A Full Preterist Response to the “Inconsistent Orthodox” Hyper-Creedal Inquisition of Gary DeMar

Introduction

(3/8/23 update – This article is still in the process of being written.  I will also be providing links to Gary DeMar’s podcasts where he is responding to his critics)

Recently a public letter signed by Jason Bradfield, Uri Brito, Ardel Caneday, Jeff Durbin, John Frame, Sam Frost, Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, Brian Mattson, Andrew Sandlin, Keith Sherlin, Jeffery Ventrella, James White, and Doug Wilson was publicly published demanding that Gary DeMar answer their questions or face their wrath and withdrawal of support to American Vision because they “love” him.  What is Gary’s crime?  Gary has posted that he wants the debate between Partial and Full Preterism to continue because he feels that both sides need to hash some issues out and that he wants the freedom to “study” these issues for himself. Not to mention he has some questions for them that they aren’t answering (ex. the parallels / the analogy of faith between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4-5; etc…).

Apparently, Gary is not allowed by the hyper-creedalists to “study” these issues out for himself or get answers from them publicly.  It’s a one-way street.  I find this odd since they claim to embrace:

“Scripture alone,”

“Reformed and always reforming,”

Believe in the “priesthood of all believers,” and

Confess and embrace what the WCF confesses and teaches about itself – that it may be in error as previous creeds and confessions have and is subject to revision based upon the exegesis and authority of the Word of God and His Spirit working through His Body.

Some claim to be public “apologists” and yet have NO “answer” or “defense” (1 Pet. 3:15) to Biblical questions we have provided to them in private and public for many years regarding their Futurist misplaced “hope.”  The original context of 1-2 Peter and that of 1 Peter 3:15 is that there were “mockers” denying the truly imminent coming of the Lord – promised to take place in their generation.  And thus the “salvation” and “inheritance” of the new covenant creation that was “ready to be revealed” (1 Pet. 1:4-12; 2 Pet. 3).  These first century Full Preterist Christians living pre-AD 70, had to be equipped to teach anyone asking them about this imminent “hope” that was within them.  Post AD 70 this is a “hope realized” (Prov. 13:12) of which we are prepared to “give and answer” and “defend” while men such as Kenneth Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin and James White have a “delayed” or “sick” “hope” (Prov. 13:12) or multiple unbiblical eschatological hopes that they are unable and unwilling to “defend.”

But as time goes on our book response – House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology... to When Shall These Things Be? is aging well by demonstrating the Reformed Church has forgotten its humble roots.  She and Luther once stood strong against the doctrinal contradictions coming from the various Popes, creeds, confessions, and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church – but has now embraced many doctrinal and eschatological contradictions herself, and worse yet, begun imposing the same kind of hyper-tradition and hyper-creedal “argumentation” and “inquisition” tactics that the Roman Catholic Church once wielded upon her!

Short Version

Here is the short version of my response to this hypocritical public letter levied against Gary DeMar.  The authors and the eschatological systems they espouse are divided on which texts teach the “glorious Second Coming” to “end world history” whereby Christ “comes” to “judge the righteous and the unrighteous” or to “judge and reward all men according to what they have done” – that is the “quick and the dead.”  This is why they offered NO texts in their letter let alone any exegesis.  Some of these men take the following passages as fulfilled in AD 70 and yet want Gary to concede that these eschatological CONCEPTS must be fulfilled in the future or like Full Preterists he must be punished!  Texts that some of these men and or their systems believe were fulfilled in AD 70 are the following:

Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Acts 17:31YLT / Acts 24:15YLT / Romans 8:18-23YLT / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31; 25:31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Matthew 13:39-43 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:7, 10-12, 20 / 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT / Revelation 1-19; 21-22

Anyone studying this issues for a long time can see that if the above passages were imminently fulfilled in AD 70, then “the farm has been given away” to Full Preterism.  And if people are allowed to embrace or EVEN study and ask questions concerning the glaring inconsistencies, that voice MUST be tarred and punished at all costs.

When, how and with what authority did these men and other Partial Preterists make most of the above texts (95% of the NT teaching) concerning the glorious return of Christ, the judgment and resurrection of “all men,” and the passing of the first creation and arrival of the new fulfilled in AD 70 “orthodox” views for the Church?  And thus with what authority do they have to condemn us for either being consistent with the imminent time texts or implementing the historic Churches teaching using the analogy of faith to connect other parallels to these AD 70 fulfilled passages?  If the WCF and the creeds are wrong on texts like these, are they wrong on other parallel eschatological texts that the Church sees are equivalent to them?

It appears to me that at least Gary does not seem to be willing to bow the knee to the authority of eschatological CONCEPTS allegedly fulfilled in the Future, but rather to “Scripture alone” and to “see the work” or “exegesis” of those and other texts in question.  If these men truly “loved” their brother one would think they would labor with him with an open Bible?  But these kind of men have a horrible track record in the un-Christian way they have treated men like Walt Hibbard of Great Christian Books, David Chilton, and the list will continue to grow – as they see these want-to-be authoritarian Emperors walk around with no clothes on.

And those signers of the letter that don’t see these passages as being imminently fulfilled in AD 70, ironically and hypocritically label the other signers of the letter to be “HYPER Partial Preterists” (that is not “orthodox” or true Partial Preterists like themselves).  They also accuse them of being “inconsistent” (that is if they were “consistent” exegetically and logically their positions would lead to Full Preterism).  The signers of this letter have engaged in building a hypocritical “house divided” that simply will “not stand.”   

Instead of the authors of this letter gnashing their teeth at DeMar and Full Preterism, maybe they should spend more time trying to reconcile their MAJOR differences on key texts (see above) instead of trying to condemn people to hell for piecing their mess together into a consistent, logical and exegetical system?  Just a thought.  But attacking others and doing one-sided hit pieces on Full Preterim is much easier than debating us or doing the hard work of reformation.  I get it – stay comfortable and lazy.

I will first post the letter and then we will take it a part exegetically and logically.

The Letter

“An Open Letter to Gary DeMar,

Dear Gary:

We are your brothers in the Lord, long-time friends, supporters, co-laborers in his Word, and co-promoters and defenders of the Christian worldview. We have contacted you privately twice in the last few months regarding our concerns, with the following.

We are writing to you once again with an earnest plea regarding your doctrinal transitioning that we are witnessing.

Gary, we seriously and deeply hope that you will receive this as from deeply-burdened hearts and that you will respond to us as to those who love you in the Lord and have appreciated your public ministry.

As you know from our previous correspondence, we are deeply concerned over the eschatological direction you seem to be taking of late. Andrew Sandlin heard you speak at a conference in Texas about a year ago. At that time he was surprised that you would not acknowledge whether you believe in a future final judgment and a future physical resurrection of the dead. When asked, you also stated that you would not call full preterists “heretics.”

Due to certain statements you made publicly on Facebook recently, Ken Gentry asked you if you would affirm three simple, basic doctrinal positions. These questions have intentionally been kept limited and simple in order to avoid entangling interaction with the many variations within and permutations of Full Preterism (aka Consistent Preterism; aka Covenant Preterism; aka Hyperpreterism).

Furthermore, they have also been confined to doctrines clearly declared in the American Vision Statement of Faith. Those simple yes-or-no questions are now simplified and clarified even more:

  1. Do you believe in a future bodily, glorious return of Christ?
  2. Do you believe in a future physical, general resurrection of the dead?
  3. Do you believe history will end with the Final Judgment of all men?

To refuse to affirm the future, physical resurrection, the final judgment of the righteous and the unrighteous, and the tactile reality of the eternal state is to refuse to affirm critical elements of the Christian faith. To contradict these doctrines is not merely to contradict a few specific biblical texts; it is to contradict indispensable aspects of the Christian faith and the biblical worldview. As blunt as it might sound, it is to strike at crucial aspects in the very heart of the Christian faith.

This private letter of inquiry has been agreed upon by the signatories listed below. Please, Gary, receive this not as an attack upon you, but as a humble concern for your doctrinal orthodoxy and the integrity of American Vision. Please set the matter straight regarding these three fundamental issues so that we can lay this matter to rest. We love you and are continuing to pray for you.

In the love of Christ the Lord,

Jason Bradfield, Uri Brito, Ardel Caneday, Jeff Durbin, John Frame, Sam Frost, Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, Brian Mattson, Andrew Sandlin, Keith Sherlin, Jeffery Ventrella, James White, Doug Wilson”

Granted I don’t know all the men signing this letter and their various positions on major eschatological texts, but some I do.  Let’s briefly look at what THEIR positions are, and we will quickly see why there were no Biblical passages cited in the letter and why they have avoided our questions and challenges to debate for many years!

Will history end with the Second Coming, transformation of the planet, and judgment and resurrection of all men?

Isaiah 65-66 / 2 Peter 3 / Revelation 21-22

Of course, the letter provides NO Scripture to support the Bible teaches the “end of world history.”  Why is that?  It’s because some signing this letter believe the coming of Christ and passing away of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 is addressing Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70 and the first heavens and earth that passed away was the old covenant age / world and the “new” is the new covenant age / world which replaced it in AD 70.  Those teaching this who signed the letter would be Doug Wilson and Jeff Durbin.  Gentry affirms the de-creation and re-creation of Revelation 21-22 was fulfilled at the “soon” coming of Christ in AD 70.  Others who signed the letter would see these passages as teaching the Second Coming event which produces the “end of world history,” and entering the “tactile reality of the eternal state.”  But these passages are clear enough – after this coming of the Lord and de-creation and new creation event is fulfilled imminently in AD 70, there are sinners present and evangelism taking place.  There is no promise here to “end world history.”  And notice that these passages only state that there is ONE passing away of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new – not two (one in AD 70 and another at the alleged end of world history).

When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Full Preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible.  Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry,

James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright (to name just a few) teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (cf. Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17– 18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70.  See the following works:

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86.

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when Full Preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology, anti-Preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views. 

James White and other Reformed Baptist Pastors have falsely accused those of us who take these passages as fulfilled in AD 70 as believing “we are in the eternal state” or that somehow, we deny the existence of the eternal state or heaven because we believe they were fulfilled in AD 70.  But Jeff Durbin and Doug Wilson in their treatments of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 have clearly stated these passages are NOT a description of heaven or the eternal state!  So White of course is simply using a scare tactic, and apparently isn’t even aware of what people in his own church and formers of this letter are teaching on these CRUCIAL “end of world history” texts!  We believe the “eternal state” or “heaven” is where the dead are now after being raised out of Hades / Abrahams bosom in AD 70 and where we go when we die post AD 70.

Questions on Isa. 65-66 / 2 Peter 3 / Revelation 21-22 for the authors of this letter to answer:

The WCF states that the “soon” coming of Christ in the book of Revelation is the Second Coming event which would cause the first creation to pass away and ushers in the new one.  When did it become “orthodox” to believe this coming of Christ is actually His spiritual coming in AD 70 and the de-creation and new creation here are the old and new covenantal worlds of Israel and the Church?  Who determined its “orthodoxy”?

Sam Frost has stated this is “inconsistent” “HYPER-Partial Preterism.”  He has testified that it is this exegetical “inconsistency” that brought him into “Full Preterism.”  If it’s “hyper” it’s not orthodox and if it’s “inconsistent” and it were to be “consistent” then it leads to Full Preterism.  Indeed, a very incoherent statement coming from one of the signers of the letter.

The Partial Preterists in this letter believe that at the “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation 22:7, 10, 20 the New Jerusalem came down from heaven to earth and that we are currently in the New Jerusalem / New Creation and we are “healing the nations” by preaching the gospel and inviting sinners to come through the gates of the City (22:17).  Hebrews 13:14 confirms this City was “about to come” and did in AD 70.  If this is the case, then the curse of “the death” is “no more” (Rev. 21:4) for those of us who are in the New Jerusalem / New Creation post AD 70.  One of the authors of this letter Philip Kayser, believes the coming or parousia of 1 Corinthians 15:23 was fulfilled in AD 70 and yet others of the letter believe it is at this parousia event that “all” are raised and the curse of “the death” of verses 54-56 is done away and overcome for the believer.  So did the “soon” coming or “parousia” of Revelation 22:7-12, 20 and 1 Corinthians 15:23 bring about the promise to “overcome” “the death” and is there “no more the death” for the believer today in the new covenant age that “was about to” come in AD 70 or not?  Didn’t Jesus teach that those of us who believe in Him would “never die”?  Thus the “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation and expected by the living saints in Corinthians overcame the curse of spiritual death that came through Adam.  This was a promise made and a promise kept!

Will history end and the planet be transformed at the physical bodily return of Jesus to raise and judge the quick and the dead?

Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Acts 17:31YLT / Acts 24:15YLT / Romans 8:18-23YLT / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 30-31 / 1 Corinthians 15 / Matthew 13:39-43 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12  / 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT / Revelation 1-19; 21-22

Again, since some of the signers of this letter believe the above passages were fulfilled in AD 70, it is clear as to why no Scripture references were provided in this cowardly public rebuke of Gary DeMar.

Daniel 12:1-7, 13 

Kenneth Gentry and Partial Preterism as a system has been challenged by us for many years to explain why they can eisegetically cherry-pick the judgment and resurrection of the just and unjust from Daniel 12:2-3 from the other AD 70 events such as the Tribulation in verse 1.  After all Daniel is told that “ALL these things” listed in verse 1-4 would be fulfilled together during a period of “three and half years” “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (vss. 5-7).  They finally came around to admit Daniel 12:2-3 teaches a spiritual resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70.  But who made and had the authority to make that an “orthodox” position?  How long did it take in order to become “orthodox”?

Kenneth Gentry concedes,

“In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.” “…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”

“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse: Israel as a corporate body [like Ezek. 37] is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).”

“…the arising of the new Israel from out of the dead, [of] old covenant Israel in AD 70…” (Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538-540).

When I challenged Ken on this in the Q&A period at the Criswell Conference on the Millennium, he claimed Daniel 12 teaches a double fulfillment of the resurrection or an “already and not yet.”  He claims there was a spiritual and corporate resurrection of the dead in AD 70 and yet at the same time the text is teaching there will be an end of world history physical judgment and resurrection of the dead.  Of course, when you actually read Daniel 12:2-4 you can’t derive this from the text itself.  It is simply read into the text (eisegesis) so that Ken can admit the resurrection and judgment would be fulfilled when the Tribulation and deliverance is fulfilled (AD 67 – AD 70), and yet at the same time make a statement that saves his creedal carrier.

The text mentions this resurrection would be fulfilled at only ONE eschatological “not yet” “end” period and not two per Gentry (the “end” of the Jewish or old covenant age and then another alleged “end” to world history).  Wycliffe emphasizes the importance of kairos being used in the LXX when he translates Daniel 12:4: “Daniel, close up the words, and seal the book, until the time ordained (or the appointed time).”  This “ordained” or “appointed” time of the end would be during the Roman Jewish war – during the “three and half years” war of AD 67 – AD 70 “when the power of the holy people (first century Jews) will be completely shattered.”  It is the last half of the broken seven years of Daniel’s seventy-sevens in Daniel 9:24-27.  All of the soteriological and eschatological events listed in Daniel 9:24-27 were fulfilled within that last and 10th Jubilee as expected by first century Judaism (cf. 11QMelch).

G.K. Beale has also shown the connection between the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-4 being the “hour of the end” and this being the eschatological “not yet” “hour” of John 4-5.  And yet curiously Gentry admits Jesus’ phrase in John 4 of an “hour is coming and is now here” is referring to the “already and not yet” period of AD 30 – AD 70.  But when the same phrase is used by Jesus in John 5, it somehow is referring to another “already and not yet” eschatological hour spanning from AD 30 to the end of world history.  But why?  Gentry reasons it’s because John 5 discusses “all” coming out of their “graves” so this has to be a physical resurrection.  But Gentry just got done telling us that the terminology of a resurrection coming out of the “dust” does not have to be taken literally or physically and this is a resurrection just like Ezekiel 37 were people come out of their “graves” which was likewise not referring to physical or literal graves.  And of course Reformed Partial Preterist eschatology has admitted that the eschatological and soteriological coming “hour” of judgment and wrath taught by Jesus and John elsewhere was imminently fulfilled in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:36; 1 Jn. 2:17-18; Rev. 6:17; etc…). Hmm, nothing to see here – keep walking.

The Jews understood the “in that day” “trumpet gathering” of Isaiah 27:12-13 to be the resurrection event and then they would “worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.”  Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31 places this “trumpet” resurrection “gathering” to be in His generation to close the old covenant age and in John 4-5 He places this time of worship and resurrection to be fulfilled in the coming eschatological “hour” of Daniel 12 – which is inseparably connected to Jerusalems salvation and judgment in the events of AD 70.  The Samaritans and Jews were debating over the physicality of this place of worship, and yet Jesus and the NT authors see this to take place within the spiritual new covenant Jerusalem / Mount Zion which wold replace the physical old covenant system in AD 70.

Another exegetical issue Gentry has no good answer for is this – if he can give the resurrection and judgment of the dead event (inseparably connected to the historic events of the Tribulation AD 67 – AD 70) in Daniel 12:2-3 a double fulfillment, then why can’t other Futurist views give the Tribulation or Abomination of Desolation two fulfillments – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history with another rebuilt Temple etc.?!?  Gentry forbids this kind of double fulfillment or “already and not yet” but he sure imposes it when trying to get around the challenges of Full Preterism!

Phillip Kayser another co-signer of the letter also agrees that Daniel 12 teaches that there was an imminent resurrection of the dead that was fulfilled in AD 70.  Gentry does not address how Daniel himself would be raised in this resurrection (Dan. 12:13) – he will only commit to a corporate spiritual resurrection.  Kayser on the other hand believes that “many” (how many?) were physically raised from the dead in AD 70 per Daniel 12:2-3:

Notice that the great tribulation (v. 1) immediately precedes a resurrection (vv. 2-3)

Let’s read Daniel 12:1-3. The context in chapter 11 ends with Herod the Great hearing news from the east, being troubled by the news that the wise men bring him, killing many, and then ending up dying himself. So it is a first century context. Chapter 12:1 begins,

At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.

The book of Revelation has been talking about Daniel’s Great Tribulation. But notice what happens right during that time. Verse 2:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.

Notice that “many” are raised, not all (v. 2). This implies another resurrection. Yet Daniel will be raised at the end of the time period being discussed (end of Old Covenant – or AD 70).

Notice that it says “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” It doesn’t say “all.” The word “many” implies that there are others who will be raised at yet another different time. So hopefully you can see that it is crystal clear that there is a resurrection in AD 70, but it is not the last one.” (Philip G. Kayser, Barley Harvest, https://kaysercommentary.com/Sermons/New%20Testament/Revelation/Revelation%2011/Revelation%2011_11-14.md?fbclid=IwAR3FVoxOgmAD5zTylIPuyGGpSLqLpTQ3LzPn5yKuTkVf7BGbS-7R19xDZfc).

Kayser, like Gentry, understands that this resurrection is inseparably connected to the Tribulation period in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  And like Gentry he attempts to get around his creedal problem by creating TWO different resurrections – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.  His argument on the word “many” to make this distinction falls flat as David Green addressed in our book,

“Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2:  The word is not used in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.”  The angel simply referred to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV).  No inference can be made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only a portion of the dead.  Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the “many” in Daniel 12:2 referred to the whole company of all the dead from Adam to the Last Day.” (House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…, p. 178).

Unlike Gentry (and Jordan below) Kayser believes that there was a PHYSICAL resurrection of the OT dead and those who died in Christ in the events of AD 70.  Amazing how Josephus and Roman historians missed this PHYSICAL event — so many decaying corpses coming out of their literal graveyards in AD 70!

James Jordan who is a Partial Preterist also writes the following on the resurrection of Daniel 12 being fulfilled by AD 70 and comes the closest to the truth:

“The resurrection of [Dan. 12:2] seems to connect to the evangelistic and teaching ministry spoken of in verse 3; thus, it is some kind of historical resurrection that is spoken of, a resurrectional event in this world, in our history.”  Daniel 12:2 tells us that in the days of Jesus the nation will undergo a last spiritual resurrection…” “Thus, a resurrection of Israel is in view..”.

The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event,…”

What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom, he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.” (James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 2007), pp. 618-21, 628).

Let’s now harmonize “Orthodox Partial Preterism” on the Resurrection and Judgment of Daniel 12:

1).  There is an “already and not yet” or progressive process before the “end” “time of the end” “hour of the end” of this resurrection.

2).  It is Israel’s last spiritual resurrection where her physical old covenant corporate body is transformed into or rises into the new covenant corporate spiritual body of the Church in AD 70.

3). This resurrection resulted in the OT dead one’s being raised out of Abraham’s bosom/Hades to inherit eternal life and God’s presence in AD 70.

Questions on Daniel 12 for the authors of this letter to answer:

Of course, neither Gentry nor Jordan give any kind of full exegesis of Daniel 12.  We are left with such question as the following:

1).  On what exegetical grounds does Gentry give this eschatological “not yet” judgment and resurrection of the dead event TWO “ends” or TWO “appointed” / “decreed” (LXX) end time periods when the text only gives it ONE?

2).  Why won’t Gentry agree with Jordan that the passage says that Daniel himself would be raised at this ONE “end” event and how was he personally raised at the “end” of the Jewish age in AD 70 (v. 13)?

3).  When the NT cites or refers to the resurrection of Dan. 12, how are we to determine which is the spiritual resurrection “end” time event in AD 70 and which one is the alleged physical “end” of world history event?

4).  Why wasn’t there any admission here that some Jews before Jesus and in His day believed there would be a spiritual resurrection out of Hades (as Jordan is teaching) at the end of their old covenant Mosaic age and that it would be within 40 years after Messiah would be “cut off”?  Seems like if you are going to come up with a view not taught in the early church fathers, you might want to develop a “historical context” for it?

5).  Why didn’t Gentry and Jordan publicly confess that Full Preterism has been challenging them on their inconsistencies and cherry-picking of Daniel 12:2-3 and that they needed to respond but ducked addressing this issue for decades?

6).  Why didn’t they cite or admit that the spiritual resurrection position they are giving Daniel 12 – they got from being challenged by Full Preterists and that it is actually our view?  And if not, again, when and where did any church father teach Daniel 12:2-3, 13 was a spiritual resurrection fulfilled in AD 70?

7). When and who made this spiritual resurrection of Daniel 12 an “orthodox” position and with what authority did they do so?  Clearly some of the authors of the letter do not believe it is “orthodox.”  And some Partial Preterists won’t answer the public and private questions/challenges that verse 7 brings — which connects the “tribulation” (which they claim was fulfilled in AD 70) and “time of the end” with the resurrection (ex. Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin, and James White – please “answer” this exegetical challenge).

Acts 17:31YLT:

Recently there has been some debate and interaction between Gary DeMar and Ken Gentry on the translation of the Greek word mello (cf. Gary DeMar, How Should the Greek Word ‘Mello’ be Translated? https://americanvision.org/posts/how-should-the-greek-word-mello-be-translated/?fbclid=IwAR0tzWk2fvZ2As8Y-u8oRejYWDjsYwn3E3YXL_GEhmbHK6Z9_sR3WX9Ohz8).

In this dispute on Facebook and elsewhere, Acts 17:31YLT has also been brought up as a creedal text and some of the authors of this letter have challenged the Full Preterist position and even Gary with “how was the Roman world ‘about to be’ judged in AD 70”?  But of course, this is the very position of one of the authors of the letter!  Philip G. Kayser writes this of mello in Acts 17:31,

“So where do we get the idea that there would be an imminent resurrection in AD 70? It’s implied in the word firstfruits. If the AD 30 resurrection is a firstfruits resurrection, then the rest of the barley harvest should shortly happen.

Second, the next subpoint gives a boatload of Scriptures which speaks of an imminent judgment against Jerusalem, connected with an imminent resurrection that was about to happen, and an imminent age that was about to begin. Unfortunately, the Greek word μέλλω in each of those verses is sometimes translated away [which is what Gentry has sought to do seeing the resurrection train coming – MJS]. But that Greek word always refers to something that is about to happen. How do premils handle these verses? Well, they use them to prove that the Second Coming is about to happen and has been about to happen for the last 2000 years. Well, 2000 years after those Scriptures were written is not something that is about to happen. I won’t take the time to go through the whole long list of Scriptures that have the Greek word μέλλω, but each of those references in your outline show some massive changes that would happen soon in AD 70. For now I want to focus on the verses that speak of a resurrection that was about to happen, since that is the one that so many people miss.

Acts 17:31 speaks about a resurrection. It says, “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge [And the Greek word is μέλλω – “is about to judge” the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Why would Christ’s resurrection be a guarantee of imminent judgment? Because Daniel connects judgment against Israel with resurrection. And we will look at the Daniel passage in a moment.

So, Christ’s resurrection was a downpayment or an assurance (a firstfruits, so to speak) that guaranteed that there was about to be a judgment day with another resurrection. In terms of the barley harvest imagery that the Jews were familiar with, that would make sense because Christ’s firstfruits resurrection was the assurance of the rest of the barley harvest.” (Philip G. Kayser, Barley Harvest, https://kaysercommentary.com/Sermons/New%20Testament/Revelation/Revelation%2011/Revelation%2011_11-14.md?fbclid=IwAR3FVoxOgmAD5zTylIPuyGGpSLqLpTQ3LzPn5yKuTkVf7BGbS-7R19xDZfc).

So, the “appointed” or “decreed” “time” of the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:2-4 (LXX) and Acts 17:31 was “about to be” fulfilled in the lifetime of Paul’s audience and it was fulfilled in AD 70.  Daniel 12 nor the NT places TWO eschatological “appointed” or “decreed” time(s), just ONE and it is imminently to be fulfilled in AD 70 and is inseparably connected to the “hope of the twelve tribes of Israel” and to her destruction and judgment.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 17:31YLT:

How many “appointed” “decreed” “hour of the end” judgments and resurrections are there in Daniel 12:1-7 and Acts 17:31YLT?  Was only one “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 or not?  And if not “where is your work” to prove that?  How many of you are buying that the NT is teaching TWO eschatological harvests and judgments of the living and dead – one imminent in AD 70 and one at the end of world history?  Is that “creedal” and “orthodox”?

What if a combination of the authors of the letter are correct – the more classic Amillennial view is correct in that this is just ONE divinely “appointed” “end” or “end of the age” judgment and resurrection of the dead event for the righteous and unrighteous and Partial Preterism is correct in that it was “about to be” fulfilled at the divinely appointed end of the old covenant or Jewish age in AD 70?  Instead of the authors of this letter gnashing their teeth at DeMar and Full Preterism, maybe they should spend more time trying to reconcile their MAJOR differences on key texts like these instead of trying to condemn people to hell for piecing their mess together into a consistent, logical and exegetical system?  Just a thought.

Acts 24:15YLT:

Kayser again a co-signer of the letter writes of mello on this crucial passage,

“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15)

The word “will be” is the Greek word μέλλω which refers to something very very near. It is more literally translated “that there is about to be a resurrection of the dead.” Well, he said that about ten years before the AD 70 resurrection, so it was literally true. Look down at verse 25 where μέλλω occurs again.

Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come [literally, the judgment about to come], Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” (v. 25)

It was the very imminence of this judgment that made Felix afraid.” (Ibid.)

There are other issues in Acts 24:14-15YLT; Acts 26; and Acts 28 whereby Paul states that his resurrection “hope” only comes from the OT “Law and the Prophets” and it was the ONE “hope” of the “twelve tribes of Israel.”  Post AD 70 there are no longer any ethnic, covenantal or national “twelve tribes of Israel.”  Christ sent the Roman armies to burn their genealogical records in the Temple and took the Kingdom from them and gave it to the Nation of the Church which bears forth fruit today (Mt. 21:43-45).  That’s why when Gary DeMar debated Zionist Jew Dr. Michael Brown and asked him what Tribe he was from he said, “I THINK I’m from Judah.”  Lol.  Jordan also demonstrates there are no ethnic covenantal Jews post AD 70 in his work on Romans 11 and the salvation of “all Israel.”

And the NT only knows of ONE eschatological “hope” of the parousia and resurrection.  These Partial Preterists that have an eschatological “hope” and “resurrection” in AD 70 and then another one at the end of time are twisting the Scriptures as even any good Amillennialist will agree with in condemning the Partial Preterist TWO comings, TWO judgments and resurrection – TWO “hopes” nonsense.

In an article on Acts 24:15 on his site Gentry cites BDAG as support that mello should not be translated as “about to be” here but conveniently does not share with you that BDAG does translate mello as “about to be” in our next key passage – Romans 8:18-23YLT.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 24:15YLT:

How many judgments and resurrections of righteous and unrighteous are there according to Daniel 12:2-7, 17 and Acts 24:15YLT?  If only one at the “end of world history” please show your work!  If TWO – one in AD 70 and one at the end of world history – show your work.  If many of you only see ONE consummative “end” for this judgment and resurrection, then why does one of the signers teach it was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70?  Ken, since you admit there was a spiritual resurrection of the just and unjust of Daniel 12:2-3 in AD 70 PROVE without a shadow of doubt that Paul in Acts 24:15YLT is not referring to THAT AD 70 resurrection – but the alleged “end of world history” one. Contextually in Acts 24; 26 and 28 this judgment and resurrection of the dead event is connected to the ONE “hope” of the “twelve tribes of Israel” and is not referring to “the end of world history.”  Again, the OT context of Daniel 12 and historical context of Acts itself limits this judgment and resurrection of the just and unjust to “about to” take place when there were ethnic and covenantal “tribes of Israel” and just before Jerusalems judgment in the events of AD 67 – AD 70. There is no Futurist “end of world history” judgment and resurrection case here either.  Next.

Romans 8:18-23YLT:

The bold co-signer of this Philip Kayser again writes of mello in this key passage,

“Turn next to Romans 8:18. The whole context is the reversal of every facet of the curse, including the resurrection of our bodies, which in verse 23 Paul calls the “redemption of our bodies.” But I want you to notice the use of the word μέλλω in verse 18.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be [literally, “which is about to be”] revealed in us. (v. 18)

In context Paul is saying that this glory is the redemption of our bodies. That glory is about to be revealed in us. Paul had already revealed that he would die prior to Christ’s coming in AD 70, so he was about to be raised in AD 70.” (Ibid.).

Here is a proper and complete exegesis of Romans 8:18-23YLT since Kayser leaves so many exegetical questions unanswered:

Why has Kenneth Gentry retracted his comments of when mello is used in the aorist infinitive it “surely means” “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70?  It’s because Paul’s theology in Romans 5–8:23 describes the same resurrection and overcoming of “THE Sin,” “THE Death,” and “THE Law” of 1 Corinthians 15. It is also the “appointed time” and “redemption” of Luke 21 and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 which both men believe were fulfilled in AD 70.

Paul’s “ALREADY” Resurrection in Romans 6:

Rms. 6:3-4YLT/NRV/MNC: “are ye ignorant that we, as many as were baptized [that is united/planted through faith not water] to Christ Jesus, to his death were baptized? With him through the baptism to the death [spiritual], that even as Christ was raised up out of the dead through the glory of the Father, so also, we in newness of life might walk [or proceed in a new state of life – MNC]. The PROCESS of resurrection & overcoming Adamic “THE Death” had begun.  The uniting into Christ’s “death” was spiritual and “also” being raised with Him and walking in the newness of His resurrection had begun and was spiritual.

Paul’s “Not Yet” Resurrection in Romans 6:

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

Rms. 6:8:  “And if we died with Christ [to THE sin of Adam], we believe that we also shall [future] live with him [that is be accepted & enjoy His presence forever at His coming],”

Rms. 6:10YLT/AB/GNT:  “for in that he [Christ] died, to THE sin he died once, and in that he liveth, He lives to God [in unbroken fellowship w/ Him].

A uniting into the death and resurrection of Christ in these texts are spiritual and have to do with being in or living in unbroken fellowship with God.

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

Here Paul is portraying himself as being under Torah “in the flesh” before his conversion or is personifying himself as being in the corporate body of Adam and or Israel being under “THE Law.” For those in this corporate body, the Law of Moses only served to stir up or magnify the presence of “THE sin” and produced spiritual death or the awareness of being in the state of spiritual death.

Rms. 8:18-22YLT: For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory about to be revealed in us; for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God; for to vanity was the creation made subject — not of its will, but because of Him who did subject [it] — in hope, that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now.  And not only [so], but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting — the redemption [resurrection] of our body;”

1). What time is it?—”…the sufferings of this present time (Greek kairos) or should be understood or translated – “the [now eschatological] appointed time…” man has been waiting for and the Prophets predicted has arrive (similarly 1 Pet. 1:1-12).

This is not kronos which means a duration of chronological time, but rather kairos meaning God’s “appointed time” “when things come to a head, a crisis or consummation.” How and where does Jesus use kairios that is related to Paul’s eschatology here in Romans?

Luke 21:8, 27-28: “For many will come in my name, saying, “I am he!’ and, “The [kairios or appointed time of “redemption” v. 28] is at hand!’ Do not go after them.” Why? Because…

Mrk. 13:10/16:15: “The gospel MUST FIRST be preached to “ALL NATIONS” or “TO THE WHOLE CREATION (Greek kitisis = Rms. 8:19-23).

How does Paul use kairos elsewhere in Romans?

Rms. 13:11-12: Besides this you know the [kairos or appointed] time, that the hour [that is “the hour/time of the end” of Dan. 12:1-4 OG LXX] has come…for you to wake from sleep [that is to “wake from the sleep” or enter into the fulfillment of the resurrection of Dan. 12:2-3]. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night [of the OC age] is far gone; the day [of the NC age of resurrection] is at hand.

Since the Gentile and Jewish “creation” had all heard the gospel, they and Paul knew they had entered into the eschatological “appointed time” of “redemption” or “to awake from the sleep” Jesus and Daniel prophesied. Therefore, Paul taught with inspired certainty that this “appointed time” was “at hand” or “about to be” or “soon to be” fulfilled by AD 70.

2). Contextually, what is the “glory” “about to be revealed” (v. 18)?

A). The immediate and previous context in (v. 17) makes it clear– “…in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”

This is what Paul taught earlier in Rms. 6:5 – “if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall be united with Him in a resurrection like His.”  The resurrection of Christ here results in unbroken fellowship with the Father (v. 10) and so they too would “live with Him” (v.8).  Resurrection = Presence of God restored.  The context following our verse also makes it clear (vss. 19-23):  They are waiting for the revealing of the adoption as sons or the glory of the children of God, the liberation of the creation, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 19-23).

3). Where is this glory to be revealed (v. 18) and what is this unseen hope of (v. 24)? “…in us.”

 Paul writes elsewhere:

Cols. 1:27: “to whom God has willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,”

Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32: When Christ would come from heaven in His contemporary “this generation” He and the kingdom would come in GLORY and power and be “WITHIN” His people and no one would be able to say “see here” or “see there.”

This was a “hope” “about to be” realized in AD 70 not the “sick” and 2,000 plus years and counting physical “hope” of Futurism (Prov. 13:12).

4). When would this eschatological “waiting” in (vss. 19-23) for the “glory” in them to be revealed (v. 18)? It was “about to be revealed” or “soon to be revealed” in AD 70.

Paul here uses the Greek word mello in the aorist infinitive. Gentry writes of John’s use of mello in the aorist infinitive in Rev. 1:19:

“…this term means “be on the point of, be about to.” According to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, Revelation 1:19 reads: “Write the things that thou hast seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to come [mello] …after these things.” The leading interlinear versions of the New Testament concur. This is surely the proper translation of the verse. …when used with the aorist infinitive — as in Revelation 1:19 — the word’s preponderate usage and preferred meaning is: “be on the point of, be about to. The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in the Rev. 3:10. Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion. (Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Beast of Revelation, (First Edition, Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 23–24, 141-142, emphasis MJS).

John Lightfoot is Gentry and DeMar’s favorite Partial Preterist theologian and yet he understands Rms. 8:18-23 in the following Full Preterist manner:

John Lightfoot on “creation”:

He identifies the “creation” of Rms. 8 with the gospel having been preached to “every creature” by AD 70 according to Mrk. 16:15 and Cols. 1:23. He points out the Jews understood the term to be, “…applied to the Gentiles…,” and that the OT prophets predicted the “…gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles…”

John Lightfoot on vanity, bondage & corruption:

After citing Rms. 1:21; Ephs. 4:17; and 1 Cor. 3:20; 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:33 where these terms are referring to the inner sin of man he writes,

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state [of the planet], as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind.” The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.” (John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157, 158-159)

John Lightfoot on the “Redemption of the Body”:

“And of the same body [in context he is referring to the corporate Jew/Gentile mystical body of Christ just mentioned in Eph. 4:13] is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, than ‘the Gentile or heathen world’: not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God, but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption, to wit, the adoption of our [corporate] body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our [corporate] mystical [Jew / Gentile] body. (John Lightfoot, Sermon on “Many Mansions,” cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/vol06.pdf… pp. 322-323).

Major Premise: The context makes it clear that the eschatological appointed time of the liberation of creation, the glory of the children of God, the adoption of the sons of God and the resurrection of Daniel or redemption of the body would all be fulfilled together when the glory would be revealed in Rms. 8:18.

Minor Premise: Since Paul uses the Greek word mello in the aorist infinitive, the glory was “about to be revealed in” the Church in AD 70 [Gary DeMar / Philip Kayser / Gentry’s appeals to BDAG  ]. The creation here is the creation of men being delivered from the effects of inner sin and has nothing to do with the planet earth being transformed or redeemed [John Lightfoot].

Conclusion: The liberation of creation, the adoption and revealing of the sons in glory, and the redemption of the body was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70. At Christ’s “at hand” parousia to close the dark OC age in AD 70, the corporate Body of the Church has been set free or has arisen from the condemning corporate body of Adam / Moses and thus from The Sin, The Death & The Law. In short, the resurrection & deliverance of Rms. 5–8:23YLT is the resurrection & deliverance of 1 Cor. 15 from The Sin, The Death & The Law—-but in Romans it was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 and was (Rms. 8:18-23YLT)!  And in 1 Cor. 15 Paul expected it to take place within the lifetime of those in Corinth – “we shall not all sleep…”.

There are many parallels between Romans 8 and Luke 17:20-37 and the Olivet Discourse.  Not only that, but the eschatological second exodus theme is present.  This is powerful when considering the “historical Jewish context” of some of the Jewish who believed there would be another 40 years “generation” “second exodus” between their old covenant “this age” and the Messianic or new covenant “age about to come”:

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

Questions for the signers of the letter on Romans 8:18-23YLT / Romans 13:11-12:

Here we have the same exegetical issues as with Daniel 12:1-4 and its connection with Acts 17:31YLT and Acts 24:15YLT.  For Paul there was only ONE “hope” “appointed” or “decreed” time of fulfillment of the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12 and it was “at hand” and “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70.  Is Lightfoot’s view that the “creation” of Romans 8 is the “creation of men” and not referring to the planet “orthodox” to believe?  If not, why not?

1 Thessalonians 1:10:

Like in Acts 17:31YLT, Philip Kayser interprets Paul discussing Christ coming from heaven as something to be fulfilled “soon” in AD 70 and the “wrath” associated with His coming was about to fall upon “Israel and Rome” just as he took the judgment “about to” come upon the “world” of the Jews and Rome in Acts 17:31YLT:

“The last verse of chapter 1 introduces a theme that will be repeated throughout the book – that these saints were eagerly waiting for Jesus to come and to do something soon. He isn’t talking about people 2000 years later. He is talking about these newly converted Thessalonians whom he has taught “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Which wrath to come? Well, let’s jump ahead to 2:16. Speaking of the Jews who killed Jesus and persecuted Paul, it says, “forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.” It was about to fall. Though Paul had instructed these Christians that they would have to endure the Great Tribulation, none of them would have to endure God’s great wrath that was about to be poured out upon both Israel and Rome. But more on that when we get to chapter 4. He is not talking here (in chapter 1:10) about Christ’s coming at the end of history. He is talking about the imminent coming Jesus had promised in Matthew 24 that would happen within that generation. It was something to wait expectantly for during the first century. Mounce says that that word “wait” means to expect it. It is a waiting with an expectation that it is about to happen. It’s imminent. They will experience it.” (Kayser, 1 Thessalonians).

1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23:

We must continue with the wonderful admissions that Mr. Philip Kayser has provided for us to answer these three questions the authors of this letter have challenged Mr. DeMar with and indirectly have challenged Full Preterism with over the years. Let’s be clear – the authors of this letter and their Partial Preterist system has conceded that the coming or parousia of Christ in Mt. 24:27-31; 25:31; 1 Thess. 4-5; and 1 Cor. 15:23 WAS fulfilled in AD 70 and everyone is supposed to just look the other way as they want to hypocritically declare we are “damanable heretics” for agreeing with these statements and then trying to harmonize them with the work of the Spirit or the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation that has been performed through the rest of the Reformed Church (the classic Amillennial position) — and how they have interpreted these texts and the “parallels” they acknowledge.  Nothing to see here folks – keep moving!

1 Thess. 4:16-17:

Kayser teaches that,

“…verse 16 tells us what happens to the bodies of those who died prior to AD 70 – that body and soul they go to heaven, while verse 17 tells us what happens to the souls of those who die after AD 70, and that he doesn’t deal with their bodies till a brief statement in chapter 5.” (Ibid.)

And,

“…I believe this particular passage speaks of the very visible appearing of Christ with His angelic armies and chariots that came against Jerusalem. This is the coming referred to in the first half of Matthew 24, where Jesus said that He would come before that generation passed away. This is the perfect answer to liberals.” (Ibid.)

While we appreciate the honesty that this parousia of Christ was fulfilled in AD 70, the rest of Kayser’s exegesis and comments are an epic historical train wreck that every school of eschatology can destroy let alone “liberals.”  Here is a Partial Preterist that believes the OT dead ones and those who died in Christ prior to AD 70 were physically and biologically raised in AD 70 and everyone missed it and didn’t record such an event?!?  Now he claims he disagrees with other Preterists on a physical “rapture” of the living in AD 70 such as Ed Stevens, Milton Terry, Stuart Russell, Mike Bull, etc… (all of whom I see as defending Partial Preterism – a physical fulfillment – Full Preterism is “defined on BOTH the timing and NATURE [spiritual] of fulfillment”).  But if you add in the physical rapture view of the Partial Preterists in AD 70, then you have the dead and the living OT and NT saints coming out of graveyards and flying into the sky and no one noticed and recorded it?!?  No, I’m afraid this is not the “perfect solution to the liberals.”  Lol.

But the Full Preterist view does answer the skeptics argument perfectly because Jesus taught that when He was revealed from heaven at His coming and arrival of the Kingdom, one would not be able to say, “see here or see there” because the Kingdom would be revealed spiritually “within” the heart of a person (Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32).  Since Jesus taught one wouldn’t be able to physically see the event because it would be spiritually fulfilled within a person, and the resurrection involved souls/spirits being raised out of Hades in AD 70, then the liberal argument – “Jesus and the NT authors promised it would be physically fulfilled “soon” in their generation BUT it didn’t happen, so Jesus is a false prophet and the Bible is not inspired” — has no validity!

Another problem for Philip Kayser is that he takes the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Revelation 1:7 / Acts 1:11 as a physically and bodily seen – that is a five foot eight Jesus coming on a physical cloud.  If Paul had taught the Thessalonians and other churches that Christ’s coming on the clouds was going to be physically seen and the resurrection of the dead ones and their beloved brethren in Christ whom had died would be raised physically and biologically – then this makes no sense of how Paul argued in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 and 2 Timothy 2:17-18 concerning those that were teaching that the coming of Christ and resurrection had “already” been fulfilled.  If these were physically seen events all Paul would have ad to say to refute these errors would have been, “how could you believe our Lord’s coming and the resurrection of the dead event has already been fulfilled – did you physically see Christ bodily on a cloud and have the graveyards been emptied”?  But since orthodox Partial Preterism admits Paul was teaching there was a spiritual coming of Christ and a spiritual resurrection of the dead event that would imminently occur in AD 70, Paul’s response to this error in not correcting the nature of it and only the timing – makes perfect sense.

Additional problems for Kayser is that he says the coming of the Lord will only affect and raise the dead.  The living are only “caught up” at their deaths.  This is not consistent with 1 Corinthians 15 in that it is at the coming of the Lord or “at the last trumpet sound” that both the dead and the living will be raised and “changed” at “the twinkling of an eye” (vss. 51-52).  So while we do agree that the living that experience Christ’s coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 will be alive on earth post AD 70 [not physically “raptured” off the planet], both 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 being in harmony with each other and Luke 17:20-27/Lk. 21:27-32 –  teach there will be an inner and spiritual transformation of being “caught away” or “changed” the living undergo in inheriting the Kingdom at His parousia.

Since this is an important passage let me briefly exegete it.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” (v. 16)

How had God described His “coming down from heaven” to “reveal Himself” (2 Thess. 2:7) and “rescue” (1 Thess. 1:10) His people being persecuted in the past?  Notice how David describes God coming down from heaven to rescue him from his enemies:

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.  The earth trembled and quaked (literally?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (literally?); they trembled because he was angry.  Smoke rose from his nostrils (literally?); consuming fire came from his mouth (remember 2 Thess. 1:7 – Jesus is “revealed from heaven in blazing fire…”), burning coals blazed out of it.  He parted the heavens and came down (literally?); dark clouds were under his feet.  He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.  He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.  Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced (literally?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning.  The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal voice?).  He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare (literally?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.  He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me” (Ps. 18:6-17).

Christ is coming here in 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 as God had come from heaven and on the clouds in the OT, as we discussed in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse.  If the Church is willing to admit that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually with Jesus, describing His coming using common apocalyptic language of the prophets, and the Church is willing to admit that Paul’s teaching of Christ’s coming here in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is the same event as described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25, THEN it is no stretch to understand that Paul likewise is using common apocalyptic language of the prophets and that 1 Thessalonians 4-5 was also fulfilled in AD 70 just as Matthew 24-25 was.

In fact, NT Wright comes very close to admitting that all of the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is common apocalyptic language:

“Unfortunately, it [the language of 1 Thess. 4:16] is also a highly contentious passage, being used with astonishing literalness in popular fundamentalism and critical scholarship alike to suggest that Paul envisaged Christians flying around in mid-air on clouds.  The multiple apocalyptic resonances of the passage on the one hand, and its glorious mixed metaphors on the other, make this interpretation highly unlikely.” (N.T. Wright, THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 3 (Minneapolis, MN: 2003), 215, emphasis MJS)

We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Wright in that Paul is using common apocalyptic language.  Yet it is not figurative language of a physical resurrection at the end of world history, but rather figurative language of a spiritual resurrection by which souls are raised out of Hades into God’s presence, and of God’s presence “meeting” the living within their hearts while on earth (cf. Lk. 17:20-37).  If it is agreed by the Partial Preterist that the language of Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31 is describing Christ’s non-literal coming, on non-literal clouds, with a non-literal trumpet sound, and that the “gathering” is an inward resurrection of giving eternal life that the gospel produces (no biological change), while others correctly see Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 to be the same event, then we suggest the “catching away” for the living is not into physical clouds (as Wright admits), but is God producing the consummative giving of His presence and of eternal life to His saints while here on earth.

OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Other than the trumpet gathering and resurrection of Isaiah 27:12-13 (which I have addressed already), G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect this coming of the Lord “from heaven” with Isaiah 2:10-12’s “in that day”, “Day of the Lord” judgment:

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

But they also connect 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 with Isaiah 2, which reads:

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

On this passage, Beale and Carson write,

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

So, since both 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 fulfill the coming of the Lord “from heaven” in the judgment found in Isaiah 2, let me remind the reader that Jesus appeals to this same OT passage and understands it to be fulfilled by AD 70:

“And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him.  But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us” (from Isa. 2:19 and Hos. 10:8) (Lk. 23:27-30).

There’s a consensus among the commentators that this passage was fulfilled in God’s judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.  We have found plenty of exegetical evidence that Paul too identifies the Lord coming in the judgment of Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled by AD 70.  Even John in Revelation 6:15-17 appeals to the coming of the Lord in His wrath in Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled “in a very little while” to avenge the first century martyrs in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 6:11-17).

Did Christ come from heaven to deliver and give “relief” to the first century Thessalonians from their persecutors and did God render wrath upon those persecutors in AD 70 or not (2 Thess. 1:7-9)?  The answer is clearly “yes.”  Notice the promise was NOT – “someday thousands of years in the future I will give you relief [at a time you won’t need it] when I come from heaven and destroy your enemies.”

Another important point to make on 1 Thess. 1:7-10 is that one of the signers of this letter just came up with a completely NEW (never before seen in the history of the church) exegesis of 2 Thess. 1.  Sam Frost claims the “coming” or “parousia” here is actually Christ’s ascension event!

“…with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (v. 16)

There is definitely a chronological order, with the dead rising first and then the gathering, catching away or change for the living taking place second.  Even Jesus addresses the dead first in John 11:

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

We agree with the scholarship of G.K. Beale who correctly understands the gathering of the elect at the end of the age in Matthew 24:3, 30-31 in his commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians as the resurrection event:

“Paul’s particular combination of references from Matthew 24 shows that he interprets the whole of the Matthean text as referring to woes preceding the final coming of Christ (and though Matthew does not explicitly mention the idea of resurrection, he implies it in the phrase “gather his elect” in 24:31, which implies the gathering of all believers, both living and dead).” (Beale, Ibid., 1-2 Thessalonians, 138, emphasis MJS)

However, this creates a “thorny problem” for Beale when he begins leaning in the direction of a Partial Preterism in a more recent work where he writes:

“…it is likely better to see [Matt. 24:30]…fulfilled not at the very end of history but rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment, using the Roman armies as his agent.” (Beale, Ibid., A New Testament Biblical Theology the Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New, 369)

Beale admits, at least indirectly, that holding to both of these views he has defended creates a “thorny problem” for him that deserves “further study” to resolve.  I gave him a copy of our second edition of HD and told him we did the “further study” and our exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 solves the “thorny problem” that he has created for himself.  But Beale’s “thorny problem” is simply a microcosm of the problem that the Futurist Church has as a whole.

“Gathered up” (Greek Harpazo) (v. 17)

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up,” thus giving it a theological and parallel connection to the eschatological gathering of Matthew 13:39-43, Matthew 24:30-31 & 2 Thessalonians 2:1.  Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.”

Harpazo means to “take one’s plunder openly and violently, catch or snatch away.” Sometimes it is addressing someone being pulled, snatched away or rescued by someone from an enemy.  But is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 discussing an inward spiritual rescuing into Christ’s glory cloud presence, or an outward and upward catching away into physical clouds in the sky and a biological change?

Here are some very clear uses of harpazo being an inward spiritual event:

1). Matthew 12:29 – Satan was “bound” and Christ was “carrying away” (harpazo) his plunder, which were people that were rightfully His who were held captive by Satan and demons.  But how was He doing this?  It was by casting out demons (an inward spiritual reality), and in some cases actually giving faith to these individuals to follow him (again an inward spiritual reality).

2). Matthew 11:12 – “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing (Christ casting out demons openly and publicly taking Satan’s plunder), and (in return) the forceful men (believers) lay hold of it” (harpazo – through faith, vigor, power, and determination in light of present persecution – such as in the case of John).  People were violently laying hold of the kingdom through having faith (a spiritual and inward reality).

3). Matthew 13:19 – In the parable of the sower, the wicked one comes and snatches away (harpazo) what was sown in his heart (again, an inner spiritual reality).

4). John 10:12 – The wolf (Pharisees, sons of Satan) sought to snatch (harpazo) and scatter the sheep/ people of Israel.  How did the Pharisees seek to “snatch” and “scatter” the Jews from following Jesus?  The first phase involved seeking to deceive them in their hearts and minds (an inward snatching) by convincing them that He was not the Christ by perverting the Scriptures and accusing Him of having a demon, etc.  The second phase was a physical excommunication or scattering of Christians from their synagogues.

5). John 10:28-29 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus cannot be “snatched” (harpazo) out of the Father’s hand.  That is, he cannot be influenced (snatched inwardly) in his or her mind and heart to leave God.  Like Peter, “Where else can we go, Lord? You alone have the words to eternal life.”  The gift of faith is spiritually preserved in the heart and soul of the believer.  He cannot be deceived to the point of committing the sin unto death (1 Jn. 3:9). Again, this is an inner spiritual reality of the heart/mind/soul of man.

6). Acts 8:39 – This simply means that the Holy Spirit directed Philip in His heart and mind (inwardly) to go elsewhere and the Eunuch did not see him again.  There’s nothing in the text to support the idea that Philip was “raptured” into the atmosphere and was then instantly dropped off miles and miles away from where he was.

The eschatological “already” of the inward kingdom gathering and catching away was spiritual, and the eschatological “gathering” and “catching away” in the kingdom at Christ’s return would also be a spiritual event in AD 70.  As we noted in our exegesis of Luke 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32, Jesus said when that the kingdom would come at His return (to gather all His elect Mt. 24:31), it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes.

The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words, “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds…” (v. 17)

As I have demonstrated thus far in our study of Christ coming on the clouds in the Olivet Discourse and God coming on the clouds in the OT, this is common apocalyptic language and not referring to physical clouds we see in the sky.

To “meet” the Lord… (v. 17)

This Greek word, to “meet,” is wedding language and is only used twice in the NT – here and also in the wedding motif that Jesus develops in Matthew 25:1-13 (which Partial Preterists correctly teach was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70).

In Jewish betrothals and weddings, the groomsmen would go ahead of the groom and blow a trumpet at a time the virgin and her bridesmaids were not expecting.  Once at the virgin’s father’s house, it was customary for the groom to consummate his marriage sexually there before taking her to his father’s house where they would continue consummating the union for seven days and having the wedding feast.

This Greek word for “meet” was also often used of a king or dignitary coming to make his home in a city which his empire or kingdom had conquered or was about to conquer.  On the news of the imminent coming of the king or dignitary, at the sound of a trumpet the members of the city would go out of the city and “meet” him and escort him back to their home/town.  The king’s presence was established WHERE the people already lived. Again, the imagery does not support a literal “rapture” of people off of planet earth, but rather of God coming to rule and reign in the hearts of His people where they are – living on planet earth.

It is at the wedding feast that the resurrection and overcoming of death is fulfilled per Isaiah 25:6-9 and yet Partial Preterists such as Gentry, Wilson, Durbin, and now White tell us that the eschatological divorce of old covenant Israel was fulfilled in AD 70 and the eschatological marriage to the Church was also fulfilled by AD 70.  You can’t have the feast without the wedding and you can’t have the resurrection and overcoming of “the death” without the wedding and feast.  If the “in that day” wedding and feast of Isaiah 25:6-9 was fulfilled in AD 70 per Partial Preterism and if the parousia of 1 Corinthians 15:23 was imminently fulfilled in the lifetime of some of the Corinthians as Partial Preterism maintains, then the resurrection event and overcoming of “the death” of 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This is not complicated.  But you can begin to see WHY these men have to shut DeMar up from encouraging others to simply “study” and ask questions.  When people start asking them questions – they look bad and that can’t be tolerated.

“…in the air” (v. 17)

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)?  The Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines it as: “From ‘aemi,” to breath unconsciously, to respire.  By analogy, to blow.  The air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air.”

So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.

The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains lists Eph 2:2, 1 Thess. 4:17, and Rev. 16:17 in its definition of eros as meaning “the space inhabited and controlled by [spiritual] powers.”

The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says of the “air” in Ephesians 2:2 – “…Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons.”

Ephesians 2 refers to Satan as the “prince and power of the AER.”  He dwelt in the spiritual realm which extended to the souls of men.  The war we see Christ and Satan fighting in the NT is for the spiritual condition of men – within their hearts and minds.  Paul goes on to say that Satan “now works in the children of disobedience.”  And consistently Jesus defines His kingdom as something that He is setting up “in” and “within” men, and transforming them into His image spiritually.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possess” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being.  Satan used the old covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air” – within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous selfrighteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (cf. 2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rom. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His own realm (cf. Eph. 2:1-10).  Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind when He said, “It is finished” (Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15)!

The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men were all conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70 for those who put their faith in Him.

Had Paul meant to clearly communicate that believers would physically fly off the planet into the sky and atmosphere above, he would have used the Greek word “ouranos,” which clearly states this as its meaning.

The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence, “within” us where we function as His Most Holy Place dwelling and throne through which He rules the nations.  This is what we also see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence within His Church here.

Let me give further evidence not only that there will not be an end-of-world-history physical rapture of Christians off the planet, but likewise there was not a biological rapture or change of the living in AD 70.

1). Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” (2 Thess. 2:2) by simply saying, “Aren’t you still here and the dead still in their graves? Obviously, He has not come!”  But since Paul did not hold to the physical rapture view or a literal resurrection attended by Christ’s Parousia, he did not argue this way.  Obviously, Paul understood the Lord’s coming to be a spiritual and unseen event as our Lord taught (Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32), which was consistent with the “Day of the Lord” language of the prophets in the OT.

2). The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15, where Isaiah describes Christian survivors (66:19) who are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the new creation / new covenant age.

3). As we have seen in our exegesis of Mark 8:38-9:1, the Greek is different than Matthew 16:27-28 and actually teaches that those who were alive to witness Christ’s coming would be able to look back (while still alive on earth) on the historical events of Him coming in power and great glory in the destruction of Jerusalem and thus know that He and His kingdom had “already come.”

4). After Christ and the Father come and make their home (dwelling – mone – John 14:2, 23) within the believer, they were told, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe” (14:29).  If they were literally raptured, I don’t think they would need to be reminded or exhorted to believe that it had been fulfilled!  These words make more sense if it was a spiritual fulfillment that could not be seen with the physical eyes, and therefore it would take faith to believe that the Father and the Son had set up their presence within them.

5). Jesus of course directly promised to not remove the Church off of planet earth (John 17:15).  Church history tells us that Christians were not raptured, but that they instead fled to Pella (in modern day Jordan). Historically, Pella is one of the first known Christian churches.  Church history tells us that the Apostle John was still alive during Domitian’s reign in the mid-AD 90’s and that Timothy, Titus, and Luke lived beyond AD 70.

There is simply no exegetical evidence of a physical rapture at Christ’s coming in AD 70 or some imagined one at the end of world history.  The physical rapture view is probably one of the greatest scams perpetrated upon the Church.  It makes the sleeping giant of the Evangelical Church numb to getting involved in our culture and politics because they expect things to simply get worse so that they can get “raptured” just before it gets really bad.  After all, “you don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.”  We MUST get involved in our politics and be the salt and light of this great country and that of the world!

Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry on Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5   

Gary posted a parallel chart of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 by Amillennialist G.K. Beale on his Facebook wall and wrote the following:

“If you believe like I do that at least Matthew 24:1-34 was fulfilled in the leadup to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (see my book ‘Last Days Madness’ where I argue that all of Matt. 24 was fulfilled), what do you think of 1 Thess. 4:13-18? Were those events also fulfilled in the same way and at the same time? I suspect most people would say no. They would argue that the events are not concurrent. Among amils and postmils, the Thessalonian verses refer to the Second Coming while dispensationalists apply them to the “rapture of the church.” The agreement is they consider 1 Thess. 4:13-18 to be an unfulfilled prophecy.

G.K. Beale in his commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians in The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (2003) argues that they are parallel accounts (page 137). This creates a dilemma for some preterists. If Beale is right, then 1 Thess. 4 is not a reference to the Second Coming. Beale is not a preterist. He believes both accounts are still future.

Should we believe a well-respected Bible teacher and commentator like Beale that they are parallel and refer to the same time or declare him to be incompetent and just plain wrong?”  It’s interpretations like Beale’s that mess up “all-our-ducks-in-a-row” interpretation systems that lead people to ask questions.”

Notice how Partial Preterist Ken Gentry and Keith Mathison admit Matthew 24 is a source for Paul’s eschatology in 1-2 Thessalonians because of “parallels”:

Since Kenneth Gentry has to get rid of the apostasy in order to prop up Postmillennialism, he has to have 2 Thessalonians 2 fulfilled in AD 70.  However, in order to do this, he has to appeal to the OD and recognize that Paul is drawing from material Jesus says would be fulfilled in the AD 70 “this generation.” Therefore, Gentry admits that,

“Most commentators agree that the Olivet Discourse is undoubtedly a source of the Thessalonian Epistles.” (Kenneth Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 100, n. 19. Here Gentry cites D.A. Carson, Matthew, in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 8:489; and G. Henry Waterman, The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1and 2 Thessalonians, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 18:2 (June 1975); 105–113.

Yet, Gentry’s sources of authority end up “proving too much” in that both D.A. Carson and G. Henry Waterman make virtually the same parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 that we do (big “oops”) and that DeMar is now challenging his readers to at least “study” more carefully than before.  But before we get to those parallels, let’s continue to examine the “parallel” hermeneutic of Postmillennialism. Keith Mathison following Gary DeMar believes 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Paul was following Jesus’ eschatology in Mt. 24 because of “these parallels”:

1). a coming of our Lord (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Matt. 24:27, 30),

2). a gathering together to Him (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Mattt. 24:31),

3). apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3; cf. Matt. 24:5, 10-12),

4). the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:7; Matt. 24:12),

5). satanic signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9-10; cf. Matt. 24:24),

6). a deluding influence on unbelievers (2 Thess. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:5, 24).” (Mathison, From Age to Age, 515).

And of course, DeMar and Mathison make the AD 70 “parallels” between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 5 as well. Thus, Mt. 24 is no less of Paul’s “source” for his eschatology in 2 Thess. 2 and 1 Thess. 5 than it is for his teaching in 1 Thess. 4:15-17 — and that is what Gary is now open to consider and what is making Gentry and the others so nervous.  But since Gentry and Jordan have conceded that Daniel 12:2-3 teaches there was a spiritual resurrection in AD 70, why isn’t 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that same resurrection?!?

Let’s not only look at the parallels between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4 that Gary wants his Partial Preterists to re-consider as possibly being fulfilled in AD 70.  But don’t forget that one of the authors of this letter attacking Gary ACTUALLY publicly states the coming / parousia of 1 Thess. 4:16-17 was fulfilled in AD 70!  Pot call kettle black!  But let’s look at how Paul is drawing on the Olivet Discourse throughout all of 1 Thessalonians not just 4:16-17:

Paul’s eschatology in 1 Thessalonians is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 23-24 / Luke 21

1 Thessalonians 1–5

Matthew 23–24 / Luke 21

1). Present persecution & suffering (1:6; 2:14) 1). Persecution, suffering & death (Mt. 23:34)
2). First century audience “you” “us” to experience Second Coming (1:9-10) 2) First century audience “you” to experience the Second Coming (Mt. 23-24 / Lk. 21)
3). Imminence – “eagerly wait” (1:9-10) 3). Imminence – “raise your heads” because fulfillment will be “near” in their “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32)
4). Christ “comes/parousia” (2:19) 4). Christ “comes/parousia” (Mt. 24:27)
5). Comes “from heaven” (1:10) 5). Comes “on clouds of heaven” (Mt. 24:30)
6). To “snatch” from wrath to Christ (1:10) 6). To “gather” to Christ (Mt. 24:30-31)
7). Delivers believers from “wrath” but first century Jew’s experience “wrath” (1:10; 2:16) 7). Exhorted to flee from the Roman armies and the coming “wrath” upon Jews (Lk. 21:20-23)
8). Jews killed prophets, Jesus & persecuting the Thessalonians (2:14-15 / Acts 17) 8). Jews killed the OT prophets and NT prophets Jesus sends in that generation (Mt. 23:29-36)
9). Jews “filling up” sin of blood guilt (2:14-15) 9). Jews “filling up” sin of blood guilt (Mt. 23)
10). Coming of the Lord and wrath poured out to the “end/telos” (1:10–2:16) 10). Coming of the Lord and wrath poured out by the “end/telos” of the old covenant age (Mt. 24:3-30/Lk. 21:20-23)
11). Wedding terminology – Thessalonians exhorted to be “spotless” and a “blameless” [bride] as Christ “comes” for her [as the Groom] (3:13) 11). Wedding terminology – Only Father knows the time of the wedding (not even the Son), at the “shout of a trumpet,” be “wise” and “watch” (Mt. 24:30-31, 36; 25:1-13)
12). Christ “comes/parousia” (4:15-17) 12). Christ “comes/parousia” (Mt. 24:27)
13). “Descends from heaven” (4:16) 13). “Upon the clouds of heaven” (Mt. 24:30)
14). Accompanied by “Archangel” (4:16) 14). Accompanied by “angels” (Mt. 24:31)
15). At the sound of a “trumpet” (4:16) 15). At the sound of a “trumpet” (Mt. 24:31)
16). Believers “caught” to Christ (4:17) 16). Believers “gathered” to Christ (Mt. 24:31)
17). Wedding terminology – “MEET” the Lord in the clouds at His “trumpet” coming (4:16-17) 17). Wedding terminology – only Father knows the time of the wedding (not even the Son), at the “shout of a trumpet” Christ comes as Groom to “MEET” the bride (Mt. 24:30-31, 36; 25:1-13)
18). Exact time unknown (5:1-2) 18). Exact time unknown (Mt. 24:36)
19). Christ comes as a “thief” (5:2, 4) 19). Christ comes as a “thief” (Mt. 24:43)
20). Unbelievers caught off guard (5:3) 20). Unbelievers caught off guard (24:37-39)
21). Time of eschatological “birth pains” (5:3) 21). Time of eschatological “birth pains” (24:8)
22). Believers not deceived (5:4-5) 22). Believers not deceived (24:43)
23). Believers to be “watchful” (5:6) 23). Believers to be “watchful” (24:42)
24). Warning against “drunkenness” (5:7) 24). Warning against “drunkenness” (24:49)
25). “Sons of the DAY” (5:4-8) 25). Comes as “SUNSHINE” from the east to the west (24:27 Aramaic NT).  Jesus previously taught – the “gathering” at the “end of the age” causes believers to “shine like the SUN” (Mt. 13)

Again, we are thankful that a Partial Preterist in this letter agrees that the parallels of Christ’s coming between Mt. 24:30-31 and 1 Thess. 4:15-17 are the same event and were fulfilled in AD 70 while other authors of the letter (and within the Reformed community) see these texts describing Christ’s “glorious Second Coming” event.  We agree with BOTH “orthodox” positions – and so this makes us “damnable heretics”?!?

But since Philip Kayser is correct that both Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are the same event and that both were fulfilled in AD 70, but wrong in interpreting the resurrection as a physical one, we should now consider Partial Preterist James Jordan’s admission that Matthew 24:30-31 is referring to a spiritual resurrection in AD 70,

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

At that time, the promised sign will be given, a sign that shows that Jesus, a man, is truly enthroned in heaven. That sign is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Jews will mourn over Jerusalem, and they will realize that the Church, which they had hoped to destroy, has now ascended to the Ancient of Days and has been given the Kingdom promised in Daniel 7. Those saints have been gathered by the angels in connection with the seventh and last trumpet described in the book of Revelation, their souls gathered from all the heavenly places in Paradise where they had been waiting for this day. The saints are gathered before the Throne in the highest heavens, and shortly will sit down on thrones with their Lord and Master. They will be the new stars and moon and will sit where the angels formerly sat in heaven.” (James B. Jordan MATTHEW 23-25 A LITERARY, HISTORICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision Inc., – this book is currently at the printer to be published), p. 180).

So now we have an admission from a major Partial Preterist theologian – James Jordan that BOTH Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 24:30-31 are addressing a spiritual resurrection for the dead ones at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 while other Partial Preterists are admitting the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 are the same event and fulfilled in AD 70.  Now we are getting somewhere – that is if we are open to being honest in that the creeds and our Futurist traditions have been in error just as they have been on a host of issues that the Protestant Reformation had to take head-on.

As you can see Partial Preterism and Futurism without Full Preterism to “bridge the gap” has been a “House Divided” and falling apart for a long time.  But the hyper-creedalists in this letter just don’t want to address their own inconsistencies let alone someone like Gary (who has a large following) asking others to “study” for themselves and then having them go and ask these men the tough questions and asking them to “show the exegetical work”!  Kenneth Gentry and Doug Wilson have been able to censor Full Preterists and duck debates with us for a very long time.  They don’t want Gary asking the tough questions publicly demonstrating that the creedal Emperor may not have his clothes on!

Major Premise:  The coming of Christ and gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:30-31 is the Second Coming and resurrection event – with Paul describing this same event in 1 Thessalonians 4-5.  And Christ being revealed from to render wrath upon His enemies in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 are the same event – being the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2 (classic Amillennial view).

Minor Premise: But the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 is descriptive of a spiritual resurrection event for the dead to experience and was fulfilled in AD 70 (ex. Partial Preterist James Jordan).  And the Thessalonians did receive “relief” by fleeing to Pella and their persecutors did receive “trouble” and “wrath” when Christ was revealed from heaven in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  The “last days” judgment of Isaiah 2 is a NT term referring to the last days of old covenant Israel and went from AD 30 – AD 70 (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  Therefore, the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event described by Jesus and the Apostle Paul in Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 was fulfilled in the “last days” of old covenant Israel (AD 30 – AD 70) and specifically in the events of AD 67 – AD 70 (Full Preterism – “reformed and always reforming”).

1 Corinthians 15:

It is also astounding that one of the critics of DeMar in this letter (again Philip Kayser) also believes the coming or parousia of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the same coming or parousia of Matthew 24:27 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that was fulfilled in AD 70!  Kayser writes of Christ’s AD 70 coming / parousia in 1 Corinthians 15:23,

“So, when Paul speaks of bodies being raised each in his own order, he is listing the AD 30 firstfruits resurrection, then the resurrection at Christ’s coming in AD 70, then the resurrection at the end of time. The word for coming is παρουσία (parousia) and refers to the visible appearance in the sky that we saw was recorded by first century historians…” (Ibid.).

While we appreciate Gary asking his readers and followers to look at the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 in order to “study” to see if 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was also fulfilled in AD 70, we should point out that Gary is wanting to do an “in-depth study of 1 Cor. 15.”  Once we see that Paul’s eschatology in 1-2 Thessalonians is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24, we need to consider if Paul’s eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24 as well.  After all, In the Reformed Study Bible edited by Postmillennial Partial Preterists R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison, we learn this of Matt. 24:30-31:

“But the language of Matt. 24:31 is parallel to passages like 13:4116:27; and 25:31 [passages which Partial Preterist Postmillennialists say were fulfilled in AD 70], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”

I believe even Sam Frost (one of the signers of the letter to DeMar) would agree with the above statement. But of course, the problem is that “orthodox” Partial Preterists trying to honor NT imminence and apocalyptic language, have correctly surrendered the coming or parousia of Christ in all the above passages to AD 70.  Sam realizes that if the resurrection and “end” of Daniel 12 was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 to close out the “end of the OC or Jewish age” and the coming of Christ and resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are the same event and were also fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, then 1 Corinthians 15 is the next domino to fall and is naturally fulfilled in AD 70 as well.  This is why he refers to the other Partial Preterist signers of the letter as “HYPER-Partial Preterists” and “inconsistent.”  So I’m a “damnable heretic” for making the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist views exegetically consistent?  I’m a “damnable heretic” for believing TWO “orthodox” views of the Reformed Church?  Go figure – nothing to see here, keep walking folks!

Let’s looks at those “parallels” between Jesus’ eschatology in the Olivet Discourse and Paul’s eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:

And since we have Partial Preterists (some attacking Gary DeMar) that are admitting either the resurrection or coming/parousia of Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Matthew 24:27-31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 was fulfilled in AD 70, let’s get a visual of those connections – many of which any good classic  Amillennialist would make as well:

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

Now let’s form some basic and logical arguments from what we have gathered from the positions of those writing this letter attacking Gary DeMar.

Major Premise: The resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the consummative ONE Second Coming and “end” of world history creedal resurrection and judgment of the dead event (classic Reformed Amillennialist authors and contributors to the letter).

Minor Premise:  BUT there was a resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in AD 70 to close out the “end” of the Jewish or old covenant age in AD 70 according to Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 (Reformed Partial Preterism and author(s) or contributors to the letter).

Conclusion:  The resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the consummative ONE Second Coming and “end” of the old covenant age and was thus fulfilled in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).

Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 24-25 / 1 Thess. 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:

Some of the signers of this letter (like DeMar, Mathison, Terry, etc…) do not see Matthew 24-25 divided into TWO sections with TWO comings.  And some of you take the “end of the age” (Mt. 24:3) as referring to the old covenant age in AD 70.  Therefore, what is your exegetical evidence that the OD is referring to the end of world history?  And if the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the SAME coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 and yet that coming / parousia was fulfilled in AD 70, then obviously your hyper-creedal “Futurist” case against DeMar and Full Preterism has no case in these texts as well.  Next.

Matthew 13:39-43:

As we have seen the classic Amillennial Reformed position is to equate the “end” or “end of the age” “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 30-31 to be the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event of Daniel 12:2-3, 13.  We agree!  And yet the Partial Preterists claim the “end of the age” resurrection in these texts were fulfilled in AD 70!  We agree.  Once again, the authors of this letter are pressing Gary on a resurrection and judgment of the dead to take place at the “end” of world history and yet some of their best theologians are correctly seeing this as taking place at the “end” of the old covenant age in AD 70!

Jesus of course cites the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 in Matthew 13:39-43 and places it’s fulfillment at the “end” of that current old covenant age.  Jesus’ “end” and “shining like the sun or stars” in the resurrection is the “end” and “shining like the stars” predicted by Daniel 12.  And yet Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon, commenting on the end of the age harvest judgment of Matthew 13:39-43, concedes it is the end of the old covenant age that is in view and not the end of world history:

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

This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians.  Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege.  This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed, this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).” (Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51).

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

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

Let’s get a visual and make the argument based upon the analogy of faith and the admission of these eschatological systems attacking DeMar.

Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13):
Tribulation on National Israel as never before 12:1 13:40-42
Time of the end / end of “this” OC age separation 12:1, 4, 9, 13 13:39-41
Saints rise and shine in the eternal kingdom 12:2-3 13:43
Wicked rise to shame in eternal condemnation 12:2 13:39-42 
And if B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25):
Pre-kingdom evangelism by Jesus’ evangelism 13:37-38 24:14
Tribulation on National Israel as never before 13:40-42 24:21-22
End of “this” age / end of the age separation 13:39-41 24:30-31; 25:31-41
Sons of the day / hour shine with the Son 13:43 24:27, 30-31, 36
Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 13:43 25:34/Luke 21:30-32 
Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25)
Tribulation and sanctification / Great Tribulation 12:1, 10 24:21-22
Hour / day / time of the judgment (aka separation) 12:1-2, 4 (OG) LXX 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfillment at the time of the end / end of the age / the shattering of Israel’s world/power or her “heaven and earth” (the Temple etc…) / during the “3 ½ years” or “time of the Gentiles” treading down Jerusalem (AD 67 – AD 70) 12:4, 7, 9, 13 24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35; Lk. 21:24 
Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 12:2-3, 13 25:34/Luke 21:30-32 
The sons of the day / hour shine with the Son of life 12:3 24:27, 30-31, 36
Kingdom age evangelism via God’s shining ones 12:3 24:14, 25:29
Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other
Kingdom age evangelism Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Tribulation like never before Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Time of the end (shattering of Israel’s power) / end of the Old Covenant age (destruction of OC Israel’s Temple) Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Chosen ones raised and shine to eternal life and wicked raised to eternal condemnation / the righteous raised to shine and tares burn / sheep inherit eternal life goats to eternal punishment Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25

Once again, we can see how the two main orthodox Reformed positions on the end of the age resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:3, 30-31; and Daniel 12:1-7 has formed the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist position:

Major Premise:  The “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 31 as predicted in Daniel 12:2-3 is the ONE consummative resurrection event inseparably connected to the ONE Second Coming event of Matthew 24:27, 30-31 – classic Amillennialism.

Minor Premise:  But the “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 31 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s spiritual coming in Matthew 24:27-30 to close and bring an end to the old covenant age in AD 70.  In AD 70 God raised and gathered the souls/spirits of men such as Daniel out of Hades or Abraham’s bosom into God’s presence to inherit eternal life – Partial Preterism.

Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and Always Reforming:  Therefore, the ONE consummative Second Coming and “end of the age” “gathering” resurrection event of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 27-31 and Daniel 12:1-7 was fulfilled during the 3 ½ years of AD 67 – AD 70 to close the old covenant age in AD 70 – at which time souls/spirits where raised out of Hades and into God’s presence or thrown into “everlasting punishment” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 13:39-43 / Daniel 12:2-3, 7:

Some of you claim the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43 is ONE consummative “end of the age” event while others see TWO.  Please show your work and bring a consistent non-divided case or drop it.  If Jeff Durbin takes the “end of the age” in Matthew 24:3 why would the “end of the age” of Matthew 13:39-43 be a different “end of the age”?

Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12:

Here we come up against another problem for the authors of this letter.  Do these passages teach Christ’s “glorious Second Coming” at the “general resurrection and judgment” of “all men” at “the end of world history”?  Not according to the Partial Preterists in this letter!  “Each person” / “every man” / “all people” / “each one” / “everyone” etc… were “rewarded for what he has done” within the lifetime of those standing next to Jesus and thus at His “soon” coming in AD 70 according to Matthew 16:27-28 and Revelation 22:7-12.

These are creedal texts which allegedly teach this “glorious Second Coming” / “end of world history” / “general resurrection and judgment of all men” that the letter want’s Gary to submit to, but many of them take as fulfilled in AD 70.  Is it no wonder there were no Scripture reference let alone any exegesis of them to back their eschatological Futurist CONCEPTS.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12:

Are you guys “creedal” or not?  Does not the WCF and other creeds refer to these texts as the Second Coming event and general judgment to “reward all men according to what they have done” and this is true OR were they fulfilled within the lifetime of Jesus’ contemporaries and thus “soon” in the events of Jerusalem’s fall in AD 70?  “Show your work.”

When and who made these texts fulfilled in AD 70 to be an “orthodox” view?  If we can change the creeds on these texts can other texts that are seen to be “parallel” with them also wrong and can they also be revised and seen to be fulfilled in AD 70?  Who has the authority to have done this or can do it with more passages “parallel” to these?

1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT:

Once again, we have creedal passages which allegedly teach the “glorious Second Coming” at which time God is going to judge all men – the “quick (alive) and the dead” and yet some of the Partial Preterists that penned this letter see them as fulfilled in an AD 70 “at hand” and “about to be” time frame!

Gentry believes the “living and the dead” of 1 Peter 4:5-7 were judged in an “at hand” time frame in AD 70 but will never explain to us how the “dead” were judged without them being raised at the same time!  Philip Kyser concedes that 2 Timothy 4:1YLT is referring to Christ’s glorious coming and kingdom that was “about to judge the living and the dead” in AD 70.

Questions for the signers of the letter on 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT:

Ken Gentry – how were the dead judged in AD 70 without them being raised?  Again, these are creedal texts and the authors of this letter state they were fulfilled in AD 70 and thus are not referring to the judgment and resurrection of “all men” at the end of “world history.”  Who made and when were these AD 70 fulfillments of these passages determined to be “orthodox” or are they not “orthodox”?  No consistent case here – Futurist and Hyper-creedal case thrown out!

Revelation 11 & Revelation 20 / Daniel 12:

The Partial Preterism of Gentry, Wilson, Durbin and White are once again challenged with just how many general judgments of the dead does the OT and NT teach?  Revelation picks up where the book of Daniel leaves off.  Daniel is told that the judgment and resurrection of the dead of 12:2-3 will take place during a period of “three and a half years” “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered and Revelation 11 picks up stating Jerusalem (where the Lord was slain) would be trodden down under the feet of the nations for that same prophesied “three and a half years” period (i.e. AD 67 – AD 70) and that this would result in the judgment of the dead and the opening up of God’s presence (Rev. 11:1-18).

Please consider the following seven exegetical, orthodox, and historical points which prove that the millennium was roughly a forty years period from AD 27 – AD 67 or AD 30 – AD 70.

1). Imminence

Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT).  Therefore, there is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.  The millennium was still future when John wrote, and therefore the end of the millennium falls within those things that were “about to be” fulfilled.  As Vern Poythress and Simon Kistemaker (also contributors to The Reformation Study Bible) have pointed out in their works, if the imminent time texts in Revelation 1:1 and 22:20 are to be taken literally and refer to AD 70, and since they function as brackets or bookends, then the millennium of Revelation 20 would have also been fulfilled by AD 70.

Therefore, both of these views teach that the end of the millennium resurrection and judgment of the dead were fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both?

2). The symbolic nature of the thousand years

As G.K. Beale (the NT editor to The Reformation Study Bible) has taught in his commentary on Revelation, the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands or millions of years).

Therefore, the thousand year millennium can be a symbolic depiction of a relatively short period of time – 40 years.

3) Rabbinic typology of a forty year millennial period –historical argument

It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians such as Beale that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitional stage between “this age/world” and “the age/world to come.”  These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba) understood this transition period to be 40 years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land.  This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT).

And as we have noted from Reformed Partial Preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).

But we are also told by Amillennialists that the millennium of Revelation 20 is the period between the NT’s “this age” and the “age to come.”

We of course agree with all of the above propositions, which when combined, place the millennial period to be a period of roughly 40 years between the old covenant age (which was passing away and ready to vanish) and the new covenant age which was “about to” come in its mature form in AD 70.

4). Recapitulation

Reformed Postmillennial Partial Preterists, such as Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan, are correct to teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and spiritual resurrection of the dead and arrival of a spiritual new creation or spiritual new heavens and new earth.  And Amillennialists, such as Simon Kistemaker and Robert Strimple, are correct to teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22.

Revelation 1-19 & 20-22 Partial Preterism – fulfilled by AD 70 Revelation 20 Classic Amillennialism – these are the same events or judgments in the other chapters (recapitulation)
1). Past persecution w/ more persecution to come and vindication of martyr’s motif. (Rev. 6 and 12) 1). Past persecution w/ more persecution to come and vindication of martyr’s motif
2). Future persecution to last for a “little while” and Satan has “a little while” longer (Rev. 6 and 12) 2). More persecution to come and Satan loosed for “a little while”
3). “Every mountain and island were removed from their places” / “every island fled (Greek pheugo), and the mountains were not found” “…for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Rev. 6; 16; 21-22) 3). “The earth and the heaven fled (Greek pheugo), and a place was not found for them” (this implies the “new” creation of 21-22 took its place).
4). Judgment of the dead (Rev. 11) 4). Judgment of the dead
5). The last days “the war” of Ezek.38-39 fulfilled (Rev. 16 and 19) 5). The last days “the war” of Ezek. 38-39 fulfilled
6). Enemies of the Church (beast, harlot, false prophet) thrown in fire (Rev. 17 and 19) 6). Devil thrown in fire (see also “crushed”“shortly” (Rom. 16:20/Gen. 3:15)

Therefore, since Full Preterists hold to both of these reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation, and the end of the millennium resurrection and judgment event was fulfilled in AD 70, why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both of these “orthodox” and common sense views?

5). Is Revelation 20 an isolated event? The “already and not yet”, “this age and the age to come” and the “last days” millennial period 

In criticizing the Premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, Amillennialists and many Postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, or in Matthew 24–25.  But as I have shown thus far, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the old covenant age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.

Therefore, since the period between “this age and the age to come” is the millennial period, and it was the transition period between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – AD 70), and the “last days” is also the transition and millennial period of Revelation 20 but was also from AD 30 – AD 70, the end of the millennial resurrection and judgment of the dead was fulfilled when the old covenant age passed away and the last days ended in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both common sense “orthodox” views?

6). The Second Coming in Matthew 24-25 ends the millennium of Revelation 20

If it is true that a) the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and 25 is referring to the AD 70 judgment, as Partial Preterists are teaching, and if it is true that b) John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation, and if it is true that c) Matthew 24:27 – 25:31ff. is descriptive of the one end-of-the-age Second Coming, judgment, and resurrection event (the creedal position), then d) the Reformed community has some explaining to do, because these “orthodox” doctrines form the “this-generation” forty year millennial view of Full Preterism:

Matthew 24-25 Revelation 20:5-15
1). Resurrection and judgment – Mt.24:30-31 (cf. Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:23); Mt. 25:31-46 1). Resurrection and judgment – Rev. 20:5-15
2). De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee – Mt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Mt.5:17-18) 2). De-creation heaven and earth pass/ flee- Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
3). Christ on throne to judge – Mt.25:31 3). God on throne to judge – Rev. 20:11
4). Wicked along with devil eternally punished – Mt. 25:41-46 4). Wicked along with devil eternally punished – Rev. 20:10, 14-15

7). The analogy of faith between Daniel 12:1-13 and Revelation 20

And if it is also true that a) the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:14, 13 were fulfilled by AD 70 (per Gentry), and if it is true that b) Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is parallel to Revelation 20:5-15 (classic amillennial view), then c) once again the Reformed community has some explaining to do, in that these orthodox views form the “this-generation” forty-year millennial view of Full Preterism:

Daniel 12:1-2 Revelation 20:5-15
1). Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation (Dan. 12:1-2) 1). Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire (Rev. 20:12-15)
2). This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead (Dan. 12:1-2) 2). This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead (Rev. 20:5-15)

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the Full Preterist, AD 27 – AD 67 or AD 30 – AD 70, “this generation” millennial view:

A). is consistent with the teaching of Revelation itself when it comes to imminence and recapitulation…

B). falls within the “orthodox” views of the Reformed church…

C). is in line with the analogy of Scripture and…

D). offers historical support from many Rabbis who promoted a 40 year transitional period between the two ages.

Our view on the millennium is both exegetically sound and orthodox. Finding support for the Full Preterist view of the millennium is not as difficult as many portray it. Selah.

And just as we don’t see Revelation 20 discussing the Premillennial Zionist position – Jesus sitting on an earthly throne in Jerusalem with a re-built temple where a priesthood is once again performing animal sacrifices, it also doesn’t teach a biological corpse resurrection which all Futurists hold to.  The resurrection in Revelation 20 involves the souls of men being released from Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life or eternal punishment.  This fits with Jewish concepts of the resurrection prior to NT times, during Jesus’ day and the kind of spiritual resurrection some orthodox Partial Preterists have taught.

Questions for the signers of the letter on Revelation 11 & Revelation 20 / Daniel 12:

Both Daniel 12 and Revelation 11 connect the resurrection and judgment of the dead with the historical event of Jerusalem’s judgment for “three and a half years” (AD 67 – AD 70).  How were the dead judged in Revelation 11 during this period without the resurrection of the dead being fulfilled (this is for Ken Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin and James White)?  And since the book of Revelation is laid out in recapitulation, wouldn’t the judgment of the dead of Revelation 11 be the end of the millennium judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:5-15 – like most classic Amillennialists point out?  If not, why not?  And if it is true (per at least two of the writers of this letter Gentry and Kayser) that there was a spiritual resurrection and judgment of the “just and unjust” in Daniel 12:2 in AD 70, why wouldn’t Revelation 11 and Revelation 20:5-15 be that AD 70 spiritual judgment and resurrection of the dead event?  If not, why not?

Major Premise:  it is true and “orthodox” to believe there is only ONE consummative resurrection and judgment of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 11 and it is the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Revelation 20:5-15.  This ONE “soon” Second and Glorious Coming of Jesus throughout Revelation ends the millennium of Revelation 20 and fulfills this judgment and resurrection event (Reformed Classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise:  BUT it is also true and “orthodox” to believe the judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 11 were spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 at the “soon” and spiritual coming of Christ to close out the Jewish or old covenant age (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  THEREFORE, it is also true and “orthodox” to believe the ONE end of the age divinely “appointed” time for the judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 11; and Revelation 20:5-15 were spiritually fulfilled at the ONE “soon” Second and Glorious Coming of our Lord in AD 70 to close the Jewish or old covenant age and bring an end to the millennium.

Major Premise:  The consummative end of the millennium events listed in Revelation 20:5-15 have been recapitulated or are elsewhere described in Revelation 1-19 and Revelation 21-22 (classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise:  But the consummative events of Revelation 1-19 and Revelation 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70.  Christ came “soon” spiritually to establish the New Heavens and New Earth and to judge and raise the dead (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  THEREFORE, since the consummative end of the millennium events listed in Revelation 20:5-15 are the same events that have been recapitulated in chapters 1-19 and 21-22, and since the events listed in chapters 1-19 and 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70, then so were the events listed in chapter 20:5-15.

And since we have seen how 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 was fulfilled in AD 70, we can now connect this coming / parousia of Christ which ends the millennium of Revelation 20:

Acts 1:11:

I previously heard that Philip Kayser taught Acts 1:11 was also fulfilled in AD 70.  He has corrected that for me and stated he has never taken that position.  I sincerely apologize for making that error.

Like the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Revelation 1:7 – some Partial Preterists such as Milton Terry or say Mike Bull see these passages and Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70.

If Gentry feels so strongly about Acts 1:11 being fulfilled in the future and to deny this is damnable heresy, then why does he publish and profit off of Milton Terry who took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70?!?

Unlike Gentry, Wilson and Durbin, Partial Preterists such as Milton Terry and Mike Bull took/take a lucid, biblical approach, seeing the cloud comings of Jesus in Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7 as all being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem at the end of the Jewish or old covenant age.  Milton Terry writes the following of Acts 1:11:

“Whatever the real nature of the parousia, as contemplated in this prophetic discourse, our Lord unmistakably associates it with the destruction of the temple and city, which he represents as the signal termination of the pre-Messianic age. The coming on clouds, the darkening of the heavens, the collapse of elements, are, as we have shown above, familiar forms of apocalyptic language, appropriated from the Hebrew prophets.

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

Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison has suggested that the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 would be fulfilled when the Great Commission of Acts 1:8 is fulfilled.  Thus, according to this point, it is rather easy to demonstrate throughout the book of Acts itself and Paul’s other writings that Acts 1:8-11 was fulfilled by AD:

Major Premise:  The Great Commission and or cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:14, 30 / Acts 1:8-11 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and describe the “glorious Second Coming” of Jesus (classic Reformed Amillennial view).

Minor Premise:  But the Great Commission and or cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:14, 30, Revelation 1:7 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, and the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial Preterist authors – Milton Terry, Mike Bull, etc…).

Conclusion: The Great Commission and or cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:14, 30 / Acts 1:8-11 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and describes the “glorious Second Coming” of Jesus fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).

Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 1:11:

The signers of this letter and books and authors they promote are “divided” on this text as well.  Are we allowed to hold to the “Reformed” “orthodox” position and that of the analogy of faith believing the cloud coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 / Matthew 24:30 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and the Reformed “orthodox” Partial Preterist view that they were all fulfilled in AD 70 or not?  When and who made it “orthodox” to take the cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 / Revelation 1:7 as fulfilled in AD 70?  If Partial Preterists such as Gentry and Wilson have the authority to make those AD 70 cloud comings “orthodox” and correct the creeds and early church fathers, then why can’t Partial Preterist Milton Terry and other Partal Preterists and Full Preterists make our AD 70 exegesis of Acts 1:11 “orthodox” for everyone to follow?

Conclusion:

As we have seen the classic Amillennialist and authors of this letter to Gary DeMar do NOT see TWO “comings,” “ends,” “resurrections,” “judgments” of “all men” and that of the “living and the dead.”  Nor do they see the passing away or consummations of TWO heavens and earths or two arrivals of the new at TWO “comings”/parousia(s) of Christ in all of these texts — while the Partial Preterist system and that of some of the men in this letter – do see these events as fulfilled in AD 70.  That’s not a small disagreement – that’s a contradiction and bringing forth a hypocritical judgment against the brethren as far as I’m concerned.  Let’s expound upon this visually and see how the Holy Spirit has been working through the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view to form the consistent orthodox/true view of Full Preterism:

Why have I put Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, and Milton Terry to represent the Partial Preterist view in the chart?  Because Gentry and Kayser signed the letter attacking DeMar and Ken sells and promotes the writings of Partial Preterist Milton Terry.

This is why I believe Gary DeMar requested to see their exegetical and historical “work” on “specific texts” and this is why the threat of this public letter offers no texts let alone exegetical work or proof!  Therefore, in my humble opinion the authors of this letter (just like the divided authors of WSTTB?) offered a “house divided” approach that did “not stand” and had no teeth.  They offered no Scriptural support or evidence for their claims to support an “end of world history” “judgment and resurrection of the dead of the just and unjust” or that of “the living and the dead.”  “Case dismissed” or “thrown out” as far as I can see.

Here is how I would answer the three questions:

Do you believe in a future bodily, glorious return of Christ?  No, the analogy of faith principle of interpretation would require Acts 1:11 to be fulfilled when Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 are fulfilled and the Partial Preterists of this letter correctly see Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 as spiritually fulfilled in AD 70.  And Partial Preterist authors of whom you publish and sell such as Milton Terry took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70.

Do you believe in a future physical, general resurrection of the dead?  No, the general resurrection and judgment of the dead according to Daniel 12:2-3, 7, 13 teaches that the righteous and the unrighteous dead would be judged during a “three and a half years” period “when” Jerusalem was judged between AD 67 – AD 70 or “when the power of the holy people is / was completely shattered.”  This is why Paul taught this “appointed” or “decreed” time of judgment and resurrection for the dead was “about to be” fulfilled in the lifetime of his contemporaries (Acts 17:31YLT and Acts 24:14-15YLT).  And according to Acts 24; 26; and 28 this judgment and resurrection is once again tied to first century Jerusalem in that it was the “hope of the twelve tribes of Israel” – which do not exist today.  The Bible only teaches ONE eschatological “hope” of the “end” of the age resurrection event and it was fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and is a “hope realized” for us to experience now (Prov. 13:12) and when we die and enter the heavenly realm. And further more at least two of the authors of this letter (Gentry and Kayser) believe Daniel 12:2-3 teaches there was a resurrection and judgment of the dead in AD 70 with one (Kayser) conceding there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead in Acts 17:31 / Acts 24:15 / 1 Thess. 4-5 / 1 Cor. 15 / Rms. 8:18 that was fulfilled in AD 70.  Your Partial Preterist theologians cannot agree on if the resurrection of Daniel 12 and say that of Matthew 24:31 was fulfilled spiritually or physically in AD 70 but the Scriptures are clear it was a spiritual resurrection that was fulfilled.

Do you believe history will end with the Final Judgment of all men?  Per “orthodox” Partial Preterism, the typical “end of the world” or “end of world history” type passages such as 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 were fulfilled imminently in AD 70.  And the Bible teaches that after the first heavens and earth of Isa. 65-66 / 2 Pet. 3 / Rev. 21-22 pass away and the new arrives, there will be evangelism continuing to take place.  The Bible does not predict “the end of world history” but rather the “end of the [old covenant] age” / the “time of the end [of the old covenant age]” / “hour of the end” in AD 70.  I do not seek to “go beyond what is written” and speculate that it teaches the “end of world history.”  The judgment of “all men” or the “quick and the dead” was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in judgment in the lifetime of the first century church (Mt. 16:27-28), “soon” at the Second Coming event in AD 70 (Rev. 22:7, 10-12) and thus was “about to be” fulfilled or “at hand” in the first century (2 Tim. 4:1YLT; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).  “All men” however must die and be judged (Heb. 9:27).  Thus no man that ever lives will not be judged by a Righteous and Holy God.

Debate Challenges:  Myself and Don Preston have requested a one-on-one debate or partner debate with some of the men listed in this letter – Kenneth Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin or James White.  It’s been many years for these men in not answering public biblical questions or even responding to challenges to debate.  So, it’s kind of ironic that they are demanding that Gary DeMar answer their questions / challenges in a public forum.  Again – hypocrites.  Sam has yet to be able to convince Gentry, Wilson, Durbin or White to be his partner in debating me and Preston so as to refute his chapter in the first edition of “House Divided” where he discussed “Inconsistent Orthodoxy.”  Maybe it’s because he refers to them as “HYPER Partial Preterists” (that is “unorthodox preterists”) and “inconsistent” (that is if they were “consistent” they would be Full Preterists).  Selah.

Gary DeMar begins his response:

What Does the Bible Teach?: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gary-demar-podcast/id1500969161?i=1000602952969

Things We Know and Things We Don’t: https://garydemar.libsyn.com/things-we-know-and-things-we-dont

Gary’s Third Response – “But It’s All So Simple!” https://garydemar.libsyn.com/but-its-all-so-simple

(PDF Book) – The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from the East to West – Failure, Future or Faithfully Fulfilled in AD 70?

Copyright 2020 Michael J. Sullivan – Thank you for your Christian integrity in advance

Click and download the PDF file below to view:

The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from East to West Failure Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?

CHAPTER 1

The Coming of the Son of Man Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70? Matthew 10:17-23 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Matthew 24-25

CHAPTER 2

The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from the East to the West Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70? Matthew 24:27 / Luke 17:20-37 / Malachi 4:2

CHAPTER 3

The Righteous Shining Like the Sun/Son in the Kingdom – the Resurrection Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?  Job 19:25-27 / Daniel 12:2-7 / Matthew 13:39-43 / John 5-6; 11:25-27 / Luke 20:27-40 / Acts 23–26 / Philippians 3–4:5 / Romans 8:18-23; 13:11-12 / 1 Corinthians 15

CHAPTER 4

The “Rapture” or “Catching Away” Failure, Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?              1 Thessalonians 4:15-17  

CHAPTER 5

The “in Like Manner” Coming of Christ Failed, Future or Fulfilled by AD 70?  Acts 1:9-11

CHAPTER 6

The Millennial Thousand Years Failure, Future or Fulfilled AD 27/30 – AD 70?

Revelation 20

CHAPTER 7

No More Death, Tears and Pain Failure, Future or Fulfilled by AD 70?

Revelation 21:4

CONCLUSION

 

PREFACE

Atheists and Bible skeptics of all kinds have looked at the teachings of Jesus concerning His Second Coming and reasoned that He never came when He said He would – in the lifetime of some of those standing next to Him in the crowd or within His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 10:22-23; Mrk. 8:14, 38—9:1/Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:27-34).  They also argue that the NT writers could not have been “inspired” or “infallible” since they likewise placed the Second Coming of Christ to take place “soon,” “at hand,” “near,” “shortly,” “in a very little while and will not delay,” as their generation was coming to an end (Acts 2:20-40; Rms. 13:11-12; 16:20; Jms. 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 4:5-7; Heb. 10:37; Rev. 1:1—22:7, 10, 20)?

Then there are Futurist Christians who simply stick their heads in the sand and pretend Jesus didn’t promise to come when He said He would or that the NT writers didn’t predict the same truly imminent time frame.  They unfortunately spiritualize the meaning of “soon,” “at hand,” “near,” “shortly,” “in a very little while and will not delay,” to mean thousands of years and counting, and interpret the end of the age or de-creation language in the NT as the end of world history.

But what if there is actually a third option that is more exegetically sound?  Is it possible that when Jesus is describing Himself coming on the clouds that this was familiar OT apocalyptic language?  After all, when God came upon the clouds in the OT is was figurative language and He came through various armies judging other Israel and other nations.  Is it possible that this too is how Jesus came upon the clouds in His generation through the Roman armies during the events of AD 67 – AD 70 (Lk. 21:20ff.)?

And what if Jesus and the NT authors were not predicting the end of world history, but rather the end of the Old Covenant (OC) age/world and the ushering in and maturing of the New Covenant age/world to take place when the Temple was destroyed in AD 70?

And since there were Jewish views of a spiritual resurrection of the soul being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to either inherit eternal life and God’s presence or go into eternal condemnation at the end of the Mosaic age, is this the resurrection that Jesus and the NT authors place as truly imminent to take place at the end of their Old Covenant “this age” in AD 70?  Are there likewise Reformed orthodox Christian views which teach there was this kind of a spiritual resurrection that took place during the “three and a half years” of AD 67 – AD 70 when Jerusalem was judged (Dan. 12:2-7)?

But what of Paul’s teaching on the “rapture” or “catching away” (1 Thess. 4:16-17)?  Is this describing Christians flying off the planet or is this a spiritual event when God takes His beloved Bride to Himself and sets up His Kingdom within the hearts of His Church (Lk. 17:20-37; Cols. 1:27; Jn. 14:2-3, 23)?  After all Jesus prayed, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world…” but that we would “…all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn. 17:15, 21).

In the OT we learn that Jesus’ Second Coming is not just described as “the great and awesome day of the LORD,” but as the “Sun of Righteousness” who would “rise with healing in His wings/rays” (Mal. 4:2, 5).  So, when Jesus describes Himself coming as a great light that shines from the “east to the west,” should translators have translated this verse as “lightning” flashing or the great light being the sun shining (Mt. 24:27; Lk. 17:24)?  This author will defend the later.

 This book seeks to answer all of these questions and will defend that Christ in fact was faithful to come when He promised and how He promised in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  Buckle up buttercup – because you are about to get the most profound “red pilled” theological education you have ever received and one that will drive you deeper into the presence of your heavenly Father!

Click and download the PDF file below to view:

The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness Shining from East to West Failure Future or Fulfilled in AD 70?

 

 

OPEN LETTER & CHALLENGE TO DEBATE THE ELDERS (JEFF DURBIN, LUKE PIERSON & JAMES WHITE) OF APOLOGIA CHURCH – OVER THEIR PUBLIC COMMENTS OF FULL PRETERISM

Dear Pastors Jeff Durbin, Luke Pierson & James White or To Whom it May Concern at the APOLOGIA Church,

I recently listened to your podcast on “hyper-preterism” (see link at end of article) and as a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist apologist, author and debater — I would like to TRULY “engage” with you over your public statements of my position. I co-authored, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” and interacted with Keith A. Mathison and Simon Kistemaker and their attempts to refute Full Preterism in their co-authored book, “When Shall These Things Be?…” I have a background in being a Reformed Baptist, so I am very familiar with your views. I have challenged James White to debate but of course he “won’t debate eschatology.” The sad thing is when “Reformed” “Apologists” make these kind of statements (along with “dreading” teaching Matthew 24) when the facts are one cannot separate soteriology from eschatology or failing to realize that the call to “defend” our “hope” is an eschatological passage itself (1 Pet. 3:15/Cols. 1:27/Jn. 14:2; 23/Rev. 21:16/1 Cor. 15:28). I recently debated Charismatic Dr. Michael Brown (White’s friend) over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 because Sam Waldron and White did such a horrible job of dealing with their foundational text with exegetical “integrity.”  Reformed theology can exegetically deal with 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 if we allow the Preterist “soon” AD 70 coming of Christ and arrival of the New Covenant creation of Revelation 22:4-7 to be a parallel passage.

Major Premise:  “That which is perfect” and the seeing of God’s face in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 is the Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation event of Revelation 22:4-7.

Minor Premise:  But the “soon” coming of Christ and arrival of the New Covenant creation in Revelation 22:4-7 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Conclusion:  Therefore, “that which is perfect” or the “soon” Second Coming and arrival of the New Covenant Creation of 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 and Revelation 22:4-7 was fulfilled in AD 70 and when the miraculous revelatory and sign gifts of the Church “ceased.”

I conducted myself as a Christian gentleman and abided by the debate rules.  In fact the only criticism I got from the FP community was that I was “too soft” on him – lol. I would do the same in engaging with you.  Here is my debate with Dr. Brown over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5DZRv56eQg&t=962s

Here was my review and further thoughts on the debate:  https://fullpreterism.com/reviewing-and-critiquing-my-debate-with-charismatic-dr-michael-brown-over-1-corinthians-138-12-and-introducing-a-full-preterist-chronomessianic-interpretation-argument-on-daniel-924-27-that-went-un/

Jeff, you claimed that it was so important that Reformed Christians have a “consistent eschatology” and that we need to accept the 100 plus time texts were fulfilled by AD 70 — if not, Christians aren’t dealing with these texts with “Christian integrity.” So where was James White or Sam Waldron to discuss the 100 plus time texts with you?!? Maybe because you would have had a 100 or more contradictory statements and exposed your eschatology is not as “consistent” as you claimed? I have on record Partial Preterists asserting that Premillennial or Amillennialists that don’t believe those 100 plus time texts were fulfilled in AD 70 are coming dangerously close to denying the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture. And I have other statements from Amillennialists who mock the Partial Preterist two comings theory to be no better than the two coming theory of the pre-trib rapture theory. Or they admit that if you accept those 100 plus time texts were fulfilled in AD 70, a “consistent hermeneutic” would require you go all the way into Full Preterism. Amazing how you didn’t address any of these issues. WHY?

Here is how your Partial Preterism and James White and Waldron’s classic Amillennialism “consistently” forms (not refutes) Full Preterism:

I also noticed how you didn’t discuss how Partial Preterism does believe the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and that the coming of Christ in BOTH Matthew 24 AND 25:31 was fulfilled in AD 70. Let’s discuss creedal “orthodoxy” and “consistency” on admissions like this. Nor did you go over how Partial Preterist Milton Terry took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70. Very telling.

Your Partial Preterist guest Andrew Sandlin claimed we could have gotten a “splinter” if we touched the Tree of Life in Genesis. So does he believe the “Tree of Life” and cubed New Jerusalem is something we touch or will touch physically and get a splinter?!?

Of course the truth is the New Jerusalem was in the process of “coming down” (Rev. 3:11-12 NIV) and did arrive on earth at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming event in AD 70. The “Jerusalem from above” is the NC Church and the picture of her coming out of heaven to earth is descriptive of her maturity process from AD 30 – AD 70.  Now her gates are open and through the gospel the nations are being healed. The Tree of Life and Living Water are Christ and the Holy Spirit giving eternal life to all who enter by faith. Again, are there TWO arrivals of the New Jerusalem and the Tree of Life coming to earth?!? Are we going to get a “splinter” on Christ?

He also claims we will all be getting older before his third coming of Christ arrives (based on Isaiah 65). So Jeff, will the anatomy of animals begin changing as well – lions and wolves will eat straw and not ox or sheep before this imaginary third coming of Jesus? When do we begin allowing our children to play with poisonous snakes before this third coming of Jesus is fulfilled? Like Dispensationalism, its interesting where this hyper-literalism leads. Let’s discuss the “consistency” of these Partial Preterist interpretations.

Please respond to my gracious challenge so we can go over the propositions and format of the discussion/debate. I have heard from some on facebook that you might be willing to have a partner debate and they suggested you and Gary DeMar. Gary has been avoiding a public discussion / debate with us for over 30 years so we would gladly welcome him as your partner. He has publicly defended or supported that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and 25:31 was fulfilled in AD 70 (as has Keith Mathison). If I recall, Gary also holds to the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as fulfilled in AD 70 as well? Myself and Don have wanted to press him on those admissions for years. If he isn’t willing to be your partner you may try your co-Elder James White.

While James is not a Partial Preterist and “doesn’t debate eschatology,” he does debate the atonement and if he agrees with your show that Full Preterism denies or perverts the atonement, then he could debate my debate partner (Don Preston) on that subject.

Don and James can debate the death/sin of Adam and the life/righteousness of Christ in our union with His resurrection (primary texts Romans 5-11 / 1 Corinthians 15) as the hope of Israel (the nature of a substitutionary atonement/death & resurrection) and Jeff, we can debate the timing of the Second Coming, judgment and resurrection of the dead, arrival of the New Creation and Reformed orthodoxy with the importance of having a “consistent hermeneutic.” I will be in touch with you and hope we can set something up in a FP “soon” time frame. Once we hear back from you we can discuss debate propositions, format and where it could take place. I personally favor in person debates and having access to power point slides in front of a live audience and not Internet debates.

Thank you for your time.

In Christ,

Michael Sullivan

My Response to Jeff Durbin’s Podcast:

1). “It is important for (Reformed) Christians to have a CONSISTENT eschatology” and to have “Christian INTEGRITY” by admitting there are over 100 imminent time texts in the NT which were fulfilled in AD 70.

This of course was one of the main issues we dealt with in “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…” – and that is, exposing this myth that they have a “consistent eschatology.” Just put James White, Sam Waldron, Keith Mathison and Kenneth Gentry on the show with Jeff and I would expose that myth rather quickly. Let’s run through just SOME examples. Since Jeff admitted all of Luke 21 and Matthew 21-24 was fulfilled in AD 70 along with the rest of the NT’s 100 plus time texts, lets address some of these issues.

Luke 21 / Matthew 21-25 – forms NT eschatology & “consistency” / “integrity”

Jeff (a Partial Preterist – PP) admits the coming of Christ and redemption of Luke 21 was fulfilled in AD 70. Yet classic Amillennialists such as Waldron and White would admit this is the Second Coming (SC) event and the “redemption” is the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23. While there, will Jeff please explain the “time text” of mello and admit like Gary DeMar that this glorification was “about to be” and was fulfilled in AD 70 (Rms. 8:18 YLT)? Or maybe elaborate on Reformed PP theologian John Lightfoot admitting the creation groaning and subject to decay here is addressing sin in the creation of man and not the physical planet? Was Lightfoot a “gnostic”? Obviously, this is not a minor inconsistency for you but not us – lol.

And obviously there are all of the parallels (the analogy of faith or analogy of Scripture hermeneutic) between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 which most Reformed theologians and commentators would say is the ONE SC event — of which Jeff must deny.  Jeff maintains the coming and “gathering” into the kingdom of Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-32 was fulfilled spiritually while White and Waldron would say Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-32 is the SC and resurrection event. How can we make these two views TRULY “consistent” with exegetical “integrity”? Easy:

Jeff, White and Waldron along with MOST Reformed theologians and commentators would agree with US (not you) that the analogy of faith (parallels & Paul’s eschatology is Jesus’) principle of interpretation demonstrates the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 IS the parousia of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 AND 1 Corinthians 15:
So Jeff is maintaining the coming of Christ and the “redemption” of Luke 21 was fulfilled in AD 70, yet others like Waldron and White would claim this is the ONE SC and resurrection event. Jeff would maintain that the coming and “gathering” of Christ in Matthew 24:27-31 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and yet Waldron and White would claim this is the ONE SC and resurrection event. If you call that being exegetically “consistent” “integrity” – I have other descriptive adjectives.

Not only should we allow Paul and Jesus to be harmonized in Matthew 24 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15, but we should allow Paul to interpret himself in comparing Romans 5-8 with 1 Corinthians 15.  First note the corporate body themes within Romans 5-8 and biological death not being the subject:

Now compare Romans 5-13 with 1 Corinthians 15:

Again Jeff, the “glory” and “redemption of the body” that was “ABOUT TO BE REVEALED” (Rms. 8:18-23 YLT) IS the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15. See David Green’s exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 and response to Strimple in our book for more details on that subject.

Having “consistently” and with “integrity” interpreted Paul’s teaching in light of Jesus,’ we shall now examine Paul’s OT sources in 1 Corinthians 15 and see what they may reveal.  James White and his father were/are fans of the WUESTNT and yet he correctly pointed out how “the last enemy” “the death” was in the process of “BEING destroyed.” If this is biological death, “Houston we have a problem.” For an exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 see David Green’s response to Strimple in HD and my exegesis here: https://fullpreterism.com/ppw-2017-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-the-resurrection-of-matthew-24-25-and-1-corinthians-15/

Jeff mentions the seriousness of believing in a physical judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of world history. But of course Jeff isn’t telling you that his Reformed PP brethren have admitted that the resurrection and “end” of Daniel 12:1-3 was spiritually fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70. Why not discuss the lack of “consistency” and what PPism really teaches Jeff – since you are claiming to “care” so much about us and have all this exegetical “integrity” – seriously?!? Let’s discuss the Reformed PP implications of taking the “end of the age” and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-3=Matthew 13:39-43=Matthew 24:3-31 as fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.

The Olivet Discourse forms Pauline and NT eschatology and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 IS the resurrection of the NT. No wonder you didn’t want to discuss “consistency” and this admission of PPism.

The “ALL these things” of Matthew 24:34 and Daniel 12:7 and the Resurrection of the Dead

Someone sent me a video of you teaching on the Olivet Discourse and going over the parallels and overview of Daniel 2, 7, 9 and 12 with Jesus’ teaching.  What was missing was any discussion of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 7:

Before leaving the subject of this message you preached in comparing Daniel with the OD, I want to briefly address your teaching on the 70 7’s of Daniel 9:24-27.  I too believe this is a “glorious” passage but it is MORE glorious to not end the 490 years before AD 70, but with the destruction of the city.  There is no exegetical evidence that the events are all fulfilled before AD 70 but by AD 70:

Jeff, since you take the “ALL these things” (Mt. 24:3-34 or Lk. 21:5-32) as referring to AD 70, wouldn’t the “ALL these things” of Daniel 12:7 be referring to the resurrection event being fulfilled within the 3.5 years along with the Tribulation and Desolation or “when the power of the holy people [was] completely shattered” in AD 70? If not why not? Since Partial Preterism admits the “end of the age” is the OC age in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3 then this is when the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was also fulfilled. If not why not?

The Partial Preterist admission of the resurrection of Daniel 12 being fulfilled spiritually “gives the farm away” since it is the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20 which John tells us would be “shortly” or “about to be” fulfilled (Rev. 1:1, 9YLT).  When we combine various views within Reformed eschatology in regards to the time texts and the recapitulation structure of Revelation it is not difficult to see how the resurrection of Revelation 20 was fulfilled by AD 70:

The resurrection of Daniel 12 is also the resurrection of John 5 and 1 Corinthians 15:

I find it also interesting that the “already and not yet” of the coming “hour” of John 4-5 is the eschatological “hour” of Daniel 12 and Partial Preterists admit the “not yet” of the coming hour of John 4 was fulfilled in AD 70 but the exact same phrases found in the next chapter somehow refers to a far distant 2,000 plus and counting hour. Creating TWO “already and not yet” periods or an “already and not yet and not yet” periods of Partial Preterism is hardly “consistent” Jeff:

We have allowed Jesus in Matthew 24 to interpret Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15.  We have allowed Paul to interpret himself (Rms. 5–13:11-12).  We allowed Paul’s OT sources to help interpret Paul, and we have allowed the Reformed PP admission and classic Amillennial admissions that the resurrection of Daniel 12 was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 and yet it is the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 – to help us interpret 1 Corinthians 15. This is called “consistent” exegetical “integrity” Jeff. You are stuck on 1 Corinthians 15 and John 6 in the same way an Arminian is stuck on John 3:16 or 1 John 2:2. It’s time to dig deeper my friend or go back to the White and Waldron compromise and denial of NT imminence model. Those are your choices. Partial Preterism has already conceded that between AD 30 – AD 70 there was a corporate body progressive resurrection and that Daniel 12:2-3 supports this. They also affirm 1 Corinthians 15 IS the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3. I have “consistently” harmonized your PPism while at the same time harmonize the contradictions between your PPism and White’s classic Amillennialism. You are welcome

James White on the Olivet Discourse

Jeff, your co-Elder James White tells us the truth is in the “middle” of Hyper-Preterism and Dispensationalism when interpreting Matthew 24. What exactly is in the “middle”? Clearly he is referring to Reformed Partial Preterism (your view) and that of his and Waldron’s classic Amillennial view. BUT the “middle” of these two views IS the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist view:

Major Premise: The coming of Christ in the OD is the ONE SC event to be fulfilled at the end of the age (Reformed Amillennialism)

Minor Premise: BUT the coming of Christ in the OD was fulfilled at the end of the OC age spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” in AD 70 (Partial Preterism)

Conclusion / “CONSISTENCY”: THEREFORE, The ONE SC event predicted by Christ in the OD was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism). This is what we call, “Reformed and always reforming” and exegetical and historical “consistency.”

Jeff’s PPism is obviously NOT “consistent” and lacks “integrity” when put alongside Waldron and White’s classic creedal and Amillennial view. The “end of the age” or “end” judgment and resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12 IS the “end” and resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43/24:31; John 5-6; 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20:5-15. After all Jeff, Paul said this resurrection was “about to be” fulfilled in his day (Acts 24:15 YLT). So much for having “integrity” or “consistency” in dealing with those 100 plus time texts. Jeff, why not have a podcast explaining to us HOW within your PPism the judgment and resurrection of the dead was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (1 Pet. 4:5-7; Rev. 11:8ff.; Dan. 12:2-3 [and it’s NT references]) – and invite Waldron and White on?!? If you truly “care” and want to show us how “consistent” and “orthodox” (creedal) you are, let’s get with it brother. Let’s have White and Waldron on the show to discuss the timing of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 in light of your PPism and those 100 plus NT time texts.

The Apologia Church Confession of Faith

The Apologia Church confession of faith on eschatology simply says you believe Jesus is “coming again to judge the living and dead.” But Peter says the living and the dead were to be judged in an AD 70 “at hand” time frame (1 Pet. 4:5-7). How many judgments of the living and dead does Apologia Church teach from the pulpit and explain for us HOW the dead were judged in AD 70? And if the dead were judged, they were raised as well right? Please explain HOW the dead were raised and judged in AD 70.

Maybe you and Dr. White could debate these subjects and let us see how much “consistency” emerges?

Since you have admitted the 100 plus time texts refer to AD 70, by all means explain how Paul referencing Genesis 3:15 and how “Satan” was “crushed” “shortly” in AD 70, but this wasn’t the “shortly” end of the millennium judgment of Satan in Revelation 20. Again, if you truly “care” you will have “an answer to ANYONE who asks” you about these matters (1 Pet. 3:15). If you aren’t willing to discuss and debate these issues, please stop pretending you “care” are “consistent” creedal “orthodox” etc… My guess is you won’t be an actual “apologist” and address these issues. But hey, I hope you will prove me wrong.

Psalm 110 / Hebrews 10 / 1 Corinthians 15

Your co-host Pastor Luke Pierson, mentioned a discussion he had with a FP who claimed these texts don’t mention a Second Coming following Christ putting his enemies under His feet?!? Hebrews 10:13-37 is VERY clear that the “enemies” were “about to be” burned with fire when Christ was going to come in a “very little while” and would “not delay” in AD 70. These first century “enemies” were in the process of being placed under Christ’s feet just as the “last enemy” “the death” was “bEING destroyed” (1 Cor. 15 WUESTNT). Has physical death been in the process of “being destroyed” for 2,000 plus years? Who’s really denying the efficacy of the atonement? Not me!

Harmonizing Luke 21 and Matthew 24-25

Jeff, you claimed Luke 21 is the coming of Christ in AD 70 but apparently Matthew 24-25 includes the SC? Wow, so when Luke is discussing Jesus’ teaching on this matter he totally forgets to tell his Gentile audience about the end of world history and about Jesus’ actual SC – because they are Gentiles? That is your “apologetic” against FPism and Bible skeptics? Sad my friend. The truth of course is that Luke and Mark were written to of a more Gentile audience (agree there), but since the phrase “end of the age” is more Jewish and Christ spoke to the Jews in parables, Matthew is going to add that to his account along with more parables. Nothing here to support TWO comings – good try though. Matthew 24-25 is written with recapitulation (as is the book of Revelation) and is dealing with ONE Second Coming event just as Mark and Luke are. This is called exegetical “integrity” while your view has none:

The wedding of Matthew 22; 24-25 / Revelation 19-21 / Isaiah 25:6-9

Jeff, you claim the eschatological wedding and wedding feast of Matthew 22; 24-25 and Revelation 19-21 was fulfilled in AD 70, BUT the Reformed classic Amillennialist will correctly point out to you that this is WHEN “the last enemy” “the death” is “swallowed up” (Isa. 25:6-9/1 Cor. 15). Again, we harmonize these two competing “Reformed” views and make them TRULY “consistent” and “orthodox” (straight) with “integrity” while your view does not.

Matthew 8:10-12:

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

Gentry writes,

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

D.A. Carson writes,

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

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

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

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

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

Matthew 22:1-14:

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

Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,

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

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

Strengths:

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

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

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 25:1-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Context of Isaiah 25:6-9

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

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

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

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

Context of Isaiah 65:12-14

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

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

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

Putting it All Together “Bridging the Gap”

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

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

A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) = Wedding or wedding feast, end of the age, and parousia fulfilled by AD 70.
B (Isa. 25:6-9) = The wedding feast & resurrection are fulfilled together “in that day.”
C (1 Cor. 15) = The resurrection and end of the age are fulfilled at the parousia.

If A bears some relation to B…

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

…and B bears the same relation to C,…

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

…then A bears it to C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff, how many eschatological wedding and wedding feasts do you want to defend?!?  Time to man up my friend.  The righteous are as bold as a lion – and yet you, White and Waldron are no where to be found to “defend” your eschatological “hope” of the wedding and wedding feast.

Luke 21:22 – the fulfillment of all that has been written (in the OT)

And in your discussion of Luke 21, where was any discussion of this passage? If Jesus came to fulfill “all” that was written in the OT concerning His Second Coming within His contemporary “this generation,” then obviously that would include the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Isaiah 25:6-9.

End of world history and the PP missing de-creation text

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: BakerBooks, 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 statedviews. 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:

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.

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 the establishing the new by AD 70.

SOVEREIGN GRACE FULL PRETERIST VIEW (Synthesis/”CONSISTENCY”of above views – “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.

Then there is the exegetical fact that what you place as the “end” of world history, the OT and NT instructs us is the “end” of the OC age and per the Futurist hyper-literal hermeneutic there is birth, sin, evangelism and death taking place postSecond Coming / arrival of the New Creation (Isa. 65-66/Rev. 22:17).

Revelation

And what about the book of Revelation? Jeff Durbin claims the imminent coming of Christ through the prophecy is referring to AD 70, while Waldron, White and other classic Amillennialists along with the WCF and London Baptist Confession of Faith would affirm this is the ONE SC event which ends the millennium of Revelation 20. Doesn’t the Partial Preterism of Jeff and classic Amillennial view of Waldron and White FORM Full Preterism – hardly refuting it?!?

One Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon desperate to find a physical end of world history passing of the heavens and earth claimed “heaven and earth” “fleeing” in Revelation 20 was physical because the Greek word pheugo was used. Of course he wasn’t “consistent” when he failed to comment on how pheugo is used within Revelation itself to refer to the de-creation of Israel in Revelation 6 and 16. This deceptive hermeneutic as not only inconsistent, but lacking “Christian integrity” – something Jeff claims his PPism is offering:

Seven Brief Points Which Prove The Full Preterist View of the Millennium of Revelation 20 is Exegetical and Orthodox

1)  Reformed Partial Preterist author Kenneth Gentry in his writings informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were in the past, present, and things which were “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19 YLT). Therefore, there is no exegetical evidence to support that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired time indicators.  In fact even Gentry’s reformed peers understand that if one interpret the imminent time texts at the beginning and end to be referring to AD 70, then everything is fulfilled by AD 70, “But 1:3 and 22:10 are like bookends enclosing the whole prophecy of Revelation. The fulfillment of everything, not just a part, is near.”  (Vern S. Poythress, THE RETURNING KING A GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2000) 34).

2)  As G.K. Beale has reminded us, it is reformed and orthodox to believe that the thousand years is not just a symbolic number, but is one that does not have to be taken to describe a long time (ie. thousands of years etc…):  “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time…” (Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation: A commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (1018). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.)

3).  It has also been acknowledged by reformed theologians Such as Beale when approaching the millennium of Revelation 20, that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be only a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/world to come.”  These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land (Beale, ibid., 1018-1019; see also, A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, 356).  This type/anti-type understanding and same kind of “this generation” or “in a very little while” time frame of “another day” approaching in which the “better” heavenly land/city/resurrection would be inherited or take place is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14YLT).  And as we have noted from reformed Partial Preterists such as Joel McDurmon or Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the OC age and that the “age/world to come” refers to a transition period between the OC age and the NC age (ie. between AD 30 – AD 70).

4).  As the imminent time texts point to a fulfillment of Revelation 20, so does the recapitulation or parallel structure of Revelation point an AD 70 fulfillment for the millennium.  Reformed Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan correctly teach us that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70 (at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation).  And yet Amillennialists such as G.K. Beale, Robert Strimple and Simon Kistemaker correctly teach that Revelation 20:5-15 simply recapitulates these verses and themes or are paralleled to the same events related to the same judgment and consummation scenes depicted in chapters 1-19 and 21-22. We hold to both of these reformed and common sense “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation and this becomes relevant in our discussion of the millennium of Revelation 20.  Revelation 20 is not an isolated island standing away from the time texts or from the structure the book was written in.

5).  In criticizing the Premillennial view which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the NT, the Amillennial and Postmillennial views hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the NT.  Or this transition period can be found in the parable of the wheat and tares or the time frame leading up to the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25.  But as we have seen, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the OC age in AD 70, and that harvest gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled by AD 70 (cf. the writings of and combinations found in Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Peter Leithart, Keith A. Mathison, etc…).

6).  Consider the following:

a. if it is true that Matthew 24 – 25 cannot be divided and the coming of Christ and judgment in these chapters refer to AD 70 (Gary DeMar/Joel McDurmon and Keith Mathison or it is “possible” that they do ie. Kenneth Gentry) and…
b.  if “John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation” (Gary DeMar) and…
c.  if it is true that Matthew 24:27-31—25:31ff. is descriptive of the one and end of the age  Second Coming, judgment and resurrection event as is Rev. 20:5-15 (the classic Amillennial or creedal position) and…
d.  if it is hermeneutically valid to “parallel” Matthew 24-25 material with the book of Revelation, then Partial Preterism along with the classic Amillennial view have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of Full Preterism…

Matthew 24-25 Revelation 20:5-15
Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf. Matt. 16:27) Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18) De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31 God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46 Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15

7).  Consider the following:

a.  if the judgment (opening of the book), resurrection, time of the end of Daniel 12:1-4, 13 was fulfilled by AD 70 (Partial Preterism Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan) and…
b.  if the judgment (opening of the book), resurrection, time of the end of Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is the same eschatological time of the end events as described for us in Revelation 20:5-15 (classic Amillennial view) and…
c.  if “John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off” (Partial Preterism John Lightfoot, Gary DeMar, James Jordan) and “parallels” between Daniel 12 and Revelation 20 are hermeneutically valid to make (classic Amillennialism), then once again Partial Preterism along with classic Amillennialism have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of Full Preterism…

Daniel 12:1-2 Revelation 20:5-15
Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation Dan. 12:1-2 Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire Rev. 20:12-15
This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Dan. 12:1-2 This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Rev. 20:5-15

Conclusion:

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the Full Preterist AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” millennial view is:

1). consistent with the teaching of Revelation itself,
2)  falls within the “orthodox” views of the Reformed church,
3)  is in line with the analogy of Scripture and
4)  offers historical support from many Rabbis whom promoted a forty years transitional period between the two ages.
Our view on the millennium is both exegetically sound and orthodox. Finding support for the Full Preterist view of the millennium is not as difficult as many  portray it – selah.

Your PP view that somehow Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled imminently in AD 70, but the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead of chapter 20 wasn’t, has no exegetical support.

Luke 21 / Matthew 24-5 and Acts 1-3

Jeff mentioned Acts 1:11 as just no way being fulfilled in AD 70. Of course what Jeff didn’t tell you is that one of the main if not main Partial Preterist theologian Milton Terry saw this passage being fulfilled in AD 70. Interesting how Jeff’s BEST PP theologian agrees with us and not him. He claims he is being “consistent” and having “integrity” but fails to mention how PP theologians both take Acts 1:11 and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as fulfilled in AD 70. Sorry, I just don’t see this as acting out of “Christian integrity” or exegetical “consistency.”

But again, the creeds and majority of Reformed theologians and commentators see the coming of Christ here in Acts 1:11 being the same coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 and the evangelism or Great Commission (GC) of Matthew 24:14 being the same as Acts 1:8. In fact my Reformed PP opponent Keith Mathison has told us that when the GC of Acts 1:8 is fulfilled is when Christ coming on the clouds of Acts 1:11 will be fulfilled. So let’s examine these issues briefly.

We would agree with the creedal or classic Amillennialist that the Second Coming of Christ in Matthew 24 IS the same Second Coming event Luke lays out in Acts 1 – 3:

 

Of course the TRUTH is that Jeff’s Partial Preterism leads to the “consistent” Full Preterist view and when we combine the various Futurist positions (such as that of James White and Sam Waldron) they definitely form the “consistent” Sovereign Grace Full Preterist position. Yes I’m going to post this again in case you missed it:

Obviously the “consistency” and “integrity” belongs to my view and not yours. But good try though.

2). Logical fallacies, scare tactics and misrepresentations

Your logical fallacies and scare tactics were legion my friend. Your inability to defend what you said in the program and logical fallacies are what make me “angry” — let’s get the facts straight.

a). False claims that Full Preterists don’t see the Gentile inclusion in the OT and NT

Of course I have been a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist for over 30 years and have NEVER denied this. Not only have I not denied it, but establishing Jew and Gentile in ONE body/man is the essence of Full Preterism or Gospel Eschatology. Myself and other Full Preterists destroy the small amount of real “Hyper-Preterists” out there that do deny this. Let’s get the facts straight.

b). The assertion that we deny the physical resurrection of Christ, His deity or atonement.

This was SO desperate and sad. Again, over 30 years in the movement and I have NEVER believed the things you are tying to claim we believe! But it is YOU who deny the High Priestly atonement and redemption of Christ that was “about to be” fulfilled when He appeared a “second time” out of the Temple – at the end of the OC age in a “very little while” to take away our sin (Lk. 21:27/Heb. 9:26-28–10:37; Rms. 11:26-27/13:11-12).

c). Is Partial Preterism or Full Preterism more effective at refuting Bible skeptics and upholding the deity of Christ?

Some Jews did believe (all the way up until around AD 100) that Daniel 7:13 was not only Messianic, but He would somehow be divine (based on His description and that only God came upon the clouds). The OG LXX states that the one like the Son of Man would “come upon the clouds AS (not up to) the Ancient of Days.” This is exactly how Jesus is described in Revelation 1:7-18 – the Ancient of Days and the Alpha and Omega. Jeff, you are confused it is OUR view that more effetely refutes Bible critics (liberals, Islam & Zionists) regarding an imminent Second Coming (not “a” coming) that either refutes or upholds the claims of Jesus’ deity. Good try though.

d). “Come home the light is always on” 

The Father and Son have come and made their “home” within us and the light is always on in the New Jerusalem (Jn. 14:23 / Rev. 21:16ff.).  I don’t have to be a “member” of a Reformed Baptist Church to “be home.  Your appeals to “come hone” to mother church has been echoed by the Roman Catholic Church. Be consistent in your appeals to church tradition, counting noses and this manipulative nonsense and go Roman Catholic as some other “Reformed” theologians have.

I’m sure John Eck exhorted Luther to “come home” to compromise as well. I’ll pass on your offer Jeff, but if you and White want to actually continue the work of the Reformation “Reformed and always reforming” — we are always looking for some good men. David spent a lot of time in the caves and persecuted before his time of elevation. Such is the time frame of Full Preterism but we are going and will continue to grow with God adding “mighty men of valor” to our ranks daily.

e). You claim Full Preterists are “angry”

Jeff, how LONG has it been since your boy Keith A. Mathison said he would respond to my chapter response to him in our book, HD but hasn’t?!? You men claim you “care” and will “respond” to these issues but NEVER do. You “caring,” your alleged “integrity” and “consistency” are ALL scams. I think you may be mistaken over my “anger” it is being jealous and zealous for the Name and integrity of Christ as the “Faithful and True Witness” and not tolerating your false piety (you “care”) and false appeals to “consistency” etc…

You are allowed to be “angry” at Arminians when they censor you and won’t respond to your arguments but we aren’t allowed to be angry at your compromise, your censorship and failure to address the issues. Wow.

f). Lack of godliness

Another cheap shot below the belt. Again, I’ve been a SGFP for 30 years and my life has been nothing but blessed and my faith strengthened. So much so that I don’t have to stoop to these low levels you have had too. And you wonder why Full Preterists are “angry” – lol. The truth is we are “jealous / zealous” for His Name and He accomplished “ALL” (atonement as High Priest, judgment and resurrection of the dead, arrival of the New Creation) that He said He would “WHEN” (“this generation” “about to be” “will not be delayed”) He said He would.

And of course Futurist Calvinists have never been characterized as “bitter” “angry” or “one sighted” on their pet doctrines of election etc…?!? Never accused as being too focused on doctrine and not on “loving” others etc… Jeff, you really do need to come up with some real arguments – this false piety and manipulative garbage doesn’t work.

g). Conflating “Hyper-Preterism” with Full Preterism – and “leaving Christianity”

Sovereign Grace Full Preterism believes in the sovereign and free grace of God, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, etc… There have been MANY Futurists and Calvinists that have also left the faith and have gone into Open Theism, Catholicism and adopted bible skeptic arguments as to why the Scriptures are not inspired (you know them because James White has debated them!). So I could conclude that Futurism or Calvinism breeds unbelief if I were to adopt your horrific line of “logic” disguised as “caring.” And you wonder why you come across “angry” Full Preterists – lol.

When I attended The Master’s College and was a 5 point Calvinist 4 point “Calvinists” called my position on limited atonement to be “Hyper Calvinist” (before MacArthur made the change).  It’s just a way of trying to shut down the conversation and scare people from studying the view.  The truth of course is that a Hyper Calvinist is someone who does not Evangelize and a true Hyper Preterist is a small group of individuals who don’t see salvation post AD 70 for anyone.

h). The charge of “gnosticism”

I find it interesting that when Paul is addressing the error of a pre-AD 70 coming of the Lord and resurrection view, that he NEVER refers to the view as overly spiritual and thus gnostic. If it was the physical view you hold to, his powerful apologetic would have simply been something like this, “How can you believe the SC and resurrection has “already” occurred? We are still here aren’t we? The grave yards are still full aren’t they? The “end” of world history hasn’t taken place now has it? Again, power argument from silence that speaks VOLUMES.

To charge Jesus and the NT authors and the New Covenant anti-types of fulfillment as “gnostic” is a serious one.

  • Your Partial Preterism is about as “consistent” and has about as much “integrity” as a four point “Calvinist.” And just as four point “Calvinism” isn’t really Calvinism and only serves as a stepping stone which leads to real Calvinism, so too, your compromised Partial Preterism is not real, exegetical or true Preterism – of which only continues to lead your students to us and the truth. Selah.
  • I find it interesting that the “House Divided” of “When Shall These Things Be?…” approach has now made its way into your very own local church with you being a PP and James White being a classic Amillennialist (along with his mentor Sam Waldron). Let me know when you and White want to actually “engage” and do the work of an Apologist by debating us and stop pretending you as Elders are “consistent.” Until then, God’s people will see your approach for it was/is.
  • If you are not willing to actually do the work of an apologist and debate us, please do not claim you are “engaging” our view.

Jeff, is it “gnostic” to believe the teachings of Jesus that when He was revealed from heaven (His Second Coming) the Kingdom would not be seen with the physical eyes but placed “within” the believer (Lk. 17:20-37 / Lk. 21:27-32)? In fact Paul stated that this “glory” was “about to be revealed IN” them in AD 70 (Rms. 8:18YLT). We are the New Jerusalem or God’s Most Holy Place dwelling that comes down from heaven to earth at His “soon” Second Coming (Rev. 21:16–22:6-7, 20) of which Christ (the Tree of Life) and Living Water (Holy Spirit) flow from from within us. Nothing “gnostic” here my friend just “consistent” exegetical “integrity.” It is your view that gives these spiritual interpretations in AD 70 BUT to be creedal, then give them TWO or DOUBLE fulfillments (why not just go back to Dispensationalism then?). It is ironic to watch PPism tell Amillennialist and Dispensationalists that they are not allowed to give their AD 70 passages double fulfillments (the Tribulation, Desolation, destruction of the Temple, apostasy, etc…), but when they get in trouble with the creeds or are pressed for consistency from FPism, they begin talking about TWO comings, TWO passings of heaven and earth, TWO arrivals of the new heavens and earth, TWO judgments and resurrections of the dead, etc… That’s NOT “consistent” exegetical “integrity” friend.

David Green answers this charge of gnosticism in our book,

“Strimple Argument #10: Because preterists deny the physicality of the resurrection of the dead, preterists are teaching a new form of the old heresy of Gnosticism (313). Preterism is therefore a physical body – disparaging doctrine.

Answer: Before answering this argument, we must first note that though preterists deny the physicality of the resurrection of the dead, preterists do not agree with the Gnostics on the meaning of “resurrection.” Preterists do not believe that “resurrection” is a mystical attainment that is realized through knowledge, secret or otherwise. The Reformed preterist understanding of life in Christ is radically other than the Gnostic understanding.

We believe that we are raised to life through one thing, and one thing only: Faith in the historic (real, actual, physical) death and resurrection of God the Son, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. The Gnostic
denial of this core gospel truth is one of the central errors that made them heretics in the worst sense of the word.

As for the idea that preterism necessarily leads to the Gnostic view that the body is to be despised or that it is evil, this can be quickly dismissed with a look at Matthew 22:30. It is in that verse that Jesus said
that those who had physically died would, in the resurrection of the dead, “neither marry nor be given in marriage.”

The opponents of preterism accept this teaching of the Lord, but they do not realize that if the preterist interpretation (a non-physical resurrection) necessarily implies that the physical body must be despised or viewed as evil, then Jesus’ teaching (no more marriage for those who participate in the resurrection of the dead) necessarily implies that marriage, and by implication sex and reproduction, must also be despised or viewed as evil.

If the preterist teaching that the physically dead saints were raised non-physically necessarily implies that the physical aspect of man is to be despised or that it is evil, then Jesus’ teaching that there is no marriage for the physically dead after they are raised must likewise necessarily imply that marriage, sexuality, and reproduction are to be despised or considered evil. If one conclusion is necessarily true, the other is necessarily true. If preterism is necessarily anti-body Gnosticism, then Jesus was, by the same logic, necessarily anti-marriage, anti-sex, and anti-reproduction. Therefore, the futurist claim that preterism is necessarily Gnostic (physical-body-disparaging) is fallacious.

The truth is that marriage, sex, reproduction, and the physical body are all good and temporary (Job 14:12; Eccles. 9:6; 1 Cor. 6:13). “Temporary” does not equal “despised” or “evil.” As with the temporality of marriage, sex, and reproduction, the temporality of the physical body in no way minimizes or negates the eternality of the Spirit-empowered works that are wrought by means of it. A temporal “tabernacle” (2 Pet. 1:13-15) in which and through which we obey and worship God “in spirit and in truth” is by no stretch of the imagination evil or to be despised.

Ironically, the reason that the physically dead saints who were raised in AD 70 did not get remarried and procreate again is because they were raised in a non-biological manner. They were and are spirits, “like the angels” (Matt. 22:30; Heb. 1:7). The Sadducees, like the futurists after them, did not understand this.

Before I conclude this answer, there is another, related charge of Strimple against preterists that I should address here, and that is that preterists are naturalistic rationalists and skeptics. This accusation comes as a surprise because it is difficult to understand how one could simultaneously be a Gnostic and a naturalistic rationalist. How can preterists believe in an over-spiritualized resurrection of the dead and at the same time be steeped in, as Strimple puts it, old-fashioned, blatantly naturalistic, “the universe is a closed system” rationalism? (307, 310, 328, 339)

As though these accusations were not contradictory enough, Strimple admits elsewhere that preterists are devoted to the defense of the divine origin and the divine authority of the Scriptures: “ . . . [T]he motivation behind their theology and their exegesis is apologetic” (289). The question now is how can preterists be defenders of the divine origin and authority of Scripture and also be naturalistic rationalists and skeptics and Gnostics at the same time?

While it is true that we can find certain preterists who have argued that a physical resurrection of the dead is an impossibility because of the dispersal of molecules throughout the aeons, it is not correct to paint preterists in general as people who argue in that manner. I am sure that I speak for the vast majority of preterists of Reformed background when I say that God is able at any time to physically resurrect all people of all generations.

Preterists do not reject a physical resurrection of the dead because we believe in a “closed universe,” or because we think that God lacks ability, or because we are skeptics or rationalists or naturalists, or because we have a Gnostic, matter-despising bent. We reject a physical resurrection of the dead for one reason and one reason only: Because we believe that the Word of God—the divine origin and authority of which we are championing—teaches a spiritual, non-physical (yet “bodily”) resurrection of the dead in the end of the old covenant age.

Our belief in the inerrancy and divine authority of the Bible, and in the deity of Christ, and in the goodness of God’s physical universe, and in regeneration by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone does not prove that we are correct in our understanding of the resurrection of the dead, but it does prove that we are not “naturalistic Gnostics.” (HD, pp. 176-179).

For those that want to watch this sad attempt at refuting Full Preterism here is a link to Jeff’s podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDFWNE6ut7o

We have no problem pointing our readers to the heretical Futurist teachings on the Second Coming, but they are constantly CENSORING us and not debating us. That should tell you everything

I’m ready to debate when you are Jeff:

Or as I left a message on your phone — I am also willing to do a partner debate.  Don Preston has already agreed to be mine.  Please ask your co-Elder James White if he would be willing to be your partner. If he believes we are a “cult” and or he believes our view of the judgment and resurrection of the dead being fulfilled in AD 70 has somehow perverted the gospel and atonement, then this isn’t just a debate “about eschatology” and falls within the realm of subjects his ministry debates.  Or Gary DeMar would be fine as well.  Perhaps you could find one of the co-authors of WSTTB? to come on and be your partner as well?  Please do get back with me.

Still in progress…

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….

Open Letter To Mel Gibson and Two Movie Proposals – 1. “AD 70 / The Parousia” and 2. “The Armageddon Conspiracy”

 

Dear Mr. Gibson,

My name is Michael Sullivan and I am a Christian Full Preterist author and apologist. I am anticipating your film “Rothchild” and this indicates to me that you may understand the destructive nature of modern Zionism in all of its various forms. Below are two movie proposals/plots that are designed to counter not just the false vies of Zionism, but that of Islam and hopefully will educate the public on the circular theological problems perpetuating war in the Middle East. The theological premise behind these movies is that the “end of the age” “holy war” in the “holy land” is a PAST event – i.e. between AD 67 – AD 70. If this can be proven (and it can) and it makes its way into the public (and it can through a movie), then we can solve part of the problem of Isalm, Israeli Zionism and Evangelical Zionism from trying to self-fulfill this “holy land” “holy war” in the Middle East.

Please prayerfully consider these proposals.

What will you get out of this project?

1). It will be a sequel to “The Passion of The Christ” which has long been anticipated and it will counter the Trojan horse of Islam and Zionism that we are both concerned with. Remember, for some reason in “The Passion of The Christ” you left out Jesus’ words on the way to the cross found in Luke 23:28-30 which is a quote taken from Isaiah 2:19 depicting the “in that day” coming of the Lord in judgment upon the Jews in AD 67 – AD 70 when they would cry out, “…to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us’ “from the splendor of His majesty.” This is the battle of Armageddon depicted in Revelation that would be fulfilled “shortly” in John’s lifetime (Rev. 1;1; 16:17-21). Did you leave this out for fear of being labeled “anti-Semitic”? When you were charged with this, you said you were simply portraying what “was in your gospels.” So let’s portray what’s fully in there and not worry what others will say.

2). It will be a crowning long lasting legacy for you, your family, and country to remember you by.

What do I want out of this?

1). To leave a legacy which will in the long run heal the Middle East Crisis.

2). Just to make enough money so that I can devote myself to studying, writing and lecturing on eschatology and nutrition and leave a modest inheritance for my children. This is what I’m requesting and hoping from you: 1. I get paid for the proposals/plots (whatever you think is fair and according to industry standards). 2. I get paid (again whatever you think is fair) to be an advisor to the script-writer whom you choose for the project. If I could have one-two assistants myself, that would be great. 3. I get paid a small percentage of the movies residual profit (again what you think is fair).

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 Pratt – Christian 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:

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/

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:  https://fullpreterism.com/my-second-lecture-at-the-ppw-2017-conference-part-3-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-the-olivet-discourse-the-gathering-of-the-electresurrection-event-of-matthew-2430-31-1-thessalonia/

 

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

P.S. – If in God’s providence anyone reading this knows Mel Gibson or can get this letter to him, I would greatly appreciate you passing it on to him. And if you can get it to him, and you are a Full Preterist having a desire to be in the project, I would love to hire you as one of my assistants. Lord bless.

Friends who stand by Mel in rough times:

History of AD 67 – AD 70 – the Parousia of Christ:

The Sun Will Be Darkened: A Brief Survey Of Apocalyptic Symbolism – Guest Article By Jeffrey T. McCormack

The Sun Will Be Darkened: A Brief Survey Of Apocalyptic Symbolism – Guest Article By Jeffrey T. McCormack

Message Delivered by Jeffrey at Berean Bible Church 05/28/17

Last month I stood up here and discussed the sign of Jonah topic, and within that message I had a short section dealing with the type of apocalyptic language we find in Scripture, but that too many people tend to miss the significance of when they get to the New Testament. So today I wish to take a deeper look at the topic a little further on its own.We’ll be going on a brief journey through some of the apocalyptic and symbolic language found in the Old Testament Scriptures, showing additional examples from the coverage given in the previous message. This topic is a seriously important one to grasp, because people will continue to misinterpret the New Testament scriptures if they do not read, study and understand the language of the Old.The verses we’ll cover today will set the stage and lay the solid ground work necessary for more properly understanding the New Testament prophecy Scriptures. Sadly, when it comes to the New Testament Bible prophecy scenario, so many readers are oblivious to how very much of the same language comes from Old Testament prophecy, leading them to misinterpret the metaphors, idioms, etc. they contain.

This modern generation continue to have this disconnect — this idea of a separation of the storyline between the Old and New testaments. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again; there is a great injustice done when Bible publishers make editions of the Scripture available that only contain the New Testament book. I have felt this was for many, many years, and the more I study and learn, the more strongly I feel on this point.

You can never fully understand, comprehend, or appreciate the story of the New Testament without a firm grasp on the story of the Old. The new is only good news when you read fully of the old bad news. The Gospel message of the New, is the completion and closing chapters of the story presented in the Old.

Instilled in the hearts and minds of so many believers is this false dichotomy that the Old Testament was for those old people, and the New Testament is more for us. And due to that, people have misused and abused so much of the New Testament that it has made the gospel message so twisted. And still worse, it has made the stories of the New Testament to be taken out of context fully.

Back at the 2012 conference, my lecture was dealing with this idea of understanding the whole story of Scripture, especially the Hebrew Scriptures, in order to better understand the story of the New Testament. I opened up by telling the story of the shocking question that was raised by one man.

This man asked a pastor friend of his, “What is good news about the fact that Jesus is the Messiah, the descendant of David?” If someone does not comprehend what was said beforehand about the coming messiah, or the struggles of the people and their promised hope, then this information about a messiah seems trivial for sure.

I had also discussed the response a pastor gave to the question “Did Jesus preach the gospel?” The pastor reasoned that since the gospel is justification by faith in the work of Christ and the cross, then it was impossible to say that Jesus was preaching the gospel. The pastor answered “Nope, Jesus couldn’t have. No one understood the gospel until Paul. No one understand the gospel until after the cross and resurrection and Pentecost.”

This is indeed a problem caused by too heavy of a focus on the New Testament only. There are so many other things in the New Testament that are totally misunderstood because of this same type of reason. So when it comes to the Bible story, without the old, the new makes little sense and that is why things have gotten so badly off track in the modern church.

There are so many pieces of the Old Testament that are referenced within the New, that without grasping the language and meaning of the original reference, it tends to lead to many whacky interpretations. In this message, I would like to focus on national judgment language in general, especially the sun, moon and stars terminology.

A while back, David preached the sermons on the four blood moons issue, and it really brought out all types of crazy comments from people with these physical misunderstandings. The responses were amazingly sad, as many would simply respond and state that “obviously these things have not happened, because we have not seen the stars fall from the sky, or the sky roll up like a scroll,” and other similar cosmic ideas.

Of course, one of the main scriptures raised for this is Matthew 24:29:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29 ESV)

Sure, just reading this verse at face value, it would appear to be talking about the end of the entire world, where the actual sun, moon and stars and creation itself is destroyed. Unfortunately, this is the general understanding by most. But we shall find that in fact, that is not what this language is talking about at all.

Another similar star to earth issue is found in Revelation 12: 3-4 where the tail of the dragon sweeps a third of the stars down to earth. Yet, this type of verse is seen by many as being symbolic and not literal — but of course, not all see it this way. John Walvoord, a major teacher of dispensationalism and president at Dallas Theological Seminary for many years, agrees with E.W. Bullinger who said:

It is impossible for us to take this as symbolic; or as other than what it literally says. The difficulties of the symbolic interpretation are insuperable, while no difficulties whatever attend the literal interpretation. (Bullinger, The Apocalypse, 1902 – quoted by Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, 1966)

So a symbolic interpretation presents difficulties, why a literal does not? On the contrary, a literal approach has major difficulties. Stars tend to be much larger than the Earth, and a single star colliding with the Earth would obliterate it, so the thought of any more than one is inconceivable.

Walvoord and others get around this problem — or try to — by saying these stars are actually more like meteorites, but that does not solve the issue. If evolution proponents claim that a single meteorite hit the earth and destroyed all life on earth during the dinosaur age, then to consider a third of the meteorites hitting earth is again inconceivable.

The problem with all of this is that they fail to understand how the Bible uses terms like these over and over again, and so they assign them literal modern definitions that are biblically inaccurate.

We cover it from this pulpit frequently, that Hebrew symbolism and idioms are often ignored or unknown to many today. Most readers take a surface level, literal English view of the Scripture, using their 21stcentury definitions and interpretive techniques to come to their conclusions.

A simple survey of Hebrew Scripture is all that is needed to have a better understanding of verses like these in the New Testament. Let’s go back and survey how the Hebrew Scriptures used terms like these.

When you read Genesis 37 and the story of Joseph, we find a clear cut story showing the understanding of how God’s people understood the references to sun, moon and stars. This is some of what I covered in my earlier sermon, but it is worth repeating as it is a great place to start to build the foundation on. This story also shows us that it was a historic understanding well known to them — so this is not where it originated:

Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Genesis 37:9 ESV)

So, taking the modern approach to this verse, I guess we should understand that Joseph had a dream where one day he would basically be a God, and the literal, physical elements of the universe were going to really bow to him. Of course we know that was not the case because we know that even his family did not come to such a crazy conclusion:

But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”(Genesis 3:10 ESV)

So, they clearly understood Joseph to be referencing his parents as the sun and moon, and his eleven siblings as stars. These references were commonly interpreted as representing governing authorities, as understood from Joseph’s use here — but they were also often descriptive of nations or kingdoms.

This understanding is not alien to us as modern American’s either if you stop and think about it. Our own US flag has stars on it, each representing a different and separate nation state within the union — each a political power basically. Other countries use stars on their flag in a similar manner.

Let us look at some quotes from other sources on this topic.

Before the advent of speculative exegesis, most Bible commentators who studied the whole Bible understood the relationship of collapsing universe language with the destruction of the religion and civil state of the Jewish nation. (Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, 4th ed., p. 144)

Demar’s book actually deals quite well on this topic, and the rest of these quotes are actually ones that he quoted following what he just said in his book:

That is, the Jewish heaven shall perish, and the sun and moon of the glory and happiness shall be darkened — brought to nothing. The sun is the religion of the [Jewish] church, the moon is the government of the [Jewish] state, and the stars are the judges and doctors of both. Compare Isa. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7, 8. (John Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, ps. 319-320 – [1859])

The darkening of the sun and moon, the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the powers of the heavens, denote the utter extinction of the light of prosperity and privilege to the Jewish nation, the unhinging of authority of their princes and priests; the abject miseries to which the people in general, especially their chief persons, would be reduced; and the moral and religious darkness to which they would be consigned. (Thomas Scott, The Holy Bible….with Explanatory Notes…, v.3 p. 110 [1832])

Our savior goes on, to set forth the calamities that should befall the Jewish nation, immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. So entire was the subversion of their ecclesiastical and civil state, that it may be metaphorically represented by the sun, moon, and stars, losing their light, and all the heavenly bodies being dissolved. (W. Dalton, An Explanatory and Practical Commentary on the New Testament, v. 1 p 118 [1842])

In ancient Hieroglyphic writings the sun, moon, and stars represented empires and states, with their sovereigns and nobility. The eclipse of their luminaries was said to denote temporary national disasters, or an entire overthrow of any state. This is still an Eastern mode of writing, and there are some classical examples of it. The Prophets frequently employ it, so that their style seems to be a speaking hieroglyphic. Thus Isaiah describes the destruction of Babylon, and Ezekiel that of Egypt — In accordance with this prediction, Josephus gives an account of the persecution and slaughter of the nobility and principal men in the city by the infuriated Zealots, computing their number at twelve thousand. (John Forster, The Gospel-Narrative, p. 307 [1847])

Another aspect of it is seen as related to Israel’s surrounding pagan nations that worshiped these celestial bodies — or more precisely, worshipped deities represented by these celestial bodies.

And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.  (Deuteronomy 4:19 ESV – see also 17:3)

The practice of worshiping these celestial objects — or the gods they represent — was also obviously taken up by God’s people at times when they strayed from God’s commandments, as we see evidenced in Kings:

And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. 

And he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon and the constellations and all the host of the heavens.  (2 Kings 23:4-5 ESV)

So, it becomes clearly obvious that the usages of language that includes terminology like sun, moon and stars, is not always to be considered literal, and must be judged based on the literary type they appear within.

And what is truly odd, is the inconsistencies and contradictory views that some commentators come to on this subject. There are many that scream about taking things literally, yet even they do not do so in their own theological systems.

Even when they do interpret the language symbolically in places, they do not always stay consistent, and turn right around and interpret the same language usage differently in other places for no real textual reason. For example, the literalist Allen Ross has mentioned it at least twice, with one of the books being edited by John Walvoord himself:

In ancient cultures these astronomical symbols represent rulers. (Allen Ross, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, eds. John Walvoord and Roy Zuck, p. 87)

The second dream involved celestial images — the sun, moon, and stars being easily recognized for their significance for rulership. (Allen Ross, Creating and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis, p. 600)

And then when they get to Revelation 12, with the woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and the crown of stars, some are quick to again leave their literalism to understand these symbolically. John Walvoord himself says:

The description of the woman clothed with the sun and the moon is an allusion to Genesis 37:9-11, where these heavenly bodies represent Jacob and Israel, thereby identifying the woman with the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. In the same context, the stars represent the patriarchs, the sons of Jacob. The symbolism may extend beyond this to represent in some sense the glory of Israel and her ultimate triumph over her enemies. (John Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, p. 188)

Yet, even after having such knowledge, and stating it in their teachings, when they get to Matthew 24:29 where Jesus is drawing from the same Genesis symbolism when stating the sun darkened and the stars falling, they appear to do a flip flop in understanding, and claim it to be a discussion of literal celestial destruction.

So, even though the Scriptures clearly teaching that those things were to happen before that generation hearing him would end, they have to reinterpret other factors to make it work on with their initial erroneous understanding.

They fail to see the prophetic discussion of the nation, represented by the temple, being described in the same celestial language of destruction as used often in the Scriptures. Milton Terry puts is ever so finely when he says:

Too little study of the Old Testament ideas of judgment, and apocalyptic language and style, would seem to be the main reason for this one-sided exegesis. It will require more that assertion to convince thoughtful men that the figurative language of Isaiah and Daniel, admitted on all hands to be such in those ancient prophets, is to be literally interpreted when used by Jesus and Paul. (Milton Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics [1890], p.596)

Let’s look now beyond Genesis, to get an even better backdrop for how this use of celestial language has been used throughout the Scriptures.

ISAIAH 13

First we’ll start with Isaiah 13, which many say was prophesied around 730 BC, and is spoken against Babylon of their time. According to the IVP Bible Background Commentary, at that time, the Neo-Assyrian Empire was probably the most powerful world network that had ever been seen up to that point.

They subjugated Babylonia and its Chaldean rulers like they did so many others. As many of the nations tried to break free over time, they caused revolts and uprisings. Shortly after 630 BC, as the Assyrian empire began to crumble, Babylonia and Media combined forces to put extra pressure on the last of the Assyrian kings, and with his death, the empire was over too. After that, began the emergence of Nebuchadnezzar and the New-Babylonian Empire.

Now, in general terms, the use of sun, moon and stars in Hebrew culture, as we have seen, is often commonly understood as referring to those in a place of authority, or a political type power. But at time, the prophet using these terms could be directly targeting the deities of another people.

According to the Mesopotamian creation epic titled Enuma Elish, the great god Marduk had placed the constellations in order to oversee the forces of nature, and assist him in the management of creation. At that time, the movements of the heavenly bodies were considered omens about things that would occur on Earth, and therefore astronomical observations were a constant practice for them. The findings were recorded and collected into the Enuma Anu Enlil.

In Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece this information was used to prepare individual horoscopes. Using this, lucky and unlucky days could be determined by consulting the guild of magicians and astrologers. So, now knowing just how important of a part that constellations played for this nation, when we come to the text speaking of judgment upon them, pay attention to the celestial language contained here:

Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come! Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt. They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame.

Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.

I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir.

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger. (Isaiah 13:6-13 ESV)

By stating that on the day of Yahweh all of the celestial bodies would be darkened, Isaiah is not only simply saying their power and leaders will be removed, he is claiming that the glory of Yahweh will outshine and therefore mask all of the other supposed gods.

Since Assyria and Egypt both worshiped the supposed sun god as their primary deity, and the moon god Sin was of great importance in Babylonia, it is no surprise that the prophet targets those gods of that arrogant people.

Many agree that this prophecy was fulfilled in 539 BC when Cyrus the Persian took Babylon. But hopefully we see here how the celestial bodies of sun, moon and stars are relevant to the judgment, and were not considered to be a literal event at the time.

Also, hopefully you noted that we also see here a reference to a woman in labor, which should trigger in our minds the similar language to the birth pains we find in places like Jeremiah 48 and 49, as well as Matt. 24:8 and Mark 13:8:

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. (Mark 13:8 ESV)

ISAIAH 19

Now, moving forward to Isaiah 19, we find a prophecy spoken against Egypt:

An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. (Isaiah 19:1 ESV)

What we find here is again not quite the celestial language that we have been discussing, but it is the type of apocalyptic symbolism that we find in conjunction with that language as we find it more getting into the New Testament. Here in Isaiah we have God riding on the clouds as well as a little more de-creation type language of rivers completely drying up.

Associating God with using clouds is not a new idea, as we know He used clouds to represent His presence to Moses and during the Exodus from Egypt. However, now, it is a symbol of judgment as God is coming — riding on the cloud to bring destruction. As we are told in Psalm 103:

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; (Psalms 104:3 ESV)

So the idea of God riding a cloud is an established idea that is not considered literally taking place. Actually, some say that this type of language is taken from texts that speak of the Ugaritic god Baal. In the stories contained in the two texts the Aqhat Epic and the Baal and Anat, Baal is referred to as the “Rider of the Clouds.” Dave has covered this numerous times in past message, and again, like before, is a direct attack against a nation’s god.

His attributes include commanding the storms, unleashing lightening, and a Diving Warrior rushing into war. He even appears in the Egyptian El Amarna texts. This language in these earlier texts is very similar to Yahweh, who is the Creator, Fertility God, and Divine Warrior.

So, one of the ways that Yahweh presented himself to his people the Israelites, in order to portray himself as the true God and sole divine power, is by assuming the titles and powers of the ancient Near Eastern gods.

Then, we get over into Isaiah 34 where we’re presented with a coming judgment against Edom, and it is described again with this destructive language:

Their slain shall be cast out, and the stench of their corpses shall rise; the mountains shall flow with their blood. All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree. For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to destruction. (Isaiah 34:3-5 ESV)

Some translations say the mountains melted with their flowing blood. Obviously the mountains didn’t literally melt or flow with blood — but some try to make it more literal by saying the amount of blood was so much, that it loosed enough of the dirt of the mountain to cause big chunks of it to slide down. John Gill sees it this way but considers it as more of a hyperbole, stating it as being written in a more extreme fashion than it truly was. He says this saying is:

An hyperbolical expression, denoting the great number of the slain upon the mountains, and the great quantity of blood shed there; which should run down in large streams, and carry part of them along with it, as large and hasty showers of rain wash away the earth, and carry it along with them; such an hyperbole see in Rev. 14:20. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)

When I was first reading through this verse, my mind immediately jumped to Rev. 14:20 — so it is good to see an ancient like Gill does too; they were not totally oblivious to this language usage. In Revelation we are told that the blood “flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle” for roughly 200 square miles.

Hyperbole indeed, yet I have heard people go into great detail as to how this was to literally occur. Blood flowing greatly, rivers of blood, etc. are all signs of the aftermath of God’s judgment and aside from Moses doing it, are not considered literal occurrences.

Also here in Isaiah we are told the hosts of heaven shall rot, or be consumed as some have it. So again, here is language dealing with the elements of heaven and speaks as if they will cease to exist. The IVP Bible Background Commentary is a fairly popular set that provides great insights from some leading Bible scholars on a majority of verses. On this verse in Isaiah they state:

Imagery of disappearing stars: Always in command of all creation, Yahweh shows mastery over the heavens and celestial bodies, causing their brightness to be snuffed out in a reversal of creation. Prominent astral motifs in the Mesopotamian religion included the idea that the gods were given stations within the heavens and “their astral likenesses” marked the zones of the calendrical year.

In the celestial omens the disappearing of a star or planet always suggested that the related deity had suffered defeat in battle. Astral deities were considered among the most prominent and powerful of the gods. The dissolving of the stars and the fall of the starry host are therefore related.

Both the natural manifestation as well as the deity connected to it are overcome in this act of judgment. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament, p. 624)

So, not only are we seeing these terms used as representative of national judgment, but again, they are understood as referring also to those heavenly powers assigned to a nation — their gods — and their judgment too.

This Isaiah verse also states that the sky would roll up as a scroll, which is obviously symbolic, since when this judgment came, the literal sky did not roll up — though sadly some seem to expect that to happen in our future still. The Bible Background Commentary continues, adding some additional related insight:

The three major Babylonian gods are not represented by stars but by the sky itself. Anu is the sky god, and the horizon is divided into three paths (connected to Anu, Enlil and Ea). Therefore, rolling up the sky is an act of judgment against the three main deities of the ancient world. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament, p. 624)

JEREMIAH 4

Moving on to Jeremiah 4 we find a prophecy against Jerusalem at the time, a prophecy that was fulfilled not too long afterwards when Nebuchadnezzar II took over in 586 BC. I will touch on just the highlighted versus from this section:

Behold, he comes up like clouds; his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles — woe to us, for we are ruined! (Jeremiah 4:13 ESV)

Here again, as we just saw in Isaiah 19, we find more of the symbolism of God coming on the clouds in judgment. As we continue we find mountains trembling (v. 24), the heavens above becoming dark (v. 28), and the symbolism of a woman crying out in labor pains (v. 31).  Actually, if you read verse 23-26 you find Jeremiah taking imagery from the Genesis 1:2 creation account and using it in poetic form to describe a reversal of creation.

This language is used to basically say that all that they thought was consistent in life is now falling apart for them. While this type of language is commonly used in prophetic literature in connection with the Day of the Lord and coming judgment, it is of course never understood to be literal.

Taking a very brief look at Zephaniah 1, we get another prophecy of the same coming judgment of Jerusalem, and of course we find similar language from a different prophet:

The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there.  A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness… (Zephaniah 1:14-16 ESV)

Again, we find darkness and clouds mentioned here. All of this language is wrapped tightly in the symbolism surrounding the national judgment coming from God, and again, not literal.

EZEKIEL 30-32

Jumping now into Ezekiel 30-32, we find the prophecy of judgment against Egypt. I have read some who say this was accomplished when Cambyses of Persia conquers Egypt in 525 B.C., while I have heard others say based on Josephus, it was fulfilled in B.C. 587 when Babylon destroyed them.

The emphasis for us here does not require us to delve too deeply into the actual date of occurrence, but simply to understand that this event has already occurred, and this language again was not literally a reality. Here in Ezekiel, as expected, we find the same language is used:

For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.  (Ezekiel 30:3 ESV)

Here we find clouds again in the story of judgment as has become common we now see. It is the day of the Lord, a day he has set for national judgment. And later in the same chapter:

At Tehaphnehes the day shall be dark, when I break there the yoke bars of Egypt, and her proud might shall come to an end in her; she shall be covered by a cloud, and her daughters shall go into captivity.  (Ezekiel 30:18 ESV)

Now, I will state that of course not every time we see clouds mentioned are we to assume it is a reference to Yahweh riding them in judgment. Oftentimes it is used poetically to mean that a calamity is falling on them, like in this verse here. For instance, the Targum, which is the Aramaic version of the Hebrew Scriptures that was used in the first century by many a Rabbi, puts this verse like this:

a king with his army shall cover her as a cloud ascends and covers the earth:

So, while this is not a reference to God riding the cloud, it is still a reference to clouds involved in the judgment from God. And then moving into Ezekiel 32, we see language that we find later in the New Testament, and that may be related to verse that are often misunderstood.

And I will cast you on the ground; on the open field I will fling you, and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you, and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you.  (Ezekiel 32:4 ESV)

And the same language is used later in the book when speaking of the fall of Gog:

You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. (Ezekiel 39:4 ESV)

As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. (Ezekiel 39:17-18 ESV)

Obviously there is no denying the connection that is used Rev. 19:

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great. (Revelation 19:17-18 ESV)

But while I did not delve into depth to determine if this is a necessary connection, but one cannot help but be immediately struck by the similarities of this bird talk with what we are told in Luke 17:

I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” (Luke 17:34-37 ESV)

This verse is often misused as some kind of Rapture of Christians off the Earth view, but in reality it is not. I like the way Reformed John Gill states it:

the one shall be taken – not by the preaching of the Gospel, into the kingdom of God, or Gospel dispensation; … nor by angels, to meet Christ in the air, and to be introduced into his kingdom and glory; but by the eagles, the Roman army, and either killed or carried captive by them. (John Gill)

The idea of the post judgment dead being eaten by the bird of the air seems to be a common thread as we have seen, and is usually understood as an ultimate shameful end, to not have a decent burial, but instead to food for the fowl of the air. Now continuing on in Ezekiel 32:

I will drench the land even to the mountains with your flowing blood, and the ravines will be full of you. When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD.  (Ezekiel 32:6-8 ESV)

Again, notice here we have similar events as mentioned earlier in Isaiah 34, where mountains are flowing with blood. Hopefully you are beginning to see how this type of language is becoming a common thread in the apocalyptic symbolic language used in Scripture throughout. This is not the language of literal world ending events happening over and over again, these are all national judgments.

JOEL

Now, most people tend to be quite familiar with what is said in Joel, but it is as if they ignore — or just never read — all of the uses of the language of the Old Testament, and so from Joel on into the New Testament they believe everything will literally happen for some reason.

Since we are clearly told that these words from Joel began to be accomplished in the book of Acts, we know they were not literal happenings. However, as before, we find the same types of language here:

Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations. (Joel 2:1-2 ESV)

Note that here we have the blowing of a trumpet at the Day of the Lord, a day of darkness, gloom, and clouds. All things that hopefully ring a bell as things we’ve read time and time again in the New Testament, which we shall get to in a bit. Joel continues:

The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. (Joel 2:10)

The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Joel 2:31)

While some may want to simply see this as a solar eclipse and a blood moon eclipse, it must not be ignored that it is most often understood as a symbolic blotting out of the powers and rulers of the nation being judged, and as mentioned, may be directed at the deities of a nation. And we find similar language continuing on into chapter three:

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. (Joel 3:14-16 ESV)

Now of course, it could be that at times this language of the sun and moon being darkened could be referring to an actual literal eclipse, or that the event was accompanied by such a literal event. We are not ruling out this possibility. Knowing that God controls the celestial bodies, and knowing he gave them for signs and seasons, it is not out of the realm of possibility that these disastrous events were accompanied by an eclipse as a sign.

And some commentators say that judgment scenarios like this may have been so intense and large, producing so much fire and smoke, that it could have filled the sky to the point of covering the light of the sun, moon or stars from sight for those on the earth in that area.

While these ideas are not an impossible scenario, it must not a considered a necessity to have gone down that way in order to fulfill the symbolism of the language used. Since the usage of sun, moon and stars has already be established as symbolic language used of national judgment, even if these natural occurrences did occur, the thrust of this language is not necessarily leaning to that physical understanding.

And while some may use this angle to explain away or strictly literalize these celestial entities becoming dark, this technique cannot be used in the places where the stars fall to the Earth, or other such language. We’ll look more at that later.

AMOS

Moving on, Amos gives us a prophecy against Israel, one that was fulfilled in 722 BC when Sargon II of Assyria attacked them. Again, the scene of judgment is referred to as a time of darkness:

Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light…Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? (Amos 5:18, 20 ESV)

Yahweh was angry at the people of Israel, stating:

I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. (Amos 5:21-22 ESV)

As the Bible Background Commentary explains:

Amos’s attack is addresses at the empty, mechanically celebrated hagim, the technical term for the three major pilgrimage festivals (Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Harvest and Feast of Ingathering). Religious festivals offered frequent opportunities for celebrations, communal meals and social gatherings. What had been designed as a means to praise and honor God, however, was not bringing any pleasure to him. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament, p. 770)

Hopefully this brings to mind some of the scathing rebukes Christ made against the Pharisees over their abuse of the law and artificial worship of Yahweh. Their very actions and lifestyles had made them a rejected covenant people, and judgment was coming on them too. And closing out this section from Amos, in chapter eight we again find celestial language which is symbolic in nature as before.

“And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. (Amos 8:9)

Many commentators agree that this is best understood metaphorically as related to the sudden calamity that would come upon the people, just as we have seen previously. It can also again be directed at the pagan sun god, who at their seeming strength of day, is suddenly snuffed out. Again, this event did not literally happen. We see a similar usage and discussion in Jeremiah 15:

I have made their widows more in number than the sand of the seas; I have brought against the mothers of young men a destroyer at noonday; I have made anguish and terror fall upon them suddenly. She who bore seven has grown feeble; she has fainted away; her sun went down while it was yet day; she has been shamed and disgraced. And the rest of them I will give to the sword before their enemies, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 15:8-9 ESV)

NAHUM

In Nahum, Nineveh is to be brought under judgment, which took place when the Medes and Babylonians destroyed them in 612 BC. And wouldn’t you just know it, we find the same type of language being used here:

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; he dries up all the rivers; Bashan and Carmel wither; the bloom of Lebanon withers. The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. (Nahum 1:3-5 ESV)

If taken literally, it would appear there were catastrophic earth shattering, world destructing things taking place. But again, this is simply language of judgment and national destruction, not worldly upheaval. And then verse 8:

But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness. (Nahum 1:8)

Whirlwind and storms, clouds under his feet, dry seas and rivers, mountains quaking, flooding — all things we have seen before in the judgment setting. I would like to say a quick word about the mountains quaking. We have seen mountains mentioned at times and in various ways in these judgments, but here we are specifically seeing them quaking. In Micah 4 we are told:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say:

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1-2 ESV)

So, Micah is seeing Mount Zion as being elevated above every other mountain in the world, so what is the significance of that?

In the ancient Near East, a temple mountain represented the deity worshiped there and symbolized the deity’s presence with his people, the deity’s abiding victory over chaos, a gateway in to the deity’s heavenly presence, and the deity’s rule over the territory it dominated.

Micah’s superlatives for Zion as “the highest mountain” and his comparison “above the hills” helps to validate that he aims to contrast Mount Zion — and so the Lord who is worshiped there — with pagan temple-mountains and their false deities. (Bruce Waltke, Micah – The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expository Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 678)

So again, symbolic language aimed at another nations god. Turning to Psalm 18, we see similar language of mountains quaking as well as a possible connection of the mountains and the temple of the Lord idea. As David was in distress by the hand of Saul, he called unto the Lord:

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. (Psalms 18:6-7 ESV)

Actually, many places in the book of Psalms we find mountains in relation to God, but that would be a whole other discussion, so I will stop at just this one comparison. So, to sum up this brief journey through the Old Testament prophets, we must come away remembering that:

Unlike prose narrative, it should not be assumed that prophetic speeches and their writings are to be taken at face value. Prophecy is commonly expressed in poetry, which is terse and rich in figures of speech and evocative symbols. The writing prophets are identified as prophets by their patently inspired poetry, not just by their amazing predictions in conformity with Israel’s covenants. (Bruce Waltke, An Old Testament Theology, Pg. 816)

The same thing can be said of the first century prophetic writings as well — they should not to be assumed as being understood simply at face value as many try to force them to.

NEW TESTAMENT

So, as we turn now to the New testament, let us do a brief recap of some of the things we have seen used commonly so far:

  • Cloud coverings representing calamities
  • Yahweh the judge riding on the clouds coming in judgment
  • Darkness in the day — celestial oddities
  • Sun, moon and stars ceasing to give light
  • Stars falling from the heavens
  • Rivers/seas dried up
  • Woman and labor pains symbolism
  • Heaven/Earth/Mountains shaken
  • The heavens rolled up like a scroll
  • Lots of blood

So when it comes to approaching the New Testament books, in order to grasp what is going on, the reader has to consider the people and culture of the writers and their audience. The average Hebrew then was one who would have typically been brought up through childhood studying and memorizing these same Hebrew Scriptures we’ve been going through.

From their earliest days, they were steeped in the language and understanding of the entire story of the people of God, so they understood the symbolic language being used. As readers then, we must remember that the Apostles were pretty much all Hebrews likewise brought up in a manner resembling this. So their speech and terminology would be layered with this type of symbolism too.

Sure, we know the religious leaders of that day had messed things up quite a bit with their traditions, and so they did not always totally comprehend some of those deep prophecies that we now understand better in hindsight.

It is true that while they may have been looking for a Messiah that was different than what was standing before them, we can be almost positive that that when it came to understanding the deep symbolism of the national judgment language we’ve been discussing, they were not ignorant enough to think it meant planet ending destruction.

That being the fact, it is no surprise to think that when they heard the words of our Lord in places like Matthew 24, that they would not have been foolish enough to ever think it would be understood the way many modern prophecy experts have sought to used it for the last few centuries.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29-30 ESV)

So we have here celestial oddities of becoming dark in the day, stars falling from heaven, heaven being shaken, and Christ coming riding on a cloud. This lines up nicely with what we have been reading so far. And if you look over in the parallel passage in Luke 21, you’ll see more of the same similar language of old about the roaring of the water, men shaking in fear, and the powers of heaven being shaken. Another verse that speaks of this same first-century soon-coming judgment is Revelation 6:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Revelation 6:12-14 ESV)

Sun and moon darkened, stars falling, sky rolling up, mountains removed — all the language we have seen all along through the Old Testament judgments, none of which was literal earth shattering, world ending events. Therefore, unless the text itself gives clear testimony that this language is being used in a totally different fashion than it has be used for centuries by those same people, then we should assume the same prophetic and symbolic usage is being utilized here still.

As good Hebrews, taught from childhood all about this understanding of the language and idioms of their culture, they would not have heard these verses and thought of an end of the world scenario. Nor would they have thought this was going to have to be a physical event where they would see stars falling, a man riding on literal clouds, or the sky rolling up like a scroll.

Yet sadly, so many today believe that not only are these events to occur in a woodenly literal manner, but that these are still yet to come in our future. Actually, one of the sole reasons they hold that these things are yet to happen in our future, is directly related to the fact that they think them to be literally to happen.

They reason that it is obvious that these events have not occurred yet because we still see the world here and not destroyed as they feel these verses literally predict. They have totally disconnected this language from the common symbolic usage as well as totally dismissing the language of imminence for the time and people it was written to fall upon.

Add to that an ignorance of the actual historical events that indeed happened within the time frame predicted by Christ, as well as that judgment that took place against those people Christ addressed, and these verses have to then be thrown into some future age 2000 years past and counting. Until these things literally happen, some will never understand that they already have.

What is really sad, is that this is not some crazy interpretation that is held by a limited amount of people. It is not some interpretation that is on the outside fringe of Christian scholarship. It is not the minority view of church history, only held by a few whackos in the past.

This is mainstream scholarship. I have been quoting from scholars and teachers, and this has been the understanding of Old Testament language for centuries and centuries, and yet many if not most modern day teachers and preachers are clueless and continue to preach unfounded and inaccurate interpretations of fanciful mythological proportions on these topics.

The modern church is in dire needs of a revival of full Bible reading to start with, and then basic hermeneutics on top of that. May the Lord give revival to His Church. Amen.

My PPW 2017 Conference Lecture 2 The Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse Part 6 – the Eschatological Madness & “House Divided” of Gentry and DeMar in Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 20:5-15

Postmillennial Division Theories of Matthew 24-25 Refuted by Other Postmillennialists – The Eschatological Schizophrenia/ Madness or “House Divided” of Gentry and DeMar in Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 20:5-15

Heaven and Earth Will Pass Away (Mt. 24:35)

So far we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the OC 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 system 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 and a “transition” to the physical and final Second Coming event described for us in Matthew 24:35—25:31-46 (per Postmillennialist Kenneth Gentry)?  Postmillennialist Keith Mathison used to think this was a transition verse with a different coming of Christ described following it into chapter 25, but he no longer finds any exegetical warrant to Gentry’s eisegesis.  Nor does Postmillennialist Gary DeMar.

Jesus is simply stating that although the Temple or “heaven and earth” of the OC system will pass away in His generation, His words (that is the words of the NC heaven and earth system -implied), will “never pass away.”

Scholars that aren’t even Preterists such as G.K. Beale are admitting that the Jew understood his land or Temple to be a “heaven and earth,”

“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a 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). See also 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).

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 principle reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] [or Matthew 24:35] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157).

Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar are being exegetical and contextually consistent when they admit that the passing of “heaven and earth” is the same subject and de-creation event as 24:29,

“The darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (24:29), are more descriptive ways of saying that “heaven and earth” will pass away” (24:35).” (Last Days Madness, 192).

Gary is spot on here and remember Matthew 24-25 contains recapitulation so the de-creation of 24:29 is not a different event than 24:35, it is just a slightly different way of describing the same event.

DeMar also accurately connects the passing of “heaven and earth” here with the passing of the heaven and earth in Revelation 21 — with both being the OC system passing in AD 70 and the New taking its place spiritually.  This is consistent with DeMar’s view (and that of most scholars) that “The book of Revelation is John’s version of the Olivet Discourse,” therefore both should be seen as the same event guided by the same time frame “this generation” and “things which must shortly take place.”

Unfortunately, DeMar and his assistant Joel McDurmon are more committed to the reformed creeds and their supporters than consistent, contextual exegesis when they then arbitrarily claim the de-creation and “fleeing” (passing) of the “earth” (earth) and “sky” (heaven) in Revelation 20:11 is now out of the blue a literal end of world history event not connected to Revelation 21-22 or the de-creation in the rest of the book of Revelation that they claim was fulfilled in AD 70.  I will develop that more in my section of this series in dealing with the Millennium of Revelation 20.

At this point let’s do a brief study on if the OT prophets promised glorified real-estate.

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

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

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

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

Salvation in the New Heaven and Earth is Complete – No More Death, Tears or Pain.

Because “the death” that came through Adam is spiritual death (alienation from God) realized through the commandment-breaker Adam and amplified or increased under the Law of Moses (the old covenant), we can see how God gave His elect the victory over “the death” in the end of the old covenant age of condemnation. The fact that men die physically is in no way evidence that the “spiritual conflict” of “the death” continues for the church throughout the new covenant age.

God’s people under the old covenant, unlike God’s people today, experienced covenantal and spiritual death (cf. Hosea 13:1–14; Isa. 25–27; Eze. 37). What made physical death dreaded for the saints under the old covenant was that they died with the awareness that their sins had not yet been taken away. In the new covenant creation, Jesus promises that whether we biologically die in Him or biologically live in Him, we “never die” (John 11:25–26). This was not the case before Christ.

Thus under the old covenant, the residents of Jerusalem wept because they did not have a lasting atonement or eternal redemption. They longed and groaned for the day of Messiah’s salvation. Until that day would come, they knew their sins were not put away (Heb. 9:26–28; 10:4, 11). The promise that there would be no more mourning or crying or pain does not refer to any and every kind of mourning, crying, and pain. It refers to mourning, crying, and pain concerning God’s people being dead in sin under the condemnation, curse, and slavery of God’s law. That sad Adamic state is no more. In the Son, God’s people are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).

As Athanasius wrote in his Festal Letters, iv. 3, “For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness.”

Under the old covenant, when David or the nation was exiled from Zion and God’s city and temple, there was much inner pain, weeping, and bondage that followed (2 Sam. 15:30; Ps. 137; Isa. 14:3; Isa. 22:4–5; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; Jer. 22:9–10; Lam. 1:16; Joel 2:17). Under the new covenant, the heavenly country and Jerusalem are not subject to being made desolate or shaken by invading armies as was the old (Isa. 62:4; Heb. 12:27–28). The concept of the gates of the New Jerusalem always being open, even at night (Isa. 60:11; Rev. 21:25), is not merely a picture of evangelism; it is also a picture of security for the residents of God’s City. The believer, through faith in Christ, is the new covenant creation and it is impossible for him to be exiled from the City (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:12; 22:12). The new covenant believer is characterized as one whose weeping has ended, because God has forever taken away his sin and united Himself with him (Isa. 60:20; 65:14, 18–19; Jn. 17:21–23).

Christians in the new covenant world do not shed tears in agony and cry out to God to save them from the Adamic Death of Sin, as Jesus Himself did on our behalf (Heb. 5:7). “The sting [pain] of the Death” cannot harm us anymore (1 Cor. 15:56) because the power of Sin has been removed through Jesus, the Law-Fulfiller who clothes us and indwells us. Now we live and reign with Christ in the new covenant world, wherein dwells the Righteousness of God.

I will point out once again the problem of Romans 16:20 for Postmillennialism in this context.  It is noteworthy that Keith Mathison avoids any mention of Paul’s declaration that Satan would be “crushed” “shortly” (Rom. 16:20) in his work on Postmillennialism and in his chapter addressing the time texts in WSTTB?.

Future eschatologies would challenge us with the empirical reality that Death and Satan could not have met their ultimate demise in AD 70 because, after all, just look around and you will clearly see that people still physically die and that there are wars and murders taking place all over the world today. Are these clear evidence that Satan and his demonic hordes are active in our world?

There were certainly times that Satan moved men, such as Judas, to commit sins. But the Bible does not teach us that this was ever the norm. James tells us that wars and fights come from within men (Jms. 4:1) instead of from Satan and demons. Satan’s primary purpose has come to an end: He can no longer function as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), because Christ came out of Zion a second time at the end of the old covenant age to put away Sin once and for all for His church (Acts 20:28; Rom. 11:26–27; 13:11–12; Heb. 9:26–28).

Our salvation and Christ’s Second Appearing/Coming as the Churches great High Priest are not events that take place at the end of time, but rather within time – namely at the end of the OC age in AD 70.  The seed of the woman has overcome the Sin, the Death, the Law and crushed Satan for His heavenly people – the Church/New Creation.  You may not feel perfect or like a city of jewels and gold, but that is how God views you through His Son’s finished redemption –  accomplished and applied for you through His sacrificial work on the cross and His Second Appearing as our Great High Priest to finish atonement.  Now go and preach this wonderful message beloved (Rev. 22:17)!

“Those Days” v. “That Day”

Some Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry argue that since Jesus uses the plural “days” in Matthew 24:1-34 this refers to the days leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and when Jesus uses the singular “day” in Matthew 24:36ff this refers to another future event or literal Second Coming of Jesus to end world history.  But closer to the truth are those Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as John Lightfoot, John Gill, Adam Clarke and Gary DeMar whom take the “day and hour” of (Matt. 24:36) as Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem (as do Full Preterists).  Others that see the “Day and hour” along with the parables in Matthew 24 being fulfilled in AD 70 would be Keith Mathison.

In Luke 17 both “days” and “day” are used interchangeably together describing the same event:

1). “For the Son of Man in His DAY will be like the lightening,…” (vs. 24).

2). “…so also will it be in the DAYS of the Son of Man” (vs. 26).

3). “It will be just like this on the DAY the Son of Man is revealed” (vs. 30).

4). “On that DAY…” (vs. 31).

Again, Jesus uses “days” (plural) and “day” (singular) in referring to the judgments of Noah and the destruction of Sodom as an example of His Second Coming in the fall of Jerusalem.  This is not complicated, “days” (plural) are a description of the period leading up to the “day” (singular) of the judgment upon Jerusalem.

DeMar correctly observes that there is nothing to Gentry’s argument here,

“In Noah’s time we read about “those days which were before the flood” and “the day that Noah entered the ark” (Matt. 24:38).  Similarly, there were days before the coming of the Son of man and the day of the coming of the Son of Man.  The same people were involved in both the “days before” and “the day of” the Son of Man.  Those who were eating and drinking” and “marrying and giving in marriage” were the same people who were shut out on “the day that Noah entered the ark.”  (Ibid., 195).

Comparison of Luke 17 with Matthew 24 Continued

The parallels between Matthew 24 and Luke 17 also demonstrate that an alleged two section theory with two different comings of Christ separated by thousands of years is simply desperate assertion made by some Partial Preterists.

According to the two-section theory of interpreting the Olivet Discourse, the coming of false christs and the revealing of the Son of Man as “in the days of Noah” are two events that will take place at the end of world history (in section two of the Olivet Discourse: Matt. 24:37–39). But this causes a problem. Luke relates the events of the Olivet Discourse in a slightly different order than Matthew, and he puts those two supposedly end-of-world-history events in between the coming of the Son of Man “as the lightning” (Lk. 17:24) and the fleeing of people from their housetops and fields (Lk. 17:31). But those events are in the alleged “first section” of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:17–19, 24). Luke thus has two “second section” events (allegedly in the end of world history) sandwiched between two “first-section” events that were fulfilled in the first century.

Luke was not aware of the theory of a “telescoped” Olivet Discourse.  We see this problem present itself again when Jesus prophesies that one would be taken and one would be left. According to the two-section theory, that event will take place at the end of world history (in section two of the Olivet Discourse: Matt. 24:40–41). But Luke puts that event in between the fleeing of people from their housetops and fields (Lk. 17:31) and the vultures gathering at the corpse (Lk. 17:37). But those events are in the alleged “first section” of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:17–18, 28) and were fulfilled in the first century. Thus Luke again has a “second section” event (allegedly in the end of world history) sandwiched between two “first-section” events that were fulfilled in the first century.

According to the two-section theory, Luke 17:23–37 reads like this:

1).  Lk. 17:23–24 (false christs; Son of Man as lightning in His day) AD 70

2).  Lk. 17:26–30 (the days of Son of Man as the days of Noah) End of world history

3).  Lk. 17:31–33 (people fleeing from housetops and fields) AD 70

4).  Lk. 17:34–36 (one taken, one left) End of world history

5).  Lk. 17:37 (vultures gathered at the corpse) AD 70

Postmillennialist DeMar once again refutes Postmillennialist Gentry,

“If the five prophetic events of Matthew 24 that are found in Luke 17:22-37 are numbered 1-2-3-4-5, Luke’s numbering of the same events would be 2-4-1-5-3.” (DeMar, Ibid., 198).  DeMar is admitting this is not just similarity of language, but rather the “same events.”

The absurdity that results in exegetically “ping-ponging” through this text is most pronounced in the last four verses. In verses 34–36, Jesus supposedly tells His disciples that at the end of world history, some people will be “taken,” (some have mistakenly understood this to mean literally raptured into the clouds Lk. 17:34–36).  Then in verse 37, the disciples ask Him, “Where, Lord?” That is, “Where will those people be taken?” According to the two-section theory, Jesus answered His disciples’ question about the Rapture at the end of world history by telling them about the corpses of Jews becoming the food of vultures in AD 70. 

Two Comings?

As Partial Preterist Gary DeMar correctly points out,

“Similarly, there is little evidence that the “coming of the Son of Man” in Matthew 24:27, 30, 39, and 42 is different from the “coming of the Son of Man” in 25:31.” (Ibid.).

As I pointed out earlier in this series, in Mark and Luke’s account of the OD there is only one mention of the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds.  If Jesus taught that there were two different comings separated by thousands of years, then Mark and Luke sure forgot to add this crucial information.  If Matthew wants to add more references to the coming of the Son of Man and add more parables than Mark and Luke do and recapitulate the same material he may.  But this doesn’t justify that Matthew has two different time periods or has Jesus discussing two different comings of the Son of Man separated by thousands of years!  Gentry’s form of Partial Preterism in the OD is exegetically weak and hermeneutically inconsistent to be kind.

Signs v. No Signs

Another “argument” for Kenneth Gentry in his attempts to try and divide the discourse and promote his three comings of Christ heresy, is that since there are specific signs that are mentioned before verse 34 and there are none mentioned after this verse, that this somehow proves there are two sections with two different comings of Christ involved. Hmm.

DeMar refutes Gentry’s “argument” here with simple common sense,

“There are two very good reasons for the absence of signs [in Mt. 24:36ff.].  First, the signs have already been given.  All the signs that were necessary to understand the general timing of Jesus’ return in judgment were specified.  Second, the topic changes from signs leading up to the temple’s destruction to watchfulness and expectation during the interim.”  (Ibid.).

I would add two things:

  1. A part of them being exhorted to be “watchful” involves them being aware of the signs He previously mentioned. Therefore, signs are still apart of the alleged “second section.”
  2. When Noah was building a giant boat and preaching of a coming judgment, was not the building of the ark some kind of a sign?!?

Jesus has just finished answering the disciples question regarding the signs of His return and is now going to illustrate through the use of various parables the necessity of being ready and watching for the same events the disciples asked about and that He had just answered in verses 4-34. This is not difficult folks.

“This Generation” v. “A Long Time”

Gentry argues that since before verse 34, there is a short time frame of forty years and yet after verse 34 the time frame is long (Mt. 24:48; 25:5, 19).  For Gentry this is evidence to support his two comings theory separated by thousands of years.

To be thorough, I will also cover Luke 19 since many appeal to this text as well. In Luke 19:11 many having listened to John the Baptist and Jesus’ declarations of the “kingdom being at hand” thought they were teaching the kingdom would come “immediately” or “at once” (Greek eggus). In response to that “immediate” mindset, Jesus gives the parable of the “Ten Minas” where He describes Himself as one going away into a far country to receive the rights to be King over Israel and then traveling back, as going into a “distant country” or taking a long journey (Lk. 19:12ff.). Jesus’ listeners would not gather from Jesus’ parable of the man going to a “distant country” as taking thousands of years! Jesus also understood that many false prophets would arise making premature statements that the kingdom was again “immediately” (Greek eutheos) going to appear when in fact it was not (Lk. 21:19). Jesus’ teaching of His coming and kingdom arriving in “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32) was some 40 years removed from the false concept that He was teaching an “immediate” arrival or that general wars and earthquakes marked the nearness of His parousia and kingdom. There were certain signs and events that needed to transpire first such as the great commission throughout the Jewish and Roman world and the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem.

Now let’s look at the first “long time” text in Matthew 24. The first appeal is to the wicked servant who interprets His master being gone as a “long time” and beats his fellow servants and drinks with other drunkards Matthew 24:48-49.  Obviously the servant was punished within his own lifetime so where is this delay of Christ for thousands of years taught here?!?

Another appeal is the “delay” of Christ’s return found in Jesus’ teaching of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:5 where He says, “the bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.” Jesus’ first century audience were aware of the Jewish wedding scene of a man being betrothed to a woman up to a year while he prepared a home or honeymoon suite for them onto his fathers house. He could come at any time to “snatch” (1Thess. 4:17) her from her life and existence under her father to himself. Because of this she needed to be excited and ready not sluggish and doubtful of his love. The foolish virgins considered this a “long time” and were not ready and fell asleep. Because they viewed this as taking too long and were “foolish,” they did not make preparations of buying oil for His surprise arrival. No one listening to Jesus’ words here would consider this parable as teaching a 2,000 + years “long time” as some Partial Preterists have interpreted it to mean. They would interpret “long time” in the context of a person’s lifetime along with the other parables and consistent with Jesus’ 30 – 40 years “this generation” teaching and time frame.

The last reference is to the parable of the talents in Mattthew 25:19. Again all the points I made above apply here as well. The servant was not “alert” but “lazy” and “worthless”! What he had was given to the faithful servants in verses 28-29 as the kingdom would be taken from the faithless apostates and given to the Church – the true Israel/Nation of God (cf. Mt. 21:33-45).

It’s not exactly accurate for some Partial Preterists to assume that 40 years is a “short time.” Relatively speaking in the world and Israel waiting thousands of years for salvation of the Messiah – this could be true. But if one is 20-30 years old or older during the time Jesus utters His “this generation” statement, 40 years is making one nearing the end of his life 60 – 70 or older. Therefore, viewing it from Israel’s redemptive history, fulfillment within 40 years could easily be considered “at hand,” but in the context of a person’s lifetime, 40 years was enough time to be tempted to think it may not occur (as we see Peter having to deal with in regards to the “mockers” and false teachers in His letters).

Gary DeMar responds to Gentry and other Partial Preterists who assume “long time” means thousands of years to justify two different comings in Matthew 24,

“In every other New Testament context, “a long time” means nothing more than an extended period of time (Luke 8:27; 23:8; John 5:6; Acts 8:11; 14:3, 28; 26:5, 29; 27:21; 28:6). Nowhere does it mean centuries or multiple generations.” (Ibid., 199).

Matthew 24-25 and the Analogy of Faith

Having spent some time critiquing and refuting the Postmillennial Partial Preterist division theories of Kenneth Gentry by using the exegesis of another Postmillennial Partial Preterist (Gary DeMar), I will turn some attention to Gary DeMar, Keith Mathison, and those Partial Preterists that see the coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 as being fulfilled in AD 70 – yet still claim the NT speaks of a future Second Coming.

Matthew 24:31-46 The End of the OC Age Event or a 2,000 + Years and Counting Process?

Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison have taken Postmillennial Partial Preterism to another level when they admit the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31 was fulfilled in AD 70.  One of the reasons DeMar sees this coming of Christ to be fulfilled in AD 70 is because it and Matthew 16:27 are “almost identical.” (Madness, 200).  However where he makes an exegetical error is when he tries to harmonize this end of the OC age event and judgment to be a 2,000 + years and counting process,

“There is no indication that Matthew 25:31-46 describes a single event.  Rather, the passage describes a judgment over time…” (Ibid.)

He quotes Milton Terry who also describes Matthew 25:31-46 as a process involving thousands of years until all the enemies of 1 Corinthians 15:24 have been put under Christ’s feet (Ibid., 200-201).  Of course the irony here is that Milton Terry criticized John Lightfoot (and thus by extension DeMar and Mathison) for taking the coming of Christ and His “gathering” in 24:30-31 as a post AD 70 evangelistic process lasting thousands of years!  Terry at least on this passage was correct when he taught this was the same and ONE historical event which took place at Christ’s coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 to close the OC age in AD 70!  I think it is very clear (and The Reformation Study Bible also affirms this) that the coming and parousia of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:23-25; 51-52 brings an in time (historical “single event”) and “end” and victory over all of the enemies.  I refer the reader to my interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15 and particularly WHEN the writer to Hebrews in Hebrews 10:13-37 says these enemies would be judged.

The Reformation Study Bible in the cross references is correct to connect the fulfillment of Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:25-28 with Hebrews 10:13. The problem for all the futurists is that the author goes on in verses 27-37 to tell us when these “enemies” would be judged.  There was an “about to be” coming (Gk. mello) “judgment” of “raging fire” that was going to “consume” these “enemies” (v. 27) mentioned in (v. 13).  This would take place at Christ’s Second Coming to bring an end to the OC age and is said to take place “in a very little while” and would “not tarry” (Heb. 9:26-28; 10:37).  “The end” or “end of the age” Second Coming of Jesus in both Hebrews 9-10 and 1 Corinthians 15 when all the enemies would be judged and placed under Christ’s feet in fulfillment of Psalm 110 are one and the same event.

Unfortunately, Terry nor DeMar addresses these issues.  DeMar compromises on two passages 24:30-31 and 25:31-46 and Terry realizing he would have to at some point fall in line with the creeds compromised on 25:31-46.  Terry says DeMar’s view of 24:30-31 (as a process lasting thousands of years) won’t go anywhere and catch on, and yet somehow he must have been kicking himself in taking 25:31-46 as some kind of process spanning thousands of years – was somehow going to catch on and go somewhere where the other view wouldn’t?  Oh consistency thou rare jewel.  When we realize the recapitulation nature and structure of Matthew 24-25, this debunks Terry and DeMar’s theories on 24:30-31 and 25:31-46.  This is one historical event and it is the Second Coming of Jesus to close the OC and judge and raise the dead in AD 70.  Period.

Since Gary DeMar affirms that “John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation” and he likes “parallels” “similar” or “identical” language, when he compares Matthew 24 with the rest of the NT in order to find AD 70 fulfillments and place them under Jesus’ “this generation” time frame of fulfillment; one must wonder how this hermeneutic mysteriously disappears when paralleling Matthew 24-25 with the end of the millennium of Revelation 20:5-15?!?  This is due to creedal allegiance and bias.  DeMar just can’t play the ignorance card after over 30 years:

Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 20:5-15

  • Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3; Matt. 25:31-46) = Revelation 20:5-15
  • De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matthew 24:29, 35 = Revelation 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
  • Christ on throne to judge / God on throne to judge Matthew 25:31 = Rev. 20:11
  • Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matthew 25:41-46 = Revelation 20:10, 14-15

The Second Coming and judgment and resurrection of the dead along with the judgment of Satan and the demons as described for us in Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:5-15 is NOT a post AD 70 process spanning thousands of years.  This is not an exegetical nor creedal view to take on these passages and I believe DeMar and Mathison should know better!

Gentry tries to downplay the importance of DeMar and Mathison no longer agreeing with him on his artificial division theory of Matthew 24-25 and how their differences affect the other most important eschatological text – Revelation 20:5-15 and many others!  Why?  Because their differences actually form Full Preterism:

Premise #1:  If it is true and it is orthodox to believe the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46 is Christ’s final Second Coming event and is attended with the final end of the millennium resurrection and judgment event of Revelation 20:5-15 (Gentry agrees with Full Preterism).

Premise #2:  If it is true and it is orthodox to believe the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31 was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 (DeMar agrees with Full Preterism).

Conclusion:  THEN it is also true and is orthodox to believe the final Second Coming event of Matthew 25:31-46 which ends the millennium and fulfills the resurrection and judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:5-15 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming” – Scripture interprets Scripture and Scripture does not contradict Scripture).    

The Millennium of Revelation 20 

Here are seven brief points that destroys the Postmillennial view that the end of the millennium of Revelation 20:5-15 is a future event.

1).  Imminence

Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT). Therefore, there is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.  The millennium was still future when John wrote, therefore the end of the millennium falls within those things that were “about to be” fulfilled.  As Vern Poythress and Simon Kistemaker (also contributors to The Reformation Study Bible) have pointed out in their works, if the imminent time texts in Revelation 1:1 and 22:20 are to be taken literally and refer to AD 70, and since they function as brackets or bookends, then the millennium of Revelation 20 would have also been fulfilled by AD 70 as well.

Therefore, both of these views teach the end of the millennium resurrection and judgment of the dead were fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both?

2).  The Thousand Years

As G.K. Beale (the NT editor to The Reformation Study Bible) has taught in his commentary on Revelation, that the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands or millions of years).

Therefore, the thousand years millennium can be a symbolic depiction of relatively short period of time – forty years.

3)  Rabbinic Typology of a Forty Years Millennial Period  – Historical Argument

It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians such as Beale, that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/ world to come.” These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land. This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT). And as we have noted from Reformed partial preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).

4).  Recapitulation

Reformed Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry, and James Jordan teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation. And Amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22.

Therefore, sicne Full Preterists hold to both of these reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation the end of of the millennium resurrection and judgment event was fulfilled in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both common sense views?

5). Revelation 20 an Isolated Event? The “Already and not Yet,” “This Age and the Age to Come” and the “Last Days” Millennial Period 

In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, Amillennialists and many Postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the parable of the wheat and tares, or in Matthew 24–25. But as I have shown in this series, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the OC age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.

Therefore, since the period between “this age and the age to come” is the millennial period and it was the transition period between the OC age and the NC age (AD 30 – AD 70), and the “Last Days” is also the transition and millennial period of Revelation 20 but was also from AD 30 – AD 70, the end of the millennial resurrection and judgment of the dead was fulfilled when the OC age passed away and the last days ended in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both common sense views?

6).  The Second Coming in Matthew 24-25 Ends the Millennium of Revelation 20

The “long time” and close of the age in Matthew 24-25 is supposed to be the millennial period of Revelation 20 that ends at Jesus’ Second Coming described in 25:31ff.  Yet at the same time Postmillennialists affirm the “long time” and “end of the age” of Matthew 24-25 falls within the “this generation” time frame and the coming of the Son of Man in 25:31 is His spiritual coming to close the OC age in AD 70.

Therefore, according to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 the millennial period of Revelation 20 ended at Christ’s spiritual Second Coming in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both common sense views?!?

7)  The Second Coming of Revelation Ends the Millennium of Revelation 20

The reformed community and The Reformation Study Bible (with it’s contributors) are confused on the coming of Christ in the book of Revelation as well.  One side teaches everywhere the coming of Christ is mentioned in the book, it is THE Second Coming event (as stated in the WCF) which ends the millennium and thousand years period in Revelation 20.  Yet the Postmillennial Partial Preterist side claims all references to Christ’s coming in Revelation were fulfilled “soon,” “at hand” and “quickly” in AD 70.

Therefore, the ONE Second Coming event was spiritual and ended the millennial resurrection and judgment of the dead event “soon,” “at hand” and “quickly” in AD 70.  Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both common sense exegetically sound views?!?

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the Full Preterist AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” millennial view is:

1).  Consistent with the teaching of Revelation itself…

2).  Falls within the “orthodox” views of the Reformed church…

3).  Is in line with the analogy of Scripture and…

4).  Offers historical support from many Rabbis whom promoted a forty years transitional period between the two ages.

Our view on the millennium is both exegetically sound and orthodox. Finding support for the Full Preterist view of the millennium is not as difficult as many  portray it – selah.

Again, Gary DeMar publishes James Jordan whom claims Daniel himself was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades in AD 70 according to Daniel 12:2, 13 and Revelation 20.  Postmillennialists such as Jordan and DeMar are also on record for teaching things such as,

“The Apostle John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off.”  So here is something that DeMar needs to address as well:

Daniel 12:1-2 and Revelation 20:5-15

  • Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation / lake of fire Daniel 12:1-4 = Revelation 20:12-15
  • This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Daniel 12:1-2 = Revelation 20:5-15

The analogy of faith and these parallels demonstrate DeMar’s view that we are still in the millennium and that the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead is still unfulfilled (while believing that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70) is creedally arbitrary and exegetically dishonest!  Daniel is told to seal up the content of this prophecy because the time of fulfillment was “far off” and John the opposite – don’t seal up the content of this prophecy because the time of fulfillment was “at hand.”  There is no exegetical evidence whatsoever that Revelation 20 is future while chapters 1-19 and 21-22 were fulfilled by AD 70 – per Partial Preterism and Gary DeMar.

Mathison writes: “ . . . [T]he hyper-preterist interpretations of the millennium fail to take seriously the long-term time text involved. . . . When the word thousand is used in Scripture, it refers either to a literal thousand or to an indefinite, but very large, number” (WSTTB? 209).

Response: 

Psalm 50:10 is often cited, usually by postmillennialists, to teach that “a thousand” symbolizes literally “many thousands or millions.” For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. (Ps. 50:10)

Postmillennialists reason that God owns the cattle on every hill; therefore “a thousand hills” symbolizes or represents “many thousands or millions of hills.” Thus, they reason, we are led by Scripture to interpret the “thousand years” in Revelation 20 to mean “many thousands or millions of years.”

That reasoning sounds solid at first glance. However, the context of Psalm 50:10 does not lead us to a principle that a symbolic “thousand” always signifies “many thousands.” It leads us to the principle that a symbolic “thousand” signifies “fullness.” The “thousand” of Psalm 50:10 is interpreted for us two verses later:

The world is Mine, and the fullness thereof. (Ps. 50:12b)

In Psalm 90:4, a “thousand years” is as “yesterday” and as “a watch in the night.” In 2 Peter 3:8, a “thousand years” is as one “day.” In those verses, a “thousand” (and “yesterday” and “a watch” and a “day”) is used to teach us that to God, a small piece of time is no different than a fullness of time. (Compare Job 7:7; Ps. 39:5; 90:2; 144:4; Heb. 13:8; Jms. 4:14.) Thus in Psalm 105:8, a “thousand” corresponds with “forever”: He has remembered His covenant forever, the word that he commanded to a thousand generations. (Ps. 105:8)

In scriptural usage, a symbolic “thousand” can be likened to “one” (day / yesterday / a watch in the night), or used in reference to millions of hills, or to eternity (“forever”). A “thousand” can be likened unto or used to represent a number lesser or greater than a literal thousand. Only its context can determine its literal numerical meaning, but the basic idea that is communicated by the number is “fullness.” As G. K. Beale wrote, “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time . . .” (G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 1018).

How one interprets the thousand years in Revelation 20 depends on one’s eschatological framework. The passage does not interpret itself, but must be interpreted by the overall eschatology of Scripture. Within the preterist interpretive framework, the biblical-eschatological context of Revelation 20 should lead us to interpret the “thousand years” to signify the time of the Christological filling up of all things (Eph. 1:10; 4:10). That time was from the Cross of Christ to the Parousia of Christ in AD 70. That was the time during which “the [spiritual] death” which came through Adam and was magnified through “the law” was in process of being destroyed. The literal timeframe of the “thousand years” was roughly forty years.

Mathison admits that he does not know if there were any rabbis who used the number 1,000 to symbolize forty years (210). Reformed theologian G. K. Beale tells us that some Jews considered the length of the intermediate messianic reign to be forty years. He also states that one Jewish tradition made an anti-type connection between Adam’s lifespan (almost 1,000 years) and a reign of Messiah for a (possibly symbolic) thousand years.[2] Many Christians have attempted to make this connection and have also paralleled the thousand years of 2 Peter 3:8 with John’s thousand years in Revelation 20:2–6.

Adam falling short of the 1,000-year lifespan by 70 years (Gen. 5:5) may represent his being created a mortal being and perishing in sin outside of God’s presence. If this is the case, then it is more than reasonable that the number 1,000 took on the symbolism and representation of Christ’s and the church’s victory over Death in contrast to Adamic man’s vain existence apart from God’s salvation (Eccl. 6:6).

Some Evangelicals and Reformed theologians along with some preterists such as Milton Terry do not understand the long lifespans in the early chapters of Genesis to be literal.[3] They believe that the lifespans were symbolic and contained numerological elements. But even if Adam’s lifespan was a literal 930 years, this does not exclude an anti-typical, symbolic 1,000 years in Revelation 20.

When Messiah came as “the last Adam,” His reign in and through the church for a symbolic thousand years brought the church not to the dust of the earth separated from God’s presence, but to the Tree of Life and into the very presence of God (Rev. 20–22:12). Through faith in and union with Christ as the Last Adam (the Tree of Life and New Creation), Christians have achieved what Adam could not. The church was clothed with “immortality”; it attained unto the “fullness” of life in AD 70; and it will never die for the aeons of the aeons (2 Cor. 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:45–53; Rev. 21–22; Jn. 11:26–27).

All of the authors of WSTTB? understand that the Second Coming is the event that brings the millennium to its consummation. However, the only future coming of Jesus discussed in the book of Revelation is the one that would take place shortly (Rev. 3:11; 22:6–7, 10–12, 20). Both Mathison and Gentry concede that this imminent coming of Christ took place in AD 70. But then they err in assuming that the imminent coming of Jesus in Revelation was not His “actual second coming” (WSTTB?, 182). 

Revelation 20:1-15

We concur with our opponents that 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.  Therefore, Christians were already being raised and reigning on thrones, the saints 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. (J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of VICTORY, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing CO., 1971), 228).

He translates “psuchai” in verse 4 as, “And I beheld the lives of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus” 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 (see Kik, Ibid., 227).

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” take place “later” (Rev. 1:1, 19).  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.  It is the Partial Preterist eisegesis of Mathison and Gentry which separates the imminent fulfillment of the millennium from the rest of the “at hand” prophecy.  Although not a Full Preterist, Vern Pothress points out the inconsistency of the Partial Preterist view of Mathison and Gentry as we do,

“But 1:3 and 22:10 are like bookends enclosing the whole prophecy of Revelation.  The fulfillment of everything, not just a part, is near.” (Vern S. Poythress, THE RETURNING KING A GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 2000), 34.  Bold emphasis MJS).

The Fulfillment of the Great Commission 

Many reformed writers claim the purpose of the binding of Satan is that he can no longer deceive the nations – so that the commandment of the Great Commission could be fulfilled by the end of the age (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:18-20).  But the NT teaches us that the Great Commission to all the nations was fulfilled by the end of the Old Covenant age.  God’s new Israel – the Church would accomplish the salvation of the remnant within a “short” period and “all nations” of “the world” would hear the gospel and bring forth fruit (Rom. 1:8; 9:28; 10:18; 16:25-26; Col. 1:5-6, 23).  Per Simon Kistemaker’s reasoning, if the Great Commission to the nations has been fulfilled, then the Church is no longer in the millennium and it too was fulfilled by AD 70 (WSTTB?, 250).

Therefore, since the GC was fulfilled prior to AD 70, the end of the millennium resurrection and judgment of the dead occurred at that time.

G.K. Beale believes that Satan was bound for the primary purpose of not being able to gather the nations against the City or Church for “the war” (Rev. 20:7-9) and that this “THE war” is a recapitulation of the same end time war described in Revelation 16 and 19.  Yet Postmillennial Partial Preterists inform us that “THE war” in chapters 16 and 19 were fulfilled between AD 66 – AD 70.

Therefore, “THE war” of Revelation 16, 19 and 20 was fulfilled between AD 66-70.  More on this below.

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.

In verse 5 “the rest of the dead” participate in the resurrection “after” the thousand years are over.  This refers to the end time “harvest” at “the end of the [Old Covenant] age” encompassing the “all” of (John 5:28-29).  This included not only all of the righteous dead pre-AD 70 but also that of unbelievers (Daniel 12:2/Matt. 13:39-43, 49).  Therefore, we have the raising of all the dead, the emptying of Hades, the great judgment (along with Satan’s imminent judgment Rom. 16:20) taking place shortly after the millennium (20:10-14).

The analogy of faith and that of Scripture confirms this imminent end of the millennium period by describing the same imminent resurrection of all the dead and the judgment of the world,

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

“For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us;” (Rom. 8:18 YLT, WEY).  Again, contextually the glory “about to be” revealed in them was when the “redemption of the body” in v. 23 and becoming sons of God in the New Creation takes place.

Martyr Vindication, Satan’s Imminent Judgment and THE War

“After” the success of the Great Commission and at 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 and recapitulation 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 “great city” or “Babylon” where Jesus was slain and whom God holds responsible for shedding the blood of the prophets and the saints is none other than OC Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8, 18:20, 24).

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 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. (Mathison, Postmillennialism, 227-233).  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 (Mathison identifying as Nero) was “already” present through the work of Satan himself – awaiting “the rebellion” and then his judgment (2 Thess. 2:3-10).  Once again Mathison is creedally selective in making AD 70 fulfillment “parallels” between 1 Thessalonians 2 and 5 and 2 Thessalonians 1-2 with that of Matthew 24 and neglecting those parallels concerning the resurrection of the dead found in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and Matthew 24:30-31.

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.

Kistemaker understands the timing of the judgment scene and the casting of Satan into the lake of fire in 20:10 as the “presumed place” where the great harlot is burned with fire in 17:16.  And he most definitely affirms that this takes place “at the same time” the beast and false prophet are cast into this fiery lake 19:20. (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W.  Vol. 20: New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Book of Revelation. New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 544).

Kistemaker affirms 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) (Ibid., 244-245).  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.” (Craig A. Blaising, Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., Rober B. Strimple, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 125, bold emphasis MJS).

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]  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.

I once again have to point out the problem Romans 16:20 is for Postmillennial Partial Preterism. Most reformed commentators correctly understand that the timing of Satan being thrown into the lake of fire here in Revelation 20:10 to be equivalent to him being “crushed” “shortly” in (Romans 16:20/Genesis 3:15).  Partial Preterists such as Gentry inform us that this time statement along with all of the other NT imminent time statements refers to AD 70. (Gentry, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM, 246).  And yet the majority of reformed commentators understand these passages to be addressing the “not yet” consummation of biblical eschatology (ie. the final defeat of Satan at the end of the millennium – followed with the Adamic curse of death being destroyed for the Church in the New Creation).  And since DeMar and Mathison the coming of Christ in BOTH Matthew 24-25 as AD 70, and Gentry sees the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46 to be the Second Coming that ends the millennium of Revelaiton 20, this necessitates that the judgment of the dead, with that of Satan and his angels into “everlasting punishment” would take place in Jesus’ “this generation” (Matt. 24:34—25:31-46).

Therefore, the spiritual “this generation” Second Coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46 ended the millennium and fulfilled the resurrection and judgment of the dead event in Revelation 20:5-15!

If Mathison and Gentry along with their other futurist colleagues in WSTTB? become Full Preterists, then they can truly be said to be in “shoulder to shoulder unity” concerning last things – and not the blatant contradictions we find in their writings which don’t refute Full Preterism, but actually form it!

Earth and Sky Fled 

In verse 11 we read, “Earth and sky fled from his presence,..”  For Full Preterists and men such as Kistemaker and Beale, 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). (Ibid., 546).   

But for Mathison, Gentry, DeMar and McDurmon, 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. (Mathison, Postmillennialism, 148-149, 153.  Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION, 141-142).  The question begging to be answered of course is, why can’t the Postmillennial interpretation of an imminent de-creation non-literal fulfillment of Revelation 21:1 be applied to Revelation 20:11?

Joel McDurmon TRIED to answer this question and I responded to his deceptive answer.

Joel McDurmon’s Eisegetical Distinctions Between Revelation 20:11 – “Fled Away” (Greek pheugo) and Revelation 21:1 – “Passed Away” (Greek parechomai)

McDurmon writes,

Revelation 20:11 says earth and heaven “fled away” (ESV) from the face of the enthroned One. The verb here is ephugen (from pheugo). It means “run away” in the Monty Python sense: “retreat” or “flee” in the sense of seeking safety from an imminent threat. We get our word “fugitive” from pheugo.

“Pheugo is a common word used some 279 times throughout the New Testament and Old Testament LXX, but almost always has the distinct meaning of running away out of fear or self-protection. For example, Genesis 39:1213 and 15 (LXX) use the word to describe Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife who had him by the garment. The Exodus is described with this word (Ex. 14:5). So is David fleeing Saul who wants to murder him (1 Sam. 19:18), Ahaziah fleeing Jehu (2 Ki. 9:27), God’s enemies in general (Ps. 68:1Prov. 28:1), Jonah fleeing God’s presence (Jon. 1:3), Baby Jesus’ family fleeing Herod (Matt. 2:13), persecuted disciples leaving town (Matt. 10:2324:16), fearful disciples scattering after Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt. 26:56). The list is long, and the word is consistent in this meaning. Revelation 21:1, on the other hand, says “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” The verb here is apelthan (an aorist of aperchomai).” (my full response:  https://treeoflifeministries.info/content/mike-sullivan-64/) 

As one can clearly see McDurmon didn’t go through the proper hermeneutical/exegetical steps of pointing out how pheugo was used earlier and within the book of Revelation itself when it comes to a de-creation text/event:

“And every island fled (Greek pheugo) away, and the mountains were not found.” (Rev. 16:20).

Obviously, Joel McDurmon “fled” from this text as in, “Run away in the Monty Python sense: “retreat” or “flee” in the sense of seeking safety from an imminent threat [Full Preterism]” because he and other Partial Preterists take this de-creation text as the fleeing/passing of the OC creation – not the literal creation.  So much for his “argument” that two different events are referred to because two different Greek words are used! 

American Vision new-comer Sam Frost has been claiming that his and McDurmon’s view of fulfillment is that of such scholars as G.K. Beale and yet Beale identifies the de-creation and judgment of Revelation 6:14, 16:20, 20:11 and 21:1 as the same eschatological end time or “not yet” event/judgment,

“Almost identical language has already been used of the last judgment in 6:14 and 16:20 (see there, esp. for OT background). That this signifies the end-time cosmic destruction is apparent further from 21:1, which affirms that “a new heaven and a new earth” replaced the vanishing “first heaven and first earth,” which had fled away. “A place was not found for them” is from Dan. 2:35 Theod., where it is used of the destruction of the wicked kingdoms at the end time.” (G.K. Beale, (1999). The book of Revelation: A commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (1032). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press).

And again,

“The absolute nature of the judgment is continued by a picture of the further breakup of the cosmos: “every island fled, and the mountains were not found” (see on 6:14). Virtually identical descriptions in 6:14 and 20:11 also indicate the conclusive, universal destruction of the earth at the judgment day. That parts of the world “were not found” (οὐχ εὑρέθησαν) anticipates the same portrayal of Babylon’s final, definitive destruction repeated three times in ch. 18 (οὐ μὴ εὑρεθῇ in 18:21, 22, and similarly in 18:14).

Note the striking parallel language in 6:14; 20:11; and 16:20:

6:14 16:20 20:11
πᾶν ὄρος καὶ νῆσος ἐκ τῶν τόπων αὐτῶν ἐκινήθησαν (“every mountain and island were moved from their places”) πᾶσα νῆσος ἔφυγεν καὶ ὄρη οὐχ εὑρέθησαν (“every island fled, and the mountains were not found”)

 

ἔφυγεν ἡ γῆ καὶ ὁ οὐρανός καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς (“the earth and the heaven fled, and a place was not found for them”)

 

Destruction of mountains was a sign of the end of the cosmos in Jewish apocalyptic (1 En.1:6; Assumption of Moses10:4; Sib. Or. 8.234–35).” (Beale, Ibid. 844).

McDurmon basically tried to mock Preston’s charts of “parallels” in his various books and in the debate as too simple, and yet the FACTS are that Don isn’t coming up with anything new when it comes to these parallels!  It is called the “analogy of Faith” and the vast majority of reformed exegesis upholds these kinds of parallels and recapitulation within the book of Revelation.

The other ironic thing is that McDurmon made “parallels” between Matthew 24 and 2 Peter 3 to support his Preterist view that the de-creation of 2 Peter 3 was fulfilled in AD 70, and yet he and DeMar can’t seem to address the “parallels” I have made between Matthew 25:31-46 (which DeMar says was fulfilled in AD 70) and Revelation 20:5-15.  As usual McDurmon was just trying to blow smoke and produced NO exegesis and he can’t consistently harmonize the analogy of faith principle of interpretation within reformed eschatology as we have.  And DeMar remains in hiding from debating Full Preterism – Selah.

The Dead Were Judged

In verses 12-15 the dead are judged, Hades gives up the dead and those whose names were not written in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire.  For Kistemaker, such passages as Revelation 2:23; 3:5; 6:17; 11:18; 16:14; 20:5, 12-15; 22:10-12; Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 25:31-46 all refer to ONE final judgment at the end of the age.  We agree, but it is the end of the Old Covenant age that the NT places this judgment in and not the New Covenant age or end of history.  Between Mathison and Gentry (and Gary DeMar), all of the above judgment passages were or could have been fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 except Revelation 20:5-15 allegedly being the exception.

And yet all of the rewards (to be presented at the judgment) for the churches in Revelation 1-3 were to be given when Christ was to come soon and correspond to inheriting the New Creation in Revelation 21 – of which Mathison and Gentry claim arrived in AD 70.  If the New Creation follows the millennium (and those events that take place soon after the millennium) in Revelation 20:1-15, then the judgment and resurrection of the dead had to have taken place imminently at that time as well.  To this we need to turn to the rest of Scripture for confirmation since Gentry has informed us that Revelaiton 20 is not isolated from the rest of the NT.

“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).

Kistemaker once again confirms the judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:12-13 is one Day of Judgment and has already been addressed in the previous chapters “…sixth seal (6:17), the seventh trumpet (11:18), and the sixth bowl (16:14) all refer to the moment when the great Day of Judgment comes. John presents his Apocalypse in a cyclical manner and looks at God’s revelation from different perspectives.

“And the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were completed” (20:5a). Here as well as in 20:12–13 the term alludes to all people: some receive rewards and others condemnation. (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, Ibid., 344).

Conclusion

In order for Postmillennial Partial Preterism to take the time texts literally in the NT and in the book of Revelation, and try and remain creedal, they have to invent two judgments of the dead, two Great Commissions, two comings of Christ, two passings or fleeings of heaven and earth, two arrivals of the New Creation, two judgments and resurrections for the dead, two weddings, etc… With the Amillennialist and Historic Premillennialist, we condemn this hermeneutic as “unbiblical” “arbitrary” “inconsistent,” and yet when consistently played out “forms or leads to Full Preterism.”  And yet the Amillennialist and Historic Premillennialist needs to understand that their views combined with Postmillennial Partial Preterism fully “leads to and forms Full Preterism.”  Selah.

Ironically, Gary DeMar claims his Postmillennial Partial Preterism is winning the eschatological battle today among the other competing end time views.  Apparently it did not win the eschatological debate for Luther, Calvin and the WCF which have taught the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 is indeed the Second Coming (as Full Preterism teaches).  And what about today?  Sproul, Mathison and DeMar didn’t win the battle over Matthew 24-25 in The Reformation Study Bible, which is in perfect harmony with Full Preterism in interpreting the parallel’s in Matthew 24:30-31 as being the same and ONE Second Coming event in the following passages:

“But the language of [Matthew 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31 [which Postmillennialists say were fulfilled in AD 70], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14–17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.” (1716).

If DeMar’s Postmillennial Partial Preterism is “winning” the eschatological debate today, then why has he continued to duck debating Full Preterism for over 30 years?!?  Selah.  Isn’t it because we all know his Partial “Preterism” serves as nothing more than a stepping stone to Full or REAL Preterism?   Just as “four point Calvinism” inevitably leads to five point or REAL Calvinism so does Postmillennial Partial Preterism lead to REAL Full Preterism.  Since Sproul is correct to say a four point “Calvinist” is really “a confused Arminian” (which I agree with btw), it is also true that Sproul’s Postmillennial “Partial Preterism” is nothing more than “confused futurism.”  Selah.

I have demonstrated how the Classic Amillennial, Historic Premillennial and Postmillennial Partial Preterist views of the OD have actually formed the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist view of the OD and NT prophecy in general.  This has resulted in a contextual and consistent exegesis of our Lord’s teaching.  Without the SGFP view present to “bridge the gap” between these views, the Church will continue deadlocked in hopeless contradiction and will continue telling everyone how “difficult” the OD (and NT prophecy) is – when in fact it isn’t.

It is my sincere prayer that men like R.C. Sproul will honestly see the exegetical “Problems with Postmillennialism” and will have the courage to unite the reformed community in revising the creeds so that all of them can hold to the analogy of faith – Scripture interprets Scripture and Scripture does not contradict Scripture.  Selah.

Please do share this article and series with your Pastor and friends.  Also send this series to R.C. Sproul and the seven reformed authors of When Shall These Things Be?, and ask them why they have not been able to answer or refute our book response to them, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…?”  Thank you.

My Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Problems for Postmillennialism in the Olivet Discourse (Resurrection Cont.) Part 5 the “Redemption” and “Redemption of the Body” (Luke 21:27-28 = Romans 8:18-23YLT)

Introduction:

As I stated before, at the PPW 2017 Conference I simply did not have the time to develop all the information I wanted to.  I briefly scanned over a chart I produced between Luke 21:27-28 and Romans 8:18-23YLT demonstrating that Paul was once again drawing from and developing Jesus’ eschatology.  If I had the time this is the rest of what I would have liked to have presented.  Enjoy and pass it on!

As commentators and Bible cross references are correct to connect the Second Coming and trumpet gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15, they are also correct to understand the coming of Christ and the looking up for “redemption” in Luke 21:27-28 to be the consummative Second Coming event inseparably connected with the glorification and liberation of creation / “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23YLT and the consummative “salvation” in Romans 11:26-27; 13:11-12.  So to demonstrate how these Reformed views have formed Full Preterism I must give a Preterist interpretation of these passages (as I did with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15). I’ll also demonstrate that the “redemption” and coming of Christ in Luke 21 entails much more than just a physical salvation – as so many Postmillennialists attempt to do in order to isolate it from the rest of Pauline eschatology.

But before I do that, let’s once again examine the “House Divided” approach coming from the reformed community on the coming of Christ and His redemption in Luke 21:27-28.

  • Once again, appealing to the principle of the analogy of faith, John Murray and other Reformed theologians over the centuries have understood Paul, in Romans 8 to be building upon the “redemption” that Jesus addressed in the Olivet Discourse:

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

  • The Reformation Study Bible (again edited by two Postmillennialists) connects the coming and redemption of Christ in Luke 21:27-28 to the glory that was “about to be revealed” and the “resurrection of believers” or the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23 (p. 1832) and the “salvation” that was “at hand” in Romans 13:11-12 to ALL be the same consummative event (p. 2005).
  • Yet Postmillennialists such as Sproul and Mathison who produced The Reformation Study Bible admit in their writings that the coming of Christ and redemption of Luke 21:27-28 (of which the WCF says is the Second Coming event along with their own study Bible) was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.
  • The confusion mounts when Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar concede the “glory” in Romans 8:18YLT was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 but pretends he doesn’t know what it is, “Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed…” (Madness, 225).
  • However, The Reformation Study Bible (and virtually everyone else agrees) clears up DeMar’s alleged confusion over what the “glory” that “is to be” or was “about to be” revealed is. Contextually there is no ambiguity as to what the imminent manifestation of this “glory” was — the liberation of creation from its groaning and bondage, the full adoption of the sons of God, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 18-23).
  • Postmillennialists such as DeMar, Gentry, Sproul and Mathison esteem the writings of John Lightfoot, and yet he conceded that the “creation” “groaning” and being subject to “frustration” and “vanity” while under “bondage” in Romans 8:20-23 is “improperly applied to the dying state of the [physical] creation,” and should more properly be applied to the creation of men who “inwardly” struggle in the vanity and lusts of sin.” (Lightfoot, Commentary on NT, Vol. 4, 157-159).
  • And the drama and contradictions mount more when Postmillennialists such as DeMar, Jordan and McDurmon confess that “All Israel” was “saved” (raised and transformed) in Romans 11:15-27 into the new glorified Israel of God in AD 70. Yet, this is when God would “take away their sin” – thus demonstrating that AD 70 was much more than an outward physical salvation and deliverance!
  • Again, The Reformation Study Bible connects all the above passages to the “salvation” that was “at hand” in Romans 13:11-12, which all Postmillennialists admit was fulfilled in AD 70.

Let’s help our reformed brethren piece this together and get rid of their confusion:

Premise #1:  Since it is true and orthodox to believe that the ONE Second Coming of Christ in His glory, His kingdom and redemption/resurrection found in Luke 21:27-28 is the same ONE consummative glory, redemption/resurrection and salvation to be revealed in Romans 8:18-23; 11:15-27; 13:11-12 (Amillennialism & Full Preterism agree).

Premise #2:  And since it is also true and orthodox to believe that the coming of Christ, His kingdom, glory, salvation, redemption and resurrection of Luke 21:27-28; Romans 8:18; 11:15-27; 13:11-12 was fulfilled spiritually “within” the believer in an AD 70 “this generation,” “about to be” or “at hand” time frame (Postmillennialism & Full Preterism agree).

Conclusion:  Then it is also true and orthodox to believe that the ONE Second Coming of Christ and consummative event of Him coming in glory with the arrival of His kingdom, salvation, redemption and resurrection found in Luke 21:27-28 and Romans 8:18-23; 11:15-27; 13:11-12 was “at hand” and “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70.  This coming of Christ and redemption and resurrection closed the OC age and therefore was realized “within” or “in” the soul of the Christian and is not descriptive of a future physical salvation, redemption / resurrection / transformation to take place for the believer or the literal planet at the end world history (Full Preterism). 

Analogy of Faith – The Olivet Discourse and Romans 8:18-23 YLT 

I agree with Reformed theologians that see the consummative Second Coming and “redemption” of Luke 21:27-28 with the “redemption of the body” and glorification of the Church in Romans 8:18-23.  I haven’t seen them produce a chart making the parallels, but this is what I have come up with thus far: 

Olivet Discourse & Luke 17 Romans 8:18-23YLT
Suffering to come (Matt 24:9) Present sufferings (vv. 17-18)

 

Christ and His Kingdom comes in glory to gather His people to Himself in the Kingdom which would be realized “within” (Matt 24:30-31; 13:36-43; Luke 17:21-37; 21:27-32) God’s glory was “about to be revealed”  “in” them (v. 18)

 

Redemption & salvation—resurrection

(Luke 21:27-28; Matt 24:13, 30-31)

Redemption & salvation—resurrection

(vv. 23-24; cf. 11:15-27; 13:11-12)

 

Birth pains (Matt 24:8) Pains of childbirth (v. 22)

 

OC heavens and earth pass away [implied the New takes it’s place when old passes] because all her promises have been fulfilled (Mt. 24:35/Lk. 21:22) Creation of men groaning for liberation [implies the arrival of the New Heavens and Earth] (vss. 20-22)

 

This would all happen in their “this generation”  

(Matt. 24:34)

As that generation was ending this was all “about to be” fulfilled (vss. 18-23YLT).

  

Romans 8:18-23YLT 

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory about to be revealed in us19 for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God; 20 for to vanity was the creation made subject — not of its will, but because of Him who did subject [it] — in hope, 21 that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; 22 for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now. 23 And not only [so], but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting — the redemption of our body;

The Creation of Men – Not Planet Earth

John Lightfoot associated the “earnest expectation of the creature” and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and interpreted this passage as having nothing to do with the planet Earth— not even poetically.

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.” (John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157. Lightfoot, Hammond, and Gill understand the “creation” to be referring to Gentiles. “ . . . Crellius (Comm., Para.) explains it as a reference to regenerate Christians and Le Clerc (Supp., NT) refers it particularly to Gentile Christians.” John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke). 

And again,

“The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time,) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.”  (Ibid., 158–159 – emphases added).

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

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

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

“And of the same body, is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, thatn ‘the Gentile or heathen world;’ “not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God,–but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption,–to wit, the adoption of our body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our mystical body.” (cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/vol06.pdf… pp. 322-323).

Clearly Lightfoot understood the “creation” to mean the creation of men and not the planet earth and “redemption of the body” to be the mystical body of the Jew/Gentile Church and not an individual physical body.

“The sufferings of this present time.” As much as I can relate to R.C. Sproul Jr. losing his hair and gaining some weight around his midsection (WSTTB, ix), Paul’s mention of the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” have nothing to do with those kinds of issues. The context of the “groaning” of the first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter. The sufferings Paul has in mind here were eschatological —the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Matt. 24:8; Rom. 8:22). They had to do with the last days persecutions and with the saints of the universal church groaning under the tyranny of Sin and Condemnation under the Law.

For Paul, Sin had produced “death,” but not physical death. Contrary to Postmillennial and most Futurist assertions, “the body,” “death,” and “the flesh” in Romans 5–8 have nothing to do with the idea of men biologically dying as a result of Adam’s sin. Paul’s concern is with corporate-covenantal Death, as even some Reformed theologians teach. (cf. Tom Holland, Contours In Pauline Theology (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 85–110. Holland is a Reformed theologian who sees Paul’s “body” of flesh, sin, and death not referring to our physical flesh but to the corporate body of Sin in contrast to the corporate Body of Christ—the church. He counters Gundry’s individualistic views of soma in Paul’s writings.  He also argues for “consistency” in Paul’s use of corporate terms).  “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:2, 7, 15).

This was “About to be Revealed” “in” Believers – Just a Physical Redemption and Flight to Pella?  

Still, one might object that the “redemption” associated with the coming of Christ in Luke 21:27-28 has a clear time text (“this generation”) associated with it (v. 32), but the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 does not; therefore, one might conclude the two passages are not necessarily parallel. Those who argue this way suggest that the redemption in Luke 21 might simply refer to relief from persecution and nothing more. The premise of their objection, however, is false. There is an imminence text associated with the redemption of the body in Romans 8.  Verse 18 reads, “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us” (YLT; cf. NSRV, AV, & WEY: “soon to be manifested”).

At least Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar concede the “glory” in Romans 8:18YLT was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 but pretends he doesn’t know what it is,

“Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed…” (Last Days Madness, 225).

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

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

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

If the removal of the sea represents the removal of sin and discord within, then AD 70 was much more than a physical flight to Pella.  We will pick this concept up more in our next text – Romans 11:27.

Back to the New Creation imminently arriving and the inconsistency of Mathison and Gentry.  They assign an “expanded” meaning to 2 Peter 3, which discusses the same promises in Isaiah 65–66 as that of Revelation 21 (and no doubt the expectation and groaning of Romans 8). They suggest that Peter is addressing the geological “elements” of the planet while the Apostle John, referencing the same Old Testament passage, is not.  Of course Postmillennialists Gentry and Mathison don’t tell you in WSTTB? that they are departing from one of their co-authors (Douglas Wilson), who does take 2 Peter 3 to be fulfilled in AD 70 along along with such greats as John Owen and John Lightfoot.  And if they can give eschatological texts “expanded” and multiple or double meanings, then they can’t really condemn other futurist systems for taking their AD 70 fulfillments and giving them future “expanded” meanings as well.

Gentry argues that “when used with the aorist infinitive—as in Revelation 1:19—mello’s predominant usage and preferred meaning is: ‘be on the point of, be about to.’ The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in Rev. 3:10. The basic meaning in both Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.”  (Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation [Tyler, TX: Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989], pp. 141-142; emphasis added.)  Gentry is correct. The problem, however, is that when the word mello refers to the resurrection and judgment of the living and dead in Acts 17:31; 24:15 and 24:25, it is used with the infinitive. In the case of Acts 24:15 in a recent article on his site Gentry appeals to BDAG that when mello is used with the future infinitive, it communicates certainty and shouldn’t be translated as “about to” take place.  Of course there are translations and lexicons that do render mello here as “about to.”

Gentry and Mathison also fails to address in their writings that mello in Romans 8:18 is in the aorist infinitive (of which they say has the “preferred meaning” of “be on the point of, be about to”) and also has two other imminent Greek words within the immediate context – apokaradokia and apekdekomai which further solidifies this translation of mello.  And lastly, BDAG (Gentry’s source for trying to place Acts 24:15 at the end of world history) places Romans 8:18 as having the rendering “about to be revealed.”  So much for consistency!

In Mathison’s section on the “Restoration of Creation” (WSTTB? 195–197), he appeals to the literal and global beginnings of Genesis 1–3 to point out that preterists have interpreted “the end” in Romans 8 and in the rest of the New Testament in an inaccurate way. But Mathison and other Postmillennialists should be open to considering the interpretations of Genesis 1–3 that are presented by some within the Reformed tradition and by other futurists.

Combined, authors such as Augustine, Milton Terry, David Snoke, Meredith Kline, and dispensationalist John Sailhamer teach the following concepts:

  • The days are not literal 24 hour days.
  • Man was created a physical dying creature like all the plant and animal life around him.
  • The physics of the creation did not change after Adam.
  • Genesis 1–2 uses the Hebrew word eretz, which should be translated as “land” or “ground” and not [planet] “earth.”
  • God’s emphases in the early chapters of Genesis are not scientific but theological, emphasizing the origins of sin in the heart and man’s need for the Seed of the woman to redeem him from Sin.

As the theological emphasis in Genesis 1–2 is on the local land of Eden, which is both theologically and geographically tied to Israel’s Promised Land, so too is the emphasis of the New Testament on a Great Commission preached to the nations of Israel and to the Roman Empire with a judgment that would affect the nations of that world.

Both the localized and covenantal judgment in Eden and the one in AD 70 affected and continue to affect all humankind. The introduction of spiritual death (condemnation and alienation from God within the heart and conscience of man through Adam) was overcome by Christ’s death, resurrection, and indwelling presence in AD 70. All men and nations of the world are either inside the new Israel and New Jerusalem or outside her gates — as the gospel continues to bring healing and judgment to the nations today and forever (cf. Rev. 21–22:17).

When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70.

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed eschatology, anti-preterists such as the authors of WSTTB? unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views.

Romans 11:15-27 

15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead (the “redemption of the body” that was “about to be revealed” 8:23)? 16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the [a]rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion (Second Coming or the “day” that was “at hand 13:12), He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” 27 “This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

There is a great debate between Amillennialists and Postmillennialists on the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25–26, as can be seen in the opposing views of Gentry and Strimple (See Kenneth Gentry, Robert Strimple, Ed. Craig Blaising, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999), 112–118, 133–142). Postmillennialists such as Gentry and Mathison argue that “all Israel” being saved refers to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews before Christ comes in our future. Amillennialists understand “all Israel” being saved to refer to the salvation of the church as the new Israel of God.

As for the view that “all Israel” refers to ethnic Jews in our future, we can immediately know that this view is incorrect. With the passing of the old covenant in AD 70, there is no covenantal Israel other than the united Jew-Gentile church. The things of the old order passed away. So the covenant promises in Romans 11 cannot refer to the modern nation of Israel or to the modern Jewish race or community. The only “Israel” in the New Testament that was to be cleansed from sin is the Jew-Gentile church, the body of Israel’s Messiah. This is the “Israel” (“all” of it) that entered into the Holiest of Holies in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8). Let us briefly summarize Paul’s argument in Romans 11.

Even though God’s old covenant people in their last generation were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1– 2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in her last generation, the truth was that old covenant Israel was being saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel”—fulfilling His promises to “the fathers”—partly by means of the hardening of its last generation. Here’s how:

  1. By means of old covenant Israel’s transgression/failure and rejection in her last days, riches and reconciliation (through the gospel) were coming to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:18). As Paul said, “They are enemies for your sakes.” (Rom. 11:28)
  1. The salvation of the Gentiles was making last days Israel “jealous,” so that a remnant was becoming zealous for righteousness and being saved. (Rom. 11:2–10,11,13,14)
  1. The hardening, or reprobation, of old covenant Israel in her last generation was to continue until the fullness of the Gentiles came in, i.e., came into Israel. (Rom. 11:25)
  1. In this manner, or by this process, all of the saints of historic, old covenant Israel were going to be saved (resurrected) along with the last days remnant, and with the believing Gentiles who had been grafted into historic Israel. The consummation of this process took place in the Parousia of Christ in AD 70, according to the promises made to the fathers. (Rom. 11:26) That is when Israel died, and was raised up a new, transformed Israel. That is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last days Jewish remnant, and the believing Gentiles) were consummately united in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was thus that all Israel was saved.

Postmillennialists such as Mathison and Gentry neglect to interact with other Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as DeMar and Jordan who teach that “all Israel” was saved by AD 70 and that covenantally, there no longer remain “ethnic” Jews after AD 70 (see Gary DeMar, All Israel will be saved: Notes on Romans 11:26, American Vision http://americanvision.org/1234/all-israel-will-be-saved-notes-onromans/#.UG3auVGJr3A. James B. Jordan, The Future of Israel Re-examined, July 1991. Biblical Horizons, No. 27 July, 1991).

And while most Postmillennial Partial Preterists want to portray AD 70 as only a physical salvation, redemption and rescuing, if Postmillennialists like DeMar are going to state that in AD 70 the New Covenant was “consummated” or that “all Israel” was saved in AD 70, then he has to accept what verse 27 says,

“…and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion (Second Coming or the “day” that was “at hand 13:12), He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” 27 “This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”

In AD 70 God came from Zion (the Second Coming) and “took away” the “sins” of the raised and glorified New Israel of God – the Church.

Romans 13:11-12

“11 And this, knowing the time, that for us, the hour already [is] to be aroused out of sleep, for now nearer [is] our salvation than when we did believe; 12 the night did advance, and the day came nigh (or is “at hand”); let us lay aside, therefore, the works of the darkness, and let us put on the armour of the light;”

This is the (OG) LXX “hour” “hour/time of the end” of Daniel 12:1, 4 and the resurrection and shining/glorification of Daniel 12:2-3 that Postmillennialists are now admitting was spiritual, corporate, covenantal and progressively being fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70.  And it was “at hand” and therefore fulfilled in AD 70 just as the “redemption of the body” was “about to be revealed” (Rms. 8:18-23YLT).

Romans 16:20

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

While in the book of Romans we need to once again emphasize that Romans 16:20 is referring to the final defeat and “crushing” of Satan as described in Genesis 3:15.  Postmillennialists, usually take all of the imminent time statements to be fulfilled in AD 70 and do not allow for them to be “double” fulfilled or given “multiple fulfillments,” but that is exactly what they do with this passage or other passages that conflict with their creedal recantations!

Interesting enough, The Reformation Study Bible says of this text,

“Paul is speaking here about the last things, which by faith are always seen as near at hand.”  (p. 2010).

Yet, amazingly R.C. Sproul in his book, Last Days According to Jesus harshly and yet correctly condemns this handling of NT imminence and faith allegedly making the event near as liberal mysticism,

“When F. F. Bruce speaks of faith making the time be ‘at hand,’ this sounds all too much like Rudolf Bultmann’s famous theology of timelessness, which removes the object of faith from the realm of real history and consigns it to a super temporal realm of the always present hic et nunc [here and now].” (R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According To Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), pp. 108-109; emphasis added).

Conclusion

 We couldn’t agree more with Sproul and Mathison’s Postmillennial Reformation Study Bible that teaches us that the coming of Christ and the “redemption” of Luke 21:27-28 is THE Second Coming and resurrection event that is synonymous with or the same eschatological event as described for us in Romans 8:18-23YLT; 11:26-27; 13:11-12 and 16:20 — while at the same time Postmillennialists in their other writings admitting that these passages were “at hand” “soon” and “about to be” fulfilled at Christ’s parousia in AD 70.  Selah.  To say they don’t have a “problem” is an understatement, and for them to deny that their writings don’t lead to Full Preterism simply cannot be taken seriously at any level.

My Second Lecture At The PPW 2017 Conference Part 3: The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse the Gathering of the Elect/Resurrection Event of Matthew 24:30-31 = 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

House Divided the Break-up of Postmillennialism and the Formation of Full Preterism

Introduction: 

At this point I’m going to be combining some material I produced for a lecture I did at one of the Berean Bible Conferences dealing with refuting the various literal rapture positions of some Postmillennialists and Partial Preterists with what I presented this year at the PPW Conference on the Problems for Postmillennialists in Matthew 24-25. 

In order to exegetically and logically reconcile the various Postmillennial and Reformed views on Daniel 7:13; 12:1-7; Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15, I must demonstrate that the trumpet coming of Christ and the resurrection of 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 are the SAME spiritual coming of Christ and spiritual resurrection Postmillennialists are saying was fulfilled in Matthew 24-25 and Daniel 12 to close the OC age in AD 70.  This is not difficult.

Again, my approach is to simply follow the hermeneutical methods of the Reformed and Postmillennialist community to build my case:

  • Paul in 1-2 Thessalonians is using Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 as his source.
  • The “parallels” and use of “similar language” between Paul’s writings and Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 prove the same coming and eschatological event is in view.
  • Following the “scriptural references” or the use of the analogy of faith found in The Reformation Bible produced by two Postmillennial editors.
  • The coming of the Son of Man and the resurrection of Daniel 7:13 and 12:2-3 is the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event as described for us in Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
  • The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s parousia in AD 70.

The Second Coming and Resurrection Event 

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the tribes of the earth [land] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” (Mt. 24:30-31).

In the Reformed Study Bible edited by Postmillennial Partial Preterists R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison we learn this of Matt. 24:30-31:

“But the language of Matt. 24:31 is parallel to passages like 13:4116:27; and 25:31 [passages Postmillennialists such as Mathison and DeMar say were fulfilled in AD 70], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”

This is more than a bit odd since R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison believe and teach the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 (and Mathison 25:31) was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 – and yet we learn in their own Study Bible these passages “most naturally refer to the Second Coming”!

John Murray appealing to the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation in examining this passage writes,

“There is ample allusion to the sound of the trumpet and to the ministry of angels elsewhere in the New Testament in connection with Christ’s advent (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).  Hence verse 31 can most readily be taken to refer to the gathering of the elect at the resurrection.” (John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2 Systematic Theology, (Carlisle, PA:  THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), p. 391).

Before developing the “parallels” and the analogy of faith principle of interpretation between Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15, let’s first examine the fact that Postmillennialism admits Paul is drawing from the OD in 1 and 2 Thessalonians and that they recognize the use of parallels to be a legitimate use of exegesis.

Since Kenneth Gentry has to get rid of the apostasy in order to prop up Postmillennialism, he has to have 2 Thessalonians 2 fulfilled in AD 70.  In order to do this, he has to appeal to the OD and recognize that Paul is drawing from material Jesus says would be fulfilled in the AD 70 “this generation.”   Therefore, Gentry admits that,

“Most commentators agree that the Olivet Discourse is undoubtedly a source of the Thessalonian Epistles.” (Kenneth Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 100, n. 19. Here Gentry cites D.A. Carson, Matthew, in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 8:489; and G. Henry Waterman, The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1and 2 Thessalonians, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 18:2 (June 1975); 105–113.

Yet, Gentry’s sources of authority end up “proving too much” in that both D.A. Carson and G. Henry Waterman make virtually the same parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 that we do (big “oops”).  But before we get to those parallels, let’s continue to examine the “parallel” hermeneutic of Postmillennialism.  Keith Mathison following Gary DeMar believes 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Paul was following Jesus’ eschatology in Mt. 24 because of “these parallels”:

  1. a coming of our Lord (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Matt. 24:27, 30),
  2. a gathering together to Him (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Mattt. 24:31),
  3. apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3; cf. Matt. 24:5, 10-12),
  4. the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:7; Matt. 24:12),
  5. satanic signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9-10; cf. Matt. 24:24),
  6. a deluding influence on unbelievers (2 Thess. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:5, 24).” (Mathison, From Age to Age, 515).

And Postmillennialist Gary DeMar in his Last Days Madness teaches the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 5 was fulfilled in AD 70 because Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD using “similar phrases” or language such as Him coming “like a thief” or the use of “birth pains.”  But notice ALL of the “parallels” and use of “similar language” Paul is taking from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 that DeMar arbitrarily passed over:

Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 5
1.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 1.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)

 

2.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43)

 

2.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)

 

3.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39)

 

3.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)

 

4.  Birth pains (24:8)

 

4.  Birth pains (5:3)

 

5.  Believers are not deceived (24:43)

 

5.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)

 

6.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42)

 

6.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)

 

7.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49)

 

7.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)

 

8.  The Day, Sunlight shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38)

 

8.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

 

The reason why Postmillennialists such as DeMar don’t want to develop ALL of the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 is because if they do, the reader will inevitably see all of the parallels between Matthew 24 and the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4 and that of course would prove the eschatological trumpet gathering and catching away of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are the same event and were thus fulfilled in AD 70 as well.

Having looked at the main authors defending Postmillennialism today and The Reformation Study Bible (which they have edited and produced) when it comes to the use the analogy of faith, “parallels” and the use of “similar language” to make their cases in connecting Matthew 24 with that of 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians 15, let’s now be more exegetically consistent and bridge the gap between their irreconcilable differences (that their creedal doctrine of a physical resurrection at the end of world history has created for them).

The Analogy of the Faith or Scripture Hermeneutic:  Teaches us that Scripture interprets Scripture and that Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.  Yet, so far from the writings and co-authors of Postmillennialists on Matthew 24; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15 we are getting contradictory interpretations that can easily be resolved. 

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

  • A = (Matt. 24:27-31, 34)
  • B = (1 Thess. 4:15-17)
  • C = (1 Cor. 15)

Premise #1:  Since it is true and orthodox to believe that the coming of Christ in A (Matt. 24:27-31, 25:31ff.) was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Postmillennialism & Full Preterism agree).

Premise #2:  And since it is also true that A (Matt. 24:27-31; 25:31ff.) is the same or ONE Second Coming event described for us in B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) (Amillennialism, Historic Premillennialism and some Postmillennialists agree with Full Preterism),

Conclusion:  Then it is also true and orthodox to believe that both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) were fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s ONE parousia or Second Coming event 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) is = to B (1 Thess. 4) or “if A bears some relation to B”

Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4-5
Christ Returns from Heaven 24:30 4:16
With Voice of Arch Angel 24:31                                       4:16
With Trumpet of God 24:31                                              4:16 – The trumpet gathering resurrection of Isa. 25-27 
Caught/Gathered Together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17 – The resurrection of the dead of Isa. 25-27
To “Meet” (marriage term) the Lord in the Clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17 – The wedding/resurrection of Isa. 25-27
The 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  *This is a unique parallel that I have developed.

My Brief Testimony

Now one can see why Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar or Keith Mathison deceptively (in my opinion) do not want to consistently draw attention to all of the “parallels” or use of “similar language” between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 since such a hermeneutic would beg the question from the reader, “well, what about all the ‘parallels’ and ‘similar language’ between Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17”?!?

This is exactly how I became a Full Preterist (even though I didn’t know such a view existed).  In 1990-91 I had a hard time with Postmillennialists only giving an exegesis of Matthew 24 up to verse 34-36.  I was doing a study on Christ coming as a thief and noticed that David Chilton in his writings (Paradise Restored and Days of Vengeance) applied Christ coming as a thief in 24:43 as fulfilled in AD 70.  This was my conclusion as well, but this meant there were not two comings of Christ in Matthew 24-25 and Postmillennialists such as Chilton at the time was hiding this belief and not trying to develop it due to it’s conflict with the creeds.  I agreed with Amillennialists and some historic Premillennialists that saw ALL the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonains 4-5 as ONE event, and yet at the same time I believed Postmillennialists were accurate to believe Matthew 24 happened spiritually in AD 70.  I concluded that the “rapture” and resurrection of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 must be understood spiritually as well.  And if Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD, then Paul is using apocalyptic language just as Jesus did.  It is important to note that it was in reading Scripture and Reformed works on eschatology that brought me to Full Preterism.  There were no other outside influences.  Over time God would lead me to men that saw what I was seeing – and that was very comforting!

Reformed Eschatology Makes the Same Parallels

Reformed theologian G.K. Beale agrees with Full Preterism on two issues here.  First he agrees that Paul is using recapitulation between 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (or that both chapters describe the same coming and event) and secondly, he agrees with us that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24,

“…1 Thess. 4:15-17 describes generally the same end-time scenario as 1 Thess. 5:1-11.  Specifically, Paul narrates the resurrection at the end of the age and then recapitulates in chapter 5 by speaking about the timing of this event and about the judgment on unbelievers, which will also happen at the same time.  That both 4:15-18 and 5:1-11 explain the same events is discernible from observing that both passages actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24,…” (G.K. Beale, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series 1–2 Thessalonians (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2003), 136).

As I have previously demonstrated, Jesus used recapitulation in Matthew 24-25.  In 24:30-31 Jesus’ coming is describing the gathering or resurrection of believers.  In 25:31-46 His coming includes a judgment (and thus resurrection) for the unbelieving dead as well.  So it should not surprise us that Paul is using recapitulation here to connect 1 Thessalonians 4-5.  In 4:16-17 the emphasis on His coming is the resurrection of believers.  In chapter 5 His coming includes the judgment for unbelievers.  One has to be blind not to notice what Beale sees, “…both passages [1 Thess. 4-5] actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24…” and one has to be equally blind not to notice that Jesus’ places this coming in His generation!

Beale goes on to connect 1 Thessalonians 4-5 with Matthew 24:

“Other significant parallels include: the use of the word parousia for Christ’s coming; reference to Christ’s advent as “that day” (Mt. 24:36) or “the day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2); and a description of someone coming to “meet” another (eis apantesin autou, virgins coming out to “meet” the bridegroom in Mt. 25:6; eis apantesin tou kyriou, believers “meeting” the Lord in 1 Thess. 4:17; see further Waterman 1975).”  (Beale, Ibid, 136–137).  Once again the eschatological time of the wedding in AD 70 creates problems for Postmillennialists, because this is also synonymous with the time of the resurrection of Isaiah 25:6-9/1 Cor. 15:54-56.

The “Thorny Problem” For Beale and Reformed Eschatology

In a more recent work Beale now seems to lean in the direction of Partial Preterism – that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:30 was fulfilled in AD 70 and not at the end of history:

“The clearest reference to Jesus as the Son of Man from Daniel 7:13 come in the third category (which he identifies as “those that refer to Jesus’ future coming in glory”), where there are quotations of Dan. 7:13 (Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27).  However, it is likely better to see most of these third-category references fulfilled not at the very end of history but rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment, using the Roman armies as his agent.  The reference in Matt. 25:31 to “the Son of Man” who will “come in His glory” and “sit on His glorious throne” is not a quotation of but rather an allusion to Dan. 7:13-14, which clearly is applied to the very end of the age at Christ’s final coming. 

If this view is correct, it may be that the AD 70 coming of Christ in judgment as portrayed by the Synoptics is a typological foreshadowing of his final coming in judgment.  However, the traditional view that the coming of the Son of Man in the Synoptic eschatological discourse refers to Christ’s final coming certainly is plausible.  This issue is a thorny one that still deserves much more study.” (G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2011), 396 n. 27—397.  (emphases added)).

This indeed is a “thorny” problem for Mr. Beale to affirm in one work that the

coming and implied resurrection gathering at the end of the age in Matthew 24:30-31

is the same Second Coming of Christ and resurrection event as described by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and is now trying to affirm that the coming and resurrection gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 was fulfilled in AD  70.  Why? Because both of these are full preterist or “hyper-preterist” interpretations to take on these texts.  Beale due to creedal commitments, will not accept that full preterism has done the “more study” necessary in order to reconcile the exegetical problems he and his “orthodox” colleagues have created.

But is Beale then saving himself from this “thorny” problem by citing Matthew 25:31 as “clearly” the end of time or end of the age coming of Christ?  Not when you consider that partial preterists combined such as Mathison, DeMar and McDurmon have clearly seen this passage was fulfilled in AD 70 as well and not Christ’s “actual” Second Coming. But this then creates more thorny problems for these men such as the marriage that follows Matthew 25:10 (as I discussed in lecture one on the marriage feast).  How many times does Christ in His Parousia consummate His marriage with the church within Postmillennial theology?  How can they criticize Dispensationalism for having TWO resurrections and TWO eschatological weddings when their Partial Preterism is forcing them into the same error, just a different version of TWO fulfillments for these events?!?

Mathison attempts to avoid the unified parallels between Matthew 24–25 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 by claiming that his Reformed brothers and “hyper-preterists” merely assume that “Jesus is speaking of his second advent when he speaks of ‘the coming of the Son of Man’ in Matthew 24 and that Paul is speaking of the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 4.” (Mathison, From Age to Age, 515).  The self-evident fact of the matter however is that Mathison turns a blind eye to overwhelming evidence because Mathison assumes that partial Preterism is right. It is more than inconsistent to claim preterist parallels between Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 and between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5, and then deny the obvious parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4. But this is what partial preterists such as Mathison do.  (Mathison, Postmillenialism, 226, 230).

Because Gentry’s Postmillennial colleagues such as DeMar and Mathison no longer divide the OD, he remains committed to the creedal view that the OD does discuss the Second Coming event but now concedes that Matthew 24–25 does not necessarily need to be divided and that all of Matthew 24 could be addressing one coming of Christ in AD 70:

“Orthodox preterists see no doctrinal problems arising if we apply all of Matthew 24 to A.D. 70. We generally do not do so because of certain exegetical markers in the text. But if these are not sufficient to distinguish the latter part of Matthew 24 from the earlier part, it would not matter.” Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 540).

The fact of the mater is that they do see a “problem” here if the OD is only addressing Christ coming in AD 70 – they just don’t want to admit it.  The “problem” is that virtually all scholars and commentators tell us that Matthew 24–25 forms the foundation to and contains parallel prophetic material to Matthew 13; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4–5; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 20–21; etc… Yet Mathison and DeMar claim Matthew 24–25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Gentry doesn’t see a problem with it?!?  How can these things be, indeed?  This is why partial preterism gains a following for a short period, and then its students end up coming to “hyper-preterism” for a more consistent and exegetical approach that is in harmony with the analogy of Scripture.

Another problem for Postmillennialists is that they admit that the last trumpet of Revelation 11 was fulfilled in AD 70, but they do not discuss the fact that the time of the last trumpet was the time for “the dead” to be judged (Rev. 11:18). This is the same problem they face in the immediate context of 1 Peter 4:7. How were the dead judged in AD 70 without the resurrection of the dead taking place? And how is this time for the dead being judged different from the time in which the dead are judged in Revelation 20? And how is this trumpet judgment in Revelation 11 different from the one in Matthew 24:30–31, 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15? The analogy of Faith and that of Scripture nullifies with finality the arbitrary Scripture-dichotomizations of partial preterism.

Important Postmillennial and Partial Preterist Admissions

In 1998 Postmillennial Partial Preterist R.C. Sproul Sr. in his book The Last Days According to Jesus was either misinformed or dishonest with the Reformed and Evangelical community when he claimed that the main difference between Full Preterism and Partial Preterism was that Partial Preterists do not believe there was a rapture or resurrection of the dead that took place at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 (see his chart on p. 157).

Postmillennial author Mike Bull departs from other Postmillennial Partial Preterists and admits,

“The similarity of the events described in [1 Thess. 4:16-17] with those described in Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians [15] means that full preterists are correct when they observe that all three passages clearly refer to the same event.” (Bull, Those Who Have Fallen Asleephttp://www.biblematrix.com.au/those-who-have-fallen-asleep/).

One of Postmillennialists main sources of authority in building their Preterist views is Milton Terry.  However, unlike DeMar, Terry (like Postmillennialist Mike Bull) correctly saw that Paul in 1 Thess. 4:16-17 and 1 Cor. 15:51-52 was following Jesus’ teaching and eschatology in the trumpet gathering of Matthew 24:30-31.  Terry was insightful and correct to disagree with John Lightfoot (and therefore with men like DeMar and Gentry) whom see this trumpet gathering at Christ’s coming as some kind of post AD 70 evangelistic gathering lasting thousands of years and not the rapture or resurrection event that Jesus said would be fulfilled at His coming to close the OC age.  Terry criticized Lightfoot’s view for not holding to the analogy of faith hermeneutic and said it would be “accepted by very few” (Hermeneutics, 447-448).

Unfortunately for Milton Terry and Postmillennialist Mike Bull, they are off base to teach that the coming of Christ and gathering or harpazo of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was some kind of partial physical resurrection and or physical rapture.  I will discuss the problems with this literal interpretation later, but the fact is Postmillennial Partial Preterism or Partial Preterism in general DOES see a “rapture” or “resurrection” event taking place in AD 70 – contrary to R.C. Sproul’s comments.  Clearly Sproul knows of Milton Terry’s works!  And Postmillennialists such as Jordan, DeMar and Gentry have finally conceded that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.  And surely Sproul cannot be so blind as to not see that his Reformation Study Bible is forming our view by admitting Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15 are descriptions of the SAME and ONE parousia of Christ while also admitting in their other writings that Christ’s coming in BOTH Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70?!?

Laying the context for 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 

Before giving an exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and solving the “thorny problem” Beale and the Reformed community have created for themselves (in adopting a physical coming of Jesus to perform a physical biological resurrection at the end of time), I want to develop the context of Christ’s coming and eschatology for Paul in 1 and 2 Thessalonians. 

1 Thessalonians 1:10

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

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

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

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

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

Christ comes to “rescue” the Thessalonians to Himself.

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

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

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

Jews who especially sympathized with the Jewish revolt were persecuted throughout Rome during this period – 50,000 died in Egypt alone.  Christians were known for being peaceful law abiding citizens for the most part.

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

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

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

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

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

1 Thessalonians 1:10 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
1.  First century audience – “you” “us.” 1.  First century audience – “we.”
2.  Eager expectation – imminence 2.  “We who are still alive…” – imminent expectation.
3.  Christ comes “from heaven.”  3.  Christ comes “from heaven.”
4.  Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing that the living would be rescued. 4.  Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing the dead in Christ would be raised and the living would be brought into God’s presence.
5. “Snatches” from wrath but to Christ 5. “Catches/snatches away” to Christ.

Kenneth Gentry & Keith Mathison 

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

Gary DeMar 

 Unlike Gentry and Mathison, Gary DeMar concedes that the coming of Christ here in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 was fulfilled in AD 70.  But Gary fails to do any exegetical work to harmonize his Preterist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 1:10 with his futurist creedal view of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.  In both passages Christ comes “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” away His people to Himself. On what exegetical grounds is the first apocalyptic while the later is physical?!?  Again, no consistent hermeneutic or flow of Paul in his writings per Postmillennialis.  Why would the Thessalonians think these are two different comings of Christ “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” His people to Himself?!? 

1 Thessalonians 2:14-20 

“For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, forbidding us to speak to the nations that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always, but the anger did come (past tense) upon them – [even] to the end!  “…For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us.  For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” (2:14-16, 19-20)

We learn several things about this passage in connection with chapter 1:

  1. The “waiting process” of 1:10 is further clarified in chapter two as waiting for their

Jewish persecutors to “fill up the measure of their sins” before Christ comes to execute this wrath.

  1. The YLT and JFB catch something interesting about this wrath, in that it had already       begun and is actually in the past tense – “forbidding us to speak to the nations that                        they might be saved, to fill up their sins always, but the anger did come (past tense) upon them – [even] to the end! (1 Thess. 2:16).

Speaking about the past tense here JFB says this,

“not merely partial wrath, but wrath to its full extent, “even to the finishing stroke” [Edmunds]. The past tense implies that the fullest visitation of wrath was already begun. Already in A.D. 48, a tumult had occurred at the Passover in Jerusalem, when about thirty thousand (according to some) were slain; a foretaste of the whole vengeance which speedily followed (Lu 19:43, 44; 21:24).”

*This may be the event or “Day of the Lord” in judgment that the false teachers and prophets were saying had “already” been fulfilled in 2 Thess. 2?  1 & 2 Thessalonians were written between AD 50-52.

  1. 1 Thess. 2:14-20 – This “wrath” would be fully realized at “the end” (or the wrath that would be poured out at the end of the “time of the end” or end of the OC age – Dan. 12:4; Matt. 13:39-43; Matt. 24-25). 
Matthew 23-24 1 Thessalonians 1-2
1).  Prediction of persecution, suffering & death. 1).  Present persecution & suffering.
2).  The Jews killed the prophets, Jesus predicts His death (cf. Lk. 17:25), and that of the deaths of the NT prophets He would send in that generation. 2).  The Jews killed Jesus & the prophets.
3).  Jesus pronounces seven “woes” upon the Jews. 3).  Paul says the Jewish persecutors are not pleasing to God.
4).  Jews sought to hinder Christ from “gathering” and preaching the gospel to Jerusalem’s “children” so that they could be saved. 4).  Jews sought to hinder Paul from preaching the gospel so that others might be saved.
5). The Jews were “filling up the measure of their sin.” 5)  Paul says the Jews were “filling up the measure of their sins.”
6).  Christ was going to come (Gk. parousia – implied from heaven) to deliver Christians and render wrath and judgment upon that first century Jewish audience and upon their Temple – in their “this generation.” 6).  Christ was going to come (Gk. parousia – from heaven) to deliver Christians and render wrath and judgment upon that first century Jewish audience.
7)  The coming of Christ in salvation and wrath takes place at “the end (Gk. Telos) of the age” (i.e. OC age). 7).  The coming of Christ in salvation and wrath upon persecutors takes place at “the end” (Gk. Telos). 
8)  Judgment of living (those Pharisees) and dead (judging Cain for Abel’s blood) & gathering of all the elect at trumpet call – in their “this generation.” 8)  Judgment of living. 

*If one were to be consistent in admitting that Christ came in AD 70 to vindicate the martyrs one would have to believe that there was a judgment and resurrection for the living and the dead (cf. Rev. 6; 11; 20). 

1 Thessalonians 3:13 

“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” (3:13)

The Thessalonians would be blameless (or “spotless”) and holy at Christ’s parousia.  Paul is using the eschatological marriage terminology here of Blameless / Holy – without spot.  Keith Mathison writes of this passage in connection with the resurrection,

“Paul teaches that all believers will be resurrected at Christ’s second coming (1 Cor. 15:23).  He teaches that all believers will be presented as a spotless bride at that time (Eph. 5:25-27; cf. 1 Thess. 3:13).” (Postmillennialism, 177).

And yet Gary DeMar admits 1 Thessalonians 3:10 was fulfilled in AD 70.  So per the passages Mathison appeals to in connection to the fulfillment of this passage, DeMar should believe the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15:23 was also fulfilled in AD 70 if he believes 1 Thessalonains 3:10 was.  We agree of course.  But since Mathison believes the coming of Christ and wedding or wedding feast of Matthew 8:10-12; 22:2-7; 25:1-13; Rev. 19-21 was fulfilled in AD 70, how does this coming and wedding motif get magically pushed thousands of years away into another wedding and coming of Christ?!? 

Christ comes with all his holy ones (angels, people, or both)?

First view – Angels:   The argument for angels here is that this is how the LXX of Zech. 14:5 is understood (from which this passage and Matt. 25:31 is derived from).  Angelic beings are how the term is understood in the OT (ex. Job 5:1; 15:15; Ps. 89:5,7; Dan. 8:13), and by the intertestamental period (ex. 1 En. 1:9) depicting God’s angels as being present on the last day of judgment.

Although the key word “holy ones” is not used in 2 Thess. 1:7 but rather the noun form with Christ coming with the “powerful angels,” the concept is the same.

Second view – Saints/people: In 2 Thess. 1:10 Christ comes to be glorified “in” His “holy ones” which are people “who have believed” the passage states.

Third view – “all” here refers to both people & angels – Some commentators suggest that both are in view.  This is my view – after looking at what the OT says, what the intertestamental period teaches, and finally what the NT teaches on the subject.

Let’s once again get the contextual flow as Paul gets into 1 Thessalonians 4 that Postmillennialists don’t want to recognize. 

The contextual flow from 1 Thess. 1:10–3:13 leading into 1 Thess. 4:16-17

1 Thessalonians 1:10—3:13 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
1.  First century audience – “you” “us.” 1.  First century audience – “we.”
2.  Eager expectation – imminence  2.  “We who are still alive…” – imminent expectation.
3.  Christ comes “from heaven.” 3.  Christ comes “from heaven.”
4.  Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing that the living would be rescued. 4.  Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing the dead in Christ would be raised and the living would be “caught” away into God’s presence.
5. To be “snatched” away from wrath but to Christ. 5. To be “caught” away to Christ.
6.  Christ comes (Gk. Parousia).  6.  Christ comes (Gk. Parousia).
7.  “The end” (Gk. Telos) here is Daniel’s “time of the end” or at the “end of the age” when the judgment and resurrection takes place (Dan. 12:1-13; Matt. 13:39-43; Matt. 24:30-31; and 1 Cor. 15:24). 7.  No one disputes that the resurrection here is the resurrection to take place at “the end” in Daniel 12:1-7 or “the end” (Gk. telos) in 1 Corinthians 15:24.
8.  Christ’s coming is described with wedding terminology – they were to be “spotless” or “blameless” and “holy” in coming into the presence of their coming Groom. 8.  Paul uses a well known wedding term in which a bride would “meet” her groom.
9.  Christ comes with all His “holy ones” – that is angles and the dead he raises in chapter 4 which constitute the rest of the bride. 9.  Christ comes with those dead saints that He raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to go “meet” them so that they all could be “with the Lord forever. 

And Harmonizing Paul’s eschatology with Jesus’ 

1 Thessalonians 1:10—3:13 Matthew 23-24/Luke 21
1.  First century audience “you” “us.” 1.  First century audience “you.”
2.  Eagerly wait – imminence. 2.  “This generation.”
3.  Christ comes (Gk. Parousia) 3.  Christ comes (Gk. Parousia).
4.  Christ comes from heaven. 4.  Christ comes on clouds.
5.  To “snatch” from wrath to Christ. 5.  To “gather” to Christ.
6.  Delivers from wrath. 6.  Saves from wrath.
7.  Jews killed prophets, Jesus & persecuting Thessalonian. 7.  Jews killed prophets & will kill NT prophets Jesus sends.
8.  Jews filling up the measure of their sin of blood guilt. 8.  Jews filling up the measure of their sin of blood guilt.
9.  Wrath poured out at “the end” (Gk. Telos). 9.  Wrath poured out at “the end” or “end of the age” (Gk. Telos).
10.  Christ comes with all His holy ones (including angels and the dead per chapter 4) – which constitute the rest of the bride 10.  Christ comes and sends his angels to gather all the elect (dead and living)
11.  Christ’s coming is described with wedding terminology – they were to be “spotless,” “blameless” and “holy” in coming into the presence of their coming Groom. 11.  Christ’s coming is described with wedding terminology – “Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out and meet Him.”

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver believers from their persecutions and pour out His wrath upon their persecutors (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7). When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then 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.” 

“According to the Lord’s own word” (4:15)

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4-5 Fulfilled in AD 70
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
6.  Use of contemporary “you” and parousia to be fulfilled in their contemporary generation (24:34) 6.  Use of contemporary “we” and parousia expected while some are still alive (4:15)
7.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 7.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
8.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 8.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
9.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 9.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
10.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 10.  Birth pains (5:3)
11.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 11.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
12.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 12.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
13.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 13.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
14.  The Day, Sunlight (bright light) shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 14.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

The fact that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD not only destroys the two comings theory of Postmillennial Partial Preterism, but the two comings theory of John MacArthur’s Pre-trib. Dispensationalism.  In his Study Bible he arrogantly and blindly writes of Paul’s words, “by the word of the Lord,”

“Was Paul referring to some saying of Jesus found in the gospels?  No.  There are none exact or even close.”

What amazing and willful ignorance it takes to look at all of these parallels and conclude that there’s nothing “even close” connecting the two!

Even if someone wants to deny that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24, the fact remains that both Jesus and Paul are referring to some of the same OT prophecies concerning the Second Coming and resurrection.  Jesus said He came to fulfill all the the law and prophets and it would “all” be fulfilled at His coming in His “this generation” (Mt. 5:17-18; Lk. 21:22-32).  And since Paul taught no other things except that which could be found in the law and prophets, then his sources are Jesus’ sources.  Mathison’s Postmillennial theory that Jesus didn’t discuss His “actual” Second Coming in the gospels, but rather Paul was the one God had develope this doctrine is a joke on many levels.  It separates the unity between Jesus’ eschatology and Paul’s and it ignores the fact that both are teaching that they are getting their eschatology from the same OT law and prophets!

“…WE who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord…” (v. 16)

1 Thessalonians 4 Luke 21/Matthew 24
We who are still alivewho are left till the coming of the Lord.” (v. 15) When you see…,” “…your redemption is drawing near,” “This generation.” (Lk. 21:20-32)

Keith Mathison

Mathison argues: Some have said that since Paul used the word “we” in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and 17, Paul expected the events of 1 Thessalonians 4 to occur within his own lifetime. “The problem with this interpretation is that in several other epistles Paul talks as though he could die soon.”  Therefore “Paul [was] simply using the pronoun ‘we’ in a general way to mean ‘we Christians.’ As far as Paul knew, Christ could have returned in his lifetime, but there was nothing that demanded He do so” (WSTTB?, 194). 

To my knowledge, no preterist thinks that Paul assumed that he himself would be included in the group of believers who would remain alive to the coming of the Lord. 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 returnedas Christ Himself promised would be the case in Matthew 16:27–28; 24:34.

According to Postmillennialists like DeMar and Mathison, all of Paul’s “we,” “you,” and “our” statements in 1 and 2 Thessalonians refer to Paul’s own first-century audience and address Christ’s coming in AD 70—except for the statements in 1 Thessalonians 4 (“the rapture”).  Mathison and DeMar magically decide that “we” in 1 Thessalonians 4 means something other than what it means everywhere else in 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Suddenly in chapter 4, “we” includes Christians who potentially will not be alive for a million years from today. Now let us move on from arbitrary Mathisonian constructs to a biblical look at “the rapture” passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” (v. 16)  

The “thorny problem” is solved when the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonains 4 are accepted, the first century audience expectancy is accepted, and apocalyptic language is accepted in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 just as it is in Matthew 24 (basic Hermeneutics 101 observations).

 

1 Thessalonians 4 Matthew 24
1).  The Lord comes down from heaven (v. 16).

 

1).  The Lord comes in or upon the clouds of heaven (27-30).
2)  Since this is the same event as Mt. 24:27-30, why isn’t it considered “orthodox” to interpret Paul as using apocalyptic language? 2).  That Jesus is using spiritual and apocalyptic language here is accepted as “orthodoxy.”

How had God described His “coming down from heaven” to “reveal Himself” (2 Thess. 2:7) and “rescue” (1 Thess. 1:10) His people being persecuted in the past?

Apocalyptic language Psalm 18  

“6 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. 7 The earth trembled and quaked (literally?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (literally?); they trembled because he was angry. 8 Smoke rose from his nostrils (literally?); consuming fire came from his mouth (remember 2 Thess. 1:7 – Jesus is “revealed from heaven in blazing fire…”) , burning coals blazed out of it. 9 He parted the heavens and came down (literally?); dark clouds were under his feet. 10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced (literally?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal voice?). 14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare (literally?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

Christ is coming here in 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 as God had come from heaven and on the clouds in the OT – ex. 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)?

OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 

Other than the trumpet gathering and resurrection of Isaiah 27:12-13, G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect this coming of the Lord “from heaven” with Isaiah 2:10-12’s “in that day” “Day of the Lord” judgment,

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

But they also connect 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 with Isaiah 2 which reads, 

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

Of this passage Beale and Carson write,

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

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

Jesus – Luke 23:27-30:  

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

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

John – Revelation 6:15-17:  

15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[a] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

Postmillennialists correctly tell us that every reference to the coming of the Lord in Revelation was said to be fulfilled “soon,” “at hand,” “quickly” or “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70.

This is when the martyrs blood would be vindicated in just – “a little while longer” (vss. 10-11).

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (v. 16)

1 Thessalonians 4 Matthew 24
Trumpet call & resurrection (v. 16) Trumpet call & gathering/resurrection (v. 31)

Beale correctly sees the gathering of the elect at the end of the age in Matthew 24:3 in his commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians as he resurrection event,

“Paul’s particular combination of references from Matthew 24 shows that he interprets the whole of the Matthean text as referring to woes preceding the final coming of Christ (and though Matthew does not explicitly mention the idea of resurrection, he implies it in the phrase “gather his elect” in 24:31, which implies the gathering of all believers, both living and dead).” (p. 138).

But again in his recent book, A New Testament Biblical Theology the Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New, he writes,

“…it is likely better to see [Matt. 24:30]…fulfilled not at the very end of history but rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment, using the Roman armies as his agent.” (p. 369).

Again, Beale admits that holding to both of his views creates a “thorny problem” for him that deserves “further study” to resolve.  I told him at the Criswell conference when he spoke on the millennium with Gentry and Preston that I quoted him in our book and solved the “orthodox” “thorny problem” he has created for himself.  I have yet to hear from him!

Premise #1 – If it is true that the resurrection and Second Coming of Jesus as found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is the same “end of the age” resurrection and or Second Coming event as described for us in Daniel 12:2; Matthew 13:39-43; and Matthew 24:30-31 (Amillennialists & Full Preterists agree).

Premise #2 – And if it is true that Paul expected the resurrection of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 to take place within the lifetimes of some of those he was writing to (and this is further confirmed to us by what he taught in Acts 24:15 YLT – that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was “about to be” fulfilled) (Orthodox commentators, lexicons & Full Preterists agree).

Premise #3 – And if it is true that the Apostles and writers of the NT were infallibly inspired and “led into all truth concerning things to come” (cf. Jn. 14; 16 – the time and nature of Christ’s coming and the resurrection event) (all should and claim they agree with this).

Premise #4 – And if it is true that the “end of the age” “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and 24:30-31 are the same Second Coming end of the age resurrection events (Amillennialists & Full Preterists agree).

Premise #5 – And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the “end of the age” and coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24 were fulfilled by the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Postmillennialists & Full Preterists agree).

Premise #6 – And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s parousia to close the OC age in AD 70 (Partial and Full Preterists agree).

Conclusion:  Then it necessarily follows and is also true and orthodox to believe that the NT authors wrote under inspiration that the ONE Second Coming and resurrection events as described for us in Daniel 12:2-3; Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; and Acts 24:15YLT were “about to be” fulfilled spiritually toward the end of their generation to close the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).

OT Echo: Isaiah 27:12-13

Beale and Carson also connect the coming of Christ, the trumpet or gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1, to be the fulfillment of Isaiah 27:12-13.  But this trumpet gathering resurrection, is when Israel’s sin of blood guilt would be dealt with (Isa. 27:9) and the resurrection of “Isaiah’s little apocalypse” fulfilled (Isa. 25:6-7; 26:19-21).

 “Gathered up” – Harpazo (v. 17)

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving it a theological and parallel 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.”

Harpazo means to “take one’s plunder openly and violently,” “catch or snatch away.”  Liddel-Scott gives an additional meaning – “to captivate” or “ravish” – ex. “I was so captivated or enraptured (inwardly) by my wife’s beauty, that I didn’t realize what time it was.”  But is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 discussing an inward or outward and upward catching away and ravishing of God’s people into the glory cloud of His kingdom?

Here are some very clear uses of harpazo:

Matthew 12:29 – Satan was “bound” and Christ was “carrying away” (harpazo) his plunder which were people that were rightfully his (that is Christ’s) held captive by Satan and demons.  But how was He doing this?  It was by casting out demons (an inward reality), and in some cases actually giving faith to these individuals to follow him (again an inward reality).

Matthew 11:12 – “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing (Christ casting out demons openly and publicly taking Satan’s plunder), and (in return) the forceful men (believers) lay hold of it (harpazo – through faith, vigor, power, and determination in light of present persecution – such as the case of John).

Matthew 13:19 – In the parable of the sower, the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart (again, an inner spiritual reality)

John 6:65 – “No one can come to me unless the Father has (Greek didómi) caused, drawn, dragged or enabled him.”  A different Greek word is used here, but the concept is that God opens the heart first and inwardly drags/draws/causes the person to believe in Christ.  Without this active inward rescuing and initiative from God, no one can believe.  This is an inward “dragging.”

John 10:12 – “…the wolf (Pharisees sons of Satan) sought to snatch and scatter” the sheep/ people of Israel.  How did the Pharisees seek to “snatch” and “scatter” the Jews from following Jesus?  The first phase involved seeking to deceive them in their hearts and minds (an inward snatching) that He was not the Christ by perverting the Scriptures.  The second phase was a physical excommunication or scattering of Christians from their synagogues.

John 10:28-29 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus cannot be “snatched” out of the Father’s hand.  That is, that he cannot be influenced (snatched inwardly) in his or her mind and heart to leave God.  Like Peter, “Where else can we go Lord, you alone have the words to eternal life.”

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.  Nothing in the text to support that Philip was “raptured” into the atmosphere (waved to some birds) and was then dropped off miles and miles away from where they were.

The eschatological “already” of the inward kingdom gathering and catching away was spiritual and the eschatological “gathering” and “catching away” in the kingdom at Christ’s return would be at the end of the OC age in AD 70.  But was this “not yet” aspect an inward event as well? Jesus said when the kingdom would come at His return to gather all His elect, 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/Luke 21:27-32/Matthew 24:30-31.

The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds…” (v. 17)

As I have demonstrated thus far (per the OT and NT prophets) Christ coming on the clouds is apocalyptic language and not referring to literal clouds.

To “meet” the Lord… (v. 17)

This Greek word to “meet” the Lord, is wedding language and is only used twice in the NT – here and in the wedding motif Jesus develops in Matthew 25:1-13 which Postmillennialists such as Mathison and DeMar are admitting was fulfilled in AD 70.  In Jewish betrothal, it was customary for the groom to consummate his marriage sexually at her father’s house before taking her to his father’s house where they would continue consummating for seven days and having the feast.  Again, since the wedding banquet follows the wedding in Jewish culture, AND the resurrection takes place at this time (cf. Isaiah 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:54-55), then Postmillennialists are now forced to concede that the ONE eschatological wedding and resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70, or teach that there are two weddings for the Church to match their two comings, resurrections and weddings with that of Dispensationalism’s version.  Selah.

This Greek word for “meet” was also 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.

“…in the air” (v. 17)

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)?

Strong’s Greek Dictionary, defines it as: “From “aemi”, to breath unconsciously, to respire.

By analogy, to blow.  The air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from

the higher and rarer air.”  So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.

 

The Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains lists (Eph 2:2; 1 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 spiritually.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possess” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being.  Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous 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. 9-10/1 Cor. 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” which clearly states this as its meaning.

The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence “within” us.  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.

11 Problems for the Postmillennial or Literal AD 70 Rapture or Resurrection Views

1).  For Partial Preterist Ed Stevens – If the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Matthew 24:31 is allegedly “clear” and some kind of literal expectation, then he should be consistent with other Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Mike Bull and begin teaching that the resurrection language is also a literal expectation and therefore the dead were raised from their physical graves and the literal dust in AD 70 as well.  And why not begin teaching that Jesus came physically in AD 70?  And while carrying out this physical expectation he might as well “reason” and go all the way in his thinking and conclude that since the de-creation language in Matthew 24 also sounds like a literal expectation, that either the prediction failed (liberalism), or spiritualize the time statements and continue hoping for these literal expectations (Futurism).  Futurism and the skeptic are his only choices at this point when he begins reasoning along these lines.

2).  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.

3).  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 and New Covenant age.

4).  In Mark 8:38-9:1 the Greek is different than Matthew 16:27-28 and actually teaches that those that were alive to witness Christ’s coming would be able to look back (while still alive) on the historical events of Him coming in power and great glory in the destruction of Jerusalem and thus know that He had “already come.”

5).  After Christ and the Father come and make their home (dwelling mone John 14:2, 23) within the believer, they are told, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (14:29).  If they were literally raptured, I don’t think they would need to be reminded to believe that it had been fulfilled!  These words make more sense if it was a spiritual fulfillment that could not be seen with the literal eyes and to be realized “within” (cf. Lk. 17:20-37).

6)  Contrary Russell, Terry, Stevens, Bull and others — Jesus of course promised not to remove the Church off of planet earth (John 17:15).

7).  Church history tells us that Christians were not raptured but fled to Pella.  Church history tells us that the Apostle John was still alive during Domician’s reign in the mid AD 90’s and that Timothy, Titus, and Luke lived beyond AD 70.  Stevens claims not all the Christians were raptured, only the super spiritual ones — the others were apparently unfaithful “sleepers” he claims.  Odd, that Stevens claims to be a Calvinist and teaches such non-sense as the carnal Christian heresy!  So I guess according to this heretical view, John, Timothy, Titus, and Luke became unfaithful “sleepers” and missed the rapture of the faithful.  Oh boy!

8).  If there was a literal resurrection in AD 70 to go along with a literal rapture, we have to wonder how everyone missed recording that “all” the righteous and unrighteous dead were literally raised from the dust of the earth in fulfillment of Daniel 12:2/Acts 24:15YLT/John 5:28-29/Rev. 20:5-15 along with tens of thousands of living Christians that just simply disappeared?!?

They have tried to avoid this by claiming there was a small number of faithful Christians that were “raptured” and not all the dead were raised in AD 70.  But obviously this is NOT what Daniel 12:2 says, nor is this how it is developed in the NT.  David Green writes concerning the world “many” in Daniel 12:2,

“Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the “many” in Daniel 12:2 referred to the whole company of all the dead from Adam to the Last Day.” (HD, 178).

9).  If the “gathering” and “catching away” of Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 were the same event and if the “gathering” of Matthew 24:31 and Matthew 13:39-43 are the same event, then why weren’t the “wicked” “tares” or “weeds” “gathered” (i.e. “raptured”) off of planet earth (the same way the wheat were “gathered” into the kingdom) in AD 70 and thrown into the fire and judged (the Lake of Fire)?

10).  During the OC to NC AD 30 – AD 70 transition period, we have the “already—becoming/transforming—and not yet” process of salvation and resurrection taking place.  If a physical transformation of the literal living or the dead was the eschatological goal of the parousia, then why weren’t the living physically being “transformed” and literally “seeing” God’s face in some way before He came?  Why weren’t they physically glowing a little before they were totally transformed into the NC glory they were receiving by AD 66?  How was “the death being destroyed” and the dead “being raised” physically in 1 Corinthians 15 prior to the parousia?

11).  Ed’s main premise for believing a literal rapture is because we don’t have any early church fathers teaching the parousia or Second Coming was fulfilled in AD 70.  Ed claims he “lost sleep” over this subject and God showed him that the literal rapture solves his sleep problem.  Of course Partial Preterists don’t have any early church fathers teaching that Babylon was OC Jerusalem or that Matthew 24:31 or 25:31 was Christ’s coming in AD 70 either.  The Reformed church didn’t have any early writings about forensic justification by faith alone prior to Luther.  Did Ed loose sleep over those things?

But Ed saws off the branch he is sitting on when we point out and ask – if Christians were literally raptured, and immediately after that, the Christian “sleepers” who were left repented of their sleepiness and started preaching the gospel—why didn’t they record the literal “rapture” of the faithful?!?  It just gets more and more foolish.  Literal rapturists argue the “sleepers” didn’t want to discuss or record God’s faithfulness in rapturing the faithful, because they would be persecuted.  This is supposed to explain the reason for the silence.  Well, if there was no literal rapture, then why couldn’t this same reasoning apply for the silence of those still alive on planet earth?  Per the rapturist, the living were afraid of persecution.  Their reasoning applies to both groups and solves no problem.

The bottom line – those that hate the truth concerning a spiritual fulfillment in AD 70 would not believe even if we had documentation of the event say in AD 85.  They would simply reason, “Oh, this is when the gnostic heresy of Full Preterism began.”  I don’t loose sleep over what the Word of God says – it actually strengthens my faith and gives me peace.

Concluding the Second Coming and Resurrection Event of Matthew 24:30-31=1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 in Relation to Daniel 7:13 and 12:2-3

When we combine what Postmillennialists and Reformed eschatology is teaching on these texts we conclude that Daniel’s soul — along with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the OT worthies such as in Heb. 11, were spiritually raised out of Hades in AD 70 into God’s presence and inherited eternal life and the Kingdom along with the living today in the NC age.

In our next study, I want to demonstrate how the coming of Christ and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 as well.

To Watch these Lectures or Read this Series go to:  

My First Lecture af the PPW 2017 Conference Part 1: The Problems for Postmillennialism – My Approach and Methodology http://fullpreterism.com/my-lecture-on-the-problems-of-postmillennialism-at-the-2017-ppw-conference-the-wedding-and-resurrection-motif/

My First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 2:  The Problems for Postmillennialism – God’s Divorce, Re-marriage and NC Betrothal http://fullpreterism.com/my-lectures-given-at-the-2017-ppw-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-2-gods-ot-marriage-divorce-betrothal-and-remarriage-promises/

My First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  The Problems for Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 3-5) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-3-john-3-5-and-nt-betrothal-and-marriage/

My First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 4:  The Problems for Postmillennialism – Wedding and Resurrection (Mt. 8:10-12/Mt. 22:1-14/Mt. 25:1-13) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-and-resurrection-part-4-mt-810-12-221-14-251-13isa-256-9/

My First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 5:  The Problems for Postmillennialism – The Parable of the Wheat and Tares and the Resurrection (Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-in-the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-tares-the-end-of-the-age-and-the-resurrection-mt-1339-43dan-122-3/

My Second Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems for Postmillennialism in the Olivet Discourse – Structure, Context, the Disciples Question(s), the end of the age and the Great Commission (Mt. 23-24; Mt. 24:3, 14/Acts 1:8-11) http://fullpreterism.com/lecture-2-at-the-2017-ppw-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-house-divided-the-break-up-of-postmillennialism-and-the-formation-of-full-preterism-taking-its-place/

My Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 2:  The Problems for Postmillennialism in the Olivet Discourse – “In Fulfillment of ALL that has been Written” (Lk. 21:22 = Dan. 7:9-14; 12:1-7, 13; Isa. 25:6-9—27:12-13) http://fullpreterism.com/2804-2/

My Second Lecture At The PPW 2017 Conference Part 3: The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse the Gathering of the Elect Matthew 24:30-31 = 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 http://fullpreterism.com/my-ppw-conference-lecture-2-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-matthew-2430-31-1-thessalonians-415-17/