Lindsey, an alleged “prophecy expert” who, based on current events and not the Bible claimed,
“WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ”[2]
And then this view was fueled from the pulpit from mega church Pastors such as Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel (one of my former Pastors) movement:
“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[3]
In his book Future Survival (1978) Chuck wrote,
“From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[3] Lindsey began by admitting that a generation “was something like forty years.” Since 40 years have passed, instead of throwing in the towel on his theory, Lindsey now claims a generation could be 60-80 years. If this doesn’t sound new, it’s because it isn’t. The “expanding” of a generation is exactly what the Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses have done with their false predictions concerning “this generation.”
John Hagee writes,
“There are ten prophetic signs in Scripture that describe the world in the last days. When these ten prophetic signs occur in one generation, that generation will see the end of the age.”[ii]
And of course according to Hagee, our generation allegedly has seen all ten of these (how convenient).
Again, genea in the gospels and especially the phrase “this generation” is never used in directing the reader to a future generation but rather always to the contemporary one of Jesus’ and His first century audience. Had this been the intension of Jesus, He could have simply said, “that generation…” instead of “this generation…”  So much for taking “this generation” “literally” and how it is used everywhere else in the Bible! The fact remains that all of the signs Jesus gives here in Matthew 24 were seen and fulfilled before the end of the old-covenant age in AD 70.
“False Messiahs”
Jesus predicted that false messiahs would come in the generation of the first century disciples and they did:  Theudas (Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few.  In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) informs the first century church that they knew it was “the last hour” because the Antichrist’s had arrived (1 John 2:17-18). For those who understand the “Antichrist” and “Man of Sin” to be the same person, we should point out that this individual was alive and “already at work” during the time of Paul (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8). Contrary to the popular science fiction writings of Dispensational Zionist Hal Lindsay, this individual is not “alive and well on planet earth” in the form of some political leader of Russia, Iran, Iraq, etc.
The Jewish historian Josephus writes of a false prophet during the destruction of Jerusalem which deceived the Jews to stay and fight the Romans:
“Of so great a multitude, not one escaped. Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope. Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope. Thus it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.3.6.).
“Wars and Rumors of Wars”
“In AD 40 there was a disturbance at Mesopotamia which (Josephus says) caused the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, a tumult at Jerusalem at the time of the Passover resulted in 10,000 to 20,000 deaths.  At Caesarea, contentions between Jewish people and other inhabitants resulted in over 20,000 Jews being killed.  As Jews moved elsewhere, over 20,000 were destroyed by Syrians.  At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed.  Thousands were killed in other places, and at Alexandria 50,000 were killed.  At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in an hour’s time.” (John L. Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, p. 28)
“The Annals of Tacitus, covering the period from AD 14 to the death of Nero in AD 68, describes the tumult of the period with phrases such as “disturbances in Germany”, “commotions in Africa”, commotions in Thrace”, “insurrections in Gaul”, “intrigues among the Parthians”, “the war in Britain”, and “the war in Armenia”.  Wars were fought from one end of the empire to the other. With this description we can see further fulfillment: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7)[iii]
When Jesus was addressing wars and rumors of wars, He was not referring to what is going on in modern day Russia, China, Israel, Iraq, United States, or Europe today.  To reach into Matthew 24 and back into the OT and twist these passages and prophecies by asserting that they are referring to these modern day countries and to us today is irresponsible exegesis to say the least.
“Famines”
Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic old-covenant age and generation (Acts 11:27-29).  In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered.
“Earthquakes”
The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26).  “…just previous to 70 AD there were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, and Judea.” (DeMar, Gary, ibid., 64)
“Put to Death” 
The first century Christians were to expect tribulation, to be brought before kings and rulers, imprisonment, beatings, for the sake of Jesus. Please read the book of Acts 4:3,17; Acts 5:40; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; Acts 12:1-3; Acts 14:19 to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Luke 21:12.   In fulfillment of our Lord’s words, Paul and Silas were beaten (Acts 26:23) and Paul was brought before rulers and kings – Gallio, (Acts 28:12), Felix (Acts 24), Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25).   Peter and Paul were put to death in the persecution of Nero.
“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.” (Matthew 24:14)
The reader at this point says, “I got you. How are you going to be able to prove the gospel was preached throughout the entire globe before A.D. 70?!?” Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, this is not difficult to prove at all:

PROPHECY            FULFILLMENT

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world   (Greek oikumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall   the end come” (Matthew 24:14) “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the   ends of the world (Greek oikumene)” (Romans   10:18)
“And the gospel must first be published among all nations (Greek   ethnos)”(Mark 13:10) “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic   Scriptures has been made known to all nations (Greek ethnos)…”   (Romans 16:25-26)
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world(Greek kosmos)   and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all   the world(Greek kosmos), as is bringing forth   fruit…,” (Colossians 1:5-6).
And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every   creature (Greek kitisis) ” (Mark 16:15) “…from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every   creature (Greek kitisis) under heaven, of which I, Paul   became a minister” (Colossians 1:23)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;   and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,   and to the end of the earth (Greek ge)”   (Acts 1:8). “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth (Greek ge),   and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18)

 
Jesus nor the Apostle Paul meant nor understood these phrases of “into all the world,” “all nations,” “every creature,” or “end of the earth,” to be global terms. These are describing the nations of the Roman Empire or the world as they knew it.
“Abomination that causes desolation”
In Luke’s account of the abomination that causes desolation, the fulfillment of this prophecy is identified with the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem and laying it waste in the years of AD 66 – AD 70, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” (Luke 21:20-22). History records for us that the early Christians were not deceived by the Jewish false prophets and fled to Pella and were safe.
“Great Tribulation”
Any Bible College or seminary class on hermeneutics would tell us that we need to follow a grammatical historical hermeneutic. One of the steps involved in interpreting how language and terms are used is to honor the way language is used during the time it was written in. Josephus who was a close contemporary of Jesus’ time describes the destruction of Jerusalem in practically the identical language:
“Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world;”[vi]
The words “For then shall be great tribulation…” are words linking the tribulation period with the preceding fleeing of the disciples from Jerusalem in the previous context (vs.17-20, cf. also Lk.21:20-23). The great “wrath” and “distress” upon “this people” in the “land” in (Lk. 21:23) is parallel to Matthew’s tribulation period described for us in Matthew 24:21.  The Tribulation period is not a global event as the Dispensational Zionists have tried to portray it, but a local event that took place in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”
“The stars shall fall from heaven” and “the Son of Man coming on the clouds”
God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven, as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors referring to the judgment of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet.  This can be seen in such O.T. passages referring to the fall of Babylon, Egypt, Edom, and Israel (Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Psalm 18; Psalm 104; Hab. 1:2ff.).  Did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.: “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)?  Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in the OT:  “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment” (Isa. 34:4-5)?  In Matthew 24, the context is the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple.  The sun, moon, and stars represented the universe of Israel and her rulers which would fall from her covenantal significance by  A.D. 70 for rejecting Christ and His Apostles and prophets (cf. Matthew 23:31-36). Reformed and Puritan theologian John Owen had this to say of this text,
“And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world.  So Isa. 34:4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom.  And our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24, he sets it out by expressions of the same importance.  It is evident then, that, in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by ‘heavens’ and ‘earth’, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood” (John Owen, Works, Banner of Truth Pub., Vol. 9, 134).
John L. Bray correctly writes of the stars falling from the heavens of Matthew 24:29:
“Jewish writers understood the light to mean the law; the moon, the Sanhedrin; and the stars, the Rabbis.” (John Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, p.125).
“Heaven and earth will pass away”
So far we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the old covenant age in vs. 3, the stars falling from the heavens in vs. 29 to be the religious and civil rulers falling from the places of power when Jerusalem and her Temple was destroyed in AD 70, but what of verse 35 which addresses the “heaven and earth” passing away?  Surely that is referring to the end of planet earth?  Once again there is contextual and a historical hermeneutic within the Christian church to also understand this to be referring to the old covenant heavens and earth and it’s temple.
G.K. Beale’s research indicates,
“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.” (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25). J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.
Reformed theologian John Brown in identifying the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 writes:
“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.” (John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170).
Commentators are correct to identify the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 5:18) as the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 24:35), but the context of both point us to the old covenant system and not the planet earth. According to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-18 if heaven and earth have not passed away, then we are currently under all of the “jots and tittles” of the old covenant law.
And now specifically of the passing of heaven and earth here in our text, Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:
“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . . [T]he principal reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157).
Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70. (John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86. C. Jonathin Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002).
These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when full preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology, anti-preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views. The full preterist combines the two competing “orthodox” views on the coming of the Lord and de-creation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 to form a consistently exegetical and historical position:
1. CLASSIC AMILLENNIAL VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the ONE second coming event as is the de-creation spoken of here.
2. PARTIAL PRETERIST VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man happened spiritually and the end of age, de-creation of verses 3, 29 and 35 are descriptive of the passing of the old covenant creation/age and establishing the new by AD 70.
3. FULL PRETERIST VIEW (Synthesis of 1-2 “Reformed and always reforming”): The coming of the Son of Man is the ONE second coming event (as is the de-creation spoken of in verses 3, 29, 35) whereby Christ came spiritually to the old covenant creation/age in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 and establish the new.
Conclusion on Zionist “Signs” Theology:
We have examined the Dispensational Zionist claims that our generation is the “terminal generation” experiencing the “last days” signs, and therefore expecting an imminent return of Jesus and have found that sound exegesis of these signs and end of the world type language points us to a first century AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” fulfillment.  The Dispensational Zionist interpretation of Matthew 24-25 is using a sensationalistic newspaper approach and not a grammatical historical hermeneutic.
We now turn our attention to the Dispensational Zionist “in the (Holy) Land” Theology.
Dispensational Zionist “In the (Holy) Land” Theology
Dispensationalism argues that Israel under the Abrahamic covenant has not yet inherited all of the land promised by God, in spite of God clearly saying otherwise (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:20-21; Joshua 11:23; 21:41-45; Nehemiah 9:21-25). The objection from Dispensationalists is that Israel has not inherited the land “forever.” Sometimes in Scripture “forever” means forever and other times it simply means a long time. Under the old-covenant God’s promises made to Israel concerning the land had not failed to come to pass. In type and shadow form, through the 40 year reigns of David and in particularly Solomon, Israel received peace “in the land” as promised by God. All the blessings under the old-covenant were realized “in the land.” However, in the N.T. we discover that the anti-type of the Abrahamic promise is found in the gradual 40 year “this generation” pre-parousia reign of Jesus’ and the reception of a “heavenly country” that was “about to come” in the first century (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14YLT). The N.T. emphasis is not “in the land” but rather in a person – “in Christ” through faith. For “in Christ” are all the promises of God realized (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20). The life within the seed and core of the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in the “seed” of Jesus Christ and all those who believe in Him (Jew or Gentile) and become the true new covenant Jew or Jerusalem of God (Galatians 3:6-29; 4:21-31; Romans 2:28-29). Dispensational Zionism teaches that the millennium temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy is a literal temple with animal sacrifices to be performed while Jesus is literally reigning in Jerusalem for a literal thousand years. However, according to the Apostle Paul in Romans and Galatians along with the writer to Hebrews, Christ’s sacrifice is a once and for all atonement which perfects God’s people and the animal sacrifices pointed in type and shadow form to Christ’s sacrifice! Again, the Apostle Paul quotes Ezekiel’s millennial temple prophecy and clearly says that it is the Church that fulfills Ezekiel 37:27/2Corinthians 6:16 (cf. 1 Peter 2:4-6; Ephesians 2:19-22). Jesus says that “according to the Scriptures” (cf. ex:  Ezekiel 47), from out of a Christian’s heart will come “living waters” (cf. John 7:37-39). Christians are the New Jerusalem, New Creation and Bride which came down from heaven when the old-covenant Jerusalem/Adulterous Bride was destroyed “shortly” and “soon” in Revelation 17-22:6-7, 10-12, 20. This heavenly City that comes down from heaven is NOT a “literal” city! The purpose of the establishment and maturity of the New Jerusalem (the Church) in A.D. 70 is that the Church is now prepared to bring the Nations of the world “healing” through the gospel. The reason there is evangelism and “sinners” being born and converted in the New Creation is because it is a description of what is taking place in the New- Covenant age today – Ezekiel 47; Isaiah 65-66/2 Corinthians 5:17; John 8:38; Revelation 22:1-17. Imposing a sensationalist “literal hermeneutic” within the genre of a vision and apocalyptic literature, is a disaster of great proportions for the Church and one that does have political ripples and consequences in how we as a country founded upon Biblical principles understand our foreign policy!
In this section I want to analyze the various “proof texts” that Dispensationalists use to support that 1948 was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. I will focus mainly on the writings of John Hagee and Thomas Ice. We also examine the empty claims of Dispensationalists that OT prophetic material made to Israel cannot be applied or fulfilled in the Church age.
Now days most Dispensationalists are either abandoning the system or going further into it by embracing the “Christian Zionist Movement.” This movement seeks to try and persuade Jews from around the world to move back to Israel in order to usher in the Great Tribulation period and hasten the pre-tribulation “rapture” of the Church. Newspaper prophetic sensation John Hagee has built a foreign policy advocacy organization called Christians United for Israel (CUFI) around this false doctrine and false interpretation of Scripture. He is pushing for a pre-emptive war with Iran to quicken the “rapture.” In 2006 while lobbying in Washington Hagee was clear in his agenda, “The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West,” he said. This was supposed to be a step in the right direction as allegedly mapped out in the Bible, “a biblically prophesied End Time confrontation…which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation…and the Second Coming of Christ.” Hagee not only uses guilt manipulation techniques on the members of his church and T.V. audiences to tithe to his “ministries” through his false “prosperity gospel,” but also uses guilt manipulation to push his false Dispensational Zionism doctrine. Hagee clearly insists that if you are not on board with him and his alleged Holy Spirit led agenda of believing 1948 was a fulfillment of prophecy, and that God has a literal real estate “forever” in the literal city of Jerusalem today, any other view for a Christian to embrace “sin.”[15] It is sad that this false doctrinal system/gospel of Hagee’s is tolerated among Evangelicals and it is more scary when he is allowed to lecture and manipulate our politicians and give them “altar calls” while pushing this agenda as part of his “gospel” of redemption etc…
In Deuteronomy 4:25-31; 28 – 29; and Leviticus 26, God lays forth His covenant with Israel of blessings and cursings. If Israel obeyed God they would be blessed in the land and if they disobeyed, they would be “scattered” among the Nations. The condition for their re-gathering back into the land was repentance and faith. Even though this is clearly laid out in the texts above, Dispensational Premillennialists such as Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum assert (in order to defend their system that 1948 was a prophetic gathering), that Scripture actually addresses two re-gatherings of Israel in the land: 1) in un-belief, and 2) another re-gathering in belief. Thomas Ice quoting his favorite dispensationalist theologian states,
“The re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 has not only thrown a wrench in amillennial thinking, but it has also thrown a chink in much of the premillennial thinking. Amazingly, some premillennialists have concluded that the present state of Israel has nothing to do with the fulfillment of prophecy. For some reason the present state somehow does not fit their scheme of things, and so the present state becomes merely an accident of history. On what grounds is the present state of Israel so dismissed? The issue that bothers so many premillennialists is the fact that not only have the Jews returned in unbelief with regard to Jesus, but the majority of the ones who have returned are not even Orthodox Jews. In fact the majority are atheists or agnostics. Certainly, then, Israel does not fit in with all those passages dealing with the return. For it is a regenerated nation that the Bible speaks of, and the present state of Israel hardly fits that picture. So on these grounds, the present state is dismissed as not being a fulfillment of prophecy.
However, the real problem is the failure to see that the prophets spoke of two international returns. First there was to be a regathering in unbelief in preparation for judgment, namely the judgment of the Tribulation. This was to be followed by a second worldwide regathering in faith in preparation for blessing, namely the blessings of the messianic age. Once it is recognized that the Bible speaks of two such regatherings, it is easy to see how the present state of Israel fits into prophecy.”[16] Ice then seeks to give us some proof texts for this position,
“In 1948 when the modern state of Israel was born, it not only became an important stage-setting development but began an actual fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies about an international regathering of the Jews in unbelief before the judgment of the Tribulation. Such a prediction is found in the following Old Testament passages: Ezekiel 20:33-38; 22:17-22; 36:22-24; 38-39; Isaiah 11:11-12; Zephaniah 2:1-2 presupposes such a setting.” (Ice, Ibid.).
Scripture simply does not teach a prophetic “re-gathering in unbelief” and that is why other dispensationalists are struggling with this position! Let’s briefly address some of these passages that Dispensationalists use as their “proof texts”:
Ezekiel 20:33-38
The context of this passage is dealing with the Babylonian captivity and has nothing to do with Israel being re-gathered back into the land in 1948! The context is that Israel was being unfaithful to God and wanted to be like the heathen nations around them. Therefore, God would take Israel out of her land in the wilderness (symbolic of the Babylonian captivity) and “purge” the wicked there so that the unbelievers would perish as God had purged the unbelieving generation under Moses in the wilderness. So this text actually teaches the opposite of what Dispensationalists say, because it would be the unbelievers who would be purged and die outside the land and not enter it. How is this passage teaching us that unbelievers would be re-gathered in the land of Israel in 1948 “in unbelief” is baffling to say the least!
Paul combines and applies both Isaiah 52:11 and Ezekiel 20:34 to the Church age in 2 Corinthians 6:17 which Dispensationalists claim cannot be done in any way.
Ezekiel 22:18-22
Again, the context is the “near” (vs.3-4) judgment of Israel by means of the Babylonians in B.C. 586 for their sins of spilling innocent blood and idolatry. The unbelievers are “dross” and would “melt.” This prophecy has nothing to do with God gathering Israel in the land in 1948 as a covenant gathered blessing, and it definitely does not teach a gathering of Israel in unbelief in 1948 either!
Ezekiel 36:22-24
The immediate context of this chapter is describing Israel’s sins of idolatry and her sins of blood guilt. For these reasons she was scattered into the Gentile nations and made slaves. As slaves they remained unfaithful to God and were thus a poor witness of Jehovah to the nations in which they were scattered. But God for His own great name sake would cleanse them from their sins and call them back into their land to rebuild the waste places. In type form, this prophecy (and chapter 37) was fulfilled under the restoration of Nehemiah and Ezra when the people came back into the land in repentance and began re-building the waste places of Jerusalem. There is NO contextual evidence whatsoever that there was a “re-gathering” of Israel in “unbelief” let alone any suggestion whatsoever that 1948 is the focus of this prophecy!
Ezekiel 37, 40-48
John Hagee writes of this chapter,
“MORE THAN 2,600 years ago the prophet Ezekiel prophesied the resurrection of Israel from the Gentile graves in the lands to which she had been scattered, predicting the rebirth of Israel, which took place May 14, 1948.”[17] “I want to make it clear that I do not believe that Ezekiel’s vision has anything to do with the resurrection of the dead saints of the church.” (Ibid.).
“The dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision represent the nation of Israel during the Dispora, beginning in A.D. 70 (Ezkek. 37:11).  Gradually the bones came together, and the sinews and flesh came upon them.” (ibid. 130-131).
And popular Calvary Chapel Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie has sought to get his piece of this sensationalistic money making pie as well,
“On more than one occasion in Scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree (see Judg. 9:11; Hos. 9:10; Joel 1:7-8). I believe that Mark 13:28-29, along with many other Scripture passages, such as Ezekiel 37-39, speak of the rebirth of Israel—the regathering of God’s people. When the nation of Israel comes back into the existence, Jesus was stating prophetically, it is a supersign that His coming is near.”[18] Of course some Dispensationalists disagree with Lindsey, LaHaye, Smith, Laurie, Courson, Ice, etc., that Ezekiel 37 has anything to do with 1948,
“The Israelites residing in Palestine today are not the fulfillment of this prophecy.”[19] Everyone agrees that the resurrection depicted in Ezekiel 37 is a “national” resurrection. In other words Israel experienced national and covenantal “death” when she was scattered from her land and experiences a “resurrection” when she is restored back into the land. Again, like chapter 36, this prophecy was partially fulfilled through typology when the two houses of Israel came back into the land under the restoration and leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, both chapters contain elements of Messiah’s work of salvation (the anti-type) with the coming Messianic New Covenant.
Ezekiel 37:22-28 discusses the coming New Covenant King/Shepherd who would cause: 1) His people to possess the land, 2) establish an everlasting covenant of peace with them, 3) multiply them, and 4) “sanctify” them by establishing His “sanctuary” and “tabernacle” in their midst forever.  Oddly in seeking to idolatrize the Dispensational Zionist system, this group actually believes that promises made to OT Israel (such as these NC promises) cannot be fulfilled in and through the NT Church.  These are amazing claims and anyone reading the NT can know without a shadow of doubt that they are false.  Let’s examine them.  Keith Mathison provides a helpful list of quotes from some of Dispensationalism’s leading theologians on this point:
Lewis Sperry Chafer. “That the Christian now inherits the distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture.”
J. Dwight Pentecost. “…it would be impossible for the church to fulfill God’s promises made to Israel.”
Charles C. Ryrie. “The church is not fulfilling in any sense the promises to Israel.” Keith A. Mathison, DISPENSATIONALISM Rightly Dividing the People of God?, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1995), 19 (bold emphasis added).
Are these claims really true?
OLD TESTAMENT TITLES AND ATTRIBUTES OF ISRAEL WHICH ARE, IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, REFERRED TO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (This section is taken from The Church Is Israel Now, By Charles D. Provan – special thanks to Michael Bennett for sharing this):
THE BELOVED OF GOD
A) Israel Is Beloved Of God:
Ex. 15:13, Deut. 33:3, Ezra 3:11
B) Disobedient Israel Is Not Beloved Of God:
Lev. 3:16, Jer. 12:8, Jer. 16:5, Hos. 9:15
C) Christians Are Beloved Of God:
Rom. 9:25, Eph. 5:1, Col. 3:12, 1 John 3:1
THE CHILDREN OF GOD
A) Israel Are The Children Of God:
Ex. 4:22, Deut. 14:1, Isa. 1:2,4, Isa. 1:2,4, Isa. 63:8, Hos. 11:1
B) Disobedient Israel Are Not The Children Of God:
Deut. 32:5, John 8:39, 42, 44
C) Christians Are The Children Of God:
John 1:12, John 11:52, Rom. 8:14,16, 2 Cor. 6:18, Gal. 3:26, Gal. 4:5,6,7, Phil. 2:15, 1 John 3:1
THE FIELD OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Field Of God:
Jer. 12:10
B) Christians Are The Field Of God:
1 Cor. 3:9
THE FLOCK OF GOD AND OF THE MESSIAH
A) Israel Is The Flock Of God And Of The Messiah:
Psa. 78:52, Psa. 80:1, Isa. 40:11, Jer. 23:1,2,3, Jer. 31:10, Eze. 34:12,15,16, Mic. 5:4, Zec. 10:3
B) Christians Are The Flock Of God And Of The Messiah:
John 10:14,16, Heb. 13:20, 1 Pet. 2:25, 1 Pet. 5:2,3
THE HOUSE OF GOD
A) Israel Is The House Of God:
Num. 12:7
B) Christians Are The House Of God:
1 Tim. 3:15, Heb. 3:2,5,6, Heb. 10:21, 1 Pet. 4:17
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Kingdom Of God:
Ex. 19:6, 1 Chr. 17:14, 1 Chr. 28:5
B) Disobedient Israel Is Not The Kingdom Of God:
Matt. 8:11,12, Matt. 21:43
C) Christians Are The Kingdom Of God:
Rom. 14:17, 1 Cor. 4:20, Col. 1:13, Col. 4:11, Rev. 1:6
THE PEOPLE OF GOD
A) The Israelites Are The People Of God:
Ex. 6:7, Deut. 27:9, 2 Sam. 7:23, Jer. 11:4
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The People Of God:
Hos. 1:9, Jer. 5:10
C) The Christians Are The People Of God:
Rom. 9:25, 2 Cor. 6:16, Eph. 4:12, Eph. 5:3, 2 Th. 1:10, Tit. 2:14
THE PRIESTS OF GOD
A) The Israelites Are The Priests Of God:
Ex. 19:6
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Priests Of God:
1 Sam. 2:28,30, Lam. 4:13,16, Eze. 44:10,13, Hos. 4:6, Mal. 2:2,4,8,9
C) The Christians Are The Priests Of God:
1 Pet. 2:5,9, Rev. 1:6, Rev. 5:10
THE VINEYARD OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Vineyard Of God:
Isa. 5:3,4,5,7, Jer. 12:10
B) Christians Are The Vineyard Of God:
Luke 20:16
THE WIFE (OR BRIDE) OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Wife (Or Bride) Of God:
Isa. 54:5,6, Jer. 2:2, Eze. 16:32, Hos. 1:2
B) Disobedient Israelites Is Not The Wife (Or Bride) Of God:
Jer. 3:8, Hos. 2:2
C) The Christians Are The Wife (Or Bride) Of God:
2 Cor. 11:2, Eph. 5:31,32
THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
A) The Israelites Are The Children Of Abraham:
2 Chr. 20:7, Psa. 105:6, Isa. 41:8
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Children Of Abraham:
John 8:39, Rom. 9:6,7, Gal. 4:25,30
C) The Christians Are The Children Of Abraham:
Rom. 4:11,16, Gal. 3:7,29, Gal. 4:23,28,31
THE CHOSEN PEOPLE
A) The Israelites Are The Chosen People:
Deut. 7:7, Deut. 10:15, Deut. 14:2, Isa. 43:20,21
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Chosen People:
Deut. 31:17, 2 Ki. 17:20, 2 Chr. 25:7, Psa. 78:59, Jer. 6:30, Jer. 7:29, Jer. 14:10
C) The Christians Are The Chosen People:
Col. 3:12, 1 Pet. 2:9
THE CIRCUMCISED
A) The Israelites Are The Circumcised:
Gen. 17:10, Jud. 15:18
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Circumcised:
Jer. 9:25,26, Rom. 2:25,28, Phil. 3:2
C) The Christians Are The Circumcised:
Rom. 2:29, Phil. 3:3, Col. 2:11
ISRAEL
A) Israel is Israel
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not Israelites:
Num. 15:30,31, Deut. 18:19, Acts 3:23, Rom. 9:6
C) The Christians Are Israel:
John 11:50,51,52, 1 Cor. 10:1, Gal. 6:15,16, Eph. 2:12,19
JERUSALEM
A) Jerusalem Is the City And Mother Of Israel:
Psa. 149:2, Isa. 12:6, Isa. 49:18,20,22, Isa. 51:18, Lam. 4:2
B) Jerusalem Is The City And Mother Of Christians:
Gal. 4:26, Heb. 12:22
THE JEWS
A) Israelites Are Jews
Ezr. 5:1, Jer. 34:8,9, Zech. 8:22,23
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not Jews:
Rom. 2:28, Rev. 2:9, Rev. 3:9
C) The Christians Are Jews:
Rom. 2:29
THE NEW COVENANT
A) The New Covenant Is With Israel:
Jer. 31:31,33
B) The New Covenant Is With The Christians:
Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 8:6,8,10
AN OLIVE TREE
A) Israel Is An Olive Tree:
Jer. 11:16, Hos. 14:6
B) The Christians Are An Olive Tree:
Rom. 11:24
OLD TESTAMENT VERSES REFERRING TO ISRAEL WHICH ARE QUOTED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AS REFERRING TO THE CHRISTIANS
QUOTE #1
Lev. 26:11,12, Eze. 37:27, 2 Cor. 6:16
QUOTE #2
Deut. 30:12-14, Rom. 10:6-8
QUOTE #3
Deut. 31:6, Heb. 13:5
QUOTE #4
Deut. 32:36, Psa. 135:14, Heb. 10:30
QUOTE #5
Psa. 22:22, Heb. 2:12
QUOTE #6
Psa. 44:22, Rom. 8:36
QUOTE #7
Psa. 95:7-11, Heb. 3:7-11
QUOTE #8
Psa. 130:8, Tit. 2:14
QUOTE #9
Isa. 28:16, Rom. 10:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:6
QUOTE #10
Isa. 49:8, 2 Cor. 6:2
QUOTE #11
Isa. 52:7, Rom. 10:15
QUOTE #12
Isa. 54:1, Gal. 4:27
QUOTE #13
Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:8-12
QUOTE #14
Hos. 1:10; 2:23, Rom. 9:25-26, 1 Pet. 2:10
QUOTE #15
Hos. 13:14, 1 Cor. 15:55
QUOTE #16
Joel. 2:32, Rom. 10:13

Dispensationalists believe that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel in such passages as Isaiah 11, 35, 43, 44, 61; Ezekiel 11, 28, 34, 37; Jeremiah 16, 18, were made exclusively to Israel and therefore cannot be fulfilled in and through the Church “in any sense.” Dispensational Zionist John Hagee believes these passages motivate the Church to get Jews around the world to re-inhabit Israel today in order to hasten the “rapture” of the Church and usher in the last days World War III event.[21] However, the context of these passages and how they are understood by the NT authors, make it clear that these “gathering in the land” promises were fulfilled 70 years after the Babylonian captivity under the restoration ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah (in type or partial fulfillment form), which pointed to them being ultimately fulfilled in Christ and through the Church (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Dispensationalism argues that Israel under the Abrahamic covenant has not yet inherited all of the land promised by God, in spite of God clearly saying otherwise (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:20-21; Joshua 11:23; 21:41-45; Nehemiah 9:21-25). The objection from Dispensationalists is that Israel has not inherited the land “forever.” Sometimes in Scripture “forever” means forever and other times it simply means a long time.  In the passages listed above, God’s promises made to Israel concerning the land had not failed to come to pass. Indeed in type and shadow form, through the 40 year reigns of David and in particularly Solomon, Israel received peace in all the land that God had promised to give Israel. All the blessings under the Old Covenant were realized “in the land.” However, in the NT we discover that the anti-type and “true” fulfillments of the Abrahamic promise is found in the gradual 40 year “this generation” pre-parousia reign of Jesus and the reception of a “heavenly country” that was “about to come” in the first century (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14YLT). The writer to Hebrews (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) applies the New Covenant Promised Land, City, Tabernacle/Temple, Mount Zion, Sabbath/Rest/Inheritance and Kingdom promises made to Old Covenant Israel to the Church with the reception of these promises to be fulfilled at Christ’s “in a very little while” coming in which He would “not tarry” (Heb. 1-10:37). The NT emphasis is not “in the land” but rather in a person – “in Christ” through faith. For “in Christ” and through the Church, are all the OT promises of God realized and fulfilled (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20).
The New Covenant promises
Since the gathering back into the land and New Covenant prophecies of Jeremiah 30-31parallel much of the same historical re-gathering and New Covenant material found in Ezekiel 37, we should probably examine the blatantly unbiblical comments of dispensationalists who claim that the New Covenant promises made to Israel are not being fulfilled in the Church. Dwight Pentecost writes,
“the Church cannot be presently fulfilling the New Covenant.” John Walvoord agrees, saying that “the New Covenant is with Israel and awaits the second coming of Christ for its fulfillment.” (Mathison, Ibid. 28)
Pentecost concedes that if the Church has been redeemed with the blood of Christ under the New Covenant, then the other covenants must also be applied to the Church and that would mean that the Bible does not teach an earthly millennium,
“The whole covenant takes on importance, in addition, for amillennialism attempts to show that the church is fulfilling Israel’s covenants because the church today is redeemed by the blood. If the church fulfills this covenant, she may also fulfill the other covenants made with Israel and there is no need for an earthly millennium.”[22]
Charles Ryrie claims that the Bible condemns Dispensatinalism if the New Covenant is being fulfilled by the Church,
“If the church is fulfilling Israel’s promises as contained in the new covenant or anywhere in the Scriptures, then [dispensational] premillennialism is condemned.”[23]
These are obviously startling statements to say the very least. How can any Christian claim that he or she has not been redeemed by the blood of Christ’s blood under the New Covenant when the Scriptures are so clear that we are? The answer is that these men have become so engrossed in defending their eschatological system, that this has forced them into rejecting foundational elements to the gospel and indeed the Christian faith.
One King
Jesus began fulfilling the Davidic Covenant or “One King” prophecies of (Ezek. 37:22; Jer. 30:9) at His ascension (Heb. 1-2).  Every element that is required for a King to reign is given to Christ through the Church. He was seated on a throne and rules through a City and Nation—that is the Church (1 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 12; Gals. 4). The sending of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Davidic and New Covenant is the focus of attention in (37:24ff.).
One Shepherd with one flock
Jesus would be Israel’s “one shepherd” who’s sheep would walk in His judgments and observe His teachings and do them (Ezk. 37:24). This prophecy is clearly fulfilled in the words of Jesus in John 10 and 17. Obviously OT promises made to Israel are being applied to the Church–the New Covenant fold of God! In the striking and sacrifice of the True Shepherd, the everlasting New Covenant (v. 25) seals the sheep’s/Churches salvation (Mark 14:27; Mt. 26:28; Heb. 8, 12:24, 13:20).
A New Covenant Temple, Peace and Sacrifices
The New Covenant of peace and temple motif began with Christ sending the Holy Spirit within His people. It would be competed and matured when He returned in AD 70 for them. At this time God placed His glory and everlasting peace “within” the Church who is the ultimate New Covenant fulfillment of the Temple promises (Hag. 2:9/Jn. 14). Christ and the Church are the fulfillment of Israel’s New Covenant Tabernacle/Sanctuary/Temple promises with Christ being the chief corner stone  (Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22-23/“the builders rejected”/Acts 4 “YOU rejected”/Mt. 21:33-45/1Pet. 2:4 -10; Ezk. 37:27/2 Cor. 6:16; Ephs. 2:19-20; Amos 9:11-12/Acts 15:7-19).  God’s New Covenant/Temple/Kingdom plans for Israel were not postponed because of Jesus’ rejection and sacrifice (per Dispensationalism), but rather this rejection of the nation and belief of the remnant and the Gentiles established and began fulfilling God’s Kingdom promises made to Israel with Christ’s return in AD 70 bringing them to full maturity. While here in Ezekiel 37 and on the temple motif alone, we see Paul quoting Ezekiel 37:27 in 2 Corinthians 6:16 and applying this prophecy to the Church! But Dispensationalists seem oblivious to the hermeneutics of Paul and remain adamant that this is somehow a prophetic description of a “literal” rebuilt temple in the millennial age,
“These promises anticipate the detailed plans for God’s new sanctuary (chaps. 40-43). This literal structure will serve as a visual object lesson to Israel and the nations of God’s presence in the midst of His people.” (Walvoord & Zuck, Ibid., 1299).
BUT Paul claims that the Church is the fulfillment of these temple/millennial promises and says nothing about a literal “rebuilt” temple in order to fulfill Israel’s millennial promises thousands of years off in the future!
One of the most disturbing elements within Dispensationalism’s “literal hermeneutic,” is that within this literal rebuilt temple, animal sacrifices will be re-instituted. Some Dispensationalists such as Scofield gave the farm away by claiming that it is possible that the sacrifices in Ezekiel’s temple prophecy are not to be interpreted literally,
“The references to sacrifices is not to be taken literally, in view of the putting away of such offerings, but is rather to be regarded as a presentation of the worship of redeemed Israel, in her own land and in the millennial temple, using the terms with which the Jews were familiar in Ezekiel’s day”[24]
But obviously it only stands to reason, that if the sacrifices are not to be interpreted literally, then neither should the altar or the entire temple structure itself (in which theses sacrifices are offered) to be interpreted literally!
Unfortunately, most Dispensationalists seek to defend that these are literal animal sacrifices taking place after Christ has returned to Jerusalem and sits on his literal throne,
“However no difficulty exists if one understands the proper function of these sacrifices. First, animal sacrifices never took away human sin; only the sacrifice of Christ can do that (Heb. 10:1-4, 10). In Old Testament times Israelites were saved by grace through faith, and the sacrifices helped restore a believer’s fellowship with God. Second, even after the church began, Jewish believers did not hesitate to take part in the temple worship (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:42) and even to offer sacrifices (Acts 21:26). They could do this because they viewed the sacrifices as memorials of Christ’s death.” (Walvoord & Zuck, Ibid., 1305).
First of all, the writer of this statement (Charles H. Dyer) fails to acknowledge that the writer to the Hebrews applies the sacrifice of Christ’s blood of the New Covenant to the Church thus “condemning” (Ryrie’s term) Dispensationalism altogether (Heb. 7-10, 12).
Secondly, I appreciate the admission by Mr. Dyer, that Jewish Christians were obeying the Old Covenant Mosaic Law, because this is what Jesus clearly taught they should do in Matthew 5:17-19 before He fulfilled it all. Here Jesus instructs that ALL the jots and tittles of the Mosaic Old Covenant Law are to be obeyed UNTIL: 1) heaven and earth passes away, which is equivalent to the time period of when 2) all the Law would be fulfilled. Dispensationalist Thomas Ice seems oblivious to what this text says and actually cites it to claim that the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in Christ’s first coming,
“The Mosaic Covenant…” “…was fulfilled through the ministry of Jesus Christ during His first advent (Matthew 5:17). (Ice, Charting the End Times, Ibid., 79).
But clearly the Old Covenant Law was not all fulfilled in Christ’s first coming, but was binding and should be obeyed until heaven and earth passes away or it is all fulfilled. But since the futurist interprets “heaven and earth” here as the planet having not yet vanished, this necessitates that the Church today should be obeying all of the Mosaic Law—including the animal sacrifices. However, the truth is that the Christian Jews did participate in temple worship and animal sacrifices during a particularly unique period (“this generation” roughly AD 30-70) in which the Old Covenant was still being fulfilled by Jesus and the New was reaching its full maturity. According to the writer to the Hebrews, the Old Covenant Law was still in the process of “aging” and would “soon vanish” at Christ’s “in a very little while” return in which the “about to” reception of the New Jerusalem/Creation would take place (Heb. 8:13-10:37-13:14YLT). This all took place “soon” when the Old Covenant Mosaic Temple was destroyed at Christ’s return in AD 70. Dispensationalists (and most futurists) concede that “soon” in (Hebrews 8:13) is a literal time statement that most likely applies to AD 70,
“…the author’s words suggest that he recalled the prophecy of Jesus that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed (Matt. 24:1-2). Probably this prophecy was fulfilled soon after Hebrews was written. If so, it was a dramatic confirmation of the writer’s thesis about the Old Covenant.”[26]
But unfortunately once in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, the abomination and desolation of this same first century temple Jesus and the disciples are looking at and discussing, becomes an alleged rebuilt one thousands of years removed from them. How you might ask? Apparently all it takes is a wave from the eisegetical wand of Dispensational theology. And although the literally “soon” vanishing of the Old Covenant in (Hebrews 8:13) applies to the temple being destroyed in AD 70, Christ’s coming in a “very little while” in which He would “not delay” in (Hebrews 10:37) is spiritualized away by these “literalists” and finds no contextual harmony with their literal interpretation of “soon” in (Hebrews 8:13)!
Once the Mosaic Law was all fulfilled and it “soon vanished” at Christ’s imminent return in AD 70, there is no Scriptural support for the statement that “The Old Covenant Is Not Dead.” (Hagee, In Defense, Ibid., 158). God indeed has kept His vows and has not altered His covenant promises, sending Jesus in a literally “some standing here,” “this generation,” “soon,” “in a very little while” time period in order to fulfill all of Israel’s promises by AD 70. For Dispensationalism to claim otherwise and return to the prophecies contained in the prophets and Old Covenant Law for support of another re-built temple with animal sacrifices, is a complete reversal of what the book of Hebrews teaches. The writer instructs us that redemption moves from physical Old Covenant types and shadows to their spiritual New Covenant substances and “true” fulfillments in Christ and through the Church. The writer says nothing about all of the Old Covenant Law being fulfilled in Christ’s earthly ministry, and neither does he teach that it is “not dead” and will somehow come back to life again thousands of years off in the future with another re-built temple for Israel! These concepts are literally READ INTO THE PAGES OF THE NT with millions of Evangelical Christians asleep and refusing to be Bereans and hold these men accountable!
Dispensationalists claim that other OT passages such as Isaiah 66:20-23 teach the literal temple and sacrifice motif to take place in our future. And yet Paul references this passage in Romans 15:16 to demonstrate that he was a priest (in the temple predicted by Isaiah) offering up as a sacrifice the Gentiles (not literal animals). The prophecies in Isaiah that Dispensationalists reference as “proof texts” concerning the Jews and Gentiles coming to the “last days” Holy Mountain/Mount Zion/Temple, Jesus and the NT authors identify as being spiritual and fulfilled in the Church (John 4; Hebrews 12; Ephesians 2; 1 Peter 2).
Conclusion
The Dispensational Zionist movement may claim to be a “Christian” movement directed by the Holy Spirit, but what we have found (through sound exegesis) is to the contrary.  It’s founders (such as John Hagee) are confused on very simple elements to the gospel.  They have adopted a “newspaper” sensationalistic approach to Bible prophecy instead of an exegetical one.  They are oblivious to what Christ and the NT’s  teaching means to be “in Christ” (and not “in the land”) where all prophecy is fulfilled.  Like the hardened first century Jew rejected Christ’s and the NT’s teaching on an AD 30 – AD 70 imminent arrival of the parousia, judgment and resurrection of the dead, and arrival of the New Creation (the “kingdom” promises) due to a hyper-literal hermeneutic — so too has the “Christian” Dispensational Zionist followed.  It’s “Christian” tradition is not the “tradition” I see in the NT.  Rather, they have sought to “make null and void” God’s teaching in these matters, “due to their (unbiblical) traditions.”   Selah.

 


[1] Julia Duin, “San Antonio Fundamentalist Battles Anti-Semitism,” The Houston Chronicle, 30 April 1988, 1., Pastor John Hagee, CRI Statement, http://www.equip.org/article/pastor-john-hagee/#christian-books-3
[2] Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, back-cover, p.144, New York: Bantam, 1980.
[3] Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35.

IS JESUS STILL IN A PHYSICAL BODY POST AD 30? IF JESUS DIDN'T COME BACK LITERALLY AND THERE WAS NO LITERAL RESURRECTION IN AD 70 DOES THAT MEAN FULL PRETERISM IS FALSE? CAN SOULS BE RAISED? ARE DEAD CHRISTIANS "SUB-HUMAN" WITHOUT THEIR PHYSICAL BODIES? IF SO WAS JESUS "SUB-HUMAN" FOR THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS?

By:  Michael J. Sullivan & David A. Green
In the second edition of our book, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” we thoroughly responded to Futurist critics that have attempted to refute Full Preterism with such objections as these:

  • Jesus’s Second Coming couldn’t have occurred in AD 70, because He didn’t literally or bodily return at that time.
  • Souls cannot be raised or resurrected according to Scripture.
  • Since Jesus was raised in a literal body (which Full Preterists agree) and will forever have a physical body (which Full Preterists do not agree – being a Futurist assumption), this disproves that the resurrection of the dead took place in AD 70 as well.

This has created bizarre futurist doctrines, contradictions among their theologians and disturbing Christological implications for Futurism such as:

  • People when they die are “sub-humans” or not fully human until they are raised into a physical body at the end of time.  Which would have to infer and teach that Jesus Himself was “sub-human” or not “fully human” for three days.
  • Death is some kind of an illusion or it only “appears” that the body and soul are separated at death – which Docetism not Christianity.

As David Green writes,
“It comes down to this:  If we are going to argue that a man is nonhuman in the sight of God without his physicality, then we either have to say that Christ was non-human for three days and nights (because He was without His body), or we have to say that the separation of His body and  spirit on the Cross was in “appearance” only (Docetism).  Since neither  of these views can be accepted, it follows that the endurance of man’s humanity before God is not contingent on his physicality.” (HD, 244).
We deal with these objections and discuss these issues on the following pages:  102-109 (dealing with Acts 1:9-11), 153-154 (dealing with Revelation 1:6-13), 188-193 (dealing with the objection that souls allegedly can’t be raised), 242-245 (dealing with 1 John 4:3 and the alleged “illusion of death” Docetism doctrine).  I will simply quote excerpts from our book chronologically in page order.
In Like Manner Acts 1:9-11 (HD, pp. 102-109)
By Michael J. Sullivan
Like Manner 
Mathison argues: Jesus ascended visibly and bodily. Then He vanished from sight in a cloud (Acts 1:9). Acts 1:11 says that He will return in the same manner that He departed. This has not happened yet (184–188, 204). Therefore, Acts 1:11 is not yet fulfilled.
Response: 
After speaking to His apostles about the kingdom over a period of forty days, Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem and to wait for the fulfillment of the Father’s promise of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said would take place “not many days from now.” This prompted the disciples to ask Him in verse six about the timing of the kingdom’s arrival. “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus did not give them a day or hour, but He reminded them in verse eight of the sign of the Great Commission which had to be accomplished before He would restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:8; Matt. 24:3, 14). Mathison, ignoring the immediate context, states:
The first thing that must be observed when we examine this account is that no reference to time is connected with the prediction of the return of Christ. (185)
However, in another book Mathison #2 admits:
The time frame is hinted at in the preceding context. The disciples are given a commission to be Christ’s witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The implication is that Christ’s visible return will follow the completion of the mission to the remotest part of the earth.”[1] According to Mathison in the above quote, when the Great Commission in verse 8 is fulfilled, then the Second Coming of verse 11 will occur. Mathison’s contention that there are two Great Commissions given in the New Testament—one fulfilled before AD 70 and another that will be fulfilled before the allegedly yet-future Second (Third) Coming—is altogether arbitrary. It is a position he is forced to take because of his flawed, partial preterist framework—like his doctrines of two “last days” in the New Testament, and of two future “comings” of Christ in the New Testament, and of his divided sections separated by 2000+ years in Matthew 24 and in Matthew 16:27–28 and in other Scriptures.
Mathison breaks again from the majority of Reformed, Evangelical, and preterist theologians, who see one Great Commission in the Gospels and in the book of Acts, instead of two. Mathison’s dichotomizing approach to the Great Commission does not merit a serious rebuttal and can be rejected out of hand.
Since the Second Coming is fulfilled after the Great Commission, and since there is only one Great Commission, and since the Great Commission was fulfilled in Christ’s generation, it follows that the Second Coming was fulfilled in those days as well. The gospel was preached to the world; “then” the end came (Matt. 24:14). The following chart proves that the Great Commission was fulfilled in the first century.

Prophecy

Fulfillment

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

Therefore, I have proven that the in-like-manner Second Coming of Christ was also fulfilled in the first century.
After commanding His disciples to take possession of the kingdom through the Great Commission, Jesus ascended in a cloud, hidden from the disciples’ sight (Acts 1:9). Mathison insists that Jesus’ physical body was seen for some period of time as He ascended into the sky. However, verse nine simply says, “He was lifted up, and a cloud received Him from their eyes.” Jesus was certainly seen just before He was “lifted up” (Acts 1:9). But it is not at all certain that He was directly seen as He ascended into the sky.
In verse 11, the disciples were told that Jesus would come in the manner that they had seen Him enter heaven (the sky). The continuity of Him coming as He had entered heaven is found in the fact that He would come in the heavenly glory-cloud of His Father (Matt. 16:27). Jesus was not physically seen after He was received into the glory-cloud.
It was while He was hidden from sight in that cloud that He was indirectly seen entering the sky. And He was to come in like manner.
Therefore, He would not be physically or directly seen when He came “in like manner,” in the cloud, to indwell His church in the end of the old covenant age (Luke 17:20–37; John 14:2–3, 23).
Mathison errs when he says that Jesus was going to come back in the same way that He “departed.” The Scriptures say that Jesus would come in the same way He had entered the sky. He entered the sky hidden from literal eye sight in the cloud of God’s glory.
Here is the order of events:
1. As they looked, He was taken up (Acts 1:9).
2. A cloud received Him from their eyes (Acts 1:9).
These first two events could very well have happened simultaneously.  As Mathison himself admits, the verse could be translated, “He was lifted up; that is, a cloud received Him out of their sight.”[2]  It is a very real possibility that Jesus was instantly hidden in the cloud at the moment His feet left the earth.
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).
In the Old Testament, God was never literally or directly seen coming in His glory when He judged or saved Israel and other nations. Jesus was not literally seen again after He entered the cloud of God’s glory.
He was “taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16) and He would come in glory as the Ancient of Days.
The Lord God had become flesh. John bore testimony to the fact that looking at and touching Jesus was to look at and touch God Himself (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1). God was physically seen in the flesh, but this was temporary for the second person of the Godhead (Heb. 5:7), even as He had been born into and under the old covenant system with its temporal types and shadows (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 5–8; 2 Cor. 3; Heb. 8:13).[3]  Ironically, the point of the question, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky,” was that Jesus was not going to return to His physical form. It was futile for the disciples to long for Jesus to return to the earthly form He had taken when He was born of Mary. In His ascension, Jesus had returned to His pre-incarnate glory. The question of the two men was rhetorical, and it meant, “There is no use in standing here longing for Jesus to return to you and to be as He was in the days of His flesh. He will come, but He will come in the manner you saw Him enter heaven—hidden from physical eyes in the cloud of the Father’s glory.”
We agree with the majority of commentators and cross reference systems which see the in-like-manner coming of Jesus in Acts 1:11 as being parallel with the coming of Jesus on or in the cloud(s) in Matthew 16:27–28, 24:30–31, 26:64–68; Luke 21:27, and Revelation 1:7. Mathison and Gentry, however, wrench Acts 1:11 from those Scriptures.
They admit that Christ was figuratively “seen” (perceived, understood) at a figurative “coming” in/on the clouds in AD 70, but they deny that this was the fulfillment of Acts 1:11.
This brings us to another problem. Mathison writes of Matthew 24:30 in his book Postmillennialism:
. . . [T]he “coming” of the Son of Man is His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem (see vv. 23–28), which is intimately connected with His ascension to the right hand of God (cf. Dan. 7:13–14).[4] Later, in WSTTB, Mathison goes further and identifies the Ascension with the coming of Christ in AD 70:
. . . [W]hen [Jesus] makes reference to “the coming of the Son of Man,” . . . He may have been referring . . . to his ascension . . . and the judgment on Jerusalem. . . . ” (182, emphasis added)
For Mathison, Christ’s “coming” in Daniel 7:13–14 is somehow both a literal, visible “going up” in a literal cloud in about AD 30 and a figurative “coming” to Jerusalem from heaven in figurative clouds in AD 70. The confusion inherent in this position is plain enough.  Mathison says that “the coming of the Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13–14 is a reference to the Ascension. But then Mathison says that when Jesus used the term, He was referring to the Ascension and to the destruction of Jerusalem. Yet there is not one instance where Jesus spoke of the coming of the Son of Man where it can be taken to be a reference to His Ascension. In every case, it is His coming to earth in judgment and salvation. But this is only the tip of the Iceberg of Confusion.
Even though Mathison says that Jesus’ “coming” in AD 70 was “intimately connected with His ascension,” and even though Mathison says that both the Ascension and His coming in judgment in AD 70 are equally “the coming of the Son of Man,” and even though Mathison admits that both events were with a cloud/clouds and in the glory of the Father, and that both events were seen (Acts 1:11; Matt. 26:64), Mathison nevertheless maintains that Jesus’ “coming” in AD 70 was not the “in-like-manner” coming promised in Acts 1:11. Mathison’s position is an ineffable tangle of exegetical double vision, contradiction, and consummate confusion.
Partial Preterist Milton Terry, in contrast, took a lucid, biblical approach, seeing Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7 as all being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in the end of the age:
Whatever the real nature of the parousia, as contemplated in this prophetic discourse, our Lord unmistakably associates it with the destruction of the temple and city, which he represents as the signal termination of the pre-Messianic age. The coming on clouds, the darkening of the heavens, the collapse of elements, are, as we have shown above, familiar forms of apocalyptic language, appropriated from the Hebrew prophets.  Acts i, 11, is often cited to show that Christ’s coming must needs be spectacular, “in like manner as ye beheld him going into the heaven.” But (1) in the only other three places where [“in like manner”] occurs, it points to a general concept rather than the particular form of its actuality. Thus, in Acts vii, 28, it is not some particular manner in which Moses killed the Egyptian that is notable, but rather the certain fact of it. In 2 Tim. iii, 8, it is likewise the fact of strenuous opposition rather than the special manner in which Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. And in Matt. xxiii, 37, and Luke xiii, 34, it is the general thought of protection rather than the visible manner of a mother bird that is intended. Again (2), if Jesus did not come in that generation, and immediately after the great tribulation that attended the fall of Jerusalem, his words in Matt. xvi, 27, 28, xxiv, 29, and parallel passages are in the highest degree misleading. (3) To make the one statement of the angel in Acts i, 11, override all the sayings of Jesus on the same subject and control their meaning is a very one-sided method of biblical interpretation. But all the angel’s words necessarily mean is that as Jesus has ascended into heaven so he will come from heaven. And this main thought agrees with the language of Jesus and the prophets.[5] As Mathison admits in one book but denies in another, the immediate context links Christ’s in-like-manner return to the fulfillment of the Great Commission (v. 8; Matt. 24:14, 27, 30; Rom. 10:18). The Great Commission was fulfilled in Christ’s generation. Jesus was “lifted up” and hidden from sight in the cloud of glory. He ascended into the sky hidden in the cloud, as His disciples watched. He was to come in the same manner in which the disciples saw Him enter into the sky: hidden in the cloud of the glory of His Father. He was “seen” in that Day in the same way that Yahweh was “seen” whenever He came on a cloud to judge nations in the Old Testament.
This was the one and only future coming of Christ that was promised in the New Testament. Therefore, Christ returned in AD 70. The analogy of Scripture confirms this interpretation. It does not confirm Mathison’s, which rips Acts 1:9–11 from its immediate and broader New Testament contexts. We agree with Terry’s comments on Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7. “We accept upon the testimony of the Scriptures”[6] that Christ returned on/in a cloud/clouds in that generation.
“Honey, I Shrunk the Angels” (HD, pp. 153-154)
By Michael J. Sullivan
Kistemaker argues that Jesus’ physical resurrection body is eternal and that it now literally “sits on God’s throne” (240).  Kistemaker attempts to prove this claim by using Revelation 1:13–16.  He points out that in this passage Jesus is described as wearing a robe that reaches down to his feet, and as having a golden sash around his chest, and a head with white hair, and blazing eyes, and feet as bronze, and a mouth, and a human voice, and a right hand, and a face as radiant as the sun (240, 252).
Kistemaker interprets the book of Revelation in a highly symbolic manner, even more symbolically than “hyper-preterists” interpret it at times.  Yet he is woodenly literal in the above passage.  But more to the point, he neglects to mention that the above passage also says that Jesus was holding “the angels of the seven churches” (the “seven stars”) in his (supposedly literal) hand (Rev. 1:16, 20).  Kistemaker does not explain why those seven angels were reduced in size so that they could fit in Jesus’ physical hand.  (Nor does Kistemaker tell us how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.)
Kistemaker also does not mention that Jesus is depicted here as having a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His supposedly literal mouth (Rev. 2:16), and that in Revelation 19:11, He is depicted as riding on a horse in the sky, and that in Revelation 19:12 He has “many crowns” on His head, and that in Revelation 19:13 He is wearing a bloody robe.
To make matters worse, note the contradiction between Kistemaker in WSTTB, and Kistemaker in his New Testament Commentary on Revelation:
Kistemaker, WSTTB:  “Jesus’ appearance to John at Patmos was not spiritual, but physical, for John saw his head, face, mouth, eyes, hair, chest, right hand, and feet ([Rev.] 1:13–16) (252)
Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary:  “[Rev. 1:16] lists three physical features [of Jesus]: his right hand, his mouth, and his face. These features ought to be understood not literally but symbolically. . . ”
Kistemaker’s commentary was first printed in 2001, and was most recently reprinted in 2007.  So we have Kistemaker saying that the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:16 was symbolic/spiritual in 2001, then saying it was physical/literal in 2004 (WSTTB), then back to saying it was symbolic/spiritual in 2007.  As with Mathison, Kistemaker must temporarily change his preterist exegeses when he is attempting, in vain, to refute full preterism.”[7] Can Souls Be Raised?  (HD, pp. 188-193)[8]
By David A. Green   
Strimple Argument #11: We know that the resurrection of the dead will be physical because there is no such thing as a non-physical resurrection of a physically dead person (296-297, 299-300, 326).
Answer: The short answer to this argument is that the Bible does not teach that there is no such thing as a non-physical resurrection of a physically dead person. Regeneration is a non-physical resurrection, and nowhere does the Bible exclude the old covenant dead from that resurrection. Jesus in fact referred to the resurrection of the dead as “the regeneration” or rebirth (Matt. 19:28), and the Scriptures elsewhere imply that the physically dead saints were “born” out of Death and Hades.  (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5; see answer to Strimple Argument #6 above.)
Now the long answer: This answer is lengthy because Strimple’s argument above opens up a futurist “can of worms.” I ask the reader to bear with me as I navigate through a tangled web of futurist reasoning.
Strimple agrees with preterists that “resurrection” (the word and the concept) can be used as imagery and metaphor, such as when Israel was promised a “resurrection” to its land in Ezekiel 37:1-4. But, says Strimple on page 326 (quoting Raymond E. Brown), when it comes to physically dead people, there is “no other kind of resurrection” than a physical resurrection. On page 296, Strimple quotes Murray Harris as saying, “No one could be said to be resurrected while his corpse lay in a tomb.” And on page 297, Strimple says that the use of the modifier “bodily” in the term “bodily resurrection” is redundant, because a physically dead person can only be raised physically/bodily.
Additionally, on pages 299 and 300, Strimple argues that the Greek word for “resurrection” (“anastasis,” literally, “standing up” or “standing again”), when used in reference to physically dead people, always meant to first-century Jews and Greeks alike, the resurrection of the physical aspect of man in contrast to the soul. Strimple supports this claim by quoting Tertullian, who said that anastasis cannot refer to the soul because only the physical part of man can fall down, lie down, sleep, and “stand up.”
Now that we have established Strimple’s teaching on the anastasis/resurrection of physically dead people in WSTTB let us confer with Strimple’s refutation of premillennialism in the book, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (TVMB). In that book, Strimple actually teaches that anastasis (“standing up,” resurrection) in Revelation 20:4 refers to a non-physical soul-resurrection of physically dead people.
He defines the “resurrection” in that Scripture as the ushering in of the disembodied (non-physical) “soul” of a believer upon biological death into the presence of Christ to reign with Him. Strimple even goes so far in that book as to say that physical death for the believer today is “in truth a [non-bodily] resurrection into the very presence of the Savior in heaven” (Emphasis added) (TVMB, 125-127, 261-262, 276).
If this were not confusing enough, on pages 319–320 and 337 of WSTTB Strimple says (quoting John Murray and Murdoch Dahl) that dead believers today—even though they have been resurrected “into the very presence of the Savior in heaven”—are actually experiencing punishment and “condemnation” under the curse of “sin,” “death,” and “corruption.” He says that our departed loved ones are actually in a state of soul-and-body death (“psycho-physical death,” as Strimple calls it). He says they are actually in a “dreadful” state (319). Quoting Rudolf Bultmann, he teaches that they are even in a state of “horror,” and that Jesus Himself was in the same horrific state before He was raised from the dead (320).[8] Finally, Strimple adds that our departed brothers and sisters who are with Christ today are non-human, i.e., non-man. They are no longer of the same human nature as Christ, and will remain sub-humans until they are resurrected at the end of human history. (More on this below) So we see that when Strimple is refuting premillennialists, he portrays the Bible as teaching a present-day, non-physical resurrection of physically dead believers into the very presence of the Savior in heaven where they are reigning with Him. But when Strimple is refuting preterists, he portrays the Bible as teaching strictly and only a physical resurrection of physically dead saints, and he says that disembodied saints today are in a state of punishment where they are longing for the day when they will no longer be sin-cursed, condemned, sub-human, and in a dreadful state of horror.[9] In 1993, in a paper he presented in Mt. Dora, Florida, Strimple suggested that physically dead persons cannot experience a non-physical resurrection. Then in 1999, in TVMB, Strimple taught that physically dead persons do experience a non-physical resurrection. Then in 2004, in WSTTB, Strimple reverted to teaching that physically dead persons cannot experience a non-physical resurrection. It seems that some of Strimple’s central theological convictions come and go roughly every six years, depending on who he is refuting.
The incredible tension between Strimple’s positions here is not “paradox.”  It is not an expression of “already but not yet.” Strimple’s views are none other than the consummate example of radical contradiction.
Throughout his chapter Strimple makes much of the fact that preterists disagree with other preterists. Yet as we have seen in this book, futurists such as Keith Mathison and Robert Strimple not only disagree with other futurists, they disagree with their own faith-convictions.
In view of the fact that some of the authors of WSTTB have made their own interpretations of Scripture a proverbial “nose of wax” that can be reshaped for the sake of expedience (304), we can begin to see why it is appropriate that their book was called a “reformed” response.  Nevertheless, Strimple deems himself a worthy judge to call into question the doctrinal “credibility” of preterists (300, 335-336).
To be fair, Strimple and Mathison are not the only ones guilty of wild self-contradiction. The guilt belongs to the futurist camp as a whole. At funeral services, departed believers are said to be in the highest Heaven beholding the face of the Lord. But in seminary classrooms, departed believers are said to be in Hades waiting for the Last Day at the end of human history, when Hades will be cast into the Lake of Fire and believers will finally be able to behold the face of the Lord (Rev. 22:4).
As far as we know, a human soul cannot be in two different places, or in two contradictory states of being, at the same time. So where do the dead in Christ today reside? Is it in Hades or in the highest Heaven?
Strimple is an amillennialist. Although the anti-premillennial Strimple (who says that Revelation 20 teaches a spiritual resurrection of physically dead people) roundly contradicts the anti-preterist Strimple (who says that physically dead people cannot be spiritually resurrected), most of Strimple’s amillennialist brethren disagree with both Strimples. They define “anastasis” in Revelation 20:4 as regeneration; that is, not a soul-resurrection at physical death, but a here-and now spiritual birth through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Paul agrees with amillennialists that Holy Spirit rebirth, received at the moment of faith in Christ’s sin-atoning blood, was “the first resurrection” with Christ:
. . . hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ. (Eph. 2:5)
. . . you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God. . . . (Col. 2:12)
And you . . . hath he quickened [made alive] together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. (Col. 2:13)
If ye then be risen with Christ . . . . (Col. 3:1)
But ye are come unto . . . the . . . church of the firstborn. . . . (Heb. 12:22-23)
And because Holy Spirit regeneration was the first resurrection with Christ” (Eph. 2:5; Rev. 20:4-6), it irresistibly follows that Christ was the beginning and “First Fruit” of that spiritual resurrection (334).
Strimple rightly concedes on page 334 of WSTTB that the resurrection of Christ was “the beginning” of the resurrection of the dead.
Apparently though, according to Strimple, Christ’s resurrection was “the beginning” of a harvest that was interrupted as soon as it began and which will not be restarted until thousands of years after its beginning, even though the “first fruits” (beginning) invariably signals not merely the nearness but the commencement of the harvest.
Though Christ our Forerunner was eternally begotten of God and eternally God’s Son, He was the first to be “born” or “begotten” of God when He was raised from the dead and given all authority to reign as High Priest unto God (Acts 13:33; Heb. 5:5). He was, for our sakes, “born” out of Adamic Death (the condemnation and alienation from God He endured on the Cross) and Hades into the Presence of the Father.
For this reason, the Son is called:
The “firstborn” among many brethren (Rom. 8:29)
The “firstborn” of every creature (Col. 1:15)
The “firstborn” from the dead (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5)
Thus, the rebirth of the Hadean (Old Testament) saints in Christ with the body-of-Christ church in AD 70 was the regeneration of “all things,” i.e., of the universal body of the saints:
Your dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall give birth to the dead. (Isa. 26:19)
. . . in the Regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt. 19:28)
Before we move on to Strimple’s next argument, let us briefly examine Strimple’s teaching that a man without his physical body is no longer a man:
Strimple teaches the non-humanity of the dead on page 337 (through a reference to Rudolf Bultmann and through a correction of Robert Gundry). According to Strimple, one of the reasons that Paul defended the resurrection of the body is because a departed believer is actually a non-human until he or she is physically resurrected.
R. C. Sproul Jr. makes the same mistake in his Foreword to WSTTB where he implies that his daughter will be an incomplete “ethereal creature” between the time of her death and the time of Christ’s Second Coming —a span of time that according to Sproul Jr.’s view could theoretically last a million years or more. It should go without saying that it is an unbiblical thing to believe that our loved ones in Christ will suffer “the ravages of . . . sin” (as R. C. Sproul Jr. puts it) potentially for aeons after the time of their death (ix). But this is the sad, logical necessity of futurism. If our departed loved ones already have perfect and complete sinless blessedness today before the face of God, then there is no scriptural justification for a yet-future resurrection of the dead.
In contrast to Rudolf Bultmann and Strimple, the Bible nowhere suggests, implies, or otherwise hints that those who die become nonhumans until they are resurrected. The resurrection of the dead is never characterized in Scripture as the restoration of former humans back to their lost humanity. Jesus made reference to a man in Hades (Lk. 16:22-23), and Paul spoke of the possibility that a “man” was caught up “out of the body” (2 Cor. 12:2). (He would not cease to be a man outside of his body.) In both of these instances, the “man” was the non-physical spirit/soul of the man. Additionally, if we are to say that a departed saint is a sub-human because he is without his physical body, then we must also say that Jesus Himself was a sub-human for the three days and three nights that elapsed between His death and resurrection, because He did not have his physical body at that time. We could also say, by the same line of reasoning, that unborn babies and people with missing limbs are not 100% humans because they also are not “complete.”
Contrary to the ghastly horrors of logically consistent futurism, the departed spirit of the believer is fully human. Whether living in the flesh or living in the heavens after physical death, the believer today is complete in Christ. The departed believer in the new covenant world today is not a homeless, wraithlike phantom, like an exorcized demon.
He is not a “shade” (295). He is not a quivering, shapeless “mist” like some kind of escaped gas.  In stark contrast to such wildly extra-scriptural, futurist notions, the Bible teaches us that the saints in heaven today are “like the angels” (Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25; Heb. 1:7; 12:22-23). And they are not “naked,” but they are “clothed” with the everlasting righteousness of Christ, the new Man (Rev. 6:9-11; 14:13; 15:6; 19:8, 14).
“Is Come in the Flesh” (HD, pp. 242-245)
“First John 4:3 says that Jesus “is come in the flesh.”  The Greek verb tense there is perfect active, and it indicates a “past action with a present result.”  Therefore Jesus came in the flesh (past action) and is still in the flesh (present result).
Our response:
It is true that the perfect tense of “come” in 1 John 4:3 (literally “having come”) can be seen as supporting the view that Jesus is still in His flesh. However, this is not the grammatically necessary reading.  The perfect tense in that verse could just as easily, or perhaps more easily, be used to support the view that Jesus is still here on Earth.  “Having come” (past action), He is still here (present result).
While the perfect active tense indicates that there is a present result of the past action, the identification of the “present result” can only be determined by the context.  John could have written, using the same tense:
“Whoever denies Jesus Christ having died on the Cross is a liar.” What would the perfect active tense (“having died”) indicate?  Would it indicate that Christ is still “on the Cross”?  That He is still dead?  Of course not.  It would indicate that there is an enduring, “present result” of the “past action” of Christ’s death on the Cross.  Depending on the context, that “present result” could be any number of things including the Christian Age itself.
The context of 1 John 4:2 (and 2 Jn. 1:7) tells us what the “present result” of Christ’s past coming “in flesh” is:
God dwells in us (1 Jn. 4:4, 12-13; 15-16)
We are of God (1 Jn. 4:4, 6).
We love one another (1 Jn. 4:7, 21; 2 Jn. 1:5).
We know God (1 Jn. 4:6-7).
We have been born of God (1 Jn. 4:7). We live through God’s Son (1 Jn. 4:9).
Our sins are forgiven (1 Jn. 4:10).
God’s love has been perfected in us (1 Jn. 4:12).
We dwell in God (1 Jn. 4:13, 15-16).
God has given us His Spirit (1 Jn. 4:13).
We know and believe the love that God has toward us (1 Jn. 4:16).
We are as He is (1 Jn. 4:17).
We love God, and our love is made perfect (1 Jn. 4:17-18) We know the truth (2 Jn. 1:1).
The truth dwells in us and shall be with us forever (2 Jn. 1:2).
We walk in truth (2 Jn. 1:4).
We walk after His commandments (2 Jn. 1:6).
We abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn. 1:9).
We have both the Father and the Son (2 Jn. 1:9).
As the Apostle Peter put it, Christ was “put to death in flesh” [past action] “that He might bring us to God” [present result] (1 Peter 3:18).
Various interpretations of 1 John 4:2 have been offered by futurist scholars.  Not all of them believe that the antichrists were Gnostics who were denying that Jesus was a material being.  According to 1 John 2:2, the antichrists were denying that Jesus is the Christ (the promised Messiah).  It would seem that 1 John 4:2 would be a reiteration of that denial. It may be that their denial of “Jesus Christ having come in flesh” was a denial that He was from God.  His coming in flesh implies His pre-flesh existence and divine Sonship.
Death is an Illusion
As we know, Dr. Strimple in When Shall These Things Be?, argued that our departed loved ones in Christ today are sub-humans until the end of world history, because they are without their bodies.  However, if this is true then it must also be true that Christ Himself was not fully human for three days and nights between His death and resurrection, because He was without His body during that time.
Aware of this problem, the internet critics implicitly acknowledged Strimple’s unwitting error and posited instead the idea that our dead loved ones today are actually fully human, because physical death is an illusion.  That is, it is phenomenological.  According to this view, even though it “appears” to us that the body and the spirit are separated at physical death, they actually are not separated at all.  They are indissolubly united in view of the fact of the future, physical resurrection of the body.  (Granted, it is difficult to follow the logic of that last sentence, but that is the view.)  When the Resurrection of the Flesh happens, body and spirit will not be “reunited.”  Instead, it will be “manifested” that they were never really separated at all.
Our response:
There is, of course, not the slightest hint of this “Death is an Illusion” doctrine in the Bible.  We can find it in Gnosticism, Hinduism, and Christian Science, but nowhere in Scripture.
Also, this doctrine may be even worse than Strimple’s doctrine (which implied that Jesus was non-human for three days), in that it implies that Jesus’ own death was an illusion, that it was the separation of His body and His spirit in “appearance” only.  This is the ancient heresy of Docetism.
It comes down to this:  If we are going to argue that a man is nonhuman in the sight of God without his physicality, then we either have to say that Christ was non-human for three days and nights (because He was without His body), or we have to say that the separation of His body and spirit on the Cross was in “appearance” only (Docetism).  Since neither of these views can be accepted, it follows that the endurance of man’s humanity before God is not contingent on his physicality.”
 
 


[1] Postmillennialism, 117 (emphasis added).
[2] From Age to Age, 459
[3] Though Jesus is no longer in the flesh, He forever retains His human nature. He is forever Man, even as the saints in heaven today, who are no longer in their physical bodies, are still human/man by nature. Neither the Son of Man nor those who are in Him, whether in heaven or on earth, are “nonhuman.” (See David Green’s response to Strimple Argument #11 in chapter seven of this book.)
[4] Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: 1999), 114
[5] Milton S. Terry, A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 246-247.
[6] Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutic (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1990), 468, n.1 (emphases added).
[7]  Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, 2001; fourth printing 2007), 97.
[8] I (Michael Sullivan) did want to point out that we did document in our book that according to James B. Jordan a “Orthodox” “Reformed” Partial Preterist, Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit “eternal life” and God’s presence according to Daniel 12:2 and Revelation 20.  See HD, 178.
[9]  Yet, oddly enough, Strimple dismisses “tales of the shadowy world of Hades and of Christ’s ‘harrowing of hell’ after his death” (293).
[10]  It is noteworthy that Jesus did not say to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in a paradise of condemnation, sin, death, corruption, punishment, curse, dread, and sub-human horror” as the anti-preterist Strimple would have it.

Daniel 9:24-27 From Babylonian Bondage to Messianic Jubilee Sabbath Rest and Inheritance "in Christ" By AD 70 (Introducing Full Preterist Chronomessianism)

By: Michael J. Sullivan – Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved. Thank you for your Christian charity and honesty in advance.

Introduction:

The first thing any Futurist Pastor, commentary, Bible College or Seminary professor and or scholar is going to tell you is just how “very difficult” (allegedly) and that there are just so many “various views” of Daniel 9:24-27 to navigate through. And of course, this is true for the Futurist, and they readily admit this confusion on our Lord’s teaching in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation as well. This is probably due to the fact that Daniel 9:24-27 is a microcosm and recapitulation of Daniel chapters 2; 7 and 12 and these three verses in essence function as a fulfillment of all OT prophecy and thus is the corner stone to understanding the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation (that is understand all prophecy). But for the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist, confusion on Daniel 9:24-27 (as well as the OD and book of Revelation) is removed and a very simple, exegetical and common-sense interpretation emerges from all the confusion Futurism has given us.

Solutions Summarized “Reformed and Always Reforming”

My approach will be to describe various views of Daniel’s seventy seven’s prophecy and seek to harmonize them with Jesus’ teaching that this prophecy and the entire OT would be fulfilled in His contemporary generation (Lk. 21:20-32).

1). The Historical and or Christotelic Messianic View: While there may be some differences between Calvin, Luther, and modern Calvinists such as Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Kenneth Gentry, R.C. Sproul, and E. J. Young, these men old and modern, may be said to represent this position. This view sees Daniel 9:24-27 as Jesus (not some “antichrist”) coming to usher in or inaugurate the New Covenant or Kingdom of God. This view emphasizes the time period covered by the prophecy to be fulfilled around AD 30-35 or so, but also gives lip service that it concludes with the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

It is important to point out that within Partial Preterism, it is taught that Daniel’s “the end” “time of the end” or Jesus’ “end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-43 and 24:3, 14 refers to Christ coming to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70 and that there was a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection that was fulfilled during this time.  Basically, they have stolen the Full Preterist view of the resurrection but that’s another issue.

There is also some confusion as to when the decree begins some starting it with Cyrus in his command to rebuild the temple/city in 538 BC and yet others with the various kings (Ezra 6:14) and thus place it more around in 457 BC.  Those that start the count with Cyrus end up 50 years before Christ’s birth and over a 100 years short of AD 70.  These folks either end up adopting a spiritual view (ex. see Kline and Storms below) or reworking the numbers to arrive at Christ’s birth to AD 65 (see Lurie below).

2). The Symbolic and Sabbatical Messianic View:  Is held by men such as Meredith Kline, Keil,C. F. & Delitzsch, F., Ian Duguid, Sam Storms and Andrew Steinman (all sharing different denominational backgrounds). While this view focuses on the redemptive work of Christ as the fulfillment of the seventy sevens prophecy, it does not try and force what is really a roughly 600 years period into a literal 490. This view sees the number 490 being symbolic of various periods of time in redemptive history. Therefore, unlike the Futurist historical messianic view, this view sees the fulfillment extending until the Second Coming – to close the “last days” or bring about “the end” or end of the age.

3).  Ten 49 Cycles of the Sabbath Jubilee (490 yrs.) or From 424/422 BC to the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70: This view is held by Margaret Barker and was held during first century Judaism and during the development of the NT.  The 70 7’s of Daniel 9:24-27 refer to the first century Jewish expectation that Messiah would accomplish redemption for Israel roughly between AD 17/26 to AD 66/70.  Jewish tradition goes on to see the 490 years period extending from the first Temple’s destruction in 424/422 BC (Jewish calendar) to AD 70.  I will argue that Jesus in fact did fulfill this 10 th. Jubilee cycle between AD 26 – AD 66-70.

The second view is accurate to point out the 490 years are connected to the Jubilee and dealing with a theological point concerning sabbath rest extending to the Second Coming of Christ to close the age.  However, it errs in that it fails to acknowledge that Christ posits its redemptive end and unfolding of the kingdom to be fulfilled:

  1. at the destruction of the first century temple and city (Dan. 9:24, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22),
  1. the “end of the age” or “the end” in (Matt. 24:3, 14) is referring to the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and not the end of world history or the end to the new covenant or Christian age, and…
  1. Jesus posits the fulfillment of redemption and the arrival of his kingdom and second coming to take place within the same AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period (Luke 21:27-32).

The view I will be arguing for is #3 which acknowledges all of these key elements to Daniel’s prophetic material while embracing a first century chronological setting for the prophecy.

Perhaps we have missed something in Daniel 9:25. The Hebrew very well can support “From the the issuing of the WORD [prophetic word of Jeremiah] to restore and rebuild Jerusalem…there will be [490 yrs.]…” That is, the 490 years prophecy includes the 70 years of Babylonian captivity and therefore does not begin the countdown when it ends. Jeremiah not only prophesied of the beginning of the 70 years, but the restoration of the Jews to come back in the land and the New Covenant the Messiah would usher in.
 
“Jews for Judaism” mock Christians for not understanding the countdown begins with the prophetic “WORD” of Jeremiah and not a secular king. But this is the MISSING piece I needed and FURTHER supports that Yeshua is the Messiah! First let’s look at what Jews for Judaism writes,
 
“The angel Gabriel reveals to Daniel this additional understanding of the 70 years extending them from 70 years to 70 weeks of years stretching the time span to 490 years that span from the destruction of the first Temple to the Destruction of the second Temple. This prophesy also included a description of events that would unfold if the Jewish people did not repent properly.
 
Although there appears to be a discrepancy in chronology between the Jewish and secular Gregorian calendars of 166 years (with the secular dates earlier) it is clear that Jewish record keeping is more reliable and consistent concerning these events. Babylonian calendars changed arbitrarily with every new Babylonian king and limited archeological discoveries often reflect their arbitrary chronology. (According to secular chronology 586 BCE is the year incorrectly associated with the destruction of the first Temple the Jewish).” (Jews for Judaism).
 
Yeshua would have used the Jewish calendar. As I demonstrated in one sermon and two of my articles thus far, if you start the countdown from the destruction of the first temple using the Jewish calendar (424/422BC) and begin the 10 jubilee’s (490 yrs.) count from there, you end up at AD 26/28 to BEGIN that 10th Jubilee cycle. This is when Yeshua opens the scroll of Isaiah 61/Luke 4. Yeshua/Messiah MUST accomplish ALL of the redemptive events in Dan. 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61 BEFORE the second temple is destroyed in AD 70. Yeshua – from AD 26/28 to AD 66-70 accomplished redemption from the cross to parousia or “day(s) of vengeance” (Isa. 61/Lk. 21:20-22) within that last Jubilee cycle perfectly!
45878532_10156697132264192_8128908576199540736_n
Visio-Eschatology-chronomessianism-7 
This is probably the coolest thing I have seen since learning the doctrines of grace and then Full Preterism. I’ll have to try and set up a debate with “Jews for Judaism” and defend this position. As far as I know, I’m the only Full Preterist out there that has seen this and is defending it.
 
Of all people, I appreciate Sam Frost, for pointing out the 70 years are included in the 490 years and the Hebrew supports the “word” going back to Jeremiah. 70 years of captivity times 7 for breaking the sabbaths of Leviticus 23, 25-26 gives you 490 years. Unfortunately all Sam can see is a non-Messianic prophecy, whereas all I can see is a PERFECT Messianic prophecy fulfilled by AD 70. Selah.

Premise #1If it is true that Daniel 9:24-27 is about Christ establishing His New Covenant Kingdom age with the prophecy ending with the destruction of Jerusalem to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70,…

Premise #2…and if it is also true that Daniel 9:24-27 is connected to Daniel 2; 7; and 12 and covers the “last days” extending to the Second Coming of Jesus to bring an “end” to the age and thus usher in the New Creation or world of righteousness,…

Premise #3 – and if it is also true that the Jew during the first century expected Messiah to come soon to fulfill the 10th. cycle of the Jubilee (490 yrs. – with no 2,000 plus years and counting gaps) and Yeshua showed up during this “set time” to fulfill the soteriological and eschatological expectations of Daniel 9:24-27 and Isiah 61:1-11…

Conclusion/Synthesis (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism)– …Then in honoring NT imminence, the above historic views of the church, and the historical expectation and setting of the 10th. Jubilee cycle among the Jews of Yeshua’s day—we conclude it must be true and orthodox to believe that Daniel 9:24-27 was fulfilled when Christ (in Israel’s last days) appeared (in His first and second appearings as High Priest Heb. 9-10:37) to close the Old Covenant age and establish and mature the New Covenant age by AD 70. This is the time when all OT prophecy was fulfilled (Lk. 21:20-22), and the sign and revelatory gifts ceased along with the office of Prophet from the Church.  Selah.
The rest of this article will further prove the conclusion reached above.

Jewish Traditions of Daniel 9:24-27 and 7:13-14

And by way of introduction, we should also note that this passage was known to be messianic among some Jews.  Dr. Michael Brown points out a well known Rabbinic commentator took the prophecy as both fulfilled by AD 70 and yet at the same time as fulfilled in the times of Messiah,

“…Rashi taught that the prophecy pinpointed the death of Agrippa and the destruction of the Temple–major events in the last generation of the Second Temple era–but then simply drifted off to the distant future in terms of the final fulfillment of the prophecy.”  (Dr. Michael Brown, ANSWERING JEWISH OBJECTIONS to JESUS, Volume Three, Baker Books, 2003, p. 90).

“…He [Rashi] interprets the destruction of the city and the sanctuary as pointing to that same event under Titus the Roman general.  As translated by Jewish historian Heinrich W. Guggenheimer, “the power of his reign [Titus] will be blown away by the Messiah.”  Third, he makes reference again to God’s kingdom coming in power through the Messiah, but once more, it is merely appended without explanation.” (Ibid. 89).

“…He [Rashi] explains how all the prophesied events culminate and unfold in a time period on generation after Jesus and then says, “And the real end of the story will take place in the days of the Messiah” — which, according to traditional Judaism, still have not arrived, now two thousand years later.”  (Ibid. 90).
Ironically, Dr. Brown is guilty of the very thing he accuses Rashi of – saying out of one side of his mouth that the prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70, but then out of the other side of his mouth saying it will be fulfilled in the far distant future.  However, Brown out of one side of his mouth claims “…everything Daniel 9:24-27 reached its fulfillment by 70 C.E.” Yet [out of the other side of his mouth] “It is also possible that on the basis of our Messiah’s atoning work, the ultimate fulfillment will take place at the end of this age, when Jesus returns.” (Ibid., p. 98).

Brown misses the NT’s teaching that AD 70 was the event that proved Christ would come “in a very little while and would NOT delay (Heb. 10:37) and was the event the Church could look back upon and know that Christ and His Kingdom “had already come” in “power” (Mt. 16:27-28/Mrk. 8:38–9:1).  The fulfillment of “all” the events in Daniel 9:24-27 by AD 70 caused the miraculous revelatory “visions” and thus the office of “prophet” to “end” “stop” or “cease” confirming the claims of Christ to be God and come “As the Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:13 (OG) LXX; 9:24; Mt. 26:62-64/Rev. 1:1, 7-18; 1 Cor. 1:5-8; 13:8-12).  This is especially troubling since Brown claims to be a Charismatic (many touting him as a “prophet”) yet admits he has “prophesied” falsely (ironically of modern Israel) in the past.

Here are some more statements that underscore the passage was seen to be Messianic:

San 97a:  “Our masters taught as follows of the particular seven-year period at whose end [Messiah] son of David will appear” (This seems to refer directly to the Danielic final week!)

San 97b:  “Rav said: All times set for redemption have passed, and the matter now depends only on repentance and good deeds” (All time calculations had been fulfilled).

San 97b:  “R. Samuel bar Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: Blaste be the bones of those who presume to calculate the time of redemption. For they are apt to say, ‘Since redemption has not come at the time expected, it will never come.’ Rather, one must wait for it…what then delays its coming? The measure of justice delays it…”

I couldn’t agree more that these Jews did in fact miss and reject the redemptive work of their Messiah (Jesus the Christ) in Daniel’s last seven and “Judaism” hasn’t been the same since AD 70 – having reached her “end” during that terminal “crooked and perverse generation” (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:20-40/Luke 17:20-21, 25; 21:32). Moses predicted that many of them would not be able to “discern” their “end” (Deut. 32:29).

As so-called Christian “Zionists” like Dr. Michael Brown like to point out — the fact remains, if Messiah didn’t come before the destruction of the second temple and in AD 70, then Messiah didn’t come at the appointed time to the Jewish people and their future Messianic expectations are false. But I would add, just as the modern Zionist is in trouble if Messiah didn’t come before the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, it is equally true for the Christian so-called “Zionist” such as Brown, if Messiah’s Second Coming didn’t occur when the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, the Christian view of OT and NT prophecy comes tumbling down as well and is no less credible than modern Zionists twisting of Daniel 9:24-27. Both modern “Jewish” “Zionist” views seek a physical fulfillment/ manifestation of the Kingdom which is rejected by Christ and the NT authors. Fortunately, a sound Christian Sovereign Grace Full Preterist solution and sound exegesis is here. Selah.

It is also important to point out in connection with Daniel 7 and 9 that the Jews prior to the arrival of Jesus, also had a Messianic view of Daniel 7:13-14 and a concept of the “two powers in heaven.” That is a belief that God is both a Spirit being in heaven and there is a second person of the Godhead that is His Son that is equally eternal and the “Word” and can manifest Himself as an angel or man on earth. In about AD 100, this view was condemned as “heresy” because Jesus and the Christians were affirming that Christ was the fulfillment of this divine Messiah.

The Overall Structure, Historical Context and Theme

When Israel disobeyed the covenant it is said, “The land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them.” (Lev. 26:43). In Second Chronicles we read, “All the days of its desolation, it kept Sabbath to fulfill Sabbath to fulfill seventy years” (2 Chron. 36:21 NSAB). As those 70 years of captivity were ending and the land had received its Sabbath rest, Daniel prays for his people and is given a prophetic time explaining Israel’s imminent deliverance from the Babylonian captivity and yet at the same time, encompassing her coming Messiah within a period of 70 sevens in which there would be a greater rest and restoration for Israel.

The Anointed/Prince/Ruler/Messiah Jesus is the anti-type of (or the new) Cyrus delivering Israel from her bondage of sin and raising her from the graves of sin-death. And this partial restoration back into the land typified through Nehemiah and Ezra pointed to an anti-typical eschatological gathering “in Christ” at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Matt. 13:39-43, 49; 24:30-31—25:31-46).

Various Chiastic Structures Considered

 Of the book of Daniel in general:

A – Daniel 1–Daniel Exiled into Babylon – land of death.
B – Daniel 2–Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision (Statue representing four kingdoms)
C– Daniel 3–Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace
D– Daniel 4–Nebuchadnezzar Humbled (seven years of insanity)
D– Daniel 5–Belshazzar Humbled (handwriting on the wall)
C– Daniel 6–Deliverance from the Lion’s Den
B– Daniel 7-9–Daniel’s Visions (Four kingdoms represented in various ways)
A– Daniel 10-12–Daniel’s Vision – end of the Exile and Promise to Be Raised in Another Restoration under Messiah

In this chiasm we can see how “B” chapters 7 and 9 elaborate on when the spiritual kingdom of Daniel 2 arrives. The Second Coming and arrival of the kingdom take place during the time of the Roman Empire in chapter 7. In chapter 9:24-27 we have a further development in that it will involve the Messiah suffering and His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem that will establish the spiritual New Covenant Kingdom.

Here is one that connects Daniel 7 with 12 (cf. A1-2) and sees 9:24-27 (C1) as the central part:

A1 (2:4b-49) – A dream of four kingdoms replaced by a fifth.
B1 (3:1–30) – Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace.
C1 (4:1–37) – Daniel interprets a dream for Nebuchadnezzar.
C2 (5:1–31) – Daniel interprets the handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar.
B2 (6:1–28) – Daniel in the lions’ den.
A2 (7:1–28)– A vision explained of four world kingdoms replaced by a fifth.
A1 (7)– Judgment of the dead & kingdom’s arrival.
B1 (8) – A vision of third kingdom & “time of the end.”
C1 (9)– 70 7’s “abomination of desolation” “the end” and Atonement/Consummation
C2 (10–11) – “abomination of desolation” “the end.”
B2 (11) – A vision of second & third kingdom & “time of the end.”
A1-2 (12)– Vision explained: Consummation of Kingdom – Judgment / Resurrection & “time of the end.”
I prefer the above chiasm since it correctly connects Daniel 2, 7, 9 and 12.
Of Daniel 9:24-27 as the central theme and summary from chapter 8-12:
A. Vision of Future Gentile Kings and Kingdoms (8:1-27)
B. Darius the Mede (9:1-2)
C. Daniel’s Distressed Prayer (9:3-19)
D. Angelic Messenger – Daniel Commended (9:20-23)
E. The Seventy ‘Sevens’ and the Messiah (9:24-27)
D. Angelic Messenger – Daniel Commended (10:1-11)
C. Daniel’s Terror Comforted (10:12-21)
B. Darius the Mede (11:1)
A. Vision of Future Gentile Kings and Kingdoms (11:2- 12:4)
While this chiasm seeks to emphasize Daniel 9:24-27, I think it is important to note that while Daniel 9:24-27 is central, Daniel 12:1-7 is in essence a recapitulation of the same prophetic time period and promise – just described differently.
A further breakdown of Daniel 9:25-27:
chiasm-of-daniel-925-27
In this chiasm, (and in the study or story of Israel’s covenant and redemptive history) we should take notice that what is physically re-built and restored under the Old Covenant and being “in the land” will eventually be destroyed and shaken one last time in order to make way for spiritually re-building and establishing Christ’s New Covenant Kingdom or New Jerusalem / Temple “in Christ.” This is what many scholars have referred to as the “two Jerusalem’s.”  When the physical city is being destroyed, God is saving His remnant and the New Jerusalem. The NT makes this connection in Galatians 4 and the tale of the two cities/wives in Revelation – one physical (OC Jerusalem) and subject to being imminently destroyed in AD 70, and the other spiritual (NC Jerusalem) to imminently descend from heaven and be a sanctuary for sinners to flee to post AD 70 (Rev. 17–22:17).  In Daniel 9:24-27 there is a destruction of one Jerusalem and Most Holy Place, and an yet an anointing of another.

As David Green writes (see article after this one), this is “The Preterist Paradox”:

“To the prophet Daniel, the prophecy of the “seventy weeks” might have sounded contradictory. Gabriel first told him (in verse 24) that at the end of “seventy weeks,” the transgression would be finished, an end would be made of sins, atonement would be made for iniquity, everlasting righteousness would be brought in, and the Most Holy Place would be anointed. But then when Gabriel came to the end of the prophecy, he said that the Messiah would be killed and that the city and the sanctuary would be defiled, desolated, and destroyed in the flood of war. Gabriel offered no further explanation.

How could the devastating ending of the “weeks” in verses 26 and 27 be compatible with the joyful ending of the “weeks” in verse 24? How could the “seventy weeks” be consummated in both the destruction of the temple (Dan. 9:26) and in the anointing of the temple? (Dan. 9:24). Or how could the resurrection of the dead and glorification of the saints be fulfilled when the power of the holy people is shattered? (Dan. 12:1-3,7)

This paradox is the heart of the preterist interpretation of Bible prophecy. It is what the futurists and the Jews have missed for centuries upon centuries: The destruction of (earthly) Jerusalem signified the advent of (heavenly) Jerusalem. The destruction of the (earthly) Most Holy Place meant the consummated anointing of the (heavenly) Most Holy Place. The (spiritual) sons of the kingdom inherited the kingdom when the (fleshly, unbelieving) sons of the kingdom were cast out of the kingdom (Matt. 8:12; 13:38, 43). This is the preterist key that unlocks the meaning of the “seventy weeks,” and of Zechariah 14, and a host of other prophecies of the Last Days.” (David Green, From Babylon to Babylon: An Exposition of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks).

Seventy Sevens Literal or Symbolic? 

Symbolic or Theological View

Lee Irons and Meredith Kline are at least correct in pointing out that Daniel’s seventy sevens prophecy is not a literal 490 years chronology:

“The seventy “weeks” (literally “sevens”) comprise a definite period of time until the coming of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem…a period that is actually longer than a literal 490 years.”

“…the point of the seventy weeks is not to provide a precise chronological prediction but to make the profound theological point that the coming of Christ and the abrogation of the Old Covenant order will usher in the eschatological Sabbath rest for the people of God.”[1]

Sam Storms following Kline writes,

“Let us remember that not only were the Israelites themselves to rest on the 7th day, the land also was to rest in the 7th year. When Gabriel spoke of the “sevens,” 70 of which were decreed for Israel, he had in mind the 7 year period, the 7th year of which was a sabbatical year of rest for the land (Lev. 25:2-7). Kline proceeds to make the point that the sabbath itself, whether for the people or the land, functioned “as a prophetic symbol of the consummation of the covenant order. As elaborated in the Mosaic covenant . . . the sabbath served as a sign of the messianic age of redemptive liberation, restitution, and rest [see esp. Heb. 4:1-11]”.

It would appear, then, that this precise chronological or numerical framework was chosen not because Gabriel desired to set calendrical boundaries of a beginning and end in which the six-fold goal of 9:24 would be accomplished. Rather, he chose this framework, first, because it is sabbatical, and second, because the sabbath (and the number 7) bore special symbolic import for the nation Israel.
This point is confirmed when we observe that Gabriel spoke of “70” of these units of 7, hence 490 years. Why did he not choose 30 or 50 or 80 “sevens” instead of “70 sevens”? The reason is found in Lev. 25:8-55 and the observance of the year of JUBILEE. Let us note particularly vv. 8-12.

When we examine the year of jubilee in detail we discover that its provisions were as follows: (1) the return of all property, according to the original Mosaic distribution, to the original owner or to his family; (2) the release of all Jewish slaves; (3) the cancellation of debts; and (4) the land is to lie fallow, i.e., it is neither to be sown, pruned, reaped, nor gathered for an entire year.

The Jubilee, therefore, was a year in which social justice and equity, freedom, pardon, release, and restoration were emphasized and experienced. The jubilee signalled a new beginning, the inauguration of moral, spiritual, and national renewal. Hence it is no surprise that the jubilee became a symbol and prefigurement of the ultimate redemption, release, and restoration that God would accomplish spiritually on behalf of his people. Indeed, the eschaton, the final day of salvation to be inaugurated by Messiah, was conceived and described in terms of the release ordinance of the Mosaic year of jubilee.
This all takes on special significance when we realize that there is decreed for Israel a total period of seventy sevens of years or 490 years, which is to say 10 JUBILEE ERAS, “an intensification of the jubilee concept pointing to the ultimate, antitypical jubilee”.

The purpose of the 70 weeks prophecy, outlined in Dan. 9:24, was to secure that ultimate salvation, that release, redemption, and restoration of which the Jubilee year was a type or symbolic prefigurement. When Jesus declares that in himself the jubilee of God [Lk. 4:16-21/Isa. 61:1-2] has come he is saying, in effect, that the 70 weeks of Daniel have reached their climax. The new age of jubilee, of which all previous jubilees were prefigurements, has now dawned in the person and ministry of Jesus. THE GOAL OF THE 70 WEEKS PROPHECY IS THE CONSUMMATE JUBILARY SALVATION OF GOD! That is why the chronological frame of reference in which it is said to transpire is jubilary in nature: 10 jubilees = 490 years! The meaning of the period, therefore, is THEOLOGICAL, not calendrical. The 70 weeks are not designed to establish precise chronological parameters for redemptive history. Rather, they serve to evoke a theological image, namely, that in “Messiah Jesus” God will work to effect the final jubilee of redemptive history. The 10 jubilee framework (i.e., the 490 years or 70 weeks) is thus symbolic of the divine work of redemption, at the conclusion of which the eternal and perfected jubilee will appear: THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH (Rev. 21-22).

According to the conclusions reached above, the first half of Daniel’s 70th week runs from the baptism of Jesus to 70 a.d. The destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 a.d. is the middle of the week, and the present church age is its latter half. Kline concurs and summarizes as follows:
“When we survey the fulfillment of Gabriel’s prophecy from our vantage point, it appears that the last half of the 70th week is the age of the community of the new covenant, disengaged from the old covenant order with whose closing days its own beginnings overlapped for a generation. In the imagery of the NT Apocalypse, the last half week is the age of the church in the wilderness of the nations for a time, and times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14). Since the 70 weeks are 10 jubilee eras that issue in the last jubilee, the 70th week closes with the angelic trumpeting of the earth’s redemption and the glorious liberty of the children of God. The acceptable year of the Lord which came with Christ will then have fully come.” (Sam Storms, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, https://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/daniels-70-weeks)

My brief response to Sam Storms and Meredith Kline here:

Ironically, in Sam Storm’s three part series on Matthew 24 he admits that the coming of Christ and the blowing of the trumpet of Matthew 24:30-31 very well could refer to AD 70.  He also defends the position that the “heaven and earth” of (Mt. 24:35 and Mt. 5:17-18) is referring to the Temple and Old Covenant heaven and earth that “passed away” in AD 70.  And since virtually all scholars agree that John’s version of the Olivet Discourse is the book of Revelation, it is more than ironic that Storms won’t make the AD 70 fulfillments he holds to or favors in interpreting Matthew 24 to be present here in the book of Revelation.  The “this generation” coming of Christ in AD 70 found in Matthew 24 which causes “heaven and earth” to “pass away” (Mt. 24:30-35 and Mt. 5:17-18) is the same same “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation which causes the “heavens and earth” to “pass away” (Rev. 21–22:7).

Yeshua came to fulfill both halves of the last seven between AD 30 – AD 70.  Since the NT places the “soon” Second Coming event in Revelation to be in AD 70 (to judge Babylon the Great Harlot City or Old Covenant Jerusalem – Rev. 11:8), this is when the New Creation or New Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22 reaches her mature state, and thus we see His face and therefore, vision and prophecy are sealed up or have come to reach there desired goal (Rev. 22:4-7/1 Cor. 13:8-12/Dan. 9:24).  This destroys Sam Storms heretical Charismatic theology.

The jubilee is ushered in at the seventh or last trumpet of which in John’s day there would be “no more delay” and corresponds to Yeshua’s saying it would be blown at His Second Coming — within His “this generation” (Rev. 10-11/Mt. 24:30-34).

Therefore, moving from the seventh and last trumpet of Revelation 10-11 we move into Kline’s appeal to the 3.5 years of Revelation 12.  It is interesting that Storms in his article takes the flight of Luke 21:20ff. and Matthew 24:15ff. to be fulfilled just prior to the Roman’s treading down Jerusalem from AD 66 – AD 70, but when the same flight and protection event is described with symbolic language in Revelation 12, this is somehow symbolic of the Church age instead of the AD 66 – AD 70 period?!?

Kline agrees that the Old Covenant overlapped the New Covenant for the “generation” between AD 30 – AD 70.  Therefore, if the OC age was “soon to vanish” (Heb. 8:13) then there is no reason not to accept this was due to the fact that Jesus was coming to come in the same time period “in a very little while and would not delay” to bring an end to that last days age (Heb. 9:26-28–10:37).  That “generation” was the overlapping of the two ages and the “already and not yet” period.  Post AD 70 (after the trumpet has blown) we don’t live or “wander” in the “wilderness” according to the book of Hebrews, because the “heavenly land” and “city” Abraham and the OT saints longed for was “about to come” and did in AD 70 (Heb. 11:14ff.; 13:14YLT)! 

Thus, I would disagree with Kline and Storms that the first half of the seven is from the baptism of Jesus to AD 70 and yet somehow we are in the last half (3.5) awaiting its completion.  No, both halves of the last seven were fulfilled from Christ’s first coming to His Second Appearing “in a very little while” (i.e. in AD 70).  The Church is not waiting within the last half of the seven for it’s completion, it has been fulfilled at His parousia in AD 70 and that is why we are in the 50th / jubilee rest and liberation of the New Covenant age which has no end (Ephs. 3:20-21).   Due to Sam’s commitment to Futurism and Charismatic false teaching, he misses the accurate unfolding or sequence of the theology contained within Daniel 9:24-27 and how it is developed in the rest of the NT.  To miss when the that seventh trumpet is blown, is to blow the theological accuracy and point of Jesus’ development of the prophecy.

No matter how we understand the seventy sevens, they are patterned after the number seven and point to Messiah bringing us into His heavenly land – rest in Him.

INTRODUCING FULL PRETERISM CHRONOMESSIANISM THE CALENDAR OF SABBATICAL CYCLES — THE PROPER AD 26–AD 66-70 CONTEXTUAL APPROACH TO DANIEL 9:24-27 AND ISAIAH 61–63:1-6

What modern Christian commentators have missed in Daniel 9:24-27 is the context is addressing Daniel being concerned with the prophetic “word” of Jeremiah (Jer. 25 and 29) and the angel is not discussing beginning the 490 years count down beginning with a “decree” of a Gentile king, but rather explaining the “word” of Jeremiah connected with what God had revealed to Daniel in the vision of Daniel 7.  The 70 years of Babylonian captivity is included within the 490 years prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.  The 70 years of captivity are connected to the Babylonian dominance over Israel but there were three more Gentile kingdoms to go before true and New Covenant restoration under Messiah would be achieved.  The 70 years x  7 (based on breaking the sabbath laws of Lev. 25-26) = 490 years.

The next major error, is that Yeshua was a Jew and He along with the Jews of the first century would have used the Jewish calendar which dated the destruction of the first temple around 420 BC and not the Gentile calendar of 586 BC.  Therefore, first century “Chronomessianism” began the 490 years countdown from the destruction of the first temple to an anticipated arrival of the Messiah before the destruction of the second temple.  Messiah had to arrive at the end of the last and 10th jubilee to accomplish all the soteriological and eschatological events listed in Daniel 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61:1-11.  They expected Messiah to arrive right around AD 26 – AND HE DID!  But because they missed the spiritual nature of His Kingdom (Lk. 17:20-37), they missed the fulfillment of this powerful prophecy unfold before their very eyes from AD 26 — AD 66-70. Even though Daniel prophesied of a spiritual kingdom (Dan. 2 and 7) and it was clear from their own prophets that they would not be able to “discern” their own “end” when it drew “near” in that particular “perverse and crooked generation” (Deut. 32/Acts 2:40/1 Pet. 4:5-7). The fact that God would be coming to judge their unbelief and not the Romans was prophesied to be a “strange work” (Isa. 28). Their carnal expectations caused them to miss Isaiah’s “new work” of the spiritual New Covenant.

This is the “year of the Lord’s favor” or the eschatological time frame that Eden was GIVEN BACK to man and his SLAVERY from “the death” that came through Adam and Satan was completely removed. The trumpets have been blown, and Post AD 70 we are in the eternal NC age of Jubilee – come enter the gates of the New Jerusalem and celebrate with us (Isa. 65-66/Rev. 21-22:17). Experience the redemption, rest and inheritance that is yours and that can ONLY be found “in Christ” where all the promises of God have been fulfilled (2 Cor. 1:20/Lk. 21:20-22). Selah!

In the Jewish mind,

“422 BC is associated with when the first temple burned 70 Sabbaticals (490 years) before the second temple burned in 70 AD.” (A Treatise on the Sabbatical Cycle and the Jubilee, 1866, by Dr. B. Zuchermann, Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary).

And,

“The 2nd century CE rabbinic work Seder Olam Rabbah, which formed the basis of the era counting of the Hebrew calendar, interpreted the prophecy of seventy weeks in Daniel 9:24-27 as referring to a period of 490 years, with a “week” being interpreted as a period of seven years, which would pass between the destruction of the First and Second Temple. This is used to date the destruction of the First Temple to 423 BCE (3338 AM) – about 165 years after the current scholarly dating of the event. The discrepancy between these two dates is referred to as “missing years”.” (Missing Years, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_years_%28Jewish_calendar%29).

The Jews connected the destruction of the first temple (424/422BC), the seventy years of Babylon captivity, the restoration and rebuilding of the Temple (under Ezra and Nehemiah 515BC – 70 yrs. from the first Temple’s destruction), to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 —- as the 10th. Jubilee cycle or 490 years! They expected Messiah to arrive right around AD 26 (AND HE DID!) to fulfill all of His redemptive promises given to them through the prophets, but because they missed the spiritual nature of His Kingdom (Lk. 17:20-37), they missed the fulfillment of this powerful prophecy unfold before their eyes in the redemptive events from AD 26 — AD 66-70. Even though Daniel prophesied of a spiritual kingdom (Dan. 2 and 7) and it was clear from their own prophets that they would not be able to “discern” their own “end” when it drew “near” in that particular “perverse and crooked generation” (Deut. 32/Acts 2:40/1 Pet. 4:5-7). The fact that God would be coming to judge their unbelief and not the Romans was prophesied to be a “strange work” (Isa. 28). Their carnal expectations caused them to miss Isaiah’s “new work” of the New Covenant.

We must enter into the Jewish and historical context when approaching Daniel 9:24-27 as relating to the Sabbatical calendar and the redemption of Israel.

While I would differ on some points with Ben Zion Wacholder, I would agree with the majority of these quotes and that there is sufficient,
*** “…evidence in the biblical, Qumran׳ New Testament, and rabbinic literature for a hitherto unnoticed but apparently at one time widespread belief, that the inevitable coming of the messiah would take place during the season when Israel celebrated the sabbatical year. Sabbatical messianism, or chronomessianism, are appropriate terms for a phenomenon that inspired a search in the scriptural prophecies for the exact date of the redeemer’s coming. Although most powerful in the apocalyptic tradition, chronomessianism appears as well in the mainstream of Judaism. The locus classicus of chronomessianic doctrine is found in Daniel 9, particularly in the mysterious verses 24-27.” (Ben Zion Wacholder, CHRONOMESSIANISM THE TIMING OF MESSIANIC MOVEMENTS AND THE CALENDAR OF SABBATICAL CYCLES, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, p.1, bold emphasis MJS).
More quotes from his article that I found useful include the following:
*** “The pre-history of chronomessianism may be traced in several biblical pasages. Isa. 23:15-18 predicts that Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, at the end of which time the Lord will again remember the famous city.Jeremiah employs the 70-year period for the length of Judah’s coming exile in Babylonia (Jer. 25: 11-12; 29: 10).  The use of the number 70 might reflect the Jewish affinity for the numeral seven and its multiples, evidenced in weekly and yearly sabbaths (shemittah) and the jubilee; alternately, it might have been a common Near Eastern convention for the maximum life expectancy or the normal span of two or three generations. Whatever that number’s function in Jeremiah, Zech. 1:12 regards the number 70 as the precise length of Judah’s exile. By fusing Jeremiah’s “70-year prophecy” with the assertion in Lev. 26:34-35, 43, that during the exile the land would atone for the sabbaths that Israel had violated, 2 Chron. 36:21-23 suggests not only that Jeremiah’s words came true, but explicitly interprets Cyrus’ edict as having reference to them.
Whatever the precise meaning of these passages, the credit for inventing sabbatical messianism belongs to the author of Daniel 9.” (Ibid., pp. 1-2).  
*** “The ancient Jewish exegesis of Dan. 9:24-27 differs from modern scholarship in two significant ways. With a few exceptions, all medieval and recent commentators translate the key-word shavu’a (supposedly following the LXX) as heptomad or a “week,י’ seven years.  The ancient exegetes, it will be shown, understood shavu’a to refer to the seven- year cycle, the last year of which was “the year of the Lord” (Lev. 25:2), the equivalent of the year of shemittah or release (Deut. 15:1-2), when debts were canceled and land lay fallow. The difference between the two interpretations is that, according to the former, any septennial number will do; according to the latter, however, each seven-year period had its fixed place in a series, precise in beginning and end. A second difference stems from the first. Modern exegetes interpret the passage without reference to Jewish chronology current at that time.  The ancients, however, took it for granted that the numbers in 9:24-27 had to harmonize with their calendar of sabbatical cycles.  No student would undertake to determine the day of the week without reference to the Jewish or Christian calendar; yet none of the nineteenth or twentieth century commentators, I have concluded, tries to harmonize Daniel with the sabbatical cycles as they were uninterruptedly observed during intertestamental and early rabbinic times.” (Ibid., pp. 2-3).

*** “The recently published fragments from a partially preserved pesher offer a fascinating presentation of sabbatical chronomessianism.  Although written in the familiar Qumran style, the pesher applied Daniel’s insight into what evidently was an anthology of biblical passages related to the sabbatical and jubilee themes, but which also included allusions to the reigns of the Righteous (Melchizedek) and Wicked (Melchiresha). After commenting on Lev. 25:13 in regard to the Israelites’ return to their patrimony in the year of דרור (jubilee), the remission of debts in Deut. 15:2, and freedom (דרור) to the captives, proclaimed in Isa. 61:1, llQMelch 3 II continues: “Its interpretation is: that He will proclaim them to be among the children of Heaven and of the inheritance of Melchizedek… For He will restore (their patrimonies?) to them and proclaim freedom to them and make them abandon all of their sins. This shall take place during the sabbatical cycle (shabu’a) of the first jubilee following the nitne] jubilees, and on the Day of Atonement falling at the en[d of the jujbilee, the tenth; To forgive on it (the day of atonement) for all of (the sins) of all the children of [God and] the men of the lot of Melchizedek.”  Although its main thought is quite clear, the precise chronology of the pesher remains obscure. There is no doubt, however, that the tenth jubilee alludes to the chronology of Dan. 9:24’s 70 sabbatical cycles, which equals 10 jubilees, when Melchizedek will overcome Me(a)lchiresha°. Any lingering doubt that this is so disappears when one reads in line 18 of our fragment: “And the herald of good tidings (Isa. 52:7a) refers to the messiah, the Spirit concerning whom it was said by Dan[iel (9:25): ‘Until the coming of the messiah, the prince, 7 sabbatical cycles…'”  Despite the fact that the pesher utilizes a long list of biblical passages, Dan. 9:24-27 remained the key to the author’s chronology of sabbatical messianism.” (Ibid., pp. 10-11).

*** “Chapters 29-30 of Seder Olam, which may be regarded as a kind of midrash on Dan. 9:24-27, tailor the chronology of the burnings of the First and the Second Temples to make them conform to the author’s view of Daniel’s sabbatical numbers: 10 Jubilees = 70 Sabbatical cycles = 490 years elapsed from Nebuchadnezzar’s to Titus’ conquests of Jerusalem.” (Ibid., p. 11).
*** “It is evident that the observance of the sabbatical years and jubilees during the intertestamental times played a far larger role in the consciousness of Israel than has been hitherto recognized. Immense as were the effects of the calendar of sabbatical cycles on the agricultural and social life of the people, its influence was no less on the formulation of Jewish religious beliefs. Concepts such as creation, history, apocalypse, and eschatology all became enmeshed with the calendar of sabbatical cycles. In the 7th year debts were cancelled, hard labor in the fields stopped; the voice of freedom was heard throughout the land as the steps of the messiah were believed to have become more and more audible.” (Ibid. p. 18).

James M. Hamilton Jr. also comments on this relevant Qumran material in relation to Daniel 9:24-27 and the eschatological jubilee of 490 years:
“This seems to indicate that the reference to ‘Melchizedek’ in this passage should be understood along the lines of the David Psalm 110.  In that case, 11Q Rule of Melchizedek bears witness to a hope for a David and Melchizedekian figure who will be anointed by the Spirit, make atonement for his people (the sons of light, i.e. the seed of the woman), thereby freeing them from their sins, proclaiming liberty to the captives, enabling the return from exile, and all these magnificent things take place at the tenth jubilee.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., With the Clouds of Heaven The book of Daniel in biblical theology, IVP, p. 162, bold emphasis MJS).

I believe Hamilton is correct to see this material including the Messianic second exodus and Messianic gathering motif as well.  He includes the blowing of the trumpet and eschatological gathering of Isaiah 27:13 with Daniel 9:24-27 (Ibid.).  This is significant in that both Yeshua and Paul connect the trumpet gathering of Isaiah 27:13 with the Second Coming of Christ and resurrection to take place in their generation and in the lifetime of their contemporaries (Mt. 24:30-34; 1 Thess. 4:15-17).  This trumpet eschatological gathering at Christ’s Second Coming in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 is described by Luke as the “days of vengeance” which correlate to Isaiah’s “day of vengeance” during this last eschatological cycle of the Jubilee (Lk. 21:20-32/Isa. 61–63).

Margaret Barker comes the closest to my position because she at least connects this last 10th cycle to the “soon” AD 66 – AD 70 fulfillments to the prophecy of Revelation.

“The seventy weeks of years, 490 years, were ten Jubilees, and the alternative way of reckoning this period was as ten Jubilees. Jewish tradition remembered that the 490 years ended in 68CE; calculation from the second temple Jubilee sequence beginning in 424BCE gives 66CE. A two years discrepancy is hardly significant in the light of what this implies, namely that the tenth Jubilee began in 17/19 CE. In other words, tenth Jubilee fervour and expectations were the context for the ministry of Jesus.” (Margaret Barker, THE TIME IS FULFILLED JESUS AND THE JUBILEE, 1999, http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/JesusAndTheJubilee.pdf).

She points out in the article that there seems to be some confusion or discrepancy on the years 422 BC or 424 BC from the second Temple Jubilee and then the next issue to work through would be if one should be calculating based on 50 or 49 for a Jubilee cycle. But if I’m reading her correctly, then 422 BC or 424 BC is where the 10 Jubilee’s countdown from Daniel 9:24-27 begins in Jewish tradition and the first century context in which Jesus and the NT authors ministered.

When I calculate Jubilees (based on 50 and not 49) from the “sign” in (Isaiah 37:30ff.) for Hezekiah in 722 BC, and work backwards until I get to a jubilee in 422 BC and the second Temple, and then calculate the 10 jubilee’s from 422 BC, this brings us to AD 27 as the 10th. Jubilee cycle.

But to be thorough, here are the various ways to calculate where the 10.th Jubilee cycle began in the lifetime of Yeshua based upon two dates for the second Temple 424 BC/422 BC and or using and counting from a 49 or 50 Jubilee year approach:

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Based upon Josephus, one can calculate a seventh year sabbath in AD 27. So based upon this information and my math, the 10th Jubilee cycle is in around AD 26/28 and this is when Jesus makes the declaration in the synagogue that He is the fulfillment of the Jubilee of Isaiah 61:1-11 in Luke 4:16-21. This would give a Jubilee Sabbatical or seventh year sabbatical in the following years (all falling within the last 10th Jubilee cycle 490 years):

1). AD 26/28 — Yeshua begins fulfilling the soteriological and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee — ministry — “cut off” — inaugurates NC age — First half of Daniel’s last “7.”

2). AD 33/35 – Seventh year sabbath

3). AD 40/42 – Seventh year sabbath

4). AD 47/49 – Seventh year sabbath

5). AD 54/56 – Seventh year sabbath

6). AD 61/63 – Seventh year sabbath

7). AD 67/69 — Yeshua fulfilling “Days of vengeance” — end of OC age — maturity of NC age — last half of Daniel’s last “7” AD 67 falls within the parousia or Second Coming of Christ event — that is the “day of vengeance” of (Isa. 61:2) which was fulfilled within Yeshua’s contemporary “this generation” and described by Him as “…the days of vengeance in fulfillment of all that has been written” and Israel’s “redemption” (Lk. 21:20-22; 27-32=Dan. 9:24-27/Isa. 61:1-11).

Josephus also records that the temple was destroyed on the 10th of Ab, the same date on which the first temple was destroyed (Josephus, Wars, 6:4:5).

*** All of Israel’s feast days (Spring and Fall) were fulfilled during this last “7” of Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy – which was the anticipated Messianic “last days” 10th. cycle of the Jubilee in Yeshua’s day. This understanding of the OT prophets and tradition of the day along with the view that when Messiah came He would usher in a transitionary reign of the second exodus generation between their Old Covenant “this age” and the Messianic New Covenant “age about to come” are the views of Jesus and the inspired NT authors. Selah. For a review of our study on Israel’s feast days go here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/berean-bible-church/part-2-25-1018-mon-sat-exodus-23-and-israels-feasts/10155296783138616/

It has become very clear to me that Leviticus 23-26 is the key to understanding how Yeshua fulfilled all the feasts of Israel within that last 10th cycle of Jubilee (of which Israel’s calendar and redemptive history was based off) and the second exodus generation!  Click on chart to enlarge:

Visio-Eschatology-chronomessianism-7

There are a couple of different ways in calculating the 10 Jubilee or 490 years cycle. Some begin with 424 BC others 422 BC. Some calculate based on the 49 years others include the 50thyear. So I ran the numbers on all the possible scenarios. Barker used the calculation seen in #3. But I also find #’s 2 and 4 interesting because AD 26 or AD 28 would be during Jesus’ earthly ministry and His announcing that He is the fulfillment of the Jubilee prophecy in Isaiah 61 and Daniel 9. He would then shortly be ”cut off” (crucified) and His Second Coming as High Priest in AD 66 – AD 70 would still fall within that 10 th.Jubilee cycle of 490 years. This transition period also fulfilled the 40 years second exodus generation motif from their OC “this age” to the NC “age about to come” that they calculated based upon Isa. 10-11, Ps. 90 and other passages.

I did find someone (and I do not share her eschatology obviously) who calculated the jubilee cycle as I had (see #2 in the chart). Marie Casale writes,

“According to Luke 3:21-23, Jesus began to be about 30 years of age when he was baptized by John the Baptist. Having been born in the fall of 5 BC, he was baptized in the fall of 26 AD at the time of his birthday. Then, according to the scriptures, after his fall baptism, he went immediately into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan for forty days. (Mat 4:1-2) He returned to Jerusalem for the first Passover of his ministry, April 9, 27 AD. (Jhn2:13-25) Some time later Jesus began preaching in Galilee after John the Baptist was put in prison. (Mar 1:14-15, Mat 4:12, Luk4:14-15)

The next event after this was that Jesus preaches in Nazareth on the Sabbath day – Luk4:16-30 * Luk4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

Luk4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

Luk4:18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to SET AT LIBERTY them that are bruised, Luk4:19 To preach THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.

Luk4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave [it] again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. Luk4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The message in Luk4:19 has to do with the announcement of ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’. This must be the Sabbath year of 26 AD.

Jesus would have probably announced these words on the Feast of Pentecost in 27 AD. The next holy day, the Day of Trumpets in 27 AD, would begin the second year of his ministry.

The message in Luk4:18 also has to do with a ‘proclamation of liberty’. Liberty was to be proclaimed as we see here in the commandments of the Sabbath year and of the Jubilee year. (cf. Deut. 15:12-18). (Marie Casale, THE SABBATH JUBILEE YEARS POINT TO THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST).

The “Already and Not Yet” of the Jubilee Cycle of Isiah 61/Luke 4

I should briefly address those such as Dr. Michael Heiser whom point out that Yeshua did not quote the “day of vengeance” when he quoted Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:18 because of an alleged 2,000 plus “already and not yet” period.

  1.  In Jewish hermeneutics often times a Rabbi would quote just one section of a prophecy and the audience knew the theological context of the entire passage was referenced as well.
  2. Even for those that discuss Yeshua was only addressing the “already” aspect of fulfilling the Jubilee of Isaiah 61 through His earthly ministry and passion — this does not address the NT places the “not yet” being fulfilled in the first century “this generation,” “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand,” “about to,” “would not be delayed,” etc…  This and the 10th Jubilee cycle had to be fulfilled within 49-50 years from AD 26.  In Luke 4:18 Jesus may be focusing on the first half of the last 7 if Daniel 9:24-27; but this does not prove the “not yet” of the last half of the 7 is 2,000 plus years and counting.

From what I understand, some commentators do claim Jesus’ declaration of the Jubilee of Luke 4:18-21/Isaiah 61 was made in an actual Jubilee year sabbath period, but it is not developed much by them or proven the way I have (and confirmed to me by Marie Casale). If this is accurate and we have a Jubilee sabbath rest year in AD 26/AD 28, then Jesus is in essence saying: “You know the 10th Jubilee of Daniel 9:24-27 that you are expecting as the time of Messiah coming to visit you with salvation and judgment, well, I am Him and the time of this prophetic period being fulfilled is taking place in your hearing and before your very eyes.” The Lord would confirm in (Luke 21:20-22, 27-32; Mt. 24:15-34) that all of the seventy sevens (and thus their “redemption”) would be fulfilled when the “abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel” took place within their contemporary “this generation.” When the Roman armies stepped foot on Israel’s land (known to them to be “a holy place” Mt. 24:15/Lk. 21:20-22) this event (the judgment of Jerusalem) brought the 70 7’s prophecy of Daniel to a perfect fulfillment and fulfilled all OT prophecy (as in Daniel 12:1-7).

Here are some more helpful insights from Barker’s article in not just developing the first part of the 10th. cycle to the earthly ministry of Christ, but the last part of the cycle to the “soon” AD 70 judgment,

*** “The Qumran Melchizedek text (11QMelch), written in the middle of the first century BCE but not necessarily composed at that time, describes the events of the tenth Jubilee14. Only fragments have survived so it is possible that the complete text described the other nine Jubilees also. The text begins by quoting the Jubilee laws in Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15, interpreting them ‘for the last days’. The captives who are to return are people whose teachers have been ‘hidden and kept secret’ and these ‘people of the inheritance of Melchizedek’ will return. There is insufficient text for certainty, but this looks like a group who have been secretly preserving the teachings of the first temple, when there was a Melchizedek priesthood. In the tenth Jubilee they would ‘return’, perhaps to the temple as priests? The liberty of the Jubilee is interpreted as release from iniquities, the beginning of the atonement which will occur on the Day of Atonement at the end of the tenth Jubilee. The return and the release from iniquity were to happen in the first week, the first seven years, of the tenth Jubilee i.e. approximately 19-26 CE. If Jesus was born in 7/6 BCE15 and was baptised when he was about thirty years old (Luke 3.23), he began his ministry during the crucial first ‘week’ of the tenth Jubilee.

11 QMelch alludes many times to the Jubilee oracle in Isaiah 61: ‘… the LORD God has anointed me… to proclaim liberty to the captives (Isa.61.1, ‘proclaim liberty’, deror. being a quotation from Lev.25.10). The coming Melchizedek is to rescue his own people (? the sons of light, but the text is damaged here) from the power of Belial. There was to be a messenger of peace announcing to Zion ‘Your God reigns’, thus fulfilling Isaiah 52.7. The messenger was probably Melchizedek, but again the text is too damaged for certainty. He would be the anointed one prophesied in Daniel 9.25, but described in 11 QMelch as ‘anointed of the Spirit’, a conflation with Isaiah 61.1. The anointed one would instruct in the end times of the world16 and some people (the text is broken here) would establish the covenant, another Day of Atonement theme.

This gives the context for the opening scenes of the gospels. In the first week of the tenth Jubilee Jesus was baptised with the Spirit, which was interpreted as his anointing (Acts 10.38). After his time in the desert he returned to Galilee announcing ‘the time is fulfilled’ i.e. the tenth Jubilee is inaugurated and ‘Melchizedek’ is here, ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent’, because the final Day of Atonement was also at hand at hand, ‘and believe the good news’ of the Jubilee release. Luke’s account of Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth shows that he claimed to have inaugurated the final Jubilee; no other interpretation can be put on the claim to have fulfilled that day (Luke 4.21) the Jubilee prophecy in Isaiah 61 which was central to the Melchizedek expectations of the time. 17

The first miracle was an exorcism (Mark 1.21-26), setting one of his own people free from the power of Belial. He spoke of a woman bound by Satan and released her (Luke 13.16), of slaves to sin whom the Son could release (John 9.31-38). He forgave sins and illustrated his teaching with a parable of two debtors whose debts were cancelled (Luke 7. 41-48). The healing miracles restored to the community people who would have been excluded as ritually unfit: the disabled, the lepers, a woman who was bleeding. This was the great ingathering of the Jubilee. Jesus spoke of those who would inherit the earth (Mat.5.5) and at the Last Supper, he spoke of the New Covenant and of his blood poured out for the remission of sins (aphesis, the Jubilee word, Mat.26.28).

The Jubilee also brought the Day of Judgement, vividly described in 11QMelch. Melchizedek would take his place in the heavenly assembly and, as described in Psalm 82.1, begin to judge the `elohim, the heavenly beings. This was to be the year of Melchizedek’s favour, a very significant alteration to Isaiah 61.2, which proclaims the Jubilee as the year of the LORD’s favour. Similarly with Psalm 82.1; it is Melchizedek who takes his place in the heavenly assembly, whereas in the original Psalm it is God. The only possible conclusion is that Melchizedek, the heavenly high priest, was the LORD, the God of Israel. In 11 QMelch he has armies and brings the vengeance of divine judgement, and these were expected to appear in the tenth Jubilee. 11 QMelch explains why Jesus is depicted as judge and warrior in the Book of Revelation and why the Book of Revelation is described as ‘The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place’ (Rev.1.1). These were the teachings of Melchizedek, revealing in the tenth Jubilee the ends times of the world. When the Lamb takes his place in the heavenly assembly (Rev.5.6-14 fulfilling Ps.82.1) the judgement begins. The Word of God rides out from heaven, wearing a white robe sprinkled with blood; he is the high priest who has taken the atonement blood into the holy of holies. He rides out with his with his army (Rev.19.11-16) and the judgement follows.

The letter to the Hebrews explained the role of Jesus as the new Melchizedek (Heb.7.11), the one who had attained the priesthood by ascent, being raised up, not by descent from Aaron18. The crucifixion and ascension had been recognised as the enthronement of the Lamb, exactly as described in Hebrews 10.12: ‘When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, there to wait until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet’. The remainder of the tenth Jubilee was the time of waiting until the final battle and victory when the Great High Priest would emerge to complete the Atonement and conclude the Jubilee.” (Ibid.).

*** “The seventh seal [of Revelation] would bring the return of the heavenly high priest to complete the great atonement at the end of the tenth Jubilee which was, by that time, imminent. In August 66CE, the nationalists gained entrance to the temple area and burned all records of debt20, the start of the Jubilee.” (Ibid.).

***” There is insufficient evidence to say with confidence how closely the Parousia expectations of the early church were bound up with the Jewish nationalism of the first century CE. They had Jubilee expectations in common, but the present form of the gospels invites us to believe that Jesus spiritualised the Jubilee, interpreting release from debt and slavery as forgiveness of sins and release from the power of Satan. This, however, is exactly the interpretation in 11QMelch, which was quite clear about the events of the tenth Jubilee. A spiritual interpretation of Jubilee does not necessarily indicate a separate agenda from the nationalists. Jesus did warn that the blood of the prophets would be required of his generation (Luke 11.50), in other words, that the Day of Judgement would occur within the lifetime of his hearers. This explains the urgency of his words: ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the good news’.” (Ibid.).

*** “The Jubilee was used to measure time in the second temple period even when a literal application of the land laws was no longer possible10. Later tradition divided the history of Israel into Jubilees, but the remarkable coincidence of important events and Jubilee years does suggest that the Jubilee system was a significant factor in Israel’s actual history and not just in the memory of its historians.” (Ibid.).

That the Jubilee of Isaiah 61 was considered an imminent eschatological expectation in Jesus’ days is supported by other scholars:

“In 11Q13 phrases from Isa. 61:1–2 are linked with Lev. 25:13; Deut. 15:2; Ps. 7:8–9; 82:1–2; Isa. 52:7 to portray the expectation of the eschatological Jubilee (M. P. Miller 1969; J. A. Sanders 1975: 85). (Pao, D. W., & Schnabel, E. J. (2007). Luke. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 288). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos).

My Response to Margaret Barker’s Article

Jubilee Used to Measure Time and the History of Israel

As to Barker’s insight into the Jews dividing up their history in jubilee years and expectations of Messiah coming to fulfill Daniel’s 10th cycle of Jubilee during the times of Jesus — see my comments on the eschatological genealogies of Matthew and Luke’s gospels and George F. Moore’s article, Fourteen Generations: 490 Years: An Explanation of the Genealogy of Jesus, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan., 1921), pp. 97-103 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School.

The “Days of Vengeance” – Luke 21:20-32 and the 10th. Jubilee Cycle

Yeshua predicted that His coming soteriological and eschatological “redemption” “kingdom” “days of vengeance” of the Jubilee of Isaiah 61–66 would arrive at the sound of a trumpet and would be accomplished within His first century “this generation” audience (Lk. 21:20-32/Mt. 24:30-34). This was the fulfillment of “all that had been written” in the OT (Lk. 21:20-22ff.), which would obviously include Isaiah 61–66 and Daniel 2; 7; 9 and 12.

The Book of Hebrews and the 10th Jubilee Cycle

In chapters 3-4 the author demonstrates that the OT predicted “another sabbath rest” for Israel to enter into of which the land promise was only a type. In chapters 9-10 this “approaching day” of sabbath rest is connected to His Second Appearing as the Great High Priest to finish His atonement work. The first century Church was “eagerly” awaiting this return that is described as taking place in the last days of the Old Covenant age and “in a very little while” and would “not delay.” He was “about to” (Greek mello) burn up His Old Covenant apostate Jewish enemies and place them under His feet at this AD 66 – AD 70 Second Appearing.

In chapter 7 Melchizedek only functioned as a type of Christ, therefore the fist century imminent expectations of the eschatological “last days” Melchizedek is rightfully applied to Christ as Messiah and God to accomplish what they thought this figure would.

The Book of Revelation and the 10th Jubilee Cycle

The book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off. Daniel had to “seal up the vision” because the time of fulfillment was “far off” (Dan. 12), whereas John is told the opposite concerning the SAME prophecy. He is told to “NOT seal up the vision” because the time of fulfillment is “at hand” (Rev. 22). Most of the book of Revelation deals with Daniel’s final “7” and places it being fulfilled in a fist century AD 66 – AD 77 period (i.e. “shortly” “soon” “at hand” “about to” “quick”).

Revelation also addresses issues of atonement, forgiveness of sin, sabbath rest and restoring man’s original Edenic inheritance in Christ at His “soon” Second Coming event during AD 66 – AD 70.

Yeshua – the Only Messianic Candidate

No matter how you look at it, the Jews were expecting Messiah to arrive during the Roman Empire and during the 10th Jubilee cycle/period and thus be made manifest to them between AD 17/19 or AD 26/28 Jesus was the ONLY one claiming to be Messiah and fulfilling this prophecy in His day, that I know of. Jesus arriving during this 10th. Jubilee cycle and proclaiming “liberty” along with His physical miracles, demonstrated that He indeed was who He claimed to be. Who else during this period was making this specific claim and having the miracles to back it up?!? And who else was prophesying that He would come on the clouds as the Ancient of Days and destroy the Temple within that same generation (Mt. 24:15-34/Lk. 21:20-32)?!?

Daniel 9:24-27 and the 10th. Jubilee Cycle Fulfilled Between AD 26–AD 66-70

When you read the commentators concerning these six promises Messiah will accomplish in the last 7 — which is divided into 2 3.5 periods, many recognize there is an “already and not yet” of Messiah’s redemptive work (cf. Heb. 9-10) that must be fulfilled between Him being “cut off” (the cross – or “already”) and His Second Appearing as High Priest out from the Temple–to finish the atoning process.  Others have seen that the seventy sevens prophecy simply ends with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  And yet others will readily admit that the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds in Daniel 7:13 is developed by Jesus in Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:1-34 as Him coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70 through the Romans.  Connecting these observations together, we see that Jesus gives a “this generation” period to be the “already and not yet” period for these events to take place and NOT a 2,000 plus years and counting period.  This becomes clear in the first of these six events of which we not turn.

Other Historical Works Confirm the Same Contemporary Time Frame of Inspired NT Imminence

This Age and the Age About to Come
N.T. Wright correctly points out Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on the “end of the age,” is in harmony with “…the ‘two-age’ structure…of Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism.”  The “end of the age” in Mt. 13:39, 43; Mt. 24:3; Heb. 9:26 Wright correctly identifies as “…the fall of Jerusalem and the Parousia of Jesus.” (The RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, p. 645).  Wright is correct here on the ages and the parousia of Christ occurring in AD 70, except by “parousia” we see a reference to the Second Coming of Christ (not the ascension) consummating the OC age in judgment and ushering in and brining to maturity the New Covenant age in which we live today.
The 40 Years Generation “Transition” Between the Old Covenant and New Covenant Ages
“Many Rabbis believed the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age [OC age] and the “age to come” [NC age] (Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, p. 356).  “‘How long will the days of the Messiah last?  R. Akiba said, ‘forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land” (Ibid.).
This “transition stage” or second exodus of a 40 years generation type/anti-type understanding is developed for us by Yeshua in the Gospels, John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, the author of Hebrews and forms the infallible and prophetic NT’s view of inspired imminence (cf. Mt. 3-4; 24:34; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14YLT).
The Essenes & Inspired NT Imminence
Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essenes interpreted Habakkuk 2, the book of Daniel and Ezekiel 38-39 regarding the coming of Messiah in judgment, the “last days” and end time battle to be referring to the same time of fulfillment that Yeshuah and the NT authors did:

  • Essenes believed they were the “final generation” that would experience “the end of the [OC] age.” (1QpHab 7:1-2)
  • Yeshua and Peteraffirmed “the end” or “end of the age” was “near” in their contemporary generation (Mt. 24:3-34; Acts 2:20-40/Deut. 32:5, 20; 1 Pet. 4:5-7).  Hebrews affirms the appointed time of Habakkuk’s prophecy had arrived and thus Yeshua’s Second Appearing to finish the atonement process would come “in a very little while” and would “not delay” at the approaching last days of the OC age (Heb. 9:28–10:37-38/Hab. 2:3-4).
  • The Essenes believed based upon Daniel 9:24-27, Habakkuk 2, Ezekiel 38-39 and other OT passages that their “last days” “generation,” would experience the end time war of Gog and Magog — when Rome came against apostate Jerusalem and their priesthood (1QpHab 9:5-11; 12:5-13).  They also believed Messiah would come and join them to defeat both the Romans and the apostate priesthood of Jerusalem.  After the community was almost wiped out by the Romans, they joined their apostate Jerusalem enemies in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 to fight Rome.  But event then they remained hopeful that Messiah would come and deliver them and destroy both of the Romans and apostate Jerusalem in this end time battle.
  • Yeshua and Johnaffirm “the last days” end time battle would be “near” in their generation when God would judge OC Jerusalem (or Babylon) for slaying Yeshua and His Apostles and Prophets (Lk. 21:20-24, 32/Dan. 9:26-27; Lk. 23:28-31/Isa. 2-4; Rev. 6:10-11; 11:8; 16; 19; 20).

We can imagine that while the Essenes were seeking to self-fulfill their carnal earthly views of the Messianic kingdom by going to Jerusalem and joining the war of AD 66 – AD 70, the Christians would be leaving the city being delivered by Messiah and knowing the kingdom “within” them was arriving RIGHT ON TIME (Lk. 17:20-37; 21:20-32).
Alright, back to Daniel…

1).  Finish transgression

Jerusalem “filled up” or “finished transgressions” against God and His Messiah within Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 23:31-38; Dan. 9:24a).  Dr. Michael Brown cites James E. Smith as understanding this verse likewise to be, “To fill up [or restrain] the transgression.  Within the 490 year period the people of Israel would commit their final transgression against God.  Jesus indicated that the leaders of his generation were about to fill up the measure of the sin of their forefathers (Matt. 23:32)…” (Michael Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 3, 93).

And Brown himself takes this interpretation when he writes,

“…take seriously Yeshua’s words spoken in Matthew 23:32, when he sarcastically exhorted the hostile Jewish leaders of his day, “Fill up the measure of the sin of your forefathers!”  Thus, the generation that rejected the Messiah would suffer the culmination of the sins of all the previous generations:  “Upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth…I tell the truth, all this will come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:35a, 37).” (Ibid., p. 96, bold emphasis MJS).

Unfortunately, Brown’s commitment to Futurist Zionism causes him to not “take seriously Yeshua’s words spoken in Matthew 23…,” because this is the consummative judgment of the living (the Pharisees) and the dead (martyrs) going all the way back to Genesis.  As that contemporary generation was ending, the book of Revelation confirms the same first century time frame of fulfillment in that the vindication of he martyrs blood at the hands of the great harlot city Babylon (which is OC Jerusalem where the Lord was crucified – Rev. 11:8) would be fulfilled in a “very little while” at the “soon” Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 6:10-11; 17–22:6-7, 10-12, 20).  The judgment and resurrection of the dead is once again connected with the fall of Jerusalem in Daniel 12:1-7.

Arminianism and Brown portrays and interprets Matthew 23:37 as it being Jesus’ will to save the vast majority within Jerusalem, but because of their free will and rejection, He simply could not pull it off.  Some within Dispensationalism also claim that Jesus wanted to save the majority in Israel and establish His kingdom on earth at His first coming, but again due to unbelief, He couldn’t and had to resort to “plan b” (the cross).  But somehow, we are to be assured that man’s “free will” and rejection of Christ will not be a problem for God’s will when He comes a second time, when the vast majority within Jerusalem allegedly will cry out with their free will at that time in repentance, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The Context of Matthew 23
Matthew 23:37-39 is a part of the entire teaching and context beginning in v. 1.  Jesus is pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (vss. 1-12).  Then Jesus begins pronouncing 7 judgmental “woes” upon them in vss. 13-39.  It is important to note Jesus’ emotional disposition is that of righteous anger at the Pharisees, and not Him weeping over the fact that He simply cannot accomplish His will to save the majority among Jerusalem.
Israel’s sin of blood guilt (whereby she killed the righteous among them throughout her history) was “filling up” from the time of Cain’s killing of righteous Abel, to those NT prophets and teachers Jesus would send to them – of which they too would persecute and kill (from AD 30 – AD 66 – vss. 32-34, cf. Matt. 10:17-23).  In vss. 35-36, 38 Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the time of judgment for all their bloodshed would fall upon them/their “this generation” – when their “house”/temple would be left desolate in AD 70.  This particular “this generation” was prophesied by Moses in Deuteronomy to experience her “end” (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:20-40).  At this time the righteous remnant among Israel (the “Israel within Israel” trusting in Messiah) along with the believing Gentiles would “rejoice” for God judging OC Israel’s sin of blood guilt and bringing her to this end (Deut. 32:43).
Matthew 23:37 
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
First, this verse leading into vss. 38-39 is apart of Jesus’ 7th and last judgment “woe” began in v. 29.  Again, Jesus’ disposition is that of righteous anger not Him weeping because His will is being thwarted because the majority within Jerusalem would not believe in Him.
Secondly, in the context of this chapter, “Jerusalem” should be identified as the “Pharisees” who sought not to let others enter the kingdom v. 14.  And the “children” would include some of those that they sought to lay heavy burdens upon v. 4.
Thirdly, “gathering” here is the Messianic new exodus gathering predicted by the prophets (ex. Isa. 11:10-12).  Some Jews during Jesus’ day saw this new exodus being another 40 years generation or transitionary period between the OC “this age” of the law and prophets, and the NC or Messianic “age to come” based upon Psalm 90:15 and other texts.  This is the inspired time frame of Jesus and the rest of the NT writers.  There is an “already and not yet” aspect to this gathering which falls within Jesus’ “this generation” prophecy.
The “already” aspect of it can be said to have begun with the preaching of the gospel by Jesus in the gospels (and Pentecost and beyond) by which He was gathering the first fruits into His kingdom.  According to Paul and Peter, this is God gathering Jew and Gentile into one spiritual New Man or Temple.
The “not yet” aspect of this Messianic gathering and the blowing of the trumpet at His Second Coming to close the end of the OC age in AD 70 would be the full harvest when He gathered all of His elect within that generation and caused them to inherit the kingdom.  Both the “already” and “not yet” aspects to this Messianic judgment and gathering are said to take place within Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or at the end of His Old Covenant “this age” (Matt. 13:29-43; 23:36; 24:30-34).
In respect to the “already” – this gathering involved Jesus gathering “the children” to hear His preaching.  The leadership or Pharisees / “Jerusalem” sought to hinder this process or “would not” allow it (that is to the best of their abilities).  John 9-10 is probably a good commentary here on this concept.  The blind man is healed but his family is scared because the Pharisees had begun persecuting anyone who believed in Jesus – by kicking them out of the synagoue 9:22. Jesus goes on to depict the Pharisees here as the truly “blind” ones and then in chapter 10 as “thieves” “robbers” and “hired hands” while He is the faithful Shepherd gathering His sheep (such a the blind man healed in chapter 9) into safety and green pastures.  He also goes on to affirm that none of His sheep the Father gives Him (by name in election) would fail to come to Him in faith and would not perish (cf. chapter 10).  This refutes the Arminian and Brown’s twisting of Matthew 23:37.
God sovereignly foreordained and used the persecutions of the Pharisees to kill His Son and persecute the early church.  Why?  Because this was His prophetic and ordained will and method of establishing His kingdom – not a means by which it got postponed or God’s will get’s frustrated in saving all He ordains to come to Him.
Before leaving this subject of Jewish persecution and a coming judgment, Paul addresses this problem as well in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 where the Jews were persecuting Christians and seeking to hinder the preaching of the gospel.  He also expected the eschatological “not yet” first century “wrath” and “trouble” to come upon those first century Jews (in their lifetimes) – this being consistent with the teachings of John the Baptist and Jesus elsewhere (cf. Matt. 3:7-12GNT; Lk. 21:20-32; 2 Thess. 1:5-7).
Matthew 23:38-39
“Look, your house is left to you desolate.  For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
First, Jesus’ phrase “For I tell you” or “verily, verily I say unto you,” is always a linking phrase of emphasis to drive home the point of His teaching that has just gone before.  So the “coming” of v. 39 begins with connecting what follows with the judgment in AD 70 – ie. when “your house/temple is left to you desolate” v. 38.  Therefore, this is not some 2,000 and counting years “coming” of Christ that is designed to save the vast majority of Israel in our future.
Secondly, the exegete needs to examine the context of that OT text Jesus is quoting from and see what event He has identified with it elsewhere in His teachings.  Jesus is quoting and applying Psalm 118:26 here in Matthew 23:39 to Him coming in judgment upon Jerusalem and her temple in AD 70.  This is consistent with how Jesus has used Psalm 118 elsewhere.  In Matthew 21:42-45 Jesus references Psalm 118:22 to prove He is the Cornerstone by which the Pharisees would stumble over – and thus be judged.  This was the time when the kingdom would be taken from them and given to another nation bearing its fruits.  Consistent with Jesus, Peter uses Psalm 118 to refer to a coming salvation and judgment that was “ready” and “at hand” in his day (1 Peter 1:5-12—2:4-10–4:5-7).
Therefore, the burden of proof is upon the Futurist such as Brown to demonstrate that Jesus is using Psalm 118 in a completely different way – ie. referring to a 2,000+ years distant future context – ie. for Jerusalem’s mass salvation, and not her imminent judgment in AD 70.  Brown despises what he calls “replacement theology,” and yet when all the law and prophets were fulfilled by AD 70 (Lk. 21:20-22), the OC kingdom was “taken” and “given” to the Jew/Gentile Church in its spiritual/transformed/matured form.  When the OC kingdom is “taken” from Israel after the flesh is when the OC “vanished” and the Jew/Gentile Church inherited the spiritual and heavenly New Jersalem/City (Heb. 8:13; 13:14YLT).
Thirdly, Psalm 118:26 was commonly known as “The Song of Ascent.” The Song of Ascent was supposed to be a song of joy and salvation that the Jews would sing on the walls of Jerusalem welcoming the pilgrims for her feast days.  But God made Christ a Cornerstone or Rock by which Israel “stumbled” producing a “strange work” (Isa. 28:21 – ie. God would come to judge them – and not their enemies).  Instead of being met and welcoming pilgrims for the feasts, they were met with and forced to welcome – God coming in judgment through the Roman armies (as God had “come” in the OT – through the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…).That the Jews would not “discern what their end would be” was predicted in yet another song – the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:29).
Again, Jesus’ disposition is that of righteous anger and thus He is using irony in appealing to a song that was typically used of salvation and peace, to be a song sung welcoming her enemies for her judgment!  The Jews were bottled up in Jerusalem in AD 66 – AD 70 deceiving themselves into thinking that God was going to save them from the Romans and usher in the kingdom in fulfillment of OT prophecies (the very mentality that Jesus warned about concerning the coming false prophets in Matt. 24).
Matthew 23-25
The climatic question that was begging in the minds of the disciples is that they wanted to know more specifically when and what signs Jesus might give concerning his coming to vindicate the persecutions coming and the blood of the martyrs, destroy the city and temple within their generation. Jesus had already given a subtle sign of Him coming during one of the feasts when they would be singing the Son of Ascent on the walls (Mt. 23:38-39/Ps. 118). And they already understood He would come in judgment to close their OC age (cf. Mt. 13:39-51). They were not “confused” to associate His coming with the destruction of the temple and the end of their OC age. They knew it would take place in their lifetimes (cf. Mt. 10:17-23; Mt. 16:27-28) and generation (Mt. 23:36-39), they just wanted more clarity when Jesus brings up the Temple and it’s destruction again in Matthew 24 and Jesus gave it to them. The climatic and concluding answer given by Jesus to the disciples as to when all of these things would take place was “this generation” (Mt. 24:34). This closes the inclusio of His “this generation” which was begun in Matthew 23.
Matthew 23-25 involves ONE Second Coming event to close the OC age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.” The discourse has NOTHING to do with a literal bodily coming of Jesus to close world history. The recapitulation structure of the OD dismantles the division theories of futurists and even that of Postmillennial Partial Preterists. Selah. The coming of Christ in Matthew 23:38-39–24:27-31 is the Second Coming. The “gathering” (Mt. 24:30-31) is the rising of the dead (of all the dead) that takes place at the end of the age already discussed in Matthew 13:36-43/Daniel 12:1-4.   
“This Age” & “Age to Come” / The Second Exodus 40 Years Generation & Days of Messiah 
The Jew during Jesus’ day understood “this age” to be the OC age of the law and prophets and the “age to come” to be the NC age of Messiah which would follow.  As I point out in my/our book, it is Reformed and orthodox Christian interpretation to identify Jesus and Paul’s “this age” to be the OC age (not the Christian age) and the “age to come,” to be the NC age of Messiah arriving when the OC age passed away in AD 70. (Michael Sullivan, David Green, Ed Hassertt, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, (Ramona, CA:  Vision Publishing, Second Edition, 2013), 91). Jesus and Paul do not depart from this traditional Jewish two age structure as they look to an imminent fulfillment coming in the lifetimes of their first century audiences – in which the old would pass and the new arrives in a mature state (ie. AD 70).
Isaiah 11 predicted a second exodus coming for Israel.  The Jews prior to Christ and during his day based upon Psalm 90:15 and other OT passages, also believed “the days of Messiah” would be a transition period between the OC “this age” and the Messianic NC “age to come” and that this would be another Forty Year exodus period:
“How long will the days of Messiah last?  R. Akiba said, Forty years, as long as the Iraelites were in the wilderness.” (Dr. BOAZ COHEN, NEW AMERICAN EDITION Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York:  E.P. Dutton & CO., 1949), 356).
Amazing how Dr. Michael Brown does not address these Jewish traditions of interpretation and or Christian exegesis and then seek to harmonize them with Messiah’s own teaching and that of the infallible NT Apostles and Prophets.  The NT likewise teaches a 40 years second exodus generation of a pre-parousia “transitional” reign of Messiah Yeshua from their OC “this age” (which was passing away and ready to vanish) to the NC “age about to” arrive in it’s mature state–roughly from AD 30 – AD 70.  

2).  Put an end to sin

As we have seen in our brief discussion of entering into the sabbath rest in the book of Hebrews, Christ put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while” Second Appearing as the Great Anointed High Priest fulfilling the NC promises made to Israel and to close the “last days” of the OC age in AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28/10:37; Rom. 11:26-27/13:11-12; Dan. 9:24b.).

3).  To atone for wickednessor the covering over of iniquity

See references in #2. In the New Creation our sins are remembered no more and covered in the depths of the sea (Isa. 65-66; Micah 7:19).

4).  To bring in everlasting righteousness

At the Day of the Lord in AD 70, He brought in “everlasting righteousness” or a “world of righteousness” per 2 Peter 3 – the “end of all things” being “at hand” in Peter’s day (1 Peter 4:5-7). “but also on ours, to whom it [righteousness] is about to bereckoned — to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead,” (Romans 4:24). “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” (Galatians 5:5).  See “Appendix A” at the end of this article which discusses the fulfillment of Isaiah 61-66 in relation to entering into the New Creation within the 10th cycle of the Jubilee rest and inheritance – i.e. between AD 26/27–AD 66-70.

Please see my exegesis of the Day of the Lord ushering in the New Creation of Isaiah 61-66 later in this article.

5).  To seal up vision and prophet

Many commentators agree that Daniel 9:24-27 is a tiny snapshot of the fulfilling of the first and second redemptive comings of Yeshua.  Yet at the same time, commentators struggle with the fact that the prophecy ends with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 per Yeshua (Lk. 21:20-22ff).  Yeshua’s teaching is clear, all of Israel’s OT promises and prophetic material concerning His redemptive work would be accomplished within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 21:22-32).

Don Preston offers a concise major consensus upon scholars concerning the meaning of “seal up vision and prophet”:

1.) “Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344).
2.) “The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.” (Charles John Ellicott, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Cassell and Co; London, 1884), 387).
3.) “The vision and prophet will be sealed, that is accredited, because their final accomplishment has been reached in those events of blessing for God’s earthly people.” (A. C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Kregel, 1968), 133).
4.) “The reference is not to the accrediting of the prophecy, but to sealing it up so that it will no longer appear. Its functions are finished and it is not henceforth needed.” (Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1953), 200).
5.) “The words taken together refer to the final fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, i.e., when their functions are shown to be finished.” (James Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel,(Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1973), 250).
6.) “To set seal to them, to ratify and confirm the prophet’s prediction.” “The close of the seventy weeks will bring with it the confirmation of the prophetic utterances.” “A.V. and R.V. ‘seal up,’ means to close up, preclude from activity, the sense of the expression upon this view, being supposed to be that, prophecies being fulfilled, prophet and vision will be needed no more.” ( S. R. Driver, The Book of Daniel, (Cambridge University Press Warehouse, 1905), 136).
7.) “The idea is, that everything in the form of prophetic visions and predictions that had been produced in the course of theocratic development from the time of Moses should receive ‘sealing’ i.e. Divine confirmation and recognition, in the form of actual fulfillment (I Kings 21:8).” (John Peter Lange, Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Ezekiel-Daniel, edited by Phillip Schaff, (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1876), 195).
8.) “To fulfill the anticipations of all prophetic books.” ( J. R. Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, (New York, McMillan Co., 1923), 540).
9.) “The idea seems to be that they would at that time be all sealed, in the sense that they would be closed or shut up–no longer open matters–but that the fulfillment would, as it were, close them up forever.” Barnes also cites Hengstenberg, Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, and Langerke as concurring with the idea that vision and prophecy are sealed by fulfillment.” (Albert Barnes, Daniel Vol. II, (Grand Rapids; Baker, 1978), 145).
10.) “The sealing up of vision and prophet implies the confirming and fulfilling of all the sacred oracles that had spoken of the great day of the Lord and the glorious age to follow, in which the earth would be full of the knowledge of the Jehovah.” ( Milton S. Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics, (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1988 reprint), 201).  For more on this see Don’s book, Seal up Vision and Prophecy.

The basic meaning of these words:
Seal  – chathamto make an end, seal (up), stop.
Vision – chazowna dream, revelation, or oracle: -vision.
Prophecy or Prophet – nabiy’ Is used 316 times in the OT and is translated prophet 312 times and only once is it translated prophecy here in Dan. 9:24.

Our passage is teaching us that when Daniel 9:24-27 (which is a concise prophecy of all OT prophecy) is fulfilled, then the office of “prophet” will “cease.”
I was meditating on Jeremiah 23 the other day and the false prophets and priests claiming to speak for God in God’s name — and how outraged God was at this! Yet Charismatics simply continue to claim to be prophets and prophesy in His name falsely on a REGULAR basis. Some Charismatics admit an 80% failure rate of “prophecies” being the result of them talking to themselves, thinking dreams are from God when they aren’t or making predictions that don’t come true. Does not Jeremiah say that false prophets are guilty of claiming to have visions and dreams that come from “delusions in their own minds” (Jer. 23:16, 25-26)? Is God not “against” those that speak in His name giving false prophecy saying, ‘The LORD declares.’ Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams.” And these false prophets “lead my people away with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them.” And “But you must not mention ‘the oracle of the LORD’ again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you DISTORT THE WORDS OF THE LIVING GOD, THE LORD ALMIGHTY, OUR GOD.” (Jer. 23:16, 25-36).
The other thing we need to point out is that it was the false prophets in Ezekiel’s day that turned the “at hand” coming of the Lord in judgment upon Jeremiah’s contemporaries to be twisted into something that would be far off for others to experience and not them (cf. Ezek. 7 and 12).  The false prophets of the Charismatic Movement claim that the NT inspired Apostles and Prophets declaring an “at hand” and “soon” first century Second Coming event, wasn’t really “at hand” for them, but their so-called “prophets” and “prophecies” make these promises allegedly truly “at hand” or “near” in our day!  Amazing how that works.
I was also reminded of some statements I have read by my Charismatic opponent next month in his book, Playing With Holy Fire.  Let me address the serious error’s of Dr. Brown and the Charismatic view of modern “prophets” and failed “prophecies” uttered in God’s name.
False and Failed “Prophets” and “Prophecy”
In Brown’s book Authentic Fire in one of the appendix sections he has another author (Sam Storms) peddle the Charismatic view that NT prophets could make false predictions or their “prophecies” may not be 100 % accurate. After all Brown uttered a false prophecy about Israel (see below) – right? Might as well admit NT prophecy fails, if yours do and you want to be portraying yourself as being “biblical” and others actually consider you a “prophet” – right?!?
I tried getting the audio or transcript of Brown’s “prophecy” but couldn’t. So here is an article addressing Brown’s false and failed “prophecy” I found online:
“Michael Brown’s False Prophecy
By now we are all familiar with the prophecy – first denied to be a prophecy, then admitted to be a prophecy, then denied to be a prophecy – issued by John Kilpatrick on April 6, 1997 against CRI and its president, Hank Hanegraaff.
However, it has been discovered that John Kilpatrick is not the first Brownsville Assembly of God staff member to have prophecied falsely. As far back as 1987, Dr. Michael Brown, Brownsville’s chief apologist, issued one of his own.
“…While speaking at that Jerusalem gathering, Michael Brown proceeded to tell the attendees that “tonight,” that night, would be a “history making” night insomuch as the Holy Spirit would descend in power and fire as earth-shaking and monumental as the literal day of Pentecost detailed in Acts, chapter 2. On a video of this speech in the presence of Israeli Messianic leaders including such leading scholars as Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum who all witnessed the false prophetic predictions, Michael Brown went so far as to interpret the national disaster of forest fires destroying 20% of Israel’s reforested land as emblematic of the outpouring. [Reported in the Moriel Newsletter Number 9; Jacob Prasch Ministry] Somewhere around 2am, when it became apparent nothing “earth shaking” was going to occur that evening, Brown’s “prophecy” fizzled and he subsequently issued a letter of apology, attempting to claim that the reason nothing came of it was because several people in attendance were allegedly praying “against” his “prophesy”. He would ultimately go on to admit that, in fact, he must not have been “in the Spirit” when he made the aforementioned proclamation.
A transcript of this infamous meeting will be made available once we have the tape.
Article by Bob Hunter and Debra Bouey.” http://op.50megs.com/ditc/brownprophecy.htm
Brown tries to address this issue in his book, Playing With Holy Fire (pp. 89-92). Just when you think you are getting a sincerely humble confession from Brown, it is un-done with Brown boasting about how much he fasted before giving this false prophecy and that in the end, it was allegedly “the greatest outpouring in the history of modern Israel” and “technically speaking what I spoke came to pass” (Ibid. pp. 90-91). And of course the false or failed aspect he uttered apparently didn’t come true because it was “conditional” (Ibid. p. 91)?!?
MacArthur in his book Strange Fire documents Charismatics admitting that 80% of their “prophecies” never come true. They don’t see any problem with this. Wow. They should be glad they are not living in the OT.
Brown tries to distance his failed prophecies and countless others in the movement by exhorting his fellow-charismatics to instead of using OT and NT language of “thus says the LORD…” use, “I sense the Lord could be showing me this…” (Ibid., p. 82 bold MJS). Brown claims NT prophecy and that of Charismatics can be in error (unlike what the Bible teaches Deut. 18:15-22) because unlike the OT period, so many have the gift (Ibid., p. 83). Really? So the Holy Spirit in the OT had NO PROBLEM communicating to the prophets and them having a 100% accuracy rating, but because the Holy Spirit has more on His plate when He came upon all kinds of Jews, Samaritans, God-fearers, and Gentiles in the NT (from Pentecost to AD 70) and allegedly today (per Charismatic false doctrine), a 80% error rate is now allowed and we can just re-define the nature of prophecy and the office of prophet to fit their failed “experiences”?!? Wow! Let that sink in folks!
While at was at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa under Pastor Chuck Smith I personally heard many so-called “prophecies” that centered around the “soon” coming rapture and or Second Coming of Jesus in the after glow services. They were uttered by “prophets” or those alleged gifted with the gift of prophecy. Some were given through someone speaking gibberish (not a known foreign language) and then “interpreted” as something like, “I am coming for you soon my beloved. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!” They of course felt comfortable with this because after all Hal Lindsey and Pastor Smith were teaching that the generation from 1948 to 1988 would experience the “soon” coming rapture.
From what I understand the Brownsville “revival” also uttered similar “soon” Second Coming prophesies. This is not uncommon. All of your major cults started in the early eighteenth century were giving “prophecies” or dogmatic teachings about the “soon” Second Coming to take place in their generation. These same cults argued that the main church had been in apostasy until God began restoring the church through their teachings. While the Pentecostal and Charismatic moment or the Brownsville “revival” may not go that far, they definitely teach that if you didn’t make the “pilgrimage” to their church, where the Holy Spirit was allegedly really moving, you were missing out. And within the Charismatic Movement, if you are not experiencing what they are, you are “quenching the spirit” in your life etc. If you rebuke them in love with the Word some would go as far as saying you are “touching God’s anointed” or “blaspheming the Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
I would agree with Charles John Ellicott connecting the “sealing up of vision and prophet” to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, “The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 describes the “this generation” eschatological “already and not yet” transition period roughly from AD 30 – AD 70.  There was a PROCESS taking place.  Something “partial” that need to be “complete” or a child growing into the “maturity” of manhood.  When this process was finished the “in part” “childish” miraculous “things” of prophecy, tongues and knowledge would no longer be needed and “pass away” or “cease.”  In AD 70 they did just that!
The miraculous sign and revelatory gifts were given to the early church to confirm HOW (spiritually) and WHEN (their “generation” and “soon”) the OT prophecies concerning Israel would be fulfilled.  They were looking at God’s glory in the face of Christ through the mirror or revelation of the OT Scriptures — seeing how they were being fulfilled in Christ and through His New Covenant Body – the Church/Israel of God/Zion/New Jerusalem/Temple etc…  They were in the process of being transformed (obviously spiritually) from Old Covenant glory to New Covenant glory.  They did not fully know what they (the New Covenant Body) would look like apart from the Old Covenant Body when it would “soon vanish” in AD 70.  They did full understand what the New Covenant body would look like and how it would function without the earthly system they had know for thousands of years.  But they would “be like Him when He appeared” in that they would have His righteousness accredited to them apart from the works performed under the Old Covenant system and abide in the New Covenant “world of righteousness” He ushered in in AD 70.
The process of a child becoming a man was the process by which Christ was fulfilling the OT Scriptures and maturing the Church from the Old Covenant system within that transitionary period of the two covenants.  The OC age with it’s types and shadows was “passing away” and “ready to vanish” while the NC age was “about to” come at the “soon” Second Coming of Christ.
The office of “prophet” would  “cease” when “that which is perfect” (the Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation) arrived in AD 70 (1 Cor. 1:7-8/13:8-12/Rev. 21-22:6-7, 10-12, 20). The NT bears witness that “all” would be fulfilled imminently in AD 70 (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Pet. 1:4-12; 4:5-7).  This effective destroys all of the “last days” cults, Islam and all forms of Charismatic and Pentecostal theology whom claim that they were/are given divine revelation and or that there are modern day “prophets” today (Muhammad, Joseph Smith, the Watchtower, the New Apostolic Reformation, Pentecostals, Charismatics, etc…).
Other Charismatic arguments are easily refuted:

  1.  The sign and revelatory gifts last throughout the “last days” until the Second Coming (Acts 2; 1 Cor. 1:5-8; 13:8-12).  Yet the Bible teaches the “last days” were the last days of the Old Covenant age that would end at the “soon” Second Coming event whereby we see God’s face today in the New Covenant New Creation (Rev. 21-22:4-7, 20).
  2. The sign and revelatory gifts last and are “with” the Church until she has finished the Great Commission — which is the main “sign” before Jesus returns (Mt. 24:14; Mrk. 13:10; Acts 1:8; Mrk. 16:15-18/Mt. 28:18-20).  Yet the INSPIRED Apostle used the very same Greek words Jesus used and said it had already been fulfilled in his ministry (Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26).

The miraculous sign and revelatory gifts primary function then was to confirm that the OT promises of the New Covenant would transform Israel into a spiritual body and Temple.  To PROVE Yeshua’s spiritual fulfillments of the OT promises of the kingdom to be “in Him” and through and “in” His followers–was a message that went directly against their hyper-literal traditions of reading the Law and the Prophets and needed miraculous confirmation.  This is what Charismatic Zionists such as Dr. Michael Brown miss completely which force them into having to re-define the gifts of tongues from known human languages into gibberish and infallible prophecy into their admitted 80% fallible “prophetic” version!  Brown thinks he and other men like Benny Hinn are in the business of “revival” and transforming the Church and culture.  But they aren’t!  Brown and many like him have  missed the PURPOSE of the sign and revelatory gifts completely.  And his appearance in modern Israel (which is not the Biblical Israel of the OT and NT) giving false prophecies while at the same time promoting his false teaching of Zionism concerning the physical land, temple, Levites and animal sacrifices is further evidence he just doesn’t understand the purpose of the gifts and thus provides us with a perfect transition into our next redemptive event Messiah would accomplish by AD 70.

6).  To anoint the most holy place

Christ anointed and consummated the New Covenant Church as His Most Holy Place and Bride in AD 70 (Ex. 20, 29-31, 40; cf. Hebrews 9:6-10; Revelation 11:18-19, 19–21:16).

David Green writes,

“Finally, it was through the anointing of the Holy Spirit that the whole city of Jerusalem was made new and became “the Tabernacle of God,” when the worldly Holy Place fell in 70 (Heb. 9:1, 8). Under the old covenant, every article of God’s tabernacle was consecrated by the anointing of oil (Ex. 30:25-30; 40:9; Lev. 8:10, 12). In the same way, in the Last Days, God taught His elect ones the truth of His gospel through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21,22; I Jn. 2:20,27), until all of them had come to know Him (Jn. 6:39). Then came “the end” (Dan. 9:26), when the Body of Christ, all His holy ones, the living and the dead, were raised up to become His anointed (God-taught) “Most Holy Place” in the new covenant world (Jn. 6:44-45; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 8:11-13; Rev. 21:3).” (David Green, From Babylon to Babylon).

The OT promises of the New Covenant described in terms of a perpetual Temple, Levitical Priesthood, Sacrifices, Land, Jerusalem, etc…

The other day I was reading some comments made by Charismatic Zionist Dr. Michael Brown out on the “anointing of the Most Holy Place” (Dan. 9:24) and that of Jeremiah 23 and particularly in Jeremiah 33:15-22.  Here New Covenant land promises are connected to perpetual Temple sacrifices of the Levitical Priesthood.

As usual Dr. Brown talks out of both sides of his mouth when he interprets the “anointing of the Most Holy Place” to the Church but at the same time a physical future temple:

“…it could refer to the spiritual temple–i.e., the redeemed people of God, who, according to the New Testament authors, have become a holy dwelling place for the Spirit.  This Temple was, in fact, inaugurated by Jesus the Messiah, and the community of believers who make up this Temple are, in fact, anointed by the Spirit of God.  On the other hand, the reference could be to a still-future Temple, the Messiah’s millennial Temple in Jerusalem.” (AJOJ, Vol. 3, p. 98).

Let’s look at another New Covenant promise made to Old Covenant Israel:

“…nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.” (Jer. 33:17-18).

Amazingly, Brown who many in the Charismatic Movement consider a “prophet” has to likewise interpret this passage “literally” and thus embarrassingly writes of this passage in his commentary on Jeremiah,

“How exactly these Levitical priests will fulfill their mission remains to be determined, but God’s promise to them is certain.” (THE EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE COMMENTARY REVISED EDITION #7 Jeremiah – Ezekiel, Zondervan, 2010, p. 425).

There’s no mystery here folks. The Church is the New Covenant New Heavens and and New Earth of Isaiah 65-66 (Isa. 65:17/2 Cor. 5:17). She is the New Covenant Temple of Ezekiel 37-48 (Ezek. 37:27/2 Cor. 6:16). She is the New Jerusalem/Zion/Heavenly City or “Nation” born and “given” the kingdom that Abraham and the OT saints looked to and was in the process of “coming down” and “about to” arrive at Christ’s “soon” coming in AD 70 (cf. Isa. 65-66/Mt. 21:43-45/1 Pet. 2:9/Heb. 10–13:14YLT/Gals. 3-4/Rev. 3:11-12NIV–21-22). Isaiah 66:19-22 makes it clear that those who survived the Day of the Lord in AD 70 (the Second Coming is an in time event not an end of time event) would preach the gospel and stream into the New Covenant “Holy Mountain” or “New Jerusalem” with others and function AS the sacrifices and Levites,

“19 and I will set a sign (Mt. 24:30-31) among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord. 22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.”

There are “sinners” and evangelism taking place in the spiritual New Covenant New Heavens and New Earth of Isaiah 65-66/Revelation 22:17 post AD 70 by which the nations are being healed. The Church and Christians are the “Levites” offering up our lives as a living sacrifice of praise to God! If not, Brown’s eschatology is no less deplorable than the hyper-literal Dispensationalism of MacArthur, Ice, and the rest of those “delusional” (God’s word) “prophets” or so-called “prophecy experts” which would have the consummation of redemption brought in through the Second Coming being — a PHYSICAL temple being re-built and some being consistent having Christ smelling the stench of PHYSICAL animal sacrifices being offered up at the hands of the PHYSICAL “Levitical Priesthood.” Good brief! All the genealogies of the Jews were burned up in AD 70. When Brown was asked by Gary DeMar what tribe he was from, Brown said, “We THINK the tribe of Judah.” Brown has no clue what tribe he is from let alone how to literal “Levites” are coming back.

Jeremiah 3:16

Brown finds this passage that refutes his Zionism “intriguing” (Ibid., 112).  In the New Covenant age the Old Covenant “ark” “will NEVER enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one BE MADE.”  (Jer. 3:16).  And yet Zionist’s like Dr. Michael Brown and John Hagee believe they have an entire “ministry” based upon getting the Church excited concerning what is taking place in modern Israel and so-called “prophecies” of a future physical Temple, Ark and Levitical Sacrifices being “made” again and re-instituted as the climax of redemptive history.  Wow.  In my estimation Brown’s Historic Premillennial Zionism is no less extreme and unbiblical than John Hagee’s Dispensational Zionism.  Selah.

Brown’s Contradictions

On the one hand when Brown is debating Reformed Covenant Theology or Preterism he likes to ridicule these systems as “replacement theology,” and that we are guilty of not interpreting the restoration of Israel’s promises in the OT “literally.” Yet, when debating unbelieving Jews, Brown argues for a spiritual fulfillment of these OT prophecies. Here is an example of Brown now claiming the temple, priesthood and sacrifices of the temple mentioned in Ezekiel is spiritual, because for a Jew — it would be natural to describe spiritual blessings in the Old Covenant land and sacrificial system in which he lived,

“Perhaps the Scripture passage [Ezekiel] was never meant to be literally fulfilled.” (AJOJ Vol. 2, 177).

The prophetic events [by Ezekiel, Haggai and Zechariah] were describing,

“…events so glorious that they could only be described as a new creation and a second exodus.” (Ibid.)

“Ezekiel the priest was shown a vision of future glory, and for him, nothing could be more glorious than a restored Temple. And for a priest like Ezekiel, nothing could more certainly speak of purification and atonement than blood sacrifices. Nothing could convey a greater sense of promise that God would again favor his people than a vision such as this.” (Ibid.)

“This brings us back to the theme of the prophesied return from exile and rebuilding of the Second Temple. Either the words of the prophets were not fulfilled because the Bible is not true…” “…or God fulfilled his promises [spiritually] through the coming of the Messiah into the world (which makes sense in light of dozens of other Scripture passages – quoting Ephs. 2:21-22; 2 Cor. 6:16–7:1; Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; Heb. 13:15-16; ).” (Ibid.)

The OT prophets,

“…spoke in language that they [historically & culturally] had…” (Ibid., 180).

“How then would the Spirit, communicate through Ezekiel, speak of God providing atonement for his people, of him dwelling in our midst, of the provision of forgiveness and reconciliation, of freedom from slavery and oppression? Could it be that he would do so through a glorious Temple vision, complete with sacrifices, offerings, and priests? I think this is a possibility worthy of consideration.” (Ibid., 180).

But right when you think Brown is understanding Jesus’ and the inspired NT’s Apostolic hermeneutic of interpreting all of Israel’s New Covenant restoration promises spiritually by being “in Christ” and not “in the land,” Brown has to please his Charismatic Premillennial [mostly Dispensational] base and begins postulating that after the Second Coming there may be a third literal re-built temple with sacrifices (per Dispensational “Evangelicals,” Ibid., 180ff.). But there is an interesting point that Brown makes in defense for this view,

“Just as sacrifices were offered for forty years after Yeshua’s death and resurrection–and Messianic Jews apparently participated in some of those sacrificial rites (see Acts 21:17-26)–it could be that sacrifices will be offered in a future Temple, without being in conflict with the atonement provided for us in Jesus.” (Ibid., 181)

The theological 500 pound gorilla in the room that Brown is missing here, is that the Messianic 40 years “second exodus” “already and not yet” NT transition period–roughly between AD 30 – AD 70, included a time when the Old Covenant was still “imposed” and thus all of the “jots and tittles” of the law were binding upon Jewish Christians “until” it would “all” be fulfilled — that is, when the Old Covenant “heavens and earth” would “pass away” or “soon vanish” at the “in a very little while” Second Appearing of Christ in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13–10:37; Mt. 5:17-18).

Because Brown misses the inspired NT’s 40 years transitional “already and not yet” period, this causes Brown out of one side of his mouth when debating Covenant Theology and Preterism to argue for New Covenant OT promises being fulfilled PHYSICALLY (just look what they say!), but when debating unbelieving Jews, to argue for these same OT promises being fulfilled SPIRITUALLY (because for a Jew this is how he would communicate blessings in terms of Temple, Priesthood, Sacrifices, etc…). It is interesting that Brown is willing to give the OT Temple, Priesthood and Sacrifice promises a spiritual fulfillment in the New Covenant, but NEVER the Land (at least that I’ve seen). You can’t have a spiritual temple and sacrifices without some spiritual land – period. This is why “ALL [not some] of the promises [in the OT] and yes and amen in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20).

Daniel 9:25 – Beginning the countdown with the “Decree” or the Prophetic “Word” of Jeremiah?

Some take the “decree (of Cyrus) to restore and re-build Jerusalem” found in (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Isa. 44:24, 26, 28; 45:13; cf. Josephus, Antiquities, xi, 6, 12) as the fulfillment of this verse.  However, a literal chronology from Cyrus does not reach the times of Christ.  Ezra 6:14 seems to connect the decree as an unfolding event through the king(s) of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes–of which some see the decree beginning in 457 BC in order to arrive at Christ’s ministry in AD 26/27.  But those who usually take this position end the 490 years in around AD 32-35.  But clearly the prophecy extends to AD 70.  This is where the concept of a “gap” is not necessary.  It’s more of Yeshua fulfilling the 10th. Jubilee “cycle.”  Between AD 26–AD 66-70 not only fulfills the second exodus generation motif of Isaiah 11 and first century Jewish expectations that Messiah would have a transition reign between the OC “this age” and the NC “age about to come,” but Yeshua has 49-50 years to fulfill the Jubilee of Daniel 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61 which are grounded in the feast day sabbaths of Leviticus 23, 25-26.

Perhaps we have missed something in Daniel 9:25. The Hebrew very well can support “From the the issuing of the WORD [prophetic word of Jeremiah] to restore and rebuild Jerusalem…there will be [490 yrs.]…” That is, the 490 years prophecy includes the 70 years of Babylonian captivity.  The context of what Daniel is reading of Jeremiah’s prophecy coupled with the Hebrew supporting the prophetic “word” going back to Jeremiah develops the idea that 70 years of captivity times 7 for breaking the sabbaths of Leviticus 23, 25-26 gives you 490 years.  Odd, how I learned that the countdown includes the 70 years of captivity from someone who hates Full Preterism  (Sam Frost) and an anti-Christian anti-Yeshua site (Jews for Judaism).  While all they can see is a non-Messianic prophecy, all I can see is a PERFECT Messianic prophecy fulfilled by AD 70. Selah.

The rebuilding in the “difficult times” can be read in Ezra and Nehemiah. The first 62 sevens represents a period from the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and Ezra to the first coming of Jesus – the “Anointed One.” Jesus was anointed by the Father to preach the good news of the Gospel to Israel and gather a believing remnant and the Gentiles/Greeks to Himself.

The Parallel Connections Between Verses 26-27 and the Last 7 Establishing the Everlasting New Covenant Between AD 30 – AD 70

There is a parallel structure here that should not be missed as it pertains to Messiah fulfilling the last 7 of this prophecy which involves His redemptive work from cross to parousia in AD 70 in order to establish the New Covenant. There is a parallel structure here with verse 27 expounding more upon verse 26 and then climaxing with verse 27 putting an end to sacrifices in AD 70.

  • A– verse 26: “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah [māšîaḥ] will be cut off and have nothing,”
  • B– verse 27: “And the people of the prince [nāgîd] who is to come will destroy [or spoil] the city and the sanctuary. And its end will comewith a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
  • A– verse 27: “And he will make a firm/strongcovenant with the many during(or in the midst of, not “for”) one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering”
  • B– verse 27: “And on the wing of abominations will comeone who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

The parallels suggest that not only is Daniel being comforted by the angel in that although Messiah will be “cut off” this will in fact result in the strengtheningof a new covenant made with the many; but that this covenantal process will end when Jerusalem is judged.

Isaiah 9-10 and Daniel 9:24-27

I agree with Meredith Kline who sees the connection between

Isaiah 9-10 and Daniel 9:26-27:

“Particularly significant for the meaning of higbir in Daniel 9:27 is the use of gibbor in Isaiah 9 and 10. Isaiah identified the Messiah, the Son of David, as “the mighty God” of the covenant formula by declaring His name to be ‘el gibbor (Isa. 9:5, [6]). Then in Isaiah 10 this messianic ’el gibbor is mentioned again in the very passage from which Daniel 9:27 derives its thought and wording alike (see verses 21-23). Isaiah spoke there of God’s mighty messianic fulfillment of covenant blessing and curse: a remnant of Jacob would return unto ’el gibbor, but in overflooding (sotep) judicial righteousness the annihilation (kalah) that was determined (neherasah) would befall the land. Daniel 9:26b, 27 echoes Isaiah’s prophecy: the covenant would be made to prevail (higbir), as a blessing for the many who were the faithful remnant, but as a curse in the form of the determined annihilation (kalah weneherasah) which would be poured out on the abominations of apostate Israel like a flood (setep). The unmistakable dependence of Daniel 9:27 on Isaiah 10:21 ff. points directly to the ’el gibbor of Isaiah 10:21 as the inspiration for the higbir of Daniel 9:27.This confirms the conclusions that the subject of higbir is not antichrist or any other than the anointed one whose name is ‘el gibbor and that the object of higbir, the covenant made to prevail, is the redemptive covenant sealed by the reconciling blood of Christ [i.e. the New Covenant].” (Meredith G Kline, “The Covenant of the Seventieth Week,” in The Law and the Prophets: OldTestament Studies in Honor of Oswald T. Allis (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1974), 8-9).

As I have addressed in previous articles, I think the entire Messianic block of Isaiah 7-11 is prophesying the first and second comings of Messiah to occur within the second exodus generation (AD 30 – AD 70) and during this specific generation, establish and bring to maturity the New Covenant age that we live in today post AD 70.

Limited and Definite Atonement for “the Many” in the New Covenant

It is more than troubling that Dispensationalism turns a wonderful promise of Christ making the New Covenant with the believing Church (remnant Jews and Gentiles) into a covenant between the “antichrist” and “apostate Jews.” This is none other than the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:31-33; as is so clearly laid out for us in Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 8:7-12–10:15-37 and truly embraces the eschatological fulfillment of the OT Law and the Prophets – in Christ’s first and second appearings in Israel’s last days.

Again the parallels between Isaiah and Daniel are striking. In Isaiah 53 Christ is likewise prophesied to be “cut off out of the land of the living” and yet “by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many(Isa 53:8, 11). Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 26:28 that His shed blood is for the disciples and those whom He prays for that will come to Him through their message (cf. John 17:9-26). Jesus as the High Priest of the New Covenant does not offer His blood for the “world,” nor does He pray for the world! John 17 harmonizes well with John 3:16 when we understand that Jesus is telling a Jew who thought salvation was only for the Jews, that His salvation was for the “world” (that is believing Jews and Gentiles). The literal Greek reading of John 3:16 is, “in order that every one believing in him may not perish.” As R.K. McGregor Wright observes, “There is no word for “whosoever” in the original…” “…John 3:16 states explicitly that the purpose of God in sending his Son to die was limited to atoning for believers only, that they ‘should not perish, but have everlasting life.’” (R.K. McGregor Wright, NO PLACE for SOVEREIGNTY What’s Wrong with Freewill Theism, p. 159). Jesus only lays down His life for those sheep the Father has given Him and they alone come to Him (John 6 and 10).

Daniel 9:26

The Anointed One/Prince/Ruler/Leader/Messiah (Jesus the Christ), would be “cut off” after the 62 sevens. Again, Isaiah 53 teaches us the same about a coming Messiah who would be cut off and have nothing (with some Jews conceded Isa. 53 is Messianic). “The people (the Jews or Roman soldiers) of the Ruler (Jesus), will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end (of the seventy sevens) will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” Between AD 66 – AD 70 not only did the Romans surround the city, but the Idumeans (Jewish Zealots) did as well and entered Jerusalem resulting in the city being divided into three warring sects – all shedding blood over the Temple area and for control of Jerusalem. War and blood shed took place within the Temple and thus it was subject to abominations. The Romans (who were also under the control of Christ) did very little except wait it out and let “the people” that rejected their Messiah to devour (sometimes literally) each other. Also, through the imprecatory prayers of the Christians (people of the Prince), Jerusalem was destroyed with its apostate mountain removed and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 21:18-22; Revelation 8:8).

Daniel 9:27

The “He” here is still the Messiah (not an alleged “Anti-Christ”) and through His sacrifice He established the New Covenant for the “many” (ie. the Church the new Israel of God). This last seven was from the anointing of Jesus in His first coming to His anointing the Church (His Most Holy Place New Jerusalem) in His Second in AD 70. His Wife and or New Jerusalem is described as a perfect cube as the MHP place was (cf. Rev. 21:16 & “the first” [Holy Place] representing the OC community being removed in AD 70 and “the second” [the Most Holy Place] representing the NC community and its establishment during the time of the “new order” fully arriving at the end of the OC age in AD 70 in a “very little while” cf. Heb. 9:6-10, 26-28; 10:37). Christ came and overshadowed Jerusalem with desolation and determined wrath upon the desolate in AD 70 (cf. Matthew 24:15ff/Luke 21:20-24).

Typological Considerations – Cyrus a Type of Christ:

  • Both of their births and future rules were threatened at birth. Astyages, King of Media, the grandfather of Cyrus saw in a dream that Cyrus would threaten his kingdom and thus sought to have him killed at birth. Herod was threatened by Jesus and sought to kill Him at birth.
  • Both anointed to set captives free.
  • Both called Shepherds.
  • Both their rules involved a deliverance of Israel and the Gentiles from the captivity of Babylon.
  • Both were born Kings to deliver Israel from 70 years of Babylonian bondage. From birth to parousia, Christ reigned over Israel (roughly for 70 years) calling the believing remnant to “come out” from among “Babylon” which in Revelation is OC Jerusalem where the Lord was slain.
  • Both were involved in gathering the Jews and Gentiles from the four corners of the earth and making the kingdoms of the world theirs. Post AD 70 Christ”s reign is an everlasting reign and He continues to bring healing to the nations through the everlasting gospel.
  • Cyrus’ predicted coming ended the 70 years of Babylonian captivity; while JESUS’ predicted Second Coming brought an end to the seventy sevens prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.
  • Both were involved in gathering the Jews into the promised land to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple — with Jesus gathering God’s Church into the NC spiritual land, city and temple.
  • The Hebrew OT Tora (not the Christian OT) ends with Chronicles – giving a chronology and ending with the praises and accomplishments of Cyrus’ rule, authority and accomplishments. Matthew’s gospel begins (The Christian NT) with a chronology tracing JESUS back to Abraham – through whom the curse of Babel would be eventually reversed (through the seed of Messiah) and was by AD 70. Matthew ends his gospel declaring JESUS as having all rule and authority over the nations.

Our Life Cycle and Israel’s Redemptive Life Cycle Move Within the Cycles of Sevens

1). Seven of Days (7 days) — Work six days rest on the seventh (Gen. 1:31-2:3; Ex. 31:12-17).

2). Seven of Weeks (49 days) — Time between the feast of First Fruits and the feast of Pentecost (Deut. 16:9-12; Lev. 23:15-16).

3). Seven of Months (7 months) — The seven months of the Jewish religious calendar which contain all seven of the Jewish feasts (Deut. 16; Lev. 23).

*** The three months gap between the 4 Spring Feasts and the 3 Fall Feasts represent the overlapping of the Old Covenant “this age” (that was passing away and would “soon vanish”) and the New Covenant “age about to come” (and did in AD 70)! This prophetic gap of four months was called by the Rabbi’s, “The time for waiting the judgment” and was the period or season by which the 10th eschatological Jubilee cycle Messiah  Yeshua was fulfilling all OT prophecy (Lk. 21:20-22/Dan. 9:24-27).

4). Seven Years (7 years) — Israel was to work the land for six years and then let it rest for the seventh year (Lev. 25:1-7).

5). Seven of Sevens of Years (49 years) — The period of time between each celebration of the Year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8-17).

6). Seven of Decades (70 years) — Man’s average life span (Ps. 90:10). After 70 years man’s physical body returns to the dust and he remains in a spiritual body fit for the after life and the spiritual realm. During the 70 years between Christ’s birth to parousia, and the “last days” of Israel, Israel transitioned from a physical Old Covenant body to a New Covenant spiritual body.

7). Seven of Sevens of Decades (490 years) — In Jewish tradition, “422 BC is associated with when the first temple burned 70 Sabbaticals (490 yrs.) before the second temple burned in 70 AD.” (Dr. B. Zuchermann, Professor at Jewish Theological Seminary).  The Jews believed Messiah would come to establish the Kingdom during the 10th Jubilee cycle (490 yrs. from first temples destruction). Jesus’ first coming in AD 26 was a jubilee yr. and ushered in the 10th. cycle (Lk. 4/Isa. 61). Christ as High Priest accomplished His atonement process between AD 30 – AD 70 fulfilling Israel’s Second Exodus. (Dan. 9:24-27; Isa. 10-11).

The Sovereign Grace Full Preterist view harmonizes the various Christian views on this crucial passage while at the same time honors the first century historical context of Messiah arriving during the 10th cycle of the Jubilee and during the Roman Empire to establish His kingdom and usher in the eschatological rest and inheritance.
As Margaret Barker demonstrated in developing the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, just prior to Yeshua’s birth and during His earthly ministry — right up to AD 66, there was a 10th. eschatological Jubilee cycle and Messianic frenzy expectation.
The symbolic view which understands Daniel 9:24-27 as addressing not only the first coming of Yeshua, but also His second is correct.  They simply will not submit to the exegetical facts that the prophecy and Jesus Himself connects His Second Coming with the fall of Jerusalem in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:20-32).
The soteriological and eschatological sabbath connected to the 490 years does not have to be “symbolic” of “10 Jubilee eras (490)” of which the last 3.5 of the last 7 — is STILL waiting to be fulfilled for the last 2,000 and plus years.  If one uses the Jewish calendar and thinks the way the first century Jew did, then the last Messianic and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee was from 424/422 BC to AD 26/27–AD 66-AD 70.
The Seventy Sevens prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 predicted both redemptive comings of Messiah which would reach there fulfillment when OC Jerusalem and her Tempe would be judged and desolated. The desolation of Jerusalem coinciding with the fulfillment of all the main eschatological events are once again recapitulated in Daniel 12:1-7 and thus fulfilled “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” in AD 70.
From the birth of Israel’s Messianic King (Jesus the Christ) to His Second Appearing at the end of her OC age in AD 70, is roughly another more significant 70 years for her coming out of bondage and slavery from “Babylon” into the freedom/rest and salvation found not “in the land” but “in Christ.” And thus typologically, just as Cyrus was predicted and anointed to fulfill prophecy by setting the captives free from the 70 years of Babylonian captivity — within 70 years of Christ’s predicted First and Second Comings, He fulfilled Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy. Selah.
Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 was also the reversal of God’s disinheritance of the 70 nations and creating one new Israel of God whereby the nations are blessed in the New Covenant age today (Gen. 10-15; Mt. 21:43-45; Gals. 3-6; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 22:17).
If Christ didn’t fulfill BOTH of His redemptive comings as the Churches Great High Priest between AD 30 – AD 70 during that last and 10th. Jubilee cycle (during the time of the 4th. Gentile power / Roman Empire and when both the OC and NC age overlapped) – then not only did the Jews miss their Messiah, but many Christians have missed the climax of their professed Christian faith and are thinking just as carnally as they first century Jews were when it comes to the Kingdom of Christ.
Christ through His work on the cross and parousia – is our Jubilee Sabbath rest and the anchor of our soul in full assurance of salvation.  The events of AD 66 – AD 70 will always be a reminder of what God thinks of man centered religion grounded in “free will” and a salvation of works.  He despises it and will destroy those that approach Him in this way.  But for those of us who trust in the finished work of Christ, He has become for us our “inheritance,” “salvation of the soul” and thus established His kingdom and presence “within” us.  If this isn’t exciting enough for you, then go buy a failed Hal Lindsey book at a garage sale for twenty-five cents.  As for me and my house, we will serve and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.  Selah.

A Deeper Exegesis of the Jubilee Rest and Inheritance of Isaiah 61-66 and Relevant NT Texts 

Since there are sound exegetical and Qumran 10th. cycle (490 yrs.) Jubilee connections between Daniel 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61–66, I will develop more aspects of fulfillment within Isaiah 61–66.  The “day of vengeance” of Isaiah 61:2 is the coming of God to reward and judge in Isaiah 62.  Then the “day of vengeance” is picked back up in Isiah 63:1-6.  This Second Coming event is what ushers in the eschatological jubilee sabbath/inheritance of the New Jerusalem and the New Creation of Isaiah 65-66.

And since the imminent “coming of the Son of Man” passages of Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:30-34 have there OT reference in Daniel 7:13 (which is inseparably connected to Dan. 9:24-27) we will examine Matthew 16:27-28 in detail as well.

Isiah 62/Matthew 16:27-28

“Behold your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense is with him.” (Isa. 62:11).

Isaiah 62 addresses the eschatological wedding and Second Coming of Christ motifs. Yeshua refers to Isaiah 62:11 in His promise to return in judgment during the lifetimes of His first century audience in Matthew 16:27-28 and Mark 8:38—9:1.

“For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his words. “Assuredly, I say to you there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Mt.16:27-28)

I will lay forth several exegetical arguments proving that Mt. 16:27-28 cannot be divided into speaking of two different events which is the typical futurist approach. Most commentators teach verse 27 is speaking of the second coming and that in verse 28 Jesus decides to no longer address the second coming but that some of the disciples would live to witness one of three events: 1) The transfiguration, 2) The ascension of Christ, or 3) Pentecost. Before digging into a vigorous exegesis of the passage, I shall quote Westminster “divine” John Lightfoot on our text and then build upon some of his foundational comments,

“[The kingdom of God coming in power.] In Matthew, it is the Son of man coming in his kingdom. The coming of Christ in his vengeance and power to destroy the unbelieving and most wicked nation of the Jews is expressed under these forms of speech. Hence the day of judgment and vengeance: I. It is called “the great and terrible day of the Lord,” Acts 2:20; 2 Thess 2:2,3. II. It is described as “the end of the world,” Jeremiah 4:27; Matthew 24:29, &c. III. In that phrase, “in the last times,” Isaiah 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Peter 3:3; that is, in the last times of that city and dispensation. IV. Thence, the beginning of the “new world,” Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13. V. The vengeance of Christ upon that nation is described as his “coming,” John 21:22; Hebrews 10:37: his “coming in the clouds,” Revelation 1:7: “in glory with the angels,” Matthew 24:30, &c. VI. It is described as the ‘enthroning of Christ, and his twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel,’ Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30. Hence this is the sense of the present place: Our Saviour had said in the last verse of the former chapter, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels,” to take punishment of that adulterous and sinful generation. And he suggests, with good reason, that that his coming in glory should be in the lifetime of some that stood there.”[1]

a). “For The Son of Man Is About To Come…”

The YLT, DARBY, WUESTNT, and WEY translations correctly translate Jesus’ return here as “about to come” or “soon to come.” These translations are accurate since this is the consistent usage of the Greek word mello in Matthew’s gospel let alone it’s predominate usage in the rest of the New Testament. Let’s briefly see how mello is used in Mathew’s gospel:

1) In (Mt. 2:13 WEY) Herod is “about to” seek to kill Jesus, and therefore Joseph and Mary need to “escape”. Mello here is communicating a near imminent danger not just a general danger to be aware of.

2) In (Mt. 17:12b WEY) Jesus’ point is not that He is going to suffer, but that His suffering is rapidly approaching or is “about to” take place.

3) In (In Mt.17:10-13) mello is used twice. The first occurrence refers to Elijah’s “about to” appearing in the future fulfilled sense. In other words, Elijah was the one the entire nation understood to be “about to come” and the text tells us that he had come in the person of John the Baptist. John is the fulfillment of the nation’s expectancy of Elijah’s “about to” or “soon to come” presence — preparing the way for His “about to come” “great and dreadful day” of Mal.4:5-6 as previously discussed. Therefore, this is but one more piece of exegetical evidence that is in harmony with what Jesus and John the Baptist had been teaching previously Mt. 3:2-12; 4:17; 10:7, 15-23, 16:27-28. His return would be in some of their lifetimes or “The Son of Man is about to come…” Why? Well, since Elijah who was expected to come “soon,” had come in the person of John, Jesus’ second coming could be expected soon, for Elijah must first come, “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord” comes Mal. 4:5-6. The second occurrence of mello in this passage is not referring to the general fact that Jesus is going to suffer, but that He was “about to” suffer and be mistreated as John the Baptist was.

4) Here in (Mt. 17:22; 20:22 WEY) as in point #2 above, Jesus’ emphasis is not the mere fact that he is going to suffer, but that His suffering is rapidly approaching.

5) In (Mt. 24:6 WEY) “Before long” is consistent with Jesus promising that “all these things” (including the signs) would occur in the twelve’s contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:34). To conclude this point, Christ’s “about to” coming in verse 27 is consistent with Christ’s coming in the lifetime of “some” of the crowd listening to him in verse 28. After thousands of years of the nations and Israel awaiting the Seed of the woman or the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom, the span of some of the crowd’s lifetime was a short time for them to wait and was thus “about to” happen.

b). “Verily I say unto you…”

Jesus’ phrase “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly I say unto you,” is used 99 times[2] in the gospels and gives the meaning of “Absolutely,” “really,” “may it be fulfilled,” and is used as a phrase of emphasis to drive home a point that has gone before it. It is never used to introduce a new subject.[3] Another Editor of a multi-authored book seeking to refute our position states of our text, “…verse twenty-seven looks at the establishment of the kingdom in the future, while a promise of seeing the Messiah in His glory is the thought of verse twenty-eight. They are two separate predictions separated by the words ‘truly I say to you’”[4] But Mr. Ice does not produce one passage where Jesus’ phrase “Truly I say unto you” is ever used to separate the subject matter previously discussed! Since he cannot produce any evidence for his statement, his point at the very least is unscholarly and at worst, irresponsible and deceptive.

c). “Some standing here shall not taste of death” and “the kingdom of God.”

As we study Christ’s teachings elsewhere in the Gospels and other related passages in the Old and New Testaments concerning: 1) The physical death of some of the 12 and their first century contemporaries along with 2) The Son of Man coming and the arrival of the kingdom of God in power, we discover Christ is addressing a very specific and prophetic persecution coming in the Apostolic generation than just alluding to some of them dying off of because of mere old age. The only event in the teachings of Jesus that associates the death of some of the Apostles with the Kingdom of God is the persecution preceding his second coming Mt.10:16-23; Lk.21:16-32; Mt.23:31-36; Jn.21:19-22; Rev.6:10-11, 17; 16:6, 15; 18:5, 20. The only exception to this is the death of Judas. Daniel’s prophecy confirms Jesus’ teaching. Daniel in (Dan. 2, 7, 9, 12) taught: 1) the kingdom would come and be established during the time of the Roman Empire. 2) There would be a time of persecution and death for believers during this period. The “little” horn would wage “war with the saints” and “prevail against them (thus some of them would be martyred) “Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and (at this time) the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” The prevailing in war with the saints from the little horn answers to the persecution and “death” of some of the Apostles and their contemporaries. Jesus made it clear that Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled in His generation (Mt.24:15, 34; Lk.21:20-22).

Some of our opponents have made some real crucial mistakes in trying to refute us on this text. Thomas Ice makes another blunder, “A further problem with the preterist view is that our Lord said “some of those standing here…” It is clear that the term “some” would have to include at least two or more individuals…” “…Peter notes that “John only survived among the 12 disciples till the destruction of Jerusalem” (Ice, Controversy, p.88). In other word’s Ice is claiming that the twelve were the only audience Jesus was addressing in this text and therefore if only John was alive till the destruction of Jerusalem, then that does not meet the definition of “some” because “some” necessitates more than one. However, Mark’s account clearly states, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said:…” (Mk. 8:34 – 9:1).

When we study Christ’s teaching on the “death” of some of His first century disciples in the Gospels it is always in the context of some of them living (while others would not) to witness His Second Coming and inheriting the Kingdom. Jesus’ teaching on the death of some of His disciples and some of them living to witness a specific event is never addressing the transfiguration event, the ascension of Christ, or Pentecost. It is always referring to His Second Coming and to that the Old and New Testaments bear unanimous witness.

d). “…in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh…”(Mk. 8:38).

Those, whom Christ would be ashamed of at His coming, would be “this adulterous and sinful generation” of A.D. 30 – A.D. 70. Under the old covenant God was married to Israel Ex. 19. This marriage was both pictured as a monogamous marriage (God married to a Mother/Israel) and then after the splitting of the northern kingdom and the southern kingdoms, a polygamous marriage. The picture then becomes God taking two daughters (sisters) as His wives: 1) Israel (Aholah / Samaria capital of Israel) and 2) Judah (Aholibah / Jerusalem capital of Judah) Jer.31:31-32; Ezk. 1:1-4; 1Kings 11:9-13. These two sisters were notorious for their adultery and playing the prostitute (cf. Ezk. 23:3; Jer. 3).

Although God divorced Israel through the Assyrian captivity, He remained married to His other harlot wife Judah, from which line Jesus would come. Judah/Jerusalem was judged by the Babylonian captivity but never divorced Ezk. 23:22-45. Under the old covenant a wife caught in adultery would be stoned and the wife of a priest would be burned. In Revelation the harlot wife of old-covenant Jerusalem was both stoned and burned! Mathison admits that Jerusalem is Babylon in Revelation. Therefore, Mt.16:27/Mrk.8:38 is describing the judgment of the “adulterous generation/wife” in an “about to be” A.D. 70 time frame. Concerning the phrase “be ashamed of” – The old covenant wife would be left without a wedding garment naked and ashamed while the His new covenant wife would be clothed in Christ’s righteousness as His new creation “house from above” thus unashamed and “further clothed” Mt.22:1-14; Rev.3:18; 19:8/2Cor.5:1-21.

Isaiah 62 and the Eschatological Marriage Theme Continued…

Matthew 8:10-12:

10 When Jesus heard this [expression of the Gentile’s faith], he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west [Gentiles] and recline at the table [wedding feast of Isa. 25:6-9] with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven [in the resurrection], 12 while the sons of the kingdom [Pharisees and unbelieving Jews] will be cast out into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Gentry writes,

“In Matthew 8:11-12 we read of the faithful gentile who exercises more faith than anyone in Israel. We hear once again of the people from the east. This time they sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the rightful place of the Jews). While the Jews themselves are “cast out” into “outer darkness.” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 175). And, “God is preparing to punish his people Israel, remove the temple system, and re-orient redemptive history from one people and land to all peoples throughout the earth.” “This dramatic redemptive-historical event…ends the old covenant era…” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 342).

Strengths:

The “casting out” of the “subjects of the kingdom” is a reference to OC Israel being judged in AD 70, at which time the believing Jewish/Gentile Church takes her place at the end of the OC era (but notice he is afraid of using the term “age”).

The “casting out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” he says refers to AD 70.

Weaknesses:

There is no mention of Isaiah 25:6-9 as Jesus’ source (cf. Mt. 5:17-18). They do the same thing in the OD when it comes to the resurrection gathering of Isa. 25-27/Mt. 24:30-31!

There is no consistency on Jesus’ phrases of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” to Matthew 24:51 and 25:30. There is nothing throughout Matthew’s gospel that indicates there are TWO (casting out into outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth) judgments in Jesus’ teaching throughout the gospels.

Unanswered questions – Why isn’t this the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 13 and Revelation 20 in AD 70 when Daniel’s soul was raised out of the realm of the dead to inherit eternal life and God’s presence – since some Postmillennialists are teaching this now?

Commentators who are not Postmillennial Partial Preterists have no problem pointing out the OT passages Jesus is referring to when He addresses the eschatological wedding feast.

D.A. Carson writes,

“The picture is that of the “messianic banquet,” derived from such OT passages as Isaiah 25:6–9 (cf. 65:13–14)…” and “…the presence of Gentiles at the banquet, symbolized the consummation of the messianic kingdom (cf. Mt 22:1–14; 25:10; 26:29). “Son of” or “sons of” can mean “sons of the bridal chamber” [9:15; NIV, “guests of the bridegroom.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, pp. 202–203).

Bloomberg writes, “Jesus characterizes that bliss as taking “their places at the feast,” the messianic banquet image depicting the intimate fellowship among God’s people in the age to come (cf. Isa 25:6–9; 65:13–14).” (Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 142). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers).

Leon Morris connects this “feast” with “the coming bliss of the messianic banquet,” to be fulfilled “in the world (or age) to come.” (Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 195). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press).

R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible admits that the table and feast of Matthew 8:11 is,

“A reference to the messianic banquet theme of Is. 25:6-9. Gentiles now appear in place of the natural sons.” (p. 1684).

Strengths:

Jesus is teaching on the fulfillment of the messianic wedding banquet and resurrection of Isa. 25:6-9 and inheriting the new creation of 65:12-14 at the end of the then current age, and in the age to come.

They connect the judgment of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” with Matthew 24:51 and 25:30 as ONE separating judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel.

Weaknesses:

They ignore the time texts and clear references to the ONE AD 70 judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel and the time texts of the wedding and resurrection in Mt. 24-25 and Revelation – “this generation,” “soon,” etc…

The hermeneutical steps are incomplete in that no work is done on the context of Isaiah 24-25 or Isaiah 65 which demonstrate an “in time” and local judgment and not an end of time and global transformation event.

Matthew 22:1-14:

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,

“Here the first servant-messengers (another reference to the prophets, no doubt) were simply ignored. Another wave of servant-messengers (more prophets) are treated as such a nuisance that while some still ignored them, “the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (v. 6). Jesus is certainly adding [the murdering of the servants or prophets] here as part of the same indictment of Jerusalem He would give again in (Matt. 23:34-36).” “The murderers were the entire generation of Israelites….” “…the armies would set the murderers’ city on fire (again exactly what happened in AD 70).”

And of verses 8-14, “…yet, after this destruction…” “…during this post-destruction wedding feast, some would sneak in who did not belong.” “…Whether [the man w/out the wedding garment] should be interpreted as the Judaizers who would cause so much dissention in the NT Church, or whenter these should just be understood as general heretics in the Church, is not clear.” (Jesus v. Jerusalem, 157-158, bold emphasis MJS).

Strengths:

The Great Commission invitation to the feast is between AD 30 – AD 70 in verses 1-7.

The sending out, rejection and killing of the servants is equated to Mt. 23 and the AD 70 judgment.

The judgment and burning of the city closes the OC era/age in AD 70.

The AD 70 judgment is once again characterized as being “cast out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Weaknesses:

Again, there is no mention that Jesus came to fulfill Isaiah 25:6-9 or 65:12-14 because they would have to address the timing and nature of the resurrection.

Postmillennialists miss that Mt. 22:1-14 is structured with recapitulation:

a). vss. 1-7: 1. There is an invitation to the wedding feast, 2. It is rejected, and 3. this rejection leads to the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70 – burning their city.

b). vss. 8-13: 1. There is an invitation, 2. BUT there is NEW information given to us about the same time period that vss. 1-7 didn’t tell us about. This rejection results in the invitation to the undesirables – the 10 northern tribes/Samaritans and Gentiles (as laid out in Acts 1:8) and describes the success of the GC between AD 30 – AD 70. And then finally 3. There is a judgment for their rejection (except this time it’s described differently – with a Jew or Judaizer trying to achieve salvation by works of the law and not through belief in the Son and His grace – who is then “CAST” out in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (which is the same language used for the AD 70 judgment Postmillennialists give Mt. 8:11-12). So there is no exegetical evidence that vss. 8-13 is a post AD 70 GC resulting in a different judgment at the end of time.

As far as commentators that are not Postmillennial or Partial Preterist, they again have no problem connecting our Lord’s teaching here with the eschatological wedding feast consummation and resurrection of Isaiah 25:6-9. And most give lip service to God sending His armies to burn the city to be the AD 70 judgment (some such as Kistemaker try and downplay it). But these men refuse to interpret the rest of the parable as referring to AD 70 let alone connect Isaiah 25:6-9 with that judgment since it would destroy their Futurism.

Matthew 25:1-13

1″At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9″‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11″Later the others also came. ‘LORD, LORD,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12″But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Postmillennialists such as Keith Mathison, Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Mike Bull, etc… no longer divide Matthew 24-25 into two comings of the Lord. They correctly see every reference to the coming of Christ in the OD to be His spiritual coming in AD 70.

As I pointed out earlier, the reference to “day and hour” not being know by the Son but only the Father (24:36) is echoing the OT betrothal/marriage/resurrection motifs coming in Israel’s last days terminal generation (AD 30 – AD 70) — of which Jesus came to fulfill (Lk. 21:22; Mt. 5:17-18).

Others such as Kenneth Gentry see the coming of the Lord and “day and hour” in 24:36—25:31-46 as THE Second Coming consummative event with apparently another eschatological wedding and wedding feast to follow!

So again Postmillennialists are face with TWO eschatological marriages, feasts and resurrections when the NT only knows of ONE.

So let’s do what the Postmillennialists won’t do (they won’t even MENTION Jesus fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9) and what the other Futurists won’t (they mention Jesus is fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9 or Isa. 65:12-14 but then won’t develop those OT contexts).

Context of Isaiah 25:6-9

“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. 7On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. 9In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

In context, the Messianic wedding banquet comes as a result of judgment upon OC Israel for her breaking the old covenant Torah (cf. Isa. 24:5). This makes no sense in the Amillennial paradigm because all the Mosaic Law was supposed to have been fulfilled and passed away at the cross.

The Messianic wedding banquet comes when OC Jerusalem is judged with her city becoming a “heap of rubble” (cf. Isa. 25:2). Again this points to an “in time” and local event and not an end of time or global destruction and renewal.

Therefore, Jesus is using Isaiah 24-25 consistently and accurately to demonstrate that the Messianic wedding banquet and resurrection would be fulfilled in AD 70 when OC Israel would break Torah, was judged, and her city and Temple were left in a heap of rubble.

Context of Isaiah 65:12-14

12I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will fall in the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” 13Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. 14My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.

Here we are told that God was going to judge OC Israel “by the sword” and their fathers “in full” measure. But at the same time would save a remnant along with the Gentiles (cf. Roms. 10:20—chapter 11).

In that day of judgment, the remnant of believing Jews and Gentiles would feast at the wedding supper and be called by a new name (an everlasting NC name – the New Jerusalem) while OC Israel would not feast, starve and would be remembered no more. This is in line with the “soon” AD 70 coming of the Lord throughout the book of Revelation. In Revelation 19-21, while the Church (the transformed Israel of God) feasts at the wedding feast, OC Israel not only starves, but is actually feasted upon by the birds of the air.

Putting it Altogether “Bridging the Gap” 

The Analogy of Faith or Analogy of Scripture Hermeneutic: Teaches Scripture interprets Scripture, and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.

In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.

A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) = Wedding or wedding feast, end of the age, and parousia fulfilled by AD 70.

B (Isa. 25:6-9) = The wedding feast & resurrection are fulfilled together “in that day.”

C (1 Cor. 15) = The resurrection and end of the age are fulfilled at the parousia.

If A bears some relation to B…

Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach that His eschatological wedding feast would be fulfilled at His parousia to close the end of the OC age in AD 70.

…and B bears the same relation to C,…

Paul uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) in C (1 Cor. 15) to teach that the resurrection would take place at Christ’s parousia and at “the end [of the age].”

…then A bears it to C.

Both Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) and Paul in C (1 Cor. 15) use a common source B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach the resurrection will be fulfilled “at the end [of the OC age]” parousia event.

Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.

The ONE Parousia/Second Coming, Eschatological Wedding, End of the Age and Resurrection event of A (Mt. 8; 22; 25), B (Isa. 25:6-9) and C (1 Cor. 15) was fulfilled in AD 70.

Premise #1: Since it is true that Jesus taught the wedding feast of (Mt. 8; 22; 25) would be fulfilled at His parousia to close the OC age in AD 70 (Postmillennialists now agree with Full Preterists).

Premise #2: And since it is also true that Jesus in (Mt. 8; 22; 25) came to fulfill (Isa. 25:6-9) (Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree).

Premise #3: And since it is also true that Paul teaches Jesus’ parousia would fulfill the resurrection of (1 Cor. 15) (all agree).

Premise #4: And since it is also true that the end of the age, the end, parousia and resurrection of (Mt. 8; 22; 25) and (1 Cor. 15) are the same event (Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree).

Conclusion: Then it is also true that the wedding feast, parousia, the end of the OC age and resurrection of (Mt. 8; 22; 25), (Isa. 25:6-9) and (1 Cor. 15) were fulfilled in AD 70. (Full Preterism Synthesis)

When we harmonize what Postmillennialists are teaching when it comes to the eschatological wedding feast and a spiritual resurrection taking place in AD 70 at Christ’s parousia, with what other Futurists are teaching on this being THE ONE consummative event for the Second Coming, resurrection and wedding to occur at the end of the age —- we get Full Preterism. This will become apparent as well when studying the parable of the wheat and tares along side of Daniel 12 which will be next and Part 5 of this series.

e). “…There, are, certain of those here standing, who shall in nowise taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God, already come in power.” (Mrk.9:1 Rotherham Translation).

In Mark’s parallel account, some of the disciples live to see Christ’s return and kingdom coming when he uses the perfect participle while Matthew uses the future tense. In other words Mark is saying that some of the disciples would live to be able to look back on this event knowing that the coming of the Lord and His kingdom had already come in power. Kenneth Gentry concedes this point citing J.A Alexander: “Here “come” is “not, as the English words may seem to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or already come, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect participle here employed.”[12] Thus, His disciples were to expect its exhibition in power. It was not powerfully to evidence itself immediately, for many of His disciples would die before it acted in power. Yet it was to be within the lifetimes of others, for “some” standing there would witness it. This seems clearly to refer to the A.D. 70 destruction of the temple and removal of the Old Testament means of worship (cf. Heb. 12:25-28; Rev.1:1, 3, 9). This occurred as a direct result of Jesus’ prophecies (John 4:21-23; Matt.21:33ff.; 23:31-34:34).”[5]

I experientially know and can see from reading my Lord’s words and the testimony of the Scriptures themselves that the historical destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 proves without a shadow of doubt He has established His Kingdom “within” me and the rest of His Body. Jesus tells the disciples that some of them would live to “see” His coming and that the Kingdom would have already come in power to bear witness to His return. The Greek word here for “see” is eido. Strong’s Concordance defines eido as to “know how” and “perceive” as well as physical sight. Through observing with the physical senses the destruction of the outer shell of the old-covenant kingdom’s temple and City in A.D.70, “some” of Jesus’ contemporary audience would be able to “perceive” and “know how” Christ’s spiritual Kingdom had come “within” them Lk.17:20-37; Cols.1:27; Jn.14:2-3, 23. This text is one of many that refutes a literal so called “rapture” or literal resurrection off the earth for the living and remaining at Christ’s return! The fact that they would remain on the earth and “know” He had come coincides with what we saw the prophet Isiah teach of the “survivors” of the “Day of the Lord” to culminate the “last days.” Keeping Isaiah’s prophecy in mind once again, let’s turn our attention to the next exegetical point on the timing of “rewards” mentioned in our text.

f). The “reward” of Isa.40 & 62, Mt.16:27-28, & the Rev. 1-3; 20-22:12 Connection.

The “about to” coming of the Son of Man to reward the righteous and the wicked mentioned in Mt.16:27-28 is taken from the “last days” prophecy of the coming “Day of the Lord” in (Isa.2-3:10-11; Isa.40:10; Isa.62:11). Since everyone agrees that Jesus quoting Isa. 2:19 in Lk.23:30 refer to the A.D. 70 judgment, and Mathison understands Christ coming to vindicate the martyrs in Rev.6:15 and give rewards in Rev. 22:12 as the A.D. 70 coming of Christ and judgment; therefore is there any reason he should not apply Mt. 16:27-28 to the same event?

Parallels (analogy of faith) Between Mt.16:27 Rev.22:12:

· “The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels,

· “Behold I am coming soon

· “then He shall reward every man according to his works

· “and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his workshall be”

When Mt.16:27-28 is taken together with the book of Revelation from beginning to end, both form an inescapable A.D.70 time of fulfillment harmony. Mathison and Gentry agree with us that the audience and subject matter of the book of Revelation was written to seven historical churches in Asia Rev.1:4 who were told that they would experience the coming of the Lord, judgment, and receive rewards in an “at hand,” “about to be,” “shortly,” time frame Rev.1:1, 3, 7, 19-mello;” Rev.2:5, 7, 10-11, 16, 17, 25-29; Rev.3:4-5, 10-12, 18, 21; 22:6-7, 10-12, 20. But once we get into the book of Revelation, is the “coming” of Christ associated with His judging the City and rewarding “every man” including “the dead,” (Rev. 11:13, 18) the ascension event or His second coming and imminent return in A.D. 70?

The (OG) LXX of Daniel 7:13 reads, “Upon the clouds of heaven came one like a Son of Man, and he came as the Ancient of Days” (whereas the the Aramaic and the Tehodotionic LXX have “he came up to the Ancient of Days”). It would appear that Jesus and John follow the (OG) LXX rendering as it fits better with Revelation 1:7, 13-17 where Jesus is described coming on the clouds as the Ancient of Days. The context here and elsewhere in the NT where a reference to Daniel 7:13 is referred to is that Christ is coming down from heaven upon the clouds in judgment upon Jerusalem – this is not a coming “up to” the Father in AD 30. Besides this, the context of Daniel 7 has to do with the general judgment when the books are opened etc…, not the ascesion event.

Any unbiased reader of both sides of the reformed house divided can see: 1) the time statements point to an A.D. 70 time of fulfillment (per Mathison & Gentry), and 2) the coming of Christ in the book of Revelation refers to the second coming to render judgment and reward every man–the living and the dead (per most Reformed and Evangelical) commentators. When we combine these two observations from the Reformed community we arrive at our position. Jesus’ teaching here in Mt.16:27-28 and elsewhere in the gospel of Matthew lays the foundation of what we see with the A.D. 70 imminence throughout Revelation.

g). Mt. 16:27-28 and the Olivet Discourse connection.

Jesus in the Olivet discourse ties the same subject matter in with both Mt. 16:27 & 28. Not only is the same subject matter taken as one unit in the Olivet Discourse, but the same time frame for the second coming is reiterated by Christ, “This generation”:

1) Christ comes in glory Luke 9:26

1) Christ comes in glory Matthew 24:30

2) Christ comes with angels Matthew 16:27

2) Christ comes with angels Matthew 24:31

3) Christ comes in judgment Matthew 16:27

3) Christ comes in judgment Matthew 24:28-31; 25:31-34

4) Christ and the kingdom come in power Mark 8:38

4) Christ and the kingdom come in power Luke 21:27-32

5) Some of the disciples would live Matthew 16:28

5) Some of the disciples would live Luke 21:16-18

6) Some of the disciples would die Matthew 16:28

6) Some of the disciples would die Luke 21:16

7) Christ would be ashamed of the disciples generation Mark 8:38

7) All of this would occur in the disciples generation Matthew 24:34

This is a very specific historical event and is not addressing several comings of Christ at: 1) the ascension, 2) Pentecost, 3) A.D. 70, and 4) a future coming to end history.

Partial Preterist Gary DeMar of American Vision is on record as teaching:

· John’s version of Matthew 24-25 can be found in the book of Revelation.

· Matthew 16:27=24:30=25:31-46 and is descriptive of Christ coming in the judgment of AD 70.

· That Matthew 24-25 can be paralleled to the vast majority of eschatological passages in the NT to prove AD 70 fulfillments and thus disprove Dispensationalism.

Therefore, it is pure eisegesis and a creedal bias which causes Partial Preterism to avoid making these parallels here:

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.

Since Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar tell us that the imminent time indicators within the book of Revelation point us to an AD 70 fulfillment of its content, there is no exegetical evidence which would indicate that Revelation 20:5-15 does not fall within the “shortly,” “about to be,” “at hand,” “quickly” time frame. And since Partial Preterists such as James Jordan or Joel McDurmon tell us that the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-3 was fulfilled in AD 70 and that “John picks up where Daniel leaves off,” then once again we see evidence for the judgment and rewarding of Revelation 20:5-15 being fulfilled in AD 70.

h). Matthew 16:27-28 and the Transfiguration event.

Mathison states, “It has also been suggested that the “coming” of the Son of Man in 16:28 refers to the Transfiguration (cf. Matt. 17:1-8). (p.176). It is also suggested by many of the same commentators that the transfiguration event is a prelude or foretaste of the Second Coming described in verse 27. So what is the relationship? In the vision, when Peter wants Moses and Elijah to remain and abide with the other disciples and Jesus, God causes the glory of Moses and Elijah to disappear. The theology of the vision is directed at the appearing and disappearing of the old-covenant order pictured in the glory of Moses and Elijah (the law and the prophets), with the emphasis on the eternal abiding glory of the new-covenant words of Christ – “here Him” (Mt. 17:5-8; cf. Mt.24:35). To seek the abiding glory and nature of the old covenant (Moses and Elijah) along with the new (the glory of Christ) was the theological error of the Judaizers and mockers of Peter’s day were making! With this in mind we can now understand Peter’s appeal to the vision as an apologetic against the mockers and false teachers of his day.

The 1Pet. 1:16-19 text is now very easy to understand. Peter is under attack by the Judaizers whom are claiming that he and the other disciples have been teaching Christians “cleverly devised stories” about the second coming (2Pet.1:16a). Peter’s apologetic against this charge is that he has two other Apostolic witnesses that will bear witness that they got their teaching of the second coming from direct revelation from the Father and the Son on the Mount of Transfiguration–verses 16b-18. Although Peter does not use the Greek word metamorphoo, he describes the Church going through a similar process–in verse 19a he says it is “…a light shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.” The “day” singular is none other than the “last day” of John’s gospel and the “in that day” or last day (singular) of (Lk.17/Mt.24-25).

There are only two other places in the New Testament where this Greek word transfigured or transformed metamorphoo is used (Rms.12:2 & 2Cor. 3:18). Paul’s “therefore” of Rms.12:1 is linking it with his teaching on the unsearchable riches of the new-covenant “mystery” (Jew/Gentile) or salvation that he has been developing throughout and reaches its peak here in (11:15, 25-36; cf. 1Cor.2). In chapters 7-8 the issue with the old-covenant law of sin and death and the new-covenant law of the spirit, is realized within the “mind” and fleshing that out (so to speak), through a spiritual walking in the newness of this new-covenant life. In chapters 12 and on, are the practical applications of living out this new-covenant salvation and life which was imminently coming at Christ’s return 13:11-12. They were not to be conformed to the old-covenant world, but be “transformed” through the new – “by the renewing of” their minds”! This was and continues to be a “spiritual act of worship” in the new-covenant age (cf. verse 1; Jn.4:24). Paul shows how this new-covenant life is to be worked out individually within the corporate Body of Christ in verses 3-16. He then closes with words connected with Christ’s new-covenant law (the true riches and meaning that were always there within the old) given on the Mount in verses 17-21/cf. Matthew 5.

The only other New Testament passage in which metamorphoo is used is in 2Cor. 3:18. This is likewise a very clear covenantal contrasting section within Paul’s writings. The Church was in the process of “being transformed” into the likeness of Christ which was connected with the old-covenant veil being lifted from the eyes of their minds and hearts. This was obviously not a literal or biological transformation process but a spiritual and covenantal one! The old-covenant glory was “passing away” (2Cor. 3:7-11) just as the glory of Moses and Elijah had disappeared in the vision given on the mount!

Since we agree with most who understand the transfiguration event to be a foreshadowing or prefiguring of the parousia we need to ask where in the vision are the following: 1) the passing and burning of the planet earth, 2) Christ floating down on a literal cloud someday and 3) corpses flying out of their caskets at the end of time to be united with their spirits? The vision of the parousia in the transfiguration event gives us a theological picture/description of what the parousia was going to be all about – the passing and fulfilling of the old-covenant promises and the bringing in and establishing of the new by A.D. 70.

The Orthodox and Organic Development of Full Preterism on Matthew 16:27-28

The “orthodox” (or straight) truth on Matthew 16:27-28 is found in the middle of the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view: 1) (Matthew 16:27) is the actual Second Coming event (as is Matt. 24:30–25:31) and 2) (Matthew 16:28) teaches us that it was to take place within the lifetime of “some” of those standing and listening to Jesus and thus in their first century “this generation.”

The Jubilee “Day of Vengeance” of Isaiah 63:1-6 and Revelation 14:17-20; 17:5-6; 19:15
Isaiah 63:1-6:
Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2 Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. 4For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. 5I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. 6I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
We are continuing our glorious study of the Jubilee begun in Isaiah 61:1-11. While there is the promise of the glorious rest and re-taking the inheritance of the New Creation and Tree of Life in Christ that will be coming in chapters 65-66, the “day of vengeance” is the other side of the coin described for us in Isaiah 61:2 and Isaiah 63:1-6.  We have briefly alluded to Yeshua developing both the Jubilee theme of “redemption” and the “days of vengeance” in Luke 21:20-32 as pertaining to Christ’s Second Coming being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in the events of AD 66 – AD 70. So we now need to turn to John’s version of the Olivet Discourse in the book of Revelation to develop Isaiah 63:1-6.
Revelation 14:17-20  
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.
As David Chilton noticed (Days of Vengeance, 374) in Revelation 6:9-11 the martyrs are pleading under the golden altar of incense for vengeance upon their enemies.  God’s answer is that vengeance will be “in a very little while.”  Then at the beginning of the trumpets vision, the angel combines the prayers of the saints in the censer with fire and casts it upon the land in judgment (cf. Rev. 8:3-5).  Now the same angel over “the fire” appears from God’s altar of fire to once again depict the vengeance of God’s wrath upon “Babylon” (OC Jerusalem 11:8) in chapter 14 being described as a harvest of grapes being crushed in God’s winepress of wrath.  This is a harvest and “wrath” that was “about to come” upon the threshing floor of the land of Israel as was depicted by John the Baptist in (Mt. 3:2-12).  Another key to seeing this prophecy being applied to the AD 66 – AD 70 judgment is the distance of bloodshed of “sixteen hundred stadia.”  This was the distance of the land of Israel.  This is NOT a global day of vengeance and wrath, but rather, a covenantal and local one upon OC Jerusalem.
We should note that sabbath rest is a theme here in this chapter as well. The righteous dead who die in the Lord post AD 70 “…rest from their labors” while the wicked are tormented with fire in presence of the Lamb “day and night” and they “have no rest” (Rev. 14:11).
Revelation 17:5-6; 18:6: 
“And on her forehead was written a name of mystery:  Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of the earth’s abominations.  And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs.”  
Here in chapters 17-18 the Great Harlot Wife / Babylon (OC Jerusalem) is guilty of drinking and getting “drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Rev. 17:5).  Therefore, she will be paid back “double” for her deeds with the angels and Romans and “mixing a double portion” for her to drink from the cup of God’s wrath (Rev. 18:6).
Revelation 19:15-18
15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”
Again, this is another reference to Isiah 63:1-6 and the day of vengeance.  In Isiah His robe has the blood of his enemies and here His name “King of kings and Lord of lords” is written upon it.  There is a contrast between being invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (19:1-9) and being devoured by the Romans and the animals at the Great Supper of God (19:17-19) from which the blood comes on His robe.
Isaiah 66:15-16:
“For behold, the LORD will come with fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.  For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.”
2 Thessalonians 1:5-9
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Was the Apostle Paul a true prophet when he wrote under inspiration that Christ would be revealed from heaven and give those first century Christians “relief” from their Jewish persecutors and render judgment and “trouble” upon their enemies in the events of AD 66-AD 70 or not (2 Thess. 1:5-8)?!? If not, then the NT prophets are no less reliable than the false prophets in Jeremiah’s day and modern Charismatics!

OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson point out the OT reference for Paul here in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 is Isaiah 66:15

“The claim that it is just for God “to repay [antapodounai] those who afflict you with affliction, and you who are being afflicted with rest” involves the OT principle of retribution—the lex talionis, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Although Scripture frequently affirms the theme of divine recompense, at times also using the identical verb “to repay” (Deut. 32:35; Ps. 138:8 [137:8 LXX]; Obad. 15; cf. Isa. 63:4), the allusions to Isa. 66 in the subsequent verses strengthen the possibility that Paul has that same passage in view here. In fact, there are two verses from Isa. 66 that are relevant: “The voice of the Lord repaying [antapodidontos] retribution to his enemies” (66:6); “For the Lord will come like a fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to repay [apodounai] his punishment with anger, and his rebuke with a flame of fire” (66:15).”

“…1:8a – It appears likely, therefore, that the alternate reading “in a flame of fire” is in fact original and that this phrase involves an allusion to Isa. 66:15. Paul uses the imagery of a flaming fire to portray in a powerful manner the frightening judgment that awaits those who have been oppressing the Thessalonian believers.

1:8b – Paul continues to comfort his persecuted readers by picking up again the OT idea of divine retribution that he introduced in 1:6. Whereas that earlier verse balances the punishment of Thessalonians’ persecutors with the reward that believers will receive, this verse stresses only the negative half of judgment: “giving vengeance [didontos ekdikēsin] to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” The phrase “give vengeance” (didōmi ekdikēsin), with slight variations, occurs several times in the LXX (Num. 31:3; Deut. 32:35; 2 Kgdms. 4:8; 22:48 [2 Sam. 4:8; 22:48]; Ps. 17:48 [18:47 ET]; Ezek. 25:14, 17). It is striking, however, that this phrase occurs also in Isa. 66:15 (apodounai … ekdikēsin)—the same text alluded to in the immediately preceding phrase, “a flame of fire.” The action of “giving vengeance” in Isa. 66:15, as in the other OT texts containing this phrase, is ascribed to God. In Paul’s use of this phrase, however, the divine work of meting out judgment is transferred to the returning Christ (the participle didontos modifies tou kyriou Iēsou).

This vengeance will be given not only to the persecutors of the Thessalonians, but also to a much larger group: “to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” Several commentators have concluded from this double clause that Paul has two distinct groups in mind, most likely Gentiles and Jews (so, e.g., Dobschütz 1909: 248; Frame 1912: 233; Marshall 1983: 177–78). This “two group” interpretation appeals not only to the repetition of the definite article tois, but also to the description of the people in each clause. The first clause refers to “those who do not know God” (tois mē eidosin theon), an OT expression that typically refers to Gentiles (Job 18:21; Ps 79:6 [78:6 LXX]; Jer. 10:25) and that has this meaning elsewhere in Paul’s letters (Gal. 4:8–9; 1 Thess. 4:5; cf. 1 Cor. 1:21). The second clause refers to “those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (tois mē hypakouousin tō euangeliō tou kyriou hēmōn Iēsou), an expression that may well allude to Isa. 66:4, where “they did not obey [God]” (ouch hypēkousan mou) refers to the Jewish people. (Weima, J. A. D. (2007). 1-2 Thessalonians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (pp. 884–885). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos).

Beale and Carson have no problem connecting the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 with 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 with the Day of the Lord judgment of Isiah 2-4. Other than the trumpet gathering and resurrection of Isaiah 27:12-13, G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect this coming of the Lord “from heaven” of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 with Isaiah 2:10-12’s “in that day” “Day of the Lord” judgment,

“The main clause of 1 Thess. 4:16, “because the Lord himself will come down from heaven,” recalls…the prophetic literature of the OT that envisions “the day of the Lord,” when God will come to judge the wicked and save the righteous (Isa. 2:10–12;…) (Weima, J. A. D. (2007). 1-2 Thessalonians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 880). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos).

But Beale and Carson also connect 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 with Isaiah 2,

“This (in context – giving the Thessalonians relief from their Jewish persecutors) will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out (excommunicated [from the heavenly Temple] as they had done to the Christians) from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”

But let’s quote the passage in context,

“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.”

Here we clearly see that when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven, it is for the purpose of giving “relief” to first century Christians who were being persecuted by Jews who were filling up the measure of their sins (1 Thess. 2:14-16). At the same time He was going to give relief to these first century Christians, by judging or “repaying” their Jewish persecutors with the same kind of affliction and pressure they were giving them. He did this when by laying a trap for them when they made their journey to Jerusalem and were convinced by the false prophets to stay within the city and were judged with His “wrath” between AD 66 – AD 70. Jesus taught the time of vindication and the judgment for the living and the dead in Matthew 23 would be in His “this generation.” And the time of vindicating the first century Church pictured as a persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 would be “quickly” and not 2,000 plus years and counting.

Of this passage Beale and Carson write,

“eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” This description clearly echoes the triple refrain of Isa. 2:10, 19, 21, where on the day of the Lord the wicked are commanded to hide themselves behind rocks and in caves “from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might whenever he will rise to terrify the earth.” (Ibid. 885).

So since both 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 fulfill the coming of the Lord “from heaven” in the judgment found in Isaiah 2, let’s examine when Jesus and John see Isaiah 2 being fulfilled.

Jesus – Luke 23:27-30:

27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us (from Isa. 2:19 and Hos. 10:8).

There’s a consensus among the commentators that this passage was fulfilled in God’s judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.

John – Revelation 6:15-17:

15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[a] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

Postmillennialists correctly tell us that every reference to the coming of the Lord in Revelation was said to be fulfilled “soon,” “at hand,” “quickly” or “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70.  This is when the martyrs blood would be vindicated in just – “a little while longer” (vss. 10-11).

Concerning Isaiah 2; Revelation 6; and 2 Thessalonians 1, Gentry argues that Christ had to come in judgment in AD 70 to vindicate those being persecuted in Revelation 1-3 & Revelation 6 because if He hadn’t (per futurism), God would be “mocking their [first century] circumstances.” Gentry also appeals to Matt. 23-24 in developing the AD 70 time-frame for the fulfillment of the Thessalonians to be relieved and vindicated from their Jewish persecutors in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-20. But this begs the obvious heremeneutical question – as to why doesn’t 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 also form the foundation for Christ’s coming to relieve the Thessalonians from their first century Jewish persecutors?!?

If futurism’s 2,000+ year delay of Christ’s coming creates a “cruel mockery” for the persecuted in the book of Revelation, then why doesn’t Gentry’s futuristic 2000+ years delay of Christ’s coming to relieve the Thessalonians and judge their persecutors in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 create a “cruel mockery” for their first century “circumstances?” Again, this is why Gentry’s critics charge him with inconsistent hermeneutics and holding to a view that only serves as a stepping stone to Full Preterism.

Premise #1 If it is true and orthodox to believe that Luke 23:27-30; Revelation 6:10-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7 all fulfill the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2.

Premise #2 And if it is true and orthodox to believe that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7 are the same and ONE Second Coming coming event and that both passages fulfill the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2 (Full Preterists agree with Amillennialists and Premillennialists),…

Premeise #3And if it is also true and orthodox to believe that 2 Thessalonians 1:7 fulfills Isaiah 2’s “last days” “in that day” judgment in AD 70 (Full Preterists agree with Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar on this point),…

ConclusionThen it necessarily follows and is also true and orthodox to believe that the ONE Second Coming event of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 fulfilled the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2 in AD 70 just as 2 Thessalonians 1:7 was fulfilled at this time.

1 Thessalonians 1:10

“for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1:9-10).

The Thessalonians were to eagerly wait for Christ. The definition of anaménō

“…(from 303 /aná, “up, completing a process,” which intensifies 3306 /ménō, “wait, remain”) – properly, earnestly wait (linger, abide); actively wait with rising intensity and clarity about what is hoped for (note the prefix, ana).  Thayers – “to wait for one (with the added notion of patience and trust).”

Even Dispensationalists such as Pastor John MacArthur writes of this passage,

“…the immanency of the deliverance was something Paul felt could happen in their lifetimes.”

Did Paul just “feel” it could happen or did he write it as an inspired and authoritative Apostle being led into all truth “trusting” in the very words of Jesus Himself that He would return at the end of the OC age, in their generation, and in some of their lifetimes (Matt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:27-34)?!?

Make no mistake about it, MacArthur’s Futurism effectively portrays Christ and the Apostle Paul as false prophets – out of ignorance or not, this is the undeniable conclusion. MacArthur needs to worry less about the serious implications of Charismatic false prophecy and teaching and take the forest out of his own eye in this area! Why would I conclude MacArthur’s failed Futurism has any less bad implications for the church than false Charismatic doctrine? They ALL ignore the message of Christ and the Apostolic Prophetic message and have invented their own “delusional” (God’s term) understandings of them. Selah.

Christ comes “from heaven.” The definition of “heaven” here can mean the literal sky and clouds where the birds fly, but in Pauline eschatology the term “from heaven” is primarily dealing with God’s heavenly dwelling where His presence is along with the angelic hosts.

Christ comes to “rescue” the Thessalonians to Himself.

The definition of rescue here is rhýomai (from eryō, “draw to oneself“) – properly, draw or (pull) to oneself; to rescue (“snatch up”); to draw or rescue a person to and for the deliverer. To draw or snatch from danger, rescue, deliver. This is more with the meaning of drawing to oneself than merely rescuing from someone or something (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers).

Christ comes to rescue the Thessalonians from the “coming wrath.”

God laid a trap for the persecuting Jews whom went to Jerusalem for the feast days in AD 66 and they experienced God’s wrath. Christians that did go to Jerusalem to fellowship with the Jerusalem Church in AD 66 ALL fled together from the city and were rescued from this wrath.

Jews who especially sympathized with the Jewish revolt were persecuted throughout Rome during this period – 50,000 died in Egypt alone. Christians were known for being peaceful law abiding citizens for the most part. They fled to Pella and were safe. This was a known anti-Jewish town filled with a lot of Greek veterans. They did not support the Jewish rebellion against Rome and so had no problems accepting the peaceful Christians who likewise did not support the rebellion against Rome or the false prophets proclaiming an earthly messianic kingdom.

Just a brief point – the flight of the Christians in fulfillment Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks was the point in time that God “sealed up” that is, brought to an end the office of prophet and the gift of prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27/Lk. 21:20-32).

Paul’s doctrine on an imminent coming of Christ and wrath is in line with Jesus’ teaching:

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:20-23).

And Postmillennialists admit the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31 was fulfilled in AD 70 and there was a judgment of the dead that took place as well according to 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 and Revelation 11. Therefore, Jesus responds to the dead as well about this being a time of wrath,

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Harmonizing the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 with 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17

1. First century audience – “you” “us.”

1. First century audience – “we.”

2. Eager expectation – imminence

2. “We who are still alive…” – imminent expectation.

3. Christ comes “from heaven.”

3. Christ comes “from heaven.”

4. Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing that the living would be rescued.

4. Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing the dead in Christ would be raised and the living would be brought into God’s presence.

5. “Snatches” from wrath but to Christ.

5. “Catches/snatches away” to Christ.

The Partial Preterism of Kenneth Gentry & Keith Mathison

Mathison and Gentry don’t deal with the imminence here in connection with Jesus’ teaching in the OD. This is odd since they claim to want to address imminence and they both admit Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD! They also fail to demonstrate how the deliverance from this wrath here in chapter 1 is an allegedly future event for us, while Paul’s treatment of Christ coming attended with “wrath” in the very next chapter (cf. 1 Thess. 2:16) is fulfilled by AD 70. Again, no consistent hermeneutic and no agreement among them.

The Partial Preterism of Gary DeMar

Unlike Gentry and Mathison, Gary DeMar concedes that the coming of Christ here in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 was fulfilled in AD 70. But Gary fails to do any exegetical work to harmonize his Preterist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 1:10 with his futurist creedal view of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. In both passages Christ comes “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” away His people to Himself. On what exegetical grounds is the first apocalyptic language fulfilled in AD 70 while the later is physical and 2,000 plus years removed?!? Again, no consistent hermeneutic or flow of Paul in his writings per the man pleasing and man fearing tradition laid out within Postmillennial Partial Preterism. Why would the Thessalonians think these are two different comings of Christ “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” His people to Himself?!? DeMar is no less guilty of perverting God’s prophetic Word through Paul than the Charismatics and MacArthur. Lord willing this isn’t the legacy he wants to leave. While he needs to count the cost for embracing the truth (ex. knowing what Gary North put David Chilton through), he needs to embrace it and “shout it from the rooftops.” Selah. 3). 

I’ll stick with the reliability of SGFPism’s understanding of Apostolic NT imminence verses the false prophets and false prophecies of Futurism and Charismatic Futurist false prophets ANY DAY! God’s Word is STILL “a hammer that breaks” apart the false doctrines and false prophecies of those that are uttered in His name and He still vindicates the prophecies of the Lord and His faithful New Covenant shepherds that were “led into all truth concerning things to come.” We rest in THEIR prophetic Word and that our Lord is truly the “Faithful and True Witness.”

THE NEW CREATION PROMISES OF ISAIAH 65-66; REVELATION 21-22; 2 PETER 3 AND ROMANS 8:18-23YLT
Unknown-2Reformed theologians such as John Owen and John Lightfoot along with many others, correctly understood the “elements” here not as the rocks and tress of the planet earth, but of the old-covenant law and the “Day of the Lord” occurring in AD 70.  John Owen in his sermon on 2 Peter 3 also describes Isaiah 51:15-16 as the Old Covenant system except unlike Spurgeon he correctly and clearly states it passed away and her “elements” burned up in AD 70.  Since the foundation to the promise of 2 Peter 3 is Isaiah 65, it is relevant to what Spurgeon would have been reading on the subject.  Please note that he says the passing and burning of the first heavens and earth is “ONLY” referring to the OC system and the New is only the gospel of the NC dispensation:
“I shall only observe, by the way, not to look into the difficulties of these verses, that I not be too long detained from my principal intendment, – that the apostle makes a distribution of the word into heaven and earth, and saith, they ‘were destroyed with water, and perished: We know that neither the fabric or substance of the one or other was destroyed, but only men that lived on the earth; and the apostle tells us, verse 5, of the heavens and earth that were then, and were destroyed by water, distinct from the heavens and the earth that were now, and were to be consumed by fire; and yet, as to the visible fabric of heaven and earth, they were the same both before the flood and in the apostle’s time, and continue so to this day; when yet it is certain that the heavens and earth whereof he speaks were to be destroyed and consumed by fire in that generation. We must, then, for the clearing our foundation, a little consider what the apostle intends by `the heavens and the earth’ in these two places:
“1. It is certain, that what the apostle intends by the ‘world,’ with its heavens and earth, verses 5, 6, which was destroyed by water; the same or somewhat of that kind, he intends by ‘the heavens and the earth’ that were to be consumed and destroyed by fire, verse 7. Otherwise there would be no coherence in the apostle’s discourse, nor any kind of argument, but a mere fallacy of words.
“2. It is certain, that by the flood, the world, or the fabric of heaven and earth, was not destroyed, but only the inhabitants of the world; and therefore the destruction intimated to succeed by fire, is not of the substance of the heavens and the earth, which shall not be consumed until the last day, but of persons or men living in the world.
“3. Then we must consider in what sense men living in the world are said to be the ‘world,’ and the ‘heavens and earth’ of it. I shall only insist on one instance to this purpose, among the many that may be produced, Isa. 51. 15, 16. The time when the work here mentioned, of planting the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth, was performed by God, was when he ‘divided the sea,’ verse 15, and gave the law, verse 16, and said to Zion, ‘Thou art my people,” – that is, when he took the children of Israel out of Egypt, and formed them in the wilderness into a church and state. Then he planted the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, – made the new world; that is, brought forth order, and government, and beauty, from the confusion wherein before they were. This is the planting of the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth in the world. And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world. So Isa. xxxiv. 4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom. The like also is affirmed of the Roman empire, Rev. vi. 14; which the Jews constantly affirm to be intended by Edom in the prophets. And in our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matt. xxiv., he sets it out by expressions of the same importance. It is evident, then, that in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by ‘heavens’ and ‘earth,’ the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood. So were the heavens and earth that world which was then destroyed by the flood.
“4. On this foundation I affirm, that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state; for which I shall offer these two reasons, of many that might be insisted on from the text: –
“(1.) Because whatever is here mentioned was to have its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffer and the those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews; – some of them believing, others opposing the faith. Now, there was no particular concernment of that generation in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread for the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation; and besides, an ample testimony, both to the one and the other, of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ – which was the thing in question between them.
“(2.) Peter tells them, that, after the destruction and judgment that he speaks of, verse 13, ‘We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,’ etc. They had this expectation. But what is that promise? where may we find it? Why, we have it in the very words and letter, Isa. Ixv. 17. Now, when shall this be that God will create these ‘new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness?’ Saith Peter, ‘It shall be after the coming of the Lord, after that judgment and destruction of ungodly men, who obey not the gospel, that I foretell.’ But now it is evident, from this place of Isaiah, with chap. lxvi., 21, 22, that 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.
“First, There is the foundation of the apostle’s inference and exhortation… ‘Seeing that I have evinced that all these things, however precious they seem, or what value soever any put upon them, shall be dissolved, – that is, destroyed; and that in that dreadful and fearful manner before mentioned, – in a way of judgment, wrath, and vengeance, by fire and sword; – 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, and 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.’ “
And more from Owen:
“1. Because in every such providential alteration or dissolution of things on the account of Christ and his church, there is a peculiar coming of Christ himself. He cometh into the world for the work he hath to do; he cometh among his own to fulfil his pleasure among them. Hence such works are called ‘his coming;’ and ‘the coming of his day.’ Thus James exhorts these very Jews to whom Peter here writes, with reference to the same things, James v. 7-9, ‘Be patient unto the coming of the Lord.’ But how could that generation extend their patience to the day of judgment? ‘Nay,’ saith he, ‘that is not the work I design, but his coming to take vengeance on his stubborn adversaries;’ which he saith, verse 8, ‘draweth nigh,’ is even at hand; yea., Christ, ‘the judge, standeth before the door,’ verse 9, ‘ready to enter;’ – which also he did within a few years. So upon or in the destruction of Jerusalem (the same work), Luke xxi. 27, the Son of man is said to ‘come in a cloud, with power and great glory;’ – and they that escape in that desolation are said to ‘stand before the Son of man,’ verse 36. So, in the ruin and destruction of the Roman empire, on the account of their persecution, it is said that ‘the day of the wrath of the Lamb was come; Rev. vi. 16, 17.” (John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Banner of Truth pub., Vol. 9 see pp. 132-135, 138-139, MJS emphasis added).
And John Lightfoot agrees.  Notice what he says of Christ’s coming in Matthew 24 and 2 Peter 3 and the de-creation and new creation language:
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“That the destruction of Jerusalem is very frequently expressed in Scripture as if it were the destruction of the whole world, Deut. xxxii. 22; ‘A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell’ (the discourse there is about the wrath of God consuming that people; see ver. 20, 21), ‘and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains’ Jer. iv. 23; ‘I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light; The discourse there also is concerning the destruction of that nation, Isa. lxv. 17; ‘Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered,’ And more passages of this sort among the prophets. According to this sense, Christ speaks in this place; and Peter speaks in his Second Epistle, third chapter; and John, in the sixth of the Revelation; and Paul, 2 Cor. v. 17.”
More of Lightfoot on this subject:
“With the same reference it is, that the times and state of things immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem are called ‘a new creation,’ ‘new heavens,’ and ‘a new earth,’ Isa. lxv. 17; `Behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth’ When should that be? Read the whole chapter; and you will find the Jews rejected and cut off; and from that time is that new creation of the evangelical world among the Gentiles.
“Compare 2 Cor. v. 17 and Rev. xxi. 1, 2; where, the old Jerusalem being cut off and destroyed, a new one succeeds; and new heavens and a new earth are created.
“2 Pet. iii. 13: `We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth’ The heavens and the earth of the Jewish church and commonwealth must be all on fire, and the Mosaic elements burnt up; but we, according to the promise made to us by Isaiah the prophet, when all these are consumed, look for the new creation of the evangelical state.”
“That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of this world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt. xxiv. 29, 30, `The sun shall be darkened,’ Then shall appear the `sign of the Son of man,’; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. 2 Pet. iii. 10, `The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,’. Compare with this Deut. xxxii. 22, Heb. xii. 26: and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal. iv. 9, Coloss. ii. 20: and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks ONLYof the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses.” (John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, pp. 318-319; Vol. 3, p. 452-453, Hendrickson pub, 2003, MJS emphasis added).
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As I document in our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…pp. 116-123 Lightfoot didn’t see the physical planet as being in a process of “decay” or poetically “groaning” to be the subject matter in Romans 8 either!  He correctly understood the passage to be the “creation of men” groaning under sin.  Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar concedes mello in Romans 8:18 YLT should be translated as “the glory ABOUT TO BE revealed in you…” and is referring to AD 70.  Therefore, contextually this allegedly “end of the planet” or physical “renewal of the planet” passage and “redemption of the body” was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 – at the “near” coming of the Lord when Satan was to be “crushed shortly” (cf. Rms. 13:11-12; 16:20) and has NOTHING to do with the Futurist or creedal concept.  Here is that material (HD, 116-123):
John Lightfoot associated the “earnest expectation of the creature”
and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and interpreted this passage as having nothing to do with the planet Earth— not even poetically.
. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: themanifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.” (John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, p.422, Hendrickson pub. 1979, emphasis added.) 
And again,
The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time,) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase…” (Ibid., p. 227).
Lightfoot is on solid ground here citing 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 11:3; and 1 Corinthians 15:33. Not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity,” “corruption,” and “decay” as ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen or squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.
“The sufferings of this present time.” As much as I can relate to R.C. Sproul Jr. losing his hair and gaining some weight around his midsection (WSTTB, ix), Paul’s mention of the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” have nothing to do with those kinds of issues. The context of the “groaning” of the first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter. The sufferings Paul has in mind here were eschatological —the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Matt. 24:8; Rom. 8:22). They had to do with the last days persecutions and with the saints of the universal church groaning under the tyranny of Sin and Condemnation under the Law.
For Paul, Sin had produced “death,” but not physical death. Contrary to Mathison’s assertions, “the body,” “death,” and “the flesh” in Romans 5–8 have nothing to do with the idea of men biologically dying as a result of Adam’s sin. Paul’s concern is with corporate-covenantal Death, as even some Reformed theologians teach.[3]   “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:2, 7, 15).
The “redemption” associated with the coming of the Son of Man in AD 70 entailed much more than a physical flight to the wilderness of Pella, as some commentators have proposed. Appealing to the principle of the analogy of Scripture, John Murray and other Reformed theologians understand Paul in Romans 8 to be speaking of the same “redemption” that Jesus discussed in the Olivet Discourse:
Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:14; 4:30). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.[4]
The following chart confirms that the “redemption” of Christ’s disciples in the first century in Luke 21:28 was the redemption of “the body” in Romans 8:18–23:

Romans 8 Olivet Discourse & Luke 17
Present sufferings (Rom. 8:17–18) Suffering to come (Matt. 24:9)
Receive and share in Christ’s glory (Rom. 8:17–18) Christ comes in glory (Matt. 24:30)
Glory will be “in” them (Rom. 8:18) Kingdom will be realized “within”at Christ’s return (Lk.17:21–37; 21:27–32)
Redemption and salvation – resurrection (Rom. 8:23–24; cf. 11:15–27; 13:11–12) Redemption and salvation – resurrection (Lk. 21:27–28; Matt. 24:13, 30–31/Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3)
Birth pains together (Rom. 8:22) Birth pains of the tribulation (Matt. 24:8)
This was “about to” take place (Rom. 8:18) This would all happen in their “this generation” (Matt. 24:34)

On page 200 of WSTTB, Mathison expresses willingness to concede that the imminence in Romans 13:11–12 was fulfilled in AD 70. The passage reads:
. . . it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. . . .
But The Reformation Study Bible, of which Mathison is an editor, harmonizes Romans 13:11 with Romans 8:23, correctly teaching that “salvation” in that verse is not merely deliverance from persecution (as Mathison theorizes in WSTTB): “salvation. Here in the sense of future, final redemption (8:23).”[1] The connection between these two passages is made even stronger when we allow the Greek word mello in Romans 8 to be translated the way it is predominately used in the New Testament:
For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us. (Rom. 8:18, YLT)
It is more than arbitrary for partial preterists such as Gentry to honor Young’s literal translation of melloin Revelation 1:19 when debating Dispensationalists and Amimmennialists, but then not honor it in Romans 8:18 when debating full preterists. Mello is used in the aorist infinitive in both verses. Gentry writes of mello in Revelation 1:19:
…this term means “be on the point of, be about to.” …According to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, Revelation 1:19 reads: “Write the things that thou hast seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to come[mello] after these things.” The leading interlinear versions of the New Testament concur. This is surely the proper translation of the verse.[2]   …when used with the aorist infinitive — as in Revelation 1:19 — the word’s preponderate usage and preferred meaning is:
“be on the point of, be about to. The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in the Rev. 3:10.[3] Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion.[4]
Where is Gentry’s disappointment when it comes to translators not translating Romans 8:18 by the same grammatical standard? It is nowhere to be found, even though there are two other Greek words of imminence (apokaradokia and apekdekomai — “eagerly waiting”) within the immediate context.
At least partial preterist Gary DeMar has tried to be more consistent with a proper translation of mello in Romans 8:18. Citing Robert Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible he writes:
“Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed’…”[5]
We appreciate the honesty on properly translating mello here as “about to be revealed,” but contextually there is no ambiguity as to what the imminent manifestation of this “glory” was — the liberation of creation from its groaning and bondage, the full adoption of the sons of God, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 18-23).
Interestingly enough though, according to Gentry and Mathison one of the things that was “about to come after” John wrote Revelation 1:19 was the arrival of the New Jerusalem and New  Creation of Revelation 21:1ff. Mathison and Gentry tell us in their other works that the time texts in Revelation point to a near fulfillment of the passing of “the first heaven and earth.” They point out that Revelation 21:1 is referring to the passing of the old covenant “creation” in AD 70 and is a fulfillment of Isaiah 65–66. Gentry even says:
The absence of the sea (Rev. 21:1) speaks of harmony and peace within. In Scripture the sea often symbolizes discord and sin (13:1–2; cf. Isa. 8:7–8; 23:10; 57:20; Jer. 6:23; 46:7; Ezek. 9:10).  Christianity offers the opposite: peace with God and among humankind (Luke 2:14; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:12–18; Phil. 4:7, 9).
But then Mathison and Gentry assign an “expanded” meaning to 2 Peter 3, which discusses the same promises in Isaiah 65–66. They suggest that Peter is addressing the geological “elements” of the planet while the Apostle John, referencing the same Old Testament passage, is not.
This is not only arbitrary, it is amazing. If Gentry and Mathison can give prophetic New Testament passages “expanded” meanings to fit their eschatology, then they have surrendered their debate with Dispensationalists, who constantly employ this strategy to force their eschatology upon New Testament passages.
In Mathison’s section on the “Restoration of Creation” (195–197), he appeals to the literal and global beginnings of Genesis 1–3 to point out that preterists have interpreted “the end” in Romans 8 and in the rest of the New Testament in an inaccurate way. But Mathison should be open to considering the interpretations of Genesis 1–3 that are presented by some within the Reformed tradition and by other futurists.
Combined, authors such as Augustine, Milton Terry, David Snoke, Meredith Kline, and dispensationalist John Sailhamer teach the following:

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

As the theological emphasis in Genesis 1–2 is on the local land of Eden, which is both theologically and geographically tied to Israel’s Promised Land, so too is the emphasis of the New Testament on a Great Commission preached to the nations of Israel and to the Roman Empire with a judgment that would affect the nations of that world.
Both the localized and covenantal judgment in Eden and the one in AD 70 affected and continue to affect all humankind. The introduction of spiritual death (condemnation and alienation from God within the heart and conscience of man through Adam) was overcome by Christ’s death, resurrection, and indwelling presence in AD 70. All men and nations of the world are either inside the new Israel and New Jerusalem or outside her gates — as the gospel continues to bring healing and judgment to the nations today and forever (cf. Rev. 21–22:17).
When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70.”63 
DiscoursesAndSayings_SET
Reformed theologian John Brown not only stresses that the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 is the OC system, but that those familiar with the OT should understand the phrase as such:
“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.” (John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord(Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170, MJS – emphasis added).
Like we saw with The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Owen and Lightfoot — those that are familiar with the OT Scriptures have and continue to see this while you and liberals don’t.
Scholars that aren’t even Preterists (but often times give the impression that they are leaning in such a direction), such as G.K. Beale are admitting that the Jew understood his land or Temple to be a “heaven and earth,”
“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a Unknown-4way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.” (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A
biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25). See also J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.
I called in a radio show where Beale was being interviewed concerning this quote in his book and asked him why he didn’t apply his statements here with Jesus’ and the disciples discussion of the Temple in Matthew 23-24.  He avoided the subject and merely began name-calling.  Sad indeed.
But Evangelicals are making the Full Preterist connections with NT texts where Beale is afraid to.  Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on the heaven and earth in Matthew 5:18 and Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:
519MJRVKT5L._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . . [T]he principle reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] [or Matthew 24:35] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157).

51vnAiyJTxL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_Gary DeMar is exegetical and contextually consistent when he admits that the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 24:35 is the same subject (the fall of OC Jerusalem and her OC world/age) and de-creation event as 24:29,
“The darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (24:29), are more descriptive ways of saying that “heaven and earth” will pass away” (24:35).” (Last Days Madness, 192).
DeMar and the Present Tense of 2 Peter 3:11
I agree with Gary DeMar that Futurists are biased to not see the present tense in 2 Peter 3:11,
“In fact, St. Peter was quite specific about the fact that he was not referring to an event thousands of years in their future, but to something that was already taking place:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements (stoicheia) will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things are being dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements (stoicheia) are being melted with fervent heat? (2 Pet. 3:10–12)
Contrary to the misleading renderings of translators blinded by their presuppositions, St. Peter insists that the dissolution of “the present heaven and earth”—the Old Covenant system with its obligatory rituals and bloody sacrifices—was already beginning to occur: the “universe” of the Old Covenant was coming apart, never to be revived.”
https://americanvision.org/…/what-does-peter-mean-by-the-p…/
But could DeMar, other Futurists and translator’s be “blinded by their presuppositions” when the NT is quite specific about the fact that the resurrection was not referring to an event thousands of years off in their future, but to something that was already taking place and would “soon” be fulfilled.
Was physical death to be overcome at the imminent parousia in Paul’s contemporary “we” audience OR the spiritual death and separation brought through Adam the very day he sinned?
“…death is being destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT).
“But God is giving it a body” (1 Cor. 15:32).
“…it is being sown…” (1 Cor. 15:38).
“…it is being raised in glory…” (1 Cor. 15:43).
“…it is being raised in power…” (1 Cor. 15:43)
“…It is being sown a natural body, it is being raised a spiritual body…” (1 Cor. 15:43).

Was a physical lowly body in the process of being conformed to a physical/spiritual glorious body at Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming in Paul’s day, OR was the OC body being transformed and conformed to the NC glorious body of Christ?
“…becoming conformed…” (Phil. 3:21YLT).
Would this understanding not be consistent with Paul elsewhere,
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory [Old Covenant glory] to another [New Covenant glory]. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
Was the physical heavens and earth in the process of being destroyed/dissolved or was it the OC heavens and earth or world?
“…are being destroyed/dissolved.” (2 Pet. 3:11).
Peter is consistent with Paul,
“those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor. 7:31).
“The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (1 Jn. 2:17)

Isaiah 66:15-16:
“For behold, the LORD will come with fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.  For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.”
2 Thessalonians 1:5-9
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
The Jubilee “day of vengeance” is carried from Isiah 61 all the way to Isiah 66 which ushers in the sabbath rest of the New Creation.  Paul draws upon Isaiah 66 in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 and informs us that it is in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 that Christ would be revealed from heaven in vengeance giving relief to the first century Thessalonians while at the same time “repaying” with wrath and vengeance a “trouble” of fire and judgment.  These wicked Jews that were persecuting these Christians in the Thessalonians epistles, would go to the annual feasts and be ensnared by the false prophets prophecies of a coming deliverance from the Roman armies.  Therefore, they were consumed in the fire of God’s judgment in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 when Christ as revealed from heaven.
Old Covenant Salvation “in the Land” vs. New Covenant Salvation “in Christ” 

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

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

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

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

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

Post AD 70 Salvation is Complete – No More Death, Tears or Pain (Rev. 21-22)
Because “the death” that came through Adam is spiritual death (alienation from God) realized through the commandment-breaker Adam and amplified or increased under the Law of Moses (the old covenant), we can see how God gave His elect the victory over “the death” in the end of the old covenant age of condemnation. The fact that men die physically is in no way evidence that the “spiritual conflict” of “the death” continues for the church throughout the new covenant age.
God’s people under the old covenant, unlike God’s people today, experienced covenantal and spiritual death (cf. Hosea 13:1–14; Isa. 25–27; Eze. 37). What made physical death dreaded for the saints under the old covenant was that they died with the awareness that their sins had not yet been taken away. In the new covenant creation, Jesus promises that whether we biologically die in Him or biologically live in Him, we “never die” (John 11:25–26). This was not the case before Christ.
Thus under the old covenant, the residents of Jerusalem wept because they did not have a lasting atonement or eternal redemption. They longed and groaned for the day of Messiah’s salvation. Until that day would come, they knew their sins were not put away (Heb. 9:26–28; 10:4, 11). The promise that there would be no more mourning or crying or pain does not refer to any and every kind of mourning, crying, and pain. It refers to mourning, crying, and pain concerning God’s people being dead in sin under the condemnation, curse, and slavery of God’s law. That sad Adamic state is no more. In the Son, God’s people are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).
As Athanasius wrote in his Festal Letters, iv. 3, “For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness.”
Under the old covenant, when David or the nation was exiled from Zion and God’s city and temple, there was much inner pain, weeping, and bondage that followed (2 Sam. 15:30; Ps. 137; Isa. 14:3; Isa. 22:4–5; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; Jer. 22:9–10; Lam. 1:16; Joel 2:17). Under the new covenant, the heavenly country and Jerusalem are not subject to being made desolate or shaken by invading armies as was the old (Isa. 62:4; Heb. 12:27–28). The concept of the gates of the New Jerusalem always being open, even at night (Isa. 60:11; Rev. 21:25), is not merely a picture of evangelism; it is also a picture of security for the residents of God’s City. The believer, through faith in Christ, is the new covenant creation and it is impossible for him to be exiled from the City (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:12; 22:12). The new covenant believer is characterized as one whose weeping has ended, because God has forever taken away his sin and united Himself with him (Isa. 60:20; 65:14, 18–19; Jn. 17:21–23).
Christians in the new covenant world do not shed tears in agony and cry out to God to save them from the Adamic Death of Sin, as Jesus Himself did on our behalf (Heb. 5:7). “The sting [pain] of the Death” cannot harm us anymore (1 Cor. 15:56) because the power of Sin has been removed through Jesus, the Law-Fulfiller who clothes us and indwells us. Now we live and reign with Christ in the new covenant world, wherein dwells the Righteousness of God.
It is noteworthy that Partial Preterists usually avoid any mention of Paul’s declaration that Satan would be “crushed” “shortly” (Rom. 16:20). The reason for this is that the majority consensus among all brands of commentators is that the “crushing” of Satan in Romans 16:20 is a direct reference to the final “crushing” of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 20. Manifestly, the judgment and wrath that came in AD 70 was not merely “a” “minor” judgment. It was “the” judgment. It was the crushing of Satan.
Future eschatologies would challenge us with the empirical reality that Death and Satan could not have met their ultimate demise in AD 70 because, after all, just look around and you will clearly see that people still physically die and that there are wars and murders taking place all over the world today. Are these clear evidence that Satan and his demonic hordes are active in our world?
There were certainly times that Satan moved men, such as Judas, to commit sins. But the Bible does not teach us that this was ever the norm. James tells us that wars and fights come from within men (Jms. 4:1) instead of from Satan and demons. Satan’s primary purpose has come to an end: He can no longer function as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), because Christ came out of Zion a second time at the end of the old covenant age to put away Sin once and for all for His church (Acts 20:28; Rom. 11:26–27; 13:11–12; Heb. 9:26–28).
Our salvation and Christ’s Second Appearing/Coming as the Churches great High Priest are not events that take place at the end of time, but rather within time – namely at the end of the OC age in AD 70.  The seed of the woman has overcome the Sin, the Death, the Law and crushed Satan for His heavenly people – the Church/New Creation.  You may not feel perfect or like a city of jewels and gold, but that is how God views you through His Son’s finished redemption –  accomplished and applied for you through His work on the cross and Second Appearing.  Go now and preach this message (Rev. 22:17)!  

Concluding the Messianic Soteriological and Eschatological Promises of Isaiah 61-66

There can be little doubt that Yeshua was the ONLY Messianic candidate that came saying He was the fulfillment of the 10th cycle of the Jubilee of Daniel 9:24-27 and Isiah 61 (Lk. 4:18) in His earthly ministry and redemptive work on the cross and “day of vengeance” or Second Coming between AD 26 – AD 66-70.

Jesus not only appealed to the soteriological and eschatological promises of Isiah 61:1-11 to be fulfilled within His contemporary generation but Isaiah 62:11 as well (Mt. 16:27-28/Mrk. 8:38–9:1).

When we examine the same “day of vengeance” of Isiah 61:2 in Isaiah 63:1-6 — comparing it to John’s version of the Olivet Discourse (the book of Revelation), we again see this is a judgment upon OC Jerusalem — the harlot wife or “Babylon” and thus covenant wrath being poured out upon her land.

In Isiah 66 Messiah is once again described as coming to judge the wicked from heaven by fire and Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 describes this as Christ being revealed from heaven to give relief to the first century church and render divine retribution of fire to their Jewish persecutors.  Did Christ come and give the first century Thessalonians “relief” from their Jewish persecutors, or do we have very old first century Christians still living and roaming the earth today among us still waiting for the Lord to come and give them relief?

It is this “soon” Second Coming of Christ that ushers in the New Creation or Jubilee Sabbath rest and restores the Church to Her inheritance in Christ as the Tree of Life (Rev. 21-22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

Jesus is the “Faithful and True Witness” having fulfilled His Messianic promises as Prophet, Priest and King in the time and manner He claimed to. He is the greatest expositor of the Law and the Prophets and we need to align our theology with His. Do not go “beyond what is written” and confess that “If God be true” makes “everyman a liar” in your particular theological circle you are currently swimming in, then so be it.  Selah.

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[1]Lee Irons, Meredith Kline, J. Ligon Duncan, David W. Hall, Hugh Ross, Gleason L. Archer, THE GENESIS DEBATE Three Views on the Days of Creation,(Mission Viejo, CA: Crux Press, Inc., 2001), 227. I would also agree with Keil and Delitzsch onthe point that this is not a reference to a literal 490 years ofchronology: “That by this word common years are to be understood, is indeed taken for granted by many interpreters, but a satisfactory proof of such a meaning has not been adduced. Moreover, in favour of year-weeks (periods of seven years) it has been argued that such an interpretation was very natural, since they hold so prominent a place in the law of Moses; and the Exile had brought them anew very distinctly into remembrance, in asmuch as the seventy years’ desolation of the land was viewed as a punishment for the interrupted festival of the sabbatical years: 2 Chron. 36:21 (Hgstb., Kran., and others). But since these periods of seven years, as Hengstenberg himself confesses, are not called in the law שָׁבֻעִיםor שָׁבֻעֹות, therefore, from the repeated designation of the seventh year as that of the great Sabbath merely (Lev. 25:2, 4, 5;26:34, 35, 43; 2 Chron. 36:21), the idea of year-weeks in no way follows. The law makes mention not only of the Sabbath-year, but also of periods of seven times seven years, after the expiry of which a year of jubilee was always to be celebrated (Lev. 25:8ff.). These, as well as the Sabbath-years, might be calledשָׁבֻעִים. Thus the idea of year-weeks has no exegetical foundation. Hofmann and Kliefoth are in the right when they remark thatשָׁבֻעִיםdoes not necessarily mean year-weeks, but an intentionally indefinite designation of a period of time measured by the number seven, whose chronological duration must be determined on other grounds.”(Keil,C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentaryon the Old Testament(Vol. 9, pp. 717–718). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson). See also David Green’s comments as to why Daniel 9:24-27 can’t be a literal 490 years – see his Q & A #’s 96-97 http://www.preteristcosmos.com/question5.html#note97
[2]Ibid. 227.

[1] John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, p.422, Hendrickson pub. 1979, emphasis added.

[2] ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament.

[3] Don Preston states in his tract, Can You Believe Jesus Said This?!?, p. 11-12, “Unless “verily” is being used as an introduction and not for emphasis in Matthew 16:28/Mark 9:1 there is only one place in all the New Testament where the word is used to introduce a new subject [John 10:1]. In all other occurrences,…THE WORD IS ALWAYS USED TO EMPHASIZE A STATEMENT ABOUT A SUBJECT THAT IS ALREADY UNDER CONSIDERATION! Don was mistaken on (Jn.10:1). See my comments on (Jn.10:1) and how it applies to the previous context. Pink says, “The Pharisees’ ‘casting out’ of the poor beggar was, in reality, the Shepherd leading him out from the barren wilderness of Judaism to the green pastures of Christianity.” Christ in this text is contrasting the false shepherds of the Pharisees just mentioned to Himself. “Verily” is expanding the teaching of the miracle and bringing forth a deeper meaning to what had just happened. Arthur W. Pink, EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL of JOHN, 1Vol. unabridged version, p. 511, Zondervan pub., 1975, emphasis added. James Boice concurs, “What is the context? Well, obviously, the context is to be found in the preceding chapter in the story of the man born blind and in his mistreatment by those who were the leaders of the people. I say this is obvious because of the absence of any transitional words at the beginning of chapter 10. When John indicates a transition either geographically or in time he usually says something like ‘after these things,’ ‘after this,’ “on the next day,’ or ‘as Jesus passed by.’ Here the words of Jesus flow on immediately after his comments about the Pharisees at the end of chapter 9 and therefore are related to them.” As soon as we recognize this, we recognize that the thieves and robbers must refer to the false shepherds of Israel (the Pharisees) and that the sheepfold represents Judaism. The ones who hear Christ’s voice and respond to His call are those of His own who are within Israel, of whom the man born blind is an example.” James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John An Expositional Commentary Five Volumes In one, Zondervan pub.[emphasis MJS], 629-630, emphasis added.

[4]Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, END TIMES CONTROVERSY THE SECOND COMING UNDER ATTACK, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 87, emphasis added.

[5] Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, Third edition 2009), 219-220, emphasis added

 

THE RESURRECTION FROM THE GRAVES OF JOHN 5:28-29 WAS FULFILLED SPIRITUALLY IN AD 70 – A CONTINUED CHALLENGE TO PARTIAL PRETERISM / KENNETH GENTRY

Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2 and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life” is Daniel 12:2.  G.K. Beale points out an additional connection – in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers [1]:
AD 30
1.  Daniel 12:1:  “And at that hour…”
1.  John 5:25:  “…an hour is coming and now is…”
AD 70
2.  Daniel 12:1:  “And at that hour…”
2.  John 5:28:  “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,”
AD 30
1.   Daniel 12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise   [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
1.  John 5:24:  “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life,   and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into   life.”
AD 70
2.  Daniel 12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise   [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
2.  John 5:29:  “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection   [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.” (also related:  1 John 2:18: “Dear children it is the last hour…” and Revelation 14:7:  “…the hour of His judgment has come.”).
Partial Preterist theologians have finally conceded to Full Preterism that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70 spiritually – “when the power of the holy people is/was completely shattered” (v. 7) and that the last hour of John’s eschatology in 1 John 2:17-18 and Revelation 14:7 was fulfilled in AD 70.
Kenneth Gentry wrote the following of the resurrection in Daniel 12:2 on his Facebook page:
“Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel. Thus, it bears similarities with Eze 37 and the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel.”
Dan 12 is not dealing with bodily resurrection but national resurrection (as does Eze 37). Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel. Thus, it bears similiarities with Eze 37 and the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel.”[2] And in his third addition of his book on Postmillennialism he concedes again:
“In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.” “…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”
“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse:  Israel as a corporate body is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).  In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represent Israel’s “death” in the Babylonian dispersion (Eze 37).  In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life.”[3] This is practically the same view taken by James Jordan in his recent commentary on Daniel:
“The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event, were the great proof that Jesus had accomplished the work He came to do. The fact that the Church exists today, nearly 2000 years after her death in the Great Tribulation, is the ongoing vindication of Jesus work.”[4] “Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[5] “What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom, he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.”[6] When I challenged Gentry on how the NT develops the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 as also referring to AD 70 at the Criswell conference on the millennium in the Q & A period, he changed his tune and now gives Daniel 12:2 a double fulfillment – an AD 70 spiritual tyological fulfillment and then another literal fulfillment at the end of history so he can appease creedal supporters.  But now Gentry is once again guilty of cherry picking Daniel 12:2 from the rest of the events in this chapter.  As I wrote in our second edition of “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…,”
“Gentry gives Daniel 12:2 two fulfillments but won’t allow dispensationalists or any other futurist system to do the same thing with the Great Tribulation, the three and a half years, or the Abomination of Desolation in Daniel 12 or Daniel 9:27.” (HD, 94).In commenting on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 Gentry mentions the spiritual and corporate nature of the resurrection for Israel of coming out of her “graves” in Ezekiel 37 to support his corporate view of Israel being raised into the new covenant Israel by AD 70.  Well, since there was a spiritual and corporate resurrection of the dead coming out of their “graves” in Ezekiel 37 and there is a spiritual fulfillment for the dead rising within the immediate context of John 5:24-26, there is no exegetical reason why the new covenant anti-type coming resurrection “hour” out of “graves” in John 5:28-29 is not also a corporate and spiritual resurrection.  And if James Jordan is claiming that Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades into God’s presence to inherit eternal life in AD 70, why isn’t this the same kind of resurrection Jesus is describing in John 5:28-29?
Since Partial Preterism is now teaching that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 and are fulfilled together, and that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 happened in AD 70, it necessarily follows that they need to prove without a shadow of doubt that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is a physical  / biological resurrection which takes place at the end of history and not the AD 70 one.
David Green in response to Robert Strimple in the second edition of our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, has some great comments on this crucial passage (see pages 178-180):
“Strimple Argument #6: John 5:28-29 obviously teaches a physical resurrection of the dead in that it speaks of a time in which “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (297).
Answer: In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is” when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”  As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection.  The preaching of that message commenced at Pentecost.  “The dead” were physically living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of God” was the gospel.  Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually “dead” were spiritually resurrected.  They lived in that they received eternal life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).
Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were also physically dead.  He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.”  They were not literally in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.
What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.”  As we know from verse 25, that “voice” is the gospel.  The physically dead therefore were going to hear the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel, going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades).  This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living, spiritually dead.  And this inescapably means that both the physically living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God.  One resurrection in two main stages:  First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5). Note the parallels between John 4:21, 23 and John 5:25, 28:
1. . . . [T]he hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . . (Jn. 4:23)
2. . . . [T]he hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (Jn. 4:21)
1. . . . [T]he hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (Jn. 5:25)
2. . . . [T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. . . . (Jn. 5:28)
These two sets of prophecies are parallel.  They speak of the same timeframes, which were these:
Pentecost (AD 30)
1. The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
1. The dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and live.
Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)
2. God’s worshipers would no longer worship Him in Jerusalem.
2. All who were in the graves would hear His voice.
After hearing the gospel, the dead were raised out of their Adamic graves (Hades) in the end of the age.  And those among them who believed the gospel received eternal life in the kingdom of God.  But those who hated the gospel (those who had done evil) were raised out of Hades only to stand before God and to enter into “eternal punishment” / “the second death” (Matt. 25:46; Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:14).”
Another challenge for Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry, is that he agrees with full preterism that Jesus’ “already and not yet” eschatological “hour” in John 4 is between AD 30 – AD 70 when the old covenant mountain and temple worship is removed and the new was established.[7]  But then Gentry asserts with no exegetical justification that Jesus’ same phrases on the coming eschatological “hour” in John 5 allegedly deal with the end of time?!?  We again find this arbitrary and exegetically unconvincing.
Jesus interprets Jesus – Resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to be fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant Age in AD 70 
We have further evidence that Jesus identifies the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and John 5:28-29 to be fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.  In Jesus’ teaching elsewhere in the gospels we find that He posits the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (referencing it directly) to be fulfilled at the end of His old covenant “this age” “gathering” and or in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matt. 13:39-43; Matt. 24:3, 30-31, 34).  Again, Partial Preterism has conceded to Full Preterism that the “end of the age” in Matthew 13 and 24 is not referring to the end of world history, but rather the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70:
“A clear understanding of the parable of the wheat and tares [Matthew 13:39-43] emerges only after the proper translation of aion (age) and the biblical teaching concerning the two ages.  It is clear that Jesus did not have in mind the end of the world, nor did He mean the final judgment.  Rather, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 describe the judgment that would come upon unbelieving Jerusalem. During this time, the angels would “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (13:41) and these would be judged with fire.  Many of them literally were burned in fire during the destruction of Jerusalem.  During this same time, however, the elect of Christ—“the children of the kingdom” (v. 38)—will be harvested.  While the explanation of the parable does not tell us their final end, the parable itself has the householder instructing the harvesters to “gather the wheat into my barn.”  In other words, they are protected and saved by God.
This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians. Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege.  This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the sings arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).”[8] “It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” [Matthew 23:40-38] – the temple – that the disciples ask about the “temple buildings” (24:1).  Jesus answered the disciples’ questions relating to the time and signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, always with the background of Matthew 23 in view, since His comments in that chapter had precipitated the questions (24:3).  The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of Jerusalem.  This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation of the New Covenant.”[9] If Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in Matthew 13 and 24 is referring to the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70, then according to Jesus, the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled at this time as well.
John interprets John (John 5/Revelation 20)
No one disagrees that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20.  In Revelation those participating in the “first resurrection” is a subject that has been previously addressed in chapters 7 and 14 – these being the first century Jewish “first fruits” or 144,000 that were the first to believe in Christ and continued enduring through the great tribulation until the end. Therefore, they would partake in the harvest/resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant age. These are those who were coming out of their “graves” through the preaching of the gospel (John 5:24-27) and would soon participate and be joined with the rest of the dead in the consummative resurrection event.
In our book (HD, 131-133) I gave seven brief exegetical, orthodox, and historical points which demonstrates that the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20 was fulfilled during AD 30 – AD 70:
1)  Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19 YLT). There is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.  In fact even Gentry’s reformed peers understand that if one interpret the imminent time texts at the beginning and end to be referring to AD 70, then everything is fulfilled by AD 70, “But 1:3 and 22:10 are like bookends enclosing the whole prophecy of Revelation. The fulfillment of everything, not just a part, is near.”[10] 2) G.K. Beale has reminded us that it is exegetical and orthodox to believe that the thousand years is not just a symbolic number, but it is one that does not have to be taken to describe a long time (ie. thousands of years etc…): “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time…”[11] 3).  It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/world to come.” These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land.  This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT).  And as we have noted from Reformed partial preterists such as Joel McDurmon or Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).
4)  Reformed Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry, and James Jordan teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation. And amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22. Full Preterists hold to both of these Reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation.
5)  In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the NT, amillennialists and postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the parable of the wheat and tares, or in Matthew 24–25. But as we have seen, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the old covenant age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.
6)  If it is true that a).  the invisible coming of Christ in both Matthew 24 – 25 is referring to the AD 70 judgment as Mathison and other partial preterists are now proposing and if it is true that b).  “John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation” and if it is true that c).  Matthew 24:27-31—25:31ff. is descriptive of the one end of the age Second Coming, judgment and resurrection event (the classic amillennial or creedal position) then d).  the authors of WSTTB? have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of full preterism:
Matthew 24-25 Revelation 20:5-15
a.  Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf. Matt. 16:27)
a.  Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
b.  De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18)
b.  De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
c.  Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31
c.  God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
d.  Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46
d.  Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15
7)  If it is true that a).  The judgment (opening of the book) and “hour of the end” resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 was fulfilled by AD 70 (per Gentry) and if it is true that b).  the judgment (opening of the book) and “hour of the end” resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is the same eschatological time of the end events described for us in Revelation 20:5-15 (classic amillennial view) and if it is true that c). “John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off” with “parallels” between Daniel 12 and Revelation 20 being hermeneutically valid to make, then d).  Once again the authors of WSTTB? have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of Full Preterism:
Daniel 12:1-2 Revelation 20:5-15
a.  Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation Dan. 12:1-2
a.  Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire Rev. 20:12-15
b.  This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Dan. 12:1-2
b.  This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Rev. 20:5-15
Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the Full Preterist view of the millennium is: 1) consistent with the teaching of Revelation, 2) falls within the “orthodox” views the Reformed church, 3) is in harmony with the analogy of Scripture, and 4) has historical support from Rabbis who saw a forty-year transition period between the two ages. Our view on the millennium is exegetically sound and orthodox.   It is not as “difficult” as some try and portray it.
Pauline eschatology agrees 
Paul referring to the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 states:
“…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; (Acts 24:15 YLT WEY).
Conclusion 
The resurrection from the “graves” of John 5:28-29 is no more of a literal biological resurrection than the resurrection from the “graves” of Ezekiel 37:12.  Righteous souls such as Daniel’s was raised (Dan. 12:2, 13) out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit eternal life in God’s presence.  Jesus identifies the eschatological “gathering” of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to take place at the end of His Old Covenant “this age” and in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 13; Matthew 24).  The resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the resurrection of  Revelation 20 which is said to be fulfilled in a “soon” or “shortly” AD 70 time frame — a resurrection of “souls” not literal corpses coming to life at the end of history.  Pauline eschatology agrees with Jesus’ and John’s “about to be” resurrection coming to close the OC age in AD 70 as well (Acts 24:15 YLT WEY).
The NT teaching on the resurrection is this:
*  There was an evangelistic resurrection or salvation of the soul taking people out of death and darkness into life and light of eternal life.
*  There was a corporate and covenantal resurrection by which the old covenant Israel/body was being changed/transformed/being raised into the new covenant Israel/body roughly during AD 30 – AD 70.
*  There was a resurrection of souls out from among Hades/Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life in God’s presence.
*  This resurrection was from (and an overcoming of) “the [spiritual] death” that came from Adam the very same day he sinned against God.
Orthodox Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry need to give exegetical and logical reasons why the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is a literal biological resurrection to take place at the end of time when they affirm with Full Preterism that:
1.  The resurrection in the immediate context is spiritual (John 5:24-27).
2.  The eschatological “not yet” coming “hour” of (John 4) is referring to AD 70.
3.  The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Jesus referencing it in John 5:28-29).
4.  Jesus elsewhere teaches that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:3, 30-31, 34).
5.  John’s eschatological last “hour” in (1 John 2:17-18) and “hour” of judging the dead in (Revelation 14:7) was fulfilled in AD 70.
Gentry’s progressive Partial Preterism continues to lead his readers into the Full Preterist movement since he continually will not respond to our book and arguments directed towards him.  Selah.  He deserves the criticism from other futurists that his hermeneutics “lead to Full Preterism.”
[1]  G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131132.
[2]  This answer was taken off of Gentry’s facebook. Com page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php
[3]  Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009 Third edition), 538.
[4]  James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), 620.
[5]  Ibid., 621.
[6]  Ibid. 628.
[7]  Kenneth Gentry, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, IVP., 43.  Kenneth Gentry, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 246 footnote 45.
[8]  Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem A COMMENTARY ON LUKE 9:51 – 20:26, JESUS’ LAWSUIT AGAINST ISRAEL (Powder Springs, GA:  The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49, see entire section 43-51.
[9]  Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs GA: American Vision, 1999), 37
[10]  Vern S. Poythress, THE RETURNING KING A GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2000) 34.
[11]  Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation: A commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (1018). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.