ANSWERING ISLAMIC AND MORMON ARGUMENTS ON THE FAILED PROMISES OF THEIR “PROPHETS” AND HOW THEY DEAL WITH NT IMMINENCE

I remember many years ago at The Master’s College one of our instructors invited a Mormon apologist to a class so that he could answer questions and challenges from the students. I had just become a Full Preterist not long before he arrived and was pleasantly surprised that the Lord opened an immediate door for me with this man. One of the first and most confident “arguments” the class wanted to bring up against Mormonism and to our guest was all of the failed prophecies that Joseph Smith had made about the Second Coming of Jesus. Apparently the class was not prepared for his response:

“Why is this a big deal for you? According to you, Jesus is the greatest Prophet of all and didn’t He predict that He would return in some of the lifetimes and generation He was speaking to? And doesn’t the NT prophets follow that pattern?”

You could have heard a pin drop! No one wanted to touch that so they moved on to other topics – archeology and the Book of Mormon etc… Later that evening I had dinner with him and his wife and gave a much more Biblical apologetic to the response he gave to my class. He was shocked to hear someone actually admit that Jesus did in fact promise to return in the lifetime of those He was speaking to and in their generation. Nor was he prepared for my second affirmative – “and He was faithful to that promising coming to close the old covenant age in AD 70.” He admitted to me that he had never been given this response and had no rebuttal. I also assured him that sticking his head in the sand concerning what Joseph Smith and his early “Prophets” of the LDS taught about a failed Second Coming was just as bad as what my Christian brothers and sisters had done in the class earlier that day. His “argument” only proved that their view and the Mormon view of prophetic imminence can’t be trusted — nothing more. While mine exonerated Jesus’ and the NT prophet’s teaching and refuted his.

But MacArthur falls right into the hands of the Mormon “argument” because in his book seeking to refute Partial Preterism and Full Preterism on imminence, he admits the inspired NT authors, Apostles and Prophets taught an imminent Second Coming for their generation (John MacArthur, THE SECOND COMING Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, pp. 51ff.). John is clueless and contradictory. He wants an imminence that is imminent but then ends up having to embrace a “carrot and stick” eschatology that has to re-define real imminence. Go figure!

The Sovereign Grace Full Preterist knows how to deal with the last days cults when in comes to alleged ongoing “prophetic” “revelations” – because since Christ has come, that office has “ceased” (cf. Dan. 9:24/1 Cor. 13:8-12). MacArthur had no problem with letting a Mormon “heretic” “step foot” on TMC campus and engage and give “equal time” to him because he and the staff thought it would be an easy refutation. Yet the truth of the matter is, MacAruthur’s views on imminence plays right into their hands, and if the Second Coming wasn’t fulfilled in the first century, then “prophetic revelations” continue. Selah.

Recently I have been on Facebook interacting with Muslims and discussing eschatology with them in various groups. When I point out that Muhammad made false predictions about the Second Coming and “last hour” to take place within a hundred years of those he was speaking to, I get the same kind of “apologetic” my old Mormon friend gave me. They point out how Jesus and the NT authors are guilty of the very accusation I have brought forth against their “prophet” and then seek to try and explain away that their prophet didn’t in fact make a false prediction etc… Of course after I have pointed out that I agree with them that Jesus and the NT taught a first century fulfillment and believe that these promises were fulfilled in AD 70 – I haven’t gotten much of a response (similar to that of my Mormon apologist friend).

So my point in this article is to simply develop the similarities between these two end time alleged “prophets” (Muhammad & Joseph Smith) and compare their failed imminent predictions to take place in their generation with that of Jesus’ teaching that He would (and in fact did) come upon the clouds of heaven to bring an end to the old covenant age in His “this generation” ie. by AD 70 (Matt. 24:27-34). We also need to explore a very important aspect of this and that is if Jesus did in fact keep His word and His parousia took place in AD 70, then could there even be the office of prophet or further “revelations” coming from Muhammad, Joseph Smith, or anyone post AD 70? And one last point and foundational study needs to be to defend the Deity of Christ (cf. Daniel 7:13-14 [OG LXX & NIV] and Matthew 26:62-65) against these two false prophets and the religions they founded.

Parallels or similarities between the “Prophet” Muhammad and the “Prophet” Joseph Smith:

1. Both founders were visited by an angel. Joseph Smith claimed to be visited by the angel Moroni. Muhammad claimed to be visited by the angel Gabriel.

2. Both men claimed to have had visions.

3. Both men were told that other religions were false and got perverted.

4. Therefore, both men were allegedly being called by God to restore the true religion.

5. Both men’s lives contributed towards or wrote a book said to be “inspired by God.” Islam – The Qur’an. Mormonism – The Book of Mormon.

6. Both men claimed to be illiterate or uneducated and ironically used this as proof that their revelations and or books were inspired.

7. Both men claimed that the Bible (as the Christians have it today) had been perverted, altered, or corrupted and was therefore unreliable and therefore in need of their “revelations.”

8. Both men and or religions would claim their holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth. However, there are over 4,000 changes to the book of Mormon since the original 1830 version and there are over 1,000 variants in the first 83 Sura’s of the Qur’an.

9. Both men claimed that their holy book was based upon an original stored in heaven. The Qur’an on tablets and The Book of Mormon on golden plates.

10. Yet oddly (see #8) both “prophets” claimed that the version (Qur’an and Book of Mormon) that we have today are identical to what the prophet revealed and that parts are not altered, lost or corrupted as the Christian Bible allegedly has been.

11. Both men claimed to be the last and final prophet of God.

12. Both men claimed they were persecuted for their correct and pure faith.

13. Both men were polygamists who collected many wives. Joseph Smith had 33 documented wives. Muhammad had 11 wives (one was nine years old) – he also collected more wives than his “revelations” allowed! They also both have low views of women. In Islam women do not inherit eternal life and the seventy virgins they have sex with in “paradise” are spirit beings. In Mormonism women can only enter their husbands “paradise” if he grants them such. Both try and lure their disciples with promises of sex with virgins in “paradise.”

14. Both men borrowed from paganism and polytheism and incorporated these concepts into their new religions.

15. Both men were great story tellers – Joseph Smith was known to be a con-artist and Muhammad a traveling salesman (which is where he heard bits and pieces of the OT and NT and incorporated twisted and inaccurate versions of them into his “revelations”).

16. Both needed further “revelations” from God to correct issues with their previous “revelations” and or writings. Muhammad “abrogated” or retracted the “satanic verses” (Sura 53:19-23). Mormons retracted Smith’s divine order mandating polygamy (D&C 132 and Jacob 2:30) and the LDS has also back peddled on their views of African Americans.

17. Both religions need other religious books to bring understanding or further clarifications to their previous revelations and or writings. Muslims use the Hadith and Mormons have the Doctrine and Covenants.

18. Both are legalistic systems and promote a salvation by works.

19. Both deny the deity of Christ.

20. Both are very political in their eschatology. We all know that Islam believes in world dominance with ISIS vowing to raise its black flag over the Whitehouse. Joseph Smith claimed he received the full name of a secret organization (made up of the “Council of Fifty” Mormon men) in a revelation on April 7, 1842 called: The Kingdom of God and His Laws, with Keys and Power Thereof, and Judgment in. It vows to be a theocratic government (ruled by the “true [Mormon] church) which will overthrow the U.S. form of government and eventually be a one world government – paving the way for Christ’s Second Coming and millennial period. Both believe that at some point the world will be in such chaos that world leaders will beg for their religion to rule them.

21. Both have doctrines whereby they kill apostates which no longer want to embrace their religion (Mormons call it the doctrine of “Blood Atonement”). Who knows how far the Mormon church would be willing to go if they thought their golden age of taking over the governments of the world would come true. Would they kill those that disagreed with the “true church” as they are willing to kill apostates? Who knows.

22. Both “prophets” falsely predicted that Jesus’ Second Coming or last hour would take place within the lifetime of some of those that were listening to them and or in their generation (see documentation in the bulk of this article).

To briefly recap my approach – 1. deal primarily with #22 (showing the false prophecies of the two), 2. highlighting the serious ramifications of #20 (trying to self-fulfill a global “holy war” motif – Islam being the focus here), and 3. closing with a Biblical view of Jesus #19 (Christ coming upon the clouds of heaven to close the old covenant age in AD 70 proving Jesus is a faithful and true prophet, but more importantly, He is God/Ancient of Days).

Islam’s failed “Prophet” Muhammad

Apparently Islam is willing to forget its rich history of alleged “inspired” and yet failed eschatological predictions (space forbids to address all of them, but here are a few):

1. Muhammad predicted the “Last Hour” would come within the lifetime and generation of his contemporaries:

“Anas reported: A young boy of Mughira b. Shu’ba happened to pass by (the Holy Prophet) and he was of my age. Thereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: If he lives long he would not grow very old till the Last Hour would come (to the old People of this generation).” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7053).

2. Muhammad predicted that everyone would die on the earth within a hundred years (thus predicting the end time/last hour events of the judgment and resurrection):

“Once the Prophet led us in the ‘Isha’ prayer during the last days of his life and after finishing it (the prayer) (with Taslim) he said: “Do you realize (the importance of) this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight will be living after the completion of one hundred years from this night.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1 Book 3, Number 116).

3. Muhammad predicted the great war, the coming of the Antichrist and thus the end of the world would take place after the conquests of Jerusalem (636 AD) and Constantinople (1453 AD):

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The flourishing state of Jerusalem will be when Yathrib is in ruins, the ruined state of Yathrib will be when the great war comes, the outbreak of the great war will be at the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Constantinople when the Dajjal (Antichrist) comes forth. He (the Prophet) struck his thigh or his shoulder with his hand and said: This is as true as you are here or as you are sitting (meaning Mu’adh ibn Jabal).” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 37, Number 4281).

Other but more complex views would be Muhammad’s belief that the world was roughly 6,500 years old during his lifetime and that all of the prophecies would be fulfilled when the earth reached her 7,000th year (Btw, many Jewish and even Christians have tried this approach as well in predicting the end of the world – always ending in failure as well). Obviously, the “last hour” (a world-wide literal resurrection and judgment of the dead and literal transformation of the planet earth, etc…) did not happen 500 years from Muhammad’s death.

Since Islam teaches that Allah inspired the OT, then according to Allah, the “prophet” Muhammad was a false prophet and should have been stoned to death (Deut. 18:20-22).

Islam’s version of newspaper eschatology

Muslims not only stick their head in the sand in denial of what their “prophet” taught concerning an imminent fulfillment of the end time prophecies, but virtually all sects of Islam in the Middle East view their wars as fulfillments of these events – thus perpetuating self-fulfilling them in hopes to bring about other false “imminent” eschatological events.

Consider this current news article and how all sides of Islam feels their wars are fulfillments of an imminent eschatological hope:

“If the scenario sounds familiar to an anxious world watching Syria’s devastating civil war, it resonates even more with Sunni and Shi’ite fighters on the frontlines – who believe it was all foretold in 7th Century prophecies.

From the first outbreak of the crisis in the southern city of Deraa to apocalyptic forecasts of a Middle East soaked in blood, many combatants on both sides of the conflict say its path was set 1,400 years ago in the sayings of the Prophet Mohammad and his followers.

Among those many thousands of sayings, or hadith, are accounts which refer to the confrontation of two huge Islamic armies in Syria, a great battle near Damascus, and intervention from the north and west of the country.

The power of those prophecies for many fighters on the ground means that the three-year-old conflict is more deeply rooted – and far tougher to resolve – than a simple power struggle between President Bashar al-Assad and his rebel foes.

Syria’s war has killed more than 140,000 people, driven millions from their homes and left many more dependent on aid. Diplomatic efforts, focused on the political rather than religious factors driving the conflict, have made no headway.

“If you think all these mujahideen came from across the world to fight Assad, you’re mistaken,” said a Sunni Muslim jihadi who uses the name Abu Omar and fights in one of the many anti-Assad Islamist brigades in Aleppo.

“They are all here as promised by the Prophet. This is the war he promised – it is the Grand Battle,” he told Reuters, using a word which can also be translated as slaughter.”

On the other side, many Shi’ites from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran are drawn to the war because they believe it paves the way for the return of Imam Mahdi – a descendent of the Prophet who vanished 1,000 years ago and who will re-emerge at a time of war to establish global Islamic rule before the end of the world.

According to Shi’ite tradition, an early sign of his return came with the 1979 Iranian revolution, which set up an Islamic state to provide fighters for an army led by the Mahdi to wage war in Syria after sweeping through the Middle East.

“This Islamic Revolution, based on the narratives that we have received from the prophet and imams, is the prelude to the appearance of the Mahdi,” Iranian cleric and parliamentarian Ruhollah Hosseinian said last year.

He cited comments by an eighth century Shi’ite imam who said another sign of the Mahdi’s return would be a battle involving warriors fighting under a yellow banner – the color associated with Lebanon’s pro-Assad Hezbollah militia.

“As Imam Sadeq has stated, when the (forces) with yellow flags fight anti-Shi’ites in Damascus and Iranian forces join them, this is a prelude and a sign of the coming of his holiness,” Hosseinian was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.

The historical texts have become a powerful recruitment tool, quoted across the region from religious festivals in Iraq’s Shi’ite shrine city of Kerbala to videos released by Sunni preachers in the Gulf, and beyond.

“We have here mujahideen from Russia, America, the Philippines, China, Germany, Belgium, Sudan, India and Yemen and other places,” said Sami, a Sunni rebel fighter in northern Syria. “They are here because this is what the Prophet said and promised, the Grand Battle is happening.”

Both sides emphasize the ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic state which will rule the world before total chaos.

Although some Sunni and Shi’ite clerics are privately skeptical of the religious justifications for the war, few in the region express such reservations in public for fear of being misinterpreted as doubters of the prophecies.

“Yes some of the signs are similar but these signs could apply at any time after the fall of the Islamic state (1,000 years ago),” one Sunni Muslim scholar in Lebanon said, asking that he not be identified. “There is no way to confirm we are living those times. We have to wait and see.”

For the faithful, the hadith chart the course of Syria’s conflict from its beginning in March 2011, when protests erupted over the alleged torture of students and schoolboys who wrote anti-Assad graffiti on a school wall in Deraa.

“There will be a strife in Sham (Syria) that begins with children playing, after which nothing can be fixed,” according to one hadith. “When it calms down from one side, it ignites from the other.”

Hadith on both sides mention Syria as a main battlefield, naming cities and towns where blood will be spilled.

Syria’s civil war grew out of the “Arab Spring” of pro-democracy revolts in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 after Assad’s forces cracked down hard on peaceful protests.

But because Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shii’ism, and most of his opponents are Sunni Muslims, the fighting quickly took on a sectarian character, which has largely overwhelmed the political issues.

“These hadith are what the Mujahideen are guided by to come to Syria, we are fighting for this. With every passing day we know that we are living the days that the Prophet talked about,” said Mussab, a fighter from the Nusra Front, a Sunni hardline group linked to al Qaeda, speaking from Syria.

Murtada, a 27-year-old Lebanese Shi’ite who regularly goes to Syria to battle against the rebels, says he is not fighting for Assad, but for the Mahdi, also known as the Imam.

Abbas, a 24-year-old Iraqi Shi’ite fighter, said he knew he was living in the era of the Mahdi’s return when the United States and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003.

“That was the first sign and then everything else followed,” he told Reuters from Baghdad, where he said was resting before heading to Syria for a fourth time.

“I was waiting for the day when I will fight in Syria. Thank God he chose me to be one of the Imam’s soldiers.”

Abu Hsaasan, a 65 year old pensioner from south Lebanon, said he once thought the prophecies of the end of days would take centuries to come about.

“Things are moving fast. I never thought that I would be living the days of the Imam. Now, with every passing day I am more and more convinced that it is only a matter of few years before he appears.”” (Mariam Karouny, Apocalyptic prophecies drive both sides to Syrian battle for end of time, 4-1-14, http://news.yahoo.com/apocalyptic-prophecies-drive-both-sides-syrian-battle-end-142641298.html;_ylt=AwrTWfwc7TpTWXgAjanQtDMD Kim Riddlebarger cites the same article but doesn’t offer a solution and in any of his writings fails to deal with NT imminence: http://www.reformedreport.com/the-riddleblog/isis-and-islamic-eschatology.html#.VOgBCC4YPWk)

One would think they are listening to something that is passed off in the name of “Christianity Today” from the likes of Hal Lindsey, John Hagee, or Tim LaHaye and their non-Berean “spirit led” blind disciples. In fact Islam does have its version of TV “prophecy experts” such as Adnan Oktar, a prolific author and TV personality with millions of Muslim followers. He claims the Mahdi and Jesus are currently living among us ready to emerge and fulfill Islamic end time prophecies.

“Yes. We believe that Hazrat Mahdi has come and is busy carrying on his activities,” “We believe that he appeared in Istanbul, as that is how it is related in the Judaic accounts. This is how it is related in the Islamic accounts as well.” (Leo Hohmann, Popular Muslim Personality: Jesus Christ is among us, http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/popular-muslim-personality-jesus-christ-is-among-us/#omxjVrhqwfLyIqlS.99).

Oktar, is Sunni, but points out that even prominent Shiite leaders in Iran have said they expect the Mahdi to appear in Istanbul:

“There is no other time for this,” “He should appear in a date between the years 1400 to 1500 according to Hijri calendar (the current Islamic year is 1435).” (Ibid).

“After World War II, a lifetime has passed as well and consequently we are exactly in the time the prophet Jesus mentioned in the Gospel,” “A lifetime has now passed (since the war), or is about to pass. This is one of the biggest proofs of the fact that Jesus Christ is now among us.” (Ibid).

ISIS – An Apocalyptic End Time Cult

It’s nice to see CNN get something right for a change when it comes to ISIS,

“… its (ISIS) ideology is that of an apocalyptic cult that believes that we are living in the end times and that ISIS’ actions are hastening the moment when this will happen.

The name of the Dabiq magazine itself helps us understand ISIS’ worldview. The Syrian town of Dabiq is where the Prophet Mohammed is supposed to have predicted that the armies of Islam and “Rome” would meet for the final battle that will precede the end of time and the triumph of true Islam.

In the recent issue of Dabiq it states: “As the world progresses towards al-Malhamah al-Kubrā, (‘the Great Battle’ to be held at Dabiq) the option to stand on the sidelines as a mere observer is being lost.” In other words, in its logic, you are either on the side of ISIS or you are on the side of the Crusaders and infidels.

When American aid worker Peter Kassig was murdered by ISIS in November, “Jihadi John” — the masked British murderer who has appeared in so many ISIS videos — said of Kassig: “We bury the first crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the rest of your armies to arrive.”

In other words, ISIS wants a Western ground force to invade Syria, as that will confirm the prophecy about Dabiq.” (Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst, Why does ISIS keep making enemies?)

The failed “Prophet” Joseph Smith of the last day’s cult – Mormonism

In the Doctrine and Covenants, 84:4-5 Joseph Smith received a supposed “divine revelation” on September 22 & 23, 1832 that reads,

“Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.”

In 1833 Joseph Smith claimed,

“…My father presented himself,… I asked of him a father’s blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my head, in the name of Jesus Christ, and declaring that I should continue in the priest’s office until Christ comes.” (History of the Church, Vol. 1, 323).

Likewise, when the twelve “Apostles” were first ordained in the Mormon “church,” some of them as well received this special promise that they would live until Christ came:

“The blessing of Lyman E. Johnson was,… that he shall live until the gathering is accomplished,… and he shall see the Savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, 188).

“He (William Smith) shall be preserved and remain on the earth, until Christ shall come to take vengeance on the wicked.” (Ibid. 191).

Following the “revelations” that Christ would return in the lifetime of Joseph Smith and some of his “Apostles”; the timing of “this generation” (D&C 84:4-5, 31) became even more specific:

“I prophecy [sic] in the name of the Lord God- and let it be written: that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens until I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about 1890.” (Since the last six words of this “prophecy” have been TAKEN OUT by the LDS, I have cited the original source taken from Smith’s diary, March 10, 1843 through July 14, 1843).

In 1835, “President Smith” then stated,

“…it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh- even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” (Ibid. History of the Church, Vol. 2, 182).

Thus the dates 1890 and 1891were set! In 1838 “Apostle” Parley P. Pratt stated,

“I will state as a prophecy [sic], that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure over-thrown, within five or ten years from this date, then the Book of Mormon will have proven itself false.” (Talmage, Articles of Faith, 405).

Of course this “prophecy” being the embarrassment that it is to the LDS church has been conveniently deleted from any modern version of the writings of Parley P. Pratt. Forty-five years later he commented on D&C 84:4-6,31 stating,

“….suffice it to say that the people living in 1832, when the revelation was given, will not all pass away; there will be some living when the house spoken of will be reared, on which the glory of God will rest.” (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p.215, Dec. 9, 1877).

We must remember that Mr. Pratt was supposedly given the specific charge earlier in his life to “prophesy” about the Lord’s return, “Therefore prophesy, and it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 34:10).

Even after Joseph Smith and his “Apostles” died and Christ did not come in 1890 or 1891, instead of repenting of these false prophecies that Christ would return in the lifetime and generation of Joseph Smith and his “apostles”, the LDS church blindly but willfully continued making such statements in their conference reports such as,

“Many of these young men and maidens that are here today will, in my opinion, if they are faithful, stand in the flesh when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven.” (Elder Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, April, 1898, 57).

“I believe it will come in the very day when some of us who are here today will be living upon the face of the earth. That day is close at hand” [emphasis MJS] (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April, 1936, 75-76).

And,

“We are living in the dispensation and generation to which Jesus referred…” (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, 5).

We also find the Mormons doing what another end time cult such as the Jehovah Witnesses do when their predictions don’t come to pass concerning the phrase “this generation”, in that they are forced to contradict earlier statements and “prophecies”, or just keep on STRETCHING the meaning of “this generation” out!!! Sensing a major problem in 1890 when Christ wasn’t coming as Joseph Smith prophesied that He would, the 1890 D&C edition carried a footnote that claimed a generation could be longer than a hundred years. This of course cannot be substantiated from the Bible. But we have now even surpassed the longest generation in The Book of Mormon, 4Nephi 18 which was claimed to have lasted 110 years. Even if we said Smith’s “prophecy” in 1832 (see D&C 84:4-5,31) was referring to babies born on that very day, this would bring us to 163 years and counting! A generation according to the Bible and other cultures is a period of 30-40 years. Jesus promised to return in the generation and lifetime of some of His Apostles (Peter, James, John, etc…) and not in Joseph Smith’s or our lifetimes and generation! To conclude, I will direct the LDS reader to a statement made by Smith himself,

“The only way of ascertaining a true prophet is to compare his prophecies with the ancient Word of God, and see if they agree, and if they do and come to pass, then certainly he is a true prophet… when, therefore any man, no matter who, or how high his standing may be, utters, or publishes, anything that afterwards proves to be untrue, he is a false prophet” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers 4:81-82).

Well, Joseph Smith’s “prophecies” concerning the second coming of Christ have not come to pass, and have been proven to be untrue. Therefore, according to Joseph Smith himself, his teaching do not “agree” with “the ancient Word of God,” namely Jesus’ teaching! Thus according to their own founder, Joseph Smith himself was not a “true prophet” and the LDS “church” with their alleged “elders” and “prophets” are truly a NON-PROPHET ORGANIZATION!

Jesus the “Faithful and True Witness”

We now need to re-visit the Muslim and Mormon apologetic claims that could be summarized as, “if our prophets were guilty of falsely predicting that the end, last hour, or Second Coming of Jesus was to take place in the lifetime of some living in their generation, then Jesus Himself must also be judged by the same standard and considered a false prophet!” Admittedly, probably 90 – 95% of Christians simply have no Biblical apologetic against this rebuttal. But Full Preterists do! And here it is – Christ DID in fact promise that His Second Coming or “the parousia” would take place within the lifetime of some of those he was speaking to and in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:27-34) — AND HE DID! Let’s now address these passages and follow-up on what the ramifications of Jesus fulfilling his promises have upon the claims of Muhammad and Joseph Smith being “prophets” or getting “revelations” from “God.”

A Brief Exegesis of Matthew 16:27–28

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

Let me first demonstrate that Matthew 16:27–28 (and its parallels, Mark 8:38–9:1; Luke 9:26–27) cannot be divided into two different events, according to the typical futurist approach. As we can see from the chart below, Matthew 16:27 is united to Matthew 16:28. Both verses speak of the same timeframe and event that Jesus spoke of in His undivided Olivet Discourse.

Matthew 16:27-28 & Parallels

The Olivet Discourse

1. Christ comes in glory (Luke 9:26) 1. Christ comes in glory (Matt. 24:30)
2. Christ comes with angels (Matt. 16:27) 2. Christ comes with angels (Matt. 24:31)
3. Christ comes in judgment (Matt. 16:27) 3. Christ comes in judgment (Matt. 24:28-31;25:31-34)
4. Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mark 8:38) 4. Christ and the kingdom come in power (Luke 21:27-32)
5. Some of the disciples would live (Matt. 16:28) 5. Some of the disciples would live (Luke 21:16-18)
6. Some of the disciples would die (Matt. 16:28) 6. Some of the disciples would die (Luke 21:16)
7. Christ would be ashamed of some in His generation (Mark 8:38) 7. All of this would occur in His generation(Matt. 24:34)

For the Son of Man is about to Come

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT), the Darby Bible, Wuest’s Expanded Translation of the New Testament, and Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech all translate Jesus’ return here as “about to come” or “soon to come.” These translations reflect the consistent usage of the Greek word mello in Matthew’s gospel, and its predominant usage in the New Testament.

Christ’s imminent coming in verse 27 is consistent with Christ’s coming in the lifetime of “some” in the crowd who were listening to him in verse 28.

After having waited thousands of years for the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom, the span of forty years (AD 30–70) was a relatively short time.

Verily I say unto you

Jesus uses the term “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly” 99 times in the gospels. The Greek word is “amen,” and it means “absolutely,” “really,” “may it be fulfilled.” It is never used to introduce a new subject. Dispensational author and editor of another multi-authored book seeking to refute preterism, Thomas Ice, says of Matthew 16:27 and 28 that these “are two separate predictions separated by the words ‘truly I say to you.’” (Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 87).

But Mr. Ice fails to produce a single passage in which Jesus’ phrase, “Verily I say unto you,” separates one subject from another.

To the contrary, the phrase always signals an amplification of the previous thought.

Some standing here shall not taste of death until

Thomas Ice (A Dispensational critic of our Lord’s words here and that of Full Preterism) says of this verse: “A further problem with the preterist view is that our Lord said, ‘some of those standing here . . . .’ It is clear that the term ‘some’ would have to include at least two or more individuals.

. . . Peter notes that John only survived among the 12 disciples till the destruction of Jerusalem” (Ice, Controversy, 88).

In other words, according to Ice, Jesus said that “some” would survive, but the reality is that among His twelve disciples only John survived. Ice’s argument would possibly have some validity if Jesus had been speaking only to His twelve apostles; but He was not. According to Mark’s account, “ . . . He called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said . . . ” (Mk. 8:34–9:1). So much for Ice’s arguments.

Until they see the kingdom of God already come in power

According to Mark’s account, some of the disciples would not die until they looked back on this event, knowing that the Lord and His kingdom had come in power. (Literally, “until they see the kingdom of God having come in power.”) According to Jesus, some of those who were listening to Him that day would see His Parousia, look back on the event, and afterwards die. Another of our critics Kenneth Gentry at least concedes this point citing J.A. Alexander:

Here “come” is “not, as the English words may seem to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or already come, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect parti-ciple here employed.” (Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 215–216, emphasis added).

The Greek word here for “see” is eido. As with the English word, eido not only refers to physical sight, it can also mean “perceive.”

Through observing with the physical senses, “some” of Jesus’ contemporary audience would be able to look back on the destruction of the old covenant kingdom’s temple and city in AD 70 and “perceive” that Christ’s kingdom had arrived among and within them (Lk. 17:20–37; Col. 1:27; Jn. 14:2–3, 23, 29).

A Brief Exegesis of Matthew 24-25

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

Virtually all futurists begin with the disciples question in Matthew 24:3 and simply assume what they need to prove when they assume that the disciples were “confused” in associating Jesus’ coming and end of the age with the destruction of the temple. Since their theology separates these events by thousands of years, and the disciples linked them to be fulfilled altogether, they merely assume the disciples were mistaken and not them or their system. Here are some key hermeneutical steps the futurist willfully skips:

The Jews of Jesus’ day understood the phrase “this age” to be the old covenant age of Moses and the prophets and the “age to come” as the new covenant or Messianic age.

In the book of Daniel the consummation of the major eschatological events can be found in chapters 7, 9 and 12. Daniel connected the eschatological “time of the end” events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of man and the arrival of the kingdom, to take place when the city and temple would be destroyed – or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together (cf. see the consummation scenes in Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; Dan. 9:24-27; Dan. 12:1-7).

In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught that the judgment and resurrection (“the time of the end” eschatological events) would take place at the end of their old covenant “this age.” Jesus specifically asks them if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes” (vs. 51).

Jesus had previously taught that He would return in some of their lifetimes (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1).

Jesus previously taught them that all the blood from righteous Abel (from Genesis up to those He would send to them) would be avenged when the temple was destroyed in their “this generation” (Matthew 23:30-36, 38). Isaiah in his “little apocalypse” (Isiah 24-28) posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet, the resurrection, etc…) to take place together when the temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9).

So before we even get to Matthew 24, the disciples could have discerned from such prophets as Daniel and Isaiah, that all of the eschatological events would be fulfilled when the temple was destroyed. The record clearly states that the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on “the end of age” or the end of their “this age.” And lastly, Jesus had already taught them that some of them would live to witness His return and the destruction of the Temple. Therefore, they were NOT mistaken to associate and connect Jesus’ coming (to destroy the Temple [that they were looking at and discussing] in their generation) with His coming and the end of the age.

Just because Matthew (as a responsible narrator) or Jesus have elsewhere shown us where the disciples were confused in Matthew’s gospel, does not mean that they were confused here in Matthew 24:3. In fact, when the disciples are confused or wrong about something it is clearly identified as such (ex. Matthew 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).

Milton Terry was spot on when he wrote of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the Olivet discourse and elsewhere in the NT (such as Hebrews 9:26-28):

“The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.” Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442. After all the second appearing or coming of Christ to close the old covenant age is further described as Christ coming “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).

Therefore, since Matthew 24-25 is about Christ coming in judgment upon old covenant Jerusalem in AD 66 – AD 70 to bring an end to the old covenant age (not the planet earth or to end the Church age), the futurists or end time apocalyptic cults are the ones confused in Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and not the disciples. Having established that the discourse is about the end of the old covenant age and not world history or planet earth, we can readily see how all these things would be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 24:34).

“This generation”

In Matthew 24:34 Jesus clearly identifies that the “this generation” of the “you” (first century Jews not 21st. century ones) of whom He is addressing would not pass away before “all these things” (the signs, end of the age, and His coming) would be fulfilled. The Greek word for “generation” here is genea and is used over 30 times in the N.T. and in each context it is never used as anything other than to address a 40 year generation or in particularly, the first century contemporary generation of Jesus and His disciples. However, some futurists and their alleged “scholars” (such as Thomas Ice) have admitted to this but claim Matthew 24:34 is the exception to the rule. Therefore, they feel they have the liberty to make up their own definitions of the word to fit their theology. Let’s go over a couple of them.

The first false view claims that “this generation” is interpreted to mean, “the Jewish race will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.” There is simply no solid exegetical or lexical evidence for this use of genea in the NT. If the race of Jews was intended by Jesus or Matthew, they would have used the Greek word genos.

The second main error popularized by Hal Lindsey, an alleged “prophecy expert” who, based on current events and not the Bible claimed,

“WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ” (Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, (New York: Bantam, 1980), see back-cover and p. 144).

And then this view was fueled from the pulpit from mega church Pastors such as Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel movement (one of my former Pastors):

“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).” (Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35).

In his book Future Survival (1978) Chuck wrote,

“From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”

Lindsey began by admitting that a generation “was something like forty years.” Since 40 years have passed, instead of throwing in the towel on his theory, Lindsey now claims a generation could be 60 – 100 years. If this doesn’t sound new, it’s because it isn’t. The “expanding” of a generation is exactly what we have seen the Mormon’s do (and Jehovah’s Witnesses) with their false predictions concerning “this generation.” One good fraud knows the other’s techniques!

Another false interpretation is that “this generation” is some vague future one that will be alive to see all these signs fulfilled and Jesus’ return. Had this been the intension of Jesus, He could have simply said, “that generation…” instead of “this generation…” So much for taking “this generation” “literally” and how it is used everywhere else in the Bible! Again “this generation” is always referring to Jesus’ contemporaries, but it is true that the AD 30 – AD 70 generation saw the fulfillment to all of the signs and His parousia to close the OC age in AD 70. So now lets prove it.

“False Messiahs”

Jesus predicted that false messiahs would come in the generation of the first century disciples and they did: Theudas (Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few. In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) informs the first century church that they knew it was “the last hour” because the Antichrist’s had arrived (1 John 2:17-18). For those who understand the “Antichrist” and “Man of Sin” to be the same person, we should point out that this individual was alive and “already at work” during the time of Paul (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8). Contrary to the popular science fiction writings of Dispensational Zionist Hal Lindsay, this individual is not “alive and well on planet earth” in the form of some political leader of Russia, Iran, Iraq, etc.

The Jewish historian Josephus writes of a false prophet during the destruction of Jerusalem which deceived the Jews to stay and fight the Romans:

“Of so great a multitude, not one escaped. Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope. Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope. Thus it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.3.6.).

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

“In AD 40 there was a disturbance at Mesopotamia which (Josephus says) caused the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, a tumult at Jerusalem at the time of the Passover resulted in 10,000 to 20,000 deaths. At Caesarea, contentions between Jewish people and other inhabitants resulted in over 20,000 Jews being killed. As Jews moved elsewhere, over 20,000 were destroyed by Syrians. At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed. Thousands were killed in other places, and at Alexandria 50,000 were killed. At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in an hour’s time.” (John L. Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, p. 28)

When Jesus was addressing wars and rumors of wars, He was not referring to what is going on in modern day Russia, China, Israel, Iraq, United States, or Europe today. To reach into Matthew 24 and back into the OT and twist these passages and prophecies by asserting that they are referring to these modern day countries and to us today is irresponsible exegesis to say the least.

“Famines”

Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic old-covenant age and generation (Acts 11:27-29). In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered.

“Earthquakes”

The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26). “…just previous to 70 AD there were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, and Judea.” (DeMar, Gary, ibid., 64)

“Put to Death”

The first century Christians were to expect tribulation, to be brought before kings and rulers, imprisonment, beatings, for the sake of Jesus. Please read the book of Acts 4:3,17; Acts 5:40; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; Acts 12:1-3; Acts 14:19 to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Luke 21:12. In fulfillment of our Lord’s words, Paul and Silas were beaten (Acts 26:23) and Paul was brought before rulers and kings – Gallio, (Acts 28:12), Felix (Acts 24), Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25). Peter and Paul were put to death in the persecution of Nero.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

The reader at this point says, “I got you. How are you going to be able to prove the gospel was preached throughout the entire globe before A.D. 70?!?” Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, this is not difficult to prove at all:

PROPHECY FULFILLMENT

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

Jesus nor the Apostle Paul meant nor understood these phrases of “into all the world,” “all nations,” “every creature,” or “end of the earth,” to be global terms. These are describing the nations of the Roman Empire or the world as they knew it.

“Abomination that causes desolation”

In Luke’s account of the abomination that causes desolation, the fulfillment of this prophecy is identified with the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem and laying it waste in the years of AD 66 – AD 70, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” (Luke 21:20-22). History records for us that the early Christians were not deceived by the Jewish false prophets and fled to Pella and were safe.

“Great Tribulation”

Any Bible College or seminary class on hermeneutics would tell us that we need to follow a grammatical historical hermeneutic. One of the steps involved in interpreting how language and terms are used is to honor the way language is used during the time it was written in. Josephus who was a close contemporary of Jesus’ time describes the destruction of Jerusalem in practically the identical language:

“Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world;”[vi]

The words “For then shall be great tribulation…” are words linking the tribulation period with the preceding fleeing of the disciples from Jerusalem in the previous context (vs.17-20, cf. also Lk.21:20-23). The great “wrath” and “distress” upon “this people” in the “land” in (Lk. 21:23) is parallel to Matthew’s tribulation period described for us in Matthew 24:21. The Tribulation period is not a global event as the Dispensational Zionists have tried to portray it, but a local event that took place in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”

“The stars shall fall from heaven” and “the Son of Man coming on the clouds”

God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven, as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors referring to the judgment of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet. This can be seen in such O.T. passages referring to the fall of Babylon, Egypt, Edom, and Israel (Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Psalm 18; Psalm 104; Hab. 1:2ff.). Did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.: “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)? Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in the OT: “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment” (Isa. 34:4-5)? In Matthew 24, the context is the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. The sun, moon, and stars represented the universe of Israel and her rulers which would fall from her covenantal significance by A.D. 70 for rejecting Christ and His Apostles and prophets (cf. Matthew 23:31-36). Reformed and Puritan theologian John Owen had this to say of this text,

“And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world. So Isa. 34:4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom. And our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24, he sets it out by expressions of the same importance. It is evident then, that, in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by ‘heavens’ and ‘earth’, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood” (John Owen, Works, Banner of Truth Pub., Vol. 9, 134).

John L. Bray correctly writes of the stars falling from the heavens of Matthew 24:29:

“Jewish writers understood the light to mean the law; the moon, the Sanhedrin; and the stars, the Rabbis.” (John Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, p.125).

“Heaven and earth will pass away”

So far we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the old covenant age in vs. 3, the stars falling from the heavens in vs. 29 to be the religious and civil rulers falling from the places of power when Jerusalem and her Temple was destroyed in AD 70, but what of verse 35 which addresses the “heaven and earth” passing away? Surely that is referring to the end of planet earth? Once again there is contextual and a historical hermeneutic within the Christian church to also understand this to be referring to the old covenant heavens and earth and its temple.

G.K. Beale’s research indicates,

“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.” (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25). J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.

Reformed theologian John Brown in identifying the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 writes:

“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.” (John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170).

Commentators are correct to identify the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 5:18) as the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 24:35), but the context of both point us to the old covenant system and not the planet earth. According to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-18 if heaven and earth have not passed away, then we are currently under all of the “jots and tittles” of the old covenant law.

And now specifically of the passing of heaven and earth here in our text, Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:

“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . . [T]he principal reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157).

Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70. (John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86. C. Jonathin Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002).

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when full preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology, anti-preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views. The full preterist combines the two competing “orthodox” views on the coming of the Lord and de-creation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 to form a consistently exegetical and historical position:

1. CLASSIC AMILLENNIAL VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the ONE second coming event as is the de-creation spoken of here.

2. PARTIAL PRETERIST VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man happened spiritually and the end of age, de-creation of verses 3, 29 and 35 are descriptive of the passing of the old covenant creation/age and establishing the new by AD 70.

3. FULL PRETERIST VIEW (Synthesis of 1-2 “Reformed and always reforming”): The coming of the Son of Man is the ONE second coming event (as is the de-creation spoken of in verses 3, 29, 35) whereby Christ came spiritually to end the old covenant creation/age in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 and establish the new.

The Coming of the Son of Man and the Deity of Christ

Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew 26:62-65

Upon the clouds of heaven came one like a Son of Man, and he came as the Ancient of Days.” (Daniel 7:13 (OG) LXX). “He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all people, nations and men of every language worshiped him.” (vs. 14 NIV).

“…The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.” (Matt. 26:62-64).

According to the Old Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man came “as the Ancient of Days” on the clouds of heaven, not “to the Ancient of Days.” This translation is in harmony with verse 22, which says that it was the Ancient of Days Himself who came in judgment and gave the saints the kingdom.

Although some have tried to apply this passage to the ascension, the New Testament does not give the slightest hint that “the coming of the Son of Man” on the clouds of heaven would be fulfilled in the Ascension. And as Keil and Delitzch commented regarding Daniel 7:13-14,

…it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth. If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4; 104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F., Commentary on the Old Testament. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), (Daniel 7:13-14), bold emphasis MJS).

I would agree with Keil and Delitzch that the context of Dan. 7:13 and how the NT develops it, forms the foundation for the Second Coming event with Him coming down from heaven in judgment upon His enemies (who are upon the earth rising in opposition to Him) and not Him going “up” at the ascension event.

It is also important to point out that John in the book of Revelation alludes to Dan. 7:9, 13 in his description of Christ as being both the Son of Man who comes on the clouds to judge those whom had pierced Him (first century Jews) and as the eternal Ancient of Days in Revelation 1:7, 13-17.

In our next verse the one likened to the “Son of Man” and “Ancient of Days” coming on the clouds of heaven is “worshiped” (vs. 14 NIV the original Aramaic is pelach – some translations render the word to mean divine “service”). In establishing the meaning of a passage or word in a particular text we need to examine its usage elsewhere in the same book. Everywhere in Daniel pelach is used of divine service or worship. Of false gods in Daniel 3:12. In Daniel 3:17-18 we are told that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego only gave divine service and worship to the only living God and would not render divine service and worship to Nebuchadnezzar’s false gods. In Daniel 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar gives praise to their God and reinstates that they “yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” In Daniel 6:16, 20 it describes Daniel’s divine service to the only living God continually which is given in hopes that God would and did deliver Daniel from the den of the lions. In Daniel 7:27 when the Ancient of Days came (cf. vss. 13-14, 22) to give possession of the Kingdom to the saints, “all rulers will worship and obey him.”

The rabbis referred to God as “the cloud rider” because only God came upon the clouds in the Scriptures. With this being the exegetical and historical background, it is clear that at Jesus’ trial in Matthew 26:62-65 the high priest understood WHO Jesus was claiming to be and why the high priest tore his clothes and identified Jesus’ statements as “blasphemy.” For Jesus to claim he would ride upon the clouds in judgment of the high priest was for Jesus to identify Himself as God “the cloud rider” and the Son of Man/Ancient of Days of Daniel 7:13-14.

Jesus accepted worship because He is God (Matt. 14:33; Matt. 28:9, 17; John 9:35-38; Rev. 1:7-14/Rev. 5:1-14). This has a profound implication upon the false prophets of Islam’s Muhammad and Mormonism’s Joseph Smith who both denied the Deity of Christ. In AD 70 not only did Jesus prove to be a faithful Prophet, but He proved He was very God as He clearly taught. Bow before Him today in worship and receive the free gift of eternal life.

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:17).

Conclusion

We have seen that Jesus did in fact teach that His Second Coming would take place within the lifetime of those that were listening to Him and in their “this generation.” Therefore, He kept His word and came upon the clouds of heaven through the Idumean and Roman armies judging Jerusalem and ending their old covenant age (or their “heaven and earth”) in AD 70 and establishing the new covenant age.

This has serious and deadly consequences for the founding “prophets” of Islam and Mormonism. Since Christ returned in AD 70 the office and gift of prophet bringing forth revelations was “sealed up” or “ceased” (Dan. 9:24-27; Matt. 24; 1 Cor. 13:8-12). One of the titles of Christ in the book of Revelation is that of being the “Faithful and True Witness.” History validates that Christ was faithful and true to come when He said He would, while at the same time history condemns the testimony and failed prophecies and revelations from Muhammad and Joseph Smith. This fact alone ends the debate on the credibility of both of these men and the religions they began.

As we have seen, eschatological movements that are constantly trying to self-fulfill their prophecies have consequences. We are seeing this right before our eyes with virtually all sects of Islam in the Middle East. But likewise we don’t want to vote in political leaders that are Mormon or even Dispensational Zionists (or have their ear!) trying to self-fulfill and usher in the “rapture” or “Armageddon” etc… We have been suffering enough under a President that is sympathetic to Islam (while actually criticizing Christians and doing nothing while they are martyred) and refuses to admit that groups like ISIS are actually fleshing out Islamic eschatology! If you don’t understand your enemy you won’t be able to defeat them – on any level.

Our study not only provided evidence that Muhammad and Joseph Smith were false prophets concerning the time of Christ’s return, but they are false prophets in understanding just WHO Christ is – the divine “cloud rider” God/Ancient of Days riding upon the clouds in AD 70 defeating His enemies and conquering the death for His beloved followers.

I hope you have found this article helpful and will continue studying the Full Preterist view. Please do purchase the second edition of my/our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Ramona, CA: Vision Publishing 2009, Second Edition 2013) which will help answer any further questions that may have arisen as a result of reading this.

Peter And The “Restoration Of All Things” Parts 1: Cosmic Geography And Peter Son Of JONAH’S Mission (Acts 1-3; 9-11) Fulfilled By AD 70. Part 2: 1-2 Peter and the Restoration of Genesis 1-3

Introduction (note – this article is still in progress and being edited).

The inspiration for this article was a passing comment in the Gary DeMar v. Michael Brown debate over modern Israel’s role in Bible prophecy. While I disagree with both men’s views, DeMar mentioned a typological connection between Peter Son of Jonah and that his call to Joppa was no accident. This and some concepts that Dr. Michael Heiser has developed about “Cosmic Geography” I have found beneficial in my studies. I hope to develop them more and place them in their proper eschatological frame work as they relate to Acts 1-3; 9-11 and the restoration of all things being fulfilled by AD 70.

As Dr. Michael Heiser has pointed out in his books, the Jew of Jesus’ day understood that when Messiah came He would restore, fix and judge three events. These events are:

  1. Genesis 2-3:
  • Death and Separation resolved – Tree of Life Restored
  • Satan “crushed”
  1. Genesis 6:1-4:
  • Satan, watchers and demons judged
  1. Genesis 10-12/Deuteronomy 32:
  • Restore or reverse the Tower of Babel judgment (bringing a pure and uniting language of the gospel through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit)
  • The restoration and inheritance of the Nations back into God’s Kingdom

The NT teaches us that these events would be the time of judgment and restoration when the Second Coming and Kingdom of God arrives accomplishing the following:

  1. The judgment of the living and dead.
  2. The judgment of Satan, watchers and demons.
  3. Inheritance of eternal or resurrection life in the New Covenant Creation where there is “no death.”

While the Futurist church has traditionally seen how some of these promises have been fulfilled in an “at hand” spiritual sense today in the “already” phase of the kingdom, she has refused to acknowledge how the NT authors teach the fulfillment of these kingdom restoration promises would be fulfilled in an eschatological “not yet” or “at hand” Parousia – and thus fulfilled within the same contemporary generation of Jesus (Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32). This author is at peace to develop the eschatology of the NT inspired authors both in the area of imminence and the spiritual nature of fulfillment without “going beyond what is written” or “adding” to the NT prophetic record.

I may at times also refer to or develop the various Jewish traditions floating around during the times of the NT which fall in line with the NT inspired authors such as:

  1. “This age” was the Old Covenant (OC) age and the “age about to come” was the New Covenant (NC) or messianic age.
  2. When Messiah came He would recapitulate Israel’s redemptive history of a 40 years new or second exodus period.
  3. Therefore, the reign of Messiah between the OC age to the NC age would be 40 years.
  4. Some also taught that the “days of Messiah” may also be 70 to complete Adam falling short (930) of reaching 1,000 years (Jesus born a King over Israel in the flesh and spirit from 3 BC – AD 66).

The focus of this series of articles will be on Peter son of Jonah’s eschatological role in “restoring all things” contained in the law and prophets and a development of Matthew 16-17; Acts 1-3; 9-11; and 1-2 Peter.

Peter Son of Jonah and the Eschatology/Theology of Matthew 16–17:1-13

The Sign of Jonah – Mt. 16:1-4

The Pharisees were rebuked by Jesus for not being able to understand the Scriptures concerning Himself, the spiritual nature of His kingdom and thus in what way it could possibly be “at hand” and thus discerning the times. As a result, He offered them the “sign of Jonah.”

Jonah a Type of Christ:

  • Both preached a message of repentance.
    • Both appeared alive after three days or from “Sheol.”
    • Jonah gave Nineveh 40 days of testing to repent, Jesus gave Israel and the Nations 40 years.
    • Jonah’s mission grants Gentiles salvation, while later bringing judgment upon unrepentant Israel. Jesus’ mission through the Apostles brings salvation to the Gentiles while later bringing judgment upon unrepentant OC Israel in AD 70.
    • Jonah offered a willing substitutionary death (his life for the sailors); while Jesus offered a willing substitutionary death for the Church – those whom He calls in faith to follow Him.

Many of course have seen the typology between Jonah and Jesus because Jesus directly alludes to it. But is there a connection between the reference to the “sign of Jonah” and now Jesus describes Peter as the “Son of Jonah” and the significance of God giving him this name in His sovereign providence? While this significance will be born out later in Acts 1-3; 9-11, I believe it begins here in Matthew 16-17 and what Peter begins to learn of the imminent time frame for Christ’s Second Coming, the lesson of letting go of the Jewish exclusive nature and pride of the Jew within the Old Covenant system and the restoration of all things. This will prepare us for what is coming in the book of Acts and Peter’s eschatology in 1-2 Peter.

Peter Bar/Son of Jonah’s Confession and Reversing Hermon – Mt. 16:13-20

  • “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18-18 ESV).

After Peter (by God’s power) correctly confesses that Jesus is “the Christ the Son of the living God,” Jesus addresses him as, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah” and goes on later in the immediate context to instruct His disciples that upon “this rock” (that is Hermonupon which they were standing at the transfiguration event) that gates of hell would not be able to withstand the Churches mission. As Dr. Michael Heiser points out in cosmic geography, Hermon is the ancient location where Satan, the demonic and realm of the dead was. Jesus in essence is picking a fight with Satan and Peter’s eschatological role in the Church will have a very significant place in taking this fight to Satan through the Jew/Gentile mission in Acts 1-3; 9-11.

Earlier in Matthew’s gospel Peter has seen Jesus being portrayed as the new Moses and Joshua coming into the land and driving out the unclean spirits. The commissioning of the 70 disciples (the restoration of the 70 nation’s coming on the horizon by AD 70) and the falling of Satan’s powers – are both connected to the coming “end” of the OC age and the Son of Man’s coming in their lifetimes (cf. Mt. 10:17-23). This is when Satan would be “crushed” “shortly” in Pauline theology (Rms. 16:20). We will develop Peter’s version in future articles.

Like Jesus, Peter Promised that the Parousia and Kingdom Would Take Place within the Lifetime of His Contemporaries – Mt. 16:27-28

In Matthew 16:27-28 Peter is instructed that the Son of Man’s Coming upon the clouds and inheritance of the kingdom of Daniel 7:13-14ff. would be fulfilled within the lifetime and generation of his contemporaries — “some standing here” / “this adulterous generation” (cf. Mrk. 8:38—9:1). Peter being inspired of the Holy Spirit likewise teaches this very fact (cf. Acts 2:20-40; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).

It was at Christ’s Second Coming to close the OC age that the fulness/maturity of the Gentiles and remnant Jews or “all Israel” was “saved” (Rms. 11:25-27). This was when and the means by which God would be “all [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] in all [Jew/Gentile]” or when the Godhead (Father, Son and Spirit) made home/monewith within the Church (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28; Jn. 14:1-3; 23).

Peter’s Lesson in the Transfiguration Event to Eventually Let Go of the OC and Listen to the Abiding NC Words and Teachings of Christ – Mt. 17:1-13

Not 6-8 days later, Jesus’ is transfigured and His face shines as the sunon top of mount Hermon (the turf of Satan who is Lord of the dead). The transfiguration event is a picture and illustration of what the coming Parousia of Christ promised in Matthew 16:27-28 is all about.

Jesus will later confirm that His Second Coming will be as a great light or sun shining from “east to west”in Peter’s contemporary generation and to “gather” all the elect or raise the dead (Mt. 24:27-34/Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3, 7).

And again, Peter will also confirm this inspired timeframe when He describes Christ as the “Day Star” rising in the heartsof His Church at the “at hand” judgment of the dead or Parousia in AD 70 (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; 2 Pet. 1:16-21).

We must examine why Peter’s desire to erect abiding tents for Moses, Elijah and Jesus was rebuked by the Father and then Moses and Elijah disappear while Jesus alone remains and an exhortation to listen to the Son is enforced. The theological point God wants Peter to learn in this event, is that the inferior typological and weak Old Covenant (OC) pictured in the coming of Moses and Elijah (the Law and Prophets) had a “glory” that would be “passing away” (cf. 2 Cor. 3) and would thus “soon vanish” (Heb. 8:13). This glory therefore was not to abide with him and Christ for long nor should they be seen as equals. His desire to build three tents is seen as his desire to have the weak OC house of the law and prophets stay with Christ — the builder of the imminently approaching New Covenant (NC) house and age. The OC wineskins could not contain the NC wine. Thus, Moses and Elijah disappear and the Father rebukes Peter to “listen” to His Son because it is His words (not that of the OC) that will remain forever (see also Mt. 24:35; Mt. 5:17-18; Rev. 21:1ff. – the OC “heavens and earth” would be replaced with the NC “heavens and earth). Thus the Fathers rebuke of Peter’s false mindset is valid in that it will later reflect the Jewish pride and Judaizer mindset that he will once again be confronted with in the book of Acts.

Therefore, the fulfilling and then passing and or yielding of the OC law and prophets is what Jesus came to imminently fulfill at His glorious Parousia in AD 70 and is thus a theological illustration of the purpose of Christ’s Second Coming. This is why the event is so closely connected to Jesus’ teaching that some in the crowd Jesus is addressing would live to witness His Second Coming in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

The Transfiguration, John the Baptist and the Restoration of all things – Mt. 17:10-13

For a more detailed understanding of John the Baptist’s eschatology see my article here: (http://fullpreterism.com/an-exegesis-of-matthew-32-12-117-20-17-1710-13-the-eschatology-of-john-the-baptist-part-1-the-way-of-the-kingdom-and-second-coming-was-at-hand/).

The appearance of Elijah in the vision of the transfiguration – triggers a discussion of Elijah. Jesus here and elsewhere (cf. Mt. 3:1-12; chapter 11; Mrk. 1:1-6; Lk. 3:1-6) informs Peter and the other disciples that the way of salvation and judgment for Israel (which will open the salvation for the Gentiles) of Malachi 3-4 and Isaiah 40 is fulfilled through John’s ministry.

Thus the “restoration of all things” began in John’s ministry and was dealing with men’s hearts and turning them back to God! He predicted an “at hand kingdom,” an “about to comepunishment” and an imminent harvest salvation/judgment that was coming upon his contemporaries (Mt. 3:1, 7-12 GNT). This was to be realized at the Second Coming of Jesus or in the great and notable day of the Lord predicted in Malachi 3-4. John and Jesus’ declaration of the kingdom being “at hand” was not just the “already” or spiritual inauguration of the kingdom, but also included the coming harvest and Second Coming “not yet” aspect of the kingdom to be fulfilled at the end of the OC age – and thus in their “this generation” (cf. Mt. 13:39-43; Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32).

Apart of John the Baptist’s ministry of “restoring all things,” was to point to Jesus’ ministry. Jesus’ ministry was not to baptize with water as John had, but with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5).

Another connecting link between Jesus’ eschatology of an imminent and first century Second Coming event in Matthew 16:27-28 and John predicting the imminent wrath and day of the Lord judgment of Malachi 3-4, is the connection to the coming “way” of judgment in Isaiah 40 which is when “rewards” are given (Isa. 40:10/Mt. 16:27-28).

John is the Elijah of Malachi 3-4 That Will Restore All Things:

Mal. 3:1-5– Continuing with the marriage theme, the coming “messenger” that will prepare the way before” the LORD is John the Baptist who is a “friend” or best man of the “bridegroom” (Jn. 3:29).

There are two “messengers” in this chapter. The first is John the Baptist (also predicted in Isa. 40/Mt. 3) who is unique and the last of the OT prophets. He has come to prepare a smooth road or way for the LORD and help remove obstacles (bring restoration). The “way” or road he and Messiah will bring leads to salvation and judgment. He will bring down and level the proud hills (those that deny His claims of deity and Lordship) while at the same time level or bring up and exalt the valleys of the humble (those that take His gentle yoke).

The second, is the “messenger of the [new] covenant” who will purify the sacrificial system through His perfect sacrifice and establishing the NC Temple people of God and system of worship.

The phrase, “He will come to His Temple” can be referring to Messiah coming in His Second Coming in AD 70 to indwell and restore His spiritual NC Temple and priesthood with salvation and glory (Jn. 14/Rev. 21-22/Lk. 17:20-17), or His coming to His OC Temple in a judgment of fire and destruction in AD 70. Most likely the former since the context seems to favor that of Messiah coming to purifying and establish His NC priesthood with His presence (vss. 3-4). And yet the other concept is also born out as well since it is a time of judgment (v. 5).

Mal. 3:13-18– Contrary to the charges of the people, there is not injustice with God, for He knows who His faithful people are and will come and save His remnant in “that Day” (i.e. in AD 70 – when messiah comes in salvation and judgment).

Mal. 4:1-5– We are back to a description of “the day” of salvation and judgment. Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 left OC Israel with neither “root or branch” in that God “took” the physical kingdom from the Jews and “gave it” to the spiritual NC “Nation,” “Israel of God” or “New Jerusalem” (cf. Mt. 21:43-45; 1 Pet. 2:9; Gals. 4; 6:16; Heb. 11-12; Rev. 21).

But for the remnant and NC people of God, He would come as “the sun of righteousness”and bring salvation and healing. Again, Matthew 24:27 can be understood as Christ’s Parousia (presence) coming as the Sun and His light shining from the east to the west creating the “sons of the day” (1 Thess. 5:5).

In AD 66 – AD 70 the remnant through the preaching of the Word and their imprecatory prayers, did “tread down” and conquer their enemies – making the synagogue of Satan (those how said they were Jews but were not) bow down before them and acknowledge that in fact they were the true sons of God and the true Jerusalem from above.

The people are to meditate on “Moses” (the Law) and “Elijah” (the Prophets). Moses gives the law and the prophets (Elijah) bring conviction and exhortation to repentance. Messiah will come to fulfill both, and the remnant will see and believe and experience salvation, while the others will experience the curse of the law and judgment in AD 70.

Again, the coming of Moses and Elijah in the vision of the transfiguration (cf. Mt. 17), is a precursor or prefiguring of what the Second Coming of Jesus will be all about – the fulfilling of the law and prophets and then its “soon vanishing” (Heb. 8:13).

John Prepares the Way of Salvation and Judgment of Isaiah 40

  • “The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the peopleare The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift itup, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God shall come with a stronghand,And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His rewardiswith Him (Mt. 16:27-28), And His work before Him.” (Isaiah 40:6-10).

The way of the Gospel would be level and smooth suggesting that the high mountains are the prideful among Israel that persecuted the poor and lowly and God would vindicate the poor and make low and level their prideful persecutors. The low valleys would be brought up to be level as well – perhaps suggesting that the Gospel for the poor would be manifested in such a way as to lift up the persecuted and heavy burdened from their religious suppressors. The rough and crooked in heart through the power of God through the Gospel would be made soft, smooth and straight. Through the gospel the level land would become fertile and blossom into God’s New Paradise/New Creation.

No one among Israel could boast that they had a right to enter this way of the Kingdom through being Abraham’s seed, because God was able, and in fact did turn stones (Gentiles) into the sons of God or living stones in which they (along with Jews) were built up a New Temple and New Man (Mt. 3:9/1 Pet. 2:1ff./Ephs. 2-3).

Isaiah 40:6-7 / 1 Peter chapters 1 and 4 – John’s imminent eschatology is Peter’s!

Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-7 in 1 Peter 1:23-24. The immediate context tells us that Peter’s first century audience was “ready” to receive the salvation and inheritance (the “reward”) the OT prophets predicted would come at the revealing of Christ at His Second Coming. Later we are told by Peter that this coming salvation and “THE judgment” of “the living and dead” was “ready” to take place and that “the end of all things is at hand.” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17). Therefore, the contextual flow of Isaiah 40 tells us that John came to prepare the way of an “at hand” judgment and salvation “ready” to be revealed at Christ’s Second Coming.

Let’s review:

  • The “restoration of all things” began to be realized in John the Baptist’s ministry (the eschatological “already”).
  • It involved the inner turning of the heart toward God.
  • The eschatological “not yet” restoration of all things or way of judgment and salvation would be realized at the coming of the day of the Lord in Malachi 3-4 and Isaiah 40.
  • The day of the Lord of Joel and John/Elijah (Acts 2/Mal. 3-4) were predicting and the coming of Christ upon the clouds in judgment to “reward” (Mt. 3/Isa. 40/Mt. 16) are the same first century eschatologically “not yet” imminent events.

Peter’s Role to the Nations and Reversing the Curse of Genesis 10-11/Deut. 32:8-9 and Acts 1-3

The story of Genesis 10-11 is essentially this – it was God’s design to have people spread over the earth and yet in pride, they united in one area to build a tower/temple so as to call God down to have Him do their bidding. As a result, God cursed them and dispersed them by confusing their languages and giving them over to other gods. The Bible teaches and Jewish tradition (such can be found in 1 Enoch) confirm for us that God appointed 70 angelic “watchers” or “gods” from His divine council to teach these 70 nations their new languages (cf. Gen. 6:1-4/chapters 10-11/Deut. 32:8-9; Ps. 82/Jn. 10; Ps. 89; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; 1 Cor. 13:1; etc…).

Yet God promised that in Israel’s “last days” and within a specific “perverse and crooked generation” He would “gather” together in a “second exodus” – ONE New Covenant Body/Nation/Temple consisting of both Jews and Gentiles out from among the nations (Gen. 49:1, 10/Deut. 32; Isa. 11; 27; 49; 66; Ezek. 36-37; 40-48). Let’s examine how the restoration of all things is played out in through Luke in Acts and Peter’s Epistles.

Peter’s Eschatology of the Great Commission and Second Coming – Acts 1-3

After instructing the disciples on the kingdom for 40 days, they wished to know about the time frame for the kingdoms arrival. As in the Olivet Discourse, they are informed that they were not to know the precise time but are exhorted to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and thus fulfill the Great Commission (Acts 1:1-8). Some have correctly implied that after the Great Commission (GC) of Acts 1:8 comes the fulfillment of the Second Coming of Jesus “from heaven” to “restore all things” (Acts 1:11; 2:20-40; 3:11-26). The analogy of faith and that of Scripture makes this connection more than an inference. Postmillennial Partial Preterist Keith Mathison connecting the GC with the timing of the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 writes:

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

Therefore, according to Mathison in the above quote, when the Great Commission in verse 8 is fulfilled, then the Second Coming of verse 11 will occur. Is this not what we see in the Olivet Discourse – the gospel must first be preached to all the nations and throughout the world before the Second Coming of Christ can be fulfilled? There is NO exegetical evidence that the GC and coming of Christ and salvation in Acts 1-3 is any different from that of Jesus’ teaching in the OD.

Postmillennialism’s contention that there are two Great Commissions given in the New Testament—one fulfilled before AD 70 and another that will be fulfilled before the allegedly yet-future Second (Third) Coming—is altogether arbitrary:

The Olivet Discourse Acts 1-3
1. Only the Father has authority and knows the day and hour of the Kingdom’s arrival(Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32; Mt. 24:36). 1. Only the Father has authority and knows the time and dates of the kingdom’s arrival(Acts 1:3-7).
2. The Holy Spirit (& charismata) would be given to boldly fulfill the G.C. (cf. Mt. 10:17-23; Mrk. 13:10-13) 2. The Holy Spirit (charismata) would be given to boldly fulfill the G.C. (Acts 1:4-8).

 

3. Jesus would come from heaven upon His glory cloud in their generation and accomplish “redemption” (cf. Mt. 24:14-34; Lk. 21:27-32).

 

3. Jesus would come from heaven upon His glory cloud in their generation to “save”them and thus to “restore all things” (cf. Acts 1:11; 2:20-40; 3:11-26).

 

Postmillennialists have no problem quoting Romans 10:18 to demonstrate how the GC of Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled by AD 70 because it uses the same Greek word oikumene (“has gone out to the ends of the world”). Yet, Romans 10:18 also uses the Greek word ge (“has gone out into all the earth”). Therefore, if Romans 10:18 can be applied to the GC of Matthew 24:14 as being fulfilled in AD 70, it can also be applied to the GC of Acts 1:8 as being fulfilled by AD 70.

Jews from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:4-5) were saved and empowered by the Holy Spirit to go fulfill the GC of Acts 1:8 to “the end of the earth/land” of the Roman Empire. As R.C. Sproul pointed out in his lectures at John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” Conference, the book of Acts describes four Pentecost events based upon Acts 1:8. Since that is the case, the book of Acts maps out the success of the GC of Acts 1:8 — thus showing how the sign of the GC was being fulfilled and giving Paul his imminent “about to” expectation of the judgment and resurrection (cf. Acts 17:31 YLT; Acts 24:15 YLT).

Prophecy – Greek Ge Fulfillment – Greek Ge
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land.” [Gk. ge] (Acts 1:8)

 

“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Gk. ge], and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom. 10:18)
One def. of ge – “The then known lands, regions, territories, countries etc…”
1. In Jerusalem 1. Acts 2 – Jews
2. And Samaria 2. Acts 8 – Samaritans
3. In all Judea 3. Acts 10 – God-fearers
4. To the earth/land 4. Acts 11-19 – Missionary journey to the Gentiles with Paul taking the gospel as far as Rome and Spain/Tarshish (cf. Rms. 15:20, 28)

There is also an obvious connection between the GC depicted in Acts 1:8 with all the Jews being gathered from “every nation under heaven” in Acts 2:4-5. These same Jews would go back to those nations and preach the gospel:

Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly”:
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [Gk. glossa], as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [Gk. ethnos] under heaven. (Acts 2:4-5) “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land [Gk. ge], and to every nation [Gk. ethnos], and kindred and tongue [Gk. glossa], and people.” (Rev. 14:6).

 

“The scene is Pentecost, 30 A.D. (cf. Heb. 12:22-24). This is when the gospel began to be preached under the authority of the great commission (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-49) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 33; 1 Pet. 1:12). From here the gospel was preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (cf. Matt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10; Rom. 1:16; 10:18; Col. 1:23).” (Arthur Ogden, The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets Commentary on Revelation, pp. 292-293).

 

Postmillennial Partial Preterist Gary DeMar sees no problem with Revelation 14:6 being another depiction of the GC and therefore the nations (Gk. ethnos) and those dwelling on the earth/land (Gk. ge) is a local and not global fulfillment. Once again, if Romans 10:18 and Revelation 14:6 can be used to show how Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled in AD 70, they can also be applied to show how Acts 1:8/Acts 2:4-5 was fulfilled by AD 70!

The Second Coming of Christ – in Acts 1:9-11

Postmillennialists such as Mathison and other Futurists insist that Jesus’ physical body was seen for some period of time as He ascended into the sky. However, verse nine simply says, “He was lifted up, and a cloud received Him from their eyes.” Jesus was certainly seen just before He was “lifted up” (Acts 1:9). But it is not at all certain that He was directly seen as He ascended into the sky.

In verse 11, the disciples were told that Jesus would come in the manner that they had seen Him enter heaven (the sky). The continuity (or similarity) of Him coming as He had entered heaven is found in the fact that He would come in the heavenly glory-cloud of His Father (Matt. 16:27). Jesus was not physically seen after He was received into the glory-cloud. It was while He was hidden from sight in that cloud that He was indirectly seen entering the sky. A son can “see his father” as his fathers plane is taking off the runway and off into the sky, without directly physically seeing his father’s body. In seeing the plane (which contains his father and the other passengers), he can still correctly say, “There’s dad, and there he goes.” And He was to come in like manner. Therefore, He would not be physically or directly seen when He came “in like manner,” in the cloud, to indwell His church in the end of the old covenant age (Luke 17:20–37; John 14:2–3, 23).

The phrase “in like manner” simply means “in a similar way” – not exactly the same way (which seem to be how most falsely interpret the passage). Jesus didn’t ascend riding on a horse with a sword proceeding from His mouth did He? Did “every eye” on the planet earth see Him leave? “The exact same way” argument offered by hyper- literalists self-emplodes upon itself.

Postmillennialists such as Mathison are not correct when they say that Jesus was going to come back in the same way that He “departed.” The Scriptures say that Jesus would come in the same way He had entered the sky. He entered the sky hidden from literal eye sight in the cloud of God’s glory.

Here is the order of events:

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

These first two events could very well have happened simultaneously. As Mathison himself admits, the verse could be translated, “He was lifted up; that is, a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (From Age to Age, 459). It is a very real possibility that Jesus was instantly hidden in the cloud at the moment His feet left the earth.

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

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

The Lord God had become flesh. John bore testimony to the fact that looking at and touching Jesus was to look at and touch God Himself (John 1:14; 1 John 1:1). God was physically seen in the flesh, but this was temporary for the second person of the Godhead (Heb. 5:7), even as He had been born into and under the old covenant system with its temporal types and shadows (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 5–8; 2 Cor. 3; Heb. 8:13). Though Jesus is no longer in the flesh, He forever retains His human nature. He is forever Man, even as the saints in heaven today, who are no longer in their physical bodies, are still human/man by nature. Neither the Son of Man nor those who are in Him, whether in heaven or on earth, are “nonhuman” as some futurists theorize.

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

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

This brings us to another problem. Mathison writes of Matthew 24:30 in his book Postmillennialism:

. . . [T]he “coming” of the Son of Man is His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem (see vv. 23–28), which is intimately connected with His ascension to the right hand of God (cf. Dan. 7:13–14). (Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: 1999), 114).

Later, in WSTTB, Mathison goes further and identifies the Ascension with the coming of Christ in AD 70:

. . . [W]hen [Jesus] makes reference to “the coming of the Son of Man,” . . . He may have been referring . . . to his ascension . . . and the judgment on Jerusalem. . . . ” (182, emphasis added)

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

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

Partial Preterist Milton Terry, in contrast, took a lucid, biblical approach, seeing Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7 as all being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in the end of the age:

“Whatever the real nature of the parousia, as contemplated in this prophetic discourse, our Lord unmistakably associates it with the destruction of the temple and city, which he represents as the signal termination of the pre-Messianic age. The coming on clouds, the darkening of the heavens, the collapse of elements, are, as we have shown above, familiar forms of apocalyptic language, appropriated from the Hebrew prophets. Acts i, 11, is often cited to show that Christ’s coming must needs be spectacular, “in like manner as ye beheld him going into the heaven.” But (1) in the only other three places where [“in like manner”] occurs, it points to a general concept rather than the particular form of its actuality. Thus, in Acts vii, 28, it is not some particular manner in which Moses killed the Egyptian that is notable, but rather the certain fact of it. In 2 Tim. iii, 8, it is likewise the fact of strenuous opposition rather than the special manner in which Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. And in Matt. xxiii, 37, and Luke xiii, 34, it is the general thought of protection rather than the visible manner of a mother bird that is intended. Again (2), if Jesus did not come in that generation, and immediately after the great tribulation that attended the fall of Jerusalem, his words in Matt. xvi, 27, 28, xxiv, 29, and parallel passages are in the highest degree misleading. (3) To make the one statement of the angel in Acts i, 11, override all the sayings of Jesus on the samesubject and control their meaning is a very one-sided method of biblical interpretation. But all the angel’s words necessarily mean is that as Jesus has ascended into heaven so he will come from heaven. And this main thought agrees with the language of Jesus and the prophets.” (Milton S. Terry, A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 246-247).

I would also add that there are some Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as author Mike Bull that also “accept the testimony of the Scriptures” and follow Terry’s view and believe the coming of the Christ in Acts 1:11; Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 1:7 was fulfilled in AD 70.

As Mathison admits in one book but denies in another, the immediate context links Christ’s in-like-manner return to the fulfillment of the Great Commission (v. 8; Matt. 24:14, 27, 30; Rom. 10:18). The Great Commission was fulfilled in Christ’s generation.

Premise #1: If it is true that the “in like manner” coming of Christ and His kingdom in Acts 1:6, 11 is fulfilled when the G.C. of Acts 1:8 is fulfilled (Mathison agrees with Full Preterism)…

Premise #2: And if it is true that the gospel was preached and “went out to all the earth” in Paul’s day (Rms. 10:18) and the spiritual NC kingdom arrived at Christ’s coming in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32; Lk. 17:20-37) (Mathison agrees with Full Preterism)…

Premise #3: And if it is true that the coming of Christ and arrival of the kingdom in Acts 1:6-11 is the same event as described by Christ in Luke 21 and Matthew 24 (WCF agrees with Full Preterism)…

Conclusion: Then it is also true that the “in like manner” coming of Christ and His kingdom in Acts 1:6-11 was fulfilled in AD 70 when the gospel was preached and “went out to all the earth” (Gk. ge – Acts 1:8/Rms. 10:18) as a sign just prior to the consummation and restoration of all things in AD 70.

Jesus was “lifted up” and hidden from sight in the cloud of glory. He ascended into the sky hidden in the cloud, as His disciples watched. He was to come in the same manner in which the disciples saw Him enter into the sky: hidden in the cloud of the glory of His Father. He was “seen” in that Day in the same way that Yahweh was “seen” whenever He came on a cloud to judge nations in the Old Testament.

This was the one and only future coming of Christ that was promised in the New Testament. Therefore, Christ returned in AD 70. The analogy of Scripture confirms this interpretation. It does not confirm Mathison’s, which rips Acts 1:9–11 from its immediate and broader New Testament contexts. We agree with Terry’s comments on Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7. “We accept upon the testimony of the Scriptures” that Christ returned on/in a cloud/clouds in that generation. (Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutic (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990), 468, n.1 (emphases added).

For those that must have some kind of physical seeing of the Son of Man upon a cloud, it should be pointed out that historically, a man (along with angels is the sky) was seen on a cloud over the temple while it was being destroyed with swords proceeding from it. Prior to the incarnation God manifested Himself in human form eating, drinking and wresting with them. So while I favor a non-physical and apocalyptic fulfillment of Jesus being seen on the clouds (as in the OT comings), it is possible that God would manifest Himself in a more physical form (as He had in the OT as well).

The Second Coming and Restoration of the Nations – in Acts 2/Gen. 10-11/Deut. 32:8-9

Luke draws our attention to Peter referencing not just the fulfillment of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Second Coming of Jesus in Joel 2, but the restoration and fulfillment of Genesis 11 and Deuteronomy 32 in Acts 2 as well.

The Septuagint (LXX) of Acts 2:2-3 references “divided” to Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and “bewildered” to Genesis 11:7 (for a detailed explanation of this see: Dr. Michael Heiser, The Unseen Realm Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible, p. 298). These are deliberate exegetical “echoes” or “hooks” taking us back to these OT passages. In other words, this is the reversing and restoring of God’s judgment upon the nations in Genesis 10-11/Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and Him bringing them back together under the uniting and “pure” tongue/language of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

G.K. Beale writes,

“Why does Luke want readers to see the link to Genesis 10-11? Babel’s sin of uniting and consequent judgment of confused languages and of people being scattered throughout the earth is reversed at Pentecost: God causes representatives from the same scattered nations to unite in Jerusalem in order that they might receive the blessing of understanding different languages as if all these languages were one.” (G.K. Beale,The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, p. 202)

Josephus on Genesis 11 Peter on Acts 2
The spoke “with other tongues” [“alloglossous glossais”] (Ant. 1.117; Ant. 1.120), “They began to speak “with other tongues [heterais glossais] (Acts 2:4)
God “gave to each his own language” [“idian hekasto phonen”] (Ant. 1.118) “”We hear each in our own dialect [“hekastos- te idia dialekto”] (Acts 2:6, 8)

Beale also sees Peter using the LXX to conflate Joel 2 with the last days evangelism to the nations of Isaiah 2,

“At the beginning of the Joel 2:28 quotation, Peter substitutes the phrase “in the last days” (en tais eschatais hemerais) in place of Joel’s “after these things.” The substitution comes from Isa. 2:2 (the only in the LXX where this precise phrase occurs): “In the last days (en tais eschatais hemerais) the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.” Thus Peter appears to interpret the Spirit’s coming in fulfillment of Joel to be also the beginning fulfillment of the Isaiah’s prophecy of the end-time mountain temple, under the influence of which the nations would come.” (G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT; p. 603).

Peter Leithart observes,

“Pentecost sounds like a repeat of Babel, but, unlike Babel, Pentecostal tongues communicate rather than confuse. Filled with the Spirit, the apostles preach the gospel to everyone in his own language, and the tongues of the Spirit join rather than separate nations. Glossolalia marks the church as an anti-Babel.

The apostles announce that all Israel has hoped for has now happened in the cross and exaltation of Jesus. The Spirit’s arrival is one of the indicators that Israel’s hopes are fulfilled. In contrast to Deuteronomy, the New Testament treats tongues not as an omen of exile but as a sign that exile has ended. Speaking in tongues, the early church isn’t being invaded. The church is the invader.

This helps answer our question, To whom was Pentecost a threat? On the one hand, it was a signal to Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah. Judaism was being “invaded” by a new people who claimed, in Paul’s words, to be “true Jews,” circumcised in heart rather than flesh (Rom 2).

On the other hand, tongues were a warning to Rome. Though dominated by Latin in the west and Greek in the east, the empire was polyglot. The sounds of the Pentecostal church told Rome that another multinational empire had invaded and was settling down in Roman territory. No wonder Roman emperors regarded the church as a dangerous rival.” (Peter Leithart, THE POLYGLOT POLITICS OF PENTECOST, https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/05/the-polyglot-politics-of-pentecost).

I would agree with Mr. Leithart that tongues were a sign of a uniting force for the nations coming into the fold of God through the Church, BUT it also functioned as a sign of judgment and exile for Old Covenant Jerusalem who would be “cast out” (exiled) of the kingdom in AD 70 (Mt. 8:10-12; 21:43-45).

***The theological point is that Peter’s sermon is the SEED that will be sent to plant the gospel in the Gentile nations (that were once disinherited by God in Gen. 10-11). These Jews would go back to their synagogues where there were not only Jews but believing Gentile proselytes and God-fearers. They too would hear the good news of what Messiah had done for them. Form here, God will send the Apostle Paul (as another faithful Jonah from Tarshish– the end of the ancient world) to make the mission complete and blossom into its fulness – thus bringing the nations back into the fold and kingdom of God. He would do this by going to the Jew first and then the Gentile. No doubt his first stop would be in these synagogues and churches established from Peter’s sermon, and then would branch out from there.

Let’s examine the parallels between Jonah and Peter and then Jonah and Paul.

Jonah and Peter

  • The Bible records the sin and pride of both men.
  • Jonah and Peter faced a crisis during a storm.
  • And for our main purpose in this article – both Jonah and Peter were first to cross Jew/Gentile boundaries.
  • Jonah fled from Joppa to Tarshish in order to flee from going to the Gentiles; while Peter is commissioned to go to Joppa to raise Dorcus and then commissioned back to Joppa to give preach and give the Holy Spirit to Cornelius in Acts 9-11.

Jonah and Paul:

  • Both were heading to Spain – Jonah 1:3 Jonah fled to Tarshish (in Spain – the end of the world in the ancient world) and Paul wanted to go to Spain/Tarshish, with tradition teaching he did (cf. Rom 15:24, 28).
  • Both sailed on the Mediterranean – Jonah boarded a ship on the Mediterranean to get away from the Lord’s calling (cf. Jonah 1:3) and Paul was led by the Spirit to sail on the Mediterranean to fulfill his (cf. Acts 27:1).
  • Both experience a great storm on the sea – (cf. John 1:4; Acts 27:13-14).
  • Both crews threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship (cf. Jonah 1:4 Acts 27:18).
  • Presence/absence of seeking the Lord’s guidance – Jonah is exhorted by a pagan to pray, while Paul through answer to prayers assures the captain and crew (cf. Jonah 1:6; Acts 27:24).
  • The miraculous sign of the great fish causes the Ninevites to be amazed and plays a part in their repentance while the miraculous sign of Paul being bitten by a poisonous snake play a role in the conversion of crew members and foreigners on an island.

While we are on the subject of Paul, let’s briefly extend our previous comments of him being used to fulfill the GC and add Israel’s typological mission.

Israel and Paul’s Role in the Great Commission

Although it can be correctly stated that Israel was not successful in fulfilling the great commission and being a light to the gentiles due to their propensity to fall into the sin of an exclusive self righteousness, it can also be stated that she temporary (in type form) did fulfill the great commission in a limited way. As God promised, Israel through Jehovah’s power did subdue and rule over all the land driving out the unclean beasts of the gentile nations: (Josh. 21:43-45; 1 Kings 8:56; Neh. 9:7-8). They experienced a typological subduing of God’s enemies and peace through the 40 year reigns of David and Solomon, which typified the warfare and peace of Christ’s pre-parousia reign and the early Church in subduing their enemies (Psalm 110/Heb. 10:13-37/1 Cor. 15:23-26) — this being a 40 year millennial reign before Christ returned in AD 70. The Great Commission was fulfilled in Jesus’ and Paul’s generation:

Prophecy Fulfillment
1. “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.” (Matt. 24:14)

* One def. – “The Roman Empire (Acts 17:6); the Jews in the world (Acts 24:5). Of Palestine and the adjacent countries (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28).”[1]

 

1. “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” [Greek oikumene] (Rom. 10:18)
2. “And the gospel must first be published among allnations.” [Greek ethnos] “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’” [Greek ethnos] “‘. . . I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19-20)

* These are “all the nations under heaven” in (Acts 2:4-5)

2. “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to allnations. . . .” [Greek ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26)
3. “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world [Greek kosmos] and preach the gospel to every creature” “. . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;they shall speak with new tongues.” [Greek glossa] (Mark 16:15, 17)

* One def. – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…”[2]

3. “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6)
4. “And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15)

* The creation of men – “in rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).”

4. “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisis] under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)
5. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8)

* The then known lands, regions, territories, countries etc…

5. “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom. 10:18)
6. Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [Greek glossa], as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [Greek ethnos] under heaven. (Acts 2:4-5) 6. Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly”: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land [Greek ge], and to every nation [Greek ethnos], and kindred [Greek phile] and tongue [Greek glossa], and people.” [Greek laos] (Rev.14:6). “The scene is Pentecost, 30 A.D. (cf. Heb. 12:22-24). This is when the gospel began to be preached under the authority of the great commission (cf. Matt. 28:18-20;Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-49) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 33; 1 Pet. 1:12). From here the gospel was preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (cf. Matt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10; Rom. 1:16; 10:18; Col. 1:23).” (Arthur Ogden, The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets Commentary on Revelation, pp. 292-293).

It’s no accident that the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to use ALL of the very same Greek words Jesus used to describe the extent of the GC — to communicate that it had already been fulfilled. Not sure how else he could have communicated that Jesus’ prophecy had been fulfilled when Jesus said it would be – “this generation.”

Premise #1 If it is true and orthodox to believe that the NT only addresses ONE Great Commission to be completed at the end of ONE “end of the age” (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10; Matt. 28:18-20/Mk. 16:15-18; Acts 1:8) – both of which are to be fulfilled just prior to the ONE Second Coming or parouia of Christ (Full Preterists, classic Amillennialists & Charismatics agree)…

Premise #2 …And if it is also true and orthodox to believe that the Great Commission in (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10) and the “end of the (OC) age” was fulfilled at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 (Full Preterists and Partial Preterists agree)…

Conclusion: …Then it is also true and necessarily follows that the ONE Great Commission (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10; Matt. 28:18-20/Mk. 16:15-18; Acts 1:8) was completed at the end of the ONE “end of the (OC) age” at Christ’s ONE parousia in AD 70 (“Reformed and always reforming”).

The Churches GC today in the NC age post AD 70 is found in Revelation 22:17 where the “Spirit and the Bride” invite sinners from the darkness outside the Jew Jerusalem to come through her gates through faith. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that sinners and evangelism are present in the New Creation – both Isaiah 65-66 and Revelation 21-22 support this exegetically.

* Getting back to developing some other OT texts in Acts 2…

Perhaps another important OT passage should be addressed as we look at what is taking place in Acts 2:

  • “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.” (Zephaniah 3:9)

Benson addresses the typological fulfillment of Zephaniah 3:9 and then it’s ultimate fulfillment in the Messianic times,

“This promise seems primarily to respect the Jewish captives in Babylon, and to imply that God would, by the captivity, and other methods of his providence, so reform them and wean them from their idolatries and other sins, that they should, upon their return to their own land, all join together to glorify him with one mind and one mouth, and serve him alone in sincerity and truth. And this was accordingly, in a great measure, accomplished. For they never after their restoration worshipped different gods, as they had done before; but all joined, as well those of the ten tribes that returned, as those of Judah and Benjamin, in the worship of Jehovah alone; nor did the nation in general ever afterward fall into gross idolatry. And it is not to be doubted that their morals in general were much more pure when they returned from Babylon, than at the time they were carried thither. It is, however, generally supposed by commentators, that the full accomplishment of this promise is reserved for the latter days, after the conversion of the Jews, and the coming in of the fulness of the Gentiles, when there shall be one Lord, and his name one, Zechariah 14:9. Accordingly, the word rendered people in the first clause is in the plural, עמים, peoples, I will restore to the peoples a pure language: an expression which could hardly be intended of the Jews only, but seems evidently to include the Gentiles also.”

The Pulpit Commentary takes it a step further and correctly connects this with Genesis 10-11,

“…the confusion of Babel shall be done away, and all shall speak the language of faith in one God. This, of course, points to Messianic times.”

And yet Barnes, one step further to the truth when he connects the miraculous tongue speaking of Acts 2 with the restoration of the judgment upon the seventy nations in Genesis 10-11,

“Before the dispersion of Babel the world was “of one lip,” but that, impure, for it was in rebellion against God. Now it shall be again of “one lip;” and that, “purified.” The purity is of faith and of life, “that they way call upon the Name of the Lord,” not as heretofore on idols, but that every tongue should confess the one true God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, in Whose Name they are baptized. This is purity of faith.”

And,

“God gave back one pure language, when, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, the Author of purity, came down in fiery tongues upon the Apostles, teaching them and guiding them “into the whole truth” John 16:13, and to “speak to every one in his own tongue, wherein he was born, the wonderful works of God” Acts 2:8, Acts 2:11. Thenceforth there was to be a higher unity than that of outward language. For speech is not the outer sound, but the thoughts which it conveys and embodies. The inward thought is the soul of the words. The outward confusion of Babel was to hinder oneness in evil and a worse confusion. At Pentecost, the unity restored was oneness of soul and heart, wrought by One Spirit, whose gift is the one Faith and the one Hope of our calling, in the One Lord, in whom we are one, grafted into the one body, by our baptism Ephesians 4:3-6. The Church, then created, is the One Holy Universal Church diffused throughout all the world, everywhere with one rule of Faith, “the Faith once for all delivered unto the saints,” confessing one God, the Trinity in Unity, and serving Him in the one law of the Gospel with one consent.”

Before leaving Acts 2 we need to address the apocalyptic genre that is present as it relates to the Second Coming of Jesus or “Day of the Lord.”

The Apocalyptic Language of the Second Coming in Acts 2

a). “blood, fire and vapor of smoke” (v.19) – This is war language referring to AD 66 – AD 70. Tongues were for a sign of impending judgment for Israel (1 Cor. 14/Isa. 28).

b). “sun turned to darkness & moon to blood” (v. 20) – This is the language of a lunar eclipse which when darkened, the sun turned the moon blood red. Israel shining like the sun in covenant status with God would now be extinguished. Her moon or city would become blood red like the moon during an eclipse – after all they did say, “His blood be on us and on our children,” and in AD 66 – AD 70 it was so.

c). “before the day of the Lord comes” (v. 20) – As with the judgment and day of the Lord in Mal. 3-4, and Matt. 24:27-30, this passage has historically been referred to as either: 1) The Second Coming closing the “last days” period, or 2) Typical apocalyptic language describing Christ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem with her “last days” OC age ending in AD 70. Both are true, this is the Second Coming event which closed the “last days” of the OC age in AD 70.

d). “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” “…and [Peter] continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” (vss. 21, 40) – That this “Day of the Lord” is referring to AD 70 should be obvious in that Peter’s audience is exhorted to be saved from its arrival in their “this crooked generation.”

And this is no generic generation, for Peter is referencing Israel’s “last days” “perverse and crooked generation” of Deuteronomy 31–32:5, 20 who’s “end” would be “near” when it appeared. Peter’s eschatology not only confirms his generation brings in the “end” but it was truly “near” (1 Pet. 4:5-7) just as Deuteronomy 32 prophesied.

e). “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself” (vss. 38-39). This takes us back to the G.C. of Acts 1:8 reaching the end of the earth (and of them returning back to “all nations under heaven” in 2:5) which was fulfilled just prior to the Lord coming in judgment by AD 70 (Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26).

Charismatics like Dr. Michael Brown are fond of quoting this passage and leaving out Peter’s exhortation to be saved from their “crooked generation” in the very next verse (v. 40).

When God brought the believing Jewish remnant and Gentile into the matured NC body of Christ within that “crooked generation” just prior to Him coming in judgment and ending Israel’s “last days,” He also caused the confirmatory nature of the sign and revelatory gifts to cease for they served their purpose (1 Cor. 13:8-12).

Support from the Commentators in Acts 2

John Lightfoot“…it shall come to pass “in the last days.” We have elsewhere observed that by the last days is to be understood the last days of Jerusalem and the Jewish economy, viz. when the τέλος τοῦαἰῶνος Ἰουδαϊκοῦ, the end of the Jewish world drew near. And there would be the less doubt as to this matter if we would frame a right notion of “that great and terrible day of the Lord;” that is, the day of his vengeance upon that place and nation. Which terror the Jews, according to their custom and fashion, put far off from themselves,…”

Adam Clark– “Acts 2:20: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood – These are figurative representations of eclipses, intended most probably to point out the fall of the civil and ecclesiastical state in Judea: see the notes on Mat 24:29. That the Sun is darkened when a total eclipse takes place, and that the Moon appears of a bloody hue in such circumstances, every person knows.

Acts 2:21: Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved – The predicted ruin is now impending; and only such as receive the Gospel of the Son of God shall be saved. And that none but the Christians did escape, when God poured out these judgments, is well known; and that All the Christians did escape, not one of them perishing in these devastations, stands attested by the most respectable authority. See the note on Mat 24:13.”

“Acts 2:40: Save yourselves from this untoward generation – Separate yourselves from them: be ye saved, σωθητε: the power is present with you; make a proper use of it, and ye shall be delivered from their obstinate unbelief, and the punishment that awaits it in the destruction of them and their city by the Romans.”

Matthew Henry– “…Or, in the days immediately preceding the destruction of the Jewish nation, in the last days of that people, just before that great and notable day of the Lord spoken of, v. 20.” And:

“The terrible presages of that destruction are here foretold: There shall be wonders in heaven above, the sun turned into darkness and the moon into blood; and signs too in the earth beneath, blood and fire. Josephus, in his preface to his history of the wars of the Jews, speaks of the signs and prodigies that preceded them, terrible thunders, lightnings, and earthquakes; there was a fiery comet that hung over the city for a year, and a flaming sword was seen pointing down upon it; a light shone upon the temple and the altar at midnight, as if it had been noon-day. Dr. Lightfoot gives another sense of these presages: The blood of the Son of God, the fire of the Holy Ghost now appearing, the vapour of the smoke in which Christ ascended, the sun darkened, and the moon made blood, at the time of Christ’s passion, were all loud warnings given to that unbelieving people to prepare for the judgments coming upon them. Or, it may be applied, and very fitly, to the previous judgments themselves by which that desolation was brought on. The blood points at the wars of the Jews with the neighbouring nations, with the Samaritans, Syrians, and Greeks, in which abundance of blood was shed, as there was also in their civil wars, and the struggles of the seditious (as they called them), which were very bloody; there was no peace to him that went out nor to him that came in. The fire and vapour of smoke, here foretold, literally came to pass in the burning of their cities, and towns, and synagogues, and temple at last. And this turning of the sun into darkness, and the moon into blood, bespeaks the dissolution of their government, civil and sacred, and the extinguishing of all their lights. Thirdly, The signal preservation of the Lord’s people is here promised (v. 21): Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus (which is the description of a true Christian, 1 Co. 1:2) shall be saved, shall escape that judgment which shall be a type and earnest of everlasting salvation. In the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, there was a remnant sealed to be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger; and in the destruction by the Romans not one Christian perished. Those that distinguish themselves by singular piety shall be distinguished by special preservation.”

Kenneth Gentry– “Acts 2:20 must highlight AD 70, for it appears in the very context of Jerusalem and incudes tongues-speaking which is a sign of coming judgment upon Israel (cf. Dt 28:49; Isa 28:11; 33:19; Jer 5:15; 1 Cor 14:21-22). Peter’s sermon not only blames the Jews for Christ’s recent death (Acts 2:22-23, 36), but urges the Jerusalemites to “be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40).”

Question on the Last Days of Acts 2

Why would anyone think the “last days” is referring to the Church age or the NC age when the Apostle Paul emphatically says it is an “age without end” (Ephs. 3:20-21)?!?

Between AD 30 – AD 70 the OC age overlapped with the NC age. The OC age was passing away and “ready to vanish” while the NC age was “about to come” in its mature state by AD 70 (2 Cor. 3; Heb. 8:13).

Orthodoxy and the End of the Age, the Last Days, and Day of the Lord of Acts 2 Cont.

Milton Terry– “The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.”

Dr. John Owen– “Most expositors suppose that this expression, “The last days,” is for the times of the gospel today. But it doth not appear that they are anywhere so called; nor were they ever known by that name among the Jews, upon whose principles the apostle proceeds.”“…It is the last days of the Judaical church and state, which were then drawing to their period and abolition, that are here and elsewhere called “The last days,” or “The latter days,” or “The last hour,” 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 1:18. For,…” “…This phrase of speech is signally used in the Old Testament to denote the last days of the Judaical church.”

Gary DeMar– “The last days are not way off in the distant future. The end came to an obsolete covenant in the first century. In A.D. 70 the “last days” ended with the dissolution of the temple and the sacrificial system.”

David Chilton– “The Biblical expression Last Days properly refers to the period from the Advent of Christ until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the “last days” of Israel during the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant (Heb. 1:1–2; 8:13; James 5:1–9; 1 Pet. 2:20; 1 John 2:18).”

Full Preterist Synthesis / “Reformed and Always Reforming”

Amillennialists– The “last days” encompass a period between Christ’s first and second comings. The NT only affirms ONE Parousia or Second Coming event. The coming of Christ in Acts 1-3 is His ONE Second Coming event (Full Preterism agrees).

Partial Preterists– The “last days” only extended to AD 70 and refers to the last days of the OC age which ended in AD 70 when Christ’s spiritual and imminent Parousia was fulfilled. The coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 [Milton Terry and Mike Bull] and Acts 2:20 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Full Preterism agrees).

Obviously, both views have formed Full Preterism.

The Second Coming of Christ From Heaven and the Restoration of All Things – Acts 3:19-24

  • “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, “and that He maysend Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, “whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. ‘And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. (Acts 3:19-24).

As usual most commentators do not develop the context and audience relevancy of this very important text. As we saw before in chapter two Peter is exhorting his contemporary audience and generation to be saved from the “day of the Lord” or “great and magnificent day” (Acts 2:20-40). And those that do honor audience relevancy in Acts 2 to defend the “day of the Lord” was fulfilled by AD 70 now abandon it here in chapter 3.

Notice the same contemporary generation:

  • “men of Israel” (v. 12).
  • “You handed Him over to be killed” (v.13).
  • “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One…,” (v.14).
  • “You killed the author of life,…” (v. 15).
  • “You acted in ignorance…” (v. 17).
  • Therefore, they are exhorted to “repent”in order to obtain forgiveness or salvation at the coming of the Lord in (vss. 19-21) which were the exact same motifs found in Peter’s previous sermon in Acts 2.

The OC wrath and judgment to fall upon Israel foretold by Moses simply cannot be mistaken in (vss. 22-23) as referring to God’s judgment in AD 70. Postmillennialist Kenneth Gentry acknowledges the audience relevancy in (v. 23) and writes,

“This call to repentance from their sins contextually speaks of their horrible guilt in the crucifixion. With an eye to the coming A.D. 70 judgment, Peter issues a warning from Moses…”(Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology, p. 488).

This places Gentry in an exegetical pickle because (vss. 19-21) speak of the Second Coming and “the restoration of all things.” Gentry seeks to escape this dilemma by asserting with no justification that the “restoration of all things” is not something that comes “until” God sends His Son from heaven in the Second Coming event but decides the “restoration of all things” is a 2,000+ years process and the sending of the Son from heaven is actually a sending of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of these Jews whom repented. (Gentry, Dominion, ibid., p.489). Gentry admits this is just as much of an “awkward” exegesis of the passage as it is for a Futurist Second Coming interpretation,

“This understanding of the “sending” (Greek apostello) of Jesus in salvation is no more awkward than is the Second Advent view.” (Gentry, Dominion, ibid., p.489 emphasis added)

And,

“This particular sending of Christ does not await His Second Advent. Why would Peter tell the Jews that if they repent today, God will send the Son thousands of years later? Christ is being presented to them at that very moment.” (Gentry, Dominion, ibid., p. 490).

How is this any less “awkward” than the same Jewish contemporary audience being exhorted to be saved from the imminent coming of the Lord in their generation of Acts 2:20-21, 40 which Gentry places in AD 70?!? The two sermons are exhorting the same first century Jewish audience that had crucified Christ to be saved from an imminent OC wrath that was looming over their generation. This OC wrath predicted by Moses would be poured out upon them by the sending of God’s Son from heaven or described as the great and dreadful day of the Lord in AD 70. Acts 2-3 is only “awkward” when trying to be interpreted through a Futurist paradigm! If Christ didn’t return in Acts 2-3 fulfilling all the OT law and prophets culminating with Him judging those that had crucified His Son, then the OC has not been fulfilled and we remain under “all” of its “jots and tittles” (Mt. 5:17-18).

The Greek word here for “restore” is apokatastasis and it is only used this one time in the NT, while it’s kindred verb to “restore” is found in (Acts 1:6 & Mt. 17:11). We have already seen the fulfillment of the GC and therefore the “restoration” of (Acts 1:6-8). According to Jesus, John was the Elijah about to come whom prepared the way for the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal. 3-4) which would “restore all things” by AD 70. The “all things” is defined later in (vss. 21-24) as prophecies that came through “all the prophets” from Moses, Samuel, and on. Peter is only reiterating what Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse,

“For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” (Lk. 21:22). Wasn’t the coming of the Son of Man, the inheritance of the kingdom, and resurrection found in Daniel 7 and 12 during the time of the Roman Empire equivalent to the “restoration of all things”?!?

To reiterate some of what we have covered thus far in Acts 1-3 and the Olivet Discourse:

  • The great commission needed to be fulfilled first (Mt. 24:14/Acts 1:8) and was.
  • Those whom put Jesus to death (and would put to death his apostles and prophets) among the “tribes of the earth/land” would mourn, experience His OC wrath, be cut off and judged if they did not repent (Mt. 23-24/Acts 2-3; see also Rev. 1:1, 7).
  • The kingdom would be inherited at this time (Lk. 21:27-32/Acts 1:6-11/3:20-23).
  • All prophecy found in the law and the prophets concerning the “restoration of all things” – the judgment, resurrection, and Christ’s Second Coming would occur within Peter’s contemporary “this generation” (Acts 2-3/Mt. 24:1-34).

Jonah in Joppa/Tarshish and Peter Son of Jonah’s Relationship to Joppa/Tarshish

  • “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,”Arise, go to Nineveh [Gentiles], that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshishfrom the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppaand found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.” (Jonah 1:1-3)

Jonah is called to the Gentiles to preach a message of repentance and salvation, but instead Jonah flees from God’s presence to “Joppa” and “Tarshish.” God’s presence is with His covenant people in the land of Israel, but Jonah is not willing to carry the good news (that presence and salvation in a sense) to the Gentiles. Joppa and Tarshish thus take on the typological symbol of Jewish hardness fleeing the Gentile mission – and their need to return and fulfill the mission. God will not allow Peter to harden his heart as Jonah did toward this commission and God’s desire to inherit, indwell and restore the Gentiles back into His kingdom (Gen. 10-12/Deut. 32/Rms. 9-11/Acts 1:8). Thus, Peter must resist the Jewish temptation to resist God’s mission to the Gentiles and thus he is sent two times in Acts to Joppa to perform miracles confirming the Gentiles are included in Israel’s covenant promises.

Peter Son of Jonah Sent to and from Joppa in Acts 9-11

Peter Son of Jonah Raising a Gentile in Joppa from the Dead – Acts 9:36-42

  • “Now there was in Joppaa disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas [a Gentile].4She was full of ngood works and acts of charity. 37 In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in oan upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, p“Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to qthe upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics5 and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. 40 But Peter rput them all outside, and sknelt down and prayed; and turning to the body the said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and umany believed in the Lord.

Dorcas was a Gentile widow who’s faith and good deeds were well known throughout the churches. After Dorcas dies, the believers in Joppa express their faith in God to raise her from the dead through the Apostolic ministry. After all Christ was establishing His Church and building it over the rock/Hermon/Satan — the realm of the dead. They no doubt had heard that Christ raised Lazarus from the realm of the dead (on the fourth day – even after his body experienced decay) and that Peter and the other Apostles were promised to do “greater works” than that of Jesus (John 11; 14). Normally Jews would seek to immediately preserve and bury their dead, but in faith, the believers in Joppa washed her body and laid her in the upper room waiting upon God to send Peter son of Jonah for this miracle.

Peter Sent to Joppa to Evangelize and Baptize Gentile’s with the Holy Spirit – Acts 10-11

  • “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurionof wwhat was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man xwho feared God (a Gentile God-fearer– a proselyte to the Jewish faith but who was not circumcised) with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. 3 yAbout the ninth hour of the day1zhe saw clearly in a vision aan angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms bhave ascended cas a memorial before God. 5 And nowsend men to Joppaand bring one Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is lodging dwith one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, 8 and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.” (Acts 10:1-8)
  • “Now the apostles and rthe brothers1who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, sthe circumcision party2 criticized him, saying, 3 t“You went to uncircumcised men and uate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 v“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, wmaking no distinction. xThese six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 yhe will declare to you a message by which zyou will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, athe Holy Spirit fell on them bjust as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, c‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then dGod gave ethe same gift to them as he gave to us fwhen we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, gwho was I hthat I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they iglorified God, saying, j“Then to the Gentiles also God has kgranted lrepentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:1-18)

Again, Luke depicts Peter as a new Jonah.

The physical miracles of Christ and the Apostles between AD 26 – AD 70 (encompassing Israel’s OC “last days”) were designed to point to a greater spiritual miracle and fulfillment of prophecy.

The raising of Lazarus and Dorcus for example teaches us that Jesus Himself is the “Resurrection and Life” and that Jew and Gentile would be raised into ONE New Man/Body/Temple/House and experience “life from the dead” at Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming from Zion to save Israel and forgive sin (Rms. 11:15, 24-27; 13:11-12) and thus “never die” (Jn. 11:25-26). Christ’s “soon” Second Coming event overcame “the [spiritual] death” that came through Adam the very day he sinned in the Garden and brings us to His face and the Tree of Life – and is the time when these miraculous gifts “ceased” (1 Cor. 13:8-12/Rev. 20-22:4-7, 20).

These physical sign miracles along with the revelatory sign gifts of knowledge (ex. James given knowledge of how Gentiles are included into the temple promise of Amos 9/Acts 15), prophecy and tongues (as manifested in Cornelius the Gentile centurion) were given to develop and confirm the spiritual nature of how the OT prophecies would be fulfilled and the Pauline “mystery” of the Gentile inclusion into the body. In regards to the gift of tongues in Acts – Jews were always present when this gift was given (even when it was manifested through Cornelius) – thus demonstrated the soon coming judgment upon unbelieving Israel was coming (cf. 1 Cor. 14:20-22).

Conclusion to Part 1:

The “restoration of all things” that occurred when Christ was revealed from heaven in AD 70 had to do with the turning of the hearts of Israel and the Gentile nations back to God. This was the Spirit empowered “mystery” that was taking place between AD 30 – AD 70. The “creation” (Greek kitisis) “groaning” and “about to” (Greek mello) to be liberated in (Romans 8:18-23 YLT) was the “creation” (Greek kitisis) Paul had preached the gospel to throughout the then known world (Cols. 1:5-6, 23). This was the creation of men, and had nothing to do with rocks, trees, bugs, slugs or squirrels longing for a day they wouldn’t get hit by cars.

Isaiah 65-66 and Revelation 21-22 do not describe a “perfect” and glorified physical creation as the “restoration of all things.” There is physical labor, death, child birth, sinners and evangelism being described in these New Creation passages. The Jew understood his land and temple to be “heaven and earth” and his land to be filled with the light of Tora. The unclean nations outside were in darkness needing to come to the city of light in order to convert and be declared a “new creation” by the Rabbis. This is how Revelation 21-22 ends. The New Jerusalem/New Creation is the Most Holy Place dwelling of God and filled with the light of the Gospel and the nations outside in darkness continue to flow to her for healing.

Having taken a look at Peter Son of JONAH’S role in restoring all things in the GC and Gentile inclusion of Acts 1-3 and Genesis 10-11; in Part 2 we will be examining how Peter develops the restoration and all things concerning the other two eschatological events:

  • Genesis 1-3
  • Genesis 6:1-4

Part 2 1-2 Peter and the Restoration of Genesis 1-3

Introduction

We have been examining how the ancient Jew understood that three events needed to be restored, reversed, judged and or fulfilled by Messiah when he came: Genesis 1-3; Genesis 6:1-4 and Genesis 10-12. Adamic death needed to be overcome, the Watchers judged, and the nations brought back in through the Abrahamic covenant. In Part 1 of this series, we examined how Peter Son of JONAH in preaching the gospel to Jews from “every nation under heaven” in Acts 2 planted the seed that Paul would water — bringing the nations back into the fold of God (Acts 2:4-5 àCols. 1:5-6; Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26).

Our focus in Part 1 was to develop Acts 1-3; 9-11 and Peter’s eschatology in how the “restoration of all things” in Genesis 10-12/Deuteronomy 32:8-9 would be fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ in AD 70. The curse of Babel and the table of nations was reversed through the GC of Acts 1:8 being fulfilled by AD 70.

Now I would like to examine Peter’s eschatology in 1-2 Peter and how the Adamic world of Genesis 1-3 and Israel was being restored and would fully be restored and transformed going at Christ’s “near” Parousia in AD 70.

1 Peter Chapter 1

All that we need to know about eschatology is laid out for us by the Apostle Peter in this first chapter and harmonizes with what Jesus taught Him concerning both HOW and WHEN the salvation the OT prophets predicted would be fulfilled:

Jesus and Peter

1). The OT prophets longed to know how and when the Messiah’s salvation would be fulfilled – something the disciples were being shown (Mt. 13:16-43).

1). The OT prophets longed to know how and when their predictions of the Messianic kingdom and salvation would be fulfilled (1 Pet. 1:10-11).

2). HOW – the salvation and kingdom was not to be physically seen but realized “within” the soul or spirit (Lk. 17:20-37).

2). HOW – The inheritance of the kingdom promises was to be realized within or a “salvation of the soul” (1 Pet. 1:9).

3). WHEN – The Second Coming of Jesus, His coming Kingdom and salvation would arrive within some of their lifetimes and within their generation (Mt. 10:8-9, 17-23; 16:27-28; 24:1-34; Lk. 21:27-32).

3). WHEN – The Second Coming of Jesus, His coming Kingdom and salvation was “ready to be revealed” to Peter’s contemporary audience and generation (1 Pet. 4-12; 4:5-7; Acts 2:20-40).

4). OT prophets predicted soteriological and eschatological events that would “all” be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary generation (Lk. 21:20-22).

4). OT prophets predicted soteriological and eschatological events not for their day and time but for Peter and the first century Church to see fulfilled (1 Pet. 1:4-12; 4:5-7, 17).

The Greek word here in 1:5 for “ready” is hetoimos and simply means, “…ready at hand.”

Peter tells the church that “salvation” was “ready” or “at hand” to be revealed for these first-century Christians and again points this out in 4:5-7. The phrase “in the last time” singular is a more imminent time statement than the “last times” plural in (v. 20). The first is communicating the idea of Christ’s Second Coming arriving on the last day, which would be found within the last days or “last times” period. The “last times,” is synonymous with Peter’s “last days” of Acts 2 and encompasses Jesus’ First and Second Comings through which He would accomplish salvation for His Church.

Within the immediate context, this imminent “salvation” and “inheritance” of (1:4) was about to be revealed at “the revelation of Jesus Christ” in (vss. 7, 13). This would be the “end” or goal of their salvation which was the “salvation you’re your souls” (v. 9). The Greek word here for “soul” is psuche and means,

“the breath of life,” “the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart [cf. 1:22-25], soul etc.),” and or

“the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body).” (Online Bible Software,Ibid., Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon, [cf.1:22-25 added])

While Peter confirms their spiritual birth and salvation, there is a subtle reminder of a coming judgment in verses 22-25. Peter quotes the coming reward and judgment of Isaiah 40 that both Jesus and John the Baptist predicted was imminently approaching (Mt. 3:7GNT, 10-12; Mt. 16:27-28 / Isa. 40:3-10). I would concur with Beale and Carson that the entire context of Isaiah 40 is in view,

“Almost certainly he expected them to pick up on all of Isa. 40, not just the two verses that he actually cites, and to detect the parallels in their own situation.” (G.K. BEALE and D.A. CARSON, COMMENTARY on the NEW TESTAMENT Use of the OLD TESTAMENT, (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic, 2007), 1021)

As the covenant people may have had doubts that God would not keep His Word/promise to bring them out of the bondage of Babylon and back into their land – God would remove all obstacles to gather them again under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. His promise contained in His eternal Word could be trusted to accomplish what He said He would do. Yet, the gathering back in the land from the Babylon captivity was an OT type of the salvation and inheritance the Church was to receive at Christ’s imminent coming in AD 70. The persecuted church of Peter’s day needed to be reminded of the same – God was going to keep His Word/promise to return at the end of their OC age. Beale and Carson are correct to make these typological connections, but the anti-type promise of Christ’s visitation and inheritance would be fulfilled imminently at the end of the OC agein AD 70 and not our present age:

“If he is expecting his readers to bring the content of Isa. 40 along with the actual lines quoted, then the word preached to them is doubles the word promising the visitation by Yahweh…- manifested in the gospel itself… fulfilled at the end of the age.” (Ibid., 1022).

We will see at the beginning of chapter 2, Peter uses Psalm 34 in a similar way he has used Isaiah 40. And once in chapter 2, we will also take note of the imminent coming salvation and judgment that will be referenced in Isaiah 28; Ps. 118 and Isaiah 8.

Before leaving chapter 1, let’s look at a good commentary on the OT prophets searching diligently as to the time and way the Messiah would come and fulfill Israel’s kingdom promises and that they knew they were not predicting fulfillments for them but the NT authors day. Daniel, I believe is the best example of what Peter is referring to. Daniel fasted and prayed diligently to understand the timing and how his visions of the following would be fulfilled:

· The timing of the kingdom or when and how the stone cut without hands would be fulfilled.

· The coming of one like a Son of Man that came upon the clouds “as the Ancient of Days” (OG) LXX and the inheritance or entrance of the saints into the kingdom.

· The persecutions leading up to the inheritance of the kingdom.

· The desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple connected to the forgiveness of sin.

· The “time of the end” (not the end of time) and judgment and resurrection of the dead.

In Daniel 12 he is told to seal up the vision because the time of fulfillment for these things would be “far off” and he would not live to witness them. This and that all of these events were connected with the destruction and judgment upon Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:27; 12:7, 13).

Therefore, of all the OT prophets, Daniel is probably the most diligent in seeking clarification and given the clearest revelation concerning the time and way Messiah and His Kingdom would arrive and be fulfilled. He is also given the clearest revelation that he would not live to see the fulfillment of these events and that his prophecy would involve something “far off” (some 600 years). The inheritance of the kingdom and the Son of Man coming upon the clouds would be during the time of the fourth or Roman Empire. And that when Messiah came, the NATURE of His Kingdom would be different than the previous physical, earthly, theocratic and military kingdoms of the world. Thus, it would even be different than Israel’s earthly Old Covenant kingdom.

Thus, when Jesus came during the time of the Roman Empire identifying Himself as the “Son of Man” who would come upon the clouds of heaven with the Messianic Kingdom in the first century generation, they should have known He was the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies. This and when Jesus described the spiritual nature of His kingdom to be realized “within” at His Parousia and was “not of this world,” (“cut without hands”) this too should have been clues (Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32; John 18:36). But it was predicted by Moses that when Israel’s “last days” “perverse and crooked generation” arrived her “end” would be “near” but the vast majority would not be able to “discern” it. Even Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted that the New Covenant Messianic Kingdom would be a “new thing” and “strange work” in their midst (Isa. 42:9; Isa. 43:18-21; Jer. 31:22; Isa. 28:21). It was “new” or “unfamiliar” because it would be spiritual in nature, and a “strange work” because in establishing it, He would judge the vast majority through the Roman armies — not delivering and establishing an earthly kingdom from the Roman Empire. Only the remnant would be able to look back at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and know that the coming of the Son of Man and the arrival of His Kingdom had “already come” (Mrk. 8:38—9:1).

To sum up chapter 1 – once again, we are faced with the reality that Scripture involves a salvation and redemptioninseparably connected with Christ’s first century returnthat involves the salvation and restoration of the soul, heart, mind, and conscience of man in the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. This is how Israel’s promises concerning the restoration of all things was and were “ready” to be fulfilled by AD 70. This was the focus of the “restoration of all things” in John the Baptist’s ministry as well and the connection with the Great and Notable Day of the Lord. The “restoration of all things” has nothing to do with bodies flying off the planet and the globe undergoing a physical transformation at the end of time.

1 Peter Chapter 2

Here in chapter 2, Peter continues with the theme of HOW and WHEN the OT prophecies of the Messianic kingdom and its attended salvation and judgment would be fulfilled – or how Israel was being restored and transformed and would be at Christ’s “at hand” coming in AD 70.

But before dealing with those OT texts let’s see how Peter is possibly using his brief reference and echo of Psalm 34. In this Psalm David was being rejected as rightful king and alienated from the Promised Land being pursued in caves from Saul and spending his time amongst the Philistines. Perhaps Peter’s audience needed to be reminded that while David was temporarily rejected and persecuted, he experienced and tasted the Lord’s goodness and deliverance – with God ultimately fulfilling His Word/promise to him and making him King to reign in Jerusalem. Therefore, the Jewish Church needed to be reminded that just as David and Christ had been rejected and then vindicated and exalted in the kingdom promises pertaining to them, they too would experience a great entrance and inheritance of the Kingdom promises if they continued in the nourishment and tasting of the Word/promises God had given them. Thus Peter is using Psalm 34 in a similar way he referenced the context of Isaiah 40.

After giving an encouraging word that God will keep His promises by appealing to Isaiah 40 in chapter 1 and Psalm 34 here in chapter 2, Peter begins demonstrating HOW these OT kingdom promises were being fulfilled and restored. That is, the temple, priesthood and nation promises were to be spiritually fulfilled and not physically realized as they were under the Old Covenant. Christ is the spiritual “corner stone” (the stone cut without hands of Daniel 2) with Peter and the Church being spiritual “living stones” (2:4-5). The Church also functions as the spiritual “priesthood” and “nation” (2:5, 9). Again, this is the “new thing” or New Covenant Kingdom predicted by the prophets. Full Preterists are not “Gnostics” or somehow guilty of using a “hyper-spiritual hermeneutic,” – no, this is the hermeneutic of Jesus and the inspired NT authors in how Israel’s OT promises would be fulfilled and “restored” through Messiah.

Consider the following chart on how Israel’s OT promises were being fulfilled and restored to her from Old Covenant glory to New Covenant Glory and thus fully restored at Christ’s imminent Second Coming in AD 70:

Peter will also address and confirm the timing issue in this chapter when he discusses a first century judgment and fulfillment of the Messianic Stone passages. As previously noted in chapter 1 concerning the time and way the OT promises would be fulfilled, we will see great continuity on the timing of this judgment between Jesus and Peter.

2 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28

Of course, Isaiah 28 is part of “Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse” consisting of Isaiah 24-28 with the Jews considering this a “block” or eschatologically connected. Therefore, let’s briefly cover some parallels in how Peter and Jesus see how and when Isaiah 24-28 would be fulfilled and then we will break down specifically some of the other OT passages Peter is appealing to in 2 Peter 2.

1). Isaiah 24– In Isaiah 24, the “shaking” and de-creation is the result of Old Covenant Israel breaking the Mosaic Law. This doesn’t fit the modern eschatological paradigm.

Jesus– in Matthew 24 Jesus is bringing upon Old Covenant Israel:

· the covenant curses of Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 16 for rejecting Him as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets.

· Therefore, that OC heavens and earth would pass away, but His words of the NC heavens and earth would never pass away or be forgotten.

· Thus, the OC has to still be binding and imposed in order for the de-creation of Matthew 24 to be fulfilled.

· Since the OC was still “passing away” and was “soon to vanish” in AD 70, this was the only time the de-creation of Matthew 24 was to be fulfilled and was within that contemporary generation.

· Jesus has also informed us that Isaiah’s “last days” “in that day” judgment whereby Messiah will establish His rule in Jerusalem was fulfilled in AD 70 (Lk. 23:30/Isa. 2:10-19/Isa. 24:19-23). And since Isaiah 24 recapitulates Isaiah 2’s “in that day,” judgment and salvation — both chapters were fulfilled at Christ’s “in that day” Second Coming in majesty and splendor upon OC Jerusalem in AD 70.

Peter– Confirms essentially the same covenantal and eschatological events:

· The de-creation and new creation of 2 Peter 3 and Isaiah 65 involves the presence of the OC curses as well (cf. Isa. 65:13-15).

· The passing of the Old Covenant “elements” or heavens and earth with the arrival of the new being a transition of the OC to the NC by AD 70. I will deal with this more once we get to 2 Peter 3, but there is covenant language being used when He says “…the former things will not be REMEMBERED, nor will they come to mind.”

· So, in order for the de-creation of Isaiah 24, Matthew 24 and 2 Peter 3 to be fulfilled, it has to be the result of Israel breaking her OC law and those curses coming upon her. Only between AD 30 – AD 70 was the OC Law of Moses still imposed and her curses upon Israel relevant. Thus, unless one wants to argue the Mosaic OC Law is still present and binding today for National Israel and the Church, these passages cannot be fulfilled post AD 70.

2). Isaiah 25– When OC Jerusalem is judged and becomes a “heap of rubble” the Messianic banquet and resurrection will be fulfilled (vss. 2, 6-9). Again, Israel’s “last days” “in that day” coming of God in the judgment of Isaiah 2 and 24 is recapitulated here in chapter 25.

Jesus– Taught the following:

· He predicted in Matthew 8:10-12; Matthew 22:1-14 and Matthew 24:1—25:1-13 that when He came upon the clouds to judge Jerusalem in His contemporary generation (by which “not one stone would be upon another” / “heap of rubble”), this would be the time He would send the Roman armies to burn Jerusalem and thus fulfill the wedding banquet and resurrection promises of Isaiah 25:6-9 for the New Covenant Kingdom people of God.

Peter – Essentially the same fulfillment can be deduced in Peter:

· While Peter does not specifically reference Isaiah 25 and or develop the eschatological marriage motif as much as Jesus and Paul does, when Peter is addressing the arrival of the New Creation of Isaiah 65-66 in 2 Peter 3 or the imminent judgment of the dead in 1 Peter 4:5-7 — we are to understand the arrival of the New Creation is the time of the judgment and resurrection of the dead and thus the fulfillment of the wedding banquet as well with all of these linked together for us by John in Revelation 19-22 at the “soon” Second Coming of Jesus in AD 70.

3). Isaiah 26– Describes the eschatological birth pains just be before the Second Coming and resurrection is fulfilled. This would also be the time when Israel’s sin of blood guilt would be judged, and thus the martyrs vindicated.

Jesus– In Matthew 23-25 Jesus connects:

· The judgment of the living and dead as being the time for vindicating the blood of the martyrs (as far back as Genesis and Abel) to be fulfilled.

· The eschatological birth pains of all the OT prophets to be fulfilled.

· The resurrection and or gathering of the elect at the end of the OC age to be fulfilled.

· ALL of these promises that can be found in the OT prophets to be fulfilled within His contemporary “this generation” thus linking Matthew 23 to chapters 24-25 (see also Lk. 21:22 – which would include the birth pains and resurrection of Isa. 26).

Peter– While no explicit reference to Isaiah 26 is made, Peter affirms the following and is in line with how and when these eschatological promises would be fulfilled:

· They were currently in the tribulation (1 Pet. 1:6-7 or period of eschatological birth pains) and therefore being tested just prior to Jesus’ imminent Second Coming — per Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24.

· While OC unbelieving Israel could not give birth to a “people” or nation that included the Gentiles, Peter sees faith in Christ coming from the believing remnant Jews and the Gentiles forming the birth of the Israel of God or “nation” and “people” (1 Pet. 2:9).

· Since “THE judgment” of the living and dead was “near” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17) the judgment and resurrection of the dead as described in Isaiah 25-27 was thus near.

4). Isaiah 27– Describes the coming “in that day” judgment in which the following occurs: 1. “Leviathan the gliding serpent” is slain and judged, 2. the blossoming of Israel filling the world with fruit and the forgiveness of sin occurs, 3. the spiritual, corporate and covenantal killing and striking down of OC Israel – when he makes “Jerusalem desolate” and “all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” is fulfilled, and lastly – 4. The eschatological trumpet and or resurrection gathering is accomplished.

Jesus– Jesus instructed the Apostles that the following would be fulfilled at the end of the OC age and within their contemporary “this generation” — per Matthew 24-25:

· Jerusalem and the Temple would be made desolate and thus not one stone of the Temple would be left upon another.

· OC fleshly Israel would be struck dead and she would be a corporate, covenantal and dead “carcass” for Rome to pick apart.

· Salvation and redemption would be achieved at this time.

· The trumpet gathering or resurrection.

· This would be when the judgment of the devil and angels occurred.

Peter– When Peter affirms that “the end of all things is at hand,” (1 Pet. 4:5-7) this refers to the following:

· Satan, the demons and the Watchers reserved in darkness and chains are finally judged.

· While Jesus describes OC Israel as a dead carcass never to rise again, and the passing of the “heavens and earth” to occur in His generation, I think it is proper to assume that a resurrection/glorification/restoration of a New Covenant Israel/Jerusalem along with a New Heavens and Earth emerges at this same time (as described by both Peter and John).

· This would be when the soteriological and eschatological “inheritance” of the “kingdom” and “salvation of the soul” was “ready” to be fulfilled.

5). Isaiah 28– Because Israel would not listen to their own prophets speaking their own language, she would perform and undergo the following: 1. be judged by a nation speaking a foreign language, 2. these Jewish “scoffers” mocked the prophets concerning their impending judgment, and 3. since the prediction was considered nonsense to these scoffers, they would be “injured” “snared” in a trap and thus “captured” and led away as slaves, 4. A precious corner stone is laid in Zion as a standard for just judgment, 5. God would come as He had at Mount Perazim and Gibdon, 6. This would be a “strange work,” 7. This judgment had be “decreed” and unalterable and lastly, 8. All of this would be the result of God’s wonderful counsel and wisdom.

Jesus – In Matthew 24 Jesus predicted virtually the same events would befall Jerusalem in AD 70:

· The Roman army was composed of all the nations of the world at that time when they “surrounded Jerusalem.” Therefore, it is possible the Jews heard foreign languages as they had when the Babylonians and Assyrians attacked them in the past.

· Jesus laid a “snare” or “trap” for the Jews by causing His Second Coming to take place during the feasts of Israel. Thus, Jews who were persecuting Christians throughout the Roman Empire were gathered in Jerusalem to be slaughtered. God gave them over to listen to the false prophets who predicted God was going to overthrow Rome and establish an earthly kingdom for fleshly Israel.

Peter– Specifically addresses:

· The Jewish “scoffers” of Isaiah 28 that were claiming Peter and the Apostles were making up myths concerning a “near” “this generation” coming of Christ in judgment (as Jesus apparently had as well) and that it simply was not going to happen. They mocked the promise as being “slow” as that generation was coming to a close.

· The fulfillment of Isaiah 28:16 here in 1 Peter 2:6 and the salvation and judgment context of Isaiah 28 in brings with it.

Psalm 118:22 / 1 Peter 2:7

Having seen how Peter was following Jesus’ teaching that all OT Scripture would be fulfilled by AD 70 (cf. Lk. 21:22/1 Pet. 1:4-12) and how this included “Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse,” we now turn to how Jesus and the Apostle Peter understood Psalm 118 to be fulfilled.

Psalm 118 The Song of Ascent– The Psalm depicts David being a type of Christ who was surrounded at times by the various nations in the area of Judea – that being Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Amalekites and Syrians. All of these at various times threatened David during times of rejection from even his own people. But God was gracious and gave David strength to overcome and subdue them all throughout his wilderness journeys and then during his 40 years reign.

But the Jews understood all the stone prophecies to have a deeper and Messianic meaning. So here our Lord is pictured as being surrounded by Herod, Pontius Pilate, the cruel Roman soldiers and the deepest rejection and hatred coming from His own brethren the Jews (cf. Acts 4:27; Ps. 22:12). But like David, the time of rejection would end and He would be exalted by God and rule over those enemies that refused to have Him rule over them.

Historical Song and Use– While the Psalm is addressing persecution, vindication, judgment and salvation, it was also sung on the walls of Jerusalem during their feasts as they welcomed the pilgrims into the gates of Jerusalem. They would sing to the pilgrims, “Blessed is he (the pilgrim) who comes in the name of the Lord. From (within the gates of the city) the house of the Lord (Temple area) we bless you.”

Let’s examine how Jesus uses Psalm 118 consistently as a judgment coming upon Jerusalem in AD 70 – first in Matthew 21 and then in Matthew 23. From there we will examine if Peter sees it’s fulfillment as the same event as His Master.

Matthew 21:33-45 / Psalm 118

In the parable of the vineyard and tenants, the vineyard is God’s Promised Land and the tenants the Jews or OC people of Israel living there in a conditional covenant that would eventually bring an “end” to that kingdom (cf. Deut. 28; Deut. 32). God cultivated Israel through the Law and they were to obey and be fruitful. The servants the owner sends to the vineyard are the Prophets of whom the tenants mistreat and kill. Then last of all the owner sends His Son (Jesus) who they also mistreat and kill.

The climax of the parable is centered around the question Jesus gives the chief priests and elders (who in context are challenging His authority) and the exchange between them in verses 40-45. Jesus asks them what should be done to the tenants that killed the owners servants and then lastly his son. They enthusiastically condemned themselves when they affirmed that they should be put to death and the vineyard rented out to other tenants who would give the owner his share of the crop at harvest time. It is at this point Jesus quotes Psalm 118:

“Jesus said to them, “have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’”? Therefore, I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation (or people) who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them.”

There is no question that the parable is referring to God judging OC Israel in AD 70 and “taking the kingdom” from then and giving it (in its restored NC and spiritual form) to a “nation” or “people” bearing forth fruit. Even the Pharisees knew He was applying the well know Messianic Stone prophecy to Himself and that He would judge them for their rejection of Him.

There can very little doubt as to the identity of the “chosen people” and “holy nation” Peter is addressing in 1 Peter 2:9 after quoting the Messianic Stone passages in verses 6-8. He is interpreting Jesus’ use of Psalm 118 in Matthew 21:40-45 and identifying it to the NC Body of Christ – the Israel of God and New Jerusalem.

Matthew 23 / Psalm 118

“Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

This is another text that Historic Premillennialists and Dispensationalists appeal to support some kind of mass conversion of Jews at Christ’s Second Coming sometime in our future. After Israel’s alleged re-gathering in 1948, the majority of “Israel” will be converted at the Second Coming allegedly saying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

First, Jesus’ phrase “For I tell you” or “verily, verily I say unto you,” is always a linking phrase of emphasis to drive home the point of His teaching that has just gone before. So, the “coming” of v. 39 begins with connecting what follows with the judgment in AD 70 – ie. when “your house/temple is left to you desolate” v. 38. Therefore, this is not some 2,000 and counting years “coming” of Christ that is designed to save the vast majority of Israel in our future.

Secondly, the exegete needs to examine the context of that OT text Jesus is quoting from and see what event He has identified with it elsewhere in His teachings. Jesus is quoting and applying Psalm 118:26 here in Matthew 23:39 to Him coming in judgment upon Jerusalem and her temple being laid desolate in AD 70. As we have just seen, this is just how Jesus has used Psalm 118 in Matthew 21:42-45.

Therefore, the burden of proof is upon the Premillennial Futurist to demonstrate Jesus is using Psalm 118 in a completely different way – i.e. referring to a 2,000+ years distant future for Jerusalem’s mass salvation, and not her imminent judgment in AD 70. Premillennialists despise what they call “replacement theology,” and yet when all the law and prophets were fulfilled by AD 70 (Lk. 21:20-22, 30-32), the OC kingdom was “taken” and “given” (replacement) to the Jew/Gentile Church in its spiritual/transformed/matured form. When the OC kingdom is “taken” from Israel after the flesh is when the OC “vanished” and the Jew/Gentile Church “Holy Nation” inherited the spiritual NC heavenly New Jerusalem/City (Heb. 8:13; 13:14YLT; 1 Pet. 2:9).

Thirdly, as I pointed out earlier, Psalm 118:26 was commonly known as “The Song of Ascent.” The Song of Ascent was supposed to be a song of joy and salvation that the Jews would sing on the walls of Jerusalem welcoming the pilgrims for her feast days. But God made Christ a Cornerstone or Rock by which Israel “stumbled” over in judgment producing a “strange work” (Isa. 28:21 – ie. God would come to judge them – and not their enemies).

Instead of being met and welcoming pilgrims for the feasts, they were met with and forced to welcome – God coming in judgment through the Roman armies (as God had “come” in the OT – through the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…). That the Jews would not “discern what their end would be” was predicted in yet another song – the Song of Moses (Deut. 31-32). In that song it was predicted that in Israel’s last days a particular “perverse generation” would become “utterly corrupt” and their “end” would be “near” when it arrived. In Matthew 23-24 Jesus is telling them that they are this generation and their corruption had been “filled up.” Peter confirms they were living in the generation Moses predicted and therefore the “end” was “near” (Acts 2:40; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).

In Jesus pointing out that He would come in judgment during a time they would sing the song of ascent during one of their feast days was functioning as a subtle signgiven to the disciples here in Matthew 23. Matthew 24 develops this SAME coming of Christ, to destroy the SAME temple, in the SAME terminal generation and expands the theme of the SIGNS for this event that was introduced in chapter 23. Jesus’ disposition is that of righteous anger and thus He is using irony in appealing to a song that was typically used of salvation and peace, to be a song sung welcoming her enemies for her judgment! The Jews were bottled up in Jerusalem in AD 66 – AD 70 deceiving themselves into thinking that God was going to save them from the Romans and usher in the kingdom in fulfillment of OT prophecies (the very mentality that Jesus warned about concerning the coming false prophets in Matthew 24).

Don Preston has correctly written the following on this important passage:

“Many commentators take note of the fact that Matthew 23:39 is a citation of Psalms 118:26. However, few take note of the historical significance of this fact. Toussaint is somewhat of an exception. He insists that Psalms 118, and thus, Matthew 23:39 are referent to the Second Coming. While we would agree in principle to this, we insist that there is a logical, contextual, and historical application of the Song of Ascent to the events of A.D. 70. Psalms 118 was called a Song of Ascent or a Song of Degrees. What this meant was that the Psalm was sung to pilgrims, by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as the travelers approached the city of Jerusalem to observe one of the three sacred feast days of the Jewish Calendar. As Rawlinson says, it was “an antiphonal hymn, composed for joyful occasion, when there was to be a procession to the Temple, a welcoming of the procession by those inside, and the solemn offering of a sacrifice upon the altar there.” Manson says Psalms 118 was “a psalm which has connections with the great pilgrim feasts of Judaism, but especially the feast of Tabernacles.” Psalms 118 then, especially verse 26, was a song especially associated with the three great feast days of Israel. Let us very quickly refresh our minds about those feast days.

THE JEWISH FEASTS

The Jews had three major “pilgrimage” feasts. That is, these were the three times a year when every Jewish male that was of age was required by Mosaic mandate to travel to Jerusalem and worship the Lord (Exodus 23:17). Those feasts are sometimes called by different names, but they are generally known as Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Passover is otherwise known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Technically, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the day after Passover, but was so inextricably linked with it that the terms are sometimes used interchangeably). Pentecost is the Feast of First fruits, and the Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Booths, and the Feast of In-Gathering (Exodus, 23:14; Leviticus 23).

The Feast of Passover began the Jewish Calendar and lasted for seven days (Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:4-8). The Feast of Pentecost, or First fruits, was almost two months later (fifty days (Leviticus 23:15f). The seventh month of the Jewish Calendar was especially significant, since on the first day was the Feast of Trumpets. On the 10th day was the Day of Atonement, the most Holy Day in the year. On the 15th day was the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles. This Feast actually lasted for 7 days (Leviticus 23:33f). The Jewish Calendar therefore, provided for a significant number of days to be dedicated to worship High Days. In all, counting the 49 day interim between Passover and Pentecost since normally that was almost considered as part of the Festival complex, the time involved in the Feasts involved two full months. What is the point to all of this?

Remember, it was Psalms 118 that was sung to the pilgrims as they approached the city of Jerusalem to observe these feasts. Thus on three different occasions, once at the beginning of the year, once almost two months later, and again in the seventh month Psalms 118:26 would reverberate throughout the streets of Jerusalem: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Now let us make the connection with Matthew 23:39.

JESUS’ PREDICTION

As already noted, there is little controversy among commentators that Jesus, in Matthew 23:29-38, predicted the judgment on Jerusalem in A.D. 70. But these same commentators, and of course Toussaint, believe that verse 39 strikes a dissonant cord to that message of doom, offering instead a “silver lining” to the dark cloud of pronounced judgment. He says that in this verse, “The Lord Jesus said Israel would not see Him again until that nation affirmed (in repentance, DKP), that He was the Messiah.” We believe this is in error.

Verse 39 was a statement of Jesus predicting the time of his coming in judgment against Israel. It is very clear that the point of Jesus’ statement in verse 39 is when he would come: “you will not see me again until you say.” Toussaint agrees with this assessment, and links this verse to a yet future conversion of the Jews at the end of the age, citing Romans 11:26f. But this ignores several facts.

First, Paul, in Romans 9:28, places the predicted salvation of Israel within an imminent time-frame, actually linking it to his personal ministry in 11:25, and 15:16f. This cannot be ignored.

Second, it also ignores the fact that Israel’s salvation would come at the time of Israel’s judgment. See Isaiah 2-4; 64-66; Zechariah 12-14, etc.. In other words, Israel would be saved by judgment, not from judgment. She would be saved by eschatological transformation, not national restoration.

Toussaint suggests that Zechariah 12-14 must speak of the time of Israel’s repentance and conversion. He emphasizes the fountain opened for taking away Israel’s sins, insisting that this must refer to her repentance and conversion. However, chapter 13 describes the judgment that would fall on her. It was a judgment that would destroy “two thirds of the people’ (13:8f). Further, chapter 14 very clearly posits the destruction of Jerusalem in the Day of the Lord. Third, it ignores the fact that the New Testament writers indisputably taught that they were living in the last days, in the end of the age (1 Corinthians 10:10-11; Hebrews 1:1; 9:26, 1 Peter 1:5-7, 18-20). It is a dubious hermeneutic that denies this and extends the last days for a period of two thousand years–so far!

But again, the point of Jesus’ prediction is the timing of his parousia. The purpose of his return in the context is judgment. When would he come in judgment? At the time when they would be singing the Song of Degrees (Psalms 118:26)! Jesus was saying he would return in the judgment he had just pronounced during one of the three Feast Days of Israel! Is this what really happened?

Anyone familiar at all with Josephus know this to be true. In the Works of Josephus, Book 6, chapter 9, paragraph 3, he says, “Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation (with the citizens of Jerusalem), but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army.” Thus, Josephus confirms that the siege of Jerusalem began at the time of one of the three major feast days, one of the distinctive times when Psalms 118:26 would be sung! Someone might object that such a prediction by Jesus isolating his coming to one of the feast days was tantamount to predicting “the day and the hour” of his coming. But such is not the case at all. In Matthew 24 Jesus predicted his coming in that generation, vs. 29-34. He even gave some signs, (v. 14-15), whereby, “when you see all these things then know that he is near even at the doors.” (ASV) They could know by these signs that his coming was near, “but of that day and hour knoweth no man” (v. 36). Knowing something is near, that it is even to be in your generation, does not tell you the day or the hour of its occurrence!

Considering the span of time involved in the feast days of the Jews it would hardly be possible for anyone to calculate the day or the hour of Jesus’ coming. After all literally months were spanned in these feasts, both at the first of the year and in the seventh month. If I were to tell you that I was going to come to your house next year for sure and that it would be at one of the national holidays, could you predict the specific day and hour I would arrive? Certainly not. Just so, when Jesus pronounced judgment against Israel in Matthew 23:29-38 and then somewhat enigmatically stated that this would occur on one of the occasions when they would be singing the Hallel Hymn of Psalms 118, he was not specifying the day and hour of his coming.

This view of Matthew 23:39 is consistent with the context. It prevents us from interjecting into the context some idea that has not been previously mentioned or hinted at, i.e. that national conversion of the Jewish nation. But, not only is this view consistent with the context, it becomes very significant for helping us understand the disciples’ question in Matthew 24.” (Don Preston, The Song of Ascent, http://fullpreterism.com/matthew-2339-the-song-of-ascent/)

Therefore, there is perfect consistency in how Psalm 118 is being used by Jesus in His eschatology. He would come upon the clouds of heaven as the chief cornerstone crushing the apostate OC Temple and those that had rejected, mistreated and put Him and His NT prophets to death.

Isaiah 8:14 / 1 Peter 2:8

We now return to 1 Peter and how Peter is going to use the third of the Messianic Stone passages.

Isaiah 8– The context is the judgment upon Israel and Judah through the invading army of Assyria sweeping them away in judgment and captivity. Isaiah and the believing remnant are exhorted to trust in “The Lord of Hosts” who will…

“…become Sanctuary and Stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

If they trusted in the “Lord of Hosts” as their “Sanctuary” (Temples were referred to as such) and “Rock” they will be safe, but if the people would not repent and believe in the Lord’s Word/promise of impending judgment, they will be crushed and swept away through the Assyrian army. The majority disbelieved and hoped for deliverance from men, and thus they were “snared” and “trapped.”

Peter’s application is certain– The Lord of Hosts coming as a rock of stumbling through the Assyrian judgment was a type of Jesus coming as the Lord of Hosts and a rock of stumbling to judge Israel one last time through the Roman armies. Those that trusted in His Words/promises would be safe – fleeing Jerusalem when they saw the sign of the armies surrounding the city and inheriting the NC spiritual kingdom at His Second Coming (Lk. 21:20-32; Lk. 17:20-37).

Those that did not trust in the Word/promise of imminent judgment and trusted in men (the false prophets and messiah’s) were “snared” and “trapped” within Jerusalem and destroyed from within and without.

A Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation a People of His Own Possession– Here once again we see the kingdom being “given” to a “nation” or “people” in the restored, NC, spiritual or true fulfillment that Jesus was addressing in Matthew 21:43-45 that would bear fruit in the NC coming age. She was in the process of being transformed and restored but would completely reach her full maturity and glory when the OC kingdom was judged in AD 70 – closing the OC age.

Gentiles See Your Good Deeds and Glorify God on the Day of Visitation– The Second Coming (“Day of Visitation”) does not appear to be an instantaneous globe burning event. The increasing number of Christians were emptying the Jewish synagogues and pagan temples and thus they were charged slanderously of being evil from all sides so as to stunt their growth. Therefore, so much more reason to walk in holiness as their inheritance at the Second Coming of Jesus was “ready” and “near” to be fulfilled. But Peter wants them to be holy so as that during and immediately after the Second Coming in AD 70, the ungodly throughout the Roman Empire may witness God’s faithfulness and kindness to the Christians hearing of their deliverance and glorify God for what He had done for them. History records their flight to Pella and Jesus informs us that they were left on the earth having known that Christ and His kingdom had “already come” in the events of Jerusalem’s judgment in AD 70 (Mark 8:38–9:1).

The Synagogue of Satan (Jews claiming to be God’s children) were judged and thus forced to bow before Christ and the Church in acknowledgement that He kept His promise and vindicated His TRUE children and seed of Abraham – the Church. These confessions may not have been shouted from the roofs, but those that knew of Christ’s predictions in Matthew 24 and what Peter and the early church was preaching, was forced at least in their consciences to acknowledge God’s faithfulness to His Church and her deliverance — all the while being faithful to judge those that had crucified their Messiah and the prophets He sent to her.

Article still in progress….