The Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by AD 70

The Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by AD 70

Jewish Views on the Resurrection

Many higher critical Bible sceptics, Talmudic Zionists, Muslims, Dispensational Zionists or  Christian Futurist systems of eschatology simply assume that the only concept of the resurrection of the dead in the OT and during Jesus’ day was a biological fleshly one in which an alleged individual’s physical / spiritual body would emerge from the literal grave at the end of time and thus be fitted for the afterlife in the new creation or some paradise on earth.  An understanding that the Bible only teaches this kind of resurrection has resulted in spiritualizing the imminent time texts of the NT away which point to the resurrection being fulfilled by AD 70.  The other gross abuse has been in not acknowledging that the OT and NT authors connect the resurrection event with the judgment of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in AD 70.   It is my purpose in this article to correct the record by doing the hard exegesis that critics and Futurist Christianity has not done.

I like how Lester L. Grabbe points out that, during the Second Temple period, the interpretations of the resurrection in the OT were not all necessarily understood to refer to the physical body. They included the view that the resurrection involved only the souls/spirits of individuals being fit for God’s presence either at death, or only their souls were raised at a general judgment of the dead event.  He points out that there is no evidence that the physical view was any more dominant than the spiritual view.  While lengthy, I think his historical comments will be helpful before we begin an exegesis of the OT and NT resurrection texts and simply assume they are addressing a biological resurrection at the end of time when Jesus or Messiah comes:

“It is sometimes asserted that the resurrection of the body was the characteristic Jewish belief. This is not borne out by the data. A variety of beliefs seem to be attested about the same time in Israelite history. One of these was the resurrection of the body, but there is little reason to think that it was earlier or more characteristic of Jewish thinking than the immortality of the soul or resurrection of the spirit. And it is clear that some Jews still maintained the older belief in no afterlife. The Sadducees (see section 2.7) are one group who thought so; so did Ben Sira. Writing about 190 bce Ben Sira does not seem to think of any life beyond death, as interpreted by the vast majority of scholars. Therefore, it would be quite wrong to refer to any of these beliefs as ‘characteristically’ Jewish or the Jewish belief on the subject.”[1]

“The exact form of the resurrection is not always specified, but we should not expect it always to entail resurrection of the body. Sometimes only the resurrection of the spirit is in mind, as in Jubilees 23:20–22:

And at that time the Lord will heal his servants, and they shall be exalted and prosper greatly; and they shall drive out their adversaries. And the righteous shall see it and be thankful, and rejoice with joy for ever and ever; and they shall see all the punishments and curses that had been their lot falling on their enemies. And their bones shall rest in the earth, and their spirits shall have much joy; and they shall know that the Lord is one who executes judgement, and shows mercy to hundreds, and to tens of thousands, and to all that love him.

Belief in the immortality of the soul is known at least as early as the Book of Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36). The souls of the various sorts of people are preserved in hollow places after death (1 Enoch 22):

And from there I went to another place, and he showed me in the west a large and high mountain, and a hard rock and four beautiful places, and inside it was deep and wide and very smooth . . . Then Raphael, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered me and said to me, These beautiful places are intended for this, that the spirits, the souls of the dead, might be gathered into them; for them they were created, that here they might gather all the souls of the sons of men. And these places they made where they will keep them until the day of their judgement and until their appointed time – and that appointed time will be long – until the great judgement comes upon them.

As the rest of the passage indicates, the souls of the dead are already experiencing reward and punishment in their intermediate state. In this case, the existence of the soul after death seems to be combined with the idea of a final judgement. This may imply a general resurrection, though this is not stated explicitly. In other sections of 1 Enoch, a resurrection is mentioned (46:6; 51:1; 90:33; 91:10; 92:3–4).

Other sources give no indication of a resurrection at all, only the immortal soul. A good example is Wisdom of Solomon which speaks of the soul (e.g., 3:1–9) but does not mention the resurrection. Whether Wisdom thinks the souls of all are immortal, or only those of the righteous, is debated. Many feel that immortality is not inherent in the soul itself but is a gift given only to the righteous.

The Testament of Abraham gives the clearest picture of how the souls are judged after death (Version A 11–14; Version B 9–11). The souls are brought before a throne on which Abel sits as judge. The one who presents the souls for judgement is Enoch, the scribe of righteousness (Version B only). The judged souls go either through the strait gate which leads to life (for the righteous) or the broad gate to destruction (for the sinners). Although there is a brief indication of belief in a general resurrection in the Testament of Abraham (Version B 7:16), judgement of each individual seems to take place immediately after death, and the emphasis is on this immediate judgement of the soul while the body rests in the grave.

On the other hand, the immortal souls and the resurrection may be combined, as in 2 Baruch 29–30:

[30:2] And it shall come to pass at that time that the treasuries will be opened in which is preserved the number of the souls of the righteous, and they will come out, and the multitude of souls will appear together in one single assembly; and those who are first will rejoice, and those who are last will not be cast down. For each one of them will know that the predetermined end of the times has come. But the souls of the wicked, when they see all this, will be the more discomforted. For they will know that their torment is upon them and that their perdition has arrived.[2]

Murray J. Harris after examining the intertestamental period of Judaism agrees:

“And there is the concept of the immortality of the soul or spirit that is gained at death or at the End [of the Mosaic age], with or without a resurrection of the [physical] body.”[3]

In Jewish tradition and exegesis there is also the view that the resurrection takes place 40 years after Messiah,

“Jewish writings stipulate that forty years after the coming of the Messiah there will be a resurrection of the dead, and all who are lying in dust will rise to new life.” (The 13 Principles and the Resurrection of the Dead)

The Rebbe often quotes the Zohar to the effect that the Resurrection will take place 40 years after the advent of Mashiach. (See Igros Kodesh, Vol. II, p. 75; Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. I, p. 274. However, there are also other references in the sichos (e.g., Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 206; Sefer HaSichos 5733, Shabbos Parshas Balak, footnote 3).”[4]

The fact that the resurrection could be a resurrection of spirits out of Hades in the coming judgment and that it would be fulfilled 40 years after Messiah was cut-off or during His transitionary reign between their old covenant “this age” and the new covenant “age about to come” fits perfectly with the teachings of Jesus and the NT authors.

Then there are many scholars that point out the main concept of resurrection was to be a corporate body resurrection.  That is after Israel was in exile (death) she would be restored back to the land and temple and thus be back into God’s presence (resurrection).  Here is a list of scholars developing the idea of a corporate body resurrection within Jewish and Christian thought that was sent to me by my good friend Don K. Preston who writes,

“Robert Wilken, Land Called Holy: Wilken, Land Called Holy, (70): “When the Scriptures speak about the ‘resurrection of the body’ (in Ezekiel 37) the Jews believe that there will be a ‘restoration of Jewish polity.’”

Tom Holland, Romans: Divine Marriage, (265) – Commenting on Romans 8:10 – He says that Ezekiel 37 lies behind 1 Corinthians 15 as well as Romans 8. He then says – “The point to note is that the resurrection of Ezekiel 37 is corporate– it is the nation that was raised. The Jew had no notion of individual resurrection because he saw the nation’s resurrection as the fulfillment of covenantal promises. These promises are not the property of the individual Jew but of Israel. The slide into individualism takes us out of the biblical mind-set – including Paul’s– for, while resurrection embraces individuals, it is the experience of the community.”

Steven M. Bryan, Jesus and Israel’s Traditions of Judgment and Restoration, Society for New Testament Studies, Monograph Series 117, (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 105– “Isaiah 26 seems to stand behind Isaiah 52:1-2 where resurrection language describes not actual resurrection as in Daniel 12:2 but to national liberation.”

Robert Alter, Isaiah 26:19, the Hebrew Bible, p. 703: “The entire line of poetry flatly contradicts the declaration in verse 14 that the dead shall not live. The operative term of distinction is “Your.” Is the prophet introducing a doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is GENERALLY NOT THOUGHT to emerge UNTIL the Book of Daniel? This is at least a POSSIBILITY, and this is certainly the way this verse was LATER understood by communities of believers. BUT, given the theme of NATIONAL RENEWAL that informs this ENTIRE prophecy, it may be MORE LIKELY that what the poet has in mind is a REBIRTH OF THE NATION, LIKE Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones.” (all emp. mine, wb).

Scott McKnight, New Vision, (13) – “Jesus entered Jerusalem at the beginning of the last, fateful week of his life, realized the utter gravity of Israel’s situation, and knew that he had to offer himself consciously and intentionally to God as a vicarious sacrifice for Israel in order to avert the national disaster, and he did so as an atoning, substitutionary sacrifice. … Not only in theological truth but in historic fact, the one bore the sins of the many, confident that in him the whole Jewish nation was being nailed to the cross, only to come to life again in a better resurrection, and that the Day of the Son of Man which would see the end of the Old Israel would see also the vindication of the new.” (Citing Caird, Jesus and the Jewish Nation, p. 22).

Andrew M. Mbuvi, Temple, Exile and Identity in 1 Peter, (T and T Clark International, New York, 2007), Library of New Testament Studies (345)36, n. 140– He cites R. P. Gordon on the Targumists– They said that “even a righteous Israelite could be denied a part in the resurrection if he had been buried beyond the borders of Israel. Conversely, the hope of resurrection was extended to non-Israelites whose only merit was their internment within the holy land.”

Also, the idea of exile as death and restoration to the land as resurrection – Mbuvi, Temple, (p. 36)– “The exile, as separation from God, meant death. The return from exile then came to be understood as a return to life– a resurrection.” “We find the connection here in Ezekiel between the return of the lost tribes of the northern kingdom and the resurrection of the dead” (344); “Whether or not this (Various prophecies such as Ezekiel 37, 1 Enoch 48:7-8; 51:1-5; 61:5; 62:14-16– DKP)– refers to ‘bodily resurrection’ for our purposes it is only necessary to point out that resurrection is intrinsically linked to the end of the Exile and a return to the Land (cf. Ezekiel 37).”

John Watts, Word Biblical Commentary, Isaiah, Vol 24, (Waco, Word, 1985)344, “The exiles in Assyria and Egypt are said to have been perishing. But they will be gathered by God to come and worship him on his holy mountain in Jerusalem (v. 13). Separation from the temple is equivalent to death. Being allowed to participate again in Jerusalem is like coming back to life.”

Jon Levenson, Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel, (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2006)154-155– Levenson gives one of the finest explanations of resurrection as the restoration of fellowship I have seen. “The sources in the Hebrew Bible, as we have seen, have a definition of death that is broader than ours. That is why they can see exile, for example, as death and repatriation as life, in a sense that seems contrived (to state it negatively), or artful (to put it positively), to us but probably did not seem so to the original authors and audiences. In part, this is because the ancient Israelites, altogether lacking the corporealist penchant of thought so powerful in modernity, did not conceive of death and life as purely and exclusively biological phenomena. These things were, rather, social in character, (his emp), and could not, therefore, be disengaged from the historical fate of the subjects of whom they are predicated. Or, to put it differently, death and life in the Hebrew Bible are often best seen as relational events and are for the selfsame reason inseparable from the personal circumstances of those described as living or as dead. To be alive in this frequent biblical sense of the word inevitably entailed more than existing in a certain physical state.” Levenson- Page 38 – Although the author of these verses (Psalms 88–DKP) is surely not yet dead in our sense, in his own view he already dwells—one hesitates to say ‘‘lives’’—in the realm of the dead. In this, Philip S. Johnston finds a contradiction. He finds it impossible to understand ‘‘how an experience of death can be real but partial’’—if, that is, ‘‘death necessarily entails total deprivation of life and irreversible separation from [Yhwh].’’ As he puts it, ‘‘The psalmist who can still pray is clearly not dead.’’∞∂ The answer to Johnston’s objection lies in the Israelite conception of death and its difference from others, especially ours. Whereas we think of a person who is gravely ill, under lethal assault, or sentenced to capital punishment as still alive, the Israelites were quite capable of seeing such an individual as dead. Or, to be more precise, they could do so in their poetic literature without, it seems to me, implying that in a more prosaic genre (like historiography or religious law) they would make the same categorization. In other words, for us death is radically discontinuous with life, a quantum leap, as it were, lying between the two. For the psalmists, by contrast, the discontinuity lay between a healthy and successful life and one marked by adversity, in physical health or otherwise. We are predisposed to think that ancient Israelites conceived of death as involving two stages, one characterized by intense affliction but capable of reversal and another permanent and irreversible, like death as modern secular thought conceives it (figure a). In fact, they saw illness as continuous with death and thought of the reversal of illness as so miraculous as to be in the nature of a resurrection (figure b).– page 38

Here is the quote from Pitre that I cited: Brant Pitre, Jesus, Tribulation and the End of Exile, (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2005, 414 – he says, commenting on Daniel 12: “This prophecy of the resurrection and justification of the ‘many’ like all ‘resurrection’ texts in the Old Testament, is also a prophecy of the restoration of Israel.””[5]

Throughout the body of the article I will also be quoting from the orthodox Partial Preterist Reformed community to see if such a spiritual, forty years new exodus, followed by souls being released from Hades at the end of the old covenant age, and corporate body resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70 and if so, does this harmonize with Full Preterism and the Biblical position.

Reformed Views of a Spiritual Resurrection in AD 70

Many Christians are unaware that Reformed Partial Preterism teaches the “orthodox” view that there was a spiritual resurrection of the dead at the coming of Christ in AD 70.  This position teaches the exact same concepts I will be developing, in that the OT and NT supports that:

1).  There was a spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection from the condemnation and death of the old covenant body of Israel being transformed and rising into the imputed righteousness and resurrection life of the new covenant body of Israel between AD 30 – AD 70.

2). This spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection is consummated at Christ’s coming upon the clouds in the events of AD 67 – AD 70 when God empties the souls from Abraham’s Bosom, or Hades, and causes His righteous to inherit God’s presence and eternal life.

Unfortunately, the weakness of this position is that both the OT and NT teach that this is the ONE end of the age (old covenant age) consummative resurrection event and not just “a” resurrection.

I will be arguing in this chapter that the above “orthodox” Christian understanding of a spiritual, progressive, covenantal and corporate body resurrection is THE general end of the age resurrection event that was fulfilled imminently by AD 70.  We will examine and quote these admissions throughout the body of the article from men such as James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry especially when we address the resurrection of Daniel 12:2

The resurrection of Job 19:25-27?

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me” (Job 19:25-27).

Note how the American Standard Bible translates verse 26 as having the exact opposite meaning as how the physical resurrection proponents would read it: “And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed, then, without my flesh shall I see God.”

The Anchor Bible reads and understands the Hebrew as “without my flesh” and the NIV concedes that this can be the meaning and adds a note (“from my flesh”).

OT and Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch translate the Hebrew in the key verse thus:

“And after my skin, thus torn to pieces, And without my flesh shall I behold Eloah…”

And they further elaborate that this text should not be used to support a fleshly resurrection:

“If we have correctly understood על־עפר, Job 19:25, we cannot in this speech find that the hope of a bodily recovery is expressed.”[6]

Barne’s Notes on the Bible renders it:

“After I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of my flesh shall I see God.”

The Hebrew can actually teach the exact opposite of an expectation of a physical resurrection in that Job is saying “apart from my flesh” or “without my flesh” he would see God.  Therefore, this passage could easily be supporting an understanding of a resurrection of the soul in seeing God and, if so, would be consistent with spiritual Jewish views we just looked at.

Some have postulated that Job was one of those raised out of the tombs with Jesus in Matthew 27, and therefore he saw Jesus standing on the earth before He ascended.  If so, there is no evidence that Job took a physical body to heaven or ascended with Christ.  If such a view was correct (and I don’t think it is), then Job’s physical resurrection was a “sign” type miracle, and he went into the town testifying of Christ and then would die again, as the purpose of Lazarus’ resurrection served.

A more probable interpretation given by Futurists and Preterists alike is that Job is looking for vindication in this life and is not discussing a physical or spiritual resurrection hope in the afterlife. As David Green writes,

“But even if we translate the phrase to read, “from my flesh” (i.e., from the vantage point of my flesh), this could be taken to mean that Job expected to see God within his own lifetime, while still in his flesh.  And, as a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened.

After Job’s time of tribulation and anguish, his Redeemer at last arose on the dust and answered Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1). After God’s “archers”/“troops” (i.e., Job’s accusers) surrounded and “devoured” Job, and after Job was filled up with the afflictions of his flesh, he was redeemed from his sufferings. He was vindicated as “a perfect and upright man” and his enemies were judged (cf. Job 19:29 and 42:79).  Thus Job, with his own eyes, and from his flesh, saw God: I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen You (Job 42:5).

Regarding Job 14:13-17:

O that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would keep me secret, until Your wrath be past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!  If a man dies, shall he live again?  All the days of my appointed time [literally, “warfare”] will I wait, till my change come [or, “until my exchanging or replacement come”].  You shall call, and I will answer You.  You will have a desire to the work of Your hands (Job 14:13-15).

If Job was prophesying concerning the resurrection of the dead in this passage, then we must say that Job was triumphing in the idea that his wretched and miserable condition (his “warfare”) would continue for hundreds or even thousands of additional years while in Sheol (Job 14:14), and that only at the end of human history would God’s “wrath” (Job 14:13) against him pass, and that only then would Job be relieved from his warfare as a battle-wearied soldier is replaced by another (“changed”) (cf. Job 10:17; 14:14-15).

Either God remained/remains angry with Job for hundreds or thousands of years after Job’s death, or Job was not speaking of a vindication at the resurrection of the dead.  As the context leads us to believe, what Job desired was vindication instead of death.  Instead of resigning himself to dying, stricken of God, Job yearned by faith for vindication and redemption in his own lifetime.  He hoped that God would not crush him as an enemy, but would instead relent and restore him to Himself (Job 14:14b, 15).  As we know, Job’s hope was not deferred, as per futurism (Prov. 13:12).  Instead, it was fulfilled, and Job was delivered and vindicated in his own lifetime.  “So, the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).”[7]

The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[a] and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel asks and is told by the angel when all this would be fulfilled in v. 7)7…that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished” (Dan. 12:1-4, 7).

Daniel 12:2-3 is by far the most important and clearest OT text on the resurrection.  Jesus and the other NT writers appeal to its fulfillment in Matthew 13:39-43, John 5, Acts 24:25, Revelation 20:5-15, and even 1 Corinthians 15.

“All these things” (Dan. 12:7)

Daniel is clearly told in verse 7 that the judgment and resurrection of verses 2-4 would be fulfilled at the same time as the “tribulation” period and during the “time of the end [of the old covenant Mosaic age].”  Verse 7 also informs us that this would be a 3 ½ year period of time [the last half of the last seven years of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy] when God would “shatter the power of the holy people” in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Jesus has already connected the “end of the age” resurrection “gathering” and “tribulation” period to be a part of the “all these things” to be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3-34).  This “end of the [old covenant] age” gathering is the same event Jesus described in Matthew 13:39-43.  Let’s get a visual for the parallels and connections:

Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13):
Tribulation on national Israel as never before 12:1 13:40-42
Time of the end / end of “this” OC age separation 12:1, 4, 9, 13 13:39-41
Saints rise and shine in the eternal kingdom 12:2-3 13:43
Wicked rise to shame in eternal condemnation 12:2 13:39-42 
And if B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25):
Pre-kingdom evangelism by Jesus’ evangelism 13:37-38 24:14
Tribulation on national Israel as never before 13:40-42 24:21-22
End of “this” age / end of the age separation 13:39-41 24:30-31; 25:31-41
Sons of the day / hour shine with the Son 13:43 24:27, 30-31, 36
Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 13:43 25:34/Luke 21:30-32 
Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25)
Tribulation and sanctification / Great Tribulation 12:1, 10 24:21-22
Hour / day / time of the judgment (aka separation) 12:1-2, 4 (OG) LXX 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfillment at the time of the end / end of the age / the shattering of Israel’s world/power or her “heaven and earth” (the temple, etc…) 12:4, 7, 9, 13

 

24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35

 

Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 12:2-3, 13 25:34/Luke 21:30-32
The sons of the day / hour shine with the Son of life 12:3 24:27, 30-31, 36
Kingdom age evangelism via God’s shining ones 12:3

 

24:14, 25:29

 

Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other
Kingdom age evangelism Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Tribulation like never before Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Time of the end (shattering of Israel’s power) / end of the old covenant age (destruction of OC Israel’s temple) Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Chosen ones raised and shine to eternal life and wicked raised to eternal condemnation / the righteous raised to shine and tares burn / sheep inherit eternal life / goats to eternal punishment Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25

 Partial Preterist James Jordan now understands the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (and Daniel’s personal resurrection [his soul] in verse 13) as being a spiritual and corporate resurrection that took place from Jesus’ earthly ministry to AD 70.  Jordan even believes that Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s bosom according to Revelation 20 in AD 70.  Here are some selected quotes from his commentary on Daniel:

The resurrection of [Dan. 12:2] seems to connect to the evangelistic and teaching ministry spoken of in verse 3; thus, it is some kind of historical resurrection that is spoke of, a resurrectional event in this world, in our history.”[8]

“…Daniel 12:2 tells us that in the days of Jesus the nation will undergo a last spiritual resurrection, but some will not persevere and their resurrection will only be unto destruction.  The Parable of the soils fits here (Mt. 13:3-23):  three different kinds of people come to life, but only one of the three different kinds of people come to like, but only one of the three kinds is awakened to persevering, everlasting life.

During His ministry, Jesus raised the nation back to life.  He healed the sick, cleansed the unclean, brought dead people back to life, restored the Law, entered the Temple as King, etc.  Then, as always, the restored people fell into sin and crucified Him.

Thus, a resurrection of Israel is in view.  The wicked are raised, but do not profit from it, and are destroyed. The saints experience a great distress, and live with God forever and ever.”[9]

“The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event, were the great proof that Jesus had accomplished the work He came to do.  The fact that the Church exists today, nearly 2000 years after her death in the Great Tribulation, is the ongoing vindication of Jesus work.”[10]

“Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[11]

“What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom, he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.”[12]

After challenging Kenneth Gentry for many years on the timing of the resurrection of Daniel 12, he too has had a recent epiphany recognizing that there had to have been some kind of spiritual resurrection of Daniel 12 fulfilled in AD 70:

“In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.”[13]

“…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”[14]

“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse: Israel as a corporate body is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).  In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represent Israel’s “death” in the Babylonian dispersion (Eze 37). In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life. Luke presents similar imagery in Luke 2:34 in a prophecy about the results of Jesus’s birth for Israel: “And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed.’”

Christ Himself points out that some from Israel will believe and be saved, while others will not (e.g., Mt. 10:34-36; 13:11-15), that in the removing of the kingdom from Israel many will be crushed and scattered like dust (Mt. 21:43-45).  He even speaks of the saved Jews as arising from the “shadow of death” (Mt. 4:16).  Though in AD 70 elect Jews will flee Israel and will live (Mt. 24:22), the rest of the nation will be a corpse:  “wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Mt. 24:28).  Indeed, in AD 70 we see in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Mt. 22:7) that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt. 22:14).  Elsewhere he employs the imagery of “regeneration” to the arising of the new Israel from out of the dead, old covenant Israel in AD 70:  “You who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt. 19:28).”[15]

“…it appears that Daniel is drawing from the hope of a future, literal resurrection and applying it symbolically to the first century leading up the tribulation in AD 70.  That is, he is portraying God’s separating believing Jews out of Israel through the winnowing of Israel in AD 70.”[16]

“Daniel only picks up on resurrection imagery and, like Ezekiel, applies that to corporate Israel.  He is teaching that in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection.”[17]

Let’s summarize the position of Jordan and Gentry here on what the resurrection of Daniel 12 entails:

1). It is Israel’s last spiritual and corporate resurrection.

2). Both Israel and the Church participate in this spiritual, covenantal and corporate resurrection whereby the new covenant Church or new Israel of God is raised out of the corpse of old covenant Israel in AD 70.

3). There was an “already and not yet” type evangelism taking place between Christ’s earthly ministry and His coming in AD 70 which brought about the consummative resurrection or “end” of Israel during the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

4). This resurrection resulted in Daniel’s soul being raised out of Abraham’s bosom to be seated on a throne to reign with Christ and inherit eternal life.

Response – Jordan appeals to the evangelism taking place in the parable of the soils instead of dealing with the evangelism taking place where Jesus actually quotes Daniel 12:2-3, and that is in the parable of the wheat and tares (cf. Mt. 13:39-43).  Jesus clearly places this pre-kingdom evangelism and the resurrection of Daniel 12 to be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age and nowhere else!  And as I demonstrated earlier in our discussion of the end of the age in Matthew 24:3 and 13:39-43, a colleague of Jordan and Gentry’s is Joel McDurmon, who does admit the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43 is the old covenant age. This places the resurrection ONLY at the end of the old covenant age and no other time.

It is important to note that Gentry at one time criticized Dispensational Zionism for having two resurrection doctrines (one before and one after the 1,000 year millennial period):

“Contrary to dispensationalism and historic premillennialism, there is but one resurrection and one judgment, which occur simultaneously at the end of history:  Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:31-32; John 5:28-29…Acts 24:15).”[18]

Gentry NOW says “it appears” there is a double fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history).  Yet he argues against other views giving the tribulation period a double fulfillment or any kind of fulfillment beyond the 3 ½ years Daniel mentions, which he correctly sees being fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  Daniel is told that “all these things” (the tribulation and resurrection) would be fulfilled together during the “time of the end” [of the old covenant age] or during the 3 ½ years – when Israel’s power is completely shattered.

When we harmonize Jordan, Gentry (#1 and #2) and McDurmon on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43 we get the biblical position of NT resurrection:

Major Premise:  The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is “one” general resurrection of the just and unjust to be fulfilled “at the end of the age” and forms the resurrection of Jesus’ teaching and that of the NT authors [cf. Mt. 13:39-43; John 5; Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15; Rev. 20:5-15; etc.] (Gentry #1).

Minor Premise (A):  But the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 has an “already and not yet” pre-kingdom evangelism connected with it that addresses the inward heart and soul of man or the living (Jordan).  This pre-kingdom evangelism is mentioned in Matthew 13:39-43 and 24:14, and was a sign fulfilled before the “end of the old covenant age” in AD 70 (McDurmon).

Minor Premise (B):  But Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s bosom in AD 70 at this last spiritual and corporate resurrection in which the new covenant body of Israel was raised out from the old covenant body of Israel in AD 70 (Jordan and Gentry#2).

Conclusion:  The “ONE” “end of the age” (spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal) resurrection of the just and unjust was fulfilled after a pre-kingdom evangelism affecting the hearts of the living, roughly from AD 27 – AD 67.  This resulted in the new covenant body of Israel being raised out from the corpse of the old covenant body of Israel, a historic event in AD 70 which also resulted in souls being emptied out of Abraham’s bosom to inherit God’s presence and eternal life in AD 70 at the end of the old covenant age (the position of the author – “Reformed and always reforming” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

Some get confused over Daniel’s phrase “sleep in the dust.” This is merely a figure of speech, as David Green points out:

“The dead were not literally sleeping, nor were they literally in the dust.  They were “in dust” only insofar as, in their death, they had not ascended into God’s presence in Christ.  In terms of the righteousness and life of God, they were earth-bound.  From a literal standpoint, they were in Sheol/Hades (the abode of the Adamic dead), and it was from out of Sheol that they were raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2).”[19]

The Resurrection “Gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 30-31 at the “End of the Age”

Since Jesus places the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to take place at “the end of the age” (Mt. 13:39-43) and this “end of the age” is inseparably connected to His Second Coming in Matthew 24:3, 30-31, we must identify what “end of the age” is in view – the end of the old covenant age or the end of the new covenant age?  When we allow the Bible to interpret itself, it becomes very easy to see how “all these things” in Matthew 24:3-34 were fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”  So, let’s turn our attention to proving just that!

The end of what age? (Mt. 24:3)

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age (Mt. 24:3)”?

“And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place” (Lk. 21:7)?

The first thing we notice between Matthew’s account placed alongside Mark’s and Luke’s is that after Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple, Mark and Luke do not include the “and end of the age” (Greek suntéleia ho aiṓn) in the disciple’s question(s).  The fact that this phrase is only used in Matthew’s gospel three times (cf. Mt. 13:39-43; 24:3 and 28:18-20) and in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:26-28) communicates its Jewishness.

Since the “end of the age” is referring to the end of the old covenant age when the temple would be destroyed, there is no conflict between the accounts.  If so, are we to expect that Mark and Luke were so careless as to not introduce the subject of the alleged end of world history into the most important account of Jesus’ teaching on Bible prophecy?  For Mark and Luke, when the Son of Man comes upon the clouds in judgment, this is when the temple would be destroyed (which for Matthew is when the old covenant age would end as well).

We should briefly examine Matthew 13:39-43 where Jesus has used “end of the age” (Greek suntéleia ho aiṓn) before.  Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon, commenting on the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43, concedes it is the end of the old covenant age:

“It is clear that Jesus did not have in mind the end of the world, nor did He mean the final judgment. Rather, Matthew 13:2430, 36-43 describe the judgment that would come upon unbelieving Jerusalem. During this time, the angels would “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (13:41) and these would be judged with fire.  Many of them literally were burned in fire during the destruction of Jerusalem.  During this same time, however, the elect of Christ— “the children of the kingdom” (v. 38)—will be harvested.  While the explanation of the parable does not tell us their final end, the parable itself has the householder instructing the harvesters to “gather the wheat into my barn.”  In other words, they are protected and saved by God.

This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians.  Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege.  This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed, this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).”[20]

McDurmon even develops Jesus’ two age model (“this age” = old covenant age) and “age to come” or “age about to come” (the new covenant age) in Pauline eschatology to be one and the same.  After making his case in Ephesians 1:21; 2:1-7; 3:8-11; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 9:26, he concludes:

“So, from the teaching of Jesus, Paul and the author of Hebrews, we get a very clear picture of the two primary ages:  one that endured up until the time of Christ, and another that began around that same period.  I believe these two periods, being hinged upon the coming and work of Christ, pertain obviously to the Old and New Covenant administrations.”[21]

Getting back to the disciple’s question in Matthew 24:3, DeMar correctly writes:

“The disciples question involves three interrelated, contemporary events: (1) the time of the temple’s destruction; (2) the sign that will signal Jesus’ coming related to the destruction of the temple; and (3) the sign they should look for telling them that “the end of the age” has come. These questions are related to the destruction of the temple and the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system and nothing else.”[22]

In the 1994 version of DeMar’s Last Days Madness, he connects Matthew 23 with 24 and adds that the maturity or “consummation” of the new covenant arrived in AD 70 as well:

“The “woes” of Matthew 23 and the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem were a result of all that John the Baptist and Jesus had been warning the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests regarding the judgment that would come upon them if they did not repent. “All these things,” Jesus cautioned, “shall come upon this generation” (23:36). It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” – the temple – that the disciples ask about the “temple buildings” (24:1). Jesus answered the disciples’ questions relating to the time and signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, always with the background of Matthew 23 in view, since His comments in that chapter had precipitated the questions (24:3). The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of Jerusalem. This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation [MJS – bringing to maturity] of the New Covenant.[23]

DeMar explains his position on the “end of the age” and then uses a quote from George Hill to support its historical relevance:

“Notice that the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (kosmos), as some Bible versions translate the Greek word aion.  In context, with the temple and city as their primary focus, they asked about the end of the “age.”  They were asking when time would run out for the temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the covenant promises that were related to the Mosaic system of animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings, and the priesthood.

Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the age of the law and the age of the Messiah. The conclusion of the one was the beginning of the other, the opening of that kingdom which the Jews believed the Messiah was to establish, which was to put an end to their sufferings, and to render them the greatest people upon the earth. The apostles full of this hope, said to our Lord, immediately before his ascension, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? [Acts 1:6].  Our Lord uses the phrase of his coming to denote his taking vengeance upon the Jews by destroying their city and sanctuary.  The “end of the age” refers to the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system with its attendant sacrifices and rituals.”[24]

End of the age” – were the disciples confused?

Virtually all Futurist eschatologies 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 the end of the age with the destruction of the temple.  Since Futurist  eschatology 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 themselves, or they assume their Zionist Futurist system.  Here are some key hermeneutical steps that Futurism willfully skip:

1). The Jews of Jesus’ day understood and connected the phrase “this age” to the old covenant age of Moses and the prophets, with the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple, as predicted in Daniel.  They understood the “age to come” as the new covenant or Messianic age.  The context supports the destruction of the temple the disciples and Jesus were actually looking at. This would mark the “end of the age” that they were currently living in, the old covenant age, not the end of world history.

Daniel in chapters 7, 9 and 12 was told that 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 were “all” to take place together when the city and temple would be destroyed or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (cf. see the consummation and recapitulation scenes in Dan. 7:13-22; 9:24-27, climaxing in Dan. 12:1-7).

2). Isaiah, in his “little apocalypse” (cf. Isiah 24-27), posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet / eschatological gathering / resurrection, etc.) to be fulfilled when Israel violated the old covenant, and thus would 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).  Again, the judgment and destruction of the city and temple were inseparably connected together just as in Daniel.  Why are they “confused” to link them together when the OT prophets connected them together?!?

3).  In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught the judgment and resurrection (“the time of the end” of the eschatological events in Daniel 12:2-3) would “all” 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).  We have direct evidence that they DID understand Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age,” contrary to the false assumptions pawned off by Zionists.

4).  As we have seen and proven thus far, Jesus had previously taught the disciples that He would return in some of their lifetimes and be ashamed of some within their contemporary “this generation” (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1).

So, before we even get to the resurrection or eschatological “gathering” in Matthew 24:31, the disciples could have discerned from such prophets as Daniel and Isaiah that all of the eschatological events would be fulfilled together when Jerusalem was judged and her temple destroyed.  And before we get to Matthew 24, Jesus had already clearly stated that He would return in some of their lifetimes and connected this coming with the desolation of their “house” / temple (Mt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 23:36-39).  If this isn’t clear enough, the record clearly confirms the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on the end of their “this age” with a resounding “yes” (Mt. 13:39-51)!  We do not seek to divide what God has joined together or go beyond what Scripture teaches – while Futurist eschatology does.

Since there is no direct evidence here in Matthew 24 that the disciples were “confused,” Futurist systems appeal to the fact that the Gospels often point out that the disciples were confused over various issues.  But this proves nothing here in Matthew 24, or it is a classic example of “proving too much.”  Here is how. In each case, Jesus (or Matthew as a responsible narrator of his gospel) explicitly points out when the disciples are confused or ask a question that needs correction (cf. Mt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).  Therefore, since we don’t find Jesus or Matthew claiming the disciples were “confused” in asking the question they did, the burden of proof is now thrown in the lap of Futurist Premillennial Zionists to prove the disciples are confused in Matthew 24.

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) as the end of the old covenant age and not the end of world history:

“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.”[25]

After all, the Second Appearing or coming of Christ to close the old covenant age is further described as Christ’s coming “…in a very little while” which “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).  Again, the inspired NT authors both understood what “age” would end and when Christ would come to bring its end!

If Jesus’ coming in AD 70 ended and changed the old covenant age, then there is really no justification for reading into the text (eisegesis) that the disciples were “confused” or that the Olivet Discourse has anything to do with the end of world history.

The Resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31

Gary DeMar and James Jordan of American Vision are now teaching this is not a mere post AD 70 evangelism, but a resurrection event of OT and NT souls being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades into God’s presence in AD 70. In a recent debate with Michael Brown Gary applied this to the souls of the OT dead being raised into God’s presence in AD 70. James Jordan while teaching Daniel 12:2 is a resurrection of souls for the OT worthies in AD 70, now applies Matthew 24:30-31 to the resurrection of the NT martyrs in AD 70. Jordan writes,

“Further confirmation of this interpretation is to be found, I believe, in the phrases that follow in verse 31. There we see messengers gathering the elect not from their graves (which is how the Last Judgment scenes read), nor from all over the earth (which is how an evangelistic passage would read), but from all over the heavens. They are gathered from the four winds, not from the four corners of the earth. They are gathered from the ends of heaven, not from the ends of the earth (cf. Deut. 4:32; Psa. 19:6; Jer. 49:36).

This language might be taken as a general reference to the whole earthly world, except for the fact that it fits so very well with what we find, again, in Revelation. The dead saints “under the altar” are in “paradise” or “Abraham’s bosom,” a location symbolically equivalent to the firmament heavens that are right below the throne-heavens (Rev. 6:9-11). It is these elect, and their newly-massacred brethren who come out of the Great Tribulation, who are gathered before the Throne in Revelation 15.”[26]

He goes on to summarize,

“Let us summarize Matthew 24:29-31. Immediately after the great affliction, the great persecution and martyrdom of the apostolic church, the world will be changed from the Old to the New Creation. No longer will sun and moon determine liturgy and worship; the former covenant with its lunar liturgy will be broken forever. No longer will angelic stars and heavenly powers govern humanity, for in Jesus, mankind has at last come of age. No longer will angels rule the world. They will vacate their heavenly thrones.

At that time, the promised sign will be given, a sign that shows that Jesus, a man, is truly enthroned in heaven. That sign is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Jews will mourn over Jerusalem, and they will realize that the Church, which they had hoped to destroy, has now ascended to the Ancient of Days and has been given the Kingdom promised in Daniel 7. Those saints have been gathered by the angels in connection with the seventh and last trumpet described in the book of Revelation, their souls gathered from all the heavenly places in Paradise where they had been waiting for this day. The saints are gathered before the Throne in the highest heavens, and shortly will sit down on thrones with their Lord and Master. They will be the new stars and moon and will sit where the angels formerly sat in heaven.”[27]

Some brief thoughts on Jordan’s comments:

1).  Since in his commentary on Daniel 12:2-3, 13 he includes Daniel’s soul being raised from Abraham’s bosom in AD 70, there is a larger group of souls raised than just the martyrs.  I would have liked to see him harmonize those two teachings not just going to Revelation and dealing with the martyrs. Yet Gary DeMar in his recent debate with Michael Brown over Matthew 24 taught the gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 was the resurrection of the OT dead elect.

Jordan tries to make a distinction from this spiritual resurrection in AD 70 from an alleged future physical one based on the absence of “graves” which he (without evidence) says must be a future to us “general resurrection.” And although “graves” is not mentioned, from the “dust” (figuratively) is in Dan. 12:2 and here in Mt. 24:31 the description of the same spiritual resurrection is described as from the “four winds” of “heaven.”  Jordan has not proven this isn’t a description of the “general resurrection.”  Especially if he says the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and yet Daniel 12 IS the resurrection from the “graves” of John 5:19-29! This and a resurrection from the “graves” can be a corporate and spiritual resurrection as described in Ezekiel 37:12. Even Gentry sees the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 being a spiritual and corporate resurrection for Israel and the Church in AD 70 and uses the resurrection of Ezekiel 37 as support. So if a spiritual and corporate resurrection can be from “the dust” and or out from “the graves,” then a spiritual and corporate resurrection from the “graves,” the “dust” and from the “four winds of heaven” can refer to the general resurrection in AD 70. Again, a combination of Jordan’s writings have the OT worthies (the dead) and the NT martyrs (those who have died “in Christ”) being spiritually raised together at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 — that IS the Full Preterist view of the resurrection and that of the NT.

2).  Jordan and DeMar’s position on a spiritual AD 70 resurrection at the end of the OC age in AD 70 begs the question – If the righteous OT and NT dead were raised together to inherit eternal life in God’s presence, at Christ’s parousia, at the sound of a trumpet (or “the last trumpet”) in AD 70, then why isn’t this the same resurrection, parousia and trumpet discussed by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15?!?  Paul doesn’t discuss there was coming TWO different kinds of resurrections for the OT “the dead” and those who had died “in Christ” – 1). “a” spiritual one at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 and then 2). a physical one at the end of world history!  Partial Preterist such as Milton Terry and men like Mike Bull at least have connected Jesus’ imminent eschatology with Paul’s in these texts but they teach some kind of limited physical resurrection and “rapture” in AD 70. Of course, none of these texts discuss a limited number being raised or “raptured” but they must have a limited amount to try and get around how historians would miss such an event!

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4-5)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/gathered together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact time unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ comes as a thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers caught off guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of birth pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers not deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to be watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/sunlight shinning from e. to w. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And if B (1 Thessalonians 4) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
The sleeping to be raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The living to be caught/changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the sound of the trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to stand firm 4:18 15:58
Same contemporary “we” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matthew 24 & Parallels) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
Christ to come (Greek: parousia) 24:27 15:23
His people to be gathered/changed 24:31 15:52
To come with the sound of a trumpet 24:31 15:52
To be “the end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All prophecy fulfilled at this point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/temple Mt. 24:1 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” Mt. 24:2ff 15:51-52
Two or More Things that are Equal to Another Thing are Also Equal to Each Other
Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4 1 Corinthians 15
At His coming (24:27-31) At His coming (4:16) At His coming (15:23)
At the trumpet (24:31) At the trumpet (4:16) At the trumpet (15:52)
Dead raised, all gathered (24:31) Dead raised (4:16) Dead raised (15:35-44)
All living gathered (24:31) Living caught together to Him (4:17) Status of living changed (15:51)

 As I point out in my exposition of 1 Corinthians 15, the Corinthians had a hard time reconciling how the OT dead would be raised with those who had died “in Christ,” since they died before or outside the new covenant or being “in Christ.” In a similar way some Jews denied resurrection for those who did not die in or were not buried “in the land.”   Dispensationalists likewise have a hard time seeing how the two groups can be raised together.  Paul has to point out that they are all a part of ONE body that was in the process of “being raised” from Adamic “the death” which was in the process of “being destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT).  The two groups needed each other and could not be made “perfect” without each other (Heb. 11:40).  I would have loved James to try and harmonize how the OT dead and the NT saints were raised out of Abraham’s bosom in AD 70 and yet somehow this wasn’t the general resurrection?  Especially since the judgment  and resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12 is the judgment and resurrection of the dead found in Jn. 5 and is the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead of Rev. 20:5-15.  He still leaves major questions hanging and the exegesis is incomplete.

3). And if the first century Church “judged the angels” (1 Cor. 6:3) or “crushed Satan shortly” “under their feet” (Rms. 16:20/Gen. 3:15) in AD 70 and have taken their place in rulership over the nations with Christ, then the angels and Satan were judged at Christ’s coming in AD 70 per Matthew 25:31-46.

4). Jordan and DeMar are still teaching that the destruction of Jerusalem was a sign of the ascension, and that Christ was ruling from heaven. This is possible, but I agree more with F.F. Bruce in that John in Revelation 1:7-17 and Matthew in Matthew 24:30 is following the OG LXX which reads the Son of Man comes upon the clouds both as the Son of man AND “…AS the Ancient of Days” and not “up to the Ancient of Days.” After all John describes Jesus coming upon the clouds as both the Son of Man and then immediately describes Him as the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 (Rev. 1:7-17). And K&D correctly point out Christ is coming downward on the clouds in judging the little horn and the nations. If the point is that Christ is coming “up to the Ancient of Days,” then it would be after he had come down in judgment in His Parousia of AD 70 to deliver the Kingdom (the raised souls of the OT and NT saints – again the resurrection event) to the Father (1 Cor. 15:23-24 / Dan. 7:13-27). Either way, Jesus and the NT authors interpret Daniel 7:13 as the Second Coming event and not the ascension.

5).  The reformed creeds are at least correct in teaching there is only one end of the age judgment and resurrection for the “quick and the dead,” so the resurrection of dead souls for the OT and NT saints into God’s presence to inherit eternal life at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 is not “a” resurrection, but “THE” resurrection event.

Many Futurists miss that Jesus here in Matthew 24:30-31 is also drawing on the resurrection of Isaiah 27:9-13 where the eschatological “trumpet” “gathering” “harvest” is inseparably connected to the time when Jerusalem “the fortified city” is judged and her “altars” become like “chalkstone.”

The resurrection of John 5:20-29

“For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:20-29).

Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2.  This, and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life,” is Daniel 12:2.  G.K. Beale points out an additional connection, in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers.[28]  Beale points out that Jesus gives the resurrection hour of Daniel 12:1-2 a soteriological and eschatological “already and not yet” period:

“…notice that Jesus also clearly refers to the same Daniel prophecy in verses 24-25 and applies it to people presently (or imminently) coming to life (“an hour is coming and now is”).[29]

He provides this helpful chart and adds:

Daniel 12:1-2 (OG)

John 5:24-25, 28-29

 

 

 

12:1:  “And at that hour…

12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise[anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”

5:24:  “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

5:25:  “…an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”

5:28:  “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,”

5:29:  “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.”[30]

“Jesus understands the Dan. 12 prophecy [and the coming ‘hour’] to have begun fulfillment.”[31] “Dan. 12:1-2 refers to the hour of tribulation followed by resurrection.  In fact, the ‘hour’ of Dan. 12:1 is further understood as ‘the hour of the end’ in Dan. 12:4 OG.”[32]

But as we have seen in combining the writings of James Jordan, Kenneth Gentry and Joel McDurmon, in Daniel 12:1-3 and Matthew 13:39-43, Jesus has placed the “already and not yet” of the resurrection as having its consummation at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70.  This was when Israel and the Church were receiving eternal life and being raised from the death of the fleshly old covenant body of Israel into the spiritual new covenant body of Israel.  This last “already and not yet” resurrection for Israel would result in souls being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades into God’s presence.

I was able to share Beale’s concept of the already and not yet hour of Daniel 12 and John 5 with my co-author, David Green, in our second edition of House Divided, along with the chiastic structure connecting “the coming hour and now is” of John 4 with John 5.  Green was able to add an even better response to Strimple on this key passage:

“In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is” when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”  As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection. The preaching of that message commenced at Pentecost.  “The dead” were physically living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of God” was the gospel.  Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually “dead” were spiritually resurrected.  They lived in that they received eternal life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).

Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were also physically dead.  He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.”  They were not literally in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.

What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.”  As we know from verse 25, that “voice” is the gospel.  The physically dead therefore were going to hear the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel, going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades).  This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living, spiritually dead.  And this inescapably means that both the physically living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God.  One resurrection in two main stages:  First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5). Note the parallels between John 4:21, 23 and John 5:25, 28:

..[T]he hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . . (Jn. 4:23)

[T]he hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (Jn. 4:21)

 

[T]he hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (Jn. 5:25)

[T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. . . . (Jn. 5:28)

These two sets of prophecies are parallel.  They speak of the same timeframes, which were these:

Pentecost (AD 30)

The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

The dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and live.

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

God’s worshipers would no longer worship Him in Jerusalem.

All who were in the graves would hear His voice.

After hearing the gospel, the dead were raised out of their Adamic graves (Hades) in the end of the age.  And those among them who believed the gospel received eternal life in the kingdom of God.  But those who hated the gospel (those who had done evil) were raised out of Hades only to stand before God and to enter into “eternal punishment” / “the second death” (Matt. 25:46; Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:14).”[33]

Excellent Job by David Green!  Let me briefly point out the chiastic structure connecting “the hour that was coming, and now is” of John 4-5 that didn’t make it in the second edition:

(A)   [T]he hour cometh (the “not yet”), when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father (Jn. 4:21).

     (B)  [T]he hour cometh, and now is (the “already”), when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . (Jn. 4:23).

     (B)  [T]he hour is coming, and now is (the “already”), when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (Jn. 5:25).

(A). [T]he hour is coming (the “not yet”), in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. . . (Jn. 5:28).

This is interesting in that Kenneth Gentry considers the “already and not yet” of “the coming hour and now is” of John 4 to refer to AD 27/30 – AD 70 in that the “not yet” of the “hour” was realized in AD 70 when the earthly temple was destroyed; the Church now worships God in spirit and in truth as we commune with Him as God’s Mount Zion.  In appealing to John 4:21-23 Gentry writes,

“The New Testament anticipates this imminent change of the old typological temple era into the new final era of spiritual worship.”[34]

For Gentry, Jesus’ teaching in John 4:21-23

“…concludes the anticipatory old covenant era (John 4:20-23; Heb. 1:1; 12:18-29), which “will soon disappear” (Heb. 8:13); it finally and forever closes down the typological sacrificial system, reorienting the worship of God (Heb. 9-10); and it effectively universalizes the Christian faith by freeing it from all Jewish constraints…”[35]

Gentry equates Jesus’ phrase, “the hour has come” (the eschatological “not yet”) with other AD 70 time texts such as “the time is short”, “the day is approaching”, “it is the last hour,” and “in just a little while.”[36]

Therefore, since John is linking John 4-5 together with this chiasm, it should be very apparent that the “already and not yet” of the “hour is coming and now is” of John 5 is also referring to the AD 27/30 – AD 70 transition period.  If not, why not?  Especially since Gentry has already conceded that the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and that John 5 is the resurrection of Daniel 12!  And if not, the burden of proof is upon the Futurist and Gentry to prove that the phrase an “hour is coming and now is” in John 5 is being used of a completely different time period than that of John 4:21-23!

It’s not difficult to know when the eschatological “not yet” hour of John 4:21 and John 5:28 would arrive when we allow John to interpret himself:

“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:17-18).

“And he said with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come…’” (Rev. 14:7).

“‘Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.’ So, he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped” (Rev. 14:15-16).

And, of course, Partial Preterists such as Gentry understand this eschatological “not yet” “hour” of John in these texts as imminently fulfilled when the old covenant world passed away, when Babylon (Jerusalem) was judged, or when Israel’s harvest/resurrection was fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Major Premise: The “already and not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) is the resurrection “already and not yet” hour of John 5:25-29.  The “not yet” consummation to this hour is further described by John in 1 John 2:17-18 and Revelation 14:7, 15-16.

Minor Premise: But the “not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) was spiritually fulfilled in the “hour/time of the end” described as the 3 ½ years “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” – i.e., in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  As John and his contemporaries approached or were in the AD 67 – AD 70 time frame, he stated clearly that the “last hour” of that harvest judgment and resurrection of Israel had come.

Conclusion: The eschatological “already and not yet” hour/time-of-the-end resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) and John 5:25-29 was a progressive, spiritual, covenantal resurrection in which the new covenant body of Israel was being raised out of the death of the old covenant body between AD 27/30 – AD 70.  It would include “all” the souls of the wicked and righteous being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to either inherit God’s presence/eternal life or eternal punishment.

There needs to be compelling evidence that the “hour is coming, and now is” of John 4:21-23 is a different time period than the “hour is coming, and now is” of John 5:25-28, and Gentry provides none!

There needs to be compelling evidence that the spiritual “already and not yet” resurrection Jordan and Gentry give us for Daniel 12:2-3, which took place between AD 27/30 – AD 70, is not the same “already and not yet” resurrection time frame of John 5:25-29, and we receive none.

Just as Jesus placed the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 13:39-43), He consistently took the “coming hour” judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) in John 4:21-23, 5:25-29 as something imminent and to be fulfilled by AD 70.

The last day resurrection of John 6:37-40

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:37-40).

The “last day” is simply the last day of Israel’s “already and not yet” last days eschaton from AD 30 – AD 70.  Those living within that generation who believed, and were thus sovereignly called to do so (vss. 37, 44), would be raised up to inherit resurrection eternal life at the same time the dead would (cf. Jn. 11:25-27).  God’s “longsuffering” was working out His salvation and granting repentance, not willing that any of His Jewish or Gentile elect ones should perish (2 Pet. 3:9-10).  As the gospel was being preached throughout the Roman Empire before “the end” of the old covenant age (Mt. 24:14), the Father had given the Son a Jewish remnant and group of in-grafted Gentiles to believe in Him before the events of AD 67 – AD 70 unfolded.

Since God has always been and always will be omniscient, omnipotent and all sovereign, those coming through the gates of the New Jerusalem and partaking of the living waters are also ordained or chosen to do so (Rev. 22:17).  This will always ring true as long as there are sinners and the gospel is preached – “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!  We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple” (Ps. 65:4).

As the cross is an in-time historical event accomplished for our salvation and the forgiveness of sins, so too was His second appearing apart from sin to save the members of His body, the Church.  The first century elect ones were anticipating being raised into eternal life in AD 70.  Positionally through Christ’s redemptive work – His death, resurrection and Second Coming – His entire body (past, present and future) has been raised and made perfect in His sight.  Those who believed in Christ prior to AD 70 were raised at the last day of the old covenant age and they “never die,” just as we today who believe the gospel have been raised and “never die.”  And to that subject we now turn our attention.  But before we do, there is no exegetical evidence that John 5-6 teaches a biological resurrection at the end of world history.

A spiritual resurrection for the dead and living in John 11:25-26

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die [OT worthies like Abraham or Daniel along with those who recently died prior to AD 70], yet shall he live [be raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life], and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die [that is not that they would never see biological death, but rather inherit God’s “within” Kingdom and presence of eternal life]. Do you believe this (John 11:25-26)?”

The death that held both the believing dead [in Abraham’s bosom or Hades] and the living prior to AD 70 in its grip, awaiting Christ’s redemption through the cross and Second Coming, was the spiritual death that came through Adam.  Consider the following seven points or arguments that support this premise and exegesis.

1). Common Hebraic parallelism in our text makes it clear that both “resurrection” and reception of “life” are equivalent to each other in meaning.  Therefore, since the reception of “life” through faith means to “never die” (overcoming the spiritual death that came through Adam the very day he sinned), then the “resurrection” for those who had died in faith should have the same or similar meaning.  That is, both the dead and the living would receive spiritual new covenant or resurrection life and enjoy God’s presence forever in His kingdom.

2). An examination of Jesus’ “I am” statements also supports a spiritual fulfillment of the resurrection.  Thus far in the gospel of John, all of Jesus’ “I am” statements are spiritual:

  1.  I am the Bread/Water of Life (John 6:35) – spiritual Bread & Light
  2.  I am the Light of the world (John 9:5) – spiritual Light
  3.  I am the Door (John 10:9) – spiritual Door
  4.  I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) spiritual shepherd
  5.  I am the Resurrection (John 11:25) – is this the only “I am” that is physical?
  6.  I am the True Vine (John 15:1) – spiritual vine
  7.  I am the Way (John 14:6) – spiritual way

Those who believe in Christ as “Bread” or “Water” partake of Him, or find this fulfilled spiritually.  The same can be true of being in the “Light” and the “Way,” abiding in Him as the “Vine,” etc.

3). Thus far in the gospel of John, all references to “life” are spiritual (cf. chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10).

4). In John, the primary purpose of miracles (other than proving that Jesus is a prophet sent by the Father, or that He is the Great “I Am”) is to point to a spiritual truth.  Feeding a great multitude is to point to the fact that Jesus is the bread from heaven who gives spiritual eternal life (Jn. 6:26-35).  He heals the blind to prove He can heal those who are spiritually blind [thus those who are spiritually dead] (John 9:39).  In Mark’s gospel, Jesus heals a crippled man to prove He has the power to forgive sin (Mrk. 2:10-11).  So here in John 11 Jesus is going to perform a physical sign miracle of raising Lazarus biologically to prove and point to a deeper meaning that He is “the (spiritual) resurrection and (spiritual) life.”

5). We must allow John to interpret John elsewhere.  In John’s version of the Olivet Discourse (the book of Revelation) we learn the following on when and what the resurrection looks like:

A). The judgment of the dead and/or the resurrection out of Hades into God’s Most Holy Place presence is connected to something that would be fulfilled “shortly” or “soon,” and therefore by AD 70 and not the end of world history (Rev. 1:1, 22:20).

B). The judgment of the dead [and thus the resurrection of the dead] was connected to when the “great city” Egypt / Sodom  / Babylon (old covenant Jerusalem – “where the Lord was crucified”) would be judged in AD 70 (Rev. 11:8-19; see also the harvest/resurrection motif in chapters 7 and 14).  Revelation 11 also mentions the 3 ½ year period that is connected with the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-7.

C). Revelation 20-22 mentions NO biological resurrection of corpses, just souls being emptied out of Hades at the “soon” Second Coming, bringing an end to the millennial period (Rev. 20, 22:7, 20).

“In the resurrection whose wife will she be”? (Lk. 20:27-40)

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died.  In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”  And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question” (Lk. 20:27-40).

This argument by the Sadducees (who denied life of the soul/spirit after death) worked well against their Pharisee opponents. Why?  Because many of the Pharisees believed that the Mosaic OT Torah would be carried into the new creation or Messianic age. Therefore, the Sadducee challenge could be summarized like this:

“Since you believe in a physical bodily resurrection to fit men and women to live in the new creation and you believe Torah will be practiced at that time, then explain to us whose wife this woman will belong to once all seven brothers are raised and they are all living in the new heavens and new earth together?!?  After all, there are women giving birth in the new creation (cf. Isa. 65:23), so are these illegitimate children?  Are these births taking place within Torah-ordained marriages?  So is this woman, raised in the resurrection with her seven husbands, going to have children by all of her husbands?  Whose wife will she be”?

You can almost hear them chuckling because this was forcing the Pharisees into the practice of polyandry (the practice of a woman having more than one husband at once), which unlike polygamy (which was condoned and practiced under the OT law) was not lawful and was considered an abomination of sorts.

While this argument worked for the Pharisees, it did not work for Jesus. Why?

First, Jesus did not teach that the resurrection involved physical bodies capable and ready to sexually produce (as they had in their lives upon earth).  Believers in Abraham’s Bosom or Hades would be raised out of Hades into God’s presence to be like the angels in heaven, spiritual beings not producing offspring in the spiritual or heavenly realm.  They would not be placed upon the earth in physical resurrected bodies to be united with their loved ones or prior spouses.

Secondly, Jesus refutes the notion that the OT law (Levirate marriage law) would be applicable in the new creation or new covenant age. The practice of marrying your husband’s brother for the purpose of raising up physical seed was inseparably tied to inheritance laws connected to being “in the land” and was typological and “ready to vanish” in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13).  In the new covenant age, sons of the resurrection are produced or “raised up” through the gospel and produce an inheritance found “in Christ” (not “in the land”).

Jesus effectively silenced BOTH groups.  He silenced the Sadducees who denied that Abraham and the rest of the dead were still alive in the afterlife – “He is not the God of the dead (Sadducees view), but of the living” (inferring that Torah supports and He likewise teaches that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still very much alive).

He also refuted or silenced the Pharisees on two points.  First, He did so by teaching that the dead would be raised from Hades to be “like the angels” (not having physical bodies), so the issue of “marrying” and producing biological children is a moot point for them.  And for the living who inherit the kingdom and continue in the new covenant Messianic age, the Pharisees were also wrong to think that the Mosaic law (and thus the Leverite marriage law) would continue being applicable.

Jesus’ teaching silenced and amazed both groups and the crowd listening to this critical debate on how the resurrection would be played out in the Messianic new covenant age.

This, however, does pose a challenging question to the Talmudic Zionist or Premillennial Zionist, and that is, if you employ a literal hermeneutic to Isaiah 65:17-23 and if everything is perfect in the new creation, then why are there sinners and biological death there and are these births taking place as painless deliveries?  And if there is no marriage after the resurrection and within the new creation, are these illegitimate births taking place in Isaiah 65?

Concluding Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection

At the beginning of this section, we looked at Jewish and Christian views which taught that at the end of the Mosaic old covenant “this age,” or during the “general resurrection judgment,” there would be a resurrection of souls or spirits (not a biological fleshly corpse resurrection) out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit everlasting life in God’s presence, or inherit everlasting punishment and condemnation.

We also looked at Christian views which teach that there was a progressive Great Commission “already and not yet” period or “coming hour and now is” between AD 27/30 – AD 70 before the old covenant “this age” would end, whereby the new covenant body of Israel was being raised out from the death of the old covenant body of Israel.  Not only this, but at the end of this process in AD 70, souls were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life while ruling with Him.

In examining Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection, we find His teaching to be in harmony with these historical spiritual concepts of the resurrection which were believed by Jews before His ministry in the intertestamental period, and were continued to be believed by some during His ministry. This understanding of the resurrection has even continued with us in an orthodox Christian exegesis of Daniel 12:2-3.  We simply argue that Daniel 12:1-4 does not teach two, or double, fulfillments of an “already and not yet” eschaton(s) or resurrection(s) for Israel and the Church separated by thousands or millions of years.  The exegetical evidence within Daniel 12:1-7 itself and how the NT develops this passage, supports that there is only ONE consummative “end of the age” resurrection event, and it was fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Paul on trial and His hope of an “about to be” resurrection of Acts 23:6-9 / 24:13-15 YLT

“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”  When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.  (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.). There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him (Acts 23:6-9).”

“You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.  My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple,or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.  However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,“…nor are they able to prove against me the things concerning which they now accuse me.  ‘And I confess this to thee, that, according to the way that they call a sect, so serve I the God of the fathers, believing all things that in the law and the prophets have been written, having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; and in this I do exercise myself, to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always” (Acts 24:11-15 YLT).

“And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king!  Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”  “…To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: (Acts 26:6-8, 22).

Paul’s trial and accusations of insurrection

Initially the Pharisee sect, upon hearing that Paul was a Pharisee and on trial for his hope of Israel’s resurrection, said, “We find nothing wrong with this man.”  After all, the real problem was those Sadducees who didn’t believe in any afterlife or resurrection.  But as time went on, they learned something about his resurrection beliefs that caused them to join in with the false accusation that Paul was guilty of insurrection against Rome.  Every time Rome heard his case, the Romans were convinced that Paul was on trial for religious and doctrinal issues with his fellow Jews, and was no threat to Rome.

Futurists assume that, because Paul had a Pharisee background, he must have held to an end of time biological resurrection like all of them believed.  But as I began this chapter, I pointed out that there were various views of the resurrection among the Jews, and I don’t see any definitive proof here that all sects of the Pharisees believed in a fleshly resurrection.

Since there were some Pharisees, or a sect of Pharisees, present who believed in a physical resurrection of the dead that was inseparably connected with a physical resurrection of national Israel, this created a problem.  Why?  Because for this sect, it was believed that if you were a Jew and you died outside of the land, you either would not participate and ceased to exist, or resurrection entailed one tunneling his way underground all the way back to the land in order to pop up and be resurrected, living a life in the new age under TORAH.  They did not separate their physical resurrection hopes from their carnal physical land and kingdom hopes of ruling over the Gentiles from Jerusalem with Torah and the temple still in place.

For Paul, the resurrection was grounded in Jesus being the Resurrection (cf. Jn. 11:25) and His presence within him was his hope of glory (cf. Cols. 1:27).  These Pharisees definitely disagreed with any resurrection hope that was connected with Jesus, because after all He had rejected their carnal views of a Messianic kingdom on earth (cf. Jn. 6) and they knew there was no separating the two.  They despised this aspect of the resurrection which Paul was in the process of attaining to in Philippians 3—in which he had grounds of boasting as a Pharisee under the law, but he considered that life as having “confidence in the flesh” and to be “lost” in order “to gain life and righteousness in Christ” which the law could not give.  In fact, Paul considered that the life he led under Torah as the Pharisee of Pharisees was nothing but “dung/crap” (cf. Phil. 3:3-9).  So while Paul did believe in a resurrection of souls out from Hades into God’s presence, perhaps the main thing they objected to concerning Paul’s hope of an imminent resurrection was that it would not include a physical restoration or resurrection of national Israel under Torah with the temple intact, etc.

For these reasons, Paul had to go.  As Don Preston observes,

“The Pharisees charged Paul with “sedition,” but the Roman authorities rejected that charge.  They did not believe Paul was inciting anti-Roman rebellion.  However, Paul was most assuredly teaching a sedition against the Pharisees and their nationalistic kingdom / resurrection hopes!”[37]

“After all, at first they believed that both Jesus and Paul were their allies.  But they quickly learned differently and put them both on trial for their teachings on the kingdom and the resurrection.  They sought to kill both Jesus and Paul for the very thing they were supposed to believe in![38]

Jesus

Paul

Jesus taught / offered the kingdom. Paul taught / offered the kingdom.
Jews initially accepted the offer. Pharisees initially thought Paul taught the resurrection like they did.
Jesus rejected the offer of kingship. The Pharisees came to reject Paul’s doctrine of resurrection.
When Jesus rejected the Jewish offer, they put Jesus on trial for being seditious, claiming to be king; as His kingship was not the kind they were claiming, as Pilate affirmed. When the Pharisees came to understand Paul’s resurrection doctrine, they put him on trial with the false charge of sedition; the Romans found Paul innocent of political sedition; the real issue was the resurrection.
Jesus: My kingdom is not of this world / The kingdom does not come with observation. “We do not look on the things that are seen, but unseen / “The Jerusalem that is above, the mother of us all” / We have here no abiding city, but seek one about to come” (2 Cor. 4:16f. / Gal. 4:22f. / Hebrews 13:14).[39]

For those Futurists who boast that they have the same kind of physical resurrection and kingdom hope the Pharisees who condemned Paul had, we must ask them the following:  1) Do you believe the dead soul hovers over the “Luz bones” of a person, and then will 2) tunnel itself all the way to the land of Israel to be raised in the land, only to then 3) enjoy life in the new age under Torah?  We prefer to stick with the spiritual kingdom and resurrection hopes and teachings of Jesus and Paul.

Paul’s imminent expectation of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2

Paul’s imminent expectation of the resurrection can be found in the following literal translations, properly translating the Greek word mello in Acts 24:15 as “about to be”:

“…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous…” (Young’s Literal Translation).

“having a hope in God, which they themselves also await, that there is about to be a resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust” (The Berean Literal Bible).

“having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, [that] there is about to be a resurrection of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous;” (Literal Standard Version).

“and having a hope directed towards God, which my accusers themselves also entertain, that before long there will be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous” (Weymouth New Testament).

“Having hope to God, which they themselves also admit, a rising from the dead about to be, both of just and unjust” (Smith’s Literal Translation).

The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament (1897) and The Lexham English Septuagint (LES) Interlinear works also translate mello here in Acts 24:15 as “about to be.”

What was Paul’s source for his resurrection hope?  Paul was accused of teaching things contrary to the Law and the Prophets.  Yet in his own defense he stood there and boldly countered, saying that he testified and preached no other things except that which could be found in the Law and Prophets.  This statement coupled with the fact that there is no other OT text which describes a resurrection for the just and unjust places Daniel 12:2 as Paul’s “about to be” resurrection expectation.

Paul declared that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was the ONE “hope” of Israel.  Notice that Paul does not give the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 a double meaning or double fulfillment!  He clearly does NOT teach an imminent spiritual resurrection coming to close the old covenant age in AD 70 and then another future physical one for the just and unjust at the end of world history.

Does this not fit the orthodox Christian view and exegesis of Daniel 12:2 such as that of James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry?

Jordan teaches that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is referring to “…in the days of Jesus the nation [Israel] will undergo…[one] last [in AD 70] spiritual resurrection…” that would result in Daniel’s soul being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom.  Paul says Daniel 12:2 is his and Israel’s one “hope” (singular) of the resurrection and that it was “about to” take place.

And Kenneth Gentry usually appeals to the Young’s Literal Translation and other literal translations when wanting melloto be translated as “about to be” in the book of Revelation, so according to that standard why doesn’t Paul have an imminent expectation of the resurrection here in AD 70 as well?  I cited several translations and Greek works that have no problem with mello being translated as “about to” take place.

And what about Gentry interpreting the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as, “He is teaching that in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection”?!?  There is no other Mosaic old covenant Israel beyond AD 70 in Mr. Gentry’s theology, as far as I know of. Paul also does not say that there are TWO hope(s) of Israel regarding the resurrection of Daniel 12:2.

Therefore, Paul interpreted the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as the ONE “hope” of his contemporary twelve tribes of Israel which was “about to be” fulfilled in the coming events of AD 67 – AD 70 to close the old covenant age. Paul’s imminent expectation of the spiritual resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is in complete harmony with Jesus’ teaching of it in Matthew 13:39-43 and John 5:25-28.

Paul’s “eagerly waiting” for the resurrection & “at hand” second coming in Philippians 3-4

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:  circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.  But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a]Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.  Only let us live up to what we have already attained.  Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.  For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:4-21).

“The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5).

Many miss the context of Paul’s discussion on the resurrection of Philippians 3:21.  There is an “already not yet,” or what I like to call an “already becoming / transforming and not yet,” to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection here.  Paul considered his life under the old covenant Mosaic law to be garbage or dung, and that he had already attained to some degree of being conformed to the resurrection of Christ.  Obviously, this is not a biological resurrection. Paul was not half glowing or something like that.  The old covenant Law was “garbage” or “dung/crap” and he was being conformed from that “vile/lowly” old covenant body of Adam and Moses to Christ’s glorious new covenant body.  This “already transforming and not yet” resurrection process would be completed at the “near” Second Coming event (Phil. 4:5).

There is also another imminent time text or Greek word often ignored in Phil. 3:20 – Paul and the first century church were “eagerly waiting” (Grk. apekdechomai) the “near” Second Coming event which would conclude this “already and not yet” resurrection process that Paul has in view.  Partial Preterist Peter J. Leithart lists Paul’s use of apekdechomai in 1 Cor. 1:7-8 as an AD 70 imminent time text referring to the “revealing” “day of the Lord” in AD 70 and then points out,

            “Phil. 3:20 uses the same verb to describe our waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus.”[40]

Obviously, Leithart doesn’t want to address this inconsistency.  If the first century church was to “eagerly wait” apekdechomai the “day of the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:7-8) is an imminent time text referring to AD 70, then why wouldn’t Paul’s first century “eagerly waiting” the resurrection and “at hand” coming of Christ in Philippians 3-4 also be referring to AD 70?  Once again Partial Preterism is found to be more than inconsistent or never clarifying their positions on which texts are referring to an imminent AD 70 coming of Christ and resurrection event and which ones are not.  This same problem surfaces again in our next text where Paul not only uses apekdechomai, but mello (“about to be”) and kairos (Paul’s eschatological “now time” or the “appointed time” of consummation).

Paul being in the “appointed or critical time” “eagerly waiting” the “at hand” “about to be,” glorification, “redemption of the body” and “salvation of all Israel” (Rms. 8:18-23YLT; 11:13-15, 25-27; 13:11-12)

“For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [Grk. kairos – Paul’s eschatological “now time” and better translated here as the “appointed time” of fulfillment] are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be [Grk. mello] revealed in us; for the earnest [Grk. apokaradokia – “head outstretched”] looking out of the creation doth expect [Grk. apekdechomai] the revelation of the sons of God; for to vanity was the creation made subject—not of its will, but because of Him who did subject it—in hope, that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now.  And not only so, but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting [Grk. apekdechomai]—the redemption of our body;…” (Rms. 8:18-23 YLT)

“…I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.  For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead.”  “…I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers:  a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my ‘covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Rms. 11:13-15, 25-27)

“Besides this you know it is the critical or appointed time [Grk. kairos], that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” (Rms. 13:11-12)

There are several exegetical issues we need to unpack when addressing all three of these eschatological passages (Rms. 8:18-23; 11:13-15, 25-27; and 13:11-12).  What is this kairos “appointed time” Paul says he and the Romans were currently in?  How were these passages “eagerly” “at hand” and thus “about to be” fulfilled by AD 70?  What is this “creation” (Grk. kitisis) that is groaning?  Is Paul’s imminent “appointed time,” “salvation”/“redemption” and resurrection the same as predicted by Daniel and Jesus?

Let me briefly lay out my points of agreement among the divided house of Futurism and Partial Preterism when it comes to these three key eschatological texts:

1).  I agree with Partial Preterist teaching that the time texts in Romans 8:18-23YLT and Romans 13:11-12 support that this resurrection and eschatological day of salvation and redemption was imminently fulfilled in AD 70.

2).  I agree with Partial Preterist’s that believe “all Israel” was “saved” in AD 70 (ex. Gary DeMar and James Jordan).

3).  I agree with the most influential Partial Preterist of all time–John Lightfoot, that the “creation” of Romans 8 is not the physical planet but rather the “creation of men” seeking salvation from the inward “decay” of sin.

4).  I agree with commentators who see Paul’s eschatology in all three of these passages being not only one and the same consummative event, but also addressing the one Second Coming and salvation described by Daniel in Dan. 7; 9; 12; and Jesus’ eschatology in His Olivet Discourse.

Romans 8:18-23YLT        

Since our text clearly addresses the resurrection event (“the redemption of the body”), we must go back to Paul’s previous context to see what kind of “death” and “life” or future resurrection he has been addressing thus far.  Having already gone over the spiritual death that came through Adam the very day he sinned in the garden and the free spiritual gift of eternal life and justification that comes through Christ in Romans 5, I will now pick up Paul’s “already and not yet” “likeness” into Christ’s “death” and “resurrection” motif of Romans 6.

“For if we have united with him in a death like his, we will [future] certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Rms. 6:5)

“And if we died with Christ [to THE sin of Adam], we believe that we also shall [future] live with him.” (Rms. 6:8)

“For in that he [Christ] died, to THE sin he died once, and in that he lives, He lives to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].” (Rms. 6:10YLT/AB/GNT).

The first thing that jumps out at us is that Paul is not referring to a physical bodily death and resurrection to be “like” Jesus’.  Why?  Because the Romans were still alive and had experienced a “death” and burial “LIKE his,” and thus this clearly is not referring to physical death or biological bodily union or change.  Therefore, to be in union and share in the “resurrection LIKE his,” in the “about to be” future (Rms. 8:18-23YLT) is likewise not referring to a biological bodily union or change at the end of time.  In verse 10 we see that the emphasis and theological point of Paul in pointing out that Christ died once to THE sin of Adam resulted in Him enjoying the Father’s unbroken fellowship and presence.  Therefore, Paul is anticipating a FUTURE (but imminent future) resurrection that is SPIRITUAL and will result in God’s people enjoying His presence.

Well, what about Romans 7, is biological death and resurrection Paul’s point here?

“When the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.”  “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death [the corporate body of Adam/Moses] (Rms. 7:9)

Here Paul is personifying himself as being in the corporate body of Adam or the corporate body of Israel and being under “THE law.”  Being within this corporate covenantal body or mode of sinful existence one could never achieve or produce eternal life, but rather only be in a state of spiritual separation and death—awaiting the finished work of Christ through His cross and parousia for full deliverance.  But during the transition period (roughly between AD 30 – AD 70), due to faith and the Spirit’s presence within the saints, they were entering into the “already” resurrection “life” of Romans 8.

Many unfortunately interpret Paul’s phrases such as “body of sin” “body of death” “body of flesh” “flesh” “mortal body” “vile body” as somehow being the physical body that is cursed, evil, or sinful.  This would be Gnosticism which Paul is not teaching.  And if physical aging demonstrates that the physical body is “cursed,” then was Jesus cursed because He aged?  Paul is using these terms to describe a corporate and covenantal body in Adam/Moses that is opposite of that of being in the corporate body of Christ.  If being “in the flesh” is the physical body, then we can never please God while in the physical body – “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rms. 8:8).  And if we are talking about the biological “flesh” and “body” then how can one “not be in the flesh” while being biologically alive and how can the “body [be] dead” while being biologically alive?  (Rms. 8:9-10).

The imminent “appointed time” in Romans is the eschatology of Daniel  

Paul does not use the Greek word kronos for “time” in Rms. 8:18 and Rms. 13:11 which deals with chronological time but rather kairos, which carries more of the idea of a very specific “appointed time” decreed by God concerning a specific eschatological “crisis” or “consummation.”

In the LXX of Dan. 9:27 and Dan. 12:4, kairos is used to describe the appointed time of consummation to Daniel’s seventy-sevens prophecy.  Then the last half of the last seven of Dan. 9:26-27—the “three and a half years” that brings the “the war” of the Romans with the Jews and thus “desolation” upon Jerusalem and the second temple is brought up and recapitulated in Dan. 12:4, 7 as the eschatological “end” or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” between AD 67 – AD 70.  And while Dan. 7 does not use the Greek word kairos, it is recapitulating the same judgment and salvation as Dan. 9 and 12 are but including the Second Coming or coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds and the time of inheriting the Kingdom being within the time of the fourth or Roman Empire:

Daniel 7

Daniel 9

Daniel 12

1).  “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is the time of the judgment       (vss. 25-26) 1).  “half a week” [3 ½ years remaining AD 67 – AD 70] is the “appointed time” for judgment and “end” of 490 years (9:27 LXX Grk. Kairos) 1). “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is “appointed time of the end” judgment  (12:4, 7 LXX Grk. Kairos)
2).  “Little horn” [line of the Herods & Jews] judged for boasting against God and persecuting or making war with the followers of Messiah (vss. 25-26)

 

2).  “Your people,” [Jews] “your holy city” [Jerusalem], temple, “abomination” leading to “desolation” in the “tribulation,” & “THE war” (vss. 24-27)

 

2).  “Power [scepter taken from Judah Gen. 49:10] of holy people [Jews] completely shattered” connected to “abomination” leading to “desolation” & “tribulation” (12:1, 7, 11)
3).  The Judgment [books opened & Ancient of Days on throne] – the esch. “end” (vss. 9-10, 26)

 

3).  The Judgment – the esch. “end” (vss. 24-27)

 

3).  The Judgment & Resurrection of the dead – esch. “end” (vss. 1-4)

 

4).  Messiah – Son of Man comes upon the clouds [second coming] and the reception and inheritance of the Kingdom takes place   (v. 13-14, 27) 4).  Messiah/Prince sends another “Prince” [Titus] & his armies to “desolate” & make “war” against Jerusalem                     (vss. 26-27 LXX) 4). [Implied in that you can’t have the “appointed time” or esch. “end” and judgment & resurrection of the dead w/o arrival of second coming and Messianic Kingdom]
5).  All to take place during 4th. Roman Empire (vss. 7-27) 5).  All to take place within 490 years       (vss. 24-27) 5).  Daniel told to “seal up the vision” because the “appointed time” and esch. “end” was “far off” and he would not live to witness it        (v. 4, 9, cf. 8:26)

There are other LXX versions that describe the resurrection and judgment of Dan. 12:2-4 as the “hour of the end.”  Therefore, Paul is echoing back to Dan. 9:27 and Dan. 12:2-4 when addressing that the “appointed time” or “hour has come” to “awake out of sleep.” It is not a stretch to see that Daniel’s “hour” in Daniel 12:1-2 (OG LXX) of awaking to resurrection is not only Jesus’ eschatological “hour” (John 4:21-23–5:25-28; or “day and hour” Mt. 24:36) but also Paul’s imminent “at hand” “hour” here in Romans 13:

Daniel 12:1-4, 7

Romans 13:11-12

1).  “And at that hour…” (v. 1) 1).  “…you know what hour it is…” (v. 11)
2).  “The hour/time of the end”     (v. 4) 2).  “how it is full time…” (v. 11)
3).  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise…”      (v. 2) 3).  “The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep…” (v. 11)
4).  This “hour” and “end” of resurrection and judgment would be during “3 ½ years” (AD 67 – AD 70)  “when the power of the holy people was completely shattered” (v. 7) 4).  Daniel’s eschatological salvation and resurrection “hour” and “day” was “at hand” for Paul (vss. 11-12)

With this in mind, let’s now look at how Paul is drawing upon the wider eschatology of Daniel in Romans 8—13 as a whole:

Daniel 7; 9; 12 Romans 8; 11; 13 (and other OT sources in 9-11)
1).  The “appointed time” or “hour of the end” (9:27; 12:4 LXX) 1).  The “appointed time” Grk. Kairos or “hour” (8:18; 13:11)
2).  The Second Coming to be fulfilled during the Roman Empire (7:3-13) 2).  The Second Coming to be imminently fulfilled                     (11:27; 13:11-12)
3).  Salvation and forgiveness of sin for Israel (9:24) 3). Salvation and forgiveness of sin for “all Israel” being the believing remnant and Gentiles coming to NC fulness (11:25-27)
4).  This is the time of the Resurrection and judgment of the dead (7:9-10; 12:2-4) 4).  This is the time of the Resurrection and judgment of the dead (8:18-23YLT; 11:15; 13:11-12)
5).  When Messiah would come upon the clouds in judgment over the second temple and Jerusalem between AD 67 – AD 70 “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered”–is also when Israel [the righteous remnant w/ the Gentiles] would be saved and anointed as God’s MHP dwelling (7:10-27; 9:24 27; 12:2-7) 5).  Paul appeals to several OT passages in Rms. 9-11 that connect the salvation of Israel [the Jewish remnant & Gentiles] as being the same time as the judgment of Israel [OC hardened Israel] by AD 70 (cf. 9:27=Isa. 10:22-23 – remnant saved and would “not be delayed” when Jerusalem is judged; 10:19=Isa. 65:1-25 – when OC Jerusalem is judged a remnant forms the creation of the New Jerusalem; 11:9-10=Ps. 69:22-36; 11:26=Isa. 59:16-20 – redeemed remnant at same time performing vengeance on Israel; 11:27=Isa. 27:9-13 – sin of blood guilt atoned for through judgment and resurrection during judgment of Jerusalem)
6).  The “appointed time” of these eschatological events would be fulfilled during the fourth or Roman Empire – 490 yrs. or far off from Daniel. 6).  During time of Roman Empire and the “appointed time” or “hour” of Daniel’s prophetic events were “eagerly” expected–fulfillment was “at hand” or “about to be” consummated by AD70                           (Rms. 8:18-23YLT; 13:11-12).

Before demonstrating Paul’s eschatology in Romans 8-13 is the eschatology of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, let’s first show how Jesus, like Paul, is drawing upon Daniel 7; 9; and 12 for an AD 70 “near” and “this generation” imminent fulfillment:

Daniel 7 Daniel 9 Daniel 12 Mt. 24-25 & Parallels
1).  “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is the time of the judgment(vss. 25-26) 1).  “half a week” [3 ½  years remaining AD 67 – AD 70] is the “appointed time” for judgment and “end” of 490 years (9:27 LXX Grk. Kairos) 1). “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is “appointed time of the end” judgment     (12:4, 7 LXX Grk. Kairos) 1).  “Times of the Gentiles” treading down Jerusalem by Romans [3 ½ years cf. Rev. 11:2-8 AD 67 – AD 70] “appointed time” Grk. Kairos (Lk. 21:8, 24; Mrk. 13:33)
2).  “Little horn” [line of the Herods & Jews] judged for boasting against God and persecuting or making war with the followers of Messiah         (vss. 25-26) 2).  “Your people,” [Jews] “your holy city” [Jerusalem], temple, “abomination” leading to “desolation” in the “tribulation,” & “THE war”         (vss. 24-27) 2).  “Power [scepter taken from Judah Gen. 49:10] of holy people [Jews] completely shattered” connected to “abomination” leading to “desolation” & “tribulation”. (12:1, 7, 11) 2). “Wrath” “against this people” [1st. Cent. Jews], & “land” [of Israel], “tribulation,” “abomination” & “desolation,” – when Jerusalem surrounded by Roman armies, destruction of temple                 (Mt. 24/Lk. 21)
3).  The Judgment [books opened & Ancient of Days on throne] – the esch. “end”             (vss. 9-10, 26) 3).  The Judgment – the esch. “end”   (vss. 24-27) 3).  The Judgment & Resurrection of the dead – esch. “end” (vss. 1-4) 3).  The judgment & Resurrection of the dead, Christ judging on throne – esch. “end” of OC age   (Mt. 24:3, 14, 31; 25:31-46)
4).  Messiah – Son of Man comes upon the clouds [second coming] and the reception and inheritance of the Kingdom takes place       (v. 13-14, 27) 4).  Messiah/Prince sends another “Prince” [Titus] & his armies to “desolate” & make “war” against Jerusalem       (vss. 26-27 LXX) 4). [Implied in that you can’t have the “appointed time” or esch. “end” and judgment & resurrection of the dead w/o arrival of second coming and Messianic Kingdom] 4).  Jesus / Messiah / Son of Man comes upon the clouds [second coming – comes through armies as Father had] and reception & inheritance of Kingdom takes place                  (Lk. 21:27-32)
5).  All to take place during 4th. Roman Empire (vss. 7-27)

 

 

 

5).  All to take place within 490 years                 (vss. 24-27)

 

 

 

 

5).  Daniel told to “seal up the vision” because the “appointed time” and esch. “end” was “far off” and he would not live to witness it           (v. 4, 9, cf. 8:26)

 

 

 

5).  All the esch. events of Dan. 7, 9, & 12 as described in the OD (Lk. 21:22) with its “appointed time” or “end” – fulfilled within the Roman Empire & in Jesus’ contemporary “generation” (24:34)

 

 

 

 

As I discussed in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse, how one interprets the coming of Christ and resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31 is how one will understand these concepts and time of fulfillment in NT eschatology in general. Why?  Because, in a nutshell, it is the eschatology of the NT.  So I would agree with those like John Murray who understood the “redemption” of Luke 21 to be Paul’s redemption hope here in Romans:

“Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom 8:23…). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.”[41]

Since Gentry adds Matthew 24:28 as a text supporting his view that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was a corporate resurrection for Israel in which the new covenant corporate body of Israel was raised from the corporate corpse/body of old covenant Israel in AD 70, I have added it as a possible parallel.  One of Ken’s favorite theologians, John Lightfoot, also understands the “redemption of the body” to be a corporate body (the Church) while others such as Gary DeMar and Phillip Kayser see this as “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70.  And since N.T. Wright has correctly noticed Paul is tracking on the second or new exodus motif, I shall add this to the parallel chart:

The New or Second Exodus Motif in Romans 8:18-23YLT was “About to be” Fulfilled in AD 70
1). Israel – God’s “children” or “sons” (Deut. 32:5, 19-20) 1). Church – God’s “children” or “sons” (8:14, 16, 21)
2). God “created/made” Israel through the exodus event (Deut. 32:6; Isa. 51:15-16) 2). The “creation” of believing Gentiles and Jews the focus & not physical creation (8:22)
3). God “led” Israel (Deut. 32:12) 3). Church “led” by the Spirit (8:14)
4). Israel was “groaning” to be “set free” and “redeemed” from Egyptian slavery/bondage             (Ex. 6:2-9) 4). The Jew/Gentile Church/Creation were “groaning” to be “set free” & “redeemed” from the inner “bondage,” vanity, and corruption of Adamic sin (8:20-22)
The Appointed Time of Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse & Lk. 17 was “At Hand” & “About to be” Fulfilled in Romans 8—13:11-12 by AD 70
1). Suffering & eschatological birth pains coming (Mt. 24:8-9) 1). Suffering & eschatological birth pains currently taking place     (8:17-18, 22)
2). Kingdom to be realized “within” a person at Christ’s Second Coming (Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32) 2). Christ’s “glory” would be “revealed IN” the Church at Christ’s Second Coming               (8:18; 13:11-12; cf. Cols. 1:27)
3). Called to “straighten up / lift heads” because “redemption” would be “drawing near” in their contemporary “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-28) 3). Look for with “eager expectation” (Gk. apekdechomai & apokaradokia – “to eagerly wait for fulfillment with an outstretched neck and head lifted forward”) (8:19-23)
4). Second Coming & “gathering” (resurrection) at the end of the Old Covenant age described “…as sunshine comes out from the east and is seen even in the west…” or “shining like the sun in the Kingdom” (Mt. 24:27-31 Aramaic English NT; Mt. 13:39-43 fulfillment of Dan. 12:2-3) 4).  Second Coming & “awaking from sleep” (resurrection) described as the arrival of “the [eschatological New Covenant age] Day” (13:11-12 fulfillment of Dan. 12:2-3)
5). The “time” (Gk. “kairos” better translated as the eschatological “appointed time” of fulfillment or consummation) would be “near” in the first century “generation” or by AD 70 (Lk. 21:8, 32 “the time ordained” of Dan. 12:4 Wycliffe Translation) 5). The “time” (Gk. kairos better translated as the eschatological “appointed time of fulfillment or consummation”) was “near” and “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70    (8:18YLT; 13:11-12)
6).  Partial Preterist Ken Gentry interprets the resurrection of Dan. 12:2 as old covenant Israel being a corporate body or “corpse” (cf. Mt. 24:28) that would be raised into the spiritual new covenant body of Israel/Church in AD 70 6).  The first century church was “eagerly waiting” (on tiptoes and outstretched neck) for the AD 70 “about to be” corporate body of new covenant Israel to be redeemed (Rms. 8:18-23) in AD 70.

The creation of men groaning – not planet earth

As we saw in our study of the Olivet Discourse, terms like God establishing the heaven and earth and then destroying or causing the heaven and earth to pass away (Jer. 4) can refer to God forming the creation of old covenant Israel (Isa. 51:15-16) and then causing her to pass away in AD 70 (Mt. 5:17-18; 24:35) – while at the same time establishing a new covenant heaven and earth or new covenant people.  This is exactly what we have Paul doing here in Romans 8:18-23.  The “creation” here is not referring to the physical planet at all.  It is referring to the creation of men, most likely the creation of men of Israel groaning under the law seeking Messianic redemption.

Reformed theologian John Lightfoot correctly associated the “earnest expectation of the creature” and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and interpreted this passage as having nothing to do with the planet earth, not even poetically:

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out-stretched neck.”[42]

And again,

“The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.”[43]  

Lightfoot is on solid ground here citing 2 Peter 1:4, 2 Corinthians 11:3, and 1 Corinthians 15:33. Not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity”, “corruption,” and “decay” as ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen or squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.

“Redemption of the body” the corporate body of the Church – not individual biological resurrections at the end of time

John Lightfoot not only interpreted the “creation” of Romans 8 to be the creation of men and NOT the physical planet, but he understood the “redemption of the body” to not be a resurrection of physical bodies, but rather the “mystical [corporate] body” of the Church.  In his sermon on “Many Mansions,” Lightfoot states:

“And of the same body [in context he is referring to the corporate body of Christ just mentioned in Eph. 4:13] is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, than ‘the Gentile or heathen world’: not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God, but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption, to wit, the adoption of our body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our mystical body.”[44]

Clearly Lightfoot understood the “creation” to mean the creation of men and not the planet earth, and “redemption of the body” to be the “mystical body” of the corporate Jew/Gentile Church and not an individual physical body.  He was ahead of his time!

Paul’s reference to the “sufferings of this present time” does not have anything to do with losing one’s hair, gaining weight, cancer, etc.  Paul’s mention of the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” have nothing to do with those kinds of issues.  The context of the “groaning” of the first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter.  The sufferings Paul has in mind here were eschatological, the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Mt. 24:8; Rom. 8:22). They had to do with the last days’ persecutions and with the saints of the universal church groaning under the tyranny of sin and condemnation of the Law.

For Paul, sin had produced “death,” but obviously not physical death.  Contrary to Postmillennial and most Futurist assertions, “the body”, “death,” and “the flesh” in Romans 5–8 have nothing to do with the idea of men biologically dying as a result of Adam’s sin.  Paul’s concern is with corporate-covenantal death, as even some Reformed theologians teach.  Tom Holland is a Reformed theologian who sees Paul’s “body” of flesh, sin, and death not referring to our physical flesh but to the corporate body of sin in contrast to the corporate body of Christ—the Church.[45] He counters Gundry’s individualistic views of soma in Paul’s writings.  He also argues for “consistency” in Paul’s use of corporate terms.  “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:2, 7, 15).

For Paul, the glorification, liberation and redemption of this corporate body/creation was “about to” take place (Rms. 8:18ff.YLT)

Still, one might object that the “redemption” associated with the coming of Christ in Luke 21:27-28 has a clear time text (“this generation”) associated with it (v. 32), but the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 does not; therefore, one might conclude that the two passages are not necessarily parallel.  Those who argue this way suggest that the redemption in Luke 21 might simply refer to relief from persecution and nothing more.  The premise of their objection, however, is false.

There is an imminence text associated with the redemption of the body in Romans 8.  Verse 18 reads, “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us” (YLT; cf. NSRV, AV, & WEY: “soon to be manifested”).

At least Partial Preterist Postmillennialists, such as Gary DeMar, concede that the “glory” in Romans 8:18YLT was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70, but pretend to not know what it is:

Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed…”[46]

DeMar also understands the “salvation of all Israel” in Romans 11 to be fulfilled in AD 70.  Thus, the “salvation” and “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 and 11 are not dealing with biological or planetary events at the end of time, but rather imminent redemptive events for the mystical Jew/Gentile corporate body/creation change or resurrection that was to imminently take place in AD 70.

Partial Preterists, such as Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison, don’t address mello here in Romans 8:18.  But interestingly enough, according to Gentry and Mathison, one of the things that was “about to come after” John wrote Revelation 1:19YLT was the arrival of the New Jerusalem and new creation of Revelation 21:1ff.  Mathison and Gentry tell us in their other works that the time texts in Revelation point to a near fulfillment of the passing of “the first heaven and earth.”  They point out that Revelation 21:1 is referring to the passing of the old covenant “creation” in AD 70 and is a fulfillment of Isaiah 65–66.  Gentry even says:

“The absence of the sea (Rev. 21:1) speaks of harmony and peace within. In Scripture the sea often symbolizes discord and sin (13:1–2; cf. Isa. 8:7–8; 23:10; 57:20; Jer. 6:23; 46:7; Ezek. 9:10). Christianity offers the opposite: peace with God and among humankind (Luke 2:14; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:12–18; Phil. 4:7, 9).”[47]

If the removal of the sea represents the removal of sin and discord within, then AD 70 was much more than a physical flight to Pella. It was a soteriological event just as the cross was.

Gentry argues that “when used with the aorist infinitive—as in Revelation 1:19, mello’s predominant usage and preferred meaning is: ‘be on the point of, be about to.’ The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in Rev. 3:10.  The basic meaning in both

Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.”[48] Gentry is correct.  The problem, however, is that when the word mellorefers to the resurrection and judgment of the living and dead in Acts 17:31; 24:15 and 24:25, it is also used with the infinitive.  In the case of Acts 24:15, in a recent article on his site, Gentry appeals to BDAG to somehow prove that when mello is used with the future infinitive, it communicates certainty and shouldn’t be translated as “about to” take place.  But, of course, as I pointed out in our exegesis of Acts 24:15, there are translations, lexicons and interlinears that do render mello there as “about to.”

Not only that, but Gentry and Mathison also fail to address in their writings that mello in Romans 8:18 is in the aorist infinitive (which they say has the “preferred meaning” of “be on the point of, be about to”) and they make no mention that our passage has two other imminent Greek words within the immediate context – apokaradokia and apekdekomai.  This serves to further solidify the translation of mello as“about to be.”  And lastly, BDAG (Gentry’s source for trying to place Acts 24:15 at the end of world history) marks mello in Romans 8:18 as being translated “about to be revealed.”  So much for consistency!

Contextually, there is no reason to not understand Paul’s expectation of the “about to be” glorification and “redemption of the body” to be when the corporate new covenant body of Israel was raised from the corporate old covenant body of Israel in AD 70.  This body/creation was groaning under spiritual Adamic death (magnified by Torah) and was liberated from that death into the life and liberty of Christ’s “at hand” salvation/coming in AD 70.

Paul’s OT passages in Romans 9-11 and the “salvation of all Israel” / “life from the dead”

We should briefly pause to consider Paul’s argumentation in Romans 9-11 and the OT passages he cites as he builds his case that the remnant of Israel and the believing Gentile inclusion “all Israel” will be saved or raised “life from the dead” when Christ comes out of Zion to take away sin in AD 70.

Romans 9 – Hosea 1-2; Isaiah 10:27-28; Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 28:16      

Throughout Romans Paul has been combating the typical Jewish view of “salvation” when Messiah would show up—namely, the entire Nation of Israel was saved already because of their lineage or circumcision and through a militaristic Messiah, Rome and the Gentiles would be destroyed and an earthly glorious theocratic kingdom on earth would be established – and thus “all Israel” would be saved through that process.  And since the majority of Israel had not been converted to Jesus, how could Paul possibly claim He was Messiah and Israel’s promises were and would be imminently fulfilled?

In the previous chapters Paul has pointed out how they cannot trust in circumcision or keeping the law because the issue is having the justifying faith of Abraham who was to function as a Father and blessing to the Gentile Nations.  This and the believing Gentiles in Jesus were keeping the law because the new covenant had been written on their hearts.  Paul is going to make his case that the believing remnant (such as himself being from the tribe of Benjamin) and the believing Gentiles (who do the law because it has been written on their hearts through the new covenant) is HOW “all Israel” is being saved and will be saved at Christ’s “at hand” coming.  But Paul lays out his argument from Torah.

Paul makes it clear that there are two “Israel’s” and therefore God’s promises have not failed,

“But it is not as though the word of God has failed.  For not all who are descended from Israel (natural National Israel) belong to Israel (the true remnant or believing Israel – to whom belong the promises). (9:6)

Paul builds his case by pointing out that God has been completely sovereign throughout Israel’s history – choosing and loving Jacob while hardening and hating Esau before they were even born (9:8-13).  If He can do this with Jacob and Esau, God surely can choose a remnant and work through them while hardening and passing by others among Israel.  After all, if God has the sovereign right to harden Pharoah, surely, He can fashion some from the same lump of Israel as vessels of mercy [including Gentiles] and others as vessels of His wrath (9:14-24).

Hosea 1-2

Paul begins his appeals to Torah in the promises and eschatology found in Hosea in Romans 9:25-26:

“Those who were not my people I will call my people and her who was not beloved I will call beloved.”  “And in the very place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there they will be called sons of the living God.”

The eschatology of Hosea is simple – although God was going to divorce, drive Israel (the ten northern tribes) out of the land (His home), and thus kill her corporately, spiritually, and covenantally by bringing an “end to [her] kingdom,” (through the Assyrian captivity) God had promised that in Israel’s last days He would re-marry her and “gather” her with Judah and be head over them once again by establishing the new covenant with her.  God would remain married to Judah because Messiah had to come through her but her harvest, judgment and divorce would take place in AD 70 as well.  According to Jesus and John in Revelation, the eschatological “gathering,” betrothal, divorce of Judah, and re-marriage was roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 with the divorce and re-marriage being “soon” or “shortly” fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70 when old covenant Israel was cast out of the kingdom (cf. Mt. 8:10-12; Mt. 24-25; Rev. 17-21).  Paul’s point in quoting Hosea 1-2 was to teach Israel’s salvation and restoration had already begun in Christ with the remnant or true “Israel” and ingrafting of believing Gentiles.

Peter also quotes from Hosea 1 in 1 Peter 2:10 and within its context he is demonstrating that Israel is being saved and restored spiritually through Christ and the new covenant with a spiritual – temple, priesthood, sacrifices, race – all forming a spiritual “holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:4-10).  Thus, for Peter and Paul the remnant of Israel was being saved and restored through the new covenant “in Christ” not “in the land” and thus from sin, not from the Gentiles and Roman power.

Isaiah 10:27-28

Paul in Romans 9:27-28 once again returns to the fact that the OT only predicts the salvation of a remnant among the Jews and not the entire Nation, and that this would be a “short work,”

“And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:  Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”

There are various translations of verse 28 – “…and cut it short in righteousness:  because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth,” (KJ) “…the Lord will perform the sentence He is concluding and bringing swiftly upon the earth” (BLT).  The point is simple, since the “sign” of gospel having to be preached in “all the earth” (throughout the Romans Empire) had already been fulfilled (Rms. 10:18/Mt. 24:14), God was going to execute His judgment upon the Nation and it would be “near” and in their “this generation,” (Mt. 24) and thus it would be “without delay.”  Paul is not anticipating a 2,000 years plus period awaiting Israel’s judgment and the salvation of the remnant.  And when the judgment did come—roughly between AD 66 – AD 70 it too was “short” and the Jewish Christian remnant fled the city to Pella and were safe from God’s wrath upon the City.  And to the remnant “offspring” or survivors Paul turns his attention in his next quote from Isaiah.

 Isaiah 1:9

Paul continues quoting Isaiah 1:9,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”

In context the majority of Jerusalem have become so wicked in persecuting the righteous remnant (even killing some performing the sin of blood-guilt v. 15), that God calls Her “rulers of Sodom” and “people of Gomorrah” (1:10).  If they repent, they will be forgiven, but if not, they will be “eaten by the sword” (vss. 16-20).  Again, we see the same coin with the two sides of salvation for the remnant or judgment for the unrepentant persecuting majority taking place at the same time.  The remnant “survivors” would emerge as “the city of righteousness, the faithful city” while the unrepentant persecutor among Jerusalem is described as a “whore” that would be “burned” in judgment (vss. 21-31).  In the book of Revelation which would be fulfilled “shortly” by AD 70 John describes old covenant Jerusalem (“where the Lord was slain”) as “Sodom” and “Gomorrah” and as an unfaithful wife or “Whore” that would “soon” be judged and burned in the imminent events of AD 67 – AD 70 (cf. Rev. 11; 17-19).

The prophecy continues in Isaiah 2 in addressing the “last days” of which Paul and the Roman church were currently in.  Jesus connects this judgment quoting (2:10, 19, 21) as being the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 in Luke 23:30,

“Then they (the women who were weeping for Him on His way to the cross) will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘cover us.’”

The persecutors among Jerusalem continue to be described as “Sodom” in chapter 3 (3:9) and “in that day” of the “last days,” they would “fall by the sword in battle” (vss. 18-25; cf. Lk. 21:23-24).  Continuing this “in that day” scene Isaiah once again connects the salvation of the righteous remnant with the judgment of Jerusalem,

“In that day the branch of the Lord (Jesus) shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.  And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.” (4:2-4)

Throughout Romans 9-11 Paul is quoting from and drawing from those OT contexts the theme of an imminent salvation coming to the surviving remnant while being the same time for judgment of the unrepentant persecutors.

Isaiah 28:16  

Paul concluding Romans 9 once again (v. 32) appeals to Isaiah to demonstrate that he isn’t coming up with something new concerning the judgment of the majority among Israel (not the salvation of the majority) has been prophesied,

“Behold, I am laying Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

But of course, Paul doesn’t just have this one verse in mind, but is invoking the theological and eschatological context of what scholars have called, “Isaiah’s little apocalypse” (i.e. Isa. 24 – 28).  In quoting from Isaiah 28 Paul is reminding his Jewish scoffers that it was prophesied that most of them would reject and fall over their own Messiah/Stone and that His coming would produce a “strange work” — in that He would come to judge THEM and not the Romans and would save His believing remnant (vss. 5-6) at the time of this judgment (vss. 7-22).  Note this is not an end of world history coming of God in judgment, because it would be as God had come in judgment upon the Philistines and Canaanites (v. 21, cf. 2 Sam. 5:19-20; Josh. 10:10).

Since Paul is leading us eventually to the resurrection and “salvation” of “all Israel” being “life from the dead” (Rms. 11:15-27), it is important at this point to see what kind of death and resurrection or salvation of the remnant is prophesied in Isaiah 27-28.  Israel would undergone a spiritual, covenantal, and corporate bodily “striking” and DEATH or of being “slain” (27:7) when Jerusalem (the “fortified city”) would be “burned” and her “altars” would become “like chalkstone” (27:9-11).  This covenantal, corporate, and spiritual death would result in the resurrection or salvation or redemption of the remnant when the Messianic second exodus or eschatological “gathering” would be realized of which Jesus placed in His contemporary “this generation” (27:11-12=Mt. 24:30-31, 34).  Isaiah 27-28 is prophesying a Messianic spiritual, covenantal, and corporate body resurrection and Paul will not depart from that kind of resurrection once we get to Romans 11:15-27.

It is also important to note that the eschatological “in that day” of Isaiah 27-28 would not only be a time of judgment for the majority of Israel and salvation/resurrection for the remnant, but it would also be when “Leviathan the fleeing serpent” or “dragon” would be “slain” or judged (27:1).  This is why Paul said that Satan was going to be “crushed” or judged “shortly” by AD 70 (Rms. 16:20).

Peter likewise uses Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22 to develop his eschatology of Israel being “destined” to “disobey the word” in rejecting Jesus – the Messianic stone.  Like Paul, the majority of Israel rejecting her Messiah is not a failure of God to keep His promises, it is a part of His means of restoring and saving the remnant under the new covenant making them and the Gentiles a spiritual temple, priesthood, with spiritual sacrifices, and a spiritual race and holy nation (1 Pet. 2:10).  Peter places this judgment of the living and the dead (thus the resurrection) as an event that was “at hand” and would “not be delayed” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; 2 Pet. 2:3) in AD 70—just as Paul teaches in Romans 8:18—13:11-12.

Romans 10 – Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 53:1; Psalm 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 65:1

Paul continues his themes of appealing to the OT scriptures to show that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek in God’s plan of salvation and that this plan included the majority of Israel’s rejection.

Isaiah 52:7

In Romans 10:15 Paul cites Isaiah 52:7,

“And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”

We need to examine the context and theology/eschatology of the rest of this chapter to see what was “preached” to Israel that was the “good news.”  Isaiah’s eschatology is like Daniel’s in that after Israel’s long exile under Gentile powers, Messiah will come and save Israel and resurrected Her “from the dust” spiritually, corporately, and covenantally.  In Isaiah 52 Isaiah connects the coming of Messiah and the eschatological wedding “put on your beautiful garments” with the preaching of the gospel and saving Jerusalem in terms of making her “clean” and raising her – “…for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake yourself from the dust and arise…” [cf. Dan. 12:2] (vss. 1-2).  Isaiah has previously connected the eschatological wedding with the resurrection as the time when “death would be swallowed up” on top of Mount Zion (Isa. 25:6-9).  Another reference here in Isaiah 52 to the resurrection can be seen in the LXX of verse 12 where God is said to be Israel’s “gathering” – just as Isaiah has previously taught and quoted by Jesus in Isaiah 27:12-13/Mt. 24:30-31.  He also speaks of Messiah baptizing or “sprinkling the nations” (vss. 14-15).  But what kind of baptism is this?  John the Baptist taught that while he baptized with water, Jesus would baptize new covenant believers “with the Spirit” (Mt. 3:11).  Thus, Paul sees God saving the remnant Jews and Gentiles through a spiritual circumcision and baptism “in Christ” and not an old covenant one that is connected to one setting their mind “in the land” (Mt. 3:11; Cols. 2:11-12; 3:2; Gals. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-13).  Paul is demonstrating that Israel is being saved and restored according to the OT Scriptures, but in a way that the carnal Pharisees could not see – He would be restoring and raising a spiritual new covenant New Jerusalem and saving Her and Her seed by them being “born from above” through faith (John 3:1-18/Ezek. 36:23-29)

Isaiah 53:1

Paul continues his thought invoking the entire theological and eschatological contexts of Isaiah 52-53—having addressed the remnant’s salvation and their preaching the gospel, he asks,

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel.  For Isaiah says, ‘Lord who has believed what he has heard from us?’” (Rms. 10:16)

In other words, not every Jew or the entire nation will believe the gospel report of the remnant – that salvation can only be found in Jesus the Christ (the Messiah and “gospel” of Isa. 52-53).

Did some of the Rabbis teach this passage was Messianic?

Messiah …what is his name? The Rabbis say, ‘The leprous one’; those of the house of the Rabbi (Jehuda Hanassi, the author of the Mishna, 135-200) say: ‘Cholaja’ (The sickly), for it says, ‘Surely he has borne our sicknesses’ etc. (Isa. 53:4).”[49]

And a Targum of Isaiah 53 reads,

“Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men.”[50]

The Messiah as a suffering “servant” is also described for us in the previous immediate context (Isaiah 52:13-15, see also Psalm 22).  In Isaiah, “Savior” is a consistent title for God communicating His preeminence and His uniqueness over against foreign gods and idols:

“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you” (Is. 43:11, 12).

Isaiah further states that God would show himself as Savior in a future blessing and restoration for Israel described in Isaiah 49:26; 60:16.  It’s simply not accurate that Christians have somehow invented the idea that the Messiah is found in such passages as Isaiah 53 or that Messiah would be a “Savior,” saving Israel (and the Gentile believing world) from their sins.

And it is not enough to just say that the “Son” in Isaiah 53 is national Israel and not Messiah.  Why?  Because within Judaism was also the belief that when Messiah came He would recapitulate Israel’s redemptive history – primarily to usher in a 40-year second exodus based upon Isaiah 11 and other passages.  Jesus is the faithful substitute “Son” and “Vine” who never sinned or failed (unlike the “son” and “vine” of national Israel), and He could be the perfect substitute for man and take His sin justly and fully away.

Let me quote an excellent article by Daniel Mann, a zealous “Jew” who moved to Israel and, after studying Isaiah 53 and what Rabbis taught on it, put his trust in Jesus as His Messiah and Savior:

If anyone was a skeptic about Jews believing in Jesus, I was. Born to second-generation Jewish American parents in Brooklyn, I experienced much anti-Semitism growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s. Since my persecutors weren’t Jewish, I assumed they were Christian. When I was 14, there was talk that a certain Jewish family in my neighborhood had converted to Christianity. I was filled with disgust. How could Jews do such a thing?

As a young adult, I had a lot of pent-up resentment against Christianity. I enjoyed ridiculing anyone who tried to talk with me about Jesus. But I was spiritually hungry. I moved to Israel, lived on a kibbutz, and visited a Hasidic yeshiva to ask questions, but I returned to the United States still wondering how to really connect with God – a Jewish God, not a Christian one.

People kept telling me about Jesus. I had a great problem with him. Many Jews had died in his name, and many who hated Jews called themselves Christians. And the idea of someone dying on a cross for me seemed like a bunch of hocus-pocus.

But I kept meeting Christians who seemed genuine in their love and concern for me, and their prayers for me seemed to “work.” So finally I prayed, “God, if Jesus is the Savior and Messiah that the Hebrew prophets wrote about, You’re going to have to show me.”

As I studied the Bible, I began to see how Jesus could have fulfilled many of the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures. I also discovered that the New Testament wasn’t something arbitrarily tacked onto the Hebrew Bible by people who hated Jews. I was shocked to learn that Jews had written it and that Jesus himself was a Jew.

One of the most convincing passages showing that the Messiah would make the ultimate sacrifice and die for our sins was Isaiah 53.

Present-day rabbis disagree. Rashi (AD 1040-1105) might have been the first to deny that this incredible passage is Messianic. But many Jewish sages, before and after Rashi, saw the Messiah in Isaiah 53.

The highly regarded first-century Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai stated: “The meaning of the words ‘bruised for our iniquities’ [Isaiah 53:5] is, that since the Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of his being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer them for them himself.”[1]

Rabbi Moshe Alshich, a famous sixteenth-century scholar, asserted: “[Our] Rabbis with one voice, accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet [Isaiah 53] is speaking of king Messiah.”[2] In contrast, today’s rabbis have rallied around the assertion that the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53 is the nation of Israel and not the Messiah. Let’s take a look:

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:1–3)

Throughout Isaiah 53, the masculine singular pronoun “he” is used to designate the suffering servant. This pronoun is very rarely used in regards to Israel. More usually, Israel is referred to as “you,” “she/her,” and “they/them.” But there is no problem at all using “he” in reference to the Messiah.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4–6)

Just a quick read through the Prophets will show that Israel could not even bear its own sins, let alone those of others. It was our Jewish people who had “gone astray” and “turned to our own way.”

According to the revered twelfth-century Jewish scholar Ramban (Nachmanides), the Redeemer is the Messiah:

Yet he carried our sicknesses, being himself sick and distressed for the transgressions which should have caused sickness and distress in us, and bearing the pains which we ought to have experienced. But we, when we saw him weakened and prostrate, thought that he was stricken, smitten of God. The chastisement of our peace was upon him – for God will correct him; and by his stripes we were healed.[3]

While today’s rabbis deny substitutionary atonement – one man dying for the sins of the world – this had not previously been the case. The mystical Zohar records:

The children of the world are members one of another. When the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, he smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the rest. Whence do we learn this? From the saying, “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5) (Numbers, Pinchus, 218a)

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

We cannot find any biblical references to affirm that Israel was silent in the face of oppression. But we do find that this is true of Jesus. Before the Sanhedrin, he remained silent. When he finally spoke, it only aided the prosecution:

But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. (Mark 14:61–63)

Jesus astonished Pilate with his silence:

Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the story they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor. (Matthew 27:13–14)

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:8–9)

Jesus was deprived of justice (“judgment”) and was killed. Israel was not “cut off from the land of the living.” It is also clearly untrue that Israel “had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his [Israel’s] mouth.” At times, the prophets charged that our people had morally descended below the Gentiles. The Gospels declare that Jesus’ grave was with both the wicked and the rich, as he died with sinners and was buried in a rich man’s tomb.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:10–11)

There is no reason to suppose that Israel’s death could represent “an offering for sin.” Sin offerings had to be without any blemish. But we were covered with them. How could the knowledge of Israel “justify many?” But faith (knowledge) in the Messiah will.

This servant, who dies as a sin offering for the people, will eventually “see the light of life and be satisfied.” He will live subsequent to his death – a cryptic reference to the resurrection.

Isaiah says that this servant will bear the iniquities of many. When I first studied this passage as a young man, it began to dawn on me that I personally needed to be forgiven for my wrongdoing, what the Bible calls “iniquities.” And this servant – who was looking to me more and more like Jesus – had made that possible.”[51]

When this evidence is brought forth, “Jewish” apologists such as Rabbi Tovia Singer claim that the Christian can’t produce any Jewish tradition that Messiah ben David fulfills Isaiah 53.  But in a radio debate with Dr. Michael Brown, Tovia Singer made such a claim and Michael embarrassed Singer severely.  Here are some those quotes provided by Dr. Brown, demonstrating that Messiah ben David is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:

“Yet he carried our sicknesses [Isa. 53:4], being himself sick and distressed for the transgressions which should have caused sickness and distress in us, and bearing the pains which we ought to have experienced.  But we, when we saw him weakened and prostrate, thought that he was stricken, smitten of God.  …The chastisement of our peace was upon him—for God will correct him and by his stripes we were healed—because the stripes by which he is vexed and distressed will heal us:  God will pardon us for his righteousness, and we shall be healed both from our own transgressions and from the iniquities of our fathers…

He was oppressed and he was afflicted [v. 7]:  for when he first comes, “meek riding upon an ass” [Zech. 9:9], the oppressors and officers of every city will come to him, and afflict him with revilings and insults, reproaching both him and the God in whose name he appears.”[52]

Brown goes on to point out that there are others who apply the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 to Messiah ben David, such as Rabbi Moshe Kohen Ibn Crispin (or Ibn Krispen) and Rabbi Mosheh El-Sheikh (or Alshekh).

Before leaving Isaiah 53 it is important to notice that in the Hebrew Messiah would be undergoing two “deaths” in verse 9,

“And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his deaths, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”

To possibly understand this we should go back to Adam.  We believe that Adam was created a physically dying creature just as the plant life, insects, and animal kingdom were – even before Adam’s sin.  Adam was created “from the dust” and then “put” into the Temple/Garden to undergo a probationary period in his presence. If Adam would have partaken of the Tree of Life he would have eventually biologically died having spiritual eternal life and would have continued in God’s presence.  In other words, this would have been a “good death” for Adam. But once Adam sinned and partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he died spiritually that very day and then God banished him to eventually biologically die not inside the Garden/Temple of His presence having the opportunity to partake of the Tree of Life, but rather he was exiled outside the Garden/Temple back in the outer “dust” from where he was created.  Israel being a corporate Adam would often repeat this process – She would sin and break covenant whoring after other gods, and would therefore die spiritually and corporately being driven from God’s Land and presence into the death and exile of bondage and slavery.  Dying in the “dust” for Israel meant she would die corporately and spiritually in exile from God’s presence (ex. Isa. 52:1-2).  When She came back into the Land say under Ezra and Nehemiah it was a resurrection and a coming out of the “graves” (Ezek. 37).  The Jews new there would be one last and Messianic second exodus from her exile and death during the time of the Roman Empire (cf. Dan. 2; 7; 9; 12).  But being delivered from this death, exile, and bondage didn’t have to do with God destroying the Romans and raising physical corpses in the Land, or establishing a physical paradise on earth, but rather it involved raising Israel’s dead (with believing Gentiles) from the spiritual bondage of “the sin” and “the death” that came through Adam and was magnified through “the law.”

In a similar way Jesus would also die a “bad death” that would include some kind of spiritual separation from the Father [“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Mt. 27/Ps. 22 and “He who knew no sin became sin for us…” 2 Cor. 5:21] as well as a violent and shameful biological death upon the cross outside the gates of Jerusalem.  Then Jesus’ physical resurrection [in a Garden] was a “sign” that He was the “first” to have overcome the spiritual death and separation that came from Adam and thus He died in the flesh of the old covenant age but was the first to rise in the spirit inaugurating the new covenant age and the first to ascend into the Father’s glory and presence (1 Pet. 3:18).

Psalm 19:4

Paul in Romans 10:18 appeals to Psalm 19:4 to demonstrate that God had given the Jews scattered throughout the nations of the Roman world sufficient warning and an opportunity to hear the gospel through his ministry,

“But I ask, have they not heard?  Indeed, they have, for “their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (cf. Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 16:25-26).

Paul also has in mind Jesus’ “sign” that the gospel had to be preached throughout the Roman world before He would come in his “generation” to bring an “end” to the old covenant age with the destruction of the temple in AD 70 (Mt. 24:3, 14-34).

Deuteronomy 32:21

Paul now cites Deuteronomy 32:21 in Romans 10:19 to demonstrate once again what the message (prophesied in their own Scriptures) would produce among Israel,

“But I ask, did Israel not understand?  First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

The eschatology of Moses in Deuteronomy 31-32 and how Paul and the NT authors develop it couldn’t be clearer.  In Israel’s “last days” (31:29-30) there would come a specific “perverse and crooked generation” (32:5, 20) that would “reject their Rock” – the God who had created and formed them through the exodus event (32:4, 15, 18).  He would bring them to their final “end” within this “last days” specific “perverse and crooked generation” (32:20).  During this generation, He would make them “angry” and “jealous” by forming a new “people” and a new “nation” (32:21).  Yet most of them would not be wise nor be able to “discern what their later end would be” (32:28-29) – even though they sang this song constantly this mass rejection of Messiah was predicted in their own Scriptures!

Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 32:5, 20 in Philippians 2:15 when he exhorts the church who were living in this very specific “last days” “crooked generation” to,

“…be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation[Deut. 32:5, 20], among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

Because Paul understands that they were living in the terminal last days “generation” Moses prophesied of, the “day of Christ” he mentions here he later defined as being “at hand” (Phil. 4:4) in AD 70 just as he does later in Romans (cf. Rms. 13:11-12).

Peter likewise in Acts 2-3 states that the “last days” of Israel and that old covenant economy had come upon them and therefore in Acts 2:40 they needed to,

            “Save yourselves from this crooked generation (cf. Deut. 32:5, 20).”

According to the context of Peter’s sermon, they need to be saved from the

“…day of the Lord” the “great and magnificent day.”  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:20-21)

Peter goes on in Acts 3 to describe the same coming of Christ and warning as chapter 2–as being when He would be “revealed from heaven” to “restore all things” and give “times of refreshing” to the believing remnant while other Jews who would not heed this warning would be “cut off from among the people” (Acts 3:17-23).  Per Peter, God was in the process of restoring Israel by forming a spiritual new covenant “new people” or “nation” (2 Pet. 2) and if they didn’t repent and have faith in Christ and join this new “people” they would be “cut off” from that new covenant people and blessings and be judged in AD 70.

But per Peter, what were the “all things” that needed to be “restored” according to the prophets (Acts 3:21)?  Peter declares,

            “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Pet. 4:7).

The end of all things that were at hand in Peter’s day were the elements of the old covenant world that were already in the process of passing away,

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  Since all these things are being dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” (2 Pet. 3:10-11LEB).

Old Testament scholar, David C. Mitchell, points out that Jewish interpreters understood the “Rock” of Deuteronomy 32 to be both God and yet Messiah at the same time and forms David’s prophecy of Messiah the Rock that Israel would stumble over:

“Altogether then, the ‘Shepherd-Rock’ promised to Joseph [Gen. 49:24] is a mighty king.  The Septuagint agrees, rendering ‘Shepherd-Rock’ by one Greek word, Katischusas, ‘conqueror’.  Therefore the coming one promised to Joseph is like the Shiloh world-ruler promised to Judah earlier in the same chapter:  he is one whom the nations will obey.  And, just as the Shiloh-ruler is to come after Judah’s kingdom, a kingdom which has not even appeared at the time of Jacob’s prophecy, so the Shepherd-Rock is a divinely-appointed ruler to come after Joseph’s time, but one greater and freer than Joseph ever was.

Such an interpretation is not a novelty.  Ramban [13th century R. Moshe ben Nahman] says, in his comments on Deuteronomy 32:4, that this Rock from Joseph is the same Rock or Stone as is spoken of in Psalm 118:22.

And he [Moses] said:  Let my teaching fall like rain.  For that which he brought from the heavens, and his speech on the earth, will fall upon Israel, and settle upon them like dew (Deut. 32:2).  For I will proclaim the name of Ha-Shem in the heavens; come, declare the greatness of our God (Deut. 32:3) in the earth.  [The Rock, his work is perfect, etc. (Deut. 32:4).

And all Israel will say also the rock is Joshua, a sign about this land, for, From thence a Shepherd-Rock of Israel (Gen. 49:24).  And it was interpreted long ago:  The rock rejected by the builders has become the capstone; this is from Ha-Shem, etc. (Ps. 118:22-23).  And that is why Joshua said, This rock will be a witness between us (Josh. 24:27).  Also, For behold the rock which I have set before Joshua:  upon one rock are seven eyes (Zech. 3:9).  Let the wise understand.

Ramban’s comments are triggered by the Rock of Deuteronomy 32:4.  This Rock, he says, is not only the ETERNAL, but also Joshua.  Writing in his latter years, in the Mamluk-ruled Holy Land, he says it is a sign for ‘this land,’ and he cites Genesis 49:24, whose Shepherd-Rock he identifies as Joshua.  He then proceeds to link the divine Rock of Deuteronomy 32:4 and the Joshua Rock of Genesis 49:24 with the Rock-rejected-by-the-builders of Psalm 118.  Now Ramban knew Psalm 118 was written long after Joshua’s time.  And he knew its rejected Rock had a long history of messianic interpretations [2Q23 and 4Q173 (=4QpPsb) frg. 5, lines 1-6].  So Ramban is not speaking of Joshua ben Nun, but of another Joshua Rock yet to come, whom he sees prefigured in the rock set before Joshua ben Jehozadak in Zechariah 3:9.  So, when Ramban says that the Joshua Rock is a sign for ‘this land,’ he foresaw the land of the Israel being reconquered and ruled by another Joshua, one still to come in Ramban’s own time, that is, a Joshua messiah, who is the promised Shepherd-Rock.”[53]

And again,

“…he [Ramban] is saying that the Shepherd-Rock promised to Joseph is none other than the Rock of Deuteronomy 32:4, who is the God of Israel himself, the Angel who followed the Israelites through the desert as a thirst-quenching Rock.”[54]

To summarize Paul’s appeal to Deuteronomy 32 – God’s promises had not failed just because a majority among Israel had not believed.  Why?  Because through this process God would form a new “people” and “nation” making them “jealous” and “angry” – with most not being able to “discern what their end” would be.  This “end” (of the old covenant age not world history) was “at hand” in their “last days” “perverse and crooked generation” and inseparably connected with it was the “at hand” Second Coming of Jesus and “the judgment of the living and the dead” (Rms. 11:25-27/13:11-12; Phil. 2:15/4:4; Acts 2:20-40; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).  During this covenantal transitionary generation period, the old covenant “all things” creation was being dissolved and passing away, while God was creating a new covenant creation, people of God, nation, etc…. And on that note, we transition to Paul’s next OT quote coming from Isaiah 65 and the eschatology found there.

Isaiah 65:1-2 

Paul goes on in Romans 10:20-21 to quote Isaiah 65:1-2 to further prove God’s purposes for Israel’s salvation have not failed in that while most of Israel will not discern her end due to spiritual hardness and blindness becoming “angry” and “jealous,” others will be “found” through this process,

“Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, ‘I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.’” But of Israel he says, ‘all day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’”

Since Paul is appealing to the eschatology of Isaiah 65-66 let’s unpack these glorious chapters.

There are TWO peoples / nations / creations that God through Isaiah develops.  The first is God’s old covenant “rebellious people who provoke” Him to His face “continually” which forms the majority of the nation, and they are to be judged (65:2-7).  But as Paul has said in Romans 9:6 “for not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” [that is, there is a true Israel / remnant / seed within the nation] Paul develops here through Isaiah as,

“Thus says the LORD:  As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it, for there is a blessing in it, so I will not destroy them all.  I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there.”

In verses 12-16 there is a contrast between the two in that when God comes to judge “with the sword” (through armies) – the remnant will eat and drink, while the other goes hungry and thirsts.  One rejoices while the other is covered in shame and cry out in pain of heart.  The unbelievers would be cursed in that their “name” (Jerusalem) would be given to the remnant and the remnant would be given a “new name” (New Jerusalem).

But how will this be accomplished?  In verses 17-25 God will covenantally “not remember” His old covenant people / Jerusalem / Creation, but will form His new covenant people / New Jerusalem / New Heavens and Earth.  Paul in quoting Isaiah 65:17 in 2 Corinthians 5:17 makes it clear that the believing Jew / Gentile Church is the “New Creation” or “New Heavens and New Earth” prophesied by Isaiah:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

But what was the “first” that would pass away in AD 70?  To this we briefly turn to Isaiah 51:15-16,

“I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of hosts is his name.  And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, You are my people.”

The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge correctly identifies this creation as old covenant Israel,

“The heavens.  ‘Heaven’ and ‘earth’ are here put by symbolic language for a political universe.  That is, that I might make those who were but scattered persons and slaves in Egypt before, a kingdom and polity, to be governed by their own laws and magistrates.”[55]

In Isaiah 66:19-24 we learn that the remnant “survivors” of the Day of the Lord in AD 70 continue in the New Creation or new covenant age–preaching the gospel to the Nations just as Revelation 22:2, 17 declares.

Paul’s appeal to Isaiah 65 strengthens his case that according to the OT scriptures God would eventually bring National Israel’s old covenant world to an end and form a new covenant world or Nation composed of the Jewish remnant and Gentile believers.  When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Full 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 (to name just a few) teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (cf. 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.  See the following works:

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.

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.

Romans 11 – Isaiah 29:10; Psalm 69:22-23; Isaiah 59:20-21; Isaiah 27:9; Isaiah 40:12, 28

Isaiah 29:10

Here in chapter 11 Paul appeals to himself and the “present time” as evidence that God had not rejected His people nor has God’s promises failed in that Paul himself was among the chosen remnant elect Jews [Paul being from the Tribe of Benjamin trusting in Jesus vss. 1-6].  Paul in Romans 11:8 references Isaiah 29:10 to prove it was always God’s plan to harden Israel while causing the elect to seek and find salvation in Christ under the new covenant of grace,

“What then?  Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking.  The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”

Once again, we see that when “blind” unbelieving old covenant Jerusalem is judged and “besieged” (vss. 1-16) is also the “in that day” or time when “the eyes of the blind shall see” and “Jacob shall no more be ashamed” (vss. 17-24).  Paul is consistently hammering away and appealing to OT text after OT text that demonstrate the majority of Israel will not believe and are thus judged while at the same time a remnant believes and is saved.

Psalm 69:22-23

Paul once again appeals to a judgment coming upon the “blind” unbelievers [this time using David as a prophet] among Israel in that He has laid a trap for them,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” (Rms. 11:9-10/Ps. 69:22-23)

 John Gill points out that many commentators apply this passage to the Jews gathering for Passover just before the Romans came as God’s instrument of judgment and wrath,

“…nor is it to be overlooked what is suggested by some, that the Passover may be meant by ‘table’; which was their grand yearly feast, and which they were eating when they were surrounded and taken by the Roman army, like birds in a net, or beasts in a trap:  and all this as a recompense to them; a just judgment upon them, by way of retaliation for their ill treatment of Christ when on the cross, giving him gall and vinegar for his meat and drink.”[56]

The Psalm ends by exclaiming that while there is a trap and judgment set for the blind persecutors, this will also be the time of salvation for the “humble” (vss. 32-36).

Isaiah 59:20-21

Paul reminds and exhorts the Christian Gentiles that God was in the process of breaking off some of the Jewish branches (those Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah) and grafting them into Israel’s olive tree [thus fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant] as a “wild olive shoot.”  But Paul sees that God is not finished saving some of the Jews [in his day and generation] and that He is able to graft some of these “natural branches back into their own olive tree” and that their “acceptance” [along with the Gentiles entering into Israel’s fullness at Christ’s coming] will result in “life from the dead” – or be the fulfillment of Israel’s long-awaited restoration or resurrection promises (vss. 19-24).

Isaiah 59 addresses Israel’s sin of bloodguilt or them killing their poor brethren (vss. 3, 7) of which Christ says He would avenge at His coming to destroy their house or temple in His contemporary “generation” (Mt. 23:30-39).  Once again, we see in Isaiah 59:16-20 that at the time of judgment upon the Jewish persecutors is the time Messiah also comes to bring salvation.

Since Paul also cites Isaiah 59 in 1 Thessalonians 5 we should look at the judgment and salvation in view and when and at what event Paul sees it being fulfilled.  First the quote from Isaiah,

“He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.  He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeances for clothing and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.  According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment.  So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives.” (Isa. 59:16-20)

And now let’s look at how Paul uses this to form his eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 5 and to identify the “coming” of the Lord of Isaiah 59 that Paul says is the point at which “all Israel” would be “saved” or receive “life from the dead”:

“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.” (1 Thess. 5:8-10).

Paul understood that he and his contemporaries “belonged to the day” of “salvation” prophesied in Isaiah 59:16ff. and that this would result in resurrection and enjoying eternal life and God’s presences at Christ’s coming [that would take place in some of their lifetime’s cf. 1 Thess. 4:15-17 “we shall not all die” / Mt. 16:27-28].  Paul informs the Thessalonians that Christ would come from heaven in wrath to vindicate them from their Jewish countrymen (cf. Acts 17) that were persecuting them:

“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you [Jewish countrymen – 1 Thess. 2:14-16/Acts 17], and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints…” (2 Thess. 1:5-10)

The text is very clear – Christ was going to come from heaven in the lifetime of Thessalonians to “give them relief” from their Jewish persecutors by giving their persecutors the same kind of “trouble” they were giving the Thessalonians.  But how would this take place?  Remember Paul’s reference to Psalm 69:22-23 that we just covered before Isaiah 59?  God was going to “lay a trap” for these Jewish Thessalonians when they traveled to Jerusalem for Passover and then He would come (through the Roman armies), to “repay” these Jews with “wrath” that they had been “storing up for themselves” (1 Thess. 2:14-16/Mt. 23:30-39).

It may also be helpful to see where else these themes are found such as in the book of Revelation where Christ comes as a mighty warrior, to bring vindication to the martyrs, in a day of wrath which would also bring salvation and the mature “mystery” of God.  First, the events of the prophecy of this book would be fulfilled “shortly” or “near” in AD 70 (Rev. 1:1, 22:10).  Therefore, in Revelation 6 the martyrs would be vindicated “in a little while” and this would be fulfilled when Christ’s “wrath” came upon His enemies (vss. 10-17).  In Revelation 19 Christ is dressed as a warrior and coming in “wrath” to once again “avenge the blood of His servants” (vss. 2, 11-16).  And in chapters 10-11 at the “seventh” or last trumpet, when Christ comes in “wrath” to judge the “city where the Lord was slain” for “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is when the “mystery” [the maturing of the Jew / Gentile union] would “no longer be delayed” and the “judgment [or resurrection] of the dead” would take place (Rev. 10:6—11:1-18).

The imminent Second Coming of Christ described as a coming warrior in a “day” of “wrath” to “avenge” or vindicate the martyrs and bring to maturity the “mystery of God,” the new creation, and to judge [or raise] the dead  
If A (Revelation) is = B (Isa. 59–66)
God comes from heaven “soon” in AD 70 as God had come before 1:7–22:7 64:1-3
He comes in “garments of vengeance” & wrath dipped in the blood of His enemies filling the dimensions of the land of Israel 14:7-20 63:1-6
He would come to punish and repay Israel for the sin of blood guilt & vindicate and reward the martyrs 6:10-11; 59:7; 62:11; 65:6-7
He comes to turn the tables – the wealthy persecutors would now starve while the righteous would feast – wedding motif. 3:9-10; Ch’s. 19-21 65:13-15
The righteous inherit the New Jerusalem/Creation filled with Christ’s light and righteousness which never fades.  The gates are always open to evangelize the Nations in the New Heavens and New Earth Ch’s 21-22 Ch’s 60; 65-66
And if B (Isa. 59—66) = C (1-2 Thess.)
The Lord comes from heaven in the lifetime of the Thessalonians as God had come before 59:16-2064:1-3 1 Th. 1:10;3:13; 4–5;        2 Th. 1:5-2:8
He comes in vengeance, wrath & flaming fire to turn the tables – by giving the Thessalonians who were being “troubled” (by their Jewish countrymen) “relief” and give their Jewish persecutors who were “filling up” the measure of their sin of blood guilt for killing the Prophets and Messiah — the same kind of “trouble”(through the Romans) they were dishing out to the Thessalonians 59:16-20; 65:13-15; 66:14-16 1 Th.2:14-16 /       Acts 17;     1 Th. 1:5-10
At Christ’s coming the righteous are gathered and shine as “Sons of the Day” in God’s presence and Kingdom 59:19;  60;      65-66 1  Th. 5:4-8;               2  Th. 2:1
Then A (Revelation) is = C (1 -2 Thess.)
Lord comes from heaven “soon” (AD 70) and or in the lifetime of these contemporary churches as He had come in the past 1:7–22:7, 10, 20 1  Th.1:10—2  Th. 1:5–2:8
The Lord comes at the sound of the last or seventh trumpet, w/ angels, to bring to maturity the “mystery of God” [Jew / Gentile union], in “wrath,” during a “3 ½ years period” [AD 67 – AD 70] of judgment upon Jerusalem – producing the judgment of the dead 10:6—11:18 1 Th. 4:16
He comes “soon” (AD 70) to the first century audience in vengeance and wrath to turn the tables on the first century persecutors and give relief and blessing to the persecuted 3:9-11;6:10-11,17; Ch’s19-21 1 Th. 1:10; 2 Th. 1:5-10
He comes to punish first century Jews and Jerusalem for “filling up the measure of their sin” for killing the Prophets & Christ Ch’s 17-18 1 Th. 2  /   2 Th. 1:5-10
At this first century coming of the Lord, the “Sons of the Day” or “spotless” Bride inherit God’s presence & NJ – no more night Ch’s 21-22 1 Th. 3:13;5:4-8
Two or More Things that are Equal to Another Thing are Also Equal to Each Other
Revelation Isaiah 59-66 1-2 Thessalonians
The Lord comes from heaven “soon” as He had in the past The Lord will come as He had come in the past The Lord comes from heaven in lifetime of Thessalonians
He comes to punish Jews & Jerusalem for the sin of blood guilt (vindicating martyrs) He comes to punish Jews & Jerusalem for sin of blood guilt (vindicating martyrs) He comes to punish Jews & Jerusalem for sin of blood guilt (vindicating martyrs)
Comes to turn the tables on first century enemies Comes to turn the tables on first century enemies Comes to turn the tables on first century enemies
Comes to give New Creation, Light, and His presence Comes to give New Creation, Light, and His presence Comes to give His Light, and His resurrection presence

Having looked at how Paul cites Isaiah 59 in 1-2 Thessalonians concerning the “wrath” “salvation” and resurrection “day” they would experience at Christ’s Second Coming; this will now help us identify the “coming” of the “Deliverer” of Romans 11:15-27 that produces “salvation” for “all Israel” when She would receive “life from the dead”:

“And so all Israel shall be saved:  as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rms. 11:26)

The context of Isaiah 59:16-19, 21 and how Paul applies Isaiah 59 to the Second Coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 5 should make it abundantly clear that Paul is describing the Second Coming event and not Christ’s incarnation as some have mistakenly assumed.  This will become more clear as we work our way through the other OT texts Paul is drawing on.

Isaiah 27:9

First let’s quote Isaiah 27:9-10 which connects this coming of the Messiah in judgment upon Jerusalem as the time when the new covenant comes to maturity to bring about the forgiveness of sin,

“Therefore, by this guilt of Jacob will be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:  when he makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces, no Asherrim or incense altars will remain standing.  For the fortified city [Jerusalem] is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken,…”

Now Paul in Romans 11:27,

            “and this will be my ‘covenant with them when I take away their    sins.”

The passage and its context in Isaiah couldn’t be clearer.  When the new covenant is matured and there is forgiveness of sins, is “when” Jerusalem is judged and her altars are ground up to be “like chalkstones.”

I have already addressed Isaiah 27 previously, but as a refresher:

1).  The “in that day” that Satan or the “dragon” would be slain or judged of Isaiah 27:1 and Genesis 3:15 Paul says would “shortly” take place (Rms. 16:20).

2).  Israel’s “death” is a spiritual and corporate death that she is to be raised from (cf. Isa. 27:7).

3).  Jesus places the eschatological “gathering” “threshing” (harvest) and “trumpet” resurrection to be at His Second Coming event in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:30-31/Isa. 27:12-13).

Again, this is addressing Christ’s first century Second Coming and resurrection event to occur at the end of the old covenant age and thus even further clarifies the “coming” of the “Deliverer out of Zion” to forgive His people and to raise Israel from the dead–thus bringing His new covenant Jew / Gentile mystery Israel to a full and mature state.

Isaiah 40:13, 28

Paul continues in Romans 11 seeking to prove that the “gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (11:28-31).  But why?  Because the OT prophesied the salvation of the Gentiles and now the process of making some of the Jews jealous [still a remnant] and them coming to faith in Israel’s last days under Paul’s ministry, just before Her judgment in AD 70.

Paul in Romans 11:34 is drawing upon Isaiah 40:13, 28:

“Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel.” “…Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

The exegete must ask, what is the context within Isaiah 40 that causes this outbreak of praise and adoration of God’s divine attributes?  Within the context God is predicting a day when He will come to judge Jerusalem but at the same time save Jerusalem (vss. 1-11).  He then challenges the nations and their gods to see if they could predict and then bring to pass such a salvation and judgment He will bring (vss. 12-28).  No such man, nation, or god can compare to the judgment and salvation God is brining and thus the outbreak of praise.  Therefore, let’s examine what the NT says of Isaiah 40’s coming judgment and salvation.

John the Baptist – Isaiah 40 & Matthew 3:2-12    

John the Baptist is the “voice” that came to “prepare the way” of the judgment and salvation described throughout Isaiah 40 (cf. Mt. 3:3).  John preached repentance because the “kingdom of heaven [was] at hand” (3:2).  John’s generation needed to repent because the “at hand” “kingdom” would be manifested in the coming judgment predicted in Isaiah 40.  In ancient times when someone was building a flat road to your city [to bring in their military equipment] in meant they were coming to conquer you and you had better surrender or there would be consequences.  Jesus would be that conquering King whom they rejected and those that did not repent would be desolated at His coming through the Roman armies in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

In Matthew 3:7 John makes it clear that the kingdom that was at hand would be manifested in an AD 70 “about to be” punishment or wrath that would come upon them,

“When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, ‘You snakes—who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send?’” (Mt. 3:7GNT)

The Smith’s Literal Translation also correctly translates mello in Matthew 3:7 as, “…the wrath about to come?”             

John continues with the language of a first century imminent judgment coming upon the Pharisees,

“Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees.  Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Mt. 3:10)

And that this imminent judgment includes an eschatological harvest is made clear in verse 12,

“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The “winnowing fork” was a tool to be used at the end of the harvest – so this is a consummative or eschatological “not yet” judgment John is describing that was imminent.  Jesus likewise places the harvest resurrection, gathering, or judgment to take place at the end of the old covenant age in their contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 13:39-43/Mt. 24:3, 31-34).

Here in Matthew 3:2-12 John is predicting an imminent first century “at hand” Messianic “Kingdom” that would manifest itself in a judgment upon Jerusalem in which some would be gathered to be burned and judged while the remnant would be gathered into the barn or the Messianic Kingdom to inherit eternal life.  John is laying out the eschatology of Isaiah 40 in a vey clear way in which there would be both an imminent judgment and yet salvation for Israel to experience at the hands of the Messiah.

John the Baptist – Malachi 3-4

Luke and Jesus inform us that John was also the “Elijah” who came to “prepare the way” of the judgment and salvation of Israel found in Malachi 3-4 (cf. Lk. 1:16-17; Mt. 11:7-15).

“Behold, I send my messenger (John as Elijah), and he will prepare the way before me (Christ). And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple (in judgment – at Christ’s Second Coming); and the messenger of the [New] covenant (Christ) in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire…”

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the SUN of Righteous-ness shall rise with healing in its rays/wings. You shall go out … leaping like calves from the stall… Behold, I will send you Elijah (John) the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Malachi 3-4 predicts TWO messengers: 1) John being the eschatological Elijah preparing the way for 2) the Second Coming of Jesus as the Messiah fulfilling and bringing to maturity the new covenant promises.

“The day” that is “coming” is the Second Coming which is described here not only as “the great and awesome day of the Lord,” but also as the “Sun of Righteousness” “rising” or manifesting Himself with healing rays for the righteous and yet burning the unrepentant.

Premillennial Zionist Michael Brown writes of rabbis seeing this as Messianic:

“According to the famous medieval Jewish commentaries of Radak (David Kimchi) and Mesudat David, “the Lord” refers to none other than “King Messiah.”  However, neither of these commentators took sufficient note of the fact that the Messiah was to come to the Temple that stood in Malachi’s day (and note also that it is called “his Temple”—pointing clearly to the divine nature of the “Lord” spoken of here).  I ask you, did this happen?  If it did, then the Messiah must have come before the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.; if not, God’s Word failed.”[57]

Just as in Daniel 7:13-14 (cf. OG LXX) and Daniel 9:24-27, Messiah had to come not just before the second temple’s destruction in AD 70, but He would be very active in its destruction – coming upon the clouds to desolate it!  This is what is deliberately missed by Futurist and Premillennial Zionist Dr. Michael Brown.  The coming of God/Messiah in the judgment of Malachi 3:1-5 is further described in the next chapter as the “great and awesome day of the Lord” of which John as Elijah came to prepare the way of (Mal. 4:5)!

At least Premillennialist John Gill points out what Michael Brown is afraid of, and that is not only was Malachi 4:5 a Messianic text but, according to him, it was fulfilled at Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70:

“Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; that is, before the coming of Christ the son of David, as the Jews themselves own [cf. T. Bab. Eruvin, fol. 43. 2. & Gloss. in ib.]…[being] the first coming of Christ, reaching to the destruction of Jerusalem: John the Baptist, his forerunner, the Elijah here spoken of, came proclaiming wrath and terror to impenitent sinners; Christ foretold and denounced ruin and destruction to the Jewish nation, city, and temple; and the time of Jerusalem’s destruction was a dreadful day indeed, such a time of affliction as had not been from the creation, Matthew 24:21 and the Talmud interprets [cf. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol 118. 1.] this of the sorrows of the Messiah, or which shall be in the days of the Messiah [and Gill points out elsewhere some believing “days of Messiah” would be 40 years, and they were – AD 27 – AD 67 or AD 30 – AD 70 MJS].”[58]

John Lightfoot sees the connection with John as the fulfillment of Elijah and the “wrath” of God coming in Matthew 3:7ff. and Malachi 4 as Christ coming spiritually in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70:

 “…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.”[59]

Adam Clarke is most helpful and the clearest that Malachi 4:2 is Christ’s spiritual coming in the events of AD 67 – AD 70:

“Malachi 4:1:  Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven – The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.  And all the proud – This is in reference to Mal 3:15 of the preceding chapter. The day that cometh shall burn them up – Either by famine, by sword, or by captivity. All those rebels shall be destroyed.  It shall leave them neither root nor branch – A proverbial expression for total destruction. Neither man nor child shall escape.

Malachi 4:2:  You that fear my name – The persons mentioned in the sixteenth verse of the preceding chapter, ye that look for redemption through the Messiah.  The Sun of righteousness – The Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah; the Hope of Israel.  With healing in his wings – As the sun, by the rays of light and heat, revives, cheers, and fructifies the whole creation, giving, through God, light and life everywhere; so Jesus Christ, by the influences of his grace and Spirit, shall quicken, awaken, enlighten, warm, invigorate heal, purify, and refine every soul that believes in him, and, by his wings or rays, diffuse these blessings from one end of heaven to another; everywhere invigorating the seeds of righteousness, and withering and drying up the seeds of sin. The rays of this Sun are the truths of his Gospel, and the influences of his Spirit. And at present these are universally diffused.

And ye shall go forth – Ye who believe on his name shall go forth out of Jerusalem when the Romans shall come up against it. After Cestius Gallus had blockaded the city for some days, he suddenly raised the siege. The Christians who were then in it, knowing, by seeing Jerusalem encompassed with armies, that the day of its destruction was come, when their Lord commanded them to flee into the mountains, took this opportunity to escape from Jerusalem, and go to Pella, in Coelesyria; so that no Christian life fell in the siege and destruction of this city.”[60]

The Church has argued about whether Malachi 4:5 is the Second Coming of Christ or His spiritual coming in the judgment through the Roman armies in AD 70. Again, the truth is that both views are true at the same time.

My friend and partner in our “Preterist Apologetics” videocast has written an entire book on the eschatology of John the Baptist and its connection to the salvation and restoration of Israel by Paul in Romans 11,

“So, The Voice – John – was to prepare the way of the Lord who was coming to save His people.  Is this not the salvation of Romans 11?  That salvation would arrive at the Day of the Lord.  It would be at the Lord’s coming to reward His saints.   It is when, “all flesh shall see the salvation of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:5).  That might have suggested to Paul’s readers that the salvation of the Gentiles was to have been expected and accepted, as well as conveying to the Gentiles in his audience that they were not being saved “independently” of Israel, but as a part of God’s faithfulness to Israel (Cf. Romans 1:16-17 / 15:16-27).  Either way, Paul’s citation of Isaiah 40 in Romans 11 should cue us into the fact that the coming of the Lord that he was anticipating was not the Incarnation.”[61]

And again,

“So, if John was Elijah – and he was – then the relationship between his ministry and Romans 11:25f. cannot fail to influence our understanding of Romans 11.  Elijah was to come and, “restore all things” (Matthew 17:11).  That most assuredly included Israel, did it not?  In Romans 11, wasn’t Paul talking about the restoration of Israel?  How is it possible for us to divorce John’s ministry of restoration – particularly in light of Luke 1 as noted above – from Paul’s anticipation of restoration?  But again, if John’s ministry of restoration and Paul’s eschatological hope for Israel in Romans 11 are the same, then we must sharpen our focus on the time frame, the context and nature of that restoration.”[62]

John would “restore all things” (Mt. 17:11) because his ministry was to pave  the way for or to point to the Messiah / Jesus who would come in AD 70 to “restore,” transform, and raise Israel from her old covenant natural and weak state, to her mature new covenant glorious state.

Having made the connections between Isaiah 40 with John the Baptist’s eschatology and Paul’s in Romans 11, we should briefly see how and to what event Jesus, John in Revelation, and Peter apply Isaiah 40.

Jesus and Isaiah 40   

Just as John the Baptist understood the judgment and salvation predicted in Isaiah 40 would be something imminently fulfilled for first century Israel (not modern so-called “Israel”) at the coming of the Messiah in AD 70, Jesus likewise appeals to Isaiah 40:10 [along with Isa. 62:11] in Matthew 16:27-28 to describe His coming in judgment to “reward” as something that would take place in the lifetimes of those in the crowd that were listening to Him:

“Behold the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” (Isa. 40:10)

“For the Son of Man is going to come [Greek mello – “about to come” YLT] with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has doneTruly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Mt. 16:27-28)

Once again, we find the Church divided on what the “coming” of Christ is in (16:27) – some say it’s the Second Coming event while others argue it was His AD 70 spiritual coming in judgment upon Jerusalem–of which some listening to Him would experience.  Both “orthodox” views are correct and have formed Full Preterism.

John in Revelation and Isaiah 40

John in Revelation 22:10-12 is also drawing upon Isaiah 40:10 and Isaiah 62:11 when He records our Lord saying,

“Look, I am coming soonMy reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

Peter and Isaiah 40

Peter in 1 Peter 1:23-24 quotes from Isaiah 40:6-9 which concerns the judgment and salvation John was the “voice” to prepare the say of,

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

Here in the immediate context of chapter 1, Peter has already identified that they were born again in anticipating the “inheritance” and “salvation” ready to be revealed in the last time” of which the OT prophets prophesied to come [which would include the salvation of Isa. 40] not in their day and time but in Peter and his contemporary’s day and time (1:3-5; 10-12).  He goes on to explain that the judgment of the living and the dead [thus resurrection of the dead] was “at hand” and thus approaching in the coming events of AD 70 (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).

Having gone thoroughly over Paul’s OT sources in Romans 9-11 and showing their AD 70 connections and fulfillments, we now turn back to Romans 11:25-26 and address some exegetical details.

“I don’t want you to be unaware of this mystery,…: (Rms. 11:25)

Paul within Romans itself tells us what this “mystery” [Grk. musterion] is,

“…according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of the faith…” (Rms. 16:25-26; cf. Cols. 1:25-26)

The “mystery” is the new covenant gospel of Jesus whereby there was now Jew / Gentile union “in Christ” that was once hid in the OT, but by Paul’s day and through his unique “stewardship,” had already been preached to “all nations” throughout the Roman Empire.

The immediate context also makes the “mystery” the Jew / Gentile union in Christ the meaning since Paul has just been explaining [through the metaphor of the olive tree] how Gentiles were being engrafted into Israel’s promises (vss. 17-24).

The order is the same in Ephesians 2-3. In Ephesians 2 Paul describes the remnant Jews and the believing Gentiles being brought together in union using the metaphor of forming one new man, body, and temple [instead of an olive tree] (2:11-22).   This is then followed up by Paul in chapter 3 describing this process as the “mystery” prophesied in the OT and of which he is a “steward” (3:1-6).

“That a partial hardening has happened to Israel…” (Rms. 11:25)

Pastor David Curtis writes of this “partial” hardening as being,

“…adverbial and modifies “has happened,” not hardening.  It should read, “A hardening has happened in part to Israel.”  The hardening isn’t partial, in that it has happened to part of Israel.  The remnant is not hardened.  This is what Paul said in:  “What then?  What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened” (Rms. 11:7).  Please notice that the “elect” obtained it, and the rest, which is Israel, were hardened.  So only part of Israel is hardened, and that part is the great majority of them.

He’s just saying that the hardening is not complete.  There are some who have been saved out of their total depravity and brought to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In other words, he’s saying the same thing that he said in verse 5:  “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Rms. 11:5).[63]

Until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rms. 11:25)

Again, Pastor Curtis is helpful here on the meaning of “until,”

“The Greek phrase used here is achri hos. This phrase means:  “even unto a point.”  Thayer says, “It is used of things that actually occurred and up to the beginning of which something continued.”  It is a point of referenceand not a point of cessation [and gives plenty of examples such as Acts 7:17-18 / Ex. 1:6-9, 12, 20; Gals. 3:19].”

“So we could read our text, “a hardening has happened to part of Israel even unto to the point where the fulness of the Gentiles has come in.”  So it is not saying that Israel’s hardening stops when the fulness of the Gentiles happens.”[64]

The Greek word here for “fullness” is pleroma and in this context it is pointing to when Christ comes out of Zion [His Second Coming in AD 70] to forgive and or fill with His presence–thus bring to completeness or full maturity the Jew / Gentile body.  Then “all Israel” will be “saved” and or restored in her new covenant form.  A similar meaning can be found in Ephesians 1:23,

“…God gave Him [Christ] as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness [pleroma] of Him who fills all in all.”

The eschatological goal of Christ’s coming or parousia [presence] according to Paul [of which he says some of his contemporaries would live to or “we shall not all die” before experiencing 1 Cor. 15:51 / Mt. 16:27-28]  is “…that God may be all [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] in all [Jew / Gentile]” (1 Cor. 15:23, 28).  Paul even uses “mystery” in connection with Christ’s parousia at the sound of the “trumpet” which unites the OT dead ones of Israel with the Gentiles in Christ.

I think another good description of this is found in Revelation 21-22.  At the “soon” AD 70 Second Coming of Jesus we see the New Jerusalem [the Bride / Church] in Her mature form and she is filled with God’s presence.  The mission has not come to a termination, but to a mature state for since AD 70 she has been inviting sinners to enjoy the fullness of God’s presence and to come through the gates for spiritual “healing” and to partake of the Tree of Life and Living Waters (Rev. 21—22:2, 17).

Concluding the Restoration and Resurrection of Romans 8:18-23YLT / 9—11:15-27 / 13:11-12

We have seen that Paul identifies the Jew / Gentile “creation” of men groaning from the decay of inward sin and spiritual death that came through Adam “eagerly waiting” for the “redemption of the [corporate] body” that was “about to” come in AD 70. What was “about to be” fulfilled was the “appointed time” (Rms. 8:18) [Greek Kairos] of Daniel 9:24-27 LXX and Daniel 12:2-4, 7 LXX which connects this “redemption of the body” with the resurrection and destruction of the second temple in AD 70 foretold by Daniel.  We also noted how Romans 8:18-23 is the second exodus event and the parallels between Romans 8:18YLT—13:11-12 makes it abundantly clear that Paul’s eschatology of the imminent “appointed time” in Romans is that of Jesus’ “appointed time” in the Olivet Discourse.

From there we took a deep dive at all of the OT passages Paul is referencing in Romans 9 – 11.  Here we saw:

Most of these passages spoke of two Jerusalem’s or Israel’s – one judged at the same time the other is saved.  In some passages one is judged for persecuting and putting to death the righteous remnant martyrs – who are raised when the other would be judged.  Jesus places this event to be in His generation – when they would sing at the feast of Passover, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mt. 23:30-39).

As in Daniel 9:24-27 and 12:2-7, the context of many of these OT passages connects the restoration and resurrection of Israel to be at the same time as the judgment of Israel between AD 67 – AD 70 when God “laid a trap” for “hardened” Israel to experience “wrath.”

The pattern both in Romans 9-11 and within the context of these OT texts is that the righteous remnant is saved and “survives” the “last days” “day of the Lord” in AD 70 and continues preaching the gospel to the nations in the new creation.  In other words, the end of world history is never the subject of any of these OT passages.

We spent a long time on Paul’s reference to Isaiah 40 and took a deep dive into John’s eschatology since he was “the voice” to prepare the way of Isaiah’s judgment and salvation.  We also noticed that Jesus, John in Revelation, and Peter appeal to Isaiah 40 and see its judgment and salvation as being imminently fulfilled by AD 70.

Then we returned to do an exegesis of Romans 11:25-27 by demonstrating that Paul’s Jew / Gentile “mystery” was brought to “fullness” or to a complete and mature state in the new covenant at Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70–when He came out from Zion to indwell and take away the sin of the Church.  “In this way or through this manner” “all Israel [was] saved” and experienced “life from the dead” (resurrection).

In conclusion there was perfect and beautiful harmony between the imminent time indicators of Romans 8:18-23YLT and Romans 13:11-12 that could easily be applied to the same “salvation” and or corporate body resurrection and coming of Christ in Romans 11:15-27.  And if one couldn’t see that beautiful harmony and contextual flow from Romans 8:18-23YLT—13:11-12, the OT texts Paul is appealing to in Romans 9 – 11 also pointed to the time of Israel’s restoration and resurrection would be the same time she would be judged in AD 70 for the sin of her bloodguilt.

Paul, in Romans 8:18-23YLT and 13:11-12, awaited the “about to be” corporate bodily resurrection of the new covenant creation/body, and he was waiting for her members to “awake” out of the “hour” of “sleep” of Daniel 12:1-4, 7-13.  Paul not only sees the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as “about to be” fulfilled in Acts 24:15, but he also sees it imminently fulfilled in these crucial eschatological chapters in Romans as well.

Paul expected some of his contemporaries to be alive and witness the coming of Christ and the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15

Space does not permit me to give an in-depth exegesis of every verse of 1 Corinthians 15, but I will address much of it.  For a detailed exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15, see my co-authored book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology and David Green’s exegesis.

Before beginning, I think we need to stick with just the basics on what we have learned so far and ask the following questions and make the following points:

1). No one disputes that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the same resurrection as Daniel 12:2-13.

2). Having established this, we have learned from the immediate context of Daniel 12 that this resurrection would be at the same time as the tribulation and the “time of the end” – that is, “all these things” would be fulfilled together and during a 3 ½ years period of time “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7).  As we will see below, Paul expected the eschatological “end” and resurrection of Daniel 12 in 1 Corinthians 15 to take place within the lifetime of some of those he wrote to in Corinth.

3). Most agree that Jesus’ teaching on the “tribulation” and “end of the age” in Matthew 24 is the same “tribulation” and “time of the end” found in Daniel 12:1-4.  And yet Jesus indicates that the end of the old covenant age and tribulation would be fulfilled during the times of the Gentiles or the 3 ½ years period of AD 67 – AD 70 in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3, 21f.; Lk. 21:20-24, 31-32).

So then if Matthew 24/Luke 21 is equivalent to the same time frame and events as Daniel 12:1-7, and Daniel 12 is the same resurrection as 1 Corinthians 15, lets break this down more and get a logical visual.

A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21)

B (Daniel 12:1-7)

C (1 Cor. 15)

If A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) is = to B (Daniel 12:1-7, 13)
Tribulation as never before  24:21-22 Tribulation as never before 12:1
Evangelism 24:14 Leading others to righteousness 12:3
End of the [OC] age 24:3, 14 Time of the end 12:4
Resurrection & inheritance of the kingdom 24:31; 13:43; Lk. 21:31-32 Resurrection & or inheritance of the kingdom 12:2-3, 13/Mt. 13:43
Jerusalem surrounded, trodden down/times of the Gentiles         (AD 67 – AD 70) Lk. 21:20, 24 Consummation – 3 ½ years when power of the holy people is shattered 12:7
And if B (Daniel 12:1-7, 13) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)
Resurrection unto eternal life 12:2 Resurrection unto incorruptibility or immortality 15:52-53
time of the end 12:4 time of the end 15:24
When the power [the Mosaic OC Law] of the holy people is completely shattered 12:7 Victory over “the [Mosaic OC] Law” 15:26
At the “end” of the OC age, OT dead would be raised at the same time the NT righteous living would shine in the kingdom   12:2-3, 13 If the dead of the OT are not raised, neither would those who died in Christ be raised & living unforgiven 15:15-18
Then A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)
Christ to come (Greek: parousia) at sound of a trumpet 24:27-31 Christ to come (Greek: parousia) at sound of a trumpet 15:23, 52
“The end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 “The end” (Greek telos, the goal) 15:24
Kingdom (goal reached)                Lk. 21:31-32 Kingdom consummation (goal reached) 15:24
All prophecy fulfilled at this point Lk. 21:22 All prophecy fulfilled at this point 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/temple 24:1 Victory over the Mosaic Law 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” 24:2ff. Same contemporary “you” or “we” 15:51-52
“All” of the elect (even the dead) gathered (or raised) in the kingdom 24:31; Lk. 21:28-32 “The [OT] dead” raised with the dead “in Christ” 15:15-18
Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other
Matthew 24/Luke 21 Daniel 12:1-7, 13 1 Corinthians 15
Gather/raise “all” (dead & living) the elect at “end” of OC age 24:3, 31 OT dead raised with NT saints at the end of OC age 12:2-4, 13/Mt. 13:43 OT dead raised with NT dead & living at “the end” of the OC age 15:15-18, 24, 51
All OT prophecy fulfilled when Jeru-salem surrounded & times of Gentiles (3 ½ yrs.) fulfilled Lk. 21:22-24 –              AD 67 – AD 70 Judgment and resurrection of the dead fulfilled at the end of the OC age, in a 3 ½ year period when Israel’s power shattered Resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 13; Hosea 13:14 and Isaiah 25:8 fulfilled at the end of OC age & in the lifetime of Paul’s 1st cent. audience          15:51, 54-55

We have also learned up to this point the following:

4). A Christian orthodox position on the resurrection of Daniel 12 involves an “already not yet” progressive, spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection taking place between AD 27/30 – AD 70, whereby the new covenant body of Israel was being raised out from the death of the old covenant body of Israel by AD 70.  Can a progressive, corporate bodily resurrection be seen in 1 Corinthians 15?

5). As we have just seen, the Apostle Paul has elsewhere taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was “about to be” fulfilled or was “at hand” (Acts 24:15YLT; Rom. 8:18-23YLT; Rom. 13:11-12).  So the burden of proof would be to prove that Paul’s “ONE” resurrection hope which he had in Acts and Romans has now turned into two.

Therefore, as we approach the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15, we want to see if this critical chapter also involves what we have found thus far in Paul’s teaching on the resurrection. That is, does 1 Corinthians 15 teach a corporate body resurrection that was in the process of taking place in Paul’s day, which he taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would be fulfilled within the lifetime of some of his contemporaries?  We believe so.

There are several exegetical observations which demonstrate that Paul’s eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a depiction of a biological casket-type resurrection for all men that will occur at the end of world history:

1).  The parallels and analogy of faith with Matthew 24 demonstrate a first century generation fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15.

2).  Paul’s argumentation and use of logic (modus tollens) demonstrate that those who denied the resurrection of the dead at Corinth were not denying the resurrection of Christ or the doctrine of resurrection in general, but a resurrection for a particular group (the old covenant dead of Israel).

3).  Paul’s use of the present passive indicative, as already in the process of being fulfilled, demonstrates it is not an end of time biological resurrection.

4).  Paul’s use of familiar corporate body words and phrases within the Corinthian letters and within his other epistles demonstrates that an individual, biological corpse resurrection is wrong.

5).  Paul’s appeal to, and the contexts of, Hosea 13 and Isaiah 25 demonstrate that an end of the world biological resurrection is not in view.

6).  There would be no victory over “the death” until victory over the Mosaic Torah, “the law,” was reached.  This does not fit within a futurist framework, but does within the Full Preterist framework, because “the law” (administration of death) was “soon” to vanish at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and thus was truly imminent in Paul’s day.

The Parallels – Analogy of Faith

Again, let’s look at those parallels which demonstrate that Paul’s eschatology here in 1 Corinthians 15 is that of Jesus’ in Matthew 24/Luke 21:

  1. Christ to come (Greek parousia) – Matthew 24:27 = 1 Corinthians 15:23
  2. His people to be gathered/changed – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
  3. Comes with the sound of a trumpet – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:52
  4. To be “the end” (Greek telos– the goal) – Matthew 24:3, 14 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  5. Kingdom consummation (goal reached) – Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  6. All prophecy fulfilled at this time – Luke 21:22 = 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
  7. Victory over the law/temple – Matthew 24:1 = 1 Corinthians 15:55-56
  8. Same contemporary “you” or “we” – Matthew 24:2ff. = 1 Corinthians 15:
    51-52

The classic Amillennial and Historic Premillennial positions agree with us that the above parallels support the fact that Paul’s eschatological one hope, as expressed in 1 Corinthians 15, is the same teaching and resurrection developed by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse.

However, we also agree with Partial Preterists that Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Therefore, I can use the following historical “reformed and always reforming,” and Scriptural “the Scripture alone” / “analogy of faith” argument:

Major Premise:  The “Parousia,” resurrection “gathering,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” of the age of Matthew 24 is the same eschatological “Parousia,” resurrection “change,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” of the age for Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.  Paul’s eschatology is the eschatology of Jesus (Classic Amillennialism and Historic Premilllenialism)!

Minor Premise:  But the “Parousia”, “gathering,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” of the age of Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary generation at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism, mostly Postmillennial).

Conclusion: Therefore, the one and the same “Parousia,” resurrection “gathering/change,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15 and Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually in Jesus’ generation and thus at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

1 Corinthians 15:1-15 – ONE Gospel Preached

Most futurist commentaries on 1 Corinthians 15 merely assume that the resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth denied the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection in general.  It is more than difficult to see how Paul could have still referred to them as “saints,” etc. if they believed such!  Most who take this position believe Paul’s appeal to the 500 who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of his correction because the group rejected Jesus’ resurrection.

This view has many problems, which we will cover shortly, but in reality Paul lays forth the historical resurrection of Christ in the beginning of the resurrection conflict at Corinth NOT because the resurrection deniers at Corinth denied Jesus’ resurrection, but because the Gentile Christians were pridefully and ignorantly denying the resurrection of a Jewish sect (the OC dead ones who had died prior to Christ).  This denial was similar to what some Gentile believers were saying about Israel and the Church at Rome (see Romans 11).  One group or party was denying the resurrection of the other.  The schisms of the various groups at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10 – 3:23) reach their main conflict here in chapter 15, which Paul now desires to set straight. Paul, being the leader of the erring Gentile party who boasted of themselves and Paul as their leader, now humbles himself among the apostles (vss. 7-9) in order to correct this arrogant spirit. He ties his gospel message in as being ONE with the Jewish leaders (vss. 11-12).  The resurrection of Jesus and the gospel message was united and agreed upon in the preaching of Christ’s resurrection by all the parties!  Paul will use this agreement to make his case against them!

Perhaps some of their misunderstandings and arrogance began as early as Acts 18 when they heard Paul say, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  I believe that a misunderstanding of Paul here and perhaps some of his teaching that Gentiles were one body with the Jews, and that a true Jew was one who had been circumcised of the heart, led to a replacement theology and denial of an old covenant Jewish (the dead ones) eschaton / resurrection. After humbling himself and showing his solidarity with the Jewish leaders in preaching the same doctrine, Paul now begins to correct their error.

 1 Corinthians 15:12-19Paul’s Modus Tollens form of Argumentation

To further prove that the deniers of the resurrection of the dead were not denying Christ’s resurrection or the resurrection for all in general, we need to take a look at Paul’s form of argumentation. The Futurist view makes no contextual sense if you follow Paul’s argumentation and the logic he uses. Paul uses a familiar modus tollens or “if then” logical argument.  That is, “If P, then Q, and therefore not P.”

1)  “If P”

“If there is no resurrection of the dead ones…”

2)   Then Q”

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then not even Christ has been raised.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then our preaching is useless…

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then and so is your faith [useless].

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then we are found to be false witnesses about God.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then your and my baptism (of suffering & martyrdom) on the part of the dead is meaningless.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then the Father is subject to Christ.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then some of you are ignorant of God.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then why are some undergoing a baptism (of suffering & persecution) on behalf of the dead?

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then there will be no resurrection for anyone and we all might as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

3) “Therefore, not P”

Therefore, your (resurrection of the dead deniers) premise that the resurrection of the (OC) dead will not take place is false (or “therefore, not P”).

Paul’s argument is also known as reduction ad absurdum.  This form of argument demonstrates that a statement (the dead will not rise) is false by showing that a false, untenable, undesirable or absurd result follows from its acceptance.  Again, Paul is using things he has in common with them and things that they would affirm in order to overthrow and show how absurd their false premise actually was in saying that the dead ones would not rise.

The Resurrection of the Dead Error Identified

Since the Corinthians believed in Christ’s resurrection and a resurrection for those who had died “in Christ,” then who is left to deny a resurrection for?  In short, the error at Corinth was an extreme view (or a hyper-dispensational or pre-mature replacement theology of sorts) that divided up the people of God in extreme ways.  They could not reconcile how the dead prior to Christ’s arrival could be raised into or with the body of Christ of which they were now a part.  In short, they were denying a key ingredient to “the better resurrection” that the writer to the Hebrews outlines:

“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they [the OT or old covenant dead] might obtain a better resurrection:   And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they (“the [OT/OC] dead”) without us (the NT/NC saints “in Christ”) should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:35-40).

The resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth saw the “better things” for those who were “in Christ” (dead or alive – their side of the cross), but could not reconcile how the OT or old covenant dead (on the other side of the cross) could participate in a resurrection with those who had died in Christ or how they could be “made perfect” together in the body of Christ.  They had the new covenant “better things,” and thus the OT or old covenant dead were left without participation in the better resurrection to come; this was their reasoning and error.  They did not deny the doctrine of the resurrection in general, just the all-ness or oneness (with all of God’s of people) to the resurrection.

Extreme views of excluding even the righteous dead were not uncommon, even among the Jews.  Some Jews believed that anyone who died outside of the Promised Land would not participate in the resurrection:

“The Talmud records speculations on the various matters connected with the process of Resurrection.  There was a firm belief that the momentous event would take place in the Holy Land.  Some Rabbi took the extreme view that only they who were interred there would share in the future life.  ‘Those who die outside the land of Israel will not live again; as it is said, “I will set delight in the land of the living.”  (Ezek. 26:20)—those who die in the land of My delight will live again, but they who do not die there will not’…” “Even a Cananite maidservant in the land of Israel is assured of inheriting the World to Come’…”[65]

So, in this extreme view, those righteous dead who died outside of being “in the land” would not participate in Israel’s corporate resurrection.  Similarly, some at Corinth took Paul’s teaching – that all prophecy or all the promises of God were fulfilled spiritually “in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20) – too far in that they concluded the resurrection could only take place for those who believed “in Christ” (their side of the cross), and all others perished outside of being in Him.

Therefore, since the old covenant dead perished and were not present to place their faith in Christ, then they couldn’t be a part of the spiritual new covenant body that was in the process of being raised in their day. They lost sight of the great cloud of witnesses who saw Christ’s day and were glad and would thus share in the “better resurrection” with them.

According to both of these extreme Jewish or Christian views, men such as Moses had no resurrection hope but perished outside of being either “in the land” or outside of being “in Christ.”

We see a similar inability to reconcile the OT promises made to Israel and how they would be fulfilled in the NT body of Christ coming from modern day Dispensational Zionists who think there are opposing theologies between the OT and NT.  There are two completely separate bodies of believers or peoples of God needing two separate comings of Christ, programs of salvation, etc.  Of particular interest to our discussion here is the comparison of dividing the OT dead from those who died “in Christ.” Dispensationalists such as Charles Ryrie and Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer argue in the following ways:

“Those who died before Christ’s first advent” are not among “the dead in Christ” (Charles Ryrie).[66]

“The Old Testament saints were not part of the New Creation in Christ,” and “the nation of Israel sustains no relation to the resurrection of Christ” (Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer).[67]

And again, per Chafer, the dead OT saints were not “in the new federal headship of the resurrected Christ…”[68]

This sounds like elements of the resurrection of the dead deniers’ doctrine, and confusion was picked up from Dispensational teaching.

In 1937 William Everett Bell argued against Pretribulationalism, providing evidence that at Christ’s Second Coming (after the Tribulation period) all the righteous dead were to be raised.  The ever-evolving pre-tribulational rapture theory countered with a two-resurrection view – one for those who died “in Christ” at the “rapture” “coming” and one for those who died outside of being “in Christ” (OT dead not “in Christ”) seven years later (after the Tribulation) at the Second Coming.  The resurrection of the dead deniers also divided God’s people up in a way that was contrary to the teachings of Paul, except that for them the best way to avoid the problem (which they created for themselves) was to entirely deny resurrection for the OT dead and only accept a resurrection for those “in Christ.”

These examples (one within the Talmud and modern ones) should be sufficient to demonstrate how it could be possible for some to miss how the OT dead could or even would participate in the salvation of the ONE NT or new covenant body of Christ.

Romans 11 & 1 Corinthians 15

Perhaps the best parallel to what is taking place among the Gentile deniers of the resurrection of the dead at Corinth can be found in Romans 11.  Paul has to explain that the Gentiles did not completely replace old covenant Israel and that there remained a future eschaton and expectation of fulfillment for her. And this future is explained in such a way that without God fulfilling those promises to old covenant Israel, there would be no forgiveness of sin or resurrection life for the Gentiles (cf. Rms. 11:13-27).  In Romans the Gentile arrogance against the Jews was illustrated by an olive tree, branches, and the root to demonstrate the solidarity of the Gentiles with Israel’s resurrection and covenant promises.  As we will see in our next point, Paul uses the illustration of the “first-fruits” harvest to connect the two.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 – First fruits and Solidarity

Paul is going to now further his argument to connect Christ’s resurrection with that of Israel’s, by using the first-fruits analogy.  How could the Gentiles deny Israel’s role in the resurrection when they themselves (along with the believing Jews) were a part of the first fruits awaiting the harvest at Christ’s return (James 1:18, Rom. 8, Rev. 14)?  Paul’s resurrection hope was the “hope of Israel” and the harvest was Israel’s harvest of which they were blessed to be a part or grafted into.  To deny “the dead” or Israel’s future role in the resurrection/harvest was akin to theologically denying Christ’s role and their role at the end of the old covenant age / harvest.

First-fruits, Imminence & Analogy of Faith

Whenever the first fruits were offered up as a pledge, this was a symbol that not only the harvest was guaranteed, but that it was already ripe and being cut.  Paul uses this argument of Christ being the “first-fruits” resurrection to teach that He controls the destiny of Israel’s harvest (the dead), which Paul’s first century “we” audience would experience at “the end” of the old covenant age.

The imminence of this coming harvest judgment was first developed by John the Baptist.  He warned of an “about to” come wrath and punishment (Mt. 3:7GNT/SLT/WUESTNT).  His ax and winnowing fork were already in His hand – indicating that the judgment and end-time harvest would take place in some of their lifetimes (Mt. 3:10-12).

Jesus also taught a spiritual sowing and coming judgment / resurrection harvest which would take place at “the end” of His Jewish audiences’ “this age” (which was the old covenant age) in Matthew 13:39-43.

The first fruits and harvest resurrection and judgment of Revelation 7 and 14 was to be fulfilled “shortly” at Christ’s “soon” and “at hand” AD 70 Second Coming (Rev. 1:1—22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

Paul’s inspired teaching on an imminent harvest resurrection to take place at “the end” (of the old covenant age) is in harmony with the teaching and eschatology of John the Baptist, John the apostle and Jesus.

Major Premise:  The harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12, Matthew 13:39-43, Revelation 7 & 14, and 1 Corinthians 15 is ONE and the same with the end of the age harvest resurrection event (Classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise: But the harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12, Matthew 13:39-43, and Revelation 7 & 14 was “about to be” fulfilled spiritually and “short” at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism – mostly Postmillennialist).

Conclusion:  The ONE and the same harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12, Matthew 13:39-43, Revelation 7 & 14, and 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

First-fruits and the Nature of Jesus’ Resurrection Body

In Pauline theology, Christ is described as the “First” (first-fruit or first-born – Col. 1:18) from among the dead ones.  Since clearly Jesus was not the first to be raised from biological death, many futurists reason that this must then mean He was the first to be raised with a glorified and immortal body the third day, which they assert was different because it could walk through walls and could never biologically die again. However, there is no exegetical evidence that Jesus’ biological body that was raised the third day was substantially different (glorified) than the one He had before He was crucified.  Prior to His resurrection, He was able to walk on water, disappear in the midst of a crowd and transport / teleport Himself and a boat full of disciples instantly to the shore (defy physics).  So just because Jesus could appear or disappear after His resurrection, this does not prove that His body was different and that somehow at the end of history we too will get a “body” like His (that can defy the laws of physics, etc.).

The truth, however, is that Jesus’ body wouldn’t be glorified until some 40 days later at His ascension/enthronement and just prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the resurrection body of Christ that came out of the tomb is not the “same” or “first” immortal and “glorified” body that we allegedly will get at the end of world history.  If it was and ours will be just like it, then since Jesus still had His wounds, then will Christians be raised without limbs, deformities, etc.?

Yet Jesus was the “first” to overcome covenantal sin/death or spiritual separation that came from Adam the very day he sinned against God and was banished from His presence.  Jesus “became sin for us” – that is, He took the full curse (of separation) for His posterity, was raised and 40 days later glorified and restored into the “glory” and presence of the Father He had before the world began. Exactly how Jesus “became sin” and was separated (“My God why have you forsaken Me”) on our account contains concepts that we will not be able to fully understand (such as the incarnation and trinity), but it is what Scripture teaches nonetheless.  At Christ’s Parousia in AD 70, He restored God’s presence with the righteous dead (OC & NC) along with the living.

Therefore, the purpose of Jesus being raised from the dead on the third day was to be a sign (like all of His other miracles that pointed to a deeper spiritual truth) that validated He alone had conquered the curse (sin/death/separation) which came through Adam.  Jesus never came to conquer biological death for Christians.  Jesus repeatedly taught that those who believe on Him (alive or dead – Jn. 8:51; 11:25-26) would “never die.”  In other words, “never die” is synonymous with “eternal life” (i.e. spiritual life and existence in God’s presence).

In Adam or in Christ

Through the corporate body of Adam, “all” come into this world spiritually dead and separated from God (15:21-22), while through Christ and His overcoming of that death “all” of His corporate body or covenant posterity will be restored to God’s presence and have their sin completely taken away at His Parousia.  We will pick up Paul’s “in Adam” or “in Christ” doctrine and how he addresses these terms and concepts in verses 44-58 and Romans 5-8.

At His Parousia

Paul’s teaching on the Parousia (15:23) is not different than what Christ taught of His Parousia to take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:27-34, 37).  The NT knows of only ONE hope or eschatological Parousia of Christ to bring about ONE eschatological “the end” or “end of the age,” and that was His Parousia to close “the end” or “end of the [OC] age” in AD 70.

Then Comes the End & the Kingdom

“The end” (15:24) here is consistent with Jesus’ teaching on the end of the old covenant “this age” to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24). It is Daniel’s “time of the end” (not the end of time) when the resurrection would occur at Jerusalem’s destruction in the three and a half years between AD 67 – AD 70 – i.e. “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:1-7).

Before we approach 1 Corinthians 15, Paul has already informed us that “the end” of the world was “shortened” and the end of the age was to take place in the lifetime of the Corinthians (cf. 1 Cor. 7:29, 31; 10:11).  The miraculous sign and revelatory gifts would confirm the Church until “the end” [of the old covenant age] or Day of the Lord (1 Cor. 1:4-8).

Paul taught that the new covenant Church age was an “age without end” (Eph. 3:20-21), so why would he here be teaching that he expected its end to take place within the lifetime of the Corinthians?  It is the old covenant age that is in view and indeed did pass away within the lifetime of Paul’s audience. The new covenant age was “about to” fully come in, and therefore the old covenant age was about to end (Eph. 1:21 WUESTNT).

The “increase” (that is the everlasting gospel) of Jesus’ government (that is His kingdom and thus His rule in the new covenant Messianic age) is also described as having “no end” in the OT (Isa. 9:7).

Concerning the timing of the consummation of the kingdom, per Daniel chapter seven, the kingdom would arrive in its fulfilled inherited form just after a time of severe persecution (Dan. 7:21) and at Christ’s Second Coming (Dan. 7:13, 18, 22).  Jesus informs us when Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled in Matthew 24.  He instructs His disciples that just after a severe persecution takes place, the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies (the abomination that causes desolation), and just prior to His Parousia the Kingdom would be inherited in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:1-32).  How many consummations to the Messianic kingdom do Jesus and Paul teach?

Paul’s “end” here is connected to the end or fulfillment of the OT Mosaic “THE Law” which was the strength of sin in 1 Corinthians 15:55-56.  This is consistent with Jesus teaching that all that was written in the OT would be fulfilled in His generation (Lk. 21:22-32).

Christ’s Pre-Parousia Reign & His Enemies Placed Under His Feet

As David and Solomon’s reigns over Israel were 40 years, so too was Jesus’ pre-Parousia reign (roughly from AD 30 – AD 70).  Through the proclamation and power of the gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit given in the midst of imprisonment and persecutions, and the imprecatory prayers of the saints against their first century Jewish persecutors, Christ’s enemies were being placed under His feet and would perish at the end of the old covenant age. This is consistent with the teaching of the author to the Hebrews when He instructs us that the first century Jewish “enemies” to be “made his footstool” were “about to” experience a judgment of fire at Christ’s “in a very little while” AD 70 coming that could not be delayed (Heb. 10:13-37YLT).

Last Enemy “The Death” Was in the Process of Being Destroyed – The Present Passive Indicative – The Dead Were Rising

Note that death was in the process of BEING destroyed (present passive indicative):

“As a last enemy, [the] death is being abolished, for all things He put in subjection under His feet.”[69]

Gordon Fee in his work on 1 Corinthians puzzles over this:

“The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling… The sentence literally reads, “’The last enemy is being destroyed.’”[70]

Others comment on the reality of the present tense here:

“It is difficult to do justice to the present passive καταργεῖται in trans-lation. As it stands, the Greek states, The last enemy is being annihilated, (namely) death (v. 26). It is arguable that Paul uses the present to denote the process of annihilation already set in motion by Christ’s (past) death and resurrection.”[71]

There is no confusion or difficulty over the last enemy of “the death” being destroyed during Paul’s day when we realize that this death was spiritual Adamic death, which was being magnified through Israel’s Torah – “the law” or “administration of death” (1 Cor. 15:56-57; 2 Cor. 3).  When the definite article “the” is in front of death, it is the spiritual death which came through Adam the very day he sinned that is in view.

However, there is understandable confusion and difficulty for the present tense of the death being destroyed for Futurists who assume that biological death and resurrection is the last enemy to be destroyed throughout 1 Corinthians 15.  How was biological death in the process of being destroyed in Paul’s day and up to ours for the last 2,000 years?!?  Are arms sticking up out of the graveyards today, with biological corpses in the process of rising and overcoming death?!?  Obviously, Paul has something else in view and Futurists do not understand him correctly.

Related to the problem for the Futurist of “the death” being in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day is Paul’s use of the present passive indicative in other places in this chapter.

Although it is rare that a translation or commentator will point this issue out here in 15:26 (as I have cited above), they are all virtually silent when the present tense is being used in the following verses:

“But God is giving it a body” (v.32).

“…it is being…” (v. 38).

“…it is being raised in glory…” (43).

“…it is being raised in power…” (v. 43)

“…It is being sown a natural body, it is being raised a spiritual body…” (v. 43).

Since most think that the giving of a “body” and it being “sown” a natural body and then being raised in glory and power is allegedly addressing a biologically transformed individual body at Christ’s Parousia at the end world history, the present tense seems impossible.  But when the corporate body of Christ (the old covenant dead who had the gospel preached to them by Christ, those dead “in Christ” and those alive that constitute that ONE body) is in view, Paul’s theology/eschatology begins to make more sense.  Christ was still in the process of fulfilling OT Scripture and thus the new covenant corporate body was still being raised from and saved from the Adamic and Mosaic body of death.

Let’s not forget that Postmillennialists such as James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry believe the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was a progressive spiritual resurrection between AD 30 – AD 70, with Jordan making it clear that this resulted in Daniel’s soul being raised out of the realm of the dead ones into God’s presence in AD 70.  And on the other hand, we have the Reformed orthodox position telling us that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 15 is ONE and the SAME resurrection event.  Therefore, there is simply no reason to not see the progressive and spiritual resurrection that was taking place between AD 30 – AD 70 in both Daniel 12 and 1 Corinthians 15 as being the same “already and not yet” eschaton that resulted in souls being raised into God’s presence at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70.

According to Paul, the ONE resurrection hope of Israel had already broken in and there was an “already and not yet” reality to it (Rom. 11:7; Phil. 3).

That God May Be All in All

This is the eschatological goal of the NT – that “all” of God’s presence (the Father, Son and Spirit) would be in “all” of God’s people (the new covenant body of the Jew and Gentile).  The Holy Spirit’s presence was with the early Church through the charismata and in forming Christ’s image (a spiritual transformation) in the Church.  But it was only at the Second Coming of Jesus in AD 70 that the Father and the Son would then make their home within the Church (e.g. John 14:2-3, 23, 29; Lk. 17:20-21ff.; Rom. 8:18YLT; Col. 1:27).  At the “end” of Christ’s pre-Parousia reign, He would deliver the kingdom up to the Father and its process of being changed (2 Cor. 3) would be complete and consummated into its heavenly form.

The promise of God being “all in all” is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles which we covered in Matthew 24:30-31 and Zechariah 12-14.

1 Corinthians 15:29-34 – Baptism on Behalf of the Dead

There has been much debate on the meaning of those being baptized on behalf of the dead (15:29).  However, the context would seem to indicate that this is a baptism of suffering that is in view (vss. 30-32; see also Lk. 12:50/Mt. 20:20-23; Mt. 23:29-36; Heb. 11:39-40).  Paul’s point and overall argument is that if the old covenant dead would not participate in the resurrection, then those Christians (such as himself) who were undergoing a baptism of suffering, persecution and death/martyrdom on their behalf (the ONE body of Christ that included the old covenant dead) were suffering and perishing in vain.  If the dead would not rise with those who had fallen asleep “in Christ,” then one might as well adopt the fatalistic mindset of “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” for there would be no resurrection for anyone.

1 Corinthians 15:35-58 – The Body (Greek soma) & Consistency within Pauline Theological Terms & Motifs

Much has been said and debated in recent years in regard to Paul’s use of the “body” (Greek soma) in his various epistles.  Many would insist that when Paul uses “body” in his letters to the various churches, he is mostly referring to an individualistic biological or fleshly body.  However, theologians such as Tom Holland are developing a proper cultural context in which Paul is writing with a Hebraic mindset, or within a worldview that is rooted in the OT Scriptures, which sees the body more in a corporate sense and context.  Holland does a great job developing this in Romans 5-7 and 1 Corinthians 1-12, but we find him inconsistent and dropping the ball in Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Holland also has correctly observed that most of the time Paul uses particular theological phrases and terms in a consistent way in writing to the various churches, so that there is little confusion among them.[72]  And while we agree with this, we believe Holland is inconsistent with Paul’s consistent use of “the law”, “the sin,” and “the death” in relationship to being “in Adam” or “in Christ” when addressed in Romans 5-8, and also how he understands these terms and themes in 1 Corinthians 15.  In Romans, Paul does not use these terms and the “in Adam” / “in Christ” motif to be discussing biological death and resurrection, but rather corporate modes of existence.  We argue that Paul uses these terms and motifs virtually the same way in 1 Corinthians 15, and thus he is not addressing a biological death and resurrection motif.

Paul’s Seed Analogy & Being Buried Alive

Since the resurrection of the dead deniers did not deny a corporate bodily resurrection for themselves and those who had died “in Christ” (their side of the cross), then what is Paul’s point in using the seed analogy?  If Paul was correct in what he was saying thus far in his argumentation, then their objection would be something like, “How or what kind of body could the old covenant dead ones possibly be raised in since they died in the state of death found in Adam prior to Christ’s coming (thus they were susceptible to weakness, perishable and merely natural), unattached from us who are “in Christ” where resurrection new covenant eternal life is being realized (cf. 15:35)?”

Paul’s statement, “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be…” summarizes their thinking and error.  For them, they were the one spiritual body that was BOTH being sown spiritually and would be raised spiritually.  In other words, they thought they sowed the same spiritual body that would be, which couldn’t be attached to the old covenant body which they believed perished outside of Christ.  Paul uses the seed analogy to demonstrate that they (along with the old covenant dead ones) were not sown a spiritual body, but rather they had the same sowing/seed origins that the old covenant dead ones were in – i.e. still in a “perishable”, “dishonorable”, “weak”, “natural”, “Adamic” body of death.  The corporate body of Christ did not originate their side of the cross out of thin air, but it originated in and came out from within the Adamic old covenant body (along with the old covenant dead ones).  The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to see that they were still a part of the old covenant body/seed/world (with the old covenant dead) that had not passed away yet.

If Paul had a resurrection of biological corpses in view, then he didn’t know how to teach and use illustrations very well.  Futurists believe the passage teaches that in biological death the body dies and then is buried or sown into the earth to be raised at the end of world history into a different form.  But for Paul in verse 36, the seed/body was not only in the process of being sown (under the earth), it was still alive and concurrently dying only to be raised into a different form.  Futurists are at odds with Paul’s teaching and illustration, which would amount to burying corpses while alive, only to undergo a process of dying and then to be raised.

In order to understand Paul’s buried alive and concurrently dying doctrine, or how the “body” here in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a fleshly individual body but a corporate body, we must allow Paul to interpret himself elsewhere.  We will pick this subject up in Romans 5-8, when addressing the nature of the body in Adam or in Christ, when it surfaces again in verses 44-58.

I believe Don K. Preston’s thesis of Paul using Hosea 6 – 13 as an inclusio as a possible working outline in 1 Corinthians 15 is an excellent observation.

“Hosea: The Outline for Paul’s Resurrection Hope
Hosea 1 Corinthians 15
1). “He has torn but he will heal, and after two days He will raise us up.” 1). Christ rose on the 3rd day according to the Scriptures – Paul introduces Hosea at the very beginning of his discourse and he closes his discourse by quoting Hosea.
2). Israel the Seed (Jezreel–God sows): Israel sown in the earth (2.23). 2). Except a seed– “That which you sow is not quickened unless it die” (John 12).
3). Israel destroyed/died (1.5– I will cause to cease the house of Israel): continuity / discontinuity – Israel destroyed / Israel restored. 3). You do not sow that which shall be (v. 37). That which you reap is not what you sow; that which is spiritual is not first, but the natural.
4). Israel of old – carnal, sinful. 4). It is sown a natural body (v. 42f).
5). Israel sown in the earth (2.23). 5). As we have borne the image of the earthy.
6). Harvest appointed for Judah when I return My people (6.11). 6). Jesus the first fruits (Jesus of Judah), of those who slept – OT saints, i.e. Israel!! (15.12f).
7). Time of the harvest = resurrection (13.14). 7). Resurrection when Hosea fulfilled (15:54-56).
8). Israel like the first fruit (9:10). 8). Christ the first fruit of Israel (15:20f).
9). They transgressed the covenant (6.7; they died (v. 5; 13.1-2, 10) – death for violating the covenant. 9). The strength of sin is “the law” (15.56) –death for violating the Law.
10). New covenant of peace (2:18; Cf. Ez. 37:12, 25f)—> covenant is covenant of marriage. 10). Sit at my right hand…Heb. 10:14–time of the new covenant (Rom. 11:26f.) – the marriage, thus the covenant —> Rev. 19:6.
11). Israel restored in the last days when “David” rules (3.4-5). 11). End of the ages has arrived (10.11); “then comes the end” (15.20f) – Christ on the throne (15.24f).
12). I will be your God. I will be your king! (Hos. 13:10). 12). 1 Corinthians 15:28(God shall be all in all).
13). Resurrection = restoration to fellowship. 13). 1 Corinthians 15: resurrection when “the sin,” the sting of “the death removed.”[73]

 The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to be reminded that they were a part of old covenant Israel’s seed/body that was promised to be raised in the last days harvest to close her age. Without their union into that seed/body, there would be no resurrection for either group.

Israel had been sown in death and captivity, but she was in the process of being raised, united together, and transformed through the good news of the new covenant.  Israel’s process of being transformed and being sown and rising from old covenant glory into new covenant glory in 1 Corinthians 15 & 2 Corinthians 3 should be viewed together, just as a spiritual seeing of God’s face in a glass or mirror found in 1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Corinthians 3-4 should be interpreted together.  We must allow Paul to interpret himself, especially when writing to the same church.  It’s just basic hermeneutics.

In Adam or in Christ & the Corporate Body Cont.

Let’s take a look at the Pauline view of being in the corporate bodies of Adam (as a type) and/or in Christ.

“But the death did reign from Adam till Moses, even upon those not having sinned in the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of him who is “about to” [Smith’s Literal Translation correctly translates mello here] come” (Rom. 5:14).

To further demonstrate that the resurrection for those in Christ is a spiritual resurrection is to notice that in Pauline “in Adam” or “in Christ” theology Adam is a “type” and Christ the anti-type.  In the book of Hebrews, the first was the physical type and shadow with the second and better being the spiritual anti-type.  The point is that the anti-type is always spiritual, and that is what we see here in 1 Corinthians 15 of the second being a “spiritual body” that the new covenant Israel/Church is raised up into.

As I pointed out earlier, there are many similarities between Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Therefore, let’s spend some time here in Romans to see how Paul develops these themes.

In Romans 5:14, the context is involving an eschatological future (“about to”) coming of Christ who is the anti-type of Adam.  It will be when the future hope of glory in verses 1-5 is realized (which Rom. 8:18YLT says was “about to be revealed”) and when they would be saved from a coming wrath in verse 10.

Most Futurists, such as Postmillennialist Keith Mathison, believe that Romans 5:12 teaches that physical death for man and decay for the planet earth came through Adam’s sin and thus at Christ’s return He will reverse what Adam had brought upon the planet:

“As Paul explains, death entered the world because of Adam’s sin (Roms. 5:12).  God’s entire work of redemption from the moment of the Fall onward has been aimed at reversing the effects of sin in man and in creation.”[74]

However, the immediate context of verse 12 is dealing with spiritual salvation described as “reconciliation” being given to the believer in verse 11.  The phrase “…death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” is discussing spiritual death, not physical death, or people would physically die when they “sin.”  As I discussed before, in Genesis Adam died spiritually the very day he sinned.  Through Adam came the reign of spiritual “death” and “condemnation” in verse 18.  This spiritual death and condemnation that came through Adam is countered by Christ because through Him the “free gift” of the gospel is “grace” (v. 15), “justification” (v. 16), and a “reign of life” (v.17), which makes one “righteous” (v. 19).  These are spiritual graces upon the heart of man undoing the reign of spiritual death and condemnation brought through Adam.

Verses 20-21 are important: “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  When the Mosaic law entered the picture, it did not make death any worse, but it did increase and magnify the power and reign of spiritual death and sin in the heart of man.  This is most eloquently described by Paul in his struggle of what the law produced when it was brought upon his conscience in chapter 7.  Saul, the self-righteous Jew, thought they were “alive” under the law, but when they realized that the law could only magnify their sin and it could not completely take it away, they “died” (7:9).  Obviously, Paul did not biologically die the day he realized this.  The entire context of Romans is dealing with overcoming the spiritual death passed down through Adam, which was magnified through the giving of Torah.  This spiritual death was found in the corporate body of the sin, the death, and the flesh which Paul brings out and develops more in chapter 6.

As previously mentioned, fortunately some Pauline reformed theologians are beginning to see what we have in these Pauline terms.  Paul is not addressing an individual resurrection of a physical “fleshly” corpse in Romans 6:

“The concrete mode of existence of sinful man can sometimes be identified with sin as the ‘body of sin’ (Rom. 6:6), the ‘body of flesh’ (Col. 2:11), the ‘body of death’ (Rom.7:24).  Accordingly, the life from Christ by the Holy Spirit can be typified as a ‘doing away with the body of sin’, ‘putting off of the body of the flesh, ‘putting to death the earthly members’, ‘deliverance from the body of this death’ Rom. 6:6; Col. 2:11; 3:5; Rom. 7:24) … All these expressions are obviously not intended of the body itself, but of the sinful mode of existence of man.”[75]

Quoting T.F. Torrance,

“In his death, the many who inhered in him died too, and indeed the whole body of sin, the whole company of sinners into which he incorporated himself to make their guilt and their judgment his own, that through his death he might destroy the body of sin, redeem them from the power of guilt and death, and through his resurrection raise them up as the new Israel[76]

This corporate view of the “body of sin” is also shared by F.F. Bruce:

“This ‘body of sin’ is more than an individual affair. It is rather that old solidarity of sin and death which all share ‘in Adam,” but which has been broken by the death of Christ with a view to the creation of the new solidarity of righteousness and life of which believers are made part ‘in Christ.’”[77]

Holland feels that T.W. Manson has come the closest to the truth:

“He questioned the traditional assumption that in the phrase ‘body of Sin’ the term ‘of Sin’ is a genitive of quality; he argued that it ‘does not yield a very good sense’.  He took it to be a possessive genitive, and said, ‘It is perhaps better to regard “the body of sin” as the opposite of “the body of Christ”.  It is the mass of unredeemed humanity in bondage to the evil power. Every conversion means that the body of sin loses a member and the body of Christ gains one’”[78]

And developing the corporate body motif, commenting on Romans 6:6:

“Also, in 6:6 Paul refers to ‘putting off the old man’.  Once again this has traditionally been seen as a reference to the sinful self that dominated the life of the believer in the pre-converted state.  However, the same terminology is used in Ephesians 2:15 where Paul says, ‘to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace’.  He then goes on to say in 4:22-23, ‘put off your old self (anthropos – man), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’  The exhortation is parallel to that in Romans 6:6ff.  Thus, the new man, which Paul exhorts the Romans to put on, is corporate, for ‘the new man’ in Ephesians is the church, and the two who have been united to form this new man are the believing Jews and the believing Gentiles.  This corporate understanding is further supported by Colossians 3:9-15…  The realm where distinctions are abolished (here there is no Greek or Jew, v. 11) is clearly corporate.  This is indicated by two considerations.  First, ‘here’ is clearly the realm where all distinctions are abolished, and this is the new man.  Second, the meaning of the one body into which they were called (v. 15) is obviously corporate.  These descriptions of corporateness are in the context of the description of the old and new self (vv. 9, 10).  The rendering of anthropos as self by the NIV and sarx as flesh in the AV has inevitably promoted the individualistic understanding and confused the mind of the English reader.  Furthermore, that Paul’s exhortation is corporate is shown in that he appeals to them, “as God’s chosen people clothe yourselves’ (v. 12).  Thus, identifying the imagery of the old and new man as being corporate, and appreciating that it is part of the description of the ‘body of Sin’ in Romans 6:6, along with the other considerations we have presented, establishes a corporate meaning for the term the ‘body of Sin’.”[79]

What is the Soteriological and Eschatological Goal of Christ’s Substitutionary Work?

Before we leave the topic of being in Adam or in Christ, we should probably really define what Christ’s substitutionary redemption and mission is and what it isn’t.

If one defines Christ’s substitutionary work to be that Christ died physically so we don’t have to, then Christ’s redemption has been an epic failure for some 2,000 plus years and counting.  But as we have seen, the WUESTNT correctly translates 1 Corinthians 15:26 as “the death” (that came through Adam – spiritual death and separation) which was already in the process of “beING destroyed” due to Christ’s work on the cross and what He would imminently do at His Parousia to bring an “end” to the old covenant age in AD 70.  If physical death was “being destroyed” in Paul’s day and ours, we should expect physical corpses beginning to rise and walk about like the “Walking Dead” show.  Or we should see men living to be 200 – 900 years old.

And if the “wages of sin is biological death,” and Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross was designed to reverse this process, then again why do we still sin and die physically?  Jesus said that if one believed in Him and kept his commandments he would “never die.”  Again, if this is physical death, then once again Christ’s work and your faith prove Christ and Christians are epic failures.

But if Christ’s substitutionary and redemptive work on the cross and at His Parousia in AD 70 was designed to overcome the spiritual death that came through Adam, now we can understand the following passages:

  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46).

And why Paul teaches:

  • “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern/type of the one [Greek mello] about to come.  But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!  Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.  For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Rms. 5:12-21).
  • God made him who had no sinto be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • “Truly, truly, truly, I tell you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death” (Jn. 8:51). “…and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this” (Jn. 10:26)?

Here is a chart that may help:

Adam’s ONE Trespass Christ’s ONE Righteous Act
Sin entered the world Righteousness entered the world
Spiritual death entered the world Spiritual eternal life entered the world
Spiritual death and separation reigned from Adam to Moses w/ Torah magnifying how sinful sin is and how short we fall. For those in Christ, spiritual eternal life and righteousness reigns and brings us into God’s presence.
Many died spiritually in their covenant head of Adam Many are made alive in their covenant head of Christ
Spiritual judgment and condemnation came through Adam Spiritual gift of grace brings justification through Christ
One act of disobedience made those in Adam sinners One act of obedience made those in Christ righteous before God
Christ became sin for us so that  …we might become the righteousness of God

It should be clear that spiritual death and life and positional truth is what is being communicated here by Jesus and Paul.  If we are in Adam, we are subject to sin’s power which results in spiritual separation and death from God’s presence.  But if we place our faith in Christ and we are granted the gift of His grace, then positionally and spiritually we “never die”, we “become the righteousness of God,” are “justified before Him,” and “righteousness reigns in us.”

Christ died to sin or became the curse of Adam’s sin/death which separated us from God’s presence.  This “last enemy” and curse of spiritual death is what was in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day.  When Adam sinned, he died spiritually.  Christ lived a perfect life and committed no sin, so He was a perfect sacrifice capable of satisfying God’s righteous and just wrath so that “we might become the righteousness of God.”  Now through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and Parousia, we live in the new covenant creation or the “world of righteousness” and are perfectly forgiven in His sight.  And this gift of faith and of His unconditional grace causes us to be born of God whereby we “do not sin, because His seed/presence remains in us, and we cannot sin because we are born of God” (1 Jn. 3:9).  That is, a true child of God cannot commit the specific sin “leading to death” (1 Jn. 5:16-18) which would once again bring us into the spiritual death and headship of Adam.  Or as John would reinforce his meaning in Revelation 3:12, those of us who are in the righteousness of the New Jerusalem will never leave the gates and return to the spiritual death and darkness of being in Adam.

The Sovereign Grace Full Preterist has a substitutionary redemption that has been “accomplished and applied,” which has produced the 100% goal Christ came
to accomplish between AD 30 – AD 70.  We are “in Christ”, “we are His righteous-ness,” and we will “never die” and be found outside of His marvelous grace!  We are made perfect before the Father and behold His face because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross and through His “soon” Second Coming (1 Cor. 13:10-12/Rev. 22:4-7, 10, 20).  Selah.

Paul’s Consistent Use of Terms

Not only do I agree with Holland in his development of Paul being a Hebrew and thinking in Jewish collective or corporate body terms, but I also agree with him that Paul has a “system of theology” that he draws on when he uses certain words, terms, and phrases throughout his various writings:

“Also, it seems quite inconceivable that a man of Paul’s intellectual caliber should be so haphazard as to be indifferent to these alleged inconsistencies.  At Paul’s instruction, his letters were being passed around the churches (Col. 4:16).  Was he not concerned with consistency?”[80]

Paul’s themes of being in a corporate body, whether in “Adam” or “Christ,” in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15, and being raised in the likeness of Christ or experiencing deliverance from “law” (Adam in the garden) or “THE law” (Israel groaning under the Mosaic law), has nothing to do with a casket resurrection from biological death for believers.  This is a soteriological resurrection from the spiritual death inherited from Adam.  The order of being planted or buried first and then simultaneously dying only to be changed and resurrected into Christ’s image is also the same in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15.  We will look at this shortly.

Corruption v. Incorruption

Here is how Paul elsewhere uses “corruption”:

1). “that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).

We should quote from John Lightfoot once again who not only saw the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 to be the corporate body of the Church (which we are arguing is also the case here in 1 Cor. 15), but also identified “vanity” “corruption,” etc. to be internal spiritual vices within the heart of man:

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.”[81]

And again,

“The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time,) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.”[82]  

2). “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8).

Sowing to the flesh has to do with giving in to internal temptations of the mind and heart, and reaping “corruption” has to do with inheriting (in this world and the next) the consequences of sin.  But if one sows to the Spirit, he reaps “eternal life” in this world and the next.  “Corruption” does not have to do with biological flesh.

3). “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.  If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that are unto corruption in the using [or perish as they are used])—according to human precepts and teachings?  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:18-22).

“Corruption” here is referring to the seducing Judaizers seeking to influence Jewish, and/or their proselyte Gentile, Christians into going back under the Mosaic Law to be justified before God.  Seeking to be justified by the Mosaic Law as a means of salvation meant being under the “corruption” of these false teachers and this system which would soon perish with its teachers in the events of AD 70.  Again, “corruption” is an internal reality of the heart and mind connected to sin and false teaching, not a biological change.

4).  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Peter 1:3-9).

It was the knowledge and life of the gospel that delivered them from the inner “corruption” that was in the Jewish or heathen world of false religion.  Peter is consistent with Pauline theology.  Paul taught that through faith they were already being transformed into the image of Christ, which was obviously not a biological process that had already begun (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).  And according to Paul in Colossians 3:9-10, Christians were “putting off the old self” and “putting on the new self” as a process of “being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its creator.”  Being in the “image of the creator”, “being transformed into the image of Christ,” or “partaking in the divine nature,” for Peter and Paul these were non-biological events and had to do with a change of mind and heart which the gospel had produced and was producing within the hearts of Christians.

5). “For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:18-20).

Once again, we have a warning to not go back to false religion which enslaved men’s hearts and minds to the vices of sin and “corruption,” which the inner “knowledge of Christ” had delivered them from. As we have seen, this Greek word for “corruption,” as used elsewhere in the NT, does not entail a biological corruption of physical flesh needing a biological resurrection or change, nor is it being used this way by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.

But what of Paul’s use of “Incorruption” or “immortality”?

If “corruption” had to do with internal sin, then “incorruption” would seem to be the opposite.  The Adamic or Mosaic world and belief system could only produce, expose and magnify the “corruption” of sin in the heart.  The new covenant world and body of the gospel imputed Christ’s righteousness, resulting in eternal life or “incorruptibility.”

1). He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rms. 2:7-8).

Here “immortality” or “incorruptibility” are equivalent to “eternal life.”  Earlier, we looked at the “already and not yet” (AD 27-30—AD 70) “hour” (Dan. 12:1-4 OG) of the early church receiving eternal or resurrection life, and it had nothing to do with a biological change that was taking place.

2). “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (Eph. 6:24).

The new covenant gospel and love of Christ for His Church and her love for Him (and family members) cannot be corrupted or fail (1 Cor. 13:7-8).

3). “…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me” (II Tim. 1:10).

To understand this passage better we need to go to chapter four:

“I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his reign—preach the word; be earnest in season, out of season, convict, rebuke, exhort, in all long-suffering and teaching, for there shall be a season when the sound teaching they will not suffer, but according to their own desires to themselves they shall heap up teachers—itching in the hearing, and indeed, from the truth the hearing they shall turn away, and to the fables they shall be turned aside. And thou—watch in all things; suffer evil; do the work of one proclaiming good news; of thy ministration make full assurance, for I am already being poured out, and the time of my release hath arrived; the good strife I have striven, the course I have finished, the faith I have kept, henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of the righteousness that the Lord—the Righteous Judge—shall give to me in that day, and not only to me, but also to all those loving his manifestation” (2 Tim. 4:1-8 YLT, BLB, LSV).

Paul was entrusted with the gospel which brings immortality or eternal life to the soul of man.  Paul knew severe persecutions were coming for him before the “about to” approaching “day” of the Lord.  His confidence was in knowing that God was going to guard his God-given faith and soul as a precious deposit as that day was “about to” come and his life was going to be poured out (just prior to the events of AD 67 – AD 70).

There is nothing here about Paul having a hope that was connected to an “incorruptible” physical body that he would get at the end of world history.  His deposit was his faith and assurance that his soul was about to receive the gift of eternal life or incorruptibility and immortality.

Peter defined this “ready to be revealed” “inheritance” as the “salvation of the soul” (1 Pet. 1:4-9).

After reading the above verses to see how Paul and the other New Testament writers use them elsewhere, it can be seen that the term “corruption” has reference to life under the Law of Moses and life “in Adam.”  Notice that it was possible to be under a state of “corruption” without having to be dead physically.  Instead, this term had reference to life under the dominion of sin.

Likewise, “incorruption” was used to describe those in the body of Christ.  Those enjoying the “incorruption” or “immortality” were those who had been added to the body (Church) of Christ by responding positively to the gospel.  Just as the Church had to progress towards perfection, the individual Christians within the Church had “incorruption” while at the same time waiting for it to come on the day when God’s wrath would be revealed (Romans 2:7).  This idea is called by some as the “already but not yet” of eschatology.  Because the “already” was not of a physical nature, it makes sense that the “not yet” would be of the same nature.  If you saw the head of a dog coming around a corner, you would expect to see the tail of a dog – not of a cat – following shortly thereafter.  The dog doesn’t change into something else just because it is fully revealed. In like manner, the nature of the incorruption (the spiritual salvation of the soul) remains the same from initiation to consummation.

Natural v. Spiritual

1). “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritualThe natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:6-14).

In the next chapter Paul explains when the “things” were coming that the natural man could not understand:

“So then, let no one glory in men, for all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things about to be — all are yours,” (1 Cor. 3:22 YLT).

The rulers of Paul’s “this age” were the civil and religious rulers of the old covenant age that had crucified Christ and were “natural” men, unable to discern the spiritual blessings coming under the new covenant creation.  They and their system of power and authority were going to “pass away.”

Many exegetes are correct to point out that Paul combines the “things” of Isaiah 64:4 with the coming inheritance of the new creation of Isaiah 65:17 in this OT echo.  Paul in verses 10-14 teaches that the natural man could not accept these new covenant or new creation “things” that were being revealed by the Spirit because these were “spiritual truths.”  The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit, the new birth or God’s people becoming a spiritual “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17/Isa. 65).  The inheritance of the “things” of the new creation of Isaiah 65 were “about to be” received or inherited by the new covenant body of the Church while the rulers of the old covenant “this age” were going to pass away.

2). “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly/natural, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James. 3:15).

When was the harvest of judgment and righteousness coming?

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door” (Jms. 5:7-9)

The rich professing Christians were causing division and persecuting the poor Christians in the Church.  Some Christians were even getting caught up into natural/earthly thinking that was demonic and from below, not from new covenant living which was “from above.”  It was important for true Christians to live out their new covenant faith and thus demonstrate that their faith was genuine and without hypocrisy, because the Judge was “at the door” and “at hand.” Those who were natural/earthy were like grass and a flower that would soon be burned up or pass away while others would inherit the crown of life (eternal life) at Christ’s imminent coming in AD 70 (James. 1:11-12/5:7-9; 1 Pet. 1:24/4:5-7, 17/2 Pet. 3).

3). “It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.  They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”  It is these who cause divisions, worldly/carnal/earthy people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 1:19-21).

Judaizers are here described as “carnal” false teachers seeking to place believers back under the Law. 1 Enoch and other Dead Sea Scroll documents predicted that the end of the age judgment of Satan, the Watchers and the wicked would take place in the first century and by AD 70 just as the teachings of Jesus and the NT developed.  Very similar to what we just saw in the book of James, being “carnal” or “worldly” has nothing to do with the physical flesh of man, but being corrupted inwardly with sin and being “devoid of the Spirit.”

Earthy v. Heavenly

The Greek word for “earthy” is only used by Paul here in 1 Corinthians 15:47, 48, 49.  However, we can do a study of “heavenly” in the NT to understand what Paul is referring to.

1). “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water even the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above (or again).’  The wind5 blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”  Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?  Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things (Jn. 3:5-12)?”

Citizens of the old covenant kingdom were born by flesh and blood, sons of Abraham.  But under the new covenant kingdom, one had to be “born from above” through the Spirit and faith in the Messiah/Jesus – “not of flesh and blood, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:11-13).

 2). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:4-10).

According to Paul, when would the coming age arrive or when would the full inheritance into this heavenly realm arrive?

“…not only in this age, but also in the one about to come” (Ephs. 1:21 WUESTNT).

For Paul, one could experience spiritual resurrection and be in “heavenly places” while being in a physical body.  This spiritual existence would continue for the living in the new covenant “age about to” arrive in AD 70.  So to be “heavenly” does not mean to undergo a biological change.  Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 is teaching that the Church (comprised of the OT dead and the living) was in the process of being raised a “Spiritual Body.”

3). “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So, I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim. 4:17-18).

Again, within the immediate context, when did Paul see full access into this “heavenly kingdom” to take place?

“I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his Kingdom/Reign…” (2 Tim. 4:1 YLT, BLB, LSV).

While Paul had been delivered by the lions of the Jewish persecution, as we have seen elsewhere in his writings and as time progressed, it was revealed to him that he would die and his life would be poured out (martyred).  Even if Paul was alive, he understood that he was raised spiritually and currently in “heavenly places,” or if he were to die his soul was “about to” experience the inheritance of the “crown of life” (eternal life) and thus the “manifestation of His Kingdom” at Christ’s imminent coming.  There’s no evidence here that to be raised in a spiritual body means to undergo a biological corpse resurrection.

4). “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.  For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb. 3:1-6).

“Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:23-28).

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb. 12:22-24).

According to the writer of Hebrews, when would the “heavenly Jerusalem/City” arrive?

“For we have no permanent city here, but we are longing for the city which is soon to be ours” (Heb. 13:14 Weymouth New Testament, see also “one about to come” – Worrell NT; Worsley NT; Smith’s Literal Translation)

Through the “heavenly calling” of the gospel, biologically living Christians were already being raised and experiencing and tasting the heavenly realm and calling (having come to or among angels, Christ and the spirits of just men made perfect).  Moses was over a physical old covenant “house,” while Jesus was an administrator and trailblazer in perfecting the new covenant spiritual “house,” which is the body of Christ.  In Hebrews 9-10 the spiritual new covenant body is depicted as the “second” (typified as the Most Holy Place house), and when Christ would come in “a very little while and would not delay” in AD 70, the “first” (the “present age” of the old covenant system, or typified as the Holy Place) would not be standing or have legal standing (Heb. 9:1—10:37).  This is when the “heavenly Jerusalem/City” that was “soon” or “about to” come did come.  Post AD 70, God has raised and filled His spiritual body or house / New Jerusalem / Most Holy Place with His presence (cf. Rev. 21:16—22:17).  There was no biological fleshly change or resurrection for the saints to undergo to experience this “better resurrection” under the new covenant.  Nor is Paul teaching that a biological resurrection of flesh is necessary to be raised a spiritual or heavenly body in 1 Corinthians 15.

The weakness of Flesh v. Power

1). “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 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” (Mt. 16:13-17).

The revelation of who Christ is, or entrance into Christ’s kingdom, is not something that the power of “flesh and blood” can achieve; it is only something God who is in heaven can grant.

2). “…who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

Again, under the old covenant kingdom, one was and could be born of the blood and flesh of Abraham, but under the new covenant kingdom one had to be “born of God”, “born from above,” and “born of the Spirit.”  This was and is nothing the power of natural man (“flesh and blood”) can achieve.

3). “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.  For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.  And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.  But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh/anyone” (Gal. 1:11-16).

Neither “flesh” nor anyone can ultimately be said to bring one into the kingdom.  It is solely the work of God and His grace.  The power of any man/flesh cannot achieve or bring one into the kingdom ; it is a revelation and birth only God can grant.

Back to the Corporate Body Motif

David Green helps harmonize Paul’s corporate body motifs:

“To find Paul’s meaning, we need only find where in Scripture Paul elaborated on the doctrine of a human “body” that had to be sown/planted/entombed and concurrently put to death, in order that it could be made alive and changed in the resurrection of the dead.  This takes us to Romans 6-8, Colossians 2, and Philippians 3.

In these Scriptures, especially in Romans 6, Paul teaches that believers had been bodily “planted,” through Spirit-baptism, into death / into the death of Christ, in order that the body that had been planted/buried (the “body of Sin,” the “mortal body,” the “body of Death,” the “body of the sins of the flesh,” the “vile body”) would be abolished / put to death, and then be made alive and changed/conformed to the image of the Son of God in the kingdom of heaven. Note the order: Burial then death.

This sequence in Romans 6 is exactly, step by step, what Paul teaches concerning the resurrection of the body in 1 Cor. 15:36-37 and its context.  Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15 both speak of concurrent body-burial and body-death, followed by consummated body-death, body-resurrection, and body-change. Futurist assumptions notwithstanding, there is no doubt that 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 6-8 are speaking of the same burial, death, resurrection, and change—and therefore of the same body. 

The Body

What then is “the body” that was being put to death in Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15? What is the meaning of the word “body” in these contexts?  Essentially, or basically, the “body” is the “self” or “person/ personality” or “individual,” whether that of a singular saint or of the singular church universal (the body of Christ).

According to definition 1b of the word σωμα (body) in Arndt and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, the word “body” in Paul’s writings is sometimes “almost synonymous with the whole personality . . . σώματα [bodies] =themselves.”

Note how that “body” and “yourselves” are used interchangeably in Romans 6:12-13:

Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting your members [of your mortal body] to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members [of your mortal body] as instruments of righteousness to God.

Compare also 1 Corinthians 6:15 and 12:27, where “you” and “your bodies” are synonymous:

. . . your bodies are members of Christ . . . . (1 Cor. 6:15)

. . . you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)

See also Ephesians 5:28, where a man’s body-union with his wife is equated with “himself”:

So, husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

However, the word “body,” when it is used in reference to the eschatological resurrection, means more than merely the “self.” Paul is not using the word as a common reference to “the whole person.”

It does not refer to man’s anthropological wholeness (i.e. material body+soul+spirit=the body). Paul is using the word in a theological eschatological sense to describe God’s people as they are defined either by the wholeness/fullness (body) of Adamic Sin and Death or the wholeness/fullness (body) of Christ. The body is either the “person” united with Sin and Death, or the “person” united with Christ, whether individually or corporately.

We can begin to see this in Colossians 3:5 (KJV), where the body parts (members) of the Sin-body are not arms and legs or other physical limbs. The members of the “earthly body” were death-producing “deeds,” such as “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness . . . ” (cf. Rom. 8:13). Thus, John Calvin wrote in his commentary on Romans 6:6:

“The body of sin . . . does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass . . . of sin.” Since a body is the sum of its parts, and since the parts of the Sin-body are sins/sinful deeds, it follows that “the body of Sin” is not the physical aspect of man.

Instead, the whole of the sins/deeds of the body equals the body of Sin. Or more accurately, the body of Sin was God’s people as they were identified with and defined by the Sin-reviving, Sin-increasing, Death-producing world of the Law.

When Paul said that believers were no longer walking according to “the flesh” (Rom. 8:1, 4, 9), he was saying that believers were putting to death the deeds of the “body” (Rom. 8:10-11, 13). The parts/members of the body equaled the deeds of “the body,” which equaled the walk of “the flesh.” “Flesh” and “body” in this context, therefore, describe man as he was defined by Sin, not man as he was defined by material body parts.

In Colossians 2:11, Paul said that God had buried believers with Christ, raised them up with Him, and had removed “the body of the flesh.” “The body of the flesh” was not the physical body. It was the Adamic man/self/person that had been dead in transgressions and in the spiritual uncircumcision of his “flesh” (Col. 2:13). That “body” (or as Ridderbos puts it, that “sinful mode of existence”) had been “removed” in Christ and was soon to be changed into the glorious, resurrected “body” of Christ.

As a comparison of Colossians 2:11 and Colossians 3:9 reveals, “the body” of Sin is virtually synonymous with “the old man”:

. . . the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh . . . . (Col. 2:11)

. . . having put off the old man with his practices (Col. 3:9; cf. Eph. 4:22)

Compare also 1 Corinthians 15:42 with Ephesians 4:22:

[The body] is sown in corruption . . . . (1 Cor. 15:42)

. . . the old man being corrupted . . . . (Eph. 4:22)

Compare also the references to “man” and “body” in Romans 7:24:

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of Death?

And in Romans 6:6,

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Rom. 6:6)

And in 1 Corinthians 15:44, 45:

. . . There is a natural body [the old man], and there is a spiritual body [the new Man]. And so it is written, the first [old] man [the natural body] Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [the last Man, the spiritual body] a quickening spirit.

Since the natural body is nearly synonymous with the old man, we should expect that the spiritual body is nearly synonymous with “the new man,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 with Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10 and Romans 13:14:

For this perishable [body] must put on the imperishable [body] . . . . (1 Cor. 15:53-54)

and put on the new man [the spiritual body], which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Eph. 4:24)

and have put on the new man [the spiritual body] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. (Col. 3:10)

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ [the new man, the spiritual body], and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)

As most futurists agree, “the old man” and “the new man” are not expressions that describe man in terms of physicality. “The old man” was man as he was in Adam, alienated from God and dead in Sin. He was “the body of Sin.” The new Man is man as he is reconciled to God in Christ, the lifegiving Spiritual Body.”[83]

The Eschatological Mystery

Elsewhere in Paul’s teaching on God’s “mystery,” he demonstrates how the OT predicted (and the NT revelatory gifts developed) the Jew / Gentile unity in the body of Christ.  Here, Paul is demonstrating how the living will be changed and raised with “all” the dead (including the OT dead) together – into the ONE raised and glorified Body of Christ.

The Trumpet Change and Israel’s Feasts

While no one disputes that Paul’s trumpet change here is the same trumpet catching away in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Partial Preterists object that it is somehow different than Jesus’ trumpet gathering at His Parousia in Matthew 24:27-31.  Of course, this is pure eisegesis on their part and a failure to harmonize Jesus’ eschatology with Paul’s, as previously demonstrated.  While we agree that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, we disagree with Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison and their un-creedal and unorthodox position that Matthew 24-25 is not the “actual” Second Coming event, and we disagree with their error that Matthew 24-25 is not the same Parousia and resurrection event as described for us in 1 Corinthians 15!

Paul is in harmony with Jesus when he says that not everyone in his contemporary audience would die before experiencing Christ’s Second Coming trumpet change/gathering into the kingdom (Mt. 16:27-28; 24:30-34/Lk. 21:27-32).

The living would be “changed” not in their physical biological substance, but rather in their covenantal stance before God.  The Adamic and old covenant body of death was natural, weak, mortal, and subject to being perishable.  It needed to be clothed and changed by the heavenly man.

The trumpet call at Christ’s Parousia here is fulfilling multiple OT concepts.  It is the trumpet blown at the wedding in Jewish culture that I have discussed in Matthew 24-25.

Jesus has already been described as the “first fruits,” so we also have the trumpet being blown to fulfill the first fruits of the harvest / resurrection motif or Succot (the feast of harvest).

The blowing the trumpet here also fulfills the typological ceremonial law or the feast of the new moon festival or the feast of trumpets.[84]  These last three feasts that were in the ceremonial law had already broken into Paul’s “already and not yet” eschaton in Colossians 2-3 and Hebrews 9-12, and they are present here in 1 Corinthians 15 as well.  Again, if the trumpet call and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 hasn’t been fulfilled and the OT Mosaic “the law” (v. 55-56) hasn’t been fulfilled, then the Church remains under “every jot and tittle” of the OT Mosaic Law today (Mt. 5:17-19).  One cannot posit the end and fulfillment of all of the ceremonial law to be fulfilled at the cross or Pentecost, because the ceremonial feast days composed the entire structure and function for Israel’s calendar year.  There were three more to be fulfilled post-Pentecost.  According to Paul in Colossians and the writer to the Hebrews, those ceremonial type-and-shadow ceremonial laws and feasts were “about to be” fulfilled at Christ’s “in a very little while and will not delay” Second Coming (Cols. 2-3; Heb. 9-10:37).

The Perishable to be Clothed with Imperishable – the Mortal with Immortality & 2 Cor. 3-6

Paul is not describing an individual’s biological body as being “perishable” and “mortal,” but rather the Adamic and Mosaic corporate body as “perishable” and “mortal” needing to be “clothed.”  To better understand Paul here, again it is important to let him interpret himself.

In 2 Corinthians 3-6 Paul contrasts the glories of the old covenant and new covenant with two houses/temples.  In 2 Corinthians 4 the resurrection is in view (vss. 13-14) and closes by expressing that this hope is not grounded on things which can be seen (that are physical and temporal), but on things that cannot be seen (that are spiritual and eternal) (v. 18).  The “earthly tent/house/temple” in 5:1 that would be destroyed is the corporate old covenant temple/house/system, and the spiritual “heavenly dwelling/temple/house” is the corporate new covenant system.  Their groaning for this house to be revealed from heaven to clothe them is realized in an AD 70 “soon” and “shortly” time frame in the form of the glorified New Jerusalem (which is the corporate body of the Church) coming down from heaven to earth in Revelation 21-22.  The NIV correctly captures the “already and not yet” of the New Jerusalem already being in the process of coming down (cf. Rev. 3:12).  This already and not yet process is in harmony with the eschatological Pauline process of putting on Christ, being transformed into the image of Christ, dying and rising, looking at God’s face spiritually in a dim glass or mirror, a boy maturing into manhood, and here in 1 Corinthians 15 being sown and rising into a spiritual body.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16 further elaborates that the new covenant temple promised in Ezekiel 37:27 (and thus that of 40-47) is the corporate body of the Church.  So the corporate and covenantal context between 2 Corinthians 3 extends to chapter 6:16.

The “groaning” to be further clothed in 2 Corinthians 5:2ff., which correlates to the clothing resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15, is the “groaning” and AD 70 imminent “about to be revealing” of God’s glory within the Church, which in context results in the full adoption of sons, the liberation of creation (of God’s people) and the “redemption of the body” (Rom. 8:18-23YLT).

As we have seen, Gary DeMar admits that the Greek word mello in Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as “about to be” and was fulfilled in AD 70.  But to admit this is to admit that the events of 18-23 were also fulfilled in AD 70.  Lightfoot correctly observed that the “redemption of the BODY” is the corporate body of Christ as in Ephesians 4:13.  Of course we agree that there was a corporate bodily change that was “about to be” fulfilled according to Paul, and that was a transformation from groaning in, and being under, the Adamic/Mosaic body of death to be liberated and raised into the glorious and redeemed body of Christ at Christ’s coming in AD 70.

Paul’s OT Echo’s – Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25

As there is a movement within the Reformed and Evangelical community that seeks to develop Paul’s Hebraic corporate body origins, which is beginning to see what Full Preterists have seen for the last 30 years, there is also a movement led by Richard Hayes which emphasizes developing the OT context of an OT reference or echo mentioned in the NT.  For example, Hayes writes,

“Thematic Coherence: How well does the alleged echo fit into the line of argument that Paul is developing?  Does the proposed precursor text fit together with the point Paul is making?  Can one see in Paul’s use of the material a coherent ‘reading’ of the source text?  Is his use of the Isaiah texts consonant with his overall argument and/or use made of other texts?”[85]

And,

“Satisfaction: Does the proposed intertextual reading illuminate the surround-ing discourse and make some larger sense of Paul’s argument as a whole?  ‘…A proposed intertextual reading fulfills the test of satisfaction when we find ourselves saying, “Oh, so that is what Paul means here in passage x; and furthermore, if that’s right, then we can begin to understand what he means in passage y and why he uses these certain words in that place.”’”[86]

In other words, one is encouraged to find and develop as many similarities between that OT original context and the context and flow of the NT author in order to understand how he is using it.  Therefore, it is important to examine what kind of bodily death and resurrection are taking place in Hosea 13 and in Isaiah’s little apocalypse (Isaiah 24-28), to help understand Paul’s use of them in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.  This will help us understand the kind of bodily resurrection Paul has in mind.

Isaiah 24-28 – Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse

Due to Israel breaking her old covenant Mosaic law (primarily for persecuting and putting to death their poor brethren – the sin of blood guilt), Israel’s covenantal world undergoes an apocalyptic de-creation and shaking process and she corporately and spiritually dies in the form of being ruled over by Gentile leaders.  Through captivity and bondage, Babylon scattered her outside of her land.  When Israel repents and is gathered back into the land, she undergoes a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection as described in Ezekiel 37.

In other words, Israel is a corporate Adam, and just as when Adam broke Edenic covenantal law and died a spiritual covenantal death, resulting in him being scattered from God’s presence (the garden/temple), so too when Israel broke covenant she underwent a covenantal spiritual death that resulted in her being scattered from God’s presence away from her temple and land.

The time of the eschatological wedding is the time of the resurrection (Isa. 25:6-8) and Jesus identifies the time of the wedding as taking place when the Roman armies would judge and burn Jerusalem, or within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 22:1-14; Mt. 24:27-34—25:1-13).

Paul’s other reference to Isaiah is his trumpet change which takes place at Christ’s Parousia, bringing about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23, 52.  This is the trumpet gathering of Isaiah 27:12-13.  And, again, this is the OT echo and foundation to the trumpet gathering and trumpet catching away of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that would take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation,” which Paul taught (under inspiration) and thus expected his first century “we” audience to experience.

 Hosea

Hosea’s context is clear enough as well.  Due to Israel’s spiritual adultery with Baal and breaking their old covenant law, God gave Israel a certificate of divorcement.  The corporate body of Israel breaking the old covenant law resulted not only in a divorce, but it is also described as Israel dying a covenantal and spiritual death.  This death is described as God sowing Israel as a seed into the Gentile lands throughout the Assyrian Empire.  Once again, we see the same kind of corporate covenantal death that came through Adam and Israel when they broke covenant and became spiritually dead and scattered/separated from God’s presence.

But Israel would once again be betrothed and married to God in her “last days.”  The “last days” are the last days of the old covenant age which ended in AD 70 and is consistent with the “this generation” coming of Christ that results in the eschatological wedding / marriage that takes place in the OT.

Simply put, there is no biological casket resurrection that takes place at the end of world history found in Hosea or Isaiah, which Paul uses as his source for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  The parallels are a spiritual corporate and covenantal resurrection, not an individual biological resurrection.  This is consistent with what we have seen earlier when harmonizing Paul with Paul in Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Victory Over the Mosaic OC “the Law” = Victory Over “the Sin” and “the Death”

Some commentators not only puzzle over the present tense of “the death” in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day, but they also puzzle over his reference to the old covenant Mosaic “the law” thrown in with the timing of victory over “the sin” and “the death.”  These last two references seem to correlate well with the resurrection, but what does the Mosaic old covenant “the law” have to do with it, especially since most Futurists see the old covenant Mosaic law being done away with at the cross or possibly by AD 70?

However, there is no problem for the Full Preterist who correctly sees the resurrection as “about to” take place in Paul’s day, bringing an end to the old covenant’s “this age” at Christ’s “this generation” Parousia (Acts 24:15YLT; Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:27-31, 34).  When it came to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection before his accusers, he claimed he wasn’t teaching anything that couldn’t be found in the law and prophets – and Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25 / Daniel 12 are resurrection passages contained in the old covenant “the law” and prophets which Jesus said would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (cf. Lk. 21:22, 32).  Jesus does not posit the old covenant “heaven and earth” of the law and prophets to be fulfilled at the cross, but rather in His generation (Mt. 5:17-18 / Mt. 24:34-35).  This is when it was all fulfilled and when that heaven and earth system “soon vanished” (Heb. 8:13).

Death would be swallowed up, and victory over its sting would only be accomplished when victory over “the law” was attained.  This was brought to fruition at Christ’s first century generation Parousia that closed and fulfilled the promises contained in the Mosaic old covenant age of “the law.” 

Concluding 1 Corinthians 15

After a careful examination of Paul’s modus tollens logical form of argumenta-tion, it becomes evident that deniers of the resurrection of the dead were not denying Christ’s resurrection or those Christians who had died “in Christ” (the new covenant side of the cross).  They could hardly be considered as Christians or saints for denying Christ’s resurrection. They were in effect denying resurrection to a specific group – the old covenant dead, whom they assumed they had replaced or were not a part of the new covenant body of Christ as they were.

As we have seen, the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 demonstrate that an AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and contemporary first century “we” expectation of the Parousia and resurrection was realized and fulfilled in AD 70.

When we allowed Paul to interpret himself (using Romans 5-8), we came to a Scriptural understanding of “the [corporate] body” that was in the process of concurrently dying and rising (present tense) and was “about to be” redeemed.  The corporate and covenantal context and transformation of the temple/body of 2 Corinthians 3-6 also helped us understand what kind of body the early church was “clothed” with (and continues to be clothed with) at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 and beyond.

The examination of Paul’s OT texts (Isa. 25 & Hos. 13) to support His resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 were found to have nothing to do with a casket resurrection of individual biological corpses.  Rather, the cohesiveness and harmony for using those OT texts for Paul was to develop a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection to close the old covenant age in AD 70 at Christ’s ONE imminent Parousia.

When victory over the Mosaic old covenant “the law” came, then victory and resurrection over “the sin” and “the death” was realized.  Victory over the old covenant “the law” was realized when all of its promises were fulfilled and/or its “heaven and earth” soon passed away in AD 70 (Lk. 21:22-32; Mt. 5:17-18; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37).

“Orthodox” Postmillennial Partial Preterism teaches that there was a progressive, spiritual, corporate, covenantal resurrection for Israel and the Church between AD 30 – AD 70 which resulted in souls being raised out from the realm of the dead into God’s presence at the Parousia of Christ in AD 70 (per Dan. 12:1-7,13 and other texts).  As we have seen, THIS IS THE resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15!  Selah.

Individual Body and Corporate Body

When we read 1 Corinthians 15 or 2 Corinthians 5, it sounds very much like Paul is describing a spiritual individual body as the ONE corporate body of Christ, the Church.  And to a degree, I think that is what he is doing.  When one died prior to AD 70, we learn that his soul was gathered back to God who created it (Eccl. 12:7).  Because Christ had not come, even righteous men were separated from God in Abraham’s bosom or Hades.  In this state, they were not shadows or ghosts, but had individual, spiritual bodies that reflected the images they had here on earth.  God allowed Samuel’s soul to be disturbed and come up to visit Saul in 1 Samuel 28:11-20.  Here we see that Samuel’s soul/spirit had a body that resembled the body and appearance he had while on earth.

We often speak of our aging relatives on their death beds with language such as, “Grandma is in ‘her last days’; get a flight out here quickly!”  Or “come quickly and say your goodbyes, because ‘grandpa is fading away quickly’ or ‘passing away quickly.’”  We realize that there is a transition and transformation that takes place at biological death where the temporal shell of our body goes back to the earth and our spirit or soul (our essence – personality, memories, volition, etc.) receives a different form and can continue in that form forever.  In a similar way, the old covenant man/kingdom was never designed to live on this earth forever.  He was temporal and would at some point enter into his “last days” and “soon vanish,” but at the same time would experience a change or transformation into another form, a spiritual one fit for eternity.  God’s kingdom is now a kingdom of heaven “not of this world” and we are blessed to be in it.  When we die on this side of Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 and the end of the old covenant age, we are blessed to experience this eternal life separated from the distractions of life here on earth.  We will have a spiritual body that is recognizable, and will forever live in His majestic presence.

Before leaving the subject of the resurrection, many Futurists have taken 2 Timothy 2:17-18 out of context in order to try and condemn Full Preterism as “heretical.”  Therefore, before leaving this subject, we should address this crucial passage.

2 Timothy 2:17–18

“…and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Without 2 Timothy 2:17–18, the Futurist doesn’t have a biblical leg to stand on in his condemnation of Full Preterists.

Far from being an anti-preterist passage, 2 Timothy 2:17–18 is actually a condemnation of the implications of Futurism.  Allow me to explain.  First of all, Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers.  They were of a class of deceivers who taught Jewish “myths” and “genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4; Titus 1:4), and were self-appointed “teachers of the Law” (1 Tim. 1:7).  They taught believers to abstain from foods (1 Tim. 4:3), no doubt using the Levitical dietary laws as a basis for their teaching.

It is because Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers that Paul compared them to “Jannes and Jambres” (2 Tim. 3:8).  According to ancient historians, Jannes and Jambres were Egyptian magicians who challenged Moses’ authority in Egypt.  Like Jannes and Jambres, Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching the strange doctrines of “Egypt” (Rev. 11:8), and were challenging Paul’s gospel-authority, attempting to deceive Christians into believing that God’s new wine (the new covenant land of promise) could be contained within the old “Egyptian” wineskins of the old covenant world.

Likewise, in 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul connects Hymenaeus and Philetus to the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16:5, 26.[87]  Korah had led hundreds of the sons of Israel to challenge Moses’ authority.  As God had destroyed Korah and his followers in the wilderness, so God was “about to judge” (2 Timothy 4:1) and destroy the Judaizers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, and others like them (cf. Heb. 3:16–19).

According to the teaching of Hymenaeus and Philetus, because Jerusalem and the temple still stood (in about AD 67) after the resurrection had allegedly already taken place, it irresistibly followed that “the sons according to the flesh” were now the heirs of the eternal kingdom and that Paul’s Jew-Gentile gospel of grace was a lie.  The blasphemous error of Hymenaeus and Philetus was that the world of the Mosaic covenant would remain forever established after the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets had taken place and the new heavens and new earth (“the resurrection”) had arrived.

This “Hymenaean” heresy is the diametric opposite of Full Preterism.  According to Preterism, the old covenant came to an eternal and irrevocable termination in “the resurrection,” when all things were fulfilled in AD 70. There is absolutely no theological connection between Preterism and Hymenaeus’ blasphemous lie of an everlasting “ministration of death.”

However, there is a clear connection between the heresy of Hymenaeus and the implications of Futurism:  If “the Law and the Prophets” are not fulfilled today, and “heaven and earth” have not passed away, and the jots and tittles of the Law have not passed away, and all things are not yet fulfilled, as futurism says, then logically and scripturally the Law of Moses remains “imposed” to this day (Matt. 5:17–19; Heb. 8:13; 9:10).  This implication of Futurism is exactly what the Judaizers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, taught when they said the resurrection was already past in AD 67.

It is also interesting how Paul’s apologetic against Hymenaeus and Philetus is similar to that of those in Thessalonica who were teaching that the Day of the Lord had “already” happened (2 Thess. 2:3).  Notice Paul says nothing like our opponents try and reason against us, such as,

“How in the world could you believe anyone teaching that the Second Coming and resurrection have already been fulfilled in AD 70?!?  Just look around.  We are still here, so the rapture hasn’t taken place, has it?  Corpses are still in the graveyards, aren’t they?  The planet hasn’t been burned up and everything isn’t perfect yet, is it?  So how in the world could you believe the Second Coming and resurrection has already been fulfilled or is a past event?”

Futurists constantly feel that these “just look around; there’s no physical manifestations of the kingdom” type “arguments” are their first and best appeals at refuting Full Preterism and yet Paul never used them.  Why?  Because Paul was a Full Preterist and understood that the Second Coming and resurrection were spiritual and unseen events and that they were “about to be” fulfilled in his future.  Paul had no beef with those teaching that these were spiritual events. He just refuted the timing of their teaching (AD 70 and the destruction of the temple were still future to Paul and his audience) and their connections with the heresy of the Judaizers seeking to usurp his authority and the Torah-free gospel he preached.

Concluding The Resurrection of the Dead

It has been admitted by Jewish and Christian scholars alike that from within the historical context in which the Bible was written that “resurrection” did not have to mean God would raise all physical bodies at the end of the world history.  They concede that resurrection beliefs included the soul or spirit being raised from the body at death.  Or the soul or spirit being raised from Abraham’s bosom or Hades at the end of the old covenant age to be in God’s presence.  And the concept that the ancient Hebrews thought in terms of corporate word pictures and thus they anticipated a corporate bodily resurrection for Israel to go through in Her last days.  We have explored all of these and seen that Jesus and the NT authors taught there was a spiritual and corporate bodily resurrection or restoration of Israel taking place in Her last days in which the Jewish remnant and Gentile believers were “being raised” from the spiritual death and sin of Adam and being transformed into the glorious new covenant body of Christ – the New Jerusalem or Israel of God.  When Christ came out from Zion to bring this Jew / Gentile body to her “fullness” or mature state – then “all Israel was saved” and post AD 70 She welcomes the Nations to be spiritually “healed” and partake of resurrection or eternal life (Rms. 11:15-27; Rev. 22:2, 17).

I have established that the Full Preterist view of the resurrection of the dead honors:

1).  The imminent time texts pointing to AD 70 which was to bring an “end” to the old covenant “age” (not end world history).

2).  The Jewish belief and tradition that the resurrection of the dead would take place during a 40 years Messianic second generation between their old covenant “this age” and the maturing new covenant “age about to come” (AD 30 – AD 70).

3).  The Christian and Jewish concepts and teachings concerning a spiritual, corporate body, and covenantal resurrection to take place at the end of the old covenant age resulting in souls or spirits being raised from Hades / Abrahams bosom to inherit eternal life and God’s presence.  While honoring the Amillennial position as well in that there was to be only ONE general resurrection of the dead at the end of the age.

Therefore, the Full Preterist position is exegetical and harmonizes the conflicting views on both the timing and nature of the resurrection of the dead.   Let those who have ears to hear, hear and those with eyes to see, see.

[1] Lester L. Grabbe, An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus, (T&T Clark Publishing, 2010), see pages 93-96

[2] Ibid.

[3] Murray J. Harris, FROM GRAVE to GLORY RESURRECTION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT Including a Response to Norman L. Geisler, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 70

[4] (Historical Jewish Sources, https://preteristarchives.org/historical-jewish-sources/?fbclid=IwAR2Osz
DkXKqp8Z-qv0RFId1hjS6_tDT7hoysllAAjdGQpUOTi03OmHx67Nc

[5] I asked Don to send me some good quotes on Jewish and Christian scholarship developing the corporate body concept and this is what he sent me which I’m sure are quotes that he has used in many of his books which I highly recommend.

[6] Kiel and Delitzsch, The Pulpit Commentary, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/job/19-26.htm

[7] Green, Hassertt and Sullivan, House Divided, Ibid., 194-195

[8] James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 2007), 618

[9] Ibid., 618-619

[10] Ibid., 620

[11] Ibid. 621

[12] Ibid., 628

[13] Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538

[14] Ibid., 538 emphasis MJS

[15] Ibid., 538-539 emphasis MJS

[16] Ibid., 539 emphasis MJS

[17] Ibid., 540 emphasis MJS

[18] Kenneth Gentry, The GREATNESS OF THE BREAT COMMISSION, (Tyler, TX:  ICE Publishing, 1990), 142 emphasis MJS

[19] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 178

[20] Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51.

[21] Ibid., 46-47

[22] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68.

[23] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1994), 41, bold and underline emphasis MJS

[24] Ibid., 68

[25] Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Rand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.

[26] James B. Jordan MATTHEW 23-25 A LITERARY, HISTORICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision Inc., – this book is currently at the printer to be published), p. 180.

[27] Ibid.,p. 181

[28] G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131-132.

[29] Ibid., 131

[30] Ibid., 132

[31] Ibid., 132

[32] Ibid., 132

[33] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 179-178

[34] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  1998), 89.

[35] Ibid. 46

[36] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 246 footnote 45.

[37] Don K. Preston, Paul on Trial, PAUL, THE PHARISEES AND RESURRECTION, (Ardmore, OK: JaDon, 2020), 123

[38] Ibid. 125

[39] Ibid. 75

[40] Peter J. Leithart, REVELATION 1-11 INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY (New York, NY:  Bloombury T&T Clark, 2018), pp. 25-26

[41] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2 Systematic Theology (Pennsylvania, PA: THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), 390-391

[42] John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157. Lightfoot, Hammond, and Gill understand the “creation” to be referring to Gentiles. “ . . . Crellius (Comm., Para.) explains it as a reference to regenerate Christians and Le Clerc (Supp., NT) refers it particularly to Gentile Christians.” See also John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke.  I tend to see it as more of believers within old covenant Israel groaning under the law (Rms. 7) awaiting Messianic deliverance, but there is no reason to exclude righteous Gentiles also longing for the seed of the woman to deliver them from Adamic death and sin which the Mosaic Law only magnified.    

[43] Ibid., 158–159, emphases MJS

[44] John Lightfoot, Sermon on “Many Mansions,” cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/
vol06.pdf pp. 322-323

[45] Tom Holland, Contours In Pauline Theology (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 85–110.

[46] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, Ibid., 225

[47] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored work/debate, FOUR VIEWS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1998), 89

[48] Kenneth Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, TX: Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989), 141-142, MJS

[49] Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 98b).

[50] Targum Johnathan on Isaiah 53.

[51] Daniel Mann, Isaiah 53: Rabbis, Skeptics, and the Suffering Messiah, https://www.jewsforjesus
.org.au/isaiah-53

[52] Brown, Ibid., Vol. 2, 226-227.  This is taken from Nachmanides.

[53] Mitchell, Messiah be Joseph, Ibid., 16-17

[54] David C. Mitchell, Jesus The Incarnation of the Word (Newton Mearns, Scotland: CAMPBELL PUBLICATIONS, 2021), 39

[55] Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Revised and Expanded, (Thomas Nelson Publishers), p. 802.  John Owen, John Lightfoot, R.C. Sproul, Doug Wilson, Gary DeMar, Peter Leithart, and many more all understand Isa. 65-66 and 2 Pet. 3 to be the removal of the old covenant world and the establishment of the new covenant world in AD 70 – see the list of references on this page.

[56] See John Gill’s Exposition of the Bile or his online Commentary.

[57] Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 1, Ibid., 77-78

[58] Gill, Ibid., free online:  https://www.biblehub.com/commentaries/malachi/4-5.htm

[59] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[60] Adam Clark, Commentary on the Bible [1831], free online at: biblehub.com

[61] Don K. Preston, D. Div., ELIJAH HAS COME A Solution to Romans 11:25-27 (JaDon Management, 2016), p. 13

[62] Ibid., pp. 33-34

[63] Pastor David Curtis of Bereanbiblechurch.com — see his sermon “All Israel Will Be Saved” 06/03/2012

[64] Ibid.

[65] Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York:  E.P. DUTTON & CO., INC., 1949), 361-362

[66] quotes taken from:  Curtis Crenshaw and Grove Gunn, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, 204

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Wuest, K. S. (1997). The New Testament: An expanded translation (1 Co 15:20–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans

[70] Gordon D. Fee, THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans pub., 1987), 756

[71] Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A commentary on the Greek text (1234). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, emphasis MJS

[72] Holland, Ibid., see 90 – 107 for this discussion

[73] Don K. Preston, 2005, 2712 Mt. Washington Rd. Ardmore, Ok.

[74] Keith A. Mathison, co-authored book, WHEN SHALL THESE THINGS BE?  A REFORMED RESPONSE TO HYPER-PRETERISM, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 2004), 196

[75] Tom Holland, CONTOURS OF PAULINE THEOLOGY A RADICAL NEW SURVEY OF THE INFLUENCE ON PAUL’S BIBLICAL WRITINGS, (Mentor Imprint, Scotland, UK:  2004), 90, emphasis MJS.

[76] Ibid, 91

[77] Ibid., 91

[78] Ibid., 91

[79] Ibid., 95-96

[80] Ibid. 107 emphasis MJS

[81] John Lightfoot, Ibid., Vol. 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157.

[82] Ibid., 158–159, emphases MJS

[83] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, Ibid., 206-210

[84] For a good discussion on the present tense found in 1 Corinthians 15 as well as seeing how this chapter fulfills the last three feast days of Israel, see Don K. Preston, Paul on Trial, PAUL THE PHARISEES AND RESURRECTION (JanDon, 1405 4th Ave. N.W. #109, Ardmore, OK. 73401, 2020), 95f.

[85] Richard Hays, The CONVERSION of the IMAGINATION Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), 38

[86] Ibid., 41

[87] William Hendriksen; Simon J. Kistemaker: New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 268.

Daniel 9, The Seventy Weeks and the LXX (Guest Article by Don K. Preston)

Daniel 9, The Seventy Weeks and the LXX

Don K. Preston (eschatology.org)

Needless to say, Daniel 9:24-27 has generated an endless amount of prophetic speculation. Some of it has been, shall we say, off  the wall, while other students have attempted to deal objectively and seriously with this important text.

Much of the speculation concerning Daniel 9:24-27 has been and continues to be focused on where to begin the prophetic countdown. Others, such as myself, have focused on identifying with some degree of certainty, the ending point, the end of the seventieth week. See my books, Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, and Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection, and, The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Future or Fulfilled? to understand my position.

In this article I wish to corroborate what I set forth in those works by an examination of the LXX, i.e. the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Since the NT writers appealed so many times to the LXX, we are on good ground to at least consider the possibility that the LXX of Daniel 9:24f may contribute positive evidence to help identify when the seventy weeks were to end. After all, when one does a Google search on how extensively the NT used the LXX, on top of the very opening page we find this: “It has been estimated that the GNT (Greek New Testament, DKP) quotes directly from the LXX in 340 places, while quoting from the Hebrew (in what would become) MT (Masoretic Text, DKP) in only 33 places.” It is very clear that the NT writers had not aversion to citing the LXX.

For this article, I want to focus on verses 26-27 in the LXX translation in the Brenton version (1990) of the LXX found on BibleHub.com:

And after the sixty-two weeks the anointed one shall be destroyed and there is no judgment in him; and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming; they shall be cut off with a flood, and to the end of the war, which is rapidly completed he shall appoint the city to desolations. And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifices and drink-offering shall be taken away-and in the temple shall be the abomination of desolations: and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation.

To grasp the significance of the LXX rendering we need to examine several elements of verses 24-27 a little more fully.

Seventy Weeks Are Determined

The prophecy begins with the declaration in v. 24: “Seventy weeks are determined.” The word “determined” is important for what is to follow. This word is translated from the Hebrew khatak (Strong’s #2852), which means that God, “cut out” the seventy weeks from the rest of time and He designated, He determined, He appointed those things to occur within the confines of that seventy weeks. The six constituent elements of v. 24 would be fully accomplished within that determined seventy weeks. Those elements were not to be fulfilled outside the parameters of the seventy weeks. Everyone of them were to be fulfilled within the seventy.

It is somewhat common, however, for commentators to claim that the destruction of Jerusalem foretold in verses 26-27 were not a part of the actual 70 weeks. Kenneth Gentry for instance claims:

The events involving the destruction of the city and sanctuary with war and desolations (Dan.:26b; 27b) are the consequences of Messiah’s cutting off and not necessarily occur within the seventy weeks time frame. They are an addendum to the main prophecy, which Daniel presents in verse 24. The destructive acts are anticipated, however, in the divine act of sealing up or reserving Israel’s sin for punishment. Israel’s climactic sin– her completing her transgressions (v. 24) by cutting off Messiah– results in God’s act of reserving Israel’s sin until a later time. God will not postpone Israel’s judgment forever; it will come after the seventy weeks expire. This explains the “very indefinite” phrase ‘till the end of the war”; the “end” will not occur during the seventy weeks. The end occurs in AD 70, exactly as Christ makes abundantly clear in Matthew 24:14-15 (cp. 23:28; 24, 2, 34). (Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 319).

Gentry, continues to posit the end of the seventy weeks well before the destruction of the city and sanctuary

Although the prophecy clearly specifies the terminus of the sixty-ninth week, such is not the case with the terminus of the seventieth. The exact event that ends the seventieth week is not so significant for us to know. Apparently, at the stoning of Steven, Christianity’s first martyr, the covenantal proclamation begins turning toward the Gentiles (Acts 8:1). (Dominion, 2009, 318).

There are several problems with this claim and this article will demonstrate that. But look closely at just a few of the problems with Gentry’s claims.

✘ Gentry is essentially claiming that the seventy weeks were determined to determine the fate of the city and the temple. In other words, within the seventy weeks, Jesus determined the fate of Jerusalem, in Matthew 24 for instance. But Daniel was not told that seventy weeks are determined for Jesus to determine the fate of the city. The fate of the city had been determined long before Daniel wrote (cf. Isaiah 65-66)! And that determination was being confirmed in Daniel 9! Just as the making of the Atonement was predicted in Daniel and had to be fulfilled within the seventy weeks, the fate of the city was predicted in Daniel and was to be fulfilled within the seventy weeks. Gentry puts the final fate of the city outside the seventy weeks, when the text is very clear that “seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city.”

✘ Gentry’s claim flies in the face of the text: “Seventy weeks are determined on your people and your holy city.” The fate of the city and sanctuary was confined to the seventy weeks just as much as the other constituent elements. Thus, if you put the fate of the city outside the seventy weeks, you can put the fate of the people, including the blessings of the putting away of sin and the making of the Atonement, the fulfillment of all prophecy, etc., outside the weeks.

✘ Gentry overtly ignores the full narrative of Daniel 9 in regard to the finishing of the transgressions, i.e. the filling up of the measure of sin on the part of Israel. He claims that Israel filled the measure of her sin by rejecting Jesus and putting him on the cross. Make no mistake, that was a huge factor and element in that filling up of Israel’s sin (see Matthew 21 and the parable of the Wicked Vineyard workers). But that is not the full story.

In Matthew 23:29ff Jesus clearly said that Israel would fill the measure of her sin in that generation, and involved in that was to be the fact that she would kill his apostles, prophets and scribes. Likewise, in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Paul said Israel had killed the prophets, Jesus, and were  killing the apostles “so as to fill up the measure of their sin.” The killing of the apostles, which was of course well after the cross, and yet, that slaying of the apostles was contributing to the filling up of Israel’s sin. Paul even went so far as to say that it was through his personal suffering that he was “filling up that which is lacking in the affliction of Christ” (Colossians 1:24).

Finally, in Revelation 6:9-11 we find the martyrs under the altar crying out for vindication. They were given white robes and told to “rest for a little while, until your fellow brethren who should be slain such they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:9-11). The measure of suffering – and thus, the measure of sin – was not yet filled. But it was to be soon filled up because in Revelation 17:6 Babylon, the great persecutor of the saints, is depicted as holding a golden cup full of the blood of the saints. The number of the martyrs to be filled up as mentioned in chapter 6 is now full, and this is clearly not before the cross. It is simply wrong to say that Israel filled the measure of her sin by putting Jesus on the cross. For much, much more on the issue of filling the measure of sin / suffering see my book, Who Is This Babylon?

Since the filling up of the measure of sin was not completed in AD 51 (1 Thessalonians 2), and was not completed in AD 62 (Colossians 1) but was about to be completed in the later AD 60s  (Revelation 6) this effectively negates Gentry’s claims that Israel had filled the measure of her sin by putting Jesus on the cross.

✘ What Gentry is suggesting is that the actual fate of the people and the city do not belong to the seventy weeks but rather determination of their fate is what belongs to the seventy. But as the respected Hebraists Keil and Delitzsch note, the Hebrew of the text uses a series of infinitives which indicate that the constituent elements and the goal of the seventy was confined to the Weeks themselves:

The following infinitive clauses present the object for which the seventy weeks are determined, i.e., they intimate what shall happen till, or with the expiry of, the time determined. Although לְ before the infinitive does not mean till or during, yet it is also not correct to say that לְ can point out only the issue which the period of time finally reaches, only its result. Whether that which is stated in the infinitive clauses shall for the first time take place after the expiry of, or at the end of the time named, or shall develope itself gradually in the course of it, and only be completed at the end of it, cannot be concluded from the final לְ, but only from the material contents of the final clauses. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996),  Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 9, pp. 718–719). Hendrickson, Logos Bible program).

So, it runs counter to the text to say that the consitituent elements had to be fulfilled within the confines of the Weeks, but that the final fate of the city lay outside the Weeks. In reality, the constituent elements constitute and result in the fate of the people and the holy city. There are numerous other problems with Gentry’s views, which are held by a large number of futurists, but these few points show effectively that his attempt to divorce the actual fate of the city and people from the Weeks is misguided. See my fuller discussion of Gentry’s view in my book Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, available from this website, Amazon and other retailers.

As we proceed it will become very obvious that the end of the seventieth week had to have been in AD 70 with the determined destruction of “the city and the sanctuary.”

The thing to be noted is that the seventy weeks were as a unit “cut out” (khatak). That Seventy was the appointed time for the accomplishment of redemption. That Seventy was the designated time for the resurrection.1 That Seventy was the divinely determined time for the bringing in of the New Creation.

The Divine Countdown of the Weeks

In verses 25-26 we are given a time line of the key markers of the seventy week countdown:

Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince,  There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. (NKJV).

Notice that there are some very distinct time line markers in the text:

#1 – “From the going forth of the decree to rebuild to Messiah, there shall be seven and sixty two weeks.” That is from the command to rebuild the city until the coming of Jesus, sixty nine weeks. That is an initial time marker. But notice:

#2 – “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off.” It is all but universally admitted that “after the sixty-two weeks” actually means after the sixty ninth week, meaning “in the seventieth week.” Messiah would be cut off in the midst, the middle of the seventieth week. (This fact is devastating to the Dispensational paradigm that says the seventieth week was postponed by Jesus’ death. But per this time marker, his death was in the middle of the seventieth week. There was no postponement).

#3 – And after the sixty-two weeks the anointed one shall be destroyed and there is no judgment in him; and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming; they shall be cut off with a flood, and to the end of the war, which is rapidly completed he shall appoint the city to desolations.

It is somewhat perplexing that commentators have no problem noting that the death of Jesus was during the seventieth week, since it comes after the sixty ninth. Yet, they insist that the destruction of the city and temple must lie outside the seventieth. This in spite of the fact that the text says: “after the sixty-two weeks the anointed one shall be destroyed and there is no judgment in him; and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming. Thus, those positing the end of the seventieth week have to divorce the destruction from “after the sixty ninth week,” ignoring the connective conjunctive, and engage in “gapology” inserting a gap into the “and he shall destroy the city…” I suggest that this is inappropriate and that Daniel was being told that just as the death of Messiah was to be in the seventieth week, the destruction of the city and temple likewise belonged to the seventieth.2

Notice the focus on “the end.” What time of the end is this? Well, it is patently the end of Jerusalem and the temple, but more than that, it is the end of the appointed time! It is the end of the determined time ,” that was, “cut out.” by YHVH. Remember, Daniel was emphatically told that “seventy weeks are determined on your people and your holy city.” What is being described here in verses 26-27 is the consummation of that cut out time. This is where the LXX comes into play.

Remember now, the LXX is cited, echoed, quoted over 300 more times by the NT writers than they cite the Hebrew text. They clearly valued the LXX. With that in mind, look again at the LXX translation of the latter part of verses 26-27

And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifices and drink-offering shall be taken away-and in the temple shall be the abomination of desolations: and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation.

Notice that it speaks of “in the midst of the week” sacrifices and drink-offerings shall be taken away.” In the midst of what week? Notice that there are two “in the midst of the week” references. Messiah would be cut off in the midst of the week, and in addition the cultus taken away and the abomination of desolation set up in the other “in the midst of the week.”

There are only seventy weeks under consideration in Daniel 9. In what week was Messiah to be cut off? It was to be after the sixty ninth week, which, as even Gentry acknowledges, must refer to the seventieth week. So if Messiah was to be cut off in the midst of the seventieth week (which I personally take to be near the end of the first half of the seventieth week) then are we supposed to believe that the taking away of the sacrifices would take place in another week, totally disconnected and divorced from that same “after the sixty ninth” period, i.e. in the seventieth week? Or, is it better to understand this taking away of the sacrifices to occur in the second half of the time after the sixty ninth week?

Those who hold to the view that the Law of Moses was “nailed to the cross” affirm that the sacrifices became null at the time of Jesus’ death in the midst of the week and that annulling meant that they would be taken away. Appeal is made to Colossians 2:16-17:

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

We are told that here, Paul posited the annulment of the cultus of Israel, the mitigation, or nullification of those feast days, while their actual removal – as demanded by the text of Daniel 9 – then took place in the Jewish War – after the end of the seventieth week. This view is tenuous at best and actually contradicts what Paul said.

The apostle urged his Gentile audience not to be judged in regard to the New Moons, feast days and Sabbaths. The Judaizers were seeking to impose the Law of Moses on Gentile Christians. But Paul would have none of it. But contrary to popular belief, he was not saying that the Law was nailed to the cross. He said it was the “handwriting of ordinances” or better “the handwriting of debt” incurred through violation of the Law, that was nailed to the cross. As David Patterson, says in the Pillar Bible

The world exalphein (blot out) is the same as in Colossians 2:14f where it means “cancelling the bond that the law creates.” Thus, it was not the Law itself that was removed, nailed to the cross, it was the bond created by the law.”3

A search on BibleGateway.com shows that the force of the text – again, supported by the LXX – demands the objective cessation of the feast days, the sacrifices, the drink offerings, not “simply” an annulment of those heortes (feast days).

The feast days, the daily sacrifices, were removed in AD 66 at the initiation of the three and a half year Jewish War. (It was the daily sacrifices for the emperor that were removed at that time, due to the Zealots, and Josephus says that it was the cessation of those sacrifices that led directly to the war).4 The entire cultus was finally obliterated in AD 70 with the destruction of the temple.

When one carefully observes what Paul says in Colossians it becomes obvious that he did not say that the Law, with its festal observances, was nailed to the cross. Notice that after saying that the “handwriting of ordinances” was nailed to the cross, he says that the New Moons, feast days and Sabbaths were still, when he wrote, (present tenses in the Greek), still, when he wrote, “shadows of the good things about to come.”

Scot McKnight comments on how the commentators reject (or rather, “re-conceptualize”) the present and future tenses of the text:

Skia mellontwn, with the genitive being objective (they foreshadowed him who was to come”). The present tense of the participle is re-conceptualized in many grammar discussions to a past tense because, after all, that is the reality: Since Christ has come, the shadow imagined what was to come. However, one might consider aspectual theory as shedding another light: the author intends to depict the anticipatory time as action occurring in the audience’s imagination.5

The problem with this assessment is that those commentators who insist that the good things had already come, (and thus reject the present and future tenses), are overlooking the reality that the New Moons, feast days and Sabbaths, which Paul said were shadows, foreshadowed the eschatological consummation.6 Unless one is willing to accept the view that the Judgment, the parousia, the resurrection, all typified in the last three of Israel’s feast days, were already fulfilled, then this “re-conceptualization” on the part of the commentators needs to be rethought and rejected. None of the scholars or commentators who “re-conceptualize” the present and future tense of the New Moons, Feast Days and Sabbaths” believe that the typological foreshadowing of those final feasts has been fulfilled even to this day.

My point in this is to show that the claim that Daniel’s prediction of the cessation of the sacrifices would be “in the midst of the week,” at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, is untenable. It simply does not fit. The typological cultus was to pass away when it was fulfilled, when the shadow gave way to the “body,” and that was still future in Colossians (see also Hebrews 10:1-2).

All of this brings us to the time of the consummation, the end of the seventieth week. Since the cutting off of the sacrifices was to be in the midst of the seventieth week, and yet, could not be referent to the cross, this is highly suggestive that this second reference to the “midst of the week” points us to the second half of the final week. This means that Jesus’ death in the midst of the seventieth week occurred in the first half of that climactic week, while the cutting off of the sacrifices in the midst of the week referred to the last half of the seventieth week. And of course, this means that any suggestion that the final week ended with the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 “does not compute.” So, let’s look closer at the LXX and what it says about the consummation.

And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifices and drink-offering shall be taken away-and in the temple shall be the abomination of desolations: and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation. (My emphasis).

It has to be observed that the LXX posits the time of the taking away of the sacrifice at the same time as the appearance / committing of, the abomination of desolation in the temple. This means that those who posit the “taking away of the sacrifice” at the cross, must, once again, insert a gap of time between the cross and the appearance of the abomination. But these are clearly synchronous, or closely synchronous events and one would be hard pressed to identify the cross as the abomination and claim it took place in the temple. Furthermore, if one were to suggest this, it would demand that the church was to flee Judea when they witnessed the cross. That patently did not happen.

Take particular note of the last sentence: “at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation.”

The text does not, as a few translations give it, refer to the “end of time.” It is the time of the end. The Greek of the LXX text is tes suntelias kairou. Suntelia means consummation, full end.7 And it is literally “the end of the kairos. The word kairos means divinely appointed time. So, ask yourself the question: in Daniel 9:24f what was the  divinely appointed time? What was the determined time that God had “cut out” (khatak)? The only textual and contextual answer is, it was the seventy weeks that had been “cut out.” This refers to “the war,” when the city and sanctuary would be “cut off with a flood” (v. 26). At the time of that “the war” the Lord would “appoint the city to (the)  desolations.” What we see in verses 26-27 then is the repeated, emphasized focus on the appointed time of desolation and destruction of the city and sanctuary. This is emphasizing the fate of the people and the holy city that was divinely “cut out” to be fulfilled within the confines of that “cut out” time, the seventy weeks.

Attempts to divorce “the (appointed) time” of “the desolations” fail in light of this constant emphasis on suntelias tou kairos, (the end of the appointed time) which is nothing less than the khatak, the time cut out by YHVH.

Let me offer this:

The seventy weeks were determined (cut out, appointed) on the people and on the city.

The end of the determined, appointed time was the destruction of the city and temple (v. 26- 27, suntelias kairou).

Therefore, the end of the seventy weeks, the determined (cut out, appointed) time was at the destruction of the city and temple.

Take note of v. 24 and conflate it with v. 27:

Seventy weeks are determined (cut out) on your people and your holy city…

And,

“Its end shall come with a flood: literally “his (or its) end is a flood.”

Whose end, what end, was to come with a flood? Very clearly, the end of the people, the holy city and the sanctuary. JHVH had cut out and appointed the seventy weeks to seal the fate of the people and city, to accomplish consummation. The destruction of the city and sanctuary was “the appointed end of “the time.” The fate of the city did not lie forty years beyond the appointed, divinely designated and cut out time.

This means that in spite of all efforts to posit the end of the seventy weeks at the time of Stephen,  at the conversion of the Gentiles, or in our future today, the text of Daniel 9 traces for us key temporal markers of the countdown of the seventy weeks. The end of that countdown was the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. This is confirmed by a closer look at the final phrase of verse 27: “An end shall be put to the desolation.”

We have here a promise that when the fate of the city was completed in her destruction, that the appointed time (of verse 24) was truly completed. The desolation was fulfilled. The seventy weeks were ended. Consider a couple of facts.

Luke 21:24 and Daniel 9:27

Luke 21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Note that the word “times” is from kairoi, the plural of kairos – the divinely appointed time. Thus, there was a divinely appointed time for the Gentiles to trod down Jerusalem and Jerusalem would be trodden down until the end of that appointed time).

We have here a text that virtually all commentators agree is focused on the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans.8 Notice that Jesus said that destruction was to be the fulfillment of “all things written” (Luke 21:22). This statement stands as strong confirmation of the premise of this article.

Daniel was told that the seventy weeks were determined to “seal vision and prophet.” There is a wide ranging consensus that the meaning of the Hebrew means to put an end to the prophetic office through the fulfillment of all prophecy. Here is an extremely small sampling of scholarship on this, taken from my book, Seal Up Vision and Prophecy9: In that book, I adduce well over 20 top Hebraists testimony as to the meaning of “Seal Vision and Prophet.”

1.) “Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.”10

2.) “The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.”11

3.) “The vision and prophet will be sealed, that is accredited, because their final accomplishment has been reached in those events of blessing for God’s earthly people.”12

4.) “The reference is not to the accrediting of the prophecy, but to sealing it up so that it will no longer appear. Its functions are finished and it is not henceforth needed.”13

5.) “The words taken together refer to the final fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, i.e., when their functions are shown to be finished.”14

So, Daniel said that by the end of the seventy weeks all vision and the prophetic office would be brought to an end through the fulfillment of all prophecy.

The end of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 is the time of the destruction of the city and sanctuary, the time of the suntelia kairon, the consummation of the appointed time.

Jesus, predicting the destruction of Jerusalem, said, “these be the days of vengeance when all things written must be fulfilled”, and he was speaking of the kairos appointed for that destruction.

All of this falsies the claim that the seventy weeks ended at the stoning of Stephen, or in AD 34-35,  or at any time prior to the fall of Jerusalem. If one admits that “seal vision and prophet” was reference to all prophecy and the end of the prophetic office, (as most scholars admit),  it is untenable and illogical to suggest that the seventy weeks ended long before all prophecy was fulfilled and the prophetic office ended.

This is perfect harmony, perfect agreement, and helps confirm that the LXX of Daniel 9:26-27 is correct.

The fulfillment of all things written would in fact be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 9 which anticipated that within the seventy weeks “vision and prophet” would be sealed, fulfilled and finished.

Gentry has vacillated on this. On the one hand he is on record taking the position that all constituent elements of Daniel 9:24 were fulfilled in Jesus’ personal ministry.

It has been pointed out by several evangelical scholars that also contained in Daniel is an important prophecy which seems to tie the close of the canon and all prophetic revelation to the AD 70 destruction of the temple. Daniel 9:24 reads, ‘Seventy Weeks are determined… to make an end of sin, to make the atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place… after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince that is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood.’ This seventy weeks of years period is widely held among conservative scholars to read to the First Advent of Christ.15 (My emphasis).

To say that this comment is self contradictory is an understatement. If Daniel 9:24 was completely fulfilled in the “first advent of Christ” then Daniel 9:24 did not connect the close of the canon and all prophetic revelation to the AD 70 destruction of the temple. You see, Daniel 9:24 foretold the sealing of vision and prophet – i.e. the close of the canon and all prophetic revelation. That patently did not take place in the “first advent of Christ.”

Gentry vacillates- badly. He says the term seal vision and prophet means, “By this is meant that Christ fulfills (and thereby confirms) the prophecy ( Luke 18:31; cf. Luke 24:44; Acts 3:18).” (Dominion, 2009, 316). But this is not the same as saying that seal vision and prophet refers to the cessation of the prophetic office and completion of the canon by AD 70. Notice that Gentry claims that the sealing of vision and prophecy referred to, “By this is meant that Christ fulfills (and thereby confirms) the prophecy ( Luke 18:31; cf. Luke 24:44; Acts 3:18).” But this violates the Hebrew of the text. Daniel 9 does not refer to a singular prophecy, e.g. the prophecy of Jesus’ death. And it did not refer to the singular prophecy of Daniel 9 (limited, as Gentry attempts to do, to the personal ministry of Jesus). There is no definite article in the Hebrew of 9:24 to allow that application. The prophecy is a prediction of the comprehensive nature of vision and prophecy and cannot be restricted in the manner that Gentry does.

Commentators strive mightily to avoid the force and power of Jesus’ words about “all things written” being fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment. We are told that the “all things written” referred only to all Old Testament prophecy”16 or some other limited “all.” But those attempts fail for the simple fact that every eschatological tenet, the parousia, the judgment, the resurrection, the New Creation is inextricably linked to the time of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 in the OT.17 Jesus was only saying what the OT prophets said many times, and that in the last days destruction of Jerusalem, “vision and prophet” would be sealed up – all prophecy would be fulfilled and the prophetic office put to an end (Daniel 9:24 / 1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

Objection to this is offered by claiming that “the times of the Gentiles” refers to the time of Gentile domination and control of Jerusalem from the sixth century BC destruction of Jerusalem until the restoration of Israel in 1948 – or until the Second Coming of Christ. Amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger says:

When we come to the Olivet Discourse, we will see a redemptive- historical shift occurred with the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Jewish era. Yes, this destruction ushered in the times of the Gentiles. But the contrast between two ages is a contrast between the temporal and the eternal. ‘This age’ ends at the harvest, said Jesus, which is the day of final judgment when the wheat and weeds are finally separated and go to their eternal rewards. This does not refer to a temporal judgment on Israel but to the final judgment of the righteous and unrighteous.18

William Hendrickson, says that the times of the Gentiles extend to the final coming of Christ and cites Lenski and others who say that the times of the Gentiles last until the parousia.19

Linguistically this suggestion fails the test, however. The word translated as “trodden down” is the word pateo, and means active violent conflict and warfare20 (or in non-warfare texts, such as Luke 10:19, where it speaks of trodding down a serpent).

Kittel’s Theological Dictionary says that pateo is used in the LXX to speak of God’s historical judgments against the nations or Israel (p. 941). Cognates of the word are used to describe the destruction of warfare. Commenting on the NT usage of the word, with the exception of Luke 19, they say that “Like katapatein in the LXX passages, patein has here the sense of ‘ ‘plundering’ though one might go further and define it as ‘to plunder and desecrate”21

The fact is that from BC 586 until 1948 – and from 1948 to the present -Jerusalem experienced many times of extended peace without active warfare. It is therefore improper to claim that Jerusalem was trodden down for that period of time. What Jesus was saying is that Jerusalem would be trodden down, at the time of verse 20, the surrounding of, the conflict and desolation of the city by the Romans armies, until her destruction and desolation was completed. That was the time (kairos) of her visitation from God (Luke 19:43-44):

For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.22

So, Jesus said that Gentile warfare against Jerusalem to trod her down would endure for an appointed time. It must not be forgotten that Jesus emphatically posited that trodding down for his generation. He did not extend it beyond that time. He no where indicated that the trodding down would begin in his generation and then extend for two millennia. The trodding down is confined to his generation and specifically to the time of the war against Jerusalem.

Revelation 11:1-4 agrees with this, telling us that the holy city would be trampled down of the Gentiles for 42 months– which happened to be the time of the Jewish War!:

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread (pateo, DKP) the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.

Thus, we have Jesus in Luke and John in Revelation telling us that Jerusalem was going to be trodden down for an appointed period of time, the 1260 days, the time of the Jewish War, a period of 3 ½ years (i.e. 1260 days). Those defined times were the appointed times for the accomplish God’s wrath on Israel (depicted in the seven bowls of wrath in Revelation). That was the kairon time.

This is precisely what the LXX of Daniel 9:27 foretold. Notice again the LXX on Daniel 9:27:

And one week shall establish the covenant with many: and in the midst of the week my sacrifices and drink-offering shall be taken away-and in the temple shall be the abomination of desolations: and at the end of the time an end shall be put to the desolation. (My emphasis).

Note carefully that it would be at the end of the appointed time (suntelia kairou) that “an end shall be put to the desolation.” So, Daniel foretold a “determined” (cut out, divinely appointed) time for the people and the city. The desolations on the city would come at the climax or consummation of that determined time. That means that the end of the desolation and destruction would come at the end of the determined time. At the end of the determined, appointed time, the desolations would be brought to an end. To reiterate, what is the only “appointed, determined” time in the context of Daniel 9:24? It is the seventy weeks. Thus, the end of the determined time is the end of the seventy weeks since the end of the appointed time is explicitly said to be at the end of the desolations, it simply cannot be argued that the end of the determined time -the end of the seventy weeks – occurred long before the destruction.

Likewise, in Luke 21, Jerusalem would be trodden down, suffering desolation and destruction until the appointed times of the Gentiles (the kairoi of the ethnoi) was completed. It is important to see that in Luke 21:24 – The times of the Gentiles– is the divinely appointed time (Kairoi) appointed by YHVH, for the completion of the Days of Vengeance. This parallels Daniel 9 where the “cut out”  seventy weeks was the time divinely appointed to consummate the kairos as expressed by the LXX. That is the time appointed, cut out, by YHVH for the trodding down of the city and temple.

Notice how Luke further corresponds to Daniel 9. The arch-angel told Daniel that, “the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Or to refer again to the LXX, the Prince who was to be cut off in the midst of the week would then use another anointed one to destroy the city and sanctuary. Just like the death of the first Prince was  after the sixty ninth week, the second prince would come and destroy the city and sanctuary. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus (the first Prince of Daniel 9 was to be cut off after the sixty ninth week. But he was going to come in judgment of the city and sanctuary (Matthew 24:29-31. In Luke 21:20, the Roman army (the Gentiles) was the instrument used by the first Prince to destroy Jerusalem.

In Revelation 11, we find that forty two months were divinely “cut out” or appointed for the Gentiles – the people of the second prince in Daniel 9 – to trod (pateo) the “holy city” underfoot. The end of the forty two months – the end of the desolations – is the end of the appointed time. It is the end of the time divinely allotted to the Gentiles to trod down Jerusalem. It is the time of the end (or end of the time – suntelieas kairou) in Daniel 9.

We thus have in Luke and in Revelation a confirmation that the LXX rendering is correct: at the end of the appointed time for Jerusalem’s desolation, the desolations would end. That appointed time, as stated, is the seventy weeks. It is the kairos of Luke 19:44, the kairos (time) of the Gentiles of Luke 21. It is the forty two months of Revelation 11. This accumulative evidence is probative that the seventy weeks did not end at the Cross, or with the stoning of Stephen or the conversion of the Gentiles. It was in AD 70, the appointed time of the end.

Daniel 9 and Daniel 12 – The Kairos & Suntelias Kairos

Having established the importance of Daniel’s use in chapter 9 of kairos and suntelieas kairos, we need to turn to Daniel 12, where we find those identical words and terms. Once again we will look at the LXX and how it uses these critical words.23

– Daniel 12- Kairos is used twice to speak of “at that time” the Great Tribulation would occur and those in the Lord’s book of Life would be delivered.

– In Daniel 12:4 Daniel was told to seal his vision (which included the Great Tribulation and the resurrection) “until the time of the end” (heos kairou suntelieas).

– In Daniel 12:7 we find the term “time, times and half time” which uses kairos three times, to speak of the appointed time for the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision. Just as in chapter 9 the seventy weeks had been “cut out” appointed for the fulfillment of the vision, the “time, times and half a time” were equally “cut out” – divinely appointed- for the fulfillment of chapter 12.

– In Daniel 12:9 Daniel was told once again to seal the book of his vision “heos kairos peras” – until the time of the end. The word peras (end) was earlier used in 12:6, when one angel asked the other concerning the vision: “when shall these things be, and what shall be the end (peras) of these things.”

– In Daniel 12:13 the prophet was told that the fulfillment of the vision was for many times and seasons to come; it was far off. Daniel was told that he would rest until the suntelian hemeron (the end of the days)” – the time of the resurrection.

What must be recognized is that Daniel 9 and Daniel 12 are directly parallel with each other. This is proven in a variety of ways.

✸ Both passages speak of the “appointed time of the end.” This alone does not demonstrate that the two texts spoke of the same events, since, as noted above, Daniel 8 foretold the appointed time of the end, but specifically identified that as the last days of the Grecian empire. Nonetheless, when we consider the other constituent elements shared in Daniel 9 and 12, the parallels are impressive and probative.

✸ Both texts speak of the final fate of Israel – Seventy Weeks are determined on your people and your holy city” (9;24); “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered all of these things will be fulfilled” (12:7).

✸ Both texts speak of the abomination of desolation (9:27 / 12:11.

✸ Both texts speak of the taking away of the daily sacrifice (9:27).24

✸ Both texts speak of the overt destruction of Jerusalem, the temple and people (9:26-27 / 12:7). To reiterate the point from above, this clearly delineates chapter 9 and 12 from chapter 8 as well as chapter 11, since the city and temple were not destroyed in the time of Antiochus. They were desecrated and defiled, to be sure, but they were not destroyed as the texts in Daniel demand.

✸ Both passages foretold the time of the resurrection (9:24- “Seventy weeks are determined… “to seal vision and prophet” and, “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” It is agreed by all that the time of the resurrection and New Creation is the time of the final fulfillment of all prophecy. As I demonstrate in my book, Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, that term means to bring the prophetic office to an end by the fulfillment of all prophecy.25

Similarly, the prophecy in Daniel 9:24 anticipated the arrival of “everlasting righteousness.” While some commentators claim that this referred to Jesus’ incarnation work, establishing himself as “our righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). While of course, the text is clearly true, what is being overlooked is that the NT writers, after Jesus’ ascension to the Father, were still anticipating the arrival of the world of everlasting righteousness in fulfillment of the OT prophecies:

Galatians 5:5 – “For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”

2 Peter 3:13 – “According to his promise we look for a New Heaven and New Earth wherein dwells righteousness.” This new creation where righteousness was the order of the day was about to be revealed when John wrote Revelation (chapter 21). That New Creation would follow hard on the resurrection (Revelation 20:10-12).

So, Daniel 9 foretold the resurrection, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness at the fulfillment of all vision and prophecy, which is definitively delimited to the seventy week period. There is no allowance in the text to suggest the fulfillment of these elements anytime outside the Weeks.

Then, of course, we have the explicit prophecy of the resurrection in Daniel 12:2: “Man of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to everlasting condemnation.” Now, since the time of the resurrection is the time of the arrival of everlasting righteousness, and the arrival of the everlasting righteousness is confined to (not afterward) the seventy weeks, this is prima facie demonstration that the end of the seventy weeks was at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. This is true because the resurrection was to be fulfilled “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered (12:7). So,

The time of the resurrection is the time of the bringing in of everlasting righteousness.

The bringing in of everlasting righteousness was confined to the seventy weeks.

Therefore, the resurrection is confined to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.

Building on that and adding to it:

The resurrection is confined to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.

But the resurrection would occur at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (Daniel 12:7).

Therefore, the end of the seventy weeks was at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

These points undeniably demonstrate that Daniel 9 and Daniel 12 foretold the same time and the same eschatological tenets. Observe then, once again, that in Daniel 9 we find the appointed time of the seventy weeks. And the time of the end of the appointed time, the suntelias kairou, was the time of the devastation of Jerusalem and the temple (v. 27). Likewise, in Daniel 12 we find the appointed time of the end, the suntelias kairou, and that appointed time of the end is the resurrection, which was to be “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (12:7).

We thus have perfect correspondence between the “cut out” time of Daniel 9, (the seventy weeks) and its consummation (inclusive of the fulfillment of all prophecy and the resurrection) at the time of the overwhelming flood of destruction of the city and temple, In Daniel 12, that cut out, designated, appointed time of the consummation (inclusive of the fulfillment of all prophecy and the resurrection) is posited at the resurrection in Daniel 12.

I suggest therefore, that these facts fully establish that the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24 ended with the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

Implications

The establishment and identification of the end of the seventieth week in AD 70 has profound implications for a proper understanding of eschatology. Among other things, beyond the scope of this relatively short article, we can say that if our establishment of the seventieth week being consummated in AD 70 is valid, then several things flow from that:

★ It means that the Old Law did not pass away at the cross, since Jesus said not one jot or one tittle of the Law could pass until it was all fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18).

★ It confirms that Gentry and others who say that the actual destruction of the city and temple was after the seventieth week, but was “determined” in Jesus’ ministry are wrong. As noted, Daniel was not told that seventy weeks were determined to determine the fate of the city. The fate of the city was determined and sealed in Daniel 9 (not to mention Isaiah 65-66) and thus, the end of the weeks cannot be divorced from the weeks.

★ It proves that all prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70, just as Jesus confirmed in Luke 21:22, and as confirmed in Revelation 10:7 / 11:15f.26

★ It establishes that Jesus was after all citing Daniel as a prediction of the coming end of Jerusalem and the temple. If / since, the events foretold by Daniel cannot properly be applied to the time of Antiochus- see below for a very small sampling of the problems- then our construct falsifies the Antiochan application.

★ If, as I propose in my book The Elements Shall Melt with Fervent Heat, Peter (2 Peter 3) and Revelation (21-22) Peter and John were anticipating the imminent arrival of the world of everlasting righteousness foretold by Daniel 9, this establishes that Daniel 9 was thoroughly eschatological.  In fact, it predicted the resurrection and the New Creation. And of course, since Peter and John wrote long after the stoning of Stephen and the conversion of the Gentiles, and yet, they were still anticipating the bringing in of everlasting righteousness foretold by Daniel, it proves that the seventy weeks had not ended at those earlier times.

★ To build on the previous point, if in fact the seventieth week was fulfilled in AD 70, that more than effectively falsifies all attempts to mitigate the overwhelming objective imminence of the end expressed in hundreds of NT passages. If, as 1 Peter affirms, the OT prophecies of “the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow” (which assuredly includes Daniel 9), then the realization that those things were to come by the end of – or at the end of – the seventieth means that the NT writers were living on the very cusp of that consummative fulfillment. And they were, therefore, absolutely correct to say that the “end of all things has drawn near” (1 Peter 4:7) and “in a very, very little while, the one who is coming will come, and will not delay” (Hebrews 10:37).

I believe that the LXX translation of Daniel 9:24-27, compared with Luke and Revelation, effectively proves that the seventieth week of Daniel 9 ended in AD 70 with the prophesied end of the city and the temple.

Side Bar: As already suggested, the translation of the LXX falsifies the view that Daniel 9 predicted the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. In that view, first suggested by an anti-Christian named Porphyry, (third century AD) the “prince that is to be cut off in the midst of the week” was Onias III, the Jewish High Priest, who was displaced by Jason and then treacherously slain by Menalaus, who desired the priesthood for himself.27 But notice what the LXX says of this prince who was to be cut off in the midst of the seventieth week:

And after the sixty-two weeks the anointed one shall be destroyed and there is no judgment in him; and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming.

The Angel spoke of that Messiah / Prince who was to be slain, and said, “he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming.” (My emphasis). One objector to my position on this insisted that since the LXX says this Anointed One would be “destroyed” that this cannot be reference to Jesus. The problem with this claim is that the word in the LXX does not mean taken out of existence. It is commonly translated as “cut off” just the Hebrew text suggests. Thus, this “objector” was trying to impose his own concept of “destroyed” onto the text without understanding that it does not carry that meaning.

So, since the first Anointed One was to be cut off (meaning killed) we have the right to ask: How can a slain prince destroy the city by means of another prince that is coming? The LXX is patently telling us that this slain Anointed One, would use another prince to destroy the city! Is this not a subtle, but nonetheless powerful, prediction of a resurrected Messiah? (Makes one wonder if this reading, along with other details in the LXX text that has caused the Jewish rabbis to disparage the use of the LXX and do not consider it to be of “prophetic” significance”).

My point in regard to the Antiochan application of Daniel 9 is that if one identifies “the prince who is to come” and who was to be cut off in the midst of the week, as reference to the Antiochan period, this cannot, in any sense whatsoever, refer to the murder of Onias by Jason and Menalaus. How could Onias, who was murdered, destroy the city and temple by using another prince to do that? That was impossible. In fact, what Daniel was told tacitly suggests the resurrection of the slain prince. (Furthermore, as Brant Pitre observes,28 the city and sanctuary were not destroyed in the time of Antiochus. And of course, it must be noted that the slaying of Onias did not in any way cause the supposed destruction of the city and sanctuary). So, whatever prince it was who was to come and be slain,  “he (that is the slain prince) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary with the prince that is coming.” The second prince was to be the instrument of the slain prince. And that unequivocally and irrefutably excludes Onias from being the slain prince. It likewise excludes Antiochus himself, as well as Jason and Menalaus as the second prince used by the first prince to destroy the city and sanctuary.

So, what we have is that Daniel’s vision gives us the termination of the appointed time: “At the (appointed) time of the end an end shall be put to the desolations.” The appointed time of the end is the end of the seventy weeks, and that terminus is clearly defined as the end of that appointed time. The seventy weeks therefore, did not end at the cross, on Pentecost, with the stoning of Stephen, or with the conversion of the Gentiles. The end of the seventy weeks was the consummation of the sunteliea kairou, the end of the seventy weeks at which point “an end will be made to the desolations.” The end of the desolations did not come at any of the times suggested above. The desolations came to an end in AD 70.

1 See my book, Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection for a fuller discussion of this crucial reality. The book is available from my websites, Amazon and other retailers.

2 I suggest that Jesus was put to death in the first half of the seventieth week, and that the last half of the seventieth was the Jewish War of 66-70. My premise– totally unlike that of Gentry and others – is based on the fact that Daniel 9 is based upon the Jewish feast days, with the final three, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Succot, being expressed in the overwhelming flood of the judgment, i.e. “the war” of v. 26-27, that would destroy the city and sanctuary. I cannot fully develop that here, but see my book “Resurrection Feast Fulfilled!” for a full discussion. What this means is that there was an ordained period of time between Jesus’ sacrificial work, and his coming in the judgment / “the war.” This construct properly accounts for the interim between the death of Jesus and the end of the seventieth week. Gentry’s view has no accounting for this, ignoring the festal foundations of Daniel 9.

3 David Patterson, Commentary, Acts of the Apostles (Nottingham, England; Eerdmans, 2009),180. See the excellent article by Dr. Dallas Burette on Colossians 2, where he shows that Paul was absolutely not teaching that the Law had been nullified at the cross: https://donkpreston.com/guest-article-dr-dallas-burdette-on-colossians-214f/.

4 https://cojs.org/cessation_of_sacrifice-_66_ce/.

5 Scot McKnight, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2018), 270, n. 215.

6 See my book, Temple to Telos, for a fuller discussion and demonstration of this. Modern Bible students, with some exceptions, are lamentably out of touch with the centrality of the Jewish feast days for a proper understanding of Biblical eschatology. And in this vein, let me just note that Daniel 9:24-27 is saturated with festal allusions! My book is available on my websites, Amazon, Kindle and other retailers.

7 It is important to consider that in the NT, the term suntelias tou aionion, (consummation of the age) is used in Matthew 13 in Jesus’ prediction of the “end of the age” at which time Daniel’s prophecy of the harvest and resurrection would be fulfilled (Matthew 13:43–> Daniel 12:3-7). The term is also used by Jesus’ apostles in Matthew 24:3 when they understood (properly) that Jesus’ prediction of the coming destruction of the city and temple was to be the time of his coming and the end of the age. I suggest that Daniel’s use of suntelia kairos in 9:27 ties it to both Matthew 13 and chapter 24 and if that is true, this is probative that Daniel’s appointed time of the end of the age was in AD 70.

8 Keep in mind here that as noted above, the LXX has the slain Messiah destroying the city by utilizing another prince. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus promised that in the judgment of Jerusalem he was going to come in the glory of the Father. This meant that just as the Father had utilized one nation to judge another nation many times in the OT, (Isaiah 10:5ff / 19-20 / Ezekiel 30-32, etc.)  Jesus was going to do likewise. As King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus used the Romans to destroy Jerusalem.

9 My book is available from my websites, Amazon, Kindle and other retailers.

10 Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344.

11 Charles John Ellicott, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Cassell and Co., London; 1884), 387.

12 A. C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel, (Kregel, 1968), 133.

13 Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1953), 200.

14 James Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1973), 250.

15 Kenneth Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell (Tyler, Tx;  Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989), 135.

16 Kenneth Gentry, Dominion, 2009, 542ff. Gentry clearly did not realize how self destructive his admission was when he made this claim. Simply put, to affirm that “all OT prophecy” – and he gave no qualification of “all Old Testament prophecy” anywhere in his discourse – demands that all eschatological prophecy is fulfilled since the Old Testament foretold the Last Days coming of the Lord, the judgment, the resurrection, the kingdom, the New Creation! See my article in response to Gentry’s claims: http://www.eschatology.org/index.php/articles-mainmenu-61/73-engaging-the-critics/678-kenneth-gentrys-latest-desperation.html .

17 See my book, These Are The Days When All Things Must Be Fulfilled, (2023) which is available on my websites, Amazon, Kindle and other retailers.

18 Kim Riddlebarger, Amillennialism  (Grand Rapids; Baker, 2003), 95.

19 William Hendrickson, New Testament Commentary, Luke (Grand Rapids; Baker, 2002), 939.

20 Pateo is used in the LXX to speak of active military warfare, Assyria desired to trample down the nations (Isaiah 10:5ff. Edom was trodden down by YHVH (Isaiah 63). In Lamentations (1:5; 2:8) the prophet spoke of how the Babylonians had (past tenses) trampled down Jerusalem. Since the tredding down was in the past it is improper therefore to say that the tredding down extended to 1948. For an excellent discussion of pateo see: https://donkpreston.com/the-times-of-the-gentiles-past-present-or-what/

21  Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. V, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1973), 943+.

22 Repeatedly in the NT, Jesus and the writers describe the impending destruction of Jerusalem as the coming of the Lord, the Day of visitation, the Day of Wrath, and similar terms.

23 It needs to be noted that in Daniel 8 we also find the term kairos and suntelias kairos. But this chapter is not eschatological as is Daniel 9 and 12. Daniel 8 specifically tells us that the “time of the end” under consideration is the last days of the Ptolemies and Seluecids (Daniel 8:26). While history confirms the accuracy and application of chapter 8, (and parts of chapters 10-11) to that period, history falsifies the claims that Daniel 9 and 12 referred to the time of Antiochus.

24 It must be noted that in Daniel 11:31 we also have the Abomination and the taking away of the daily sacrifice which did occur in the time of Antiochus. This has been, rightly I think, seen as reference to the times of Antiochus being a type and shadow of the end times actions.

25 My book is available from my websites, Amazon, Kindle and other retailers.

26 See my book, These Are the Days When All Things Must Be Fulfilled for further confirmation of this. The book is available from my websites, Amazon, Kindle and other retailers.

27 For a discussion and history of the Oniad family see: https://www.biblicalcyclopedia.com/O/onias.html. For a brief history of the killing of Onias see: https://efinne1540.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/the-murder-of-the-high-priest-onias-2-macc-430-434/.

28 “While the destruction of both the Temple and city is quite explicit in the text of Daniel, it is routinely downplayed by proponents of the ‘Antiochus Epiphanes’ interpretation of Daniel 9 (since, I would suggest, it is the Achilles heel of that interpretation)” Brant Pitre, Jesus and the End of the Tribulation, (Grand Rapids; Baker Academic, 1975) 304, n. 188.

An Open Letter To Alex Jones of Infowars.com and to the Rothschilds, Klaus Schwab, Yuval Harari, and Those Attempting the Globalist Coup D’Etat,

Dear Mr. Alex Jones,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       4/14/2023

I wanted to follow-up on my call and comments to you on your “wildcard” call-in show yesterday (4/13/23) and your follow-up comments / challenges of what you believe are for the view of “Preterism” at minute markers 1:42-45 and then 1:49ff.  Let me first address why I called in since I never had time to discuss that, and then I will address your questions and or challenges on Preterism being the correct or incorrect interpretation of the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation.  By the way, I of course am willing to come on your show to discuss / debate with yourself or a panel of “prophecy experts” you would want to put together to debate the role of modern Israel in Bible prophecy and if the war of Armageddon / Gog and Magog has or has not been fulfilled — and what are the implications of each view in our strategies against the New World Order?

The purpose for my call

I believe we both know that the World Economic Forum / The New World Order / United Nations and their attempted “Globalist Coup D’Etat” of the nations of the world climaxes in them instigating a war between Israel and Iran or the Muslim world (Albert Pike and others have been pretty clear on this).  This could happen before the election but if Trump gets re-elected in 2024 this is definitely the ace up the sleeve the New World Order (NWO) and they will pull it out to usher in their Agenda 2030 plan which they hope will bring about their global currency and one world government tyranny.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe the Church, nor you are completely prepared to address what is coming.  Let me explain.

Since so much of the Church today holds to the heretical view of Premillennial Dispensational Zionism (and you hold to some of these tenants yourself), how do you expect to motivate them to fight the New World Order (NWO) and this coming war between Israel and the Muslim world since they believe the Bible teaches everything is supposed to get worse and worse until they allegedly get “raptured” off the planet just before the war takes place?!?  In other words, they WANT this war to take place and the Talmudic Zionists have been infiltrating, grooming and supporting this un-biblical system since C.I. Scofield.  They have been manipulating Evangelical Zionists to give them money to “re-build the temple” and to “bless God’s people” so that they in return will be blessed.  But of course, as I demonstrate in my book, Armageddon Deception, modern “Jews” are Khazarians and modern Israel isn’t the fulfillment of ANY NT or OT prophecy but is rather nothing more than the State of Rothschild and the New World Order.  Thus, they are a growing part of the “invisible world government” so many have talked about over the last 150 years and are no TRUE ally to what a more Christian founding of the U.S. once was.  The Rothschild’s were not only trained in international banking but in the Talmud which teaches world dominion through enslaving Christians and non-Jews through monetary means and that killing Christians and non-Jews is an “act of worship.”

But my point is they will be able to pull this war off because Islam WANTS and needs this war to fulfill its version of the Second Coming of Jesus which oddly will help them kill and enslave the Christians and Jews and usher in a worldwide rule under them.  And of course Talmudic Zionism needs this war to usher in what many of them think will usher in their military Messiah that will rebuild the temple and usher in a one world government — giving each Jew 2,800 Christian and Gentile slaves.  Unfortunately, Evangelical Zionists are no less gullible – twisting the Scriptures and trying to self-fulfill prophecies that were fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70 to bring about this war so they can get “raptured” and usher in what you (Alex Jones) thinks will be a Premillennial “utopia on earth.”  In short, if you don’t take some time to seriously study your Bible Alex, you are no less a SUCKER for what is coming than the three groups I listed and you have no long-term strategy to deal with this threat.

Their GOAL – Monetary and Religious Global “RESET”

The GOAL of the more Satanic or Atheist side of this system is to not just create a monetary vacuum that they will offer as a “solution,” but to bring about disillusionment upon their own Talmudic Zionists and within Islam and Christianity to adopt their new religion of transhumanism / pantheism / nihilism.  And when the Jewish Messiah doesn’t show up, the “Man of Sin” doesn’t show up, no version of an Islamic or Christian Second Coming of a 5 foot 5 Jew comes riding on a physical cloud down to save the day and usher in a global “utopia” takes place – religious disillusionment will be at its all-time high!

So, the monetary “great reset” will either be the U.S. and the other nations going back to printing our own debt-free currency and prosecuting these tyrants or rolling over to them for a very long and dark period.  And the religious “great reset” will be Christians going back to studying their Bibles to see these are actually prophecies that are not in our near future, but were fulfilled when and how Jesus and the NT authors said they would (i.e. adopting Full Preterism).  THEN Christians will be equipped to deal with the disillusionment of many “Jews” and Muslims over their failed prophecies as well.  Granted, the history of all three groups is to just re-group and start making more “carrot and stick” “soon” future predictions in hopes of self-fulfilling their prophetic texts, but I do believe after this war (if it takes place as planned) will backfire and be an explosion of revival and reformation in the area of Biblical teaching in the area of Biblical prophecy.  And we will see many conversions to Christianity from many “Jews” and Muslims.

Here is an outline to the content of this letter as it pertains to our very brief discussion on air.

1).  Is first century Rome, her armies, Nero and Titus mentioned as fulfilling the end of the age war with the Beast of Daniel 7; 9:24-27; 12:7; Luke 21:20-32; Revelation 16; 19-20?

2).  “If all prophecy has been fulfilled and the end of the age war was in AD 67 – AD 70 and Titus was the Antichrist, what about:

a).  The Devil being in chains?

b).  Where is Christ returning to earth?

c).  Where are the giant pillars of fire that destroy whole cities?

d).  There was no worldwide mark of the beast in which the entire world saw the beast right?

e).  Are we really going to say for the last 2,000 years that this is a Christ on earth utopia?”

3). What about the “Man of Sin” and coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1-2?

1).  Is first century Rome, her armies, Nero and Titus mentioned as fulfilling the end of the age war with the Beast of Daniel 7; 9:24-27; 12:7; Luke 21:20-32; Revelation 16; 19-20?

Daniel 2 and 7 / Matthew 24 / Luke 21

According to Daniel 2 and 7 the Messiah’s Second Coming on the clouds and establishing His Kingdom would take place during the time of the fourth kingdom which was Rome – and would not occur beyond that time at the end of world history.  Daniel 2 identifies His Kingdom as being different than the other earthly kingdoms – it would be eternal and spiritual.  Daniel 7 also predicts a time of severe persecution and death for the saints before they would experience Messiah coming on the clouds and inheriting His Kingdom.

Jesus connects Him coming upon the clouds (the Second Coming), severe persecution and death for first century saints, and the arrival of His Kingdom to “ALL” take place within His contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” in the Matthew 24 / Mark 13 / Luke 21. Jesus also teaches us that “all” OT prophecy would be fulfilled by AD 70 and thus within His generation (Lk. 21:22-32).

Daniel 9:24-27 / Luke 21

1). Finish transgression

Jerusalem “filled up” or “finished transgressions” against God and His Messiah within Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 23:31-38; Dan. 9:24a).  As that contemporary generation was ending, the book of Revelation confirms the same first century time frame of fulfillment in that the vindication of the martyrs’ blood at the hands of the great harlot city Babylon (which is OC Jerusalem where the Lord was crucified – Rev. 11:8) would be fulfilled in a “very little while” at the “soon” Second Coming of Christ to vindicate them (Rev. 6:10-11; 17–22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

Peter also affirms that the judgment of the living (e.g. the Pharisees) and the dead (e.g. the martyrs) was “at hand” (1 Pet. 4:5-7).

2). Put an end to sin

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

3). To atone for wickedness or the covering over of iniquity

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

4). To bring in everlasting righteousness

Per Peter, at the Day of the Lord in AD 70, He brought in “everlasting righteousness” or a “world of righteousness” which was to arrive in an AD 70 “at hand” time frame – “the end of all things is at hand” – in Peter’s day (1 Pet. 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 3).  This was the “inheritance” and “salvation of the soul” that was “ready to be revealed” to Peter and his contemporaries (1 Pet. 1:4-12; Acts 2:20-40).  Paul likewise preached that this righteousness was about to be given to the early Church: “But also, on ours, to whom it [righteousness] is about to be reckoned  — to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead” (Romans 4:24).  “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope” (Galatians 5:5).

5). To seal up vision and prophet

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

OT scholars Keil and Delitzsch correctly give the meaning of “seal up vision and prophet” to be:

“Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.”[1]

6). To anoint the most holy place

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

21:16).  As David Green writes,

“Finally, it was through the anointing of the Holy Spirit that the whole city of Jerusalem was made new and became “the Tabernacle of God,” when the worldly Holy Place fell in 70 (Heb. 9:1, 8). Under the old covenant, every article of God’s tabernacle was consecrated by the anointing of oil (Ex. 30:2530; 40:9; Lev. 8:10, 12).  In the same way, in the Last Days, God taught His elect ones the truth of His gospel through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21,22; I Jn. 2:20,27), until all of them had come to know Him (Jn. 6:39).  Then came “the end” (Dan. 9:26), when the Body of Christ, all His holy ones, the living and the dead, were raised up to become His anointed (God-taught) “Most Holy Place” in the new covenant world (Jn. 6:44-45; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 8:11-13; Rev. 21:3).”[2]

The 490 years

The Jews used their own calendar (that was off by 160 years from the Gentile one) and periods of jubilees (49-50 years) to divide prophetic time and the coming fulfillment of Daniel 9:24:24-27.  The prophecy was broken down in 10 Jubilee periods – 10 x 49 = 490 years. They saw the prophecy beginning with the destruction of the first temple in roughly 420 BC and ending with the destruction of the temple in AD 70 (420 BC – AD 70 = 490 years).  But of course, they won’t tell you that in their early literature they understood Daniel 7:13 and Daniel 9:24-27 to be a Messianic prophecy of a divine and eternal Messiah that had to show up before the destruction of the temple in AD 70 (something I address in my book in much detail).

The War like a Flood – Abomination of Desolation / Luke 21  

According to Daniel 9:24-27 and 11QMelch., Jesus would come in the 10th. Jubilee which they calculated to be somewhere between AD 17 – AD 28.  And Messiah had 49-50 years (that 10th Jubilee period) to accomplish all of His redemptive work before the destruction of the temple in AD 70.  The last Messiahic 7th week or 7 years of Daniel 9:24-27 is divided in half or two 3 ½ years periods.  Jesus inaugurates the New Covenant (NC) through His death and is “cut off” between AD 27 – AD 30.  Then the last 3 ½ years period is the “war” “like a flood” or “desolation” of temple per Daniel 9:26-27 which was fulfilled during AD 67 – AD 70.

The Jews called their land a “holy place” and thus when the Roman armies set foot on their land and surrounded the city, they were the “abomination” that would cause “desolation” for Jerusalem and her temple (Mt. 24:15/Lk. 21:20).  These were the “times of the Gentiles” (the last “3 ½ years” of Dan. 9:24-27 and Dan. 12:7) when the Roman armies treaded underneath their feet Jerusalem and led them into captivity throughout the Empire (Lk. 21:20-24).

Evangelical Zionism has a 2,000 year plus gap between the 69th and 70th seven of

Daniel 9:24-27 with the “prophetic clock starting up again with the events of 1948” which is completely read into the text and is unbiblical.  And it plays right into the hands of the Talmudic Zionist Globalist movement!

 Daniel 12 / Revelation 11

 Daniel 12 recapitulates many aspects of Daniel 7 and 9 and again addresses the abomination of desolation and war or this last “3 ½ years” period “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” and they were between AD 67 – AD 70.  This was also the time the judgment and resurrection of the dead would be fulfilled in that vs. 7 says “ALL these things” which includes verses 1-7.  Revelation 11:1-18 picks up this “3 ½ years” period of AD 67 – AD 70 when the Roman nations would trample Jerusalem (“the city where the Lord was crucified”) under her feet and would be the time for the judgment of the dead.

Post AD 70 there is no valid “Judaism” or ethnic Jew that has a covenant with God outside of having faith in Jesus / Messiah.  There are no more sacred space Old Covenant promises of blessings “in the land” only blessings “in Christ” under the New Covenant.

Interpreting Imminence in Revelation and the NT correctly

Since you are claiming the book of Revelation is predicting Transhumanism, A.I., computer chips as the “mark of the beast” etc., you have clearly ignored the inspired NT time indicators and are twisting Scripture to fit what you think about the New World Order.  Unfortunately, men like Patrick Wood butcher Revelation as well claiming the 15 minute cities is the the fulfillmetn of  “Babylon” in Revelation.  These kind of abuses of God’s PURE Word must stop.  Not only are you bringing reproach upon the name of Christ and His Word, you are discrediting Christianity to an unbelieving world.  Let’s briefly turn our attention to how many try and abuse the imminent time texts in Revelation and the NT and give a brief response.

1).  The “symbolic”, “principle”, “ideal” and “eschatological time” view

Simon Kistemaker, in order to walk the creedal party line, decides that the time texts in Revelation should be understood in an “ideal” way or should be somehow “symbolically” interpreted as “…the meaning of eschatological time, expressed not in chronological periods, but in terms of principle.”189

Response:  I hate to sound disrespectful here, but it sounds like someone is smoking weed or crack when I hear bizarre comments like these.  Or maybe this is coming from some secular philosophical department somewhere?  Or perhaps some liberal neo-orthodox seminary?  Unfortunately, none of these are the case.  Kistemaker is clearly trying his best to hide behind very vague and so-called “scholarly” or philosophical language.  Why?  It’s because he knows he has no lexical support for making these kinds of comments!  I’m sorry, but the truth is that the Futurist and creedal emperor really doesn’t have any clothes on here, folks.

This sounds like other kinds of gibberish I hear such as Jesus’ Second Coming is “always near” (ex. Anthony A. Hoekema),[3] or “For the NT writers, the nearness of the Parousia is not so much chronological nearness as a “salvation-history nearness.”[4]

John MacArthur claims the NT authors truly expected Christ’s “soon”, “will not delay” coming to occur in their lifetimes, but then says that’s just what Christ wants all of us to think and expect. Yet MacArthur also affirms that Christ may continue to “delay” His coming another 2,000 years and counting.  If language means anything, how on God’s green earth can Christ’s Second Coming be genuinely “near” and “will not delay” for the inspired writers of the NT, genuinely “near” and “will not delay” for us, and yet at the same time Christ could delay His coming for another 2,000 years?!?  MacArthur’s friend. R.C. Sproul. correctly called this kind of philosophical mumbo jumbo and exegetical gymnastics as on par with liberal “neo-orthodoxy,” and he corrected men like F.F. Bruce for trying to defend similar dribble:

“When F. F. Bruce speaks of faith making the time be ‘at hand,’ this sounds all too much like Rudolf  Bultmann’s famous theology of timelessness, which removes the object of faith from the realm of real history and consigns it to a super temporal realm of the always present hic et nunc [here and now].”[5]

There is also some irony here for those Futurist, Reformed commentators like Kistemaker, Hoekema, etc. who claim to want to honor God’s sovereignty in the redemptive history of men.  We hear from them that “God will accomplish what He sets out to do when He says and decrees it to take place” kind of rhetoric.  John uses a very strong word in Revelation 1:1 to indicate that the prophecy most assuredly will be fulfilled “shortly” when he says it “must (Greek dei) shortly take place.”  This word means, “necessity established by the counsel and decree of God, especially by that purpose of his which relates to the salvation of men by the intervention of Christ and which is disclosed in the Old Testament prophecies.”  The Second Coming or appearing of Christ as our Great High Priest “in a very little while and will not delay” (Heb. 9:26-28—10:37) “relates to the salvation of men,” and to teach otherwise is to go against the sovereign decrees and purposes of God!  To claim Christ didn’t come when He decreed and purposed to is not something any real Calvinist should attempt to teach. Selah.

Not only is a denial of God’s sovereignty inseparably connected to a denial of NT imminence, but an indirect attack on the inspiration of Scripture is in view as well.

As Gary DeMar writes,

“Any student of the Bible who does not interpret these time texts to mean anything other than close at hand is in jeopardy of denying the integrity of the Bible.[6]

The inspired writers were “led into all truth…concerning things to come” (the timing and nature of the Second Coming). They were not giving us what they “felt” might happen when they taught Christ was going to come in their lifetimes, generation, soon, etc.

2).  The “when Jesus decides to come He will come really fast then” view

“Must shortly or quickly (Greek en taxei in the taxos word group) take place” (Rev. 1:1; see also: 2:16; 3:11; 22:6-7, 12, 20) is a key phrase.

Premillennial Zionist John Walvoord writes of en tachei,

“…indicating a rapidity of execution after the beginning takes place. The idea is not that the event may occur soon, but that when it does, it will be sudden (Lk. 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rms. 16:20).”[7]

Let me summarize this view as teaching “whenever Jesus decides to come, then He will come really quickly.”  This is like me calling the fire department in an emergency and they tell me, “Don’t worry, we will be there “shortly”, “quickly” and our arrival will be “near.”  And yet when they pull up a week later after my house has burnt down I say, “I thought you were coming ‘quickly.’ What happened?!?”  And they reply, “Well, what we meant was when we decide to come, then we would drive very quickly at that point.”  This is how Dispensationalist Thomas Ice has also sought to interpret the tachos word family with no success.[8]

Response:  None of the translations I have consulted give this imaginative meaning to en tachei.  Not only this, but Arndt & Gingrich translate en tachei (in Lk. 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20; Walvoord’s “proof texts”) as “soon, in a short time.”  And even outside of the Bible (e.g. LXX or Josephus) taxos means – yes, you guessed it – “quickly” or “without delay.”  And even if one were to grant this unsubstantiated meaning to en tachei, what of the other Greek words John used to communicate imminence in Revelation such as “near” / “at hand” (Greek engus) (Rev. 1:3; 22:10) or “about to be” (Greek mello) (Rev. 1:19; 3:10)?  Clearly, John is using a wide range of imminent words such as en tachei, taxos, and mello harmoniously to prophesy that Christ’s Second Coming would be fulfilled imminently and not thousands of years later.

The Book of Revelation is filled with a contemporary first century group of Christians experiencing persecution and martyrdom, in which Jesus comforts them by explaining that He will return “soon” and in a “little while” to vindicate them from their first century persecutors and give them “relief” at His appearing from these Jewish persecutors – their “countrymen” the Pharisees, or the “synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 6:10-11; Mt. 23:30-36, Mt. 24; 1Thess. 2:14-16/2Thess. 1:6-7).  Jesus was either faithful to return and gave them relief from these first century persecutors or He didn’t.  It’s really that simple.

 3).  “Jesus was just saying His coming was a certain event to occur” view

This is what the Greek words actually are in Revelation 22:20 to communicate both genuine imminence and the thought of certainty:

Surely [Greek nai – means ‘certainly’] I am coming quickly” [Greek tachu – means an event will be ‘without delay’ or take place ‘soon’].

Notice the text does not say, “Surely I am coming surely/certainly” (that would be redundant).

If all Jesus was trying to communicate was that His coming was “certain” to happen someday, there were Greek words He could have used instead of the taxos, engus, and mello word groups!

4).  “Revelation is teaching that the beginning or inauguration of fulfillment was near, not the consummation of fulfillment” view

Perhaps the latest trend, and innovative “scholarly” approach from some Futurists to avoid the obvious, is to claim that the “inauguration” of fulfilled prophecy was genuinely “at hand” when John wrote Revelation, but not the consummation of the prophecy.  G.K. Beale writes:

“The focus of ‘quickness’ and ‘nearness’ in vv 1-3 is primarily on inauguration of prophetic fulfillment and its ongoing aspect, not on nearness of consummated fulfillment… Indeed, what follows shows that the beginning of fulfillment and not final fulfillment is the focus.”[9]

Response:  This is so obviously wrong and it’s disturbing that a publisher even paid for these kinds of comments to go into print for the Christian public to read, let alone portray them as “scholarly”!  The entire book of “Revelation” or “prophecy [singular] of this book” [singular] was to be fulfilled “shortly” or “soon” (Rev. 1:1; 22:18-20).  And everyone knows that the Second Coming and judgment described as taking place “soon” is the “consummative” event, and Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit was the “inauguration” event that took place some 30 years in the past when John wrote!

Alex, now let’s get into some of the specifics that we didn’t have time to dig into on the show:

The War of Revelation – Armageddon and Gog and Magog

Alex, you had also mentioned that in your thinking “Preterism” was the view that Titus’ siege on Jerusalem was the fulfillment of the book of Revelation and that is very close to the truth.  Here is a section taken from my book on that subject and addressing the “five months” and “locust” of Revelation 9:

The Five months / the locust / Titus – “The earthly reflection of Apollyon is Vespasian’s son Titus, the commander of the Legio XV Apollinaris (Fifteenth Apollonian Legion). Initially the commander of the Fifteenth Legion, Titus then went on to succeed his father as general over all the Roman legions during the Jewish War after his father had become Caesar, a title also bestowed on Titus at his father’s coronation. As Caesar, Titus was entitled to worship as a god in the imperial cult, and like Apollo, the son of Zeus, could also be labeled the Son of God–a perfect title for the beast.

At the start of the Jewish War, Titus was the general of the Fifteenth Legion. With Apollo as its patron, the Fifteenth Legion was suitably nicknamed Apollinaris, a name meaning “devoted to Apollo.” The Fifteenth Legion would always carry an emblem of Apollo or one of his holy animals wherever it went. Not surprisingly, the locust was one of Apollo’s holy animals. Now it is easy to see why the author of Revelation chose locusts to symbolize the soldiers of the Roman army following the precedence set in Joel. So “devoted to Titus” was his army that at the taking of the Jewish temple, they unanimously declared him emperor of Rome in fulfillment of v. 11 in which Apollyon is said to have been “king over them.”

This play on words for “Apollo”–the god of death and plague–and “Destroyer” in the name Apollyon perfectly describes the man directly responsible for the remaining plagues of Revelation who was the “destroyer” of Jerusalem.  And who coincidentally besieged the city FOR EXACTLY 5 MONTHS just as stated in Rev 9:10!” (Armageddon Deception, p. 231)

The beast as Nero and Rome

1).  The Beast – Beasts in Daniel represented the four Gentile Kingdoms (Babylon, Medes & Persians, Greece and Rome) that would rule over Israel (Dan. 7:1-7).  But the fourth beast took on qualities of the other three, and was more “dreadful and exceedingly strong” than the others.  It also is described as taking on some of the attributes of the other beasts (Dan. 7:7) as we see in Revelation 13. This could be simply because Rome was the fourth beast and had consumed and assimilated those other world empires, and she thus takes on those characteristics and power as well.

2).  The 10 horns – The beast is described as having 10 horns, seven heads, and rising out of the sea.   The 10 horns is possibly a reference to Rome whereby she was divided into 10 provinces making up the Empire, which were: Italy, Achaia, Asia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Germany.

3).  The seven heads – is most likely a reference to the seven hills of Rome, which was a symbol of the imperial city. Revelation 17:9-10 informs us that the seven heads are seven mountains on which the harlot (apostate Israel) sits. 

4).  Rising out of the sea – is referring to Satan calling on this beast from the sea which often times in Scripture represents the Gentiles, or in this case would be Rome.

Most Partial and Full Preterists see the corporate “beast” in this chapter to be the Roman Empire and her head to be Nero.  With Rome and Nero being the beast, the following evidence is given in the book of Revelation:

a).  Seven mountains – Rome was known to be the famous “city on seven hills,” and the seven heads is later interpreted as seven mountains (cf. 17:7).

b).  The beast comes up out of the sea – and the sea in Scripture often times represents Gentile nations and powers, as do fierce animals with horns (13:12).

c).  The seven heads are not just seven mountains, but seven kings (17:9-10) – of which five have fallen or have previously died when John is writing (Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius), the current one “now is” (the sixth being Nero), and when the seventh (Galba) comes, his reign would be brief.

d).  Rome and Nero persecuted and killed Christians with ferocity – “prevailing” against them for a time, as even Daniel 7 predicted, before they would inherit the kingdom. Nero was known as a “beast” and put Christians on stakes, lit them on fire and rode his chariot naked. He also was crazy and often placed young boys in animal skins and raped them.

e).  Nero / Beast committed “blasphemies” – through making coins of himself, depicting himself as the sun god or a new Apollo worthy of worship (13:5-6, 8).

f).  Nero Caesar the reference to John’s common first century cryptogram – Archaeologists have documented the Hebrew spelling (Nrwn Qsr – Nero Caesar) which comes to 666 or six hundred and sixty-six. Alphabets also functioned as a numerical system (n = 50; r = 200; w = 6; n = 50; q = 100; s = 60; r = 200) – which gives us 666.

g).  The mark of the beast – If one did not take the mark of the beast (that is, acknowledging that he was the supreme king – “we have no king but Caesar”), Rome made the buying and selling of goods difficult and often times put them to death for not making this declaration.

h).  The 3 ½ years persecution – Nero was engaged in a war with the Jews for 42 months or 3 ½ years – from November AD 64 – June AD 68 (13:5).

i).  The beast revives – After Nero died, the Roman Empire seemed to have come to an end with several civil wars erupting, but the Empire recovered and revived (13:3, 7).

The last of Daniel’s four beasts is Rome and it comprises both Roman elements (iron) and that of the apostate Jews and Herodian dynasty (clay) (Dan. 2:40-43). These groups have a love-hate relationship which made the kingdom vulnerable and weak.  At first, they both come together in seeking to destroy Christ and the early church, but since clay does not mix or cling with iron, the apostate Jews (clay) rebel against the Romans (iron) and this results in the Roman-Jewish War.

As we move into Revelation, the beast theme is addressing Nero the sixth king, the Roman Empire (the sea beast), the apostate Jews (the land beast) and the Satanic seven-headed beast or dragon from the underworld who is pulling the strings of these other beasts to come against Christ, His saints and to eventually turn on each other in order to tear apart Jerusalem and her temple.  Therefore, the judgment of Satan within the beast theme was also fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 along with the other enemies in the great end of the age war of AD 67 – AD 70.

While the Roman Empire did not end in AD 70, its ability to rule or “shake” God’s Kingdom did. The four Gentile world empires that ruled over God’s people in Daniel were able to “shake” God’s old covenant kingdom (destroy and loot her city and temple).  But in AD 70, Rome’s power to do so was destroyed and lost because postAD 70 God’s kingdom (city and temple) on earth is set up within the hearts of His people and thus could no longer be shaken, plundered or destroyed as the old had.  The riches of this kingdom are found in the righteousness of Christ buried deep within the hearts and souls of His people, never to be taken!  It is in this way that the entire statue of Daniel 2 (the four Gentile kingdoms & apostate Jews) comes crashing down when the stone (Christ & His Kingdom) strike it in AD 70.

And while the Roman Beast was not completely destroyed in AD 70, Satan/the Ancient Serpent/the Dragon, whose demonic legions influenced Rome and apostate Judaism, was cast into the Lake of Fire and “crushed” “shortly” (Rms. 16:20/Gen. 3:15) in AD 70.

This end-time “the Battle” of Revelation 19 goes on to describe the covenant-cursing divorce and judgment of God’s old covenant wife/Jerusalem, while at the same time He consummates His marriage to His new covenant wife/the New Jerusalem (the Church).  While the wedding feast takes place for the new covenant Wife/Jerusalem, the old covenant harlot wife/Jerusalem gets fed to the birds – “all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh” (Rev. 19:6-9; 21).

This is in direct harmony with Jesus’ teaching concerning the Roman-Jewish War, in that old covenant Judaism would be left a dead body feasted upon by the birds (Mt. 24:28/Lk. 17:37).  John is also in lock step with Jesus concerning the eschatological wedding theme, when at the time of the wedding God was going to send His armies (the Romans) to “kill those [Jewish] murderers” and “burn their city” (Mt. 22:7).  Like the unfaithful wife of a priest, Jerusalem is both stoned and burned in the unfolding events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Revelation 16 – “the war” and Armageddon

The texts I want to develop here in Revelation 16 are primarily verses 14-16, 19-20:

“They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle (or the war) on the great day of God Almighty. “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Rev. 16:14-16).

“The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.  Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found” (Rev. 16:19-20).

The first point I would like to make and that we should pay careful attention to, is that the context for the gathering of the armies in “Armageddon” and the coming “THE war of the Great Day of God” that ensues in Revelation 16, is for the purpose of judging Babylon. Therefore, to understand when this war takes place, we need to identify who Babylon is in the prophecy.

Earlier in Revelation 11:8 we are told that Babylon or this “great city” is old covenant Jerusalem – “where our Lord was crucified.” So “Armageddon” and “the war” here has nothing to do with Babylon or the great city being the Roman Catholic Church, or the lands or nations of modern-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, Muslims, China, the Russians, or even modern Israel. This is a “war” and judgment upon old covenant Jerusalem.

The rest of the prophecy tells us why “the war” comes about or why Babylon is to be judged.  In chapters 17-18 we learn that it is because old covenant Jerusalem, or Babylon, has played the harlot and has a history of killing all the prophets God sends to her, and that Babylon has gotten drunk off the blood of the apostles, prophets, and martyrs (again, that Jesus promised to send to her in Matthew 23, before He judged that generation and desolated their temple).  As a result, God then judges her because she has now filled up the measure of their suffering, and thus the cup of God’s wrath is now full and ready to be poured out.  The time of avenging the last apostles and prophets Jesus had sent to her, along with all the blood of the martyrs going as far back as Genesis, had come!

The coming “Great Day” of God’s judgment and wrath in Revelation 16, in relation to bringing judgment upon Israel’s sin of bloodguilt, has also been previously addressed in Revelation 6.  In Revelation 6 John is consistent with Jesus’ time frame of “the war” and vindication of the martyrs as developed in Isaiah 2-4. John tells us that the vindication for the martyrs would be in a “very little while” after their number would be completed.  This corresponds with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23 where He says the blood of the martyrs would be filled up or completed within their generation.

John, like Jesus in Luke 23, also cites the last days war and coming Day of judgment of Isaiah 2—4 in Revelation 6:15-17.  Here people are seeking to hide themselves, in caves and among the rocks of the mountains, from the majesty of the Lord’s “Great Day” of judgment coming. And in both Revelation 6 and our Armageddon prophecy here in Revelation 16, parallel de-creation language is used.  “Every mountain and island was removed” in chapter 6 is parallel to “every island fled away and the mountains could not be found” in chapter 16.  So thus far John is using the last days war of Isaiah 2-4 against old covenant Jerusalem for shedding the blood of the martyrs and announcing that they would be judged imminently in that first century generation just as Jesus used Isaiah 2-4 in Luke 23:28-30 and Matthew 23:31-39.

So then what relationship does the term “Armageddon” have with “the war of the Great Day of God”? Armageddon simply means “Mount Megiddo.” And yet there is no “mountain” there because it is a plain, with the closest mountain being Mount Carmel.  This term and the geographical locations are referred to because they function as a symbol for famous battles Israel and her enemies had there.  As David Chilton and Farrer explain,

“Megiddo” thus was for St. John a symbol of defeat and desolation, a “Waterloo” signifying the defeat of those who set themselves against God, as Farrer explains: “In sum, Mt. Megiddo stands in his mind for a place where lying prophecy and its dupes go to meet their doom; where kings and their armies are misled to their destruction; where kings and their armies are misled to their destruction; and where all the tribes of the earth mourn, to see Him in power, whom in weakness they had pierced.”[10]

Others such as Dr. Michael Heiser make a connection that this war takes place in literal Jerusalem known as “the Mount of Assembly.”  Here is a sampling of Heiser’s points,

“…the Hebrew phrase behind John’s Greek transliteration of our mystery Hebrew term  is actually h-r-m-‘-d.  But what does this mean?  If the first part (h-r) is the Hebrew word  har (“mountain”), is there a har m-‘-d in the Hebrew Old Testament?”[11]

“The phrase in question exists in the Hebrew Bible a har mo’ed.  Incredibly, it is found in Isaiah 14:13,…”[12]

“The result in the case of Armageddon is dramatic.  When John draws on this ancient Hebrew phrase, he is indeed pointing to a climactic battle at Jerusalem.  Why?  Because Jerusalem is a mountain—Mount Zion.  And if Baal and the gods of the other nations don’t like Yahweh claiming to be the Most High and claiming to run the cosmos from the heights of Zaphon/Mount Zion, they can try to do something about it.

And of course they do.  Armageddon is about how the unbelieving nations, empowered  by…the prince of darkness—Lord (ba’al) of the dead, prince Baal (zbl ba’al), Beelzebul—will make one last, desperate effort to defeat Jesus at the place where Yahweh holds council, Mount Zion, Jerusalem.”[13]

This now harmonizes with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24; Luke 21 and the book of Revelation–with the end of the [old covenant] age war taking place when the Romans would surround and tread Jerusalem (the city that crucified the Lord) beneath their feet in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Christ coming as “a thief” in the following verse is another way of describing the coming of “the Great Day of God.”  And we know from Revelation 3:3, 11 that Christ coming as a thief was His AD 70 “soon” coming.  Not only this, but His coming as a thief once again connects this event to Christ coming in the generation of AD 30 – AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:34-43).

In putting this together so far, we learn:

Major Premise:  Revelation 16-18 teaches us that the gathering for “the war” in “Megiddo” was for the purpose of bringing judgment upon the great city of Babylon (identified in 11:8 as old covenant Jerusalem – “where the Lord was crucified”) for shedding the blood of the martyrs.

Minor Premise:  But the war designed to judge old covenant Jerusalem and vindicate the martyrs in Revelation 16-18 is referring to the same “Great Day” of judgment and vindication of the martyrs in Revelation 6 to take place “in a very little while,” and is the “last days” war of Isaiah 2-4.

Conclusion:  Therefore, both Jesus and John prophesied that “the war” and vindication of the martyrs in Isaiah 2-4 would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or “in a very little while,” when Jerusalem (or Babylon the great city) would be judged in “THE war” between AD 67 – AD 70.

Revelation 19-20 – “the war” of Gog and Magog  

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth/land, and their armies, gathered together to make [THE] war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army” (Rev. 19:19).

Again, chapters 18-19 are contextually tied to the defeat of the “great city” of “Babylon,” which in Revelation 11:8 and Matthew 23 has been identified as Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, and the persecutor of the OT prophets and NT apostles and prophets Jesus would send to her.

Revelation 19:11-21 is simply another recapitulation of the same end-time battle and judgment we have seen in chapters 11 and 16 – except described differently with different imagery, etc.

Amazingly, the Dispensational Zionist “prophecy experts” claim that the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 is the “antichrist,” but there is absolutely no exegetical evidence for this.  Here in chapter 19, once again the rider of the white horse is described as Jesus Christ.  In chapter 6 Christ comes on the white horse (His Second Coming) conquering – thus vindicating the martyrs “in a very little while” in the “great day of His wrath,” pouring out the covenant curses of Deuteronomy 28 upon the land of Israel.  We previously saw Jesus appealing to the old covenant curses of Deuteronomy 28 in connection with the end-time war in the Olivet Discourse.

Men like James Jordan, [14] Gary DeMar[15] and David Lowman believe the battle of Gog and Magog was fulfilled during the time of Esther when Haman gathered the nations of the then known world to come and attack Israel but were defeated by God.  Let me seek to summarize the main points of this position:

1).  “Ezra and Nehemiah both mention the large amounts of silver and gold that the Jews brought back from exile. These are the same items we are told the approaching armies were attacking to plunder.

2).  The battle with Haman’s armies takes place after Israel is returned to the land, during Darius’ reign. Ezekiel prophesied until just a few short decades before this time.

3).  Esther and Ezekiel’s enemies from the north both include Persia and Ethiopia.

4).  In a very short battle [in Esther], the Israelites destroy Haman’s army, killing nearly 100,000 despite being greatly outnumbered.

5).  Both passages state that the Jews were attacked by all of Persia’s provinces. DeMar argues well for parallel boundaries between the Persian Empire in Esther’s day and Gog/Magog and her allies in Ezekiel’s vision.

6).  In Ezekiel’s vision, the Jews were living in unwalled towns. DeMar notes that this was also the case in Esther’s day, which makes sense since they were part of the Persian Empire at that time, an empire known for its benevolence and for taking good care of its subjects.

7). Haman (the enemy of Esther) is shown to be an “Agagite,” and even a “Gogite” in some manuscripts. Also the invaders in Ezekiel’s vision would be buried in the Valley of “Hamon-Gog.”

Others, such as William Hendriksen, see the first historical and typological reference to the war of Gog and Magog to be during the time of the Seleucids:

“The expression ‘Gog and Magog’ is borrowed from the book of Ezekiel, where the term undoubtedly indicates that power of the Seleucids especially as it was revealed in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the bitter enemy of the Jews. The center of his kingdom was located in North Syria. Seleucus established his residence there in the city of Antioch on the Orontes. To the east his territory extended beyond the Tigris. To the north the domain over which the Seleucids ruled included Mesheck and Tubal, districts in Asia Minor. Accordingly, Gog was the prince of Magog, that is, Syria. Therefore, the oppression of God’s people by ‘Gog and Magog’, refers, in Ezekiel, to the terrible persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of Syria.”[16]

If this view is correct and the attack of Gog and Magog (Syria under Antiochus Epiphanes) was the last great oppression which Israel endured to close the OT, it stands to reason that John in the book of Revelation would use this as a symbolic or type/anti-type description of the end-time battle to close the old covenant age and to liberate the new covenant Israel of God.

Either way, John is using the symbolism of a past battle of Gog and Magog within Israel’s history to depict a future (but “shortly,” “at hand,” “soon,” and “about to be”) persecution and battle for John and his contemporaries to experience and relate to.

Also notice that ancient weapons were being used and burned (Ezek. 38:4-5; 39:9), which would fit the warfare, destruction and fire of AD 67 – AD 70 more than it would a description of nuclear or modern-day warfare.

Here we have Satanically-led nations being gathered from the four corners of the earth (or better translated as the land of Palestine) to make war and surround the New Jerusalem (the Church).  The Greek word here for “earth” is ge, which is consistently and accurately translated as “land” in Revelation in Young’s Literal Translation.  These are not nations gathered from all ends of the globe, but rather are from the world as they knew it (the Roman Empire) or the “land” of Palestine or that of the Jews.

But who are the “nations” involved?  Well, the Roman army consisted of all the nations of the then known world that she had conquered, and as we have seen both Nero and Rome were known as a/the “beast” which persecuted and thus waged war against the early Church (the New Jerusalem / the saints God loves).

But the apostate Jews, known to be a part of the beast, also persecuted and waged war against the first century Christians and, as James Stuart Russell points out, they too were understood to be “nations” and “kings”:

“In our Lord’s time it was usual to speak of the inhabitants of Palestine as consisting of several nations. Josephus speaks of ‘the nation of the Samaritans…” ‘the nation of the Galileans…’ etc… Judea was a distinct nation, often with a king of its own; so also, was Samaria; and so, with Idumea, Galilee, Perea…all of which had at different times princes with the title of Ethnarch, a name which signifies the ruler of a nation.”[17]

So, what we have here is an apocalyptic description of perhaps one or both persecuting powers – the Romans and apostate Jews – seeking to destroy new covenant Jerusalem.  Before the Christians fled to Pella, there was in a sense a city (the new covenant Jerusalem from above) within a city (residing physically within the walls of the then present old covenant Jerusalem from below).

At some point, the Christians see the sign of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (Jewish, Roman or both) and flee the city to Pella as the Lord directed them.  They were protected by God while the nations who persecuted the Church destroyed each other and were defeated in their effort to destroy the New Jerusalem.  In Revelation 21-22, the gates of the New Jerusalem are continually open post-AD 70 in the new covenant age – not only as a symbol for evangelism for the nations to come into her for salvation and healing, but as a symbol that there is no threat of her destruction because God has defeated her enemies and watches over her.

Christian Full Preterism brings together and harmonizes the classic Christian Amillennial view and the Christian Partial Preterist view regarding the time frame of this ONE end-time war in the book of Revelation.  Consider the following:

Major Premise:  If “THE war” and judgment scenes of Revelation 16-20 are depicting ONE “time of the end” event (through typical prophetic recapitulation – Classic Amillennial View),

Minor Premise:  But “THE war” and judgment scenes of Revelation 16-19 were fulfilled in and by AD 70, (Partial Preterist View),

Conclusion: Therefore, “THE war” (which is ONE and the same) and judgment scenes of Revelation 16-20 were fulfilled in and by AD 70 (the Full Preterist View).

The Martyr Vindication Theme

The “soon” Second Coming that took place at the end of the millennium was to vindicate the martyrs here in Revelation 20.  Again, this is consistent with what we saw in Revelation 6 and 16-18 along with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23-24.

Through the imprecatory prayers of the persecuted Church and the cries of the martyrs, they call fire down upon the apostate mountain of old covenant Jerusalem and have it thrown into the sea (Mt. 21:18-22 / Rev. 8:1-8).  It was through the preaching of the gospel in the then known world, the filling up the measure of Israel’s guilt in their killing of the martyrs, and the imprecatory prayers of the saints that God took the kingdom from Israel and gave it to the Church in her restored, matured, and glorified form.

Contrary to the teachings of Muslims, Zionists, and Dispensational Zionists, and the ignorant speculations of Hollywood and the media, the gathering of the armies for “THE war” in the battle of Armageddon and or “The war” of Gog and Magog was an event that was fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary generation and thus “shortly” fulfilled in John’s day.  When the first century Christians saw the sign of either the Zealot / Idumean armies or the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem, they left the city and God used these armies to bring desolation and destruction upon the city and temple.

The Church today is not to look to a sign of “wars and rumors of wars” or nuclear developments in the Middle East that allegedly will bring about “THE” final war and “rapture” of the Church. And she most assuredly is not to fund and support them – directly or indirectly!

2).  “If all prophecy has been fulfilled and the end of the age war was in AD 67 – AD 70 and Titus was the Antichrist, what about:

a).  The Devil being in chains?

b).  Where is Christ returning to earth?

c).  Where are the giant pillars of fire that destroy whole cities?

d).  There was no worldwide mark of the beast in which the entire world saw the beast right?

e).  Are we really going to say for the last 2,000 years that this is a Christ on earth utopia?”

Alex, Jesus explicitly tells you that “all” OT prophecy would be fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation” – do you believe Him or not (Lk. 21:22-32)?

The Bible never identifies one person as the “antichrist” – 1 John says there were “many antichrists” and he is referring to the Judaizers.  So no I don’t believe Titus was the “antichrist.”  I think you are trying to refer to the “Beast” (Nero which I have already covered) or to the “Man of Sin” (which I will cover in a bit).

a).  What about the Devil being in chains?

Jesus “bound” the Devil during His earthly ministry (cf. Mt. 12:22-32).  And this was so the gospel would be preached throughout the then known world of the Roman Empire and able to bear forth fruit and of which it was (Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26).  It was also to restrain the Roman army (which consisted of the “nations” they had conquered) from coming against Jerusalem before the gospel could be spread throughout the Roman Empire (Rev. 20:2-3).  The binding of Satan with a figurative chain was to limit him in these particular areas – not to make all of his activities to cease between AD 27 – AD 70.  He in fact was let loose for a “short time” between AD 66 – AD 70 to “deceive the nations” within the Roman world and Jewish world to come up against Jerusalem and make her and the temple “desolate.”

b).  Where is Christ returning to earth?

Acts 1:11

The Bible teaches that Jesus would return in the Father’s glory and thus as the Father had come upon the clouds in the OT.  The Father was physically unseen but was figuratively “seen” coming upon the clouds through invading armies (Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…).

Many 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 a similar manner or way to how they had seen Him enter heaven (the sky).  The continuity (or similarity – “in a similar way”) 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 (Mt. 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 father’s plane is taking off from 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, “I can see dad; 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 at 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 seems 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-implodes upon itself when they apply other Second Coming passages literally to His ascension event and demand an “exact same way” of fulfillment.

Futurists are not correct when they say that Jesus was going to come back in the same way that He “departed.”  The Scriptures teach that Jesus would come in the same way He had entered the sky. He entered the sky hidden from literal eyesight 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.  Even Partial Preterist, Keith Mathison, admits that the verse could be translated, “He was lifted up; that is, a cloud received Him out of their sight.”[18]  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 (cf. Dan. 7:13 OG LXX; Rev. 1:7-17).

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.  But as we have seen, all of these other texts were fulfilled by AD 70.  Partial Preterists agree that all of these other passages were fulfilled in AD 70, yet hold onto Acts 1:11 to support their Futurist creeds.  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.

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 at the end of the old covenant 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 preMessianic age.  The coming on clouds, the darkening of the heavens, the collapse of elements, are, as we have shown above, familiar forms of apocalyptic language, appropriated from the Hebrew prophets.

Acts i, 11, is often cited to show that Christ’s coming must needs be spectacular, “in like manner as ye beheld him going into the heaven.” But (1) in the only other three places where [“in like manner”] occurs, it points to a general concept rather than the particular form of its actuality. Thus, in Acts vii, 28, it is not some particular manner in which Moses killed the Egyptian that is notable, but rather the certain fact of it. In 2 Tim. iii, 8, it is likewise the fact of strenuous opposition rather than the special manner in which Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. And in Matt. xxiii, 37, and Luke xiii, 34, it is the general thought of protection rather than the visible manner of a mother bird that is intended. Again (2), if Jesus did not come in that generation, and immediately after the great tribulation that attended the fall of Jerusalem, his words in Matt. xvi, 27, 28, xxiv, 29, and parallel passages are in the highest degree misleading. (3) To make the one statement of the angel in Acts i, 11, override all the sayings of Jesus on the same subject and control their meaning is a very one-sided method of biblical interpretation. But all the angel’s words necessarily mean is that as Jesus has ascended into heaven so he will come from heaven. And this main thought agrees with the language of Jesus and the prophets.”[19]

Zechariah 14:4-5

My friend David Green has addressed this passage well,

“Note that in Zech. 14:4-5, a mountain became a valley of salvation; and what were once valleys became mountains. This is virtually the same metaphor that was used by Isaiah, Matthew and Luke: “…Make ready the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough roads smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Isa. 40:3-4; Matt. 3:3; Lk. 3:4-5).

According to this prophecy, whatever stood in the Church’s way was going to be removed. Instead of a rough and winding highway over a mountain range (the wearying burden of the corrupted Jewish leadership), the Church would be given a straight and smooth road (the easy yoke of Christ). The Way of escape and salvation would overcome all that opposed It.  So, in Zech. 14:4-5, the obstacle that opposed the Church would be shattered and overcome by a great valley that would extend to the other side of the obstacle. This is why Zechariah mentioned “the Mount of Olives” by name. That mountain stood in front of the City of Jerusalem, in the path of any who would flee directly to the East away from the City. The Mount of Olives thus served as a physical symbol of a spiritual obstacle or barrier, because of its location in front of Jerusalem.  As Zechariah’s obstacle was split and made into a way of salvation, so through Christ Jesus was the “veil” of condemnation torn in two and replaced with the Way of salvation for all men. (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 9:8; 10:19-20) So too was the barrier of “the dividing wall” torn down and replaced with the peace of Christ in all nations. (Eph. 2:14-15) And so too was the destroying “mountain” of Babylon (the Jerusalem of slavery) burned up, cast into the sea, and replaced with the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Jer. 51:25; Matt. 21:21; Mk. 11:23; Rev. 8:8).  Zech. 14:4-5 is a prophecy of Gospel salvation. Before God destroyed His enemies in A.D. 70, He removed the barrier between His elect and their salvation. He provided a Way of escape and of salvation for His Church. That “Way” was Christ, His Word, His Gospel. At the sound of His Gospel-Voice, His disciples fled from the corruption of the world and from the wrath of God (Matt. 3:7; Lk. 3:7; 21:36; Rom. 2:3; Heb. 2:3; 6:18; 12:25; II Peter 1:4; 2:20; Rev. 12:6; 18:4). Abiding in His Word, they were hid under the refuge of the shadow of His Wings, in the valley of His Mountains. (Zech. 14:5).” (David Green, pretcosmos.com Q&A)

There is simply NO prophecy in the OT or NT which teaches Jesus post AD 70 is still in a physical body and will one day float down on a physical cloud to dwell on the earth in an earthly “utopia” as you have asserted.

c).  Where are the giant pillars of fire that destroy whole cities?  

 I’m not sure what texts you are referring to here.

d).  There was no worldwide mark of the beast in which the entire world saw the beast 

 1).  the whole world or earth saw such and such in Revelation:

The Greek word ge for “earth” in Revelation is used some 67 times and should be translated as “land” as it is in Luke 21,

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land (Greek ge) and wrath upon this people” (Luke 21:20-23).   

The word can refer to the land of Israel or the land of the Roman Empire.  You are reading the book of Revelation without studying the Greek and in the first century genre it was written in.  If I recall Youngs Literal Translation correctly translates ge as “land” throughout Revelation.

2).  the mark of the beast

I have touched upon this already.  The apostate Jews took the mark of the Roman beast when they rejected their Messiah and declared, “we have no king but Caesar.”  If you didn’t acknowledge or worship Caesar as the “son of god” throughout the Roman Empire (take this mark), they made it difficult to “buy and sell.”  And the land beast (apostate Jews) kicked Christians out of the synagogues and held funerals for them – making them dead to them and thus would not buy or sell to them.  The temptation to compromise and take the mark of the sea or land beast was very real in the first century.  The location on the hand or forehead comes from the OT where the Jew was to put the Law / Word of God on/in his forehead (thus meditating on the Word) and on the hand (now putting it into practice with good works).  It was never referring to placing something literally on the forehead and hand.  Thus trying to make this a fulfillment of the New World Order wanting to track and surveille us with computer chips or saying Transhumanism if the fulfillment of this text is grossly misguided to say the very least.

d).  Are we really going to say for the last 2,000 years that this is a Christ on earth utopia?

You are stuck in a false first century unbelieving Jewish concept of a coming Kingdom of God on earth utopia idea.  This is the carnal Messianic kingdom the Jews expected and wanted and which Jesus rejected (cf. Jn. 6).  The Premillennial and Zionist simply pushes or “postpones” this unbiblical concept of the Messianic kingdom off into the future when Jesus allegedly will come “soon” in our generation.

Contrary to this thinking, Jesus taught His Kingdom was “not of this world” and that when He returned in the first century generation “from heaven” it would “not come with [physical] observation” but would rather be fulfilled and realized “within” His people (Lk. 17:20-37 / Lk. 21:27-32).

Isaiah 65:17-23—chapter 66 says that there will be physical death, child birth, labor, and sinners being evangelized in the New Heavens and New Earth.  After Christ comes “soon” in AD 70 and the New Jerusalem comes down, the “Nations” outside in the darkness invited by the Church and the Holy Spirit to “come” and receive “healing” through the gospel and come into the gates and partake of eternal life – pictured as Christ being the Tree of Life and the Holy Spirit being the living water.

The idea that Christ one day is going to float down on a physical cloud and set up an earthly “utopia” is simply not biblical Alex.

3).  What about the “Man of Sin” and coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1-2?

1). The immediate context and logical observations from 2 Thess. 1-2:a). Who were being “troubled”? In the previous chapter we are told that the Second Coming of Christ would give “relief” to the persecuted first century Thessalonian church who were experiencing “trouble” and persecution (2 Thess. 1:5-10). The Thessalonian church consisted of Jewish and Gentile believers who heard Paul preach in the Synagogues (Acts 17).b). Who were giving the Thessalonians “trouble” and how and when would Christ come and give them the same kind of “trouble,” they were giving the Thessalonians and thus render judgment and wrath upon them? The Thessalonians were persecuted by “jealous Jews” who stirred up trouble from not only the Jewish community but the Gentiles. These Jews were “filling up” the measure of their sin and were thus “about to be” judged or experience God’s wrath in the coming events of AD 67 – AD 70 (1 Thess. 2:14-16/Mt. 23:29-36; Acts 17:1- 31YLT). We are told that they would experience the same kind of “trouble” they were giving the Christians at Christ’s coming. And indeed, they did. When their Jewish and Gentile proselyte persecutors went to Jerusalem for the Passover in the events of AD 66 – AD 70, God laid a “trap” for them (Ps. 69:21-22). When the Christians saw the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem and then retreat, they fled the city from the “wrath” that was about to come but the unbelieving Jews and Gentile proselytes listened to the false prophets and John Levi to stay in Jerusalem and fight the Romans in the great rebellion (Lk. 21:20-32).c). If Paul taught a Futurist physical coming of the Lord and some were teaching that the Lord had “already come” (2 Thess. 2:1-2) prior to AD 70, then why wasn’t Paul’s apologetic – “just look out your window – the earth hasn’t been burned up, you haven’t been physically raptured and all the bodies are still in the graveyards? Obviously, He hasn’t come!” But Paul correctly understood that the Second Coming of the Lord event upon the clouds was similar to how God had come upon the clouds in the OT through the Assyrians or Babylonians, except this time it would be through the Romans. Therefore, Paul does not correct an error of a spiritual common prophetic or apocalyptic coming of the Lord to take place in the Thessalonians lifetimes.2). The Jewish “rebellion” & “man of lawlessness” had to take place first and his “restrainer” had to be taken out of the way (2 Thess. 2:1-8 ESV).a). John Levi of Gischala was a “lawless man” in that he lied and convinced the Jews to revolt against the Romans, committed sacrilege in the temple, killed the High Priest in the temple and caused the sacrifices to stop in the temple. He thus placed himself in the temple as God – a greater authority than the Romans and God’s Torah. John Levi was alive when Paul wrote and the “he” or “it” of the restraining force God had in place was also alive at the time. The High Priest Ananus encouraged the people to resist John of Levi and the Zealot plan to overthrow Rome, but once John killed Ananus and overtook the temple, the war/rebellion was in full bloom.b). But what of the language of the “rapture” of 1 Thess. 4:15-17 and the destruction of the man of lawlessness of 2 Thess. 2:8? This coming of Christ was “by the Word of the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:15) found in Mt. 24:30-34. Jesus taught the first century AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and contemporary “you” that they would be gathered in the Kingdom at His coming. Likewise, Paul taught this “gathering” or “catching away” was for his first century “we” contemporaries. Both Jesus and Paul are using common Hebraic and prophetic apocalyptic language. Just read Psalm 18 – how is God described in coming to deliver David from his earthly enemies who persecuted him? Did people physically see God “come down” on the wind in a chariot with fire coming out of His mouth devouring David’s enemies while He “took” David in deliverance (Ps. 18:8-19)?!?

Conclusion

Alex, you have recently mentioned that you need more time off so you can meditate on God’s Word and think about what is coming next with the New World Order’s planning.  Well, I strongly exhort and encourage you to study these issues out more.  I sent you two copies of my book and now this letter to meditate on.  You have ignored the imminent time texts of Jesus and the inspired NT writers and have literalized spiritual or apocalyptic language.  You have abused God’s Word on Infowars.com and let some of your guests do it as well.  You have also pretended to be some kind of prophet claiming you get “downloads” from the Holy Spirit in dreams and visions etc.  The office of prophet and the miraculous gifts of prophesying “stopped” or “ceased” in AD 70 when the temple was destroyed (Dan. 9:24 / 1 Cor. 13:8-12).  I used to be a Charismatic and thought I was seeing and experiencing miraculous things, but they simply were not what we see in the gospels or in the book of Acts.

I would enjoy you moderating a debate between myself and one of your best theologians which I discern would be Jay Dyer along with one of your Pastor Zionist friends and let’s discuss and take the Barnes v. Fuentes debate up a notch and discuss and debate what the Bible says about modern Israel, the war of Armageddon / Gog and Magog, and how God will defeat the New World Order – as He has all of His enemies throughout the Bible.

In Christ,

Michael Sullivan

Open Letter to the New World Order

Dear Rothschilds, Klaus Schwab, Yuval Harari, and those involved in this Globalist Coup d’Etat,

You have worked behind the scenes for the last 400 years or so and have been identified by many as the “invisible government” or the “puppet masters” pulling the strings in starting revolutions and even installing many of our politicians and that of many other countries.  Clearly you have installed Biden as our “dog king” to demonstrate your power and influence you believe you have.  And Klaus you are correct that you have “infiltrated / penetrated” the governments of the world.

But let’s be extremely clear – you are not the sovereign puppet masters, in fact, God is sovereignly playing you to do exactly what He wills:

“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.  What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released.  If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver [that’s you] are His.” (Job 12:13-16).

The Rothschild’s study of the Talmud was all in VAIN!  Your Messiah will NEVER come and trying to bring him through war and world conquest has nothing to do with the OT or reality and will never come to fruition.  And to the Atheist and Satanic aspects to your narcissistic cult – you have a meaningless and powerless life.  Christ “crushed” “Satan” “shortly” in AD 70 (Rms. 16:20/Gen. 3:15) and you are simply following your own lusts for power – not deriving it from Satan or demons.  You can only go as far as God allows you to as Pharoah learned and King Nebuchadnezzar learned after God humbled him:

“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.  All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.  No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (Dan. 4:34-35).

God “hardens” hearts like yours as He did with Pharoah to demonstrate His “power” and “wrath” (cf. Rms. 9).  You are the puppets, and the only Living and True God is the “puppet master” and unto Him belongs the Kingdoms of this world (Rev. 11:17-18).

Watching the Tigers Fight from the Mountain Top

The Chinese stratagem from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War includes the concept of China sitting on a mountain top provoking and watching the tiger’s fight. Then when the victor is weakened from the fight, China will come in to finish the opponent and get rid of all threats.  We have watched you implement this philosophy mastered by the Rothchild’s, Globalist banks and the New World Order who start and profit from both sides of wars and then steps in as the saviors to offer a global peaceful solution.  We have China, Islam, Talmudic Zionism and the New World Order all thinking that they are sitting on the mountain top watching the other systems fight and that somehow someday, they will swoop in and usher in their version of a tyrannical one world government for the nations to obey.

Christ Rules from Heaven & Mount Zion

But the truth of the matter is that God sits enthroned on Mount Zion and He raises up wicked men to judge wicked men to accomplish His own purposes.  Therefore, we do not fear the New World Order, China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Islam, Zionism, etc. — because we know the sovereign God (the King of kings) who rules the world from Mount Zion and laughs at those seeking to overthrow Him and rule the world (Psalm 2).  He uses their own plans against them (Esther – Haman) and always accomplishes His will.

An example of this can be seen with what I have written to Alex in this letter concerning the book of Revelation.  God sovereignly put in the heart of the sea beast (Rome) and the land beast (apostate Jews) to come against Christ and His Church, but God used the persecution to purify and strengthen the faith of His Church.  And in the end, He put it in the hearts of the Romans and Jews to devour themselves while allowing the Church to flee from Jerusalem to Pella and escape that “wrath” and “tribulation.”  God sits enthroned over the hearts of all men and their wars and uses them to accomplish His purposes.  They may intend their wars and schemes for evil, while God will work them out to glorify Himself and ultimately benefit His Church.

Christ has been raised and has ascended to heaven and currently rules in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (Acts 2:22-35).  In fulfillment of Psalm 110, the author of Hebrews demonstrates that He placed His “enemies” “under His feet” in the “Day” that was “drawing near” when He was “about to consume” these “enemies” with “fire” at His coming “in a very, very little while” which would “not be delayed” in the judgment and events of AD 67 – AD 70 (Heb. 10:13-37).  Remember what Jesus said and did to those who said they would not have Christ reign over them – “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” (cf. Lk. 19:11-27).

Christ and the Church rule the world / nations with a rod and the sword of the Spirit (the everlasting law of the gospel (Rev. 2:26-27; Rev. 21–22:17).  The elect from among the nations of the world flow through the gates of the New Jerusalem/Zion to receive spiritual “healing.”  Those that come into the New Jerusalem “learn war no more” – that is there is no more barrier between Jew and Gentile or hostility between God and man – in that the gospel gives a peace and security that the Old Covenant system and owning all the money and resources in the world could not provide.

There will always only be One a World Government or Mount Zion from which Christ and the Church reins over the Nations – and it can never be destroyed.

Conclusion:

As far as your obsession with accumulating riches, power, and desire to play God and either deny there is an afterlife or seek to extend your lives through transhumanism or somehow download your souls into computers–you would do well to heed the wisdom coming from the Psalms, Proverbs, Peter and Christ Himself:

Psalm 49:5-8, 15:  “…those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches…Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.” “Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.  Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.  But God WILL RANSOM my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will TAKE me [“SNATCH ME,” “RECEIVE ME” “PULL ME” “RAISE ME UP”] TO HIMSELF.”  “For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him.”  “His soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will NEVER SEE LIGHT.”

Psalm 73:23-26:  Previous context – unlike the wicked who may prosper in this life,…

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will TAKE me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The Psalmist in Pslam 73 became envious for a time of how the wicked accumulate wealth and seem to go unpunished.  But then He,

“Discerned their end” – “Truly YOU SET them in slippery places; you MAKE them FALL to RUIN.  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!  Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms” (Ps. 73:16-20).

The souls of the wicked are NOT redeemed from Sheol by God to “see light” or to be taken into God’s presence.  BUT the souls of the righteous are redeemed from Sheol to be “taken” into God’s “light,” “glory” and presence “forever” or in the “morning” [or in the resurrection].

Since the gold and silver man stores up in “this life” “cannot ransom his soul,” what is worth more than gold and silver and can ransom or save man from the power of Sheol and eternal separation from God?

A). 1 Pet. 1:4-5, 17-22: Concerning the “ready to be revealed” “inheritance” and “salvation of the soul” in AD 70 Peter writes, “…you were ransomed…not with perishable things such as gold and silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish…having purified your souls.”

B).  1 Pet. 1:5, 7:  “…by God’s power are being kept/guarded through faith…[being]…more precious than gold that perishes…”.

It’s almost as if Peter is opened to Psalm 49 and is developing it’s soteriological and eschatology hope: Only the blood of Christ and God guarded faith (which are more valuable than gold and silver) can “ransom” or “save” the “soul” and allow it to enter God’s “inheritance” that He, as a righteous Heavenly Father, has provided for His children.

And the Proverbs yield great wisdom on this subject of the afterlife and traveling upon “the way”:

Prov. 8:35-36:  Indeed, who finds me finds life eternal, and the treading of her path/way is immortality.

Prov. 12:28:  In the path/way of virtue is eternal [Dahood] life , And the treading of her way is immortality [Delitzsch & Dahood – or ESV & AVT “no death”]

Prov. 14:24:  The path/way of life eternal is upward for the prudent, thus escaping Sheol below.

In the gospels we learn that Jesus is “The Way” mentioned and predicted in the Proverbs and those that put their trust in Him and thus travel upon this Way would at His Parousia and resurrection event be called or “gathered” “upward” to receive “eternal life” or “never die” (1 Cor. 1:30; Jn. 14:6; Jn. 11:25-26; Jn. 3:16, 36; Jn. 8:24; Mt. 24:30-31/1 Thess. 4:15-17/Rev. 11:12). The point of Matthew 24:30-31 or 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is not that the living would physically disappear off the planet and or not see and experience physical death, but rather they would receive “eternal life” and thus “never die” meaning—they would never be separated from God through the spiritual “THE death” that came through Adam the very day he rebelled against God. And the souls of the dead would be raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades and gathered or carried away by Christ and His angels into the Father’s presence to also inherit eternal life and “never die” (be subject to the curse and separation of Adamic death again). Both groups are no longer held captive or spiritually separated by “THE sin” and “THE death” that came through Adam – for Christ overcame them for both groups at His Parousia in AD 70.

Jesus made it very clear for those that seek to gain riches in this life and rule over and persecute the poor, that at the end of their life, they lose their soul to eternal torment and the righteous rule over them in the riches of having eternal life in God’s presence (cf. Mt. 16:26; Lk. 12:13-21; Lk. 16:19-31).

Dictators and their ambitions of ruling the world are temporary, they fall into the snares they plan for the righteous, only serve to accomplish God’s purposes, and they can only go as far as God allows them to (Dan. 4:34-35). Their ambitions come and go, but Christs’ rule through His Church will never cease.  The Globalist elite must “Kiss the Son/King lest they perish” and thus have no hope of overcoming the curse of sin and death and the judgment that awaits them (Ps. 2:12).  In short, Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum will never rule the world and all the money in the world cannot extend or buy the soul from the power of sin, death and what awaits in the afterlife. Only the blood of Christ and God-given and guarded faith is the holy exchange which “saves the soul” from sins committed against God and the power of death.

I see your attempts to start a war between Israel and the Muslim world to create a one world currency and government – controlled by you, but we will resist you and print our own debt free currency and the religious vacuum this war will create will only be used by God to refine and discipline His people and to draw weary sinners through the gates of the City to the Living God (Rev. 22:17).  You have failed and you will continue to fail.  Any successes you think you have is only being used of God as evidence to cast you into the Lake of Fire upon your death and to refine and discipline His Church throughout the world.  God’s New Covenant Kingdom cannot be “shaken” and no amount of money or technology will give you eternal life.  Only those who place their trust in Christ will “never die” (Jn. 8:51) and thus will never be separated from Him.  “If you do not believe that I AM [“he” is not in the original], you will indeed die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24).

In Christ’s Righteousness Alone,

Michael Sullivan

[1] Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344

[2] David Green, From Babylon to Babylon, preteristcosmos.com

[3] Anthony A Hoekema, THE BIBLE AND THE FUTURE, (Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI:  1979), 126

[4] Ibid.

[5] R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According To Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 108-109

[6] DeMar, Last Days Madness, Ibid., (1999 edition), 393, emphasis MJS

[7] John Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, (Chicago, Moody, 1966), 35

[8] Thomas Ice, Tim LaHaye, Ibid., 103.

[9] G.K. Beale, THE NEW INTERNATIONAL GREEK TESTAMENT COMMENTARY NIGT, The Book of

Revelation, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1999), 182

[10] David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, (Fort Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 412

[11] Michael S. Heiser, THE UNSEEN REALM Recovering the Supernatural worldview of the Bible, (Bellingham, WA:  Lexham Press, 2015) 371

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid., 373

[14] James B. Jordan, The Battle of Gog and Magog, http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblicalhorizons/no-2-the-battle-of-gog-and-magog/

[15] Gary DeMar, IDENTIFYING THE GOG-MAGOG ALLIANCE WHY THE END OF THE WORLD IS NOT IN YOUR FUTURE, (Powder Springs, GA, American Vision Press, 2008).

[16] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Book House, 7th reprint 1990), 193.

[17] James Russell, The Parousia, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, third printing, 1990), 105

[18] Keith A. Mathison, From Age to Age:  The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 2009), 459

[19] Milton S. Terry, A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI:

Baker Book House, 1988), 246-247

A Full Preterist Response to the “Inconsistent Orthodox” Hyper-Creedal Inquisition of Gary DeMar

Introduction

(3/8/23 update – This article is still in the process of being written.  I will also be providing links to Gary DeMar’s podcasts where he is responding to his critics)

Recently a public letter signed by Jason Bradfield, Uri Brito, Ardel Caneday, Jeff Durbin, John Frame, Sam Frost, Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, Brian Mattson, Andrew Sandlin, Keith Sherlin, Jeffery Ventrella, James White, and Doug Wilson was publicly published demanding that Gary DeMar answer their questions or face their wrath and withdrawal of support to American Vision because they “love” him.  What is Gary’s crime?  Gary has posted that he wants the debate between Partial and Full Preterism to continue because he feels that both sides need to hash some issues out and that he wants the freedom to “study” these issues for himself. Not to mention he has some questions for them that they aren’t answering (ex. the parallels / the analogy of faith between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4-5; etc…).

Apparently, Gary is not allowed by the hyper-creedalists to “study” these issues out for himself or get answers from them publicly.  It’s a one-way street.  I find this odd since they claim to embrace:

“Scripture alone,”

“Reformed and always reforming,”

Believe in the “priesthood of all believers,” and

Confess and embrace what the WCF confesses and teaches about itself – that it may be in error as previous creeds and confessions have and is subject to revision based upon the exegesis and authority of the Word of God and His Spirit working through His Body.

Some claim to be public “apologists” and yet have NO “answer” or “defense” (1 Pet. 3:15) to Biblical questions we have provided to them in private and public for many years regarding their Futurist misplaced “hope.”  The original context of 1-2 Peter and that of 1 Peter 3:15 is that there were “mockers” denying the truly imminent coming of the Lord – promised to take place in their generation.  And thus the “salvation” and “inheritance” of the new covenant creation that was “ready to be revealed” (1 Pet. 1:4-12; 2 Pet. 3).  These first century Full Preterist Christians living pre-AD 70, had to be equipped to teach anyone asking them about this imminent “hope” that was within them.  Post AD 70 this is a “hope realized” (Prov. 13:12) of which we are prepared to “give and answer” and “defend” while men such as Kenneth Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin and James White have a “delayed” or “sick” “hope” (Prov. 13:12) or multiple unbiblical eschatological hopes that they are unable and unwilling to “defend.”

But as time goes on our book response – House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology... to When Shall These Things Be? is aging well by demonstrating the Reformed Church has forgotten its humble roots.  She and Luther once stood strong against the doctrinal contradictions coming from the various Popes, creeds, confessions, and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church – but has now embraced many doctrinal and eschatological contradictions herself, and worse yet, begun imposing the same kind of hyper-tradition and hyper-creedal “argumentation” and “inquisition” tactics that the Roman Catholic Church once wielded upon her!

Short Version

Here is the short version of my response to this hypocritical public letter levied against Gary DeMar.  The authors and the eschatological systems they espouse are divided on which texts teach the “glorious Second Coming” to “end world history” whereby Christ “comes” to “judge the righteous and the unrighteous” or to “judge and reward all men according to what they have done” – that is the “quick and the dead.”  This is why they offered NO texts in their letter let alone any exegesis.  Some of these men take the following passages as fulfilled in AD 70 and yet want Gary to concede that these eschatological CONCEPTS must be fulfilled in the future or like Full Preterists he must be punished!  Texts that some of these men and or their systems believe were fulfilled in AD 70 are the following:

Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Acts 17:31YLT / Acts 24:15YLT / Romans 8:18-23YLT / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31; 25:31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Matthew 13:39-43 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:7, 10-12, 20 / 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT / Revelation 1-19; 21-22

Anyone studying this issues for a long time can see that if the above passages were imminently fulfilled in AD 70, then “the farm has been given away” to Full Preterism.  And if people are allowed to embrace or EVEN study and ask questions concerning the glaring inconsistencies, that voice MUST be tarred and punished at all costs.

When, how and with what authority did these men and other Partial Preterists make most of the above texts (95% of the NT teaching) concerning the glorious return of Christ, the judgment and resurrection of “all men,” and the passing of the first creation and arrival of the new fulfilled in AD 70 “orthodox” views for the Church?  And thus with what authority do they have to condemn us for either being consistent with the imminent time texts or implementing the historic Churches teaching using the analogy of faith to connect other parallels to these AD 70 fulfilled passages?  If the WCF and the creeds are wrong on texts like these, are they wrong on other parallel eschatological texts that the Church sees are equivalent to them?

It appears to me that at least Gary does not seem to be willing to bow the knee to the authority of eschatological CONCEPTS allegedly fulfilled in the Future, but rather to “Scripture alone” and to “see the work” or “exegesis” of those and other texts in question.  If these men truly “loved” their brother one would think they would labor with him with an open Bible?  But these kind of men have a horrible track record in the un-Christian way they have treated men like Walt Hibbard of Great Christian Books, David Chilton, and the list will continue to grow – as they see these want-to-be authoritarian Emperors walk around with no clothes on.

And those signers of the letter that don’t see these passages as being imminently fulfilled in AD 70, ironically and hypocritically label the other signers of the letter to be “HYPER Partial Preterists” (that is not “orthodox” or true Partial Preterists like themselves).  They also accuse them of being “inconsistent” (that is if they were “consistent” exegetically and logically their positions would lead to Full Preterism).  The signers of this letter have engaged in building a hypocritical “house divided” that simply will “not stand.”   

Instead of the authors of this letter gnashing their teeth at DeMar and Full Preterism, maybe they should spend more time trying to reconcile their MAJOR differences on key texts (see above) instead of trying to condemn people to hell for piecing their mess together into a consistent, logical and exegetical system?  Just a thought.  But attacking others and doing one-sided hit pieces on Full Preterim is much easier than debating us or doing the hard work of reformation.  I get it – stay comfortable and lazy.

I will first post the letter and then we will take it a part exegetically and logically.

The Letter

“An Open Letter to Gary DeMar,

Dear Gary:

We are your brothers in the Lord, long-time friends, supporters, co-laborers in his Word, and co-promoters and defenders of the Christian worldview. We have contacted you privately twice in the last few months regarding our concerns, with the following.

We are writing to you once again with an earnest plea regarding your doctrinal transitioning that we are witnessing.

Gary, we seriously and deeply hope that you will receive this as from deeply-burdened hearts and that you will respond to us as to those who love you in the Lord and have appreciated your public ministry.

As you know from our previous correspondence, we are deeply concerned over the eschatological direction you seem to be taking of late. Andrew Sandlin heard you speak at a conference in Texas about a year ago. At that time he was surprised that you would not acknowledge whether you believe in a future final judgment and a future physical resurrection of the dead. When asked, you also stated that you would not call full preterists “heretics.”

Due to certain statements you made publicly on Facebook recently, Ken Gentry asked you if you would affirm three simple, basic doctrinal positions. These questions have intentionally been kept limited and simple in order to avoid entangling interaction with the many variations within and permutations of Full Preterism (aka Consistent Preterism; aka Covenant Preterism; aka Hyperpreterism).

Furthermore, they have also been confined to doctrines clearly declared in the American Vision Statement of Faith. Those simple yes-or-no questions are now simplified and clarified even more:

  1. Do you believe in a future bodily, glorious return of Christ?
  2. Do you believe in a future physical, general resurrection of the dead?
  3. Do you believe history will end with the Final Judgment of all men?

To refuse to affirm the future, physical resurrection, the final judgment of the righteous and the unrighteous, and the tactile reality of the eternal state is to refuse to affirm critical elements of the Christian faith. To contradict these doctrines is not merely to contradict a few specific biblical texts; it is to contradict indispensable aspects of the Christian faith and the biblical worldview. As blunt as it might sound, it is to strike at crucial aspects in the very heart of the Christian faith.

This private letter of inquiry has been agreed upon by the signatories listed below. Please, Gary, receive this not as an attack upon you, but as a humble concern for your doctrinal orthodoxy and the integrity of American Vision. Please set the matter straight regarding these three fundamental issues so that we can lay this matter to rest. We love you and are continuing to pray for you.

In the love of Christ the Lord,

Jason Bradfield, Uri Brito, Ardel Caneday, Jeff Durbin, John Frame, Sam Frost, Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, Brian Mattson, Andrew Sandlin, Keith Sherlin, Jeffery Ventrella, James White, Doug Wilson”

Granted I don’t know all the men signing this letter and their various positions on major eschatological texts, but some I do.  Let’s briefly look at what THEIR positions are, and we will quickly see why there were no Biblical passages cited in the letter and why they have avoided our questions and challenges to debate for many years!

Will history end with the Second Coming, transformation of the planet, and judgment and resurrection of all men?

Isaiah 65-66 / 2 Peter 3 / Revelation 21-22

Of course, the letter provides NO Scripture to support the Bible teaches the “end of world history.”  Why is that?  It’s because some signing this letter believe the coming of Christ and passing away of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 is addressing Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70 and the first heavens and earth that passed away was the old covenant age / world and the “new” is the new covenant age / world which replaced it in AD 70.  Those teaching this who signed the letter would be Doug Wilson and Jeff Durbin.  Gentry affirms the de-creation and re-creation of Revelation 21-22 was fulfilled at the “soon” coming of Christ in AD 70.  Others who signed the letter would see these passages as teaching the Second Coming event which produces the “end of world history,” and entering the “tactile reality of the eternal state.”  But these passages are clear enough – after this coming of the Lord and de-creation and new creation event is fulfilled imminently in AD 70, there are sinners present and evangelism taking place.  There is no promise here to “end world history.”  And notice that these passages only state that there is ONE passing away of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new – not two (one in AD 70 and another at the alleged end of world history).

When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Full 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 (to name just a few) teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (cf. 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.  See the following works:

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.

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. 

James White and other Reformed Baptist Pastors have falsely accused those of us who take these passages as fulfilled in AD 70 as believing “we are in the eternal state” or that somehow, we deny the existence of the eternal state or heaven because we believe they were fulfilled in AD 70.  But Jeff Durbin and Doug Wilson in their treatments of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 have clearly stated these passages are NOT a description of heaven or the eternal state!  So White of course is simply using a scare tactic, and apparently isn’t even aware of what people in his own church and formers of this letter are teaching on these CRUCIAL “end of world history” texts!  We believe the “eternal state” or “heaven” is where the dead are now after being raised out of Hades / Abrahams bosom in AD 70 and where we go when we die post AD 70.

Questions on Isa. 65-66 / 2 Peter 3 / Revelation 21-22 for the authors of this letter to answer:

The WCF states that the “soon” coming of Christ in the book of Revelation is the Second Coming event which would cause the first creation to pass away and ushers in the new one.  When did it become “orthodox” to believe this coming of Christ is actually His spiritual coming in AD 70 and the de-creation and new creation here are the old and new covenantal worlds of Israel and the Church?  Who determined its “orthodoxy”?

Sam Frost has stated this is “inconsistent” “HYPER-Partial Preterism.”  He has testified that it is this exegetical “inconsistency” that brought him into “Full Preterism.”  If it’s “hyper” it’s not orthodox and if it’s “inconsistent” and it were to be “consistent” then it leads to Full Preterism.  Indeed, a very incoherent statement coming from one of the signers of the letter.

The Partial Preterists in this letter believe that at the “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation 22:7, 10, 20 the New Jerusalem came down from heaven to earth and that we are currently in the New Jerusalem / New Creation and we are “healing the nations” by preaching the gospel and inviting sinners to come through the gates of the City (22:17).  Hebrews 13:14 confirms this City was “about to come” and did in AD 70.  If this is the case, then the curse of “the death” is “no more” (Rev. 21:4) for those of us who are in the New Jerusalem / New Creation post AD 70.  One of the authors of this letter Philip Kayser, believes the coming or parousia of 1 Corinthians 15:23 was fulfilled in AD 70 and yet others of the letter believe it is at this parousia event that “all” are raised and the curse of “the death” of verses 54-56 is done away and overcome for the believer.  So did the “soon” coming or “parousia” of Revelation 22:7-12, 20 and 1 Corinthians 15:23 bring about the promise to “overcome” “the death” and is there “no more the death” for the believer today in the new covenant age that “was about to” come in AD 70 or not?  Didn’t Jesus teach that those of us who believe in Him would “never die”?  Thus the “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation and expected by the living saints in Corinthians overcame the curse of spiritual death that came through Adam.  This was a promise made and a promise kept!

Will history end and the planet be transformed at the physical bodily return of Jesus to raise and judge the quick and the dead?

Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Acts 17:31YLT / Acts 24:15YLT / Romans 8:18-23YLT / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 30-31 / 1 Corinthians 15 / Matthew 13:39-43 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12  / 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT / Revelation 1-19; 21-22

Again, since some of the signers of this letter believe the above passages were fulfilled in AD 70, it is clear as to why no Scripture references were provided in this cowardly public rebuke of Gary DeMar.

Daniel 12:1-7, 13 

Kenneth Gentry and Partial Preterism as a system has been challenged by us for many years to explain why they can eisegetically cherry-pick the judgment and resurrection of the just and unjust from Daniel 12:2-3 from the other AD 70 events such as the Tribulation in verse 1.  After all Daniel is told that “ALL these things” listed in verse 1-4 would be fulfilled together during a period of “three and half years” “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (vss. 5-7).  They finally came around to admit Daniel 12:2-3 teaches a spiritual resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70.  But who made and had the authority to make that an “orthodox” position?  How long did it take in order to become “orthodox”?

Kenneth Gentry concedes,

“In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.” “…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”

“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse: Israel as a corporate body [like Ezek. 37] is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).”

“…the arising of the new Israel from out of the dead, [of] old covenant Israel in AD 70…” (Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538-540).

When I challenged Ken on this in the Q&A period at the Criswell Conference on the Millennium, he claimed Daniel 12 teaches a double fulfillment of the resurrection or an “already and not yet.”  He claims there was a spiritual and corporate resurrection of the dead in AD 70 and yet at the same time the text is teaching there will be an end of world history physical judgment and resurrection of the dead.  Of course, when you actually read Daniel 12:2-4 you can’t derive this from the text itself.  It is simply read into the text (eisegesis) so that Ken can admit the resurrection and judgment would be fulfilled when the Tribulation and deliverance is fulfilled (AD 67 – AD 70), and yet at the same time make a statement that saves his creedal carrier.

The text mentions this resurrection would be fulfilled at only ONE eschatological “not yet” “end” period and not two per Gentry (the “end” of the Jewish or old covenant age and then another alleged “end” to world history).  Wycliffe emphasizes the importance of kairos being used in the LXX when he translates Daniel 12:4: “Daniel, close up the words, and seal the book, until the time ordained (or the appointed time).”  This “ordained” or “appointed” time of the end would be during the Roman Jewish war – during the “three and half years” war of AD 67 – AD 70 “when the power of the holy people (first century Jews) will be completely shattered.”  It is the last half of the broken seven years of Daniel’s seventy-sevens in Daniel 9:24-27.  All of the soteriological and eschatological events listed in Daniel 9:24-27 were fulfilled within that last and 10th Jubilee as expected by first century Judaism (cf. 11QMelch).

G.K. Beale has also shown the connection between the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-4 being the “hour of the end” and this being the eschatological “not yet” “hour” of John 4-5.  And yet curiously Gentry admits Jesus’ phrase in John 4 of an “hour is coming and is now here” is referring to the “already and not yet” period of AD 30 – AD 70.  But when the same phrase is used by Jesus in John 5, it somehow is referring to another “already and not yet” eschatological hour spanning from AD 30 to the end of world history.  But why?  Gentry reasons it’s because John 5 discusses “all” coming out of their “graves” so this has to be a physical resurrection.  But Gentry just got done telling us that the terminology of a resurrection coming out of the “dust” does not have to be taken literally or physically and this is a resurrection just like Ezekiel 37 were people come out of their “graves” which was likewise not referring to physical or literal graves.  And of course Reformed Partial Preterist eschatology has admitted that the eschatological and soteriological coming “hour” of judgment and wrath taught by Jesus and John elsewhere was imminently fulfilled in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:36; 1 Jn. 2:17-18; Rev. 6:17; etc…). Hmm, nothing to see here – keep walking.

The Jews understood the “in that day” “trumpet gathering” of Isaiah 27:12-13 to be the resurrection event and then they would “worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.”  Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31 places this “trumpet” resurrection “gathering” to be in His generation to close the old covenant age and in John 4-5 He places this time of worship and resurrection to be fulfilled in the coming eschatological “hour” of Daniel 12 – which is inseparably connected to Jerusalems salvation and judgment in the events of AD 70.  The Samaritans and Jews were debating over the physicality of this place of worship, and yet Jesus and the NT authors see this to take place within the spiritual new covenant Jerusalem / Mount Zion which wold replace the physical old covenant system in AD 70.

Another exegetical issue Gentry has no good answer for is this – if he can give the resurrection and judgment of the dead event (inseparably connected to the historic events of the Tribulation AD 67 – AD 70) in Daniel 12:2-3 a double fulfillment, then why can’t other Futurist views give the Tribulation or Abomination of Desolation two fulfillments – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history with another rebuilt Temple etc.?!?  Gentry forbids this kind of double fulfillment or “already and not yet” but he sure imposes it when trying to get around the challenges of Full Preterism!

Phillip Kayser another co-signer of the letter also agrees that Daniel 12 teaches that there was an imminent resurrection of the dead that was fulfilled in AD 70.  Gentry does not address how Daniel himself would be raised in this resurrection (Dan. 12:13) – he will only commit to a corporate spiritual resurrection.  Kayser on the other hand believes that “many” (how many?) were physically raised from the dead in AD 70 per Daniel 12:2-3:

Notice that the great tribulation (v. 1) immediately precedes a resurrection (vv. 2-3)

Let’s read Daniel 12:1-3. The context in chapter 11 ends with Herod the Great hearing news from the east, being troubled by the news that the wise men bring him, killing many, and then ending up dying himself. So it is a first century context. Chapter 12:1 begins,

At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.

The book of Revelation has been talking about Daniel’s Great Tribulation. But notice what happens right during that time. Verse 2:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.

Notice that “many” are raised, not all (v. 2). This implies another resurrection. Yet Daniel will be raised at the end of the time period being discussed (end of Old Covenant – or AD 70).

Notice that it says “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” It doesn’t say “all.” The word “many” implies that there are others who will be raised at yet another different time. So hopefully you can see that it is crystal clear that there is a resurrection in AD 70, but it is not the last one.” (Philip G. Kayser, Barley Harvest, https://kaysercommentary.com/Sermons/New%20Testament/Revelation/Revelation%2011/Revelation%2011_11-14.md?fbclid=IwAR3FVoxOgmAD5zTylIPuyGGpSLqLpTQ3LzPn5yKuTkVf7BGbS-7R19xDZfc).

Kayser, like Gentry, understands that this resurrection is inseparably connected to the Tribulation period in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  And like Gentry he attempts to get around his creedal problem by creating TWO different resurrections – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.  His argument on the word “many” to make this distinction falls flat as David Green addressed in our book,

“Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2:  The word is not used in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.”  The angel simply referred to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV).  No inference can be made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only a portion of the dead.  Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the “many” in Daniel 12:2 referred to the whole company of all the dead from Adam to the Last Day.” (House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…, p. 178).

Unlike Gentry (and Jordan below) Kayser believes that there was a PHYSICAL resurrection of the OT dead and those who died in Christ in the events of AD 70.  Amazing how Josephus and Roman historians missed this PHYSICAL event — so many decaying corpses coming out of their literal graveyards in AD 70!

James Jordan who is a Partial Preterist also writes the following on the resurrection of Daniel 12 being fulfilled by AD 70 and comes the closest to the truth:

“The resurrection of [Dan. 12:2] seems to connect to the evangelistic and teaching ministry spoken of in verse 3; thus, it is some kind of historical resurrection that is spoken of, a resurrectional event in this world, in our history.”  Daniel 12:2 tells us that in the days of Jesus the nation will undergo a last spiritual resurrection…” “Thus, a resurrection of Israel is in view..”.

The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event,…”

What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom, he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.” (James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 2007), pp. 618-21, 628).

Let’s now harmonize “Orthodox Partial Preterism” on the Resurrection and Judgment of Daniel 12:

1).  There is an “already and not yet” or progressive process before the “end” “time of the end” “hour of the end” of this resurrection.

2).  It is Israel’s last spiritual resurrection where her physical old covenant corporate body is transformed into or rises into the new covenant corporate spiritual body of the Church in AD 70.

3). This resurrection resulted in the OT dead one’s being raised out of Abraham’s bosom/Hades to inherit eternal life and God’s presence in AD 70.

Questions on Daniel 12 for the authors of this letter to answer:

Of course, neither Gentry nor Jordan give any kind of full exegesis of Daniel 12.  We are left with such question as the following:

1).  On what exegetical grounds does Gentry give this eschatological “not yet” judgment and resurrection of the dead event TWO “ends” or TWO “appointed” / “decreed” (LXX) end time periods when the text only gives it ONE?

2).  Why won’t Gentry agree with Jordan that the passage says that Daniel himself would be raised at this ONE “end” event and how was he personally raised at the “end” of the Jewish age in AD 70 (v. 13)?

3).  When the NT cites or refers to the resurrection of Dan. 12, how are we to determine which is the spiritual resurrection “end” time event in AD 70 and which one is the alleged physical “end” of world history event?

4).  Why wasn’t there any admission here that some Jews before Jesus and in His day believed there would be a spiritual resurrection out of Hades (as Jordan is teaching) at the end of their old covenant Mosaic age and that it would be within 40 years after Messiah would be “cut off”?  Seems like if you are going to come up with a view not taught in the early church fathers, you might want to develop a “historical context” for it?

5).  Why didn’t Gentry and Jordan publicly confess that Full Preterism has been challenging them on their inconsistencies and cherry-picking of Daniel 12:2-3 and that they needed to respond but ducked addressing this issue for decades?

6).  Why didn’t they cite or admit that the spiritual resurrection position they are giving Daniel 12 – they got from being challenged by Full Preterists and that it is actually our view?  And if not, again, when and where did any church father teach Daniel 12:2-3, 13 was a spiritual resurrection fulfilled in AD 70?

7). When and who made this spiritual resurrection of Daniel 12 an “orthodox” position and with what authority did they do so?  Clearly some of the authors of the letter do not believe it is “orthodox.”  And some Partial Preterists won’t answer the public and private questions/challenges that verse 7 brings — which connects the “tribulation” (which they claim was fulfilled in AD 70) and “time of the end” with the resurrection (ex. Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin, and James White – please “answer” this exegetical challenge).

Acts 17:31YLT:

Recently there has been some debate and interaction between Gary DeMar and Ken Gentry on the translation of the Greek word mello (cf. Gary DeMar, How Should the Greek Word ‘Mello’ be Translated? https://americanvision.org/posts/how-should-the-greek-word-mello-be-translated/?fbclid=IwAR0tzWk2fvZ2As8Y-u8oRejYWDjsYwn3E3YXL_GEhmbHK6Z9_sR3WX9Ohz8).

In this dispute on Facebook and elsewhere, Acts 17:31YLT has also been brought up as a creedal text and some of the authors of this letter have challenged the Full Preterist position and even Gary with “how was the Roman world ‘about to be’ judged in AD 70”?  But of course, this is the very position of one of the authors of the letter!  Philip G. Kayser writes this of mello in Acts 17:31,

“So where do we get the idea that there would be an imminent resurrection in AD 70? It’s implied in the word firstfruits. If the AD 30 resurrection is a firstfruits resurrection, then the rest of the barley harvest should shortly happen.

Second, the next subpoint gives a boatload of Scriptures which speaks of an imminent judgment against Jerusalem, connected with an imminent resurrection that was about to happen, and an imminent age that was about to begin. Unfortunately, the Greek word μέλλω in each of those verses is sometimes translated away [which is what Gentry has sought to do seeing the resurrection train coming – MJS]. But that Greek word always refers to something that is about to happen. How do premils handle these verses? Well, they use them to prove that the Second Coming is about to happen and has been about to happen for the last 2000 years. Well, 2000 years after those Scriptures were written is not something that is about to happen. I won’t take the time to go through the whole long list of Scriptures that have the Greek word μέλλω, but each of those references in your outline show some massive changes that would happen soon in AD 70. For now I want to focus on the verses that speak of a resurrection that was about to happen, since that is the one that so many people miss.

Acts 17:31 speaks about a resurrection. It says, “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge [And the Greek word is μέλλω – “is about to judge” the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Why would Christ’s resurrection be a guarantee of imminent judgment? Because Daniel connects judgment against Israel with resurrection. And we will look at the Daniel passage in a moment.

So, Christ’s resurrection was a downpayment or an assurance (a firstfruits, so to speak) that guaranteed that there was about to be a judgment day with another resurrection. In terms of the barley harvest imagery that the Jews were familiar with, that would make sense because Christ’s firstfruits resurrection was the assurance of the rest of the barley harvest.” (Philip G. Kayser, Barley Harvest, https://kaysercommentary.com/Sermons/New%20Testament/Revelation/Revelation%2011/Revelation%2011_11-14.md?fbclid=IwAR3FVoxOgmAD5zTylIPuyGGpSLqLpTQ3LzPn5yKuTkVf7BGbS-7R19xDZfc).

So, the “appointed” or “decreed” “time” of the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:2-4 (LXX) and Acts 17:31 was “about to be” fulfilled in the lifetime of Paul’s audience and it was fulfilled in AD 70.  Daniel 12 nor the NT places TWO eschatological “appointed” or “decreed” time(s), just ONE and it is imminently to be fulfilled in AD 70 and is inseparably connected to the “hope of the twelve tribes of Israel” and to her destruction and judgment.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 17:31YLT:

How many “appointed” “decreed” “hour of the end” judgments and resurrections are there in Daniel 12:1-7 and Acts 17:31YLT?  Was only one “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 or not?  And if not “where is your work” to prove that?  How many of you are buying that the NT is teaching TWO eschatological harvests and judgments of the living and dead – one imminent in AD 70 and one at the end of world history?  Is that “creedal” and “orthodox”?

What if a combination of the authors of the letter are correct – the more classic Amillennial view is correct in that this is just ONE divinely “appointed” “end” or “end of the age” judgment and resurrection of the dead event for the righteous and unrighteous and Partial Preterism is correct in that it was “about to be” fulfilled at the divinely appointed end of the old covenant or Jewish age in AD 70?  Instead of the authors of this letter gnashing their teeth at DeMar and Full Preterism, maybe they should spend more time trying to reconcile their MAJOR differences on key texts like these instead of trying to condemn people to hell for piecing their mess together into a consistent, logical and exegetical system?  Just a thought.

Acts 24:15YLT:

Kayser again a co-signer of the letter writes of mello on this crucial passage,

“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15)

The word “will be” is the Greek word μέλλω which refers to something very very near. It is more literally translated “that there is about to be a resurrection of the dead.” Well, he said that about ten years before the AD 70 resurrection, so it was literally true. Look down at verse 25 where μέλλω occurs again.

Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come [literally, the judgment about to come], Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” (v. 25)

It was the very imminence of this judgment that made Felix afraid.” (Ibid.)

There are other issues in Acts 24:14-15YLT; Acts 26; and Acts 28 whereby Paul states that his resurrection “hope” only comes from the OT “Law and the Prophets” and it was the ONE “hope” of the “twelve tribes of Israel.”  Post AD 70 there are no longer any ethnic, covenantal or national “twelve tribes of Israel.”  Christ sent the Roman armies to burn their genealogical records in the Temple and took the Kingdom from them and gave it to the Nation of the Church which bears forth fruit today (Mt. 21:43-45).  That’s why when Gary DeMar debated Zionist Jew Dr. Michael Brown and asked him what Tribe he was from he said, “I THINK I’m from Judah.”  Lol.  Jordan also demonstrates there are no ethnic covenantal Jews post AD 70 in his work on Romans 11 and the salvation of “all Israel.”

And the NT only knows of ONE eschatological “hope” of the parousia and resurrection.  These Partial Preterists that have an eschatological “hope” and “resurrection” in AD 70 and then another one at the end of time are twisting the Scriptures as even any good Amillennialist will agree with in condemning the Partial Preterist TWO comings, TWO judgments and resurrection – TWO “hopes” nonsense.

In an article on Acts 24:15 on his site Gentry cites BDAG as support that mello should not be translated as “about to be” here but conveniently does not share with you that BDAG does translate mello as “about to be” in our next key passage – Romans 8:18-23YLT.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 24:15YLT:

How many judgments and resurrections of righteous and unrighteous are there according to Daniel 12:2-7, 17 and Acts 24:15YLT?  If only one at the “end of world history” please show your work!  If TWO – one in AD 70 and one at the end of world history – show your work.  If many of you only see ONE consummative “end” for this judgment and resurrection, then why does one of the signers teach it was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70?  Ken, since you admit there was a spiritual resurrection of the just and unjust of Daniel 12:2-3 in AD 70 PROVE without a shadow of doubt that Paul in Acts 24:15YLT is not referring to THAT AD 70 resurrection – but the alleged “end of world history” one. Contextually in Acts 24; 26 and 28 this judgment and resurrection of the dead event is connected to the ONE “hope” of the “twelve tribes of Israel” and is not referring to “the end of world history.”  Again, the OT context of Daniel 12 and historical context of Acts itself limits this judgment and resurrection of the just and unjust to “about to” take place when there were ethnic and covenantal “tribes of Israel” and just before Jerusalems judgment in the events of AD 67 – AD 70. There is no Futurist “end of world history” judgment and resurrection case here either.  Next.

Romans 8:18-23YLT:

The bold co-signer of this Philip Kayser again writes of mello in this key passage,

“Turn next to Romans 8:18. The whole context is the reversal of every facet of the curse, including the resurrection of our bodies, which in verse 23 Paul calls the “redemption of our bodies.” But I want you to notice the use of the word μέλλω in verse 18.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be [literally, “which is about to be”] revealed in us. (v. 18)

In context Paul is saying that this glory is the redemption of our bodies. That glory is about to be revealed in us. Paul had already revealed that he would die prior to Christ’s coming in AD 70, so he was about to be raised in AD 70.” (Ibid.).

Here is a proper and complete exegesis of Romans 8:18-23YLT since Kayser leaves so many exegetical questions unanswered:

Why has Kenneth Gentry retracted his comments of when mello is used in the aorist infinitive it “surely means” “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70?  It’s because Paul’s theology in Romans 5–8:23 describes the same resurrection and overcoming of “THE Sin,” “THE Death,” and “THE Law” of 1 Corinthians 15. It is also the “appointed time” and “redemption” of Luke 21 and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 which both men believe were fulfilled in AD 70.

Paul’s “ALREADY” Resurrection in Romans 6:

Rms. 6:3-4YLT/NRV/MNC: “are ye ignorant that we, as many as were baptized [that is united/planted through faith not water] to Christ Jesus, to his death were baptized? With him through the baptism to the death [spiritual], that even as Christ was raised up out of the dead through the glory of the Father, so also, we in newness of life might walk [or proceed in a new state of life – MNC]. The PROCESS of resurrection & overcoming Adamic “THE Death” had begun.  The uniting into Christ’s “death” was spiritual and “also” being raised with Him and walking in the newness of His resurrection had begun and was spiritual.

Paul’s “Not Yet” Resurrection in Romans 6:

Rms. 6:5:  “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will [future] certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

Rms. 6:8:  “And if we died with Christ [to THE sin of Adam], we believe that we also shall [future] live with him [that is be accepted & enjoy His presence forever at His coming],”

Rms. 6:10YLT/AB/GNT:  “for in that he [Christ] died, to THE sin he died once, and in that he liveth, He lives to God [in unbroken fellowship w/ Him].

A uniting into the death and resurrection of Christ in these texts are spiritual and have to do with being in or living in unbroken fellowship with God.

Rms. 7: “when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.” “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death [the body of Adam/Moses].”

Here Paul is portraying himself as being under Torah “in the flesh” before his conversion or is personifying himself as being in the corporate body of Adam and or Israel being under “THE Law.” For those in this corporate body, the Law of Moses only served to stir up or magnify the presence of “THE sin” and produced spiritual death or the awareness of being in the state of spiritual death.

Rms. 8:18-22YLT: For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory about to be revealed in us; for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God; for to vanity was the creation made subject — not of its will, but because of Him who did subject [it] — in hope, that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now.  And not only [so], but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting — the redemption [resurrection] of our body;”

1). What time is it?—”…the sufferings of this present time (Greek kairos) or should be understood or translated – “the [now eschatological] appointed time…” man has been waiting for and the Prophets predicted has arrive (similarly 1 Pet. 1:1-12).

This is not kronos which means a duration of chronological time, but rather kairos meaning God’s “appointed time” “when things come to a head, a crisis or consummation.” How and where does Jesus use kairios that is related to Paul’s eschatology here in Romans?

Luke 21:8, 27-28: “For many will come in my name, saying, “I am he!’ and, “The [kairios or appointed time of “redemption” v. 28] is at hand!’ Do not go after them.” Why? Because…

Mrk. 13:10/16:15: “The gospel MUST FIRST be preached to “ALL NATIONS” or “TO THE WHOLE CREATION (Greek kitisis = Rms. 8:19-23).

How does Paul use kairos elsewhere in Romans?

Rms. 13:11-12: Besides this you know the [kairos or appointed] time, that the hour [that is “the hour/time of the end” of Dan. 12:1-4 OG LXX] has come…for you to wake from sleep [that is to “wake from the sleep” or enter into the fulfillment of the resurrection of Dan. 12:2-3]. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night [of the OC age] is far gone; the day [of the NC age of resurrection] is at hand.

Since the Gentile and Jewish “creation” had all heard the gospel, they and Paul knew they had entered into the eschatological “appointed time” of “redemption” or “to awake from the sleep” Jesus and Daniel prophesied. Therefore, Paul taught with inspired certainty that this “appointed time” was “at hand” or “about to be” or “soon to be” fulfilled by AD 70.

2). Contextually, what is the “glory” “about to be revealed” (v. 18)?

A). The immediate and previous context in (v. 17) makes it clear– “…in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”

This is what Paul taught earlier in Rms. 6:5 – “if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall be united with Him in a resurrection like His.”  The resurrection of Christ here results in unbroken fellowship with the Father (v. 10) and so they too would “live with Him” (v.8).  Resurrection = Presence of God restored.  The context following our verse also makes it clear (vss. 19-23):  They are waiting for the revealing of the adoption as sons or the glory of the children of God, the liberation of the creation, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 19-23).

3). Where is this glory to be revealed (v. 18) and what is this unseen hope of (v. 24)? “…in us.”

 Paul writes elsewhere:

Cols. 1:27: “to whom God has willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,”

Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32: When Christ would come from heaven in His contemporary “this generation” He and the kingdom would come in GLORY and power and be “WITHIN” His people and no one would be able to say “see here” or “see there.”

This was a “hope” “about to be” realized in AD 70 not the “sick” and 2,000 plus years and counting physical “hope” of Futurism (Prov. 13:12).

4). When would this eschatological “waiting” in (vss. 19-23) for the “glory” in them to be revealed (v. 18)? It was “about to be revealed” or “soon to be revealed” in AD 70.

Paul here uses the Greek word mello in the aorist infinitive. Gentry writes of John’s use of mello in the aorist infinitive in Rev. 1:19:

“…this term means “be on the point of, be about to.” According to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, Revelation 1:19 reads: “Write the things that thou hast seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to come [mello] …after these things.” The leading interlinear versions of the New Testament concur. This is surely the proper translation of the verse. …when used with the aorist infinitive — as in Revelation 1:19 — the word’s preponderate usage and preferred meaning is: “be on the point of, be about to. The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in the Rev. 3:10. Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion. (Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Beast of Revelation, (First Edition, Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 23–24, 141-142, emphasis MJS).

John Lightfoot is Gentry and DeMar’s favorite Partial Preterist theologian and yet he understands Rms. 8:18-23 in the following Full Preterist manner:

John Lightfoot on “creation”:

He identifies the “creation” of Rms. 8 with the gospel having been preached to “every creature” by AD 70 according to Mrk. 16:15 and Cols. 1:23. He points out the Jews understood the term to be, “…applied to the Gentiles…,” and that the OT prophets predicted the “…gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles…”

John Lightfoot on vanity, bondage & corruption:

After citing Rms. 1:21; Ephs. 4:17; and 1 Cor. 3:20; 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:33 where these terms are referring to the inner sin of man he writes,

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state [of the planet], as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind.” The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.” (John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157, 158-159)

John Lightfoot on the “Redemption of the Body”:

“And of the same body [in context he is referring to the corporate Jew/Gentile mystical body of Christ just mentioned in Eph. 4:13] is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, than ‘the Gentile or heathen world’: not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God, but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption, to wit, the adoption of our [corporate] body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our [corporate] mystical [Jew / Gentile] body. (John Lightfoot, Sermon on “Many Mansions,” cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/vol06.pdf… pp. 322-323).

Major Premise: The context makes it clear that the eschatological appointed time of the liberation of creation, the glory of the children of God, the adoption of the sons of God and the resurrection of Daniel or redemption of the body would all be fulfilled together when the glory would be revealed in Rms. 8:18.

Minor Premise: Since Paul uses the Greek word mello in the aorist infinitive, the glory was “about to be revealed in” the Church in AD 70 [Gary DeMar / Philip Kayser / Gentry’s appeals to BDAG  ]. The creation here is the creation of men being delivered from the effects of inner sin and has nothing to do with the planet earth being transformed or redeemed [John Lightfoot].

Conclusion: The liberation of creation, the adoption and revealing of the sons in glory, and the redemption of the body was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70. At Christ’s “at hand” parousia to close the dark OC age in AD 70, the corporate Body of the Church has been set free or has arisen from the condemning corporate body of Adam / Moses and thus from The Sin, The Death & The Law. In short, the resurrection & deliverance of Rms. 5–8:23YLT is the resurrection & deliverance of 1 Cor. 15 from The Sin, The Death & The Law—-but in Romans it was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 and was (Rms. 8:18-23YLT)!  And in 1 Cor. 15 Paul expected it to take place within the lifetime of those in Corinth – “we shall not all sleep…”.

There are many parallels between Romans 8 and Luke 17:20-37 and the Olivet Discourse.  Not only that, but the eschatological second exodus theme is present.  This is powerful when considering the “historical Jewish context” of some of the Jewish who believed there would be another 40 years “generation” “second exodus” between their old covenant “this age” and the Messianic or new covenant “age about to come”:

The New or Second Exodus Motif in Romans 8:18-23YLT was “About to be” Fulfilled in AD 70
1). Israel – God’s “children” or “sons” (Deut. 32:5, 19-20) 1). Church – God’s “children” or “sons” (8:14, 16, 21)
2). God “created/made” Israel through the exodus event (Deut. 32:6; Isa. 51:15-16) 2). The “creation” of believing Gentiles and Jews the focus & not physical creation (8:22)
3). God “led” Israel (Deut. 32:12) 3). Church “led” by the Spirit (8:14)
4). Israel was “groaning” to be “set free” and “redeemed” from Egyptian slavery/bondage           (Ex. 6:2-9) 4). The Jew/Gentile Church/Creation were “groaning” to be “set free” & “redeemed” from the inner “bondage,” vanity, and corruption of Adamic sin (8:20-22)
The Appointed Time of Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse & Lk. 17 was “At Hand” & “About to be” Fulfilled in Romans 8—13:11-12 by AD 70
1). Suffering & eschatological birth pains coming (Mt. 24:8-9) 1). Suffering & eschatological birth pains currently taking place (8:17-18, 22)
2). Kingdom to be realized “within” a person at Christ’s Second Coming                                       (Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32) 2). Christ’s “glory” would be “revealed IN” the Church at Christ’s Second Coming                     (8:18; 13:11-12; cf. Cols. 1:27)
3). Called to “straighten up / lift heads” because “redemption” would be “drawing near” in their contemporary “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-28) 3). Look for with “eager expectation” (Gk. apekdechomai & apokaradokia– “to eagerly wait for fulfillment with an outstretched neck and head lifted forward”) (8:19-23)
4). Second Coming & “gathering” (resurrection) at the end of the Old Covenant age described “…as sunshine comes out from the east and is seen even in the west…” or “shining like the sun in the Kingdom” (Mt. 24:27-31 Aramaic English NT; Mt. 13:39-43 fulfillment of Dan. 12:2-3) 4).  Second Coming & “awaking from sleep” (resurrection) described as the arrival of “the [eschatological New Covenant age] Day” (13:11-12 fulfillment of Dan. 12:2-3)
5). The “time” (Gk. “kairos” better translated as the eschatological “appointed time of fulfillment or consummation”) would be “near” in the first century “generation” or by AD 70 (Lk. 21:8, 32 “the time ordained” of Dan. 12:4 Wycliffe Translation) 5). The “time” (Gk. kairos better translated as the eschatological “appointed time of fulfillment or consummation”) was “near” and “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 (8:18YLT; 13:11-12)

Questions for the signers of the letter on Romans 8:18-23YLT / Romans 13:11-12:

Here we have the same exegetical issues as with Daniel 12:1-4 and its connection with Acts 17:31YLT and Acts 24:15YLT.  For Paul there was only ONE “hope” “appointed” or “decreed” time of fulfillment of the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12 and it was “at hand” and “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70.  Is Lightfoot’s view that the “creation” of Romans 8 is the “creation of men” and not referring to the planet “orthodox” to believe?  If not, why not?

1 Thessalonians 1:10:

Like in Acts 17:31YLT, Philip Kayser interprets Paul discussing Christ coming from heaven as something to be fulfilled “soon” in AD 70 and the “wrath” associated with His coming was about to fall upon “Israel and Rome” just as he took the judgment “about to” come upon the “world” of the Jews and Rome in Acts 17:31YLT:

“The last verse of chapter 1 introduces a theme that will be repeated throughout the book – that these saints were eagerly waiting for Jesus to come and to do something soon. He isn’t talking about people 2000 years later. He is talking about these newly converted Thessalonians whom he has taught “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Which wrath to come? Well, let’s jump ahead to 2:16. Speaking of the Jews who killed Jesus and persecuted Paul, it says, “forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.” It was about to fall. Though Paul had instructed these Christians that they would have to endure the Great Tribulation, none of them would have to endure God’s great wrath that was about to be poured out upon both Israel and Rome. But more on that when we get to chapter 4. He is not talking here (in chapter 1:10) about Christ’s coming at the end of history. He is talking about the imminent coming Jesus had promised in Matthew 24 that would happen within that generation. It was something to wait expectantly for during the first century. Mounce says that that word “wait” means to expect it. It is a waiting with an expectation that it is about to happen. It’s imminent. They will experience it.” (Kayser, 1 Thessalonians).

1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23:

We must continue with the wonderful admissions that Mr. Philip Kayser has provided for us to answer these three questions the authors of this letter have challenged Mr. DeMar with and indirectly have challenged Full Preterism with over the years. Let’s be clear – the authors of this letter and their Partial Preterist system has conceded that the coming or parousia of Christ in Mt. 24:27-31; 25:31; 1 Thess. 4-5; and 1 Cor. 15:23 WAS fulfilled in AD 70 and everyone is supposed to just look the other way as they want to hypocritically declare we are “damanable heretics” for agreeing with these statements and then trying to harmonize them with the work of the Spirit or the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation that has been performed through the rest of the Reformed Church (the classic Amillennial position) — and how they have interpreted these texts and the “parallels” they acknowledge.  Nothing to see here folks – keep moving!

1 Thess. 4:16-17:

Kayser teaches that,

“…verse 16 tells us what happens to the bodies of those who died prior to AD 70 – that body and soul they go to heaven, while verse 17 tells us what happens to the souls of those who die after AD 70, and that he doesn’t deal with their bodies till a brief statement in chapter 5.” (Ibid.)

And,

“…I believe this particular passage speaks of the very visible appearing of Christ with His angelic armies and chariots that came against Jerusalem. This is the coming referred to in the first half of Matthew 24, where Jesus said that He would come before that generation passed away. This is the perfect answer to liberals.” (Ibid.)

While we appreciate the honesty that this parousia of Christ was fulfilled in AD 70, the rest of Kayser’s exegesis and comments are an epic historical train wreck that every school of eschatology can destroy let alone “liberals.”  Here is a Partial Preterist that believes the OT dead ones and those who died in Christ prior to AD 70 were physically and biologically raised in AD 70 and everyone missed it and didn’t record such an event?!?  Now he claims he disagrees with other Preterists on a physical “rapture” of the living in AD 70 such as Ed Stevens, Milton Terry, Stuart Russell, Mike Bull, etc… (all of whom I see as defending Partial Preterism – a physical fulfillment – Full Preterism is “defined on BOTH the timing and NATURE [spiritual] of fulfillment”).  But if you add in the physical rapture view of the Partial Preterists in AD 70, then you have the dead and the living OT and NT saints coming out of graveyards and flying into the sky and no one noticed and recorded it?!?  No, I’m afraid this is not the “perfect solution to the liberals.”  Lol.

But the Full Preterist view does answer the skeptics argument perfectly because Jesus taught that when He was revealed from heaven at His coming and arrival of the Kingdom, one would not be able to say, “see here or see there” because the Kingdom would be revealed spiritually “within” the heart of a person (Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32).  Since Jesus taught one wouldn’t be able to physically see the event because it would be spiritually fulfilled within a person, and the resurrection involved souls/spirits being raised out of Hades in AD 70, then the liberal argument – “Jesus and the NT authors promised it would be physically fulfilled “soon” in their generation BUT it didn’t happen, so Jesus is a false prophet and the Bible is not inspired” — has no validity!

Another problem for Philip Kayser is that he takes the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Revelation 1:7 / Acts 1:11 as a physically and bodily seen – that is a five foot eight Jesus coming on a physical cloud.  If Paul had taught the Thessalonians and other churches that Christ’s coming on the clouds was going to be physically seen and the resurrection of the dead ones and their beloved brethren in Christ whom had died would be raised physically and biologically – then this makes no sense of how Paul argued in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 and 2 Timothy 2:17-18 concerning those that were teaching that the coming of Christ and resurrection had “already” been fulfilled.  If these were physically seen events all Paul would have ad to say to refute these errors would have been, “how could you believe our Lord’s coming and the resurrection of the dead event has already been fulfilled – did you physically see Christ bodily on a cloud and have the graveyards been emptied”?  But since orthodox Partial Preterism admits Paul was teaching there was a spiritual coming of Christ and a spiritual resurrection of the dead event that would imminently occur in AD 70, Paul’s response to this error in not correcting the nature of it and only the timing – makes perfect sense.

Additional problems for Kayser is that he says the coming of the Lord will only affect and raise the dead.  The living are only “caught up” at their deaths.  This is not consistent with 1 Corinthians 15 in that it is at the coming of the Lord or “at the last trumpet sound” that both the dead and the living will be raised and “changed” at “the twinkling of an eye” (vss. 51-52).  So while we do agree that the living that experience Christ’s coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 will be alive on earth post AD 70 [not physically “raptured” off the planet], both 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 being in harmony with each other and Luke 17:20-27/Lk. 21:27-32 –  teach there will be an inner and spiritual transformation of being “caught away” or “changed” the living undergo in inheriting the Kingdom at His parousia.

Since this is an important passage let me briefly exegete it.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” (v. 16)

How had God described His “coming down from heaven” to “reveal Himself” (2 Thess. 2:7) and “rescue” (1 Thess. 1:10) His people being persecuted in the past?  Notice how David describes God coming down from heaven to rescue him from his enemies:

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.  The earth trembled and quaked (literally?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (literally?); they trembled because he was angry.  Smoke rose from his nostrils (literally?); consuming fire came from his mouth (remember 2 Thess. 1:7 – Jesus is “revealed from heaven in blazing fire…”), burning coals blazed out of it.  He parted the heavens and came down (literally?); dark clouds were under his feet.  He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.  Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced (literally?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning.  The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal voice?).  He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare (literally?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.  He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me” (Ps. 18:6-17).

Christ is coming here in 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 as God had come from heaven and on the clouds in the OT, as we discussed in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse.  If the Church is willing to admit that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually with Jesus, describing His coming using common apocalyptic language of the prophets, and the Church is willing to admit that Paul’s teaching of Christ’s coming here in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is the same event as described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25, THEN it is no stretch to understand that Paul likewise is using common apocalyptic language of the prophets and that 1 Thessalonians 4-5 was also fulfilled in AD 70 just as Matthew 24-25 was.

In fact, NT Wright comes very close to admitting that all of the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is common apocalyptic language:

“Unfortunately, it [the language of 1 Thess. 4:16] is also a highly contentious passage, being used with astonishing literalness in popular fundamentalism and critical scholarship alike to suggest that Paul envisaged Christians flying around in mid-air on clouds.  The multiple apocalyptic resonances of the passage on the one hand, and its glorious mixed metaphors on the other, make this interpretation highly unlikely.” (N.T. Wright, THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 3 (Minneapolis, MN: 2003), 215, emphasis MJS)

We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Wright in that Paul is using common apocalyptic language.  Yet it is not figurative language of a physical resurrection at the end of world history, but rather figurative language of a spiritual resurrection by which souls are raised out of Hades into God’s presence, and of God’s presence “meeting” the living within their hearts while on earth (cf. Lk. 17:20-37).  If it is agreed by the Partial Preterist that the language of Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31 is describing Christ’s non-literal coming, on non-literal clouds, with a non-literal trumpet sound, and that the “gathering” is an inward resurrection of giving eternal life that the gospel produces (no biological change), while others correctly see Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 to be the same event, then we suggest the “catching away” for the living is not into physical clouds (as Wright admits), but is God producing the consummative giving of His presence and of eternal life to His saints while here on earth.

OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Other than the trumpet gathering and resurrection of Isaiah 27:12-13 (which I have addressed already), G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect this coming of the Lord “from heaven” with Isaiah 2:10-12’s “in that day”, “Day of the Lord” judgment:

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

But they also connect 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 with Isaiah 2, which reads:

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

On this passage, Beale and Carson write,

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

So, since both 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 fulfill the coming of the Lord “from heaven” in the judgment found in Isaiah 2, let me remind the reader that Jesus appeals to this same OT passage and understands it to be fulfilled by AD 70:

“And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.  But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us” (from Isa. 2:19 and Hos. 10:8) (Lk. 23:27-30).

There’s a consensus among the commentators that this passage was fulfilled in God’s judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.  We have found plenty of exegetical evidence that Paul too identifies the Lord coming in the judgment of Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled by AD 70.  Even John in Revelation 6:15-17 appeals to the coming of the Lord in His wrath in Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled “in a very little while” to avenge the first century martyrs in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 6:11-17).

Did Christ come from heaven to deliver and give “relief” to the first century Thessalonians from their persecutors and did God render wrath upon those persecutors in AD 70 or not (2 Thess. 1:7-9)?  The answer is clearly “yes.”  Notice the promise was NOT – “someday thousands of years in the future I will give you relief [at a time you won’t need it] when I come from heaven and destroy your enemies.”

Another important point to make on 1 Thess. 1:7-10 is that one of the signers of this letter just came up with a completely NEW (never before seen in the history of the church) exegesis of 2 Thess. 1.  Sam Frost claims the “coming” or “parousia” here is actually Christ’s ascension event!

“…with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (v. 16)

There is definitely a chronological order, with the dead rising first and then the gathering, catching away or change for the living taking place second.  Even Jesus addresses the dead first in John 11:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die [OT worthies like Abraham or Daniel, along with those who recently died prior to AD 70], yet shall he live [be raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life], and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die [that is not that they would never see biological death, but rather inherit God’s “within” kingdom and presence of eternal life]. Do you believe this (John 11:25-26)?”

We agree with the scholarship of G.K. Beale who correctly understands the gathering of the elect at the end of the age in Matthew 24:3, 30-31 in his commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians as the resurrection event:

“Paul’s particular combination of references from Matthew 24 shows that he interprets the whole of the Matthean text as referring to woes preceding the final coming of Christ (and though Matthew does not explicitly mention the idea of resurrection, he implies it in the phrase “gather his elect” in 24:31, which implies the gathering of all believers, both living and dead).” (Beale, Ibid., 1-2 Thessalonians, 138, emphasis MJS)

However, this creates a “thorny problem” for Beale when he begins leaning in the direction of a Partial Preterism in a more recent work where he writes:

“…it is likely better to see [Matt. 24:30]…fulfilled not at the very end of history but rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment, using the Roman armies as his agent.” (Beale, Ibid., A New Testament Biblical Theology the Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New, 369)

Beale admits, at least indirectly, that holding to both of these views he has defended creates a “thorny problem” for him that deserves “further study” to resolve.  I gave him a copy of our second edition of HD and told him we did the “further study” and our exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 solves the “thorny problem” that he has created for himself.  But Beale’s “thorny problem” is simply a microcosm of the problem that the Futurist Church has as a whole.

“Gathered up” (Greek Harpazo) (v. 17)

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up,” thus giving it a theological and parallel connection to the eschatological gathering of Matthew 13:39-43, Matthew 24:30-31 & 2 Thessalonians 2:1.  Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.”

Harpazo means to “take one’s plunder openly and violently, catch or snatch away.” Sometimes it is addressing someone being pulled, snatched away or rescued by someone from an enemy.  But is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 discussing an inward spiritual rescuing into Christ’s glory cloud presence, or an outward and upward catching away into physical clouds in the sky and a biological change?

Here are some very clear uses of harpazo being an inward spiritual event:

1). Matthew 12:29 – Satan was “bound” and Christ was “carrying away” (harpazo) his plunder, which were people that were rightfully His who were held captive by Satan and demons.  But how was He doing this?  It was by casting out demons (an inward spiritual reality), and in some cases actually giving faith to these individuals to follow him (again an inward spiritual reality).

2). Matthew 11:12 – “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing (Christ casting out demons openly and publicly taking Satan’s plunder), and (in return) the forceful men (believers) lay hold of it” (harpazo – through faith, vigor, power, and determination in light of present persecution – such as in the case of John).  People were violently laying hold of the kingdom through having faith (a spiritual and inward reality).

3). Matthew 13:19 – In the parable of the sower, the wicked one comes and snatches away (harpazo) what was sown in his heart (again, an inner spiritual reality).

4). John 10:12 – The wolf (Pharisees, sons of Satan) sought to snatch (harpazo) and scatter the sheep/ people of Israel.  How did the Pharisees seek to “snatch” and “scatter” the Jews from following Jesus?  The first phase involved seeking to deceive them in their hearts and minds (an inward snatching) by convincing them that He was not the Christ by perverting the Scriptures and accusing Him of having a demon, etc.  The second phase was a physical excommunication or scattering of Christians from their synagogues.

5). John 10:28-29 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus cannot be “snatched” (harpazo) out of the Father’s hand.  That is, he cannot be influenced (snatched inwardly) in his or her mind and heart to leave God.  Like Peter, “Where else can we go, Lord? You alone have the words to eternal life.”  The gift of faith is spiritually preserved in the heart and soul of the believer.  He cannot be deceived to the point of committing the sin unto death (1 Jn. 3:9). Again, this is an inner spiritual reality of the heart/mind/soul of man.

6). Acts 8:39 – This simply means that the Holy Spirit directed Philip in His heart and mind (inwardly) to go elsewhere and the Eunuch did not see him again.  There’s nothing in the text to support the idea that Philip was “raptured” into the atmosphere and was then instantly dropped off miles and miles away from where he was.

The eschatological “already” of the inward kingdom gathering and catching away was spiritual, and the eschatological “gathering” and “catching away” in the kingdom at Christ’s return would also be a spiritual event in AD 70.  As we noted in our exegesis of Luke 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32, Jesus said when that the kingdom would come at His return (to gather all His elect Mt. 24:31), it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes.

The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words, “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds…” (v. 17)

As I have demonstrated thus far in our study of Christ coming on the clouds in the Olivet Discourse and God coming on the clouds in the OT, this is common apocalyptic language and not referring to physical clouds we see in the sky.

To “meet” the Lord… (v. 17)

This Greek word, to “meet,” is wedding language and is only used twice in the NT – here and also in the wedding motif that Jesus develops in Matthew 25:1-13 (which Partial Preterists correctly teach was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70).

In Jewish betrothals and weddings, the groomsmen would go ahead of the groom and blow a trumpet at a time the virgin and her bridesmaids were not expecting.  Once at the virgin’s father’s house, it was customary for the groom to consummate his marriage sexually there before taking her to his father’s house where they would continue consummating the union for seven days and having the wedding feast.

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

It is at the wedding feast that the resurrection and overcoming of death is fulfilled per Isaiah 25:6-9 and yet Partial Preterists such as Gentry, Wilson, Durbin, and now White tell us that the eschatological divorce of old covenant Israel was fulfilled in AD 70 and the eschatological marriage to the Church was also fulfilled by AD 70.  You can’t have the feast without the wedding and you can’t have the resurrection and overcoming of “the death” without the wedding and feast.  If the “in that day” wedding and feast of Isaiah 25:6-9 was fulfilled in AD 70 per Partial Preterism and if the parousia of 1 Corinthians 15:23 was imminently fulfilled in the lifetime of some of the Corinthians as Partial Preterism maintains, then the resurrection event and overcoming of “the death” of 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This is not complicated.  But you can begin to see WHY these men have to shut DeMar up from encouraging others to simply “study” and ask questions.  When people start asking them questions – they look bad and that can’t be tolerated.

“…in the air” (v. 17)

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)?  The Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines it as: “From ‘aemi,” to breath unconsciously, to respire.  By analogy, to blow.  The air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air.”

So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.

The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains lists Eph 2:2, 1 Thess. 4:17, and Rev. 16:17 in its definition of eros as meaning “the space inhabited and controlled by [spiritual] powers.”

The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says of the “air” in Ephesians 2:2 – “…Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons.”

Ephesians 2 refers to Satan as the “prince and power of the AER.”  He dwelt in the spiritual realm which extended to the souls of men.  The war we see Christ and Satan fighting in the NT is for the spiritual condition of men – within their hearts and minds.  Paul goes on to say that Satan “now works in the children of disobedience.”  And consistently Jesus defines His kingdom as something that He is setting up “in” and “within” men, and transforming them into His image spiritually.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possess” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being.  Satan used the old covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air” – within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous selfrighteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (cf. 2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rom. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His own realm (cf. Eph. 2:1-10).  Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind when He said, “It is finished” (Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15)!

The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men were all conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70 for those who put their faith in Him.

Had Paul meant to clearly communicate that believers would physically fly off the planet into the sky and atmosphere above, he would have used the Greek word “ouranos,” which clearly states this as its meaning.

The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence, “within” us where we function as His Most Holy Place dwelling and throne through which He rules the nations.  This is what we also see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence within His Church here.

Let me give further evidence not only that there will not be an end-of-world-history physical rapture of Christians off the planet, but likewise there was not a biological rapture or change of the living in AD 70.

1). Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” (2 Thess. 2:2) by simply saying, “Aren’t you still here and the dead still in their graves? Obviously, He has not come!”  But since Paul did not hold to the physical rapture view or a literal resurrection attended by Christ’s Parousia, he did not argue this way.  Obviously, Paul understood the Lord’s coming to be a spiritual and unseen event as our Lord taught (Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32), which was consistent with the “Day of the Lord” language of the prophets in the OT.

2). The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15, where Isaiah describes Christian survivors (66:19) who are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the new creation / new covenant age.

3). As we have seen in our exegesis of Mark 8:38-9:1, the Greek is different than Matthew 16:27-28 and actually teaches that those who were alive to witness Christ’s coming would be able to look back (while still alive on earth) on the historical events of Him coming in power and great glory in the destruction of Jerusalem and thus know that He and His kingdom had “already come.”

4). After Christ and the Father come and make their home (dwelling – mone – John 14:2, 23) within the believer, they were told, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe” (14:29).  If they were literally raptured, I don’t think they would need to be reminded or exhorted to believe that it had been fulfilled!  These words make more sense if it was a spiritual fulfillment that could not be seen with the physical eyes, and therefore it would take faith to believe that the Father and the Son had set up their presence within them.

5). Jesus of course directly promised to not remove the Church off of planet earth (John 17:15).  Church history tells us that Christians were not raptured, but that they instead fled to Pella (in modern day Jordan). Historically, Pella is one of the first known Christian churches.  Church history tells us that the Apostle John was still alive during Domitian’s reign in the mid-AD 90’s and that Timothy, Titus, and Luke lived beyond AD 70.

There is simply no exegetical evidence of a physical rapture at Christ’s coming in AD 70 or some imagined one at the end of world history.  The physical rapture view is probably one of the greatest scams perpetrated upon the Church.  It makes the sleeping giant of the Evangelical Church numb to getting involved in our culture and politics because they expect things to simply get worse so that they can get “raptured” just before it gets really bad.  After all, “you don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.”  We MUST get involved in our politics and be the salt and light of this great country and that of the world!

Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry on Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5   

Gary posted a parallel chart of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 by Amillennialist G.K. Beale on his Facebook wall and wrote the following:

“If you believe like I do that at least Matthew 24:1-34 was fulfilled in the leadup to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (see my book ‘Last Days Madness’ where I argue that all of Matt. 24 was fulfilled), what do you think of 1 Thess. 4:13-18? Were those events also fulfilled in the same way and at the same time? I suspect most people would say no. They would argue that the events are not concurrent. Among amils and postmils, the Thessalonian verses refer to the Second Coming while dispensationalists apply them to the “rapture of the church.” The agreement is they consider 1 Thess. 4:13-18 to be an unfulfilled prophecy.

G.K. Beale in his commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians in The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (2003) argues that they are parallel accounts (page 137). This creates a dilemma for some preterists. If Beale is right, then 1 Thess. 4 is not a reference to the Second Coming. Beale is not a preterist. He believes both accounts are still future.

Should we believe a well-respected Bible teacher and commentator like Beale that they are parallel and refer to the same time or declare him to be incompetent and just plain wrong?”  It’s interpretations like Beale’s that mess up “all-our-ducks-in-a-row” interpretation systems that lead people to ask questions.”

Notice how Partial Preterist Ken Gentry and Keith Mathison admit Matthew 24 is a source for Paul’s eschatology in 1-2 Thessalonians because of “parallels”:

Since Kenneth Gentry has to get rid of the apostasy in order to prop up Postmillennialism, he has to have 2 Thessalonians 2 fulfilled in AD 70.  However, in order to do this, he has to appeal to the OD and recognize that Paul is drawing from material Jesus says would be fulfilled in the AD 70 “this generation.” Therefore, Gentry admits that,

“Most commentators agree that the Olivet Discourse is undoubtedly a source of the Thessalonian Epistles.” (Kenneth Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 100, n. 19. Here Gentry cites D.A. Carson, Matthew, in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 8:489; and G. Henry Waterman, The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1and 2 Thessalonians, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 18:2 (June 1975); 105–113.

Yet, Gentry’s sources of authority end up “proving too much” in that both D.A. Carson and G. Henry Waterman make virtually the same parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 that we do (big “oops”) and that DeMar is now challenging his readers to at least “study” more carefully than before.  But before we get to those parallels, let’s continue to examine the “parallel” hermeneutic of Postmillennialism. Keith Mathison following Gary DeMar believes 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Paul was following Jesus’ eschatology in Mt. 24 because of “these parallels”:

1). a coming of our Lord (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Matt. 24:27, 30),

2). a gathering together to Him (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Mattt. 24:31),

3). apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3; cf. Matt. 24:5, 10-12),

4). the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:7; Matt. 24:12),

5). satanic signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9-10; cf. Matt. 24:24),

6). a deluding influence on unbelievers (2 Thess. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:5, 24).” (Mathison, From Age to Age, 515).

And of course, DeMar and Mathison make the AD 70 “parallels” between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 5 as well. Thus, Mt. 24 is no less of Paul’s “source” for his eschatology in 2 Thess. 2 and 1 Thess. 5 than it is for his teaching in 1 Thess. 4:15-17 — and that is what Gary is now open to consider and what is making Gentry and the others so nervous.  But since Gentry and Jordan have conceded that Daniel 12:2-3 teaches there was a spiritual resurrection in AD 70, why isn’t 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that same resurrection?!?

Let’s not only look at the parallels between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4 that Gary wants his Partial Preterists to re-consider as possibly being fulfilled in AD 70.  But don’t forget that one of the authors of this letter attacking Gary ACTUALLY publicly states the coming / parousia of 1 Thess. 4:16-17 was fulfilled in AD 70!  Pot call kettle black!  But let’s look at how Paul is drawing on the Olivet Discourse throughout all of 1 Thessalonians not just 4:16-17:

Paul’s eschatology in 1 Thessalonians is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 23-24 / Luke 21

1 Thessalonians 1–5

Matthew 23–24 / Luke 21

1). Present persecution & suffering (1:6; 2:14) 1). Persecution, suffering & death (Mt. 23:34)
2). First century audience “you” “us” to experience Second Coming (1:9-10) 2) First century audience “you” to experience the Second Coming (Mt. 23-24 / Lk. 21)
3). Imminence – “eagerly wait” (1:9-10) 3). Imminence – “raise your heads” because fulfillment will be “near” in their “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32)
4). Christ “comes/parousia” (2:19) 4). Christ “comes/parousia” (Mt. 24:27)
5). Comes “from heaven” (1:10) 5). Comes “on clouds of heaven” (Mt. 24:30)
6). To “snatch” from wrath to Christ (1:10) 6). To “gather” to Christ (Mt. 24:30-31)
7). Delivers believers from “wrath” but first century Jew’s experience “wrath” (1:10; 2:16) 7). Exhorted to flee from the Roman armies and the coming “wrath” upon Jews (Lk. 21:20-23)
8). Jews killed prophets, Jesus & persecuting the Thessalonians (2:14-15 / Acts 17) 8). Jews killed the OT prophets and NT prophets Jesus sends in that generation (Mt. 23:29-36)
9). Jews “filling up” sin of blood guilt (2:14-15) 9). Jews “filling up” sin of blood guilt (Mt. 23)
10). Coming of the Lord and wrath poured out to the “end/telos” (1:10–2:16) 10). Coming of the Lord and wrath poured out by the “end/telos” of the old covenant age (Mt. 24:3-30/Lk. 21:20-23)
11). Wedding terminology – Thessalonians exhorted to be “spotless” and a “blameless” [bride] as Christ “comes” for her [as the Groom] (3:13) 11). Wedding terminology – Only Father knows the time of the wedding (not even the Son), at the “shout of a trumpet,” be “wise” and “watch” (Mt. 24:30-31, 36; 25:1-13)
12). Christ “comes/parousia” (4:15-17) 12). Christ “comes/parousia” (Mt. 24:27)
13). “Descends from heaven” (4:16) 13). “Upon the clouds of heaven” (Mt. 24:30)
14). Accompanied by “Archangel” (4:16) 14). Accompanied by “angels” (Mt. 24:31)
15). At the sound of a “trumpet” (4:16) 15). At the sound of a “trumpet” (Mt. 24:31)
16). Believers “caught” to Christ (4:17) 16). Believers “gathered” to Christ (Mt. 24:31)
17). Wedding terminology – “MEET” the Lord in the clouds at His “trumpet” coming (4:16-17) 17). Wedding terminology – only Father knows the time of the wedding (not even the Son), at the “shout of a trumpet” Christ comes as Groom to “MEET” the bride (Mt. 24:30-31, 36; 25:1-13)
18). Exact time unknown (5:1-2) 18). Exact time unknown (Mt. 24:36)
19). Christ comes as a “thief” (5:2, 4) 19). Christ comes as a “thief” (Mt. 24:43)
20). Unbelievers caught off guard (5:3) 20). Unbelievers caught off guard (24:37-39)
21). Time of eschatological “birth pains” (5:3) 21). Time of eschatological “birth pains” (24:8)
22). Believers not deceived (5:4-5) 22). Believers not deceived (24:43)
23). Believers to be “watchful” (5:6) 23). Believers to be “watchful” (24:42)
24). Warning against “drunkenness” (5:7) 24). Warning against “drunkenness” (24:49)
25). “Sons of the DAY” (5:4-8) 25). Comes as “SUNSHINE” from the east to the west (24:27 Aramaic NT).  Jesus previously taught – the “gathering” at the “end of the age” causes believers to “shine like the SUN” (Mt. 13)

Again, we are thankful that a Partial Preterist in this letter agrees that the parallels of Christ’s coming between Mt. 24:30-31 and 1 Thess. 4:15-17 are the same event and were fulfilled in AD 70 while other authors of the letter (and within the Reformed community) see these texts describing Christ’s “glorious Second Coming” event.  We agree with BOTH “orthodox” positions – and so this makes us “damnable heretics”?!?

But since Philip Kayser is correct that both Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are the same event and that both were fulfilled in AD 70, but wrong in interpreting the resurrection as a physical one, we should now consider Partial Preterist James Jordan’s admission that Matthew 24:30-31 is referring to a spiritual resurrection in AD 70,

“Let us summarize Matthew 24:29-31. Immediately after the great affliction, the great persecution and martyrdom of the apostolic church, the world will be changed from the Old to the New Creation. No longer will sun and moon determine liturgy and worship; the former covenant with its lunar liturgy will be broken forever. No longer will angelic stars and heavenly powers govern humanity, for in Jesus, mankind has at last come of age. No longer will angels rule the world. They will vacate their heavenly thrones.

At that time, the promised sign will be given, a sign that shows that Jesus, a man, is truly enthroned in heaven. That sign is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Jews will mourn over Jerusalem, and they will realize that the Church, which they had hoped to destroy, has now ascended to the Ancient of Days and has been given the Kingdom promised in Daniel 7. Those saints have been gathered by the angels in connection with the seventh and last trumpet described in the book of Revelation, their souls gathered from all the heavenly places in Paradise where they had been waiting for this day. The saints are gathered before the Throne in the highest heavens, and shortly will sit down on thrones with their Lord and Master. They will be the new stars and moon and will sit where the angels formerly sat in heaven.” (James B. Jordan MATTHEW 23-25 A LITERARY, HISTORICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision Inc., – this book is currently at the printer to be published), p. 180).

So now we have an admission from a major Partial Preterist theologian – James Jordan that BOTH Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 24:30-31 are addressing a spiritual resurrection for the dead ones at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 while other Partial Preterists are admitting the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 are the same event and fulfilled in AD 70.  Now we are getting somewhere – that is if we are open to being honest in that the creeds and our Futurist traditions have been in error just as they have been on a host of issues that the Protestant Reformation had to take head-on.

As you can see Partial Preterism and Futurism without Full Preterism to “bridge the gap” has been a “House Divided” and falling apart for a long time.  But the hyper-creedalists in this letter just don’t want to address their own inconsistencies let alone someone like Gary (who has a large following) asking others to “study” for themselves and then having them go and ask these men the tough questions and asking them to “show the exegetical work”!  Kenneth Gentry and Doug Wilson have been able to censor Full Preterists and duck debates with us for a very long time.  They don’t want Gary asking the tough questions publicly demonstrating that the creedal Emperor may not have his clothes on!

Major Premise:  The coming of Christ and gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:30-31 is the Second Coming and resurrection event – with Paul describing this same event in 1 Thessalonians 4-5.  And Christ being revealed from to render wrath upon His enemies in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 are the same event – being the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2 (classic Amillennial view).

Minor Premise: But the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 is descriptive of a spiritual resurrection event for the dead to experience and was fulfilled in AD 70 (ex. Partial Preterist James Jordan).  And the Thessalonians did receive “relief” by fleeing to Pella and their persecutors did receive “trouble” and “wrath” when Christ was revealed from heaven in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  The “last days” judgment of Isaiah 2 is a NT term referring to the last days of old covenant Israel and went from AD 30 – AD 70 (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  Therefore, the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event described by Jesus and the Apostle Paul in Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 was fulfilled in the “last days” of old covenant Israel (AD 30 – AD 70) and specifically in the events of AD 67 – AD 70 (Full Preterism – “reformed and always reforming”).

1 Corinthians 15:

It is also astounding that one of the critics of DeMar in this letter (again Philip Kayser) also believes the coming or parousia of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the same coming or parousia of Matthew 24:27 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that was fulfilled in AD 70!  Kayser writes of Christ’s AD 70 coming / parousia in 1 Corinthians 15:23,

“So, when Paul speaks of bodies being raised each in his own order, he is listing the AD 30 firstfruits resurrection, then the resurrection at Christ’s coming in AD 70, then the resurrection at the end of time. The word for coming is παρουσία (parousia) and refers to the visible appearance in the sky that we saw was recorded by first century historians…” (Ibid.).

While we appreciate Gary asking his readers and followers to look at the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 in order to “study” to see if 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was also fulfilled in AD 70, we should point out that Gary is wanting to do an “in-depth study of 1 Cor. 15.”  Once we see that Paul’s eschatology in 1-2 Thessalonians is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24, we need to consider if Paul’s eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24 as well.  After all, In the Reformed Study Bible edited by Postmillennial Partial Preterists R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison, we learn this of Matt. 24:30-31:

“But the language of Matt. 24:31 is parallel to passages like 13:4116:27; and 25:31 [passages which Partial Preterist Postmillennialists say were fulfilled in AD 70], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”

I believe even Sam Frost (one of the signers of the letter to DeMar) would agree with the above statement. But of course, the problem is that “orthodox” Partial Preterists trying to honor NT imminence and apocalyptic language, have correctly surrendered the coming or parousia of Christ in all the above passages to AD 70.  Sam realizes that if the resurrection and “end” of Daniel 12 was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 to close out the “end of the OC or Jewish age” and the coming of Christ and resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are the same event and were also fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, then 1 Corinthians 15 is the next domino to fall and is naturally fulfilled in AD 70 as well.  This is why he refers to the other Partial Preterist signers of the letter as “HYPER-Partial Preterists” and “inconsistent.”  So I’m a “damnable heretic” for making the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist views exegetically consistent?  I’m a “damnable heretic” for believing TWO “orthodox” views of the Reformed Church?  Go figure – nothing to see here, keep walking folks!

Let’s looks at those “parallels” between Jesus’ eschatology in the Olivet Discourse and Paul’s eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:

And since we have Partial Preterists (some attacking Gary DeMar) that are admitting either the resurrection or coming/parousia of Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Matthew 24:27-31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 was fulfilled in AD 70, let’s get a visual of those connections – many of which any good classic  Amillennialist would make as well:

If A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) is = to B (Daniel 12:1-7)
Tribulation as never before 24:21-22 Tribulation as never before 12:1
Evangelism 24:14 Leading others to righteousness 12:3
End of the [OC] age 24:3, 14 Time of the end 12:4
Resurrection & or inheritance of the Kingdom 24:31; 13:43; Lk. 21:31-32 Resurrection & inheritance of the Kingdom 12:2-3, 13
Jerusalem surrounded, trodden down = times of the Gentiles (AD 67 – AD 70) Lk. 21:20, 24 Consummation – 3 ½ years when power of the holy people is shattered 12:7
And if B (Daniel 12:1-7) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)
Resurrection unto eternal life 12:2 Resurrection unto incorruptibility or immortality 15:52-53
time of the end of OC age 12:4 time of the end of OC age 15:24
When the power [the Mosaic OC Law] of the Holy people is completely shattered 12:7 Victory over “the [Mosaic OC] Law” 15:26
At the “end” of the OC age, OT dead would be raised at the same time the NT righteous living would shine in the Kingdom 12:2-3, 13 If the dead of the OT are not raised, neither would those who died in Christ be raised 15:15-18
Then A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)
Christ to come (Greek: parousia) at sound of a trumpet 24:27-31 Christ to come (Greek: parousia) at sound of a trumpet 15:23, 52
“The end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 “The end” (Greek telos, the goal) 15:24
Kingdom (goal reached) Lk. 21:31-32 Kingdom consummation (goal reached) 15:24
All prophecy fulfilled Lk. 21:22 All prophecy fulfilled 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/Temple 24:1 Victory over the Mosaic Law 15:55-56
Contemporary “you” or “we” 24:2ff. Contemporary “you” or “we” 15:51-52
“All” of the elect (dead & living) gathered (or raised) in the Kingdom 24:31; Lk. 21:28-32 “The [OT] dead” raised with the dead “in Christ” 15:15-18
Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other
Matthew 24/Luke 21 Daniel 12:1-7 1 Corinthians 15
Gather/Raise “all” (dead & living) the elect at “end” of OC age 24:3, 31 OT dead raised with NT saints at the end of OC age 12:2-4, 13 OT dead raised with NT dead & living at “the end” of the OC age 15:15-18, 24
All OT fulfilled when Jerusalem surrounded, trodden down & times of Gentiles (3 ½ yrs.) fulfilled Lk. 21:22-24 – AD 67 – AD 70 Judgment and resurrection of the dead fulfilled at the end of the OC age, in a 3 ½ years period & Israel’s power shattered Resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 13; Hosea 13:14 and Isaiah 25:8 fulfilled at the end of OC age & in the lifetime of Paul’s 1st cent. audience 15:51, 54-55

Now let’s form some basic and logical arguments from what we have gathered from the positions of those writing this letter attacking Gary DeMar.

Major Premise: The resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the consummative ONE Second Coming and “end” of world history creedal resurrection and judgment of the dead event (classic Reformed Amillennialist authors and contributors to the letter).

Minor Premise:  BUT there was a resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in AD 70 to close out the “end” of the Jewish or old covenant age in AD 70 according to Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 (Reformed Partial Preterism and author(s) or contributors to the letter).

Conclusion:  The resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the consummative ONE Second Coming and “end” of the old covenant age and was thus fulfilled in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).

Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 24-25 / 1 Thess. 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:

Some of the signers of this letter (like DeMar, Mathison, Terry, etc…) do not see Matthew 24-25 divided into TWO sections with TWO comings.  And some of you take the “end of the age” (Mt. 24:3) as referring to the old covenant age in AD 70.  Therefore, what is your exegetical evidence that the OD is referring to the end of world history?  And if the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the SAME coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 and yet that coming / parousia was fulfilled in AD 70, then obviously your hyper-creedal “Futurist” case against DeMar and Full Preterism has no case in these texts as well.  Next.

Matthew 13:39-43:

As we have seen the classic Amillennial Reformed position is to equate the “end” or “end of the age” “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 30-31 to be the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event of Daniel 12:2-3, 13.  We agree!  And yet the Partial Preterists claim the “end of the age” resurrection in these texts were fulfilled in AD 70!  We agree.  Once again, the authors of this letter are pressing Gary on a resurrection and judgment of the dead to take place at the “end” of world history and yet some of their best theologians are correctly seeing this as taking place at the “end” of the old covenant age in AD 70!

Jesus of course cites the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 in Matthew 13:39-43 and places it’s fulfillment at the “end” of that current old covenant age.  Jesus’ “end” and “shining like the sun or stars” in the resurrection is the “end” and “shining like the stars” predicted by Daniel 12.  And yet Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon, commenting on the end of the age harvest judgment of Matthew 13:39-43, concedes it is the end of the old covenant age that is in view and not the end of world history:

“It is clear that Jesus did not have in mind the end of the world, nor did He mean the final judgment. Rather, Matthew 13:2430, 36-43 describe the judgment that would come upon unbelieving Jerusalem. During this time, the angels would “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (13:41) and these would be judged with fire.  Many of them literally were burned in fire during the destruction of Jerusalem.  During this same time, however, the elect of Christ— “the children of the kingdom” (v. 38)—will be harvested.  While the explanation of the parable does not tell us their final end, the parable itself has the householder instructing the harvesters to “gather the wheat into my barn.”  In other words, they are protected and saved by God.

This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians.  Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege.  This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed, this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).” (Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51).

McDurmon even develops Jesus’ two age model (“this age” = old covenant age) and “age to come” or “age about to come” (the new covenant age) in Pauline eschatology to be one and the same.  After making his case in Ephesians 1:21; 2:1-7; 3:8-11; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 9:26, he concludes:

“So, from the teaching of Jesus, Paul and the author of Hebrews, we get a very clear picture of the two primary ages:  one that endured up until the time of Christ, and another that began around that same period.  I believe these two periods, being hinged upon the coming and work of Christ, pertain obviously to the Old and New Covenant administrations.” (Ibid.)

Let’s get a visual and make the argument based upon the analogy of faith and the admission of these eschatological systems attacking DeMar.

Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13):
Tribulation on National Israel as never before 12:1 13:40-42
Time of the end / end of “this” OC age separation 12:1, 4, 9, 13 13:39-41
Saints rise and shine in the eternal kingdom 12:2-3 13:43
Wicked rise to shame in eternal condemnation 12:2 13:39-42 
And if B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25):
Pre-kingdom evangelism by Jesus’ evangelism 13:37-38 24:14
Tribulation on National Israel as never before 13:40-42 24:21-22
End of “this” age / end of the age separation 13:39-41 24:30-31; 25:31-41
Sons of the day / hour shine with the Son 13:43 24:27, 30-31, 36
Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 13:43 25:34/Luke 21:30-32 
Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25)
Tribulation and sanctification / Great Tribulation 12:1, 10 24:21-22
Hour / day / time of the judgment (aka separation) 12:1-2, 4 (OG) LXX 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfillment at the time of the end / end of the age / the shattering of Israel’s world/power or her “heaven and earth” (the Temple etc…) / during the “3 ½ years” or “time of the Gentiles” treading down Jerusalem (AD 67 – AD 70) 12:4, 7, 9, 13 24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35; Lk. 21:24 
Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 12:2-3, 13 25:34/Luke 21:30-32 
The sons of the day / hour shine with the Son of life 12:3 24:27, 30-31, 36
Kingdom age evangelism via God’s shining ones 12:3 24:14, 25:29
Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other
Kingdom age evangelism Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Tribulation like never before Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Time of the end (shattering of Israel’s power) / end of the Old Covenant age (destruction of OC Israel’s Temple) Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Chosen ones raised and shine to eternal life and wicked raised to eternal condemnation / the righteous raised to shine and tares burn / sheep inherit eternal life goats to eternal punishment Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25

Once again, we can see how the two main orthodox Reformed positions on the end of the age resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:3, 30-31; and Daniel 12:1-7 has formed the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist position:

Major Premise:  The “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 31 as predicted in Daniel 12:2-3 is the ONE consummative resurrection event inseparably connected to the ONE Second Coming event of Matthew 24:27, 30-31 – classic Amillennialism.

Minor Premise:  But the “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 31 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s spiritual coming in Matthew 24:27-30 to close and bring an end to the old covenant age in AD 70.  In AD 70 God raised and gathered the souls/spirits of men such as Daniel out of Hades or Abraham’s bosom into God’s presence to inherit eternal life – Partial Preterism.

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and Always Reforming:  Therefore, the ONE consummative Second Coming and “end of the age” “gathering” resurrection event of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 27-31 and Daniel 12:1-7 was fulfilled during the 3 ½ years of AD 67 – AD 70 to close the old covenant age in AD 70 – at which time souls/spirits where raised out of Hades and into God’s presence or thrown into “everlasting punishment” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 13:39-43 / Daniel 12:2-3, 7:

Some of you claim the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43 is ONE consummative “end of the age” event while others see TWO.  Please show your work and bring a consistent non-divided case or drop it.  If Jeff Durbin takes the “end of the age” in Matthew 24:3 why would the “end of the age” of Matthew 13:39-43 be a different “end of the age”?

Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12:

Here we come up against another problem for the authors of this letter.  Do these passages teach Christ’s “glorious Second Coming” at the “general resurrection and judgment” of “all men” at “the end of world history”?  Not according to the Partial Preterists in this letter!  “Each person” / “every man” / “all people” / “each one” / “everyone” etc… were “rewarded for what he has done” within the lifetime of those standing next to Jesus and thus at His “soon” coming in AD 70 according to Matthew 16:27-28 and Revelation 22:7-12.

These are creedal texts which allegedly teach this “glorious Second Coming” / “end of world history” / “general resurrection and judgment of all men” that the letter want’s Gary to submit to, but many of them take as fulfilled in AD 70.  Is it no wonder there were no Scripture reference let alone any exegesis of them to back their eschatological Futurist CONCEPTS.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12:

Are you guys “creedal” or not?  Does not the WCF and other creeds refer to these texts as the Second Coming event and general judgment to “reward all men according to what they have done” and this is true OR were they fulfilled within the lifetime of Jesus’ contemporaries and thus “soon” in the events of Jerusalem’s fall in AD 70?  “Show your work.”

When and who made these texts fulfilled in AD 70 to be an “orthodox” view?  If we can change the creeds on these texts can other texts that are seen to be “parallel” with them also wrong and can they also be revised and seen to be fulfilled in AD 70?  Who has the authority to have done this or can do it with more passages “parallel” to these?

1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT:

Once again, we have creedal passages which allegedly teach the “glorious Second Coming” at which time God is going to judge all men – the “quick (alive) and the dead” and yet some of the Partial Preterists that penned this letter see them as fulfilled in an AD 70 “at hand” and “about to be” time frame!

Gentry believes the “living and the dead” of 1 Peter 4:5-7 were judged in an “at hand” time frame in AD 70 but will never explain to us how the “dead” were judged without them being raised at the same time!  Philip Kyser concedes that 2 Timothy 4:1YLT is referring to Christ’s glorious coming and kingdom that was “about to judge the living and the dead” in AD 70.

Questions for the signers of the letter on 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT:

Ken Gentry – how were the dead judged in AD 70 without them being raised?  Again, these are creedal texts and the authors of this letter state they were fulfilled in AD 70 and thus are not referring to the judgment and resurrection of “all men” at the end of “world history.”  Who made and when were these AD 70 fulfillments of these passages determined to be “orthodox” or are they not “orthodox”?  No consistent case here – Futurist and Hyper-creedal case thrown out!

Revelation 11 & Revelation 20 / Daniel 12:

The Partial Preterism of Gentry, Wilson, Durbin and White are once again challenged with just how many general judgments of the dead does the OT and NT teach?  Revelation picks up where the book of Daniel leaves off.  Daniel is told that the judgment and resurrection of the dead of 12:2-3 will take place during a period of “three and a half years” “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered and Revelation 11 picks up stating Jerusalem (where the Lord was slain) would be trodden down under the feet of the nations for that same prophesied “three and a half years” period (i.e. AD 67 – AD 70) and that this would result in the judgment of the dead and the opening up of God’s presence (Rev. 11:1-18).

Please consider the following seven exegetical, orthodox, and historical points which prove that the millennium was roughly a forty years period from AD 27 – AD 67 or AD 30 – AD 70.

1). Imminence

Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT).  Therefore, there is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.  The millennium was still future when John wrote, and therefore the end of the millennium falls within those things that were “about to be” fulfilled.  As Vern Poythress and Simon Kistemaker (also contributors to The Reformation Study Bible) have pointed out in their works, if the imminent time texts in Revelation 1:1 and 22:20 are to be taken literally and refer to AD 70, and since they function as brackets or bookends, then the millennium of Revelation 20 would have also been fulfilled by AD 70.

Therefore, both of these views teach that the end of the millennium resurrection and judgment of the dead were fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both?

2). The symbolic nature of the thousand years

As G.K. Beale (the NT editor to The Reformation Study Bible) has taught in his commentary on Revelation, the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands or millions of years).

Therefore, the thousand year millennium can be a symbolic depiction of a relatively short period of time – 40 years.

3) Rabbinic typology of a forty year millennial period –historical argument

It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians such as Beale that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitional stage between “this age/world” and “the age/world to come.”  These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba) understood this transition period to be 40 years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land.  This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT).

And as we have noted from Reformed Partial Preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).

But we are also told by Amillennialists that the millennium of Revelation 20 is the period between the NT’s “this age” and the “age to come.”

We of course agree with all of the above propositions, which when combined, place the millennial period to be a period of roughly 40 years between the old covenant age (which was passing away and ready to vanish) and the new covenant age which was “about to” come in its mature form in AD 70.

4). Recapitulation

Reformed Postmillennial Partial Preterists, such as Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan, are correct to teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and spiritual resurrection of the dead and arrival of a spiritual new creation or spiritual new heavens and new earth.  And Amillennialists, such as Simon Kistemaker and Robert Strimple, are correct to teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22.

Revelation 1-19 & 20-22 Partial Preterism – fulfilled by AD 70 Revelation 20 Classic Amillennialism – these are the same events or judgments in the other chapters (recapitulation)
1). Past persecution w/ more persecution to come and vindication of martyr’s motif. (Rev. 6 and 12) 1). Past persecution w/ more persecution to come and vindication of martyr’s motif
2). Future persecution to last for a “little while” and Satan has “a little while” longer (Rev. 6 and 12) 2). More persecution to come and Satan loosed for “a little while”
3). “Every mountain and island were removed from their places” / “every island fled (Greek pheugo), and the mountains were not found” “…for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Rev. 6; 16; 21-22) 3). “The earth and the heaven fled (Greek pheugo), and a place was not found for them” (this implies the “new” creation of 21-22 took its place).
4). Judgment of the dead (Rev. 11) 4). Judgment of the dead
5). The last days “the war” of Ezek.38-39 fulfilled (Rev. 16 and 19) 5). The last days “the war” of Ezek. 38-39 fulfilled
6). Enemies of the Church (beast, harlot, false prophet) thrown in fire (Rev. 17 and 19) 6). Devil thrown in fire (see also “crushed”“shortly” (Rom. 16:20/Gen. 3:15)

Therefore, since Full Preterists hold to both of these reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation, and the end of the millennium resurrection and judgment event was fulfilled in AD 70, why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both of these “orthodox” and common sense views?

5). Is Revelation 20 an isolated event? The “already and not yet”, “this age and the age to come” and the “last days” millennial period 

In criticizing the Premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, Amillennialists and many Postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, or in Matthew 24–25.  But as I have shown thus far, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the old covenant age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.

Therefore, since the period between “this age and the age to come” is the millennial period, and it was the transition period between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – AD 70), and the “last days” is also the transition and millennial period of Revelation 20 but was also from AD 30 – AD 70, the end of the millennial resurrection and judgment of the dead was fulfilled when the old covenant age passed away and the last days ended in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both common sense “orthodox” views?

6). The Second Coming in Matthew 24-25 ends the millennium of Revelation 20

If it is true that a) the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and 25 is referring to the AD 70 judgment, as Partial Preterists are teaching, and if it is true that b) John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation, and if it is true that c) Matthew 24:27 – 25:31ff. is descriptive of the one end-of-the-age Second Coming, judgment, and resurrection event (the creedal position), then d) the Reformed community has some explaining to do, because these “orthodox” doctrines form the “this-generation” forty year millennial view of Full Preterism:

Matthew 24-25 Revelation 20:5-15
1). Resurrection and judgment – Mt.24:30-31 (cf. Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:23); Mt. 25:31-46 1). Resurrection and judgment – Rev. 20:5-15
2). De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee – Mt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Mt.5:17-18) 2). De-creation heaven and earth pass/ flee- Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
3). Christ on throne to judge – Mt.25:31 3). God on throne to judge – Rev. 20:11
4). Wicked along with devil eternally punished – Mt. 25:41-46 4). Wicked along with devil eternally punished – Rev. 20:10, 14-15

7). The analogy of faith between Daniel 12:1-13 and Revelation 20

And if it is also true that a) the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:14, 13 were fulfilled by AD 70 (per Gentry), and if it is true that b) Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is parallel to Revelation 20:5-15 (classic amillennial view), then c) once again the Reformed community has some explaining to do, in that these orthodox views form the “this-generation” forty-year millennial view of Full Preterism:

Daniel 12:1-2 Revelation 20:5-15
1). Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation (Dan. 12:1-2) 1). Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire (Rev. 20:12-15)
2). This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead (Dan. 12:1-2) 2). This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead (Rev. 20:5-15)

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the Full Preterist, AD 27 – AD 67 or AD 30 – AD 70, “this generation” millennial view:

A). is consistent with the teaching of Revelation itself when it comes to imminence and recapitulation…

B). falls within the “orthodox” views of the Reformed church…

C). is in line with the analogy of Scripture and…

D). offers historical support from many Rabbis who promoted a 40 year transitional period between the two ages.

Our view on the millennium is both exegetically sound and orthodox. Finding support for the Full Preterist view of the millennium is not as difficult as many portray it. Selah.

And just as we don’t see Revelation 20 discussing the Premillennial Zionist position – Jesus sitting on an earthly throne in Jerusalem with a re-built temple where a priesthood is once again performing animal sacrifices, it also doesn’t teach a biological corpse resurrection which all Futurists hold to.  The resurrection in Revelation 20 involves the souls of men being released from Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life or eternal punishment.  This fits with Jewish concepts of the resurrection prior to NT times, during Jesus’ day and the kind of spiritual resurrection some orthodox Partial Preterists have taught.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Revelation 11 & Revelation 20 / Daniel 12:

Both Daniel 12 and Revelation 11 connect the resurrection and judgment of the dead with the historical event of Jerusalem’s judgment for “three and a half years” (AD 67 – AD 70).  How were the dead judged in Revelation 11 during this period without the resurrection of the dead being fulfilled (this is for Ken Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin and James White)?  And since the book of Revelation is laid out in recapitulation, wouldn’t the judgment of the dead of Revelation 11 be the end of the millennium judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:5-15 – like most classic Amillennialists point out?  If not, why not?  And if it is true (per at least two of the writers of this letter Gentry and Kayser) that there was a spiritual resurrection and judgment of the “just and unjust” in Daniel 12:2 in AD 70, why wouldn’t Revelation 11 and Revelation 20:5-15 be that AD 70 spiritual judgment and resurrection of the dead event?  If not, why not?

Major Premise:  it is true and “orthodox” to believe there is only ONE consummative resurrection and judgment of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 11 and it is the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Revelation 20:5-15.  This ONE “soon” Second and Glorious Coming of Jesus throughout Revelation ends the millennium of Revelation 20 and fulfills this judgment and resurrection event (Reformed Classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise:  BUT it is also true and “orthodox” to believe the judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 11 were spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 at the “soon” and spiritual coming of Christ to close out the Jewish or old covenant age (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  THEREFORE, it is also true and “orthodox” to believe the ONE end of the age divinely “appointed” time for the judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 11; and Revelation 20:5-15 were spiritually fulfilled at the ONE “soon” Second and Glorious Coming of our Lord in AD 70 to close the Jewish or old covenant age and bring an end to the millennium.

Major Premise:  The consummative end of the millennium events listed in Revelation 20:5-15 have been recapitulated or are elsewhere described in Revelation 1-19 and Revelation 21-22 (classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise:  But the consummative events of Revelation 1-19 and Revelation 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70.  Christ came “soon” spiritually to establish the New Heavens and New Earth and to judge and raise the dead (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  THEREFORE, since the consummative end of the millennium events listed in Revelation 20:5-15 are the same events that have been recapitulated in chapters 1-19 and 21-22, and since the events listed in chapters 1-19 and 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70, then so were the events listed in chapter 20:5-15.

And since we have seen how 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 was fulfilled in AD 70, we can now connect this coming / parousia of Christ which ends the millennium of Revelation 20:

Acts 1:11:

I previously heard that Philip Kayser taught Acts 1:11 was also fulfilled in AD 70.  He has corrected that for me and stated he has never taken that position.  I sincerely apologize for making that error.

Like the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Revelation 1:7 – some Partial Preterists such as Milton Terry or say Mike Bull see these passages and Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70.

If Gentry feels so strongly about Acts 1:11 being fulfilled in the future and to deny this is damnable heresy, then why does he publish and profit off of Milton Terry who took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70?!?

Unlike Gentry, Wilson and Durbin, Partial Preterists such as Milton Terry and Mike Bull took/take a lucid, biblical approach, seeing the cloud comings of Jesus in Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7 as all being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem at the end of the Jewish or old covenant age.  Milton Terry writes the following of Acts 1:11:

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

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

Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison has suggested that the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 would be fulfilled when the Great Commission of Acts 1:8 is fulfilled.  Thus, according to this point, it is rather easy to demonstrate throughout the book of Acts itself and Paul’s other writings that Acts 1:8-11 was fulfilled by AD:

Major Premise:  The Great Commission and or cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:14, 30 / Acts 1:8-11 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and describe the “glorious Second Coming” of Jesus (classic Reformed Amillennial view).

Minor Premise:  But the Great Commission and or cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:14, 30, Revelation 1:7 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, and the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial Preterist authors – Milton Terry, Mike Bull, etc…).

Conclusion: The Great Commission and or cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:14, 30 / Acts 1:8-11 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and describes the “glorious Second Coming” of Jesus fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).

Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 1:11:

The signers of this letter and books and authors they promote are “divided” on this text as well.  Are we allowed to hold to the “Reformed” “orthodox” position and that of the analogy of faith believing the cloud coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 / Matthew 24:30 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and the Reformed “orthodox” Partial Preterist view that they were all fulfilled in AD 70 or not?  When and who made it “orthodox” to take the cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 / Revelation 1:7 as fulfilled in AD 70?  If Partial Preterists such as Gentry and Wilson have the authority to make those AD 70 cloud comings “orthodox” and correct the creeds and early church fathers, then why can’t Partial Preterist Milton Terry and other Partal Preterists and Full Preterists make our AD 70 exegesis of Acts 1:11 “orthodox” for everyone to follow?

Conclusion:

As we have seen the classic Amillennialist and authors of this letter to Gary DeMar do NOT see TWO “comings,” “ends,” “resurrections,” “judgments” of “all men” and that of the “living and the dead.”  Nor do they see the passing away or consummations of TWO heavens and earths or two arrivals of the new at TWO “comings”/parousia(s) of Christ in all of these texts — while the Partial Preterist system and that of some of the men in this letter – do see these events as fulfilled in AD 70.  That’s not a small disagreement – that’s a contradiction and bringing forth a hypocritical judgment against the brethren as far as I’m concerned.  Let’s expound upon this visually and see how the Holy Spirit has been working through the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view to form the consistent orthodox/true view of Full Preterism:

Why have I put Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, and Milton Terry to represent the Partial Preterist view in the chart?  Because Gentry and Kayser signed the letter attacking DeMar and Ken sells and promotes the writings of Partial Preterist Milton Terry.

This is why I believe Gary DeMar requested to see their exegetical and historical “work” on “specific texts” and this is why the threat of this public letter offers no texts let alone exegetical work or proof!  Therefore, in my humble opinion the authors of this letter (just like the divided authors of WSTTB?) offered a “house divided” approach that did “not stand” and had no teeth.  They offered no Scriptural support or evidence for their claims to support an “end of world history” “judgment and resurrection of the dead of the just and unjust” or that of “the living and the dead.”  “Case dismissed” or “thrown out” as far as I can see.

Here is how I would answer the three questions:

Do you believe in a future bodily, glorious return of Christ?  No, the analogy of faith principle of interpretation would require Acts 1:11 to be fulfilled when Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 are fulfilled and the Partial Preterists of this letter correctly see Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 as spiritually fulfilled in AD 70.  And Partial Preterist authors of whom you publish and sell such as Milton Terry took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70.

Do you believe in a future physical, general resurrection of the dead?  No, the general resurrection and judgment of the dead according to Daniel 12:2-3, 7, 13 teaches that the righteous and the unrighteous dead would be judged during a “three and a half years” period “when” Jerusalem was judged between AD 67 – AD 70 or “when the power of the holy people is / was completely shattered.”  This is why Paul taught this “appointed” or “decreed” time of judgment and resurrection for the dead was “about to be” fulfilled in the lifetime of his contemporaries (Acts 17:31YLT and Acts 24:14-15YLT).  And according to Acts 24; 26; and 28 this judgment and resurrection is once again tied to first century Jerusalem in that it was the “hope of the twelve tribes of Israel” – which do not exist today.  The Bible only teaches ONE eschatological “hope” of the “end” of the age resurrection event and it was fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and is a “hope realized” for us to experience now (Prov. 13:12) and when we die and enter the heavenly realm. And further more at least two of the authors of this letter (Gentry and Kayser) believe Daniel 12:2-3 teaches there was a resurrection and judgment of the dead in AD 70 with one (Kayser) conceding there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead in Acts 17:31 / Acts 24:15 / 1 Thess. 4-5 / 1 Cor. 15 / Rms. 8:18 that was fulfilled in AD 70.  Your Partial Preterist theologians cannot agree on if the resurrection of Daniel 12 and say that of Matthew 24:31 was fulfilled spiritually or physically in AD 70 but the Scriptures are clear it was a spiritual resurrection that was fulfilled.

Do you believe history will end with the Final Judgment of all men?  Per “orthodox” Partial Preterism, the typical “end of the world” or “end of world history” type passages such as 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 were fulfilled imminently in AD 70.  And the Bible teaches that after the first heavens and earth of Isa. 65-66 / 2 Pet. 3 / Rev. 21-22 pass away and the new arrives, there will be evangelism continuing to take place.  The Bible does not predict “the end of world history” but rather the “end of the [old covenant] age” / the “time of the end [of the old covenant age]” / “hour of the end” in AD 70.  I do not seek to “go beyond what is written” and speculate that it teaches the “end of world history.”  The judgment of “all men” or the “quick and the dead” was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in judgment in the lifetime of the first century church (Mt. 16:27-28), “soon” at the Second Coming event in AD 70 (Rev. 22:7, 10-12) and thus was “about to be” fulfilled or “at hand” in the first century (2 Tim. 4:1YLT; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).  “All men” however must die and be judged (Heb. 9:27).  Thus no man that ever lives will not be judged by a Righteous and Holy God.

Debate Challenges:  Myself and Don Preston have requested a one-on-one debate or partner debate with some of the men listed in this letter – Kenneth Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin or James White.  It’s been many years for these men in not answering public biblical questions or even responding to challenges to debate.  So, it’s kind of ironic that they are demanding that Gary DeMar answer their questions / challenges in a public forum.  Again – hypocrites.  Sam has yet to be able to convince Gentry, Wilson, Durbin or White to be his partner in debating me and Preston so as to refute his chapter in the first edition of “House Divided” where he discussed “Inconsistent Orthodoxy.”  Maybe it’s because he refers to them as “HYPER Partial Preterists” (that is “unorthodox preterists”) and “inconsistent” (that is if they were “consistent” they would be Full Preterists).  Selah.

Gary DeMar begins his response:

What Does the Bible Teach?: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gary-demar-podcast/id1500969161?i=1000602952969

Things We Know and Things We Don’t: https://garydemar.libsyn.com/things-we-know-and-things-we-dont

Gary’s Third Response – “But It’s All So Simple!” https://garydemar.libsyn.com/but-its-all-so-simple

WERE ENOCH AND ELIJAH “RAPTURED TO HEAVEN” AND DOES 1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17 / JOHN 11:25-26 / MATTHEW 24:30-31 TEACH A PHYSICAL RESURRECTION OR “RAPTURE”?

WERE ENOCH AND ELIJAH “RAPTURED TO HEAVEN” AND DOES 1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17 / JOHN 11:25-26 / MATTHEW 24:30-31 TEACH A PHYSICAL RESURRECTION OR “RAPTURE”?

Introduction:

Even when I was a Futurist and believed in a physical resurrection at the end of world history, the alleged “taking” or alleged “rapture” of Enoch and Elijah’s physical body to be in God’s presence or be in the spiritual realm didn’t exactly fit my theology.  And then when I became a Full Preterist and saw that a spiritual resurrection for the dead was fulfilled in AD 70, a physical taking of Enoch and Elijah’s body to be in God’s presence or be in the spiritual realm prior to AD 70 still didn’t seem accurate.  So, when I first came across John Bray’s article many years ago, Were Elijah and Enoch Raptured to Heaven? where he defended the position that both Elijah and Enoch died – I read it with an open mind but didn’t do a deep dive into the subject.  I wish to elaborate on John’s good article on Elijah and Enoch and his sources (G. marsh Hibourne and Michael T. Wark).  While on the subject, I wanted to also develop 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / Matthew 24:31 and John 11:25-26 and challenge those that think these texts also describe some kind of “rapture” off planet earth for believers either in AD 70 or at the end of world history.

While some Jewish tradition does support the idea that both Enoch and Elijah eventually died and were not “raptured,” much of Jewish tradition has Enoch ascending to heaven in a physical body to be at God’s side and is appointed guardian of all the celestial treasures and is made chief of the archangels.  He allegedly knows all secrets and mysteries and teaches and conducts souls to the place of joy.  He is known as “Prince of God’s Face,” “Prince of the Torah,” “Prince of Wisdom,” “Prince of Reason,” and “Prince of Glory.” And of course, he allegedly communicated God’s revelations to Moses.

As far as Elijah is concerned, in some Jewish tradition he too does not experience physical death but ascends to heaven and becomes half man half angel who cannot fly as fast as the other angels because he remains in a physical body.  What a drag (pun intended).

In Dispensational eschatology, Enoch and Elijah went to heaven and will appear back on earth as the two witnesses in Revelation 11 where they finally experience physical death but are raised after 3 days and then ascend back to heaven in their physical bodies.[1]  Even though these same Christians claim Jesus’ physical body after his resurrection was the “first” to have an “immortal body,” and that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom,” they apparently have no problem with Enoch and Elijah not experiencing physical death and being in heaven for thousands of years with physical bodies before Jesus shows up.  Some of them also reject Jesus’ teaching that John the Baptist was fulfilling the role Elijah and insist that Elijah will return to earth (again citing Rev. 11) before Jesus’ Second Coming can take place.

Since some of these same Christians believe Enoch and Elijah were “raptured” or taken to heaven in their physical bodies, they see these events as paving the way for Paul’s teaching in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 where Paul allegedly teaches Christ will one day “rapture” all the physical bodies of Christians off planet earth.  Even some so-called “Preterists” believe a physical “rapture” of Enoch and Elijah paves the way for an alleged physical “rapture” of the Church off the planet in AD 70.

Therefore, this article’s focus will be to examine if it is indeed true that Enoch and Elijah ascended to heaven without experiencing biological death, and then to take a deep dive into 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 to see if this passage teaches something similar.

The Testimony of the Bible on Ascending to Heaven and the Certainty of Physical Death   

In Jesus’ teaching to Nicodemus, He indirectly shoots down these unbiblical Jewish and Christian traditions of Enoch and Elijah having allegedly ascended to heaven: “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (Jn. 3:13).  And the author of Hebrews himself includes these heroes of faith and yet states clearly, “These all died in faith…” (Heb. 11:13), while pointing out it is appointed for man to see and experience one final death event before judgment (Heb. 9:27).  The Psalmist asks the rhetorical question,“What man can live and never see death?” (Ps. 89:48).  Solomon answers it very straightforwardly, “All go to one place.  All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” (Ecl. 3:20).

While some men and women died and were raised temporarily (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37; 2 Kings 13:20-21; Lk. 7:11-17; Mark 5:35-43; Jn. 11:38-44; Mt. 27:52-53; Acts 9:36-43; Acts 20:9-10), I believe the point of the author of Hebrews when he says that “it is appointed for man to die once…” (Heb. 9:27), is to simply point out that all of our days here on earth are numbered, set and appointed (cf. Job 14:1-6; Ps. 139:16) and therefore, we all have ONE FINAL day of death we must all pass through and which cannot be escaped (see previous passages cited such as Ecl. 3:20).  There is one final day and death experience that all men must pass before they must be judged and it cannot be reversed just as Christ’s one sacrifice was final and cannot be repeated.  Just as one eventual and final death is certain for all men, Christ’s one sacrifice and His one Second Coming event “in a very, very little while and would not be delayed” (Heb. 10:37) in AD 70 was appointed and certain to take place.

None of these inspired authors and teachers of God’s Word tell us that Enoch and Elijah were the “exceptions” to this Biblical rule of ascension and or experiencing biological death and returning to the dust of the earth.

What follows are two more probable explanations or interpretations that harmonize with these passages when it comes to Enoch and Elijah.

The Case of Enoch

Let’s begin with the passage in Genesis 5 and then we will move on to how the author of Hebrews interprets it.

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24)

Let’s break this passage down a bit.

1). “And he was not” (Gen. 5:24)

While some emphasize that the rest of the individuals in Genesis 5 are described as “and he died” and this phrase is not used for Enoch, they assume the phrase “was not” means he was physically raptured off the earth to not experience biological death.  They seem to miss that the phrase to describe Enoch “was not” is also a phrase for biological death:

“he was not…I sought him, but he could not be found.” (Ps. 37:36)

And concerning Joseph thought to be dead or described thus,

“…the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.” (Gen. 42:13)

Those in the wilderness who ate mana are described as “and are not or simply “are dead” (Lam. 5:7; Jn. 6:58).

2). “…for God took him” (Gen. 5:24)

The Hebrew word here for “took” is laqach.  It and other similar Hebrew words are used to describe what God does to a person’s soul / spirit at physical death or what He will eventually do to his soul or spirit in the resurrection event.

John Bray following the research of G. Marsh Hilbourne and Michael T. Wark correctly observes some of the parallel language in the Wisdom of Solomon:

“In the Wisdom of Solomon (the Apocryphal book written before Christ) there is a chapter which tells how God removed certain righteous men (took them away) from the ungodly so that they would not be contaminated by their wickedness and deceit.  Here are several verses:

“But though the righteous be PREVENTED with DEATH, yet shall he be in rest.” (4:7).

Notice in the next verse the comparison to the New Testament saying about Enoch:

“He PLEASED God, and was beloved of him:  so that living among sinners he was TRANSLATED(4:10).  How was he translated?  Verse 7 spoke of his being taken by death.  In reading this, one could easily think the writer was writing about Enoch himself.

Yea, speedily was he taken away, lest that wickedness should alter his understanding, or deceit beguile his soul” (4:11).

“For his soul PLEASED the Lord; therefore hasted he to take him away from among the wicked” (4:14).

This is sufficient to show how someone who pleased God could be translated in the sense of being removed from the land of the wicked so their own character would not be spoiled.”[2]

While a different Hebrew word is used here for “take,” the concept is the same here in Isaiah,

“…merciful men (that “walk with God” or “please” Him) are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come” (Isa. 57:1).

Or notice the good death God gives the repentant King of Judah,

“Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see the disaster that I will bring upon this place.” (2 Kings 22:20).

In the context of Genesis 5-6, Enoch died or was “taken away” by God to rest in Abraham’s bosom (awaiting the Messiah and the promise of eternal life) before he saw the extreme wickedness of man come upon the face of the earth preceding the flood. God “took” Enoch so that he would not see the extreme wickedness that was to come and then God having to pour out His wrath in the coming flood.

In the context of Genesis 5-6, Enoch died or was “taken away” by God to rest in Abraham’s bosom (awaiting the Messiah and the promise of eternal life) before he saw the extreme wickedness of man come upon the face of the earth preceding the flood.  God “took” Enoch before he saw this wickedness and God pour out His wrath in the coming flood.

The OT saints were promised that their souls / spirits would not always be confined to Sheol, Hades or Abraham’s bosom, but would one day experience (at the resurrection event) a “taking away” into God’s presence.

“But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will “take me,” “snatch me,” or “receive me.” (Ps. 49:15)

And while laqach is not used in the following passage, the same thought in conveyed,

“You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will “take me,” “snatch me” or “receive me” to glory” (Ps. 73:24).

It is important to point out briefly at this point that some Jewish and Christian views of the resurrection do not include the physical body to be involved in the general judgment / resurrection event which would take place at the “end of the age.” I will address this in more detail later and prove that this kind of resurrection was fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70.  This being the case, one must wonder why God would take or ascend the physical bodies of Enoch and Elijah to be in His presence in heaven or in Abraham’s bosom, to then only “take” their soul / spirit out of Hades or Abraham’s bosom to be in His presence at the resurrection event in AD 70?

Let’s now turn our attention to how the author of Hebrews interprets Genesis 5:24.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him:” (Heb. 11:5)

Again, let’s break our passage down into exegetical particulars.

1). “By faith Enoch was translated…” (Heb. 11:5)

John Bray writes,

“The other passage in Hebrews 11:5 is a little more difficult.  The essence of the passage is that because Enoch pleased God, God “translated” him, and because of this, he did not see death.

Keep in mind, nothing is said here either about his being “translated” into heaven, but just translated so he would not see death.

Here both words, “translated” and “translation,” are from the same Greek word metatillemi, which means to transport, transfer, exchange, change sides, carry over, etc.  There is nothing said about any of this being done to get him to Heaven.

One of the words from which this Greek word is derived actually means “place…in a passive or horizontal posture.”  If this is the meaning, then it would mean that God “took him” in death.  (I know!  It says he “should not see death.”  Keep reading.).”[3]

“So, Enoch was one who pleased God to this extent, that God translated (removed) him from the environment of those who did not please God.  God laid him down in rest in such a way that Enoch never saw death.  It was not that Enoch did not die, but, rather, he never “saw” death.  How God did this we do not know.  Perhaps Enoch died peacefully in sleep or in some way in which he never “saw” death.

But Enoch did die!  We know this because Hebrews 11:13 says so.  After mentioning the differerent heroes of faith, including Enoch, the writer said, “These ALL DIED in faith…”. So Enoch died, as it said.  His translation consisted of being transferred out of the land of wickedness and laid to rest where no harm could come to him.”[4]

2). “…that he should not see death…” (Heb. 11:5)

The inspiration and source for John L. Bray’s position on Enoch and Elijah–Hibourne and Wark write of this phrase,

“How shall we reconcile this seeming contradiction?  Did Enoch “not see death,” or did he die “in faith, not having received the promises”?  The solution is to realize that the statement is that he should not see death, not “that he should not die.”  It must mean that God mercifully took Enoch out of this life to spare him the infirmities of old age, or from the hands of the wicked, as the Wisdom of Solomon seems to indicate.

Another possibility is that Enoch did not “see” death, but instead, saw the future life in the Kingdom of God.  He knew his next conscious moment would be the resurrection from the dead.

“In any case, we must conclude that Enoch did die, that he died in faith, not having received the promises and that he shall receive the promises at the resurrection of the dead, along with the rest of the overcomers (Heb. 11:40).”[5]

The Second Possibility – of not seeing death

Let’s briefly explore these two “possibilities” starting with the last one.  In the OT the phrase to “not see death” can be the righteous faithfully looking towards inheriting eternal life in the resurrection:

“In the path/way [“I AM the WAY” – Jesus] of virtue is eternal life, And the treading of her way is no death.” (Prov. 12:28 ESV).

This is strikingly similar to Jesus’ teaching,

“If a man keep my sayings, He shall never see death” (Jn. 8:51; 11:26).

This second “possibility” fits well with the overall context and or theological point of Hebrews 11 in that all these died believing in the hope of a “better resurrection” or receiving a “heavenly land”—that is to be “perfected” with the living in the new covenant Messianic resurrection age to come (Heb. 11:35-40; Jn. 11:25-26).  After teaching that “If anyone keeps my Word, he will never see death” (Jn. 8:51), Jesus says of Abraham, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (Jn. 8:56).

In the days of Messiah coming and eternal life being in the process of being received, we read in Colossians 1 that believers are “translated” with the goal of having a “walk” worthy of “pleasing” God (Cols. 1:10-13).  In other words, what Enoch saw through faith, the Colossians were experiencing and would at Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70.

The First Possibility – of not seeing death

The first position that Bray, Hibourne and Wark lean towards which is compatible with the Wisdom of Solomon, is that the phrase is referring Enoch’s death as being unique.  The Greek word here for “death” is thanatos.  In the ancient world, the Greeks understood Thanatos to be the god of a non-violent death.  His touch was gentle and comparable to his twin brother Hypnos (sleep).

To “not see death” simply could mean that Enoch’s faith and pleasing walk with God was rewarded by giving him a pleasant death.  That is, Enoch could have died in his sleep and did not experience a painful or diseased process of death and his soul / spirit was “taken” as such before seeing and experiencing all of the evil coming upon the world and God pouring out His wrath in the coming flood.

If this is what is being referred to then again these passages describing a good death for a godly man and what he would not “see” before being “taken” or “gathered” is relevant:

“…merciful men (that “walk with God” or “please” Him) are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come” (Isa. 57:1).

And,

“Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see the disaster that I will bring upon this place.” (2 Kings 22:20).

For Enoch to be prevented to “not see death” was to not see a certain or particular kind of death – one not in peace and one that would “see disaster.”

3). “…and was not found” (Heb. 11:5)

Again, this need not be a phrase that Enoch’s physical body ascended to heaven or that after God “took” Enoch’s soul / spirit that his physical body could not be found (as was the case with Moses), but rather this phrase was simply another way of communicating that Enoch did experience physical death, “he was not…I sought him, but he could not be found.” (Ps. 37:36).

4). because God had translated him [that is took his spirit or soul in a non-violent or non-diseased or painful death]:” (Heb. 11:5)

So, here is a summary of the more probable interpretations of Hebrews 11:5:

A).  By faith Enoch was translated [God “took” Enoch’s soul / spirit]

B).  that he should not see [experience a violent or diseased – Wisdom of Solomon] death

B).  and was not found [another biblical phrase for physical death]

A).  because God had translated [God “took Enoch’s soul / spirit] him.

Or a possible double meaning for “took” and the concept of death in that the first (A) – a spiritual taking emphasizing a view towards not seeing spiritual death or the second death in the coming resurrection event (B) a reference to biological death, and (A) in that God “took” him early in a non-violent physical death:

A).  By faith Enoch was translated [God “took” Enoch’s soul or converted him Cols. 1:13]

B).  that he should not see death [a view to not seeing spiritual death Jn. 8:51; Jn. 11:25-26]

B).  and was not found [another biblical phrase for physical death]

A).  because God had translated [God “took Enoch’s soul / spirit] him.

The author of Hebrews finishes or forms a chiasm with Genesis 5:24 and possibly providing a deeper meaning to the passage:

Genesis 5:24

A).  And Enoch WALKED WITH GOD:

B).  and HE WAS NOT;

C).  For God TOOK him.

Hebrews 11:5 — D).  By faith

C).  Enoch was TRANSLATED that he should not see death;

B).  and WAS NOT FOUND, because God had translated him:

A).  for before his translation he had this testimony, that HE PLEASED GOD.[6]

In my estimation, either of these exegetical “possibilities” or a combination of them, is more theologically sound and probable than adopting an understanding of Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5 which would contradict John 3:13 and Hebrews 11:13 – which the traditional interpretation does.

The Case of Elijah 

The first thing that the exegete should take notice of is the words of Obadiah to Elijah,

“And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you I know not where.” (1 Kings 18:12)

Clearly Elijah had a reputation of the Holy Spirit “carrying him” away and hiding him and it was known even by the other “prophets” (2 Kings 2:16).  And this is exactly what happens in our key passage:

“Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.” (2 Kings 2:1)

“And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lordwill take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.” (2 Kings 2:3).

“And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.  And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.” (2 Kings 2:11-12).

“Whirlwind” or “Storm”?

“Whirlwind” is a bad translation, it should be “storm.”  The false gods Israel had been worshipping were known to be the sun, fire and storm gods.  God answers Elijah’s prayer to bring fire down to communicate that Israel’s covenant God is the one who really controls fire.  God answers Elijah’s prayer to not send rain because Israel’s God is the one who truly controls the storms and rain.

And so now here, once again Israel’s God is depicted as the true storm God who will carry / take Elijah up in the “storm” and “heaven” (that is in the sky heaven – not the heaven of the spiritual realm where God is).

Elijah is carried up into the sky/heaven by a storm and not the chariots of fire.  The chariots of fire only separate Elijah from Elisha (2 Kings 2:11).

The prophets want to go look for Elijah, because they know God has “carried him away” in the past.  But Elisha knows they will not find him, not because he somehow ascended into the spiritual heaven where God is, but because he knows God has taken him up in the sky/heaven and hidden him far from them.

Elisha takes over Elijah’s prophetic position over Israel while God takes and hides Elijah to eventually bring forth a word to the King of Judah – Jehoram, through a written letter.  This is not a letter written by Elijah from God’s presence in heaven (2 Chron. 21:12-15) – lol.

There is simply no exegetical evidence that Elijah did not experience biological death because he was taken to heaven to be in God’s presence.  The “heaven” is the sky where the “storm” was!  Elijah had a reputation of God “carrying” him off and hiding him to do His work and thus Elijah was taken in a storm and stayed hidden for 10 years before writing a prophetic letter of judgment upon Jehoram (the son of a King he had previously ministered).

Concluding Enoch & Elijah

Hebrews 11 discusses Enoch directly and Elijah indirectly (the “prophets” some of whom raised the dead v. 32ff.) as being included among those who “ALL died in faith” looking to the “better resurrection” or “heavenly land.”  They were NOT “raptured to heaven” in physical bodies looking for physical bathrooms and physical food for sustenance or somehow turned into half men and half angels!

The Jew did not separate the land and Jerusalem promises from the resurrection promises.  Therefore, if the “heavenly land” and “city” are spiritual in Hebrews 11 and the city was “about to come” (Heb. 13:14 Greek mello) in AD 70, the spiritual resurrection was also about to be fulfilled.  This and the overall context of Hebrews is to show that the spiritual “new covenant” things described as the “true” or “better” promises are superior to the physical and typological old covenant promises.  Thus, the “better resurrection” is a spiritual one and it was likewise “about to be” fulfilled as even Paul states – “there is about to be a resurrection of the just and unjust” (Acts 24:15YLT).

John 11:25-26

A spiritual resurrection and reception of eternal life or physical/biological?

Since we have made the “possible” connection between Hebrews 11:5 with “seeing” through the eyes of faith a coming “better resurrection” or “never see death” in connection with John 8:51 and John 11:25-26, and some have egregiously taken “never see death” in John 11:26 as a physical or biological “rapture” in AD 70, we should spend some time on this passage.

In the gospel of John up to chapter 11, the physical typology of the feasts and physical sign miracles point to the deeper, spiritual, and eternal anti-type fulfillment or miracle performed within a person.  The point is to restore God’s presence back to man through the redemptive work of Christ by giving the gift of eternal life.  It is within these contexts that Jesus declares His “I AM” statements which are all spiritual (unless Jn. 11:25 be the exception to this rule).  It is during the context of the Feasts of Passover and Booths along with the miracles of feeding the 5,000 with bread and healing a blind man that Jesus utters:  “I AM the [spiritual] Bread/Water of life” (6:35), “I AM the [spiritual] Light of the world” (8:12; 9:5), “I AM the [spiritual] Door” (10:9), “I AM the [spiritual] Good Shepherd” (10:11) – who gives the spiritual blind spiritual sight and guidance into a [spiritual] Kingdom that will be realized “within them” at His Second Coming in AD 70 (18:36; cf. Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32).

Therefore, consistent with the context and teaching of Jesus thus far in John, Jesus waits 4 days to perform His physical sign miracle of resurrecting Lazarus, and to declare, “I AM the [spiritual] Resurrection and [spiritual] Life (11:25).  And every reference to “life” thus far in John’s gospel is referring to [spiritual] and not physical life (chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 10).

It is important to point out that some Jews prior to the NT and during the time it was written, believed the resurrection event at the end of their present age (which was the old covenant age) would result in the dead being raised spiritually [their souls or spirits] from Hades or Abraham’s bosom into God’s presence to inherit eternal life.  This is the view of Jesus and the NT authors.  The believing dead and then the living were raised from the spiritual curse/death/separation that came through Adam to inherit “eternal life” or “never die” at Christ’s parousia in AD 70.  Since “eternal life” is equivalent to “never die” or “never see death,” this promise has nothing to do with not experiencing physical or biological death at an alleged physical “rapture” event either in AD 70 or at the end of world history.

Jewish Views on the Resurrection

Many Talmudic Zionists, Muslims and Dispensational Zionists simply assume that the only concept of the resurrection of the dead in the OT and during Jesus’ day was a biological fleshly one in which an alleged individual’s physical/ spiritual body would emerge from the literal grave at the end of time and thus be fitted for the afterlife in the new creation or some paradise on earth.  But this is simply not the case.

I like how Lester L. Grabbe points out that, during the Second Temple period, the interpretations of the resurrection in the OT were not all necessarily understood to refer to the physical body. They included the view that the resurrection involved only the souls/spirits of individuals being fit for God’s presence either at death, or only their souls were raised at a general judgment of the dead event.  He points out that there is no evidence that the physical view was any more dominant than the spiritual view.  While lengthy, I think his historical comments will be helpful before we begin an exegesis of the OT and NT resurrection texts and simply assume they are addressing a biological resurrection at the end of time when Jesus or Messiah comes:

“It is sometimes asserted that the resurrection of the body was the characteristic Jewish belief. This is not borne out by the data. A variety of beliefs seem to be attested about the same time in Israelite history. One of these was the resurrection of the body, but there is little reason to think that it was earlier or more characteristic of Jewish thinking than the immortality of the soul or resurrection of the spirit. And it is clear that some Jews still maintained the older belief in no afterlife. The Sadducees (see section 2.7) are one group who thought so; so did Ben Sira. Writing about 190 bce Ben Sira does not seem to think of any life beyond death, as interpreted by the vast majority of scholars. Therefore, it would be quite wrong to refer to any of these beliefs as ‘characteristically’ Jewish or the Jewish belief on the subject.”[7]

“The exact form of the resurrection is not always specified, but we should not expect it always to entail resurrection of the body. Sometimes only the resurrection of the spirit is in mind, as in Jubilees 23:20–22:

And at that time the Lord will heal his servants, and they shall be exalted and prosper greatly; and they shall drive out their adversaries. And the righteous shall see it and be thankful, and rejoice with joy for ever and ever; and they shall see all the punishments and curses that had been their lot falling on their enemies. And their bones shall rest in the earth, and their spirits shall have much joy; and they shall know that the Lord is one who executes judgement, and shows mercy to hundreds, and to tens of thousands, and to all that love him.

Belief in the immortality of the soul is known at least as early as the Book of Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36). The souls of the various sorts of people are preserved in hollow places after death (1 Enoch 22):

And from there I went to another place, and he showed me in the west a large and high mountain, and a hard rock and four beautiful places, and inside it was deep and wide and very smooth . . . Then Raphael, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered me and said to me, These beautiful places are intended for this, that the spirits, the souls of the dead, might be gathered into them; for them they were created, that here they might gather all the souls of the sons of men. And these places they made where they will keep them until the day of their judgement and until their appointed time – and that appointed time will be long – until the great judgement comes upon them.

As the rest of the passage indicates, the souls of the dead are already experiencing reward and punishment in their intermediate state. In this case, the existence of the soul after death seems to be combined with the idea of a final judgement. This may imply a general resurrection, though this is not stated explicitly. In other sections of 1 Enoch, a resurrection is mentioned (46:6; 51:1; 90:33; 91:10; 92:3–4).

Other sources give no indication of a resurrection at all, only the immortal soul. A good example is Wisdom of Solomon which speaks of the soul (e.g., 3:1–9) but does not mention the resurrection. Whether Wisdom thinks the souls of all are immortal, or only those of the righteous, is debated. Many feel that immortality is not inherent in the soul itself but is a gift given only to the righteous.

The Testament of Abraham gives the clearest picture of how the souls are judged after death (Version A 11–14; Version B 9–11). The souls are brought before a throne on which Abel sits as judge. The one who presents the souls for judgement is Enoch, the scribe of righteousness (Version B only). The judged souls go either through the strait gate which leads to life (for the righteous) or the broad gate to destruction (for the sinners). Although there is a brief indication of belief in a general resurrection in the Testament of Abraham (Version B 7:16), judgement of each individual seems to take place immediately after death, and the emphasis is on this immediate judgement of the soul while the body rests in the grave.

On the other hand, the immortal souls and the resurrection may be combined, as in 2 Baruch 29–30:

[30:2] And it shall come to pass at that time that the treasuries will be opened in which is preserved the number of the souls of the righteous, and they will come out, and the multitude of souls will appear together in one single assembly; and those who are first will rejoice, and those who are last will not be cast down. For each one of them will know that the predetermined end of the times has come. But the souls of the wicked, when they see all this, will be the more discomforted. For they will know that their torment is upon them and that their perdition has arrived.[8]

Murray J. Harris after examining the intertestamental period of Judaism agrees:

“And there is the concept of the immortality of the soul or spirit that is gained at death or at the End [of the Mosaic age], with or without a resurrection of the [physical] body.”[9]

In Jewish tradition and exegesis there is also the view that the resurrection takes place 40 years after Messiah,

“Jewish writings stipulate that forty years after the coming of the Messiah there will be a resurrection of the dead, and all who are lying in dust will rise to new life.” (The 13 Principles and the Resurrection of the Dead) The Rebbe often quotes the Zohar to the effect that the Resurrection will take place 40 years after the advent of Mashiach. (See Igros Kodesh, Vol. II, p. 75; Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. I, p. 274. However, there are also other references in the sichos (e.g., Likkutei  Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 206; Sefer HaSichos 5733, Shabbos Parshas Balak, footnote 3).”[10]

The fact that the resurrection could be a resurrection of spirits out of Hades in the coming judgment and that it would be fulfilled 40 years after Messiah was cut-off or during His transitionary reign between their old covenant “this age” and the new covenant “age about to come” fits perfectly with the teachings of Jesus and the NT authors.  Let’s now turn our attention to Christian orthodoxy and see if such a spiritual resurrection in AD 70 can be seen in “rapture” or Second Coming passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and Matthew 24:30-31.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

A spiritual resurrection and “rapture” or a physical/biological one? 

Before we begin laying the context of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 let’s briefly make the connections with our previous passage in John 11:25-26:

Jn. 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 1 Thess. 4:16:  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Jn. 11:26: “and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 1 Thess. 4:17:  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

There are even stronger connections between 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 with that of Matthew 24:30-31 and will be the subject for which we now turn.  But first we must develop the context and find the contextual flow and how 1 Thess. 4:16-17 harmonizes with the rest of 1-2 Thessalonians.

Laying the context of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

1 Thessalonians 1:10

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

“Wait” with eager expectation 

The Thessalonians were to eagerly wait for Christ.  The definition of “wait” (Greek anaménō) has to do with an eager anxiousness coupled with a confident trust to complete a process.  In this case it involves confidence in trusting Christ’s promise to come and vindicate and rescue the first century Thessalonians.   

Dispensational Zionist pastor, John MacArthur, writes of this passage:

“…the immanency of the deliverance was something Paul felt could happen in their lifetimes.”[11]

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

“From heaven”

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

To “rescue” the Thessalonians to Himself

The definition of rescue here is “rhýomai (from eryō, “draw to oneself“) – properly, draw or (pull) to oneself; to rescue (“snatch up”); to draw or rescue a person to and for the deliverer.  To draw or snatch from danger, rescue, deliver.” This is more with the meaning of drawing to one’s self rather than merely rescuing from someone or something.[12]

From the “coming wrath”

God laid a trap for the Jews who were persecuting the Thessalonians in that they went to Jerusalem for the feast days in and around AD 66/67 in order to experience His wrath.  Christians that did go to Jerusalem to fellowship with the Jerusalem Church in AD 66/67 fled the city and were rescued from this wrath.

Jews who especially sympathized with the Jewish revolt were persecuted throughout Rome during this period – 50,000 died in Egypt alone.  Christians were known for being peaceful law-abiding citizens contrary to their Zealot counterparts.

Paul’s doctrine on an imminent first century coming of Christ and wrath to be poured out upon their persecuting enemies is in line with Jesus’ teaching in Luke 21:20-23 and Matthew 23.  This is also the same “wrath” that was “about to come” upon the Pharisees, according to John the Baptist’s eschatology (Mt. 3:7-12 GNT). 

Partial Preterists, such as Gary DeMar, concede that the coming of Christ here in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 was fulfilled in AD 70.  But Gary fails to do any exegetical work to harmonize his Preterist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 1:10 with his futurist creedal view of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.  In both passages, Christ comes “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” away His people to Himself.  On what exegetical grounds is the first passage apocalyptic while the latter passage is supposed to be a physical biological transformation?!?  Why would the Thessalonians think that these are two different comings of Christ “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” His people to Himself?   

1 Thessalonians 1:10 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
1). First century audience – “you”, “us” 1). First century audience – “we.”
2). Eager expectation – imminence 2). “We who are still alive…” – imminent expectation
3). Christ comes “from heaven.” 3). Christ comes “from heaven”
4). Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing that the living would be rescued 4). Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing the dead in Christ would be raised and the living would be brought into God’s presence
5). “Snatches” from wrath but to Christ. 5). “Catches/snatches away” to Christ

 1 Thessalonians 2:14-20 

“For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, forbidding us to speak to the nations that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always, but the anger did come (past tense) upon them – [even] to the end!  “…For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us.  For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess. 2:14-16, 19-20).

We learn several things about this passage in connection with chapter 1.

The “waiting process” of 1:10 is further clarified in chapter two as waiting for their Jewish persecutors to “fill up the measure of their sins” before Christ comes to execute this wrath.

The YLT and JFB catch something interesting about this wrath, in that it had already begun and is actually in the past tense – “forbidding us to speak to the nations that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always, but the anger did come (past tense) upon them – [even] to the end! (1 Thess. 2:16).

Speaking about the past tense here, JFB says:

“[This is] not merely partial wrath, but wrath to its full extent, “even to the finishing stroke” [Edmunds]. The past tense implies that the fullest visitation of wrath was already begun. Already in A.D. 48, a tumult had occurred at the Passover in Jerusalem, when about thirty thousand (according to some) were slain; a foretaste of the whole vengeance which speedily followed (Lu 19:43, 44; 21:24).”[13]

*Was this the event or perceived “Day of the Lord” judgment that the false teachers and prophets were saying had “already” been fulfilled in 2 Thessalonians 2?  1 & 2 Thessalonians were written between AD 50-52.  The Judaizers wanted a “Christianity” with the Mosaic Law to continue.  So they needed a “Day of the Lord” that did not involve doing away with the temple system.

This “wrath” would be fully realized at “the end” [or the wrath that would be poured out at “the time of the end” or end of the old covenant age (cf. Dan. 12:4; Mt. 13:3943; Mt. 24:3ff.)].  Paul is in perfect harmony with Jesus’ teaching:

Matthew 23-24 1 Thessalonians 1-2
1). Prediction of persecution, suffering & death 1). Present persecution & suffering
2). The Jews killed the prophets, Jesus predicts His death (cf. Lk. 17:25), and that of the deaths of the NT prophets He would send in that generation 2). The Jews killed Jesus & the prophets
3). Jesus pronounces seven “woes” upon the Jews 3). Paul says the Jewish persecutors are not pleasing to God
4). Jews sought to hinder Christ from “gathering” and preaching the gospel to Jerusalem’s “children” so that they could be saved 4). Jews sought to hinder Paul from preaching the gospel so that others might be saved
5). The Jews were “filling up the measure of their sin” 5) Paul says the Jews were “filling up the measure of their sins”
6). Christ was going to come:  (Gk. Parousia – implied from heaven) to deliver Christians and render wrath and judgment upon that first century Jewish audience and upon their temple – in their “this generation” 6). Christ was going to come:  (Gk. Parousia – from heaven) to deliver Christians and render wrath and judgment upon that first century Jewish audience
7) The coming of Christ in salvation and wrath takes place at “the end (Greek Telos) of the age” (of the old covenant age) 7). The coming of Christ in salvation and wrath upon persecutors takes place at “the end” (Greek Telos)
8) Judgment of living (those Pharisees) and dead (judging Cain for Abel’s blood) & gathering of all the elect at the trumpet call – in their “this generation” 8) Judgment of the living

1 Thessalonians 3:13 

“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thess. 3:13).

“Blameless” or “spotless”

The Thessalonians would be blameless (or “spotless”) and holy at Christ’s Parousia.  Paul is using the eschatological marriage terminology here of blameless / holy –  without spot.  Keith Mathison writes of this passage in connection with the resurrection:

“Paul teaches that all believers will be resurrected at Christ’s second coming (1 Cor. 15:23).  He teaches that all believers will be presented as a spotless bride at that time (Eph. 5:25-27; cf. 1 Thess. 3:13).”[14]

However, as usual, Partial Preterists have a hard time agreeing what passages about the coming of the Lord were fulfilled in AD 70 and which ones are allegedly going to be fulfilled at the end of world history.  For example, unlike Mathison, Gary DeMar admits that 1 Thessalonians 3:10 was fulfilled in AD 70.  So, if 1 Thessalonians 3:10 is a wedding Parousia/resurrection text inseparably connected to 1 Corinthians 15:23, and yet 1 Thessalonians 3:10 was fulfilled in AD 70, then the Parousia of 1 Corinthians 15:23 was also fulfilled in AD 70 (A=B).

And as we saw earlier, if men like Mathison believe the coming of Christ and wedding or wedding feast of Matthew 8:10-12; 22:2-7; 25:1-13; Revelation 19-21 was fulfilled in AD 70, how does this coming of Christ and wedding motif get magically pushed thousands of years away into another wedding and coming of Christ?  Partial Preterists simply offer no explanation.    

Christ comes “with all his holy ones” (angels, people, or both)?

First view – Angels: The argument that Christ is coming with angels as His “holy ones” is in how the LXX of Zech. 14:5 is understood (from which this passage and Mt. 25:31 are derived).  Angelic beings is how the term is understood in the OT (ex. Job 5:1; 15:15; Ps. 89:5, 7; Dan. 8:13) and in the texts of the intertestamental period (e.g. 1 Enoch 1:9) depicting God’s angels as being present on the last day of judgment.

Although the key word “holy ones” is not used in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, but rather the noun form is used to say that Christ comes with His “powerful angels,” the concept is the same.

Second view – Saints/people: In 2 Thessalonians 1:10, Christ comes to be glorified “in” His “holy ones,” which are people “who have believed,” the passage states.

Third view – “all” here refers to both people & angels: Some commentators suggest that both are in view.  This is my view after looking at what the OT says, what the intertestamental period teaches, and finally what the NT teaches on the subject.

Let’s once again get the contextual flow of Paul’s teaching on the coming of the Lord in the previous chapters leading into 1 Thessalonians 4, which demonstrates that Paul only has one coming of the Lord in view here.  And if some Partial Preterists are willing to admit that the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 1-3, and even in chapter 5, was fulfilled in AD 70, there is no exegetical evidence to support the idea that the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4 is a different coming.

1 Thessalonians 1:10—3:13 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
1). First century audience – “you”, “us” 1). First century audience – “we”
2). Eager expectation – imminence 2). “We who are still alive…” – imminent expectation
3). Christ comes “from heaven” 3). Christ comes “from heaven”
4). Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing that the living would be rescued 4). Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing the dead in Christ would be raised and the living would be “caught” away into God’s presence
5). To be “snatched” away from wrath but to Christ 5). To be “caught” away to Christ
6). Christ comes (Greek Parousia) 6). Christ comes (Greek Parousia).
7). “The end” (Greek Telos) here is Daniel’s “time of the end,” or at the “end of the age” when the judgment and resurrection takes place (cf. Dan. 12:113; Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:30-31; and 1 Cor. 15:24) 7). No one disputes that the resurrection here is the resurrection to take place at “the end” in Daniel 12:1-7 or “the end” (Greek Telos) in 1 Corinthians 15:24
8). Christ’s coming is described with wedding terminology; they were to be “spotless” or “blameless” and “holy” in coming into the presence of their coming Groom 8). Paul uses a well-known wedding term in which a bride would “meet” her groom
9). Christ comes with all His “holy ones” – that is, angels and the dead he raises in chapter 4 which constitute the rest of the bride 9). Christ comes with those dead saintsthat He raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to go “meet” them so that they all could be “with the Lord forever

And since so many agree with us that Paul is simply following Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 23-24 or Luke 21, let’s get a visual of these parallels:

1 Thessalonians 1:10—3:13 Matthew 23-24/Luke 21
1). First century audience “you”, “us” 1). First century audience “you”
2). Eagerly wait – imminence 2). “This generation” “near” “at the door”
3). Christ comes (Greek Parousia) 3). Christ comes (Greek Parousia).
4). Christ comes from heaven. 4). Christ comes on clouds.
5). To “snatch” from wrath to Christ 5). To “gather” to Christ
6). Delivers from wrath 6). Saves from wrath
7). Jews killed prophets and Jesus & currently persecuting Thessalonians 7). Jews killed prophets & will kill NT prophets Jesus sends (e.g. to Thessalonica)
8). Jews filling up the measure of their sin of blood guilt 8). Jews filling up the measure of their sin of blood guilt
9). Wrath poured out at “the end” (Greek Telos) 9). Wrath poured out at “the end” or “end of the age” (Greek Telos)

 

10).Christ comes with all His holy ones (including angels and the dead per chapter 4) – which constitute the rest of the bride 10). Christ comes and sends his angels to gather all the elect (dead and living)
11).Christ’s coming is described with wedding terminology – they were to be “spotless,” “blameless” and “holy” in order to come into the presence of their coming Groom 11). Christ’s coming is described with wedding terminology – “Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out and meet Him.”

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 

“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:15-17).

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver believers from their persecutions and pour out His wrath upon their persecutors (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7). When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with an archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then was the meeting that took place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal.

Therefore, the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18–22).

What we have then in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities —the transcendent profundities of Christological glory in and among the saints in the consummation of the ages.  If this sounds

like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal removal of the church out of the world:

 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

The “rapture” passage is no more literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4–14.  In that passage, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together.  He attached tendons to them and put skin on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel.  They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel.

In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement.  As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His power.  They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). That is when God afflicted the persecutors of His church, when He gave His people relief and glorified Himself in them (2 Thess. 1:8–10).

Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 Jn. 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed.  It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal tabernacle, His spiritual body, the new man, the heavenly Mount Zion, and the New Jerusalem in the Spirit. “This mystery is great” (Eph. 5:32), and is therefore communicated in the accommodative “sign language” of prophetic metaphor.

Since our Lord came “with His saints” and destroyed the earthly temple in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11–12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10).  This was not the case in the OT, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God.  As Paul says in Romans 14:8–9, “…whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” 

“According to the Lord’s own word” (4:15)

Reformed theologian G.K. Beale agrees with Full Preterism on two issues here.  First, he agrees that Paul is using recapitulation between 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (or that both chapters describe the same coming of Christ and eschatological event).  Secondly, he agrees with us that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:

“…1 Thess. 4:15-17 describes generally the same end-time scenario as 1 Thess. 5:1-11.  Specifically, Paul narrates the resurrection at the end of the age and then recapitulates in chapter 5 by speaking about the timing of this event and about the judgment on unbelievers, which will also happen at the same time.  That both 4:15-18 and 5:1-11 explain the same events is discernible from observing that both passages actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24,…”[15]

As I have previously demonstrated in my previous books, Jesus used recapitulation in Matthew 24-25.  In Matthew 24:30-31, Jesus’ coming is describing the gathering or resurrection of believers.  In Matthew 25:31-46, His coming includes a judgment (and thus resurrection) for the unbelieving dead as well.  So, it should not surprise us that Paul is using recapitulation here to connect 1 Thessalonians 4-5.  In 4:16-17 the emphasis on His coming is the resurrection of believers.  In chapter 5 His coming includes the judgment for unbelievers.  One has to be blind not to notice what Beale and Full Preterists see:

“…both passages [1 Thess. 4-5] actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24…”[16]

And yet one has to be equally blind not to notice that Jesus’ places this coming in His generation, and this is why Paul is teaching that Christ would come in the lifetime of his contemporaries.

Beale goes on to connect 1 Thessalonians 4-5 with Matthew 24:

“Other significant parallels include: the use of the word Parousia for Christ’s coming; reference to Christ’s advent as “that day” (Mt. 24:36) or “the day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2); and a description of someone coming to “meet” another (eis apantesin autou, virgins coming out to “meet” the bridegroom in Mt. 25:6; eis apantesin tou kyriou, believers “meeting” the Lord in 1 Thess. 4:17; see further Waterman 1975).”[17]

Once again, the eschatological time of the wedding creates problems for Pretribulational Zionists or Partial Preterists.  How many eschatological weddings are there?

In the Reformed Study Bible edited by Partial Preterists R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison, we learn this of the connections between Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:

“But the language of Matt. 24:31 is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; and 25:31 [passages which Postmillennialists such as Mathison and DeMar say were fulfilled in AD 70], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”

This is more than a bit odd since R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison believe and teach that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 (and Matthew 25:31) was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 – and yet we learn in their own Study Bible that these passages “most naturally refer to the Second Coming”!

John Murray, appealing to the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation in examining Matthew 24:30-31, also connects it to the same event as Paul teaches us here:

“There is ample allusion to the sound of the trumpet and to the ministry of angels elsewhere in the New Testament in connection with Christ’s advent (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).  Hence verse 31 can most readily be taken to refer to the gathering of the elect at the resurrection.”[18]

Let’s once again get the visual of what Beale, Murray and The Reformation Bible are seeing that we do too:

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of arch angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/gathered together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact time unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ comes as a thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers caught off guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of birth pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers not deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to be watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/sunlight shining from east to west / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And if B (1 Thessalonians 4) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
The sleeping to be raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The living to be caught/changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the sound of the trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to stand firm 4:18 15:58
Same contemporary “we” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matthew 24 & Parallels) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
Christ to come (Greek: Parousia) 24:27 15:23
His people to be gathered/changed 24:31 15:52
To come with the sound of a trumpet 24:31 15:52
To be “the end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All prophecy fulfilled at this point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/temple Mt. 24:1 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” Mt. 24:2ff 15:51-52

 

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

Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4 1 Corinthians 15
At His coming (24:27-31) At His coming (4:16) At His coming (15:23)
At the trumpet (24:31) At the trumpet (4:16) At the trumpet (15:52)
Dead raised, all gathered (24:31) Dead raised (4:16) Dead raised (15:35-44)
All living gathered (24:31) Living caught to Him (4:17) Status of living changed (15:51)

We readily and clearly can see that Paul is following Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse, but we can also see and agree with the Partial Preterist that the coming of Christ and gathering of the elect are spiritual events fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”

A recent new development with “Orthodox” Partial Preterism

Gary DeMar and James Jordan of American Vision are now teaching this is not a mere post AD 70 evangelism, but a resurrection event of OT and NT souls being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades into God’s presence in AD 70. In a recent debate with Michael Brown Gary applied this to the souls of the OT dead being raised into God’s presence in AD 70.  James Jordan while teaching Daniel 12:2 is a resurrection of souls for the OT worthies in AD 70, now applies Matthew 24:30-31 to the resurrection of the NT martyrs in AD 70. Jordan writes,

“Further confirmation of this interpretation is to be found, I believe, in the phrases that follow in verse 31. There we see messengers gathering the elect not from their graves (which is how the Last Judgment scenes read), nor from all over the earth (which is how an evangelistic passage would read), but from all over the heavens. They are gathered from the four winds, not from the four corners of the earth. They are gathered from the ends of heaven, not from the ends of the earth (cf. Deut. 4:32; Psa. 19:6; Jer. 49:36).

This language might be taken as a general reference to the whole earthly world, except for the fact that it fits so very well with what we find, again, in Revelation. The dead saints “under the altar” are in “paradise” or “Abraham’s bosom,” a location symbolically equivalent to the firmament heavens that are right below the throne-heavens (Rev. 6:9-11). It is these elect, and their newly-massacred brethren who come out of the Great Tribulation, who are gathered before the Throne in Revelation 15.”[19]

He goes on to summarize,

“Let us summarize Matthew 24:29-31. Immediately after the great affliction, the great persecution and martyrdom of the apostolic church, the world will be changed from the Old to the New Creation. No longer will sun and moon determine liturgy and worship; the former covenant with its lunar liturgy will be broken forever. No longer will angelic stars and heavenly powers govern humanity, for in Jesus, mankind has at last come of age. No longer will angels rule the world. They will vacate their heavenly thrones.

At that time, the promised sign will be given, a sign that shows that Jesus, a man, is truly enthroned in heaven. That sign is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Jews will mourn over Jerusalem, and they will realize that the Church, which they had hoped to destroy, has now ascended to the Ancient of Days and has been given the Kingdom promised in Daniel 7. Those saints have been gathered by the angels in connection with the seventh and last trumpet described in the book of Revelation, their souls gathered from all the heavenly places in Paradise where they had been waiting for this day. The saints are gathered before the Throne in the highest heavens, and shortly will sit down on thrones with their Lord and Master. They will be the new stars and moon and will sit where the angels formerly sat in heaven.”[20]

Some brief thoughts on Jordan’s comments:

1).  Since in his commentary on Daniel 12:2-3, 13 (see his comments later in this article) he includes Daniel’s soul being raised from Abraham’s bosom in AD 70, there is a larger group of souls raised than just the martyrs.  I would have liked to see him harmonize those two teachings not just going to Revelation and dealing with the martyrs.

Jordan tries to make a distinction from this spiritual resurrection in AD 70 from an alleged future physical one based on the absence of “graves” which he (without evidence) says must be a future to us “general resurrection.” And although “graves” is not mentioned, from the “dust” (figuratively) is in Dan. 12:2 and here in Mt. 24:31 the description of the same spiritual resurrection is described as from the “four winds” of “heaven.”  Jordan has not proven this isn’t a description of the “general resurrection.”  Especially if he says the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and yet Daniel 12 IS the resurrection from the “graves” of John 5:19-29! This and a resurrection from the “graves” can be a corporate and spiritual resurrection as described in Ezekiel 37:12. Even Gentry (below in this article) sees the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 being a spiritual and corporate resurrection for Israel and the Church in AD 70 and uses the resurrection of Ezekiel 37 as support. So if a spiritual and corporate resurrection can be from “the dust” and or out from “the graves,” then a spiritual and corporate resurrection from the “graves,” the “dust” and from the “four winds of heaven” can refer to the general resurrection in AD 70. Again, a combination of Jordan’s writings have the OT worthies (the dead) and the NT martyrs (those who have died “in Christ”) being spiritually raised together at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 — that IS the Full Preterist view of the resurrection and that of the NT.

2).  And his position and that of DeMar begs the question – if the OT dead and those who have died in Christ were raised spiritually from Abraham’s bosom into God’s presence to inherit eternal life at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70, then why isn’t this the same Parousia and resurrection we see described by Paul in 1 Thess. 4:15-17 which is simply Paul’s version of Mt. 24:30-31?  Partial Preterist Milton Terry and men like Mike Bull at least have connected the two and see the same AD 70 time frame of fulfillment, while Jordan and DeMar don’t attempt any explanation or harmonization as we have.

As I point out in my exposition of 1 Corinthians 15, the Corinthians had a hard time reconciling how the OT dead would be raised with those who had died “in Christ,” since they died before or outside the new covenant or being “in Christ.” In a similar way some Jews denied resurrection for those who did not die in or were not buried “in the land.”  Dispensationalists likewise have a hard time seeing how the two groups can be raised together.  Paul has to point out that they are all a part of ONE body that was in the process of “being raised” from Adamic “the death” which was in the process of “being destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT).  The two groups needed each other and could not be made “perfect” without each other (Heb. 11:40).  I would have loved Jordan to try and harmonize how the OT dead and the NT saints were raised out of Abraham’s bosom in AD 70 and yet somehow this wasn’t the general resurrection?  Especially since the judgment and resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12 is the judgment and resurrection of the dead found in John 5 and is the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead of Revelation 20:5-15.  However, in a recent podcast Gary DeMar made slight connection with Daniel 12:2, 7, 13 (which he sees as spiritually fulfilled in AD 70) and the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20 and stated,

“I am more and more inclined to believe that all of the book of Revelation, in its entirety, is fulfilled.”[21]

This would obviously include the resurrection of the dead and judgment of Satan in Revelation 20:5-15.

3). And if the first century Church “judged the angels” (1 Cor. 6:3) or “crushed Satan shortly” “under their feet” (Rms. 16:20/Gen. 3:15) in AD 70 and have taken their place in rulership over the nations with Christ, then the angels and Satan were judged at Christ’s coming in AD 70 per Matthew 25:31-46.

4). Jordan and DeMar are still teaching that the destruction of Jerusalem was a sign of the ascension, and that Christ was ruling from heaven. This is possible, but I agree more with F.F. Bruce in that John in Revelation 1:7-17 and Matthew in Matthew 24:30 is following the OG LXX which reads the Son of Man comes upon the clouds both as the Son of man AND “…AS the Ancient of Days” and not “up to the Ancient of Days.” After all John describes Jesus coming upon the clouds as both the Son of Man and then immediately describes Him as the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 (Rev. 1:7-17). And K&D correctly point out Christ is coming downward on the clouds in judging the little horn and the nations. If the point is that Christ is coming “up to the Ancient of Days,” then it would be after he had come down in judgment in His Parousia of AD 70 to deliver the Kingdom (the raised souls of the OT and NT saints – again the resurrection event) to the Father (1 Cor. 15:23-24 / Dan. 7:13-27). Either way, Jesus and the NT authors interpret Daniel 7:13 as the Second Coming event and not the ascension.

5).  The reformed creeds are at least correct in teaching there is only one end of the age judgment and resurrection for the “quick and the dead,” so the resurrection of dead souls for the OT and NT saints into God’s presence to inherit eternal life at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 is not “a” resurrection, but “THE” resurrection event.

The role of angels in gathering or transporting the soul/spirit of man 

In the OT we learn that men such as Abraham were “gathered to his people” at death. More information is given by Jesus in how this process took place. According to Jesus, the angels assist in the gathering or transportation of the soul at death. In Luke 16 (prior to AD 70) we learn the angels “carry” (Lk. 16:22) the souls of the righteous to Abraham’s bosom. Jesus here in Luke 16 is endorsing 1 Enoch 22 in its teaching of:

  • a “gulf” or “separation” (1 En. 22:9-10, 12, 22/Lk. 16:26) of the believing dead from the wicked.
  • There is “water” on the righteous side (1 En. 22:10/Lk. 16:24).
  • There is “fire” and “torment” for the wicked to experience (1 En. 22:22/Lk. 16:24-25, 28).

Just as Peter and Jude appeal to 1 Enoch so does Jesus. It doesn’t mean they endorse everything 1 Enoch teaches, just the sections they quote from or refer to.

Therefore, the believing thief on the cross and his soul/spirit was carried by the angels that very day to be with Christ on the good side of Abraham’s bosom in “Paradise” to hear some good preaching on a an imminent judgment for the dead and the Watchers or salvation for the righteous (Lk. 23:43; 1 Pet. 3:18-20) to be fulfilled by AD 70.

Therefore, if angels assist the soul/spirit of man from his earthly body to the good side of Abraham’s bosom or “Paradise,” then it is consistent for Jesus to teach their involvement in the “gathering” of these souls out of Abraham’s bosom into God’s presence at His Parousia in AD 70.

  • “…WE who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord…” (v. 16) 

If I were to say, “We who live long enough to see the year 2030,” there is no reason to think that I would be assuming that I myself would be among the living in 2030.  My only assumption would be that some of us today would be alive in 2030.  In the same way, Paul’s words imply only that he knew that some of his contemporaries would still be alive when Christ returned, as Christ Himself promised would be the case in Matthew 16:27–28; 24:34.

According to Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar, all of Paul’s “we,” “you,” and “our” statements in 1 and 2 Thessalonians refer to Paul’s own first-century audience and address Christ’s coming in AD 70—except for the statements in 1 Thessalonians 4 (“the rapture”).  These men magically decide that “we” in 1 Thessalonians 4 means something other than what it means everywhere else in 1 and 2 Thessalonians.  Suddenly in chapter 4, “we” includes Christians who potentially will not be alive for a million years from today.  Now let us move on from arbitrary constructs of Partial Preterism to a biblical look at “the rapture” passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17.

  • “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” (v. 16)

How had God described His “coming down from heaven” to “reveal Himself” (2 Thess. 2:7) and “rescue” (1 Thess. 1:10) His people being persecuted in the past?  Notice how David describes God coming down from heaven to rescue him from his enemies:

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.  The earth trembled and quaked (literally?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (literally?); they trembled because he was angry.  Smoke rose from his nostrils (literally?); consuming fire came from his mouth (remember 2 Thess. 1:7 – Jesus is “revealed from heaven in blazing fire…”), burning coals blazed out of it.  He parted the heavens and came down (literally?); dark clouds were under his feet.  He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.  Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced (literally?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning.  The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal voice?).  He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare (literally?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.  He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me” (Ps. 18:6-17).

Christ is coming here in 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 as God had come from heaven and on the clouds in the OT, as we discussed in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse.  If the Church is willing to admit that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually with Jesus, describing His coming using common apocalyptic language of the prophets, and the Church is willing to admit that Paul’s teaching of Christ’s coming here in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is the same event as described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25, THEN it is no stretch to understand that Paul likewise is using common apocalyptic language of the prophets and that 1 Thessalonians 4-5 was also fulfilled in AD 70 just as Matthew 24-25 was.

In fact, NT Wright comes very close to admitting that all of the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is common apocalyptic language:

“Unfortunately it [the language of 1 Thess. 4:16] is also a highly contentious passage, being used with astonishing literalness in popular fundamentalism and critical scholarship alike to suggest that Paul envisaged Christians flying around in mid-air on clouds.  The multiple apocalyptic resonances of the passage on the one hand, and its glorious mixed metaphors on the other, make this interpretation highly unlikely.[22]

We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Wright in that Paul is using common apocalyptic language.  Yet it is not figurative language of a physical resurrection at the end of world history, but rather figurative language of a spiritual resurrection by which souls are raised out of Hades into God’s presence, and of God’s presence “meeting” the living within their hearts while on earth (cf. Lk. 17:20-37).  If it is agreed by the Partial Preterist that the language of Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31 is describing Christ’s non-literal coming, on non-literal clouds, with a non-literal trumpet sound, and that the “gathering” is an inward resurrection of giving eternal life that the gospel produces (no biological change), while others correctly see Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 to be the same event, then we suggest the “catching away” for the living is not into physical clouds (as Wright admits), but is God producing the consummative giving of His presence and of eternal life to His saints while here on earth.

OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Other than the trumpet gathering and resurrection of Isaiah 27:12-13 (which I have addressed already), G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect this coming of the Lord “from heaven” with Isaiah 2:10-12’s “in that day”, “Day of the Lord” judgment:

“The main clause of 1 Thess. 4:16, “because the Lord himself will come down from heaven,” recalls…the prophetic literature of the OT that envisions “the day of the Lord,” when God will come to judge the wicked and save the righteous (Isa. 2:10–12;…).”[23]

But they also connect 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 with Isaiah 2, which reads: 

“This (in context – giving the Thessalonians relief from their Jewish persecutors) will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out (excommunicated [from the heavenly temple] as they had done to the Christians) from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”[24]

On this passage, Beale and Carson write,

“…eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” This description clearly echoes the triple refrain of Isa. 2:10, 19, 21, where on the day of the Lord the wicked are commanded to hide themselves behind rocks and in caves “from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might whenever he will rise to terrify the earth.”[25]

So, since both 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 fulfill the coming of the Lord “from heaven” in the judgment found in Isaiah 2, let me remind the reader that Jesus appeals to this same OT passage and understands it to be fulfilled by AD 70:

“And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.  But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us” (from Isa. 2:19 and Hos. 10:8) (Lk. 23:27-30).

There’s a consensus among the commentators that this passage was fulfilled in God’s judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.  We have found plenty of exegetical evidence that Paul too identifies the Lord coming in the judgment of Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled by AD 70.  As we saw earlier, even John in Revelation 6:15-17 appeals to the coming of the Lord in His wrath in Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled “in a very little while” to avenge the first century martyrs in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 6:11-17).

“…with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (v. 16)

As pointed out early, there is definitely a chronological order, with the dead rising first and then the gathering, catching away or change for the living taking place second.  Even Jesus addresses the dead first in John 11: 

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die [OT worthies like Abraham or Daniel, along with those who recently died prior to AD 70], yet shall he live [be raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life], and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die [that is not that they would never see biological death, but rather inherit God’s “within” kingdom and presence of eternal life]. Do you believe this (John 11:25-26)?”

We agree with the scholarship of G.K. Beale who correctly understands the gathering of the elect at the end of the age in Matthew 24:3, 30-31 in his commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians as the resurrection event:

“Paul’s particular combination of references from Matthew 24 shows that he interprets the whole of the Matthean text as referring to woes preceding the final coming of Christ (and though Matthew does not explicitly mention the idea of resurrection, he implies it in the phrase “gather his elect” in 24:31, which implies the gathering of all believers, both living and dead).”[26]

However, this creates a “thorny problem” for Beale when he begins leaning in the direction of a Partial Preterism in a more recent work where he writes:

“…it is likely better to see [Matt. 24:30]…fulfilled not at the very end of history but rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment, using the Roman armies as his agent.”[27]

Beale admits, at least indirectly, that holding to both of these views he has defended creates a “thorny problem” for him that deserves “further study” to resolve.  I gave him a copy of our second edition of HD and told him we did the “further study” and our exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 solves the “thorny problem” that he has created for himself.  But Beale’s “thorny problem” is simply a microcosm of the problem that the Futurist Church has as a whole.

“Gathered up” (Greek Harpazo) (v. 17)

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up,” thus giving it a theological and parallel connection to the eschatological gathering of Matthew 13:39-43, Matthew 24:30-31 & 2 Thessalonians 2:1.  Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.”

Harpazo means to “take one’s plunder openly and violently, catch or snatch away.” Sometimes it is addressing someone being pulled, snatched away or rescued by someone from an enemy.  But is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 discussing an inward spiritual rescuing into Christ’s glory cloud presence, or an outward and upward catching away into physical clouds in the sky and a biological change?

Here are some very clear uses of harpazo being an inward spiritual event:

1). Matthew 12:29 – Satan was “bound” and Christ was “carrying away” (harpazo) his plunder, which were people that were rightfully His who were held captive by Satan and demons.  But how was He doing this?  It was by casting out demons (an inward spiritual reality), and in some cases actually giving faith to these individuals to follow him (again an inward spiritual reality).

2). Matthew 11:12 – “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing (Christ casting out demons openly and publicly taking Satan’s plunder), and (in return) the forceful men (believers) lay hold of it” (harpazo – through faith, vigor, power, and determination in light of present persecution – such as in the case of John).  People were violently laying hold of the kingdom through having faith (a spiritual and inward reality).

3). Matthew 13:19 – In the parable of the sower, the wicked one comes and snatches away (harpazo) what was sown in his heart (again, an inner spiritual reality).

4). John 10:12 – The wolf (Pharisees, sons of Satan) sought to snatch (harpazo) and scatter the sheep/ people of Israel. How did the Pharisees seek to “snatch” and “scatter” the Jews from following Jesus?  The first phase involved seeking to deceive them in their hearts and minds (an inward snatching) by convincing them that He was not the Christ by perverting the Scriptures and accusing Him of having a demon, etc.  The second phase was a physical excommunication or scattering of Christians from their synagogues.

5). John 10:28-29 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus cannot be “snatched” (harpazo) out of the Father’s hand.  That is, he cannot be influenced (snatched inwardly) in his or her mind and heart to leave God.  Like Peter, “Where else can we go, Lord? You alone have the words to eternal life.”  The gift of faith is spiritually preserved in the heart and soul of the believer.  He cannot be deceived to the point of committing the sin unto death (1 Jn. 3:9). Again, this is an inner spiritual reality of the heart/mind/soul of man.

6). Acts 8:39 – This simply means that the Holy Spirit directed Philip in His heart and mind (inwardly) to go elsewhere, and the Eunuch did not see him again.  There’s nothing in the text to support the idea that Philip was “raptured” into the atmosphere and was then instantly dropped off miles and miles away from where he was.  But even if this were the case (as we covered with Elijah being caught up in the storm), it is not an example of being raptured to heaven or into the spiritual realm with a physical body!

The eschatological “already” of the inward kingdom gathering and catching away was spiritual, and the eschatological “gathering” and “catching away” in the kingdom at Christ’s return would also be a spiritual event in AD 70.  As we noted in our exegesis of Luke 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32, Jesus said when that the kingdom would come at His return (to gather all His elect Mt. 24:31), it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes.

The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words, “clouds” and “air.”

  • “…in the clouds…” (v. 17)

As I have demonstrated thus far in our study of Christ coming on the clouds in the Olivet Discourse and God coming on the clouds in the OT, this is common apocalyptic language and not referring to physical clouds we see in the sky.

  • To “meet” the Lord… (v. 17)

This Greek word, to “meet,” is wedding language and is only used twice in the NT – here and also in the wedding motif that Jesus develops in Matthew 25:1-13 (which Partial Preterists correctly teach was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70).

In Jewish betrothals and weddings, the groomsmen would go ahead of the groom and blow a trumpet at a time the virgin and her bridesmaids were not expecting.  Once at the virgin’s father’s house, it was customary for the groom to consummate his marriage sexually there before taking her to his father’s house where they would continue consummating the union for seven days and having the wedding feast.

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

  • “…in the air” (v. 17)

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)?  The Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines it as: “From ‘aemi,” to breath unconsciously, to respire.  By analogy, to blow.  The air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air.”

So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.

The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains lists Eph 2:2, 1 Thess. 4:17, and Rev 16:17 in its definition of eros as meaning “the space inhabited and controlled by [spiritual] powers.”

The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says of the “air” in Ephesians 2:2 – “…Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons.”

Ephesians 2 refers to Satan as the “prince and power of the AER.”  He dwelt in the spiritual realm which extended to the souls of men.  The war we see Christ and Satan fighting in the NT is for the spiritual condition of men – within their hearts and minds.  Paul goes on to say that Satan “now works in the children of disobedience.”  And consistently Jesus defines His kingdom as something that He is setting up “in” and “within” men, and transforming them into His image spiritually.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possess” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being.  Satan used the old covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air” – within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous selfrighteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (cf. 2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rom. 7).  Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His own realm (cf. Eph. 2:1-10).  Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind when He said, “It is finished” (Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15)!

The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men were all conquered by Christ at His Parousia in AD 70 for those who put their faith in Him.

Had Paul meant to clearly communicate that believers would physically fly off the planet into the sky and atmosphere above, he would have used the Greek word “ouranos,” which clearly states this as its meaning.

The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence, “within” us where we function as His Most Holy Place dwelling and throne through which He rules the nations.  This is what we also see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence within His Church here.

Let me give further evidence not only that there will not be an end-of-world-history physical rapture of Christians off the planet, but likewise there was not a biological rapture or change of the living in AD 70.

1). Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” (2 Thess. 2:2) by simply saying, “Aren’t you still here and the dead still in their graves? Obviously, He has not come!”  But since Paul did not hold to the physical rapture view or a literal resurrection attended by Christ’s Parousia, he did not argue this way.  Obviously, Paul understood the Lord’s coming to be a spiritual and unseen event as our Lord taught (Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32), which was consistent with the “Day of the Lord” language of the prophets in the OT.

2). The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15, where Isaiah describes Christian survivors (66:19) who are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the new creation / new covenant age.

3). As we have seen in our exegesis of Mark 8:38-9:1, the Greek is different than Matthew 16:27-28 and actually teaches that those who were alive to witness Christ’s coming would be able to look back (while still alive on earth) on the historical events of Him coming in power and great glory in the destruction of Jerusalem and thus know that He and His kingdom had “already come.”

4). After Christ and the Father come and make their home (dwelling – mone – John 14:2, 23) within the believer, they were told, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe” (14:29).  If they were literally raptured, I don’t think they would need to be reminded or exhorted to believe that it had been fulfilled!  These words make more sense if it was a spiritual fulfillment that could not be seen with the physical eyes, and therefore it would take faith to believe that the Father and the Son had set up their presence within them.

5). Jesus of course directly promised to not remove the Church off of planet earth (John 17:15).  Church history tells us that Christians were not raptured, but that they instead fled to Pella (in modern day Jordan).  Historically, Pella is one of the first known Christian churches.  Church history tells us that the Apostle John was still alive during Domitian’s reign in the mid-AD 90’s and that Timothy, Titus, and Luke lived beyond AD 70.

There is simply no exegetical evidence of a physical rapture at Christ’s coming in AD 70 or some imagined one at the end of world history.  The physical rapture view is probably one of the greatest scams perpetrated upon the Church.  It makes the sleeping giant of the Evangelical Church numb to getting involved in our culture and politics because they expect things to simply get worse so that they can get “raptured” just before it gets really bad.  After all, “you don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.”  We MUST get involved in our politics and be the salt and light of this great country and that of the world!

Conclusion

We have examined the so-called “rapture to heaven” doctrine of Enoch and Elijah and found that what God says of all men applied to them as well in that neither of them “ascended to heaven” (Jn. 3:13) and that both indeed died – “these ALL died in faith…” (Heb. 11:13) and experienced one final death before their judgment and or reward (Heb. 9:26).

It was important to take a deep dive into 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and its parallel teachings of Christ in John 11:25-26 and Matthew 24:30-31 since so many see these texts as allegedly dealing with some king of physical or biological resurrection for the dead and or a physical and biological change or disappearance of the living off the planet either in AD 70 or at the so-called “end of time.”  In examining these passages, I hopefully demonstrated to the reader that a spiritual resurrection of the dead and an internal reception of God’s presence or reciveing “eternal life” / “never die” was fulfilled in AD 70.  At this time the dead were raised out of Hades or Abraham’s bosom to inherit eternal life and God’s presence and the living also inherited eternal life and God’s presence and the Kingdom was manifested “within” them at Christ’s coming in AD 70 (cf. Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32; Jn. 14:2-3; 23; Cols. 1:27; 1 Cor. 15:28; Rev. 21:3; 22:7-10, 20).

[1] See my Substack article series on the book of Revelation and in particular my exegesis of Revelation 11 which disproves the theory that Enoch and Elijah are the two witnesses.  See Part 5:  https://michaelsullivan.substack.com/p/revelation-fulfilled-by-ad-70-part-48a

[2] John L. Bray, Were Elijah and Enoch Raptured to Heaven?, June 5, 2000 (Newsletter)

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] G. Marsh Hilbourne, Michael T. Wark, Thou Shalt Surely Die, p. 33, electronic version: https://archive.org/details/ThouShaltSurelyDie/page/n31/mode/2up

[6] Observation made by Joel Mullen.

[7] Lester L. Grabbe, An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus, (T&T Clark Publishing, 2010), see pages 9396

[8] Ibid.

[9] Murray J. Harris, FROM GRAVE to GLORY RESURRECTION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT Including a Response to Norman L. Geisler, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 70

[10] (Historical          Jewish     Sources,      https://preteristarchives.org/historical-jewish-sources/?fbclid=

IwAR2OszDkXKqp8Z-qv0RFId1hjS6_tDT7hoysllAAjdGQpUOTi03OmHx67Nc

[11] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 1843

[12] (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers).

[13] Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, free online, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/ 1_thessalonians/2-16.htm

[14] Mathison, Postmillennialism, Ibid., 177

[15] G.K. Beale, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series 1–2 Thessalonians (Downers Grove, IL:

Inter Varsity Press, 2003), 136, emphasis added

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid, 136–137

[18] John Murray, Ibid., 391, emphasis MJS

[19] James B. Jordan MATTHEW 23-25 A LITERARY, HISTORICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision Inc., – this book is currently at the printer to be published), p. 180.  Please properly ask Gary and AV for permission to quote this as I have – especially since it is an unpublished work.

[20] Ibid., p. 181

[21] Gary DeMar, Revelation 20, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gary-demar-podcast/id1500969161?i=1000565638837

[22] N.T. Wright, THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 3 (Minneapolis, MN: 2003), 215, emphasis MJS

[23] Weima, J. A. D. (2007). 1-2 Thessalonians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos), 880, emphasis MJS

[24] Ibid., emphasis MJS

[25] Ibid., 885, emphasis MJS

[26] Beale, Ibid., 1-2 Thessalonians, 138, emphasis MJS

[27] Beale, Ibid., A New Testament Biblical Theology the Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New, 369

(NEW BOOK) ARMAGEDDON DECEPTION EXPOSED – A CHRISTIAN FULL PRETERIST BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO THE IMMINENT HOLY LAND HOLY WAR ESCHATOLOGY OF ISLAM, ISRAELI ZIONISM AND EVANGELICAL ZIONISM

TO VIEW THIS BOOK BETTER DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE HERE:

Armageddon Deception Book Final Draft Sept 7-print edition 7×10-with additions-2-final

Copyright 2020 Michael J. Sullivan – thank you for your Christian integrity in advance.

  By Michael James Sullivan

 

ABOUT THE COVER

 

We live in a day where our presidents and politicians are highly influenced and manipulated by Israeli Zionism, Islam and Christian Dispensational Zionism to make political decisions which will allegedly usher in an end-time holy war or coming (first or second) messianic figure; thus the devil is sitting on President Trump’s shoulders and whispering in his ears. Only a correct and exegetical understanding of the first century imminent time frame and spiritual nature of Christ’s Second Coming and arrival of His “kingdom of Heaven” (the golden missing puzzle piece) can expose, correct and reverse the alleged inevitable and supposedly imminent “Armageddon Deception,” or the “Gog and Magog Deception” present in all three of these systems. It is only then that we can truly begin to bring peace to the Middle East.

 

IN GRATITUDE

 

I wish to express my everlasting gratitude to my beloved wife, Denise, whose patience and longsuffering toward me and loving support in writing this volume has meant the world to me.

This book would have never come to fruition without Pastor David Curtis of Berean Bible Church inviting me to speak at one of our annual conferences where I lectured on the contents of this book. I had so many people over the years tell me that those lectures and subsequent articles needed to be turned into a book, so here it is.

Special thanks to Jeff McCormack in his labors on the cover design work and to Adam Maarschalk for his meticulous editing. It’s a blessing to have Full Preterist Christians gifted in these areas.

 

PREFACE

 

CHAPTER ONE

Islam – an Eschatology of Violence:  Holy Land, a “Very Soon” Second Coming of Jesus and End Time Holy War to Destroy the Infidels (Jews, Christians, etc.)

 

CHAPTER TWO

Talmudic or Messianic Zionism:  Holy Land, an Imminent Messianic Deliverer and Holy War to Enslave or Destroy the Gentiles (Islam, Christians, etc.)

 

CHAPTER THREE

Evangelical Zionism:  Holy Land, a “Very Soon” Second Coming of Jesus to “Rapture” the Church and Start a Holy War to Destroy the Sinners (Islam, Jews, etc.)

 

CHAPTER FOUR

The Christian Full Preterist Solution:  Believers in Messiah/Jesus Are God’s New Covenant Sacred Space – the Kingdom is Now         “Within” and “in Christ,” Not “in the Land”

 

CHAPTER FIVE

The Christian Full Preterist Solution:  The “Big Three” (Mt. 10:22-23; Mt. 16:27-28 & Mt. 24:34) – Jesus Promised that His Second Coming and the End of the Old Covenant Age/World Would Occur in the Lifetime and Generation of the First Century Church—Promise Fulfilled by AD 70

 

CHAPTER SIX

The Christian Full Preterist Solution:  The End of the Old Covenant Age Battle of Armageddon / Gog and Magog Fulfilled AD 67 – AD 70

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

How was the Resurrection Fulfilled by AD 70?

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

How was the “Rapture” Fulfilled by AD 70?

 

CHAPTER NINE

How did Jesus Come “In Like Manner” in AD 70?

 

CHAPTER TEN

How was the Millennium Fulfilled Between AD 27 – AD 67?

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

How is the Promise of No More Death, Pain and Tears Fulfilled?

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

How to Evangelize Muslims, Zionists and/or Reach Evangelical Zionists from Their Own Sources of Authority.

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Pentecostal and Charismatic Zionists and their Conflicting or False Prophecy – the Miraculous Sign and Revelatory Gifts Ceased in AD 70!

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Liberal Pacifism Refuted and Just War Theory Defended from Scripture!

 

CONCLUSION

Identifying the Enemies and Putting Together a Christian Patriot Party Platform and Foreign Policy in the Middle East

 

APPENDIX

A). The Roman Catholic Church, Sacred Space and Holy War Eschatology

 

B).  Two Full Preterist Movie Proposals:  1). AD 70 and 2).  Armageddon Conspiracy.

 

PREFACE

 

“The war of ideas” = “The war of theology or eschatology”

 

Everyone looking at the conflict in the Middle East realizes that while engaging militarily at times is necessary, the ultimate solution will have to come from another area. Therefore, many see the various conflicting religious theologies or forms of eschatology (study of prophecy) fueling these areas as being solved ultimately through a “war of ideas.”  What they mean by this is really a “war of theology/eschatology” that needs to change the hearts and minds within these areas before lasting peace can emerge.

 

The problem summarized 

 

Unfortunately, these three futurist eschatological systems of Islam, Israeli or Talmudic Zionism and Evangelical Zionism all share common errors that perpetuate conflict in the Middle East and the U.S. such as:

 

  • God allegedly has predicted for our generation to see end time “signs” that are allegedly being fulfilled right before our eyes today such as natural disasters, wars, and an imminent arrival of an evil ruler or “Antichrist”, “man of lawlessness,” etc. As we will see, many read their Quran, Talmud/Torah and NT through the lens of current events and news headlines.

 

  • God allegedly will cause the evil ruler’s religious system to overcome others or inherit certain local “holy land” areas and ultimately the earth, while the other groups are exterminated or end up serving their god or even them in some way.

 

  • There is an alleged future but imminent “end time” great war (e.g. the battle of Gog and Magog or Armageddon) for us to experience in which their religion will win over the other wicked ones.

 

  • God allegedly will send Jesus or Messiah to save Israel (or to condemn Israel, according to the Islamic view), bringing global peace, defeating the antichrist and infidels, and thus ushering in some kind of paradise or kingdom on earth.

 

But what if it can be proven that these Biblical “end time” signs and “holy war” scenarios have already been fulfilled and that the OT and NT predicted a “new” and spiritual kingdom to be established within the hearts of His people rather than the establishment of a physical earthly paradise on earth?

 

What if it can be proven according to Allah’s “revelations” that Muhammad was a false prophet, and thus the Quran is not a revelation from God?  What if it can be proven from their own Islamic sources that the Old and New Testaments could not be corrupted and that they do contradict the Quran?  Where does this leave and lead the Muslim when he or she is commanded to go to the “people of the book” (Christians) to test and judge if the Quran is accurate and/or consistent with the Bible?

 

And for the Zionist, what if all of the land promises were actually fulfilled in the OT and therefore the modern state of Israel is a non-starter?  What if the OT prophetic material concerning Israel being saved or gathered “in the land” was also typological, pointing to a greater and spiritual fulfillment in the prophesied coming new covenant that would be realized “in Christ”?

 

Therefore, does the God of the Bible really support or recognize modern day Israel as “God’s people”?  Is modern day Israel and the events of 1948 or 1967 a “super sign” of fulfilled Bible prophecy, or was it simply formed and funded by the Rothschild dynasty and Khazarian mafia which seeks to globally enslave the Gentiles through monetary means using modern Israel as one of many places to conduct some of its affairs?

 

How many passages in the OT and NT have they and Evangelical Zionists claimed were fulfilled in 1948 or 1967 that are grossly taken out of context in order to back and support their false and manipulative religious/political systems?

 

Are Christians in the U.S. supposed to support modern day Israel in their theft and violence because God will allegedly “bless” us if we do?  Are some Evangelical Zionists such as C.I. Scofield and John Hagee correct to condemn Christians as being in “sin” if we don’t support the modern Israeli agenda?

 

Is it just possible that modern day Israel is simply another unbelieving nation, among many others, that needs the gospel and to be held accountable for their land agreements with the Palestinians?

 

What if it can be proven from Jewish sources prior to Jesus and after AD 70 that Messiah would be divine and had to have arrived even upon the clouds of heaven before the second Temple fell in AD 70?  What if I can show Jews that their own sources of authority teach that a spiritual resurrection and spiritual fulfillment of the Temple promises were to be fulfilled by AD 70?

 

And what if I can prove to the Evangelical Zionist that both the OT and NT teach that a Messianic kingdom and temple would be fulfilled spiritually and “within” the believer, and that they don’t teach that a physical or earthly kingdom or temple will be set up in modern Jerusalem?  And what if I can prove these to be true not only from the Scriptures, but from the teachings of the orthodox Christian Church?

 

What if I can prove to the Evangelical Zionist that the “rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is not a promise made to them whereby they are going to disappear from planet earth just before things get really bad here on earth?  If I can prove this passage was fulfilled by AD 70 and the Christian Church will never be raptured off the planet, would this affect the way the Church lives, should be involved in politics, and ought to develop long-term strategies to take back our country and fight against wicked globalism?  If I can do this, perhaps we can awaken the Evangelical sleeping giant from the mentality that says, “You don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.”

 

What are we to make of the Charismatic Evangelical Zionist movement that brings false prophecies in the name of God concerning the Second Coming and the activities of our politicians and even our Presidents?  Did the gift of prophet and prophecy in the OT and NT contain error or was the prophet to be 100% accurate?  Did the office of prophet and the miraculous gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge stop or cease in AD 70?  If so, what are we to make of all the false, failed and often times conflicting “prophecies” arising from the Charismatic Zionist churches?

 

The solution summarized

 

These are all very important questions when analyzing these three “end time” religious systems and trying to find an effective “war of ideas” that can bring as much peace as is possible among them.  Therefore, let me answer some of these questions and give the reader my propositions and solutions from the outset. The rest of this volume is designed to prove my propositions:

 

  • Imminent Time of Fulfillment: Jesus predicted that His Second Coming, the end of the (old covenant) age, and all of the signs described in Matthew 24-25 would be fulfilled (and were “near”) within His contemporary “this generation” and He kept that promise (Matthew 24:34; see also Matthew 10:22-23 and Matthew 16:27-28). Therefore, the NT inspired authors who were “reminded” and “led into truth concerning things to come” like their Master also taught (as their generation was ending) that Christ’s Second Coming was “at hand”, “near”, “soon,” and was “about to be” fulfilled “in a very little while and will not delay” (ex. Rms. 13:11-12; Jms. 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 4:5-7; Heb. 10:37; Rev. 1:1—22:7, 10, 20).

 

Jesus and the NT authors are consistent with OT prophets who used common apocalyptic language filled with metaphors and symbolism.  When God came on the clouds in the OT and there was de-creation language, He came through an invading army and caused the nations being judged to have their civil and religious worlds come to an end.  In the Olivet Discourse Jesus prophesied that the age or world (heaven and earth) of the old covenant system would end in His generation.  Neither Jesus nor any NT author predicted that the end of world history was “near” or “soon” to take place.

 

  • Sacred Space: Under the Old Covenant there was a literal “in the land” militaristic kingdom or theology, but this served as prophetic types and shadows of Jesus’ spiritual kingdom or being “in Christ” under the new covenant which now advances through the sword of the Spirit or the everlasting gospel.  However, this does not lead to pacifism, as I will discuss in a later chapter.

 

The events of 1948 have nothing to do with the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, contrary to the empty claims of Zionism in its various forms.  Neither modern-day Judaism nor Islam has any religious right to “holy land” in the Middle East or the planet today.

 

The Bible does not support a Messianic Kingdom or paradise on earth.  Jesus taught that when He would be revealed from heaven like the sun shining from the east to the west, His Kingdom would not be seen with one’s eyes, but rather would be realized “within the heart of a person” (Lk. 17:20-37).  It is more than ironic that people refer to Islam, Talmudic Zionism, and Evangelical Zionism as the “three Abrahamic faiths.”  This is odd since Hebrews makes it abundantly clear that Abraham’s faith was not in an earthly country or city but a spiritual or heavenly one, “For we have not here an abiding city [a city named Jerusalem on earth], but we are seeking the one [city / New Jerusalem] about to [‘mello’ in Greek] come” (Heb. 11:10-16; 13:14).  This is consistent with the “Jerusalem from above” being the new covenant (Gal. 4:26) which Revelation teaches is the New Jerusalem which was in the process of coming down and did “shortly” arrive in AD 70 when the earthly Jerusalem/Babylon was destroyed (Rev. 1:1; 3:12; 22:7, 10, 20 NIV).

 

  • The End of the Age War: The battle of “Gog and Magog,” or “Armageddon” was prophesied to be fulfilled within a 3 ½ year period, and “shortly” or “soon,” and this took place during the Roman-Jewish War of AD 67 – AD 70, resulting in the temple being destroyed. This was also the time “when the power of the holy people would be completely destroyed,” thus marking the end of the old covenant age (Lk. 21:20-32; Rev. 11; Dan. 12:4-7).

 

  • The Office of Prophet & Prophecy: I will prove from the OT and NT that the office of prophet and the miraculous gift of prophecy “stopped” or “ceased” when the Temple was destroyed in AD 70 at the “soon” Second Coming of Christ (Dan. 9:24-27; 1 Cor. 13:8-12; Rev. 22:4-7, 10, 20).  This obviously is relevant in our discussion with Islam since because Muhammad couldn’t be “God’s prophet” when that office and revelation ceased in AD 70.  It is also relevant since many Charismatic Zionists surround President Trump and give false and failed “prophecies” on almost a daily basis, which creates much concern.  If a President has a “prophet” or “prophetess” as his council and wants WWIII to take place so they can be “raptured,” – “Houston we have a problem.”

 

Outline and Approach to the Solution

 

My approach is twofold:  First, I will develop what each of these three systems teach concerning sacred space and an imminent Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah to usher in an end-time holy war.  Secondly, I will demonstrate how these overlapping prophetic concepts have either been proven to be false and failed predictions, or are in conflict with what the Bible actually teaches.

 

I should also note that since Islam says that Jesus never claimed to be God and rejects the Deity of Christ, and since modern Jews claim that a divine Messiah is nowhere taught in the Torah or in their rabbinic traditions, I will deal with this subject in much detail as well.  It is not sufficient to tear down a false religion, but one must do so while pointing the person to the truth and when possible do it even through their own sources of authority.

 

I will now begin to make my case proving that all of my propositions above are in fact true, and therefore make a truly Biblical and common-sense case which will achieve more peace in the Middle East than is present today.

 

I dedicate this book to President Trump who did not listen to many who wanted to lure us into the “endless wars” in the Middle East.  In fact, not only did he not listen to the enticements of Islam, Israel and Evangelicals to engage in war in the Middle East, but he made peace deals.  My work is simply a theological treatise which can be used for Christian politicians and presidents to take peace in the Middle East to the next level and provide a platform for “Christian Patriots” to take back this great country!

TO VIEW THIS BOOK BETTER DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE HERE:

Armageddon Deception Book Final Draft Sept 7-print edition 7×10-with additions-2-final

(PDF Book) – The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from the East to West – Failure, Future or Faithfully Fulfilled in AD 70?

Copyright 2020 Michael J. Sullivan – Thank you for your Christian integrity in advance

Click and download the PDF file below to view:

The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from East to West Failure Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?

CHAPTER 1

The Coming of the Son of Man Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70? Matthew 10:17-23 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Matthew 24-25

CHAPTER 2

The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from the East to the West Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70? Matthew 24:27 / Luke 17:20-37 / Malachi 4:2

CHAPTER 3

The Righteous Shining Like the Sun/Son in the Kingdom – the Resurrection Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?  Job 19:25-27 / Daniel 12:2-7 / Matthew 13:39-43 / John 5-6; 11:25-27 / Luke 20:27-40 / Acts 23–26 / Philippians 3–4:5 / Romans 8:18-23; 13:11-12 / 1 Corinthians 15

CHAPTER 4

The “Rapture” or “Catching Away” Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?              1 Thessalonians 4:15-17  

CHAPTER 5

The “in Like Manner” Coming of Christ Failed, Future or Fulfilled by AD 70?  Acts 1:9-11

CHAPTER 6

The Millennial Thousand Years Failure, Future or Fulfilled AD 27/30 – AD 70?

Revelation 20

CHAPTER 7

No More Death, Tears and Pain Failure, Future or Fulfilled by AD 70?

Revelation 21:4

CONCLUSION

 

PREFACE

Atheists and Bible skeptics of all kinds have looked at the teachings of Jesus concerning His Second Coming and reasoned that He never came when He said He would – in the lifetime of some of those standing next to Him in the crowd or within His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 10:22-23; Mrk. 8:14, 38—9:1/Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:27-34).  They also argue that the NT writers could not have been “inspired” or “infallible” since they likewise placed the Second Coming of Christ to take place “soon,” “at hand,” “near,” “shortly,” “in a very little while and will not delay,” as their generation was coming to an end (Acts 2:20-40; Rms. 13:11-12; 16:20; Jms. 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 4:5-7; Heb. 10:37; Rev. 1:1—22:7, 10, 20)?

Then there are Futurist Christians who simply stick their heads in the sand and pretend Jesus didn’t promise to come when He said He would or that the NT writers didn’t predict the same truly imminent time frame.  They unfortunately spiritualize the meaning of “soon,” “at hand,” “near,” “shortly,” “in a very little while and will not delay,” to mean thousands of years and counting, and interpret the end of the age or de-creation language in the NT as the end of world history.

But what if there is actually a third option that is more exegetically sound?  Is it possible that when Jesus is describing Himself coming on the clouds that this was familiar OT apocalyptic language?  After all, when God came upon the clouds in the OT is was figurative language and He came through various armies judging other Israel and other nations.  Is it possible that this too is how Jesus came upon the clouds in His generation through the Roman armies during the events of AD 67 – AD 70 (Lk. 21:20ff.)?

And what if Jesus and the NT authors were not predicting the end of world history, but rather the end of the Old Covenant (OC) age/world and the ushering in and maturing of the New Covenant age/world to take place when the Temple was destroyed in AD 70?

And since there were Jewish views of a spiritual resurrection of the soul being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to either inherit eternal life and God’s presence or go into eternal condemnation at the end of the Mosaic age, is this the resurrection that Jesus and the NT authors place as truly imminent to take place at the end of their Old Covenant “this age” in AD 70?  Are there likewise Reformed orthodox Christian views which teach there was this kind of a spiritual resurrection that took place during the “three and a half years” of AD 67 – AD 70 when Jerusalem was judged (Dan. 12:2-7)?

But what of Paul’s teaching on the “rapture” or “catching away” (1 Thess. 4:16-17)?  Is this describing Christians flying off the planet or is this a spiritual event when God takes His beloved Bride to Himself and sets up His Kingdom within the hearts of His Church (Lk. 17:20-37; Cols. 1:27; Jn. 14:2-3, 23)?  After all Jesus prayed, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world…” but that we would “…all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn. 17:15, 21).

In the OT we learn that Jesus’ Second Coming is not just described as “the great and awesome day of the LORD,” but as the “Sun of Righteousness” who would “rise with healing in His wings/rays” (Mal. 4:2, 5).  So, when Jesus describes Himself coming as a great light that shines from the “east to the west,” should translators have translated this verse as “lightning” flashing or the great light being the sun shining (Mt. 24:27; Lk. 17:24)?  This author will defend the later.

 This book seeks to answer all of these questions and will defend that Christ in fact was faithful to come when He promised and how He promised in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  Buckle up buttercup – because you are about to get the most profound “red pilled” theological education you have ever received and one that will drive you deeper into the presence of your heavenly Father!

Click and download the PDF file below to view:

The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from East to West Failure Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?

 

 

Appendix in House Divided Responding to Gary DeMar/Sam Frost’s “Arguments” Against Full Preterism

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?

Appendix – Responding to Gary DeMar/Sam Frost’s Incoherent “Arguments” Against Full Preterism

Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or authors of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

It has been four years. To date, we have not heard of any plans of any of the authors of When Shall These Things Be? to offer any kind of response to any of the chapters in House Divided. There has barely been any acknowledgement that House Divided even exists. (We sent each author a copy.)

As of the publishing of this Second Edition, the only “responses” that have been offered came from a handful of internet critics who wrote more or less in defense of the authors of When Shall These Things Be. We will briefly address the most notable of those internet responses here.

Infinity

The first argument that came from the internet critics was, interestingly enough, an argument about infinity. According to the argument, the kingdom of God’s elect cannot numerically increase forever in time and space, because that would mean there would be an infinitely increasing number of events and of saints, which God could never fully know, because God cannot possibly fully know a series that numerically increases into infinity. Therefore, since God is unable to create a kingdom that lasts forever in time, it follows that the time-space continuum must come to an end, that the elect must one day stop being born, and that the kingdom must eventually end up existing in a state of “timelessness” wherein there are no series or sequences. Full preterism must therefore be wrong.

Our response:

The idea that God cannot “fully know” something if it lasts forever in time, because that would be too much for God to grasp, reduces Yahweh to the level of Zeus and Superman. Whereas Zeus and Superman could not create or fully know a series that increases into an unending future, there is no biblical reason to think that Yahweh is limited in that way.

The internet critics who said that Yahweh can neither create nor grasp a series that infinitely increases in time and space, also said that Yahweh transcends time and space and is not bound by time and space. For some reason though, it did not occur to the internet critics that if Yahweh “transcends time and space” and is not bound by time and space (i.e., if He is above and beyond time and space), then He can certainly create and fully know a never-ending time-space universe and an ever-increasing kingdom. As Augustine put it:

. . . The infinity of number . . . is . . . not incomprehensible [to God]. . . All infinity is in some ineffable way made finite to God. . . . All infinity . . . is comprehensible by His knowledge. . . . God . . . comprehends all incomprehensibles with so incomprehensible a comprehension, that though He willed always to make His later works novel and unlike what went before them, He [would ] produce them [with] foresight, [and] conceive them . . . by His eternal foreknowledge. (Augustine, The City of God, Book XII, Chapter 18, “Against Those Who Assert that Things that are Infinite Cannot Be Comprehended by the Knowledge of God”)

And as R.C. Sproul (Sr.) put it:

God can understand infinity, not because he operates on the basis of some kind of heavenly logic system, but because he himself is infinite. He has an infinite perspective. (R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God, page 47) And as Isaiah (God) put it:

And He doth call His name . . . Father of Eternity. . . . (Isa. 9:6, YLT)

[*** Note by Michael Sullivan – Keith Mathison is R.C. Sproul’s right hand man and yet endorses this pamphlet and this “argument” on infinity which is a gross error on God’s very nature?!? I asked Mathison if he agreed with what the pamphlet he endorsed said on God’s understanding of infinity or what his mentor R.C. Sproul has written on the subject refuting it? Mathison was not available for comment!

Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry also singed off on Frost’s “infinity argument” and yet Van Til and other Reformed theologians claimed this was not a Scriptural view of God and hardly a “peripheral” error when they denounced Gordon Clark’s view (a man Frost practically idolizes and a view he tried to use to refute Full Preterism):

“It will appear from the above examination of the views of Dr. Clark as they were propounded to the Presbytery of Philadelphia that these errors are far from being peripheral. The very doctrine of God is undermined by a failure to maintain a qualitative distinction between the knowledge of God and the knowledge possible to man, thus denying the doctrine of the incomprehensibility of God and impinging in a most serious fashion upon the transcendence of the Creator over the creature. The interpretation of Christianity as being fundamentally intellectualism subordinates the volition to the intellect in a manner that is flagrantly in violation of the teaching of Scripture and of the Reformed theology.” (The ComplaintAgainst Actions of the Presbytery of Philadelphia In the Matter of the Licensure and Ordination of Dr. Gordon H. Clark, http://thegordonhclarkfoundation.com/the-complaint/).

Kenneth Gentry and Gary DeMar are known advocates and defenders of Van Til’s theology and were likewise unavailable for comment on if they agreed with Van Til’s complaint and theology on this subject or with the Clarkian disciple they were endorsing in the anti-Full Preterist pamphlet. This just goes to show you what low levels people will go to TRY and refute Full Preterism. This is called throwing anything and everything at the wall hoping something will stick. Selah.***]

“Eternity” was defined by the internet critics as the “timeless state” into which the Earth will enter after the end of world history. If “I AM” is the “Father” of the eternal/timeless state, and can therefore “fully know” it, then it is certainly not difficult or impossible for Him to create and fully know a state that is “below” the “eternal state,” i.e., a neverending time-space continuum.

One of the early attempts of the internet critics to explain how everlasting life can happen if God can’t grasp an ever-increasing series of events was the “continuous loop” argument: We will not have an endless series of thoughts or actions in eternity, but will instead repeat the same finite number of actions and thoughts. So infinity will not happen in eternity.

This cyclical view of eternity is more akin to Hinduism than Reformed Christianity. But that was their argument. The problem with it, of course, is that the 67th time you repeat an action would still be categorically different from the 1,067th time you repeat it. The count of repetitions themselves would be an infinite series. Or in argument form:

  • If we continue to repeat the same event over and over in eternity there will be a 67th time we repeat it, a 1,067th time we repeat it, and a n+1 time we repeat it.
  • n+1 represents an infinitely increasing series.
  • Therefore even if the same events are repeated in eternity, there is still an infinite series of repetitions.

The final attempt to rescue their infinity argument was to claim that we become part of the “One” and do not have experiences or thoughts in eternity that can be counted. The weakness of this response should be apparent. It reduces the Christian promise of eternal life to a Buddhist promise of being “one with the universe.”

It may seem shocking that the primary attempt to refute preterism was to reduce God’s abilities and change eternity into an eventless, thoughtless state of existence. The fact that the anti-preterists reduced God to a Zeus-like deity shows the desperation of their attempts to refute what they know in their hearts to be the teaching of Scripture. But what may be even more shocking is that Ken Gentry has actually expressed his agreement with the “infinity” argument proposed by the internet critics. In fact, Ken Gentry, Keith Mathison, and Gary DeMar have all generally endorsed the, at times transparently wrong and dangerously erroneous, arguments of the internet critics.

“Is Come in the Flesh”

First John 4:3 says that Jesus “is come in the flesh.” The Greek verb tense there is perfect active, and it indicates a “past action with a present result.” Therefore Jesus came in the flesh (past action) and is still in the flesh (present result).

Our response:

It is true that the perfect tense of “come” in 1 John 4:3 (literally “having come”) can be seen as supporting the view that Jesus is still in His flesh. However, this is not the grammatically necessary reading. The perfect tense in that verse could just as easily, or perhaps more easily, be used to support the view that Jesus is still here on Earth. “Having come” (past action), He is still here (present result).

While the perfect active tense indicates that there is a present result of the past action, the identification of the “present result” can only be determined by the context. John could have written, using the same tense:

“Whoever denies Jesus Christ having died on the Cross is a liar.” What would the perfect active tense (“having died”) indicate? Would it indicate that Christ is still “on the Cross”? That He is still dead? Of course not. It would indicate that there is an enduring, “present result” of the “past action” of Christ’s death on the Cross. Depending on the context, that “present result” could be any number of things including the Christian Age itself.

The context of 1 John 4:2 (and 2 Jn. 1:7) tells us what the “present result” of Christ’s past coming “in flesh” is: God dwells in us (1 Jn. 4:4, 12-13; 15-16) We are of God (1 Jn. 4:4, 6).

We love one another (1 Jn. 4:7, 21; 2 Jn. 1:5).

We know God (1 Jn. 4:6-7).

We have been born of God (1 Jn. 4:7). We live through God’s Son (1 Jn. 4:9).

Our sins are forgiven (1 Jn. 4:10).

God’s love has been perfected in us (1 Jn. 4:12).

We dwell in God (1 Jn. 4:13, 15-16).

God has given us His Spirit (1 Jn. 4:13).

We know and believe the love that God has toward us (1 Jn. 4:16).

We are as He is (1 Jn. 4:17).

We love God, and our love is made perfect (1 Jn. 4:17-18) We know the truth (2 Jn. 1:1).

The truth dwells in us and shall be with us forever (2 Jn. 1:2).

We walk in truth (2 Jn. 1:4).

We walk after His commandments (2 Jn. 1:6).

We abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn. 1:9).

We have both the Father and the Son (2 Jn. 1:9).

As the Apostle Peter put it, Christ was “put to death in flesh” [past action] “that He might bring us to God” [present result] (1 Peter 3:18).

Various interpretations of 1 John 4:2 have been offered by futurist scholars. Not all of them believe that the antichrists were Gnostics who were denying that Jesus was a material being. According to 1 John 2:2, the antichrists were denying that Jesus is the Christ (the promised Messiah). It would seem that 1 John 4:2 would be a reiteration of that denial. It may be that their denial of “Jesus Christ having come in flesh” was a denial that He was from God. His coming in flesh implies His pre-flesh existence and divine Sonship.

Death is an Illusion

As we know, Dr. Strimple in When Shall These Things Be?, argued that our departed loved ones in Christ today are sub-humans until the end of world history, because they are without their bodies. However, if this is true then it must also be true that Christ Himself was not fully human for three days and nights between His death and resurrection, because He was without His body during that time.

Aware of this problem, the internet critics implicitly acknowledged Strimple’s unwitting error and posited instead the idea that our dead loved ones today are actually fully human, because physical death is an illusion. That is, it is phenomenological. According to this view, even though it “appears” to us that the body and the spirit are separated at physical death, they actually are not separated at all. They are indissolubly united in view of the fact of the future, physical resurrection of the body. (Granted, it is difficult to follow the logic of that last sentence, but that is the view.) When the Resurrection of the Flesh happens, body and spirit will not be “reunited.” Instead, it will be manifested” that they were never really separated at all.

Our response:

There is, of course, not the slightest hint of this “Death is an Illusion” doctrine in the Bible. We can find it in Gnosticism, Hinduism, and Christian Science, but nowhere in Scripture.

Also, this doctrine may be even worse than Strimple’s doctrine (which implied that Jesus was non-human for three days), in that it implies that Jesus’ own death was an illusion, that it was the separation of His body and His spirit in “appearance” only. This is the ancient heresy of Docetism.

It comes down to this: If we are going to argue that a man is nonhuman in the sight of God without his physicality, then we either have to say that Christ was non-human for three days and nights (because He was without His body), or we have to say that the separation of His body and spirit on the Cross was in “appearance” only (Docetism). Since neither of these views can be accepted, it follows that the endurance of man’s humanity before God is not contingent on his physicality.

The Afterward Ages/ Last Days

Acts 2:17 says “in the last days,” but the verse it quotes (Joel 2:28) simply says “afterward.” This means that in the Hebrew, the word “last” in “the last days” means “afterward” or “latter” as opposed to the former. Thus the church age is the “afterward” days/ages, which are the “latter” ages that followed the previous “former” ages of the Old Testament.

Our response:

That argument is not only a leap in logic; it is an exercise in equivocation. Even if “the last days” actually meant “the afterward days,” that would not mean that “the afterward days” would continue for aeons; it would mean only that “the afterward days” took place “after” something else.

However, in the Greek, the word “last” (eschatos) in the term “the last days” (Acts 2:17; 2 Tim. 3:1; Jms. 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3) means “last,” as in “final.” It does not mean “afterward.” We cannot contradict the Greek in Acts 2:17 with the Hebrew in Joel 2:28. Joel says, “And it shall come to pass afterward.” That does not mean that “the last days” in Acts 2:17 means “the afterward ages.” It means “the last days” took place “after” Joel’s time.

The “last” (eschatos) days were the final days of the pres-Messianic ages, just as the “last” (eschatos) trumpet was the final trumpet of the pres-Messianic ages (not “the afterward trumpet”); and the “last” (eschatos) enemy was the final enemy of the pres-Messianic ages (not “the afterward enemy”); and the “last” (eschatos) day was the final day of the pres-Messianic ages (not “the afterward day”).

The writers of the New Testament knew nothing of the notion that “the last days,” in which they were living, were actually “the afterward aeons.” Certainly, the following translation” makes no sense:

“Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the afterward aeons” (James 5:3).

*** (Note by Michael Sullivan – One must scratch his or her head and wonder why DeMar published this pamphlet “argument” on the “last days” since he agrees with Full Preterism that the “last days” were from AD 30 – AD 70: “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.” [DeMar, Last Days Madness, ibid., 38 (emphasis added). See also Joel McDurmon of American Vision on 2 Timothy 2–3; Hebrews 9:6; 1 Peter 1:20; Acts 2:16–17 and Jude 17–18, (Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51– 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 198–200.] Obviously Frost’s “argument” here isn’t persuasive since it couldn’t even convince DeMar [the publisher] of his anti-Full Preterist pamphlet – Selah).

The Last Day

The Bible says that “all” believers will be raised “on the last day” (Jn. 6:39). If this happened in AD 70, then we must say that all believers who will ever be born were raised in AD 70, since “all” believers were raised back then.

Our response:

Apartfrom the futurist framework itself, there is no necessity to interpret “all” in John 6:39 as literally all who will ever be born. “All” saints participating in an event at a certain point in history does not preclude other saints coming into being and being born after that event.

Genesis 7:21-23 says that “all flesh” died in the Flood. That doesn’t mean that people living today died in the Flood. “All flesh” referred to people who had lived up to that point in history.

Abraham Must Inherit the Land

God promised Abraham that both he and his descendants would inherit the land (Acts 7:5). But Abraham never inherited the land. Only his descendants did. Therefore, Abraham has to be resurrected in the flesh in our future so that he can inherit the land (i.e., all the land on the planet, according to Romans 4:13 and other scriptures).

Our response:

Believers are the one body of Christ, the Seed, and they are blessed with Abraham (Gal. 3:9, 16, 18, 28-29). When God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed in him, God was talking about the justification of the world through faith in the blood of Christ (Gal. 3:6-8, 14, 22, 2627, 28). The promise is not real estate; it is the Spirit of God (Gal. 3:14).

Abraham, with all the saints, received the fulfillment of that promise.

We err if we make real estate the consummation of the Abrahamic promise. Abraham himself did not consider the land of Canaan or any other tract of real estate to be the ultimate goal of God’s promise. Abraham looked for, and saw from afar, the City that was made, built, and prepared by God Himself (Heb. 11:10, 13, 16). Abraham looked for the country that would come down from out of heaven (Heb. 11:14-16; Rev. 21:2).

This heavenly land is not and never will be literal real estate. It is the heavenly Tabernacle of God (Rev. 21:3). When Paul said that Abraham would inherit “the world” in Romans 4:13, he was not saying that Abraham would be given the deed to all the land on planet Earth. Paul was speaking of people, specifically, Jew and Gentile believers in all nations (Rom. 4:11-12, 16-17).

Abraham himself has indeed already inherited the land, along with his descendants. He inherited the land in AD 70. That is when the fleshly, unbelieving owners of the earthly real estate of shadow were cast out of the kingdom, and when Abraham and his true descendants inherited the heavenly Land of promise:

“[M]any shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

But the children of the kingdom [the unbelieving Jews] shall be cast out into outer darkness [in AD 70]: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:11-12; cf. Gal. 4:22-31).

Philippians 3:21

Philippians 3:21 says that Christ will conform our vile body to His glorious body. This does not fit a “collective body” interpretation. The verse doesn’t merely say that Christ will change our body so that it becomes a new kind of body (an old collective body transformed into a better collective body); it says that He will conform our body to His already existing body. So this verse must be talking about our physical, individual bodies being transformed so that they are conformed to (made like) Christ’s literal, individual, flesh and bone body.

Our response:

We agree that the conforming of the “body” to Christ’s “body” in Philippians 3:21 cannot be merely a transformation of the Old Testament “collective body” into the New Testament “collective body.” However, that does not mean that the verse must therefore be a reference to a transformation of the physical aspect of believers into the “glorified physical aspect” of Christ. As mentioned earlier in this book, the “body” in resurrection-ofthe-dead contexts is not merely a “collective.” Let’s look at the immediate context of Philippians 3:21 (Phil. 3:2-21):

The unbelieving, old covenant Jews were the “concision” (mutilation). They put their confidence and trust in “the flesh.” They were Christ’s “enemies.” They were minding “earthly things.” They claimed that they were the circumcision (the true people of God, the true Jews), but Paul said that believers are “the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit” (Phil. 3:2-3, 18-19).

The things of “the flesh” / “the earthly things” in Philippians 3:3, 19 were the things of the old covenant world: Physical circumcision, physical lineage, self-righteousness through law, and spiritual corruption (Phil. 3:2, 19; Rom. 5:20). Paul forsook those fleshly/earthly things. In the resulting persecutions that he suffered at the hands of the Jews, he was sharing in the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ, and was being “made conformable unto His death” (Phil. 3:10).

Suffering with Christ and death with Christ in Philippians 3:10 correspond to “the body of our humiliation” in verse 21. “The body of our humiliation” was that which believers were putting to death through their dying with Christ. The dying, “vile” body consisted of the “earthly,” “fleshly” things of the Adamic/Mosaic world of Sin and Death (Col. 2:20). It was “the old man,” and his sinful deeds, which was being put to death through the indwelling Spirit of God (Rom. 6:6; 8:10, 13; Col. 3:5).

The earthly “body of our humiliation” in Philippians 3:19-21 also corresponds to the earthly, bodily “members” that believers were putting to death (mortifying) in Colossians 3:5. Those body parts/members were not arms and legs. They were sins. Sin and Death are what defined the “body” of God’s people in the law-world of Adam and Moses.

In the consummation of the eschatological work of the indwelling Spirit in AD 70, Christ threw down the world of Law-Sin-Death, and thus annulled/destroyed the body of Sin and Death. That is when He transformed the body of His people (their sinful, Adamic/Mosaic “mode of life”; the old man) and conformed it to “the body of His glory,” which is the heavenly tabernacle of divine Life and Righteousness that is received through faith in Christ’s blood (2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 3:89). The glorious “spiritual body” of the Resurrection is Christ Himself, the new Man, into whose image God’s people, living and dead, were transformed, and with whom they are clothed, and by whom they are indwelt, world without end.

Believers in the time of Paul expected all of this to happen in their generation, in the last days of the old covenant world (Phil. 4:5); and they did not expect it to happen in a literal/physical sense. This is why Paul thrice explained to the Philippians that he had not already attained to the resurrection of the dead (Phil. 3:12-13) –a fact that would have been self-evident if he and his readers were expecting a Resurrection of the Flesh (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2, YLT; 2 Tim. 2:18).

OPEN LETTER & CHALLENGE TO DEBATE THE ELDERS (JEFF DURBIN, LUKE PIERSON & JAMES WHITE) OF APOLOGIA CHURCH – OVER THEIR PUBLIC COMMENTS OF FULL PRETERISM

Dear Pastors Jeff Durbin, Luke Pierson & James White or To Whom it May Concern at the APOLOGIA Church,

I recently listened to your podcast on “hyper-preterism” (see link at end of article) and as a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist apologist, author and debater — I would like to TRULY “engage” with you over your public statements of my position. I co-authored, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” and interacted with Keith A. Mathison and Simon Kistemaker and their attempts to refute Full Preterism in their co-authored book, “When Shall These Things Be?…” I have a background in being a Reformed Baptist, so I am very familiar with your views. I have challenged James White to debate but of course he “won’t debate eschatology.” The sad thing is when “Reformed” “Apologists” make these kind of statements (along with “dreading” teaching Matthew 24) when the facts are one cannot separate soteriology from eschatology or failing to realize that the call to “defend” our “hope” is an eschatological passage itself (1 Pet. 3:15/Cols. 1:27/Jn. 14:2; 23/Rev. 21:16/1 Cor. 15:28). I recently debated Charismatic Dr. Michael Brown (White’s friend) over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 because Sam Waldron and White did such a horrible job of dealing with their foundational text with exegetical “integrity.”  Reformed theology can exegetically deal with 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 if we allow the Preterist “soon” AD 70 coming of Christ and arrival of the New Covenant creation of Revelation 22:4-7 to be a parallel passage.

Major Premise:  “That which is perfect” and the seeing of God’s face in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 is the Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation event of Revelation 22:4-7.

Minor Premise:  But the “soon” coming of Christ and arrival of the New Covenant creation in Revelation 22:4-7 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Conclusion:  Therefore, “that which is perfect” or the “soon” Second Coming and arrival of the New Covenant Creation of 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 and Revelation 22:4-7 was fulfilled in AD 70 and when the miraculous revelatory and sign gifts of the Church “ceased.”

I conducted myself as a Christian gentleman and abided by the debate rules.  In fact the only criticism I got from the FP community was that I was “too soft” on him – lol. I would do the same in engaging with you.  Here is my debate with Dr. Brown over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5DZRv56eQg&t=962s

Here was my review and further thoughts on the debate:  https://fullpreterism.com/reviewing-and-critiquing-my-debate-with-charismatic-dr-michael-brown-over-1-corinthians-138-12-and-introducing-a-full-preterist-chronomessianic-interpretation-argument-on-daniel-924-27-that-went-un/

Jeff, you claimed that it was so important that Reformed Christians have a “consistent eschatology” and that we need to accept the 100 plus time texts were fulfilled by AD 70 — if not, Christians aren’t dealing with these texts with “Christian integrity.” So where was James White or Sam Waldron to discuss the 100 plus time texts with you?!? Maybe because you would have had a 100 or more contradictory statements and exposed your eschatology is not as “consistent” as you claimed? I have on record Partial Preterists asserting that Premillennial or Amillennialists that don’t believe those 100 plus time texts were fulfilled in AD 70 are coming dangerously close to denying the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture. And I have other statements from Amillennialists who mock the Partial Preterist two comings theory to be no better than the two coming theory of the pre-trib rapture theory. Or they admit that if you accept those 100 plus time texts were fulfilled in AD 70, a “consistent hermeneutic” would require you go all the way into Full Preterism. Amazing how you didn’t address any of these issues. WHY?

Here is how your Partial Preterism and James White and Waldron’s classic Amillennialism “consistently” forms (not refutes) Full Preterism:

I also noticed how you didn’t discuss how Partial Preterism does believe the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and that the coming of Christ in BOTH Matthew 24 AND 25:31 was fulfilled in AD 70. Let’s discuss creedal “orthodoxy” and “consistency” on admissions like this. Nor did you go over how Partial Preterist Milton Terry took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70. Very telling.

Your Partial Preterist guest Andrew Sandlin claimed we could have gotten a “splinter” if we touched the Tree of Life in Genesis. So does he believe the “Tree of Life” and cubed New Jerusalem is something we touch or will touch physically and get a splinter?!?

Of course the truth is the New Jerusalem was in the process of “coming down” (Rev. 3:11-12 NIV) and did arrive on earth at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming event in AD 70. The “Jerusalem from above” is the NC Church and the picture of her coming out of heaven to earth is descriptive of her maturity process from AD 30 – AD 70.  Now her gates are open and through the gospel the nations are being healed. The Tree of Life and Living Water are Christ and the Holy Spirit giving eternal life to all who enter by faith. Again, are there TWO arrivals of the New Jerusalem and the Tree of Life coming to earth?!? Are we going to get a “splinter” on Christ?

He also claims we will all be getting older before his third coming of Christ arrives (based on Isaiah 65). So Jeff, will the anatomy of animals begin changing as well – lions and wolves will eat straw and not ox or sheep before this imaginary third coming of Jesus? When do we begin allowing our children to play with poisonous snakes before this third coming of Jesus is fulfilled? Like Dispensationalism, its interesting where this hyper-literalism leads. Let’s discuss the “consistency” of these Partial Preterist interpretations.

Please respond to my gracious challenge so we can go over the propositions and format of the discussion/debate. I have heard from some on facebook that you might be willing to have a partner debate and they suggested you and Gary DeMar. Gary has been avoiding a public discussion / debate with us for over 30 years so we would gladly welcome him as your partner. He has publicly defended or supported that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and 25:31 was fulfilled in AD 70 (as has Keith Mathison). If I recall, Gary also holds to the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as fulfilled in AD 70 as well? Myself and Don have wanted to press him on those admissions for years. If he isn’t willing to be your partner you may try your co-Elder James White.

While James is not a Partial Preterist and “doesn’t debate eschatology,” he does debate the atonement and if he agrees with your show that Full Preterism denies or perverts the atonement, then he could debate my debate partner (Don Preston) on that subject.

Don and James can debate the death/sin of Adam and the life/righteousness of Christ in our union with His resurrection (primary texts Romans 5-11 / 1 Corinthians 15) as the hope of Israel (the nature of a substitutionary atonement/death & resurrection) and Jeff, we can debate the timing of the Second Coming, judgment and resurrection of the dead, arrival of the New Creation and Reformed orthodoxy with the importance of having a “consistent hermeneutic.” I will be in touch with you and hope we can set something up in a FP “soon” time frame. Once we hear back from you we can discuss debate propositions, format and where it could take place. I personally favor in person debates and having access to power point slides in front of a live audience and not Internet debates.

Thank you for your time.

In Christ,

Michael Sullivan

My Response to Jeff Durbin’s Podcast:

1). “It is important for (Reformed) Christians to have a CONSISTENT eschatology” and to have “Christian INTEGRITY” by admitting there are over 100 imminent time texts in the NT which were fulfilled in AD 70.

This of course was one of the main issues we dealt with in “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” – and that is, exposing this myth that they have a “consistent eschatology.” Just put James White, Sam Waldron, Keith Mathison and Kenneth Gentry on the show with Jeff and I would expose that myth rather quickly. Let’s run through just SOME examples. Since Jeff admitted all of Luke 21 and Matthew 21-24 was fulfilled in AD 70 along with the rest of the NT’s 100 plus time texts, lets address some of these issues.

Luke 21 / Matthew 21-25 – forms NT eschatology & “consistency” / “integrity”

Jeff (a Partial Preterist – PP) admits the coming of Christ and redemption of Luke 21 was fulfilled in AD 70. Yet classic Amillennialists such as Waldron and White would admit this is the Second Coming (SC) event and the “redemption” is the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23. While there, will Jeff please explain the “time text” of mello and admit like Gary DeMar that this glorification was “about to be” and was fulfilled in AD 70 (Rms. 8:18 YLT)? Or maybe elaborate on Reformed PP theologian John Lightfoot admitting the creation groaning and subject to decay here is addressing sin in the creation of man and not the physical planet? Was Lightfoot a “gnostic”? Obviously, this is not a minor inconsistency for you but not us – lol.

And obviously there are all of the parallels (the analogy of faith or analogy of Scripture hermeneutic) between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 which most Reformed theologians and commentators would say is the ONE SC event — of which Jeff must deny.  Jeff maintains the coming and “gathering” into the kingdom of Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-32 was fulfilled spiritually while White and Waldron would say Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-32 is the SC and resurrection event. How can we make these two views TRULY “consistent” with exegetical “integrity”? Easy:

Jeff, White and Waldron along with MOST Reformed theologians and commentators would agree with US (not you) that the analogy of faith (parallels & Paul’s eschatology is Jesus’) principle of interpretation demonstrates the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 IS the parousia of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 AND 1 Corinthians 15:
So Jeff is maintaining the coming of Christ and the “redemption” of Luke 21 was fulfilled in AD 70, yet others like Waldron and White would claim this is the ONE SC and resurrection event. Jeff would maintain that the coming and “gathering” of Christ in Matthew 24:27-31 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and yet Waldron and White would claim this is the ONE SC and resurrection event. If you call that being exegetically “consistent” “integrity” – I have other descriptive adjectives.

Not only should we allow Paul and Jesus to be harmonized in Matthew 24 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15, but we should allow Paul to interpret himself in comparing Romans 5-8 with 1 Corinthians 15.  First note the corporate body themes within Romans 5-8 and biological death not being the subject:

Now compare Romans 5-13 with 1 Corinthians 15:

Again Jeff, the “glory” and “redemption of the body” that was “ABOUT TO BE REVEALED” (Rms. 8:18-23 YLT) IS the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15. See David Green’s exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 and response to Strimple in our book for more details on that subject.

Having “consistently” and with “integrity” interpreted Paul’s teaching in light of Jesus,’ we shall now examine Paul’s OT sources in 1 Corinthians 15 and see what they may reveal.  James White and his father were/are fans of the WUESTNT and yet he correctly pointed out how “the last enemy” “the death” was in the process of “BEING destroyed.” If this is biological death, “Houston we have a problem.” For an exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 see David Green’s response to Strimple in HD and my exegesis here: https://fullpreterism.com/ppw-2017-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-the-resurrection-of-matthew-24-25-and-1-corinthians-15/

Jeff mentions the seriousness of believing in a physical judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of world history. But of course Jeff isn’t telling you that his Reformed PP brethren have admitted that the resurrection and “end” of Daniel 12:1-3 was spiritually fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70. Why not discuss the lack of “consistency” and what PPism really teaches Jeff – since you are claiming to “care” so much about us and have all this exegetical “integrity” – seriously?!? Let’s discuss the Reformed PP implications of taking the “end of the age” and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-3=Matthew 13:39-43=Matthew 24:3-31 as fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.

The Olivet Discourse forms Pauline and NT eschatology and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 IS the resurrection of the NT. No wonder you didn’t want to discuss “consistency” and this admission of PPism.

The “ALL these things” of Matthew 24:34 and Daniel 12:7 and the Resurrection of the Dead

Someone sent me a video of you teaching on the Olivet Discourse and going over the parallels and overview of Daniel 2, 7, 9 and 12 with Jesus’ teaching.  What was missing was any discussion of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 7:

Before leaving the subject of this message you preached in comparing Daniel with the OD, I want to briefly address your teaching on the 70 7’s of Daniel 9:24-27.  I too believe this is a “glorious” passage but it is MORE glorious to not end the 490 years before AD 70, but with the destruction of the city.  There is no exegetical evidence that the events are all fulfilled before AD 70 but by AD 70:

Jeff, since you take the “ALL these things” (Mt. 24:3-34 or Lk. 21:5-32) as referring to AD 70, wouldn’t the “ALL these things” of Daniel 12:7 be referring to the resurrection event being fulfilled within the 3.5 years along with the Tribulation and Desolation or “when the power of the holy people [was] completely shattered” in AD 70? If not why not? Since Partial Preterism admits the “end of the age” is the OC age in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3 then this is when the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was also fulfilled. If not why not?

The Partial Preterist admission of the resurrection of Daniel 12 being fulfilled spiritually “gives the farm away” since it is the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20 which John tells us would be “shortly” or “about to be” fulfilled (Rev. 1:1, 9YLT).  When we combine various views within Reformed eschatology in regards to the time texts and the recapitulation structure of Revelation it is not difficult to see how the resurrection of Revelation 20 was fulfilled by AD 70:

The resurrection of Daniel 12 is also the resurrection of John 5 and 1 Corinthians 15:

I find it also interesting that the “already and not yet” of the coming “hour” of John 4-5 is the eschatological “hour” of Daniel 12 and Partial Preterists admit the “not yet” of the coming hour of John 4 was fulfilled in AD 70 but the exact same phrases found in the next chapter somehow refers to a far distant 2,000 plus and counting hour. Creating TWO “already and not yet” periods or an “already and not yet and not yet” periods of Partial Preterism is hardly “consistent” Jeff:

We have allowed Jesus in Matthew 24 to interpret Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15.  We have allowed Paul to interpret himself (Rms. 5–13:11-12).  We allowed Paul’s OT sources to help interpret Paul, and we have allowed the Reformed PP admission and classic Amillennial admissions that the resurrection of Daniel 12 was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 and yet it is the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 – to help us interpret 1 Corinthians 15. This is called “consistent” exegetical “integrity” Jeff. You are stuck on 1 Corinthians 15 and John 6 in the same way an Arminian is stuck on John 3:16 or 1 John 2:2. It’s time to dig deeper my friend or go back to the White and Waldron compromise and denial of NT imminence model. Those are your choices. Partial Preterism has already conceded that between AD 30 – AD 70 there was a corporate body progressive resurrection and that Daniel 12:2-3 supports this. They also affirm 1 Corinthians 15 IS the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3. I have “consistently” harmonized your PPism while at the same time harmonize the contradictions between your PPism and White’s classic Amillennialism. You are welcome

James White on the Olivet Discourse

Jeff, your co-Elder James White tells us the truth is in the “middle” of Hyper-Preterism and Dispensationalism when interpreting Matthew 24. What exactly is in the “middle”? Clearly he is referring to Reformed Partial Preterism (your view) and that of his and Waldron’s classic Amillennial view. BUT the “middle” of these two views IS the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist view:

Major Premise: The coming of Christ in the OD is the ONE SC event to be fulfilled at the end of the age (Reformed Amillennialism)

Minor Premise: BUT the coming of Christ in the OD was fulfilled at the end of the OC age spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” in AD 70 (Partial Preterism)

Conclusion / “CONSISTENCY”: THEREFORE, The ONE SC event predicted by Christ in the OD was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism). This is what we call, “Reformed and always reforming” and exegetical and historical “consistency.”

Jeff’s PPism is obviously NOT “consistent” and lacks “integrity” when put alongside Waldron and White’s classic creedal and Amillennial view. The “end of the age” or “end” judgment and resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12 IS the “end” and resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43/24:31; John 5-6; 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20:5-15. After all Jeff, Paul said this resurrection was “about to be” fulfilled in his day (Acts 24:15 YLT). So much for having “integrity” or “consistency” in dealing with those 100 plus time texts. Jeff, why not have a podcast explaining to us HOW within your PPism the judgment and resurrection of the dead was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (1 Pet. 4:5-7; Rev. 11:8ff.; Dan. 12:2-3 [and it’s NT references]) – and invite Waldron and White on?!? If you truly “care” and want to show us how “consistent” and “orthodox” (creedal) you are, let’s get with it brother. Let’s have White and Waldron on the show to discuss the timing of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 in light of your PPism and those 100 plus NT time texts.

The Apologia Church C