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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Both men claimed to have had visions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19. Both deny the deity of Christ.

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

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

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

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

Islam’s failed “Prophet” Muhammad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Islam’s version of newspaper eschatology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISIS – An Apocalyptic End Time Cult

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1833 Joseph Smith claimed,

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 1835, “President Smith” then stated,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And,

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

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

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

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

Jesus the “Faithful and True Witness”

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

A Brief Exegesis of Matthew 16:27–28

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

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

Matthew 16:27-28 & Parallels

The Olivet Discourse

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

For the Son of Man is about to Come

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

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

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

Verily I say unto you

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

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

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

Some standing here shall not taste of death until

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

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

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

Until they see the kingdom of God already come in power

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

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

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

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

A Brief Exegesis of Matthew 24-25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This generation”

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

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

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

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

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

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

In his book Future Survival (1978) Chuck wrote,

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

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

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

“False Messiahs”

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

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

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

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

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

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

“Famines”

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

“Earthquakes”

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

“Put to Death”

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

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

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

PROPHECY FULFILLMENT

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

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

“Abomination that causes desolation”

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

“Great Tribulation”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Heaven and earth will pass away”

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

G.K. Beale’s research indicates,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sign of Jonah – Mt. 16:1-4

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

Jonah a Type of Christ:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Prepares the Way of Salvation and Judgment of Isaiah 40

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s review:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the order of events:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G.K. Beale writes,

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

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

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

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

Peter Leithart observes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonah and Peter

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

Jonah and Paul:

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

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

Israel and Paul’s Role in the Great Commission

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

Prophecy Fulfillment
1. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And,

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

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

The Apocalyptic Language of the Second Coming in Acts 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support from the Commentators in Acts 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question on the Last Days of Acts 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Preterist Synthesis / “Reformed and Always Reforming”

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

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

Obviously, both views have formed Full Preterism.

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

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

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

Notice the same contemporary generation:

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

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

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

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

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

And,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, Luke depicts Peter as a new Jonah.

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

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

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

Conclusion to Part 1:

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

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

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

  • Genesis 1-3
  • Genesis 6:1-4

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

Introduction

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

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

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

1 Peter Chapter 1

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

Jesus and Peter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Peter Chapter 2

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

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

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

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

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

2 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter– Confirms essentially the same covenantal and eschatological events:

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

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

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

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

Jesus– Taught the following:

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

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

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

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

Jesus– In Matthew 23-25 Jesus connects:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· Salvation and redemption would be achieved at this time.

· The trumpet gathering or resurrection.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter– Specifically addresses:

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

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

Psalm 118:22 / 1 Peter 2:7

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 21:33-45 / Psalm 118

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 23 / Psalm 118

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE JEWISH FEASTS

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

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

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

JESUS’ PREDICTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 8:14 / 1 Peter 2:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article still in progress….

A FULL PRETERIST RESPONSE TO “HOLY LAND,” “THE END IS NEAR (AGAIN),” “HOLY WAR” ESCHATOLOGIES – PART 3 “CHRISTIAN” DISPENSATIONAL ZIONISM

Michael J. Sullivan (Copyright 2014). SEE MY BOOK ON THIS SUBJECT ALMOST DONE – DOWNLOAD PDF FILE HERE: ARMAGEDDON DECEPTION BOOK

Part 1 Islam – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/

Part 2 Judaism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology:https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism-the-article-facebook-doesnt-want-yo/

Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/

We now close in refuting the third guilty party in propagating a false or unbiblical eschatology of an “end time,” “holy land,” “holy war” prophetic scheme perpetuating conflict in the Middle East and around the world today – Dispensational Zionism. Although I was once trained in this system at various Bible Colleges to become a Pastor, I now know it’s system to be completely false.

Let me give you a brief overview of what we will be covering here (in no particular order):

How did Dispensational Zionism come into existence and what does it teach?

Biblical “end time” “signs” are NOT being fulfilled in the news today right before our very eyes!

I will be giving you an accurate exegesis (interpretation) of such Second Coming / “rapture” and Armageddon type passages as Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, and various parts of the book of Revelation, which prove these texts were actually fulfilled when Jesus and the NT authors said they would be (ie. in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and in an AD 70 soon,” “short,” “at hand” time frame). Or how the “last hour” resurrection of the dead of John 5 was fulfilled by AD 70. Since Dispensational Zionism is only about 150 years old, I will be appealing to some older traditional views of the Church (Classic Amillennialism and Partial Preterism) in demonstrating how they have formed the Biblical view – Full Preterism. This is the section you have all been waiting for – “How is he going to prove that Christ’s coming and all of the signs in Matthew 24 were fulfilled in AD 70? How is going to prove the “rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 was fulfilled in AD 70? How is he going to prove that Armageddon was fulfilled by AD 66-AD 70?” Well, hold on tight because I will prove my case – so be prepared for a radical paradigm shift.

And lastly, I will give my thoughts on bringing healing to these false eschatological systems and how we can pray and work towards bringing healing to the Nations and particularly to those in the Middle East (“the war of ideas”).

3. The Eschatology of “Christian” Dispensational Zionism:

Introduction: The modern day Christian Zionist movement is a consistent outgrowth and byproduct of Dispensationalism. This eschatological view of Bible prophecy has only been around for about 150 years. It was founded and systematized by the teachings of John Nelson Darby, and then picked up and popularized through Cyrus Scofield (The Scofield Reference Bible), D.L. Moody and Donald Barnhouse. Its largest boost has come through the radio and television airwaves.

Popular so called “prophecy expert” authors that liter the contemporary Christian book store shelves are Charles Ryrie (The Ryrie Study Bible), John Walvoord, Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, Grant Jeffrey, John Hagee, Chuck Smith and Hal Lindsey. Religious institutions peddling this false view of Bible prophecy are the Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary and the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem, Assembly of God Bible Colleges, Calvary Chapel Bible College, The Master’s Bible College and Seminary, etc.

U.S. presidents that have embraced this system have been Jimmie Carter and Ronald Reagan. Reagan told Tom Dine, AIPAC’s executive director; “I turn back to your ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if we’re the generation that is going to see that come about.” The remark was published by the Jerusalem Post and widely distributed by the Associated Press. This raised red flags not just among the liberal left, but among conservative Christians that understood their Bibles better than Reagan and the “prophecy experts” he had been influenced by.

The ICEJ (The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem) was founded in 1980 with the goal to “comfort” Israel by educating Jews on their national heritage and convince them to leave other countries and come back into the land of Israel. I say “comfort” in quotations because it is the ICEJ’s agenda to usher in the “rapture” of the church which would involve in their theology – a 2/3’s death of the Jewish population during the Great Tribulation. This is ironic since they claim Preterists or those that don’t support their cause are anti-Semitic and yet their theology is the most insulting and dangerous view of the modern “Jew” today! The organization has joined up with the already entrenched and powerful Jewish lobbyists to support the Israeli land and policy agendas to the U.S. and other foreign nations.

Dispensational distinctions associated with the inclusion of the Christian Zionist movement include:

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

Dispensational Zionist Signs Being Fulfilled In the News for Our Terminal Generation?

Here are John Hagee’s 10 signs (taken from his book, Beginningof the End, pp. 85-100) in which he asserts are proof that our generation is the “terminal generation” that will see the soon return of Jesus:

An Increase in Knowledge: Based upon Daniel 12:4 our terminal generation is supposed to be seeing the fulfillment of this passage through “technology” such as, airplanes, the TV, life-support and the Internet etc….

The Truth: In context, the “knowledge” here is in reference to the work of Messiah and His coming salvation and judgment (previously discussed in Daniel 7; 9:24-27) which would be revealed in the prophetic “words of the scroll” concerning “the time of the end.” Roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 Jesus and the NT authors are describing how Jesus and the Church is fulfilling OT prophecies and such “knowledge” of Jesus’ salvation and imminent judgment was increasing. This has nothing to do with “technology”!

Daniel was told to “seal up” the vision because its fulfillment was “far off” (concerning Israel’s coming salvation and judgment) (Daniel 8:26). John picks up where Daniel leaves off regarding the same prophetic material and was told “not to seal up” the vision, because the time was “at hand” (Revelation 22:10). For this false system of theology/eschatology to interpret “far off” literally as hundreds of years but then turn around and interpret “at hand” spiritually as meaning thousands of years, is unspeakable logic and pathetic or apply inconsistent hermeneutics!

Obviously John Hagee and his Dispensational Zionist colleagues (similar to the unbelieving Jews during AD 30 – 70) have not paid attention to the increased knowledge on the time frame and spiritual nature of the salvation and kingdom that Jesus (as Messiah) and the NT writers were addressing. Sad but true.

Plague or Pestilence in the Middle East (Zech. 14:12-15): Hagee amazingly sees these passages being fulfilled via the Ebola virus and or modern day radiation resulting from nuclear wars etc… – lol. Wow.

The Truth: It is true that plagues are described literally as in Exodus 7-12 and in the covenant curses and blessings say of Deuteronomy 28 or Leviticus 26 for example. But these kind of covenant curses and blessings can also be used symbolically in the Bible and that is what I believe we have here in Zechariah 14:12, 15. The NT informs us that prophetically there are two Jerusalem’s one earthly and literal representing the old covenant system, and the other spiritual and heavenly representing the new covenant system (Galatians 4:25-26). The earthly and old could be shaken and removed, while the other could not (cf. Hebrews 12). In Zechariah 14:2 the nations surround the earthly old covenant Jerusalem in the events surrounding AD 66 – 70. During this historic time frame, the Idumean Zealots surrounded Jerusalem as did the Roman armies (consisting of all the known conquered nations of that time) and attacked her from within and without.

But in Zechariah 14 we also have a description of the spiritual new covenant Jerusalem and what would take place roughly during the same time period. Here we see new covenant Jerusalem “raised up,” “when evening comes, there will be light,” “living water” flows out from her, and she is fully inhabited “never again will it be destroyed,” with the new covenant Messianic Kingdom being established (vss. 7-11). We see a clear fulfillment of this in Isaiah 65-66 and Revelation 21-22. Christians living in the new covenant age/Kingdom/New Jerusalem experience these spiritual blessings of eternal life. But those outside the gates of the City are cursed living in spiritual darkness etc… Here in Zechariah 14:11-15 we find the spiritual condition and judgment that befalls those that came (and continue to come) against God’s people in the New Jerusalem. They are described as being cursed/plagued with all that they touch (ex. their animals) and having no water, while those within the New Jerusalem enjoy living water and all that they have (including their animals) are “HOLY TO THE LORD” (vss. 20-21). This is prophetic and symbolic language describing those blessed in the Messianic Kingdom or those opposed and are thus cursed outside of it.

The Re-birth of Israel in 1948: Allegedly our generation witnessing the “budding of the fig tree” in (Matthew 24:32-34) is supposed to be a fulfillment of Israel becoming a nation in 1948. Also since Isaiah 66:8-10 speaks of Israel being born in a day, this too is allegedly speaking of 1948.

The Truth: Hagee miss-interprets Jesus’ teaching here in the Olivet Discourse and twists OT prophecies to support his self-fulfillment World War III agenda. If the budding of the fig tree is Israel becoming a nation in 1948, then what kind of fulfillment will Hagee give “…and all the trees” or “all the nations” in (Luke 21:29) happening in 1948?!? These men seem to want to avoid this parallel passage and for obvious reasons.

Regarding Isaiah 66:8-10 Jesus taught that the covenantal status of Israel and her “kingdom” would be “taken” from her in AD 70 and be “given” to another “nation” “bearing the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43-45). Peter understands the Church being that “nation” (1 Peter 2:9). Isaiah 65-66 is a unit and when this nation is born and rejoicing takes place is when the New Jerusalem comes in her fullness according to chapter 65 and rejoicing takes place (cf. 65:18-19). The writer of Hebrews and Paul in Galatians 4 (and elsewhere in the NT) identifies the Church as “Zion” and or the “heavenly Jerusalem” “the Church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:22-23). The old covenant kingdom or Jerusalem would be “shaken” one more time (ie. in AD 70) with the new not being able to be shaken because she is spiritual or heavenly (Hebrews 12:27-29). The time of this nation being born or inheriting the New Jerusalem and her land was “about to” take place: “For here we do not have an ENDURING city (because it was about to be “taken” from OC Israel and “given” to NC Israel in AD 70) but we are looking for the city that is ABOUT TO COME” (Hebrews 13:14 YLT). This is when Christ was going to come in a “very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). Israel or the New Jerusalem being born anew or again imminently is also found in the book of Revelation which tells us its content would be fulfilled “shortly” and not 2,000+ years away (Revelation 1:1; 21:2–22:6-7, 10-12, 22). Post AD 70 the nations are gathered into the New Jerusalem/Israel through the gospel (Revelation 22:17). 1948 has nothing to do with Isaiah’s restoration/birth of Israel motif in the Messianic or new covenant age – period!

Jesus’ Born Again experience and Israel’s/the Churches

In Acts 13 we learn that Jesus’ resurrection and ascension was His born again experience:

“Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent…. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings – that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” (Acts 13:26, 30-32 quoting Ps. 2:7).

Jesus needed to undergo the process of being born again for His posterity and brethren – the Church (Heb. 2, 12:23). At Christ’s resurrection, He became the Churches “firstborn” or “firstfruit(s)” from among the dead ones (Cols. 1:15-18; 1 Cor. 15:20-21). But in what way was Christ’s resurrection the “first”? He surely was not the first to be biologically raised from the dead. His resurrection was the “first” in which Adamic (spiritual) death was overcome and would soon be overcome for the Church at His AD 70 return. Christ would conquer “the sin” of “the [Adamic] death” magnified through Israel’s Old Covenant “the Law” at His return to close and bring an “end” to the Old Covenant age in Jesus’ “this generation” (ie. AD 70–Mt. 24/1 Cor. 15). This process had begun with His resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

The reference to Christ being the “firstborn” in Colossians is a new exodus theme. In the first exodus under Moses, God delivered Israel through the offering up of the blood of the firstborn lamb on the doorpost and through the sacrifice of Israel’s enemies – the first born among the Egyptians. This exodus and establishment of the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai resulted in God creating Israel as a heavens and earth (Isaiah 51:15-16).

The soteriological and eschatological pattern in the NT is that Jesus recapitulates Israel’s redemptive history, and then the Church follows. So just as Christ needed to undergo severe persecution and death before He would be raised and established as the “firstborn” from among the dead, so too the Church (pre-AD 70) was in the process of filling up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ (Cols. 1:24-27). The Church was thus in the process of being united to Christ’s death in baptism and being raised into His resurrection image (Rms. 6:8ff.). She was a seed being sown into the ground and simultaneously dying and rising into this new image of the heavenly man (1 Corinthians 15: 43ff.). The Church had to undergo sever persecution (described as “birth pains”), to function as a general sign that the coming of Jesus to “gather” Her (or raise Her from the dead) into the Kingdom would take place in the first century “this generation” (Mt. 24:8, 30-34; Lk. 21:27-32). Under the Old Covenant, unfaithful Israel was in a perpetual state of child labor and in pain being unable to give birth or bring salvation to the Gentiles (Isa. 26:27-28). But the faithful remnant united to Christ’s death and resurrection would bring these soteriological and eschatological “groans” in “child birth” to the Gentiles, and thus “all Israel would be saved” or raised from the dead (cf. Romans 8:22-11:15, 26-27). The remnant would be faithful to give birth to a nation (the Church) in a day (Isaiah 66:8).

I will be dealing with other OT texts Hagge twists to try and fit a 1948 fulfillment later in this article.

The Jews Are Continuing to Return Home to Israel from Russia and Other Countries: Supposedly Jeremiah 23:7-8 is the fulfillment of this modern day “sign.”

The Truth: The Prophet Jeremiah deals with Israel coming back into her land under the spiritual leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra from the 70 years of Babylonian captivity (being in the North not modern day Russia). This gathering back in the land in repentance (which fulfills the re-gathering promises) has nothing to do with 1948 – a gathering in the land in unrepentance. This gathering in the land under Nehemiah and Ezra was typological of a gathering into the Messiah – the coming “righteous Branch” (vss. 5-6) in His kingdom, a heavenly land and New Jerusalem. I will discuss the NT’s shift of being “in Christ” fulfilling OT’s “in the land” promises in a bit.

Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile Rule: Hagee amazingly claims the Six Day War in 1967 fulfills Jesus’ teaching concerning the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles” in (Luke 21:24).

The Truth: “There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:23-24). First off, Jesus tells us that this event would be fulfilled in His contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 21:32). Secondly, this event is contextually and grammatically connected to the fall of the Temple in AD 70 and the questions asked by the disciples regarding its destruction in vss. 5-7 and Jesus’ exhortation to that generation to flee Jerusalem when they see the armies surrounding the City vss. 20-23 (which we know the Idumean’s and Roman armies did with the Christians fleeing the city per Jesus’ instruction). So the Gentiles trampling Jerusalem is clearly fulfilled in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 and the “times of the Gentiles” being fulfilled refers to the time prior to AD 70 when Gentile powers and nations (such as Rome) controlled the city. Post AD 70 there is spiritual New Jerusalem that cannot be “shaken” or trodden down by any Gentile nation (“times of the Gentiles”) today. This is the point and fulfillment of this passage and the events of 1967 have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

International Instant Communication: Hagge and others claim that without the technology of TV, the radio, satellites, etc… how could the entire planet earth view Jesus coming on a cloud in Revelation 1:7 and the two witnesses in Revelation 11? Surely since these passages couldn’t be fulfilled prior to our day, the fulfillment was for our generation and the end times is right before us right? Uh, not even close.

The Truth: Hagee and other Dispensational Zionists think that the technology of TV is the only way Jesus could be literally seen by “every eye” of the “earth” at the same time (cf. Revelation 1:7). First, Revelation tells us that its content would be fulfilled “shortly” (not in our generation thousands of years away removed from its first century audience) and this includes verse 7 which is under discussion here (Revelation 1:1, 7). Secondly, “every eye” is qualified in the passage to be “those who pierced him” (first century Jews not all humanity) and “all the tribes of the land” (“tribes” being first century Jews with “land” being a better translation here than “earth”) would mourn at His coming. Thirdly, “see” in the Greek has the meaning of “perceive” or “understand” and we use it today in the same, “Do you see (understand) what I am saying?” Through the destruction of old covenant Jerusalem and her Temple in the historical events of AD 66 – AD 70, the Jews “understood” or “saw” that Christ had come through the Zealot Idumean and Roman armies.

Let’s now turn our attention to the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Of course Hagee takes the testimony of the two witnesses “literally” and if the entire globe or “the inhabitants of the earth” witnesses their death, then according to this kind of thinking it must imply the invention of the television. The two witnesses whom have the characteristics of Moses and Elijah, have to do with the testimony of the OT (the Law/Moses and the prophets/Elijah) and the people of the Land (not the globe–Rome and apostate Israel) seeking to silence this testimony. The number three and a half is a broken seven and represents a time of sorrow and pain. So this has reference to the rejoicing and coming together (of these at one time enemies – Rome and apostate Jerusalem) in a united cause to silence and put Christ and the testimony of the Church to death (cf. Matthew 24:9; Colossians 1:24). A global televised production of this alleged event, is so far removed from the context of the prophecy that it is just scary and desperate speculation on the part of Hagee and other modern day prophecy guru’s.

Days of Deception (Jeremiah 9:5): According to Hagee, Jesus’s second coming is imminent for our generation because “deception” is so rampant today in the world.

The Truth: First, this is not a global heightened level of deception taking place on planet earth in this passage, but rather Jeremiah is dealing with the gross sins or deception of his contemporaries and exhorting them on how they have broken the Mosaic covenant and therefore the covenant curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 would continue to follow them if they would not heed him. Those that were wicked and that would not heed his words would be carried off into captivity or fall by the sword (of the Chaldeans) (cf. Jeremiah 9:13-16).

Famines and Pestilence (Matthew 24:7-8): Hagee believes that the Ebola virus and AIDS fulfills this passage and thus World War III and Christ’s imminent return is near per Hagee’s view.

The Truth: Again, Hagee ignores the context of what the Olivet Discourse is all about – “the end of the [old covenant] age” (not planet earth) with the destruction of its Temple that Christ and the disciples are talking about! Therefore, all of the signs mentioned here would be fulfilled in their contemporary “this generation” (AD 30 – AD 70) (Matthew 24:1-34). I will demonstrate how these signs were fulfilled prior to AD 70 later in this article.

Earthquakes (Amos 1:2; Zechariah 14): Per this passage, Hagee believes that the increasing earthquakes today are signs of an imminent return of Christ which will lead to one large earthquake predicted in Amos 1(?) which will get everyone’s attention.

The Truth: The passage addresses a previous earthquake in Uzziah’s day but I don’t see anything in this text which suggests a future to us planet attention type earthquake predicted.

Perhaps Hagee is also appealing to a hyper-literal interpretation of Zechariah 14 once again. Here the earthquake in Uzziah’s day is mentioned within the context of Jesus coming and the Mount of Olives splitting in two (Zechariah 14:4-5). As we noted earlier, Jesus says that according to the OT scriptures (John 7:37-39=Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47; Joel 3:18) the living waters (of the Holy Spirit) which would flow from the Church (the Messianic Temple) is a spiritual fulfillment. Therefore, to literalize verses 4-7 does not flow with the context and how the NT authors understand the fulfillment of this passage. Likewise, the OT confirms a spiritual/apocalyptic/symbolic interpretation of God coming down upon the Mount of Olives, mountains and valleys being removed or spilt etc… (Isaiah 31:4; Micah 1:3-4; Habakkuk 3:6). A visual scene of Jerusalem shows that the Mount of Olives is an obstacle in the way to and from Jerusalem. Apocalyptic or symbolic language concerning this mountain splitting and a clear and level road being made simply means that God made a way of escape for the Christians in AD 66 by removing the apostate mountain of old covenant Jerusalem/Babylon.

Their physical flight from Jerusalem during this time (cf. Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-24= Josephus, Jewish War 2:20:1; 4:6:1; 4:7:3) is also described for us one again in the book of Revelation chapter 12. The woman clothed with the sun and crowned with 12 stars having the moon underneath her feet is the church described as the faithful or New Israel. She is giving birth to a “male child” who is not Christ, but rather other members of the collective body of the church. In the Old Testament unbelieving Israel would be in labor groaning but could only give birth to “wind” and could not bear forth a child – or give birth and bring salvation to the peoples of the earth (cf. Isaiah 26:17-18). However, faithful Israel is able to bring forth the male child and salvation for the world in one day (as we saw in Isaiah 66:6-14). This is a reference to the time of the birth pains Jesus discussed in Matthew 24:8. Old covenant Israel after the flesh would groan in pain wanting what the church had and was about to give birth as well, but because of their rejection of Christ, their womb was cursed only to give birth to wind. The sufferings and groanings of the Church were momentary and would bring forth salvation to the world. Here in Isaiah “a male child” also represents “her children” plural. So we have Israel becoming born again and transformed through the metaphor of child birth. This is not referring to Mary giving birth to Jesus. That this male child is given a rod to rule the nations is the fulfillment of the promise given to the church in Revelation 2:27.

The child being snatched up to heaven in verse 5 is but yet another description of what we saw of the two witnesses being raised up and called up to heaven in chapter 11. Resurrection and new birth are parallel concepts describing the transformation of the church as God’s new Israel and kingdom.

The mother fleeing and being given wings to flee to the desert for 1,260 days or 3 ½ years represents the church fleeing for safety to Pella as Christ exhorted her to do in the Olivet Discourse. The Dragon represents Satan moving within his servants of the synagogue of Satan who persecuted the Christians and then sought to deceive them into staying within Jerusalem to fight the Romans.

In verse 10ff. we reach the consummation once again. Satan and the apostate heavenly civil and religious rulers of Israel are cast to the earth (cf. Matthew 24:29). These were the accusers of the brethren – a scene played out for us in the book of Acts of which the church finally receives “relief” from at Christ’s parousia (2 Thessalonians 2:14-16). This is also the time of vindication in which they will rule over their enemies through the means of Christ coming to render upon their enemies “tribulation” and “wrath” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

A mountain(s) in apocalyptic literature such as we have here in Zechariah 14 and in the book of Revelation are not always literal. For example the persecuting apostate old covenant Israel is described as “Babylon” “Egypt” “Sodom” or “The Great City” in Revelation and the early Church was exhorted to “come out of Babylon, my people…” Through the imprecatory prayers of the church they had that mountain removed once and for all “shortly” in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 (Revelation 1:1; 8:8/Matthew 21:21-22; 11:8; 18:4).

In Zechariah the mountain that was once an obstacle becomes a smooth valley and or a way of salvation/escape. Again this is the figurative language of the prophets and interpreted spiritually in the NT (Isaiah 40:34; Matthew 3:3; Luke 3:4-5). Through Christ “I am the way” and His word, the Church found salvation and deliverance from their first century persecutors – old covenant Jerusalem.

As in the Days of Noah (Matthew 24:36-39): Hagee and other Dispensational Zionists claim that our modern day wickedness such as murders, rapes, kidnappings, assaults, child abuse, parental abuse, etc… are signs that our terminal generation will see the Lord’s return. As the wickedness in Noah’s day resulted in the flood, so too Hagee reasons there is coming a worldwide Great Tribulation period.

The Truth: Of course every generation throughout world history has been characterized with such wickedness and therefore could use Hagee’s reasoning that their generation was the “terminal” one. But the facts are that Jesus’ contemporary generation was described as “perverse” and “adulterous” not just for their wickedness but specifically for rejecting their Messiah (Acts 2:40/Deuteronomy 32:5, 20; Mark 8:38-9:1; Matthew 24:34). Jesus connects the wickedness of His contemporary generation for rejecting Him with the days of Noah in Luke 17:25-28. As far as comparing a global flood with a global Great Tribulation period coming in our generation I have only two brief points. First, I believe the Bible teaches a local flood and not a global flood (and time restraints will not allow me to develop this). Secondly, the Great Tribulation is described in local terms – “There will be great distress/tribulation in the land and wrath against this people” (Luke 21:23). The Great Tribulation period is described from Jesus to take place against Israel (“the land” not the planet) and “against this people” (again the generation of Jews that rejected Him as their Messiah). And passages appealed to in the book of Revelation for a global Tribulation period quoting “earth” can and should be translated as “land” which is consistent with Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse.

Having refuted Hagee’s signs let’s now turn our attention to Jesus’ and demonstrate how they were fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation” (Matthew 24:4-34).

A Brief Exegesis of Matthew 24-25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This generation

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

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

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

“WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ”[1]

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

“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[2]

In his book Future Survival (1978) Chuck wrote,

“From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[3]

Lindsey began by admitting that a generation “was something like forty years.” Since 40 years have passed, instead of throwing in the towel on his theory, Lindsey now claims a generation could be 60-80 years. If this doesn’t sound new, it’s because it isn’t. The “expanding” of a generation is exactly what the Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses have done with their false predictions concerning “this generation.”

John Hageewrites,

“There are ten prophetic signs in Scripture that describe the world in the last days. When these ten prophetic signs occur in one generation, that generation will see the end of the age.”[ii]

And of course according to Hagee, our generation allegedly has seen all ten of these (how convenient).

Again, genea in the gospels and especially the phrase “this generation” is never used in directing the reader to a future generation but rather always to the contemporary one of Jesus’ and His first century audience. Had this been the intension of Jesus, He could have simply said, “that generation…” instead of “this generation…” So much for taking “this generation” “literally” and how it is used everywhere else in the Bible! The fact remains that all of the signs Jesus gives here in Matthew 24 were seen and fulfilled before the end of the old-covenant age in AD 70.

“False Messiahs”

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

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

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

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

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

“The Annals of Tacitus, covering the period from AD 14 to the death of Nero in AD 68, describes the tumult of the period with phrases such as “disturbances in Germany”, “commotions in Africa”, commotions in Thrace”, “insurrections in Gaul”, “intrigues among the Parthians”, “the war in Britain”, and “the war in Armenia”. Wars were fought from one end of the empire to the other. With this description we can see further fulfillment: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7)[iii]

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

“Famines”

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

“Earthquakes”

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

“Put to Death”

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

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

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

PROPHECY FULFILLMENT

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

 

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

“Abomination that causes desolation”

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

“Great Tribulation”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Heaven and earth will pass away”

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

G.K. Beale’s research indicates,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. CLASSIC AMILLENNIAL VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the ONE second coming event as is the de-creation spoken of here.
  2. PARTIAL PRETERIST VIEW: The coming of the Son of Man happened spiritually and the end of age, de-creation of verses 3, 29 and 35 are descriptive of the passing of the old covenant creation/age and establishing the new by AD 70.
  3. FULL PRETERIST VIEW (Synthesis of 1-2 “Reformed and always reforming”): The coming of the Son of Man is the ONE second coming event (as is the de-creation spoken of in verses 3, 29, 35) whereby Christ came spiritually to the old covenant creation/age in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 and establish the new.

Conclusion on Zionist “Signs” Theology:

We have examined the Dispensational Zionist claims that our generation is the “terminal generation” experiencing the “last days” signs, and therefore expecting an imminent return of Jesus and have found that sound exegesis of these signs and end of the world type language points us to a first century AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” fulfillment. The Dispensational Zionist interpretation of Matthew 24-25 is using a sensationalistic newspaper approach and not a grammatical historical hermeneutic.

We now turn our attention to the Dispensational Zionist “in the (Holy) Land” Theology.

Dispensational Zionist “In the (Holy) Land” Theology

Dispensationalism argues that Israel under the Abrahamic covenant has not yet inherited all of the land promised by God, in spite of God clearly saying otherwise (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:20-21; Joshua 11:23; 21:41-45; Nehemiah 9:21-25). The objection from Dispensationalists is that Israel has not inherited the land “forever.” Sometimes in Scripture “forever” means forever and other times it simply means a long time. Under the old-covenant God’s promises made to Israel concerning the land had not failed to come to pass. In type and shadow form, through the 40 year reigns of David and in particularly Solomon, Israel received peace “in the land” as promised by God. All the blessings under the old-covenant were realized “in the land.” However, in the N.T. we discover that the anti-type of the Abrahamic promise is found in the gradual 40 year “this generation” pre-parousia reign of Jesus’ and the reception of a “heavenly country” that was “about to come” in the first century (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14YLT). The N.T. emphasis is not “in the land” but rather in a person – “in Christ” through faith. For “in Christ” are all the promises of God realized (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20). The life within the seed and core of the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in the “seed” of Jesus Christ and all those who believe in Him (Jew or Gentile) and become the true new covenant Jew or Jerusalem of God (Galatians 3:6-29; 4:21-31; Romans 2:28-29). Dispensational Zionism teaches that the millennium temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy is a literal temple with animal sacrifices to be performed while Jesus is literally reigning in Jerusalem for a literal thousand years. However, according to the Apostle Paul in Romans and Galatians along with the writer to Hebrews, Christ’s sacrifice is a once and for all atonement which perfects God’s people and the animal sacrifices pointed in type and shadow form to Christ’s sacrifice! Again, the Apostle Paul quotes Ezekiel’s millennial temple prophecy and clearly says that it is the Church that fulfills Ezekiel 37:27/2Corinthians 6:16 (cf. 1 Peter 2:4-6; Ephesians 2:19-22). Jesus says that “according to the Scriptures” (cf. ex: Ezekiel 47), from out of a Christian’s heart will come “living waters” (cf. John 7:37-39). Christians are the New Jerusalem, New Creation and Bride which came down from heaven when the old-covenant Jerusalem/Adulterous Bride was destroyed “shortly” and soon” in Revelation 17-22:6-7, 10-12, 20. This heavenly City that comes down from heaven is NOT a “literal” city! The purpose of the establishment and maturity of the New Jerusalem (the Church) in A.D. 70 is that the Church is now prepared to bring the Nations of the world “healing” through the gospel. The reason there is evangelism and “sinners” being born and converted in the New Creation is because it is a description of what is taking place in the New- Covenant age today – Ezekiel 47; Isaiah 65-66/2 Corinthians 5:17; John 8:38; Revelation 22:1-17. Imposing a sensationalist “literal hermeneutic” within the genre of a vision and apocalyptic literature, is a disaster of great proportions for the Church and one that does have political ripples and consequences in how we as a country founded upon Biblical principles understand our foreign policy!

In this section I want to analyze the various “proof texts” that Dispensationalists use to support that 1948 was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. I will focus mainly on the writings of John Hagee and Thomas Ice. We also examine the empty claims of Dispensationalists that OT prophetic material made to Israel cannot be applied or fulfilled in the Church age.

Now days most Dispensationalists are either abandoning the system or going further into it by embracing the “Christian Zionist Movement.” This movement seeks to try and persuade Jews from around the world to move back to Israel in order to usher in the Great Tribulation period and hasten the pre-tribulation “rapture” of the Church. Newspaper prophetic sensation John Hagee has built a foreign policy advocacy organization called Christians United for Israel CUFI) around this false doctrine and false interpretation of Scripture. He is pushing for a pre-emptive war with Iran to quicken the “rapture.” In 2006 while lobbying in Washington Hagee was clear in his agenda, “The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West,” he said. This was supposed to be a step in the right direction as allegedly mapped out in the Bible, “a biblically prophesied End Time confrontation…which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation…and the Second Coming of Christ.” Hagee not only uses guilt manipulation techniques on the members of his church and T.V. audiences to tithe to his “ministries” through his false prosperity gospel,” but also uses guilt manipulation to push his false Dispensational Zionism doctrine. Hagee clearly insists that if you are not on board with him and his alleged Holy Spirit led agenda of believing 1948 was a fulfillment of prophecy, and that God has a literal real estate “forever” in the literal city of Jerusalem today, any other view for a Christian to embrace “sin.”[15] It is sad that this false doctrinal system/gospel of Hagee’s is tolerated among Evangelicals and it is more scary when he is allowed to lecture and manipulate our politicians and give them “altar calls” while pushing this agenda as part of his “gospel” of redemption etc…

In Deuteronomy 4:25-31; 28 – 29; and Leviticus 26, God lays forth His covenant with Israel of blessings and cursings. If Israel obeyed God they would be blessed in the land and if they disobeyed, they would be “scattered” among the Nations. The condition for their re-gathering back into the land was repentance and faith. Even though this is clearly laid out in the texts above, Dispensational Premillennialists such as Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum assert (in order to defend their system that 1948 was a prophetic gathering), that Scripture actually addresses two re-gatherings of Israel in the land: 1) in un-belief, and 2) another re-gathering in belief. Thomas Ice quoting his favorite dispensationalist theologian states,

“The re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 has not only thrown a wrench in amillennial thinking, but it has also thrown a chink in much of the premillennial thinking. Amazingly, some premillennialists have concluded that the present state of Israel has nothing to do with the fulfillment of prophecy. For some reason the present state somehow does not fit their scheme of things, and so the present state becomes merely an accident of history. On what grounds is the present state of Israel so dismissed? The issue that bothers so many premillennialists is the fact that not only have the Jews returned in unbelief with regard to Jesus, but the majority of the ones who have returned are not even Orthodox Jews. In fact the majority are atheists or agnostics. Certainly, then, Israel does not fit in with all those passages dealing with the return. For it is a regenerated nation that the Bible speaks of, and the present state of Israel hardly fits that picture. So on these grounds, the present state is dismissed as not being a fulfillment of prophecy.

However, the real problem is the failure to see that the prophets spoke of two international returns. First there was to be a regathering in unbelief in preparation for judgment, namely the judgment of the Tribulation. This was to be followed by a second worldwide regathering in faith in preparation for blessing, namely the blessings of the messianic age. Once it is recognized that the Bible speaks of two such regatherings, it is easy to see how the present state of Israel fits into prophecy.”[16]

Ice then seeks to give us some proof texts for this position,

“In 1948 when the modern state of Israel was born, it not only became an important stage-setting development but began an actual fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies about an international regathering of the Jews in unbelief before the judgment of the Tribulation. Such a prediction is found in the following Old Testament passages: Ezekiel 20:33-38; 22:17-22; 36:22-24; 38-39; Isaiah 11:11-12; Zephaniah 2:1-2 presupposes such a setting.” (Ice, Ibid.).

Scripture simply does not teach a prophetic “re-gathering in unbelief” and that is why other dispensationalists are struggling with this position! Let’s briefly address some of these passages that Dispensationalists use as their “proof texts”:

Ezekiel 20:33-38

The context of this passage is dealing with the Babylonian captivity and has nothing to do with Israel being re-gathered back into the land in 1948! The context is that Israel was being unfaithful to God and wanted to be like the heathen nations around them. Therefore, God would take Israel out of her land in the wilderness (symbolic of the Babylonian captivity) and “purge” the wicked there so that the unbelievers would perish as God had purged the unbelieving generation under Moses in the wilderness. So this text actually teaches the opposite of what Dispensationalists say, because it would be the unbelievers who would be purged and die outside the land and not enter it. How is this passage teaching us that unbelievers would be re-gathered in the land of Israel in 1948 “in unbelief” is baffling to say the least!

Paul combines and applies both Isaiah 52:11 and Ezekiel 20:34 to the Church age in 2 Corinthians 6:17 which Dispensationalists claim cannot be done in any way.

Ezekiel 22:18-22

Again, the context is the “near” (vs.3-4) judgment of Israel by means of the Babylonians in B.C. 586 for their sins of spilling innocent blood and idolatry. The unbelievers are “dross” and would “melt.” This prophecy has nothing to do with God gathering Israel in the land in 1948 as a covenant gathered blessing, and it definitely does not teach a gathering of Israel in unbelief in 1948 either!

Ezekiel 36:22-24

The immediate context of this chapter is describing Israel’s sins of idolatry and her sins of blood guilt. For these reasons she was scattered into the Gentile nations and made slaves. As slaves they remained unfaithful to God and were thus a poor witness of Jehovah to the nations in which they were scattered. But God for His own great name sake would cleanse them from their sins and call them back into their land to rebuild the waste places. In type form, this prophecy (and chapter 37) was fulfilled under the restoration of Nehemiah and Ezra when the people came back into the land in repentance and began re-building the waste places of Jerusalem. There is NO contextual evidence whatsoever that there was a “re-gathering” of Israel in “unbelief” let alone any suggestion whatsoever that 1948 is the focus of this prophecy!

Ezekiel 37, 40-48

John Hageewrites of this chapter,

MORE THAN 2,600 years ago the prophet Ezekiel prophesied the resurrection of Israel from the Gentile graves in the lands to which she had been scattered, predicting the rebirth of Israel, which took place May 14, 1948.”[17]

“I want to make it clear that I do not believe that Ezekiel’s vision has anything to do with the resurrection of the dead saints of the church.” (Ibid.).

“The dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision represent the nation of Israel during the Dispora, beginning in A.D. 70 (Ezkek. 37:11). Gradually the bones came together, and the sinews and flesh came upon them.” (ibid. 130-131).

And popular Calvary Chapel Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie has sought to get his piece of this sensationalistic money making pie as well,

“On more than one occasion in Scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree (see Judg. 9:11; Hos. 9:10; Joel 1:7-8). I believe that Mark 13:28-29, along with many other Scripture passages, such as Ezekiel 37-39, speak of the rebirth of Israel—the regathering of God’s people. When the nation of Israel comes back into the existence, Jesus was stating prophetically, it is a supersign that His coming is near.”[18]

Of course some Dispensationalists disagree with Lindsey, LaHaye, Smith, Laurie, Courson, Ice, etc., that Ezekiel 37 has anything to do with 1948,

“The Israelites residing in Palestine today are not the fulfillment of this prophecy.”[19]

Everyone agrees that the resurrection depicted in Ezekiel 37 is a “national” resurrection. In other words Israel experienced national and covenantal “death” when she was scattered from her land and experiences a “resurrection” when she is restored back into the land. Again, like chapter 36, this prophecy was partially fulfilled through typology when the two houses of Israel came back into the land under the restoration and leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, both chapters contain elements of Messiah’s work of salvation (the anti-type) with the coming Messianic New Covenant.

Ezekiel 37:22-28 discusses the coming New Covenant King/Shepherd who would cause: 1) His people to possess the land, 2) establish an everlasting covenant of peace with them, 3) multiply them, and 4) “sanctify” them by establishing His “sanctuary” and “tabernacle” in their midst forever. Oddly in seeking to idolatrize the Dispensational Zionist system, this group actually believes that promises made to OT Israel (such as these NC promises) cannot be fulfilled in and through the NT Church. These are amazing claims and anyone reading the NT can know without a shadow of doubt that they are false. Let’s examine them. Keith Mathison provides a helpful list of quotes from some of Dispensationalism’s leading theologians on this point:

Lewis Sperry Chafer. “That the Christian now inherits the distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture.”

Dwight Pentecost. “…it would be impossible for the church to fulfill God’s promises made to Israel.”

Charles C. Ryrie. “The church is not fulfilling in any sense the promises to Israel.”[20]

Are these claims really true?

“OLD TESTAMENT TITLES AND ATTRIBUTES OF ISRAEL WHICH ARE, IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, REFERRED TO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (This section is taken from The Church Is Israel Now, By Charles D. Provan – special thanks to Michael Bennett for sharing this):

THE BELOVED OF GOD
A) Israel Is Beloved Of God:
Ex. 15:13, Deut. 33:3, Ezra 3:11
B) Disobedient Israel Is Not Beloved Of God:
Lev. 3:16, Jer. 12:8, Jer. 16:5, Hos. 9:15
C) Christians Are Beloved Of God:
Rom. 9:25, Eph. 5:1, Col. 3:12, 1 John 3:1

THE CHILDREN OF GOD
A) Israel Are The Children Of God:
Ex. 4:22, Deut. 14:1, Isa. 1:2,4, Isa. 1:2,4, Isa. 63:8, Hos. 11:1
B) Disobedient Israel Are Not The Children Of God:
Deut. 32:5, John 8:39, 42, 44
C) Christians Are The Children Of God:
John 1:12, John 11:52, Rom. 8:14,16, 2 Cor. 6:18, Gal. 3:26, Gal. 4:5,6,7, Phil. 2:15, 1 John 3:1

THE FIELD OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Field Of God:
Jer. 12:10
B) Christians Are The Field Of God:
1 Cor. 3:9

THE FLOCK OF GOD AND OF THE MESSIAH
A) Israel Is The Flock Of God And Of The Messiah:
Psa. 78:52, Psa. 80:1, Isa. 40:11, Jer. 23:1,2,3, Jer. 31:10, Eze. 34:12,15,16, Mic. 5:4, Zec. 10:3
B) Christians Are The Flock Of God And Of The Messiah:
John 10:14,16, Heb. 13:20, 1 Pet. 2:25, 1 Pet. 5:2,3

THE HOUSE OF GOD
A) Israel Is The House Of God:
Num. 12:7
B) Christians Are The House Of God:
1 Tim. 3:15, Heb. 3:2,5,6, Heb. 10:21, 1 Pet. 4:17

THE KINGDOM OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Kingdom Of God:
Ex. 19:6, 1 Chr. 17:14, 1 Chr. 28:5
B) Disobedient Israel Is Not The Kingdom Of God:
Matt. 8:11,12, Matt. 21:43
C) Christians Are The Kingdom Of God:
Rom. 14:17, 1 Cor. 4:20, Col. 1:13, Col. 4:11, Rev. 1:6

THE PEOPLE OF GOD
A) The Israelites Are The People Of God:
Ex. 6:7, Deut. 27:9, 2 Sam. 7:23, Jer. 11:4
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The People Of God:
Hos. 1:9, Jer. 5:10
C) The Christians Are The People Of God:
Rom. 9:25, 2 Cor. 6:16, Eph. 4:12, Eph. 5:3, 2 Th. 1:10, Tit. 2:14

THE PRIESTS OF GOD
A) The Israelites Are The Priests Of God:
Ex. 19:6
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Priests Of God:
1 Sam. 2:28,30, Lam. 4:13,16, Eze. 44:10,13, Hos. 4:6, Mal. 2:2,4,8,9
C) The Christians Are The Priests Of God:
1 Pet. 2:5,9, Rev. 1:6, Rev. 5:10

THE VINEYARD OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Vineyard Of God:
Isa. 5:3,4,5,7, Jer. 12:10
B) Christians Are The Vineyard Of God:
Luke 20:16

THE WIFE (OR BRIDE) OF GOD
A) Israel Is The Wife (Or Bride) Of God:
Isa. 54:5,6, Jer. 2:2, Eze. 16:32, Hos. 1:2
B) Disobedient Israelites Is Not The Wife (Or Bride) Of God:
Jer. 3:8, Hos. 2:2
C) The Christians Are The Wife (Or Bride) Of God:
2 Cor. 11:2, Eph. 5:31,32

THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
A) The Israelites Are The Children Of Abraham:
2 Chr. 20:7, Psa. 105:6, Isa. 41:8
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Children Of Abraham:
John 8:39, Rom. 9:6,7, Gal. 4:25,30
C) The Christians Are The Children Of Abraham:
Rom. 4:11,16, Gal. 3:7,29, Gal. 4:23,28,31

THE CHOSEN PEOPLE
A) The Israelites Are The Chosen People:
Deut. 7:7, Deut. 10:15, Deut. 14:2, Isa. 43:20,21
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Chosen People:
Deut. 31:17, 2 Ki. 17:20, 2 Chr. 25:7, Psa. 78:59, Jer. 6:30, Jer. 7:29, Jer. 14:10
C) The Christians Are The Chosen People:
Col. 3:12, 1 Pet. 2:9

THE CIRCUMCISED
A) The Israelites Are The Circumcised:
Gen. 17:10, Jud. 15:18
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not The Circumcised:
Jer. 9:25,26, Rom. 2:25,28, Phil. 3:2
C) The Christians Are The Circumcised:
Rom. 2:29, Phil. 3:3, Col. 2:11

ISRAEL
A) Israel is Israel
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not Israelites:
Num. 15:30,31, Deut. 18:19, Acts 3:23, Rom. 9:6
C) The Christians Are Israel:
John 11:50,51,52, 1 Cor. 10:1, Gal. 6:15,16, Eph. 2:12,19

JERUSALEM
A) Jerusalem Is the City And Mother Of Israel:
Psa. 149:2, Isa. 12:6, Isa. 49:18,20,22, Isa. 51:18, Lam. 4:2
B) Jerusalem Is The City And Mother Of Christians:
Gal. 4:26, Heb. 12:22

THE JEWS
A) Israelites Are Jews
Ezr. 5:1, Jer. 34:8,9, Zech. 8:22,23
B) Disobedient Israelites Are Not Jews:
Rom. 2:28, Rev. 2:9, Rev. 3:9
C) The Christians Are Jews:
Rom. 2:29

THE NEW COVENANT
A) The New Covenant Is With Israel:
Jer. 31:31,33
B) The New Covenant Is With The Christians:
Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb. 8:6,8,10

AN OLIVE TREE
A) Israel Is An Olive Tree:
Jer. 11:16, Hos. 14:6
B) The Christians Are An Olive Tree:
Rom. 11:24

OLD TESTAMENT VERSES REFERRING TO ISRAEL WHICH ARE QUOTED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AS REFERRING TO THE CHRISTIANS

QUOTE #1
Lev. 26:11,12, Eze. 37:27, 2 Cor. 6:16

QUOTE #2
Deut. 30:12-14, Rom. 10:6-8

QUOTE #3
Deut. 31:6, Heb. 13:5

QUOTE #4
Deut. 32:36, Psa. 135:14, Heb. 10:30

QUOTE #5
Psa. 22:22, Heb. 2:12

QUOTE#6
Psa. 44:22, Rom. 8:36

QUOTE#7
Psa. 95:7-11, Heb. 3:7-11

QUOTE#8
Psa. 130:8, Tit. 2:14

QUOTE#9
Isa. 28:16, Rom. 10:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:6

QUOTE #10
Isa. 49:8, 2 Cor. 6:2

QUOTE #11
Isa. 52:7, Rom. 10:15

QUOTE #12
Isa. 54:1, Gal. 4:27

QUOTE#13
Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:8-12

QUOTE#14
Hos. 1:10; 2:23, Rom. 9:25-26, 1 Pet. 2:10

QUOTE#15
Hos. 13:14, 1 Cor. 15:55

QUOTE #16
Joel. 2:32, Rom. 10:13

Dispensationalists believe that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel in such passages as Isaiah 11, 35, 43, 44, 61; Ezekiel 11, 28, 34, 37; Jeremiah 16, 18, were made exclusively to Israel and therefore cannot be fulfilled in and through the Church “in any sense.” Dispensational Zionist John Hagee believes these passages motivate the Church to get Jews around the world to re-inhabit Israel today in order to hasten the “rapture” of the Church and usher in the last days World War III event.[21] However, the context of these passages and how they are understood by the NT authors, make it clear that these “gathering in the land” promises were fulfilled 70 years after the Babylonian captivity under the restoration ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah (in type or partial fulfillment form), which pointed to them being ultimately fulfilled in Christ and through the Church (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Dispensationalism argues that Israel under the Abrahamic covenant has not yet inherited all of the land promised by God, in spite of God clearly saying otherwise (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:20-21; Joshua 11:23; 21:41-45; Nehemiah 9:21-25). The objection from Dispensationalists is that Israel has not inherited the land “forever.” Sometimes in Scripture “forever” means forever and other times it simply means a long time. In the passages listed above, God’s promises made to Israel concerning the land had not failed to come to pass. Indeed in type and shadow form, through the 40 year reigns of David and in particularly Solomon, Israel received peace in all the land that God had promised to give Israel. All the blessings under the Old Covenant were realized “in the land.” However, in the NT we discover that the anti-type and “true” fulfillments of the Abrahamic promise is found in the gradual 40 year “this generation” pre-parousia reign of Jesus and the reception of a “heavenly country” that was “about to come” in the first century (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14YLT). The writer to Hebrews (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) applies the New Covenant Promised Land, City, Tabernacle/Temple, Mount Zion, Sabbath/Rest/Inheritance and Kingdom promises made to Old Covenant Israel to the Church with the reception of these promises to be fulfilled at Christ’s “in a very little while” coming in which He would “not tarry” (Heb. 1-10:37). The NT emphasis is not “in the land” but rather in a person – “in Christ” through faith. For “in Christ” and through the Church, are all the OT promises of God realized and fulfilled (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20).

The New Covenant promises

Since the gathering back into the land and New Covenant prophecies of Jeremiah 30-31parallel much of the same historical re-gathering and New Covenant material found in Ezekiel 37, we should probably examine the blatantly unbiblical comments of dispensationalists who claim that the New Covenant promises made to Israel are not being fulfilled in the Church. Dwight Pentecost writes,

“the Church cannot be presently fulfilling the New Covenant.” John Walvoord agrees, saying that “the New Covenant is with Israel and awaits the second coming of Christ for its fulfillment.” (Mathison, Ibid. 28)

Pentecost concedes that if the Church has been redeemed with the blood of Christ under the New Covenant, then the other covenants must also be applied to the Church and that would mean that the Bible does not teach an earthly millennium,

“The whole covenant takes on importance, in addition, for amillennialism attempts to show that the church is fulfilling Israel’s covenants because the church today is redeemed by the blood. If the church fulfills this covenant, she may also fulfill the other covenants made with Israel and there is no need for an earthly millennium.”[22]

Charles Ryrie claims that the Bible condemns Dispensatinalism if the New Covenant is being fulfilled by the Church,

“If the church is fulfilling Israel’s promises as contained in the new covenant or anywhere in the Scriptures, then [dispensational] premillennialism is condemned.”[23]

These are obviously startling statements to say the very least. How can any Christian claim that he or she has not been redeemed by the blood of Christ’s blood under the New Covenant when the Scriptures are so clear that we are? The answer is that these men have become so engrossed in defending their eschatological system, that this has forced them into rejecting foundational elements to the gospel and indeed the Christian faith.

One King

Jesus began fulfilling the Davidic Covenant or “One King” prophecies of (Ezek. 37:22; Jer. 30:9) at His ascension (Heb. 1-2). Every element that is required for a King to reign is given to Christ through the Church. He was seated on a throne and rules through a City and Nation—that is the Church (1 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 12; Gals. 4). The sending of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Davidic and New Covenant is the focus of attention in (37:24ff.).

One Shepherd with one flock

Jesus would be Israel’s “one shepherd” who’s sheep would walk in His judgments and observe His teachings and do them (Ezk. 37:24). This prophecy is clearly fulfilled in the words of Jesus in John 10 and 17. Obviously OT promises made to Israel are being applied to the Church–the New Covenant fold of God! In the striking and sacrifice of the True Shepherd, the everlasting New Covenant (v. 25) seals the sheep’s/Churches salvation (Mark 14:27; Mt. 26:28; Heb. 8, 12:24, 13:20).

A New Covenant Temple, Peace and Sacrifices

The New Covenant of peace and temple motif began with Christ sending the Holy Spirit within His people. It would be competed and matured when He returned in AD 70 for them. At this time God placed His glory and everlasting peace “within” the Church who is the ultimate New Covenant fulfillment of the Temple promises (Hag. 2:9/Jn. 14). Christ and the Church are the fulfillment of Israel’s New Covenant Tabernacle/Sanctuary/Temple promises with Christ being the chief corner stone (Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22-23/“the builders rejected”/Acts 4 “YOU rejected”/Mt. 21:33-45/1Pet. 2:4 -10; Ezk. 37:27/2 Cor. 6:16; Ephs. 2:19-20; Amos 9:11-12/Acts 15:7-19). God’s New Covenant/Temple/Kingdom plans for Israel were not postponed because of Jesus’ rejection and sacrifice (per Dispensationalism), but rather this rejection of the nation and belief of the remnant and the Gentiles established and began fulfilling God’s Kingdom promises made to Israel with Christ’s return in AD 70 bringing them to full maturity. While here in Ezekiel 37 and on the temple motif alone, we see Paul quoting Ezekiel 37:27 in 2 Corinthians 6:16 and applying this prophecy to the Church! But Dispensationalists seem oblivious to the hermeneutics of Paul and remain adamant that this is somehow a prophetic description of a “literal” rebuilt temple in the millennial age,

“These promises anticipate the detailed plans for God’s new sanctuary (chaps. 40-43). This literal structure will serve as a visual object lesson to Israel and the nations of God’s presence in the midst of His people.” (Walvoord & Zuck, Ibid., 1299).

BUT Paul claims that the Church is the fulfillment of these temple/millennial promises and says nothing about a literal “rebuilt” temple in order to fulfill Israel’s millennial promises thousands of years off in the future!

One of the most disturbing elements within Dispensationalism’s “literal hermeneutic,” is that within this literal rebuilt temple, animal sacrifices will be re-instituted. Some Dispensationalists such as Scofield gave the farm away by claiming that it is possible that the sacrifices in Ezekiel’s temple prophecy are not to be interpreted literally,

“The references to sacrifices is not to be taken literally, in view of the putting away of such offerings, but is rather to be regarded as a presentation of the worship of redeemed Israel, in her own land and in the millennial temple, using the terms with which the Jews were familiar in Ezekiel’s day”[24]

But obviously it only stands to reason, that if the sacrifices are not to be interpreted literally, then neither should the altar or the entire temple structure itself (in which theses sacrifices are offered) to be interpreted literally!

Unfortunately, most Dispensationalists seek to defend that these are literal animal sacrifices taking place after Christ has returned to Jerusalem and sits on his literal throne,

“However no difficulty exists if one understands the proper function of these sacrifices. First, animal sacrifices never took away human sin; only the sacrifice of Christ can do that (Heb. 10:1-4, 10). In Old Testament times Israelites were saved by grace through faith, and the sacrifices helped restore a believer’s fellowship with God. Second, even after the church began, Jewish believers did not hesitate to take part in the temple worship (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:42) and even to offer sacrifices (Acts 21:26). They could do this because they viewed the sacrifices as memorials of Christ’s death.” (Walvoord & Zuck, Ibid., 1305).

First of all, the writer of this statement (Charles H. Dyer) fails to acknowledge that the writer to the Hebrews applies the sacrifice of Christ’s blood of the New Covenant to the Church thus “condemning” (Ryrie’s term) Dispensationalism altogether (Heb. 7-10, 12).

Secondly, I appreciate the admission by Mr. Dyer, that Jewish Christians were obeying the Old Covenant Mosaic Law, because this is what Jesus clearly taught they should do in Matthew 5:17-19 before He fulfilled it all. Here Jesus instructs that ALL the jots and tittles of the Mosaic Old Covenant Law are to be obeyed UNTIL: 1) heaven and earth passes away, which is equivalent to the time period of when 2) all the Law would be fulfilled. Dispensationalist Thomas Ice seems oblivious to what this text says and actually cites it to claim that the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in Christ’s first coming,

“The Mosaic Covenant…” “…was fulfilled through the ministry of Jesus Christ during His first advent (Matthew 5:17). (Ice, Charting the End Times, Ibid., 79).

But clearly the Old Covenant Law was not all fulfilled in Christ’s first coming, but was binding and should be obeyed until heaven and earth passes away or it is all fulfilled. But since the futurist interprets “heaven and earth” here as the planet having not yet vanished, this necessitates that the Church today should be obeying all of the Mosaic Law—including the animal sacrifices. However, the truth is that the Christian Jews did participate in temple worship and animal sacrifices during a particularly unique period (“this generation” roughly AD 30-70) in which the Old Covenant was still being fulfilled by Jesus and the New was reaching its full maturity. According to the writer to the Hebrews, the Old Covenant Law was still in the process of “aging” and would soon vanish” at Christ’s “in a very little while” return in which the “about to” reception of the New Jerusalem/Creation would take place (Heb. 8:13-10:37-13:14YLT). This all took place soon” when the Old Covenant Mosaic Temple was destroyed at Christ’s return in AD 70. Dispensationalists (and most futurists) concede that soon” in (Hebrews 8:13) is a literal time statement that most likely applies to AD 70,

“…the author’s words suggest that he recalled the prophecy of Jesus that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed (Matt. 24:1-2). Probably this prophecy was fulfilled soon after Hebrews was written. If so, it was a dramatic confirmation of the writer’s thesis about the Old Covenant.”[26]

But unfortunately once in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, the abomination and desolation of this same first century temple Jesus and the disciples are looking at and discussing, becomes an alleged rebuilt one thousands of years removed from them. How you might ask? Apparently all it takes is a wave from the eisegetical wand of Dispensational theology. And although the literally “soon” vanishing of the Old Covenant in (Hebrews 8:13) applies to the temple being destroyed in AD 70, Christ’s coming in a “very little while” in which He would “not delay” in (Hebrews 10:37) is spiritualized away by these “literalists” and finds no contextual harmony with their literal interpretation of “soon” in (Hebrews 8:13)!

Once the Mosaic Law was all fulfilled and it “soon vanished” at Christ’s imminent return in AD 70, there is no Scriptural support for the statement that “The Old Covenant Is Not Dead.” (Hagee, In Defense, Ibid., 158). God indeed has kept His vows and has not altered His covenant promises, sending Jesus in a literally “some standing here,” “this generation,” “soon,” “in a very little while” time period in order to fulfill all of Israel’s promises by AD 70. For Dispensationalism to claim otherwise and return to the prophecies contained in the prophets and Old Covenant Law for support of another re-built temple with animal sacrifices, is a complete reversal of what the book of Hebrews teaches. The writer instructs us that redemption moves from physical Old Covenant types and shadows to their spiritual New Covenant substances and “true” fulfillments in Christ and through the Church. The writer says nothing about all of the Old Covenant Law being fulfilled in Christ’s earthly ministry, and neither does he teach that it is “not dead” and will somehow come back to life again thousands of years off in the future with another re-built temple for Israel! These concepts are literally READ INTO THE PAGES OF THE NT with millions of Evangelical Christians asleep and refusing to be Bereans and hold these men accountable!

Dispensationalists claim that other OT passages such as Isaiah 66:20-23 teach the literal temple and sacrifice motif to take place in our future. And yet Paul references this passage in Romans 15:16 to demonstrate that he was a priest (in the temple predicted by Isaiah) offering up as a sacrifice the Gentiles (not literal animals). The prophecies in Isaiah that Dispensationalists reference as “proof texts” concerning the Jews and Gentiles coming to the “last days” Holy Mountain/Mount Zion/Temple, Jesus and the NT authors identify as being spiritual and fulfilled in the Church (John 4; Hebrews 12; Ephesians 2; 1 Peter 2).

Gog and Magog / Armageddon Now Theology

Dispensational Zionist John Hagee is known as “Dr. Armageddon” because many of his critics not only have discerned that he wants Armageddon to take place in his lifetime, but that he is willing to be a very active participate in bringing it about. At a July 19, 2006 CUFI event in Washington D.C., Hagee gives his prophetic scenario for Israel and the U.S.:

“The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West … a biblically prophesied end time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation … and [the] Second Coming.”[3]

Hagee writes,

“We are on a countdown to crisis. The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty. The war of Ezekiel 38-39 could begin before this book gets published (MJS- don’t worry it won’t and it will get “revised” once again). Israel and America must confront Iran’s nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons.”[viii]

And,

“No prophetic scripture is more crystal clear than Ezekiel’s vivid and specific description of the coming massive war in the Middle East that will sweep the world toward Armageddon. Ezekiel’s war as described in chapters 38 and 39 will consist of an Arab coalition of nations led by Russia for the purpose of exterminating the Jews of Israel and controlling the city of Jerusalem.”[ix]

Of the battle of Armageddon as described in Revelation 16, Wal-Mart sensation Tim LaHaye writes of China’s alleged involvement,

“…China is already moving in the political direction that will make it possible for her to do what Revelation indicates she will during the Tribulation: march over the Euphrates River to participate in the Battle of Armageddon. Such an action would have been considered impossible just sixty years ago. Today it is not only feasible, but with her Communist-inspired obsession to take over all of Asia and perhaps even the entire world, it may be feasible. Just another suggestion that “the time is near.”[x]

As John writes towards the end of his “this generation” (Matthew 24:34) the prophetic things of Revelation (which include this battle), were to be fulfilled “shortly” (Revelation 1:1) not 2,000+ years away.

Sound alike “hermeneutics”

Like the other imaginary and embarrassing elements to Dispensational Zionism, is the belief that Russia will invade Israel because Ezkiel 38:2 and 39:1 use the Hebrew words rosh (which sounds like Russia) and Meshech (which sounds like Moscow). The other reasons are that Russia has some ancient cities residing in its domain that were ancient cities recorded in Ezekiel. But none of these other cities “sound like” their modern counterparts like rosh (Russia) and Mesech (Moscow) allegedly do. Obviously this sound alike word game of “hermeneutics” is a “make up the interpretive rules as you go” game that is being plaid fast and loose with God’s Word.

Ezekiel 38-39 Past Typological War / Revelation 20:7-9 Time of the End Anti-type War

Men like James Jordan, Gary DeMar[4] and David Lowman believe the battle of Gog and Magog was fulfilled during the time of Esther when Haman gathered the nations at that time to come and attack Israel but were defeated by God. In this view such parallels as these can be seen:

  • “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.
  • 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.
  • Esther and Ezekiel’s enemies from the north both contain Persia and Ethiopia.
  • In a very short battle [in Esther] the Israelites destroy Haman’s army killing nearly 100,000 despite being greatly out-manned.
  • In fact, both passages state that the Jews were attacked by all of Persia’s provinces.”[5]
  • “DeMar argues well for parallel boundaries between the Persian Empire in Esther’s day and Gog/Magog and her allies in Ezekiel’s vision.
  • 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.
  • The Agag-Gog connection is very intriguing, where Haman (the enemy of Esther) is shown to be an “Agagite” and even a “Gogite” in some manuscripts. That the invaders in Ezekiel’s vision would be buried in the Valley of Hamon-Gog only adds to the intrigue.”[6]

Another credible view which again sees this as a past historical yet symbolic and typological reference being used in Revelation is given by William Hendriksen,

“The expression ‘God 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 centre 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.

The book of Revelation uses this period of affliction and woe as a symbol of the final attack of Satan and his hordes upon the Church.”[7]

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 in symbolical or type/anti-type fashion to describe the end time battle to close the old covenant age and liberation of the new covenant Israel of God. And it appears that Jesus is using the typological “abomination that causes desolation” and “tribulation” under Antiochus Epiphanes which was severe and brief, to describe the final anti-type fulfillment desolation, wrath, and tribulation that would be unleashed upon the land of the Jews during AD 66 – 70 (Matthew 24:15-34/Luke 21:20-32).

In these two views, John is using the symbolism of a past battle of Gog and Magog to depict a future (but “shortly” “at hand” soon” “about to be”) battle for John’s day.

The use of ancient weapons to be burned

I find it interesting that John Hagee was appealing to the end time war of Zechariah 14:12, 15 because this allegedly could ONLY be describing modern day nuclear war and the results of radiation etc… But now we see that Ezekiel is describing this same end time war using ancient weapons made out of wood and other materials that can be burned (Ezek. 38:4-5; 39:9). So much for consistency.

John’s prophetic use of recapitulation – “The City” / “THE War” (Rev. 11; 16:14; 19:19; 20:7-8)

I believe the classic Amillennial view (as presented by Simon Kistemaker) is correct to equate the timing of the judgment scene and the casting of Satan into the lake of fire in 20:10 is the “presumed place” where the great harlot is burned with fire in 17:16. Kistemaker also affirms that this takes place “at the same time” the beast and false prophet are cast into the fiery lake of 19:20.[29] He also sees that there is only one final war or end time judgment in Revelation and it is consistently referred to in John’s use of the Greek phrase “to gather them for the war” in (Rev. 16:14; 19:19; 20:8) (244-245).[30] Strimple in a debate with Gentry over the millennium makes the same point, “In 16:14 kings are called forth to the battle. In 19:19 the beast and the kings of the earth come forth to the battle. In 20:8 Satan leads his host up to the battle. It seems clear that these three texts describe not three battles but one.”[31] And yet Partial Preterists such as Mathison and Gentry understand “the war” of (Rev. 16:14), the burning of the Harlot in (Rev. 17:6) and the judgment of the false prophet and beast being thrown into lake of fire in (Rev. 19:20) as being fulfilled by AD 70.[32] We once again thank our opponents for forming our roughly 40 years millennium view and that Revelation 20:7-8 had to be fulfilled by AD 70. Consider the following:

If – “THE war” and judgment scenes of Revelation 16 – 20 are depicting ONE end time event (through typical prophetic recapitulation – Simon Kistemaker / Robert Strimple -Classic Amillennialists)…

AND – “THE war” and judgment scenes of Revelation 16-19 were fulfilled in and by AD 70, (Keith Mathison / Kenneth Gentry – Partial Preterists)

THEN – “THE war” (which is ONE and the same) and judgment scenes of Revelation 16-20 were fulfilled in and by AD 70 (Michael Sullivan – Full Preterist).

Once again we can readily see how Full Preterism is the organic development of our opponent’s views and effectively “bridges the gap” between them. Let’s go ahead and compare what “the city” or “great city” is that is associated with this end time war throughout the book of Revelation.

Revelation 11

“And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”(Rev. 11:2)

Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, we can readily connect Revelation 11:2b with Luke 21:24 (which was fulfilled in AD 70):

[A]nd they [“the nations”] will trample under foot the holy city for forty-two months. (Rev. 11:2b)

. . . Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the nations until the times of the nations [“forty-two months”] be fulfilled. (Lk. 21:24)

In both of these verses, the nations trample Jerusalem for a period of time. There is more than similarity of language here. Jesus and John prophesied the same event —an event that was “near” and that took place in Christ’s “ generation” (Lk. 21:32; Rev. 1:3; 22:10). Therefore, “forty-two months” signifies some months or years between AD 66 and 70, the years of the war that ended in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary. That was the same period of time that the angel called “a time, times, and half a time” in Daniel 12:7 and which was consummated when the power of the Old Testament “holy people” was shattered in AD 70.

Some futurists say that “the great city” (“Babylon”) in that verse was “not the earthly city of Jerusalem,” even though the verse specifically states that “the great city” was “ where also their Lord was crucified.” The historical referent is clear enough in that the “great city” is “where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8). It is Jerusalem that is guilty of the blood of the old covenant witnesses; she is, par excellence, the killer of prophets (Matt. 21:33–43; 23:34–38). In fact, Jesus said, ‘it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem’ (Luke 13:33).”[8] Compare Revelation 18:24 with Matthew 23:35.

It is also argued that “the holy city” in Revelation 11:2 cannot be Old Testament Jerusalem because that city was no longer holy after the veil was ripped in two in about AD 30. In this argument, it is implied that the holy covenant that was established with terrible and blazing fire, an earthquake, darkness, gloom, fear, trembling, whirlwind, and the staggering blast of a trumpet (Heb. 12:18–21) came to a final end in God’s sight with the tearing of the veil (which was later sewn back together). And therefore earthly Jerusalem ceased to be holy at that time.

In contrast to this futurist myth, the author of Hebrews taught that the covenant that began with momentous signs was going to end with momentous signs in the near future:

And His voice shook the earth then [at Mount Sinai], but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things [the old covenant world], in order that those things which cannot be shaken [the kingdom of Christ] may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:26–29)

The old covenant did not vanish when Christ died on the Cross (Heb. 8:13). Therefore Jerusalem was still holy after Christ died because it was still the covenant city of God, even though it was being “shaken” and was being nullified (2 Cor. 3:7, 11–12) through the age-changing power of the Cross. It was still the holy city of God even though it had become “Babylon,” “Sodom,” and “Egypt” because of its sins.

To the holy-yet-hardened Jewish nation belonged “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Rom. 3:2; 9:4). Those blessings were all still intact even after the Jews murdered the Lord and persecuted His church (1 Thess. 2:15). The unbelieving Jewish nation was still in the kingdom of God after the death and resurrection of Christ; but its days were numbered. It was soon to be cast out of the kingdom in the Parousia of Christ in the consummation of the ages (Matt. 8:12; 13:41; Gal. 4:21–31).

The tearing of the veil was a sign of the coming judgment upon that generation and its temple and world. The biblical record is clear that the old covenant law remained in force for the Jews, both believing and nonbelieving, even after the Cross, until “heaven and earth” passed away in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13; 2 Cor. 3:7–18; Matt. 5:17–19; Acts 21:20–26; 24:17).

Some also give the objection that “the great city” was called “Egypt” (Rev. 11:8), while old covenant Jerusalem/Israel was never described in Scripture as “Egypt” (226–227). But as David Chilton eloquently observed, this is to miss the forest for the trees: Commentators are generally unable to find Bible references comparing Israel (or Jerusalem) to Egypt, but this is the old problem of not being able to see the forest for the trees. For the proof is contained in the whole message of the New Testament. Jesus is constantly regarded as the new Moses (Acts 3:20–23; Heb. 3–4), the new Israel (Matt. 2:15), the new Temple (John 1:14; 2:19–21), and in fact a living recapitulation / transcendence of the entire history of the Exodus (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1–4).[9]

What about the two witnesses?

There of course has been many different views as to who these two witnesses are: 1) Enoch and Elijah, 2) Moses and Elijah, 3) Jeremiah and Elijah, 4) Joshua and Caleb, 5) Peter and Paul, 6) John the Baptist and Jesus, 7) John and his brother James, 8) Stephen and James of Zebedee and 9) Peter and James and 10) representative of the Jewish and Gentile church. Commentators are divided on if this is referring to two individuals or the two witnesses are symbolic of the churches testimony. I prefer the view that the two witnesses represent the testimony of the Church in fulfilling the Great Commission through the images of Moses (the law) and Elijah (the prophets) and then in 11:4 with the imagery of Zechariah’s two olive trees and a golden lampstand (Zech. 4:2-3) bring to bear the imagery of Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor – to be representative of the Church as a kingdom of Priests and Kings.

Chapter 10 just finished issues pertaining to the mystery (Jew / Gentile union) and the Great Commission with there being no more “delay” because the time of fulfillment was “near” during the time John was writing. In 10 we have both the old-covenant prophets and the message of the new-covenant believers through the gospel coming together as a testimony against the old-covenant apostate City for rejecting her message. Just as the 24 elders previously represent the old-covenant 12 tribes and the new-covenant 12 apostles upon which the church is built represents the fulfillment of the message of the mystery of the Church; so we have here in 11 the imagery of the two witnesses coming together bearing testimony against Jerusalem. Jesus said that the Old Testament Scriptures and Moses himself, were sufficient to condemn them (cf. John 5:45). Jesus and Paul taught no other things except that which were written in the law and the prophets (Acts 26:22; 28:23). So it is the Church as the new-covenant Israel of God (of which the old-covenant Law and Prophets bore testimony of), now condemning the old-covenant Jerusalem through the message of the gospel. Fire comes out of their mouths consuming their enemies, because the Word of God is described as “fire” (Jeremiah 23:29). This is also why the sword (also depicting the word or testimony of God) comes forth from Jesus’ mouth and how He conquers (Revelation 19:15/Hebrews 4:12). A literal interpretation of these witnesses in the midst of a self-proclaimed symbolic book is totally misguided to say the least.

These two witnesses are being described with hyperbole to represent the church in the first century as the persecuted martyrs of God first described for us in chapter 6. This same group will be consistently depicted throughout the book – even into chapter 20. Probably the best commentary on this section especially in light of the immediate context of chapter 10’s themes of the great commission, the mystery, and the message of the prophets, can be found in Colossians 1:23-29. Here we see the Apostle Paul filling up in his flesh what was still lacking in regards to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of the Church. And Paul and the Church were dying daily to the old-covenant age/law in hopes of further attaining the resurrection (Rms. 5-8; Phil. 3). The Church is now recapitulating the eschatological suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. G.K. Beale notes that the use of “body” and “bodies” still represent the church as a corporate body,

“…(the body)” could be a collective singular.” “…But we must ask why singular forms of (“the body”) in vv 8a and 9a are followed by the plural (“the bodies”) in v 9b.” “…The likely reason for the change in number is to connote the corporate nature of the witnesses.”[27]

And what of the loud voice calling the two witnesses to “come up here” and their ascent into heaven in verse 12? Is this a proof text for the literal rapture or a defense for a literal biological resurrection of corpses at the end of history? I would agree in connecting the ascent of the two witnesses with God gathering the Church into His kingdom at His parousia/coming in Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-32/1 Thessalonians 4:16-17/1 Corinthians 15. After all, this is the time of the seventh and final trumpet Revelation 11:15-19 in which 1. The dead are judged, 2. The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ,” and 3. Access into the Most Holy Place presence of God is fully granted. Clearly, this is the same end time trumpet being blown in these passages accomplishing these eschatological goals. The blowing of the trumpet had a lot of salvific and covenantal imagery connected with it. It was the blowing of the trumpet at which God gathered Israel at Mount Sinai. The anti-type being God now consummately gathering the new covenant Israel up to Mount Zion. The trumpet sounded at the Harvest time. The anti-type being this was the time of the consummative harvest and resurrection of Israel to take place at the end of the old covenant age. The trumpet would sound when the groom came for the bride. The anti-type being this was the consummation in which Christ was coming to gather His Bride the New Jerusalem. The trumpet would sound as a battle cry to bring down God’s enemies as the last and seventh trumpet brought down the walls of Jericho. The anti-type here being old covenant Jerusalem is now the enemy of God being destroyed for not heeding the churches message. However this “rapture” of the two witnesses is no more literal than fire coming out of their mouths. I will give a more detailed exposition of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 later demonstrating that a literal interpretation of this passage is also not accurate. The corporate testimony and resurrection of the two witnesses symbolically represent the resurrection and transformation of the new Israel of God – the church from the glory of the old-covenant economy to the new. This was brought about with Christ’s imminent return by AD 70.

Revelation 16

“And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” (Rev. 16:4-6).

Here we have the old exodus being used as the imagery for the coming judgments upon old covenant Jerusalem in AD 70. Again the city that is guilty of shedding the blood of the saints and prophets would be old covenant Jerusalem to be judged in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” when her house/temple would be left completely desolate (Matthew 23:30-36, 38). Only old covenant Jerusalem persecuted the OT “prophets” – obviously the Roman Catholic Church didn’t, modern day Iran or Iraq hasn’t, or any of the other imaginative theories that have evolved over the years. It is not just the blood of the OT prophets that this city and Babylon are guilty of shedding, but that of the “Apostles” or NT “prophets” Jesus would send (cf. Rev. 18:20; Matt. 23:34ff.). Since there are no more apostles (nor can be Acts 1:21ff.), and we know that although apostles such as Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Romans, it was the apostate Jews (prior to AD 70) that instigated them to do so (as it was for Christ), we once again see a pre-AD 70 fulfillment of this persecution and judgment in view. The blood of these martyrs would be vindicating in an AD 70 “a very little while” time frame (Rev. 6:10-11).

“For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (Rev. 16:14-16).

Here the nations are gathered for the eschatological end time “THE war/battle.” The Gentile Roman Empire and its vast army consisted of the nations of the world that they had conquered (Asia Minor, Syria, Gaul, Egypt, Britain, Palestine, etc…) so when they surrounded Jerusalem in AD 66, they were surrounded by the Gentile powers/military might of the world at that time (Matthew 24:15-34/Luke 21:20-32).

Revelation 16:16 is simply a historic reference and symbol of war that is directed to a place – the mount of Megiddo or the city of Megiddo where famous battles of Israel had been fought (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29) and is thus used as we might use the term “Waterloo” or someone “Meeting your Waterloo.”

Again, we have another reference to AD 70 and the Olivet Discourse in that the coming of the Son of Man as a “thief” would occur in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or in an AD 70 “quickly” time frame in the book of Revelation (Matthew 24-27, 30-34, 43; Rev. 3:3, 11).

Revelation 19

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make [THE] war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” (Rev. 19:19)

Chapters 18-19 are contextually tied to the defeat of “Babylon” which 11:8 (and Matthew 23) has identified as the city where Jesus was crucified (ie. old covenant Jerusalem) the persecutor excel lance of the OT prophets and apostles Jesus would send to her.

Revelation 19:11-21 is simply another recapitulation of the same end time battle and judgment we have seen previously – except described differently with different imagery etc…. Amazingly the Dispensational “prophecy experts” claim 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 upon the land of Israel which Jesus also identified to take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 24/Luke 21[Lev. 26/Deut. 28]/Hebrews 9:26-28/10:37).

Revelation 20

Here in Revelation once again God’s enemies (“Gog and Magog” gathering the nations) surround “the camp of God’s people, the city he loves.” (Rev. 20:9). As we saw in Revelation 11 “the holy city” is actually old covenant Jerusalem and since the old covenant had not yet passed, she could still be described as “holy” or here a city He loves – although adulterous and having rejected His Son at the same time. Even if one were to see this as the new covenant Jerusalem it still poses no problem as far as an AD 70 time frame of fulfillment. As we have discussed in Galatians 4 and in Zechariah, there are two Jerusalem’s – or a Jerusalem within a Jerusalem. When the Idumean Zealot and Roman armies surrounded earthly old covenant Jerusalem in the events leading up to AD 66 – AD 70 seeking harm upon the Christian Church (the righteous remnant – new covenant Jerusalem) and those within the city, the Christians fled to Pella and were safe. When one Jerusalem was destroyed is the time in which the other is saved and delivered.

We can know that this time of the end” end of the millennium war was fulfilled by AD 70 because the NT posits the other constitute elements that take place at the end of the millennium to be fulfilled by AD 70 as well.

The First Resurrection and the Resurrection of the “Rest of the Dead”

Those participating in the “first resurrection” is a subject that has been previously addressed in chapters 7 and 14 – these being the first century Jewish “first fruits” or 144,000 that were the first to believe in Christ and continued enduring through the great tribulation until the end. Therefore, they would partake in the harvest/resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant age. These are those who were coming out of their “graves” through the preaching of the gospel (John 5:24-27) and would soon participate and be joined with the rest of the dead in the consummative resurrection event.

Many compare and understand John’s end of the millennium resurrection in Revelation 20 with John’s and Jesus’ “last hour” or “coming hour” harvest and resurrection teaching in John 5 and assume that both are discussing a biological resurrection of corpses at the end of time. Let’s take a closer look.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pentecost (AD 30)

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

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

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

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

2. All who were in the graves would hear His voice.

Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2 and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life” is Daniel 12:2. G.K. Beale points out an additional connection – in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers (cf. G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131132).

That being the case, note these parallels:

Pentecost (AD 30)

1. Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”

1. John 5:25: “…an hour is coming and now is…”

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

2. Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”

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

Pentecost (AD 30)

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

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

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

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

2. John 5:29: “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.” (also related: 1 John 2:18: “Dear children it is the last hour…” and Revelation 14:7: “…the hour of His judgment has come.”).

Daniel is told that the resurrection takes place when the time of the tribulation will be fulfilled (ie. when “all these things” would be fulfilled) or when Jerusalem is destroyed – “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7). Jesus posits the fulfillment of Daniel’s time of the end tribulation or resurrection to be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant “this age” “gathering” in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matt. 13:39-43; Matt. 24:3-34).

The analogy of Scripture confirms this imminent AD 70 end to the millennium period by describing the same imminent resurrection of all the dead:

“…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; (Acts 24:15 YLT WEY).

The resurrection from the “graves” of John 5:28-29 is no more of a literal biological resurrection than from the “graves” of Ezekiel 37:12. Righteous souls such as Daniel’s was raised (Dan. 12:2, 13) out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit eternal life in God’s presence. There is no mention of a literal biological resurrection in Revelation 20 – only that of “souls.”

The NT teaching on the resurrection is this:

* There was an evangelistic resurrection or salvation of the soul taking people out of death and darkness into life and light of eternal life.

* There was a corporate and covenantal resurrection by which the old covenant Israel/body was being changed/transformed/being raised into the new covenant Israel/body roughly during AD 30 – AD 70.

* There was a resurrection of souls out from among Hades/Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life in God’s presence.

* This resurrection was from (and an overcoming of) “the [spiritual] death” that came from Adam the very same day he sinned against God.

Martyr Vindication, Satan’s Imminent Judgment

“After” the end of the thousand year’s period, Satan is released for a “short” or “little while” (Rev. 20:3). In chapter 6 we are told that the martyrs are to wait a “short” or “little while” until the rest of their fellow brethren have been martyred (Rev. 6:10-11). This would be followed with God avenging and judging those who participated in their persecutions – “For the great day of their wrath has come and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:17). In Revelation 12:5-12 we see the same motifs to what we have seen in Revelation 6 and 20 — previous suffering followed by a “short” or “little while” of more to come, and then an imminent judgment upon their enemies.

The analogy of Scripture confirms this. This “little while” time frame of Satan’s last persecution (through the Jews and Romans) and thus the martyrs having to wait “a little while” longer before justice is wielded out upon their persecutors is (as we have seen) consistent with Jesus’ teaching that all of the blood of the martyrs of the prophets and those Jesus would send to Jerusalem would be avenged in a first century “this generation” with her “house/temple” being left “desolate” (Matt. 23:31-38). Pauline eschatology weighs in as well describing the same first century Jewish persecution and the Thessalonians being promised “relief” from God through Him giving their enemies the same kind of “trouble” they were giving them through Christ coming down from heaven in “blazing fire” “punishing” them with “everlasting destruction” along with the Man of Lawlessness (1 Thess. 2:14-16; 2 Thess. 1:5—2:12). Mathison believes this coming of the Lord and “everlasting destruction” and “punishment” of “fire” in (2 Thess. 1-2) was fulfilled in AD 70 paralleling much of this material with Matthew 24 for exegetical evidence.[28] And yet all of the same elements that are present in Revelation 6, 12, 16 and 20 are present in 1 and 2 Thessalonians! The first century persecuted church wouldn’t have to wait much longer because the Man of Lawlessness was “already” present through the work of Satan himself – awaiting “the rebellion” and then his judgment (2 Thess. 2:3-10). The paralleling of 1 and 2 Thessalonians with Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation, gives us the same time frame for the end of the millennium in Revelation 20:

* The Thessalonians were already in the millennium.
* They were being persecuted.
* They were promised relief in their lifetimes.
* The Lord came to close the millennium by destroying The Beast/Man of Sin whom was already present and active in their day — with everlasting destruction and punishment.
* He came to raise the dead.

There are four main enemies of God and His saints in the book of Revelation and they are introduced in chapter 12 and onward in the order of Satan, the sea beast, the land beast and or false prophet and Babylon. As Revelation progresses their defeat in judgment is pictured in reverse order. These are different scenes of the same end time persecution and judgment of God’s enemies.

Earth and Sky Fled / Arrival of New Creation

The de-creation of the old covenant system is described in Revelation 6:14, 16:20, here in 20:11 and will pick back up in 21:1. As we learned in our study Matthew 24 on the end of the age, stars falling from the heavens, and “heaven and earth” passing – these terms were rich in apocalyptic language and referring to the old covenant system of Israel passing away in AD 70 and not references to literal stars falling or the planet earth passing away etc…. The same kind of language is being used here in the book of Revelation which virtually everyone acknowledges is John’s version of Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse.

In verse 11 we read, “Earth and sky fled from his presence,..” For Full Preterists and Amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker, this same de-creation event has already been recapitulated in connection with the Second Coming of Jesus in (Rev. 6:14 and Rev. 16:20) and will re-surface shortly in the next chapter (Rev. 21:1).[34] But for Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison and Kenneth Gentry, the de-creation events depicted in (Rev. 6:14; Rev. 16:20 and Rev. 21:21) were “non-literally” fulfilled or are the removal of “Israel’s world” or the Old Covenant world in AD 70 being “parallel” to the AD 70 fulfillments found in Matthew 24:15-31.[35] The question begging to be answered of course is, why can’t Gentry’s comments of an imminent de-creation non-literal fulfillment of Revelation 21:1 be applied to Revelation 20:11?

“The description of the new creation and New Jerusalem bride-city extends from Revelation 21:1 to 22:5. Following immediately upon that, we read: “The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, The God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things which must soon take place’” (22:6 italics added). And for good measure, four verses later John adds: “Then he told me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near’” (22:10, italics added). A delay of several thousand years would override sound exegesis of these clear temporal statements.”[36]

Again, we must ask – How does Revelation 20:1-15 get separated from “the prophecy of this book” of which was said to be fulfilled “soon” and “near”?!? The truth of course once again lies in the middle of the two views – the de-creation of Revelation 6:14; 16:20; 20:11 and 21:1 are all depictions of the same events and were fulfilled “non-literally” and referring to the passing of “Israel’s world” or the Old Covenant world in AD 70 at Christ’s Second Coming.

Obviously “the earth and sky flee” in Revelation 20:11 to be replaced with the imminent and spiritual new creation of 21:1ff. where there are no more death, tears and pain. Many literalists such as John Hagee and others reason that because death, tears, mourning, crying, and pain still exist today, Revelation 21:4 must not be fulfilled. Of course I’m not sure how the reconcile their literal hermeneutic of the new creation as described for us in Isaiah 65:17-23 where infants are being born (procreation and pain), there is biological death (death and pain), physical labor and toil (sweat etc…) are present?

In Revelation 21:4 (YLT) we read that “the death shall not be any more.” Every Reformed commentator agrees that this verse, along with 1 Corinthians 15:54–55, is describing a future-to-us end of “the death,” and that “the death” refers to the death that came through Adam in Genesis 2:17. The Douay-Rheims translation renders that verse: “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day so ever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” The Good News Translation makes it clear when “the death” would take place: “. . . except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day.

The death” that came through Adam the very day he sinned was spiritual and not biological. The abolition of biological death was never the purpose of Christ’s redemptive work. In 1 Corinthians 15:55–57 (YLT) we read, “Where, O Death, thy sting? Where, O Hades, thy victory?’ And the sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin the law; and to God—thanks, to Him who is giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Whenever Paul uses the definite article “the” in front of “law,” he is referring to Israel’s old covenant Torah. As 1 Corinthians 15:57 indicates, the Law was not abolished at the cross; but it was “ soon” to disappear, through the power of the Cross, at Christ’s Parousia in the end of the old covenant age (Heb. 8:13–10:37).

Because “the death” is spiritual death (alienation from God) realized through the commandment-breaker Adam and amplified or increased under the Law of Moses (the old covenant), we can see how God gave His elect the victory over “the death” in the end of the old covenant age of condemnation. The fact that men die physically is in no way evidence that the “spiritual conflict” of “the death” continues for the church throughout the new covenant age.

God’s people under the old covenant, unlike God’s people today, experienced covenantal and spiritual death (cf. Hosea 13:1–14; Isa. 25–27; Eze. 37). What made physical death dreaded for the saints under the old covenant was that they died with the awareness that their sins had not yet been taken away. In the new covenant creation, Jesus promises that whether we biologically die in Him or biologically live in Him, we “never die” (John 11:25–26). This was not the case before Christ.

Thus under the old covenant, the residents of Jerusalem wept because they did not have a lasting atonement or eternal redemption. They longed and groaned for the day of Messiah’s salvation. Until that day would come, they knew their sins were not put away (Heb. 9:26–28; 10:4, 11). The promise that there would be no more mourning or crying or pain does not refer to any and every kind of mourning, crying, and pain. It refers to mourning, crying, and pain concerning God’s people being dead in sin under the condemnation, curse, and slavery of God’s law. That sad Adamic state is no more. In the Son, God’s people are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).

As Athanasius wrote in his Festal Letters, iv. 3, “For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness.”

Under the old covenant, when David or the nation was exiled from Zion and God’s city and temple, there was much inner pain, weeping, and bondage that followed (2 Sam. 15:30; Ps. 137; Isa. 14:3; Isa. 22:4–5; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; Jer. 22:9–10; Lam. 1:16; Joel 2:17). Under the new covenant, the heavenly country and Jerusalem are not subject to being made desolate or shaken by invading armies as was the old (Isa. 62:4; Heb. 12:27–28). The concept of the gates of the New Jerusalem always being open, even at night (Isa. 60:11; Rev. 21:25), is not merely a picture of evangelism; it is also a picture of security for the residents of God’s City. The believer, through faith in Christ, is the new covenant creation and it is impossible for him to be exiled from the City (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:12; 22:12). The new covenant believer is characterized as one whose weeping has ended, because God has forever taken away his sin and united Himself with him (Isa. 60:20; 65:14, 18–19; Jn. 17:21–23).

Christians in the new covenant world do not shed tears in agony and cry out to God to save them from the Adamic Death of Sin, as Jesus Himself did on our behalf (Heb. 5:7). “The sting [pain] of the Death” cannot harm us anymore (1 Cor. 15:56) because the power of Sin has been removed through Jesus, the Law-Fulfiller who clothes us and indwells us. Now we live and reign with Christ in the new covenant world, wherein dwells the Righteousness of God.

But literal futurists would challenge us with the empirical reality that Death and Satan could not have met their ultimate demise in AD 70 because, after all, just look around and you will clearly see that people still physically die and that there are wars and murders taking place all over the world today. Are these clear evidence that Satan and his demonic hordes are active in our world?

There were certainly times that Satan moved men, such as Judas, to commit sins. But the Bible does not teach us that this was ever the norm. James tells us that wars and fights come from within men (Jms. 4:1) instead of from Satan and demons. Satan’s primary purpose has come to an end: He can no longer function as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), because Christ came out of Zion a second time at the end of the old covenant age to put away Sin once and for all for His church Acts 20:28; Rom. 11:26–27; 13:11–12; Heb. 9:26–28).

The dead were “about to be” judged

They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” “…But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:5, 7).

And in the same context Peter in verse 17 uses the definite article to emphasize he is referring to “THE time” of “THE judgment,” not just “a” minor one in AD 70,

“For the time has come for the judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17).

“…because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead” (Acts 17:31 YLT, WEY).

“I solemnly implore you, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is about to judge the living and the dead, and by His Appearing and His Kingship:” (2 Tim. 4:1 WEY, YLT).

Concluding Dispensational Zionist end time war theology

We agree with all of the scholars which tell us John’s version of Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse can be found in the book of Revelation. Therefore, the coming of Christ, the judgment and resurrection of the dead, the destruction of Satan, tribulation, de-creation etc… that would take place in Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 24:1-34—chapter 25) is said to be fulfilled “shortly” as that generation was ending throughout the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:1—-22:6-7, 10-12, 22).

Contrary to Premillennial Dispensational Zionism, the millennium is not a literal thousand year’s period that we await for in our future in which these events will be fulfilled in a hyper-literal manner. The Apostle John was already in the millennium – “what is now” (Rev. 1:19). Thus the “binding” of Satan here began with the earthly ministry of Jesus (Matt. 12:22-29). Therefore, Christians were already being raised, reigning on thrones, and were already a kingdom of priests (Matt. 12:25-29; Eph. 2:5-7; John 5:24; 1 Pet. 2:5). J. Marcellus Kik makes a good case that Revelation 20:4 is describing the lives of the saints while upon the earth (preferring the ARV translation of the text), “In the King James version the verbs sat, was given, lived, reigned, are in one tense; while the verbs had worshipped, had received, are in another. But in the Greek the same tense is used for all—the aorist. Since they are all in the same tense they must refer to the same time. That is, the time of not worshipping the beast and not receiving his mark is the same time as that of sitting on thrones and living and reigning with Christ.[25]

He translates “psuchai” in verse 4 as, “And I beheld the lives of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus”[26] indicating that they were already reigning and living victorious lives upon the earth through the work of Christ on the cross and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit before they were martyred.

While John is living during the time of the millennium, the inspired time frame for Revelation’s fulfillment demands that he is now standing towards the end or consummation of it–the things which John was told would “shortly” or “about to” take place “later” (Rev. 1:1, 19YLT). John was told that no part of the vision was to be sealed up, because it was all to be fulfilled shortly and nowhere are we told that the millennium is not a part of that vision. If the millennium was not a part of the vision to be fulfilled shortly, we would expect John to be given instruction to seal at least that portion of the vision since it’s time of fulfillment would be “far off” – as Daniel was instructed.

Jesus taught that the Roman Jewish war along with His Second Coming and end of the old covenant age “was the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” (Luke 21:20-22). The battle of Gog (Ezek. 38-39) falls within “all that has been written.” The book of Revelation confirms this same time frame for this war.

The Dispensational Zionist View of the “Rapture”

So if the second coming isn’t about Jesus riding around on a literal horse or cloud in the sky coming to destroy and renew the planet earth at the end of world history, then what about the “catching away” of the living members of His Church in the clouds at His coming? How could this have been fulfilled in AD 70? And to this subject we now turn our attention.

First, I would like to briefly demonstrate that Matthew 24:30-31/1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is one and the same event thus dismissing the two coming(s) views of Pre-Tribulational Dispensational Zionism and Partial Preterism. Secondly, I will demonstrate how Christ “gathered up” His living Church in His “kingdom,” or in the “clouds”/”air” and how this was an “within” a person event – not a physical disappearing of people off of planet earth event.

We need to briefly cover this because the Pre-Tribulation rapture Zionist theory (and even that of the Reformed Partial Preterist) position(s) teach in essence TWO second comings:

1. Dispensational Zionist Pre-tribulation view – One coming of Jesus for the Church 7 years before His actual second coming with the Church, and…

2. Partial Preterist – A coming of Jesus in AD 70 and then the second coming thousands of years later.

Both of these views have been proven false by Amillennialists, Premillennial Post-Tribulationalists and Full Preterists using the analogy of Scripture.

Analogy of Scripture:

Virtually all views agree that whatever your view of Matthew 24-25 is, it’s going to dictate your interpretation of the rest of the NT’s teaching on eschatology. And I couldn’t agree more. Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24-25 is Pauline eschatology. And perhaps an illustration from mathematics and logic will help us understand the analogy of scripture principle of interpretation between Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24-25 and Pauline eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (and 1 Corinthians 15). In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. Or the property of equality is transitive – for if A = B and B = C, then A = C. Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.

A = (Matt. 24:27-31, 34)
B = (1 Thess. 4:15-17)
C = (1 Cor. 15)

A (Matt. 24:27-31) was fulfilled in AD 70, and if A (Matt. 24:27-31) is equal to both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15), then both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) were fulfilled at Christ’s parousia in AD 70. In other words, “Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.”

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

Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4 1 Corinthians 15

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

MAJOR PREMISE #1: The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70 (according to Partial Preterists and Full Preterists)

MINOR PREMISE #2: The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the source material and descriptive of the same coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 (according to Classical Amillennialists and Full Preterists)

CONCLUSION: The ONE parousia/coming of Christ as described for us in Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, and 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Having quickly eliminated the two coming(s) theories of the Dispensational Zionist Pre-Tribulation view and the Reformed Partial Preterist views, we can now move on to developing more the time and nature of fulfillment issues found in our texts Matthew 24:30-31/1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.

Audience Relevancy Jesus’ “you” and Paul’s “we”:

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.

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver first century believers in the Thessalonian Church from their first century Jewish persecutors by giving them the same kind of trouble they were giving them (1Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7). Are members of the first century church and their Jewish persecutors alive today? Uh, no they are not.

When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with 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.”

We can know that Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17 are not to be interpreted literally (a literal trumpet, etc.) because the Scriptures tell us elsewhere not to interpret them literally. In Exodus 19 and 20, the Lord came down in a cloud over Mount Sinai. He spoke with a loud voice. There was the sound of a loud trumpet. And Moses met the Lord on Mount Sinai. Then God established His covenant with His people. The writer of Hebrews tells us that though the trumpet and the voice of the old covenant were literal, the “trumpet” and the “voice” of the new covenant are not literal (Heb. 12:18–19). Neither is the mountain (Mount Zion) literal in the new covenant (Heb. 12:18, 22). Therefore, neither is the cloud (which descended to cover the ountain) literal in the new covenant.

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes 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, 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 Old Testament, 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.”

“Gathered up”

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving a theological connection to the eschatological gathering of (Mt.13:39-43; Mt.24:30-31 & 2 Thess. 2:1). Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.” The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament renders a good definition of harazo as, “of an ecstatic vision or experience catch up or away (2C 12.2).” (Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 75, emphasis added).

Thus one could be “caught up” with visions or “caught up” in having a joyful “experience” associated with Christ’s return that did not necessitate a physical removal from the planet! The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament gives the meaning to a word related to harpazo–harpagmos, “…c. “to take up an attitude to something as one does to what presents itself as a prey to be grasped, a chance discovery, or a gift of fate, i.e., appropriating and using it, treating it as something desired and won.” “The figurative element in the expression still remains, and a οἷον or ὥσπερ is often put before it.” (Kittel, Gerhard (Hrsg.) ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William (Hrsg.) ; Friedrich, Gerhard (Hrsg.): Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. electronic ed. Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans, 1964-c1976, S. 1:473). The Liddell and Scott Lexicon render harpazo as “…5. grasp with the senses, 6. captivate, ravish.”

As I pointed out earlier, Jesus said when the kingdom would come at His return, that it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes—Luke 17:20-37; Mark 9:1. The realm of the “snatching away” was an “experience” and “attitude” “within” Christians. They “grasped” and were “captivated” and had “seen” and “perceived” in their hearts and minds what Christ had done for them physically and most importantly “in” them in purifying their conscience and taking away their sins. 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…”

In Revelation one of the descriptions of the Churches “rapture” or “resurrection” is described by the two witnesses (described as Moses–the law & Elijah–the prophets) being received up into a cloud Rev.11:12. This is the consummation and the Church being raised and caught up into the presence of God is the fulfillment and climax of everything taught in the Law and the Prophets. Those that did not heed her message, were assured of imminent destruction. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament gives the concept of the cloud as referring to a Theological “revelation,” “Mark 9:7a, b par. Matt 17:5a, b / Luke 9:34a, b, 35 contain the idea of the cloud of revelation, or the theophany motif, in the account of the transfiguration. (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 2:464). The transformation was a “vision.” The transfiguration event is what we are to “see/understand” the parousia being all about – the passing glory and fulfilling of the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) with Christ’s words of the new covenant age continuing. For Peter to want to desire Moses and Elijah to abide with Christ is to get a rebuke from the Father, because the age of the law and prophets would soon pass away and their was no need for new wine to be contained in old wineskins. The only other two place in the NT where this Greek word is used (metamorphosis or transformation) is in 2 Corinthians 3 and Romans 12 and it had to do with a spiritual transformation of the mind and heart from old covenant glory to new covenant glory and its application. Unlike the Judaizers whom were “waterless clouds” (Jude 12) and could not give doctrine or revelation resulting in the salvation of the soul, the Christians were and remain a heavenly people full of living water ready to rain down the righteousness of Christ upon thirsty souls through the preaching of the gospel (Isa. 45:8/Jn. 7:38/Ezk. 47/Rev. 22:17). A “cloud” can include the revelation or testimony of people such as the OT saints (Heb. 12:1).

To meet the Lord in “the air”

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)? This word is defined as, “space inhabited and controlled by powers (Eph 2:2; 1Th 4:17; Rev 16:17). (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. GGK113). Another reference works says of Ephesians 2 – “This ruler appears as the aeon of this world, or, one might say, his atmosphere (air) allows the world to appear as Aeon, the god of eternity, whose false claim brings death to humankind (H. Schlier, Der Brief an der Epheser [1958] 102f.). From the perspective of the history of religion this represents a combination of the Empedoclean and Pythagorean worldview, according to which the air is full of souls which cannot yet rise to the ethereal world (E. Schweizer, The Letter to the Colossians [1982] 128–34), and Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons (Billerbeck IV, 516). (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 1:34).

Prior to A.D. 70, demon’s “possessed” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. This is consistent with the word harpazo as meaning “seizing” or “possessing” one inwardly. Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind the hearts and minds of people in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds in producing an arrogant and zealous self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms.7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His Ephs.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.9-10/1Cor.15! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in A.D.70. The early church did ecstatically experience the joys of this event while on earth, and as Mathison admits, our numbers keep growing!”

“The Day of the Lord has ‘already come.’” (2 Thess. 2:2)

Before leaving 1 Thessalonians 4-5, let’s take a quick look at some of the reasoning that Partial Preterists use against a futurist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5 and then apply it to the “rapture” and or resurrection texts of 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Timothy 2.

1. “As in the case of 1 Thessalonians 5, no commentator who approaches this text under the assumption that it refers to the events surrounding the Second Coming has ever been able to offer an even remotely plausible explanation for the belief of the Thessalonian Christians that the day of the Lord had already come. If we grant the assumptions of these commentators, then Paul has already told them in his first epistle that this event would involve the bodily resurrection of the dead and the “catching up” in the air of those who would still be alive to be with the Lord forever. Unless one concludes that the Thessalonians were profoundly oblivious to reality, there is no explanation for why they would have believed that this had already taken place.

2. Futurists interpreters have also failed to offer a plausible explanation of Paul’s argumentation in 2 Thessalonians 2. If the “coming” of Christ, our “gathering” to Him, and the day of the Lord in this chapter refer to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, then it is necessary to explain Paul’s method of proving that these things had not yet occurred. Why would Paul have tried to convince a group of believers that the Rapture and the bodily resurrection of all believers had not yet occurred by arguing that the apostasy and revelation of the man of lawlessness must coming first? If this chapter is referring to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, the proof that these things had not yet happened would have been far more simple and obvious. The entire argument of 2 Thessalonians 2 could have been reduced to the single question, “Are you still here?” (Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism, 229).

Since I have already demonstrated that the coming of Christ in BOTH 1 Thessalonians 4-5 took place in AD 70, the question needs to include 1 Thessalonian 4 and 2 Timothy 2 and ask concerning all of these texts:

– “If Paul’s doctrine among the churches was a literal “rapture” of the bodies of the living and a literal resurrection of dead corpses, then why wouldn’t his apologetic against these false teachers be something as simple as this, “How can you believe the coming of the Lord, our gathering to Him and resurrection of the dead has ‘already’ taken place, we are obviously still here and the graves still contain rotten corpses do they not?””

Some Partial Preterists have now come around to admit that the coming of Christ in BOTH 1 Thessalonians 4 – 5 are the same coming and therefore have proposed the idea that there was a literal rapture of the Church by AD 70. This position as well does not address the exegesis I have provided here let alone the question I have proposed above. Nor does it account for Jesus’ teaching that the first century Christians would witness the destruction of the city and Temple and God’s kingdom come in power while remaining on the earth post AD 70:

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” (Mark 8:38-9:1).

Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry quoting Alexander, correctly points out of Mark 9:1, “Here the root word erchomai, which is translated “come” is “not, as the English words may seems to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or ALREADY COME, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect participle here employed.” (Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion A Postmillennial Eschatology, Third Edition, 219-220). Jesus clearly taught that some of His first century audience would live to witness His second coming and experience His kingdom and discern from the events of AD 66 AD 70 that He and His kingdom “already” had come spiritually “within” them (Luke 17:20-21/21:30-32).

Conclusion:

We have examined the “gathering up” or “catching away” “rapture” passages and have proven exegetically the following:

1. Analogy of Scripture: Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are addressing the same coming of Christ and resurrection/rapture event.

2. Audience Relevancy & Timing: Jesus taught that Matthew 24:30-31, 34 would be fulfilled in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” while further addressing His contemporary “you” audience. The Apostle Paul’s doctrine is consistent with Jesus’ in that towards the end of that generation he taught an imminent second coming event and resurrection/catching away of his first century audience “we…”

3. Spiritual Nature of Fulfillment: Jesus taught that His new covenant Kingdom would not come with physical observation but would be realized “within” His people at His return (Luke 17:20-21ff., 21:30-32). We examined the terms “snatch,” “clouds,” and “air” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and found that there is exegetical evidence that this passage would be fulfilled within the person without taking him or her off planet earth.

4. Powerful Argument From Silence: If Jesus’ second coming event attended with the resurrection and rapture of the living was to be a physical event whereby rotting corpses were raised and the living would disappear off of planet earth, then why didn’t Paul in Thessalonians and 2 Timothy argue against those that believed these events had “already” happened – “How can you believe this? You are still here and the dead are still in their graves right?”

5. Jesus’ teaching in John 17 and Mark 8:38-9:1 teach us that it was/is not God’s will to take the Church off of planet earth (through a secret “rapture”) and even goes as far to teach that some living in the first century would live to witness Christ’s coming and kingdom and know that it had “already come” in and post AD 70.

For more buy my/our book, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology a Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?” Or go to my web site www.fullpreterism.com to learn more. For more on the resurrection see David Green’s chapter on the resurrection and his exposition of 1 Corinthians 15 in our book or on my site.

CONCLUDING THE THREE “END TIME” “HOLY LAND” “HOLY WAR” ESCHATOLOGIES

Virtually every sect within Islam in the Middle East today believes they are seeing their end time prophecies being fulfilled right before their eyes. ISIS is willing to provoke the rest of the world to come and attack them in order to self-fulfill Muhammad’s prophecies concerning an apocalyptic end time war which will lead to the “fulfillment” of other “prophecies.” They are willing to ignore the fact that their founding “prophet” taught that the “last hour” was going to take place within a 100 years of those living in his day, and would rather perpetuate their founders errors on a failed “imminent” “end of the world” type eschatology.

Christ confronts man’s depravity while eschatological systems and “revelations” from alleged end time “prophets” such Muhammad feed man’s depravity (revelations that they can rape, steal, and kill their enemies as their “prophet” exemplified). Amazingly Obama’s administration feels that one solution to stopping ISIS is to get them better jobs! That’s amazing since he can’t even create jobs for Americans or even the black community! Obama is living in an alternate universe when he denies that ISIS is not Islamic – even the liberal media isn’t buying it! The FACT of the matter is that ISIS’ eschatology and beliefs are pure and consistent Islamic theology! Others think the answer is in trying to “reform” a false religion or reform and modernize the teachings of a failed prophet. I have a better idea – confront and refute its false teachings and failed “prophecies” and then point them to the REAL Jesus of the Bible and not what is being presented on TV coming from the alleged “Christian” “prophecy experts.” If “moderate” Islamic groups are truly interested in the teachings of Jesus and want real peace that comes from an “inward Jihad,” then they will bow before the Jesus of the Bible (whom alone is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”) — denying self, picking up ones cross and following Him daily. Surrender and lose your life – that you may truly find life “in Christ.”

Modern day Judaism has no divine right to the OT Promised Land either. As we have seen even orthodox Zionist see this – which is a view that also escalates tension in the region and among these religions. Since these two forms of modern day “Jews” reject Christ as their Messiah, they are clueless on what being “in the land” pointed to – being in Messiah or “in Christ.” Like Dispensational Zionists, they are willing to twist such passages as Ezekiel 37 to fit their agenda. And since they have interpreted end time battle scenes such as Ezekiel 38-39 to WWI and WWII, they no doubt will once again begin fitting these texts into an end time holy war (when it will benefit them) — as Islam and Dispensationalists have (is my prediction).

Unfortunately it is easier to criticize ISIS as an end time cult and not realize we have had one growing here within the U.S. for the last 150 years in the face of Dispensational Zionism. We simply cannot ignore this groups false teachings and its influence upon our Politian’s and desires to form foreign policy in the Middle East. It is just as eager and willing to twist the OT and NT Scriptures to self-fulfill what they want to take place in the Middle East in order to usher in the “rapture” or Second Coming as is ISIS and other Islamic groups. The group may claim to be “Christian,” but as we have seen it’s “gospel” (ex. John Haggee’s) presentation to “Jews” is not the gospel, and it follows the same Christ-rejecting theology of the Jews in Jesus’ day in denying the spiritual nature of Jesus’ kingdom while trying to usher in their own (literal and carnal) kingdom expectations.

I am a Conservative Republican, but I should note that it is very hypocritical of FOX News (which I watch everyday) to go after Obama and the bad theology of his church and then BLINDLY ignore the horrendous bad theology/eschatology of Mormonism (Mitt Romney), “Evangelical” Dispensationalism (Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, etc..), and Seventh Day Adventism (Ben Carson). We don’t want leaders with bad theology/eschatology trying to form foreign policy in the Middle East that possibly think what is taking place is the “fulfillment of Bible prophecy” – and may be willing to give it a nudge in the WRONG DIRECTION. Selah.

I have successfully demonstrated that the prophecies of Christ in Matthew 24 were in fact fulfilled within the time frame Jesus established and that His disciples continue living peacefully in His Kingdom post AD 70 – in the NC age.

When the media claims this conflict will ultimately be won through a “war of ideas” what it really means is it will be won through a “war of eschatological debate” – played out over a long period of time. First, before seeking to take the speck out of others eyes, we need to take the forest growing in ours here in the U.S. by correcting these false views coming from “Bible prophecy experts” spewing forth their errors on the TV, radio, and Christian bookstore shelves – moving to a solid and Biblical view (ie. Full Preterism). Secondly, we ultimately know that a correct view of Jesus (as God) and His kingdom (spiritual and “within” – not earthly) will need to make its way into Judaism and Islam – converting them to Biblical Christianity before real healing can begin.

It has been my prayer and goal in writing these three articles to begin these debates and discussions in order to achieve the peace that is necessary and that I believe will eventually come over time. May God extend the borders and influence of these articles to reach as many as possible. Now that you have read them, you are now responsible in sharing them with others and being a positive and edifying voice in this discussion. Lord bless!

Part 1 Islam – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/

Part 2 Judaism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology:https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism-the-article-facebook-doesnt-want-yo/

Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/

[1] Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, back-cover, p.144, New York: Bantam, 1980.

[2] Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35.

[3] 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), 23

[4] 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).

[5] Adam Maarschalk, Revelation 20: Four Views of Gog and Magog,: April 5, 2010, http://kloposmasm.com/2010/04/05/revelation-20-four-views-of-gog-and-magog/

[6] Ibid.

[7] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Book House, 7th reprint 1990), 193.

[8] . David Chilton, Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 281.

[9] . Chilton, The Days of Vengeance, 281 (emphasis added).

[10] David Green, Michael Sullivan Edward Hassertt, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology, (Ramona, CA, Second Edition, 2014), 179-180.

Mike’s Movie Proposals To Bring Healing to the
Circular Middle East Problem
Copyright 2009 Michael J. Sullivan – Thank you in advance for your honesty and integrity.
Introduction / Objective:
Here are two movie proposals/plots that function as “Informational Warfare” to help solve the problem of Islam, Israeli Zionism and Premillennial Christian Zionism from trying to constantly self-fulfill (playing the victim or conquest card) the “in the land,” “holy war,” the “end is near – AGAIN” battle of Armageddon. The more the Biblical truth get’s out here in the U.S. to Evangelical Christians and Jews and Muslims in the Middle East – that this war was fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70, the better. This theology has been tested in the articles and book listed at the end of these proposals.
Title: “AD 70 – The Parousia”
By: Michael J. Sullivan (author, debater, conference speaker & radio host), 12 Chase Lane, Sylva, NC 28779; (828) 507-1375
Proposal for: Mel Gibson
Genre: Action / Controversial / Religious
This is a movie that incorporates the success behind such action movies produced by Ridley Scott – The Kingdom of Heaven & The Gladiator along with religious controversy draws from such men as Ron Howard and Tom Hank’s – The Divinci Code.
The Historical Setting & Controversial Twist
The religious twist or controversy to this movie that will make it a financial success and sets it apart from anything that has ever been produced thus far, is that the NT places Jesus’ Second Coming during the Roman / Jewish War (between AD 67 – AD 70) and not as an end of time event (per the traditional view). While many religious movies have focused on the years AD 26 – AD 33, none have focused on AD 67 – AD 70, let alone have developed this period as the Second Coming. And yet Jesus tells us that “the end” (of the old covenant age – not the end of world history) and His coming, would take place within His contemporary “this generation” when his first century audience saw “Jerusalem being surrounded by armies” (Matt. 24:3-34, Lk. 21:20-32). We know from church history that Rome surrounded Jerusalem in AD 67 and then briefly retreated. This is when the Christians fled Jerusalem to Pella and were safe (heeding Jesus’ prophecy), while the Jews listened to the false prophets (Jesus said would come) and were destroyed by the Romans.
Synopsis:
Cornelius (played by Chris PrattChristian and UFC fan) is a skilled Roman Centurion warrior who converts to Christianity and begins converting many Roman soldiers. Word of this reaches Nero (played by ________) whom places Cornelius as a gladiator/prisoner – forced to combat as punishment for not acknowledging the one true king (himself). Cornelius is separated from his wife and son between AD 63 – AD 66 and is forced to defend himself in the arena against demon possessed beasts and other valiant gladiators. But God empowers and sustains Cornelius through these battles in order to make a statement against Nero and Rome. God is miraculously protecting him in the arena as a symbol that He will preserve the Church from the Dragon (cf. Rev. 12) – when she flees Jerusalem to Pella.
Cornelius eventually escapes from Roman captivity but only to be captured by John Levi of Gischala (played by ________ – who will shortly take over Jerusalem and lead the revolt against Rome). Cornelius eventually breaks free and reaches his family in Jerusalem in AD 66. After the death of Peter at the hands of Nero, God will use Cornelius to lead the Christian Church in Jerusalem to Pella before the Roman / Jewish war (Armageddon) begins and lays siege to Jerusalem.
Characters / Actors: Cornelius (Chris Pratt – Christian and UFC fan), Nero (________), Jon Levi of Gischala (_________), Titus (_________), Apostle Peter (__________), Josephus (________).
Budget: 100 – 135 million.
Box office profit: 600 million or more.
Why this movie will be a financial success: There is really one word that would describe why Ron Howard’s The Divinci Code made money, and that word is controversy. Even though the movie had bad theology and history behind it, because it stirred up theological controversy (was Jesus married? Did he have a child? Was he divine as he claimed?) – it made money. It was the subject of virtually every adult Sunday School class and Pastor’s sought to refute it from the pulpits. Therefore, even Christians went and saw the movie just to see what all the hub-bub was about. The controversy even created free advertising for the movie. My movie is different than Howard’s in that the history and theology backing it, is 100% accurate. Not to mention no one has been able to refute my/our book, House Divided. The controversy that the Second Coming and battle of Armageddon was truly fulfilled “shortly” (Rev. 1:1–22:6-7, 20) and is not in our future, will surpass anything The Divinici Code produced.
Possible obstacle resolved: The budget for a war in Jerusalem will be high. For “Part I” it may be possible to write this script and sell it to Ridley Scott – who has access to this construction from previous movies he has done with a similar motif?
SECOND MOVIE – MODERN APPLICATION
Title: “AD 70 and the Armageddon Conspiracy”
By: Michael J. Sullivan (author, debater, conference speaker & radio host), 12 Chase Lane, Sylva, NC 28779, (828) 507-1375
Proposal for: Mel Gibson
Genre: Action / Controversial / Religious
Synopsis: There are two stories being played out that will merge together.
Story #1
The main character (Chris Hunt) is an accomplished mixed martial artist, theological scholar and debater.
When Hunt was young he was homeschooled on the mission field by his parents. His father was a well known Biblical scholar but left that life for the mission field. His father also had a trade being a mixed martial arts instructor. Hunt’s father trained him in theology, philosophy and mixed martial arts. Chris leaves his parents on the mission field to attend college in the U.S. and compete professionally in the U.F.C.
But the death of his parents at the hands of Muslims on the mission field has left Hunt bitter. Hunt leaves his conservative roots behind and begins teaching theology at a liberal Seminary with a bent on proving Jesus as just a good moral teacher with a failed prophecy as a legacy. Hunt is drawn to this theology because of the death of his parents and for intellectual reasons. His arguments are simple – Jesus promised that His Second Coming would take place in the lifetime and generation of his first century disciples (Matt. 10:22-23; Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:34), and since the end of the world did not take place at that time – Jesus’ prophecy failed. And since the rest of the NT followed Jesus’ first century time of fulfillment – “at hand,” “in a very little while,” “shortly, “soon” it too is a failure (1 Pet. 4:5-7; Heb. 10:37; Rev. 1:1—22:6-7) and cannot be “inspired” as claimed.
Hunt lays paralyzed in his depression and despair until a student in his class begins challenging him in a way he has never encountered before. One of his students is a Full Preterist and begins showing him how all these predictions pointed to Christ’s Second Coming taking place when Jerusalem fell in AD 66 – AD 70 and that the language Jesus uses in Matthew 24 (stars falling etc…) is apocalyptic language (symbolic/metaphoric genre) and is not literal. Hunt learns that Jesus nor the NT writers were ever predicting the end of the world (as commonly taught in most churches), but rather involve predictions of Christ’s return to bring an end to the old covenant age/world and establishing the new covenant age (which is spiritual). God awakens Hunt’s faith for a mission he is uniquely qualified for…
Story #2
Muslim apologist Shabir Ally is from Iran and is falsely portraying himself as a peaceful moderate. He comes to the U.S. to debate various Christian theologians claiming the Jesus of the NT is a false prophet and therefore Allah gave Muhammad the Quran as a superior revelation. While this is a legitimate tour by Ally, no one knows that his inner circle is a terrorist network planning a nuclear attack on U.S. soil. At least no one except two F.B.I. agents who begin noticing some suspicious activity.
Shabir is also an accomplished fighter in the U.F.C. and is using this as an avenue to get into the States.
The merging of the two stories
Shabir challenges Hunt to a debate and to fight in in the U.F.C. Tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran and both countries are pushing both the fight and the debate.
Hunt takes a debate with Shabir in Los Angels, California. Chris thinks God has called him to take down Shabir’s arguments in a debate, but the mission becomes much more involved as the evening develops. Toward the end of the debate, Shabir and his network take the audience hostage announcing their plans of detonating their nuclear device. Hunt now has to use his mixed martial arts training and team up with the F.B.I. — along with the audience he has won over in debate, to kill the terrorists and disarm the nuke.
Not only this, but extreme Dispensational Zionists such as John Hagee have the President’s ear and are trying to convince the President that these are signs of the end times and that the U.S. needs to get ready for Armageddon. God is going to use Hunt in a variety of ways to disarm this conflict which will also involve educating the President on these issues.
Why this movie will be a financial success: Again, this movie involves religious controversy which does nothing but provide free advertisement and brings in a larger audience. The movie also touches on the issues of the day – Islamic eschatology views everything in the news today as a “fulfillment” of their “end time” prophecies leading to a “holy war” with the West. Unfortunately, many Dispensational Zionist “Christians” read their Bible’s through the lens of current events (ex. Hal Lindsey or say John Haggee) as well and claim what is taking place today in the Middle East also supports an alleged “imminent” “end time” “holy war” and “rapture” for the Church.
Only through education can these problems come to light let alone be solved. The fact that these NT “end time” “holy war” (Armageddon) prophecies have already been fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70 is a major step in the right direction to healing this conflict.
Characters / Actors: David Hunt (_Chris Pratt – Christian and UFC fan_______ ), F.B.I. agent (________ ), and Muslim terrorist (________ ).
Budget: 30 – 70 million.
Box office profit: 300 million or more.
The Theology & History Behind the Movie – 100% Solid! See My Articles Here:
1). How the Bible Refutes Modern “In the Land,” “the End is Near – AGAIN,” “Holy War” False Religion (Islam, Israeli Zionism, and Christian Premillennial Zionism):
Part 1 Islam – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/
Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/
2). How the “Last Days” Battle or War of Armageddon and Gog and Magog was Fulfilled Between AD 67-AD 70 along with Zechariah 12-14 Article:
3). How the Nations Have Beaten and Continue to Beat Their Swords into Plowshares and Have Learned War No More as They Stream Into the New Jerusalem:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/the-last-days-day-of-the-lord-of-isaiah-22-4-10-19-21-and-2-thessalonians-15-10-/10155254904044364/
4). How Matthew 24-25; the “Rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and the Resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 Were All Fulfilled by AD 70:
5). Understanding the book of Revelation and How it was Fulfilled by AD 70:
a). A Pre-AD 70 Date for the Book of Revelation – A Full Preterist Response to Dr. Simon Kistemaker:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/a-pre-ad-70-date-for-the-book-of-revelation-a-full-preterist-response-to-simon-k/10155311579099364/
b). How Futurists Have Failed to Deal with Imminence in Revelation:
c). Revelation 1-4:
d). Revelation 5-10:
e). Revelation 11-13:
f). Revelation 14-19:
g). Revelation 20-22:
And don’t forget to get a copy of my/our book: “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” Available on Amazon here:

A FULL PRETERIST RESPONSE TO “HOLY LAND,” “THE END IS NEAR (AGAIN),” “HOLY WAR” ESCHATOLOGIES – PART 2 JUDAISM (THE ARTICLE FACEBOOK DOESN’T WANT YOU TO READ!)

By Michael J. Sullivan (Copyright 2014). SEE MY BOOK ON THIS SUBJECT ALMOST DONE – DOWNLOAD PDF FILE HERE: ARMAGEDDON DECEPTION BOOK

We are continuing our study of the three eschatologies (views of prophecy) within Islam, Judaism, and “Christian” Dispensational Zionism which emphasize a “in the land,” “end time,” “holy war,” by which their god or religion overcomes the others. These views of eschatology have contributed to the perpetual war in the Middle East and around the world. I think we all realize that while at times we will need to engage militarily, this conflict will ultimately be won through a “war of ideas” – or won on the level of theological debate and the true and Biblical view of prophecy emerging – correcting and healing those ensnared in these false views. Will this take a long time. Yes. But that is what I am dedicated to – and these three articles will be a step in the right direction.

Judaism is not as newspaper “current events” driven when it comes to their views of prophecy in the OT as say Islam or Dispensational Zionism (in fact most in modern day Israel are humanists). But as we will see, their leaders and Rabbis have at times applied and interpreted various passages of the OT to justify them driving out others from their land in order to establish themselves as a nation in 1948 (Ezekiel 37 – which is a false interpretation/view of Dispensational Zionism as well). And it is within their mode of interpretation that they have applied Ezekiel 38-39 to a modern “in the land,” “end time,” “holy war” – so we will have to examine these interpretations as they will eventually be appealed to in the future to justify their actions.

Since modern day Judaism is very outspoken against Christianity I will be addressing other issues in this article as well which will include such things as:

1. Is it true that Jesus and the NT invented the notion that Messiah was to be divine and a savior? I will prove from the law and the prophets and their own Rabbis (pre and post Christ) that this is not true.

2. They claim Jesus and the NT invented the notion of a “Second Coming” because Jesus didn’t establish the kingdom the first time around. Again, I will be appealing to the law and the prophets to demonstrate the evidence of a Messiah coming on the clouds of heaven.

The other issue we will be dealing with in this article is:

3. Post AD 70 is there such a thing as a “Jewish race” and is it possible to even have “Judaism” when Jehovah ended the old covenant and destroying the Temple and genealogies in AD 70?

These are all very important issues that we need to address honestly and Scripturally.

I should also note that the bulk of my exegesis in demonstrating how all of the law and prophets were fulfilled by AD 70 (ex. Luke 21:20-32) will be provided in part 3 of this series when we examine the newspaper eschatology of “Christian” Dispensational Zionism. And we will cover some of the “proof texts” that 1948 was an alleged “fulfillment of prophecy” in depth and in that forum as well.

  1. The Eschatology of Israel/Judaism/Zionism (Past and Present)

Using a hyper-literal interpretation of OT scriptures, Jewish eschatology has many similarities to what is being considered modern day Christian thought concerning supposed recently fulfilled prophecy and or alleged future to us fulfillment of such events as:

Israel coming back into the land in 1948 after World War II was a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 and Deuteronomy 28-32.

A Temple is re-built in Jerusalem.

Israel will be surrounded by the nations of the world in the battle of Gog and Magog Ezekiel 38-39.

Some have affirmed that when Messiah comes His reign will be a transitional reign between the two ages 1. The old covenant age of the law and prophets to 2. Ushering in and establishing the Messianic age or new covenant age. Many have speculated that this will last anywhere between 40 years or a 1,000 or more (and anywhere in-between).

Israel awaits their Messiah to usher in a literal kingdom on earth whereby He and Israel defeat unbelievers (or convince that its religion is true and others are false) and rule the world in peace.

There is a physical/literal bodily resurrection and judgment at the end of the world.

There will be a transformation of the planet earth and a literal new heaven and earth takes the place of the old.

The references for these beliefs are found primarily in the OT books of Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Zephaniah.

Zionism versus Judaism / who is the real “Israel”? / 1948 – condemned or fulfillment of Torah?

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be considered representing humanistic Judaism, he does have some interesting views worth noting. Speaking on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland he declared that Israel becoming a state in 1948 was the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37,

“The Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed,” “Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesized: “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.”[15]

The Prime Minister is very tight with the American Dispensational Zionist movement (often speaking with them when arriving in the U.S. before our Presidents) and shares their erroneous view that 1948 was a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. This brings up the concern and question as to if he agrees with the Zionists that what’s next for Israel is an “end time” holy war allegedly found in Ezekiel 38-39? Since most modern Jews reject the notion of a Messiah that is divine and prefer the concept to be a King or President type which will lead through military action, the concern could be that Netanyahu and others might consider himself to be a messiah figure of sorts defending end time prophecies in the Torah?

Before leaving the topic of the Prime Minister, it should be noteworthy that he and his political hero’s drove Palestinians out of their land whom have more in common with racial and ancient Israelites than himself (being a descendant of the European Jews). Of course not many here in the United States understand that there are those claiming to be Orthodox Jews and “Israel” who have always condemned the formation of the modern day nation of “Israel” in 1948. They claim the formation of a state in 1948 was a violation of Torah not the fulfillment of it! They believe what most would consider the “Israeli State” today should simply be referred to as the secular Zionist movement which they define as:

“Zionism here, we are referring to the concept that Jews should rise up, emancipate themselves from exile without waiting for the messiah, and establish a Jewish government in the Holy Land. Using Jewish texts, we demonstrate that this concept is against the Torah and has been opposed by rabbis in all generations.”[16]

Their mission: “The relatively new concept of Zionism began only about one hundred years ago and since that time Torah-true Jewry has steadfastly opposed the Zionist ideology. This struggle is rooted in two convictions: 1. Zionism, by advocating a political and military end to the Jewish exile, denies the very essence of our Diaspora existence. We are in exile by Divine Decree and may emerge from exile solely via Divine Redemption. All human efforts to alter a metaphysical reality are doomed to end in failure and bloodshed. History has clearly borne out this teaching. 2. Zionism has not only denied our fundamental belief in Heavenly Redemption it has also created a pseudo-Judaism which views the essence of our identity to be a secular nationalism.

Accordingly, Zionism and the Israeli state have consistently endeavored, via persuasion and coercion, to replace a Divine and Torah-centered understanding of our peoplehood with an armed materialism. True Torah Jews is dedicated to informing the world and in particular the American public and politicians that not all Jews support the ideology of the Zionist state called “Israel.” In fact, a great number of Orthodox Jews view the ideology of that state as diametrically opposed to the teachings of traditional Judaism. We are concerned that the widespread misconception that all Jews support the Zionist state and its actions endangers Jews worldwide. We are NOT politically motivated. We are motivated by our concern for the peace and safety of all people throughout the world including those living in the Zionist state. We support and pray for peace for the people of the Zionist state but have no interest in and do not support the Zionist government. We seek to disassociate Jews and traditional Judaism from the Zionist ideology by: 1. Providing historical and supporting documentation that Zionism is totally contrary to the teachings of traditional Judaism through the words of our Rabbis, Sages, and Holy Scriptures which oppose the creation of a state called Israel. 2. Providing historical documentation on the ideology and creation of Zionism, the supporters of Zionism and the negative impact of their actions on the Jewish people in the past hundred years, including their involvement in the Holocaust and their activities up to the present day. 3. Publicizing the efforts of traditional Jews to demonstrate their opposition to Zionism, efforts which are often ignored by the mainstream media. 4. Convincing the news media, politicians and the public to cease referring to the State of Israel as the “Jewish State” but to call it what it is: the “Zionist State”. We also aim to reach out to our Jewish brethren who have never studied the subject of Zionism from a Torah perspective, and have only been taught the Zionist side of the story. It is our hope that all of our fellow Jews will soon open their eyes, return to Torah and reject this ideology that replaces the Jew’s age-old hope for G-d’s redemption with a false redemption and a human-initiated state.”[17]

Torah and Politics

Netanyahu allegedly made these statements to Yaakov Vider, a member of the Likud party’s haredi faction (the Times of Israel reported) about the Torah:

“We will legally define the Talmud as the basis of the Israeli legal system,” And, “I will personally deal with the legislation for ‘Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.’ This is a very important law that will change how Israel looks in the future.…[the new bill] will be a Basic Law that [shows] the State of Israel rose [ex. His view of Ezekiel 37?] and exists on the basis of the Torah and the Jewish tradition,” (bold emphasis mine).

Critics of Netanyahu believe this to be a Jewish form of Islamic Sharia Law.

The Messianic Age Is Imminent

As within Islam and Christianity, there is this erroneous belief that the end times will be ushered in before the planet earth reaches its 6,000th year. Allegedly the seven days of creation in the early chapters of Genesis represent 7,000 years with the 7th being the earths Sabbath rest or the reign of Messiah (some Christians thinking it’s the “millennium” period of Revelation 20) The Talmud teaches: R. Katina said, “Six thousand years the world will exist and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate (haruv), as it is written, ‘And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day’ (Isa. 2:11)… R. Katina also taught, “Just as the seventh year is the Shmita year, so too does the world have one thousand years out of seven that are fallow (mushmat), as it is written, ‘And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day’ (Isa. 2:11); and further it is written, ‘A psalm and song for the Shabbat day’ (Ps. 92:1) – meaning the day that is altogether Shabbat – and also it is said, ‘For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past’ (Ps.90:4) (Sanhedrin 97a).”[18] The Midrash, comments: “Six eons for going in and coming out, for war and peace. The seventh eon is entirely Shabbat and rest for life everlasting”.[19]

The Zohar elaborates: “The redemption of Israel will come about through the mystic force of the letter “Vav” [which has the numerical value of six], namely, in the sixth millennium…. Happy are those who will be left alive at the end of the sixth millennium to enter the Shabbat, which is the seventh millennium; for that is a day set apart for the Holy One on which to effect the union of new souls with old souls in the world (Zohar, Vayera 119a).”[20]

End Time Battle of Gog and Magog

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism. He wrote of the end time battle of Gog and Magog within Judaism:

“Gog and Magog are the peoples who will wage war against the Jews before the advent of the Messiah. These two names appear in the vision of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 38, 39) where Gog is the ruler of the country of Magog. Gog will lead his people in war against the land of Israel but will be defeated and God alone will reign supreme. Since Ezekiel prophesied in exile about the return of the Jewish people to its land, it is possible that he was thinking of contemporary events. Attempts have been made to identify Gog and Magog with nations whom the prophet may have thought to pose a threat in the immediate future to the Jews who were to return to the land.

On the other hand, as a number of biblical scholars understand it, the prophet himself may have had in mind events in the remote future as part of his apocalyptic vision. In subsequent Jewish eschatology, both Gog and Magog are understood to be persons and the “wars of Gog and Magog” become part of the whole eschatological scheme.

As with regard to Jewish eschatology as a whole, there is a considerable degree of uncertainty about what is said to happen at the “end of days,” the picture is really an amalgam of various folk-beliefs, some of them contradictory.

In the eschatological account given by Saadiah Gaon (Belief and Opinions, viii. 6) an attempt is made to accommodate the wars of Gog and Magog into the scheme. Interestingly enough, however, in Maimonides’ scheme at the end of his great code, the Mishneh Torah, in which messianism is interpreted in largely rationalistic terms, there is no reference to the wars of Gog and Magog only to the Messiah fighting “the battles of the Lord” in order to reconquer the land of Israel, rebuild the Temple, and establish God’s reign on earth. Even in Orthodox Judaism, the details of these terrible events are vague and wars of Gog and Magog do not feature at all prominently in Orthodox theology.

Yet, at the time, World Wars I and II did tend to be seen as the wars of Gog and Magog, as the essential prelude to the coming of the Messiah. Some of the Hasidic masters saw the struggle between Napoleon and Russia as the wars of Gog and Magog.”[21]

This of course begs the question that if Jews (and Christians) could view the “current events” (at the time) of Napoleon and World War I and II as the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the end time battle of Gog and Magog, then they will just re-work the failed system to suit OUR current events.

Is the Israel and Judaism of the OT and NT the Same Modern Israel and Judaism Today?

Some of my Preterist friends such as John L. Bray and David Curtis have correctly pointed out that post AD 70 there can’t be a “Jew” or “Israel” today as there was in Biblical times.

David Curtis: “Many people today still consider the Jewish people as a race. Numerous verses identify Israel, in New Testament prophecy, in terms of their tribal associations; however, these associations do not extend beyond the first century (ex. Matthew 24:30 or Revelation 1:7 which discuss “the tribes of the (land) shall mourn” etc..). After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the nation of Israel, after the flesh, was scattered throughout the earth, and lost all tribal relations. This scattering was made immutable due to the fact that all tribal genealogical records were destroyed with the Temple in A.D. 70.”

The simple fact is that there is no existing Jewish race. Consider the following quotations:

The Encyclopedia Brittanica (1973) – “The Jews As A Race: The findings of physical anthropology show that, contrary to the popular view, there is no Jewish race. Anthropornetric measurements of Jewish groups in many parts of the world indicate that they differ greatly from one another with respect to all the important physical characteristics.” (vol. 12, page 1054)

Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem (1971) – “It is a common assumption, and one that sometimes seems ineradicable even in the face of evidence to the contrary, that the Jews of today constitute a race, a homogeneous entity easily recognizable. From the preceding discussion of the origin and early history of the Jews, it should be clear that in the course of their formation as a people and a nation they had already assimilated a variety of racial strains from people moving into the general area they occupied. This had taken place by interbreeding and then by conversion to Judaism of a considerable number of communities. . . .”

“Thus, the diversity of the racial and genetic attributes of various Jewish colonies of today renders any unified racial classification of them a contradiction in terms. Despite this, many people readily accept the notion that they are a distinct race. This is probably reinforced by the fact that some Jews are recognizably different in appearance from the surrounding population. That many cannot be easily identified is overlooked and the stereotype for some is extended to all – a not uncommon phenomenon” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem, 1971, vol. 3, p. 50).

Encyclopedia Americana (1986) – “Racial and Ethnic Considerations. Some theorists have considered the Jews a distinct race, although this has no factual basis. In every country in which the Jews lived for a considerable time, their physical traits came to approximate those of the indigenous people. Hence the Jews belong to several distinct racial types, ranging, for example, from fair to dark. Among the reasons for this phenomenon are voluntary or involuntary miscegenation and the conversion of Gentiles to Judaism” (Encyclopedia Americana, 1986, vol. 16, p. 71).

Collier’s Encyclopedia (1977) – “A common error and persistent modern myth is the designation of the Jews as a ‘race! This is scientifically fallacious, from the standpoint of both physical and historical tradition. Investigations by anthropologists have shown that Jews are by no means uniform in physical character and that they nearly always reflect the physical and mental characteristics of the people among whom they live” (Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1977, vol. 13, p. 573). Today, being a Jew simply means that one is of the Judaistic religion or a convert to it, or else in a “brotherhood” of those who are. Therefore, being a Jew has nothing to do with race. We are familiar with a number of notable figures, such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Elizabeth Taylor, and Tom Arnold, in fact, who became Jews by conversion to the religion of Judaism.

Evangelist John Bray: “Many Christians do not know that the vast majority of so-called Jews in the world today are the Ashkenazim Jews, while the remainder of them are the Sephardim Jews. The Ashkenazim Jews have as their background not the nation of Israel but a country called Khazaria, which country at one time was the largest country in Europe. The settlers of Khazaria were Turks and Huns. In A.D. 740 King Bulan of Khazaria decided to adopt the Judaistic religion for his country. A number of Jews were already living there. So he converted to Judaism, along with all his officials, and whole nation ended up being known as a nation of Jews. In 970 Russia came in and dominated the situation, and the Khazars were scattered, many of them going down into Poland and Lithuania. Where at the dawn of our modern civilization the largest concentration of Jews were found. Today, the largest percentage of so-called Jews in the world have as their background this group of people.” (This information is fully documented in detail in John Bray’s book, Israel in Bible Prophecy)

Funk and Wagnall’s New Encyclopedia (1970) – “In 1970 the Israeli Knesset adopted legislation defining a Jew as one born of a Jewish mother or a convert.” (vol. 14, p. 214)

H.G. Wells – “There can be little doubt that the scattered Phoenicians in Spain and Africa and throughout the Mediterranean, speaking as they did a language closely akin to Hebrew and being deprived of their authentic political rights, became proselytes to Judaism. For phases of vigorous proselytism alternated with phases of exclusive jealousy in Jewish history. On one occasion the Idumeans, being conquered, were all forcibly made Jews. There were Arab tribes who were Jews in the time of Muhammad, and a Turkish people who were mainly Jews in South Russia in the ninth century. Judaism is indeed the reconstructed political ideal of many shattered peoples – mainly Semitic…. The main part of Jewry never was in Judea and had never come out of Judea” (The Outline of History,p. 505).

Genesis 49:10: The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” This is a known Messianic text for the Jewish people prior to the coming of Jesus Christ.[22] Jesus/Shiloh (a descendant of Judah) has come gathering in His kingdom the nations (Jew and Gentile) whereby they give Him their obedience. This began roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 and at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 and well into the new covenant age. Jesus clearly foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and her old covenant age/system in Matthew 21:42-45; 22:7; 23-24. Since that time, there no longer remains any geo-political ruling “scepter” privilege for the literal tribe of Judah (any kind of national Israel) nor ever shall be.

As one can clearly see there are no “twelve tribes” of Israel today, no real or pure Jewish race, and no old covenant (with animal sacrifices etc…) to identify modern day Israel with biblical or covenantal Israel. These facts are devastating to modern day Israel’s claims and “rights” to the land of Jerusalem and or their religion of “Judaism.”

Deuteronomy 18:15-19: Moses in the Torah predicted that a greater prophet than himself would arise and that if the people would not heed him they would be destroyed (Deut. 18:15-19). Peter reminds his listeners that Jesus is the fulfillment of Moses prophecy and that if they did not heed Jesus’ warnings they would be cut off (Acts 3:22-23).

Deuteronomy 32:5, 20: “They have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation.” “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.” Again Peter exhorts his fellow Jews that their generation is the “perverse and crooked” generation that Moses foretold (Acts 2:40). Thus Israel’s “end” was to take place in that particular generation and did. Moses states that within this terminal generation the Gentiles will rejoice with the remnant Jews, in that this will be the time whereby God “avenges the blood of his servants,” which Jesus identifies with his AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” tied to the destruction of their Temple in AD 70 (Deuteronomy 32:43/Matthew 23:32-38). (Deuteronomy 32:5, 20/Acts 2:40/Matthew 24:34/Luke 17:24/Mark 8:38-9:1). It was predicted that within this particular generation that they would not accurately “discern” what their “end would be” (Deuteronomy 32:28-29). Israel in the NT did not heed her Messiah’s warning that her kingdom would be “taken” from them and “given” to “another nation” (ie. the Church) in AD 70 (Matthew 21:42-45/1 Peter 1:4-9).

Jesus from the beginning to the end of His earthly ministry NEVER described His kingdom (that is the kingdom the OT prophets foretold) as anything but spiritual “not of this world” “if it were my servants would fight” etc… It was never designed to continue to be a geopolitical or militaristic literal “kingdom.” These facts are also devastating to Dispensational Zionists false theology as well.

Modern Judaism and Zionist attacks on Jesus’ as a divine Messiah or rejection of Him as Messiah because of an alleged failed imminent Second Coming

Modern Zionists and other Orthodox Rabbis claim Jesus couldn’t have been their Messiah because the Messiah (per their traditional and historical views) was not to be a divine individual but a mere man. Or Jesus is to be rejected as the Messiah because his prophecy to return in His generation was a failed prophecy. Or Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because didn’t fulfill the law and prophets the way they think they should have been fulfilled (using a hyper-literal interpretation). Let’s examine some of these claims.

Is/was the Jewish Messiah to be divine or not?

On one prominent “Jewish” web site we are told, “But above all, he (the Messiah) will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.”[23] And, “The term “mashiach” literally means “the anointed one,” and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The mashiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days.” Oddly no discussion is made on this allegedly modern “Jewish” web site of a commonly known Messianic text such as Daniel 7:13-14 where the “anointed one” is actually worshipped. That doesn’t sound like a mere man to me nor to many Jews before and during Jesus’ day (we will discuss this crucial text further below). And we should note that Jesus as Messiah did appear towards the “end of days” / Israel’s “last days” in His incarnation and second appearing – to bring an end of the old covenant age in an AD 70 “very little while” (Hebrews 1:2, 9:26-28/10:37). Jesus is the exalted and anointed Messiah/God/Davidic King fulfilling Psalm 45:6-7/Hebrews 1:8-9. Is/was the Jewish Messiah to be “Savior” or not?

Here is the modern day false “Jewish” claim that Messiah was never thought to be a savior figure in the scriptures: “The word “mashiach” does not mean “savior.” The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought.”[24] Israel’s exodus from Egypt is by far the greatest example of “salvation” or “deliverance” which formed Israel’s view that God alone acts as Savior (cf. Ps 106:21; cf. Is 63:8-11; Hos 13:4). This salvation was brought about through the sacrifice of a lamb’s blood placed upon the doorframes of God’s people while the concept of the death a “firstborn” as an exchange for their salvation and deliverance was born (Exodus 12). This would pave the way for the foundation of Judaism itself – the Temple and sacrificial system necessary to atone for Israel’s sins (Leviticus 16). “Salvation” was connected to the Messiah’s (the “King’s” or “Anointed One’s) work in His coming lowly upon a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 – a passage known to be Messianic in Jewish literature).[25] In (Zechariah 13:1) we learn that “On that day (the day of Messiah’s salvation) a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” How would this come about? This was due to the Messianic Shepherd being “struck” and the sheep scattered (Zechariah 13:7-9 cf. also 11:4-14; 12:10; Matthew 26:31, 56).

To learn more of the Messiah being “struck” or sacrificed “…to save Israel from the consequences of her sins” (which is being denied by our good “Jewish” friend) we must now turn to Isiah 53 and examine how some Rabbis understood it. Let’s quote the entire chapter:

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.[26]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).”[27] “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.”[28]

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 by the future blessing and restoration of Israel (Is 49:26; 60:16). The idea that Christians have somehow invented the idea that the Messiah is found in such passages as Isaiah 53 or that Messiah would not be a “Savior” – saving Israel (and the Gentile believing world) from their sins is simply not accurate. These concepts are truly Jewish to the core!

When will Messiah come? The new exodus generation

This same Jewish web site claims one of the orthodox views describing when Messiah will come: “…in a generation that is totally innocent or totally guilty;”[29] Please note what is said of Israel’s last day’s terminal generation in Deuteronomy 32:20-22: “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end (Matthew 10:22-23, Matthew 24:3, Matthew 13:39-40, – end of the old covenant age) shall be: for they are a very perverse generation (Matthew 23:36, Matthew 24:34, Mark 8:38; Acts 2:40), children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people (Romans 10:19, 11:11); I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation (Mt.21:42-43/ 1 Peter 2:9). For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire (2 Peter 3; Revelation 8:8) the foundations of the mountains.” (Deut. 32:20-22). This “perverse generation” mentioned here in “the Song of Moses” was prophesied to “not be wise” and “not discern” what their “end will/was to be” (Deut. 32:29).

They rejected their true Rock/Christ and thus they would be destroyed. This “judgment” came upon those that rejected him, yet He was compassionate to the remnant and also brought joy to the Gentile nations at the same time (Deut. 32:36, 43). This is the generation Jesus addresses throughout His ministry and the one the NT authors confront and comfort in the first century concerning an imminent judgment and salvation. Judaism’s dilemma of a Messiah coming in a “totally guilty” or “totally innocent generation” is one and the same! Jesus as Messiah in the AD 30 – AD 70 generation was saving and making pure (“innocent”) and righteous the remnant while at the same time holding accountable the perverse, wicked and adulterous among that generation that had rejected Jesus and the prophets.

The author fails to realize that his rejection of Jesus as Messiah is what made the last days AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” “guilty” and held accountable from all the blood of righteous going back to Abel going through to those NT prophet’s Jesus would send to her prior to her House/Temple being destroyed and Israel’s judgment in AD 70 (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:40/Luke 17:25/Mark 8:38-9:1/Matthew 23:30-38/24:34). Many of the Rabbis of Jesus’ and Peter’s day described the reign of Messiah to be a transition period between their Old Covenant “this age” and the Messianic or New Covenant “age to come.” They saw Messiah accomplishing redemption, salvation, and the new temple being built during this “millennial” period. What is interesting to note is that the millennial or transition period was thought of to last 40 years (a particular generation) . Their theological reason being – as long as Israel wandered in the dessert was the period in which the remnant of the Messianic generation would see gladness. Speaking of the transition period of Messiah Schoeps says some Rabbi’s considered it: “… a short interval for the interim period, namely, forty years (R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus; Bar. In Sanh. 99a; R. Aqiba: Midr. Teh on Ps. 90:15; Tanch. Eqeb 7b, Pes. Rabb. 4a). The two Tannaites, commenting on Ps. 95:7, derive this time indication from the Messianically understood v. 10 (“forty years I loathed that generation” and from Deut. 8:2 by a parallelization with the forty years in the desert.”[30]

G.K. Beale also points out the same, “There are numerous Jewish traditions about the nature and length of the future messianic reign. Some speculated that there would be no messianic reign at all, while others proposed periods of an intermediate reign from 40 to 365,000 years.” “see the surveys of rabbinic views in b. Sanhedrin 97a-b, 99a; Midr. Ps. 90:17; Pesikta Rabbati 1…”[31]

Here are parallels of the New Exodus theme:

1) An edict was sent out to kill the male children during the time of Moses (Exodus1:22) and an edict was issued by Herod to kill the male children in hopes of killing Jesus (Matthew 2:16).

2) After killing the Egyptian Moses fled to Midian until the wrath of the king passed (Exodus 2:15) and Joseph and Mary, fled with Jesus to Egypt until the wrath of the king passed (Matthew 2:14).

3) God called Moses back to his country to be his people’s deliverer (Exodus 3:10) just as Jesus was called back to His country (Matthew 2:20) to be their deliverer.

4) God kept Moses 40 days in the wilderness before giving the law on a mountain (Deut. 9:11; Exodus19) and He likewise kept Jesus 40 days in the wilderness before placing Him on a mount to give the New Covenant law and thus the true interpretation of the old (Matthew 4:1-chapter

5) Both received glory on top of a mountain. While being tested by Satan for 40 days Jesus quotes three scriptures found in the Exodus wilderness testing: (Matthew 4:4/Deut. 8:3; Matthew 4:7/Deut. 6:16; Matthew 4:10/Deut. 6:13 & Deut 10:20).

6) God through Moses appointed 70 elders (Numbers 11:16) and Jesus appointed 70 disciples (Luke 10:1). Old Covenant Israel consisted of 12 tribes and Jesus forms the restored Israel with an inner core of 12 disciples.

7) God’s Old Covenant people were delivered from His judgment upon Egypt by the first Passover. This deliverance was substitutional in nature and was brought about through the shedding of a lamb’s blood. God’s New Covenant people were delivered from the wrath (“His blood be upon us and our children”) that would be poured out upon Jerusalem/Egypt/Revelation 11:8 through the New Covenant Passover blood of Jesus (the lamb of God). In the first exodus the death of “first born” of humans and animals were to appease God’s wrath. In the New Covenant exodus Jesus is both the “first born” and the “Lamb.”

8) In God forming Old Covenant Israel during this time it was a creating of the heavens and earth (Isa.51:15-16). Through the cross and parousia of Jesus a New Covenant heavens and earth were being created and would replace the former Old Covenant one “shortly” (Isaiah 65-66; Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3; and Revelation 21-22).

9) In the formation of Old Covenant Israel, God was bringing about deliverance from the physical bondage and slavery of Egypt. In the New Covenant transitionary period, God was creating and delivering a remnant of New Covenant Israel out from the spiritual bondage and slavery of the Old Covenant “elements of the world” which was the law.

10) Fifty days after the first Passover and the giving of the law (Exodus 19) 3,000 died for idolatry (Exodus 32:28). Fifty days after the Passover in Jesus’ blood 3,000 are saved and filled with the Spirit (Acts 2).

11) There was a miraculous outpouring of the Spirit’s work in building the Old Covenant tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-11). The AD 30 – 70 generation also saw the miraculous work of God in profound ways. There was a miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s work in the “last days” in which the building and erecting of the spiritual New Covenant tabernacle/temple of God was taking place. The first was a physical building with the hands and the later was a spiritual building by the laying on of hands of the Apostles. The Church was and is clearly the New Covenant kingdom tabernacle or temple that was predicted by the prophets of which Jesus was the corner stone (Acts 15/Amos 9; Mark 12:10-11; Acts 4:11/Psalm118, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:4-10/Psalm 118, Isaiah 28:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16/Ezekiel 37:26-27). Just as Micah 7:15 predicted miracles would occur in this new exodus under Messiah – so the miracles lasted until He returned to end her age and fulfill Israel’s promises (Mark 16:15-18/Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 13:8-12).

12) God was grieved with the unbelieving Old Covenant generation and did not allow them to enter the Promised Land (Heb. 3:10). God was grieved with the adulterous and wicked generation of His day and did not allow them to inherit His heavenly rest in His kingdom – “In Christ” (Mark 8:31-9:1, Matthew 23:34-46, Hebrews 3-4, 6, 9-10:37, 13:14YLT). 13) The wilderness wandering generation was baptized into Moses by passing through the red sea whereby they would receive a physical salvation from their persecutors. The water which did not touch them did destroy their enemies (1Corinthians 10:1-2). There likewise was a baptism of fire and persecution in which the first century Church underwent that was separating the gold (true believers) from the wood (professing believers) and would eventually burn up the persecutors (Matthew 3:11; Luke 8:13-14; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2- 3; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-12). The children or remnant of Moses generation that went through the red sea would enter into the rest and salvation of the Promised Land. Likewise the remnant of spiritual Israel would inherit and enter the Heavenly Country “In Christ” (Hebrews 3-4, 12) with Peter describing the spiritual New Covenant salvation and entrance into the kingdom as the salvation of the “soul” (1 Peter 1:4-12).

In examining the teachings of Jesus and that of the NT authors, we have found that the contemporary “this generation” of Jesus in (Matthew 24:34) is the one which witnessed His return and brought to maturity the New Covenant Exodus/Redemption predicted by the prophets. That New Covenant Temple/House/City/Creation was matured with the coming of Jesus in AD 70 and therefore, the Church today invites those who through the Holy Spirit’s work realize they are lost and thirsty sinners needing to come Home. The doors are always open and light is always on, so come home thou weary sinner come home (Revelation 21-22:17).

Modern day “Jews” mock Second Coming of Jesus doctrine

“The main task of the Messiah was to bring the world back to G-d, and to abolish all war, suffering and injustice from the world. Clearly, Jesus did not accomplish this. In order to get around this failure on the part of Jesus, Christians invented the doctrine of the “Second Coming.”. . . All the prophecies that Jesus did not fulfill the first time are supposed to be taken care of the second time around. However, the Jewish Bible offers absolutely no evidence to support the Christian doctrine of a “Second Coming.”[34]

“The idea of a second coming is a pure rationalization of Jesus’ failure to function in any way as a messiah, or to fulfill any of the prophecies of the Torah or the Prophets. The idea is purely a Christian invention, with no foundation in the Bible.”[35]

“This two-fold misapprehension of Jesus ¾ the nearness of the kingdom of heaven and his Messiahship perpetuated his memory and created Christianity. Had not the disciples expected his second coming Christianity could never have come into being: even as a Jewish sect. . . . The Jews as a whole could not, however, follow after a belief based on so slight a foundation. . . . Yet again, through the preaching of his messianic claims, after he had failed to manifest himself to the world again, in his power and glory, he became, in spite of himself, a “sacrifice,” a “ransom for many.”[36]

“The success of the Christian claim or its failure rests to a very large extent on the theory of the second coming. . . . The Jews never had the concept of a second coming, and since it was the Jews themselves who first taught the notion of a Messiah, via the Jewish prophets, it seems quite reasonable to respect their opinion more than anyone else’s. . . . the theory of the second coming is not based on Jewish tradition or sources, and is a theory born from desperation.”[37]

The Truth: Of course the Law and Prophets did foretell the coming of Messiah on the clouds of heaven to judge Israel and establish the Kingdom (the Christian view of the Second Coming). The (OG) LXX of (Daniel 7:13-14) (the “Bible” during Jesus’ day) states, that “one like the Son of Man” would “come on the clouds of heaven as the Ancient of Days.” Jesus appeals to this passage (and others) to form His doctrine of His return throughout Matthew’s gospel (ex. Matthew 16:27-28; 24-25; 26:64). And again, Jesus is depicted in the book of Revelation as coming on the clouds of heaven as the Ancient of Days (Revelation 1:7, 14-17). What is really being rejected here, is not that the Law and Prophets foretold a Second Coming (or Messiah coming on the clouds to usher in the kingdom), but rather that Jesus Himself (as very God “the Alpha and Omega”) would come on the clouds to fulfill this promise as the Messiah (Matthew 26:64/Revelation 1:7, 14-17). There was no “failure” for Christ in accomplishing what He set out to do in Israel’s AD 30 – AD 70 terminal generation concerning sacrifice and coming on the clouds in salvation and judgment to close the old covenant age.

As the sacrifice (the Lamb of God) and functioning as the heavenly High Priest, He came a “second time” to the eagerly awaiting congregation to grant the forgiveness of sin to the remnant and close the “ready to vanish” old covenant age “in a very little while” to judge and put under His feet His first century enemies (Hebrews 8:13—9:26-28—10:37). History cannot be louder or mistaken in that Christ did in fact come with power and great glory in AD 70 taking the kingdom from Israel and giving it to the Church (Matthew 21:42-45). This is not only the testimony of the Law and Prophets, but the testimony of history – the consequences for the Jews rejecting their divine Messiah! Selah.

Perhaps others have not seen the significance of the (OG) LXX of Daniel 7:13-14, but even Jewish scholars have admitted that the passage is dealing with a divine Messianic figure. In the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 98a (A.D. 400-600) we read:

“R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. it is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written, I [the Lord] will hasten it! — if they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee …] lowly, and riding upon an ass! — if they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven; if not, lowly and riding upon an ass.”

Jesus applies both of these OT passages to His redemptive work for Israel through His humility/rejection and suffering servant, to Him coming with salvation and judgment upon the clouds of heaven in AD 70.

Jewish Scholar Alan Segal commenting on R. Akiba. Said and R. Yosi the Galilean disputing over the meaning of the passage said:

“These two rabbis were perplexed by the seeming contradiction in the verses. In one place, more than one throne is indicated by the plural form of the noun. In another place “His (God’s) throne was fiery flames” implies only one throne. Does this mean that the ‘son of man’ in the next verse was enthroned next to God? Rabbi Akiba (110-135 C.E.) affirms the possibility, stating that the other throne was for David. Akiba must be identifying the ‘son of man’ with the Davidic messiah. Nor was R. Akiba alone in the rabbinic movement in identifying the figure in heaven as the messiah. There is some evidence that Judaism contained other traditions linking these verses in Daniel with the messiah.”[38]

Another Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner addresses the ‘older’ traditions which were:

“We focus upon how the system laid out in the Mishnah takes up and disposes of those critical issues of theology worked out through messianic eschatology in other, earlier versions of Judaism. These earlier systems resorted to the myth of the Messiah as savior and redeemer of Israel, a supernatural figure engaged in political-historical tasks as king of the Jews, even a God-man facing the crucial historical questions of Israel’s life and resolving them: the Christ as king of the world, of the ages, of death itself.”[39]

Orthodox Jewish scholar Daniel Boyarin writes on the characteristics of Daniel 7 and the development of Jewish and Christian thought: “What are these characteristics?

  • He is divine.
  • He is divine in human form.
  • He may very well be portrayed as a younger-appearing divinity than the Ancient of Days.
  • He will be enthroned on high.
  • He is given power and dominion, even sovereignty on earth.

All of these are characteristics of Jesus Christ as he will appear in the Gospels, and they appear in this text more than a century and a half [sic] before the birth of Jesus. Moreover, they have been further developed within Jewish traditions between the Book of Daniel and the Gospels. At a certain point these traditions became merged in Jewish minds with the expectation of a return of a Davidic king and the idea of a divine-human Messiah was born. This figure was then named ‘Son of Man,’ alluding to his origins in the divine figure named ‘one like a Son of Man/a human being’ in Daniel. In other words, a simile, a God who looks like a human being (literally Son of Man) has become the name for that God, who is now called ‘Son of Man,’ a reference to his human-appearing divinity…”[40]

And:

“There are many variations of traditions about this figure in the Gospels themselves and in other early Jewish texts. Some Jews had been expecting this Redeemer to be a human exalted to the state of divinity, while others were expecting a divinity to come down to earth and take on human form; some believers in Jesus believed the Christ had been born as an ordinary human and then exalted to divine status, while others believed him to have been a divinity who came down to earth. Either way, we end up with a doubled godhead and a human-divine combination as the expected Redeemer.*…”[41]

Ancient Jews described the anticipated Messiah with the title “he of the clouds.” Boyarin referring to other scholars such as J.A. Emerton points out that any good Jew knew that only Yahwe himself rode upon the clouds of heaven in judgment, “Clouds–as well as riding on or with clouds–are a common attribute of biblical divine appearances, called theophanies (Greek for ‘God appearances’) by scholars. J.A. Emerton had made the point decisively: ‘The act of coming with clouds suggests a theophany of Yahwe himself. If Dan. vii. 13 does not refer to a divine being then it is the only exception out of about seventy passages in the Old Testament.’ “…As New Testament scholar Matthew Black puts it bluntly, ‘This, in effect, means that Dan. 7 knows of two divinities, the Head of Days and the Son of Man.’ Those two divinities, in the course of time, would end up being the first two persons of the Trinity.”[42]

“Ancient Jewish readers might well have reasoned, as the Church Father Aphrahat did, that since the theme of riding on the clouds indicates a divine being in every other instance in the Tanakh (the Jewish name for the Hebrew Bible), we should read this one too as the revelation of God, a second God, as it were. The implication is, of course, that there are two such divine figures in heaven, the old Ancient of Days and the young one like a son of man.”[43]

“The Messiah-Christ existed as a Jewish idea long before the baby Jesus was born in Nazareth. That is, the idea of a second God as a viceroy to God the Father is one of the oldest theological ideas in Israel. Daniel 7 brings into the present a fragment of what is perhaps the most ancient of religious visions of Israel that we can find…” (Ibid.).

The presentation of the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13 is perhaps a reference to Christ in His Parousia delivering up the kingdom (“the saints”) to the Father (“the Ancient of Days”) in AD 70. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor. 15:24)

Again my preferred interpretation is similar to that of F.F. Bruce. According to the Old Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man came “as the Ancient of Days” on the clouds of heaven, not “to the Ancient of Days.” This translation is in harmony with verse 22, which says that it was the Ancient of Days Himself who came in judgment and gave the saints the kingdom. It is also important to point out that John in the book of Revelation alludes to Dan. 7:9, 13 in his description of Christ as being both the Son of Man who comes on the clouds to judge those whom had pierced Him (first century Jews) and as the eternal Ancient of Days in Rev. 1:7, 13-17. Again the context is developing Christ’s future soon” (Rev. 1:1) Second Coming not His ascension.

Unfortunately many Christians apply this cloud coming of Messiah/Jesus to the ascension. However, the New Testament does not develop or give the slightest hint that “the coming of the Son of Man” on the clouds of heaven would be fulfilled in the Ascension. I would agree with Keil and Delitzch comments that the direction is downward upon the enemies and is developed in the NT to the Second Coming (and nowhere to the ascension):

“…it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth. If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4; 104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14.”[44]

Is/Was Messiah to be “worshiped”?

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

The Seventy sevens of Daniel 9:24-27

First Century Jewish interpretations and expectations of Daniel 9:24-27

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

“The 2nd century CE rabbinic work Seder Olam Rabbah, which formed the basis of the era counting of the Hebrew calendar, interpreted the prophecy of seventy weeks in Daniel 9:24-27as referring to a period of 490 years, with a “week” being interpreted as a period of seven years, which would pass between the destruction of the First and Second Temple.” (Missing Years, Wikipedia.org)

11Q13 (11Melch):  Appeals to the coming of Messiah in the 10thcycle or within the 490 years of Daniel 9 which would be in Israel’s “last days.” He had to accomplish the following before AD 70:  1. the Day of Atonement, 2.  gather the believers to Himself, 3.  pour out the days of vengeance upon the wicked and 4.  judge Satan and the fallen Watchers – (directly or indirectly appealing to such passages as Lev. 25; Isa. 27:13; 61:1-11; Dan. 9:24-27; Ps. 7; Ps. 82).

Introducing Christian Full Preterist Chronomessianism

What modern Christian commentators have missed in Daniel 9:24-27 is the context is addressing Daniel being concerned with the prophetic “word” of Jeremiah (Jer. 25 and 29) and the angel is not discussing beginning the 490 years count down beginning with a “decree” of a Gentile king, but rather explaining the “word” of Jeremiah connected with what God had revealed to Daniel in the vision of the four kingdoms in Daniel 7 and earlier in chapter 2.  The Jews of the first century interpreted the passage to have the 70 years of Babylonian captivity included within the 490 years prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.  The 70 years of captivity are connected to the Babylonian dominance over Israel but there were three more Gentile kingdoms to go before the true and New Covenant restoration under Messiah would be achieved (of which Ezra and Nehemiah only typified).  The 70 years of Babylonian captivity times 7 (based on breaking the sabbath laws of Lev. 25-26) = 490 years.

The next major error, is that Yeshua was a Jew and He along with the Jews of the first century would have used the Jewish calendar which dated the destruction of the first temple around 420 BC and not the Gentile calendar of 586 BC.  Therefore, first century “Chronomessianism” began the 490 years countdown from the destruction of the first temple to an anticipated arrival of the Messiah before the destruction of the second temple.

Messiah had to arrive at the end of the last and 10th jubilee to accomplish all the soteriological and eschatological events listed in Daniel 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61:1-11.  They expected Messiah to arrive right around AD 26 – AND HE DID!  But because they missed the spiritual nature of His Kingdom (Lk. 17:20-37), they missed the fulfillment of this powerful prophecy unfold before their very eyes from AD 26 — AD 66-70.   Yeshua was only developing what He revealed to Daniel, when he prophesied a spiritual kingdom (Dan. 2 and 7).  Not only this, but it was clear from their own prophets that they would not be able to “discern” their own “end” when it would drawn “near” in a particular “last days” “perverse and crooked generation” (Deut. 32/Acts 2:40/1 Pet. 4:5-7). The fact that God would be coming to judge their unbelief and not the Romans was prophesied to be a “strange work” (Isa. 28).  Their carnal expectations caused them to miss Isaiah’s “new work” of the spiritual New Covenant.  The same carnal and physical expectations of the Messianic Kingdom has also caused my opponent Dr. Michael Brown (and most of the Church today) to have a delayed 2,000 plus years and counting arrival of the kingdom and ignore or re-define NT imminence.

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

While I would differ on some points with Ben Zion Wacholder, I would agree with the majority of these quotes and that there is sufficient,

*** “…evidence in the biblical, Qumran׳ New Testament, and rabbinic literature for a hitherto unnoticed but apparently at one time widespread belief, that the inevitable coming of the messiah would take place during the season when Israel celebrated the sabbatical year. Sabbatical messianism, or chronomessianism, are appropriate terms for a phenomenon that inspired a search in the scriptural prophecies for the exact date of the redeemer’s coming. Although most powerful in the apocalyptic tradition, chronomessianism appears as well in the mainstream of Judaism. The locus classicus of chronomessianic doctrine is found in Daniel 9, particularly in the mysterious verses 24-27.” (Ben Zion Wacholder, CHRONOMESSIANISM THE TIMING OF MESSIANIC MOVEMENTS AND THE CALENDAR OF SABBATICAL CYCLES, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, p.1, bold emphasis MJS).

More quotes from his article that I found useful include the following:

*** “The pre-history of chronomessianism may be traced in several biblical pasages. Isa. 23:15-18 predicts that Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, at the end of which time the Lord will again remember the famous city.  Jeremiah employs the 70-year period for the length of Judah’s coming exile in Babylonia (Jer. 25: 11-12; 29: 10).  The use of the number 70 might reflect the Jewish affinity for the numeral seven and its multiples, evidenced in weekly and yearly sabbaths (shemittah) and the jubilee; alternately, it might have been a common Near Eastern convention for the maximum life expectancy or the normal span of two or three generations. Whatever that number’s function in Jeremiah, Zech. 1:12 regards the number 70 as the precise length of Judah’s exile. By fusing Jeremiah’s “70-year prophecy” with the assertion in Lev. 26:34-35, 43, that during the exile the land would atone for the sabbaths that Israel had violated, 2 Chron. 36:21-23 suggests not only that Jeremiah’s words came true, but explicitly interprets Cyrus’ edict as having reference to them.

Whatever the precise meaning of these passages, the credit for inventing sabbatical messianism belongs to the author of Daniel 9.” (Ibid., pp. 1-2).  

*** “The ancient Jewish exegesis of Dan. 9:24-27 differs from modern scholarship in two significant ways. With a few exceptions, all medieval and recent commentators translate the key-word shavu’a (supposedly following the LXX) as heptomad or a “week,י’ seven years.  The ancient exegetes, it will be shown, understood shavu’a to refer to the seven- year cycle, the last year of which was “the year of the Lord” (Lev. 25:2), the equivalent of the year of shemittah or release (Deut. 15:1-2), when debts were canceled and land lay fallow. The difference between the two interpretations is that, according to the former, any septennial number will do; according to the latter, however, each seven-year period had its fixed place in a series, precise in beginning and end. A second difference stems from the first. Modern exegetes interpret the passage without reference to Jewish chronology current at that time.  The ancients, however, took it for granted that the numbers in 9:24-27 had to harmonize with their calendar of sabbatical cycles.  No student would undertake to determine the day of the week without reference to the Jewish or Christian calendar; yet none of the nineteenth or twentieth century commentators, I have concluded, tries to harmonize Daniel with the sabbatical cycles as they were uninterruptedly observed during intertestamental and early rabbinic times.” (Ibid., pp. 2-3).

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

*** “Chapters 29-30 of Seder Olam, which may be regarded as a kind of midrash on Dan. 9:24-27, tailor the chronology of the burnings of the First and the Second Temples to make them conform to the author’s view of Daniel’s sabbatical numbers: 10 Jubilees = 70 Sabbatical cycles = 490 years elapsed from Nebuchadnezzar’s to Titus’ conquests of Jerusalem.” (Ibid., p. 11).

*** “It is evident that the observance of the sabbatical years and jubilees during the intertestamental times played a far larger role in the consciousness of Israel than has been hitherto recognizedImmense as were the effects of the calendar of sabbatical cycles on the agricultural and social life of the people, its influence was no less on the formulation of Jewish religious beliefs. Concepts such as creation, history, apocalypse, and eschatology all became enmeshed with the calendar of sabbatical cycles. In the 7th year debts were cancelled, hard labor in the fields stopped; the voice of freedom was heard throughout the land as the steps of the messiah were believed to have become more and more audible.” (Ibid. p. 18).

James M. Hamilton Jr. also comments on this relevant Qumran material in relation to Daniel 9:24-27 and the eschatological jubilee of 490 years:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next event after this was that Jesus preaches in Nazareth on the Sabbath day – Luk4:16-30 *

Luke 4:16-20 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to SET AT LIBERTY them that are bruised, To preach THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.  And he closed the book, and he gave [it] again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The message in Luke 4:19 has to do with the announcement of ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’. This must be the Sabbath year of 26 AD.

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

The message in Luke 4:18 also has to do with a ‘proclamation of liberty’. Liberty was to be proclaimed as we see here in the commandments of the Sabbath year and of the Jubilee year. (cf. Deut. 15:12-18). (Marie Casale, THE SABBATH JUBILEE YEARS POINT TO THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST).

The “Already and Not Yet” of the Jubilee Cycle of Isiah 61-63/Luke 4

Both Dr. Brown and men like Dr. Michael Heiser refuse to submit to the inspired time frame of the “already and not yet” period of NT eschatology:

 

TOPIC “THE ALREADY– TRANSFORMING/RISING– AND IMMINENT NOT YET”
Death “…the death is being destroyed”(1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT) AND 1 Cor. 15:54-55
Body / Resurrection / Image Ephs. 2:6“…is giving it a body”

“…it is being sown…”
“…it is being raised in glory…”
“…it is being raised in power…”
“…it is being sown…”

“…it is being raised…”

(1 Cor. 15:32, 38, 43)

“…becoming conformed…”

(Phil. 3:21YLT)

“…are being transformed”

(2 Cor. 3:18)

AND 1 Cor. 15:52-53Heb. 11:35-40

Acts 24:15YLT

about to be

World /Heavens & Earth / New Creation  “…are being destroyed/dissolved.”(2 Pet. 3:11)

“…this world is passing away.”

(1 Cor. 7:31)

“The world is passing away…”

(1 Jn. 2:17)

2 Cor. 5:17

AND 2 Pet. 31 Pet. 4:5-7, 17

“end of all things is near

1 Jn. 2:18 “last hour

Rev. 21–22:7, 10, 20

at hand” “soon

New Jerusalem “coming down”(Rev. 3:12 NIV) AND Rev. 21:1ff.Heb. 13:14YLT

about to come

Kingdom “receiving a kingdom”(Heb. 12:28) AND Lk. 21:31-32 “this generation” “near
Salvation “being saved” (2 Cor. 2:15) AND Rms. 13:11-12             “at hand” “nearer”
Grace Rms. 5:2 AND 1 Pet. 1:13
Forgiveness of sin 1 Jn. 2:12 AND Rms. 11:25-27Heb. 9–10:37
Righteousness / Justification Jms. 5:16Rms. 3-4; 8:30 AND Gals. 5:5YLTRms. 4:23-24YLT

about to

Inheritance Ephs. 1:11 AND Cols. 3:23-24
Sanctification 1 Cor. 6:11 AND 1 Thess. 5:23
Adoption / Redemption Gal. 4:4-6Ephs. 1:7 AND Rms. 8:18-23YLT “about to be”Lk. 21:28-32 “this generation” “near
Glorification Rms. 8:30 AND Rms. 8:18 YLT“about to be revealed
Eternal life 1 Jn. 5:13 AND Mrk. 10:30
Enemies Ephs. 1:21-22 AND Heb. 10:13-27-37“…about to consume enemies
Old Covenant age / New Covenant age – 40 yrs. Transition “passing away” “increasing” “about to come” (2 Cor. 3:7-18/Heb. 8:13; Mt. 12:32/Ephs. 1:20YLT AND Heb. 8:13 “ready to vanish;”Mt. 13:39-43;Mt. 24:3, 14; “this generation” “near

I should briefly address those such as Dr. Michael Heiser whom point out that Yeshua did not quote the “day of vengeance” when he opened up Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:18 — this allegedly proving a 2,000 plus “already and not yet” period or gap.

In Jewish hermeneutics often times a Rabbi would quote just one section of a prophecy and the audience knew the theological context of the entire passage was referenced as well.  Dr. Brown hates when Full Preterist’s use this approach but if you ever watch Dr. Brown lecture on Yeshua quoting from Psalm 22, you will see Dr. Brown develop the entire context of the Psalm – which was Yeshua’s desire.

Even for those that discuss Yeshua was only addressing the “already” aspect of fulfilling the Jubilee of Isaiah 61 through His earthly ministry and passion — this does not address the issue that the NT places the “not yet” being fulfilled in the first century “this generation,” “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand,” “about to,” “would not be delayed,” etc…  This and the 10th Jubilee cycle had to be fulfilled within 49-50 years from AD 26.  In Luke 4:18 Jesus may be focusing on the first half of the last 7 if Daniel 9:24-27; but this does not prove the “not yet” of the last half of the 7 is 2,000 plus years and counting.  The last 3.5 years of the 7 was fulfilled between AD 66 – AD 70.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Response to Margaret Barker’s Article Jubilee Used to Measure Time and the History of Israel

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

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

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

The Book of Hebrews and the 10th Jubilee Cycle

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

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

The Book of Revelation and the 10th Jubilee Cycle

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

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

Yeshua – the Only Messianic Candidate

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

My calculations are on the left using a count for the Jubilee to be every 50 years.  Using my calculation, Yeshua opens the scroll of Isaiah 61 in Luke 4 during a Jubilee Sabbath year somewhere between AD 26/28 at the beginning of His ministry and fulfills the entire 10th and final cycle of events between AD 26 — AD 66-70.  The two columns on the right are Margaret Barker’s calculations counting a Jubilee to be every 49 years.

1). AD 26/28 — Yeshua begins fulfilling the soteriological (Lk. 4/Isa. 61) and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee and is “cut off” – inaugurating the NC age — First half of Daniel’s last “7.”

2). AD 33/35 – Seventh year sabbath

3). AD 40/42 – Seventh year sabbath

4). AD 47/49 – Seventh year sabbath

5). AD 54/56 – Seventh year sabbath

6). AD 61/63 – Seventh year sabbath

7). AD 67/69 — Yeshua fulfilling “Day(s) of vengeance” (Lk. 21:22-32/Isa. 61:2) which ends the OC age and brings to maturity the NC age — last half of Daniel’s “7”

Click on chart below to enlarge:

 

Yeshua fulfilled all of the seven feast days and the “climatic” second exodus generation between AD 26 – AD 66-AD 70.

Let’s now examine the six events listed in Daniel 9:24 and show how they were fulfilled by AD 70.  We will begin with “seal vision and prophet or prophecy” since this is most relevant to the debate of “prophecy” “passing away” in AD 70 per (1 Cor. 13:8-12).

1).  “Seal Vision and Prophecy/Prophet”

Here are some relevant quotes which demonstrate when Daniel’s seventy weeks would be fulfilled, is when the gift and office of prophecy and prophet would “stop” or “end”:

  • “Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344).
  • “…the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.” (Charles John Ellicott, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Cassell and Co; London, 1884), 387).
  • “The words taken together refer to the final fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, i.e., when their functions are shown to be finished.” (James Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1973), 250).

Daniel 9:24-27 – The “Already & Not Yet” fulfilled by AD 70

2).  To Finish or “fill up” the transgression and rebellion of Israel’s Sin

Agreeing with Smith, Dr. Brown understands this to mean, “Within the 490 years period the people of Israel would commit their final transgression against God.  Jesus indicated that the leaders of his generationwere about to fill up the measure of the sin of their forefathers (Matt. 23:32)…” (Michael Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 3, 93). The book of Revelation teaches the same time period for the vindication of the martyrs and the judgment of the dead (i.e. AD 70).  The martyrs would be avenged take in “a very little while” when OC Jerusalem/Babylon was judged “soon” for putting to death the Apostles and Prophets (Rev. 6:10-11; 11–22:7-12).

3) — 4).  Put an end to sin or atone for wickedness (covering over of iniquity)

In the book of Hebrews, Christ as the Anointed Great High Priest put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while and would not delay” “Second Appearing” to close the “last days” of the OC age in AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28/10:37; Rom. 11:26-27/13:11-12; Dan. 9:24b.).  As being or in the New Creation, our sins are remembered no more, covered in the depths of the sea and then removed positionally in Christ (Isa. 65-66/2 Cor. 5:17; Mic. 7:19).

5).  To bring in everlasting righteousness

According to Peter, the inheritance the OT prophets predicted in the form of the New Creation or “world of righteousness” was “ready to be revealed” and thus “the end of all things” was “at hand” (1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7).  According to Paul, “…[righteousness] is/was about to be reckoned  (Rom. 4:24) and “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope” (Gal. 5:5).  This “hope” Paul defines as, “Christ in you the hope of glory (Cols. 1:27; Lk. 17:20-37).

6).  To anoint the Most Holy Place – Hag. 2:6-9- AJOJ, Vol. 1, p. 75ff.

In Dr. Brown’s lectures and writings he claims this prophecy and those of Ezekiel, can refer to the Church as the spiritual millennial Temple, Levitical Priesthood and Sacrifices of Ezekiel 37:27; 40—48 / 2 Cor. 6:16; Jn. 7:37-39 or a physical millennial temple with a literal priesthood and sacrifices as the climax of redemptive history.

But obviously it can’t be both and the inspired “time frame” of Daniel 9:24-27 requires the spiritual fulfillment by AD 70! The truth is the New Jerusalem is the New Covenant “Jerusalem from above” of (Galatians 4) and is in the shape of a perfect cube because it is God’s Most Holy Place dwelling which was in the process of “coming down” and would “soon” come down to earth at Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming event in AD 70 (Rev. 3:11-12NIV—Rev. 21:16—22:20). God placed His “glory/presence” in this Temple at His Parousia/presence in AD 70.  “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Cols. 1:27).

It is in the New Jerusalem or the Most Holy Place dwelling of God (the Church) where God’s glory, righteousness and presence resides.  It is this Most Holy Place Temple that fulfills Haggai 2:6-9 where it is stated, “the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,” and functions as the “desire of the nations.” It is here where God grants “peace” that surpasses all understanding.  The “nations” come through the gates of this City/Temple for healing in Revelation 22:17 AFTER the ”soon” Second Coming was fulfilled.  God “shook” the Old Covenant Kingdom or Mount Sinai made of things that were created in AD 70 and brought to maturity the  spiritual New Covenant mount Zion that “cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:18-28).  And the author tells us when this Most Holy Place City would arrive, “For here [in physical Jerusalem] we do not have an enduring or eternal city, but we are looking for the city that is about to come.” (Heb. 13:14YLT).  That one verse alone destroys Dr. Brown’s carnal Premillennial Zionist theology.

Concluding the eschatology of Judaism

I have demonstrated according to Jewish sources of authority (prior to Christ and after) that Messiah was to be a divine figure (God) functioning as “Savior” forgiving sins. I have also demonstrated that in AD 70 Israel’s Messiah/Jesus “took the kingdom” from old covenant Israel and “gave it to a nation bearing the fruits thereof” (in its NC restored form ie. the Church – the new Israel of God) – (Matt. 21:43-45).

Therefore, modern day Israel has no religious or covenantal “right” to “sacred” land post AD 70 with their OC “vanishing” (Heb. 8:13) at Christ’s “in a very little while” coming to end that age (Heb. 9:26-28/Heb. 10:37). They have no more of a religious right to their land than Islam has of what they think “God” has or will give them. Selah. The more Christians here in the U.S. begin understanding this – and these “in the land,” “end time,” “holy war” false religious systems do, the more objective and peaceful this process will become in the future.

Go to “part 3” now:

Part 1 Islam – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/

Part 2 Judaism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology:https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism-the-article-facebook-doesnt-want-yo/

Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/

Appendix A – Additional Material on Zionism

While there are various strains and forms of Zionism, my focus in this lecture will be on religious/Talmudic Zionism or Messianic Zionism. This is where Zionists try and equate modern Christian Arabs or Muslim Arabs living in Palestine with the ancient Amalekites under the Old Covenant and have convinced themselves that they have a divine right today to perform ethnic cleansing of these groups — because again the have a divine right to the land. They also believe that it is through these modern wars, theft, and ethnic cleansing that they will usher in the Messiah’s coming and world “redemption.

Knowledge of the Talmud for a Gentile Strictly Forbidden

After the destruction of the Temple during the Babylonian captivity beginning in 586 BC, the need arose for the Jews to interpret the law in Babylon without the Temple. The offices of the Scribes and Pharisees were created to fill this function. These men claimed God gave the 70 elders at Mount Saini more profound revelations and traditions than that which Moses was given when he received the Torah.

So what exactly were some of the “traditions of men” and the “hypocrisy” of the Pharisees by which they were seeking to make “null and void the commandments of God” that Jesus rebukes them for in such passages as Mark 7:13 and Matthew 23? Why were they so arrogant, exclusive, violent and sexually perverted? Other than the depravity of man, the other explanation is what they had orally memorized from the Talmud and would officially canonize in 426 BC.

1. The Authority of the Talmud

The Talmud is more important than the law of Moses and it is more wicked to question a Rabbis than to question the Law of Moses.

The decisions of the Talmud are words of the living God. Jehovah himself asks the opinions of earthly rabbis when there are difficult affairs in heaven.

Jehovah himself in heaven studies the Talmud, standing: he has such respect for that book.

Wow, since the Talmud has so much authority, what exactly is the Zionist “Jew” to submit and commit himself to believing and living out? (Sources: Mischna Sanhedryn 11:3; Rabbi Issael, Rabbi Chasbar, et. al.; Rabbi Menachen, Comments for the Fifth Book; Tractate Mechilla/Me’ilah).

2. View of Gentiles

Jews have souls and are humans but Gentiles do not have souls. Gentiles are mere animals created in human form, created for the purpose of serving the Jews (-Saba Mecia 114, 6; Midrasch Talpioth, p. 225-L; -Simeon Haddarsen, fol. 56-D;).

Jews are to “make (‘continuous’) war with Gentiles by deceit and trickery” in order to “free themselves from them and rule over them.” (Talmud: Zohar, I. 160a).

“All property of other nations belongs to the Jewish nation, which, consequently, is entitled to seize upon it without any scruples.” Stealing from and “…cheating of a non-Jew at any time pleases the Lord.” -Schulchan Qruch, Orach Chaim 539; Schulchan Qruch, Choszen Hamiszpat 348).

“A Jew may do to a non-Jew female whatever he can do. He may treat her as he treats a piece of meat.” -Hadarine, 20, B; Schulchan Qruch, Choszen Hamiszpat 348; Moses Maimonides (“The RaMBaM”), Jak. Chasaka 2:2).

Summary: A Jew could rape, steal from, deceive, and kill a Gentile at anytime (if they could get away with it) because Gentiles have no souls and were only created for the purpose of being slaves to the Jews.

3. The Talmud’s views on Jesus and Christians

a. Views on Jesus Christ

Jesus’s mother played the whore with many carpenters. Therefore, Jesus was a bastard child.

Jesus seduced and destroyed Israel by performing magic and teaching heresy and apostasy. Therefore, he is currently being punished by being boiled in his own urine and excrement never to enter the world to come (Sanhedrin, 107b; Mishna Yebamoth 4,13; Sanhedrin 106a; Tosephta Sanhedrin X, 11: Jerusalem Sanhedrin 25c,d; Sanhedrin 107b; Taanit 65a; Gittin 56b, 57a; Mishna Sanhedrin X, 2).

b. Views on Christians

A JEW WHO KILLS A CHRISTIAN COMMITS NO SIN, BUT OFFERS AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE TO GOD AND SHALL HAVE A HIGH PLACE IN HEAVEN (Sepher Or Israel (177b); Ialkut Simoni (245c. n. 772); In Zohar (III,227b); Zohar (I,38b, and 39a).

Christians are idolators, Jews must not associate with them. (Hilkhoth Maakhaloth).

Suggests Christians have sexual relations with animals. Abhodah Zarah (15b, 22a).

Marriages between Christian and Jews null. Eben Haezar (44,8)

Christian birth rate must be diminished. Zohar (II, 64b)

Christian churches are places of idolatry. Abhodah Zarah (78).

Avoid eating with Christians, breeds familiarity. Iore Dea (112, 1).

It is permitted to deceive Christians. Babha Kama (113b).

Usury may be practiced upon Christians. Abhodah Zarah (54a).

Jew may lie and perjure to condemn a Christian. Babha Kama (113a-b).

Kill those who give Israelites’ money to Christians. (but they love taking money from Dispensational Zionists). Choschen Ham (388,15).

Make no agreements and show no mercy to Christians. Hilkhoth Akum (X,1).

4. On Rabbi’s Teaching the Talmud

While the Talmud teaches the greatest Rabbi ever Jesus, is being boiled in the afterlife, it is says that a Rabbi teaching the Talmud can never go to hell (Hagigah 27a).

Similar to Muslims teaching that those who die in battle are guaranteed paradise.

Knowledge of the Talmud for a Gentile Strictly Forbidden:

“Every non-Jew who studies the Talmud and every Jew who helps him in it, ought to die.”

A Jew is to lie and make false vows to Gentiles if they ask what is taught in the Talmud, because if the Gentiles find out what is taught about them, they may desire to persecute or kill the Jews. Sources: (Sanhedryn, 59a, Aboda Zora 8-6, Szagiga 13; Libbre David 37; Szaaloth-Utszabot, The Book of Jore 17)

What Happens When Gentiles Do Find Out What is in the Talmud and How These “Jews” Are Living It Out?

Once Gentiles have found out what these so-called Jews have been teaching in their Talmud about them and what they have been up to — we find the Jews being thrown out of 47 countries in the last 1,000 years. These so-called “Jews” claim they are being persecuted for their righteousness and have been the victims of “Anti-Semitism.” Yet from the perspective of these countries the reasons include:

Their starting of revolutions and persecuting and killing of Christians (ex. Bolshevik revolution where 66 million Christians died). While we agree Hitler killing 1 – 6 million Jews (depending on your source) was wrong, we cannot ignore what Communist Jews did in Russia in killing 66 million Christians).

Their predator lending practices and manipulating their currency (ex. Rothschild Dynasty)

Their arrogance and attitude toward the Gentile nations that have hosted (and often protected) them.

Profiting from both sides of a war (ex. Rothschild Dynasty).

The modern state of Israel and its consistent land grab in Palestine, is a consistent expression of the Talmud – it is nothing but stealing land and committing racial genocide (murder) of “non-Jews” – all in the name of “God.”

Most don’t know that the modern state of Israel has committed more war crimes and violations (per the UN) than any nation in the world.

Consider the following racist or religious intolerant views of the modern state of Israel:

Israel’s interior minister Eli Yishai (in the picture with Benjamin N. on the right) has said of refugees coming into Israel that they “…think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man.”

Israel overwhelmingly segregates its schools, apartments, neighborhoods, whole cities and towns and even in the settlements they stole from Palestinians. Israel even segregates public transport and has “Jews only” roads in the occupied territories.

In Israel it is illegal for a Jew to marry a non-Jew.

A Christian must renounce his faith before becoming a citizen in Israel.

In Israel Jews constantly hit and spit upon Christians in public and urinate on their churches.

But now that the racism and violence of the Talmud has become more public, some such as Benjamin Netanyahu and other religious Zionist fanatics, want to make it the law of the land! Newspaper headlines read, “Report: Netanyahu Promises Talmud Will Be Israeli Law”

Netanyahu has said, “We will legally define the Talmud as the basis of the Israeli legal system,” Vider reportedly told the haredi news website Kikar HaShabat last night.

And again, “…This is a very important law that will change how Israel looks in the future.…[the new bill] will be a Basic Law that [shows] the State of Israel rose and exists on the basis of the Torah and the Jewish tradition,” Netanyahu allegedly told Vider.

Critics even within Israel point out, “..now Benjamin Netanyahu wants to have Israel declare that its legal system is based on the Babylonian Talmud rather than on the secular western common law it was founded on.”

I would go on to add this is a classic “bait and switch.” Deceptively convince the Gentile nations you will agree to a two state Palestinian occupation of the land in 1947 and build your laws on Western values, but once in, begin driving the Palestinian Christians and Arabs out and seek to establish Talmudic law. Since the Talmud is considered more inspired than the Torah itself, if the Talmud is adopted as the law of the land, how can anyone avoid the theological racism and violence that is interwoven throughout which justifies and paves the way for Israel’s existence and coming of Messiah?!?

Lack of Consistency and Hypocrisy Coming from Sean Hannity and FOX NEWS

Why is it when Islam practices Sharia law in Muslim countries conservative commentators such as Sean Hannity condemn them as not being consistent with Western or Christian values, but when Israel lives out the violent and racist ambitions and worldview contained in the Talmud (even wanting to make it the law of the land) not only is it not condemned, we are actually called on by Hannity and others to continue giving Israel 5 – 15 billion a year to keep doing it?!? Why did Hannity obsess over trying to warn us about those Obama surrounded himself with (which would indicate his destructive worldview), but not do the same with his “good friend” Benjamin Netanyahu who surrounds himself with violent racists and himself has done and promotes the same?!? I agreed when Hannity and Beck tried to shed the light on Obama, but why the lack of consistency with Benjamin Netanyahu?

It seems more than hypocritical to engage in Islamic “extreme vetting” (which I agree with and should continue), but then allow Mossad operatives, organizations/cells and dual citizens to thrive (even serve in high levels of our government) here in the U.S.! Here are some helpful quotes from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin that are worth meditating upon:

“They (the Jews) work more effectively against us, than the enemy’s armies. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in… It is much to be lamented that each state, long ago, has not hunted them down as pest to society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America.” (George Washington).”

“Jews, gentlemen, are Asiatics, let them be born where they will nor how many generations they are away from Asia, they will never be otherwise. Their ideas do not conform to an American’s, and will not even thou they live among us ten generations. A leopard cannot change its spots. Jews are Asiatics, are a menace to this country if permitted entrance, and should be excluded by this Constitutional Convention.” (Benjamin Franklin).

Hannity is only following Ronald Reagan. And it was public knowledge that Reagan was following Hal Lindsey. Lindsey of course knows nothing about Biblical eschatology and has been proven to be a fraud!

Zionist Eschatology – Are modern Zionists in Israel “God’s chosen people” having a divine right to “the land” of ancient Israel?

Benjamin N. believes the national gathering and resurrection of Ezekiel 37 was fulfilled in 1948. Modern religious Zionist “Jews” consistent assert that God still has a covenant with them and therefore, they have a divine right to the land from which they will be a light to the Gentile nations and from where they can then eventually rule the world.

Rabbi Avi Weiss – “Why is [the land] of Israel so crucial to our covenant with God? In the end, the goal of the Jewish people is to do our share to redeem the world. This is our mission as the chosen people and this can only be accomplished through committing ourselves to the chosen land, Israel.” The idea of our chosenness has always been associated with our sovereignty over the chosen land. But first and foremost, Israel is the place – the only place – where we have the potential to carry out and fulfill our mandate as the chosen people. In exile, we are not in control of our destiny; we cannot create the ideal society Torah envisions. Only in a Jewish state do we have the political sovereignty and judicial autonomy that we need to be the light unto the nations and to establish a just society from which other nations can learn the basic ethical ideals of Torah.” (The Jewish Press.com – The Importance of the Land of Israel, By Rabbi Avi Weiss – 18 Av 5774 – August 14, 2014).

Rabbi Yisrael Meida, “It is all a matter of sovereignty. He who controls the Temple Mount, controls Jerusalem. And he who controls Jerusalem, controls the land of Israel.”

Dr. Nahum Goldmann 1960 President world Zionist congress, “The Jews might have had Uganda, Madagascar and other places for the establishment of a Jewish fatherland, but they want absolutely nothing but Palestine. Because Palestine constitutes the veritable center of world political power, the strategic military center for world control.”

David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first President) wrote, “Jerusalem is not the capitol of Israel and world Jewry; it aspires to become the spiritual center of the world…” (Jewish Chronicles, London, Dec. 16, 1949). In LOOK Magazine (1962) he wrote, “All continents will become unified in a world alliance, at whose disposal will be an international police force. All armies will be abolished and there will be no more war. In Jerusalem the united nations (a truly united nations) will build a shrine of the prophets to serve the federated union of all the continents this will be the seat of the supreme court of mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah.” The irony here is that according to the Talmud Gentiles have no “legal rights”!

Max Mandelstam 1898 World Zionist Congress July – “The Jews energetically reject the idea of fusion with the other nationalities and cling to their historical hope of world empire.”

Morris A. Levy Secretary, 1946 World Leage of liberal Jews – “The only true path to follow to gain real peace and honest government is through Judaism. And the Jewish people can and will lead the people to lasting peace. The promise of Jehovah for the Jewish people to rule the world and for the Jews to hold high places in world government has arrived.”

Who are these Zionist “Jews” and who brought them to Palestine in 1948?

Are those in Israel today of the “Jewish RACE”? Here are some relevant quotes on the subject:

The American Peoples Encyclopedia, 1954 — “In the year 740 A.D. the Khazars were officially converted to Judaism. A century later they were crushed by the incoming Slavic-speaking people and were scattered over central Europe where they were known as Jews.”

Jewish Dr. Benjamin H. Freedman wrote, “. . these Eastern European, Yiddish-speaking Jews who form the Zionist group practically in entirely, have NEITHER a geographic, historic NOR ethnic connection with either the Jews of the Old Testament OR the land known today as Palestine.”

The Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1973) Vol. 12, p. 1054 states, “The findings of physical anthropology show that, contrary to the popular view, there is no Jewish race.” “The only race to which the Jews have not achieved assimilation is the Nordic.”

Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem (1971)�”It is a common assumption, and one that sometimes seems ineradicable even in the face of evidence to the contrary, that the Jews of today constitute a race, a homogeneous entity easily recognizable. From the preceding discussion of the origin and early history of the Jews, it should be clear that in the course of their formation as a people and a nation they had already assimilated a variety of racial strains from people moving into the general area they occupied. This had taken place by interbreeding and then by conversion to Judaism of a considerable number of communities. . . .”

“Thus, the diversity of the racial and genetic attributes of various Jewish colonies of today renders any unified racial classification of them a contradiction in terms. Despite this, many people readily accept the notion that they are a distinct race. This is probably reinforced by the fact that some Jews are recognizably different in appearance from the surrounding population. That many cannot be easily identified is overlooked and the stereotype for some is extended to all – a not uncommon phenomenon” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem, 1971, vol. 3, p. 50).

Encyclopedia Americana (1986) – “Some theorists have considered the Jews a distinct race, although this has no factual basis. In every country in which the Jews lived for a considerable time, their physical traits came to approximate those of the indigenous people. Hence the Jews belong to several distinct racial types, ranging, for example, from fair to dark. Among the reasons for this phenomenon are voluntary or involuntary miscegenation and the conversion of Gentiles to Judaism” (Encyclopedia Americana, 1986, vol. 16, p. 71).

Collier’s Encyclopedia (1977) – “A common error and persistent modern myth is the designation of the Jews as a ‘race! This is scientifically fallacious, from the standpoint of both physical and historical tradition. Investigations by anthropologists have shown that Jews are by no means uniform in physical character and that they nearly always reflect the physical and mental characteristics of the people among whom they live” (Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1977, vol. 13, p. 573).

Some seeing the problem here claim a “Jew” is simply a person who has converted to the religion of Judaism. But as we will see in Part 2, the covenant that undergirds “Judaism” ended when the scepter departed from Judah in AD 70. Also, since the birth and genealogical records were burned in AD 70, there are no “Levites” to even get “Judaism” off the ground (even if they had a Temple).

The Irony

History, archeology and now DNA testing confirms that some 92% of Zionist “Jews” in the modern state of Israel today have roots in the ancient Turkish Khazars. This is pathetic in that most of the Palestinians (Christian or Muslim) have more DNA relationship to Abraham and the ancient Hebrew people than these phony Zionist Khazarian “Jews” do! And yet they have tried to convince the world that they and they alone, have the exclusive racial rights to the Old Covenant ancient land and boundaries of Israel. This has to be one of the biggest scams of ALL TIME! But since most of Hollywood and the media is owned by these so-called “Jews,” don’t expect to hear this where you should be hearing it!

The other irony here is that when you present these historical and genetic facts to the public, this powerful group seeks to silence you by calling you “anti-semitic” when they aren’t even Jewish! Lol. I usually know I’ve won a debate with a Muslim and Zionist “Jew” when they resort to calling me “Islamaphobic” or I’m allegedly “anti-semitic..”

History of the Khazarian Empire

The Khazar kingdom was a large Turkish people that at one time stopped the expansion of the Islamic caliphate empire. They became wealthy through trade and placing an overbearing tax upon those they conquered. They also specialized in being a mercenary army – renting out their army of 40 – 50 thousand men to the highest bidders. After battle took place they were known to rape and pillage. Not surprisingly, the people in the area didn’t care for them much and ended up driving them out of Turkey in around 500 AD to what would be considered today as southern Russia or Georgia. From here their kingdom thrived from 660 – 1016. It wasn’t long before they began enslaving those in that area as well.

Eventually they were put in a dilemma. Coming down from the North was Byzantine Christianity, and coming from the South was Islam. They knew to choose either of these sides would put them in conflict with the other and this would affect their prosperous trading with both sides. So they did the politically expedient thing and decided to make their Empire convert to Judaism. They quickly saw the wickedness, racial supremacy, and violence found in the Talmud which fit in well with their violent and immoral world-view that built their Empire.

In 965 AD they were weakened by the Vikings. In 1140 they were overrun by the Mongols and driven west and settle in parts of eastern Europe. Over time they convinced themselves they were ethnically and racially “Jewish” – adopting Jewish names etc…

History of Rothschild Khazarian Dynasty

One of the Khazarian Talmudic “Jews” that settled in Europe was Mayer Amschel Bauer — who changed his last name to Rothschild. Rothschild means “red-shield.” Thus he hung a sign of a red six pointed shielded star as his logo for his money merchant shop. It is through his religious views on the Talmud and money he and his 5 sons attain, that will set the stage for the events of 1948 to become a reality.

Mayer Rothschild eventually befriends William the 9th who was a Hession warrior and leader of a mercenary army. For 12,000 you could hire William and his army to do anything. England hired them to keep the U.S. Colonists in check. At this time William is one of the richest people in the world (worth 200 million) and the Rothschilds make a great deal overseeing his estate and making financial decisions for him. William steals millions owed to his army and then when Nepolean comes after him, he entrusts 3 million to the Rothschilds who in return end up stealing it from him. The Rothschild’s use this un-kosher and unclean money to begin its international banking venture. The five Rothschild brothers obeyed their father’s command and branched out into the various countries in Europe. From here, they end up financing not just various wars, but in some instances both sides of the same war.

The Balfour Declaration in 1917 was created when the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declared in a letter to the Rothschilds that his government would support a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It is important to note, that before this declaration was given, it was agreed upon that if the Rothschild’s could get the U.S. into WWI to help defeat the Germans, that Britain in return would give the land of Palestine to the Rothschild’s and Zionists.

The Rothschild’s funded the early Khazarian settlers from Europe to relocate in Palestine. In 1948 they also funded and armed terrorist groups, which bombed and terrorised 800,000 Palestinians to leave the land of their birth. Israel is simply the State of Rothschild. This is even evident with them paying for the construction of the Israeli parliament building, the Knesset, and the Israel Supreme Court. The Israeli flag symbolizes both its territorial ambitions and that it is owned by the Rothschilds. Modern Israel uses the same six pointed star on its flag that the Rothschild’s used as their family symbol (just changing its color from red to blue). The two blue lines above and beneath the star symbolize the ancient borders / rivers given ancient Israel under the Old Covenant.

The Influence of the Talmud on the Rothschild’s

Mayer’s father’s wish for his son was that he would one day become a Rabbi strictly teaching and following the Talmud. Although not becoming a Rabbi, Biographer Frederic Morton, in The Rothschilds, points out how important the Talmud was in guiding the Rothschild dynasty in their unquenchable drive for money and power. He writes, “On Saturday evenings, when prayer was done at the synagogue, Mayer would invite the rabbi into his house. They would bend towards one another on the green upholstery, sipping slowly at a glass of wine and argue about first and last things deep into the night. Even on work days…Mayer…was apt to tare down the big book of the Talmud and recite from it…while the entire family must sit stock still and listen” (p. 31). He goes on to tell us that Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his five sons were “wizards” of finance, and “fiendish calculators” who were motivated by a “demonic drive” to succeed in their secret undertakings. And Morton adds that it is difficult for the average person to “comprehend Rothschild nor even the reason why he having so much, wanted to conquer more.” All five brothers shared their fathers spirit of Talmudic cunning and conquest.

The Influence of the Rothschild Dynasty

“The Rothschild’s are the wonders of modern banking… We see the descendants of Judah, after a persecution of two thousand years, peering above kings, rising higher than emperors, and holding a whole continent in the hollow of their hands. The Rothschilds govern a Christian world. Not a cabinet moves without their advice. They stretch their hand, with equal ease, from Petersburg to Vienna, from Vienna to Paris, from Paris to London, from London to Washington. Baron Rothschild, the head of the house, is the true king of Judah, the prince of the captivity, the Messiah so long looked for by this extraordinary people. He holds the keys of peace or war, blessing or cursing… They are the brokers and counselors of the kings of Europe and of the republican chiefs of America. What more can they desire?” (Niles Weekly Register, 1835-1836).

President Andrew Jackson, the only one of our presidents whose administration totally abolished the National Debt, condemned the Rothschild’s and international bankers as a “den of vipers” which he was determined to “rout out” of the fabric of American life. Jackson claimed that if only the American people understood how these vipers operated on the American scene “there would be a revolution before morning.”

In 1911, John F. Hylan, mayor of New York said that “the real menace of our republic is the invisible government which, like a giant octopus, sprawls its slimy length over our city, state and nation. At the head is a small group of banking houses, generally referred to as ‘international bankers.'”

“The house of Rothschild has arisen from the quarrels between states, has become great and mighty from wars. The misfortune of states and peoples has been its fortune.” (Friedrich Edlen von Scherb).

“The Rothschild’s are the wonders of modern banking… We see the descendants of Judah, after a persecution of two thousand years, peering above kings, rising higher than emperors, and holding a whole continent in the hollow of their hands. The Rothschilds govern a Christian world. Not a cabinet moves without their advice. They stretch their hand, with equal ease, from Petersburg to Vienna, from Vienna to Paris, from Paris to London, from London to Washington. Baron Rothschild, the head of the house, is the true king of Judah, the prince of the captivity, the Messiah so long looked for by this extraordinary people. He holds the keys of peace or war, blessing or cursing… They are the brokers and counselors of the kings of Europe and of the republican chiefs of America. What more can they desire?” (Niles Weekly Register, 1835-1836).

Self-Fulfilling an Imminent arrival of Messiah and the Temple through war (Ezek. 37-39)

Mai-mon-ides (a famous Mid-Evil Rabbi) ruled on Sanhedrin 98b. giving the following as the definitive criteria for identifying the messiah: “If we see a Jewish leader who (a) toils in the study of Torah…, (b) influences the Jews to follow the ways of the Torah and (c) wages the “battles of God”—such a person is the “presumed messiah.” If the person succeeded in all these endeavors, and then rebuilds the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and facilitates the in-gathering of the Jews to the Land of Israel—then we are certain that he is the “actual messiah.”

Hasidic Jews – Have a strong belief in the immediacy of Messiah’s coming & their ability to hasten his arrival. They believe someone is born every generation that has the potential to become the Messiah.

There is a Messianic view within religious Zionism that is very similar to what we see in Islamic eschatology. It sees war and the suppression of the Gentiles or unbelievers and their nations to take place prior to and actually paves the way for the Messiah who will then come to completely destroy the Gentiles and give each Jew 2,800 Gentile slaves in a “kingdom on earth” “paradise.”

Going as far back to the Jewish Zealots of AD 66-AD 70–up until today, there have always been those claiming to be “Jews” and “God’s chosen people” that think killing and making war will usher in the redemption of the world and coming of Messiah.

In the twelfth century one of those Khazarian “Jews” I addressed earlier, believed he could bring Messiah’s coming by conquering the land of Palestine (i.e. through war). They claimed that “…the time had come in which god would gather Israel, His people from all lands to Jerusalem, the holy city.” They wielded their six-pointed “shields of David” of which symbol would later be placed on Israeli flags — a national symbol that began with this violent Messiah crusader eschatology (cf. John L. Bray, Israel in Bible Prophecy, pp. 42-43) and then picked up by the Rothschild’s.

A modern Jewish Zealot would be Gershon Salomon who said,

“The mission of the present generation is to liberate the Temple Mount and remove the defiling abomination (the Dome of the Rock).” “The Israeli Government must do it. We must have a war…The Messiah will not come by himself; we should bring Him by fighting.” (Sam Kiley, ‘The righteous will survive and the rest will perish’ The Times, 13 December 1999, p. 39).

And again referring to Ezekiel 38 and the war of Gog and Magog he writes,

“They (Muslims), ogether with their allies, are preparing for the coming war against Israel in which they plan to finally destroy her. This is going to be the most terrible war against the small state of Israel. This will be the war that the prophets called the war of Gog and Magog. This will be the last war against Israel. G-d is going to show them, and all the nations, that He is One and His Name is One. He alone is the best friend of Israel and controls her destiny, not any of her enemies. G-d will save Israel in this war and will defeat, judge, and terribly punish all the enemies of Israel all over the world.” (A WORD FROM GERSHON SALOMON 100 YEARS OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT http://www.templemount.org/ftm/gershon.html).

Zionists have a history of trying to see current events through the lens of the battle of Gog and Magog as ushering in the coming of Messiah. Louis Jacobs writes, “…World Wars I and II did tend to be seen as the wars of Gog and Magog, as the essential prelude to the coming of the Messiah. Some of the Hasidic masters saw the struggle between Napoleon and Russia as the wars of Gog and Magog.” (Louis Jacobs, Gog and Magog)

Rabbi Schachter saw the Israeli-Arab wars (of 1948 and 1967) as the “beginning of redemption” and therefore he taught Jews were not to pray for peace because that would delay the coming Messianic redemption (that could only come through war).

Benjamin Netanyahu is on record for saying that he believes the Jews coming back in the land in 1948 was the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. This begs the question as to how he sees the coming wars of Gog and Magog to be fulfilled in the following chapters – 38-39. He is clearly being pressured by Rabbi’s that believe he is to hasten the coming of Messiah and his redemption for Israel and the world:

a. Chief Rabbi: Since we last met many things have progressed.

b. Netanyahu: Many things have progressed.

a. Chief rabbi: What hasn’t changed, however, is that Messiah hasn’t come.

So do something to hasten his coming.

b. Netanyahu: We’re doing, we’re doing…

a. Chief rabbi: Apparently it’s not enough, since many hours have already passed today and he’s still not here…

But there are still a few hours left in the day, so try still for today.

b. Netanyahu: Yes.

So what exactly has Benjamin Netanyahu been “doing” to hasten the coming of Messiah? He has been doing all he can to conquer and drive the Palestinians from the ancient borders of Israel so as to completely fulfill Ezekiel 37 and the land promises (thus undernining the U.N. resolutions and borders). He has also been provoking the Muslims nations around him and manipulating the U.S. to back them in their provocations.

Jews, Communism, Talmud, and World Conquest

And of course we can’t ignore the more non-religious communist Jew that sees it’s self as a Messiah conquering the world and brining about Talmudic “redemption”:

“The Jewish people as a whole will become its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races, by the abolition of frontiers, the annihilation of monarchy and by the establishment of a world republic in which the Jews will everywhere exercise the privilege of citizenship. Thus will the promise of the Talmud will be fulfilled, in which it is said that when the Messianic time is come, the Jews will have all the property of the whole world in their hands. (Baruch Levy, Letter to Karl Marx, printed in La Revue de Paris, p. 574, June 1, 1928).

In A Program for the Jews and Humanity, Rabbi Harry Waton, on pages 143, 148, and 206 we read the following:

It is not an accident that Judaism gave birth to Marxism, and it is not an accident that the Jews readily took up Marxism; all this was in perfect accord with the progress of Judaism and the Jews. The Jews should realize that Jehovah no longer dwells in heaven, but he dwells in us right here on earth; we must no longer look up to Jehovah as above us and outside of us, but we must see him right within us,” (p. 148). ”. . . the communist soul is the soul of Judaism . . . in the Russian revolution the triumph of communism was the triumph of Judaism . . .” (pg. 143). “The poor working class is the lowest and most backward class in society. It is therefore the supreme duty of the Jews to identify themselves with them. All other classes will disappear, but the working class will endure forever, for all of mankind will become workers. For identifying themselves with the working class the Jews will incur the displeasure and hatred of the ruling classes, but the Jews must not fear the ruling classes: their rule will be only for a while.”

”. . . the aim of Judaism is to realize the destiny of mankind. This aim cannot and will not be changed, for the destiny of mankind was predetermined by God from eternity unto eternity. And no matter what may come to pass, races, nations, states and empires may come and go, the predetermined destiny of mankind will inevitably be realized. What is the predetermined destiny of mankind? This is the kingdom of God on earth. What is this kingdom of God on earth? It is a human society resting on universal communism.” (p. 206).

Rabbi Harry Waton: “We can say with Nietsche that the Jews are the highest aristocrats in the world…. The Talmud tells us that the whole world was created only for the sake of the Jew; the Jew is the spiritual aristocrat, the excellent man. The Jews differ from all other races and peoples because of Judaism; Judaism differs from all other religions because of Jehovah; and Jehovah differs from all other gods. All other gods dwell in heaven. But Jehovah comes down from heaven to dwell on this earth and to embody himself in mankind. Judaism concerns itself only about this earth and promises all reward right here on this earth. Judaism is communism, internationalism, the universal brotherhood of man, the emancipation of the working class and the human society. It is with these spiritual weapons that the Jews will conquer the world and the human race. The races and the nations will cheerfully submit to the spiritual power of Judaism, and all will become Jews….”

Additional Articles 
1). How the “Last Days” Battle or War of Armageddon and Gog and Magog was Fulfilled Between AD 67-AD 70 along with Zechariah 12-14 Article:
2). How the Nations Have Beaten and Continue to Beat Their Swords into Plowshares and Have Learned War No More as They Stream Into the New Jerusalem:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/the-last-days-day-of-the-lord-of-isaiah-22-4-10-19-21-and-2-thessalonians-15-10-/10155254904044364/
3). How Matthew 24-25; the “Rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and the Resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 Were All Fulfilled by AD 70:
4). Understanding the book of Revelation and How it was Fulfilled by AD 70:
a). A Pre-AD 70 Date for the Book of Revelation – A Full Preterist Response to Dr. Simon Kistemaker:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/a-pre-ad-70-date-for-the-book-of-revelation-a-full-preterist-response-to-simon-k/10155311579099364/
b). How Futurists Have Failed to Deal with Imminence in Revelation:
c). Revelation 1-4:
d). Revelation 5-10:
e). Revelation 11-13:
f). Revelation 14-19:
g). Revelation 20-22:
And don’t forget to get a copy of my/our book: “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” Available on Amazon here:

A FULL PRETERIST RESPONSE TO “HOLY LAND,” “THE END IS NEAR (AGAIN),” “HOLY WAR,” ESCHATOLOGIES – PART 1 ISLAM

Originally Posted by: Mike Sullivan on 27 October, 2015 SEE MY BOOK ON THIS SUBJECT ALMOST DONE – DOWNLOAD PDF FILE HERE: ARMAGEDDON DECEPTION BOOK

Michael J. Sullivan (Copyright 2014)

Part 1 Islam – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/

Part 2 Judaism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology:https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism-the-article-facebook-doesnt-want-yo/

Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/

Introduction “The War of Ideas”

Everyone looking at the conflict in the Middle East (and U.S. policy affecting that area) 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/eschatologies 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 in order for peace to emerge.

The Problem Summarized

Unfortunately these three futurist eschatologies all share common errors that perpetuate conflict in the Middle East and the U.S. such as:

  • God allegedly has predicted end time “signs” that are 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….
  • God allegedly will cause its religious system to overcome others or inherit certain local “holy land” areas and ultimately the earth.
  • There is an alleged future “end time” “great war” (ex. the battle of Gog and Magog) in which their religion wins over the other wicked ones.
  • God allegedly will send Jesus or Messiah to save Israel (or condemn Israel ie. Islam), bring global peace, defeat the antichrist and infidels – and thus usher in paradise on earth.

But what if it can be proven that these Biblical “end time” “signs” and “holy war” scenarios have already been fulfilled? And what if the OT prophetic material concerning Israel being saved or gathered “in the land” have been fulfilled through the Church and “in Christ” under the New Covenant? Does the God of the Bible really support or recognize modern day Israel as His beloved people connected to a holy land? Is modern day Israel and the events of 1948 a fulfillment of Bible prophecy? Are Christians in the U.S. supposed to support modern day Israel because God will bless any Nation that blesses Israel? Or is modern day Israel just another unbelieving nation among many others that needs the gospel? And 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? These are all very important questions when analyzing these three “end time” religious systems and trying to find an affective “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 from the outset:

  • Jesus predicted that His coming, the end (of the old covenant) age, and all of the signs described in Matthew 24-25 would be fulfilled within His contemporary “this generation” and were fulfilled by that time (Matthew 24:34).
  • While under the Old Covenant there was a literal “in the land” militaristic kingdom or theology, but it served as prophetic literal types and shadows of Jesus’ spiritual kingdom or being “in Christ” under the New Covenant.
  • The time of the end” and “the great war,” battle of “Gog and Magog,” or “Armageddon” has already taken place.
  • The events of 1948 have nothing to do with the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
  • Modern day Judaism nor Islam have any religious right to “holy land” in the Middle East or the planet earth today.

Outline and Approach to the Solution

My approach in this article is twofold:

First, Summarize the erroneous overlapping eschatological material that each of these systems hold to and…

Secondly, demonstrate how these overlapping prophetic concepts have either been proven to be false and failed predictions or have already been fulfilled when the Old Covenant age (“the end of the age” “the end” time of the end”) vanished in AD 70 and the New was matured and established.

I should also note that since Islam claims Jesus never claimed to be God and rejects the Deity of Christ (as does modern day Judaism), this subject will be dealt with in “part 2” when addressing Judaism.

1. Islamic Eschatology

Introduction: There are two religious sources within Islam which teach the “time of the end” eschatology. The first is the Koran which is viewed as inspired and infallible allegedly describing God giving the prophet Mohammad revelation from the angel Gabriel and compiling the doctrine which resulted from those revelations. Not much eschatology is found in the Koran except affirmations of a future coming “hour” in which Allah will resurrect men and judge the world. The second source is the Hadith and is not considered as infallible as the Koran because it contains teachings and stories about Mohammad’s life that were not considered direct revelation from Allah. These teachings were compiled some 200 years after Mohammad’s death. As we will readily see, Mohammad and Islam borrows OT and NT Scriptures and joins them and their concepts with other “revelations” from angels or prophets giving them the “true” meaning (similar to Jehovah’s Wittnesses or the Mormons etc…).

“We are living in the final era of the last days” mentality:

Islamic Jihadist groups justify their wars and actions as simply fulfilling Allah’s teachings and that they are living in the final era which will usher in the Second Coming of Jesus and the appearance of Mahadi. There are three main or significant periods of time for the Muslim before the final judgment comes and there is much debate as to if some of them overlap. They are: 1. the time which followed the death of Muhammad, 2. the period in which his contemporaries passed extending to and ended a 1,000 years later. It is taught today that Muslims are now living toward the end of this second period and that the appearance of Mahdi will bring them into the third which is the “end of days” era.

General and Specific Signs:

Like the three time periods discussed above, there is much debate on where these signs belong within their eschatological timeline among Islamic adherents. So I will list many of them and place in bold those that may overlap or concepts that were borrowed from Jesus and the NT. General Signs:

Earthquakes and natural disturbances. There will be three landslides and smoke will appear darkening the planet.

The taking away of knowledge and increase of ignorance (of Allah’s teachings). Seeking false and unknowledgeable teachers.

The increase in sexual sins (having sex in the streets as donkeys do), drinking alcohol and high interest rates.

Increase in secular music.

Increase of wars including civil wars and Jews fighting Muslims.

Women’s population increases while man’s decreases (probably due to wars).

The Romans/Christians will become the majority.

A desire to die will increase due to the natural disturbances and the wickedness of man which will run rampant. Specific Signs:

Mahdi will appear which will be the first sign of the third eschatological period of the end of days.

The second sign is the arrival of the False Messiah or Antichrist Dajjal who will appear having miraculous powers, blind in one eye, and he will deceive many but true believers in Allah will not be led astray. It is believed that he will be a Jew and muster up a mass army of 140,000 (70,000 being Jews). He rules most of the world for a period of 40 years

Jesus’ second coming is the third major sign marking the last days and when he comes he destroys the antichrist.

The fourth sign of the end time scene will be that the wall which imprisons the nations of Gog and Magog will break and they will surge forth. When the great battle of Gog and Magog occurs there will be two massive armies attacking Jesus and his followers followed by Jesus crying out to Allah whom will deliver them.

The fifth sign is that Medinah (an Islamic holy city in Saudi Arabia) will be deserted because the righteous follow the Madi and the unrighteous will follow the antichrist.

The sixth sign is that a thin ruler with short legs from Ethiopia will attack Mecca and destroy the Kabah.

The seventh sign is the appearance of the Beast of the Earth, who will populate the entire world and judge the wicked.

The eighth sign is a peaceful breeze which kills Jesus and all the righteous.

The ninth sign will be the rising of the sun in the west.

The great battle of Gog and Magog occurs which consists of two massive armies attacking Jesus and his followers followed by Jesus crying out to Allah and Allah delivers them.

Jesus’ earthly reign also lasts 40 years during which time he establishes the one true religion of Islam in the hearts and minds of men. During his reign people turn their weapons of war into farm tools, and animals are domesticated. Jesus eventually marries and has children and then dies awaiting a literal resurrection with all men. A wind will blow from the south which will cause Jesus and believers to die peacefully.

Three eschatological trumpets are blown. The first causes all men to fear. The second causes everything to die. Allah creates the new heavens and earth during this time. Then the third and final trumpet causes the resurrection to take place. As one who is familiar with the Old and New Testaments can plainly see, Islam stole and pieced together its eschatology from the Christian Bible (particularly from places within Isaiah, Daniel, Matthew 24, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, and the book of Revelation).

Although Islam teaches that the Bible is a revelation from Allah, Muslims believe it allegedly got corrupted therefore Allah had to send the angel Gabriel to give revelations of divine truth to Muhammad concerning these and other issues. This begs the obvious question – If Allah divinely gave the OT and NT, and they got corrupted, why is anyone supposed to believe that Allah got it right with the Koran and has kept the Koran from being corrupted?!? Islam’s version of newspaper eschatology Unlike Jesus’ teachings on general and specific signs in the Olivet discourse and His coming to take place within His contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (cf. Matthew 24 / Luke 21), there is a lot of disorganization concerning these end time signs within Islamic eschatology. But either way, our point is to demonstrate that the current wars we are viewing in the Middle East among the various players (including ISIS) is driven by their hopes that these wars are a fulfillment to usher in the arrival of their end time eschatological characters and events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Things are moving fast. I never thought that I would be living the days of the Imam. Now, with every passing day I am more and more convinced that it is only a matter of few years before he appears.””[1]

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

He claims the Mahdi and Jesus are currently living among us ready to emerge and fulfill Islamic end time prophecies:

“Yes. We believe that Hazrat Mahdi has come and is busy carrying on his activities,” “We believe that he appeared in Istanbul, as that is how it is related in the Judaic accounts. This is how it is related in the Islamic accounts as well.”[2]

Oktar, is Sunni, but points out that even prominent Shiite leaders in Iran have said they expect the Mahdi to appear in Istanbul. “There is no other time for this,” “He should appear in a date between the years 1400 to 1500 according to Hijri calendar (the current Islamic year is 1435).”[3]

“After World War II, a lifetime has passed as well and consequently we are exactly in the time the prophet Jesus mentioned in the Gospel,” “A lifetime has now passed (since the war), or is about to pass. This is one of the biggest proofs of the fact that Jesus Christ is now among us.”[4]

ISIS – An Apocalyptic End Time Cult

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

“… its (ISIS) ideology is that of an apocalyptic cult that believes that we are living in the end times and that ISIS’ actions are hastening the moment when this will happen. The name of the Dabiq magazine itself helps us understand ISIS’ worldview. The Syrian town of Dabiq is where the Prophet Mohammed is supposed to have predicted that the armies of Islam and “Rome” would meet for the final battle that will precede the end of time and the triumph of true Islam. In the recent issue of Dabiq it states: “As the world progresses towards al-Malhamah al-Kubrā, (‘the Great Battle’ to be held at Dabiq) the option to stand on the sidelines as a mere observer is being lost.” In other words, in its logic, you are either on the side of ISIS or you are on the side of the Crusaders and infidels. When American aid worker Peter Kassig was murdered by ISIS in November, “Jihadi John” — the masked British murderer who has appeared in so many ISIS videos — said of Kassig: “We bury the first crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the rest of your armies to arrive.” In other words, ISIS wants a Western ground force to invade Syria, as that will confirm the prophecy about Dabiq.”

Iran’s Imminent End Time Statements

Statements made by Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

“a gathering of Holocaust deniers in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said: “Thanks to people’s wishes and God’s will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is [headed] downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want. The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom.”[5]

“Our dear Imam (referring to Ayatollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime (Israel) must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world.”[6]

Ahmadinejad addressing the U.N. in 2012 said the world would “soon” see new “global management” by the Twelfth Imam (or the Mahdi) and his sidekick Jesus. One of the differences between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam is that the latter, who dominate Iran and form the majority in Iraq, believe that Allah shielded or hid Muhammad al-Mahadi as the Twelth Imam until the end of time. Shi’ites expect the Twelfth Imam, to be accepted by Jews and Christians as a messiah returning to save the world after it has descended into chaos. Shi’ite orthodoxy has it that humans are powerless to encourage the Twelfth Imam to return. However, in Iran another group called the Hojjatieh believe that they can instigate havoc prompting his return. Ahmadinejad claims that the Twelfth Imam’s reign will come without war, but the Shia “prophecy experts” say the opposite. Their belief is that Muslim political leaders are to initiate the destruction of the Jewish and Christian civilizations which will create an atmosphere of chaos speeding up the arrival of the Twelfth Imam. This seems to be the political policies driving Iran today and should cause us concern when they are seeking nuclear weapons.

Failed Islamic end time prophecies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Futurist Christian apologetics (Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Reformed) do not have a sufficient answer to Islamic apologists (who regurgitate skeptics of the Bible) whom fire back on two fronts: 1. trying to claim Muhammad wasn’t saying what he was saying and then 2. claim that the NT Jesus was a false prophet by predicting that the end of the age/world would occur in the lifetime and generation of his contemporary audience (ex. Matthew 16:27-28; Matthew 24:1-34; Revelation 3:11 etc…). This is alleged “proof” that the Christian NT has been corrupted as the angel Gabriel told Muhammad. It is only the Christian Full Preterist who has a Biblical and sufficient “defense” against the skeptic which is simply, “Yes Jesus did predict that “the end of [the old covenant not the planet or Christian] age,” and His second coming would take place within that first century generation and He was faithful and true to that prediction/promise – unlike the “prophet” Muhammad’s failed predictions!” I will elaborate on this more towards the end of this article.

Islam’s Jihad “Holy War”/“Surrender” Theology

Before leaving the theological/eschatological views and implications of Islam perhaps we should briefly address some alleged differences that have been propagated in the news as of late. We are being told that Radical Islam is the minority view and that Moderate Islam is the majority with the majority being a peaceful religion. Or we have a lot of Moderate Muslims on TV telling us that the Islam of I.S.I.S and other Radicals doesn’t truly represent the teachings of Muhammad or Islam and they are in the process of “reforming” them. I propose a different and common sense approach and that is – we evaluate a religious system based upon the beliefs, teachings and examples of its founder. In fact Islam refers to Muhammad as “the ideal man” and their holy books describe “the way of the prophet (Muhammad).”

13 Doctrines of Radical Islam and ISIS:

  1. You can rape, marry and divorce pre-pubescent girls: Qur’an 65:4
  2. You can enslave for sex and work: Qur’an 4:3; 4:24; 5:89; 33:50; 58:3; 70:30
  3. You can beat sex slaves, work slaves, and wives: Qur’an 4:34
  4. You will need 4 Muslim male witnesses to prove a rape; Qur’an 24:4
  5. Kill Jews and Christians if they do not convert or pay Jizya tax: Qur’an 9:29
  6. Crucify and amputate non-Muslims: Qur’an 8:12; 47:4
  7. You will kill non-Muslims to receive 72 virgins in heaven: Qur’an 9:111
  8. You will kill anyone who leaves Islam: Qur’an 2:217; 4:89
  9. You will behead non-Muslims: Qur’an 8:12; 47:4
  10. You will kill and be killed for Al’llah; (verse of the sword): Qur’an 9:5
  11. You will terrorize non-Muslims: Qur’an 8:12; 8:60
  12. Steal from non-Muslims: Qur’an chapter 8 (booty/spoils of war)
  13. Lie to strengthen Islam: Qur’an 3:26; 3:54; 9:3; 16:106; 40:28

Clearly Radical Islam is just following the teachings and examples of Muhammad and the “revelations” of Allah in the Quran. According to the teachings of Islam, after 12 years of preaching Muhammad didn’t have many followers until he began revealing these extreme views! Once Arab’s saw a way to justify stealing, raping and killing in order to get things they didn’t have to work for, it became a rather popular “religion.”

Some may speak of an “inner jihad” or submission of the heart, but that does not take away the other very clear political and military definitions of jihad as set forth in the Quran and exemplified or fleshed out in the life of Muhammad himself (battles or conquests of Badr, Uhud, Medina, and of Mecca, etc…).

It is important to emphasize the unity on what jihad means among various Muslim groups or sects:

“One of the common elements to all Islamic schools of thought is jihad, understood as the obligation of the Ummah to conquer and subdue the world in the name of Allah and rule it under Sharia law. The four Sunni Madhhabs (schools of fiqh [Islamic religious jurisprudence]) — Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali — all agree that there is a collective obligation on Muslims to make war on the rest of the world. Furthermore, even the schools of thought outside Sunni orthodoxy, including Sufism and the Jafari (Shia) school, agree on the necessity of jihad. When it comes to matters of jihad, the different schools disagree on such questions as whether infidels must first be asked to convert to Islam before hostilities may begin (Osama bin Laden asked America to convert before Al-Qaeda’s attacks); how plunder should be distributed among victorious jihadists; whether a long-term Fabian strategy against dar al-harb is preferable to an all-out frontal attack; etc.”[7]

Even as I have been writing this article the alleged “peaceful” group “CAIR” has finally been exposed by the U.A.E. and classified by them as a “terrorist” front group alongside I.S.I.S., Al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc…, for supporting these groups secretly and sometimes openly. Again, when one understands Islam’s doctrine of practicing deceit to its enemies, we can readily understand how this group can portray themselves as a “peaceful” organization condemning a minor amount of terrorism while at the same time supporting them!

One Internet group has summarized The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) with these 10 points and ushered them a good challenge with an additional 10 points:

“10 Facts about CAIR:

  1. CAIR was created by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic supremacist organization that pioneered 20th century Islamic terrorism and sanctions violence against civilians.
  2. CAIR only has about 5,000 members, despite a membership fee of just $10.
  3. CAIR represents the opinions of only 12% of Muslim-Americans according to Gallup.
  4. CAIR receives financial support from foreign powers who have also provided direct support to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and Hamas.
  5. CAIR has solicited money from sponsors of terror and received financial support from convicted terrorists.
  6. CAIR founders have praised terrorists to Muslim audiences and said that suicide bombers are acting on behalf of Islam.
  7. CAIR has raised funds for terrorists under the guise of helping 9/11 victims.
  8. CAIR board members have called for the overthrow of the United States and the imposition of Islamic law. CAIR has suggested applying Sharia punishment (ie. the death penalty) to users who criticize Islam on the Internet.
  9. At least 15 high-level CAIR staff members have been under federal investigation for ties to Islamic terror.
  10. CAIR has discouraged Muslim-Americans from cooperating with law enforcement and has spent more time and money advocating on behalf of convicted terrorists than for their victims.

The CAIR Challenge:

We have a standing offer to CAIR that we will take down our entire website if this self-proclaimed “civil rights” group will simply answer the following questions having to do with the most basic of human rights: discrimination, profiling, religious freedom, gender equality and terrorism.

  1. Do you want to see Islamic law eventually in America? If not, then why not?
  2. What is your position on religious profiling? Do you denounce Saudi Arabia for profiling non-Muslims and preventing them from traveling to Mecca?
  3. Why do you refuse to condemn the killing of Americans in uniform? *
  4. Do you believe that it is wrong for Muslims to force members of another religion to pay money to Islam in the form of a jizya tax?
  5. Are non-Muslims who reject Muhammad and resist Islamic rule considered to be “innocent persons” in Islam?
  6. Do you believe women should have the same rights as men? Should Muslim women be free to marry whomever they choose and wear what they want?
  7. Hamas has deliberately murdered hundreds of Israeli civilians, including children, and left hundreds more with physical disability, mental impairment (from brain damage) and crippling physical pain. They have also killed Americans. Do you condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization?
  8. Do you believe in equal rights for all religions? Should religious minorities be as free to promote their faith in Muslim countries as CAIR and other Muslims do here in the West?
  9. Do you believe that the punishment for adultery should be death? If not, then why not?
  10. Why have you refused to condemn the Islamic Republic of Sudan for the deaths of over 200,000 Africans in the name of racial cleansing and Jihad? Would you be just as apathetic if this were a non-Muslim government killing Muslims instead?”[8]

Can Islam be “Reformed”?

A somewhat prominent guest on FOX News Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) believes that Islam can be “reformed” to “separate Mosque from State” and coexist in democratic societies. But anyone that knows anything about Islam knows that his view here goes against the foundations of its theology. In fact Jasser would be considered a “hypocrite” under Sharia and put to death for trying to undermine such a foundational pillar of its theology. Perhaps this is why Jasser has no following among Muslims and doesn’t represent any Islamic tradition!

In a FrontPage symposium with Robert Spencer (who destroyed Jasser in a debate) Spencer said, “Interpretations of Islam such as Dr. Jasser’s are personal, idiosyncratic, and non-traditional – a fact that is all too often glossed over by his enthusiastic and well-heeled non-Muslim backers, who would prefer to pretend that he represents the dominant mainstream.” I guess this is why FOX News has Jasser on even though he has no following! I suppose we all want to believe that Islam can be reformed from a non-violent religion which doesn’t want Sharia law to be the law of the land in the U.S. or in any country, but this is just a myth and we know what mainstream Islam believes based upon its official doctrine in the Quran and elsewhere. But when one sees Jasser on FOX News, the uninformed would think he does have a following and that he represents at the very least some form of Islam – when in fact he doesn’t. In my opinion FOX does a disservice to us by giving the impression that Jasser has a following or can “reform” Islam.

Jasser in the debate tried to give some historical precedence of what he is doing (trying to reform Islam separating “Mosque and State”) throughout history. Spencer’s counter was that the historical times Jasser referenced were actually times where in fact Jews and Christians were suppressed and persecuted by Muslims or were during periods Islam wasn’t the military force it had been (thus not being able to impose Sharia the way Muslims wanted to). The other example Jasser gave, was that of Muslim Alija Izetbegović who had been imprisoned and claimed that he felt like he was practicing more of Islam in private than he ever had. Here, Jasser was trying to imply that Sharia law could be individual and private and not imposed upon a particular secular government. But Spencer’s counter was in my opinion the best portion of the debate in saying that he wished Izethbegovic had in fact stayed in prison (as Jasser referenced) and practiced his private Islam, because when he got out, he sought to try and establish an Islamic state in the Balkans imposing his beliefs upon others. In fact Izethbegovic’s writing and influence did nothing but promote the suppression and persecutions of Christians that we see in Muhamad himself as the supreme example and within Islam in general. It is a farce to propose that one can internalize and privatize Sharia Law, when in fact by definition Sharia Law is corporate and national dictating taxes for citizens, morality for society, corporate punishments etc…

Here are just a few examples of what Jasser is saying which demonstrates he doesn’t understand the teachings of Islam or that he has no shot at “reforming” it into something it never was to begin with:

Zuhdi Jasser: “Nowhere in the Quran does God tell Muslims how to establish and run their governments,”[9]

The Truth: Just a couple examples – in the Quran 2:82; 9:29; and 5:38 are details on how to conduct court witnesses and Muslims are told how to deal (thus civil and corporate law) with thieves by amputating limbs etc…

Zuhdi Jasser: “Nowhere in the Quran does God tell Muslims that they must repeat and thus emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s role and actions as a military or governmental leader…”[10]

The Truth: In the Quran 33:21 “Verily there is for you a good example (read iswa or uswa) in the Messenger of God, to emulate in combat and in holding one’s ground [therein], for whoever (li-man substitutes for lakum, ‘for you’) hopes for [the encounter with] God, fears Him, and the Last Day, and remembers God often, in contrast to those who do not.”

Zuhdi Jasser: “Nowhere in the Quran does God tell Muslims that they must impose their beliefs, practices and rituals upon others…”[11]

The Truth: In the Quran 2:193 it reads, “Fight them till there is no sedition, no idolatry, and the religion, all worship, is for God, alone and none are worshipped apart from Him;…” And in the famous passage in Quran 9:29 it clearly reads, (MUHSIN KHAN translation): “Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

Zuhdi Jasser: “And most certainly, (4) nowhere in the Quran does God tell myopic automatons to instigate murderous, terrorist actions against civilians and other noncombatants who, by definition, are incapable of causing them harm.”[12]

The Truth: In the Quran 4:89 it reads,They long, they wish, that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, so then you, and they, would be equal, in unbelief; therefore do not take friends from among them, associating with them, even if they should [outwardly] manifest belief, until they emigrate in the way of God, a proper emigration that would confirm their belief; then, if they turn away, and remain upon their ways, take them, as captives, and slay them wherever you find them; and do not take any of them as a patron, to associate with, or as a helper, to assist you against your enemy.”

Again, Jasser’s undermining premise that he and other Muslims can “separate mosque and state” goes against basic Islam 101 and what is contained and taught in it’s “holy” books and revelations concerning Sharia Law:

“Unlike many religions, Islam includes a mandatory and highly specific legal and political plan for society called Sharia, which translates approximately as “way” or “path.” The precepts of Sharia are derived from the commandments of the Quran and the Sunnah (the teachings and precedents of Muhammad as found in the reliable hadiths and the Sira). Together, the Quran and the Sunnah establish the dictates of Sharia, which is the blueprint for the good Islamic society. Because Sharia originates with the Quran and the Sunnah, it is not optional. Sharia is the legal code ordained by Allah for all mankind. To violate Sharia or not to accept its authority is to commit rebellion against Allah, which Allah’s faithful are required to combat.

There is no separation between the religious and the political in Islam; rather Islam and Sharia constitute a comprehensive means of ordering society at every level. While it is in theory possible for an Islamic society to have different outward forms — an elective system of government, a hereditary monarchy, etc. — whatever the outward structure of the government, Sharia is the prescribed content. It is this fact that puts Sharia into conflict with forms of government based on anything other than the Quran and the Sunnah.

The precepts of Sharia may be divided into two parts:

  1. Acts of worship (al-ibadat), which includes:Ritual Purification (Wudu), Prayers (Salah)
    Fasts (Sawm and Ramadan), Charity (Zakat), Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj).
  2. Human interaction (al-muamalat), which includes: Financial transactions, Endowments, Laws of inheritance, Marriage, divorce, and child care, Food and drink (including ritual slaughtering and hunting), Penal punishments, War and peace, Judicial matters (including witnesses and forms of evidence)

As one may see, there are few aspects of life that Sharia does not specifically govern. Everything from washing one’s hands to child-rearing to taxation to military policy fall under its dictates. Because Sharia is derivate of the Quran and the Sunnah, it affords some room for interpretation. But upon examination of the Islamic sources (see above), it is apparent that any meaningful application of Sharia is going to look very different from anything resembling a free or open society in the Western sense. The stoning of adulterers, execution of apostates and blasphemers, repression of other religions, and a mandatory hostility toward non-Islamic nations punctuated by regular warfare will be the norm. It seems fair then to classify Islam and its Sharia code as a form of totalitarianism.”[13]

  • 51% of Muslims in the U.S. back some form of Sharia.
  • 77% of Muslims in S. Asia support Sharia.
  • 74% of Muslims in S.E. Asia support Sharia.
  • 64% of Muslims in various areas of Africa support Sharia.
  • 99% of Afghanistan’s want Sharia law (we have allowed 11,000 to have green cards from Afghanistan – in 2009-2013).
  • 91% in Iraq want Sharia law (we have allowed 83,000 Iraqis [same time period] to have green cards).
  • 84% in Pakistan want Sharia law (we have allowed 83,000 Pakistanis to have green cards [within the same time period]).
  • (updated) – If this all wasn’t scary enough, it was just reported that our government totally lost track of at least 9000 Muslims that came over here on a temporary VISA, and some were very questionable!

Again, to implement Sharia law means waging war against unbelievers (non-Muslims).

When a sect within a particular religion seeks “reform” it requires going back to the teachings and life examples of its main prophet(s) to establish such. When one compares Islam’s Muhammad with Christianity’s Jesus there is no comparison!

From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry to the end He described His kingdom in nothing but spiritual terms: living water, bread from heaven, a spiritual way, a spiritual life (“eternal life”) etc… Jesus clearly rejected the common Jewish literal/geo-political and militaristic views of the kingdom (cf. John 6).

Jesus taught that His “kingdom is not of this world” and that when it would come (at His return in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation”) it would not be discerned by our physical eyes, because the realm of fulfillment would be “within” (Luke 17:20-21; Luke 21:27-32; John 18:36). The Father and Son made their home/abode “in” the Church when the heavenly Temple/New Jerusalem descended from heaven and clothed the Church while on and upon the earth (John 14:2-3, 23; 2 Cor. 4:18–5:1-10–6:16; Rev. 21:2ff.). The believer today has been raised from the dead and “the hope of glory” which is “Christ in you” is now a “hope realized” in the New Covenant age (Cols. 1:27; Prov. 13:12). Unlike Islam’s Muhammad, which on more than one occasion was found to be a false prophet predicting the end of the world, Jesus predicted the end of the world of the old covenant age connected to the destruction of the Temple in His “this generation” (Matthew 24:1-34). In AD 70, Christ and the NT inspired authors were found faithful and true witnesses with the old covenant kingdom passing and the new being realized “within in.”

Zuhdi Jasser says he is seeking ways to pass on the faith of his fathers to his children and “reform” it – but unfortunately he is “reforming it” beyond recognition of what it actually teaches. I humbly suggest that he find a “Faithful and True” prophet (Jesus Christ) and simply follow His straightforward teachings on a personal, intimate, internal relationship within His kingdom, that can and does harmonize with Western democratic principles? Just a thought.

I would be willing to have a symposium with Zuhdi Jasser and Robert Spencer and discuss and debate these topics:

  1. Did in fact Muhammad teach that the last hour and end of the world would take place within the lifetime of some of his living audience? “Anas reported: A young boy of Mughira b. Shu’ba happened to pass by (the Holy Prophet) and he was of my age. Thereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: If he lives long he would not grow very old till the Last Hour would come (to the old People of this generation).” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7053). Did in fact Muhammad predict did everyone would die on planet earth within a hundred years (thus predicting the end time/last hour events of the judgment and resurrection): “Once the Prophet led us in the ‘Isha’ prayer during the last days of his life and after finishing it (the prayer) (with Taslim) he said: “Do you realize (the importance of) this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight will be living after the completion of one hundred years from this night.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1 Book 3, Number 116).

Michael Sullivan: Yes I affirm that Muhammad taught this and therefore was a false prophet and thus Islam a false religion.

Robert Spencer: I assume would agree with me here.

Zuhdi Jasser: Would deny that Muhammad taught this and remains a valid prophet.

  1. Did in fact Jesus (and the NT) teach that the “last hour” and Christ’s return would take place within the lifetime of some of his living audience? “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:27-28). “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:34-36). “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:17-18). Concerning the last “hour” of God’s judgment and Christ coming like a thief in the book of Revelation it is said that these events would be fulfilled “shortly, soon,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to,” to a first century Christian audience (Revelation 1:1, 19YLT, 3:3, 11; 14:7; 22:6-7, 10-12, 22).

Michael Sullivan: Yes, I affirm that Jesus taught that the “last hour” and His Second Coming would take place to close the old covenant age or the “world” and “heaven and earth” of the old covenant system in by AD 70. Therefore, I affirm Jesus is a “Faithful and True” witnesses and the NT is the inspired Word of God.

Robert Spencer: Would deny that Jesus taught that the “last hour” would be fulfilled in the first century.

Zuhdi Jasser: Would no doubt affirm that Jesus taught this and proves Allah’s revelation on Jesus was corrupted by the Christians and therefore the Bible cannot be reliable.

Islam’s “Holy Land” Theology

As already discussed Islam believes that the planet belongs to Allah and that they are to wage war with all countries that will not submit to Allah and his law. This logically leads to their belief that any land previously or once conquered in the name of Allah will ALWAYS remain Islamic holy land. So one can readily see that this religious system will never recognize Israel as a country today or her appeals throughout history that it belongs to them – is moot.

One must also remember that inherent in Islamic theology is its exhortation to willfully deceive Allah’s enemies or unbelievers (and specifically Jews and Christians). This makes it very difficult to listen to “peaceful” “moderate” Muslims trying to separate themselves from “radicals” or take seriously any peace talks or political treaties coming from ANY of them.

Even the alleged “moderate” “reformer” Zuhdi Jasser made a slip of the tongue in the last 5 minutes of an interview challenging his “reformed” views referring to Israel as “occupied territory.”[14] So no matter how you slice it, even Jasser who is trying to practically form his own Islamism, subscribes to some form of religious and divine rights to “holy land” throwing more oil on an existing fire – not bringing a “peaceful” solution in any way shape or form.

Concluding Islam’s Eschatology

In a nut-shell this is what we have found wrong with Islamic eschatology:

First, Islam has simply borrowed most of its views of an “in the land” “end time” “holy war” prophetic scenario from the OT and NT, and then tried to marry it to “Allah” and alleged new “revelations” from “Muhammad” in which they are the good guys and the Christians and Jews (and their religions) are the bad guys. This in and of itself is the foundational problem – Arabs tried to steal bits and pieces from the Jews OT and Christians NT, to unite them into having one religion that was superior to that of the Jews and Christians.

Secondly, like the “Christian” Dispensational Zionist movement, virtually all the Islamic sects in the Middle East today believe their wars are “signs” of the truly imminent Second Coming (their version of it at least) and their unique end time players. I.S.I.S. is actually trying to force the countries of the world into a war with them, because they are wanting to usher in their “end time” “holy war” “prophecies.” This makes Islam extremely dangerous.

Thirdly, as I will demonstrate more in parts 2-3 of this series, Muhammad and Islam have made false predictions of the “last hour” and Jesus’ Second Coming – claiming that Jesus was supposed to return within some of the lifetimes of Muhammad’s contemporary audience. This is a “false prophecy” in two respects: 1. Jesus promised that He would return in some of the life times and contemporary generation He spoke to in order to end the “last hour” of the old covenant age/world and DID in AD 70 (Matt. 10:22-23; Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:34-36). Since Jesus already fulfilled these prophecies, Islam is a non-starter in claiming they are future and 2. it is a false prophecy in that obviously Jesus didn’t return in some of the lifetimes of Muhammad’s audience (according to its own expectations of what the Second Coming is supposed to be).

Fourthly, in spite of what the media would like to try and tell us, Islam simply CANNOT BE “REFORMED” into a non-violent religion. The more one want’s to “reform” it and get back to the main teachings and examples of Muhammad the more violent and extreme this religion gets. We have also seen that the Islam in the Middle East is the REAL and CONSISTENT Islam – not what some here in the U.S. are trying to pawn off as Islam.

Fifthly, our political leaders such as President Obama are simply clueless on how to HONESTLY deal with Islam’s theology/eschatology. It is beyond scary for a U.S. President to constantly be defending Islam as a “peaceful religion” and then attack anyone who speaks out against Islam – giving accurate statistics and giving a proper treatment of this horrific “religion.” Obama and his administration trying to blame global warming for the origins of I.S.I.S or them not having job opportunities — as some of the root causes and problems is not only not factual but are extremely embarrassing (as representing our country) to make! Such policies and comments coming from Obama on Islam have caused many to wonder if he is secretly a Muslim. No matter what one thinks of his motives on Islam, the FACTS communicate that his policies are making our Country a less safe to live.

And lastly, I will close by contrasting Christianity’s Jesus with Islam’s Muhammad:

  1. Jesus was born of a virgin (having divine origins). Muhammad born naturally – but conceded that Jesus was born miraculously of a virgin.
  2. Jesus claimed to be and proved to be God (see above and below). Muhammad a mere man.
  3. Jesus proved to be God and divine by being tested of Satan (without sin), driving out demons, and ultimately defeating Satan through the cross and His Second Coming in AD 70. Muhammad thought on several occasions that he was demon possessed.
  4. Jesus taught that his words were those of the Fathers and those that would accept them would receive eternal life (male and female).
    Muhammad had to retract the “satanic verses” from his teachings, and eternal life is only for men and not women in Islam.
  5. There are no contradictions within Jesus’ teachings.
    There are plenty of contradictions within Muhammad’s teachings and again some of them being attributed to Satan.
  6. Jesus performed miracles proving He was a prophet. According to the Quran, Muhammad performed no miracles. Realizing this was a problem when trying to sell Muhammad’s teachings and Islam to Christians, they later began attributing miracles to Muhammad hundreds of years later in Hadiths etc…
  7. Jesus was the Great High Priest (and Lamb of God) being a mediator between God and man restoring God presence with man.
    Muhammad served no such role – except to deny that Jesus ever died on the cross and rose from the dead.
  8. Jesus is a risen and eternal King ruling from heaven – and His kingdom continues to grow. His kingdom was not of this world and His servants have never had to fight with a sword to produce converts. The “sword of the Spirit” (the Word of God), and the effectual call of the Holy Spirit produce repentance and faith – followers of Christ. Muhammad attempted to be some kind of a king (after the way of others through violence). If he ever even did exist, he is dead and long gone. His religion is spread through violence and coercion.
  9. Jesus lived a sinless life. Muhammad again thought he was demon possessed on several occasions, lived a life of stealing, raping, and killing – leaving this as an example for his followers to emulate.
  10. Jesus rose from the dead proving He was God (up to 500 witnessing to this event). He and the Father have made their home within believers. Muhammad if he even existed is long dead and gone.
  11. Jesus came to serve – demonstrating true humility and leadership. He was God and had nothing to prove by “lording it over” others as was and continues to be the “way of the Gentiles.” Muhammad came to be served and subject Jews and Christians to its violence – “the way of the Gentiles.”
  12. Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets and did. We have prophetic material thousands of years predicting his birth, what He would do in his life and ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming upon the clouds as the eternal Ancient of Days. Muhammad’s (if he even existed) gave NEW “revelations” which served to give the Arab’s a religion/political/military movement to unite them. No miraculous predictions of Muhammad’s life. Muhammad even conceded that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews – thus fulfilling their prophecies concerning Him.
  13. Jesus is worshiped – because He proved to be God. Muhammad proved to be a thief, liar, pervert (having sex with a 9 year old girl), killer, and founder of a false religion.
  14. There is historical evidence that Jesus existed and performed miracles (even from non-Christian sources) – during the life of Christ and shortly after. One might be surprised to learn that there is no real historical evidence that Muhammad even existed (see Robert Spencer’s books and Reformed theologian Robert Morey on this point) – during his life or shortly after. Because of this many historians and theologians believe he was created to unite the Arabs giving them a political/military/religious cause. Instead of converting to Christianity, they created their own.
  15. Jesus said blessed are the peace makers for they shall receive peace. Islam teaches that those that perform Jihad and kill the infidels.
  16. Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to love God and your neighbor as yourself. Islam teaches the greatest commandment is to love Allah and wage Jihad.
  17. Jesus condemned anyone trying to protect him with a sword. Muhammad demanded and needed bodyguards in his presence.
  18. Christ was crucified for His church. Islam promoted crucifying others.
  19. Christ put in the hearts of the early Church to sell their possessions and give to the poor. Muhammad’s followers lived off of stealing from others.
  20. Christ makes His people cheerful givers to encourage ministry to the poor and for the preaching of the gospel. Islamic mosques need to tax or force non-Muslims to pay for the spread of their religion.
  21. OT or Old Covenant war prescribed to inherit “in the land” promises pointed typologically to NT or New Covenant promises to be fulfilled spiritually and peacefully “In Christ” (the ultimate fulfillment). Chronology from Quran is from peace to violence (with later writings being most important and taken precedence over earlier ones).
  22. Apostates in Christianity are simply said to be professors of Christ (not true Christians) going out from us, for if they were of us they would have continued with us. Apostates in Islam are to be killed. Professing believers in Christ that become Muslim are not killed by other Christians. Muslims that leave the empty and hateful religion of Islam for Christianity be-headed by Muslims.
  23. Christ commands Christians to love their enemies. Islam teaches that one is not to be-friend non-Muslims but rather to enslave them, tax them, and ultimately kill them if they do not convert to Islam.
  24. Christ commands the husbands in His Church to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Christ gives eternal life to women. Quran teaches men that they can beat their wives and that women cannot inherit eternal life – only men can.
  25. Christ and Christianity needs no suicide bombings from its followers or from the children of its followers to survive and thrive. Islam commends and encourages suicide bombings from its followers and its children in order to thrive and survive.
  26. Jesus predicted and promised that His Second Coming / Parousia would take place within some of the lifetimes of those He spoke to and in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to bring an end to the old covenant age and establish the new covenant age. In AD 70 He did just that (see my/our book, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…”) – coming upon the clouds of heaven “as the Ancient of Days” to be “worshiped” (cf. Dan. 7:13-14 (OG) LXX/NIV/Matt. 26:62-64/Rev. 1:7, 13-18). Muhammad taught that the “last hour” would take place within a hundred years of those he spoke to, and demonstrated once again that he was a false prophet.

Part 2 of this series will focus on the eschatology of modern day Judaism and its claims to an “end time,” “holy land,” “holy war.” We will also cross-examine their claims that Christians have made up a “Second Coming” and that Messiah was never thought to be divine and bring about the forgiveness of sins. Stay tuned! Go to part 2 on Judaism here: http://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-in-the-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism/

Part 1 Islam – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/

Part 2 Judaism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology:https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism-the-article-facebook-doesnt-want-yo/

Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/

 

[1] Mariam Karounv, Apocalyptic prophecies drive both sides to Syrian battle for end of time, Reuters, April 1, 2014)

[2] Leo Hohmann, Popular Muslim Personality: Jesus Christ is among us, http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/popular-muslim-personality-jesus-christ-is-among-us/#omxjVrhqwfLyIqlS.99

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] (Ahmadinejad at Holocaust conference: Israel will ‘soon be wiped out’. Haaretz, 12 December 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2006 and 20 December 2009).

[6] (Fathi, Nazila 30 October 2005. “Text of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Speech”. Week in Review (The New York Times). Retrieved 17 October 2006).

[7] Gregory M. Davis, Islam 101, http://www.jihadwatch.org/islam-101

[8] http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/CAIR-Questions.htm

[9] Christopher Logan, Logan’s Warning Challenges the WND Interview of Zuhdi Jasser, Monday, 25 February 2013, http://www.rightsidenews.com/2013022632059/editorial/us-opinion-and-editorial/logans-warning-challenges-the-wnd-interview-of-zuhdi-jasser.html

[10] Logan, Ibid.

[11] Logan, Ibid.

[12] Logan, Ibid.

[13] Ibid., Gregory M. Davis, Islam 101, http://www.jihadwatch.org/islam-101

[14] Pamela Geller, Jasser’s Jihad, http://pamelageller.com/2009/05/jassers-jihad.html/

Mike’s Movie Proposals To Bring Healing to the

Circular Middle East Problem

Copyright 2009 Michael J. Sullivan – Thank you in advance for your honesty and integrity.

 

Introduction / Objective:

 

Here are two movie proposals/plots that function as “Informational Warfare” to help solve the problem of Islam, Israeli Zionism and Premillennial Christian Zionism from trying to constantly self-fulfill (playing the victim or conquest card) the “in the land,” “holy war,” the “end is near – AGAIN” battle of Armageddon. The more the Biblical truth get’s out here in the U.S. to Evangelical Christians and Jews and Muslims in the Middle East – that this war was fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70, the better. This theology has been tested in the articles and book listed at the end of these proposals.

 

Title: “AD 70 – The Parousia”

By: Michael J. Sullivan (author, debater, conference speaker & radio host), 12 Chase Lane, Sylva, NC 28779; (828) 507-1375

Proposal for: Mel Gibson

Genre: Action / Controversial / Religious

 

This is a movie that incorporates the success behind such action movies produced by Ridley Scott – The Kingdom of Heaven & The Gladiator along with religious controversy draws from such men as Ron Howard and Tom Hank’s – The Divinci Code.

 

The Historical Setting & Controversial Twist

 

The religious twist or controversy to this movie that will make it a financial success and sets it apart from anything that has ever been produced thus far, is that the NT places Jesus’ Second Coming during the Roman / Jewish War (between AD 67 – AD 70) and not as an end of time event (per the traditional view). While many religious movies have focused on the years AD 26 – AD 33, none have focused on AD 67 – AD 70, let alone have developed this period as the Second Coming. And yet Jesus tells us that “the end” (of the old covenant age – not the end of world history) and His coming, would take place within His contemporary “this generation” when his first century audience saw “Jerusalem being surrounded by armies” (Matt. 24:3-34, Lk. 21:20-32). We know from church history that Rome surrounded Jerusalem in AD 67 and then briefly retreated. This is when the Christians fled Jerusalem to Pella and were safe (heeding Jesus’ prophecy), while the Jews listened to the false prophets (Jesus said would come) and were destroyed by the Romans.

 

Synopsis:

 

Cornelius (played by Chris PrattChristian and UFC fan) is a skilled Roman Centurion warrior who converts to Christianity and begins converting many Roman soldiers. Word of this reaches Nero (played by ________) whom places Cornelius as a gladiator/prisoner – forced to combat as punishment for not acknowledging the one true king (himself). Cornelius is separated from his wife and son between AD 63 – AD 66 and is forced to defend himself in the arena against demon possessed beasts and other valiant gladiators. But God empowers and sustains Cornelius through these battles in order to make a statement against Nero and Rome. God is miraculously protecting him in the arena as a symbol that He will preserve the Church from the Dragon (cf. Rev. 12) – when she flees Jerusalem to Pella.

 

Cornelius eventually escapes from Roman captivity but only to be captured by John Levi of Gischala (played by ________ – who will shortly take over Jerusalem and lead the revolt against Rome). Cornelius eventually breaks free and reaches his family in Jerusalem in AD 66. After the death of Peter at the hands of Nero, God will use Cornelius to lead the Christian Church in Jerusalem to Pella before the Roman / Jewish war (Armageddon) begins and lays siege to Jerusalem.

Characters / Actors: Cornelius (Chris Pratt – Christian and UFC fan), Nero (________), Jon Levi of Gischala (_________), Titus (_________), Apostle Peter (__________), Josephus (________).

 

Budget: 100 – 135 million.

Box office profit: 600 million or more.

 

Why this movie will be a financial success: There is really one word that would describe why Ron Howard’s The Divinci Code made money, and that word is controversy. Even though the movie had bad theology and history behind it, because it stirred up theological controversy (was Jesus married? Did he have a child? Was he divine as he claimed?) – it made money. It was the subject of virtually every adult Sunday School class and Pastor’s sought to refute it from the pulpits. Therefore, even Christians went and saw the movie just to see what all the hub-bub was about. The controversy even created free advertising for the movie. My movie is different than Howard’s in that the history and theology backing it, is 100% accurate. Not to mention no one has been able to refute my/our book, House Divided. The controversy that the Second Coming and battle of Armageddon was truly fulfilled “shortly” (Rev. 1:1–22:6-7, 20) and is not in our future, will surpass anything The Divinici Code produced.

 

Possible obstacle resolved: The budget for a war in Jerusalem will be high. For “Part I” it may be possible to write this script and sell it to Ridley Scott – who has access to this construction from previous movies he has done with a similar motif?

 

SECOND MOVIE – MODERN APPLICATION

 

Title: “AD 70 and the Armageddon Conspiracy”

By: Michael J. Sullivan (author, debater, conference speaker & radio host), 12 Chase Lane, Sylva, NC 28779, (828) 507-1375

Proposal for: Mel Gibson

Genre: Action / Controversial / Religious

Synopsis: There are two stories being played out that will merge together.

 

Story #1

 

The main character (Chris Hunt) is an accomplished mixed martial artist, theological scholar and debater.

 

When Hunt was young he was homeschooled on the mission field by his parents. His father was a well known Biblical scholar but left that life for the mission field. His father also had a trade being a mixed martial arts instructor. Hunt’s father trained him in theology, philosophy and mixed martial arts. Chris leaves his parents on the mission field to attend college in the U.S. and compete professionally in the U.F.C.

 

But the death of his parents at the hands of Muslims on the mission field has left Hunt bitter. Hunt leaves his conservative roots behind and begins teaching theology at a liberal Seminary with a bent on proving Jesus as just a good moral teacher with a failed prophecy as a legacy. Hunt is drawn to this theology because of the death of his parents and for intellectual reasons. His arguments are simple – Jesus promised that His Second Coming would take place in the lifetime and generation of his first century disciples (Matt. 10:22-23; Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:34), and since the end of the world did not take place at that time – Jesus’ prophecy failed. And since the rest of the NT followed Jesus’ first century time of fulfillment – “at hand,” “in a very little while,” “shortly, “soon” it too is a failure (1 Pet. 4:5-7; Heb. 10:37; Rev. 1:1—22:6-7) and cannot be “inspired” as claimed.

 

Hunt lays paralyzed in his depression and despair until a student in his class begins challenging him in a way he has never encountered before. One of his students is a Full Preterist and begins showing him how all these predictions pointed to Christ’s Second Coming taking place when Jerusalem fell in AD 66 – AD 70 and that the language Jesus uses in Matthew 24 (stars falling etc…) is apocalyptic language (symbolic/metaphoric genre) and is not literal. Hunt learns that Jesus nor the NT writers were ever predicting the end of the world (as commonly taught in most churches), but rather involve predictions of Christ’s return to bring an end to the old covenant age/world and establishing the new covenant age (which is spiritual). God awakens Hunt’s faith for a mission he is uniquely qualified for…

 

Story #2

 

Muslim apologist Shabir Ally is from Iran and is falsely portraying himself as a peaceful moderate. He comes to the U.S. to debate various Christian theologians claiming the Jesus of the NT is a false prophet and therefore Allah gave Muhammad the Quran as a superior revelation. While this is a legitimate tour by Ally, no one knows that his inner circle is a terrorist network planning a nuclear attack on U.S. soil. At least no one except two F.B.I. agents who begin noticing some suspicious activity.

 

Shabir is also an accomplished fighter in the U.F.C. and is using this as an avenue to get into the States.

 

The merging of the two stories

 

Shabir challenges Hunt to a debate and to fight in in the U.F.C. Tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran and both countries are pushing both the fight and the debate.

 

Hunt takes a debate with Shabir in Los Angels, California. Chris thinks God has called him to take down Shabir’s arguments in a debate, but the mission becomes much more involved as the evening develops. Toward the end of the debate, Shabir and his network take the audience hostage announcing their plans of detonating their nuclear device. Hunt now has to use his mixed martial arts training and team up with the F.B.I. — along with the audience he has won over in debate, to kill the terrorists and disarm the nuke.

 

Not only this, but extreme Dispensational Zionists such as John Hagee have the President’s ear and are trying to convince the President that these are signs of the end times and that the U.S. needs to get ready for Armageddon. God is going to use Hunt in a variety of ways to disarm this conflict which will also involve educating the President on these issues.

 

Why this movie will be a financial success: Again, this movie involves religious controversy which does nothing but provide free advertisement and brings in a larger audience. The movie also touches on the issues of the day – Islamic eschatology views everything in the news today as a “fulfillment” of their “end time” prophecies leading to a “holy war” with the West. Unfortunately, many Dispensational Zionist “Christians” read their Bible’s through the lens of current events (ex. Hal Lindsey or say John Haggee) as well and claim what is taking place today in the Middle East also supports an alleged “imminent” “end time” “holy war” and “rapture” for the Church.

 

Only through education can these problems come to light let alone be solved. The fact that these NT “end time” “holy war” (Armageddon) prophecies have already been fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70 is a major step in the right direction to healing this conflict.

 

Characters / Actors: David Hunt (_Chris Pratt – Christian and UFC fan_______ ), F.B.I. agent (________ ), and Muslim terrorist (________ ).

Budget: 30 – 70 million.

Box office profit: 300 million or more.

 

The Theology & History Behind the Movie – 100% Solid! See My Articles Here:

 

1). How the Bible Refutes Modern “In the Land,” “the End is Near – AGAIN,” “Holy War” False Religion (Islam, Israeli Zionism, and Christian Premillennial Zionism):

Part 1 Islam – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-1-islam/

 

Part 2 Judaism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology:https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-of-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-2-judaism-the-article-facebook-doesnt-want-yo/

 

Part 3 “Christian” Dispensational Zionism – Refuting and Healing “Holy Land” “End Time” “Holy War” Eschatology: https://fullpreterism.com/a-full-preterist-response-to-holy-land-end-time-holy-war-eschatologies-part-3-christian-dispensational-zionism/

 

2). How the “Last Days” Battle or War of Armageddon and Gog and Magog was Fulfilled Between AD 67-AD 70 along with Zechariah 12-14 Article:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/the-last-days-the-war-of-isaiah-2-4-daniel-9-12-revelation-16-19-20-fullfilled-b/10153941401569364/ and https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/zechariah-12-14-the-olivet-discourse-armageddon-healing-of-the-nations-and-the-t/10155297167914364/

 

3). How the Nations Have Beaten and Continue to Beat Their Swords into Plowshares and Have Learned War No More as They Stream Into the New Jerusalem:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/the-last-days-day-of-the-lord-of-isaiah-22-4-10-19-21-and-2-thessalonians-15-10-/10155254904044364/

 

4). How Matthew 24-25; the “Rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and the Resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 Were All Fulfilled by AD 70:

http://fullpreterism.com/matthew-24-25-and-the-resurrectio…/

 

5). Understanding the book of Revelation and How it was Fulfilled by AD 70:

 

a). A Pre-AD 70 Date for the Book of Revelation – A Full Preterist Response to Dr. Simon Kistemaker:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/a-pre-ad-70-date-for-the-book-of-revelation-a-full-preterist-response-to-simon-k/10155311579099364/

 

b). How Futurists Have Failed to Deal with Imminence in Revelation:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/the-various-failed-attempts-by-futurists-to-deal-with-imminence-in-the-book-of-r/10155045480034364/

 

c). Revelation 1-4:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/unveiling-christ-and-his-bride-exegetical-essays-in-the-book-of-revelation-chapt/10154616917064364/

 

d). Revelation 5-10:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/unveiling-christ-and-his-bride-exegetical-essays-in-the-book-of-revelation-chapt/10154616922304364/

 

e). Revelation 11-13:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/unveiling-christ-and-his-bride-exegetical-essays-in-the-book-of-revelation-chapt/10154616926529364/

 

f). Revelation 14-19:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/unveiling-christ-and-his-bride-exegetical-essays-in-the-book-of-revelation-chapt/10154616928719364/

 

g). Revelation 20-22:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/unveiling-christ-and-his-bride-exegetical-essays-in-the-book-of-revelation-chapt/10154616931499364/

And don’t forget to get a copy of my/our book: “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” Available on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/House-Divided-Bridging-Reformed-Eschatology/dp/146759671X

My Full Preterist Response To John MacArthur’s (“Strange Fire” – Cessationist) V. Michael Brown’s (“Authentic Fire” – Charismatic) Part 7 – Argument #5 The “Greater Works” Of John 14:12 & Interaction With Matt Waymeyer – Professor At The Master’s Seminary

In his book Authentic Fire (pp. 188-190) Charismatic Dr. Michael Brown believes since “whoever believes in me” is a universal term in other contexts (cf. Jn. 6:35; 7:38; 11:25; 12:44, 46), this must be the case here in John 14:12. Therefore, he concludes that believers (prior to a Christ’s return which he assumes is future) can ask God in prayer and expect Him to give them the gifts of miracles, healing, tongues, knowledge, prophecy, etc…

My Response

Since most of Dr. Brown’s arguments in his book concern the miraculous gifts lasting throughout the eschatological “already and not yet” or until the Second Coming arrives, I will give attention to John 14:2-3, 23 along with v. 12. There are also some implications on the audience of the Apostles and their leadership in directing the NT Cannon and them being infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit (not every believer) on the time frame of fulfillment of Christ’s coming, that must too be examined (cf. Jn. 14:26; Jn. 16:13).

While Pastor MacArthur has not responded to ANY of Dr. Brown’s arguments (even though Brown’s book is specifically addressed to him), this is the ONLY argument (on Jn. 14:12) The Master’s Seminary has sought to address in Dr. Brown’s book, Authentic Fire.[1] And of course Brown points this out – how they have only attempted to address 3% of his arguments on the “Sola Scriptura” cessation issue.[2] I have reached out repeatedly to The Master’s University and Seminary to have a symposium to discuss Brown’s 4-5 main arguments for the continuance of the sign gifts (which I too once used as a former Charismatic). So far NO ONE has returned my calls – in spite of promises from secretaries that someone from the seminary would.

Since many have enjoyed an article I did on John 14 demonstrating the betrothal/wedding and temple imagery connected to Jesus’ Second Coming, I will begin with some of that material by way of introduction and then address verse 12 interacting with Brown and Waymeyer.

Introductory meditations on John 14 and wedding / temple imagery

Jewish weddings began with the groom presenting the father and his potential bride with a ketubah or covenant which would include the dowry price etc… The man would pour his potential wife a cup of wine (which represented a blood or oneness covenant) and if she drank from it, she agreed to become his wife – to become one with him (cf. John 6; Matt. 26:17-30).

After this, the groom would announce that he was “going to prepare a place” for her and would “come again when it was ready” (cf. John 14:2-3). The Church is “bought” (dowry) with the price of Christ’s blood.[3] The Holy Spirit’s power and presence with the early church was also a down payment or earnest guaranteeing the inheritance or promise of Christ’s return and that full redemption would come in that first century generation (Lk. 21:27-32).

The groom would have already gotten his father’s permission to build a room or honeymoon suite onto his father’s house where he would then consummate his love for his bride. When the groom was asked when the wedding would take place, he replied that “only his father knows the time” (cf. Matt. 24:36; Acts 1:6-7).

I also should note that before the betrothal period it was customary for both the bride and groom to be baptized (a ritual called mikvah). Jesus of course was baptized in order to fulfill the law, and by one of His groomsmen at that – John the Baptist (cf. Matt. 3:13-17; Jn. 3:29-30).

During this betrothal period (which could last up to a year or two), the groom would have up to two groomsmen which would help facilitate and mediate issues between the groom and bride (in the NT I believe John the Baptist [the friend of the Bridegroom] and the Apostle Paul [betrothing the Church to Christ] fulfill these roles between Christ and the Church (cf. Jn. 3:29-30; 2 Cor. 11:2).

In the Jewish betrothal period/covenant, fornication was very serious and grounds for divorce (Matthew’s gospel being primarily written to Jews adds this material on divorce and re-marriage [along with Joseph wanting to “divorce” Marry] while the others do not – cf. Matt. 1:19; Matt. 5:31-32).

Once the room/honeymoon chamber was ready and built onto the father’s home, the groom and his friends would come for the bride – blowing a trumpet (Matt. 24:30-31/1 Thess. 4:16-17/1 Cor. 15:52; Rev. 10:6-7; 11:15-19).

The bride and her bridesmaids had their oil and lamps next to their beds in order to be ready for this event (cf. Matt. 25:1-13).

Once at the “room” of the father’s house, the couple would then engage in a seven-day honeymoon period and the feast would follow. The sheet with the blood of the bride would be hung outside the room proving she was a virgin and that the marriage was officially consummated.

Jehovah’s Betrothal/Marriage to Israel

Some debate if at mount Sinai, God betrothed or married Israel as a covenant people to Himself. When Israel split, the imagery became God being betrothed or married to two sisters. God would “divorce” the ten northern tribes through the Assyrian invasion/judgment, with the promise that He would one day again “betroth” her to Himself in the “last days” in the “desert.” He remained betrothed or married to Jerusalem – the other sister (for through her salvation and Messiah would come).

John the Baptist (the last of the OT prophets) was the groomsman whom in the desert was calling Israel to repentance and pointing her to the way of her Messiah/Groom. Jesus’s blood inaugurated the NC and in drinking that wine, the Church agreed to be united to Him as His bride. The work and power of the Holy Spirit within the believer was the agent for the “building” up process of the “rooms” – which were within the spiritual realm (i.e. of God’s people).

In John 4, we are told that Jesus “must” go through Samaria, but why? This is in order to fulfill OT prophecy concerning Israel’s last day’s betrothal process for the scattered Ten Northern Tribes that had been sown in the land of the Gentiles through the Assyrian captivity. Jacob meeting his bride at the same well as Jacob was typological of Christ beginning his betrothal process for the Samaritans (pictured through the woman at the well). In Jesus’ earthly ministry He touches the Jew, the Samaritan and Gentiles (all the groups that form the NC Bride). As we will see, the book of Acts follows Jesus’ pattern and prior to AD 70 that mission was complete (Acts 1:8 –> Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 10:18; Rms. 16:25-26).

In AD 70, judgment and divorce would now finally come upon God’s other unfaithful sister/wife – OC Jerusalem (through stoning and burning – a judgment prescribed in the law for the adulterous wife of a priest). This was done by means of sending “His armies” (the Idumeans and Romans) to “destroy the city” while at the same time consummating His marriage to His beloved NC Jerusalem in the same AD 70 “shortly” and “soon” time frame (cf. Rev. 1:1—chapters17-22; Mt. 22:1-14).

John 14

a). The context or audience (vss. 1-2).

The promise of Christ’s return is given to the “your” and “you” of verses 1-2 and are the eleven Apostles. This is consistent with the “you” and first century “this generation” of Matthew 24 that is promised to experience the coming of the Son of Man (the parousia) or Second Coming. While the Church in the NC age post AD 70 will share in the benefits and blessings of Christ’s parousia (with the Father and Son making their home within them), this is a promise given the the Apostles and their contemporaries.

b). “In my Father’s house are many rooms;…” (vs. 2).

Here the Father’s “house” is His spiritual heavenly Temple (2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21-22) and the “rooms” are the side rooms that surrounded the Holy Place of the Temple. As Arthur Pink notes,

“The many rooms in the temple prefigured these (see 1 Kings 6:5, 6; Jer. 35:1-4, etc.).”[4]

Under the OC the Father’s “house” was the earthly Temple that the Jew’s were making a den of robbers (cf. Matt. 21:13). But under the NC, the Church is God’s “house”/Temple that He was preparing (cf. Ezek. 37:27/2 Cor. 6:16; 2 Cor. 5:1).

The side rooms surrounding the Holy Place were used for: 1. The priests to dwell in. 2. To change into their priestly garments. 3. To store gold and silver (bounty), tithes, and the articles used in the Temple. The Church during AD 30 – AD 70 is described as a Priesthood being changed into the glorious image of Christ (a spiritual and non-physical process). The OC Tabernacle and Temple were erected gloriously with the gold and silver that Israel got from their enemies and through their tithes. In the NT, there are two things that are more costly than gold and silver and they are Christ’s blood and the God given faith given to the saints. This holy exchange is how the the NC Temple was being built up, and how believers continue to walk through the gates of the New Jerusalem post AD 70.

The imagery of “going to prepare” these side rooms is that of wedding terminology:

“…in 14:3, “I will come again and take you with me, so that where I am, you will be as well” (cf. 17:24), echoes the terminology found in Song 8:2a, where the bride says that she will bring her lover to her mother’s house. Here Jesus, the messianic bridegroom (3:29), is said first to go to prepare a place for his own in his Father’s house and then to come to take them home to be with him.”[5]

So the side rooms of the Temple are the honeymoon suites being prepared for those being built up as the spiritual/heavenly Temple during the AD 30 – AD 70 transition period – before Christ’s Second Coming occurred to close the OC age. Here the many “rooms” (plural) emphasize the individual (or “the many”) of the living saints anticipating Christ’s imminent coming in AD 70. Elsewhere, the Most Holy Place and New Jerusalem represent the NC corporate body (or “the one”) of the Church (2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Cor. 6:16; Rev. 21:16 [the NJ is a perfect cube representing the MHP]; Heb. 9:8-9/cf. JFB commentary where the OC economy = the Holy Place and the NC economy = the Most Holy Place).

“Dwelling places” “rooms” – Greek mone and the Second Coming.

This Greek word for “room(s)” is mone and is only used twice in the NT (here in Jn. 14:2, 23). It’s second use is found in verse 23 – “…we (The Father and Son) will come to him and make our home (Greek mone) with him.” The later here in verse 23 explains how Jesus would “receive” His people — when He and the Father (Who are the Temple Rev. 21:22) came to make their “dwelling” or abode/home within His Church. God’s presence (the Triune God) being restored to and within the believer is what the Second Coming (or Greek parousia -presence) is all about (cf. Matt. 24:27; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15; Rev. 21-22).

In Revelation the New Jerusalem in the form of a perfect cube (Rev. 21:16 – which is communicating that it is the Most Holy Place), was in the process of coming DOWN from heaven to earth (Rev. 3:12 NIV). The purpose of Jesus receiving the Church to be where He was (in the Father’s presence) – is just that, to bring God’s full presence to and within the believer (while here on earth).

There are five references to the Second Coming in John 14:

1). “I will come again,” and “take or receive you to myself” (v. 3).

2). “We will come to him and make Our home with him” (v. 23).

3). “I am going away and coming back to you” (v. 28).

4). “At that day (“the last day” or the day He comes to “receive” and “manifest Himself to them”) you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (v. 20).

5). “And when it (His return) does come to pass, you may believe” (v. 29).

What is interesting are the last two references to His return #4 and #5. If it were a physical and literal “reception” “rapture”/“resurrection,” or “catching away,” then why the words “then you will know that I am in My father, and you in Me, and I in you” and “that you may believe”? Obviously if one was whisked away in the literal clouds and your body had been literally transformed, you would “know” and there would be no doubt about it that Christ had returned (no need to “believe” that it has happened). Jesus’ words indicate that His return and Kingdom was something that could be missed and not seen with the physical eye (Lk. 17:20-21, 21-37) – thus a need to “believe” that it had come in the spiritual realm. This is consistent with what Jesus taught in (Mrk. 8:38-9:1) as well. In other words the Christians remained on the earth in AD 70 and Christ and the Father made their “dwellings” “within” them (Jn. 14:2-3, 23; Cols. 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:19; Lk. 17:20-21)!

c). “I go to prepare a place for you” (vs. 2).

How was Jesus preparing a dwelling place for His people? In context, He was going to give them the Holy Spirit Who would be apart of the process of forming and transforming Christ and His image in them (1 Cor. 6:19; Gals. 4:19; 2 Cor. 3-4; Phil. 2:5/Rms. 12:1-2) until the “light” or “Day Star” (Christ) rose in their hearts completely (2 Pet. 1:19; cf. 1 Jn. 2:8). They were in the process of “being built up” as the Temple (1 Pet. 2:5) of God and “putting on” the “new man” which is another metaphor for putting on the wedding garments of Christ’s righteousness which would become their own (Ephs. 4:24; Isa. 52:1/Rev. 21:2; Mt. 22:11; Rev. 16:15; 19:18/1 Cor. 1:30/2 Cor. 5:21). This was taking place until they were fully “adorned” as the Most Holy Place or City of the Living God. This City was likewise in the process of coming down from heaven (Rev. 3:12 NIV) and would fully come in an “at hand” time frame to bring healing to the nations. At that point in AD 70 God’s people were found to be “glorified” “in” Him and He “in” them (2 Thess. 1:12; Rms. 8:8-11, 18 YLT; Jn. 14:20). Thus at Christ’s coming in AD 70, the Father’s House/New Jerusalem/Most Holy Place came down to earth and fully clothed the Church and therefore the Kingdom [of heaven] was fully prepared and formed within the Church.

d). “Truly, truly, I ay to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I go am going to the Father” (v. 12).

The phrase “truly, truly” or “verily I say unto you” links this verse back to the previous verse which describes Christ’s miraculous “works” (v. 11). Jesus appealed to the crowds to believe on Him based upon His teachings and the miracles or “works” He performed (cf. Jn. 5:36; 10:25, 26, 37, 38; 20:30-31). Therefore, in context, the “works” the Apostles would perform are miracles as Jesus performed. MacArthur denies this claiming these “greater works” are “spiritual rather than physical miracles” and that “Jesus did not mean greater works in power, but extent” (cf. Acts 1:8).[6] But a hermeneutics professor Matt Waymeyer, at The Master’s Seminary disagrees with MacArthur and points out the same contextual connection that these are literal miracles:

“Brown is correct in his assertion that Jesus was referring to miraculous works in John 14:12 when He spoke of “the works that I do.” This is clear not only from the immediate context of John 14 (see verses 10-11) but also from the greater context of John’s Gospel in which the miraculous works of Jesus gave evidence of His identity (see 5:36; 10:25; 20:30-31). And what miraculous works was Jesus referring to? He doesn’t name them, but the Gospel of John—which records only a fraction of the signs and wonders Jesus performed (21:25)—provides several examples:

  • Jesus changed water into wine (2:1-11).
  • Jesus healed a boy who was about to die (4:46-54).
  • Jesus healed a man who had been crippled and unable to walk for 38 years (5:1-9).
  • Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish (6:1-14).
  • Jesus walked on water (6:16-21).
  • Jesus healed a man born blind (9:1-41).
  • Jesus resurrected a man who had been dead for four days (11:1-45).

According to John 14:12a, these are the kinds of miraculous works that will be performed by “he who believes” in Jesus.”[7]

I believe these literal miracles were “greater” in the extent that over a period of roughly forty years (not a mere three) more miracles and more souls were saved during the Apostles ministry (and those they laid hands on before Christ came to close the OC age), than Christ Himself performed. They were not “greater” in the sense that their miracles were more miraculous than Christ’s miracles were, for clearly they were not – walking on water, feeding 5,000 and even raising Himself from the dead.

If Brown makes John 14:12 a promise for all believers throughout all time, Matt Maymeyer claims Brown in essence has proven too much:

But what initially appears to be Brown’s strongest argument ultimately turns out to be the most significant problem for his view. By assuming that “he who believes” is also universal in John 14:12, Brown ends up arguing that every single believer in the history of the church has performed (or will perform) the same miraculous works as Jesus, works such as healing the crippled, giving sight to the blind, and raising people from the dead.

Apart from the obvious observation that there are more than a few believers in the past two thousand years who have never raised the dead or given sight to the blind, the apostle Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 that it was never God’s design to give every Christian the ability to perform the miraculous…”

The implied answer to each of these rhetorical questions is, “No, of course not!” If it was never God’s design that all believers perform miracles and healings, how can Brown affirm an interpretation of John 14:12 which says that it was?

Brown’s interpretation of John 14:12, then, faces a significant obstacle. Even though it is undoubtedly true that every single believer will have eternal life (John 3:15, 16, 36; 6:40, 47), is not judged (John 3:18), will never thirst (John 6:35), will experience the rivers of living water (John 7:38), will live even if he dies (John 11:25, 26), believes in the Father (John 12:44), and will not remain in darkness (John 12:46), it is simply not the case that every single believer does (or will do) the miraculous works that Jesus did (2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-9; 6:1-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-41; 11:1-45). This was never the sovereign design of God for the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27-30), and it was not promised by Jesus in John 14:12.

So what does Jesus mean when He says that “He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also”? The key is found in remembering the original audience of Jesus. In John 14-16, Judas had already departed and Jesus was exclusively addressing the eleven disciples, the very ones He would soon send out as His apostles. Even though much of John 14-16 can be applied to every believer by extension, all of what Jesus says in these chapters applies directly to the apostles and some of what He says applies only to the apostles (e.g., John 14:25-26; 16:13). John 14:12 falls into this latter category.

In John 14, Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father (v. 8). Jesus responded by rebuking Philip (v. 9) and asking him whether or not he believed that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him (v. 10). Then Jesus widened the scope of His instruction (the Greek transitions from singular to plural) by addressing all of the disciples and exhorting them twice to “believe” in Him (v. 11). Therefore, when Jesus referred to “he who believes in Me” in the very next verse (v. 12), it makes good sense to conclude that the scope of that phrase is limited to those whom Jesus was addressing, namely the eleven disciples. As Richard Mayhue writes, “Christ’s charge to the disciples [in John 14:12] should not automatically be assigned to all believers throughout the ages unless specifically indicated by the text. Nothing here points beyond the disciples” (The Healing Promise, 162).

The promise of John 14:12, then, is that once Jesus sends the disciples out as His apostles, they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to perform miraculous works just like He did. Not only does this interpretation fit the immediate context of John 14-16, but the Book of Acts records that the apostles did indeed perform the miraculous works promised by Jesus in John 14:12: “many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles” (Acts 2:43; emphasis added). If the promise of John 14:12 is universal and every believer performed signs and wonders, why does Luke single out the apostles in Acts 2:43? Where is the biblical account that “many wonders and signs were taking place through all the brethren”?”[8]

Brown has responded to Waymeyer’s article in that his appeals to 1 Corinthians 12 and Acts in essence proves too much for his position because: 1. The ability to perform miracles is given to members of the local church and not just to the Apostles, 2. within the context of the letter the miraculous gifts are given to members of the body until Christ’s Second Coming (which Matt Waymeyer and Brown affirm is future) (cf. 1 Cor. 1:7-8; 13:8-12), and 3. Stephen and Philip (not just the Apostles) were performing signs and wonders in the book of Acts (cf. Acts 6 & 8) and this would continue throughout the “last days” (Acts 2).

While I couldn’t agree more with Waymeyer’s contextual comments that “…though much of John 14-16 can be applied to every believer by extension, all of what Jesus says in these chapters applies directly to the apostles and some of what He says applies only to the apostles (e.g., John 14:25-26; 16:13). John 14:12 falls into this latter category…,” this still does not address his Futurist position and problem that in Acts and in the various churches signs and wonders were performed by others than the Apostles and that this would continue throughout the “last days” or until the Second Coming would arrive. Brown points out he has only addressed 3% of his arguments while avoiding the others related to eschatology and the Second Coming. This of course is not a problem I have as a Full Preterist, as I continue to overturn virtually all of Brown’s Charismatic arguments listed in Authentic Fire.

e). The Holy Spirit would be a “helper” “advocate” (Greek paraclete) to provide power (v. 16 – and the dunamis/power and commission of Acts 1:8).

The Greek word for “helper” here is paraclete and as R.C. Sproul pointed out in his lecture at MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference this word carries with it more of a sense of giving power than merely comforting the disciples,

“…before His ascension, He told His disciples that they should tarry in Jerusalem inasmuch as they would receive power and after they would receive power they were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth.

We also know that in the Upper Room, Jesus gave His longest discourse on the Holy Spirit when He said that when He would leave, He would not leave us comfortless, but that He would send along with the Father the paraclete, or what the Old King James Version of the Bible translated as the Comforter. And there’s a little problem with that use of the term “Comforter” in translating the Greek parakletos because it goes back to earlier English, indeed Elizabethan English, when the English language was more closely informed by ancient Latin than it is today. And the translation “comforter” had its roots in the Latin cum forte. So what Jesus was saying when He was saying, “I’m going to send you a Comforter,” what the King James called the Comforter, was that He was saying I’m going to send you the One who will come with strength. You know, we say a person may have a particular strength and we call it his forte and the use of the term forte is familiar to those of you who are engaged in music. You know, that little “f” or the double “ff” stands for forte, it means you play it with strength and with power.

And so what Jesus was saying is, I’m not sending the Holy Spirit to dry your tears, to console you, to make you feel better after you’ve been beaten up by your adversaries, although He does that. Rather the promise of the coming Spirit was for power and for strength.”[9]

He continues to point out that the book of Acts for the most part follows the Great Commission (GC) described by Jesus in Acts 1:8 — the gospel would be preached to: 1. Jerusalem, 2. Judea, 3. Samaria and 4. To the Uttermost parts of the earth. He argues that there were four Pentecost’s in the book of Acts that were unique in redemptive history (not to be continually repeated for believers throughout all ages – per Brown). There purpose was to show the exclusive Jew (even believer) that all these groups: 1. Jews (Acts 2), 2. Samaritans (Acts 8), 3. God-fearers (Acts 10), and 4. the Gentiles (Acts 19) were on equal footing in the NC fulfilling the mystery contained in the OT Scriptures (the Jew / Gentile oneness in the NC Kingdom).[10]

But Sproul’s argument is exegetically inconsistent since he still believes that we are baptized by the Spirit today to receive power to fulfill Acts 1:8. Where does the NT teach that one group gets baptized by or with the Spirit with one kind of dunamis/power that results in speaking in tongues and prophesying in order to fulfill the GC of Acts 1:8, while today we get baptized by the Spirit to receive a different kind of dunamis/power that doesn’t result in tongues, prophesying, or the working of miracles (just boldness) to fulfill the same GC of (Acts 1:8)?!? Even Brown says of Acts 1:8,

“This did not only mean boldness; rather, it referred in particular to the supernatural enduement of divine power to work miracles in Jesus’ name,…” (Authentic Fire, 191).

As I pointed out in addressing Brown’s GC argument already in this series, both Mark 16:15-18 and Acts 1:8 are the same GC, and it is clearly stated that the miraculous sign gifts continue in order to fulfill that commission. Sproul in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus appears to be somewhat confused or inconsistent on the “last days” of Acts 2 which encompasses the GC of Acts 1:8 as well, and this continues to muddy the waters for him and those listening to his teaching on the subject.

As I have demonstrated in this series, the “last days” were OC Israel’s last days ending in AD 70 and not the last days of the NC Church closing world history. And the GC described by Jesus as a sign to be fulfilled before He would come and bring an end to the OC age in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10/Mrk. 16:15-18/Mt. 28:18-20/Acts 1:8) was also fulfilled according to the inspired teaching of the Apostle Paul (Cols. 1:5-6, 23/Rms. 10:18/Rms. 16:25-26).

Brown asks,

“When did the dunamis of the Spirit change? Where is it written or even hinted at that the Spirit no longer includes God’s dunamis (Authentic Fire, 192)?

Yet Brown concedes that the miraculous sign gifts continue until the GC is fulfilled (suspecting that everyone agrees it hasn’t been fulfilled or can’t prove it has). So unlike Sproul, the Full Preterist can truly and consistently say these four Pentecost’s of the outpouring power of the Holy Spirit were unique events in redemptive history that fulfilled Acts 1:8 bringing the church to her maturity or to “the unity of the faith” (Ephs. 4) in AD 70 — whereby we don’t need more miraculous confirmation that all men are on equal ground in the NC age. The OC with all of its distinctions between the various people groups vanished in AD 70. Today post AD 70 we don’t live within a transition period whereby the OC and NC are overlapping, but rather as we preach the gospel (cf. Rev. 22:17) living in the mature NC age — there are only two classes of people – believers and unbelievers (those within the gates of the NJ and those without). But before this, God had to give the early Church roughly forty years and the dunamis of the Spirit to confirm and figure this out. It took thirty years before Peter and the Jewish Church believed Peter’s testimony of what happened to Cornelius and the Gentiles with him – proving Gentiles could be fellowshipped with and were co-equals in the NC Kingdom.

Brown admits the Spirit was a “deposit of what was to come (see Ephesians 1:14)” (Authentic Fire, p. 199). And yet Paul tells us the what and the when of the “what was to come” in just seven verses — “not only in this age (OC), but also in the one (NC age) about to come.” (Ephs. 1:21WUESTNT). Once again the Pauline theme of the two ages of the old and new covenants are being contrasted with the new on the verge of “about to come” in AD 70.

f). The Holy Spirit would infallibly remind and inspire the Apostles concerning the time frame of Christ’s return (v. 26 / Jn. 16:13).

This is devastating to both Brown and Waymeyer’s Premillennial Futurist eschatology since both agree these passages apply only to the Apostles. As the NT is being written by the Apostles (and those under their authority) towards the end of that AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation,” the Apostles are being “led into all truth” “concerning things to come” (prophecy), teaching that Jesus’ Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the living and dead were “about to” be fulfilled “shortly,” soon,” “quickly,” “in a very little while,” and would “not be delayed” (cf. Acts 2:20, 40; Acts 17:31YLT; Acts 24:15YLT; Rom. 8:18-23YLT/AV; Rom. 13:11-12; Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor.7:29-31; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Cor. 15:51; Phil. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:15ff–5:1-10; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; 2 Tim. 4:1YLT; Heb. 8:13–10:37; Heb. 13:14YLT; James 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 1:4-12; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; 1 John 2:17-18; Rev. 1:1–-22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

Clearly the NT authors (who were inspired and not simply giving their opinions) understood and were being reminded of Jesus’ teachings (Mt. 10:22-23; Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:1-34) on when their Lord would return much better than the Charismatic TV “prophecy experts,” “Reformed Scholars” and many Pastors and teachers coming out of The Master’s Seminary do. A Full Preterist is willing to “let God be true and every man a liar” if need be. Are you?

Conclusion

The focus of this article on John 14:12 was to demonstrate that the eleven Apostles were directly told (and again in Acts 1) that through their ministries they would receive the outpouring and power of the Holy Spirit. Not only this, but they would do greater miraculous works than even Christ did. Over roughly a forty-year period they laid their hands on and led many to Christ in fulfilling the GC of Acts 1:8. In doing so, they indeed did do more miracles and led more to Christ than even their Lord had. We also saw how how the eschatological imminent “not yet” wedding/temple imagery inseparably connected to Jesus’ Second Coming to “come again” and “receive” the Church was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (as we saw of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 in our last study).

The one point of agreement between Brown and Waymeyer on John 14:26/John 16:13 destroys their Premillennial Futurist eschatology – the Holy Spirit did infallibly lead the Apostles and those under their leadership “into all truth” concerning “things to come” (i.e. the first century imminent time frame for their Lord’s return) and therefore it was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.

The pre-AD 70 purpose for the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit has reached its eschatological goal:

  1. To demonstrate the Jew/Gentile oneness in the NC Body/Kingdom.
  2. To confirm the Apostles authority and testimony while…
  3. Leading (infallibly by divine inspiration) the Apostles “into all truth” concerning “things to come” (i.e. the timing and nature of the Second Coming).
  4. To empower the Church to fulfill the GC – which would bring with it: a). the complete ushering in of the NC age while brining the OC age to it’s end and b). to fulfill and bring about the full inheritance of Christ’s parousia (where the Father and Son now make their home within the believer – her chief reward).

These were unique eschatological events taking place between the overlapping of the OC and NC ages and fulfilled within history – not brining an end to it. Therefore, the unique purpose of the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit does not need to be repeated throughout the ages of the Church beyond AD 70 – as Dr. Brown has assumed and incorrectly interpreted the Scriptures.

Dr. Brown’s appeals to John 14:12 for the continuance of the sign and revelatory gifts today has once again been overturned by the sound and consistent exegesis that Full Preterism provides the Church. Dr. Brown is willing to meet me at The Master’s Seminary to try and prove me wrong. Will Matt Waymeyer of The Master’s Seminary be willing to address more than Brown’s 3% of texts dealing with the cessation issue? Being a hermeneutics instructor will he be able to prove that the Full Preterist heremeneutic which correctly literalizes the time texts and allows apocalyptic language to be interpreted non-literally is someone a false or heretical hermeneutic? Please accept our challenge to you Mr. Waymeyer – which is also extended of course to Pastor MacArthur or any instructor at the Seminary or University. Does not our Lord instruct you to “always be ready” to defend your future hope?

[1] Matt Waymeyer, Michael Brown, Authentic Fire, & John 14:12, http://thecripplegate.com/michael-brown-authentic-fire-john-1412/

[2] Dr. Michael Brown, The Master’s Seminary Professor and John 14:12, https://askdrbrown.org/library/masters-seminary-professor-and-john-1412

[3] Tom Holland, CONTOURS OF PAULINE THEOLOGY A RADICAL NEW SURVEY OF THE INFLUENCES ON PAUL’S BIBLICAL WRITINGS, (Scotland, UK: Mentor Imprint by Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 119-120.

[4] Arthur W. Pink, EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), 758

[5] Köstenberger, A. J. (2007). John. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 489). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos.

[6] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, 1613.

[7] Matt Waymeyer, Ibid.

[8] Ibid.,

[9] R.C. Sproul, Undervaluing Pentecost, http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/TM13-3/undervaluing-pentecost

[10] Sproul, Ibid.

My Full Preterist Response To John MacArthur’s (“Strange Fire” – Cessationist) V. Michael Brown’s (“Authentic Fire” – Charismatic) Part 6 – Argument #4 “The Already And Not Yet” Of The Kingdom (Ex. Mt. 10:7)

The “already and not yet” or “in-breaking” of the Kingdom of God

Introduction

I am continuing my series in critiquing Charismatic Dr. Michael Brown’s arguments that he has levied against Cessationist Pastor John MacArthur (my former Pastor and College President). This series deals with answering the question as to which event does the NT teach the charismata or miraculous sign gifts in the NT will cease and if they in fact did post AD 70. While addressing Dr. Brown’s arguments, this series also deals with Pastor MacArthur’s inability to counter most of these arguments due to his unbiblical commitment to Futurist Premillennial Dispensationalism. So far I have examined:

  1. Brown’s Second Coming and New Creation “that which is perfect” argument (1 Cor. 13:8-12) and MacArthur’s inability to address it with honest exegesis. The Puritans and Reformed theology (something MacArthur esteems) affirm two things at the same time — a). 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 is the same event as Revelation 22:4-7 and deals with the Second Coming. And yet at the same time b). the New Creation and “soon” coming of the Lord here was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70. Therefore, the “soon” Second Coming and spiritual New Creation attended with the spiritual seeing of God “face to face” was fulfilled in AD 70 and in the NC age.
  2. Brown’s “last days” (Acts 2) argument. The NT along with some Puritan and Reformed authors correctly understand the “last days” to be a period roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 – the “last days” of the OC age.
  3. Brown’s “end of the age” argument (1 Cor. 10:11). Paul places the fulfillment of the promises in the OC age(s) to be fulfilled within the lifetimes of his first century audience (not ours). This again has orthodox Puritan and Reformed support.
  4. And the last argument we addressed of Brown’s is his Great Commission argument (Mrk. 16/Mt. 28). The gospel had already reached the ends of the world and to every creature under heaven throughout the Roman Empire as a sign of Christ coming in the AD 30 AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10/Acts 1:8 = Cols. 1:5-6, 23/Rms. 10:18/Rms. 16:25-26.We now address one of his last arguments which involves “the already and not yet” or “in-breaking” phase of the Kingdom.

Pastor MacArthur in his Strange Fire book nor any of his speakers at his Strange Fire Conference addressed ANY of these exegetical arguments (except a very brief attempt of 1 Cor. 13:10-12) I used to use as a Charismatic and Dr. Brown has made in his book Authentic Fire and in his debates with Cessationists. MacArthur nor any of his staff is willing to debate Dr. Brown, while I have challenged him to a debate on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 and he has accepted. I am trying to have the debate hosted by The Master’s University or Seminary, but so far nothing.

We now address one of Dr. Brown’s last argument and Pastor MacArthur’s inability to deal with it – “the already and not yet” or “in-breaking” phase of the Kingdom. The bulk of this article gives an exegesis of Luke 17:20-37, Luke 21:27-32 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 demonstrating how the “not yet” of the Kingdom came in the AD 30 – AD 70 “at hand” “this generation” time frame.

Dr. Michael Brown in his book, (Authentic Fire, pp. 173-180) reasons that if we are still in the eschatological “already and not yet” or “in-breaking” phase of the Kingdom awaiting the Second Coming, then the Kingdom is still “at hand.” If the Kingdom is still “at hand” and the Second Coming is still a future event, then Jesus’ command to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons is still to be obeyed, enforced and to be practiced in the church today (ex. Mt. 10:7).

Some brief history in Brown using this argument – in his debate with Reformed theologian and author and Pastor Sam Waldron, Brown used this argument and all Waldron said in response was that Satan has been bound in this phase of the Kingdom and redemptive history. But this hardly answer’s Brown’s argument. For one, Waldron believes Satan was “bound” during the “in-breaking” phase of the Kingdom and the earthly ministry of Christ and this phase will continue until the Second Coming and Kingdom arrives at the end of the NC or Church age. So Waldron simply agreed that we are still in the “already and not yet” or “in-breaking” phase. The argument was simply not addressed.

My Response

As a former Charismatic, I too once used this argument. The problem for Dr. Brown and the Charismatic movement as a whole, is that John the Baptist, Jesus and the rest of the NT authors place the imminent future of the “not yet” aspect of the Kingdom and Jesus’ Second Coming to be fulfilled in some of the lifetimes and generation of the first century church – thus closing the OC age and ushering in the NC Kingdom age in an AD 70 “at hand” time frame. Another issue for Dr. Brown is that when the “already” aspect of the Kingdom is described as coming in “at hand” or “this generation” time frame (i.e. in Jesus’ earthly ministry or in the coming events of the cross and ascension), for Dr. Brown, “at hand” and “this generation” literally mean what they say. But when the “not yet” of the Kingdom is described as “at hand,” or taking place within that same “this generation” time frame, he and other futurists have to adopt unbiblical meanings to these terms.

The message of John the Baptist and Jesus that the Kingdom of God was “at hand,” does not just encompass the “already” aspect of the Kingdom (which most place in Jesus’ earthly ministry, ascension, or Pentecost), but it also encapsulates the imminent time frame in which Jesus would fulfill all the OT promises – to be brought to there fullness at His Second Coming in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21: 22-32). Israel and the nations of the world had been waiting for thousands of years for the long awaited seed of the woman and His Kingdom to arrive. John the Baptist and Jesus in no uncertain terms describe its arrival as being “at hand.” Upon this background (of waiting thousands of years), Israel waiting a period of roughly 40 years constitutes a literal fulfillment of “at hand.”

In this article I will try and stick with passages that address both the arrival of the Kingdom and the Second Coming. Therefore, there will be some repeat on such texts as Matthew 10; 16; 24/Lk. 21. This is not meant to be a complete study on the Kingdom and every NT text addressing the subject.

  1. John the Baptist Matthew 3:1, 7-12; 11:10-15 / Mark 1:2-3

In context, John’s message of an “at hand” Kingdom (Mt. 3:1) cannot be separated from the imminent judgment and salvation that would attend its arrival (cf. Mt. 3:7-12).

If the Pharisees and those John preached to would not repent, they were to suffer a wrath or punishment that was “about to” (GNT – correctly translates mello here) come upon them (v. 7). In harmony with John, Jesus would reiterate that this wrath was coming in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:20-24).

In the context of the Isaiah 40 and Malachi 3 quotes in Matthew 3 and Mark 1, the “way of the Lord” John was preparing did not just encompass an “already” aspect to Kingdom salvation, but the “rewarding” of a coming judgment associated with the Second Coming or the great and awesome day of the Lord (v. 3/ Isa. 40:3-10; Mrk. 1:2-3/Mal. 3-4).

“The ax” (the judgment) was “already laid at the root of the trees” (Mt. 3:10) – again communicating the first century imminence to this coming Kingdom inseparably connected to the judgment.

Messiah’s mission included a coming “baptism of fire” [ie. judgment] (Mt. 3:11).

His “winnowing fork” was already in His hand (Mt. 3:12). The winnowing fork was a tool used at the end phase (the imminent “not yet” aspect of the coming Kingdom) of the harvest process. Again this is communicating that the imminent kingdom connected with the end time harvest (of salvation and judgment) was to arrive in the first century [i.e. the end of the OC age] – not at the end of world history. The imminent harvest results in the righteous being gathered into Messiah’s Kingdom/House with the wicked experiencing an unquenchable fiery judgment.

Contextually, John’s message (the fulfillment of the coming of Elijah) of an “at hand” arrival of Messiah’s Kingdom cannot be separated from the imminent judgment, salvation – attended with Christ’s Second Coming. Yet MacArthur ignoring the symbolic nature of the book of Revelation and chapter 11, still believes (in spite of Jesus saying John was the Elijah about to come) Moses and Elijah (“probably”) need to come first before the Second Coming (Rev. 11:3-13).

Commentators and authors are conflicted as to if John’s eschatology (arrival of the kingdom, judgment, salvation, great and awesome day of the Lord) was fulfilled at the coming of the Lord in AD 70 or if it is referring to His Second Coming (in the alleged future). But both are correct – the Kingdom/judgment/salvation came when Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 at the great and awesome day of the Lord (i.e. the Second Coming).

  1. Matthew 10:7, 17-23

a). Healings & the Kingdom being “at hand” (v. 7). The “you” in this context whom are to preach the kingdom was “at hand” is Jesus’ first century disciples not us. If it is, then has Michael Brown raised the dead and cleansed those that have leprosy in that “revival” that was named after him? I would like him to provide documentation for those kind of “kingdom miracles” he personally has performed.

b). Specific persecutions (vss. 16-22). The book of Acts confirms these first century disciples were handed over to local councils and flogged in their synagogues and brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles just prior to AD 70. These are the persecutions predicted in Daniel 7 that would take place right before the Son of Man would come upon the clouds and the righteous would poses or inherit the kingdom.

The disciples did not run out of cities of refuge to flee to in being persecuted (as they preached the gospel to Israel) before the Son of Man came in the judgment of AD 70. They fled to Pella and were safe.

c). The Preaching (vss. 17-23). The preaching of the gospel to the towns of Israel here is obviously local and therefore this could have been and was accomplished prior to Christ coming and closing “the end” to the OC age in AD 70.

d). “The end” (v. 22). This is Daniel’s “the time of the end” (not the end of time) and is referring to the end of the OC age addressed in Daniel 9 and 12 in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 or when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered.

e). “Before the Son of Man comes” (v. 23). Again, this is a reference to the Second Coming of Jesus described for us in Daniel 7:13. He would come before these first century disciples would run out of cities (of refuge) to flee to (as they preached the gospel to the towns of Israel) in AD 70.

f). Matthew 10 & Parallels with the OD – This is a snap shot of Jesus’ teaching in the OD, where these same events are brought back up with the same first century time of fulfillment:

Matthew 10:7, 17-23 Matthew 24/Mark 13/Luke 21
1. Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Matt. 10:17. 1. Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Mark. 13:9.
2. Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Matt. 10:18. 2. Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Mrk. 13:9.
3. Holy Spirit would speak through them – Mt. 10:19-20. 3. Holy Spirit would speak through them – Mrk. 13:11.
4. Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” (OC age) would be saved – Mt. 10:22 4. Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” (OC age) would be saved – Mrk. 13:12-13.
5. Although the first century disciples and Apostles would be persecuted as they preached the gospel to the cities of Israel, they would not run out of cities of refuge to flee to for safety before the Son of Man would come- Mt. 10:23. 5. The Apostle Paul and the other first century disciples did preach the gospel throughout the Roman world and to all the nations before AD 70 – Matt. 24:14=Rms. 10:18; Mrk. 13:10=Rms. 16:25-26.
6. Kingdom was “at hand” – Mt. 10:7. 6. Christ’s coming and kingdom arrived in Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” – Lk. 21:27-32.

Premise #1 – If it is true that the command and ability to perform miracles was to last until the disciples preached the gospel to the cities of Israel – before “the end” and Second Coming of Christ would take place (Matt. 10:7, 17-23) (Full Preterists & Charismatics agree)…,

Premise #2And if it is true that Christ and the kingdom in our text were fulfilled by the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterists & Reformed theology agree),

ConclusionThen it is also true that the command to perform miracles has ceased since Christ and His kingdom arrived in AD 70 at the coming of the Son of Man or Second Coming event.

MacArthur places all of this into the future – so he is wide open to the Charismatic arguments. If the persecutions and evangelism to Israel transcend the first century disciples and applies to the Church in our day, then so too would Jesus’ command to preach the “at hand” nature of the Kingdom and the miracles that attend it! Yet John wants his readers to follow the writings of the Reformers and Puritans, many of whom understood Matthew 10:22-23 as being fulfilled at the coming of Christ in AD 70. If John would follow his own advice, he would have an exegetical apologetic against Dr. Brown and the Charismatic arguments here.

  1. Matthew 13:39-43

Consistent with John’s AD 70 eschatology of an imminently approaching Kingdom/harvest, is Jesus’ teaching that the Kingdom/harvest would take place at the end of His first century audiences OC Jewish “this age” (Mt. 13:39-43). As I have pointed out already in this series and elsewhere in my/our book, the Jews understood the end of “this age” to be the end of the OC age, and not the end of the NC age. And there are “Reformed” (something MacArthur values) authors that have correctly identified that the end of the age harvest here in Matthew 13 was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 and is not referring to an end of world history Kingdom/harvest time.

  1. Matthew 16:27-28

a). The Son of Man was “about to” or “soon” to come (v. 27/YLT – correctly translates mello here). This is consistent with what we have seen thus far and is in perfect harmony with Jesus coming in some of the lifetimes of those first century disciples He was addressing in the crowd (v. 28).

b). Jesus would come in the glory of His Father (v. 27). As the Father had come in glory on the clouds judging the nations in the OT (non-literal apocalyptic language), so too the Son would come (through the Idumean and Roman armies).

c). At this time, He would “reward” the righteous and wicked for what they had done (v. 27). This is the reward and judgment that John was predicting and preparing the way for (Isa. 40:10). Still within an AD 70 “soon” time frame, John confirms the truly imminent nature of this judgment (cf. Rev. 22:10-12).

d). Jesus connects verse 27 with verse 28 with the phrase “verily I say unto you” (v. 28). In verse 27 Jesus was “about to come” or “soon” to come in judgment and in verse 28 it is reiterated that it would in fact take place before some of them standing there would die! Jesus’ phrase “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly I say unto you,” is used some 90 times in the gospels and gives the meaning of “Absolutely,” “really,” “may it be fulfilled,” and is used as a phrase of emphasis to drive home a point that has gone before it. It is never used to introduce a new subject (such as the transfiguration event). MacArthur does not deal with this exegetical and grammatical issue anywhere that I’ve seen.

e). Like Matthew 10:7, 17-23, Matthew 16:27-28 is just a snapshot of Jesus’ teaching on His Second Coming and the arrival of the Kingdom that will be developed more in the Olivet Discourse (Mt. 24/Lk. 21). Here we clearly see that both of these “not yet” Kingdom predictions come within the lifetime of the first century church and in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation”:

Matthew 16:27-28 & Parallels Matthew 24 / Luke 21
1. Christ comes in glory (Mt. 16:27). 1. Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30).
2. Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27). 2. Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31).
3. Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 3. Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 24:28-31, 25:31-46)
4. Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mrk. 8:38). 4. Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32).
5. Some of the disciples would live (Mt. 16:28). 5. Some of the disciples would live (Lk. 21:16-18).
6. Some of the disciples would die (Mt. 16:28). 6. Some of the disciples would die (Lk. 21:16).
7. At Christ’s coming, He would be ashamed of some living in that contemporary generation (Mrk. 8:38). 7. Christ’s coming and kingdom would be fulfilled in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:34/Lk. 21:30-32).

f). In the parallel in Mark, Jesus teaches, “…There, are, certain of those here standing, who shall in nowise taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God, already come in power (Mrk. 9:1 Rotherham Translation). Here in Mark’s account, he uses the perfect participle while Matthew uses the future tense. In other words, Mark is saying that some of the disciples in the crowd would live to be able to look back on this event knowing that the coming of the Lord and His kingdom had already come in power. Per Jesus, we can look back upon the historical events of AD 70 and know that the Second Coming and Kingdom had come in power.

  1. Matthew 21:33-45

Michael Brown is found of accusing Preterism or Covenant Theology in general with teaching “replacement theology.” Apparently Dr. Brown must condemn Jesus and the NT authors of this. Jesus in the parable of the tenants clearly teaches that there was coming a time in which the Kingdom would be “taken” from the Jews and “given” to another “nation” or “people” producing its fruits (Mt. 21:43). The chief priests and Pharisees understood that this parable and the crushing judgment pertained to them (v. 45). The next parable of the wedding feast describes how Jesus was going to put them to death (Mt. 21:41). Here He sends armies to burn their city (cf. Mt. 22:7) which most commentators understand to be Christ coming in the AD 70 judgment.

This is as simple as the Old Covenant (OC) Kingdom (with its literal types and shadows) being replaced with the New Covenant (NC) Kingdom (with its spiritual substance) in AD 70. Roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 there were two Jerusalem’s (or Kingdoms) one from below (which corresponded to the OC) and one from above (which corresponded to the NC) (cf. Gal. 4). In AD 70 the OC Jerusalem/Kingdom “vanished” (Heb. 8:13) and the NC Jerusalem/Kingdom stood mature. Per Jesus and the NT, in AD 70 the OC Kingdom vanished and the NC Kingdom stood mature and complete.

  1. Luke 17:20-37

In Luke 17 we have another snapshot of what is coming in the OD (Luke 21) when it comes to Jesus’ teachings on the arrival of the Kingdom and His Second Coming.

a). When the imminent Kingdom comes it would be spiritual (vss. 20-21). The realm of the Kingdom is “within” a person and not something that people will be able to physically see with their eyes. They would be able to see with their physical eyes the outward destruction of the OC Kingdom in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 being “taken” from OC Israel, and therefore be able to see/perceive/discern that the NC Kingdom had come and been “given” to them – “within.”

b). This spiritual Kingdom would arrive at Jesus’ Second Coming (vss. 22-37). Contrary to many and MacArthur’s view, when Jesus answers the Pharisees question on when the Kingdom would come and its spiritual nature (in verses 20-21), He is not merely covering the “already” aspect of the Kingdom but He goes on in His discussion with the disciples to elaborate on the when subject. They would long to see one of the days of their Messiah as He would be revealed at His return (vss. 22-37). The Pharisees, false prophets, messiahs, and teachers would be saying “look there” or “look here” for their carnal and physical expectation/manifestation of the Kingdom over the Romans (vss. Mt. 24:23-26). But per Jesus, the Kingdom would not be physically seen in the realm of a false messiah or prophet’s declarations to be within a particular place (or secret dark place), but rather would be manifested as lightning or sunshine flashing or shining from one end of the sky to the other (or shining from the east to the west).

c). “This generation” (v. 25). But before Jesus would be revealed at His Second Coming, He must first be rejected by that “this generation.” It should be noted that “this generation” is clearly the AD 30 – AD 70 generation, but in Luke 21:32 or Matthew 24:34 MacArthur and Brown won’t let genea mean what it always means (a total perversion of Scripture on their part)! For Brown, it mystically takes on a different meaning in those texts – the Jewish race.

d). “Days of Noah” and Lot – one will be taken the other left (vss. 26-37). Prior to AD 66, the unbelieving Jews paid not attention to the signs Jesus gave (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) – they were going on with their daily and usual business. But as a result of them staying in the city (listening to the false messiahs and prophets), those that didn’t die in these years would be taken into captivity throughout the Roman Empire paraded as spoil of victory, experience slavery, or die with the sword or animal in the arenas – while the Christians would flee to Pella and be safe.

  1. Luke 21:5-36

Since Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse (OD) mentions the arrival of the Kingdom and Second Coming of Jesus to take place together within the AD 30 – AD 70 generation (Lk. 21:27-32), I will focus on Luke’s account.

a). The context and question of the disciples (vss. 5-7). Jesus mentions that the offerings and beauty of the Temple (“these things”) will be destroyed and the disciples simply ask when these things would be fulfilled and to give them some signs to look for before it takes place. In Matthew’s account the disciples correctly associate the coming of the Son of Man and the end of their OC age with the destruction of the Temple.

The disciples understood their Scriptures in that when the destruction of the Temple and judgment on Jerusalem would be take place would be when the “time of the end” and coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds would be fulfilled (cf. Dan. 7:13; Dan. 9:24-27; Dan. 12:7). As we have seen, Jesus has already informed them that He would come within some of their lifetimes and just previous to Matthew 24, Jesus touched upon His coming connected to the Temple’s destruction and the vindication of all the martyrs in Matthew 23. And Matthew clearly tells us that they “understood” Jesus’ teaching concerning the “end of the age” (Mt. 13:39-51).

Futurists such as Brown and MacArthur impose upon or read into the text (eisegesis) that the disciples were “confused” to associate the coming of the Son of Man and the end of the age with the same time the Temple would be destroyed. Why? Because this eisegesis now gives them an excuse to claim Jesus goes on to discuss the end of world history, when in fact this was never the subject of the OD. The only ones truly “confused” in what the disciples were asking and how Jesus answers them in the discourse, are futurists such as Brown and MacArthur. Selah.

Jesus clearly tells the disciples in verse 32 that “all” (the Temple’s destruction, the signs, His coming and “the end,”) would be fulfilled in their “this generation.” Nothing could be clearer, but futurists like Brown and MacArthur once again need to read into the text a meaning of “some” of these events would be fulfilled by AD 70, not “all” of them as Jesus states so emphatically.

b). General signs of false messiahs, wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, persectutions, signs in the heaves (vss. 8-11). Jesus gives two general signs that would characterize events in their generation, but would not be an indicator of “the end.” So here Jesus identifies the destruction of the Temple and the signs (verses 5-7) with “the end” or in Matthew’s account “the end of the age” as the disciples connected them. But these are only general signs, Jesus in Luke’s account will give a more specific sign – when they see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, they would know “all” these things (including all the OT prophets) would be fulfilled (vss. 20-22).

False Christ’s / Messiah’s

This prophecy came true – Theudas (Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few. In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) the first century Church that they knew it was “the last hour” because the Antichrist’s had arrived (1 John 2:17-18). For those who understand the “Antichrist” and “Man of Sin” to be the same person, we should point out that this individual was alive and “already at work” during the time of Paul (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8).

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

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

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

“In AD 40 at Mesopotamia, there was an upheaval that resulted in the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, at Jerusalem 10,000 to 20,000 died. At Caesarea, over 20,000 Jews were killed. The Syrians killed an additional 20,000. At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed. In Alexandria 50,000 were killed. At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in just an hour’s ti

Famines and earthquakes

Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic old-covenant age and generation (Acts 11:27-29). In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered. The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26). Prior to AD 70 there were earthquakes in Rome, Judea, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, etc…

It should be pointed out that these signs are OC cursing signs that would come upon Israel when she broke covenant (Deut. 11; 28; 32; Lev. 26). Prior to AD 70, the OC was still in force but was “ready to vanish” (Heb. 8:13; 9:8 – has legal standing) therefore God was enforcing the curses upon Israel for rejecting Him. Post AD 70 there is no OC, so for futurists such as Brown and MacArthur to apply these to current events is an exegetical error on many levels.

Persecutions & the Holy Spirit

As we saw in Matthew 10:17-23, these persecutions were fulfilled in the book of Acts just prior to AD 70.

In comparing Matthew 10:19-20 and Mark 13:11 with Luke 21:14 we learn that the Holy Spirit was miraculously giving these disciples what to say in the midst of their persecutions. As I pointed out in our study of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, this was the miraculous gift of knowledge that was given to the early church to interpret OT Scripture (even in the midst of persecutions).

Signs in the heavens

Josephus records that there were comets and blazing stars – a flaming sword (or a comet like one) hanging over Jerusalem, and angelic armies in the air warring against each other. Some claim to have seen a man on a could over Jerusalem with flaming swords.

c). Specific sign – Jerusalem surrounded by armies in fulfillment of all OT prophecy (v. 20-22) Now Jesus shares with the disciples a more specific sign which would mark the nearness of “the end” or “end of the (OC) age” – namely Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. Jerusalem was surrounded by the armies of the Idumeans and then the Romans and we know that the Christians fled to Pella when they observed this sign. But the clear meaning of the words of Jesus and history itself is not enough for Pastor MacArthur because he needs to defend his Premillennial Dispensational system when he writes,

“A comparison with Matt. 24:15,16 and Mark 13:14 suggests that this sign is closely associated with “the abomination of desolation”… This sign of Jerusalem under siege was previewed in A.D. 70, but awaits its fulfillment in the future.” (MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, 1558).

Matthew’s “abomination that causes desolation” connected to the “holy place” and Luke’s description of this event as the armies surrounding Jerusalem making her “desolate” are not “closely associated” events, they are two different descriptions of the SAME event! The Jews understood their land to be a “holy place” (2 Maccabees 1:7; 2; 3:1). So when the Christians saw the armies surrounding Jerusalem (the holy place that would become desolate), they fled. Men like MacArthur need to make distinctions where there are none or only see AD 70 as a “preview” of another fulfillment, so that they can toll the Premillennial Dispensational line.

The description of the flight indicates a first century historical situation. The keeping of “Sabbath” and the fact that they needed to pray that it would not take place on the Sabbath (Mt. 24:21), because historically the gates of Jerusalem would be closed and this would hinder their flight.

Jesus informs us that the Christians flight from Jerusalem in AD 66 and then her imminent desolation would be the “time of punishment” that would fulfill “all that is written” (v. 20-22). Daniel indeed does see all of the major eschatological events to be fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed or “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (cf. Dan. 12:1-7):

1). The Great Tribulation (Dan. 12:1 = Mt. 24:21/Lk. 21:23).

2). Abomination & desolation (Dan. 9:26-27 = Mt. 24:15/Lk. 21:20).

3). Judgment & deliverance (Dan. 12:1 = Mt. 24:13/Lk. 21:18-28).

4). The resurrection of the dead (Dan. 12:2-3 = Mt. 24:30-31).

5). The end or end of the (OC) age (Dan. 12:4, 6… = /Mt. 24:3, 14).

The NT follows and confirms Jesus’ teaching here in that the “end of ALL things was AT HAND” (1 Pet. 4:5-7; 1 Pet. 1:1-12; 1 Cor. 10:11; Acts 24:15YLT; Rev. 1:1–22:20).

In Matthew’s account, Jesus gives another specific sign – the fulfillment of the GC before “the end” or “end of the (OC) age” would transpire (Mt. 24:14). But as I have pointed out before in this series, this sign as well had been fulfilled prior to AD 70 (cf. Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Roms. 10:18; Roms. 16:25-26).

d). Great distress/tribulation and wrath “in the land” against this people (v. 23). Jesus continues describing the destruction of Jerusalem in the events leading to AD 66 – AD 70 when he continues to describe the conditions of the flight and the time of great distress/tribulation and wrath coming against the Jews. Its hard to avoid the grammatical connections of “those days” and connectors such as “for…”

Again we have Luke describing the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:18-21 somewhat differently due to his Gentile audience, but again this is just a different author describing the same event using different terminology. One of MacArthur’s Dispensational co-authors has made a big distinction here between “great tribulation” and “great distress.” Apparently because there are two different words, Matthew’s account is an alleged future event to us, while Luke’s description was fulfilled in AD 70. But lexicons list the two terms ananke and thlipsis as synonymous terms.

MacArthur and other Premillennialists insist that this time of tribulation/distress and wrath against this people (the first century Jews) could not have happened in AD 70 because these are global terms and not local. Yet Jesus in Luke tells us this time of great tribulation / distress and wrath would be “in the land” (v. 23) and poured out upon “this people” (those first century Jews that rejected Him). But one will object in that in verse 26 Jesus states these were coming expectations about events that would encompass the “earth.” These two verses are easily harmonized when we understand that the Greek word here for “earth” (oikouménē) simply means literally “the inhabited land.” It was originally used of the Greeks to describe their land verses others. Some dictionaries give the meaning of the Roman Empire or the local land of Palestine. The context dictates the meaning and clearly the focus is on a great tribulation or distress “in the land” against the Jews to be fulfilled in their generation.

Many such as MacArthur are confused and assume much over the phrase Jesus uses when He says, “…unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Mt. 24:21). This language is exagerated speech (hyberbolic or proverbial). An example of this can be seen in the Babylonian judgment/exile on the Jews in (Ezekiel 5:9) – “And because all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again.”

e). Fall by the sword and be led captive into all nations (v. 24). The immediate context continues to inform us this is about events taking place in AD 66 – AD 70 and are not global events. 110,000 were slain by the sword and famine. When Rome desolated Jerusalem: they kept the young men parading them as spoil, those older than 70 were taken to Egypt for slaves, and those younger than 70 were distributed throughout Rome as slaves or slain in the theatres (this group alone was 97,000).

f). And Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (v. 24). The “times of the Gentiles” refers to a period of prophetic time (42 months the Romans trampled Jerusalem), or the time in which the Gentile world powers (ex. Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece & Rome) would no longer be able to trample and dominate Israel. In AD 70, OC Jerusalem was trampled for the last time because the Kingdom was “taken” from her and given to the NC Jerusalem (spiritual) which cannot be “shaken” or trampled by the nations of the world. The NC spiritual & everlasting Kingdom came during the Roman Empire – at Christ’s coming in the AD 30 – AD 70 generation and through the gospel (sword of the Spirit) she now brings healing to the nations (cf. Dan. 2; 7/Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32; Rev. 22:17-20).

Analogy of Scripture:

1). “[A]nd they [“the nations”] will trample under foot the holy city for forty-two months.

1). “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the nations until the times of the nations [forty-two months”] be fulfilled (Lk. 21:24).

In both of these verses, the nations trample Jerusalem for a period of time. There is more than similarity of language here. Jesus and John prophesied the same event — an event that was “near” and that took place in Christ’s “generation” (Lk. 21:32; Rev. 1:3; 22:10). Forty-two months or “a time, times, and half a time” does not signify 2,000+ years & counting, but rather some months or years between AD 66 – AD 70 (the destruction of city & sanctuary) – when the consummation was fulfilled (i.e. when the “power of the holy people was completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7).

g). De-creation, apocalyptic, metaphoric or prophetic language and the coming of the Son of Man (vss. 25-27).

God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors referring to the judgment of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet. This can be seen in such OT passages referring to the fall of Babylon, Egypt, Edom, and Israel (Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Ps. 18; Ps. 104; Hab. 1:2ff.). Did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.: “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)? Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in (Isa. 34:4-5)? No, this was common metaphoric language used by the OT & NT prophets.

Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Luke 21:25-26 (or its parallel in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35) and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70 (cf. John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86. C. Jonathin Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002).

h). The redemption draws near and or the eschatological gathering (v. 28). The gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 that is the result of the Second Coming and the redemption here – are again different ways of describing the same event or result of the Second Coming – i.e. the resurrection. This is not a post AD 70 second GC as Partial Preterists propose.

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

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

Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4 1 Corinthians 15

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

While Dr. Brown (a Historic Premill. post-triber) and the classic Amillennial view would agree with me at this point in the use of the analogy of Scripture (Mt. 24:30-31=1Thess. 4:16-17), Pastor MacArthur’s pre-trib. rapture glasses (that has to support two comings of Christ separated 7 years) has to try and dismiss them,

“Was Paul referring to some saying of Jesus found in the gospels? No. There are none exact or even close.” (MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, 1848).

In AD 70 the dead were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades and gathered in the Kingdom or into God’s presence to inherit eternal life. The living were likewise spiritually gathered into the Kingdom or in God’s presence (God making His home or Kingdom “within” them) to inherit eternal life.

The catching away is when the eschatological “not yet” entrance and inheritance of the Kingoom takes place (1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 1:5). The concept behind the Greek word harpazo – “catching away” or “gathering up” (NCV) of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is to take one’s plunder from another. In this case, it is God taking His people from the spiritual slavery of sin or Satan/demonic (the kingdom of darkness). A study of the word indicates this is a spiritual inward snatching (Mt. 11:12; 12:29; 13:19; Jn. 10:12, 28-29; 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 is nothing in the text to support that Philip was physically “raptured” into the atmosphere (waved to some birds) and was then dropped off miles and miles away from where he originally was].

The harpazo takes place “in the air” (Greek eros). Strong’s Greek Dictionary, defines it as: From “aemi”, to breath unconsciously, to respire. By analogy, to blow. (1) The air, particularly thelower 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 Th 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 Ephesians 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 not the physical flying through the literal clouds and sky with the birds. The war we see Christ and Satan fighting over 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.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possesses” 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 self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His Ephs. 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. 9-10/1Cor. 15! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70 and for those that 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.”

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. Just as we see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence with His Church here.

This concept is further brought out in that this harpazo would be a “meeting.” This Greek word for “meet” was often used of a King or dignitary coming to make his home in a city in which his Empire or Kingdom had conquered. On the news of the imminent coming of the King or dignitary, 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 is 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.

Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” in 2 Thessalonians 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 literal rapture view or a literal resurrection view attended with Christ’s parousia (and was a real Full Preterist) he did not argue in such a way.

The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15 of which there are Christian survivors (66:19) whom are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the New Creation. This is consistent with what we saw in Mark 9:1 and after the consummation the gospel continues in the NC age (Rev. 22:17).

Now back to our text in which the result of Christ’s coming is “redemption” (Lk. 21:28). Redemption (Greek apolútrōsis) carries with it the same idea of harpazo in that it is a buying back of men from the captivity of inward sin/death and the kingdom of darkness. It’s also a coming physical salvation or redemption from the physical calamities coming upon Jerusalem in the years AD 66 – AD 70. This looking up for this redemption, gathering in the Kingdom, or harpazo is not a literal snatching of bodies off the earth or their transformation, anymore than David was taken off the planet when he was delivered from his enemies in Psalm 18:6-17:

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 (physically?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (physically?); they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils (physically?); 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 (physically?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal or physical 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 (physically?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me (physically?); he drew me out of deep waters (physically?). He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.”

Christ’s parousia or Second Coming in AD 70 resulted in the inward salvation/redemption from the slavery of spiritual sin/death and the kingdom of darkness, while at the same time deliverance from the coming destruction of the city from the powerful armies God was sending in judgment.

i). “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place (or are fulfilled)” (vss. 31-32). This is devastating to Dr. Brown’s Charismatic “already and not yet” Kingdom argument and the futurism of MacArthur. Jesus has already informed us that when the Kingdom would come at His return it would be spiritual or “within” (Lk. 17:20-37). Now He informs us that “all” – of the signs, the end, His coming, and the eschatological “not yet” of the Kingdom would be fulfilled within His audiences contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.” MacArthur being a wooden literal Dispensationalist ironically claims Preterists interpret “this generation” with a “wooden literalness.” If by “wooden literalness” he means we interpret Jesus’ phrase “this generation” as it is ALWAYS used and understood in the gospels, then I’m guilty as charged!

Collin Brown writes of “this generation” (Greek genea),

“In Matt. it has the sense of this generation, and according to the first evangelist, Jesus expected the end of this age (Time, art. aion) to occur in connection with the judgment on Jerusalem at the end of that first generation (see Mk. 9:1 and Matt. 16:28).” (Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 37-38 (bold emphasis added).

And again,

“But if these events were expected within the first generation of Christians (and “generation” is the most probable translation of genea), either Jesus or the evangelists were mistaken…” or “…there is an alternative interpretation of the passage which points out that insufficient attention has been paid to the prophetic language of the passage as a whole.

The imagery of cosmic phenomena is used in the OT to describe this-worldly events and, in particular, historical acts of judgment. The following passages are significant, not least because of their affinities with the present context: Isa. 13:10 (predicting doom on Babylon); Isa. 34:4 (referring to “all the nations”, but especially to Edom); Ezek. 32:7 (concerning Egypt); Amos 8:9 (the Northern Kingdom of Israel); Joel 2:10 (Judah). The cosmic imagery draws attention to the divine dimension of the event in which the judgment of God is enacted. The use of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:15-21 provides an instance of the way in which such prophetic cosmic imagery is applied to historical events in the present (cf. also Lk. 10:18; Jn. 12:31; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:10ff.; Rev. 6:12-17; 18:1). Other OT passages relevant to the interpretation of the present context are Isa. 19:1; 27:13; Dn. 7:13; Deut. 30:4; Zech. 2:6; 12:10-14; Mal. 3:1. In view of this, Mk. 13:24-30 may be interpreted as a Son of man will be vindicated. Such prophecy of judgment on Israel in which a judgment took place with the destruction of Jerusalem, the desecration of the Temple and the scattering of Israel – all of which happened within the lifetime of “this generation.” “…Such an interpretation fits the preceding discourse and the introductory remarks of the disciples (Mk. 13:1ff. par.).” (Brown, Ibid., 38-39, bold emphasis mine).

Collin Brown is at least attempting to allow the Bible to interpret itself. He also seems to be consenting that the “rapture” or resurrection passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 can been seen as fulfilled by the “historical event” of AD 70 using apocalyptic language just as Jesus uses in Matthew 24. Partial Preterists have already consented that 2 Peter 3:10 and Revelation 6:12-17 should be interpreted this way. And since Partial Preterists have also conceded that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan) with souls being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life, this begs the question as to why 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is not referring to this spiritual resurrection for the dead in AD 70! MacArthur is correct on at least one point and that is Partial Preterists are inconsistent in their hermeneutics and if the analogy of Scripture is followed, Full Preterism is where it leads. No debate there!

Unfortunately, Collin Brown was inconsistent in interpreting 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 elsewhere in his writings with a Preterist or using an OT apocalyptic/figurative “in history” (not at the end of history) hermeneutic. I have provided the exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that demonstrates that Paul was not only following Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:30-31, but he is also using the same kind of apocalyptic (non-literal) language.

Dr. Michael Brown in some of his debates, has tried to avoid and twist Jesus’ teaching on “this generation” to mean the “Jewish race.” Of course if Jesus wanted to communicate this He would have used the Greek word genos (which means race).

Therefore, both Brown and MacArthur are guilty of twisting God’s Word in order to defend their Premillennial (one Historical the other Dispensational) Futurist systems. It’s the classical case of both being guilty of the blind trying to lead the blind when it comes to trying to persuade each other on this issue of when the miraculous sign gifts were/are to cease when it pertains to the timing of the Second Coming and arrival of the “not yet” phase of the Kingdom.

  1. The NT follows Jesus’ teaching that the eschatological “not yet” of Christ’s Kingdom and Second Coming would be fulfilled imminently by AD 70.

a) “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/kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1).

b) The Hebrews were in the process of receiving a spiritual Kingdom that could not be shaken (as the OC was subject to) at Christ’s Second Appearing to close the OC age in a “very little while” of which He would “not delay” (Heb. 9:26-28; 10:37; chapt. 12).

c) As in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Paul’s first century “we” expectation in 1 Corinthians 15 communicates a fulfillment of the parousia, Kingdom and resurrection in some of their lifetimes – i.e. in AD 70. This is when “the end” (of the OC age) would be fulfilled or when the “Kingdom” would arrive (1 Cor. 15:24). The last enemy to be destroyed or conquered was “the death” (spiritual death/separation that came through Adam the day he sinned) (1 Cor. 15:26). The result of the parousia (presence of God) and these promises is that “God may be all (when the Father Son, and Holy Spirit) in all” (fully in Jew and Gentile) (1 Cor. 15:28).

d). The first century Christians were heirs to the Kingdom that would no doubt fully come at Christ’s “at hand” AD 70 coming (Jms. 2:5; 5:7-9).

e). The eschatological “not yet” salvation of the soul, glory, inheritance and “entrance into the everlasting Kingdom” prophesied in the OT would be fulfilled in the days of Peter’s first century audience – thus “the end of all things was at hand” (1 Pet. 1; 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 1:11).

f). In the book of Revelation, at the seventh and last trumpet (the same as Mt. 24:30-31) when the Great City/Sodom/Egypt or the harlot Babylon (OC Jerusalem where Jesus was slain 11:8) would be judged, is when the kingdoms of this world became the Kingdoms of the Lord. This was all to take place “shortly” at Christ’s “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand” AD 70 coming (Rev. 1:1; chpts. 10-11; 22:6-20).

MacArthur and the Kingdom

As we wrap things up on the issues related to the Kingdom of God, I should briefly point out that MacArthur’s Progressive Dispensationalism and traditional Dispensationalism is a “house divided” against itself that simply cannot stand no matter how hard he and The Master’s University and Seminary try. The bottom line is that the foundation to Dispensationalism is that promises made to OC Israel cannot be fulfilled in or by the Church. Yet MacArthur and progressives do teach that Israel’s Kingdom promises are being fulfilled by the Church in the Church age. So not only is MacArthur not able to answer Brown’s Charismatic arguments here on the Kingdom, he, his church, University and Seminary are in an unbiblical and illogical place when it comes to working out their Premillennial Dispensational false doctrine within and without it’s system.

Conclusion

It is deplorable exegesis to acknowledge “at hand” means true imminence when the “already” aspect of the Kingdom is in view, but when “at hand” is used in connection with the “not yet” coming Kingdom associated with Christ’s Second Coming, it takes on a totally different meaning. It is also deplorable exegesis to acknowledge “this generation” refers to the AD 30 – AD 70 generation that brought about Christ’s suffering (and establishing the “already” of the Kingdom), but when “this generation” is used to answer the question as to the “not yet” Second Coming and coming of the Kingdom, it also takes on a mystical and un-natural meaning.

While Dr. Michael Brown’s Charismatic “already and not yet” Kingdom argument may work with other Premillennial Futurists and Cessationists like MacArthur or even Reformed Futurist Cessationists (such as James White or Sam Waldron), it does not hold water when we examine the Scripture or when Dr. Brown encounters the exegetical arguments of Full Preterism. The eschatological “not yet” Kingdom and Second Coming were “at hand” and thus fulfilled When Christ came to close and bring an end to the OC age in AD 70. This is when the spiritual “within” NC Church/Kingdom was received/inherited and brought to maturity – having separated from and fulfilled the OC system and her promises. Between AD 30 – AD 70 Israel’s Kingdom (with her signs and wonders) was being transformed from OC Kingdom glory to NC Kingdom glory. When the immature and childish OC Kingdom glory vanished so too did tongues, prophecy and knowledge cease – i.e. when the NC Kingdom became a mature spiritual man in AD 70.

This is why Dr. Brown is NOT speaking miraculously in human languages that he never studied or knows (as in Acts 2). This is why Dr. Brown never has nor ever will be healing every disease, raising the dead, or cleansing lepers as the first century disciples were doing (Mt. 10:7). The “at hand” or eschatological “not yet” aspect to the in-breaking of the Kingdom (and the sign miracles inseparably connected to this process) does not continue up to the end of world history to close the NC or Church age, the “not yet” imminently arrived in AD 70 when the OC age vanished. Selah.

My Full Preterist Response To John MacArthur’s (“Strange Fire” – Cessationist) V. Michael Brown’s (“Authentic Fire” – Charismatic) Part 5 – Argument #3 The Great Commission Mrk. 16/Matt. 28

Introduction

I am continuing to critique Michael Brown’s book, Authentic Fire and responding to Charismatic arguments that I once used against Pastor MacArthur and other professors and students at The Master’s College (as a young Charismatic having graduated Calvary Chapel Bible College). Having become a Full Preterist (while attending The Master’s College in the early 90’s), I now have the exegetical answers that Futurism and MacArthur could not provide me in order to leave the false teaching of Charismatic theology behind. It was sad to read MacArthur’s book, Strange Fire, and listen to the Strange Fire Conference speakers, and see that after all these years they still are unable to answer these Charismatic arguments on an exegetical level. We now approach another of the Charismatic arguments (that I am listing as #3) – The Great Commission.

Argument #3 – The Great Commission Mrk. 16/Matt. 28

Charismatics argue that the miraculous gifts continue throughout the Great Commission period of the kingdom, and the Churches call to “wage war” by casting out demons will continue until we reach the “end of the age” (Mark 16:15-18/Matthew 24:14/Matthew 28:18-20).

Mark 16:15-18 reads,

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Michael Brown writes the following connecting the dots of Mark 16:15-18:

“…the first sign to accompany the believer is: “In my name they will drive out [ekballo being suggestive of the LXX’s rendering of garas, “to drive out,” used frequently with reference to the conquest of Canaan (see, Exod 23:28-30; Deut 33:27; less frequently, but in similar contexts, ekballo renders the Hiphil of yrs “to disposess”; see Exod 34:24; Deut 11:23). Thus, just as the Israelites were commissioned by Yahweh to drive out and dispossess the Canaanites, thereby taking the promised land, so also the disciples were commissioned by Jesus to drive out and dispossess demons, thereby taking back what rightfully belonged to God and making disciples for him, the new subjects of his kingdom (Matt 28:18-20; Col 1:13; Rev 1:5-6). This gospel of the kingdom was proclaimed by the early Church (cf. Matt 24:14; Acts 8:12, 20:24-25, 28:23, 31), suggesting that there would be a continuing pattern of miracles integrally associated with the message, since the battle for the final establishment of the kingdom of God raged (and rages) on.” (Authentic Fire, 178).

John MacArthur writes of Mark 16:17-18,

“These signs were promised to the apostolic community (Matt. 10:1; 2 Cor. 12:12), not all believers in all ages (cf. 1 Cor. 12:29, 30). All (with exception of drinking poison) were experienced by some in the apostolic church and reported in Scripture (e.g., Acts 28:5), but not afterward (cf. v. 20). (The MacArthur Study Bible).

My Response

Although aspects of what John says here are true, his argument ultimately falls flat in that since Mark 16:15-18 is parallel with Matthew 28:18-20, those “believing” are not limited to the “Apostolic age,” but extends to the “end of the age” which he believes has yet to be fulfilled. However, when we acknowledge the truth that the “end of the age” is referring to the OC age ending in AD 70, then it becomes even clearer that “these signs were promised…not [to] all believers in all ages.”

The other problem is that MacArthur believes many Charismatics are “demon possessed.”

Putting the two together – So if MacArthur believes we are commanded to preach the gospel and cast out demons from Charismatics until the end of the age arrives, then why can’t these other miraculous sign gifts (speaking in new tongues laying hands on the sick) accompany the casting out of demons from these Charismatics that MacArthur vigorously pursues?!?

Let’s now examine the Great Commission and waging war motifs in the OT – as they were related to the land promises (being “in the land”) and then how the Great Commission was fulfilled prior to AD 70 and being “in Christ.”

Moses and Israel’s Exodus – the Establishment of the OC “Heaven and Earth” (Isa. 51:15-16)

Moses performs physical miracles and takes Israel through a physical exodus to prove God is delivering them from physical slavery – while Jesus performs physical miracles to prove He is delivering Israel (through a second or new exodus) from the power and slavery of sin (spiritual). Through the Exodus and within a 40 year generation, Moses performed the most miracles in OT (cf. Deut. 34:10-11) – which pointed to Jesus and the Church OC / NC 40 year generation / transition period which produced even more miracles than that of Moses.

The Holy Spirit was poured out upon 70 elders to help Moses judge the people – which pointed to Jesus sending out 70 of His disciples to perform more miracles communicating that He was the new Moses and His disciples would serve as the new judges over Israel (through the gospel).

Moses miracle of striking the rock and water flowing through it — pointed to the living waters and eternal life coming through Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit’s power was also given to enable the hands of Israel’s craftsmen to construct the building up of the physical tabernacle – while Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom through the laying on of hands begins building up the spiritual tabernacle in the book of Acts (consisting of Jews and Gentiles).

The physical tabernacle and God’s presence in the midst of the twelve tribes of Israel pointed to Christ and the Father establishing their spiritual home within the believer at His Second Coming in AD 70 (John 14:23/Rev. 21:3).

Joshua’s miracles associated with the land promises

Through Joshua, God helps Israel Conquer the Promised Land miraculously and yet at the same time, through aiding Israel fighting with the sword they are able to cast out the unclean nations from God’s land. This points us to Christ and the early Church conquering the land of Israel and the Gentile nations not by means of the literal sword, but by the gospel and the sword of the Spirit.

“This Age” & “Age to Come”

The Jews during Jesus’ day understood “this age” to be the OC age of the law and prophets and the “age to come” to be the NC age of Messiah which would follow. As I point out in my/our book, it is Reformed and an orthodox Christian interpretation to identify Jesus and Paul’s “this age” to be the OC age (not the Christian age) and the “age to come,” to be the NC age of Messiah arriving when the OC age passed away in AD 70 (see HD, 91ff.). Jesus and Paul do not depart from this traditional Jewish two age structure as they look to an imminent fulfillment coming in the lifetimes of their first century audiences – in which the old would pass and the new arrives in a mature state (ie. AD 70).

The Second Exodus & Days of Messiah

Isaiah 11 predicted a second exodus coming for Israel. Some of the Jews prior to Christ and during his day based upon Psalm 90:15 and other OT passages, believed “the days of Messiah” would be a transition period between the OC “this age” and the Messianic NC “age to come” and that this would be another Forty Year exodus period. Not only that, but that in the Messianic or NC Age/World to Come/New Heaven and Earth – not everything would be “perfect” in the sense that Brown and MacArthur have portrayed it:

“There is no difference between this world and the days of the Messiah except the servitude of the heathen kingdoms alone; as it is said, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land” (Deut. 15:2) (Ber. 34b.), i.e. not even in the Messianic era.

Many Rabbis believed that the period of the Messiah was to be only a transitionary stage between this world [age] and the World to Come [age to come], and opinions differed on the time of its duration. ‘How long will the days of Messiah last? R. Akiba said, Forty years, as long as the Iraelites were in the wilderness.” (Dr. Boaz Cohen, NEW AMERICAN EDITION Everyman’s TALMUD, p. 356.

According to Brown and MacArthur’s hyper-literalism, isn’t there sin, evangelism, physical death, and procreation in the Messianic World/Age to Come or New Heaven and Earth in Isaiah 65:17-22? And yet, the Apostle John sees evil surrounding the New Jerusalem and evangelism taking place even after Christ comes and after the New Creation arrives continuing post AD 70 into the NC age — per Revelation 22.

“Waging War” & The Great Commission

Jesus is tempted for 40 days in the wilderness and overcomes as a sign to verify that He is the true and faithful Israel/Son (having come to establish her second exodus). And when He comes back in the land He begins gathering his disciples, healing the sick, proclaiming the kingdom of God was at hand, and conquering the land by casting out demons (as Israel had cast out the nations in the promised land) – demonstrating that He has come to establish a kingdom within the spiritual realm of man. And this again proves He is both the “Son of David” and “The Most High.”

David & Solomon – Kings and Prophets Typological of Jesus – Son of David.

God aided David miraculously to be a man of war and he reigned over Israel for 40 years. In Christ’s pre-parousia reign, he reigned through the Church over Israel subduing His enemies under His feet for 40 years and approaching AD 70 He was “about to consume” them at His “in a very little while” coming (Heb. 10:13-37).

God gave Solomon a miraculous expression of wisdom, he was allowed to build God’s Temple, and he ruled over Israel for 40 years of peace in fulfilling Israel’s land promises (they inherited ALL the land God promised them, and He kept their enemies away). Christ was the embodiment of God’s wisdom and peace, He was the cornerstone of His Temple, and in His 40 years transition / pre-parouia reign, He gave those who trusted in Him inner joy and peace (from the accusations and threats of the law and Satan – while giving them wisdom when brought before their persecutors – that their persecutors could not refute).

David and Solomon wrote Psalms and songs of “The Most High” which when sung, delivered those who were possessed by demons (1 Kings 4:29-34 mentions 1,005 songs, but the LXX adds many more and the Dead Sea Scrolls mention them as well. Psalm 151 LXX, and Psalm 91 [terror of the night=night demon & “arrow that flies by day” = day demon] are said to be a couple of these).

Jesus was both the “Son of David,” and “The Most High” who came to drive out demons and unclean spirits from the land and ultimately cast them into the Lake of Fire at His parousia in AD 70 (Zech. 13:2; Matt. 24–25:31-46; Rev. 20:10–22:6-12; Rms. 16:20). The miracle of casting out demons was a sign that verified what He was teaching about a spiritual kingdom “in” and “within” was true and that it was within their reach through faith in Him.

Israel’s Great Commission and 40 years of War and Peace

God chose Israel (a corporate Adam) to be His elect son and commissioned him to now subdue (Hebrew kabash) the wicked nations of the land (Num. 32:29; 2 Sam. 8:11; 1 Chron. 22:18-19) and to have dominion (Hebrew radah) (rule, reign, possess, plunder, & make slaves of) the other nations of the land (Lev. 25:44-46; 1 Kings 4:21-25; Isa. 14:2). Under the old-covenant God primarily dealt with His chosen Nation Israel and His purpose among the Nations was to drive them out and exterminate them and their idol’s from His Land (Deut. 6-7). The Jewish mindset considered the Promised Land of Israel with its Holy City and temple to be the Garden of God and where the light and life of Torah resided. They considered the heathen Gentile Nations to be dogs and wild beasts of the field in utter darkness and death needing to be re-created and subdued under the teaching of Torah.

At times members of some of the surrounding Gentile Nations would hear and witness the power of Israel’s God and would want to be gathered into the Nation and land in order to worship and serve Jehovah. The rabbinical usage and terminology of describing this conversion was to refer to the Gentile convert as a “new creation” or “creature.” Thus the “subduing” and exercising “dominion” over the earth/land finds its fulfillment in the conversion of the hearts and minds of people (Jew and Gentile) to the law of God. God said to not turn away the Gentile “alien” because at one time Israel’s forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) were “aliens” and “sojourners” in Canaan and Israel herself were “aliens” in Egypt – therefore they were to love them and treat them as if they were one of their own (Ex.6:1-4; Lev.19:34). The Gentile “aliens” would be circumcised and partake of the Passover (Ex.12:48). They could offer up burnt offerings and sacrifices to God, had to keep torah just as the Israelites, and were likewise susceptible to the covenant cursings if they disobeyed just as the native born Israelites (Lev. 17:8-13; Num. 15). It is a point of debate, but it appears that even in type form, they could inherit the land as well (Ezk.47:22-23). This lays the foundation for seeing the Jew / Gentile oneness “In Christ” under the new covenant. Even a precursor glimpse of the OC Jew/Gentile type of NC salvation destroys true “hyper-preterism” or the Israel-only view.

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

The Great Commission fulfilled by the end of the OC age in AD 70

Prophecy Fulfillment
1. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

A = (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10)

B = (Matt. 28:18-20/Mk. 16:15-18)

C = (Acts 1:8)

If A (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10) was fulfilled in AD 70.

And A (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10) is = to B (Matt. 28:18-20/Mk. 16:15-18).

And B (Matt. 28:18-20/Mk. 16:15-18) bears some resemblance to C and is = to C (Acts 1:8).

Then A (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10) is = to C (Acts 1:8).

Therefore, A (Matt. 24:14/Mk. 13:10) is = to B (Matt. 28:18-20/Mk. 16:15-18) is = to C (Acts 1:8) and all ABC (the ONE GC) was/were fulfilled by the end of the OC age in AD 70. “Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other.”

Satan & Demons

Between AD 26 – AD 66 Christ and the Church conquered the promised land of Israel and the Gentile nations inwardly through the gospel (sword of the Spirit) and by casting out demons and driving them from the land (Zech. 13:2) and ultimately to the Lake of Fire. Between AD 66 – AD 70 many of the Churches persecutors died in that slaughter and were thrown into the Lake of Fire with the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:46/Rev. 20:10). Satan was truly “crushed” “shortly” and was “shortly” thrown into the Lake of Fire per Paul and John (Rms. 16:20; Rev. 1:1, 20:10).

Premise #1 If it is true and orthodox to believe that the ONE final crushing and judgment of Satan and demons takes place at Christ’s ONE Second Coming or parousia event (Rms. 16:20; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 20:10–22:6-12) (Full Preterists, Classic Amillennialists, & Charismatics agree)

Premise #2 And if it is also true and orthodox to believe that if the NT says an eschatological event would be fulfilled “shortly” it refers to AD 70 and that Christ’s coming in Matthew 24–25:31; Rev. 1—22 was fulfilled in AD 70…(Partial Preterists agree 99% [minus Rms. 16:20 for creedal purposes] with Full Preterists)…

Conclusion: Then it is also true and necessarily follows that the ONE crushing and judgment of Satan and demons was fulfilled “shortly” at Christ’s ONE Second Coming or parousia event in AD 70 (Rms. 16:20; Matt. 25:31-46; Rev. 1:1; 20:10–22:6-12) (“Reformed and always reforming”).

Concluding Charismatic Argument #3 The Great Commission Mrk. 16/Matt. 28

Jesus foretold that the Great Commission would be fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation” and the Apostle Paul – under inspiration of the Holy Spirit uses every Greek word Jesus used to describe the GC to confirm that it was fulfilled within that first century time period (Cols. 1:5-6, Rms. 10:18; Rms. 16:25-26). Post parousia and arrival of the New Jerusalem the gates of the city remain open and the Spirit and the Bride say “come” and the leaves of the Tree of Life (Jesus Christ) continue to be healing (spiritual) for the nations (Rev. 22:17).

Adam was to subdue and have dominion over the animals. Then OC Israel was given the sword to subdue and have dominion and cast out the unclean nations from God’s promised land. Jesus and the Church during the OC / NC transitionary period casted out demons and was establishing the kingdom “within” the spiritual realm (within the hearts of His followers). And through the Gospel and the Sword of the Spirit, the Church exercised her dominion over Israel and the Roman world. Post AD 70 the Church continues wielding the Sword of the Spirit and preaching the gospel – bringing hearts and minds into the submission of Jesus Christ the King of Kings.

The book of James tells us that fights and wars come from the sinful hearts of men. Therefore, we don’t need to have Satan and demons around to blame for sinful behavior. And it is gross error to claim that evil in the world is “evidence” which allegedly proves Christ did not come when He promised He would. There is clearly evil-workers outside the gates of the New Jerusalem and evangelism continues post AD 70 in the NC age of which we live in today.

If you have enjoyed this brief article, share it and pass it along to others that may benefit.

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[2] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

My Full Preterist Response To John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” (Cessationist) V. Michael Brown’s “Authentic Fire” (Charismatic) Part 4 – Argument #2 The Last Days & Acts 2

I am continuing my series in critiquing Dr. Michael Brown (Charismatic – Authentic Fire) and Pastor John MacArthur (Cessationist – Strange Fire). While I agree with Pastor MacArthur that the sign and revelatory gifts have ceased, I also agree with Dr. Brown that MacArthur (and Cessationist Futurists in general) does/do not have an exegetical case against the main Charismatic arguments/texts for the continuance of the gifts. We are examining those arguments/texts in this series and MacArthur’s failure to address them. The first argument we covered was:

If the Second Coming and New Creation (“that which is perfect” / seeing “face to face” – 1 Cor. 13:8-12) is still future, then prophecy, tongues and knowledge have not ceased.

We now turn our attention to argument #2 which deals with the “last days” and Acts 2. Remember, MacArthur exhorted his readers and listeners to the soundness of the Puritans and Reformed theology as an antidote to the Charismatic chaos today and even invited R.C. Sproul to lecture on the book of Acts at his Strange Fire Conference. Below I will quote Sproul on the “last days” and other Reformed theologians demonstrating that the sign and revelatory gifts ceased in AD 70 at the end of the last days of the OC age.

Argument #2 – Acts 2 & the last days

On pages 194-199 of Authentic Fire Dr. Brown argues that the miraculous gifts (especially prophecy) are to last throughout the “last days” of “this age” (i.e. the Church age) until the Second Coming. He cites Acts 2:14-21, 38-39; Heb. 1:1-2; 9:26; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Pet. 1:20; Jms. 5:3; 1 Jn. 2:18 for support.

My Response

Acts 2

Purpose of Acts

Since there is no mention of the G.C. in Luke 21 (as there is in Matt. 24:14 or Mrk. 13:10) and since Luke does not develop the promise and coming work of the Holy Spirit (as John does in John 14), I believe this is where Luke develops the fulfillment of the G.C. and Paul’s doctrine of the “mystery” through the Spirit’s outpouring upon 4 people groups in the book of Acts.

Chronology of the Holy Spirit

I believe Sproul did a good job in his lecture at the Strange Fire Conference in developing the chronology of Holy Spirit in the OT and throughout the book of Acts. I shall cover some of that material here.

The Holy Spirit was poured out upon Moses and then to the 70 elders who prophesied.

Then Moses told Joshua that he wished the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all of God’s people. Moses’ desire was actually God’s intent, and through Joel God predicts that in Israel’s “last days” His Spirit would be poured out upon “all flesh.”

There is much confusion in the OT and in the NT as to how God was going to include all the Jews, Samaritans, God-fearers (Proselyte – Gentile converts to Judaism that weren’t circumcised), and Gentiles within God’s redemptive plan. The book of Acts not only records the fulfillment of the G.C. to these various groups, but it is Luke’s purpose to demonstrate that the power and outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s work was primarily confirmatory in nature, so as to demonstrate that all these groups would now be equal citizens in the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, Luke actually records 4 Pentecost’s of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon each of these groups in fulfillment of the G.C. of Acts 1:8:

  1. Acts 2 – for the Jews (“my witnesses in Jerusalem”),
  2. Acts 8 – the Samaritans (“and Samaria”),
  3. Acts 10 – God-fearers (“in all Judea”), and
  4. Acts 19 – the Gentiles (“to the ends of the earth”).

In each of these cases “all” within these groups received the miraculous out-pouring of the Holy Spirit unlike the Charismatic doctrine of the have and have not Christians. And these were examples or real miraculous “tongues” (known human languages) taking place unlike today – which is just learned behavior and gibberish.

The miraculous out-pouring manifestations of the Holy Spirit during this time period were temporal and unique in God’s redemptive plan. After the end of the OC age and the maturing of the NC age at Christ’s parousia in AD 70, these 4 categories of people are gone – there are just believers and unbelievers. With the genealogies and the Temple being destroyed in AD 70, there isn’t even a “Jew” or right to Judaism as a valid religion. In Dr. Brown’s exchange with Gary DeMar, when Gary asked Brown what tribe he was from he said, “I think Judah.”

The Last Days

Isaiah 2—5 & last days

In Isaiah 2:2–4 the prophet spoke of the time when Messiah would come and establish His mountain (Mount Zion), house, and city among Jews and Gentiles. As the New Testament reveals, this prophecy speaks of the spiritual peace that comes through the gospel, wherein Jew and Gentile are united in Christ into one spiritual nation and kingdom.

In Luke 23:30, 2 Thess. 1:9, and Rev. 6 – Reformed theologians and commentators interpret Jesus, Paul and John all seeing the “last days” “in that Day” Day of the Lord’s coming in judgment, as being fulfilled in AD 70. I don’t think it is unreasonable to conclude that the last day or “in that day (singular)” ends the period of the “last days” that Isaiah foretold. Not to mention that the “in that day” prophecy includes the time in which the martyrs would be vindicated – this being the time for the Lord to come and judge the living and the dead. These events close the “last days” of the OC age.

Acts 2 & last days

a). Genesis 11 Cursed reversed – Jews from “every nation under heaven” (that was represented in the table of nations in Gen. 10-11) spoke in “tongues” about God’s “wonders” which would include God’s coming plan of salvation and judgment (of which Peter goes on to elaborate and preach on). G.K. Beale writes,

“Why does Luke want readers to see the link to Genesis 10-11? Babel’s sin of uniting and consequent judgment of confused languages and of people being scattered throughout the earth is reversed at Pentecost: God causes representatives from the same scattered nations to unite in Jerusalem in order that they might receive the blessing of understanding different languages as if all these languages were one.”

If Jews were present from “every nation under heaven” and they went back and preached the gospel to those “nations,” the fulfillment of the G.C. was accomplished not within the “last days” of human history, but prior to the last days of the OC age ending in AD 70:

Prophecy Fulfillment
1. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth [Greek ge]” (Acts 1:8).
1. “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18).

 

2. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [Greek glossa], as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [Greek ethnos] under heaven” (Acts 2:5). This implies the believers went back to these nations with the gospel of Christ. 2. “…My gospel…has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations [Greek ethnos] (Rms. 16:25-26).

 

“…from the gospel which you heard, which was preached (past tense) to every creature under heaven (that was present in Acts 2:5), of which I Paul became a minister” (Cols. 1:23).

It is more than curious that Reformed Partial Preterists claim Romans 10:18 fulfills the gospel being preached to “all the earth” in (Matthew 24:14) as fulfilled by AD 70, but somehow the gospel being preached to “the end of the earth” in (Acts 1:8) is somehow not fulfilled by Paul’s statement, that the gospel had been preached “…to all the world” in the same text (Rms. 10:18)?!? If Romans 10:18 can be the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 it can also be the fulfillment of Acts 1:8! Sproul and his right-hand man Keith Mathison have not responded to me on this issue for obvious reasons.

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

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

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

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

Peter is referencing Israel’s last days terminal “crooked” or “perverse generation” of Deut. 32:5, 20 of which it was prophesied that that generation would not discern what their “end” and destruction would be.

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

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

When God had saved the last sinner He wanted to save within that “crooked generation” just prior to Him coming in judgment and ending Israel’s “last days,” He also ended the confirmatory nature of the sign gifts. Their purpose had ended.

Many within the Reformed community understand “the last days” in the New Testament to be referring to the end of the old covenant economy in AD 70. For instance, Gary DeMar:

“The last days are not way off in the distant future. The end came to an obsolete covenant in the first century. In A.D. 70 the “last days” ended with the dissolution of the temple and the sacrificial system.” (Last Days Madness, p. 38).

David Chilton, as a Reformed Partial Preterist (before he confessed that the one Second Coming event happened in AD 70) wrote:

“The Biblical expression Last Days properly refers to the period from the Advent of Christ until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the “last days” of Israel during the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant (Heb. 1:1–2; 8:13; James 5:1–9; 1 Pet. 2:20; 1 John 2:18).” (The Days of Vengeance, p. 16, 51).

And John Owen in his exposition of Hebrews 1:2:

“It is the last days of the Judaical church and state, which were then drawing to their period and abolition, that are here and elsewhere called “The last days,” or “The latter days,” or “The last hour,” 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 1:18. . . . This phrase of speech is signally used in the Old Testament to denote the last days of the Judaical church.” (The Works of John Owen, Vol. 19, 12–13).

Hebrews & the last days of the OC age

a). Hebrews 9:26-28

R.C. Sproul in refuting Simon Kistemaker says that this passage includes both Jesus’ first and second comings occurring by the end of the OC age in AD 70.

This passage refers to both the first and second appearances of Christ. The context for his first appearance is “the end of the ages.” Yet his followers are still waiting for him to appear a second time.” “…If Christ’s first coming at “the end of the ages” has already occurred and if considerable time has elapsed since that coming, then it is impossible to identify “the end of the ages” with the end of time. If the second appearing of Christ here refers to his judgment on Jerusalem, it would still fit in the framework of “the end of the ages” that is not the end of all time.” (The Last Days According to Jesus, p. 106).

But probably the best and most straightforward statement comes once again from Partial Preterist Milton S. Terry,

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

This text is where we get the term “the Second coming” of Jesus, and we have partial preterists such as Sproul and Terry conceding to a common sense Full Preterist interpretation of the passage as possibly or being fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.

b). Hebrews 8:13 & 10:37

That the “last days” of the OC age is in view throughout Hebrews is supported with its affirmation that the OC was “soon to vanish” (Heb. 8:13). If the OC was “soon” or “ready to vanish” then the “last days” of its age was also ready to vanish in AD 70. And that the second coming of Hebrews 9 would take place at the end of the OC age, is confirmed in the next chapter when His coming is said to be fulfilled “in a very little while” and would “not tarry” (Heb. 10:37).

This age and the age to come / The new exodus – Jewish and Christian beliefs

“This Age” & “Age to Come”

The Jews during Jesus’ day understood “this age” to be the OC age of the law and prophets and the “age to come” to be the NC age of Messiah which would follow.

As I point out in my/our book, it is Reformed and an orthodox Christian interpretation to identify Jesus and Paul’s “this age” to be the OC age (not the Christian age) and the “age to come,” to be the NC age of Messiah arriving when the OC age passed away in AD 70 (see HD, 91ff.). Jesus and Paul do not depart from this traditional Jewish two age structure as they look to an imminent fulfillment coming in the lifetimes of their first century audiences – in which the old would pass and the new arrives in a mature state (ie. AD 70).

The Second Exodus & Days of Messiah

Isaiah 11 predicted a second exodus coming for Israel. The Jews prior to Christ and during his day based upon Psalm 90:15 and other OT passages, believed “the days of Messiah” would be a transition period between the OC “this age” and the Messianic NC “age to come” and that this would be another Forty Year exodus period. Not only that, but that in the Messianic or NC Age/World to Come/New Heaven and Earth – not everything would be “perfect” in the sense that Brown and MacArthur have portrayed it:

“There is no difference between this world and the days of the Messiah except the servitude of the heathen kingdoms alone; as it is said, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land” (Deut. 15:2) (Ber. 34b.), i.e. not even in the Messianic era.

Many Rabbis believed that the period of the Messiah was to be only a transitionary stage between this world [age] and the World to Come [age to come], and opinions differed on the time of its duration. ‘How long will the days of Messiah last? R. Akiba said, Forty