The Book of Enoch & the New Testament

The Book of Enoch & the New Testament
Jeffrey T. McCormack
I would like to step outside of the Bible in order to step back into the Bible – well sort of something like that. I’d like to start by stating these basic principles that I believe most everyone here would agree with. The Bible was written by an ancient people of a different time, culture and mentality than us. We know and understand that there are many things we struggle to understand in the scriptures because of this fact. And because of this, we take to the study of ancient writings, people and times. But, as we know, not everyone does this sadly.
The battle continues over the opinions on the creation account and the book of Genesis. Studies in the writings from the surrounding nations at the time period of the writing of Genesis give scholars insight into the types of writing styles and language use for the period. Through this, alternative meanings can be discovered for words we thought we understood already.
The same principle is applied to our study of Scripture elsewhere – we have to understand the culture and it’s use of phrases, idioms and terminology, in order to best understand what was written in Scripture at the time.
I wish to take a look at one piece of influential literature, an ancient writing that you have probably at least heard of its name – the Book of Enoch. I hope to show you how this writing, which was lost or ignored by the church for nearly two thousand years, was actually a key influential writing that had a big impact upon our New Testament Scriptures.
Now, when it comes to the discussion of extra-biblical literature like this, people tend to have different reactions. Mention something like the Apocrypha to a Protestant – their instinct is to raise their fists in preparation for a fight. When you bring up Jewish writings that come from the biblical period, people either simply ignore or dismiss them as useless, or simply deny they contain any truth at all, and think instead that they contain error and myth.
We may hold to inspiration of Scripture, and we believe all of Scripture is true, but such a view does not require that we view everything outside the Scripture as necessarily false. Some people do exactly that, particularly when it comes to other scripture-like material from days of old. “If it was true, why did the early church not include it in the canon?” some may ask.
The Book of Enoch is understood by scholars to be one of the many apocalyptic writings that came out of the second temple period of Hebrew history. Part of what makes these books relevant to those who study the Bible today, is the fact that they are written in a similar manner as our New Testament, containing similar language, terminology and doctrines.
Most scholars also classify many of these writings as pseudepigraphal – pseudo meaning not genuine. This is because it seems to have been a common practice, they say, to find writings penned under the names of a famous or widely known figures from the past. There are many reasons why this practice was supposedly done, and so they believe these writings are not actually written by Enoch, since he lived several thousand years earlier than they have dated this book.
Well, for the larger part of church history, the Book of Enoch was lost to the church. The early church period after the Apostle had it, with even some sects of the church, like the Ethiopic branch, holding it as indeed sacred and part of their canon. It was considered as scripture in the Epistle of Barnabas and by many of the early Church Fathers, such as Athenagoras, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who called the Book of Enoch “Holy Scripture,” and wrote c. 200 that the Book of Enoch had been rejected by the Jews because it contained prophecies pertaining to Christ.
In looking at another of the reasons why the book was rejected by some, I found what I think is an amazing quote from author Joseph Lumpkin, who is not a preterist, but states this about church history:
Since any book stands to be interpreted in many ways, Enoch posed problems for some theologians. Instead of reexamining their own theology, they sought to dispose of that which went counter to their beliefs. Some of the visions in Enoch are believed to point to the consummation of the age in conjunction with Christ’s second coming, which some believe took place in AD 70 (in the destruction of Jerusalem). (Joseph B. Lumpkin – The Books of Enoch: The Angels, The Watchers and The Nephilim, p 16)
His implication here seems to be saying that some in the early days of the church believed the second coming was in AD 70. Sadly he does not develop that or explain any further as to where he is pulling this tidbit of information from.
He does go on to mention that the “70 generations” discussed in Enoch was a problem for scholars too, because they thought it indeed could not be stretched beyond the first century. Kind of like what troubles people about Daniel’s 70 weeks. So in the end, we find it to begin being discredited after the Council of Laodicea and then later church fathers denied the canonicity of the book. Some even considered the letter of Jude uncanonical because it refers to this “apocryphal” work. The book eventually fell from view for almost two thousand years, and was only rediscovered and published in English around the turn of the nineteenth century.
A short side note. When I was researching some additional info on the 70 generations mentioned in Enoch, I stumbled upon a general forum discussion on religion, and found someone who was struggling with this issue. He said:
In Enoch, it predicts the Messiah will arise 70 generations after Enoch, ‘seventh from Adam.’ This in itself would be harmless if Enoch was just a fairytale, but in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus there are indeed 70 from Enoch to Jesus!
It seems that (a) Enoch correctly predicted it, (b) Luke modified the genealogy here and there to make it match Enoch, (c) Enoch is again taking from it (Luke). Something is going on here! If Luke just made something up like that, how can we be sure he didn’t just make up or borrow things from older non-inspired texts as he saw fit?
What also seems a bit troubling is that Enoch says the judgement will occur 70 generations after Enoch; at the time of Christ. Christ says he would return before the generation had passed away, again fitting in with Enoch. So here we have another conundrum: either (a) Christ was a false prophet or (b) the Preterist interpretation is correct and he somehow returned before the generation ended. (, post 3/9/2010 by Trimac20)
Two things to note – he may indeed be correct in implying that Luke, as a first century writer, may have been borrowing from the Book of Enoch, as we will be looking into further as we go. Secondly, it is worth noting that based on his study of the book he was beginning to show leanings towards a Preterist understanding of things.
Back to the topic, after falling from view for almost two thousand years, when the Book of Enoch rediscovered, it was actually assumed that it must have been a writing that was penned some time after the Christian era. The main reason for this was because it had so many quotes, paraphrases and concepts that were found within the New Testament. However, this view changed after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Ten fragments of the Book of Enoch were found among these scrolls which lead some scholars to believe the book may have been used widely as a prayer book, teacher’s manual or study text. But its inclusion within the Dead Sea Scrolls reveals that the book was actually in existence before the time of Christ. As Lumpkin puts it:
These (Dead Sea) scrolls force a closer look and reconsideration. It became obvious that the New Testament did not influence the Book of Enoch; on the contrary, the Book of Enoch influenced the New Testament. (Joseph B. Lumpkin – The Books of Enoch: The Angels, The Watchers and The Nephilim, p 11)
There are actually three books of Enoch that you will find out there, but I will only be discussing the first of those three – commonly known as the Ethiopic Book of Enoch, or 1st Enoch. It contains 107 chapters which scholars divide the book into 5 main sections.
The first 36 chapters is commonly known as the Book of the Watchers, and describes the activities surrounding the Genesis 6 procreation between the sons of God and the daughters of men and Enoch being taken to heaven in relation to the judgment for that.
Section two is chapters 37-71, referred to as the Book of Parables, and is usually the center of debate among scholars. It relates to the Book of Watchers, but it contains the development of ideas surrounding the final judgment of those even outside of the fallen angels discussed in section one. It is also where we see the appearance of a person referred to with the terms “Son of Man,” “Righteous one,” “Chosen one,” and “Messiah.”
Chapters 72-82 are known as the Astrological Book, as it describes the knowledge revealed during Enoch’s trip to Heaven regarding the movements of the heavenlies bodies, the firmament, and the Solar calendar.
Chapters 83-90 are referred to as the book of Dream Visions, and describes visions of the history of Israel down through the intertestamental period. It is for this reason that many scholars conclude that the book of Enoch – or at least this section of it – must have been written during the intertestamental period, and not earlier, since it contained history only up until that time. The Ethiopic church though, held this book was indeed written before the flood, and that this section was indeed prophetic visions of things to come.
Chapters 83-84 deal with the first vision, dealing with events surrounding the deluge, and 85-90 is the history of the world up through the establishment of the Messianic kingdom.
The final chapters, 91-107, are referred to as the Epistle of Enoch, or the Book of Warnings and Blessings of Enoch, are is usually further broken down into five covered topics: Exhortation, Apocalypse of Weeks, Epistle, the Birth of Noah, and the Conclusion.
As I mentioned earlier, the Book of Enoch is considered one of the writings known as apocalyptic. There are many such Hebrew writings that are outside the canon of scripture. As writer Michael Stone puts it:
Many of these writings were very much concerned with eschatological matters, the imminence of the end of days and the way men should act in this last period preceding that end. Moreover, the end of days was not just seen as a chance event, but was understood as having been fixed in advance, as had the whole course of history from creation. (Michael Edward Stone – Scriptures, Sects and Vision: A Profile of Judaism from Ezra to the Jewish Revolts, Pg. 61)
So, for a those who thrive in eschatological type studies, these types of books should sound fascinating to us, right? I admit that is one of the key reasons I started looking in to them. And it was actually brother Ed Stephens who sold me my first copy of the Book of Enoch – so blame him for leading me down this path.
Let me take a brief stop here to chase a rabbit trail. There is a doctrinal theory out there that states the Bible does not teach a determined set plan of Yahweh, but that things are open ended, dependent on man’s actions and reactions, and that many results are not even totally known to Yahweh. This is basically the view known as Open Theism.
A few months ago I was in a discussion on Facebook with someone within our eschatological camp that I would have considered to be well read. He was espousing this view of Open Theism, going on about how the Hebrew people didn’t believe in a view of Yahweh as being a deterministic God who knew everything about the future. I granted to him that maybe while strictly considering it from only the canon of Hebrew Scriptures his view may appear to have credence, but that it fails miserably to be so in the light of the even larger amount of ancient Hebrew writings like those pseudepigraphal and intertestamental writings. His response was that he had never read any of them.
So here is a person, spouting off and belittling others – especially those holding to predestination type views – and speaking in an authoritative manner about the historic beliefs of the Hebrews, yet by his own admission, he is ignorant of all but a few of their writings. Real scholarship comes about by a fairly thorough look at a wealth of such information before coming to such concrete conclusions as he was doing.
If the Hebrews indeed had a totally open view of history and Yahweh’s knowledge of it, then the whole realm of prophecy is almost useless, as it is always subject to change due to man thwarting the hoped for outcome. This fellow even stated that if Yahweh had been unsuccessful in convincing Moses to act on his behalf, then he would have raised up someone else to do the task. I don’t know about you, but I find such a view to be extremely radical and thoroughly unbiblical.
Author Michael Edward Stone summarizes the position by somewhat agreeing that looking strictly at some of the Hebrew Scriptures, events of history appear to be contingent on the action of men, but he then continues:
In many of the Pseudepigrapha, however, a determinism is clearly presented. God fixed the times in advance; they can be calculated (by Him at least); human action is of no weight in determining the course of history. Moreover, these views were conceived under the very strong impression of the dualistic opposition of the world to come and this world. (Michael Edward Stone – Scriptures, Sects and Vision: A Profile of Judaism from Ezra to the Jewish Revolts, pg 62)
So, either Yahweh’s people had a total flipping of opinion in their view and writing on Yahweh over time, or the deterministic nature of the Hebrew scriptures have been misunderstood by us. I am one who already sees much determinism throughout the Scriptures already, so finding it in these other writings is not such a change of position for me at all.
But now back to the path at hand. What benefit does the Book of Enoch provide for us when it comes to our canon of Scripture? Well, the most obviously answer comes from one of its primary uses by people today, and that is its relationship to the ongoing debate into the true meaning of Genesis 6 and the sons of God taking daughters of man as wives.
The Book of Enoch obviously sees the sons of God as indeed angelic entities procreating with human women and creating a hybrid race of giants. This is the common view on Genesis 6 that the ancient Hebrews and early church held, and the Book of Enoch is a key source for further promoting this understanding.
When it comes to this book in general, some quote it as if it were Scripture, while others condemn it as total myth and heresy. But if we find that it has been influential on some biblical writers and has influenced them in the writing of our canon of Scripture, then it would demand further consideration, would it not?
Let’s start with a look at what little we know about the man Enoch just from the Scriptures. Genesis 5 tells us Enoch is the son of Jared, that at age 65 he had a son, Methuselah, and that he lived another 300 years after fathering Methuselah, and at that time, at age 365, he “was not, for God took him.” So the fact that we are told that he was no more after age 365, a lifespan that pales in comparison to those of that time living hundreds of years longer, this gives us a clue something is different here. We are told he “walked with God” which carries the connotation of a direct and immediate relationship with God. Enoch’s walk with God was different than those around him.
In Genesis 6:9, we are told that Noah similarly “walked with God,” and we know how special he ended up being. And as special as Noah was, Enoch was likewise special. Note that we are not told he died as all of those around him in the genealogy verses are said to have done, but just that he “was not.” This is the only time in this genealogy chapter that “was not” is used, and scholars agree it cannot mean simply that he died. And of course we are told in the book of Hebrews that he indeed had not died in this instance:
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him… (Hebrews 11:5 ESV)
Beyond that, the only other mentionable content about Enoch we have is in the book of Jude, which we will deal with further in a bit. It states:
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15 ESV)
As mentioned, the Book of Enoch was held in high esteem in the early Christian church, but translator E. Isaac concluded that the book fell into disfavor around the 4th century in the West due to the negative reviews of it by influential theologians like Julius Africanus, Augustine, Hilary and Jerome, and that it was the medieval mind that was responsible for it becoming virtually oblivious to the church until its rediscovery in 1773 by Scottish explorer James Bruce.
Some believe it fell in disfavor because the text was at a time manipulated by those in the Manichean heresy camp, and therefore Jerome and Augustine outright dismissed it as apocryphal because of its popularity – not on any scriptural basis though. It was Augustine, with his early background in Manicheanism that was the most influential with his rejection, and he laid the foundation for the modern church’s continued rejection. Brian Godawa sums it up well, stating:
But we must learn our lessons from Augustine’s fallacy of guilt by association. Just because some aberrant sects of non-Christian cults may value 1 Enoch does not make it an unworthy text, especially since it has a long pedigree of acceptance within the historic orthodox faith. After all, non-Christian cults of all kinds do the same thing with the Bible. Abuse of a text does not negate proper use. (Brian Godawa – When Giants Were Upon the Earth, pg. 18)
Now while we are not saying that 1 Enoch is to be considered Scripture, many people do not even realize just how influential it was on our New Testament writers, some of whom appear to have used it directly as source material for doctrines that they then injected into what we today hold as canon of Scripture.
Say that the Book of Enoch as a non-canonical writing was a source of historical and doctrinal truths is not as odd of a thought as it may sound to some. Scholars note that there are well over fifty references in the Scriptures to just over twenty non-canonical source texts used by Biblical authors that are currently still lost to history. These are non-Biblical texts that the writers of Scripture canon specifically mention as being either the source of truths for the information they wrote in Scripture, or are promoted as suggested reading for further truth and reference for what they wrote in Scripture. A few examples of such mentioned works would be:
The Book of the Wars of Yahweh (Num 21:14), the Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13), the Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41), the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel (1 Kings 14:19), the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:29), the Annals of Samuel the Seer (1 Chr. 29:29), the History of Nathan the Prophet (2 Chr. 9:29), and many others, but you get the gist of the point being made. Basically, with such evidence of an acknowledgement of non-Biblical sources by the very writers of Scripture canon, we cannot simply dismiss such influential texts as totally irrelevant of unworthy of inspection.
Unfortunately, at present all of these types of works remain lost, except one, the Book of Enoch. And the fact is that this book was considered to be one such source that contains information with both a direct and indirect influence on our New Testament writings. The Book of Enoch would have been one of those books that was probably wide read by the Jewish people of the first century. It appears to be one that was obviously known by most people, as we find in the New testament not only a direct quote here and there, but quite a large amount of direct allusions to doctrines expressed within it.
Terms like “Son of Man,” for instance. Many will simply say this terminology that Yeshua employs is harking back to its appearance in Daniel 7, and there is no denying that there is an obvious connection. However, what little we are told in Daniel regarding that designation does not directly correlate to the extensive use we find throughout the New Testament. One scholarly work argues that while Daniel 7 shows a vision of the Son of Man on a cloud approaching the throne of the Ancient of Days and receiving a kingdom of glory and dominion, the New Testament Son of Man engages in a more judicial office that the one presented in Daniel.
In Daniel he is enthroned after judgment, but in places like Mark 8:38 and Matt. 10:32-33, the Son of Man comes in judgment. This difference aligns much more closely to those teachings contained in the Parables of Enoch. Mark 13:26-27 tells us:
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (Mark 13:26-27 ESV)
This Son of Man text goes beyond what Daniel 7 states, but aligns more closely with the resurrection imagery contained in 1 Enoch 51, 61 and 62. Another example we can look at is the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:31-33 ESV)
He goes on to speak of those who did this, that and the other thing, and those who did not do any of those things, and then concludes in verse 46 by stating “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Now while Daniel 7 gives us a reference to a kingly throne idea, it does not present us with any kind of real judgment of nations motif like we find here. However, this type of motif is indeed reflective of what we are told in the Book of Enoch chapter 62 where we are told of the gathering of the people for judgment:
One half portion of them shall glance at the other half; they shall be terrified and dejected; and pain shall seize them when they see the Son of Man sitting on the throne of his glory…
But the Lord of the Spirits himself will cause them to be frantic, so that they shall rush and depart from his presence…
So he will deliver them to the angels for punishments in order that vengeance shall be executed on them – oppressors of his children and his elect ones…
The righteous and elect ones shall be saved on that day; and from thenceforth they shall never see the faces of the sinners and the oppressors. The Lord of the Spirits will abide over them; they shall eat and rest and rise with that Son of Man forever and ever. The righteous and elect ones shall rise from the earth and cease being of downcast face. They shall wear the garments of glory.
How about what we learn in John 5 about judgment and the Son:
The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son… (John 5:22 ESV)
Sounds like almost a direct quote from Enoch 69:
And he sat on the throne of his glory, and the sum of judgment was given to the Son of Man. (Enoch 69:27)
Now, let’s take a look briefly at some from the Book of Revelation. Let’s start with the discussion of the blood of the martyrs in Rev 6:
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer… (Revelation 6:9-11 ESV)
Enoch had foretold this in similar manner:
In those days the prayer of the righteous shall have ascended, and the blood of the righteous from the earth shall be before the Lord of spirits. In those days the holy ones who dwell above in heavens shall unite with one voice and supplicate and pray and praise, and give thanks and bless the name of the Lord of spirits on behalf of the blood of the righteous which has been shed, that the prayer of the righteous may not be in vain before the Lord of spirits, that they may have justice, and that they may not have to wait forever. (1 Enoch 47:1-2)
And sure we are all familiar with what we are told in Rev. 20:
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15 ESV)
Well, this correlates pretty closely with what we find in Enoch 47 and 51:
In those days I saw the Head of Days when He seated himself on the throne of His glory, and the books of the living were opened before Him; and all His host which is in heaven above and His counselors stood before Him. And the hearts of the holy were filled with joy because the number of the righteous had been offered, and the prayer of the righteous had been heard, and the blood of the righteous not been required before the Lord of spirits. (1 Enoch 47:3-4)
And in those days shall the earth also give back that which has been entrusted to it, and Sheol also shall give back that which is has received, and hell shall give back that which is owes. For in those days the Elect One shall arise, and he shall choose the righteous and holy from among them. For the day has drawn near that they should be saved. (1 Enoch 51:1-2)
So, here is a question that hit me as I was studying this, and it is a question worth pondering I think. If we accept the Book of Revelation as inspired canon of Scripture – which we do; and if we understand it as prophecy revealed beforehand to John – which we do; then what do we do when we find very similar or identical “prophetic” scenarios in the Book of Enoch, written hundreds of years earlier than Revelation, but that correlates with it? Just food for thought.
Another example of the Son of Man theme that is beyond what we are told in Daniel can be found in 1 Enoch 48:
And at that hour that Son of Man was named in the presence of the Lord of spirits….Even before the sun and the signs were created, before stars of heaven were made, His name was named before the Lord of spirits. He shall be a staff to the righteous and they shall steady themselves and not fall. And he shall be a light of the Gentiles, and the hope of those who are troubled of heart. (1 Enoch 48: 2-4)
Could it be that Paul was drawing from this Enochian storyline when in Romans he speaks of such things as:
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. (Romans 11:11 ESV)
And then he goes on to discuss Gentiles coming to faith along side of the remnant – ie the righteous who steady themselves in Christ so as not to fall? Hopefully you are starting to see that there is an uncanny amount of similarities presented in the Book of Enoch.
There are so many other examples of parallel language and scenarios found in the Book of Enoch, and not all of them are necessarily so much of a full expression of whole scenarios as we have seen, some are simply key terms and references that are not clearly seen in the Hebrew Scriptures. These types of thoughts and terminologies are influential in how we now view key doctrines that the church holds as sacred. On this topic, writer E. Isaacs concludes:
There is little doubt that 1 Enoch was influential in molding New Testament doctrines concerning the nature of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the future, resurrection, final judgment, the whole eschatological theater, and symbolism. No wonder, therefore that the book was highly regarded by many of the earliest apostolic and Church Fathers. (E. Isaac, A New Translation and Introduction – The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha)
One of the earliest experts on Enoch and other Pseudepigrapha writings is R.H. Charles, and he went on to list about sixty examples where the language of the New Testament reflected possible Enochian influence, then coming to the conclusion that:
1 Enoch has had more influence on the New Testament than has any other apocryphal or pseudepigraphal work. (R.H. Charles, Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, Vol. 2)
Let us now look at a sampling of some of the terminology parallels between the New Testament and 1 Enoch that Charles presents. Again, these are mostly terms and ideas that are found in the New Testament with no real Hebrew scripture correlation, but are almost directly pulled from 1 Enoch:

New Testament 1 Enoch
1 John 1:7 – Walk in the light 92:4 – Walk in eternal light
1 John 2:8 – the darkness is past: 58:5 – the darkness is past
1 John 2:15 – Love not the world nor the things that are in the world 108:8 – love…nor any of the good things which are in the world
Rev 3:5 – clothed in white raiment 90:31 – clothed in white
Rev 3:20 – I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me. 62:14 – and with that Son of Man shall they eat and lie down and rise up.
Rev 7:15 – He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 45:4 – I will cause Mine Holy One to dwell among them.
Rev 20:13 – the sea gave up the dead… and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them. 51:1 – in those days shall earth also give back that which has been entrusted to it, and Sheol also shall give back… and hell shall give back.
Rev 20:15 – cast into the lake of fire 90:26 – cast into this fiery abyss
Rom 8:38 – angels… principalities… powers 61:10 – angels of power… angels of principalities
1 Cor 6:11 – justified in the name of the Lord Yeshua 48:7 – in his (Messiah’s) name they are saved
Col 2:3 – (Christ) in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge 46:3 – the Son of Man… who reveals all the treasures of that which is hidden.
2 Thess 6:15 – King of kings and Lord of Lords 9:4 – Lord of lords… King of kings.
Acts 3:14 – the Righteous One (Christ) 53:6 – the Righteous and Elect One (Messiah)
John 5:22 – He hath committed all judgment unto the Son 69:27 – the sum of judgment was given unto the Son of Man
Matt 19:28 – when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory 62:5 – When they see that Son of Man sitting on the throne of his glory
Matt 19: 28 – …ye also shall sit on twelve thrones 108:12 – I will seat each on the throne of his honor
Matt 25:41 – prepared for the devil and his angels 54:4-5 – chaines prepared for the hosts of Azazel
Luke 9:35 – This is My Son, the Elect One 40:5 – the Elect One (Messiah)
49:2 – Mine Elect One

This last one here in Luke is a little bit more interesting than how it is listed in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. In those two versions of the story, it essentially just says “this is my son, listen to him.” Here in Luke, we have the addition of the term “the Elect One, ” and as Lumpkin puts it:
The “Elect One” is a most significant term (found 14 times) in the Book of Enoch. If the book was indeed known to the Apostles of Christ, with its abundant descriptions of the Elect One who should “sit upon the throne of glory” and the Elect One who should “dwell in the midst of them,” then the great scriptural authenticity is justly accorded to the Book of Enoch. Then the “voice out of the cloud” tells the Apostles, “This is my Son, the Elect One”…. the one promised in the Book of Enoch. (Joseph B. Lumpkin – The Books of Enoch: The Angels, The Watchers and The Nephilim, pg 15)
Now, list of these kinds of comparisons goes on, but hopefully these give you an idea of some of the similar language and thoughts originating from the Book of Enoch.
Another interesting point of view that scholars have noticed, is that in some instances, we find that some terms have had one understanding in how they were presented or applied in the Hebrew Scriptures, but then those terms have taken on a different meaning and understanding in 1 Enoch. And then it became that new understanding that was presented in Enoch that was then brought over into the New Testament.
R.H. Charles argues that things like the notion of Sheol, demonology and future life which are barely mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures, are given more light and expanded upon in 1 Enoch, and that this expanded view corresponds to the New Testament usages.
Now before I get to the bulk of what I wish to cover, I want to take a quick look at the idea of the Messiah, and what the book of Enoch reveals about him. We know in the Hebrew scriptures that we have a fairly clouded view of who or what he was to be, yet we have a much clearer view once Christ comes on the scene.
So let’s consider what we know about the Messiah from the canon of Scripture, and consider it with what the Book of Enoch tells us about Him. These are scattered bits of information throughout Enoch, and R.H. Charles has done the leg-work to pull them together into a more cohesive view much of what Enoch says about this coming Messiah. From the Book of Enoch we find that the Messiah was going to be:

  • Not of human descent, but is a supernatural being
  • Given four titles used for the first time in Enoch and then in the NT:
    • The Christ (46:10, 52:4)
    • The Righteous One (38:2, 53:6 → Acts 3:14, 7:52, 22:14)
    • The Elect One (40:5, 45:3, 4ff → Lk 9:35, 23:35)
    • The Son of Man
  • Judge of the world and revealer of all things
  • Messianic champion and ruler of the righteous
  • As judge, who possesses righteousness, wisdom and power
  • The righteous one in an extraordinary sense (38:2, 53:6)
  • Possessor of righteousness, and it dwells in Him (46:3)
  • Has wisdom which could find no dwelling place on Earth (42)
  • Wisdom dwells in Him, and the Spirit of Him who gives knowledge (49:3)
  • Secrets of wisdom stream forth from His mouth (51:3)
  • Wisdom is poured forth like water before Him (49)
  • In Him abodes the spirit of power (49:3)
  • Possesses universal dominion (62:6)
  • Is the revealer of all things
  • His appearance reveals the revelation of good and the unmasking of evil
  • Brings light to everything hidden (righteousness and sin) (46:3, 49:2,4)
  • Brings life to those that have perished on land and sea, and those in Sheol (51:1, 65:5)
  • Evil when unmasked will vanish from His presence (49:2)
  • All judgment has been committed to Him (69:27)
  • He will sit on the throne of His glory (45:3, 62:3,5)
  • Which is likewise the throne of God (47:3, 51:3)
  • All men, righteous and wicked, and all angels He will judge (51:2, 55:4, 61:8, 62:2,3)
  • By the words of His mouth will He slay the ungodly (62:2)
  • He is the stay of the righteous (48:4)
  • The avenger of the life of the righteous (48:7)
  • The preserver of the righteous and their inheritance (48:7)
  • Will vindicate the earth as the possession for the righteous (51:5)
  • Cause the face of the righteous to shine with joy (51:5)
  • He will cover the righteous with life (62:15)
  • He will make the righteous resplendent with light (39:7)
  • Make the righteous “become angels in heaven” (51:4)
  • He will abide in closest communion with righteous for ever (62:14)
  • Will be in the immediate presence of Yahweh (Lord of Spirits) (39:7)
  • His glory is for ever and ever, His might to all generations (49:2)

Hoping you see how closely the things mentioned in the Book of Enoch are with what we see and believe from the what we have learned from the New Testament about the Messiah. Now, moving away from the Messiah character directly, and placing him into the overarching prophecy of the works of the Son of Man and history, we find many more similarities with what we find in the New Testament.

  • The watchers (angels) fell and lead mankind astray (54:6)
  • The were punished immediately, bound for judgment (54:5)
  • Held to await final judgment (54:6, 55:3, 64)
  • In the meantime mankind sins, and denies Lord of Spirits (38:2, 41:2)
  • Kings and the mighty trust in their sceptre and glory (63:7)
  • They oppress the elect of the children of God (62:11)
  • Prayer of the righteous ascends, their blood crying for vengeance (47:1)
  • Suddenly the Head of Days will appear, with the Son of Man (46:2-4, 48:2)
  • Judgment is declared on all according to their deeds (91:1)
  • Fallen angels cast into a fiery furnace (54:6)
  • Kings and mighty men given to destruction as they burn and vanish away 48:9-10, 62:12)
  • They are tortured in Gehenna by the angels of punishment (53: 3-5; 54:1-2)
  • Other sinners driven from face of earth- Son of Man slays them with the word of His mouth (62:6)
  • Sins banished (49:2)
  • Heaven and earth transformed (45:4-5)
  • Righteous and elect have their mansions therein (39:5, 41:2)
  • The light of the Lord of Spirits shines upon them (38:4)
  • They live in the light of eternal light (58:3)
  • They seek after light and find righteousness and peace with the Lord of Spirits (58:3-4)
  • They grow in knowledge and righteousness (58:5)

Surely you can see this storyline from Enoch is likewise presented and playing out in our New Testament Scriptures. It is no wonder why those 17th century readers of the rediscovered Book of Enoch supposed it to have been written after the New testament, the parallels are almost uncanny. Now, let us return our attention to the passage in Jude that we mentioned in the first lecture. This is one of the few stronger passages that show an even clearer dependence on the Enochian texts.
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15 ESV)
This is a direct quoting of 1 Enoch 1:9, but one thing worth noting is that Jude states here that what Enoch is doing in this verse is prophesying. Referring to a verse from Enoch as being a prophecy sure feels like he is adding much more weight to it than if he was just quoting it as a secular type source like we see occasionally in Scripture. The other thing that is notable in studying both books further, is that Jude does not simply quote a verse and move on, but in fact continues to follow the content patterns of 1 Enoch along with allusions and echoes of its phrases and language throughout his letter.
Both books share the primary apocalyptic theme of the punishment of the ungodly. And they both do so by pointing to an evil in their day and stating it is a fulfillment of a past prophetic proclamation. Not only do both books appeal to ancient judgment examples as a connection to the promised judgment coming to the present ungodly company, but they both look back to the same ancient corruption of the angelic watchers who corrupted humanity.
1 Enoch chapters 1-36 of course deal in great detail with those Watchers that Jude touches upon. And in Jude 13, he condemns “wandering stars,” which is a common Hebrew idiom in both the Hebrew Scriptures and Pseudepigrapha that is referring to divine beings. They are also referred to as the “host of heaven,” a term which also denotes deity. We also find the stars of heaven referred to as “heavenly host” which are likened to pagan deities (Deut 4:19) as well as those angelic Sons of God that surround his throne (Psa. 89:5-7, Job 38:7). So it is of no surprise that Enoch discusses those fallen angelic Watchers using the imagery of imprisoned stars.
The angel said (to me), “This place is the (ultimate) end of heaven and earth; it is the prison house for the stars and the powers of heaven… they are the ones which have transgressed the commandments of God.” (1 Enoch 18:14-15)
So Jude pulls that similar theme in when he condemns those wandering stars by saying it is for them that “the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever” (v 13). And Jude speaks of these ungodly villains as those who “pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Yeshua the Christ” (v. 4). This aligns with the declaration against the angels found in 1 Enoch 67:10, where it says:
So the judgment shall come upon them, because they believe in the debauchery of their bodies and deny the spirit of Yahweh. (1 Enoch 67:10)
This theme of fleshly defilement and of the rejection of authority that Jude mentions in verse 8 are likewise the traits of those angels in verse 6 that “did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling.” Who are the angels mentioned in Jude? It is plainly evident, as some scholars point out, that Jude is obviously pulling directly from 1 Enoch chapters 6-19, being the earliest existing manuscript that holds an account of the fall of the angelic Watchers. Enoch plainly states, in talking to the fallen Watchers:
Wherefore have ye left the high, holy, and eternal heaven, and lain with women, and defiled yourselves with the daughters of men and taken to yourselves wives, and done like the children of earth, and begotten giants (as your) sons? And though ye were holy, spiritual, living the eternal life, you have defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten (children) with the blood of flesh, and, as the children of men, have lusted after flesh and blood as those also do who die and perish. (1 Enoch 15:3-5)
Of those Watchers who sinned, Jude says they were “kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day” – which is closely connected with 1 Enoch 10:12:
Bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. (1 Enoch 10:13-14)
A quick note while looking at this verse, and this was touched upon earlier when mentioning that forum post. We note here that the angels were held for 70 generations, at the end of which time would be the day of judgment. In the Gospel of Luke, he counts 70 generations leading up to their present time and the time of Christ. Christ said the judgment would occur within his generation – being the 70th generation, thus correlating to Enoch’s prediction time frame. And the book of Revelation, which discusses the tossing of the devil and his angels into the lake of fire likewise lines up with what Enoch tells us about events surrounding the judgment and timing of the first century.
All of this combined just shows us an additional confirmation for the timing of an event that was to take place in that first century time frame, and not thousands of years later or in our future as many teach today. Now when it comes to Jude 6 and 7, there are a couple ways you can look at that connection. Some modern commentators go through the motions to disconnect any idea of the two verses being comparisons to each other. They’ll say these two verses are just two examples of judgment, and are not being compared to each other.
They will contend that verse 6 speaks of these angels, which they sometimes attempt to make out as mere men and not heavenly beings; and then say that verse 7 is speaking of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah being compared to those cities that surrounded them. So when it says that they “in like manner indulged…” it is referring to those surrounding cities indulging in like manner to what Sodom and Gomorrah had done.
Sadly, such an interpretations does not hold up when examined strictly by the original text, but also even more so it fails when considered in light of other Second Temple texts that Jude is obviously pulling from. What we have here is a condemnation of heavenly angelic beings who left their heavenly abode and sinned and held for judgment. Then we have a comparison of sin to those angels in verse 7. Let’s see these together:
And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day– (Jude 6 ESV)
just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7 ESV)
So we have angels sinning, and then, just like them, we have a single group being discussed, the collective group of Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding cities. And what about them? They – Sodom, Gomorrah and their surrounding cities – “likewise” or as some translations have it “in like manner” – they “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire.” In like manner to whom? The angels in the previous verse.
So what we have here is a telling of how the angels as well as Sodom, Gomorrah and their cities were all guilty of indulging in sexual immorality. We see this connection clearly displayed in other Second Temple writings, such as:
Do not become like Sodom, which departed from the order of nature. Likewise the Watchers departed from nature’s order; the Lord pronounced a curse upon them at the Flood. (Testament of Naphtali 3:4-5)
Thou didst destroy those who aforetime did iniquity, among whom were giants, trusting in their strength and boldness, bringing upon them a boundless flood of water. Thou didst burn up with fire and brimstone the men of Sodom, workers of arrogance, who had become known of all for their crimes, and didst make them an example to those who should come after. (3 Maccabees 2:4-5)
Let them not take to themselves wives from the daughters of Canaan; for the seed of Caanan will be rooted out of the land. And he told them of the judgment of the giants, and the judgment of the Sodomites, how they had been judged on account of their wickedness, and had died on account of their fornication, and uncleanness, and mutual corruption through fornication. (Jubilees 20:4-5)
So hopefully, you can now see that a connecting of the angelic judgment with the judgment upon Sodom and surround cities, is not unique to Jude, but is indeed just something Jude has actually borrowed from other non-canonical writings. And that in all places, both groups are mentioned together and are labeled as being guilty of similar acts.
This should also help solidify the argument that these two verses in Jude are indeed being used in comparison to one another, and that indeed the “likewise” in Jude 7 is calling back to compare to verse 6 and the sin of the angels for indulging likewise in sexual immorality. To sum up, I appreciate the way Brian Godawa put it:
Jude’s linking of Sodom with the days of Noah and the sexual sin of the Watchers is a literary doublet that reinforces the Enochian Watcher paradigm. Combined with the other Enochian allusions, echoes, and linguistic memes in Jude this certainly provides a preponderance of evidence of the extensive dependency of Jude upon 1 Enoch far beyond the single quotation in verses 14-15. (Brian Godawa – When Giants Were Upon the Earth, pg. 30)
Now I turn the attention to 2 Peter 2:4-11
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked…; then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. (2 Peter 2:4-11 ESV)
As we found in Jude, we have angels who sinned and were cast in chains awaiting judgment, followed by a mention of Noah, which reveals to us that the timing of this sinning of the angels was prior to the flood, and this is then followed by again mentioning a connection with Sodom’s destruction, and he also connects that to the lust of defiling passion and despising of authority in his own time.
While this section is usually understood by scholars as borrowing from the Jude passage, note that Peter adds a bit more to it than Jude, and that extra information he mentioned adds even more to the obvious connection between this verse and the Book of Enoch as his source.
Peter says not only that the angels were in chains awaiting judgment, but that they were in chains and cast into hell. Now the word here translated as “hell” is actually better translated as Tartarus, not Gehenna, which is typically used for the English word hell. Thayer’s Greek lexicon defines it as:
The name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds;
Tartarus is considered to be the deepest location in Sheol, and the Greeks taught that the gigantic Titans were chained and held there. Enoch however, says that this is the place where the fallen angels, the Watchers, were chained and held for judgment.
Now they shall say unto themselves: Our souls are full of unrighteous gain, but it does not prevent us from descending from the midst thereof into the burden of Sheol.
And after that their faces shall be filled with darkness
And shame before that Son of Man,
And they shall be driven from his presence,
And the sword shall abide before his face in their midst.
Thus spake the Lord of Spirits: This is the ordinance and judgement with respect to the mighty and the kings and the exalted and those who possess the earth before the Lord of Spirits.
And other forms I saw hidden in that place. I heard the voice of the angel saying: These are the angels who descended to the earth, and revealed what was hidden to the children of men and seduced the children of men into committing sin. (1 Enoch 63:10-64:1)
So we have Peter, who is considered to be borrowing from Jude, but could be himself borrowing directly from Enoch since we see he adds this additional element not in Jude. The end result is, we have two section of Holy Scripture that are clearly borrowing from the Book of Enoch for their doctrinal basis that is now part of our canon of Scripture. Also note, in neither instance do they attempt to fix or correct a view of the “Watchers procreating with women” view, but actually add comments that favor that view of Genesis 6.
But wait – theres more! Flipping back to Peter’s first letter, chapter 3, we find yet another connection:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20 ESV)
So we have spirits in prison, and they are tied to, or originating from events surrounding and preceding Noah and the flood. And what event are we told in Scripture directly preceded the flood time period? Of course, Genesis 6:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose… The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them… (Genesis 6:1-2, 4 ESV)
So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:7-8 ESV)
And of course, the Book of Enoch fills in the gaps with a story of what happened around that time period, and of which we have seen some of the NT writers have referenced from in their own writings, and never once is there any attempt made to correct the people on the Genesis 6 “Watchers with women” idea.
The verse in Peter is a verse that has perplexed scholars for some time. Many ideas have been discussed behind who these spirits are, where they were, and what was being preached to them. Finding answers to this dilemma is clearly almost impossible by relying strictly on the canon of Scripture. And hopefully by now you are starting to see that even the author Peter was not solely relying on what we consider canon of Scripture.
The spirits here originate as being from Noah’s day, imprisoned or bound surrounding that time frame. And this idea lines up nicely with what we have already seen in 1 Enoch 10 with the disobedient angels who were bound and imprisoned in Sheol until the judgment. Beyond that connection, some scholars even lay out how the book of 1 Peter reflects a great influence from Enochian literature throughout. In his commentary on Enoch, Nickelsburg actually lays out a chart showing a multitude of corresponding ideas and terms between the entirety of 1 Peter and 1 Enoch 108. Here are some examples from his list:

1 Peter 1 Enoch 108
3:12 – those who do evil 2, 6, 10 – those who do evil
1:23 – perishable seed 3b – perishable seed
3:19-20 – spirits in prison 3-6 – spirits punished
3:20 – Noah’s sons saved 106:16, 18 – Noah, sons saved
1:10-12 – Prophets, books, angels 6-7 – Prophets, books, angels
1:7, 18 – disdain silver, gold 8 – disdain silver, gold
1:7 – found praiseworthy 9 – found pure
3:9 – bless, blessing 9-10 – bless, blessing
3:16, 4:4, 16 – reproach, insult, abuse 7, 10 – reproach, insult, abuse
2:9 – blessing by contrast 10 – blessing by contrast
2:9 – summoned from darkness to light 11 – summoned from darkness to light
5:4, 6 – exaltation 12 – exaltation
1:17, 2:23 – righteous judgment 13 – righteous judgment

So, when it comes to this Book of 1 Enoch, we have a manuscript that has a long history of acceptance in varying degrees within the ancient people of Yahweh up through the early centuries of church history. Out of the many books explicitly mentioned within the canon of Scripture, it is the only one we currently have in existence that appears to be the original source. Within it, we get a glimpse into interpretations that have obviously been influential on many New testament doctrines that we now hold dear.
Doctrines surrounding topics such as the Messiah, the Kingdom, the Son of Man, demons, the final judgment and more are found here in ways that are more clearly presented than they are as found in the Hebrew scriptures. And as we’ve seen, the views found there have been carried over into much of the doctrines as they are presented within the New testament Scriptures.
It is understandable that those who hold the canon of Scripture in high esteem tend to be uncomfortable with some of the doctrines contained within 1 Enoch – the Watchers/giants storyline as well as the detailed ancient cosmology all sound so foreign to modern readers. But that was not the case for the early church and first century writers.
I have personally had recent conversations where every type of excuse was given to get around various scriptures in an effort to avoid the clear and historical view on these things. And I can understand the issue, as there are many things that just sound too odd. But we must remember we are approaching these things with a much more enlightened and scientifically geared mindset, which causes our views to be skewed.
Many things of the supernatural and spiritual realm are alien to us today. The more we study ancient Hebrew writings and their understandings, as well as their surround ancient near East neighbors, the more we find such strange sounding doctrines to deal with.
So, what does this all mean to us? Why am I bringing up this topic?
Well, most people don’t read the intertestamental and Pseudepigraphal writings, feeling they offer little to nothing to the Christian. Hopefully I have at least opened your eyes in some small way to see how in fact, at least this one writing was very influential in the doctrines we find propagated in the New Testament that shape our theological belief. That being the case, it would be of great benefit to further study and understand this obvious source material that those first century writers were pulling from. Yes, there are many other writings from the same period that could have been brought up, some which can be shown to have been influential too, but none as clearly as Enoch was.
When we study the Bible, we practice Sola Scriptura, and we compare Scripture to Scripture. We are quick to point out that a best understanding of the NT is found in a better understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. We also use the force of that practice when we debate issues with others, saying that unless our opponent can prove a doctrine from an Old Testament originating source, then their case is weak. Well, if E. Isaac and other scholars were indeed write in saying as I quoted earlier, that “There is little doubt that 1 Enoch was influential in molding New Testament doctrines concerning the nature of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the future, resurrection, final judgment, the whole eschatological theater, and symbolism, “ then we may actually have another source of influential theology that needs our attention if we are to gain an even better understanding of some New Testament doctrines.
If NT writers were indeed drawing from and applying doctrinal influence from Enoch and these types of non-canonical intertestamental writings also, and if these were understandings that altered or expanded upon the Old Testament understandings on a topic, and then those different understandings were brought over and applied within our New Testament, then could it be that we may be missing information in our understanding by ignoring them in our studies?
Could the church gain a better understanding of the New Testament from also considering the teachings of some of the intertestamental writings, especially ones like Enoch where the influence is so clearly brought into the New Testament? I believe it is a question worth asking at least.
I will close with this closing paragraph from Godawa’s book:
But the preponderance of evidence shows that not only does the new Testament letter of Jude quote directly from 1 Enoch 1 (Book of the Watchers), but the entire letter and it’s alternate version in 2 Peter, show signs of literary and theological dependency on the rest of the Book of the Watchers (Chaps. 1-36), as well as chapter 80 (Book of Luminaries), chapter 46 (Book of Parables), and chapter 100 ( Epistle of Enoch). 2 Peter shows evidence of structural and thematic dependency on 1 Enoch 17-22 and 108.
But the fact is, the entire New Testament shows such a multitude of allusions and linguistic echoes of the entire corpus of 1 Enoch, that one can safely say, the book and its basic interpretations may not be Scripture, but are surely legitimated by the Bible and are therefore worthy of study and high regard by the Christian Church. (Brian Godawa – When Giants Were Upon the Earth, pg. 34)


We are continuing our series examining how James White and other futurist apologists cannot address the issue of NT imminence in public debate with unbelievers (in this case a debate with Muslim apologist Shabir Ally). Currently we are going through Matthew 24 since James White was unable to address this passage with Shabir in his debate (along with Matt. 16:27-28 and 1 Thess. 4:15-17) and confessed to his own congregation that he “dreaded” teaching it to them. On this particular subject White is an embarrassment to Christian apologetics and a failure as an exegete to his own congregation. He continues to duck debates and challenges from Full Preterists – and this series is exposing why.
White correctly points out that once we get into what the coming of the Son of Man is in Matthew 24 (apocalyptic language which was fulfilled in AD 70 or literal to be fulfilled at the end of world history), that this is where “the rubber meets the road.” But unfortunately White is unable to lay down any exegetical rubber once he approaches the key texts. He doesn’t even inform members in his Reformed Baptist Church of the many Reformed theologians and commentators whom have taken these passages as being fulfilled in AD 70.
Let’s continue going through Matthew 24 (and parallels in Mark and Luke when relevant).
Christ’s Parousia as Sunlight Shining from East to West (Matt. 24:27)
Matthew 24:27 is usually interpreted by Partial Preterists and Full Preterists to mean Christ’s coming through the means of the Roman armies would be sudden and quick like lightning – which very well may be true. But I believe Christ’s parousia here and the Greek word associated with it astrape, is making reference to Christ’s presence and Kingdom being manifested within the hearts of His people in AD 70 using the illustration of the sun’s rays shining “from east and flashing to the west.” And it seems to me that there is a contrast being made between the false prophets and messiah’s hiding in a dark secretive “inner room” in the previous verse, with Christ being revealed openly and dramatically as the sun and daylight itself is.
The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon gives astrape, the meaning of a “bright light.”[1] The Greek word for “shine” is phaino which according to the Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon can mean, “of growing vegetation, to come to light.”  IF the fig tree represents Israel in Matthew 24 then “all the trees” in Luke’s account must be interpreted as all the nations (from where the GC of Matt. 24:14 reached its fulfillment by AD 70).  If this scenario is true, then this can have a reference to the Sun’s light through the gospel and Christ’s parousia giving light and life to Israel (the fig tree) and to all the trees (the Gentile nations) in Matthew 24:14, 32; Luke 21:29-30. The Second Coming of Christ is referred to as being “high time” and “the night is far spent and the day is at hand” (Rms. 13:11-12). “…as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19/Luke 17:20-21ff.). And “…I will give Him the morning star.” “I am the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16). The idea here is that Christ’s presence and His righteousness is in and of itself, the chief reward and joy for His Church at His return. If this isn’t exciting enough for you go get a Hal Lindsey book at a garage sale for twenty-five cents!
Jesus would not be revealing Himself in some dark inner secret room as the false Christ’s would shamefully be doing for they were of the darkness, but on that day, “they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:6; 19-25; cf. Mal.1:1, 4:1-2, 5-6). He would shine seven fold on that day burning up the wicked while at the same time His heat and light would not harm the remnant but only cause them to flourish and bear fruit to be gathered into His kingdom (Matt. 13:6-9/Jms. 1:11-18/5:1-9; Matt. 13:43; Judges 5:31; 2 Sam. 23:4-7; Ps. 121:6-7; Isa. 30:26-27; Isa. 16:19-20/Rev.21:23, 22:5).
In that Day, Christ as the “Sun of righteousness would rise with healing in His wings” and would cause the remnant of Israel (the fig tree) and the Gentile nations (“all the trees”) to have blossomed TOGETHER as the very Garden of God in His everlasting Kingdom (Lk. 21:28-32/Rms. 9-11; Cols. 1:5-6; Isa. 27:7; 35; 44; 55:10-13; 60:20; 61:10-11/Ezk. 16:7/Rev.21:9- chapter 22).
A type of eternal life can be found in Josh.10:12-14 when God listened to Joshua and the sun stood still. Every day in the new creation is a day without darkness or bearing the reproach of our sins. In Joshua’s day this miracle was a sign to all that Jehovah was fighting for Israel. When those who are in darkness outside the gates of the City look at your life and see the joy, light, and warmth of God’s presence radiating from your inner being, God uses this to cause His elect to crave this enduring light and righteousness that can only come from your Lord. This also serves to harden the reprobate – as the sun melts the wax and hardens the clay. In Joshuah’s day this was a sign that the Lord was fighting for Israel and today Christ’s presence and eternal Day within His church demonstrates that nothing will ever be able to withstand her.
As plants receive life from the sun’s light and energy through photosynthesis, so the Church receives eternal life from Christ alone. In union with Christ, the Church becomes the leaves on the Tree of Life and the light of the New Jerusalem/Creation brings healing to the nations of the world. It is the light and living waters of the gospel preached to sinners that serves as “special revelation” to a thirsty sinner’s soul. No luminary lights of the physical creation can fully demonstrate the righteous ways of God! Only Christ and His Church serving as a heavenly Kingdom can bring the revelation needed for sinners to be saved. Without the “Sun of Righteousness” the light and glory of God’s imputed righteousness beaming in upon the heart and mind of man, all is lost. The world truly does revolve around the “Sun/Son of Righteousness.”
Before leaving verse 27 we should note how contextually tied it is to the AD 70 events in the previous verses. There is no grammatical and contextual indicator that would separate the parousia from the abomination of desolation and tribulation period of “those days” and coming wrath upon the Jews in their land by AD 70. That this is somehow a description of the end of world history events not grammatically or contextually connected to AD 70 is made even clearer in the following verses.
Immediately after the distress of those days,…” “…the stars shall fall from heaven” and “seeing the Son of Man coming in/on the clouds”
Whatever the de-creation is here in our text, it must be defined using a grammatical, contextual, and historical Christian heremeneutic.
Grammatical – “Immediately after” clearly demonstrates that the de-creation of our passage takes place within the same time period of “those days” connected to Jerusalem’s judgment in AD 70 and not thousands of years removed from it.
Contextual – Since we have contextually identified the OC or Jewish age inseparably connected with the Temple’s destruction as the flow of Matthew 24, the de-creation should fit this context and flow as well.
Historical – And the exegete should also be asking questions as to how the Jew of Jesus’ day understood such de-creation language and not just our modern reading of the passage.
God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven, as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors referring to the judgment of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet.  This can be seen in such OT passages referring to the fall of Babylon, Egypt, Edom, and Israel (Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; 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 and vanish from her covenantal status by AD 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).
Therefore, one can see how Christ cast down the religious rulers (the stars) when He judged their OC world/age/city/Temple in AD 70.
Tribes of the land mourning
Jerusalem being surrounded by armies and its destruction through them was the sign that the Son of Man was seen coming on/in the clouds (as Jehovah had come and was seen judging Israel and the nations in the OT). Matthew being addressed to Jews points out that this would be the time of “tribes of land” to mourn (Matt. 24:30). The phrase “tribes of the land” is consistent with the first century context that we have seen throughout the OD thus far “Judea,” “There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.” Jesus had predicted earlier that Jerusalem (through the coming judgment in AD 66 – AD 70) would be mourning for themselves for rejecting Him:
“And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us! ’ (Luke 23:28-30)
Gathering the elect
The gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 is not a post AD 70 evangelism or a second GC per Partial Preterism. This is the result and or consummation of the GC described for us in Matthew 24:14 that would be fulfilled at the end of the OC age. This is the same “gathering” at the same “end of the age” and resurrection event as described for us by Jesus earlier in (Matt. 13:39-43). That this is the resurrection at which time the living and dead would be gathered together to always be with the Lord, will be evident once we get into 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and allow Paul to elaborate upon this event.
As I pointed out in Part 2 of this series, Partial Preterist Anthony Rogers has some serious exegetical problems and challenges at this point arising from Full Preterists and even his own Reformed colleagues in that this passage is descriptive of the Second Coming event and not “a” AD 70 coming of Christ:
“But the language of [Matthew 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31, as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17. The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.” (HD, Ibid. 112).
Remember James White told us that the “truth” would be found “in the middle” of the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view. And when we look in the middle of these views we find Full Preterism:
James White (classic Amillennialism) – Matthew 24:30-31 is the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event as described for us by Jesus in Matthew 13:39-43; 16:27; 25:31 and Paul 1 Thess. 4-5; 1 Cor. 15.
Anthony Rogers (and or Partial Preterism) – According to Matthew 24:30-31; 16:27; 25:31 Jesus did come upon the clouds to end the OC age in AD 70. At Christ’s parousia in AD 70 there was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal, and Hadean resurrection of the dead.
Michael Sullivan (Full Preterism) – Matthew 24:30-31 is the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event as described for us by Jesus elsewhere in Matthew 13:39-43; 16:27; 25:31 and Paul in 1 Thess. 4-5; 1 Cor. 15. This was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70.
“Redemption is drawing near”
Luke does not describe the resurrection at Christ’s coming as a “gathering of the elect,” but as the coming “redemption” (Luke 21:27-28). As I pointed out in my/our book I agree with Reformed Amillennial commentators and theologians whom identify this coming of Christ and redemption here to be the same “day,” “salvation,” and “redemption” spoken of by Paul in Romans 8:18-23YLT; 13:11-12. And I also agree with Reformed Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar who have informed us that the “glory about to be revealed” was pointing to an imminent fulfillment in AD 70 (Rms. 8:18YLT) and with Partial Preterists such as John Lightfoot who have correctly informed us that the “creation” groaning in Romans 8:18-23YLT has nothing to do with the literal planet earth (not even poetically), but rather to the salvation of the souls of men. So to believe that “the day” and “the hour” of Christ bringing salvation in Romans 13:11-12 was the imminent AD 70 fulfillment for the glorification of the Church, liberation of creation, and redemption of the body in a spiritual manner is consistent with Reformed eschatology (HD, pp. 116-123).[1]
“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.”
In Matthew’s account only the fig tree is mentioned while in Luke “and all the trees” is added (Luke 21:29-30). The time when the trees begin sprouting leaves is equivalent to the signs in the previous verses being fulfilled and summer being near is equivalent to the time of the Second Coming and arrival of the Kingdom being near. Some Dispensationalists have thought the “fig tree” represents Israel becoming a nation in 1948, but never address what “and all the trees” sprouting forth leaves means in Luke’s account. It is true that in the OT and even the NT the fig tree can represent Israel. But Jesus on a previous occasion cursed the fig tree (Israel after the flesh) so that it would never bear forth fruit again (Matt. 21:18-19). Israel after the flesh was cursed and rejected, but this rejection resulted in the reconciling of the Gentiles or the world and NC Israel after the spirit bearing forth fruit and rising from the dead (Rms. 11:13-15). So IF the fig tree has a subtle reference to or represents Israel in this parable, then it would represent NC Israel (the remnant) and “all the trees” the Gentile “nations” to whom the gospel had been preached to (Matt. 24:14/Mark 13:10=Cols. 1:5-6, 23/Rms. 10:18/Rms. 16:25-26) bringing forth leaves and thus indicating that Christ’s parousia was “near” – at the very door!
So IF the fig tree and all the trees in this passage have to do with the salvation of Israel and the Gentiles prior to Christ coming in AD 70, then perhaps this may have an application to how “all Israel” was saved in Romans 11:
Even though God’s old covenant people in their last generation were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1-2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in her last generation, the truth was that old covenant Israel was being saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel” —fulfilling His promises to “the fathers”— partly by means of the hardening of its last generation. Here is how:

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

This is when Israel died, was resurrected, and made new. This is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last-days Jewish remnant, and the believing gentiles) were consummately united in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was at Christ’s return to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70 that all Israel was saved.
“Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”
In Luke’s account we read that when Christ comes in that contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” is when the “kingdom of God” would arrive. Amillennialists claim this is the “not yet” to the kingdoms arrival that we are still waiting for since it is inseparably tied to the Second Coming of Christ here in the OD. Partial Preterists claim this aspect of the kingdom did come in AD 70, but it still lies within the inauguration “already” aspect to the kingdom promises. However, as we have seen “the truth is in the middle of these views” in that this is the eschatological “not yet” aspect to the kingdoms arrival attended with the Second Coming in AD 70, and therefore the Church is in the consummative and fulfilled stage of the kingdom.
The creedal futurism of White and Rogers teaches that when the Second Coming and kingdom takes place in the future it will be a physical event literally seen and experienced by everyone. Yet a little earlier in Luke’s gospel we find Jesus teaching that when His kingdom would arrive at His coming it would not be something seen outwardly but something manifested “within” (Luke 17:20-21—37).
PART 1 – Debate Challenge and Response to:  James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1
PART 2 – Debate Challenge and Response to: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – “Time/Hour of the End” = “End of the Age” Resurrection (Dan. 12=Matt. 13=Luke 20:27-40=Matt. 24:30-31, 36=John 4-5) All Fulfilled In AD 70
PART 3a. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun – All The Signs, Abomination That Causes Desolation, Tribulation, Times Of The Gentiles – “In Fulfillment Of All That Has Been Written” (Matt. 24:1-25/Luke 21:20-24)
Part 3b. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, And Anthony Rogers – The Coming Of The Son Of Man (Matt. 24:27—-25:31) Fulfilled By Ad 70
Part 3c. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun, Shabir Ally: Matthew 24-25 “This Generation” And Division Theories Refuted
Part 4 – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun And Shabir Ally (1 Thess. 4:16-17 & Acts 1:9-11)
[1] Michael Sullivan, House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 9 The Imminent Liberation of Creation Romans 8:18-23


Now I want to move on to another passage White virtually avoided altogether in his debate with Shabir Ally (ie. Matthew 24) and was the subject of Anthony Rogers unfinished article series responding to Shabir (since White “dreads” [his words] the subject).
I personally believe White was a bit deceptive with Shabir in that Shabir kept appealing to Matt. 16:27-28/Matt. 24/1 Thess. 4:12-17 to demonstrate that Christ’s COMING was predicted to take place within the first century – and all White really had to say was to use the term “in AD 70” and mentioned that back home he was teaching a study on Matthew 24. So it gave the impression that perhaps White was at least a Partial Preterist and believed that “a” parousia or coming of Christ was fulfilled in AD 70. But once you listen to those lectures on Matthew 24, White does NOT take the Partial Preterist view on the coming of the Lord being fulfilled in 70 for those passages. He appeals to the classic Amillennial view’s interpretation of Matthew 24 and the “Two-Age Model” (he claims to agree with Kim Riddlebarger’s view in A Case for AMILLENNIALISM UNDERSTANDING THE END TIMES, pp. 92-99, 157-179).[1] The only things White claims were kind-of-sort-of fulfilled by AD 70 are some of the signs. BUT Shabir’s argument was not addressing the signs but the coming of Christ, therefore, White was dishonest or at the very least misleading in his use of the term “AD 70.”
White’s Introduction
White makes mention of D.A. Carson and Kim Riddlebarger to help make some introductory points:

  1. Matthew 24 is one of or the most “difficult passages” to interpret in the NT. Therefore, White tells his church that he has been “secretly dreading” dealing with it.
  2. Whatever your view of Matthew 24 is, it will be (or should be) your interpretation in such NT books as 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Revelation and NT eschatology in general. Riddlebarger also correctly states that it will also form your “millennial view.”
  3. White claims the “truth is somewhere in the middle” between Dispensationalism’s futurism and Full Preterism.

My response
White’s admissions only make my case against him. It is true that the Olivet Discourse is a “difficult passage” for futurism because there is a stale-mate between the classical Reformed Amillennial position (James White’s position) in Matthew 24 (and NT imminence) with that of the Reformed Partial Preterist position (Anthony Rogers / Sam Shamoun’s position). White also makes my point when he claims that the “truth is somewhere in the middle of these two” which is really somewhere in the middle of the middle:
Classic Amillennialism (James White/Kim Riddlebarger) – The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27-30—chapter 25 is the ONE NT’s Second Coming event that takes place at the end of the ONE “end of the age” (Matt. 24:3) in our future.
Partial Preterism (Anthony Rogers) – The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27-30—chapter 25 was fulfilled spiritually to close “the end of the (old covenant) age” (Matt. 24:3) in AD 70.
Full Preterism (Michael Sullivan / synthesis “Reformed and always reforming”) – The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27-30—chapter 25 is the ONE NT’s Second Coming event fulfilled spiritually to close “the end of the (old covenant) age” (Matt. 24:3) in AD 70.
The difficulty is that without Full Preterism “Bridging the Gap” between the two and a willingness to reform the creeds on the timing and nature of fulfillment for the Second Coming, the two form a contradiction. And if one is truly Reformed, he or she will submit to the teachings of the Reformed creeds which state that they can be in error and are subject to an accurate exegesis of God’s Word (“The Scriptures only” — Bereans — “Reformed and always reforming” concepts).
I also agree with White, Carson, and Riddlebarger, that whatever ones view of the coming of the Son of Man is upon the clouds of glory in Matthew 24:27-30—25:31, it will (and should) dictate your interpretations of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, and NT eschatology in general (ex. Acts 1:8-11; 1 Cor. 15).
Having stated where I agree with James White on the importance of understanding Matthew 24-25 (and how it will affect ones eschatology), I must clearly state that I disagree with him that the passage is “very difficult” to understand or a subject one should “dread.”
The Disciples Question(s) and End of the Age          
Critiquing James White’s position:
James White begins his study of Matthew 24 by making two foundational interpretive errors:
The disciples alleged “confusion”
First, he performs eisegesis (reading something into the text that is not there) and “question begging” when he assumes the disciples were “confused” in believing the Temple’s destruction end of the age, and Jesus’ Parousia/Second Coming would all be fulfilled together. Is this something the text tells us (as it does in other places of Matthew’s gospel when they are confused)? No. But is this doctrinal mantra used by White (and futurism) depicting the disciples as being allegedly “confused” a necessary inference necessary so that they he can then go on to create division theories (that he admits no one can really agree upon) as to which verses were fulfilled in AD 70 and which ones allegedly are end of time ones. In other words White NEEDS the disciples to be “confused” so that he can then try and “solve” that confusion by giving the OD two fulfillments – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
“The Two-Age Model”      
White immediately tells us what has influenced him the most in his study of NT eschatology and in fact is his foundation upon which he builds – the “two-age model” of the Jesus’ teaching and that of the NT. For White “this age” is somehow the New Covenant or Church age and the “age to come” is when the Second Coming/New Creation/Eternal state arrives. White references Matthew 13:39-43 and Luke 20:27-40 for support.
My response to these two points:
First, I find it interesting that White quickly contradicts himself when he points out that the disciples correctly understood Jesus connecting His coming with the destruction of the Temple right before we enter into the OD in Matthew 23:38-39. So this immediately creates some interpretive questions White needs to respond to. If the disciples correctly connected Jesus’ future coming with the destruction of the Temple in Matthew 23:38-39, and this “sets the stage or context for Matthew 24,” then why isn’t the future coming the disciples asked about in connection with the Temple’s destruction in Matthew 24:3ff. (and the one Jesus refers to throughout) the same AD 70 judgment coming of Christ?!? If Jesus did “come in judgment” to destroy the Temple according to Matthew 23:38-39, then where else in Jesus’ teaching (if not in Matt. 16:27-28, Matt. 24; or the rest of the NT for that matter), is this “coming” of Jesus addressed? And if Jesus taught on his “coming” to destroy the Temple, was this teaching anticipated by any of the NT authors as being something that would happen “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “about to be,” or in their “this generation” (cf. 23:36), etc… as AD 70 was approaching?!? In other words White just opened himself up to a two NT comings view of Partial Preterism and now the burden of proof is upon him to prove that not only the coming in Matthews 23:38-39 is not the coming of Christ in Matthew 24, but to tell us which NT future coming of Jesus passages are referring to AD 70 and which ones are allegedly future?
Here are some other problems White has that he doesn’t address:
First, In Part 2 of my response to White and Rogers I dealt with this subject of “this age” and the “age to come” in-depth and would refer the reader to that section if they haven’t read it already. In regards to White, he does no “historical” exegesis in that the Jews of Jesus’ day understood “this age” to be the Old Covenant age of the law and prophets, and the “age to come” to be the New Covenant age or the age Messiah would usher in. That being said, when Jesus in Matthew 13:39-43 states that the separation of the wheat and tares and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the end of their “this age,” He is referring to the commonly understood “this age” of the Old Covenant law and prophets. Jesus hadn’t even died and rose again, so while alive in addressing the crowd about something that would be fulfilled in their current “this age” (not having shed His blood ushering in the inauguration of the NC age), Jesus is teaching that the resurrection would be fulfilled at the end of the OC age – not the NC age. Another issue White avoids in Matthew 13:39-43, 51 is that after Jesus gives His teaching on the “end of this age,” He specifically asks the disciples 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). Obviously the reason White avoided this text in his mention of Matthew 13 is that it contradicts his necessary theory that the disciples were confused as to what events would be associated with and fulfilled at the end of their “this age.”
Another issue related to a “historical” hermeneutic is where is White’s discussion of how others have interpreted “end of the age” in (Matt. 24:3) within the Reformed Church? Surely he knows that some throughout church history within the Reformed church have taught that the “end of the age” in Matthew 24 is the OC age and not the NC age (such as the view that Anthony Rogers is trying to defend in his response to Shabir Ally)? I think the answer is obvious why he doesn’t want that to be public knowledge for his church or the Christian community to think about.
Secondly, 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” (not end of time) 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” (ie. “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; Dan. 9:24-27; Dan. 12:1-7). Not to mention Daniel predicted that Messiah’s Kingdom would be fulfilled during the time of the fourth Kingdom (Rome) and this is exactly when Christ’s Kingdom and coming took place (cf. Luke 21:27, 31-32).The disciples had the OT Scriptures to guide them in that all these events would be fulfilled together (not thousands of years apart – ie. James White’s position). And thus far in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus has been consistent with this OT time frame for all of these events being fulfilled within some of their lifetimes. This leads us to our next point.
Thirdly, Jesus had previously taught that His coming would take place within some of their lifetimes (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1). If Jesus has already taught the disciples that His coming would take place within some of their lifetimes and connects to the destruction of the Temple (Matt. 23:38-39), why would the disciples be “confused”? Maybe it’s really White and his futurism that is “confused” on this subject and not the disciples or Full Preterism?
Fourthly, although White briefly addresses Matthew 23 as forming the context of Matthew 24, he does not address that Jesus previously taught 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)
Fifthly, 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.
Sixthly, White and others trying to make the point that the disciples were confused on previous occasions is classic mistake of “proving too much.” Why? Because Matthew (as a responsible narrator) and or Jesus makes this clear when the disciples are confused or they need to be corrected (cf. Matt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25). We don’t find that in Matthew 24:3ff.!
And lastly, it is understandable why James White “dreads” addressing Matthew 24 – because he can’t even begin addressing the first verses or the context of the passage without contradicting himself or performing eisegesis!
White’s “harmonization” apologetic against Shabir Ally
In White’s debate with Shabir Ally, Shabir tried to show how the gospels “contradicted” themselves at various points and that this somehow proved they had been corrupted. What was White’s response? He demonstrated that Shabir’s points (and the liberal theologians he was trying to use to discount the reliability of the gospels) could easily be solved through what he called the “harmonization” process of comparing the gospels in that each gospel was written to a different audience which accounted for some of the differences (not contradictions) between them. If White was willing to see that the “end of the age” in the context of the Temple’s destruction in (Matt. 24:3) is the end of the OC age, then he would be ready to see how and why Mark and Luke do not record “and the end of the age” in their versions and why a “harmonization” between them supports the Full Preterist position.
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4)
“So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7)
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3)
Stuart Russell brings up the issue of “harmonization” to point out that all three are dealing with “different aspects of the same great event” in AD 70:
“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.” (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).
The “end of the age” in the Greek, (syntéleia toú aiṓnos) is an expression found only in the gospel of Matthew and therefore suggests that it has a peculiar understanding to the Jewish mind. When we broaden this study beyond the gospels with that of the rest of the NT, we discover 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. This is probably why Matthew also includes more parables than Mark and Luke do.
If the “end of the age” is referring to the end of planet earth, one would expect to find such crucial information not being omitted by Mark and Luke in the form of the disciples question since this sets the stage and makes an outline of sorts for Jesus’ teaching in the OD.
Perhaps a similar situation as to why something that seems at first to be very important and is omitted in one gospel but added to another, can be found in Jesus’ teaching on divorce. If “fornication” (some mistranslate this as “adultery”) is grounds for divorce, then why would Mark and Luke omit this exceptive clause from Jesus’ teaching in their accounts while we only find it in Matthew’s gospel? Again, it seems to lie in the different audiences being addressed that accounts for the differences.
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 (written primarily to Gentiles). Also, in Jewish law a woman could not divorce her husband and this is why Matthew does not mention this while Mark does (cf. Mark 10:12 / Matthew 19:9).
Therefore, in essence the three harmonize well in that Jesus’ teaching on divorce agree – “what God has joined together let no man separate.” And when it comes to the disciples question in Matthew, Mark, and Luke (that is a reaction to Jesus telling them that the Temple would be destroyed) – all three accounts harmonize well because all three are dealing with the destruction of the Temple and the end of the Jewish or OC age – “nothing else” (as even Reformed Partial Preterist Gary DeMar has informed us).
Before leaving the subject of the “end of the age” I should point out that the only strength to White’s Amillennial position on the two age view, is just that – Jesus only really taught on “TWO ages.” White ridicules Dispensationalism for having “little mini ages” “here and there in-between the two ages” when no such exegetical warrant can be found in the teachings of Jesus or the NT. But why doesn’t White criticize the Partial Preterist position here as well? Is it because if we really do study what the two views “in the middle” (his Amillennialism and Partial Preterism) are on this subject we arrive at “the truth” of Full Preterism? However, Partial Preterism does need to be criticized for inserting within the teachings of Jesus and that of the NT: TWO Parousias of Christ, TWO Great Commissions, TWO arrivals of the New Creation, TWO Judgments and Resurrections of the living and dead, and TWO “end of the age” doctrines to support their double vision and double-talk eschatology. Selah.
Let’s now shift our attention from Mr. White to that of Anthony Rogers and Sam Shamoun.
Critiquing Anthony Rogers and Sam Shamoun
Unlike White, at least Anthony Rogers attempts to correctly identify the “end of the age” in Matthew 24:3 and “the end” throughout as the end of the OC age in AD 70 and quotes Milton Terry for support (as most Preterists have). Milton Terry following Russell’s lead was spot on in identifying Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the Olivet discourse and elsewhere in the NT (such as Hebrews 9:26-28) as the OC age ending in AD 70:
“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 “Second Coming” of Christ to close the OC age is further described as Christ coming in an AD 70 imminent time frame: “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” in the next chapter (Hebrews 10:37). But let’s think about this for just a moment. The very text by which Christianity has formed the term “The Second Coming of Jesus” Partial Preterism says was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70! This is why when I try and explain this position (even once being a PP), people look confused and say, “So they believe in a “second, second coming’”???
Reformed Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar would agree with Full Preterism on three crucial points in interpreting Matthew 24-25 properly: 1. The disciples were not confused, 2. The “end of the age” is the OC age ending in AD 70, and 3. There are not two comings (one in AD 70 and one at the end of world history) described in these chapters. 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.” (Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA:  Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68, bold emphasis added).
Explaining his position on the “end of the age” being the OC age, DeMar quotes George Hill to support its historical relevance of “this age” being the OC age and the “age to come” being the NC or Messianic age,
“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.” (Ibid., 68).
Connecting this with the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds throughout Matthew 24-25 DeMar 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.” (Ibid., 68, brackets mine).
My response:
As helpful and as exegetical as these quotes are, the weakness of DeMar’s Partial Preterism should be apparent. As White and other Reformed Amillennialists have pointed out Jesus only taught on two ages “this age” and the “age to come.” As I covered in Part 2 of this series, Jesus places the ONE resurrection and judgment of the living and dead of Daniel 12:2-3 at the end of the OC “this age” or “end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Luke 20:27-40. And as we noted in Part 2, there is no exegetical evidence that Jesus uses Daniel’s “hour” (Dan. 12:1-4 (OG) LXX) in John 4-5 as being fulfilled literally at the end of world history either.
Like Gary DeMar, this is a subject Anthony Rogers wants to avoid (and has so far) in his series of articles trying to respond to Shabir Ally in areas White “dreaded” to address. The spiritual resurrection at the end of the ONE “end of the (OC) age” in AD 70 is the Achilles heel of Partial Preterism and is something that continues to lead its readers into the Full Preterist movement. They want one foot in sound exegesis while trying to keep the other in the WCF on the “end of the age” and that “dog just won’t hunt” as they say around here.
General and Specific Signs
Critiquing James White
As I recall White gives most of the signs a dual type fulfillment. He criticizes Dispensationalism for giving a futuristic view of the signs and yet his double-type fulfillment on most of them leaves the door right open for Dispensationalism to do the very thing White criticizes.
False Christ’s / Messiah’s (vss. 5, 11, 23-24)
Because James White debates many views and professing “Christian” cults he points out that this passage could be applied to events prior to AD 70 but claims it is still being fulfilled today (example all of the cults he debates etc…). I don’t really see much of a difference between James White’s interpretations here and say that of David Hunt’s.
Jesus predicted that false messiahs would come in the generation of the first century 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) 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).  As I discussed in Part 2 of this series, John’s “last hour” was the “hour” of Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection and judgment upon Jerusalem and that of Daniel 12 in (Matt. 24:36; John 4:20-24; John 5:24-29/Dan. 12:1-2 (OG) LXX). James White has the Church living in a very LONG “it is the last hour” that should be a sign of Christ’s coming upon the clouds of heaven in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
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” (vss. 6-7)
If I recall White spends most of his time here pretty much mocking Dispensationalists for claiming the “end is near” every time there is a war (which is all the time), famine, earthquake, persecution of Christians, etc…. Yet White seems to miss the significance to all of the signs (even the general ones) being fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period. As John L. Bray wrote:
“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)
“Famines” and earthquakes (vss. 7-8)
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.
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.” (Gary DeMar, ibid., 64)
“Put to death,” “The love of many will grow cold” “He who endures till the end shall be saved” (vss. 9-13) 
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.
Now White references a lot of these NT passages as well and discusses Nero’s persecutions etc…, but then again claims this has no real significance to a fulfillment of Christ’s return in the passage and the end of the age since the Church has always been persecuted throughout Church history.
But White seems to miss the golden thread of the NT’s teaching on: The preaching, persecution, power (charismata present), before the parousia.
We now enter the “persecution” before “the end.” White claims “the end” here is nothing more than the “end” of an individual’s life which could be fulfilled for any persecuted group of Christian’s pre or post AD 70. But contextually “the end” should be seen as the fulfillment to “the end of the age” the disciples asked about in (v. 3). But if this wasn’t clear enough, we need only go back earlier in Jesus’ teaching on the same subjects in Matthew 10:17-23:
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7)
“I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Matt. 10:15)
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” (Matt. 10:22-23)
I find it interesting that James White refers to the book When Shall These Things Be? in hopes that someone can refute Full Preterism – since he is unwilling to debate and respond to us. Yet here in this book Mathison (my opponent) references D.A. Carson (someone White appeals to often as well) as someone applying the fulfillment of this passage to AD 70 (WSTTB?, 175, fn. 23). Ironically, Mathison’s source for all the main views on this passage ends up taking a Preterist one! Carson finds view #7 to be the most contextually accurate in light of the limited cultural and local indicators connected with this persecution and the coming of the Son of Man:
“7. The “coming of the Son of Man” here refers to his coming in judgment against the Jews, culminating in the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple (so France, Jesus, p. 140; Feuillet, “Les origines,” pp. 182–98; Moule, Birth, p. 90; J.A.T. Robinson, Jesus and His Coming [London: SCM, 1957], pp. 80, 91–92; and others).” (Carson, D. A. (1984). Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, pp. 252–253). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House).
“Against this background the coming of the Son of Man in v. 23 marks that stage in the coming of the kingdom in which the judgment repeatedly foretold falls on the Jews. With it the temple cultus disappears, and the new wine necessarily takes to new wineskins (see on 9:16–17). The age of the kingdom comes into its own, precisely because so many of the structured foreshadowings of the OT, bound up with the cultus and nation, now disappear (see on 5:17–48). The Son of Man comes.
Above all this interpretation makes contextual sense of v. 23. The connection is not with v. 22 alone but with vv. 17–22, which picture the suffering witness of the church in the post-Pentecost period during a time when many of Jesus’ disciples are still bound up with the synagogue. During that period, Jesus says in v. 23, his disciples must not use the opposition to justify quitting or bravado. Far from it. When they face persecution, they must take it as no more than a signal for strategic withdrawal to the next city (W. Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, 2 vols. [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 1:378–80) where witness must continue, for the time is short. They will not have finished evangelizing the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes in judgment on Israel.” (Carson, Ibid.).
In addition to Carson’s comments, I would argue that the coming of the Son of Man in verse 23 is not just connected to verses 17-22, but would include Jesus’ announcement that the Kingdom was “at hand” in verse 7 and “the judgment” coming upon the “villages” and “towns” of 15 also point to Christ coming upon Jerusalem in AD 70.
Herman Ridderbos is partially correct when he tries to say that it is not the mission of the disciples that is the issue, but the persecution in this passage (Herman Ridderbos, The COMING of the KINGDOM, (P&R pub., 1962), pp. 508-509). But the truth of the matter is that both go hand in hand. The OT echo and background here is the “city of refuge” in which individuals unjustly convicted of crimes could flee to for safety when wrongly accused or persecuted (cf. Ex. 21; 13; Num. 35:6, 11, 14; Deut. 21:2, 9; Josh. 20:1-9). With this being the background some have actually translated the text as,
“But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish fleeing to all the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”
These cities being evangelized would obviously fall under the umbrella of the gospel having been preached to “every creature under heaven” and in “all the world/earth” and to “all nations” Cols.1:5-6, 23; Rms.10:18; Rms.16:25-26 prior to AD 70. Not all the cities would have persecuted them during their missionary journeys but when they were, they were promised to have a city to flee to for safety. We also know from history that the Christians fled to Pella (a city of refuge) when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies as predicted and directed by our Lord Luke 21:20ff.
While briefly here in Matthew 10:17-23, I should point out that a lot of Rreformed theologians try and say that this coming of the Son of Man was fulfilled in the resurrection or ascension events. Yet, as Carson observed, the text is inseparably linked to the preaching and persecutions that precede it. Therefore, the challenge for this is to demonstrate where is it EVER recorded in the NT that the disciples were: 1) “delivered up to councils” in verse 17, 2) “scourged in the synagogues” in verse 17, and 3) given the Holy Spirit to be “brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them and the Gentiles” vs. 19-20, prior to the resurrection and ascension? All of these events are recorded for us in the book of Acts and took place AFTER the resurrection and ascension of Christ and not before it. Selah. However, all of these events occurred before Christ came on the clouds to make an “end” of the Jewish or OC age in AD 70 and “save” His people from the wrath that was to engulf Jerusalem. The persecution and fleeing passages are inseparably linked to the time of “the end.” The chapter ends with those among Israel whom will receive a “prophet’s reward” Matt.10:40-42. These “prophets” in the context, are the disciples (cf. Matt. 23:34-36) whom some of which were promised to be alive to witness the Son of Man coming to reward every man (Matt.16:27-28/Rev. 22:12) as I proved in Part 1 of this series
The persecution connected to “the end” here in Matthew 10:22-23 and that of Matthew 24:3, 12, 14 is once again pointing us back to Daniel’s “time of the end” or “the end” of the Seventy Sevens which again find their fulfillment in AD 70 (cf. Dan. 9:24-27; 12:1-13). In connection with the coming of the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13 the contextual setting was prophesied that the little horn would wage war against the saints (thus inferring martyrdom) before they could poses and inherit the kingdom. This is what we are seeing in both Matthew 10:7, 17-23 (persecution takes place in light of the fact that the “kingdom is at hand” — connected to the coming of the Son of Man) and Matthew 24/Mark 13/Luke 21:27, 31-23 (persecution, kingdom at hand or at the door, and coming of the Son of Man predicted to take place within their “this generation”).
Here are some of the other parallels:

Matthew 10:17-23 Olivet Discourse
1.     Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Matt. 10:17 1.     Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Mark 13:9
2.     Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Matt. 10:18 2.     Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Mark 13:9
3.     Holy Spirit would speak through them – Matt. 10:19-20 3.     Holy Spirit would speak through them –    Mark 13:11
4.     Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be saved – Matt. 10:22 4.     Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” – Mark 13:12-13
5.     The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. Matt. 10:23 5.     The disciples (and later Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place. Matthew 24:14/Mark 13:10

D.A. Carson claims that the coming of the Son of Man and “the end” in Matthew 10:17-23 have to refer to Christ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70 because of the unique cultural and temporal indicators describing the disciples persecutions (“local councils” and “synagogues” etc…) that are inseparably connected to the time frame of the coming of the Son of Man. But these SAME cultural and temporal indicators are inseparably connected to the coming of the Son of Man in the Olivet Discourse – which pose a problem for both Carson and White!
It is ultimately Carson working from a creedal bias and faulty assumptions that the coming of the Son of Man in judgment upon Jerusalem in Matthew 10:17-23 cannot be the Second Coming event as is described in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 that forces him to not see Full Preterism. This causes him to hastily brush aside these parallels and Jesus’ teaching in the OD in which Christ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem is the Second Coming event which brought about “the end” of her age or OC age in AD 70. Where is Carson’s exegetical work on Jesus’ OT echo here for “the end” which posit the destruction of the Temple and City (in AD 70) to be the time for the judgment and resurrection of the dead to take place (ie. Daniel 12:1-13)?
In allowing Jesus to interpret Himself in comparing the persecution of the first century pre-AD 70 disciples in our text Matt. 24:13 with that of “the end” in (Matt. 10:17-23/Mark 13) we see that “the end” is not the end of an individual’s life pre or post AD 70 as White merely assumes, but Daniel’s “time of the end” and in the immediate context “the end of the age” the disciples asked about. White did absolutely no paralleling (“harmonization”) with Mark 13 or addressed this same subject in the gospel of Matthew in chapter 10. Sloppy use of hermeneutics and exposition on White’s part and his church need to be Bereans and challenge him on his “dreaded” approach to Matthew 24.
We will revisit what this “the end” is once we get to verse 14 – where White creates all kinds of problems for himself. But first let’s address the sign of the apostasy in this passage.
At this point we are getting into what Riddlebarger observed in that how one interprets the OD will form ones “millennial view” to some extent (Riddlebarger, Ibid., 157). What are the “days” (plural) that lead up to “the day” (singular) of Christ’s coming and judgment throughout Matthew 24? White’s Amillennialism and that of the “Two-Age Model” would teach these are describing the NT’s use of the “last days” of the Church age in which the “last day” of the Second Coming takes place. So for Amillennialists is Matthew 24 and say 2 Timothy 3 teaching an “optimistic Amillennial view” or what some call a “pessimistic Amillennial view?” Now some Reformed Partial Preterists have taken the NT’s use of the “last days” to be exclusively from roughly from AD 30 – AD 70 referring not to the last days of the Church or NC age, but the last days of the Jewish or OC age ending in AD 70 (Chilton, DeMar, etc…). However, some like Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison like to try and “have their cake and eat it to” when it comes to the “last days” and persecution or apostasy is the subject. Why? Because Postmillennial Partial Preterists in debating “pessimistic Dispensationalists” or “pessimistic Postmillennialists” here in Matthew 24:12 and 2 Timothy 3 would like to get this fulfilled in a Preterist “past” time frame so that they can promote an “optimistic Postmillennialism.” Since their eschatology has the vast majority of the nations of the world being Christianized right before the Second Coming takes place, passages like these HAVE to be already be fulfilled in the past or in throws a monkey wrench into their eschatology. I addressed this “doubletalk” in my response to Keith Mathison in our book:
“Mathison says that 2 Timothy 3:1 and 2 Peter 3:3 imply that the last days are still future. Let us see if that interpretation holds water.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come (2 Tim. 3:1).
In his book, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope, Mathison writes to futurists concerning this verse and its context:
The . . . “last days” . . . and similar phrases are often used to refer to the last days of the Jewish age (e.g., Heb. 1:2; 1Pet.1:20; 1John 2:18). . . . [This passage] speaks to a pastoral situation that Timothy was dealing with in his own day. It is not a prophecyof conditions at the end of the world.[4]
But five years later, in WSTTB, when debating “hyper preterists,” Mathison says that the very same last days prophecy (2 Tim. 3:1) will be fulfilled in our future:
. . . [Some] New Testament texts . . . seem to refer to “the last days” as something yet to come. Paul, for example, warns Timothy that “In the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3:1; cf. 1 Tim. 4:1). Peter warns his readers “that scoffers will come in the last days” (2 Peter 3:3). [Paul and Peter] say . . . that “the last days” will be the time in which something that is future will happen. The coming of “perilous times” and of “scoffers” is explicitly said to be future. The future times during which these things will come is called “the last days.” The implication is that “the last days” referred to in these texts are still future.
So while we are already in the last days, there is still some sense in which the last days can be considered future.[5]
But then yet another five years later, in his new book, From Age to Age, Mathison reverts to the biblical-preterist view that the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1 refer to the first century.
According to some, these verses refer to an apostasy to occur in the time immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus. There are at least three reasons, however, to doubt this conclusion.[6]
Who do we believe? The 1999 preterist Mathison (Postmillennialism) or the 2004 futurist Mathison (WSTTB) or the 2009 preterist Mathison (From Age to Age)? Are the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1 the last days of the “Jewish age,” as Mathison implies while defending partial preterist postmillennialism against other futurists? Or are the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1 the last days of a future end of world history, as Mathison implies while attempting to refute biblical preterism?
Mathison says “the last days” are past when he is refuting other futurists because he knows that if “the last days” are still future, then the growing and increasing apostasy which characterizes those “perilous times” are still present and future for us as well; and if this is the case, then there is nothing left to his “optimistic” and “successful” postmillennial “golden age” that will gradually blossom before Jesus allegedly comes back peacefully for His Second (Third) Coming in our future.
But Mathison does not concern himself with this implication of making “the last days” future when he refutes “hyper-preterists.” His only concern when dealing with us is to counter “hyper-preterism” at any cost, even, apparently, at the cost of his own doctrinal integrity.
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts. (2 Peter 3:3)
The majority of futurist commentators, men such as Mathison’s coauthor Simon Kistemaker, are certain (as are we) that Peter’s “last days” involves at least one or two signs that Jesus spoke of in the Olivet Discourse, namely, false prophets and the apostasy (2 Peter 1:16; 2:1ff; cf. Matt. 24:3–5, 11, 23–26; 27–34). This fact leads us to an AD 70 fulfillment, not a future-to-us fulfillment.
The “mockers” and “ungodly men” of 2 Peter 3:3–7 are the “false teachers” of 2 Peter 2:1–3, whose destruction was imminent in Peter’s day. Partial preterist Peter Leithart writes of these false teachers and mockers:
Peter says explicitly that the destruction of false teachers is coming “soon.” Their destruction is the same event as the destruction of the present heavens and earth, the “day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (3:7). If the destruction of false teachers was near when Peter wrote, so also was the destruction of the heavens and earth and the coming of a new heavens and earth.[7]
Peter responds to mockers who doubt the promise of Jesus’ coming because time has passed without any sign of the Parousia.
If there were no time limit on the original prophecy, then the mockers would have no grounds for their mockery and no way to attract converts to their skeptical views. Therefore, the original prophecy must have included a time limit, a terminus ad quem, and that time limit must have been the lifetime of the apostles.16
Since these mockers were already present, it is illogical for Mathison to say that the perilous times of the last days will take place in our future (190). There is not one scintilla of evidence, whether explicit or implicit, for Mathison’s contention that “the future” for Peter and his audience is still “the future” for us.
According to Isaiah, the coming of the Lord and His righteous judgment of these scoffers would be likened to the Lord’s return in judgment upon the Philistines and the Amorites at Mount Perazim and the Valley of Gibeon (Isa. 28:21). These were not global judgments that burned the face of the planet or that disintegrated the elements of the periodic table.
Isaiah repeatedly tells us that there were to be “survivors” of this “Day of the Lord” even after the “earth”/“land” is burned with fire and the new creation takes its place (Isa. 1–5; 24–25; 65–66). This precludes the notion that Isaiah was speaking of a fiery destruction of the face of planet Earth and of the stars and planets.
The Law and the Prophets never predicted a literal torching of the planet. “The last days” were the last days before the judgment of apostate, old covenant Judah/Jerusalem and the “elements” (rudiments) of her world, and cannot be applied to an alleged ending of the eternal, new covenant age/world. There can be no “last days” of an age that has “no end” (Isa. 9:7; Eph. 3:21). There is therefore no 2000+ year extension or expansion of the “last days” into our future, as Mathison and other futurists theorize.” (Sullivan, Green, Hassertt, House Divided, Ibid., pp. 81-84).
Recently, Mr. Gentry has sought to take issue with White’s Amillennialism in 2 Timothy 3 and is arguing for a first century fulfillment of the passage while at the same time trying to be more “orthodox” on the “last days” claiming the Church is still in those days. For Gentry’s form of Partial Preterism (and apparently that of Mathison), he has ONE eschatological “last days” period that spans through TWO eschatological “already not yet” periods which end two ages (OC age in AD 70 and the Churches at the end of world history). Of course Gentry is extremely arbitrary in this construction that is neither creedal nor Biblical (as White, Riddlebarger, Strimple, and Full Preterists have pointed out). As I pointed out Gentry and Mathison have other problems with these passages in that they describe “signs” in Matthew 24 that they say were fulfilled in AD 70, while trying to claim 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 3 need to have a future fulfillment when in fact these chapters are inseparably connect to the same AD 70 fulfillment signs! They should have listened to their Partial Preterist brethren and that of Full Preterists on these passages but they would not.
And because White fails to understand that this specific sign of apostasy here in Matthew 24:12 was to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (not in the Church age post AD 70) and that the “last days” and apostasy described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is describing the “last days” of the Jewish or OC age, he too incorrectly interprets these passages. Since White has already told us that “the truth can be found in the middle (of classical Amillennialism & Partial Preterism) let’s solve this tiff between Gentry and White on these passages:
James White (Classic Amillennialism) – The “last days” span between the “Two-Age-Model” of Jesus’ and the NT’s teaching on the signs of persecution, apostasy, and false teachers found in Matthew 24; 2 Timothy 3; and 2 Peter 3.
Gary DeMar (AV Partial Preterism) – The “days” leading up to “that day” in Matthew 24 and the NT’s use of the “last days” are describing, leading up to, and were fulfilled when the OC age ended in AD 70 and therefore Matthew 24; 2 Timothy 3; and 2 Peter 3 were fulfilled by AD 70.
Michael Sullivan (Full Preterism synthesis “truth is in the middle”) – The “last days” of the OC age ended in AD 70 and were a span of time that that were between the NT’s “Two-Age-Model” (not three per Gentry and even DeMar – both claim “the end of the age” in Matt. 28:18-20 is still future) found describing the signs of persecution, apostasy, and false teachers found in Matthew 24; 2 Timothy 3; and 2 Peter 3. Therefore, all three passages have already been fulfilled (cf. Luke 21:22/1 Peter 1:4-12/2 Peter 4:5-7/2 Tim. 4:1YLT).
But having taken a necessary and exegetical “rabbit trail” here in looking at the “last days” signs found in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 2 Peter 3 in developing Matthew 24:9-13, it would be nice to hear how Gentry believes the living and dead were judged in AD 70: “I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his reign” (2 Tim. 4:1YLT/1 Peter 4:5-7). Selah. It’s always fun to watch a Partial Preterist squirm and address that topic – trying to explain to Amillennialists and Full Preterists how the NT supposedly teaches TWO judgments and resurrections from the dead. All the while they try and keep a straight face and tell you that they are creedal and their views don’t lead to Full Preterism – lol.
“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)
Based upon everything you hear up to this point in listening to James White’s treatment of  Matthew 24 up to this point is a lot of eisegesis and very disappointing. But once he gets to Matthew 24:14 he catches you a bit by surprise. White actually claims that in interpreting this passage and (Mark 13:10) we should understand the terms “whole world” and “all nations” in a “local” first century context in relation to the Roman world or the world as they knew it — and for support he goes to Colossians 1:5-6, 23 in fulfillment of these passages in Paul’s day! You would think you are listening to a Partial Preterist or Full Preterist at this point. But what White says of this passage creates some exegetical problems for him.
First, “the end” in verse 14 is referring contextually to “the end of the age” the disciples asked about in v. 3. This is the same problem White ran into with “the end” in 24:13. Even Kim Riddlebarger (whom White claims he is following for the most part) admits “In verse 14, Jesus gave another sign of the end of the age…” (Riddlebarger, Ibid., 166). Well, if v. 14 is a “sign of the end of the age” the disciples asked about, then contextually one of the signs of “the end of the age” was fulfilled in Paul’s day. That being the case, then “the end of the age” or “the end” refers to the OC age that Paul identified as “shortly” coming to an end in his day (1 Cor. 7:29, 31; 1 Cor. 10:11).
Secondly, if the sign (of the end of the age) concerning the Gospel being preached to the “whole world” and to “all nations” was fulfilled just prior to AD 70 (White citing Cols. 1:5-6, 23), then “the end” or “the end of the (OC) age” is what the disciples asked about and clearly what Jesus is saying would be fulfilled within their AD 30 – AD “this generation” (Matt. 24:34). But to do this, it takes White out of his “Two-Age-Model!” So what do you do? One might substitute “the end” or “end of the age” with the “apostolic age”? Since White claims he is following Riddlebarger for the most part let’s quote him a bit more on this verse. I want you to pay attention to his use of the “apostolic age” and also his references to the “Roman Empire” and Acts 1:8:
Clearly, this sign (of the end of the age), extended not only to the apostolic age, in which the gospel was proclaimed throughout most of the Roman Empire by A.D. 70 (cf. Acts 1:8). But this same gospel which Jesus preached must be preached to all nations before the end of the age. This idea applies to the end of the age and second coming advent, not the events of A.D. 70.” (Ibid.)
“Clearly” Riddlebarger must know that the NT does not mention anything about an “apostolic age” since we have to remind him that he only holds to a “Two-Age-Model.” If Acts 1:8 is referring to the Roman Empire, then the gospel had been preached throughout the Roman Empire just prior to the end of the OC age in AD 70. So when you compare what White is saying of Matthew 24:14/Mark 13:10/Colossians 1:5-6, 23 as referring to the “known world at that time” / “Roman world” / “nations” being “local” not global, and Riddlebarger claiming the “ends of the earth” is referring to the Roman Empire in (Acts 1:8) – you have to kind of scratch your head a bit. “Clearly” Riddlebarger and White are confused. Every Greek word Jesus uses for the fulfillment of the GC, the Apostle Paul turns right around and uses (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to teach that the GC had already been fulfilled in his day:

“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 but rather the nations of the Roman Empire or “the inhabited world as they knew it” in the first century as Riddlebarger and White have admitted to these Biblical definitions!
“Clearly,” Paul in Colossians 1:5-6, 23 and in Romans 10:18 does not say that the gospel had been preached into “most” of the “end of the earth” – just that it had been preached to “all the earth” and to “the ends of the earth” just as the end of the OC age was approaching. And “clearly” within the context of Matthew 24:14 there is no mention of this being fulfilled by the “apostolic age” – the only “the end” is referring to the “end of the (OC) age” connected to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. I would rather follow the Paul’s inspired teachings and thus his development of NT imminence (that is really imminent) than Riddlebarger and White who feel way to comfortable “going beyond what is written.”
Although I would disagree with John Murray and what he views as fulfilled in AD 70 and what is allegedly future, I would agree with his observations that like other prophetic material (such as the book of Revelation), Jesus in the OD is using the commonly practiced use of “recapitulation” throughout:
“1. The discourse, as to structure, is recapitulatory to a considerable extent. It is not, therefore, continuously progressive. We are repeatedly brought to the advent and informed of its various features, concomitants, and consequences (vss. 14, 29-31, 37-41, 25:31-46).” John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2: Systematic Theology, (Carlisle, PA: THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), 398-399).
Murray’s structure is spot on and creates problems for White’s exegesis so far in what he and Riddlebarger have said of the GC described in Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10 in their appeals to Colossians 1:5-6, 23 and Acts 1:8 with how Paul understood these terms of the commission being fulfilled just prior to the end of the OC age asked about in Matt. 24:3 (not the “apostolic age”) approaching AD 66 – AD 70. It also creates problems for Partial Preterists who claim Matthew 24:30-31 is descriptive of a second GC commission (removed from v. 14) gathering post AD 70 and not the actual ONE “Second Advent” or “end of the age” gathering and resurrection described for us in Matthew 13:39-43/Matthew 24:30-31. Matthew 24:30-31 is not a second GC, but is the “recapitulation” of the consummation or fulfillment found in v. 14! Again, let me stress, the gathering of the elect at the Second Coming (the fulfillment of the harvest) fulfills the GC of v. 14.
But I think Murray misses that Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23 is also a recapitulated consummation scene to the disciples question in v. 3 as well. And to that subject we now turn our attention to.
“The abomination that causes desolation” “Then let those who are in Judea flee” (vss. 15-20) “For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” (Luke 21:20-22)
We finally reach some passages that James White is willing to admit have been 100% fulfilled by AD 70 (at least in Matthew’s account). In the previous passages White criticizes and mocks Dispensationalism’s futuristic treatment of the signs and yet we have found that White ironically gives them the same kind of futuristic double-type fulfillments that fuels the “extremes” of newspaper Dispensational eschatology! But now it is safe to say White is separating himself from Dispensationalists when it comes to agree with Partial Preterists and Full Preterists that these verses have been fulfilled by AD 70.
White at this point of his exegesis of Matthew 24 finally wants to do some “harmonization” between Matthew 24:15-20 with other parallel accounts to the OD such as Luke 21:20-23. Why? Well, mostly it is to further mock Dispensationalism. But putting that aside, White is correct to point out to Dispensationalists that there is no need for a future re-built Temple to fulfill this passage. Nor is their understanding of trying to identify a future to us “anti-Christ” (“alive and well on planet earth”) to do abominable acts in this future to us re-built Temple in hopes of fulfilling this passage. Why? Because a “harmonization” of Matthew 24:15-20 with that of Luke 21:20-23 concerning this “desolation” makes it plain that the Roman armies on Jerusalem’s land (surrounding the City and Temple area) would be an “abomination” to the Jew, and thus a fulfillment of the Daniel 9:27 Jesus references.
White is correct to point out the clear AD 70 local and temporal indicators within the (Matt. 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23) passages such as:

  1. The surrounding of Jerusalem being the Romans in AD 66.
  2. The flight of the Christian Jews from Jerusalem to the city to Pella.
  3. References to “Judea” and pre-AD 70 cultural references to one being on a “roof.”

For White, Partial Preterists and Full Preterists this is sound hermeneutical ground to see these passages as being fulfilled in the events of AD 66 – AD 70.
But of course it is my job as a “Berean,” thorough exegete, and a Full Preterist theologian to bring up and address issues White did not address on these passages:

  1. If I recall there was no mention or exegesis of what the, “For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” passage means (Luke 21:22) which of course is sandwiched in-between the abomination and desolation/flight of (Matt. 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23).
  2. Since White appealed to D.A. Carson on how “difficult” and yet significant and important Matthew 24 is to how one will interpret his eschatology say in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, we should ask ourselves where else could this AD 66 – AD 70 “wrath” be described in Thessalonians? This is especially relevant as it pertains to passages that have been brought up in Muslim debates and articles addressed to Sam Shamoun etc…
  3. There was no real exegesis from White on the OT echo or reference Jesus brings up in Daniel 9:27 which is the fulfillment of the Seventy Sevens of Daniel 9:24-27 and how those verses could have been fulfilled by AD 70. Exegetically speaking, anytime a NT author quotes or alludes to an OT reference, it is the Christian exegete’s responsibility to develop that OT context to see how, what, when, and where that context applies to the NT author’s use of the passage in the NT.

Daniel 2 / 7 / 9 / 12 recapitulation and Matthew 24:15/Luke 21:22 “all things written”
As the book of Revelation and Matthew 24-25 are written in a common prophetic “recapitulation,” structure understood in the context of Jesus’ day, so too was the prophetic book of Daniel. So if Jesus says that Daniel 9:27 would be fulfilled by AD 70 that isn’t exactly the end of the issue. Because in context, Daniel 9:27 is the climax of the redemptive events being fulfilled for the entire Seventy Seven’s prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. And have some of these same events been recapitulated previously in say chapters 2 and 7, and will they be recapitulated again in chapter 12 with indicators that they too would all be fulfilled by AD 70 – ie. “all things written” (the coming of the Son of Man, the judgment, and resurrection) (Luke 21:22/Matt. 5:17-18)?
Daniel 2 – Nebuchadnezzar has a dream which troubles him. He seeks to have his wise men to tell him what he dreamt and its interpretation. No one could do this except the God of Daniel. The dream was of a statue which represented four world powers (1. Head of gold = Babylon, 2. Chest and arms of silver = Medo-Persia, 3. Belly and thighs of bronze = Greece, and 4. Legs of iron and feet of clay = Roman (and possibly the Hasmonean dynasty). It is revealed that the God of heaven will establish His everlasting Kingdom that will never be destroyed through the use of a “stone cut out of a mountain without hands” that will strike the feet of the statue (during the time of the Roman Kingdom).
Daniel 7 – This is the time for the eschatological judgment when the Ancient of Days would open the books. In verse 13 in the (OG) LXX it depicts one like a Son of Man coming with/upon the clouds of heaven “as the Ancient of days.” Daniel wants to understand more about this and is given an angelic interpretation in vss. 19-27. We are told that a “little horn” from the “fourth beast” (Rome) would wage war against the saints (implying persecution and martyrdom) before the Ancient of Days would come in judgment and the saints could “poses” or inherit the kingdom.
Jesus and the book of Revelation depict Christ coming as the Son of Man upon the clouds and as the Ancient of Days in His Second Advent (Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:30-31—25:31; Rev. 1:7-18). The Second Advent of the Son of Man and His Kingdom (cf. Luke 21:27, 31-32; Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1) is described to take place within some of lifetimes of Jesus’ first century audience and in their “this generation.” This is consistent with an AD 70 imminent “shortly” fulfillment of Christ’s coming as the Ancient of days in judgment found in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1—-22:20).
So before getting into Daniel 9:27, we can see that there has been a “recapitulation” of progressive development of how and when God’s everlasting Kingdom will come during the time of the Roman Empire. In chapter 2 why find out that it comes during the time of the fourth kingdom (Rome) and that it comes in the form of a Stone (Jesus Christ the Chief Corner Stone) bringing an end to the times of the Gentiles (we will get into that when approaching Luke 21:24 – shortly). Recapitulation in the form of progressive revelation (or description of this same event) further describes the coming Stone as a Son of Man coming upon the clouds “as the Ancient of Days” in judgment upon the little horn of the fourth beast (Rome) at which time the Kingdom is established. But here we are given further information about the same end time judgment event in that there is persecution for the saints before they can inherit this spiritual and eternal kingdom.
Daniel 9:24-27 – As I stated earlier, since there is no disagreement between myself, White, Rogers, and Shamoun, on the fulfillment of Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23 being fulfilled by AD 70, I want to develop the context and spend a little more time on the immediate context of Daniel 9:24-27.
This too is one of those allegedly “difficult” passages to interpret but it really isn’t. As we have seen so far in Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24, the truth is easy to see and has been a synthesis or combination of the Classical Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist views. The truth of the matter is that a easy explanation of the Seventy Sevens is found “in the middle” of two Christian views that have been seen as contradictory (working within the box of the creeds), but when combined together actually form the Biblical view.
View #1 – Many of the early church fathers and even exegetes today (even Partial Preterists) find the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24-27 in Christ’s appearance in the flesh, His death, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 – closing the OC age. Many within this view try and make the prophecy be a literal 490 years.
View #2 – Other church fathers and even modern theologians have interpreted the prophecy from the Babylonian Exile to the kingdom’s arrival attended by the Second Coming of Christ – at the end of the days or end of the Church age. This view understands the Seventy Sevens (or as some call them “The Seventy Weeks”) not to be a literal 490 years, but a prophetic and symbolic period of time.
My View – (synthesis “Reformed and always reforming”) – The Seventy Sevens is a prophetic and or symbolic period of time from God calling His people back into their land from the Babylon captivity (through Cyrus’ decree – under Nehemiah and Ezra leadership), to Christ in His Second Advent gathering His elect “in Him/the Kingdom/Heavenly Land” from Babylonian captivity (out from among the OC apostate “Great City” Jerusalem) at the close of the OC age in AD 70.
As we have seen thus far, Jesus identifies the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and Her Temple with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Dan. 9:24a, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22). Daniel 9:27 is brings an “…the end that is decreed” – that is it is the climatic event or the last seven that fulfills “Seventy sevens decreed for” Daniel’s people and their city of (Dan. 9:24). So whatever these six redemptive (from cross to parousia) events are depicted in this decree and these verses, they will be (in a nut-shell) the fulfillment of “all things written” (Luke 21:22). And as this information will be progressively built upon through recapitulation into Daniel 12:1-13, we will see that this is clearly the time of the judgment and resurrection of the dead as well (“all things written”).
The strengths of view #1 or the Partial Preterist view is that it tries to honor Christ’s teaching that the prophecy somehow must be fulfilled with a reference to AD 70 but it doesn’t exactly know how to get there.
But the problems for this view are two-fold.
First, the argue for a literal 490 years chronology of fulfillment claiming the seventy sevens (filled with redemptive material) were fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Christ (roughly in AD 26 – AD 30) and then reference the destruction of AD 70 as kind of addendum or exclamation mark to it. After all how could AD 70 be considered a redemptive event that would bring an end to sin?
Secondly, seeing that the problem in that the math doesn’t work, some have had to suggest a 40 years “gap” in the chronology from AD 30 – Christ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70. This is ironic because these same individuals criticize Dispensationalism for taking the prophecy for a literal 490 years (like they do) and placing a “gap” of thousands of years between the 69th and 70th. Weeks. Taking this prophecy with a literal 490 years is the first error, and the second is creating a “gap theory” (of 40 or thousands of years).
The strengths of view #2 is that it eliminates and solves the math problem by demonstrating that a more symbolic period marked by the number (seventy sevens) makes more sense. Its other strength is that it sees some of the redemptive aspects contained in Daniel 9:24-27 to be referring to Christ’s Second Coming at “the end of the age.” After all the Second Coming does have redemptive aspects to it – not just the cross and resurrection of Christ.
There are at least 5 problems I see with view #2.
It errs in failing to acknowledge that Christ posits His redemptive “end” or the unfolding of the kingdom to be fulfilled:  1. During the time of the Roman Empire (not at the end of world history), 2. During the time of the destruction of the Temple and City (Dan. 9:24, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22), 3. “the end” or “end of the age” in (Matt. 24:3, 14) is referring to the end of the OC age in AD 70 (again not the end of world history) 4. 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).
Let’s now turn our attention to the Biblical view. Commenting on the seventy sevens prophecy as being a symbolic period of time marked by the number 7 and tying it into God’s Sabbath rrest Lee Irons and Meredith Kline write:
“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.” (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 on the point that this is not a reference to a literal 490 years of chronology:  “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 as much 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 שָׁבֻעִים or 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 called שָׁבֻעִים. Thus the idea of year-weeks has no exegetical foundation. Hofmann and Kliefoth are in the right when they remark that שָׁבֻעִים does 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).
Irons and Kline also point out that symbolism using sevens is not an unusual way of communicating within the Jewish world and give the genealogy of Matthew 1:1-17 (whereby evidence is given that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah) as an example:
“Similarly, in his genealogy of Christ, Matthew employs sabbatical theology to structure history.  He purposely dropped at least four names and counted David twice to construct a sabbatical structure of the history of redemption from Abraham to the Messiah.  He states that from Abraham to David is 14 generations; from David to the captivity is 14 generations; and from the captivity to Messiah, 14 generations (Matt.1:17).  This was intentional:  the author purposely wanted to stress this numerical system, primarily because of its sabbatical symbolism (3×14 = 6×7); the generations of the Messiah represents the seventh seven, thereby showing that it is He who inaugurates the ultimate Sabbath rest for the people of God, the eschatological age.  Matthew employs sabbatical symbolism to underscore one of his major themes:  the Messiah’s advent constitutes the apex and fulfillment of redemptive history.” (Irons and Kline, Ibid., 227).
The book of Hebrews in chapters 3-4 tells us that entering the land and Sabbath rest were typological pointing to “another day” of Sabbath rest coming. This is the second appearing or “the Day approaching” in (Heb. 10:25, 37) that was coming in a “very little while” and would “not be delayed” in which God’s raging fire was “about to” consume the enemies of God – “his people” (Heb. 10:27 YLT, 30).  In Hebrews 9:26-28 we are told that Jesus appeared in Israel’s “last days” “at the end of [the OC] age” (this is in “the end” or “the end that is decreed” for the seventy sevens to be fulfilled) “to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself…” “…sacrificed to take away the sins of many;” (cf. Dan. 9:27) and “bring salvation to those who are waiting” “a second time.”  Hebrews 9:26-28 so accurately describes the work of Messiah in the last seven of the seventy sevens (his redemptive work being accomplished from His First and Second Appearings as the Churches Great High Priest).
Simply put, the prophecy of the seventy sevens symbolizes a period between the imminent fall of Babylon in Daniel’s day (in 538 BC) to the imminent fall of “Babylon” (the old order or old covenant “Jerusalem” the apostate “Great City” or “Harlot” of Revelation) in John’s day (in AD 70) – a period covering roughly 608 literal years (not 490).  The book of Revelation is outlined with the number 7 representing perfection/completion, Sabbath rest and New Creation motifs (7 churches, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 angels with 7 plagues, 7 bowls of God’s wrath, etc…  Revelation 22 depicts entering into this Sabbath or New Creation rest after Babylon’s/Jerusalem’s fall in an imminent AD 70 time frame (the same imminent time frame we see in the book of Hebrews):  “…sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place,” “Behold I am coming soon,” “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near,” (cf. Rev. 22:6-7, 10-12, 20).
Daniel 9:24 – Here are the main elements of the seventy sevens in Daniel 9:24-27 to be fulfilled for the people and her city Jerusalem:

  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).
  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 wickedness or 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 Christ’s return in AD 70, He brought in “everlasting righteousness” or a “world of righteousness” in 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 be reckoned — 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).
  5. To seal up vision and prophecy –  Jesus teaching is clear, all of Israel’s promises and prophetic material concerning His redemptive work  would be accomplished within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 21:22-32).  Prophecy 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).  Therefore, all the eschatological promises made to Israel concerning vision and prophecy were fulfilled or sealed up by AD 70 in fulfillment of the seventy sevens prophecy.  This effective destroys all of the “last days” cults and Islam whom claim that they were given divine revelation and that their “prophets” (Muhammad, Joseph Smith, the Watchtower, etc…) have legitimacy.
  6. To anoint the most holy – 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). The New Jerusalem is pictured as the anointed and perfected Most Holy Place (a perfect cube) coming down from heaven to earth in Revelation 21. This was all to be fulfilled in an AD 70 “at hand,” “soon,” “shortly,” “quickly” “about to be” time period (Rev. 1:1—22:6-20).

Daniel 9:25 – The “decree (of Cyrus) to restore and re-build Jerusalem” is found in (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Isa. 44:24, 26, 28; 45:13; cf. Josephus, Antiquities, xi, 6, 12).  It’s rebuilding in the “difficult times” of Ezra and Nehemiah can be read in those OT books.  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.
Daniel 9:26 – The Anointed One/Prince/Ruler/Leader/Messiah (Jesus the Christ), would be “cut off” after the 62 sevens.  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 and it’s 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 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).
As we can see, if Jesus fulfilled Daniel 9:27, then He fulfilled the last seven – ALL of the redemptive events from His First Coming to His Second when He came upon the clouds of heaven to judge Jerusalem in AD 70. This was not just a physical “salvation” and flight to Pella. That was an outward show of a physical salvation that demonstrated what Christ Had done within His people in atoning for their Sins.
So from the birth of Israel’s King and Messiah (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 OC “Jerusalem/Babylon” (an administration of death) into the freedom/rest and salvation found not “in the land” but “in Christ” – in the NC or New Jerusalem wherein is eternal life.  Selah.
I want to turn our attention to how Daniel 12 now recapitulates events within chapters 7 and 9 and makes clearer that AD 70 would be the time of the resurrection to be fulfilled – thus “all that is written” would be fulfilled when God would judge OC Jerusalem.

Daniel 7 & 9 Daniel 12
Dan. 7 – Time of persecution – “war” with saints and they are “defeated” for a time before Son of Man comes and they inherit the Kingdom. Time of great distress – persecution before judgment and resurrection takes place.
Dan. 7 – Time of judgment – books were opened Time of judgment – Those written in the book would be delivered.
Dan. 9:24-27 – finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, anoint the most holy (Christ as HP – redemption accomplished and applied – from First to Second Comings – last seven). Here is made more clear that the six redemptive events in the seventy sevens was the time of the resurrection
Dan. 7 – When? – “Time, times and half a time” (3 ½)  Dan. 9 – in the middle of the last 7 (3 ½). When? – “Time, times, and half a time” (3 ½)
Dan. 9 – “end of decree” “the end” of the seventy sevens. Time of the end.”
Dan. 9 – When destruction of Jerusalem takes place, is when all the redemptive events of the seventy sevens are fulfilled. When destruction of Jerusalem takes place (“when the power of the holy people is completely shattered”) “all these things” (including judgment and resurrection) – all is fulfilled.

As one can see, Daniel and Jesus placed the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 to be the time frame when:   1).  the Son of Man would come upon the clouds, 2).  the judgment and resurrection of the dead,  and 3).  the time that the saints would inherit the Kingdom.  Jesus in Matthew 24/Luke 21 states that all of these events would be fulfilled in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (see chart in Part 2 comparing Daniel 12 with OD).
Concluding meditations upon Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23 – If the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 fulfilled the seventy sevens prophecy, then Christ as the Churches Great High Priest came a “Second Time” to the eagerly awaiting congregation to accomplish/fulfill and apply (sprinkle the blood) His redemption (from sin) for Her. Anthony Rogers believes Hebrews 9:26-28/10:37 was fulfilled in AD 70, therefore, AD 70 was much more than just a physical salvation or deliverance. If we didn’t get this in Daniel 7-9 God makes it even clearer in chapter 12 in which it is unambiguously taught that when the destruction of the City takes place – it is the time for the judgment and resurrection to be fulfilled. Thus this is how we are to understand how “all things written” were fulfilled by Jesus in AD 70 (cf. Luke 21:20-22). I will have more to say upon this subject once we discuss the “heaven and earth” passing away of Matthew 24:35 and connecting this as the time Jesus fulfilled ALL the law and prophets in Matthew 5:17-18.
If I recall, White avoids any discussion or harmonization of Luke 21:22 in his treatment of Matthew 24:15-20. Nor does he do any exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27 of which Jesus references in Matthew 24:15. And if I recall Anthony Rogers does not address these issues either. I find this to be sloppy and inadequate exegesis – to say the very least.
So if you turn to one of the authors White recommends and is following (Kim Riddlebarger), you will quickly see that he quotes Kline favorably. Concerning the last 3 ½ or broken seven period he quotes Kline:
“The last week is the age of the church in the wilderness of the nations for a time, a times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14). Since the seventy weeks are ten jubilee eras that issue in the last jubilee, the seventieth week closes with 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. Then the new Jerusalem whose temple is the Lord and the Lamb will descend from heaven (Rev. 21:10, 22) and the ark of the covenant will be seen (Rev. 11:19), the covenant the Lamb has made to prevail and the Lord as remembered.” (Ibid., 155).
And Riddlebarger commenting on this,
“Although he has wrought the blessings of the jubilee, including the forgiveness of sins and everlasting righteousness, that which has been accomplished by Christ remains yet to be consummated. The final three-and-one-half years of the seventieth week as interpreted by John is symbolic of the church on earth during the entire time of its existence. It also is a reference to the tribulation depicted in Daniel.” (Ibid., 156).
First, the second exodus motif as developed in the NT is not a period depicting the NC Church age (ie. thousands of years), but as I pointed out in Hebrews, it is rather a transition AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” period between the passing of the OC age (separating from literal land), awaiting the AD 70 “in a very little while” “another day” of inheriting a spiritual city, mountain, heavenly land “in Christ” at the end of the OC age (Heb. 3-4; 9-10:37; 11-13:14YLT).
Secondly, the Church was taken and delivered from the wrath of the Dragon when they fled Jerusalem in AD 66 in obedience to Christ’s warnings in Matt. 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23.
Thirdly, yes the 3 ½ years is symbolic of a period of time (not a literal 3 ½ years) that has something to do with the tribulation period. The Church did undergo some tribulation and persecution prior to AD 66, but were delivered from the “wrath” that soon befell the city. As we will soon see, the Great Tribulation was a specific historic event connected to the fall of Jerusalem and has already been fulfilled. Even Anthony Rogers points this out in his article response to Shabir Ally.
Fourthly, the events of Revelation 11, 12, and 21 have already been fulfilled with the last trumpet being blown at Christ’s “at hand” “soon” coming in AD 70. We will cover that more when getting into Matthew 24:30-31 and a little of Revelation 11 when discussing “Jerusalem being trampled” as being the “times of the Gentiles” be fulfilled (Luke 21:23-24). The Church is not in the “already and not yet” – we are in the “face to face” fulfillment of enjoying God’s presence in His eternal NC glorious Kingdom/New Creation/Age (Rev. 21-22:4-6ff.).
The Great Tribulation in “those days” (vss. 21-25) “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:23-24)
Well, right when you think there is ray of hope in White’s attempts at exegeting Matthew 24 by finally giving verses 15-20 a 100% AD 70 fulfillment (not a dual fulfillment as he has up to this point), White apparently get’s sucked back into regurgitating Kim Riddlebarger’s theory that the Tribulation may have had some fulfillment in the events leading up to AD 70, but in reality it is to be stretched out throughout the entire Church age. Really?
Apparently once again we need to remind White to do that “harmonization” thing that he chided Shabir Ally on not doing in his debate with him and compare this passage with its parallel in Luke 21:23-24 since there it is even clearer the time frame for the abomination that causes desolation and the tribulation period are inseparably connected to the same historical events leading up to AD 70. And since Luke covers “the times of the Gentiles” (and Matthew does not) we should spend a little time on that as well.
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand. “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.” (Matt. 24:21-25).
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-24).
Argument #1 – Grammatically the phrase “For then…” or “For these are the days…” connects the historically unique days of the abomination that causes desolation period leading up to AD 70 with the historically unique days of the tribulation period. Therefore, if White is going to argue with Dispensationalists that the abomination of desolation cannot have a future or double fulfillment, White can’t then turn around and make the same misstate with the tribulation period!
Argument #2 – Local and cultural indicators – previously White argued that Matthew 24:15-20 was 100% and uniquely fulfilled in the days leading up to AD 70 (and could not have a double type fulfillment) because of some of the local and cultural indicators within the text such as “Judea,” “fleeing to the mountains,” being on the “house top,” farming, etc… He is obviously following Kim Riddlebarger and D.A. Carson on these verses,
“As D.A. Carson points out, the details of what follows are too limited “geographically and culturally to extend this beyond A.D. 70.” (Riddlebarger, Ibid., 168).
I would add the “flight” on “the Sabbath” to be among these limited cultural indicators, but since James White is a Reformed Baptist he no doubt still legalistically thinks this is still in place today (he and Chantry would consider the wrong Sabbath a “delight” – see my previous comments on when the anti-type Sabbath arrived in AD 70 in Hebrews). But notice that Luke describes the tribulation period with similar local and cultural indicators – “great distress (tribulation) in the land and wrath upon this people.” And that “this people” would “fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations.” Obviously “Judea” and “in the land” “this people” are all equivalents describing the same time period. And “falling by the edge of the sword” and being “led captives” were uniquely cultural practices of the Roman Empire and fulfilled in the events leading up to AD 70 and shortly thereafter.
Argument #3 – In understanding the recapitulation structure of Daniel 7, 9 and 12, we saw that the time of the abomination of desolation with that the tribulation period would be fulfilled together at the end of the seventy sevens and when Jerusalem would be destroyed in AD 70 – “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered.” To claim the abomination of desolation was fulfilled in AD 70 but give the tribulation period some kind of double or expanded fulfillment is purely arbitrary and eisegetical.
It shouldn’t surprise us that Kim Riddlebarger (whom White is following for the most part) ends up speaking out of both sides of his mouth on the tribulation period. Previously I documented him stretching out the Great Tribulation period throughout the “Church age” when interpreting Daniel and his 3 ½ years period. And let’s watch him struggle once again on the tribulation period as described in the OD,
“The reason people were to flee the city was that the horrors to come upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 were the worst that Jerusalem had ever experienced. It would be greater than the destruction of the temple in 583 B.C. It would be greater than the desolation of 163 B.C. at the hands of Antiochus Epiphanes. This would be Israel’s darkest hour.” (Ibid., 171).
“Yet Jesus continued to speak, not of the final judgment at the end of the age, but of God’s grace in restraining the evil forces which would fall on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In verse 22, Jesus said, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Even as Israel would become desolate and the temple destroyed, God would shorten the days of judgment for the sake of his elect, a reference to Christians living in Jerusalem at the time of the city’s destruction. Israel would be cut off, and the Jews dispersed but God would preserve his people, even under the worst circumstances.
Yet the possibility of double fulfillment surfaces again. Is this prophecy of horrible tribulation limited to the destruction of Jerusalem and the events of A.D. 70? Indeed, it is possible that the events of A.D. 70 pointed beyond historical fulfillment to the great tribulation to be faced by God’s people during the apostasy, which will come immediately before the end of the age.” (Ibid., 172, bold emphasis mine).
So the Amillennialism of White and Riddlebarger argue against the Dipsensationalist that the abomination of desolation was a unique event fulfilled in AD 70 that cannot have double fulfillments and yet once they get into the Great Tribulation period they want to do the very thing they condemn Dispensationalists of! And of course Postmillennial Partial Preterists argue that they have no right to do this,
“As Christ pointed out in Matthew, the Great Tribulation was to take place, not at the end of history, but in the middle, for nothing similar had occurred “from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” Thus the prophecy of the Tribulation refers to the destruction of the Temple in that generation (A.D. 70) alone. I cannot be made to fit into some “double-fulfillment” scheme of interpretation; the Great Tribulation of A.D. 70 was an absolutely unique event, never to be repeated.” (David Chilton, THE GREAT TRIBULATION, (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 14, bold emphasis mine).
So what have we seen so far? White and Riddlebarger (Amillennialism) claim the Dispensationalist can’t have a future fulfillment or double-fulfillment for the abomination of desolation period but want to have one for the Tribulation period (which contextually is describing the same period)! Then the Postmillennial Partial Preterist comes along and claims the Dispensationalist nor the Amillennialist can have a future or double-fulfillment for the abomination of desolation and Great Tribulation period, because they are fulfilled together. But once the Postmillennial Partial Preterist gets into Daniel 12:1-7, they want to give the resurrection a future or double-fulfillment when debating the Full Preterist, even though verse 7 clearly says the Tribulation and the Resurrection would be fulfilled together at the same historical event – ie. the destruction of Jerusalem. Consistency thou rare jewel.
Times of the Gentiles and Revelation 11 
“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24). 
James White does not really deal with Luke’s account of the times of the Gentiles and them trampling Jerusalem. Riddlebarger doesn’t really address this issue either in his treatment of the OD. But since Riddlebarger has mentioned Revelation 11 being representative of Daniel’s 3 ½ years or the “Church age,” we should spend a little time on Revelation 11 as it pertains to our text here. This is an excerpt from my response to Simon Kistemaker on Revelation 11 in our book:
Revelation 11
Kistemaker spends a substantial portion of his chapter interpreting Revelation 11:2:
And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
Kistemaker says that according to this verse, the new covenant church on Earth (“the holy city”) is destined by God to be trampled underfoot for the entire church age (“forty-two months”) while “Satan and his henchmen” “rule the world” and “have full sway on the face of this earth” until the end of time (238, 249).
One does not need to be a “hyper-preterist” to see a problem here. Kistemaker’s interpretation of Revelation 11:2 is what happens when we mysticize the time statements of the New Testament so that the imminence that saturates it is not really “imminence” at all. We take an obvious historic-prophetic reference to the trampling of Jerusalem that culminated in its destruction in AD 70 and turn it into a trans-historical “ideal” of defeat for the church (cf. Rev. 13:5–7) throughout the entirety of world history until the end of time. Again we see Kistemaker’s doctrine being cruel news for the people of God.
Let us compare Revelation 11:2b with Luke 21:24 (which was fulfilled in AD 70):
[A]nd they [“the nations”] will trample under foot the holy city for forty-two months. (Rev. 11:2b)
. . . Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the nations until the times of the nations [“forty-two months”] be fulfilled. (Lk. 21:24)
In both of these verses, the nations trample Jerusalem for a period of time. There is more than similarity of language here. Jesus and John prophesied the same event —an event that was “near” and that took place in Christ’s “generation” (Lk. 21:32; Rev. 1:3; 22:10). Therefore, “forty-two months” does not signify 2,000+ years. It signifies some months or years between AD 66 and 70, the years of the war that ended in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary. That was the same period of time that the angel called “a time, times, and half a time” in Daniel 12:7 and which was consummated when the power of the Old Testament “holy people” was shattered in AD 70.
Kistemaker moves on to Revelation 11:8. He says that “the great city” (“Babylon”) in that verse was “not the earthly city of Jerusalem,” even though the verse specifically states that “the great city” was “where also their Lord was crucified.”
One of the reasons Kistemaker rejects earthly Jerusalem as being “the great city” is that, according to Kistemaker, “God’s enemies inhabit the great city, which cannot be one particular place, but ‘the worldwide structure of unbelief and defiance against God’” (226). But this argument can be quickly dismissed, because there is no indication that all unbelievers lived in “the great city.” When the city fell in chapter eighteen, the kings of the earth who had committed adultery with her stood from afar and mourned over her (Rev. 18:9–10).
The historical referent is clear enough in that the “great city” is “where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8). “It is Jerusalem that is guilty of the blood of the old covenant witnesses; she is, par excellence, the killer of prophets (Matt. 21:33–43; 23:34–38). In fact, Jesus said, ‘it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem’ (Luke 13:33).”[1] Compare Revelation 18:24 with Matthew 23:35.
Kistemaker also argues that “the holy city” in Revelation 11:2 cannot be Old Testament Jerusalem because that city was no longer holy after the veil was ripped in two in about AD 30. In this argument, Kistemaker is implying that the holy covenant that was established with terrible and blazing fire, an earthquake, darkness, gloom, fear, trembling, whirlwind, and the staggering blast of a trumpet (Heb. 12:18–21) came to a final end in God’s sight with the tearing of the veil (which was later sewn back together). And therefore earthly Jerusalem ceased to be holy at that time.
In contrast to this futurist myth, the author of Hebrews taught that the covenant that began with momentous signs was going to end with momentous signs in the near future:
And His voice shook the earth then [at Mount Sinai], but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things [the old covenant world], in order that those things which cannot be shaken [the kingdom of Christ] may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:26–29)
The old covenant did not vanish when Christ died on the Cross (Heb. 8:13). Therefore Jerusalem was still holy after Christ died because it was still the covenant city of God, even though it was being “shaken” and was being nullified (2 Cor. 3:7, 11–12) through the age-changing power of the Cross. It was still the holy city of God even though it had become “Babylon,” “Sodom,” and “Egypt” because of its sins.
To the holy-yet-hardened Jewish nation belonged “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Rom. 3:2; 9:4). Those blessings were all still intact even after the Jews murdered the Lord and persecuted His church (1 Thess. 2:15). The unbelieving Jewish nation was still in the kingdom of God after the death and resurrection of Christ; but its days were numbered. It was soon to be cast out of the kingdom in the Parousia of Christ in the consummation of the ages (Matt. 8:12; 13:41; Gal. 4:21–31).
The tearing of the veil was a sign of the coming judgment upon that generation and its temple and world. The biblical record is clear that the old covenant law remained in force for the Jews, both believing and nonbelieving, even after the Cross, until “heaven and earth” passed away in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13; 2 Cor. 3:7–18; Matt. 5:17–19; Acts 21:20–26; 24:17).
Finally, Kistemaker feels he has a valid objection in the fact that “the great city” was called “Egypt” (Rev. 11:8), while old covenant Jerusalem/ Israel was never described in Scripture as “Egypt” (226–227). But as David Chilton eloquently observed, this is to miss the forest for the trees: Commentators are generally unable to find Bible references comparing Israel (or Jerusalem) to Egypt, but this is the old problem of not being able to see the forest for the trees. For the proof is contained in the whole message of the New Testament. Jesus is constantly regarded as the new Moses (Acts 3:20–23; Heb. 3–4), the new Israel (Matt. 2:15), the new Temple (John 1:14; 2:19–21), and in fact a living recapitulation / transcendence of the entire history of the Exodus (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1–4).”[2] (Ibid., HD, 144-147).
So Jerusalem being trampled by the Nations/Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled refers us back to Daniel’s prophetic material. The OC Kingdom/Jerusalem was subject to the rule of the four Gentile earthly kingdoms, but in AD 70 the OC literal Kingdom/Jerusalem would be consummatively changed into and “given” up to be a NC spiritual Kingdom/Jerusalem “from above” “not of this world” (Gals. 4/Heb. 12/Rev. 21; Matt. 21:33-45). Post AD 70 the NC Kingdom of God is not subject to “the times of the Gentile” nor can be as the OC Kingdom had. In Revelation 11:15 we have God’s spiritual NC Kingdom (the fifth and everlasting kingdom of Daniel 2) taking over. It is now universalized in that it is no longer a predominately Jewish and localized kingdom.
This is all taking place at the sound of the last and seventh trumpet at which time two other events take place – 1. time for the judgment and rewarding of the dead to take place (Rev. 11:18; cf. Matt. 24:30-31; 25:31-46/1 Thess. 4:15–17) and 2. the “rapture” of the Church symbolized by the two witnesses being caught up to heaven (Rev. 11:3-12).
There of course has been many different views as to who these two witnesses are: 1) Enoch and Elijah, 2) Moses and Elijah, 3) Jeremiah and Elijah, 4) Joshua and Caleb, 5) Peter and Paul, 6) John the Baptist and Jesus, 7) John and his brother James, 8) Stephen and James of Zebedee and 9) Peter and James and 10) representative of the Jewish and Gentile church. Commentators are divided on if this is referring to two individuals or the two witnesses are symbolic of the churches testimony.  I prefer the view that the two witnesses represent the testimony of the Church in fulfilling the Great Commission through the images of Moses (the law) and Elijah (the prophets) and then in 11:4 with the imagery of Zechariah’s two olive trees and a golden lampstand (Zech. 4:2-3) bring to bear the imagery of Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor – to be representative of the Church as a kingdom of Priests and Kings.
Chapter 10 just finished issues pertaining to the mystery (Jew / Gentile union) and the Great Commission with there being no more “delay” because the time of fulfillment was “near” during the time John was writing.  In chapter 10 we have both the OC prophets and the message of the NC believers through the gospel coming together as a testimony against the OC apostate City for rejecting her message. Just as the 24 elders previously represent the OC 12 tribes and the NC 12 apostles upon which the church is built represents the fulfillment of the message of the mystery of the Church; so we have here in chapter 11 with the imagery of the two witnesses coming together bearing testimony against Jerusalem. Jesus said that the OT Scriptures and Moses himself, were sufficient to condemn them (cf. John 5:45).  Jesus and Paul taught no other things than that which were written in the law and the prophets (Acts 26:22; 28:23). So it is the Church as the NC Israel of God (of which the OC Law and Prophets bore testimony of), condemning OC Jerusalem through the message of the gospel.  Fire comes out of their mouths consuming their enemies, because the Word of God is described as “fire” (Jer. 23:29).  This is also why the sword (also depicting the word or testimony of God) comes forth from Jesus’ mouth and how He conquers (Rev. 19:15/Heb. 4:12).  A literal interpretation of these witnesses in the midst of a self-proclaimed symbolic book is totally misguided to say the least.
These two witnesses are being described with hyperbole to represent the Church in the first century as the persecuted martyrs of God first described for us in chapter 6. This same group will be consistently depicted throughout the book – even into chapter 20. Probably the best commentary on this section especially in light of the immediate context of chapter 10’s themes of the great commission, the mystery, and the message of the prophets, can be found in Colossians 1:23-29. Here we see the Apostle Paul filling up in his flesh what was still lacking in regards to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of the Church. And Paul and the Church were dying daily to the old-covenant age/law in hopes of further attaining the resurrection (Rms. 5-8; Phil. 3).  The Church is now recapitulating the eschatological suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. G.K. Beale notes that the use of “body” and “bodies” still represent the church as a corporate body,
“…(the body)” could be a collective singular.” “…But we must ask why singular forms of (“the body”) in vv 8a and 9a are followed by the plural (“the bodies”) in v 9b.” “…The likely reason for the change in number is to connote the corporate nature of the witnesses.” (G.K. Beale, The New International Greek TestamentCommentary The Book of Revelation, (Eerdmans pub. 1999), 1018-19, (emphasis added).
And what of the loud voice calling the two witnesses to “come up here” and their ascent into heaven in verse 12? Is this a proof text for the literal rapture or a defense for a literal biological resurrection of corpses at the end of history?  I would agree in connecting the ascent of the two witnesses with God gathering the Church into His kingdom at His parousia/coming in Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-32/1 Thessalonians 4:16-17/1 Corinthians 15.  After all, this is the time of the seventh and final trumpet Revelation 11:15-19 in which 1. The dead are judged, 2.  The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ,” and 3. Access into the Most Holy Place presence of God is fully granted.  Clearly, this is the same end time trumpet being blown in these passages accomplishing these eschatological goals.  The blowing of the trumpet had a lot of salvific and covenantal imagery connected with it. It was the blowing of the trumpet at which God gathered Israel at Mount Sinai. The anti-type being God now consummately gathering the new covenant Israel up to Mount Zion. The trumpet sounded at the Harvest time. The anti-type being this was the time of the consummative harvest and resurrection of Israel to take place at the end of the OC age. The trumpet would sound when the groom came for the bride. The anti-type being the consummation in which Christ was coming to gather His Bride the New Jerusalem. The trumpet would sound as a battle cry to bring down God’s enemies as the last and seventh trumpet brought down the walls of Jericho. The anti-type here being old covenant Jerusalem is now the enemy of God being destroyed for not heeding the Churches message.
However this “rapture” of the two witnesses is no more literal than fire coming out of their mouths.  I will give a more detailed exposition of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 later on in this series demonstrating that a literal interpretation of this passage is also not accurate.  The corporate testimony and resurrection of the two witnesses symbolically represent the resurrection and transformation of the new Israel of God – the Church emerging from the glory of the OC economy to the NC one. Just as the passing of the “heaven and earth” in (Matt. 24:35) implies that this is the time the new arrives (with the coming of the Son of Man), so too OC Israel being a dead corporate carcass implies the time for a raised and glorified Israel emerging from its ashes (Matt. 24:28). As Gentry says of Israel being a carcass in Matthew 24:28:
“…in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection.” (Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, Third Edition, 2009), 540, see also 539).
Concluding Part 3a. –
As we have seen thus far, all of the signs preceding Christ’s coming to end the OC age were fulfilled prior to the events leading up to AD 66 – AD 70. James White and Kim Riddlebarger are more than inconsistent to argue against Dispensationalism that the abomination that causes desolation cannot have a double-fulfillment (it was 100% fulfilled by AD 70), and then turn around and give the Tribulation period (during the same time frame of those days) a double-fulfillment. And there is also a beam in the eye of Postmillennial Partial Preterism when it claims these two events in Matthew 24 cannot have double or typological fulfillments for our future, and then turn around and do that very thing with the resurrection in Daniel 12:1-7. Jesus tells us that in fulfilling the abomination of desolation and the Tribulation period, would be when “all that has been written” would be fulfilled. Our study of Daniel 7, 9, and 12 confirms this to be the time when the coming of the Son of Man, the judgment, and the resurrection – thus “all that has been written” would be fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.
In Part 3b. we will look at the de-creation and coming of the Son of Man. White correctly tells us in his Matthew 24 series that this is “where the rubber meets the road!”
PART 1 – Debate Challenge and Response to:  James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1
PART 2 – Debate Challenge and Response to: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – “Time/Hour of the End” = “End of the Age” Resurrection (Dan. 12=Matt. 13=Luke 20:27-40=Matt. 24:30-31, 36=John 4-5) All Fulfilled In AD 70
PART 3a. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun – All The Signs, Abomination That Causes Desolation, Tribulation, Times Of The Gentiles – “In Fulfillment Of All That Has Been Written” (Matt. 24:1-25/Luke 21:20-24)
Part 3b. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, And Anthony Rogers – The Coming Of The Son Of Man (Matt. 24:27—-25:31) Fulfilled By Ad 70
Part 3c. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun, Shabir Ally: Matthew 24-25 “This Generation” And Division Theories Refuted
Part 4 – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun And Shabir Ally (1 Thess. 4:16-17 & Acts 1:9-11)
[1] . David Chilton, Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 281.
[2] . Chilton, The Days of Vengeance, 281 (emphasis added).