My Second Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1: The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (Mt. 23-24; Mt. 24:3, 14/Acts 1:8-11)

Introduction

Kenneth Gentry wrote a book with Greg Bahnsen (with Gary DeMar contributing) entitled, “House Divided the Break-up of Dispensationalism.”  The purpose was to demonstrate that the admissions within Progressive Dispensationalism destroyed Dispensationalism altogether.  Therefore, Progressives needed to choose between a failing Dispensationalism and that of Covenant or Reformed eschatology.

I will be using the “House Divided” approach of Kenneth Gentry and Gary DeMar as we go through the OD to demonstrate the complete destruction and “break-up” of Postmillennialism as a compromising and inconsistent system which has in effect formed Full Preterism which is quickly taking its place.  Previously we have looked at Progressive Postmillennial Partial Preterism in Matthew 13:39-43; Daniel 12:2-3 and Romans 8:18YLT-23 in the previous lecture (and articles).  We will continue to look at those Progressive interpretations forming a spiritual resurrection fulfillment to close the OC age while we now examine Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse (once we get to Mt. 24:30-31; 25:31-46).  All to say, Postmillennialists such as Gentry, DeMar, McDurmon, Mathison, Sproul, etc…, are now faced with the same dilemma as their Progressive Dispensational opponents – try and erect a crumbling “House Divided,” or embrace Full Preterism!

Here are the issues we want to address in this lecture/article:

1).  Since the Olivet Discourse (OD) is a microcosm of NT eschatology, this poses a problem for Postmillennialism.

2). The context, question(s) of the disciples and structure of Mt. 23-25 creates problems for Postmillennialism.

3). While the various views within Postmillennialism and Reformed eschatology on the OD create a problem for Postmillennialism, their inability to reconcile those problems has in effect formed Full Preterism.

Since Postmillennialism agrees with Full Preterism that all of the signs (cf. Mt. 24:5-15, 30) and apocalyptic de-creation language (cf. Mt. 24:29) was fulfilled in AD 70, I will be addressing the following subjects:

  • The disciples question and the end of the age – whose really confused Kenneth Gentry or the disciples?
  • Are there two Great Commissions in the OD?
  • Was all OT prophecy fulfilled by AD 70 and if so what texts?
  • Is the coming of Christ to gather the elect and give redemption the resurrection event?
  • Are the division theories of Kenneth Gentry arbitrary?

In this article (Part 1 of the second lecture), we will only be examining the context, structure (chiasm & recapitulation), the disciple’s question(s) and the coming of Christ and the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14, 27-30 in relation to Acts 1:8-11 and the “in like manner” coming of Christ.  The WCF connects the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 as the same “in like manner” coming of Acts 1:9-11 and Postmillennialists stray from the confessions analogy of faith hermeneutic here.  I will be arguing that all of these “beak-up” the “House Divided” Postmillennial Partial Preterist system which has only served to be a stepping stone to Full Preterism.

To Understand the Olivet Discourse, is to Understand Bible Prophecy

There seems to be two main points of agreement on the Olivet Discourse among Futurists:

1).  It is very difficult and no one can agree.

2).  Whatever your view of the OD is, it will form your eschatology in the rest of the NT.

While I disagree on the first point (the OD is very easy to understand), I would agree with the second in that your understanding of the OD will dictate the rest of your understanding of prophecy in the NT.  The OD in essence is a microcosm of NT prophecy.  Here are just a few quotes from a wide range of views that substantiate my point:

“How one interprets this important text will go a long way in determining one’s view of the millennial age, pre, a, or post.  (Kim Riddlebarger).

After citing scholars that concede Paul in 1 and 2 Thessalonians and John in the book of Revelation are following Jesus’ teaching in the OD D.A. Carson writes, “…we may say that Jesus himself [in the OD] sets the pattern for the church’s eschatology.” (D.A. Carson).

John’s version of the the OD is the book of Revelation” (Gary DeMar).

“A proper understanding of the OD is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to gain a clear picture of God’s plan for the ages.  This discourse is so significant that the way a person interprets it will impact his understanding of the rest of the prophecy in the Bible.” (Thomas Ice).

For example, since Postmillennialists such as Kenneth Gentry see two comings of Jesus in the OD (Mt. 24:1-34 = AD 70; vss. 36—25:31ff = end of world history), they likewise see two comings of Jesus throughout the NT and yet can hardly agree in say 1 and 2 Thessalonians on which passages are the AD 70 coming and which ones are allegedly the end of the world coming of Christ texts.

The exception to this rule are Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison whom see all references to the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew, Mark and Luke to be referring to AD 70 and not the Second Coming event.  Not only is this a radical break from the Reformed creeds (which do affirm the coming of Christ in the OD is His Second Coming event), this creates a radical break between Jesus’ eschatology and the rest of the NT’s teaching on the doctrine of the Second Coming of Jesus.  Let’s examine what Postmillennialist Keith Mathison has written on this subject.

When Mathison used to divide the OD the same way Kenneth Gentry did, he affirmed that Jesus guided the Church on the doctrine of His Second Coming and this doctrine was indeed formed by our Lord in the OD (Mt. 24:35—25:46) and therefore this same coming of Christ could be found in such NT passages as: Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Heb. 9:28.

But after he saw the division theories of Gentry couldn’t hold exegetical water, he adopted Gary DeMar’s view that every reference to the coming of Christ in the OD was referring to AD 70.  Trying to downplay the significance of this problem, in two footnotes in two different books we read the following:

“This interpretation would mean, of course, that Jesus had very little to say about his actual second coming, but this should not be a major obstacle to evaluating the interpretation.” Mathison, (WSTTB?, 182 nt. 39).

“The bulk of the NT’s teaching on the second coming would be found after the resurrection and ascension (e.g., Acts 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Heb. 9:28) (Mathison, From Age to Age, 366 nt. 92).

This is a very embarrassing admission coming from Postmillennialism!  They only have two directions to turn in:  1.  The doctrine of the Second Coming is found in the OD (the creedal view) and every reference is Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70 (i.e. Full Preterism), or 2.  The embarrassing view that Jesus never really taught on His Second Coming and that this was a doctrine formulated mostly by the Apostle Paul.

Puzzle meme

When we combine Mathison’s old view with his new view, or the various views within Reformed eschatology on the importance of the OD in forming Pauline eschatology we get Full Preterism.  Most futurist eschatological systems correctly affirm that Matthew 24-25 forms and encapsulates NT Eschatology on the doctrines of the Second Coming, the end of the age/de-creation & new creation and the judgment and resurrection of the dead. This being the case, Full Preterism is the missing piece of the puzzle to this conflict over the OD and Bible prophecy in general.

This is NOT an “either or” or which is true either “A” or “B” scenario.  The truth that these men and their publishers want to suppress is that this is a “both and” or there needs to be a third option on the test which says, “Both ‘A’ and ‘B’ are true.

One has to think outside the creedal box on the nature of the Second Coming, the resurrection, end of the age, and the New Creation before there can be a biblical solution to what G.K. Beale has termed a “this thorny problem” between Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24 and Pauline eschatology.

The Futurist conspiracy is that they only give you these “either or” possibilities with the question and answers being improperly presented.  The instructors in the seminaries, Bible Colleges, publishers and educators from the pulpits are afraid to form a proper test question and option for their students/the Church — because they know if they do, this might get them fired from the highly funded creedal institution that they have let own them.

The Context and Chiastic Structure of Matthew 23-24 is a Problem for Postmillennialism

The context of Matthew 23-24 create a Chiastic or Inclusio structure centered around Jesus’ phrase “this generation.”  Judgment is said to be coming upon the living (to judge the Pharisees & vindicate those Jesus would send) and the dead (the wicked [Cain] and those who killed the OT and NT Prophets) in the AD 30 – AD 70 generation when the Temple will be destroyed.  Jesus hints at a sign when He mentions this will take place at one of the feasts when they will be singing the Song of Ascent.  Matthew 24 simply picks up where 23 left off.  The Temple’s destruction, Jesus’ coming and the signs are now developed more with again the alarming declaration that all this will be fulfilled in their generation:

A.  Prediction of persecution coming and vindication [judgment of living and dead] at Christ’s coming in this generation (Mt. 23:29-36, 39).

B.  The “coming” of Christ results in the Temple’s destruction. The time or sign will be during one of the feasts – when the Song of Ascent is sung (Mt. 23:38-39/Ps. 118).

B.  Therefore, the disciples understand the “coming” of Christ results in the Temple’s destruction.  But they seek more information concerning the timing and sign issue & therefore, Jesus gives a more in-depth answer on that subject (Mt. 24:1-3; 4-15, 30-31 – then this material gets recapitulated again in Mt. 24:35—25:31-46).

A.  Prediction of persecution and vindication [judgment of the living and the dead] at Christ’s coming in this generation (Mt. 24:9-10, 30-34).

The Recapitulatory Structure of Matthew 24-25 is a Problem for Postmillennialism

John Murray came close in showing how the OD is recapitulatory (not chronological) and reaches the consummation (Second Coming & end of the age asked about) at various places,

“The [OD], as to structure, is recapitulatory…” “It is not, therefore, continuously progressive.  We are repeatedly brought to the advent and informed of its various features, [i.e. contemporary, concurrent or  interrelated events], and consequences (vss. 14, 29-31, 37-41; 25:3146.” (John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2:  Systematic Theology, [Banner of Truth Pub., 1977] 398).

I say Murray came “close,” because he did not know how to correctly handle Jesus’ statement that “all” (the “end” of v. 14 and Jesus’ coming in vss. 27-31) of this would be fulfilled in their “this generation” (v. 34).  Therefore, verse 34 should have also been listed as another text by which we reach the consummation in answer to the disciples question.  The recapitulatory structure of the OD demonstrates that Gentry is wrong to assert the “end of the age” of v. 3 is the end of world history, while taking “the end” of v. 14 as AD 70 to close the OC era and age.  This also destroys DeMar’s view that somehow the coming of Christ and gathering of the elect in vss. 30-31, and His coming in judgment to separate the sheep and goats and judge Satan and the dead in vss. 31-46 is some kind of post AD 70 process spanning thousands of years and not the consummation of the Second Advent at the end of the OC age [in AD 70] the disciples asked about.

The Disciples Question(s) and the Parallel Accounts Are Problems for Postmillennialism 

Postmillennialist Gary DeMar corrects Gentry and other futurists who assume the disciples were confused in associating the end of the age with the coming of Christ to destroy the Temple in AD 70.  He accurately demonstrates how the question of the disciples flow out of the immediate context of chapter 23 and when we understand that the “end of the age” is the OC age, the disciples question harmonizes and flows with the rest of the discourse,

“Upon hearing Jesus’ prediction of “desolation” for the temple and city [in Mt. 23], His disciples “came up to point out the temple buildings to Him” (Mt. 24:1), as if to say, “Lord, you can’t mean this temple!”

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

“The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of the Jerusalem.  This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation of the New Covenant.” (I believe this statement of the NC is left out of other editions)

Kenneth Gentry trying his best not to depart from the Reformed creeds has to have Jesus’ teaching a future to use Second Coming event to close world history in the discourse, so he goes with the standard “confusion of the disciples” interpretation:

“In these questions we sense once again the bewilderment among the disciples at Jesus’ teaching—a bewilderment such as is seen elsewhere in Matthew, as in their confusion about the “leaven of the Pharisees” (16:6-12), Christ’s death (vv. 21-23), the purpose of the Transfiguration (17:4-5), Christ’s interest in children (19:13-15), and the nature of kingdom service (20:20-25).  Quite clearly Christ divides their question into two episodes in His answer:  (1) He speaks about the coming Great Tribulation resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 (24:4-34, which is in “this generation,” v. 34); and (2) His distant future second coming at the end of history [i.e. “end of the age”] (24:36-25:46, which is after a “long time,” 25:19).” (p. 26).

This is puzzling since Gentry admits that Christ’s coming in AD 70 ended the OC age:

“Christ’s teaching here is extremely important to redemptive history.  He is responding to the question of His disciples regarding when the end of the “age” (Gk., aion) will occur (24:3).  In essence, His full answer is:  when the Romans lay waste the temple…” (p. 58).

“The change of the age is finalized and sealed at the destruction of Jerusalem; allusions to the A.D. 70 transition abound:  “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1).” (p. 63)

If Jesus’ coming in AD 70 ended and changed the OC age, then there is really no justification for reading into the text (eisegesis) the disciples alleged “confusion” that the “end of the age” in v. 3 and and the content vss. 36ff. deal with the end of world history.

Let’s respond to Gentry’s eisegesis.

Argument #1:  Contextually, the Temple’s destruction Jesus and the disciples are looking at answers to the end of the OC age and has nothing to do with the end of the Church or NC age. The OT and NT teaches the Messianic or NC kingdom age “has no end” so that cannot be the subject under discussion: (Dan. 2:44; 6:26; 7:14, 18; Isa. 7:13-14; 9:6-7; Lk. 1:32; Ephs. 3:20-21). 

Argument #2:  Contextually, Jesus in verse 14 identifies the “end of the age” the disciples asked about simply as “the end.” The ONLY “the end” in context is the end of the age the disciples asked about.  Even in Daniel “the time of the end” “the hour of the end” is also described simply as “the end” (cf. Daniel 12).  Since Gentry believes the sign of the GC here in v. 14 was fulfilled before AD 70 to close the OC era and age (cf. Cols. 1:5-6, 23), then Jesus here is identifying “the end” with the “end of the age” the disciples asked about.  Since both are addressing the end of the OC age and not the end of world history, this overthrow’s Gentry’s theory that the discourse has anything to do with the end of world history or a future to us coming of Jesus.

Argument #3:  The parallel accounts of Mark 13 and Luke 21 Mark and Luke do not record the phrase “and the end of the age” or promote a TWO coming(s) theory as Gentry is proposing here in Matthew 24-25.  Are we to expect that Mark and Luke simply decided to not let their readers know that Jesus taught about the end of world history and TWO comings separated by thousands of years?!?  The fact that Matthew records “end of the age” and adds more parables than the more Gentile audiences of Mark and Luke’s account of the same event explain the difference.   Thus there is no need to eisegetically assume that just because Matthew 24:3 adds “and the end the age” while the others do not, this somehow justifies a two coming theory of Jesus spanning thousands of years in Matthew’s account allegedly dealing with the end of world history while Mark and Luke do not.  Harmonizing the parallel accounts makes “clear” sense, not Gentry’s gymnastics to chop it up into a heretical third coming doctrine.

Besides this, Mark 13:12-13 while not mentioning “the end of the age” does mention the signs of persecution connected to “the end” coming upon that first century audience just as Matthew 24:14 does.  When we follow the context and harmonize the parallel accounts, we see that the discourse is about the end of the OC age when the Temple would be destroyed – not the end of world history.  

Argument #4:  OT reference – Jesus is drawing from Daniel 7, 9 and 12 in the OD where again the end of the age is described as the “time of the end,” “hour of the end” (OG LXX), or just “the end.”  Since Gentry connects “the end” of Daniel 9 and 12 with the end of the OC in AD 70, and since Jesus informs us His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem will fulfill “all” of these OT promises, there is NO reason to assume “the end of the age” in Matthew 24:3 or the rest of the discourse has anything to do with the end of world history.

Argument #5:  The clear statements of the disciples demonstrated that “yes,” they understood Jesus’ teaching on the end of their OC “this age” (Mt. 13:39-43, 51).  And Gentry has already conceded that the only “coming” of Jesus up to this point in Matthew’s gospel is the one the disciples knew would take place in some of their lifetimes and generation and no other (Mt. 10:17-23; 16:27-28; Mrk. 8:38-9:1).  All they wanted to know at this point in Matthew 24 is to have Jesus instruct them on signs they could look for before He would come to end the OC age and destroy the Temple.  This is not complicated.  It only get’s complicated when Gentry realizes he doesn’t want to surrender another creedal passage as DeMar has done to Full Preterism.  Selah.

Argument #6:  The historical context the disciples were living in understood the age they were living in to be the OC age and the “age to come” or “the age about to come” to be the NC or Messianic age.

Argument #7:  Gentry “proves too much” when he cites these examples in Matthew’s gospel where the disciples are confused.  Why?  Because in each case Jesus (or Matthew as a responsible narrator of his gospel) explicitly points out when the disciples are confused or ask a question that needs correction (cf. Mt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).  Therefore, since we don’t find Jesus or Matthew claiming the disciples were “confused,” or it is explicitly pointed out a correction to their alleged confusion ensues, we need to submit to what Scripture actually teaches us.  And that is that they did understand Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” (Mt. 13:36-51), and therefore we should follow exegetically how Jesus answers their simple question when they correctly connected the three —just as the OT Scriptures do and how Jesus has thus far in His teaching up to this point.

Jesus’ teaching throughout Matthew’s gospel up to chapter 24, the immediate context, the parallel accounts of Mark and Luke, the historical context, and the OT prophets connecting the City and Temple’s destruction to be the time of Messiah coming in judgment to end their age — all lead us to identify “the end of the age” in 24:3 not with the end of world history, but with AD 70!    

The Great Commission is a Problem for Postmillennialism  

Prophecy – Greek Oikumene Fulfillment – Greek Oikumene
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Gk. oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt.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.’” [Gk. oikumene] (Rom. 10:18)
One def. of oikumene – “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).”

 

Prophecy – Greek Ethnos Fulfillment – Greek Ethnos
“And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” [Gk. 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.’” [Gk. ethnos] ““‘. . . I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age [cf. Mt. 13:39; 24:3].’ Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19-20)

 

“…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations. . . .” [Gk. ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26)*  These are “all the nations [ethnos] under heaven” in (Acts 2:4-5) which obviously consisted of “all the nations” of the then known Roman Empire.

  

Three brief points on the G.C. of Matthew 28:19-20:

1).  “All nations”

In Acts we are informed that many Jews from “all nations under heaven” throughout the Roman Empire were present and saved in Jerusalem (Acts 2:4-5).  They were discipled by the Apostles, and then through persecution and the Holy Spirit they were then sent back into “all” those “nations” to preach the gospel and thus disciple them.

2).  Christ would be “with” them through the charismata

Mark’s gospel closes in a similar way as Matthew’s.  There is an appeal to fulfill the G.C. and encouragement that the Lord would be “with” them in the sense of performing miracles.  I believe the context of Mark 16:15-20 explains how God was going to be “with” the disciples in Matthew 18:20.  Mark’s account reads, “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). Then in Mark 16:20 we are told, “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”  In Acts 10:38 we are told that God was “with” Jesus in the sense of performing miracles.  In John 14 Jesus tells the disciples that the Holy Spirit had been “with” them but would soon be “in them.”  How had the Holy Spirit previously been “with” them?  He was in them and working through them to perform signs and wonders.  In Acts 14-15 the Lord Himself is said to be “with” Paul and Barnabas in performing signs and miracles–confirming the gospel was to go to the Gentiles and that they too formed the NC body of Christ.

Kenneth Gentry who has attempted to refute Reformed Charismatics has failed.  If the GC of Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-17 is still an unfulfilled sign (cf. Mt. 24:3, 14) before the “end of the age” and Second (or third) Coming of Jesus can take place, then we should expect God to be “with” the Church through the miraculous gifts.  However, if the GC was a sign that was fulfilled just prior to AD 70 (as Paul states clearly), then we should expect them to “cease” at the end of the OC age and at His coming (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8-12) – which they have.

3).  “End of the age”:

Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon would have us think 2 out of 3 out “end of the age” statements made by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel are the OC age while the last one refers to their Postmillennial “hope” of Christianizing the nations of the earth before Jesus’ alleged third coming takes place.  The only other reference to the “end of the age” is found in another Jewish NT epistle – the book of Hebrews and these authors also believe this refers to the OC age.

  1. Mt. 13:39 – AD 70.
  2. Mt. 24:3 – AD 70.
  3. Mt. 28:20 – end of world history?
  4. Heb. 9:26 – AD 70.

Once again we see Postmillennialism’s arbitrary hermeneutic at work creating a second GC and changing the meaning of “end of the age” out of thin air.  

Prophecy – Greek Kosmos Fulfillment – Greek Kosmos
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world [Gk. 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)  “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it hasalso in all the world [Gk. kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6)
One def. of kosmos – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…” 

Once again we have Postmillennialists being ineffective to address the Charismatic movement if the GC of this passage has not been fulfilled.  And for those Reformed Cessationists (and want-to-be-Reformed men like Pastor MacArthur) that want to say Charismatics are “demon possessed” today, then this would require the miraculous gift of casting them out to be present today.  And if demons and that miraculous gift is for today, then why not the other miraculous gifts in the passage?!?

Prophecy – Greek Kitisis Fulfillment – Greek Kitisis
“And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Gk. kitisis] (Mark 16:15) “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Gk. kitisis] under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)
One def. of kitisis –  “In rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).”  The creation of men is in view not the literal planet earth.

Clearly Paul was preaching to the creation of men and women and not to rocks, trees and the animals.  This is the same creation (kitisis) that is groaning under the decay of sin in Romans 8 and once again has nothing to do with rocks, trees and the animals — kitisis is the creation of men.

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 19 – the Gentiles

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 points out, 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 expectation of the resurrection (Acts 24:15YLT).

Keith Mathison connecting the GC with the the timing of the coming of Christ in Acts 1 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 implication is that Christ’s visible return will follow the completion of the mission to the remotest part of the earth.” (Postmillennialism, 117).

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 Coming of Christ can be fulfilled?  There is NO exegetical evidence that the GC and coming of Christ in Acts 1-2 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 the OC age passes away in AD 70 and then another that will be fulfilled before the allegedly yet-future Second (Third) Coming—is altogether arbitrary.

The Olivet Discourse Acts 1-2
1. Only the Father has authority and knows the dayand 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 (cf. Mt. 24:14-34). 3. Jesus would come from heaven upon His glory cloud in their generation (cf. Acts 1:11; 2:20-40).

Back to the ONE GC being fulfilled before Jesus’ ONE Second Coming event to close the OC age in AD 70.

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).

 

Gary DeMar sees no problem with Revelation 14:6 being another depiction of the GC fulfilled in AD 70 and therefore the nations (Gk. ethnos) and those dwelling on the earth/land (Gk. ge) are local terms reaching the fulfillment “shortly” in AD 70 per the time statements in the book of Revelation.  But once again, this begs the question that if Romans 10:18; Revelation 14:6 and Acts 2:4-5 can be used to show how Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled in AD 70, they can also be applied to show how the gospel was preached to the “earth” (ge) in Acts 1:8 and to all the “nations” (ethnos) of Matthew 28:18-20 — and were thus fulfilled by AD 70!

Since I have touched upon the Charismatic movement here in relation to the GC, I will point out the obvious in that when the Jews spoke in miraculous tongues (Gk. glossa) or human languages (that they had never studied) that were among those nations. This was not some gibberish that Charismatics are trying to pawn off as duplicating the same “miracle” as what happened throughout the book of Acts. No “private prayer language” of gibberish in the book of Acts in relation to the GC being fulfilled.  The gift of tongues (along with the other miraculous sign and revelatory gifts) had a very specific purpose in the first century Church that is no present today.  It went hand in hand as being a sign to fulfill the GC before Jesus’ Second Coming would close the OC age.  From that point forward the Church matured from the OC system and no longer needs those “childish” gifts of confirmation to demonstrate how those OT promises would be fulfilled “in Christ” and through the Church.

As my friend Don Preston has pointed out, the Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul use every Greek word Jesus used to describe the sign of the Great Commission – as having already been fulfilled within that AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to close the OC age. The Apostle Paul couldn’t have made it any clearer that He was following the ONE GC teaching as set forth by Jesus’ teaching in the OD. Therefore, Paul understood it as a sign marking the genuine imminence of Christ’s Second Coming, final crushing of Satan, the liberation of creation, redemption of the body and resurrection of the just and unjust (cf. Rms. 8:18-23YLT; 13:11-12; 16:20; Acts 24:15YLT).

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.

3. 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 Postmillennialists such as author Mike Bull that follow Terry’s view and whom believe the coming of the Christ in Acts 1:11 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:  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.

Premise #2:  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).

Premise #3:  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:  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” (Rms. 10:18) as a sign just prior to 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).

Honey, I Shrunk the Angels – Jesus Depicted in Revelation

Although an Millennialist, Simon Kistemaker argues that Jesus’ physical resurrection body is eternal and that it now literally “sits on God’s throne” (WSTTB?, 240). Kistemaker attempts to prove this claim by using Revelation 1:13–16. He points out that in this passage Jesus is described as wearing a robe that reaches down to his feet, and as having a golden sash around his chest, and a head with white hair, and blazing eyes, and feet as bronze, and a mouth, and a human voice, and a right hand, and a face as radiant as the sun (240, 252).

Kistemaker interprets the book of Revelation in a highly symbolic manner, even more symbolically than “hyper-preterists” interpret it at times. Yet he is woodenly literal in the above passage. But more to the point, he neglects to mention that the above passage also says that Jesus was holding “the angels of the seven churches” (the “seven stars”) in his (supposedly literal) hand (Rev. 1:16, 20). Kistemaker does not explain why those seven angels were reduced in size so that they could fit in Jesus’ physical hand. (Nor does Kistemaker tell us how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.)

Kistemaker also does not mention that Jesus is depicted here as having a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His supposedly literal mouth (Rev. 2:16), and that in Revelation 19:11, He is depicted as riding on a horse in the sky, and that in Revelation 19:12 He has “many crowns” on His head, and that in Revelation 19:13 He is wearing a bloody robe.

To make matters worse, note the contradiction between Kistemaker in WSTTB, and Kistemaker in his New Testament Commentary on Revelation:

Kistemaker, WSTTB: “Jesus’ appearance to John at Patmos was not spiritual, but physical, for John saw his head, face, mouth, eyes, hair, chest, right hand, and feet ([Rev.] 1:13–16) (252)

Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: “[Rev. 1:16] lists three physical features [of Jesus]: his right hand, his mouth, and his face. These features ought to be understood not literally but symbolically. . . ” (Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary, Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2001; fourth printing 2007), 97).

Kistemaker’s commentary was first printed in 2001, and was most recently reprinted in 2007. So we have Kistemaker saying that the description of Jesus in Revelation 1:16 was symbolic/spiritual in 2001, then saying it was physical/literal in 2004 (WSTTB), then back to saying it was symbolic/spiritual in 2007. As with Mathison, Kistemaker must temporarily change his preterist exegeses when he is attempting, in vain, to refute full preterism.

Conclusion

In concluding Part 1 of the “House Divided” and “Break-up of Postmillennialism” in Matthew 24-25, we have begun to see that when we combine what Gentry and DeMar are teaching in the OD, the Second Coming, judgment of the dead, and judgment of Satan (Mt. 24:36–25:31-46) was fulfilled by AD 70.  Gentry takes the creedal view of this section being the “actual” Second Coming event, while DeMar and Mathison teach this coming was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.  The structure of Matthew 24-25 is recapitulatory and thus it finds it’s fulfillment in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to close the OC age with the destruction of the Temple.

Proposition #1 (Gentry, Mathison, Amillennialism):  Since it is true that Matthew 24:36–25:31-46 is Christ’s Second Coming Event and is the same coming of Christ as is in 1 Thess. 4-5; 1 Cor. 15; Acts 1:11 and Heb. 9:28.

Proposition #2 (DeMar and Mathison’s new view):  And since it is true that Matthew 24:36–25:31-46 is descriptive of Christ’s spiritual coming to close the OC age in AD 70 and “nothing more.”

Conclusion/Full Preterism/Synthesis/”Reformed and always reforming”:  Then it is also true that Matthew 24:36–25:31-46 is descriptive of Christ’s spiritual Second Coming event to close the OC age in AD 70 and “nothing more.”  It is also the same coming of Christ as is in 1 Thess. 4-5; 1 Cor. 15; Acts 1:11 and Heb. 9:28 and therefore these texts were also fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and “nothing more” (i.e. not the end of world history or a physical coming of Jesus).

In regards to the GC, the classic and historical views of Amillennialism and Premillennialism are correct to point out that there is only ONE GC predicted in the NT and Postmillennialism is correct that the Greek words used to describe this GC need not be interpreted globally, but locally to fit within the NT imminent expectation.

Premise #1 (Amill & Premill):  The NT is only addressing ONE GC in Matthew 24:14/28:18-20; Mark 13:10/Mark 16:15-20 and Acts 1:8.

Premise #2 (Postmill):  The GC of Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Conclusion (Full Preterism):  The NT is only addressing ONE GC in Matthew 24:14/Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 13:10/Mark 16:15-20 and Acts 1:8 and it was fulfilled by AD 70.

And what of the coming of Christ and the arrival of the Kingdom, in relation to the GC in Acts 1-2 and Matthew 24-25?

Premise #1 (Amill & Premill):  The coming of Christ and arrival of the kingdom in Acts 1-2 is the same event as described for us in Matthew 24-25; Luke 17 and Luke 21.

Premise #2 (Postmill):  The coming of Christ and arrival of the Kingdom in Acts 2; Matthew 24-25; Luke 17; and Luke 21 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.  I would also add that there are some Postmillennialists such as Mike Bull whom believe the coming of the Christ in Acts 1:11 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Conclusion/Synthesis (Full Preterism):  The ONE Second Coming of Christ and arrival of the Kingdom in Acts 1-2; Matthew 24-25; Luke 17; and Luke 21 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 to close the OC age.

These two “House Divided” positions within Postmillennialism itself and within Postmillennialism and both Amillennialism and Premillennialism have actually formed Full Preterism, therefore these Futurist systems cannot in any sense be seen as refuting it.  Selah.

To Watch the Lecture or Read this Series go to:  

My First Lecture of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 4-5) 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 of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (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 First Lecture of 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)

Introduction:

Having examined the problems with Postmillennialism in regards to the eschatological wedding feast and resurrection, I want to now turn our attention to the problems for Postmillennialism in the parable of the wheat and tares and the resurrection in Matthew 13:36-43/Daniel 12:2-3.

Matthew 13:36-43

 36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father [Dan. 12:3]. He who has ears, let him hear.”

Daniel 12:1-4, 7:

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

The History of Postmillennialism on These Crucial Texts

Prior to these writings we were challenging Postmillennialists that exegetically and according to Daniel 12:7 the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70 along with the judgment, tribulation and 3 ½ years period since the angel tells Daniel that “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together when the power of the holy people was to be completely shatted in AD 70.  And according to Jesus this would be fulfilled at the end of the OC age gathering (not world history) per Matthew 13 and Matthew 24.

Yet they continued to affirm that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was ONE resurrection event forming the resurrection of John 5:28-28; Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15 which would end the millennium of Rev. 20.  Hence the ONE resurrection event of Daniel 12 would be fulfilled at the end of the age (or world history) as described for us in the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13.  Therefore, the gavel was struck when in 2001 Gary North informed us and his Postmillennial colleagues that,

“Anyone who equates the fulfillment of [the parable of the wheat and tares] with AD 70 has broken with the historical faith of the church.”

It didn’t matter what Daniel 12:7 said on the timing of this resurrection, North saw the implications of what would happen if the “end of the age” was the OC age and the ONE resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This would mean the “ONE” resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70 and that the millennium was roughly a forty-year period just like the Full Preterism had been teaching.

But North’s threats wouldn’t hold for long.  As Full Preterists and other eschatological systems continued to press Postmillennialism on their inconsistency concerning these texts, they began making very important AD 70 concessions that continue to lead their readers into Full Preterim.

2004

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In 2004 concerning the parable of the wheat and tares Postmillennialist Peter Leithart writes,

“Jesus has now come with His winnowing fork, and before the end of the age, the wheat and tares will be separated.  The end of the age thus refers not to the final judgment but to the close of  “this generation[i.e AD 70].” (p. 95)

Strengths

Leithart is bold enough to defy North and identify the fulfillment of the parable of the wheat and tares with the end of the OC age in Jesus’ contemporary generation and not at the end of world history.

Weaknesses

There is no real historical or exegetical treatment on what the “end of the age” is, let alone how it should be interpreted in the rest of Matthew’s gospel and then into Pauline eschatology.

There is no mention and admission that he is adopting a Full Preterist interpretation of the passage (which North identifies as unorthodox).

And there is no mention that Jesus is quoting from the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and how this was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.

2007

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Strengths:

Excellent observation that Daniel 12:2-3 is the “last spiritual” resurrection for Israel and fulfilled in AD 70 (cf. pp. 618-619).

The passage teaches that Israel was progressively being raised from the dead between AD 26 – AD 70.  This was produced through the gospel and receiving eternal life (cf. 618-619; 621).

Jordan teaches “Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off” and deals mostly with “the death and resurrection of the Church” during the “Apostolic age.”  In AD 70 Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s bosom according to Revelation 20 to rule with all of God’s saints and inherit eternal life and the kingdom (pp. 621; 628).

Summary:  The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is descriptive of Israel’s “last” resurrection which emerges in the glorification of the Church in AD 70.  It was spiritual, covenantal, corporate, progressive, and culminates in souls being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades at Christ’s parousia in AD 70.

Weakness:

He is not mentioning that he debated a Full Preterist (Don Preston) and has stolen and adopted the Full Preterist view of the resurrection in his treatment of Daniel 12:2-3.  This is not honest, scholarly or professional.

He avoids Jesus quoting and referencing Daniel 12:2-3 in Matthew 13:43!  He is clearly afraid of identifying the “end of the age” as the OC age and the implications it may have on such texts as Matthew 24:3 and Matthew 28:18-20.

He connects the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 with the tribulation of Matthew 24, but avoids that the resurrection takes place at the eschatological “gathering” at the “end of the age” per Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:30-31 (this is where Jesus, classic Amillennialism, Premillennialism and Full Preterism place the resurrection of Daniel 12 in the OD).

Gentry’s New View v. Old View

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Gentry’s Old View on Daniel 12:2-3:

“Contrary to dispensationalism and historic premillennialism, there is but one resurrection and onejudgment, which occur simultaneously at the end of history:  Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:31-32; John 5:28-29…Acts 24:15).” (The GREATNESS OF THE BREAT COMMISSION, 142).

Speaking of the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 Gentry writes,

“The resurrection is a general resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15), which will occur on the “last day”…”

Strengths

Gentry is accurate to teach that Jesus and the NT authors develop the Daniel 12:2-3 as only “one” judgment and resurrection event to take place at the end of the age.

Weaknesses

The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 takes place when the other events do – “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” in AD 70.  Gentry is cherry-picking vss. 2-3 because of his creedal bias.

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Gentry’s 2009 New and Ever Evolving View on Daniel 12:2:

In the third addition of his book on He Shall Have Dominion, Gentry seems to finally be conceding that the resurrection of Daniel 12 was not a biological resurrection but a spiritual resurrection fulfilled in AD 70 at the same time as the tribulation period:

“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 is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).  In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represent Israel’s “death” in the Babylonian dispersion (Eze 37).  In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life.”

On Facebook I asked him a question on the resurrection of Daniel 12 (not realizing what he wrote on it in his third edition) and he answered, “Dan 12 is not dealing with bodily resurrection but national resurrection (as does Eze 37). Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel. Thus, it bears similarities with Eze 37 and the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel.”

But in the Q & A session at the Criswell conference on the Millennium that Don spoke at, I challenged Gentry that if he took the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12 to be fulfilled in AD 70, then he would have to admit that the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of Revelation 20:5-15 was also fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and was therefore not dealing with a “bodily” or biological resurrection (as he admitted to me on FB).  His answer which I was not suspecting (because of his comments in his book and his FB response to me) was that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 can have a “double fulfillment.”  There was a spiritual fulfillment in AD 70 and there allegedly will be a second or physical fulfillment of the passage at the end of world history which he arbitrarily sees in Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 20; and John 5:28-29.

As I challenge Gentry in the second edition of our book,

“Gentry gives Daniel 12:2 two fulfillments but won’t allow dispensationalists or any other futurist system to do the same thing with the Great Tribulation, the three and a half years, or the Abomination of Desolation in Daniel 12 or Daniel 9:27.” (HD, 94).

In commenting on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 Gentry mentions the spiritual and corporate nature of the resurrection for Israel of coming out of her “graves” in Ezekiel 37 to support his corporate view of Israel being raised into the new covenant Israel by AD 70.  Well, since there was a spiritual and corporate resurrection of the dead coming out of their “graves” in Ezekiel 37 and there is a spiritual fulfillment for the dead rising within the immediate context of John 5:24-26, there is no exegetical reason why the new covenant anti-type coming resurrection “hour” out of “graves” in John 5:28-29 is not also a corporate and spiritual resurrection.  And if James Jordan is claiming that Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades into God’s presence to inherit eternal life in AD 70, why isn’t this the same kind of resurrection Jesus is describing in John 5:28-29?

Strengths:

Gentry finally admits after 30 years that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 takes place at the SAME TIME the tribulation, judgment, three and half years, and shattering of Jerusalem in AD 70 was fulfilled (“all these things” v. 7).

Weaknesses:

He does not humbly admit his change and admission that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 is due to pressure coming from the Full Preterist and Futurist communities calling for consistency — in his very inconsistent use of the Preterist hermeneutic.

Gentry does not discuss his evolving interpretation of this passage.  He addresses my FB question and tells me that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 “is not dealing with bodily resurrection but national resurrection…,” and then in answering my question at the Criswell Conference on the Millennium tells me the passage has a “double” fulfillment (one spiritual and national in AD 70 and another “bodily” one at the end of world history).

Gentry does not discuss why it is wrong for Premillennial Dispensationalism to hold to TWO resurrections and why he now can.

Gentry does not discuss why he can now “double fulfill” the AD 70 resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, but the tribulation, time of the end and three and a half year’s period cannot be double fulfilled!  If Gentry can begin double fulfilling AD 70 events, then so can other Futurist views – and if that is the case, that’s the END of Gentry’s Postmillennialism – PERIOD.

Gentry does not tell us based upon what hermeneutical principle the judgment and resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43; Acts 24:15YLT; John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20:5-15 is not the AD 70 spiritual resurrection he gives and allows for in Daniel 12:2-3 (since these passages are the same resurrection event as Dan. 12:2-3)!  Not only that, but he doesn’t tell us why they couldn’t have a “double fulfillment” – one spiritual in AD 70 and then a physical one at the end of world history.  Make no mistake about it folks, Gentry has surrendered to Full Preterism and has unraveled his Postmillennialism and he is hoping no one has noticed or will take apart his STILL very inconsistent hermeneutic of Daniel 12:1-7 and how this OT passage is developed by Jesus and the NT authors.

While Jordan attempts to deal with exactly how Daniel was raised (Dan. 12:13), Gentry does not discuss the subject.  Was Daniel’s soul raised out of Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life in God’s presence to rule and reign or not Mr. Gentry?  Gentry is constantly telling us there was a judgment of the living and dead that took place in AD 70 (cf. 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; Rev. 11), yet never informs us how the dead were judged without a resurrection for the dead taking place at the same time (and exactly what kind of resurrection it was)!

2011

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Strengths:

McDurmon correctly teaches the Full Preterist view here that the parable of the wheat and tares was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.  And when Jesus and Paul use the phrase “this age” it is the OC age and the “age to come” is the NC age — with the change being complete in AD 70 (pp. 43-49).

 Weaknesses:

Again like the others, there is no admission this is a Full Preterist view.

Since Joel is Gary North’s Son-in-law, we would expect some kind of interaction with North’s comments that to give the parable the fulfillment at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (as Full Preterism does) is to break from the orthodox church.  And again why would North say this?  It’s because this would mean that Jesus is referencing the “ONE” resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to be fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 and not at the end of world history (the “orthodox” view).  And he knows the millennial period would have ended in AD 70 as well.  McDurmon is a coward on virtually every level here.

McDurmon gives no exegetical attempt to address the OT citation of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 in Matthew 13:39-43 (this is just basic hermeneutics he decides to avoid).  Nor is there an attempt to harmonize the spiritual resurrection view that Jordan gives Daniel 12:2-3 as fulfilled in AD 70.  Remember Joel works for American Vision (AV) which published Jordan’s commentary on Daniel!  One expects Joel to interact with North’s statements and the books he is involved in publishing — but nothing but silence coming from Joel (and thus Gary DeMar behind the scenes for OBVIOUS reasons).

Putting it All Together “Bridging the Gap” 2009/2014

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 Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13) 

Time of the-End / End-of the-Age Separation Verses 1, 4, 9, 13 Verses 39-41
Saints Rise and Shine in the Eternal Kingdom Verses 1, 4, 9, 13 Verses 39-43
Wicked Rise to Shame in Eternal Condemnation Verse 2 Verses 39-42
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 Verses 37, 43

 And B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25)

Evangelism in the world takes place Verses 37-38 24:14
There is persecution, tribulation, professors / apostasy, & faithfulness Verses 19-30 24:9-13
Christ comes with or sends his angles to participate in the judgment of separation Verses 41 24:30-31
Christ and Angles Come at the End of the Age to Fulfill Daniel 12:1-4 – Time of Separation, Judgment and Resurrection of Living and Dead Verses 39b-43/Dan. 12:2-3 24:3, 30-31; 25:31-41
The Sons of the Day Shine with the Son/Sun of Righteousness Verses 39b-43/Dan. 12:2-3 24:27, 30-31 /  Lk. 17:20-37When Day Star (Christ) Rises “Within” the “Heart” (cf. Phil. 2:15; 1 Pet. 1:9; Rev. 2:28/22:16, 20)

 Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25) 

Tribulation and Sanctification / Great Tribulation Verses 1b, 10 24:21-22
Time / Day / Hour of the Judgment (aka Separation) Verses 1-2, 4 (OG/LXX) 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfilled at the Time of the End / the End of the Age / the End – The Shattering of National Israel’s World—Her Heaven and Earth (i.e. the Temple, etc.) Verses 4a, 9b, 13bVerse 7 24:3b, 13-14
Inheritance of and Entrance into Eternal Kingdom-Life Verses 2b, 3a, 13b 25:34, 46 / Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son/Sun Verse 3a 24:27, 36; 25:34
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 24:14, 27; 25:29a 

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 (Daniel 12)  B (Matthew 13)  C (Matthew 24-25) 
Kingdom-Age Evangelism Kingdom-Age Evangelism Kingdom-Age Evangelism
Tribulation Like Never Before Tribulation Meted Out Tribulation Like Never Before
Time of the End of Daniel’s People; End of the Age of National Israel Time of the End of that OC Age End of the Old Covenant Age of National Israel — the Fall of Its Temple & City in their “generation” 
Righteous Rise & Shine;Wicked Rise to Shame The Righteous Gathered to Rise & Shine; Tares Gathered to Burn Sheep to Inherit Eternal Life (and light) in the Kingdom; Goats to Inherit Eternal Punishment (in outer darkness). 

 Premise #1 – Since it is true that the resurrection of Dan. 12:2-3 is a progressive spiritual raising of Israel and the Church from death roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 and it involved souls being raised from the realm of the dead to inherit eternal life in AD 70 per Rev. 20 (Jordan).

Premise #2 – And since it is also true that the eschatological “not yet” of the resurrection of Dan. 12:2-3 is the “ONE” resurrection event (therefore it can’t be “double fulfilled”) of 1 Cor. 15; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15 and is fulfilled at the “end of the age” when Christ’s Second Advent takes place per Mt. 13:36-43 and Mt. 24:3; 25:30-32 (Gentry’s postion #1).  And since it the growth of the wheat and tares is the millennial period of Rev. 20 with the millennium ending at “the end of the age” when Christ comes (Gentry & most agree).

 Premise #3 – And since it is also true that the parable of the wheat and tares and the “end of the age” was fulfilled at the end of the OC age (McDurmon), in Jesus’ “this generation” (Leithart), at Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70 fulfilling Mt. 25:30-32 (DeMar).

 Conclusion – Then the “ONE” “spiritual” resurrection of Israel and the Church being raised from the dead according to Daniel 12:1-4; Mt. 13:36-43; 1 Cor. 15; John 5:25-29 and Rev. 20 was between AD 30 – AD 70 and fulfilled at Christ’s spiritual Second Advent in judgment to close the OC age and millennial period per Mt. 13:36-43/Mt. 25:30-32ff./Rev. 20:1-15.

Conclusion

Reformed eschatology (primarily Postmillennial Partial Preterism & Amillennialism) has formed Full Preterism on both the timing and spiritual nature of the ONE eschatological wedding and resurrection event of Isa. 25:6-9 and Daniel 12:2-3.  This was when Jesus’ “cast out” OC Israel from her kingdom—burned her city and gave the kingdom to the new and transformed “nation” or NC Israel of God–in her spiritual, transformed and mature state in AD 70 (Mt. 21:43-45).  This is when the ONE eschatological “gathering” took place at the ONE “end of the [OC] age” in AD 70.

In the next lecture, we will continue to examine the errors of Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse (OD) while at the same time see how their views and the views of Reformed eschatology in general continue leading us to Full Preterism.

To Listen or View This Series:  

My First Lecture of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 4-5) 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 of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (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 First Lecture of 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)

We are continuing to examine and refute the Postmillennial position of the NT teaching TWO parousias of Christ connected with TWO resurrections.  By necessity, this also requires them having to teach TWO eschatological weddings and wedding feasts separated by thousands of years as well.

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)

When we harmonize what Postmillennialists are teaching when it comes to the eschatological wedding feast and a spiritual resurrection taking place in AD 70 at Christ’s parousia, with what other Futurists are teaching on this being THE ONE consummative event for the Second Coming, resurrection and wedding to occur at the end of the age —- we get Full Preterism. This will become apparent as well when studying the parable of the wheat and tares along side of Daniel 12 which will be next and Part 5 of this series.

To Listen or View This Series:  

My First Lecture of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 4-5) 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 of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (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 First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3: The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 3-5)

In John 3, Matthew 3 and Mark 1 we learn that John the Baptist is one of the groomsmen or “friend of the groom” (Paul is the other) that is preparing the hearts and way of the remnant of Jerusalem for the restoration and reformation that is coming in an “at hand” harvest judgment and salvation.  Jesus was baptized not because of any sin He needed to repent of, but so He could fulfill the prophets — as the Messianic Groom, King and High Priest. Those that were being baptized during the transition period were communicating that they agreed to be betrothed and married to Jesus as Messiah.

John is baptizing in the “desert” which is where the Messianic meeting and betrothal period was said to take place. This being on one side of the Jordan is also communicating that God’s messianic second exodus was ready to begin. Israel must prepare her heart before she can enter the Father’s New Covenant heavenly home/kingdom/land.

Baptism also represented that the Church was corporately dying and rising from the Old Covenant age and glory into the “about to come” New Covenant age and glory. They were to be baptized “for” (Greek eis– or with a view to obtaining) “the remission of sins” at Christ’s Second Appearing (as the coming messianic Great High Priest and Groom) that would “in a very little while” “restore” or transform Israel (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:20-23; Heb. 9:15-28—10:37; Rms. 11:26-27; Lk. 21:27/Mt. 24-25).

John 4 and the Woman at the Well

As John 3 introduces and begins preparing the hearts of Judah (one sister) to her messianic groom, John 4 is a depiction of Israel (now the half-breeds of the Samaritans assimilated in the Assyrian captivity) being introduced to her messianic groom.

In John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the same well and at the same time (“midday”) that Jacob met his wife Rachel (Gen. 29:7 / John 4:6). We are told she has had five husbands (4:18). I believe God providentially ordered and orchestrated this woman’s life and circumstances of having five previous husbands, to match the history of Israel so as to give a deeper meaning as to when Messiah would meet her and her people in a coming wedding/salvation.  Allow me to explain what I mean…

After Israel was divorced through the Assyrian captivity, we are told in 1 Kings 17:30-31 that there were five groups that settled in Samaria, each worshipping their own pagan gods: The Babylonians worshipped Marduk; the men of Cuth worshipped Nergal; the men of Avva worshipped Nibhaz and Tartak; the men of Sepharvaim worshipped their city gods; and King Hadad worshipped Anath. So they broke covenant by physically intermarrying with these foreigners and spiritually they became married to their false gods. Because of this, the Jews of Jesus’ day considered the Samaritans defiled and unclean. In Jewish law and custom, a woman may be divorced up to two or three times at the most. Anymore divorces and remarriages than two or three, the woman would be considered socially immoral or unclean. Therefore, Samaria, like the woman at the well, had five husbands and per the Jews, both her and her people would be considered immoral and unclean. But God in His tender mercy, now stood before her and her people, as their true husband, ready to fulfill His promise that in Israel’s “last days” He would once again betroth and marry her to Himself.

In John 4 Jesus stands as one greater than Jacob, in that He not only gives living water, but He will be the Husband that will be able to unite the divided worship and people of the Samaritans and Jews into one people (or Bride) again and bring them to worship and feast at Mount Zion (cf. Isa. 25:6-9).

He can make what was once considered unclean and defiled – clean again. Just as Jesus had cleansed 10 lepers and made them go to the priest to undergo inspections and ceremonial baptism. This was done in order to now declare they were clean and that they were undergoing a change in social status so as to be embraced back into the covenant community.

John 4 and the Harvest Motif

One source I was reading said that “the sixth month of the year which on the Hebrew calendar is called Elul.  Like most of month’s in the Hebrew calendar, the name is not Hebrew, but was brought by Judah from the Babylonian captivity. Elul ( ‫אֱלוּל  ) is actually an Akkadian word that means harvest, and according to Jewish tradition, the word is an acronym for אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי – “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” – “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine . . .” (Song of Solomon 6:3). Jesus is connecting the coming eschatological wedding with the harvest motif when He instructs the disciples on the meaning of the woman bringing the town to hear Him teach and the time of harvesting has come (John 4:35-38).  The Samaritans will be apart of God’s harvest and resurrection promises – as foretold in the OT.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Jesus is the Firstfruit of the Jewish firstfruits of the coming resurrection harvest. The land of Israel is the threshing-floor, God’s winnowing fork was already in His hand, and the harvest would take place at the sound of a trumpet at the gathering into the Kingdom at the end of the Old Covenant age – at Christ’s Second Coming (Mt. 3:10-12; Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12;2-3; Mt. 24:30-31).  This would be the time of the resurrection “hour” which is also picked up in John 5.

The “already and not yet” of the coming eschatolocial “hour” in John 4-5

There are three concepts that connect John 4 and 5 together with Daniel 12 and they are:

1).  The coming “hour.”

2).  The receiving of “eternal (resurrection or harvest) life.”

3).  The chiastic structure of John 4-5 on this coming “hour” of “eternal life.”

The Old Greek (OG) Septuagint (LXX) of Daniel 12:1, 4 reads:  “And at that hour…” “the hour of the end.

Now let’s connect the “already and not yet” and the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-4 with the chiastic structure of John 4-5 concerning this coming “hour”:

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

        B).  John 4:23: “…[T]he hour cometh, and now is

        (“already), when the true worshipers shall worship the

Father in spirit and in truth.”

        B).  John 5:25:  “…[T]he hour is coming and now is

        (“already”), when the dead shall hear  the voice of the

Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

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

(Special thanks to Jerald Davis for pointing out the chiasm structure here).

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – the “already”

The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth (receiving eternal life).

The dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and live (receiving eternal life).

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – the imminent “not yet”

God’s worshipers would no longer worship Him in Jerusalem (because they received eternal life and entered and ascended to the New Jerusalem / Mount Zion).

All who were in the graves would hear His voice (because they received eternal life and entered and ascended to the New Jerusalem / Mount Zion).

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – The “Already”

  • Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”
  • John 5:25: “…an hour is coming and now is…”

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – The Imminent “Not Yet”

  • Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”
  • John 5:28: “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,”

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – The “Already”

  • Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
  • John 5:24: “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – The Imminent “Not Yet”

  • Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
  • John 5:29: “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.” (also related:  1 John 2:18: “Dear children it is the last hour…” and Revelation 14:7:  “…the hour of His judgment has come”).

Postmillennial Partial Preterists are now teaching that the coming resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 had an “already and not yet” progressive resurrection of Israel and the Church which climaxed in a spiritual resurrection of the dead and transformation in AD 70.

They also teach that the coming eschatological “hour” of John 4 was fulfilled in AD 70 along with 1 John 2:18 and Revelation 14:7.  But based upon the chiastic structure of John 4-5 connecting them with the SAME coming “hour” of “eternal life” in Daniel 12:1-4, it is pure eisegesis to isolate John 5:28-29 and claim it is a different “hour” 2,000+ years away that involves a different kind (biological) of resurrection, judgment and reception of eternal life.   John described the resurrection and judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:1-15 as an “already and not yet” resurrection that would be fulfilled “shortly” and Christ’s “soon” Second Coming event (Rev. 1:1—22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

The Apostle John did not have TWO eschatological already and not yet “hours” — this is a bogus invention of Postmillennialists who want to try and honor the Bible’s clear teaching on imminence on the one hand, but on the other, make it null and void due to their creedal “traditions.” 

The NT teaching on the resurrection is this:

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

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

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

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

Orthodox Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry need to give exegetical and logical reasons why the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is a literal biological resurrection to take place at the end of time when they affirm with Full Preterism that:

  1. The resurrection in the immediate context is spiritual (John 5:24-27). The spiritual voice (through the gospel) produces spiritual resurrection (Jesus in vss. 28-29 is not dealing with a literal voice and biological resurrection).
  1. The eschatological “not yet” coming “hour” of (John 4) is referring to AD 70.
  1. The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Jesus referencing it in John 5:28-29).
  1. Jesus elsewhere teaches that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:3, 30-31, 34).
  1. John’s eschatological last “hour” in (1 John 2:17-18) and “hour” of judging the dead in (Revelation 14:7) was fulfilled in AD 70.

Gentry’s progressive Partial Preterism continues to lead his readers into the Full Preterist movement since he continually will not respond to our book and arguments directed towards him.  Selah.  He deserves the criticism from other futurists that his hermeneutics “lead to Full Preterism.”

John the Baptist in Matthew 3 and John 3 is the “friend of the bridegroom” who was introducing Judah to her last day’s messiah / groom. They were preparing their hearts in faith and undergoing a betrothal baptism with a view to the coming restoration/resurrection/remission of sins promises contained in the law and prophets.

In John 4 the messiah is being introduced to His last day’s bride of Israel (the lost and scattered 10 tribes who had become the Samaritans). Though she had been unfaithful and had gone through 5 husbands, messiah would make her clean and faithful to Himself and marry her again.

While I dealt with the betrothal “already and not yet” aspect to Israel’s baptism and her coming change of status in AD 70, below are some other NT betrothal concepts.  Let me first point out that there are four phases to the Jewish betrothal:

  • The wedding arrangement.
  • The betrothal ceremony.
  • The betrothal preparation or transition period (usually one year).
  • The secret arrival of the groom, seven days of consummation and wedding feast.
  1. The Wedding Arrangement

This was usually done between the father of the groom and the father of the bride.  Sometimes this was done when the groom and bride were still children.  In eternity past the Father chose His sheep or the Church as the Bride for His Son (knowing/loving them by name) and the Son gave His life as the purchase price or dowry for them (John 10:11-29; Ephes. 1:4-11; 5:25; Rms. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1:2, 18-19; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

A written contract or covenant was created which addressed the groom and brides responsibilities in the marriage (again food, clothing and sexual pleasure).  In Jesus’s sermon on the mount (the anti-type of Ex. 19-24), He comforts His bride by telling her that she won’t have to worry about food and clothing as long as she seeks Him and His Kingdom first (Mt. 6:25-34).  If she hungers and thirsts after His righteousness and if she keeps herself pure, she will be fed full of His righteousness and see God (Mt. 5:6, 8) at the consummation.

  1. The Betrothal Ceremony

The Cup of Wine – The groom would pour his potential wife a cup of wine (which represented blood or a oneness of flesh and covenant) and if she drank from it, she agreed to become his wife – or to become one flesh with him (cf. John 6; Matt. 26:17-30).  There was also a celebratory meal the followed the betrothal ceremony (again communion).  In AD 70 and beyond, the Church celebrates this cup of the new covenant or communion “a new [spiritually] in the Kingdom” or perhaps in the form on an ongoing wedding feast celebration of thankfulness for His incredible gift of eternal and resurrection life.

Baptism – I have addressed Jesus as the groom meeting Judah in John 3 and Matthew 3 and them undergoing the ceremonial baptism.  The baptism for the bride symbolized that she was undergoing a change in status over the next year into a maturing process from daughter to a wife.  Roughly from AD 26-30–AD 70 the Church/Bride was undergoing a baptism in which She was dying to the OC age/man and rising into the life of the NC age/man, or dying to the OC system/husband and being betrothed and rising into her status of being married to Christ (Rms. 6-7).  The baptism was a covenant ceremony that was “for” (eis – with a view to”) Christ’s Second Coming to give the “remission of sins” and “restore all things” (Acts 2-3).

There were Gifts Exchanged – The groom would give the bride a seal, pledge, or confirmatory gifts of his love to assure her that he would come again and receive her and consummate the marriage.  Jesus gave the early church the gift of the Holy Spirit and the miraculous as confirmatory signs that He would return and consummate the marriage with her “face to face” (cf. Jn. 14; Acts 2:1-43; 1 Cor. 1:5-8; 13:12; Ephs. 1:13-14).

The only “gifts” the bride could offer was her faith and repentance.  But Scripture tells us that in reality even these were gifts given by God so there would be no grounds for boasting and to demonstrate that salvation is of the Lord (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:25; Ephs. 2:8-10).

There was a Ceremonial Meal – Which sealed and brought an end to the betrothal ceremony (cf. John 6:54-59; Matt. 26:17-30; 1 Cor. 11:24-26; Acts 2:1ff.).

In Acts 2 the disciples were celebrating Pentecost which was also known as the “Feast of Harvest” or the “Day of First Fruits”, and it was a feast during which the people brought as an offering the first fruits of their grain harvest to thank God, as well as to express their trust that He would bless the rest of the coming harvest. So here in Acts 2 you have the closing of the betrothal ceremonial meal and the parting gift given by the groom – the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit and the charismata.   In the book of Acts you also have the gift of the Holy Spirit being given and filling the Samaritans and Gentiles with the charismata demonstrating that they too are a part of the bride of Christ.

  1. The betrothal preparation or transition period (usually one year).

Going to Prepare a Room – The groom would have already gotten his father’s permission to build a room or honeymoon suite onto his father’s house where he would then consummate his love for his bride. The groom would announce that he was “going to prepare a place” for her and would “come again when it was ready” (cf. John 14:2-3).  The Father’s “House” is His Temple, and the “rooms” the side-rooms. The Holy Spirit was sent to form Christ in Her and transform Her into His image, whereby He and the Father could abide within Her.

Only the Father Knew the Time of the Wedding – When the groom was asked when the wedding would take place, he replied that “only his father knows the time” (cf. Matt. 24:36; Acts 1:6-7). This “hour” (Mt. 24:36) was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD 70 as many Partial Preterists admit.

There Were up to Two Groomsmen – John the Baptist is one groomsman (the “friend of the bridegroom”) while the Apostle Paul is the other — calling the Gentiles into Israel’s New Covenant marital blessings and betrothing the Church as a chaste virgin (2 Cor. 11:2).

The Bride Wore a Veil – The bride would wear a veil to show that she was spoken for during this period.  Individually the OC veil was being taken off when one heard the gospel and began to see Christ’s face (2 Cor. 3-4), but corporately and covenantally, it wouldn’t be taken off fully until the wedding night when She came “face to face” with Her husband when He came for her  “soon” (1 Cor. 13:10-12/Rev. 21-22:4-7).

The Bride Prepared her Wedding Garment – The bride over the next year had the responsibility to consecrate herself and make her own Wedding Garments and Keep Them Clean – During the transition period the eschatological bride is putting off the garments of the old man and putting on Christ the new man. She is seeking and longing for the wedding day when she will be further clothed with the house/temple from heaven and with immortality. She is keeping herself pure and making sure there are no spots and wrinkles in her wedding garment (Ephs. 5:25-27; 2 Cor. 4-5/Rev. 21; Isa. 52:1; 1 Cor. 15:53-54; Rev. 19:7-8).

  1. The secret arrival of the groom, seven days of consummation and wedding feast.

With a Shout and Sound of a Trumpet – When the groom would come with his party he would come with a “shout” (I’m guessing his friends would shout, “the groom is coming”) and the sound of a trumpet.  This trumpet sounded in Jesus’ “this generation” at His Second Coming in AD 70 (Mt. 24:30-31, 34 / 1 Thess. 4:15-17 / 1 Cor. 15 / Rev. 10-11).

Sexual Consummation – Some sources suggested that previously there was an agreement that when the groom came for the bride, they could sexually consummate the marriage at the bride’s father’s house.  Other’s suggested the consummation took place at the groom’s father’s house.  Either way, after the coming for the bride, the groom would take the bride to his father’s house where there would be more sexual consummation and a honeymoon lasting seven days.

 Wedding Feast – During these seven days, a celebratory wedding feast was taking place whereby the guests wore the garments the groom’s father had provided (demonstrating they had been invited) and at which time the bride would wear her glorious wedding garment (Isa. 25:6-9/Mt. 8:10-11/Mt. 22:1-14; Rev. 19 & 21; Isa. 52:8/1 Cor. 13:12/Rev. 22:4).

And at the wedding in AD 70 and beyond in the NC age, He fulfills all aspects of the marital covenant as He is the Churches “bread from heaven” (John 6), the “Hidden Manna,” (Rev. ), we have have been clothed in His righteousness and immortality (1 Cor. 15:53-54), and we are “face to face” with Him and His banner over us is love (1 Cor. 13:12/Rev. 22:4).

 Summary and Connections Between the Wedding Feast, Harvest and Resurrection

In John 3-5 the “already and not yet” of the wedding motif is connected with the eschatological “already and not yet” motifs of harvest and resurrection.  Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry arbitrarily tell us that the “already and not yet” coming eschatolocial “hour” of John 4 was fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70, but when Jesus uses the same phrases of the coming “already and not yet” eschatological “hour” in John 5, that somehow is turned into 2,000 years and counting time frame. But one can only arrive at this conclusion based upon the creeds and not the text.

Since Scripture does not separate Israel’s last days eschatological motifs of wedding, harvest and resurrection, and since we appreciate Partial Preterists such as James Jordan, Kenneth Gentry, and Gary DeMar finally admitting the resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (and yet claim we await another physical resurrection at the end of time), when will they begin to openly teach TWO NT betrothals, weddings, and wedding feasts – one spiritual in AD 70 and one at the end of time?  Consistency to their hermeneutic demands it.  We will wait and see.  Again it is more than inconsistent for Postmillennial Partial Preterists to criticize Premillennial Dispensationalists for teaching TWO eschatological resurrections and TWO weddings, when in fact their faulty double vision hermeneutic does the same!

To Listen or View This Series:  

My First Lecture of 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 of 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 of 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 of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (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 First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 2: The Problems For Postmillennialism – God’s Divorce, Re-marriage and NC Betrothal

Introduction

 In Part 2 of this series, we will begin by examining the various steps and phases contained within a Jewish betrothal/marriage process.  From there we will look at God’s OT betrothal and marriage to Israel, God’s divorce and putting to death of Israel and then His promises of a coming New Covenant betrothal and marriage to the Church (the remnant, Samaritans and Gentiles).

 Jewish Views of Betrothal and Marriage 

A Jewish betrothal or marriage period would begin with the groom presenting the bride and her father with a ketubah or covenant which would include the dowry price. The covenant would include that the groom would provide food, clothing, and sexual satisfaction to the bride, and that she would not seek these from any other or give her husbands provisions to another man.

The groom would pour his potential wife a cup of wine (which represented blood or a oneness of flesh and covenant) and if she drank from it, she agreed to become his wife – or to become one with him.

During this time the groom and the bride would be baptized (a ritual called mikvah) based upon their new status and the covenant they agreed to. The bride was in a transition state from being under the headship of her father to her new husband.

The bride would wear a veil to show that she was spoken for and would take it off when she consummated her marriage union with her husband.

The groom would give the bride “gifts” as a confirmatory token of his love that guaranteed he indeed would return for her.

When people would ask the groom when the wedding was to take place, he would answer, “Only my father knows” for the decision was in his hands.  When all the father’s provisions and plans were set to take place, he would then give his word to his son to go and get his wife.

The groom was to go and “prepare a home” or honeymoon suite onto his father’s house.

The betrothal period could last up to a year and there could be up to two groomsmen that would mediate issues between the bride and groom during this time.

When the father decided it was time, the groom came with his party with a “shout” and the sound of a trumpet to get his bride. She and her bridesmaids were to always be prepared for the journey to the groom’s father’s house by having lamps and oil next to their beds. When the groom did come to the house of the bride’s father, often times it was agreed upon that the consummation would take place there. A bloody sheet would be hung the next day indicating and proving she was a virgin.

From there the groom’s party and the bride’s party would travel to the groom’s father’s house where they would engage in a seven-day honeymoon period.

The celebratory wedding feast would follow.  There were usually two aspects to the wedding invitation – one that you agreed to come, and then the other at a latter time indicating when the feast would take place.

The reader at this point is buzzing with NT references to fill in the above concepts.  I’ll do just that in a bit.  But first let’s see where we might find the betrothal process in the OT and review God’s marriage, divorce and promises of remarriage

God Married Israel – Exodus to Entrance and Possession of the Land

Israel’s Betrothal Period

According to Hosea 2:15, Jeremiah 2:2, and Ezekiel 16:3, God’s marriage covenant begins with Him delivering Israel from Egypt and extends to her entering the land of Canaan. The betrothal period probably begins as far back as God approaching and expressing interest in Father Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12-22. But due to unbelief, there is a delay in the honeymoon period or in reaching the Father’s House which would be entering, taking possession of all the land, and establishing the Temple.  Conquering the land and establishing the Temple would equate to consummation.

The marriage match and betrothal begins with God approaching Father Abraham in Genesis 12-22. In these chapters God seeks to marry Abraham’s offspring by creating a great nation or bride through him miraculously. Abraham agrees to fulfill his part of the covenant by moving to the land of Canaan and believing that God is capable of raising his son Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill God’s promise. The covenant sign of the coming marriage is ratified in blood (oneness) through circumcision. It will take many years before the marriage takes place.

Moses and Aron and then Moses and Joshua are the groomsmen mediating and preparing the bride for God.

Again the coming marriage is ratified in blood through the Passover lamb delivering the bride from the slavery of Egypt.

The bride undergoes a baptism through the Red Sea symbolizing her coming change of status from a daughter to a coming wife.

The insurance or dowry price for the bride seems to be both the blood of the Passover lamb and the land of Canaan.

In Exodus 19-24 we see a contract of marriage and an agreement taking place.  The betrothal ceremony included a feast and this is what we see when the 70 elders and Moses (representing Israel) eat a mean with God at Mount Saini — confirming the covenant.  Others see this as the actual wedding and Israel’ saying “I do” and perhaps the wedding feast?  Possible, but I tend to think we are still in the betrothal period at this point.

The marital gifts may be the Law and the Prophets and the confirmatory miracles worked through them.   There were roughly 65 years of miracles performed through Moses and Josuah, and then another 65 years or so of miracles from Jesus’ birth to His parousia in AD 70 performed by the foundation of the Church – the Apostles and Prophets.

Again, because of Israel’s unbelief, the journey to the Father’s house (Canaan) to consummate the marriage is delayed.

Review of Israel’s Marriage to God and a Coming New Covenant Marriage Under Messiah

 The ancient marriage contract was based off of Exodus 21:10-11 and Ezekiel 16

In Exodus 21:10-11 we learn that the law stated after taking a second wife, a husband remained obligated to fulfill his marital covenant to his first wife which was threefold: 1. feed, 2.  clothe, and 3.  satisfy her sexually. If he neglected to fulfill his covenant with the first wife, she was “free to go” (and marry another). The man’s role was to financially provide the wife with food and clothing and she was expected to help prepare meals, make clothing, satisfy her husband sexually, and not to give these to any other man. It was debated on how long one could refrain from sex to his or her partner – some Rabbis said one week, others said two. If the man failed to meet his covenant obligations in these three areas, the wife was “free to go” and marry another. If the wife sought a combination of these three conditions of the covenant from another man or gave her husbands provisions to another man, she would be stoned or divorced by the husband.

God is Faithful to the Covenant

In Psalm 132:13-14 we see God faithful to His marital covenant when it says that the Lord ‘desires’(sexually) Jerusalem, and that he ‘clothes’ her priests, and ‘satisfies her poor with food’.

While Hosea 2:3-13 informs us that God gave Israel food and clothing, Ezekiel 16:10, 13 states that He did this in abundance: “I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments.” “Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil.”

Even during the wilderness wandering God miraculously gave manna as food, caused their sandals to not wear out, and provided His intimate presence in their midst through the cloud and tabernacle.

When the Kingdom is eventually split the marriage is described as God being faithfully married to two adulterous sisters (Israel and Judah).

But Since Israel is Unfaithful to the Covenant, God Divorces Her While He Remains Faithful to Unfaithful Judah

In Ezekiel 16 we not only learn of God’s faithfulness as a husband, we also learn of Israel’s unfaithfulness as a wife in that she takes the costly cloth and food God provided for the both of them and she uses it to make clothing for her idols and gives the food as a sacrificial offering to them. She also withholds her affection from God and commits adultery with these idols and false gods – thus violating all three aspects of the marital covenant. In Hosea we learn that since Israel has abused God’s marital provision, He will cause her to fall prey to famine and nakedness (Hos. 2:3-13).

In Isaiah 50 and Hosea 1 we are informed that God never gave Judah a certificate of divorce (as He did to unfaithful Israel) and therefore He remained married to her.  For after all Messiah would come through her.  God did judge her unfaithfulness through the Babylonian captivity, which is described not as a divorce, but a temporary separation.

Judah’s actual divorce according to Hosea 6:7f. would come in Israel’s last days when at the same time a remnant would be saved / transformed or remarried.  The divorce would be through captivity and slavery just as Israel had gone through a divorce when God caused the Assyrians to take them captive.  This time God would send the Idumean and Roman armies to desolate, cause her to fall by the sword and be taken captive in AD 70.  In both cases the divorce is a national and covenantal death/destruction.  In the OT law the unfaithful wife of a Priest was to be both stoned and burned.  In Revelation, the unfaithful Harlot City of Babylon (OC Jerusalem where Jesus was slain 11:8) is both destroyed by stoning and burned while the NC marriage with the Church or New Jerusalem is consummated and the feast enjoyed.  All this would be fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 (Rev. 1:1—-22:6-7, 20).

There is a promise of remarriage and unity of the two into one bride or Nation again in Israel’s “Last Days”

Hosea and the OT prophets message is about God divorcing and killing (spiritually and covenantally) Israel through the Assyrian captivity with a promise of remarriage and resurrection coming for her in her last days (not the last days of the Church age) under Messiah.  Hosea, Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesy that in the “last days” and in “the day of Jezreel,” Israel and Judah would once again be united into a single nation or wife under the New Covenant that Messiah would bring in and therefore they once again would call God “my husband” (Hos. 1:11; Hos. 2:14-23; Jer. 3:18; Ezek. 37:15-6).  It would be at this time that Isaiah predicted that Israel would see God/her Groom “eye to eye” or “face to face” (Isa. 52:8).

The doctrine of the eschatological marriage is interconnected with the time of the resurrection.  The destruction (killing and divorce) of OC Jerusalem takes place when her “power is completely destroyed” (Dan. 12:2-7).

In Part 3 of this series we will look at Jesus as the Messianic Groom beginning to introduce and fulfill His betrothal/marriage/resurrection promises to Israel (who became the Samaritans) and OC Jerusalem and how He begins uniting the two into one NC bride.

To View or Read  This series:

My First Lecture of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 4-5) 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 of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (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 First Lecture af the PPW 2017 Conference Part 1: The Problems For Postmillennialism – My Approach and Methodology (Analogy of Faith)

I am in the process of turning my 2017 PPW lectures on The Problems for Postmillennialism into an article series.  After that, I will be turning them over to be put into a book (along with some of my material in HD).  I am hoping to have some co-authors in the book as well – but I’m waiting on that possibility.

My Approach

 I will be implementing and following five major premises in critiquing Postmillennial Partial Preterism when it comes to Jesus’ teaching of the eschatological wedding feast, the parable of the wheat and tares and His teaching in the Olivet Discourse.  These are as follows:

Premise #1 –  The Analogy of Faith or Analogy of Scripture Hermeneutic.  Scripture teaches us (and the creeds teach us), that Scripture interprets Scripture and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.

Premise #2 –  Since #1 is true, basic mathematics and logic can be used such as 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.

Premise #3 – Since Christ came to fulfill every “jot and tittle” of the law and prophets, and Paul’s “one hope” centered around him preaching no other things except that which could be found in the law and prophets, when Jesus or a NT authors quotes or echo’s an OT passage, it should be addressed and then it’s context should be developed.   

Premise #4 – While OT prophecy does contain typology which may have more than one fulfillment, the NT however is the full or anti-type “in Christ” New Covenant fulfillment of those OT promises.  Therefore, the Second Coming, end of the age, judgment and resurrection of the living and dead along with the arrival of the New Creation do not have further typological, double or mixed fulfillments.

Premise #5 – The Holy Spirit has organically guided the Church in eschatology:  When combined, the classic Amillennial and Postmillennial Partial Preterist views actually FORM Full Preterism.

Premise #6 –  The WCF itself informs us that creeds and confessions have erred in times past and may continue to be wrong:  Therefore, since the creeds are in error on the time and nature of fulfillment concerning the Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the living and dead and the arrival of the New Creation, they must be revised to align themselves with Scripture.

Premise #7 –  This may take considerable time.  Related to #3 and #4, since the Reformed doctrine of forensic justification was a relatively new doctrine (prior to Luther it was not taught for 1,500 years), it may take the Church (through the Holy Spirit) considerable time to formulate a Biblical position or synthesize (“Reformed and always reforming”) it’s views on any given doctrine to make it Biblical and consistent.  If it took the Church 300 years to formulate it’s view on the deity of Christ and the Trinity and it took 1,500 years for the doctrine of forensic justification to emerge, it cannot logically and historically be denied that Full Preterism can be (and we believe is) the organic development emerging from the Church in the last 100 years.

Introduction & Overview of Postmillennialism’s Problems

Let me briefly give a summary of some of the hermeneutical and theological problems contained within Postmillennialism that caused me to leave that system.

Double Trouble

 While Postmillennialists such as Kenneth Gentry have criticized Dispensationalism for teaching TWO two comings of Jesus and TWO resurrections for the dead (due to it’s TWO plans for the Church and Israel), Gentry and Postmillennialism have created in essence the same problem for itself.  In essence Postmillennialism has created TWO “already and not yet” NT eschatons where the Bible only teaches there is one.  Full Preterists and other systems have been critical (and rightly so) of this false teaching:

  1. Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO Great Commissions to be fulfilled (Mt. 13:37-38; 24:14; 28:18-20/Mrk. 16:15-17, 20; Acts 1:8)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
  1. Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO comings of the Son of Man per Mt 16:27-28; 24:27, 30-31, 25:31/1 Thess. 4-5/1 Cor. 15; Rev. 1:1—22:20)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
  1. Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO end of the age resurrections and judgments of the living and dead per Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3, 13/1 Cor. 15/Rev. 11; 20/1 Pet. 4:5-7)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
  1. Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO eschatological weddings or wedding feasts connected to ONE or TWO resurrections (Isa. 25:6-9; Mt. 8:11-12; Mt. 22:1-14; Mt. 25:1-13; Rev. 19-21)?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
  1. Does the NT teach there is ONE or are there TWO arrivals of the New Creation or passing away of heaven and earth per Mt. 5:17-18; 24:35; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 21-22; Rms. 8:18-23YLT?!? The classic Amillennial view would agree with Full Preterism in that this is ONE eschatological event to be fulfilled at the end of the age, while Postmillennialism would see TWO fulfillments, one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.

Postmillennialism Continues to Concede Texts and Views to Full Preterism

  1. Matthew 5:17-18 – John Brown and Postmillennialists such as DeMar believe that the “heaven and earth” here represents the OC system which passed away in AD 70. If this is true, then “ALL” the “jots and tittles” of the promises contained in the law and prophets were fulfilled at this time (including the resurrection of Isa. 25:6-9; Hos. 13 and Dan. 12).
  1. Matthew 24-25 – Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison believe the OD cannot be divided and therefore the coming of Christ in both chapters were fulfilled spiritually in AD 70. Full Preterism harmonizes the correct view that the coming of the Son of Man in the OD is the Second Coming event, and the progressive Postmillennial view that it was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.
  1. Matthew 13:39-43 – Postmillennialists Peter Leithart and Joel McDurmon believe the parable of the wheat and tares was fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “generation” and at the end of the OC age in AD 70. Reformed theology teaches this is the time frame for the millennium at which time the judgment and resurrection takes place.  Therefore, the judgment and resurrection was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (see next point).
  1. Daniel 12:2-3, 13 & Revelation 20 – Postmillennialist James Jordan believes there was a spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection for Israel and the Church between AD 30 – AD 70. At Christ’s parousia in AD 70 righteous souls were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life and reign with Christ on thrones.  Just a side note – Jordan has basically stolen the Full Preterist view of the resurrection and not given us the credit!  He also believes AD 30 – AD 70 was a “kind of a millennium” while Postmillennialist Sam Frost believes it was the millennium (but is constantly changing his views or uncertain of them).  If the resurrection and judgment of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and it IS the judgment and resurrection of Revelation 20:5-15, then Revelation 20:5-15 contain events that were “about to take place” or be fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19YLT—Rev. 22:6-7, 20).
  1. Romans 8:18-23YLT – Postmillennialist John Lightfoot believed the creation groaning and the decay in this passage have nothing to do with the physical planet and the second law of thermal dynamics, but rather man groaning inwardly for the redemption coming in Christ. Gary DeMar believes this glorification of the Church (and thus contextually the redemption of the body) was “about to be” (Greek mello in 8:18YLT) fulfilled at Christ’s imminent coming in AD 70.  Reformed theology teaches Romans 8:18-23 is the “salvation” that would be “at hand” for “all Israel” (13:11-12 and 11:26-27) and stemming from the redemption and coming of Christ in Jesus’ generation (Lk. 21:27-28).  We of course agree with these connections and the inspired AD 70 time frame they generate.
  1. Romans 11:26-27 – Postmillennialists Gary DeMar and James Jordan believe “all Israel” was “saved” in AD 70. This demonstrates that AD 70 was much more than a physical deliverance, salvation and redemption, but one that resulted in the taking away of sin (vs. 27).  DeMar is also on record as teaching the New Covenant was “consummated” when the Old passed away in AD 70.  Again, this would teach a soteriological and inward salvation and redemption for the Church was achieved in AD 70 (as Full Preterism teaches).
  1. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – Postmillennialist Mike Bull (and Milton Terry whom Postmillennialist draw from), teach and have taught, that Paul is following Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:30-31 here, and therefore this passage finds it’s fulfillment in AD 70.
  1. Acts 1:11 – Again Postmillennialist Mike Bull (and Milton Terry whom Postmillennialists draw from), correctly teach this coming of Christ is the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 that was fulfilled in AD 70.
  1. The “Last days” – Postmillennialists such as DeMar and McDurmon believe this NT phrase is descriptive of Israel’s last days from AD 30 – AD 70 and not for the Church stretching out to the end of world history. The Reformed Church teaches the millennium is present during the “last days” and encapsulates the periods between Christ’s first and second comings – at the end of which is the arrival of the ONE judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the New Creation.
  1. “This age and the age to come” – Postmillennialists such as DeMar and McDurmon believe “this age” is the OC age and the “age to come” is the NC age.  Between AD 30 – 70 was the transition of these ages when the OC age passed away and according to DeMar the New was “consummated.”  Again, the Reformed Church using the two age model has correctly taught that the “this age” and “age to come” is the millennial period – at the end of which is the arrival of the ONE Second Coming, Judgment and Resurrection of the dead, followed by the ONE arrival of the New Creation.  The Holy Spirit has used both of these orthodox views to form the truly orthodox (that is straight or consistent) view of Full Preterism.

Postmillennialism is Inconsistent in it’s Use of Imminence and Recapitulation

  1. Since Gentry now believes the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, and yet all commentators agree Paul in Acts 24:15YLT is appealing to this judgment and resurrection. Therefore, there is no reason why Paul was not teaching this passage was “about to be” fulfilled spiritually in AD 70!  Even if mello here was to be translated “will” instead of “about to be,” there is no reason why Paul does not have the spiritual fulfillment in AD 70 in view (per Gentry’s view).  And since Gentry appeals to BDAG to argue that mello here should not be translated as “about to be,” where is Gentry’s support for BDAG informing us that mello in Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as the glory that was “about to be revealed in” the Church?!?  After all here in Romans 8:18 we have the same Greek construction as Revelation 1:19 which Gentry argues should be translated with imminence and pointing to AD 70.
  1. Postmillennialists claim to take the imminent time texts literally and AD 70 fulfillments are not supposed to have double or mixed fulfillments.  They also claim there are two different eschatology’s – one for Israel in AD 70 and an Adamic one that will be fulfilled at the end of world history.  Therefore, Romans 16:20 creates a problem for them in that it uses an imminent time text “shortly” and appeals to the Adamic eschatology of Genesis 3:15.  Apparently Satan’s final “crushing” (Gen. 3:15/Rms. 16:20) was not fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 per Paul, but rather is turned into “a” crushing or one of many in redemptive history. Of course that is not what the text teaches and exegetes over the centuries have been correct to connect this crushing and final defeat of Satan in Romans 16:20 with the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25:31-46 and Revelation 20:10—22:6-12, 20.  Therefore, the final crushing and judgment of Satan was fulfilled “shortly” and Christ’s “soon” spiritual coming in AD 70.
  1. Kenneth Gentry appeals to the imminent time texts and recapitulation within Revelation to prove chapters 1-19 and 21-22 were fulfilled in AD 70. But then this hermeneutic is abandoned and not applied to Revelation 20.  Why?   Because he believes the creeds are “infallibly certain” to teach we are still in the millennium and at the end of this period there will be a physical resurrection and a physical passing away of heaven and earth.  Gentry knows he can’t cross this line and therefore based upon the traditions of men (not exegesis or following his own hermeneutic), he becomes more than inconsistent and arbitrary.  We agree with Gentry that Revelation 1-19; 21-22 was fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 while also agreeing with Amillennialists such as Kistemaker and Poythress, whom point out that if these chapters were fulfilled in AD 70, then sRevelation 20:5-15 must also have been fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70.  This is because the time texts in Revelation 1—22 form bookends or an inclusio to the entire prophecy.  Not only this, but Revelation 20 recapitulates the same judgment scene as the other chapters.  The time texts and recapitulation in Revelation (and in Matthew 24-25) sink Gentry’s bogus and creedally arbitrary hermeneutic.

Postmillennialists Can Never Agree on Which Texts Were Fulfilled Spiritually in AD 70 and Which One’s Allegedly Are Physically Fulfilled at End of World History

Anyone reading the exegesis of Postmillennialists such as Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar and Mike Bull on such passages as Daniel 12:1-4; Matthew 24-25; 1-2 Thessalonians; 1 Corinthians 15 or 2 Peter 3 can readily see an inconsistent or contradictory hermeneutic within this system regarding Christ’s parousia.  Personal pronouns such as “you” and “we” point to an AD 70 fulfillment or they don’t!  The coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and forms the eschatology of Paul, Peter and John in ALL of 1-2 Thessalonians; 2 Peter 3 and ALL of Revelation or it doesn’t!  And since the OD forms NT eschatology, we can use “parallels” and “similar language” between the OD with other NT eschatological texts or we can’t.  And when we read the classic Amillennialist and Historic Premillennialist and the way they connect these passages, we are further led into Full Preterism.

The Earthly Kingdom “Manifestation” of Dominion Postmillennialism is Carnal, Violent and “Heretical” 

We agree with Amillennial creeds and theologians that see the earthly kingdom fulfillments/manifestations of Premillennialism and Postmillennialism to be on par with “Jewish dreams” and therefore “heretical.”

Postmillennial Dominionism believes the following must take place before Jesus’ THIRD coming can be fulfilled:

  1. The biology of man is in the process of changing whereby he will live to be in the 900’s before Christ’s coming can be fulfilled.
  1. Animal anatomy is in the process of changing whereby their desires to eat meat will end and they will only desire to eat hay and grass. Likewise, poisonous snakes will no longer desire to bite children when they fall into their dens or when children desire to play with them.
  1. The rights of unbelievers to vote are to be taken from them. In certain circumstances unbelievers and even Christian “heretics” that do not conform to Dominion Postmillennialism and it’s understanding of the Scriptures will be stoned to death (or shot in the head) when they disobey or disagree with these standards.

Ken Talbot is Sam Frost’s mentor and an important board member for DeMar’s American Vision.  He stated, in a lecture entitled, “The History of Creation, Part 5” (26:20 – 28:35):

“WHEN we are in charge [i.e., when people who agree with Ken Talbot ‘s Theonomic Postmillennialism are in charge], WHEN the law of God is there, folks it’s either obey, or get hung.  Take your choice.  Well, you can throw stones if you want to (that Gary North’s view), but I think there’s better ways of doing it than throwing stones.  Just quick executions…because God says you’re incorrigible.  And you’re a blight on society, and you are a road bump that we don’t want to deal with in our kingdom.  And you’re gone.”

Of course Jesus nor any NT author EVER taught ANY of these Dominion Postmillennial concepts to be connected with an earthly manifestation/fulfillment of the kingdom.  And they most definitely didn’t say they were necessary before His THIRD coming could be fulfilled.  These violent, seeing double of everything and science fiction theories arising from Postmillennialism makes the violent, seeing double of everything and science fiction of Dispensationalism look like nothing!  Yet Postmillennialist’s such as Gary DeMar claim the real problem today is the un-bibical and science fiction eschatology Dispensationalism?!?  And he won’t adopt Full Preterism because he likes the un-bibical and science fiction “worldview” of Dominion Postmillennialism?  Wow, go figure!

My First Lecture of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 4-5) 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 of 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 of 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 of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (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/

The Book of Enoch & the New Testament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

House Divided Chapter Three Openness Futurism "Reformed" Open Theist Richard Pratt Vs. Full Preterist Edward J. Hassertt

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist
Response to When Shall These Things Be?
 
Chapter Three
Openness Futurism
 
Edward J. Hassertt
Copyright 2009 and 2013 – All rights reserved.  No part of this
book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission
in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing
or Edward Hassertt), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
articles or reviews.  

According to Dr. Richard Pratt, one of the central errors of preterists
is our belief “that all biblical predictions must be fulfilled just as
they are stated” (WSTTB, 121). In contrast to the teachings of preterists,
Pratt says that the prophetic predictions of the Bible are “seldom
fulfilled exactly as they are given” (122). In fact, “true prophets,” he says,
“often predicted things that did not happen” at all (131).
 
According to Pratt, the reason that biblical prophecies failed to be
fulfilled is because human choices intervened and played a major role
in determining how or if the predictions would be fulfilled (123, 126).
Therefore, concludes Pratt, “it does not matter if the Scriptures depict
Christ’s second coming in close proximity to his first coming. . . . [H]is
return could still be in our future, even two thousand years later” (122).
 
Pratt begins his chapter, “Hyper-Preterism and Unfolding Biblical
Eschatology,” lamenting that many Christians endorse “the hyper-preterist
proposal” that the predictions of true prophets are fulfilled just
as they were stated (122). He complains that it is “quite common” for
evangelicals to agree with “the hyper-preterist interpretation” of Deuteronomy
18:22 (122–123):
 
If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not
take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.
That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid
of him.
 
Many or most Christians, including preterists, believe this verse to
be saying that if a prophet makes a prediction in the name of Yahweh
and the thing predicted does not take place or come true, then the prediction
was not a message that Yahweh had spoken. Pratt says that this
interpretation is not “subtle” enough (122–123).
 
Halfway through his chapter, Pratt, in one paragraph, explains his
interpretation of this verse. He says that different prophetic predictions
were meant to be taken in different ways and indicated various levels of
determination of God to direct the future. Almost none of God’s predictions
in the Bible, according to Pratt, offered absolute certainty that
they would be fulfilled. Thus, a true prophet passed the test of Deuteronomy
18:22 “so long as historical events took place that matched the
level of certainty that their predictions offered” (137).
 
Although Pratt does not say so, this interpretation of Deuteronomy
18:22 means that if a false prophet uttered a prediction in the name of
Yahweh and the prediction failed to come to pass, the false prophet and
the people could simply say: “The fact that this prediction in the name
of Yahweh did not come to pass only proves that this was a typical prediction
of God. He simply did not have a high level of determination to
direct the future when He made this prediction.” No one could prove or
disprove this argument if Pratt’s interpretation is true. Pratt thus renders
Deuteronomy 18:22 practically useless and ultimately meaningless.
 
Pratt versus Reformed Theology
 
Not surprisingly, Pratt attempts to dissociate his view from Open
Theism[1] and to connect it instead to traditional Reformed theology
(123–124). He does this by affirming God’s sovereign immutability,
and by affirming that everything that takes place in the universe is part
of God’s eternal plan (124–125).
 
He also reminds the reader of the Reformed teaching that God’s immutability
does not mean that He is unchangeable in every way imaginable.
While God does not change in such things as His Being, character,
attributes, eternal counsel/plan/purposes, and promises, God does
change in the sense that He has meaningful interactions with and relationships
with man. He is actively involved in history. He lives our life
with us. He judges us, redeems us, and answers our prayers. He also
changed in that He “became flesh” (124–125).
 
This is all well and good and perfectly in line with Reformed theology.
But Pratt subtly shifts this Reformed teaching into the area of prophecy
fulfillment. It is at this point in his chapter that Pratt begins his defense
against preterism in earnest. And according to the pattern of WSTTB, he
begins his arguments with a creed, instead of with Scripture (125):
 
Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decrees of God,
the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly;
yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out according
to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely,
or contingently. (The Westminster Confession of Faith, 5.2)
 
The illusion that Pratt attempts to create by referencing this section
of the Confession is that it says anything about prophecy or the end
times. But of course, it does not. This section of the Confession deals
only with God’s eternal decrees made within the Godhead. Nowhere
does it address prophetic predictions. Pratt also attempts to use the
scriptural proof text that the Confession uses (Isa. 10:6–7) in order to
validate his view that God causes His own prophetic predictions to fail
(126, 152), but that scripture in no way suggests what Pratt contends.
 
Sawing Off The Limb He is Sitting On
 
Pratt begins his attempt to prove his view through Scripture exegesis on
pages 127–128, by using Jeremiah 18:7–10:
 
The instant I speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom,
to pluck up, or to break down, or to destroy; if that nation
against whom I have spoken will turn from their evil, I will repent
of the evil that I thought to do to it. And the instant I speak
concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to
plant it; if it does evil in My eye, not to obey My voice, then I will
repent of the good which I had said to do good to it.
 
According to Pratt, this passage demonstrates that the prophets of
God often made predictions (of judgment or of salvation) that did not
come true, because the intervening historical contingencies of the people’s
repentance or of the people’s sin caused God to cancel or postpone
or change the fulfillment of the prophetic predictions.
 
What Pratt misses here is that Jeremiah 18:7–10 itself is a prophecy
which Pratt is assuming must be fulfilled just as it was given. The
irony is thick here. Pratt claims that preterists are wrong in their view
that prophetic predictions were always fulfilled as they were written,
because human action usually changed things so that the predictions
were not fulfilled as they were written. Yet to prove this claim, Pratt assumes
that Jeremiah 18 is fulfilled exactly as it was written.
 
According to the logic of Pratt’s scheme, God is or was likely to
change His mind about His prophetic prediction in Jeremiah 18 and
God could decide instead to never change His stated plans when nations
repent or sin. Yet illogically, Pratt argues with certainty that God,
according to the sure prediction of Jeremiah 18:7–10, causes His own
predictions to fail.
 
Pratt is like a radical anti-creedalist who illogically endorses a creed
(“all creeds are false”) to prove that all creeds are false. The anti-creedalist
must assume—based on nothing—that his own creed is correct in
order to reject all creeds. He does not realize that his anti-creedal position
invalidates his own creed. Likewise, Pratt is assuming—based on
nothing—that a biblical prophetic prediction (his proof text, Jer. 18:7–
10) is sure and certain in order to prove that all such predictions are
unsure and uncertain. Pratt does not realize that his position removes
all certainty from the very text he is using to prove his position.
 
Predictions versus Threats
 
As we can see, Pratt’s view is logically invalid at its exegetical inception.
But let us move on through the rest of his chapter and take a look at the
first specific example he gives of his notion that God’s prophetic predictions
usually failed to be fulfilled as they were written (152). His first
example is 2 Chronicles 12:5 (129), where the prophet Shemaiah said to
Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah,
 
This is what the Lord says, You have abandoned me; therefore, I
now abandon you to Shishak.
 
As a result of this prophetic word, Rehoboam and the leaders of
Judah humbled themselves, and God did not destroy them through
Shishak but only caused them to be subject to him (2 Chron. 12:7–8).
Thus God did not abandon them to Shishak even though He said He
abandoned them to Shishak.
 
The second example Pratt uses for his prediction-failure doctrine
(130–131) is Jonah 3:4:
 
And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he
cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
 
As we know, because the city repented, Nineveh was not overthrown
(Jonah 3:7–10). Thus God did not overthrow Nineveh even
though He said that Nineveh would be overthrown.
 
Pratt’s conclusion when he puts Jeremiah 18:7–10; 2 Chronicles
12:5–8 and Jonah 3:4–10 together is that “true prophets often predicted
things that did not happen” (131).
 
While Pratt says that his view is “complex” (122), the cause of the
complexity (i.e., of his error) is surprisingly simple. His primary exegetical
mistake is reflected in his use of the word “prediction” (127–
131). Pratt acknowledges that the two prophetic utterances above were
“threats” of judgment. Though Pratt calls Shemaiah’s prophetic message
a “prediction” (129), Pratt nevertheless acknowledges that it was
“just a warning from God . . . of judgment that might come” (129–130).
Pratt misses the fact that if the prophetic word of Shemaiah was “just a
warning,” then it was not a prophetic “prediction.” There was therefore
no failed “prediction.”
 
Though Pratt says that Jonah made a “prediction,” he acknowledges
that the “prediction” was actually “a threatened judgment” (130–132).
Jonah was called to “preach” (warn/threaten) not to make a prediction.
There was therefore no failed “prediction.”
 
Incidentally, Pratt says that God delayed His predicted judgment
of Nineveh as a result of the repentance of the people (132). But there
was no delay, even as there was no prediction. Rather, God “relented
concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon
them. And He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10). The judgment that came upon
Nineveh some generations later was unrelated to the judgment that
God threatened in Jonah’s day.
 
These passages of Scripture in no way show that a prophet of God
ever made a “prediction” that failed to come to pass. These were not
“predictions” at all. Even though Pratt acknowledges that these and
many other such words of the prophets were merely threats/warnings
or offers of blessings, he spends his chapter equivocating, calling those
threats and offers “predictions” when they were not.[2]
 
This is the source of Pratt’s confusion and the confusion he is sure to
cause his readers. When Pratt said that “true prophets often predicted
things that did not happen” (131), what he should have said is that God,
through the prophets, often threatened to do things and offered to do
things that He did not, in the end, do. This biblical and Reformed truth
is a far, far cry from Pratt’s doctrine that God prophetically “predicted”
things that did not and will not ever come to pass.
 
Contrary to Pratt, whenever prophets of God actually predicted
things, those things happened —100% of the time. How Pratt can put
the “warnings” and “offers” of the Bible in the same category as the predictions
of the Second Coming, resurrection of the dead, and judgment of all
men is mystifying.
 
On page 137, Pratt says,
 
From the viewpoint of hyper-preterism, the predominant
purpose of predictions in the Scriptures was prognostication.
Hyper-preterists assume that prophets intended to give foreknowledge
of things to come.
 
I am truly surprised that Pratt’s editor Keith Mathison allowed
these sentences to pass inspection and to be sent to print. Obviously
one of the main purposes of a prediction was prognostication. “Prediction”
means “prognostication.” And obviously the prophets intended
to give foreknowledge of things to come. Who could possibly
deny this?
 
What Pratt should have said in the first sentence is that the predominant
purpose of prophetic messages (threats of judgment and offers
of blessing) was not prognostication. And what he should have said
in the second sentence is that not every prophetic message contained
foreknowledge of things to come.
 
Haggai 2:21–23
 
On the thirteenth page of Pratt’s chapter, he finally reaches an actual, predictive,
decretive prophecy (not merely a solemn threat/warning or offer):
 
Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah saying, I am going
to shake the heavens and the earth. And I will overthrow the
thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of
the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders,
and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the
sword of another. On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will
take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant, declares the
Lord, and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen
you, declares the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:21–23)
 
According to Pratt, the fulfillment of even this prophecy was conditioned
upon the obedience of the people. And not only that, says Pratt,
the prophecy failed to take place as it was written: “ . . . [T]hese things
did not happen to Zerubbabel. He never became the king over God’s
people, and the nations around Israel were not destroyed. Why was
this so? It was because the postexilic community failed to be obedient
to the Lord.” The disobedience of the people, according to Pratt, caused
the “postponing” of the fulfillment of the prophecy (133).
 
First of all, when God says, “On that day, declares Yahweh of hosts,
I will,” the decretive nature of the prophecy is established. There is no
condition, implicit or otherwise, in the prophecy. The prophecy was
sure to be accomplished as it is written, Pratt notwithstanding.
As for Pratt’s claim that Zerubbabel “never became the king over
God’s people,” the prophecy says nothing about Zerubbabel becoming
the king over God’s people. It says only that God would make him
like a signet ring.” This could possibly mean that Zerubbabel became
highly esteemed and exalted in the sight of God. And/Or the promise
to Zerubbabel could have been meant to refer to Christ, who was born
of the seed of Zerubbabel, who was of the seed of David. Either way,
there was no “postponing” of the prophecy.
 
But as is often the case, the biblical answer is the obvious answer,
and it is missed because it does not fit the futurist paradigm. The
prophecy of Haggai 2:6–9, 21–23 was fulfilled, in a “typical” sense, in
the lifetime of Zerubbabel. In about four years (“in a little while”) after
the prophecy was given, God overthrew all the nations, (He “shook the
heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land”) and the desire or wealth
of all nations came, and the temple was filled with glory (with gold and
silver). (Compare Haggai 1:15; 2:10 and Ezra 6:15.)
 
This all took place when Darius King of Persia overturned Israel’s
enemies, who for years had been preventing the rebuilding of God’s
house. Darius decreed, “May God . . . overthrow any king or people who
lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem
(Ezra 6:11–12). Darius forced Israel’s enemies themselves to pay the full
cost of the rebuilding, as well as the full cost of all the daily, priestly
services (Ezra 6:8–10).
 
The military and political power of Israel’s enemies was overthrown.
They had tried to turn the king against Israel (Ezra 5), but God turned
their own stratagems against them. He made them subservient to His
people, taking their own wealth for the building of His glorious, earthly
house. God had thus “moved heaven and earth” to keep the covenant
that He had made with His people through Moses (Ezra 6:18; Hag. 2:5).
The prophecy of Haggai 2:6–9; 21–23 also foreshadowed the fulfillment
of the better promise (Heb. 8:6) that was fulfilled in Christ’s generation.
Israel’s building of the greater, earthly house in Zerubbabel’s generation
was an example of the building of the true, heavenly “House” in Christ.
 
Within perhaps only four years (“in a little while”) after Hebrews
12:26 was written, God overthrew all the nations. He “shook the heavens,
the earth, the sea and the dry land.” The desire of all nations came,
and God’s Temple was filled with Glory.
 
This happened when God overturned His kingdom-enemies who,
in their persecution of the church, had furiously resisted the construction
of His new covenant temple (Eph. 2:21–22; I Peter 2:5). Despite
the rage of the enemies, God enlisted countless multitudes of them to
build His new House (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21; Rev. 5:9); and the enemies
who resisted to the end were crushed, and were cast out of the kingdom
in AD 70 (Matt. 8:12; 21:43; Lk. 13:28; Acts 4:25–28; Gal. 4:30; Rev. 3:9).
God “moved heaven and earth” to keep the covenant that He made
with His elect through the blood of Christ. Now the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit dwell eternally in the universal church, which is the new
covenant House of promise (Jn. 14:23; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 2:21–22; 3:17; Col.
1:27; II Peter 1:19; Rev. 3:20; 21:2–3). Through the power of the eternal
gospel, the desire of the nations flows into “the more perfect tabernacle
today and forever (Heb. 9:11; Rev. 21:26–27), and God Himself is its
unfading Glory (Rev. 21:23). Amen.
 
Pratt’s Three Failed Eschatons
 
In the last thirteen pages of his chapter, Pratt descends into an exegetical
abyss from which, sadly, he never returns. On pages 141–143, he says
that, according to Jeremiah, the beginning and consummation of the
eschaton (the Last Days), the culmination of history, the restoration of
Israel and of the Davidic throne, the rebuilding of the temple, and the
defeat and gathering of the Gentiles were all supposed to take place after
the Babylonian Exile in about 538 BC. Pratt says that the prophets of that
generation expected that the eschatological hopes of Israel would be imminently
realized.
 
But alas, according to Pratt, Daniel observed the alleged “failure” of
the supposedly imminent restoration of all things that Jeremiah allegedly
predicted. Daniel, in the prophecy of “the seventy weeks,” allegedly revealed
that the fullness of the eschaton, which allegedly should have happened
in Daniel’s lifetime, was allegedly postponed/delayed for about 490
years “because of a lack of repentance” (144–145, 147, 149, 152).
However, according to Pratt, about twenty years after Daniel received
that prophecy, the blessings of the eschaton were “offered” yet
again through the predictions of Haggai and Zechariah (520–515 BC).
But evidently, there was again insufficient repentance for the predictions
to be fulfilled (146–147).
 
Then according to Pratt, five hundred years later in the New Testament
era, the consummation of the eschaton was “offered” again
(meaning predicted but not promised, in Prattian usage). But “the lack
of repentance within the covenant community caused an indefinite delay
of Christ’s return” (149).
 
Apparently there was no “Daniel” this time around to tell anyone
there was going to be a delay (as though Daniel ever suggested a delay in
the first place). There was however the writer of Hebrews, who said in
about AD 66 that Christ would “not delay” in His Parousia (Heb. 10:37).
But that must have been one of those “failed” predictions.
 
Pratt comments on Acts 3:19–20:
 
Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away,
in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of
the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for
you. . . .
 
According to Pratt, Peter was saying that the imminent Second
Coming was a “conditional offer.” If those who were listening to him
repented, then there was a “hope”/“possibility” that it would happen in
their lifetime (150–151).
 
This interpretation however can be quickly dismissed. The Second
Coming in Christ’s generation was neither “conditional” nor an
“offer” nor a mere “possibility” that was contingent on human behavior.
The contingency was the elect being saved, and that work was of
the sovereign Spirit, not of man. Therefore the eschaton was going to
be fulfilled in the last days of the old covenant age no matter what men
would do to resist God’s purpose. There was absolutely no way to stop
the fulfillment of the Second Coming and resurrection of the dead in
the apostolic generation, Prattian contingencies and postponements
notwithstanding.
 
On page 134, Pratt says, “When a sign accompanied a prophecy, it
showed that God was very determined to carry out what the prophet
had predicted.” However, the prophetic time statements of the New
Testament were accompanied by signs. Yet Pratt claims that those
prophecies were all altered by human contingency.
 
Pratt says on page 135 that “when God adds an oath to a prophetic
prediction, it raises that prediction to the level of a covenantal certainty.
Pratt gives as an example, “There as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign
Lord . . . ” (Eze. 5:11). Yet when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself says,
Truly [Amen], I say unto you,” in regard to the timing of His Parousia
(Matt. 16:28), Pratt for some reason does not count Jesus’ promise there
as “a covenantal certainty.”
 
Pratt says on page 137 that the question of timing always remains
open in prophecies with oaths. Evidently, Pratt has never read Revelation
10:6: “and [the angel] swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who
created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it,
and the sea and the things in it, that there shall be delay no longer.”
 
Later in the apostolic generation, Pratt says, the apostles had to deal
with the unexpected delay of Christ’s return (despite the oath in RevelaOpenness
tion 10:6), and the Christian community was beset with “discouragement”
as a result of that delay (151–152). How Pratt knows about this
delay definitively within his system of contingency and ambiguity is a
mystery he does not solve. But, Pratt continues, Peter did not give up
hope, because he knew that God was showing great patience, not wanting
anyone to perish but desiring “everyone” to come to repentance
(152). And according to Pratt, this has been going on now for about
2,500 years, since the days of Daniel. Thus ends Pratt’s notable chapter.
 
The last thirteen pages of Pratt’s chapter certainly do not merit any
further refutation. His arguments are transparently wrong. The eschaton
was never scheduled to arrive in 538 BC in the time of Daniel. Nor was it
supposed to arrive in about 520 B.C. in the time of Haggai and Zechariah.
Nor was it merely “offered” conditionally in Christ’s generation.
 
If Pratt is correct, we must ask: Has the eschaton been “offered” at any
other times since the first century? Was it “offered” again in 1843, as per
William Miller? Was it “offered” again in 1988, as per Edgar Whisenant?
Was it “offered” again in 1994, as per Harold Camping? Were those the
failed predictions of men, or the failed predictions of God? Who can say
one way or the other with any certainty, in Pratt’s “Openness Futurism”?
 
It may seem difficult to imagine how someone who is a Doctor of
Theology could believe and teach such incredibly unbiblical things.
But the reason is apparent if we paraphrase Pratt’s argument: “Hyperpreterists
think that prophecies are fulfilled as they were written. But
according to my futurist paradigm, prophecies were not fulfilled as they
were written. I know they were not fulfilled as they were written because
they were not fulfilled as they were written, according to my futurist
paradigm. Therefore, hyper-preterists are wrong when they say
that prophecies are fulfilled as they were written.”
 
Circular arguments, ad hominems, and question begging, oh my!
Preterism, in contrast, walks by faith. If it appears that a divine prediction
was not fulfilled when and how God said it would be fulfilled,
then it is our interpretation of the prediction, not its fulfillment, which
must be called into question. Amen.
 
Pratt and Openness Theology
 
Pratt’s eschatological error is not merely one of many perfectly acceptable
options within futurism, as Mathison suggests in his chapter.
 
Pratt comes dangerously close to Openness Theology in every one of his
analyses of prophetic utterances and in every argument he uses against
preterism. Anyone who is familiar with the writings of Open Theists
can see the source material for Pratt’s arguments. If his arguments
were not directly reproduced from Sanders and Pinnock, he has clearly
drunk from the same well as those men.
 
According to Pratt, even if Jesus Himself bluntly declared, “Verily I
say unto you, I will return in August of the year AD 70,” that would not
mean that His return actually occurred when He said it would (122).
His return could still be in our future, because His church could have
failed to repent and be faithful, and this “human contingency” could
have caused Him to delay His return for two thousand years, or even a
trillion years.
 
Who knows? Human contingency could also have caused Him to
change the way the promise of His return was supposed to be fulfilled.
Maybe He originally meant for His return to be fulfilled literally but
then human contingency caused Him to fulfill it spiritually, or vice versa.
In Pratt’s paradigm, even the eschatological predictions of Jesus and
the New Testament writers become ultimately meaningless.
 
Pratt’s notion that we can have no confidence in Jesus’ predictions
and time statements is the same contingency-based, changing-mindof-
God nonsense of the Openness heretics. Pratt asserts that he is not
of the same cloth as these men, yet he seems to channel John Sanders as
his primary source without ever citing him. Pratt’s language could have
been pulled out of Sanders’ The God who Risks. In fact the very categories
of possible fulfillment that Pratt advocates appear to be lifted from
that very book.[3] Let us compare the statements in Sander’s Openness
volume to the same categories and modes of prophetic interpretation in
Pratt’s so-called “Reformed” response to preterism.
 
From Sanders: “A prophecy may express God’s intention to do
something in the future irrespective of creaturely decision.” He uses
Isaiah 46 as an example (Ibid., 51).
 
Sanders here expresses what Pratt calls “sworn predictions”
(WSTTB, 131). For Pratt these prophecies take the form of divine oaths
(135). For both Sanders and Pratt this category of prophecy includes
those things which God has said he will do and which will come to pass
as God said they would. Pratt is arbitrary in classifying prophecies in
this category, automatically assuming any prophecy preterists claim as
being fulfilled could not possibly fit into this category.
 
From Sanders: “A prophecy may also express God’s knowledge that
something will happen because the necessary conditions for it have
been fulfilled and nothing could conceivably prevent it.” He uses Pharaoh
and Moses as an example (51).
 
Sanders here expresses what Pratt calls “confirmed predictions”
(WSTTB, 131). For Pratt, as with Sanders, these predictions are accompanied
by specific words calling God to the outcome or by certain
signs that show nothing could conceivably prevent the fulfillment of the
prophecy (134). It is impossible to determine why the clear words of
Jesus and of the New Testament writers about the imminent Second
Coming and resurrection and judgment of the dead do not constitute
such predictions.
 
From Sanders: “A prophecy may also express what God intends
to do if certain conditions obtain.” He uses Jeremiah 18 as an example
(TGWR, 51).
 
Sanders here expresses what Pratt calls “conditional predictions”
(WSTTB, 131). Pratt says: “There are many examples in the Bible of
situations where the contingency of human choice made a difference in
the fulfillment of a prophetic prediction” (129). By “difference,” of course,
Pratt means that even though God prophetically “predicts” an event, man,
through his choices, can cause the “failure” (152) of that divine “prediction.”
Notice for Pratt who acts, and who reacts after God issues a divine
“prediction.” In reality, as we’ve already stated, conditional if/then prophecies
(such as Isaiah 1:9–20) are not predictions at all. They are warnings
and offers.
 
From Sanders: “The typical prophecy expresses God’s intention
to act a certain way, depending on what his creatures decide to do”
(TGWR, 53). He uses Jonah as an example.
 
Sanders here expresses what Pratt calls “unqualified predictions”
(WSTTB, 131). He states that even though these prophecies use unqualified
language they are not necessarily fixed in stone. And just like
Sanders, he uses Jonah as an example. According to Pratt, Jonah gave
a prophetic “prediction” and God caused the fulfillment of the “prediction”
to be delayed (131). But again, as Pratt himself admits, such “predictions”
are not predictions. They are warnings/threats and offers of blessings.
 
There can be precedent in the Reformed community for Pratt’s and
Sanders’ four-fold division of prophecies, but only with the understanding
that not all prophecies are predictions. Pratt’s contention that actual
“predictions” (not merely prophetic warnings and offers) of God can
be thwarted by human actions has absolutely no place in Reformed or
Reformed preterist theology.
 
Lastly, only the Openness theologians make any claim that the New
Testament prophecies of the Second Coming are contingent, or not
necessarily to come about as stated. There are disagreements about
what is stated, but never disagreements in the Reformed community
about whether they are actually to be fulfilled as stated. Pratt departs
from the Reformed tradition in his application of contingency to prophetic
predictions, and especially when he applies contingency to the
New Testament predictions concerning Christ’s Parousia.
 
House of Cards Divided
 
Pratt’s deconstruction of Deuteronomy 18:22 leads to a morass of sophism
in prophetic interpretation. He tears the foundation out from under
any eschatological claims whatsoever, not the least of which are those of
his fellow contributors. There is no reason to claim postmillennialism,
amillennialism, premillennialism, or any form of prophetic ism if Pratt is
correct. His chapter throws the entire remainder of the Mathison book
into the vast shifting ocean of subjectivity. If prophetic predictions can
be fulfilled in any way, or in no way at all, as Pratt claims, then we have a
plurality of possibilities, with no possibility of a unified argument of truth
versus error. Biblical prophetic predictions become vain babblings and
worthless because we cannot know with certainty if fulfillment has occurred,
or even if it will ever occur.
 
Faith becomes arbitrary because we can never know with certainty
which of the things God has predicted will come to pass and which are
destined for the trash heap of unfulfilled predictions due to human-enacted
contingencies. If we cannot fully know which divine predictions
may reach fulfillment and which ones need not be taken seriously, then
how can we put our faith in any of God’s predictions?
 
Pratt’s argument invalidates all the anti-preterist arguments of his
co-authors. For instance, Gentry criticizes preterists for the way we see
prophecies concerning the resurrection fulfilled (28), while Pratt tells us
that it is possible that prophecies can be fulfilled in ways that actually
contradict the prophecy as it was written. If Pratt is correct, then Gentry
cannot be confident that the prophecies concerning the resurrection
of the dead will be fulfilled as they were written.
 
There can be no real hope because we cannot tell with certainty
which prophecies of God constitute a promise/oath and which do not,
and we cannot tell with certainty what historical contingencies may or
may not obtain to prevent any given prophecy from being fulfilled. Will
there be a resurrection of the dead? Who knows? In the Prattian paradigm,
we can only wonder what human actions may alter the timing or
completeness or nature or even the existence of fulfillment.
 
Will Christ return literally and physically on a cloud, as argued by
the authors of WSTTB? Or will human contingencies cause Him to
alter the fulfillment of His prediction and cause Him to return in the
form of a great teacher in the Middle East? Was Mohammed the Second
Coming of Christ? Did Mohammed reflect a change in the Second
Coming due to human actions? Who can really know for sure in Pratt’s
horrific contingency paradigm of uncertainty?
 
Charles Hill asks:
 
How could it possibly be that the very people who were
taught about the consummation of redemptive history by
the apostles, and who lived through this consummation,
missed the great event when it happened? (105)
 
Likewise, Doug Wilson says that if preterism is true then:
 
. . . the apostles spent a great deal of time preparing the
early church for a world-shattering event, but then, when
it happened, the early church completely missed it. (276)[4]
 
If we believe Pratt, then the result is even worse than what Hill and
Wilson are saying about the historical implication of preterism. If Pratt
is right, then it is possible that the consummation has been fulfilled
in a radically different way than the prophecies themselves predicted.
The consummation could have been totally and absolutely missed on
a wholesale level because it bore no resemblance whatsoever to the actual
prophecies. Within Pratt’s paradigm, we are necessarily left forever
wondering if this event or that event was the fulfillment, or if the fulfillment
will ever happen at all.
 
What Pratt refrains from stating explicitly is that human contingency
can alter the fulfillment of a prophecy so much that those who
read the prophecy could be unable to recognize its fulfillment when it
happens. Prattian contingencies make the fulfillment of prophecy absolutely
uncertain. The consummation of redemptive history could be
fulfilled in any way at all. The wording of the predictions is irrelevant.
 
Mathison says that, “if Scripture can be trusted, the visible return of
Christ is something that literally remains to be seen” (188). In Mathison’s
view, God will certainly do what He prophetically predicted He
will do. Pratt’s view, in contrast, makes Scripture a jumble awaiting human
actions to sort out what can be believed.
 
Conclusion
 
It is time to stop believing in theological pluralism as anything
more than a temporary stopgap. It is time to reject the idea of
the equal ultimacy of incompatible theological positions. Premillennialism,
postmillennialism, and amillennialism are theologically
incompatible. God cannot be pleased with all three. At
least two of them should be discarded as heretical, if not today,
then before Christ comes in final judgment. (A Defense of (Reformed)
Amillennialism, Prof. David J. Engelsma)[5]
 
Preterists know why the three incompatible eschatological positions
are tolerated in the Reformed community. They are placeholders
for the biblical truth of preterism. When the truth is allowed to
replace these flawed systems of theology, then eschatological unity can
be achieved.
 
If there is no agreement as to what eschatological truth is, beyond
two or three points, how can there be certainty that preterists are
wrong? If preterism is error, where is the certainty of the truth which
shows it to be so? The lack of unity in message, methodology, and interpretation
of prophecy makes any Reformed response to preterism not
only tentative and incomplete, but premature.
 
WSTTB is a source of comfort to me and to other preterists. The
manifest inability of scholars within the Reformed community to organize
a coordinated, logical, and non-contradictory argument against
preterism is telling. Their eschatological house is divided and falling,
just like the Papal See fell under the weight of the truth of the Protestant
Reformation.
 
WSTTB shows nothing other than a disoriented theological base
that men are desperate to maintain. I cannot judge their hearts, but
I can judge the system for what it is. Some of the best minds of the
Reformed futurist community came together and no two of them can
agree on even the fundamental questions of the nature of prophecy,
how prophecy is fulfilled, which verses apply to past events, and which
(they claim) apply to yet future events.
 
In the end, Pratt reveals the crack in the Reformed, eschatological
House of Usher. The willingness of Pratt’s co-authors to unite with his error,
and with each other’s errors, in order to ward off the persistent challenge
of preterism is resulting in the sure and imminent fall of futurism.
 
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds
blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its
fall. (Matt. 7:27)



[1] Open Theism holds that God does not exhaustively know the future and
that His prophetic predictions can be thwarted by the will of man.
[2] Keith Mathison seemed to favor the Reformed view in his chapter, saying
that “in some circumstances, prophesied judgment can be averted” (163).
Mathison avoided Pratt’s error. Mathison did not say, “In almost every instance,
God’s predictions have been averted.” Later in his chapter however,
Mathison implies that Pratt’s view is actually a viable option, saying that preterists
have “failed” to consider it (181).
[3] The God who Risks (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1998), 51–53
[4] See David Green’s response to Hill in this book for an invalidation of
this argument.
[5] Available online at: http://www.prca.org/articles/amillennialism.html
Openness Futurism 73
 

The Thousand Years Millennium and Revelation 1:19 By Michael Bennett

The 1000 years expires before the GWT judgment (Rev 20). The GWT judgment had to occur before “some standing there had died” (Matthew 16:27-28).So what was the thousand years? If we compare Revelation to the writings of Peter we will find that they are about the same event.
1 Peter 1:1 church in asia
Rev 1:4 church in asia
1 Peter 2:9 made a preisthood
Rev 1:6, Rev 20:6 kingdom of priests
1 Peter 4:5 ready to judge living and the dead
Rev 11, and 20 judge the living and the dead
1 Peter 1:20 foundation of the world
Rev 13:8 foundation of the world
1 Peter 4:17 judge family of God
Rev 4 warnings against churches
1 Peter 5:13 Babylon
Rev 14, 16, 17, and 18 Babylon
1 Peter 5:8-10 resist Devil, suffer a little while
Rev 20:3 released for a short time
2 Peter 2:4 angels chains
Rev 20:1-3 chains
2 Peter 3:13 new heaven and new earth
Rev 20:11, Rev 21 heaven and earth flee, New heaven and earth
2 Peter 3:8 day a thousand years thousand years a day
Rev 20:2 thousand years
Books opened AFTER the 1000 years.

Revelation 20
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison…11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.
Books opened AT AD70.
Daniel 12
…There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered…”It will be for a time, times and half a time…When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
Therefore: 1000 years ENDED at AD 70.

All Revelation is about is things in the PAST, PRESENT and SHORTLY TO COME…Revelation 1
19`Write the things that thou hast seen GOSPELS, and the things that are EPISTLES, and the things that are about to come (MELLOW) after these things; AD 70
Revelation 20
1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound HAST SEEN him for a thousand years. 7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison THINGS THAT ARE DURING EPISTLES 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire THINGS ABOUT TO COME and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.
Things thou HAST seen – GOSPELS
Matthew 12
28But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
Things that ARE – EPISTLES
1 Peter 5
8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Things ABOUT TO come – AD 7O
Romans 16
20And the God of peace shall crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Revelation 12
12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.Revelation 20
3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.