PART 3c. – DEBATE CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE TO: JAMES WHITE, ANTHONY ROGERS, SAM SHAMOUN, SHABIR ALLY: MATTHEW 24-25 "THIS GENERATION" AND DIVISION THEORIES REFUTED

We are continuing our series observing how Christian (futurist) apologists to Muslims haven’t been able to deal with Muslims stealing liberal and Bible skeptic arguments concerning how an imminent (and in their view “failed”) Second Coming in the NT overthrows Jesus’ claims to be divine and a faithful prophet. As we have noticed, James White didn’t even TOUCH the issue in his debate with Shabir Ally and even Partial Preterists such as Anthony Rogers and Sam Shamoun are scrambling and incompetent to give a consistent exegetical answer to him.
Our series continues in Matthew 24 (critiquing White’s sermons on the passage & the various Reformed Partial Preterist views) with emphasis in this article being on the meaning of “this generation” and if Matthew 24-25 can be divided up into two sections or two comings of the Son of Man – one in AD 70 and another future end of world history coming.
“This Generation”
Not surprisingly, James White flies by on what the meaning of “this generation” is in (Matt. 24:34) in his Sunday School lessons to his Church. All he really says is that some have tried to teach that it means, “the race of Jews will not pass away until all these things have been fulfilled” and that this is a view he “wouldn’t feel comfortable defending in a debate.” But then again I don’t think White is competent or comfortable doing any kind of “debate” in Matthew 24 something I am challenging him on – Selah. So what is his view?  I don’t know because he doesn’t say. But he sure doesn’t even remotely touch what the “all these things” are in (Matt. 24:34) that would be fulfilled in Jesus’ “this generation” (as he avoided in his debate with Shabir Ally) because contextually he knows that would be the signs, the end of the age, and His coming in the previous and immediate verses/context. Mr. White apparently isn’t available for doing any real exegesis (mocking Dispensationalism yes, irrelevant “rabbit trails” yes, but actual exegesis of the passage, no). So sad. Let’s provide the Christian public and members of White’s Church with a real exegesis of our passage.
Lexical evidence
The Thayer Greek-English Lexicon and Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines genea here in Matthew 24:34 (and in the other relevant passages), as Jesus addressing His Jewish contemporary generation (AD 30-70) and therefore is the subject of the prophetic pronouncement,
the whole multitude of men living at the same time: Mt.xxiv. 34; Mk. xiii. 30; Lk. i. 48; xxi. 32; Phil. ii. 15; used esp. of the Jewish race living at one and the same period: Mt. xi. 16; xii. 39, 41 sq. 45; xvi. 4; xxiii.36; Mk. Viii. 12, 38; Lk. Xi. 29 sq. 32, 50 sq.; xvii. 36; Heb. iii. 10…” “…who can describe the wickedness of the present generation, Acts viii. 33 (fr. Is. Liii. 8 Sept.).”[1]
“…of the whole multitude of men living at the same time, Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 1:48; 21:32; Phil. 2:15, and especially of those of the Jewish people to the time in which they lived, the world came to mean age, i.e., a period ordinarily occupied by each successive generation, say, of thirty or forty years, Acts 14:16; 15:21; Eph. 3:5; Col. 1:26; see also, e.g., Gen. 15:16.”[2]
Although somewhat inconsistent, the most impressive Greek work and interpretation I have come across thus far comes from Collin Brown,
“In Matt. it has the sense of this generation, and according to the first evangelist, Jesus expected the end of this age (Time, art. aion) to occur in connection with the judgment on Jerusalem at the end of that first generation (see Mk. 9:1 and Matt. 16:28).”[3]
And again,
“But if these events were expected within the first generation of Christians (and “generation” is the most probable translation of genea), either Jesus or the evangelists were mistaken…” or “…there is an alternative interpretation of the passage which points out that insufficient attention has been paid to the prophetic language of the passage as a whole.
The imagery of cosmic phenomena is used in the OT to describe this-worldly events and, in particular, historical acts of judgment. The following passages are significant, not least because of their affinities with the present context: Isa. 13:10 (predicting doom on Babylon); Isa. 34:4 (referring to “all the nations”, but especially to Edom); Ezek. 32:7 (concerning Egypt); Amos 8:9 (the Northern Kingdom of Israel); Joel 2:10 (Judah). The cosmic imagery draws attention to the divine dimension of the event in which the judgment of God is enacted. The use of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:15-21 provides an instance of the way in which such prophetic cosmic imagery is applied to historical events in the present (cf. also Lk. 10:18; Jn. 12:31; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:10ff.; Rev. 6:12-17; 18:1). Other OT passages relevant to the interpretation of the present context are Isa. 19:1; 27:13; Dn. 7:13; Deut. 30:4; Zech. 2:6; 12:10-14; Mal. 3:1. In view of this, Mk. 13:24-30 may be interpreted as a Son of man will be vindicated. Such prophecy of judgment on Israel in which a judgment took place with the destruction of Jerusalem, the desecration of the  Temple and the scattering of Israel – all of which happened within the  lifetime of “this generation.” “…Such an interpretation fits the preceding discourse and the introductory remarks of the disciples (Mk. 13:1ff. par.).”[4] (Brown, Ibid., 38-39).
Brown is at least attempting to allow the Bible to interpret itself.  And if I’m not mistaken, he seems to be consenting that the “rapture” or resurrection passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 can been seen as fulfilled by the “historical event” of AD 70 just as the language of Matthew 24 can or should be interpreted.  Unfortunately, Brown was inconsistent in interpreting 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 elsewhere in his writings with a Preterist or using an OT apocalyptic/figurative “in history” (not at the end of history) hermeneutic. I will provide the consistent hermeneutic of apocalyptic language pointing to AD 70 between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 in another article in this series.
Relevant Translations
Other translations that understand the meaning of Jesus’ words here translate Matthew 24:34:
“Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died.” (Matt. 24:34 GNT – cf. Matt. 16:27-28)
“Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place.” (Matt. 24:34 The Message)
“I tell you the truth, all these things will happen while the people of this time are still living.” (Matt. 24:34 NCV – cf. Matt. 16:27-28)
Matthew 24:34 and its context is unequivocally clear. Jesus promises that “ALL” of the “THINGS” the disciples previously asked about and that He just got done answering/teaching on (the destruction of the Temple, with the end of it’s OC “age,” the signs, and His coming) would be fulfilled in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.” The very FACT that as that AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” was ending, the NT posits Christ’s Second Coming as “near,” soon,” “at hand,” etc…, IS further overwhelming evidence that this how the inspired NT authors understood Jesus’ teaching here in Matthew 24! This is an obvious point that James White didn’t want to address to his Church (because it would violate the London Baptist 1689 Confession of Faith) and one he didn’t want to respond to in his debate with Shabir Ally over NT imminence!
Division Theories Considered
Although I have focused a great deal of attention on James White’s interpretation of Matthew 24, I will now be focusing more on various Partial Preterist views and that of Sam Shamoun and Anthony Rogers. Remember, White’s embarrassing neglect to deal with Shabir Ally’s points on NT imminence is the reason (I believe) Shamoun posted Anthony Rogers Partial Preterist response to Shabir Ally (http://answeringislam.net/authors/rogers/rebuttals/ally.html). This being the case, I have to point out once again that Rogers (conveniently) unfinished article stops right around Matthew 24:34-36 – begging the question as to if Anthony Rogers (and Shamoun) believe Matthew 24-25 is describing one coming of Christ upon the clouds in AD 70 (the view of DeMar, McDurmon, Mathison, etc…) or if the Olivet Discourse is divided up having two comings – one in AD 70 and one at the end of history (the view of Kenneth Gentry)? This is indeed where the “rubber meets the road” so to speak and these men aren’t really dealing with the exegetical issues that would or would not address Shabir Ally’s points concerning Jesus’ and the NT’s teaching on imminence.
“Heaven and earth will pass away”
So far we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the old covenant age in vs. 3, the stars falling from the heavens in vs. 29 to be the religious and civil rulers falling from their places of power when Jerusalem and her Temple was destroyed in AD 70, but what of verse 35 which addresses the “heaven and earth” passing away?  Surely that is referring to the end of planet earth and a possible switch of subject in Jesus’ teaching?  Once again there is contextual and a historical hermeneutic within the Christian church that understands the phrase “heaven and earth” to be referring to the old covenant heaven and earth and its temple as such – and not to planet earth.
G.K. Beale’s research indicates,
“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.”[5] Reformed theologian John Brown in identifying the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 writes:
“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.”[6] (John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170).
Commentators are correct to identify the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 5:18) as the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 24:35), but the context of both point us to the old covenant system and not the planet earth passing by AD 70. According to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-18 if heaven and earth have not passed away, then we are currently under all of the “jots and tittles” of the old covenant law.
And now specifically of the passing of heaven and earth here in our text, Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:
“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . . [T]he principal reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology.[7]
Some Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry make a distinction between Matthew 24:3-34 being fulfilled in AD 70 and Jesus allegedly switching into a discussion about the end of planet earth based upon Jesus discussing the passing of “heaven and earth” in v. 35. This is odd indeed since Gentry takes the de-creation language in v. 29 as referring to the old covenant rulers and system passing in AD 70. Gentry’s Partial Preterist colleague Gary DeMar takes v. 29 the same way but believes v. 35 simply re-iterates the same AD 70 fulfillment and quotes Gentry’s favorite Partial Preterist John Lightfoot for support:
“Jesus does not change subjects when He assures the disciples that “heaven and earth will pass away.” Rather, He merely affirms His prior predictions which are recorded in Matthew 24:29-31.”[8]
“The darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (24:29), are more descriptive ways of saying that “heaven and earth will pass away” (24:35).”[9]
Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, men such as John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70.[10] (John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86. C. Jonathin Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002).
These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when full preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology, anti-preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views. The Full Preterist combines the two competing “orthodox” views on the coming of the Lord and de-creation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 to form a consistently exegetical and historical position:

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

The “those days” (plural) vs. “that day” (singular)
Some Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry argue that since Jesus uses the plural “days” in Matthew 24:1-34 this refers to the days leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and when Jesus uses “day” in Matthew 24:36ff. this refers to another future event or literal Second Coming of Jesus to end world history. Probably the best way to refute orthodox Partial Preterism is with orthodox Partial Preterism. Gary DeMar appeals to John Gill, Adam Clarke, and Gentry’s favorite Partial Preterist John Lightfoot – as taking the “day and hour” (Matt. 24:36) as Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem (as do Full Preterists).[11] Others that see the “Day and hour” along with the parables in Matthew 24 being fulfilled in AD 70 would be Keith A. Mathison and N.T. Wright.[12]
Jesus in His exhortation to the Church at Sardis in Revelation 3 tells them (a church that no longer exists – not us) to “watch” for He would come upon them as a “thief” and at an “hour” they were not expecting if they did not repent.  This is consistent with what we have seen here in Matthew 24 -25 — Jesus would come in their “this generation” or as in the book of Revelation Him coming “shortly” to that first century audience.
The “last day” or “that day” (singular), is simply the last day of the “days” (plural) in question or in the context. Peter uses the terms “last time” (singular) and “last times” (plural) to be saying the same thing Jesus was – ALL the prophecies in the OT concerning the Messiah’s judgment and salvation would be accomplished in an “at hand” “last time” “last days” or “this generation” time period 1 Pet. 1:5-20, 4:5, 7, 17; Acts 2:40/Lk.21:22-32. One does not have to be a rocket scientist or have a PhD in theology to see this. This is an odd position for Gentry to have since he understands the de-creation and “last hour” (singular) of the Anti-Christ’s in 1 Jn. 2:17-18 to be the fulfillment of the “signs” section and Christ’s coming in an AD 70 found in Matthew 24:23-34.
In the OD and in Luke 17 Jesus uses the judgment of the days (plural) and day (singular) of Noah as a type and illustration of what was going to take place in His generation.
In Luke 17’s account of the Second Coming, both “days” and “day” are used interchangeably together describing the same event:
a). “For the Son of Man in His DAY will be like the lightening,…” (vs. 24).
b). “…so also will it be in the DAYS of the Son of Man” (vs. 26).
c). “It will be just like this on the DAY the Son of Man is revealed” (vs. 30).
d). “On that DAY…” (vs. 31).
Again, Jesus uses “days” (plural) and “day” (singular) in referring to the judgments of Noah and the destruction of Sodom as an example of His Second Coming in the fall of Jerusalem.
To further lay waist this eschatological schizophrenia of two second comings proposed by Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry all we need to do is further harmonizing Matthew 24’s alleged two sections or comings of Christ with Luke 17. Please note that someone forgot to tell Luke to organize his material in a Partial Preterist “section A” coming and a “section B” coming chronology.
Matthew 24
Alleged section “A” (“a” coming of Christ in AD 70 before vs. 34) 
1) vss. 17,18 – “Let him which is on the housetop not come down…”
2) vs. 26-27 – “For just as the lightning comes from the east…”
3) vs. 28 – “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
Section B (“The” Alleged Second (third?) Coming of Christ vs. 36ff.)
4) vss. 37-39 – “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.”
5) vss. 40.41 – “Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.”
Luke 17 
One section describing one Second Coming (events mixed and nonsensical if Gentry’s division theory of Mt.24 is correct)
2) vss. 23, 24 – “For just as the lightning, when it flashes…”
4) vss. 26,27 – “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also i the days of the Son of Man” 1) vs. 31- “On that day, let not the one who is on the housetop…”
1) vss. 31 – “On that day, let not the one who is on the housetop…”
5) vss. 35,36 – “There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken, and the other will be left.
3) vs. 37 – “…Where the body is, there also will the vultures be gathered.”
The Matthew 24 and Luke 17 parallels present problems for all futurist eschatologies, but they effectively destroy some Postmillennial Partial Preterist positions such as Gentry’s. If Matthew 24 deals with two different parousias of Christ with events leading up to two different time periods, then Luke’s account is incorrect. Either Luke was wrong in mixing up these events or preterists such as Gentry are wrong in dividing up Matthew 24 into two sections with two comings of Christ. Both Matthew 24 and Luke 17 speak of the same “days” time period that were leading up to Christ’s revelation “DAY” in AD 70.
Two comings?  
Gary DeMar correctly points out:
“Similarly, there is little evidence that the “coming of the Son of Man” in Matthew 24:27, 30, 39, and 42 is different from the “coming of the Son of Man” in 25:31.”[13]
Signs vs. no signs  
Some Partial Preterists such as Gentry try and reason that since there are specific signs that are mentioned before verse 34 and there are none mentioned after this verse, that this somehow proves there are two sections with two different comings of Christ involved. Hmm. I think a more “common sense” approach might be that Jesus has finished answering the disciple’s questions as far as what specific signs to look for and not to look for in indicating His imminent return and is now going to give some further teaching and exhortations on being ready and watchful for these events! But doesn’t the fact Jesus exhorts the disciples after verse 34 to “watch,” “pray,” and “be ready” have some connection with being discerning of the signs He had just mentioned? Jesus has just finished answering the disciples question regarding the signs of His return and is now going to illustrate through the use of various parables the necessity of being ready and watching for the same events the disciples asked about and that He had just answered in verses 4-34. This is not difficult folks.
“This generation” vs. “a long time”
Some Partial Preterists such as Gentry argue that since before verse 34, there is a short time frame of forty years.  And after verse 34, the time frame is long (24:48; 25:5, 19) – thus a justification in two comings separated by thousands of years.
To be thorough, I will also cover Luke 19 since many appeal to this text as well. In Luke 19:11 many having listened to John the Baptist and Jesus’ declarations of the “kingdom being at hand” thought they were teaching the kingdom would come “immediately” or “at once” (Greek eggus). In response to that “immediate” mindset, Jesus gives the parable of the “Ten Minas” where He describes Himself as one going away into a far country to receive the rights to be King over Israel and then traveling back, as going into a “distant country” or taking a long journey (Lk. 19:12ff.). Jesus’ listeners would not gather from Jesus’ parable of the man going to a “distant country” as taking thousands of years! Jesus also understood that many false prophets would arise making premature statements that the kingdom was again “immediately” (Greek eutheos) going to appear when in fact it was not (Lk. 21:19). Jesus’ teaching of His coming and kingdom arriving in “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32) was some 40 years removed from the false concept that He was teaching an “immediate” arrival or that general wars and earthquakes marked the nearness of His parousia and kingdom. There were certain events that needed to transpire first such as the great commission throughout the Jewish and Roman world.
Now let’s look at the first “long time” text in Matthew 24. The first appeal is to the wicked servant who interprets His master being gone as a “long time” and beats his fellow servants and drinks with other drunkards Matt. 24:48-49.   Obviously the servant was punished within his own lifetime so where is the thousands of years delay of Christ taught here?
Another appeal of some Partial Preterists for a 2,000+ years “delay” of Christ’s return is found in Jesus’ teaching of the ten virgins in Matt. 25:5 where He says, “the bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.” Jesus’ first century audience were aware of the Jewish wedding scene of a man being betrothed to a woman up to a year while he prepared a home for them. He could come at any time to “snatch” (1Thess. 4:17) her from her life and existence under her father to himself. Because of this she needed to be excited and ready not sluggish and doubtful of his love. The foolish virgins considered this a “long time” and were not ready and fell asleep. Because they viewed this as taking too long and were “foolish,” they did not make preparations of buying oil for His surprise arrival. No one listening to Jesus’ words here would consider this parable as teaching a 2,000 + years “long time” as some Partial Preterists have interpreted it to mean. They would interpret “long time” in the context of a person’s lifetime along with the other parables and would consider it being consistent with Jesus’ 30 – 40 year “this generation” teaching and time frame.
The last reference is to the parable of the talents in Matt. 25:19. Again all the points I made above apply here as well. The servant was not “alert” but “lazy” and “worthless”! What he had was given to the faithful servants in verses 28-29 as the kingdom would be taken from the faithless apostates and given to the Church – the true Israel/Nation of God (cf. Matt. 21:33-45).
It’s not exactly accurate for some Partial Preterists to assume that that 40 years is a “short time.” Relatively speaking in the world and Israel waiting thousands of years for salvation of the Messiah – this could be true. But if one is 20-30 years old or older during the time Jesus utters His “this generation” statement, 40 years is making one nearing the end of his life 60 – 70 or older. Therefore, viewing it from Israel’s redemptive history, fulfillment within 40 years could easily be considered “at hand,” but in the context of a person’s lifetime, 40 years was enough time to be tempted to think it may not occur (as we see in Peter has to deal with in regards to the “mockers” and false teachers in His letters).
Gary DeMar responds to Partial Preterists who assume “long time” means thousands of years to justify two different comings in Matthew 24,
“In every other New Testament context, “a long time” means nothing more than an extended period of time (Luke 8:27; 23:8; John 5:6; Acts 8:11; 14:3, 28; 26:5, 29; 27:21; 28:6). Nowhere does it mean centuries or multiple generations.”[14]
Having spent some time critiquing and refuting Kenneth Gentry’s Partial Preterism with exegesis and using his own Partial Preterists to expose his arbitrary division of the OD, I will turn some attention to Gary DeMar and those Partial Preterists that see the coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 as being fulfilled in AD 70 – yet still claim the NT speaks of a future coming.
Not only does DeMar believe the coming of Christ in both Matthew 24-25 took place in AD 70, but he affirms that “John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation.”  Apart of DeMar’s “exegetical” work is to compare and parallel Matthew 24 with the rest of the NT and find AD 70 fulfillments where amillennialists and dispensationalists don’t.  However, DeMar’s hermeneutic and exegetical method is more than arbitrary and inconsistent.  For example here is one that DeMar neglects:

MATTHEW 24-25 REVELATION 20:5-15
Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf.   Matt. 16:27-28) Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18) De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31 God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46 Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15

As I pointed out earlier in this series, DeMar publishes James Jordan whom claims Daniel himself was raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom in AD 70 according to Daniel 12:2, 13 and Revelation 20.  The partial preterists are also on record for saying things such as, “The Apostle John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off.”  So here is something that DeMar needs to address as well:

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

The analogy of Scripture and these charts demonstrate that DeMar’s view that we are still in the millennium and that the end of the millennium resurrection is still unfulfilled (while believing that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70) is creedally arbitrary.
Postmillennial partial preterism did not win the eschatological debate for Luther, Calvin and the WCF which have taught the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 is indeed the Second Coming (as Full Preterism teaches).  And what about today?  Mathison and DeMar didn’t win the battle over Matthew 24-25 in the Reformation Study Bible, which is in perfect harmony with Full Preterism in interpreting the parallel’s in Matthew 24:30-31 as being the same eschatological event with the following passages:
“But the language of [Matthew 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31, as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14–17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.” (see HD, 112).
Here are some of those exegetical “parallels” that Full Preterists and classic amillennialists agree upon:
Matthew 24-25/Luke 21 & Matthew 13 Parallels
Evangelism in the world takes place (Mt. 24:14/Mt. 13:38).
There is persecution, tribulation, apostasy, & faithfulness (Mt. 24:9-13/Mt. 13:19-30).
The subject is the growth and reception of the kingdom at which time the judgment at the “end of the age” takes place (Lk. 21:31-32/Mt. 13:43; Mt. 24:3/Mt. 13:40).
The Son of Man comes with His angels to gather the sheep/wheat into His barn/kingdom and the wicked goats/tares are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned (Mt. 24:30-31, 25:31-41/Mt. 13:39-42).
Matthew 24-25/Luke 21 & 1 Corinthians 15 Parallels
Christ’s coming/parousia and trumpet call (Mt. 24:27, 31/1 Cor. 15:23, 52).
This is the time of “the end” (Mt. 24:3, 14/1 Cor. 15:24).
At this time God judges His enemies (Mt. 21:43; 22:41-44; 24-25/1 Cor. 15:24-28).
This is the time for inheriting the kingdom (Lk. 21:31-32/1 Cor. 15:24).
Matthew 24 & 1 Thessalonians 4-5 Parallels
Christ returns 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:30
From heaven 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:30
Accompanied by angels 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:31
With a trumpet of God 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:31
Believers gathered to Christ 1 Thess. 4:17=2 Matt. 4:31, 40-41
In clouds 1 Thess. 4:17=Matt. 24:30
Time unknown 1 Thess. 5:1-2=Matt. 24:36
Coming like a thief 1 Thess. 5:2=Matt. 24:43
Unbelievers unaware of impending judgment 1 Thess. 5:3=Matt. 24:8
Judgment comes as pain upon an expectant mother 1 Thess. 5:3=Matt. 24:8
Believers not deceived 1 Thess. 5:4-5=Matt. 24:43
Believers to be watchful 1 Thess. 5:6=Matt. 24:37-39
Warning against drunkenness 1 Thess. 5:7=Matt. 24:49
As I pointed out in HD, it is more than arbitrary for men like Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison to make AD 70 parallels and fulfillments in Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 5 or Matthew 24=2 Thessalonians 1-2, but avoid where most of the parallels are in Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 because the resurrection is in view (see HD, 112-115).  It is amazingly arrogant for DeMar and AV to claim they are performing “exegesis” when comparing Matthew 24 with the eschatology of the NT in order to develop AD 70 fulfillments, but if Full Preterists do, AV wants to refer to us as “heretical.”  We are making the same “parallel’s” and appealing to the same “analogy of scripture” argument that the creedal amillennialists are.

Passage Mike SullivanFull Peterist Gary DeMarPartial Preterist Kenneth GentryPartial Preterist James WhiteTraditional Amillennialist
1 Thess. 1-3 A.D. 70 A.D. 70 Future Future
1 Thess. 4 A.D. 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 5 A.D. 70 A.D. 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 1 A.D. 70 A.D. 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 2 A.D. 70 A.D. 70 A.D. 70 Future

Some Partial Preterists such as author Mike Bull (a disciple of James Jordan) actually agree with Full Preterists that the parallels between Matthew 24=1 Thessalonains 4 are just too strong and therefore there was some kind of fulfillment for a resurrection in AD 70.  DeMar is now backed into a corner.  Since he and AV are now publishing that there was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection for the living and dead from AD 30 – AD 70 which resulted in Daniel’s soul being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom in AD 70, then Gary needs to prove that Matthew 24:30-31 (cf. Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3) isn’t Paul’s source in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and thus this isn’t that AD 70 resurrection.  Or if Gary wants to make the kind of statements that Joel McDurmon has and that perhaps this passage along with other NT resurrection texts “could” have been fulfilled in AD 70 — then Gary needs to prove or explain why this could have two or multiple fulfillments.   Apparently Gary is unavailable for comment.   
Gary DeMar has referenced John Murray before as a Postmillennialist who most assuredly couldn’t be referred to as “heretical” and indeed performed exegesis.  Well, again like Full Preterists, Murray saw the coming of Christ and “redemption” in (Luke 21:27-28) to be the Second Advent and “redemption of the body” in (Romans 8:23):
“Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:14; 4:30). Hence anal-ogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.” (see HD, 119).
And of course Murray understood Matthew 24:30-31 as most naturally referring to the Second Coming and resurrection as we do:
“…Verse 30, for several reasons to be adduced later, surely refers to the advent in glory, and the sign of the Son of man to the sign of the coming of Christ and the consummation of the age in the disciples question (vs. 3). (John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2 Systematic Theology, Carlisle, PA:  THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977, 389)
“The terms of verse 30, that all the tribes of the earth ‘will see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven with great power and glory’ (or ‘with power and great glory’) are terms that are quite definitely those of the second advent in the terminology of the New Testament (cf. Matt. 16:27; Mark 8:38; Matt. 25:31; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 1:7.”  (Murray, Ibid., 390).
“There is ample allusion to the sound of the trumpet and to the ministry of angels elsewhere in the New Testament, in connection with Christ’s advent (cf. 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).  Hence verse 31 can most readily be taken to refer to the gathering of the elect at the resurrection.” (Murray, Ibid., 391).
Murray also does a great job demonstrating that Matthew 24-25 is written with a “recapitulation” structure (Ibid., 388) and therefore we once again reach “the end”/“end of the age” with the disciples question associating the end of the age with His coming in Matthew 24:3, 30-31.  Matthew 24:30-31 is the Second Coming and resurrection/gathering event which takes place at the end of the [old covenant] age (cf. Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3) and is therefore, not some kind of second Great Commission “gathering” post AD 70 – per DeMar.
As I reference in HD DeMar takes the glory that was “about to be revealed” in Romans 8:18 YLT as a fulfillment in AD 70 (HD, 120-121) and McDurmon claims Jesus’ use of “this age” is the old covenant age and the “age to come” is the new covenant age arriving in AD 70 (HD, 91, n.28).  Yet Murray writes of these passages,
“The present time is “this age” or the “present age” in contrast with the “age to come” (cf. “…Luke 20:34….”).  “…The age to come is the age of the resurrection and of the glory to be revealed.”  “…And the glory to be revealed is so bound up with the resurrection (vs. 23)…” (John Murray, EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, 1 vol. edition, Eerdmans Publishing, 1968, 300-301).
After conceding that “this age” is the old covenant age and the “age to come” here is the arrival of the new in AD 70, McDurmon’s attempts to posit the resurrection of Luke 20:34 as biological at the end of time and beyond AD 70 in his debate with Preston was painful to watch and an embarrassment for AV in general.
For over a decade now I have also been asking DeMar to comment on another of his favorite partial preterists (John Lightfoot) who took the creation groaning from the bondage and decay in Romans 8 to have nothing to do with the planet earth (not even poetically) but is rather referring to men’s condition under sin in the mind and heart (HD, 116-117).  In essence this is a full preterist interpretation of the “creation” here.
So then according to John Murray, John Lightfoot, AV Gary DeMar/Joel McDurmon  — the glory that was “about to be revealed” was the Second Coming and resurrection/redemption of the body that would take place when “this [old covenant] age” gave way to “the [new covenant] age to come” in Jesus’ “this generation” ie. AD 70 (Luke 21:27-28=Romans 8:18-23=Luke 20:34-35).  This consummation/resurrection/restoration of creation event involved the hearts and minds of men and therefore does not necessarily involve a literal de-creation/literal re-creation and or literal resurrection of the dead to take place at the end of history.  We surely agree with the “exegesis” and logical conclusion of these men!
The following “parallel” chart confirms that the “redemption” of Christ’s disciples in the first century in Luke 21:28 was the redemption of “the body” “about to be revealed” in Romans 8:18–23:

Romans 8 Olivet Discourse & Luke 17
Present sufferings (Rom. 8:17–18) Suffering to come (Matt. 24:9)
Receive and share in Christ’s glory (Rom. 8:17–18) Christ comes in glory (Matt. 24:30)
Glory will be “in” them (Rom. 8:18) Kingdom will be realized “within”at Christ’s return (Lk.17:21–37; 21:27–32)
Redemption and salvation – resurrection (Rom. 8:23–24; cf. 11:15–27; 13:11–12) Redemption and salvation – resurrection (Lk. 21:27–28; Matt. 24:13, 30–31/Matt. 13:39-43)
Birth pains together (Rom. 8:22) Birth pains of the tribulation (Matt. 24:8)
This was “about to” take place (Rom. 8:18) This would all happen in “this generation”(Matt. 24:34)

Gary can run and Gary can hide, but the fact of the matter is — our parallel/analogy of scripture hermeneutic comparing Matthew 24-25 with the eschatology of the NT, is not only more consistent than DeMar’s, it is more creedal and confessional – Selah.
Concluding Matthew 24-25
James White – After critiquing White’s shallow handling of Matthew 24 to his Church (something he mentions in his debate with Shabir Ally), it is no wonder he didn’t want to address Jesus’ teaching here and in Matthew 16:27-28 as it pertained to NT imminence. White simply did not address Ally’s argument that Jesus and the NT predicted that the Second Coming would be fulfilled in their contemporary generation and before some of them died – period!
Between me posting my last article and this one James White moderated a debate between a Full Preterist (Don K. Preston) and a futurist (Michael Brown) over Romans 11. But my debate challenge to Mr. White remains. Mr. White – it is not enough to moderate debates with Full Preterists in them, you need to debate one. Selah.
Anthony Rogers / Sam Shamoun – Has published a series of articles attempting to respond to Shabir Ally from a Partial Preterist view. Rogers claims the “end of the age” is referring to the OC age ending in AD 70, but is shallow and arbitrary in his exegesis because he does not address that Jesus identifies the resurrection as taking place at the “end of the age” in other passages. And Rogers stopped his exegesis of Matthew 24 prior to verses 35-36ff. where the “rubber meets the road” so to speak and never delivered.
Gary DeMar / Keith Mathison / N.T. Wright – To be thorough I briefly critiqued other Partial Preterists that believe the coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled by AD 70 and is not divided up as other Partial Preterists have attempted to prove. As I pointed out earlier, there is almost unanimous agreement between all eschatological views that supports the idea that Matthew 24-25 is NT eschatology in a nutshell. Or simply put whatever your view of the OD is, will dictate your eschatology in the rest of the NT. This being said, DeMar, Mathison, and Wright fall miserably short in Matthew 24-25 being the foundation for 1 Thessalonians 4-5 (passages Shabir Ally pointed to that White did not address and neither has Rogers thus far) and Revelation 20 – to name just a couple.
Shabir Ally – If Shabir Ally wants to debate a Christian apologist that REALLY believes Jesus was and remains to be a faithful and true prophet and fulfilled His promises concerning His Second Coming, judgment, resurrection, and bringing an end to the age in which He and His contemporaries were living in (within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation”), then I suggest he debate me or the Full Preterist position. As I have demonstrated thus far, Shabir and other Bible skeptics will not get the answers they are looking for (or honest exegetical answers) from these other men and their positions when it comes to NT imminence. Selah.
PART 1 – Debate Challenge and Response to:  James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1 https://fullpreterism.com/james-whites-embarrassing-failure-to-address-matthew-1627-28-matthew-24-and-1-thessalonians-416-17-in-his-debate-with-shabir-ally-and-my-public-challenge-to-debate-shabir-ally-james-whit/
PART 2 – Debate Challenge and Response to: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – “Time/Hour of the End” = “End of the Age” Resurrection (Dan. 12=Matt. 13=Luke 20:27-40=Matt. 24:30-31, 36=John 4-5) All Fulfilled In AD 70 https://fullpreterism.com/debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-part-2-the-end-of-the-age-matthew-13-matthew-24/
PART 3a. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun – All The Signs, Abomination That Causes Desolation, Tribulation, Times Of The Gentiles – “In Fulfillment Of All That Has Been Written” (Matt. 24:1-25/Luke 21:20-24) https://fullpreterism.com/part-3-a-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-matthew-241-25/
Part 3b. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, And Anthony Rogers – The Coming Of The Son Of Man (Matt. 24:27—-25:31) Fulfilled By Ad 70 https://fullpreterism.com/part-3b-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-the-coming-of-the-son-of-man-matt-2427-2531-fulfilled-by-ad-70/
Part 3c. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun, Shabir Ally: Matthew 24-25 “This Generation” And Division Theories Refutedhttps://fullpreterism.com/part-3c-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-shabir-ally-matthew-24-25-this-generation-and-division-theories-refuted/
Part 4 – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun And Shabir Ally (1 Thess. 4:16-17 & Acts 1:9-11) https://fullpreterism.com/part-4-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-and-shabir-alley-1-thess-416-17-and-acts-19-11/
[1] Joseph Henry Thayer, D.D., A GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), 112 (bold emphasis added).
[2] W.E. Vine (edited by F.F. Bruce), VINE’S Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Bible Publishers, 1981), 42 (emphasis added).
[3] Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 37-38 (bold emphasis added).
[4] Brown, Ibid., 38-39.
[5] G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25). See also a student of Beale’s – J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.
[6] John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170.
[7] Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157.
[8] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1999, Fourth Edition), 189.
[9] Ibid., 190.
[10] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86. C. Jonathin Seraiah, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2002.
[11] DeMar, Last Days MADNESS, Ibid., 193-194.
[12] Keith A. Mathison, FROM AGE TO AGE THE UNFOLDING OF BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009), 379.
[13] DeMar, Ibid., 200.
[14] DeMar, Ibid., 199.

Book – A Full Preterist Response to Reformed and Dispensational Critics The Second Coming, Judgment, and Resurrection of the Dead “ALL THESE THINGS” (MATTHEW 24-25/DANIEL 12:1-7) FULFILLED BY AD 70

 

 

A Full Preterist Response to Reformed and Dispensational Critics
The Second Coming, Judgment, and Resurrection of the Dead
“ALL THESE THINGS” (Matthew 24-25/Daniel 12:1-7)
FULFILLED BY AD 70
A DEFENSE OF GOSPEL ESCHATOLOGY
Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright © 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this book (still in progress) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Michel Sullivan. Thank you for your consideration.

ONE
A FULL PRETERIST EXEGESIS OF MATTHEW 24-25

Introduction and Approach / AD 70 Survey of Matthew’s Gospel Approaching the Olivet Discourse – Matthew 3:2-12- John the Baptist’s Eschatology, An Exegesis of Matthew 5:17-18; 10:22-23; 13:39-43 16:27-28; Matthew 21-23 / The Disciples Question – Who’s Really “Confused”? / The End of the Christian Age or Old Covenant Age? / Signs / Coming of the Son of Man and Gathering the Elect/Resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 Fulfilled / The Abomination That Causes Desolation / The Great Tribulation / In Fulfillment of all That Has Been Written – Can AD 70 Have a Double or Typological Fulfillment? / Times of the Gentiles / “This Generation” / One or Two Coming(s) of Christ? – Division Theories Refuted / Marriage and Resurrection Motif

TWO
NT IMMINENCE – THE STAKE IN THE HEART OF FUTURISM. EXPOSING FUTURIST SCHEMES ON IMMINENCE

When Jesus Decides to Come, THEN it Will Happen Very “Quickly” / Soon Just Means Certainty / The Beginning or Inauguration of Fulfillment was Imminent Not the Consummation / Jesus’ Second Coming Could Have Been Imminent But it Got “Postponed” Due to First Century Unbelief / Ezekiel 7 and 12 – God’s Condemnation of Man Making “Near” Predictions to Be “Far off” Ones / Violating Sound Hermeneutics – Funneling Over a Hundred Clear Time Texts Through ONE Verse 2 Peter 3:8

THREE
THE SEVENTY SEVENS OF DANIEL 9:24-27 FULFILLED BY AD 70

Daniel’s Seventy Sevens Prophecy – Symbolic Period of Time or a Literal 490 Chronology? / To Finish Transgression, To Put an End to Sin, To Atone for Wickedness, To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness, To Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, To Anoint the Most Holy Place / Dispensational Gap Theory Refuted

FOUR
WHAT ABOUT THE “RAPTURE”?

An Exposition of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / John 14 / The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11

FIVE
ISN’T FULL PRETERISM JUST THE HYMENAEAN HERESY REVISITED DESTROYING THE FAITH AND HOPE OF THE CHURCH?

An Exposition of 2 Timothy 2:17-18

SIX
WHAT ABOUT THE RESURRECTION?

An Exposition of John 5:28-29 / An “About to Be” Resurrection in Acts 24:15, An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15

SEVEN
WHAT ABOUT ACTS 1:9-11?

Are There Any Indications Within the Book of Acts as to When Acts 1:9-11 Would be Fulfilled? / “In Like Manner” – Was Jesus’ Physical Body Seen Ascending on the Cloud? / Is Jesus Still in His Physical Body?

EIGHT
ESCHATOLOGICAL ESSAYS IN ROMANS

The Eschatological “Not Yet” of Justification Romans 4:24 – Response to the N.T. Wright Controversy / Romans 5 – Being Saved from the Coming “Wrath” Through the One That was “About to Come” / Paul’s Corporate Body of Sin and Death / Romans 8:18-23 – God’s Glory “About to” Be Revealed IN the Church Through the Liberation of Creation, the Adoption of Sons, and Redemption of Our (Corporate) Body / Romans 11 – The Salvation and Resurrection of “All Israel” / Romans 13:11-12 – God’s Hour of Resurrection/Salvation/Day was “At Hand” / Romans 16:20 – Satan would be Crushed “Soon”

NINE
ESCHATOLOGICAL ESSAYS IN HEBREWS

Hebrews 3-4; 10:25-37 – The Churches Anti-type “Another Day”/Sabbath Rest was “Approaching” “In a Very Little While and Would Not Delay” / Hebrews 8:13 – The Old Covenant was “Ready to Vanish” / Hebrews 9:6-10, 26-28 – Old Covenant Still Had a Legal Standing Until Christ’s Second Appearing / Hebrews 1 – Christ Was “About to” Consume His “enemies” and Make Them His Footstool When He Came “in a Very Little While” / Hebrews 11 – The NC “Better Resurrection” / Hebrews 12 – Receiving the Kingdom / Hebrews 13 – Looking for the [Enduring] City That was “About to Come”

TEN
A PRE-AD 70 DAT FOR THE BOOK OF REVELATION

ELEVEN
REVELATION 20 – A “THIS GENERATION” MILLENNIUM

Seven Historical, Exegetical, and Orthodox Points Which Proves the Full Preterist 40 Years Millennial View to be the Biblical One / All the Elements to the Millennium and the Analogy of Scripture Support the Full Preterist View of the Millennium

TWELVE
LIFE IN THE NEW CREATION REVELATION 21-22 – NO MORE DEATH, TEARS, AND PAIN

How Could This be Fulfilled for Us Today – “Just Look Around”?!?
APPENDIX 1 DID TONGUES AND PROPHECY “CEASE” IN AD 70?
An Exegesis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12
APPENDIX 2 SO WHAT NOW?
Ongoing Fulfillment/Application of Fulfillment / What Real “Hyper-Preterism is

Introduction and approach
My approach will be very simple to follow for laymen and scholars alike. First, I will begin going through Matthew’s gospel addressing the key eschatological texts in the teachings of John the Baptist and our Lord which will lay a contextual setting for giving a detailed exegesis of Matthew 24 – 25. In doing so, I will give a brief explanation of the various views on key eschatological passages from four views and then defend my view (Full Preterism): Premillennial Dispensationalism, Amillennialism, Partial Preterism, Progressive Partial Preterism and Full Preterism. Once we are finished with Matthew’s gospel and particularly Matthew 24 – 25, I will follow this same approach through the rest of the NT.
Matthew 3; 11; 17 – The Eschatology of John the Baptist
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Gk. egos)!” (Matt. 3:2):
“…You snakes—who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to (Gk. mello) send?” (Matt. 3:7 GNT)
“And even now (Gk. ede) the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.“ (Matt.3:10-12)
AN EXEGESIS OF MATTHEW 3:2-12 AND RELATED TEXTS – JOHN THE BAPTIST’S ESCHATOLOGY: THE WAY OF THE KINGDOM (THROUGH THE SECOND COMING) WAS “AT HAND”
When it comes to the Kingdom of heaven or Kingdom of God the NT teaches three aspects of fulfillment – 1. the “already” 2. the “receiving” and 3. the imminent consummation or “not yet” to the Kingdom promises. The Kingdom’s “already” and “receiving” in the NT can be seen in Jews and Gentiles entering Christ’s spiritual Kingdom through repentance and faith and observing it workout in their midst powerfully through Jesus’ healing and the driving out demons (and that of the disciples and Apostles). The imminent “not yet” aspect to the Kingdom points to God saving a remnant (Jews and Gentiles) while at the same time judging the wicked among Israel and closing the Old Covenant (OC) age while at the same time establishing the New Covenant (NC) age through Christ’s Second Appearing in AD 70. Israel had been waiting roughly two thousand years for the Messiah and His Kingdom and now within a span of forty years, it was truly “at hand” and within their grasp.
Unfortunately when most futurist eschatologies have addressed the eschatology of John the Baptist they are willing to develop a truly imminent “already” and “receiving” of the Kingdom promises as being “at hand,” but they have not been willing to see John’s eschatology as having a truly imminent “at hand” consummation to the Kingdom as it pertains to him coming to prepare the way of the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” or Second Coming of Jesus. As we make our way through the eschatology of John the Baptist, we will readily see that this later “not yet” aspect to the NT’s Kingdom promises were no less “at hand” than the “already” and “receiving” aspects to the Kingdom.
Matthew 3:3 / Isaiah 40:6-7, 10 John prepares the way for Christ’s Second Coming
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” (Matt. 3:3).
“The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.” (Isaiah 40:6-10).
What is “the way” in the desert that John is preparing as depicted elsewhere in Isaiah (to get a broader context)?
“He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down— the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,” (Isa. 26:4-7).
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isa. 35)
Who is the way and how does the Gospel make it level and fruitful?
All of the promises of God are yes and amen – that is, fulfilled “in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20). He is the embodiment of the Kingdom promises – the new Promised Land or the “Highway of Holiness” [“the way” (John 14:6)] in which all those who were to be saved (or ever will be in the eternal NC age) should enter and walk through faith and repentance.
The way of the Gospel would be level and smooth suggesting that the high mountains are the prideful among Israel that persecuted the poor and lowly and God would vindicate the poor and make low and level their prideful persecutors. The low valleys would be brought up to be level as well – perhaps suggesting that the Gospel for the poor would be manifested in such a way as to lift up the persecuted and heavy burdened from their religious suppressors. The rough and crooked in heart through the power of God through the Gospel would be made soft, smooth and straight. Through the gospel the level land would become fertile and blossom into God’s New Paradise/New Creation.
No one among Israel could boast that they had a right to enter this way of the Kingdom through being Abraham’s seed, because God was able, and in fact did turn stones (Gentiles) into the sons of God or living stones in which they (along with Jews) were built up a New Temple and New Man (Matt. 3:9/1 Pet. 2:1ff./Ephs. 2-3).
The message of John is to prepare the way for Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming!
Unfortunately, futurists have avoided doing a thorough exegesis of Isaiah 40 in order to understand that John was preparing the way of Christ’s imminent Second Coming (“great and dreadful day of the Lord”). This would be manifested in an imminent harvest judgment for the wicked and salvation for the righteous and repentant within the immediate context of Matthew 3:2-12.
In hermeneutics one is always called upon to go to the OT passage a NT author quotes, references, or “echoes” in order to find out how the NT author is using it, or see if there are other elements within that OT context that fits what the NT author is developing. This is also very important in that in Jewish hermeneutics often times even if a small portion of an OT passage is quoted, the reader or listener is expected to draw upon the entire chapter, section or theology of the quote. When we do this, we immediately find references of John preparing a way for judgment that harmonizes with John’s use of Malachi 3-4 in Matthew 11:10-14.
Here is Isaiah we quickly see that the way that is being prepared is not simply a way of an “at hand” “already” aspect to salvation, but includes Christ’s Second Coming in judgment as well. We immediately see what this voice is to cry out, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flower fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isa. 40:6-7) This is connected to the recompense judgment and giving of rewards, “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.” (Isa. 40:10).
Isaiah 40:6-7 / 1 Peter chapters 1 and 4 – John’s imminent eschatology is Peter’s!
Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6-7 in 1 Peter 1:23-24. The immediate context tells us that Peter’s first century audience was “ready” to receive the salvation and inheritance the OT prophets predicted would come at the revealing of Christ at His Second Coming. Later we are told by Peter that this coming salvation and “THE judgment” of “the living and dead” was “ready” to take place and that “the end of all things is at hand.” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17). Therefore, the contextual flow of Isaiah 40 tells us that John came to prepare the way of an “at hand” judgment and salvation “ready” to be revealed at Christ’s Second Coming.
Isaiah 40:10 / Matthew 16:27-28 – John’s imminent eschatology is Jesus’!
Again the message of the one crying out is that of a coming judgment through the Second Coming of Christ in the giving of rewards (Isa. 40:10). This passage is directly applied to Christ’s Second Coming in Matthew 16:27-28 and Revelation 22:6-12. Jesus taught that He was “about to” come within the lifetimes of some of His first century audience to reward:
‘For, the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father, with his messengers, and then he will reward each, according to his work. Verily I say to you, there are certain of those standing here who shall not taste of death till they may see the Son of Man coming in his reign.’ (Matt. 16:27-28 YLT).
Isaiah 40:10 / Revelation 22:6-12 – John the Baptist’s imminent eschatology is John the Beloved’s in the book of Revelation
Jesus through John the beloved in the book of Revelation, confirms the imminent fulfillment of John the Baptist’s eschatology in drawing upon Isaiah 40:10:
“The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Rev. 22:6-12)
The message John was to cry out (as we continue going down into Isaiah 40:10) was that of God (The Christ) coming in judgment/recompense/reward. The NT develops this as being fulfilled in an “at hand” AD 70 time frame.
John’s “preparing the way” of the Second Coming in Judgment of Isaiah 40 is John’s “preparing the way” of the Second Coming in Judgment of Malachi 3-4
Jesus clearly identifies John the Baptist as the Elijah that was about to come before the way of judgment (the great and dreadful day of the Lord) would take place in which He would suddenly coming to destroy His Temple in fulfillment of Malachi 3-4:
“As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “ ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matt. 11:7-15).
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me (John as Elijah): and the Lord (Jesus), whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple (AD 70 Matt. 23-24), even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.”
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness (Christ) arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah (John the Baptist per Jesus) the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Mal. 3:1-5; 4:1-6).
Here Jesus quotes and echo’s the way of Judgment and salvation through Malachi 3-4. John is the first messenger that prepares the way for God (Christ) who then comes suddenly to His Temple (in AD 70) purifying the priesthood and burns the wicked. Since AD 70 the Church is God’s purified and established kingdom of priests and kings. In AD 70 a clear “distinction” between the wicked OC kingdom and the NC righteous kingdom was revealed in power and great glory.
In Malachi 4:1-5 it is further elaborated that Elijah (whom Jesus says is John the Baptist) would come before this “way” of a fiery “great and dreadful day of the Lord” judgment would take place.
The book of James picks up various OT echo’s concerning the persecution of the rich over the poor (as does Malachi) and Christ coming as the Sun — in an “at hand” and “at the door” time frame to burn up the grass/wicked and bring salvation through the imagery of harvest rain to the righteous (James 1-5/Matt. 24:27-33, 34/Mal. 4:2).
The “at hand” “way” of the Second Coming – as Israel’s new deliverance from Babylon / New Exodus / Seeing God’s face – all on the way into the NC age or New Creation
Before leaving the theme of John/Elijah preparing the “at hand” “way” to the Second Coming of Christ to destroy His Temple in AD 70, it may also be helpful to see how this passage was understood among the Jews and then see how their interpretations could also fit an “at hand” AD 70 time frame. Beale and Carson’s work is helpful at this point:
“Nothing in the immediate context of Isa. 40 suggests that Isaiah is referring to anyone other than Yahweh himself returning to Israel as king (Goldingay 2005: 5–7), but the references to special sons in Isa. 7–9 and to the messianic branch in Isa. 11, along with the Servant Songs yet to come (beginning in Isa. 42), do indicate God revealing himself through a specially anointed agent. The “shepherding” imagery of a text as close to ours as 40:11 also dovetails with other prophecies in which a messianic figure is likened to a shepherd (esp. Ezek. 34).
C. Use in Jewish Sources. The most significant pre-Christian Jewish uses of Isa. 40:3 appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Rule of the Community declares,
And when these have become a community in Israel in compliance with these arrangements they are to be segregated from within the dwelling of the men of sin to walk to the desert in order to open there His path. As it is written: “In the desert, prepare the way of [YHWH], straighten in the steppe a roadway for our God.” This is the study of the law wh[i]ch he commanded through the hand of Moses, in order to act in compliance with all that has been revealed from age to age, and according to what the prophets have revealed through his holy spirit. (1QS VIII, 12–16) (All quotations from the Dead Sea Scrolls are from García Martínez and Tigchelaar 1997.)
In short, the Essenes at Qumran viewed their monastic community as the fulfillment of Isa. 40:3. This same interpretation is reflected in an allusion to this Scripture in 1QS IX, 19–20. An allusion in 1QS IV, 1–2 applies the metaphor of making straight paths to the establishment of justice, truth, and the respect for the precepts of God. An even longer explicit quotation of Isa. 40:1–5 appears in a fragment of another Qumran scroll (4Q176 1–2 I, 4–9), but not enough context has been preserved for us to know how it was used.
From a very different, Pharisaic branch of Judaism, Pss. Sol. 8:17 seems to allude to this text when it refers to the Jewish leaders’ (probably literal) grading of rough roads to Jerusalem to prepare the way for the conquering Roman general Pompey to enter the city. This part of the welcome was appropriate for a king, albeit ironic because the king was a foreign invader. Other texts, especially apocalyptic ones, allude to Isa. 40:4–5 with its topographical transformations and its expectations of seeing the Lord’s glory in the context of a coming new age (esp. 1 En. 1:6; Bar. 5:7; As. Mos. 10:4; see Brooke 1994: 130–31). Targum Isaiah at this point appears to change the focus from Yahweh’s coming to the people’s return (Snodgrass 1980: 27).
D. Textual Background. The MT begins, “A voice crying in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,” which the LXX essentially translates literally (changing only the participle to the genitive: “of one crying”). Matthew, like Mark, follows the LXX verbatim. But the parallelism within the OT verse would seem to require that “in the wilderness” modifies “prepare the way” (just as it does in the next line with “make smooth”) rather than “a voice crying,” as in the Gospels. The MT thus continues, “make smooth in the desert a highway for our God,” which the LXX renders as “make straight the paths of our God,” omitting the redundant “in the desert.” Matthew and Mark again follow the LXX verbatim, except that they change “of our God” to “his,” which scarcely alters the meaning.
E. Hermeneutic Employed. The difference between “a voice crying in the wilderness” and a call to “prepare a way in the wilderness” has often been exaggerated. Both in fact fit John the Baptist’s ministry; he (or the Synoptic writers) could easily have seen a double meaning in the position of the phrase in the Hebrew text, as rabbis often did in their exegeses. But the Hebrew also allows for such a double meaning to have been originally intended (Taylor 1997: 25–29).
Originally, Isaiah had in mind a preliminary fulfillment in the return of the Jewish exiles from distant lands to Israel. But his language already reuses “exodus” imagery, making it natural for the evangelists to reapply this imagery in the greater restoration from (spiritual) exile inaugurated by the ministry of Jesus to which John’s preaching pointed (see Childs 2001: 299). And given that no return from Babylon (or Persia or Greece or Rome) ever came anywhere close to fully ending Israel’s hard service, paying for its sins, or leveling (even metaphorically) all its rugged places, and certainly no event prior to Christ’s coming ever revealed the glory of the Lord to all humanity, it seems reasonable to suggest that Isaiah had a more distant, grander fulfillment in mind as well. Hagner (1993: 48) comments, “The words of Isaiah occur in a context of comfort and deliverance from the exile, but they also allude to Messianic fulfillment.” At the very least, that is how a group such as the one at Qumran would have taken it, so that they could apply it to themselves, demonstrating that the NT’s hermeneutic was not a novel appropriation of the text.[1] Jesus is the anti-type of the deliverance (through Cyrus, Ezra, and Nehemiah) and restoration of coming back into the land from bondage and slavery. He is the one that sets the captives free from the slavery of sin. He is the way of holiness found in the law by which a remnant of Jew and Gentile come into the Kingdom/Heavenly Land/New Creation. He is also the coming “Root of Jesse” that would stand as the “banner” along this “way” ushering in the “second exodus” (Isa. 11:10-12). This second exodus motif will be brought out further in our text where John is baptizing (in the Jordan) and later on in Matthew 4 (Jesus being tested in the wilderness as Israel was).
As far as understanding the building of a smooth road to be level for a conquering King – this too could be applied to AD 70. If un-repentant, a way was being prepared by another conquering King – and it was ironic that they shouted they wanted Caesar as their king at Christ’s trial and then Christ came in AD 70 as their King (in judgment through the army of the Roman Empire “Caesar”) to destroy their city and Temple.
Christ as “the way” did bring about the in-breaking of the Messianic or NC age from AD 30 – AD 70. In AD 70 Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming was fulfilled and the Church in the eternal NC age see Him “face to face” (Isa. 52:8/1 Cor. 13:12/Rev. 22:4-7). Amen! Selah.
Before leaving Matthew 3:2-3 I should point out that some Reformed theologians such as John Lightfoot have pointed out that one of the manifestations of the kingdom being “at hand” in 3:2 would be fulfilled in AD 70:
“1. The exhibition and manifestation of the Messias, Matt. 12:28; “But if I, by the finger of God, cast out devils, the kingdom of God is come upon you:” that is, ‘Hence is the manifestation of the Messias.’ See John 3:3, 12:13, &c. 2. The resurrection of Christ; death, hell, Satan, being conquered: whence is a most evident manifestation that he is that ‘eternal King,’ &c.: see Matt. 26:29, Rom. 1:4. 3. His vengeance upon the Jewish nation, his most implacable enemies: this is another, and most eminent manifestation of him: see Matt. 16:28, 19:28. 4. His dominion by the sceptre of the gospel among the Gentiles, Matt. 21:43. In this place which is before us it points out the exhibition and revelation of the Messias.[2] And if it seems a strange thing to understand the coming of the Lord in Malachi 3-4 to be fulfilled in AD 70 perhaps this additional quote for commentators such as Adam Clark will help assure the reader of this authors “orthodox” standing in these matters:
“Malachi 4:1: Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven – The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
And all the proud – This is in reference to Mal 3:15 of the preceding chapter.
The day that cometh shall burn them up – Either by famine, by sword, or by captivity. All those rebels shall be destroyed.
It shall leave them neither root nor branch – A proverbial expression for total destruction. Neither man nor child shall escape.
Malachi 4:2: You that fear my name – The persons mentioned in the sixteenth verse of the preceding chapter, ye that look for redemption through the Messiah.
The Sun of righteousness – The Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah; the Hope of Israel.
With healing in his wings – As the sun, by the rays of light and heat, revives, cheers, and fructifies the whole creation, giving, through God, light and life everywhere; so Jesus Christ, by the influences of his grace and Spirit, shall quicken, awaken, enlighten, warm, invigorate heal, purify, and refine every soul that believes in him, and, by his wings or rays, diffuse these blessings from one end of heaven to another; everywhere invigorating the seeds of righteousness, and withering and drying up the seeds of sin. The rays of this Sun are the truths of his Gospel, and the influences of his Spirit. And at present these are universally diffused.
And ye shall go forth – Ye who believe on his name shall go forth out of Jerusalem when the Romans shall come up against it. After Cestius Gallus had blockaded the city for some days, he suddenly raised the siege. The Christians who were then in it, knowing, by seeing Jerusalem encompassed with armies, that the day of its destruction was come, when their Lord commanded them to flee into the mountains, took this opportunity to escape from Jerusalem, and go to Pella, in Coelesyria; so that no Christian life fell in the siege and destruction of this city.
But these words are of more general application and meaning; “ye shall go forth” in all the occupations of life, but particularly in the means of grace; and: –
Grow up as calves of the stall – Full of health, of life, and spirits; satisfied and happy.
Malachi 4:3: Ye shall tread down – This may be the commission given to the Romans: Tread down the wicked people, tread down the wicked place; set it on fire, and let the ashes be trodden down under your feet.
Malachi 4:4: Remember ye the law of Moses – Where all these things are predicted. The Septuagint, Arabic, and Coptic, place this verse the last.
Malachi 4:5: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet – This is meant alone of John the Baptist, as we learn from Luk 1:17 (note), in whose spirit and power he came.
Malachi 4:6: And he shall turn (convert) the heart of the fathers (על al, with) the children – Or, together with the children; both old and young. Lest I come, and, finding them unconverted, smote the land with a curse, חרם cherem, utter extinction. So we find that, had the Jews turned to God, and received the Messiah at the preaching of John the Baptist and that of Christ and his apostles, the awful חרם cherem of final excision and execration would not have been executed upon them. However, they filled up the cup of their iniquity, and were reprobated, and the Gentiles elected in their stead. Thus, the last was first, and the first was last. Glory to God for his unspeakable gift!
There are three remarkable predictions in this chapter: –
1. The advent of John Baptist, in the spirit and authority of Elijah.
2. The manifestation of Christ in the flesh, under the emblem of the Sun of righteousness.
3. The final destruction of Jerusalem, represented under the emblem of a burning oven, consuming everything cast into it.
These three prophecies, relating to the most important facts that have ever taken place in the history of the world, announced here nearly four hundred years before their occurrence, have been most circumstantially fulfilled.”[3] I will disagree with Clark on one point here – and that is, the coming of the Sun of Righteousness is referring to Christ’s Second Coming (the great and dreadful day of the Lord) as depicted elsewhere in Matthew 24:27. Once we get to this text I will argue that it is Christ coming and shinning from the east to the west as the Sun/Son that is in view and not “as lightening.”
“People came to him from Jerusalem, from the whole province of Judea, and from all the country near the River Jordan. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan. When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, “You snakes—who told you that you could escape from the punishment (or “wrath”) God is about to send?” (Matt. 3:5-7 GNT, WUEST).

Many miss the theological and eschatological significance of John being in the wilderness baptizing Jesus and Israelites in the river Jordan. This marks the beginning of fulfillment for Israel’s new or second exodus and restoration promises. As G.K. Beale points out,

“Just as Israel was led by Moses and had to go through the sea at the exodus to enter the promised land, and just as the second generation had to do the same thing at the Jordan River under Josuah’s leadership, as a miniature second exodus, so again, now that Israel’s restoration is imminent through Jesus, true Israelites must again identify with the water and the Jordan and their prophetic leader in order to being to experience true restoration.

This is also in fulfillment of the prophecies of Israel’s restoration as a second exodus through water (Isa. 11:15; 43:2, 16-17; 44:27-28; 50:2; 51:9-11), especially through rivers (Isa. 11:15; 42:15; 43:2; 44:27; 50:2).”[4]

Unfortunately scholars such as Beale further miss (or I should say are reluctant to acknowledge at this point having been confronted with Full Preterism), is that this second or new exodus was going to take place within another forty year (roughly) generation time period (AD 30 – AD 70). Toward the end of this generation the unrepentant would experience a “wrath” that was “about to come,” not entering into God’s rest while the righteous followers of Christ would enter into God’s heavenly land – His “another day” “day approaching” “in a very little while” of which the old exodus generation was a mere type (Heb. 3-4, 8:13—10:37; 1 Cor. 10:11). Moses in Deuteronomy 31-32 predicted a coming “perverse and crooked generation” in Israel’s “later days” which would bring an “end” to OC Israel. This is the AD 30 – AD 70 new exodus generation predicted by the prophets.
I have referenced translations that render the Greek word mello in (v. 7) as the wrath that was “about to” take place as being more accurate than other translations and thus fits the immediate context of imminence that we have seen in (v. 2) and being consistent with the same imminence that will be developed in (vss. 10-12). These are the verses that Partial Preterists begin seeing fulfilled in AD 70. For example, John
Lightfoot is on target in identifying the wrath of 3:7 and the baptism John is performing as pointing to the AD 70 judgment,
“…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.
The receiving of John’s baptism signed and fenced those that received it from the ruin that was just coming.” “…Think here, if those that came to baptism brought not their little ones with them to baptism: when, by the plain words of the Baptist, those that are baptized are said to “fly from the wrath to come?” that is, ‘the wrath of God,’ that was not long hence to destroy the nation by a most sad overthrow.”[5] So in combining what we’ve learned so far from Beale, Lightfoot, and what the NT is teaching of John’s baptism ushering in a new exodus for Israel — we can glean that the unrepentant within this particular AD 30 – AD 70 generation was going to experience the unquenchable wrath of God while the repentant and followers of Christ would enter into the restoration and new exodus/Sabbath rest promises predicted by the OT prophets at Christ’s Second Coming or “great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:10-12).
It is at this point that Partial Preterist theologians begin seeing and developing the imminence of John’s eschatology to AD 70. John Lightfoot is on target in identifying the wrath of 3:7 and the baptism pointing to the AD 70 judgment,
“…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.
The receiving of John’s baptism signed and fenced those that received it from the ruin that was just coming. To this belongs that of St. Peter, Epist. 1. ch. 3:20, 21: in that manner as Noah and his sons were by water delivered from the flood, “so also baptism now, the antitype of that type, saveth us” from the deluge of divine indignation, which in a short time is to overflow the Jewish nation. Think here, if those that came to baptism brought not their little ones with them to baptism: when, by the plain words of the Baptist, those that are baptized are said to “fly from the wrath to come?” that is, ‘the wrath of God,’ that was not long hence to destroy the nation by a most sad overthrow.”[6] R.C. Sproul understands the imminence communicated in the metaphor of God having his ax at the root of Israel’s trees,
“The image of the axe does not indicate that the woodsman is merely thinking about cutting down a tree or that he has merely begun the task by striking at the outer bark. The image is that the task is nearly complete. The axe has already penetrated to the core of the tree, hinting that one more decisive stroke will make it fall.”[7] Kenneth Gentry also sees this as referring to an imminent judgment and wrath being poured out upon Israel in AD 70,
“The wrath about which John speaks “came down upon Jews of Palestine in an unparalleled manner in A.D. 70,” when the Romans furiously destroyed Jerusalem, the temple, and untold thousands of Jews. (Mt.3:10) – “Here John draws his imagery from God’s judgment against Assyria (Isa. 10:33-34): that sort of judgment soon will break out upon Israel.”[8] And of the winnowing fork metaphor Gentry also applies this to AD 70:
“…He who is coming” has a “winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (3:12). This anticipates AD 70.”[9] In further proving that the harvest gathering here was fulfilled in AD 70 Historic Premillennialist’s such as John Gill correctly point out that the threshing floor of this harvest judgment is local and addressing Israel in AD 70 (not an end of history or global event):
“Christ was just ready to publish; by which he would effectually call his chosen people among the Jews, and so distinguish and separate them from others, as well as purify and cleanse them, or rather the awful judgment of God, which Christ was ready to execute, and in a short time would execute on the unbelieving and impenitent Jews: hence it is said to be “in his hand”; being put there by his Father, who “hath committed all judgment to the Son”. That this is the meaning of the “Baptist,” seems evident, since “fanning” is always, when figuratively taken, used for judgments, #Isa 41:16 Jer 15:7 51:2. By “his floor,” is meant the land of Israel, where he was born, brought up, and lived; of which the Lord says, “O my threshing, and the corn of my floor!” #Isa 21:10.”[10] To this the book of Revelation agrees in that the coming “Day of God’s wrath” was imminently approaching its first century audience along with the harvest judgment scene in Revelation 6, 7 and 14. In 14:20 the bloody harvest scene covers “…the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” which commentators have long noted covers the distance of Israel. Israel is the local scene in which John and Revelation’s harvest judgment takes place.
The problem for Partial Preterist’s such as Gentry, is that this time of the end consummation of the harvest depicted here will be further developed by Jesus in Matthew 13 and 24-25. For a good explanation of the separation of the wheat from the chaff in our text as it relates to the final process of the harvest Morris writes,
“The thought of judgment is pursued and enlarged. John pictures the Messiah as having a winnowing fork in his hand. At harvest time the grain was threshed, for example, by having oxen tread it out, a process that shook the grain free from the husks but left them in the same heap. It was then winnowed: the threshed grain was separated from the husks by throwing it into the air, at first with a fork and later with a shovel (cf. Isa. 30:24). The heavier grain would fall straight down, but the lighter husks would be blown further away. If the winnowing fork is already in hand, the process of separation is about to begin (REB has “his winnowing shovel,” which would indicate that the last stage in winnowing is about to begin). The picture is one of imminent activity; judgment will not be delayed. And it will be wholehearted, for he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor. The verb is unusual, but it clearly points to a complete cleaning out of the threshing floor. It is possible to understand this as meaning that the threshing floor will be cleaned by the removal of all the husks so that only the grain is left. But the further imagery of fire suggests that the cleansing will be by burning up the chaff. And he will gather his wheat signifies the preservation of those who are right with God, just as burn up the chaff the severe judgment of those who are in the wrong. Fire is often used in connection with the last judgment. That cannot be put out points to the impossibility of averting the punishment of evil. The putting of the wheat into the barn (Matthew has “his wheat” and Luke “his barn”) and the burning up of the chaff picture the satisfactory completion of the harvest.”[11] This is important to establish at this point since I will be arguing that Matthew’s/Jesus’ end of “this [OC] age” harvest gathering in Matthew 13:39-43 is the same AD 70 eschatological harvest gathering of Matthew’s/John the Baptist’s here in Matthew 3:12. And then once we reach Matthew 24:30-31 and 25:31-33ff. I will again argue that this is the same end of the OC age AD 70 separation/judgment that is taking place. Simply put – John’s eschatology is Jesus’ eschatology.
What of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire?

We have seen how the water baptism of John in the Jordan marked the prophetic second exodus that would be ushered in by Jesus and how the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” was Israel’s last days terminal generation. But what of the baptism Jesus would bring for Israel – through the Holy Spirit and fire? How could these be fulfilled by AD 70?
If you were a good Jew listening to John’s message of a coming Messiah who was going to baptize or pour out the Holy Spirit upon Israel within the context of a coming judgment, you no doubt would be thinking of Joel 2:28-32. On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 Peter delivers a sermon in which he identifies his contemporary “this corrupt (or crooked) generation” as the “last days” generation predicted by Moses (Deut. 31—32:5, 20/Acts 2:40) and that this generation (in context) was to call out to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for crucifying their Messiah and be saved from “the coming great and dreadful day of the Lord” predicted by Joel 2 (cf. Acts 2:16-40). So the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (manifesting in the miraculous speaking of known foreign languages) was a sign of an imminent coming salvation and judgment. Paul underscores this same imminence and purpose of tongues in his epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:6-8; 7:29, 31; 10:11; 14:21-25). It should not surprise us that since John came to prepare the way of an imminent “great and dreadful day of the Lord” judgment found in Malachi 3-4, that Jesus also would baptize Israel and pour out His Holy Spirit marking the same imminent “great and dreadful day of the Lord,” except through another prophet (Joel).
Let’s once again turn to the commentators for further support.
John Lightfoot writes,
“…it shall come to pass “in the last days.” We have elsewhere observed that by the last days is to be understood the last days of Jerusalem and the Jewish economy, viz. when the τέλος τοῦ αἰῶνος Ἰουδαϊκοῦ, the end of the Jewish world drew near. And there would be the less doubt as to this matter if we would frame a right notion of “that great and terrible day of the Lord;” that is, the day of his vengeance upon that place and nation. Which terror the Jews, according to their custom and fashion, put far off from themselves,…”[12] Adam Clark writes,
“Acts 2:20: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood – These are figurative representations of eclipses, intended most probably to point out the fall of the civil and ecclesiastical state in Judea: see the notes on Mat 24:29. That the Sun is darkened when a total eclipse takes place, and that the Moon appears of a bloody hue in such circumstances, every person knows.
Acts 2:21: Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved – The predicted ruin is now impending; and only such as receive the Gospel of the Son of God shall be saved. And that none but the Christians did escape, when God poured out these judgments, is well known; and that All the Christians did escape, not one of them perishing in these devastations, stands attested by the most respectable authority. See the note on Mat 24:13.”[13] “Acts 2:40: Save yourselves from this untoward generation – Separate yourselves from them: be ye saved, σωθητε: the power is present with you; make a proper use of it, and ye shall be delivered from their obstinate unbelief, and the punishment that awaits it in the destruction of them and their city by the Romans.”[14] Matthew Henry writes as a possible meaning of the “last days” here,
“…Or, in the days immediately preceding the destruction of the Jewish nation, in the last days of that people, just before that great and notable day of the Lord spoken of, v. 20.[15] “That one great thing which they should prophesy of should be the judgment that was coming upon the Jewish nation, for this was the chief thing that Christ himself had foretold (Mt. 24) at his entrance into Jerusalem (Lu. 19:41); and when he was going to die (Lu. 23:29); and these judgments were to be brought upon them to punish for their contempt of the gospel, and their opposition to it, though it came to them thus proved. Those that would not submit to the power of God’s grace, in this wonderful effusion of his Spirit, should fall and lie under the pourings out of the vials of his wrath. Those shall break that will not bend. First, The destruction of Jerusalem, which was about forty years after Christ’s death, is here called that great and notable day of the Lord, because it put a final period to the Mosaic economy; the Levitical priesthood and the ceremonial law were thereby for ever abolished and done away. The desolation itself was such as was never brought upon any place or nation, either before or since. It was the day of the Lord, for it was the day of his vengeance upon that people for crucifying Christ, and persecuting his ministers; it was the year of recompences for that controversy; yea, and for all the blood of the saints and martyrs, from the blood of righteous Abel, Mt. 23:35. It was a little day of judgment; it was a notable day: in Joel it is called a terrible day, for so it was to men on earth; but here epiphanē (after the Septuagint), a glorious, illustrious day, for so it was to Christ in heaven; it was the epiphany, his appearing, so he himself spoke of it, Mt. 24:30. The destruction of the Jews was the deliverance of the Christians, who were hated and persecuted by them; and therefore that day was often spoken of by the prophets of that time, for the encouragement of suffering Christians, that the Lord was at hand, the coming of the Lord drew nigh, the Judge stood before the door, James 5:8, 9. Secondly, The terrible presages of that destruction are here foretold: There shall be wonders in heaven above, the sun turned into darkness and the moon into blood; and signs too in the earth beneath, blood and fire. Josephus, in his preface to his history of the wars of the Jews, speaks of the signs and prodigies that preceded them, terrible thunders, lightnings, and earthquakes; there was a fiery comet that hung over the city for a year, and a flaming sword was seen pointing down upon it; a light shone upon the temple and the altar at midnight, as if it had been noon-day. Dr. Lightfoot gives another sense of these presages: The blood of the Son of God, the fire of the Holy Ghost now appearing, the vapour of the smoke in which Christ ascended, the sun darkened, and the moon made blood, at the time of Christ’s passion, were all loud warnings given to that unbelieving people to prepare for the judgments coming upon them. Or, it may be applied, and very fitly, to the previous judgments themselves by which that desolation was brought on. The blood points at the wars of the Jews with the neighbouring nations, with the Samaritans, Syrians, and Greeks, in which abundance of blood was shed, as there was also in their civil wars, and the struggles of the seditious (as they called them), which were very bloody; there was no peace to him that went out nor to him that came in. The fire and vapour of smoke, here foretold, literally came to pass in the burning of their cities, and towns, and synagogues, and temple at last. And this turning of the sun into darkness, and the moon into blood, bespeaks the dissolution of their government, civil and sacred, and the extinguishing of all their lights. Thirdly, The signal preservation of the Lord’s people is here promised (v. 21): Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord Jesus (which is the description of a true Christian, 1 Co. 1:2) shall be saved, shall escape that judgment which shall be a type and earnest of everlasting salvation. In the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, there was a remnant sealed to be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger; and in the destruction by the Romans not one Christian perished. Those that distinguish themselves by singular piety shall be distinguished by special preservation.”[16] And lastly a Partial Preterist author Kenneth Gentry writes,
“Acts 2:20 must highlight AD 70, for it appears in the very context of Jerusalem and incudes tongues-speaking which is a sign of coming judgment upon Israel (cf. Dt 28:49; Isa 28:11; 33:19; Jer 5:15; 1 Cor 14:21-22). Peter’s sermon not only blames the Jews for Christ’s recent death (Acts 2:22-23, 36), but urges the Jerusalemites to “be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40).”[17] The purpose of the baptism or outpouring of the Holy Spirit within Israel’s “last days” (not the last days of the Church age or that of world history) between AD 30 – AD 70 was to warn of an imminent judgment coming and to confirm that God was in fact including Gentiles to be built up as God’s new Tabernacle (Acts 10-11; Acts 15/Amos 9).
Baptism of fire – if you were a good Jew Malachi 3-4 would come to mind. Since we have covered Malachi 3-4 already and since the immediate context describes an imminent judgment of fire approaching, it is safe to say that this baptism of fire is also referring to the wrath that would be poured out upon the wicked in AD 70.
Before leaving this theme of baptism, perhaps the anti-type of a baptism that was in the process of “saving” the first century Christians in 1 Peter 3:20 is worthy of some comment at this point. Of this spiritual baptism of fire and persecution that would test the faith of Christians and eventually burn the wicked in AD 70 David Green writes,
“Union / identity with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection is the essence of spiritual baptism. In I Peter, it is the “suffering” or “fiery” aspect of spiritual baptism for Christians that is the running theme. Peter wrote his epistle to the persecuted, scattered Jewish believers who were living as aliens and strangers (1:1; 2:11). Many of them were being distressed by various trials (1:6), being slandered, reviled and maligned (2:12; 3:16; 4:4,14); their faith was being tested by fire (1:7).
This same baptism was predicted by Jesus in Matt. 20:22,23 (AV); Mk. 10:38,39 (cf. Lk. 12:50), where Jesus asked James and John, “Are you able to . . . be baptized with the baptism which I am baptized?” And they answered, “We are able.” And Jesus said, “. . . You shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.”
Christ was prophesying to His disciples that they were going to become sharers of His sufferings, i.e., they were going to be experientially / spiritually unified and identified with Him in His sufferings, death and burial. They were going to be “crucified with Him” (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20; 5:24) through persecution, but were also going to endure unto victory through the power of Christ’s resurrection.
Union with Christ in His sufferings was further borne out in I Peter when Peter told his readers that it was their calling to patiently endure their persecutions, just as Christ when He suffered, kept entrusting Himself to God. (2:23) “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose” (4:1), and, “you share the sufferings of Christ” (4:12,13).
It was this spiritual baptism that was saving the first-century Christians. Just as a small remnant, eight souls (I Peter 3:20), had been brought safely through the flood waters in Noah’s day (I Peter 3:20), so was a small remnant (Rom. 9:27,29) being brought safely through the fire of God’s Last-Days wrath. (Matt. 24:38,39; Lk. 17:26,27; II Peter 2:5-9)
Their saving baptism was a refining, purifying baptism, as they were being sovereignly preserved by God through their persecutions until the end of the age. As Paul said in II Cor. 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (Cf. Acts 14:22).”
Green may be on to something here. The rain and wrath that God poured down upon the wicked of the land was for 40 days and nights in Genesis 7. As God had preserved Noah and his family through these 40 days, God was preserving and saving His Church during this 40 year transition period. This is similar to what we had seen in the development of the type and anti-type in the wilderness exodus motif 1 Cor. 10:11; Hebs. 3-4/Ps. 95. Just as God had preserved the faith of Joshua and Caleb during the 40 days of spying out the land and then another 40 years before entering it, God was preserving the faith of these Christians through the persecutions and fiery trials they were undergoing. As the gospel was going throughout the land, it was a living river that by AD 70 would have reached to the heads of the Christians producing salvation Ezek. 47. But for the wicked and unbelieving, the wrath of God remained upon them and thus they were in the process of perishing and would be finally swept away in the fiery flood that consumed and baptized Jerusalem in AD 70.
Let’s now turn our attention to how the various futurist systems have inadequately dealt with the eschatology of John the Baptist.
Premillennial Dispensationalism and John the Baptist’s eschatology
Matthew 3:2: The Dispensational position on our text is that the ‘kingdom” was a literal earthly kingdom to be established on earth through Messiah’s reign similar to that of David and Solomon’s reigns. It is pointed out that since this is what the Jews of Jesus’ day were expecting, it must be accurate. They believe that the kingdom was literally “at hand” BUT it got “delayed” or “postponed”:
“The rejection of Christ by the people delayed [or postponed] its [the kingdom’s] establishment until the Second Coming of Christ (25:31). The “character” of the kingdom today is described in the parables of Matt. 13.”[18] Therefore, Dispensationalism teaches “three phases” of the kingdom: First, a literal kingdom that was literally “at hand” but got postponed due to the Jewish rejection of Christ. Second, a spiritual aspect of the kingdom is introduced in the “seven mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” to be fulfilled during the present Church age found in the seven parables of Jesus in (Matt. 13:1-52). The third phase is the arrival of the literal kingdom (that got postponed the first time around) established on the earth at the Second Coming of Jesus (Matt. 24:29—chapter 25).
Matthew 3:3 & Isaiah 40: I find it interesting that one Dispensational author admits that John came to prepare a way for the remnant of Israel to be saved,
“John was thus a voice of one calling in the desert to prepare a remnant to receive the Messiah.”[19] If the mission was to prepare a way of salvation for the “remnant” of Jews (and thus not every Jew or a majority of Jews had to accept Christ), with the kingdom being “at hand,” then there was no need to have the kingdom postponed or delayed since the NT develops that a remnant of Jews (along with the Gentile inclusion) was indeed saved.
There is really no exegetical work done by Dispensationalists trying to examine the context of the passage John references in Isaiah 40 as being salvation 40:2 and judgment 40:6-7, 10 and how that relates to the imminent judgment scene John is developing within the immediate context.
Matthew 3:7: Some Progressive Dispensationalists such as John MacArthur, have given lip service to the “wrath [about to] come” in 3:7 as “possibly” being fulfilled in AD 70, but if so, only in a partial or typological way allegedly awaiting the ultimate fulfillment of God pouring out His wrath at Christ’s future (to us) Second Coming.[20] Matthew 3:10: In regards to God having already laid His ax at Israel’s tree some see it as a judgment upon Jerusalem, but don’t want to really reference it to AD 70 and the imminence that saturates the rest of Matthew 3:
“Judaism was in danger of being removed. Unless there was productive fruit in keeping with repentance (v. 8), God would remove the tree [tree=Judaism=Israel].”[21] Why are these Dispensational commentators afraid to point out that in AD 70 the kingdom would in fact be “taken” from Israel and “given” to the “nation” of the Church (Matt. 21:43-45)? Therefore, when the “at hand kingdom” would come in AD 70, the OC kingdom would be judged (with the kingdom being taken from her – the removing of her tree – ie. gather and burn up the chaff) and the remnant would experience salvation through their repentance and be “given” the kingdom (ie. gather His wheat into the barn).
However, MacArthur of 3:10 refreshingly and boldly writes,
“Irreversible judgment was imminent”[22] But he fails miserably to exegetically connect this “irreversible imminence” of (v. 10) with the immediate contexts of (verses 2, 7), and gives vague and shallow connections of v. 10) to that of (vss. 11-12).
Matthew 3:11-12: MacArthur does write concerning the baptism of fire,
“Because fire is used throughout this context as a means of judgment (vv. 10, 12), this must speak of a baptism of judgment upon the unrepentant.”[23] Here he connects the baptism of fire in (v. 11) with the “irreversible judgment [that] was imminent” of (v. 10), and with being burned up with unquenchable fire” in (12). But because being burned up with unquenchable fire for his theology means something that is connected with a far distant judgment at the end of world history — at best he can only make a thematic connection with the fiery judgments and not an actual and exegetical one connecting them as the same “imminent” judgment.
Louis Barbieri however does connect this baptism of fire with the Second Coming of Jesus in Malachi 3:
“Those who reject Him (chaff) would be judged and cast into eternal unquenchable fire (cf. Mal. 4:1).”[24] Matthew 11:10-15; 17:11-13: There seems to be a denial among Dispensationalists when it comes to Jesus’ teaching that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of Elijah’s coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord could occur (cf. Mal. 4:1-5). Most seem to think that this is fulfilled when allegedly Elijah will come in our future in fulfillment of Revelation 11. But John (as Elijah) came to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming and judgment (Mal. 3:1-2; Mal. 4:1-5; Isa. 40:3-7, 10). Dispensationalists are also exegetically impotent to connect the imminence throughout Matthew 3 with the imminence in the NT concerning the Second Coming of Jesus that John came to prepare the way for.
Weakness of this view
First, there is NO exegetical evidence whatsoever that John the Baptist nor Jesus, was ever offering a literal earthly kingdom that was “at hand.” A literal earthly kingdom was offered to Jesus and He clearly rejected it and went on further to develop that His kingdom was spiritual (cf. John 6). Everywhere Jesus describes His kingdom throughout the gospels, it is always described as a spiritual (spiritual water, bread, life, etc…) kingdom that is “not of this world” and when it would come it would not be visible, but would be realized “within.” The rest of the NT develops a spiritual kingdom never a literal or earthly one.
Secondly, there is NO exegetical evidence anywhere in the teachings of Jesus in the gospels or in the NT authors, that the kingdom John the Baptist and Jesus said was “at hand” got “delayed” or “postponed” thousands of years. Not a single verse!
Thirdly, it is the NT’s teaching that Christ’s “rejection” (ie. His death and resurrection) actually established the “already” aspect to Israel’s OT promises concerning the Davidic kingdom – hardly “postponing” them.
Fourthly, exegetically speaking the imminent “at hand” aspect of the Kingdom is connected to an “about to” come “wrath” or “irreversible imminent” eschatological harvest judgment that would result in removing Israel (the trees) (vss. 10, 12). There is really no exegetical work at all being done to harmonize all four of these imminent time statements to the harvest judgment and salvation imminently coming in AD 70.
Fifthly, Dispensationalism admits that John was coming to prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming (“the day of His coming” / “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”) in a fiery judgment as predicted by Malachi 3:2-5/4:1-5/Isa. 40:3-4, 10/=Matthew 3:3, 10-12. However, men like MacArthur will not connect the exegetical dots in our passage let alone in the rest of the NT which teaches that the “Irreversible judgment [that] was imminent” in John’s day to his first century audience is the Second Coming event of which John came to prepare the way of – for that same first century audience!
Sixthly, Dispensationalism constantly ridicules Covenant Theology and Preterism for pointing out that the OT and NT uses highly apocalyptic/symbolic/metaphoric language in prophetic literature (not literal), and clearly John did not come to prepare a literal highway for Jesus to enter this literal kingdom on earth that they have imagined He was teaching in the book of Dispensationalism 7:7-77 apparently.
Seventh, If John came to prepare a way for the “remnant” of Israel to be saved in order for the kingdom and Christ’s Second Coming could be realized, then there was no reason to have the kingdom “postponed” because a “remnant” was saved prior to Christ coming in the judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.
Eighth, There is nothing but pure eisegesis and Dispensational dogma that separates John’s coming harvest judgment and salvation in Matthew 3 related to the kingdom’s arrival and what Jesus will teach on the same subject matter in Matthew 13.
This view has to read into the text (eisegesis) an offer of an alleged earthly/literal kingdom that is nowhere found here or anywhere else in the NT, a “delay” or “postponement” theory that is nowhere found here or anywhere else in the NT, and is confused and impotent on how all four imminent AD 70 references or images (vss. 2, 7, 10-12) harmonize within Matthew 3 let alone how the rest of the NT harmonizes them!
Strengths of this view
Dispensationalism is forced to at least accept that “at hand” is a genuinely imminent time statement for the first century audience John is addressing. But unfortunately as we will see later, when it comes to the kingdom being “at hand” associated with Christ’s Second Coming, “at hand” takes on a totally different meaning for the same first century audience.
Dispensationalism does accept that the coming of Christ in judgment found in Malachi 3-4 is the Second Coming event and not just “a” minor AD 70 coming (per Partial Preterism).
We can find points of agreement that the kingdom was genuinely “at hand” (but not “postponed”) and that Matthew 3:10-12 refers to the Second Coming of Christ to bring about an “Irreversible judgment [that] was imminent.” No debate on those points.
Amillennialism
Matthew 3:2: Concerning the kingdom being “at hand,” Amillennialism emphasizes the spiritual nature of the kingdom (over against the Premillennial Dispensational view) and that the kingdom’s “already” aspect was present or would imminently be present – realized in the heart, “bearing forth fruit” with their “repentance.” For example William Hendricksen writes,
“…heaven’s (ie. God’s) reign in the hearts and lives of men would begin to assert itself far more powerfully than ever before, was about to begin; in a sense, had even now arrived. Great blessings were in store for all those who, by sovereign grace, would confess and forsake their sins and would begin to live to God’s glory.”[25] Matthew 3:3 & Isaiah 40: Hendriksen sees Isaiah 40:3-5 as typologically being fulfilled when the remnant of Israel came out of the wilderness captivity of Babylon and back into the Promised Land through the restoration and preparing the way of God through Ezra and Nehemiah’s ministries. As far as how John prepares the way, he writes,
“…to prepare the way of the Lord, that is, by God’s grace and power to effect a complete change of mind and heart (see verse 2). This implies that they must make straight his paths, meaning that they must provide the Lord with a ready access into their hearts and lives. They must make straight whatever was crooked, not in line with God’s holy will. They must clear away all the obstacles which they had thrown into his path; such obstructions as self-righteousness and smug complacency (“We have Abraham as our father,” verse 9), greed, cruelty, slander, etc. (Luke 3:13, 14).
It is evident that, both in Isaiah and in John’s preaching as recorded by Matthew, “the wilderness” through which a path must be made ready for the Lord is in the final analysis the people’s heart, inclined to all evil. Though the literal meaning is not absent, it is subsumed into the figurative. The root idea is indeed the actual desert. “But the very sight of the [literal] wilderness must have had a powerful effect on stupid and hardened men, leading them to perceive that they were in a state of death, and to accept the promise of salvation that had been held out to them” (John Calvin on Matt. 3:3).”[26] So as one can see the Amillennialist is limited in his exegesis of an “at hand” kingdom only addressing its internal affects within the heart and not really dealing with imminent aspects of the kingdom’s arrival in the eschatological areas that are developed throughout the immediate context. Nor is there any discussion that within the context of Isaiah 40:3-5 the Second Coming is mentioned as a part of the way that is being prepared.
Matthew 3:7: In trying to address the “approaching wrath,” Hendriksen does not deal with the Greek word mello here and how it is used throughout Matthew’s gospel. If he were, he would translate it as the wrath that was “about to be” poured out upon the hypocrites and “Brood of vipers” to whom John is addressing. He does however connect this “wrath” with the Second Coming of Christ:
“…the final outpouring of this wrath is reserved for the future (Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9; Rev. 14:10).
“…this final manifestation of wrath (Zeph. 1:15; 2:2) is connected with the (second) coming of the Messiah (Mal. 3:2, 3; 4:1, 5).[27] Matthew 3:10: As usual futurists such as Hendriksen do not know how to deal with NT imminence and throw everything they can at it. Everything from the old viewing things from the two mountain tops and “prophetic foreshortening” to pointing out that AD 70 could be in view in that it was a near event. Note the Amillennialist’s struggle with John’s imminent eschatology and that of the NT’s in general:
“Judgment is at hand. The axe lies right in front of (πρός) or, as we would say, “at” the root, with sinister intent, ready to hew down one tree after another. Right now, therefore, is the proper moment to repent and to believe. In this connection see also Ps. 95:7, 8; Isa. 55:6; Luke 13:7, 9; 17:32; John 15:6; Rom. 13:11; 2 Cor. 6:2; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 1:3. Continued: … every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into fire. The question might be asked, “But was the day of the final manifestation of God’s wrath upon the wicked actually that close? Is it not true that many centuries have passed by since the Baptist spoke these words, and still the Lord has not returned for judgment?” The following facts should be borne in mind:
First, John reminds one of the Old Testament prophet who, in speaking about the last days or the Messianic age would at times look upon the future as a traveler does on a distant mountain range. He fancies that one mountain top rises up right behind the other, when in reality the two are miles apart. The two comings of Christ are viewed as if they were one. Thus we read “A shoot shall come forth out of the stock of Jesse … and he shall smite the earth” (Isa. 11:1–4). “Jehovah has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and … the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa. 61:1, 2). “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.… The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah arrives” (Joel 2:28–31). Cf. Mal. 3:1, 2. This has been called “prophetic foreshortening.”
Secondly, Jerusalem’s fall (a.d. 70) was drawing perilously near, and foreshadowed the final judgment.
Thirdly, impenitence has a tendency of hardening a person, so that often he is left in his present lost condition. Without genuine repentance death and the judgment are for him irrevocable and “at the door.”
Fourthly, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
Fifthly, as the references given above (p. 205, beginning with Ps. 95:7, 8) indicate, John was by no means the only one who emphasized the imminence of the judgment and/or the need of becoming converted right now. Therefore, if on this score we find fault with the Baptist we would also have to blame the psalmists, the prophets, the apostles, and even the Lord himself! Surely, no true believer is ready to do this.
Sixthly, all this does not necessarily mean that the Baptist himself always saw the present and the future in true perspective. See on 11:1–3. It only means that the Holy Spirit guided him so that in his actual preaching as here recorded he had a perfect right to say what he said.
The “fire” into which the unfruitful trees are cast is evidently a symbol of the final outpouring of God’s wrath upon the wicked. See also Mal. 4:1; Matt. 13:40; John 15:6. Jesus spoke about “the Gehenna of fire” (Matt. 5:22, 29; 18:9; Mark 9:47). This fire is unquenchable (Matt. 3:12; 18:8; Mark 9:43; Luke 3:17). The point is not merely that there is always a fire burning in Gehenna but that God burns the wicked with unquenchable fire, the fire that has been prepared for them as well as for the devil and his angels (Matt. 3:12; 25:41).[28] Hendriksen is throwing everything he can at John the Baptist’s teaching and how the NT develops imminence hoping that something will stick! If imminence is to be taken literally here, then AD 70 would fulfill this, but only in “foreshadowing” way. Why? Because Hendriksen assumes that this wrath associated with the Second Coming must be future and an world of history kind of event. Then on the other extreme he appeals to 2 Peter 3:8 and interprets it in such a way that imminence doesn’t have to be interpreted literally at all. So in this approach when Peter says “the end of all things is at hand” – it really didn’t communicate imminence to Peter’s first century audience because “at hand” could really mean thousands and thousands of years. Concerning his two mountain peaks illustration – the two were viewed to take place imminently together, because Jesus places his rejection in His first coming and His Second Coming to take place within the same AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 17:25/Luke 21:27-32). Since they both take place within the same “this generation” time frame, NT imminence can be interpreted literally and refer to Christ coming in the judgment upon Jerusalem and thus God pouring out His wrath upon those that had rejected His Son.
What is helpful from Amillennialists such as William Hendriksen is that they seem to recognize that John’s eschatology here is a microcosm of the rest of the NT’s eschatology. Therefore, how you interpret one is how you must interpret the other. Of course I have no disagreement on this point.
Matthew 3:11: In regards to what the baptism of fire is, Amillennialists tend to agree with the Full Preterist that this is indeed referring to the Second Coming:
“Nevertheless, it would appear from the context (both before and after; see verses 10 and 12) and from Joel’s Pentecost prophecy (Joel 2:30; cf. Acts 2:19), considered in its context (see Joel 2:31), that the ultimate fulfilment of the Baptist’s words awaits Christ’s glorious return to cleanse the earth with fire (2 Peter 3:7, 12; cf. Mal. 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:8).[29] Matthew 3:12: Simon Kistemaker seems to understand that John’s end time harvest metaphors here in 3:12 answer to the same end time harvest scene elsewhere in Matthew’s Gospel in the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 13:
“Throughout the Gospel of Matthew the theme of separation and judgment unfolds. The wheat is gathered into the barn, but the chaff is burned up with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:12); the weeds are separated from the wheat, and tied into bundles and burned, while the wheat is gathered into the barn (Matt. 13:30).”[30] As far as the threshing floor judgment, Hendriksen correctly connects it with the Second Coming,
Thus also Christ at his return will thoroughly clear the area where the judgment will take place. No one will escape detection.[31] Of the Christians or “grain” being gathered into the barn or kingdom, Hendriksen connects that with Christians inheriting the New Heaven and Earth in 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 at Christ’s Second Coming. And the same time frame is given for the unbelievers or “chaff” – they are thrown into the Lake of Fire for eternal punishment at Christ’s Second Coming (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).[32] After all this is the eschatological “not yet” to the kingdom promises.
Weaknesses of this view
It fails to honor the context in that the “at hand” of the kingdom is not just a spiritual “in the heart” “already” aspect to the kingdom, but includes the kingdom’s imminent “not yet” salvation and judgment motif throughout the passage. This is further evidenced in that it is the Second Coming that John was to prepare the way for in Isaiah 40:3-5, 10 and Malachi 3 and 4.
There is no study on mello in 3:7 which should be translated as a wrath that was “about to” be poured out upon those that would not repent.
It fails to understand or develop NT imminence in any kind of Biblical or consistent way.
Strengths of this view
There is some attempt to find the eschatological imminence or kingdom “not yet” promises being fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment – but not consistently.
The ax laid at the tree and the coming baptism of fire are correctly identified with the Second Coming event as predicted in Malachi 3 and 4.
Unlike Dispensationalism, there are not two different kingdoms or phases of the kingdom – one for Israel and another for the Church in which they separate the salvation and judgment harvest motifs here in Matthew 3 from Jesus’ parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13. Amillennialism seems to equate the two as the same end time harvest event.
This position correctly sees the eschatology of John the Baptist here to be a microcosm of the NT’s eschatology as a whole. Therefore, its struggle with John’s imminence here is its struggle with NT imminence.
Partial Preterism
Matthew 3:2-3: In regards to the manifestation of the kingdom being at hand John Lightfoot writes,
“1. The exhibition and manifestation of the Messias, Matt. 12:28; “But if I, by the finger of God, cast out devils, the kingdom of God is come upon you:” that is, ‘Hence is the manifestation of the Messias.’ See John 3:3, 12:13, &c. 2. The resurrection of Christ; death, hell, Satan, being conquered: whence is a most evident manifestation that he is that ‘eternal King,’ &c.: see Matt. 26:29, Rom. 1:4. 3. His vengeance upon the Jewish nation, his most implacable enemies: this is another, and most eminent manifestation of him: see Matt. 16:28, 19:28. 4. His dominion by the sceptre of the gospel among the Gentiles, Matt. 21:43. In this place which is before us it points out the exhibition and revelation of the Messias.[33] Matthew 3:7: John Lightfoot is on target in identifying this coming wrath to AD 70,
“…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.
The receiving of John’s baptism signed and fenced those that received it from the ruin that was just coming. To this belongs that of St. Peter, Epist. 1. ch. 3:20, 21: in that manner as Noah and his sons were by water delivered from the flood, “so also baptism now, the antitype of that type, saveth us” from the deluge of divine indignation, which in a short time is to overflow the Jewish nation. Think here, if those that came to baptism brought not their little ones with them to baptism: when, by the plain words of the Baptist, those that are baptized are said to “fly from the wrath to come?” that is, ‘the wrath of God,’ that was not long hence to destroy the nation by a most sad overthrow.”[34] Matthew 3:10-12: Gentry concedes a Preterist interpretation of 3:10-12,
“He [John] then warns just before Christ’s ministry begins that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees. (3:10) and that “He who is coming” has a “winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (3:12). This anticipates AD 70.”[35] R.C. Sproul,
“The image of the axe does not indicate that the woodsman is merely thinking about cutting down a tree or that he has merely begun the task by striking at the outer bark. The image is that the task is nearly complete. The axe has already penetrated to the core of the tree, hinting that one more decisive stroke will make it fall.
The fan refers to the winnowing fork used by a farmer to separate the wheat from the chaff. The farmer is not heading to his barn to get the fan. It is already in his hand and he is about to begin the winnowing.”[36] Matthew 11:10-14: Gentry writes of Matthew 11:14/Malachi 3-4,
“In Matthew 11:14 Christ declares John the Baptist the fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah’s return. When we read of this in Mal 3-4 we discover Christ will come to judge Israel.”[37] Weaknesses of this view
Unlike the Amillennial view, the weaknesses of this view is in its failure to harmonize and use the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation concerning the “great and dreadful day of the Lord,” the imminent coming judgment and wrath whereby the wicked are thrown into “unquenchable fire” (all being fulfilled in AD 70) with the rest of the NT’s teaching on these eschatological topics. There isn’t even any attempt to harmonize the coming harvest separation and judgment of Matthew 3 with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 13.
Strengths of this view
Unlike the Amillennial view, the strength of this view is that it seeks to take the imminence throughout Matthew 3:2-12 seriously and finds its fulfillment in the fall of Jerusalem.
Progressive Partial Preterism
Matthew 3:2-12: In response to the kind of vague comments Amillennialists give about a pure inward aspect of the kingdoms arrival and a call for repentance throughout all ages, Russell makes the point that the repentance in our passage is urgent for a specific immediate audience (the Jews) concerning a specific coming national judgment,
“These warnings of John the Baptist are not the vague and indefinite exhortations to repentance, addressed to men in all ages, which they are sometimes assumed to be; they are urgent, burning words, having a specific and present bearing upon the then existing generation, the living men to whom he brought the message of God. The Jewish nation was now upon its last trial; the second Elijah had come as the precursor of ‘the great and dreadful day of the Lord:’ if they rejected his warnings, the doom predicted by Malachi world surely and speedily follow; “I will come and smite the land with a curse.’ Nothing can be more obvious than that the catastrophe to which John alludes is particular, national, local, and imminent, and history tells us that within the period of the generation that listened to his warning cry, ‘the wrath came upon them to the uttermost.’”[38] Russell is also helpful in demonstrating that although the “way” John is called upon to “prepare” here in Matthew 3:3 is found in Isaiah 40, we still see the “way” of judgment found in Malachi 3-4 (as is quoted in Matt. 11:10) within our passage,
“It is impossible not to be struck with the correspondence between the language of the Baptist and that of Malachi. As Hengstenberg observes: ‘The prophecy of Malacki is throughout the text upon which John comments.’ In both, the coming of the Lord is described as a day of wrath; both speak of His coming with fire to purify and try, with fire to burn and consume. Both speak of a time of discrimination and separation between the righteous and the wicked, the gold and dross, the wheat and chaff; and both speak of the utter destruction of the chaff, or stubble, with unquenchable fire. These are not fortuitous resemblances: the two predictions are the counterpart one of the other, and can only refer to the self-same event, the same ‘day of the lord,’ the same coming judgment.”[39] Russell also does a great job of using the analogy of Scripture principle of interpreting scripture when he connects the Matthew 3:2-12 with that of the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:
“It is indeed surprising that expositors should failed to recognize in these solemn predictions the reproduction and reiteration of the words of Malachi and of John the Baptist. Here we find the same final separation between the righteous and the wicked; the same purging of the floor; the same gathering of the wheat into the garner; the same burning of the chaff [tares, stubble] in the fire. Can there be no doubt that it is to the same act of judgment, the same period of time, the same historical event, that Malachi, John, and our Lord refer?”[40] Weaknesses of this view
Russell should have spent some time on the use of mello in Matthew 3:7 to add strength to his case on imminence throughout Matthew 3.
Although doing a good job on showing how the context of Malachi 3-4 can be seen ever here in Matthew 3, he could have spent some time developing the context of Isaiah 40 of which John specifically references to make a case for an AD 70 judgment scene.
Russell’s view of a partial and literal “rapture” of Christians during the events of AD 67-70 at Christ’s parousia I believe is gravely mistaken and has some problems even here at the outset. Since he equates the gathering of Matthew 3 with Matthew 13, we should not that the tares are “gathered” at the same time as the wheat (actually they are gathered first). So if the eschatological “gathering” within John and Jesus’ teaching throughout Matthew’s gospel refers to the same event, then this would require that the wicked tares were gathered/raptured in the same way the righteous wheat were gathered/raptured. There is no discussion of this serious problem for Russell’s view and even modern day Progressive Partial Preterists that hold to his literal rapture theory taking place in AD 70.
Strengths of this view
As previously noted, Russell is strong in pointing out John’s references to Malachi here in Matthew 3 – and not just in Matthew 11.
His refutation of an Amillennial type general repentance spanning thousands of years in the kingdom being “at hand” is excellent when he points the reader to stay within the text itself arguing for a local, national, and imminence throughout Matthew 3 which exegetically points us to a first century audience being called to repentance for a particular national judgment coming in AD 70.
His appeals that Jesus is simply “reiterating” and “reproducing” the same separating harvest and fiery salvation and judgment scene as that of Malachi and John are excellent (Matt. 3=Matt. 13). We saw this point made by Kistemaker, but here we have more exegetical evidence demonstrating that both were fulfilled to close the OC age in AD 70 and are not referring to an end of the planet earth or history events.

MATTHEW 24-25

Virtually every eschatological system, scholar or commentary will tell you that whatever one’s interpretation of the Olivet Discourse (OD) is, it will dictate your eschatological views throughout the rest of the NT. Nowhere else in the gospels is Jesus’ teaching so clearly laid out concerning all of the main eschatological events: His coming/parousia, the end of the age, the passing of heaven and earth, the end of the age gathering (ie. the resurrection and judgment of the dead), and the end time signs marking the genuine nearness of these events. The rest of the NT is simply a reiteration on the time frame and nature of these eschatological events. D.A Carson has correctly pointed out that whatever your eschatological views are in interpreting Matthew 24-25, will be your views of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, the book of Revelation, and indeed will set the pattern for the church’s understanding of eschatology throughout the rest of the NT:
“…the discourse itself is undoubtedly a source for the Thessalonian Epistles (cf. G. Henry Waterman, “The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” JETS 18 [1975]: 105–13; David Wenham, “Paul and the Synoptic Apocalypse,” France and Wenham, 2:345–75) and Revelation (cf. Gregory Kimball Beale, “The Use of Daniel in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and in the Revelation of St. John” [Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University, 1980], pp. 260–64, and the literature cited there). If so, then we may say that Jesus himself sets the pattern for the church’s eschatology.”[41] And yet because various futurist systems have been imposed upon the OD, it has perplexed many throughout Church history as Amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger admits while quoting Carson,
“For a number of reasons, the Olivet Discourse is one of the most difficult and disputed passages in the whole New Testament. As D.A. Carson notes, “Few chapters of the Bible have called forth more disagreement among interpreters than Matthew 24 and its parallels in Mark 13 and Luke 21. The history of the interpretation of this passage is immensely complex.” How one interprets this important text will go a long way in determining one’s view of the millennial age pre, a, or post.”[42] I could multiply quotes like these from virtually every eschatological system and view being taught today. Other than the agreement on the importance of giving an accurate exegesis of the OD because it will affect ones eschatology throughout the rest of the NT on the time and nature of fulfillment, there isn’t much agreement after that. And I will argue it is because futurists have been building upon a false and faulty foundation when approaching it.
By way of exegesis, I will be following Matthew 24-25 as a guide, but at points will be addressing the synoptic parallels found in Mark 13 and Luke 21 when relevant.
Four Main Views
As I give an in-depth exegesis of the OD, I will be interacting with four main eschatological views or groups. There may be some slight differences within each of these groups, but for the most part my descriptions are accurate. Therefore, before beginning our exegesis it will help the reader to get a bird’s eye view of them and their approaches to or Lord’s discourse on the last things. I will also give the strengths and weakness of each view.
Premillennial Dispensationalism
While Premillennialism has been around throughout Church history for a long time, Premillennial Dispensationalism has not – being around roughly for only about 150 years. Although this eschatological system has only been around for such a brief period, it still dominates the radio and television airwaves and has a large following. Because of this, I will be dealing mostly with the Dispensational aspect within Premillennialism in this work.
Weaknesses
As we will see later, this view (along with the majority of futurist views) is doomed to failure from the very beginning because it assumes that the disciples were “confused” in associating the destruction of the Temple, end of the age, and coming of the Son of Man to take place within the same time frame.
Another error this view teaches is that the “end of the age” or “the end” in the discourse is referring to the end of the planet or the end of the New Covenant Christian age.
It tends to teach that the signs in the discourse are being fulfilled right before our very eyes in the news and thus Jesus’ “rapture” for the Church could be an anytime event for us.
Since there is a radical distinction between the Church and Israel in this system with our current age being the Church age with Israel’s kingdom promises following it, the surrounding of Jerusalem or the desolation of the Temple in this system is not the Temple that Jesus and the disciples are actually looking at and discussing, but rather a future one yet to be rebuilt. Therefore, there is always excitement within this group and a twisting of OT and NT passages to fit an alleged “fulfillment” of Israel becoming a nation in 1948 and the talk of them re-building the Temple.
The Great Tribulation is seen as a future global event – not within Jesus’ contemporary generation or a local event.
Since the “end of the age” is understood within this view to be an end of world history event, the de-creation in verses 29, 35 likewise tend to be understood as referring to a literal de-creation or re-creation of planet earth events.
Although it is admitted by some of their leading theologians that “this generation” is referring to the AD 30 – AD 70 generation everywhere else by Jesus, it believes Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:34 is the exception. This automatically raises a red flag to any student of hermeneutics.
Jesus’ teaching that all these things would be fulfilled in a “this generation” time period, is interpreted as “the Jewish race will not pass away until all these things will be fulfilled.” Or another view is that the generation that is alive to see these end time signs be fulfilled is the generation that will witness the rapture and or then his return. Since the alleged TV “prophecy experts” of this view believe we have witnessed most if not all of these signs, many have taught that it is our generation that Jesus is addressing in the OD, or the generation that witnessed the “super-sign” of Israel becoming a nation in 1948.
It is also relevant to point out that this view believes in two comings of Christ. First, there is the “secret rapture” coming of Jesus “for” the Church, then there is the actual Second Coming of Jesus “with the Church” some seven years later to establish the kingdom by means of ruling on earth during a literal thousand year millennial period.
And while this view would agree that whatever your view of the OD is, it will dictate your views of these events throughout the rest of the NT – we can’t find a secret rapture coming then a Second Coming in the OD. Nor can we find any teaching on a literal earthly kingdom whereby Jesus rules on the earth for a thousand years etc…. Nor do we find any teaching on a judgment and resurrection of the dead prior to the thousand years and then one following the thousand years mentioned by Jesus in the OD or anywhere in the teachings of Jesus.
Strengths
The only strength that I can see with this interpretation of the OD is that it does interpret the coming of the Son of Man consistently through Matthew 24-25 as the actual Second Coming event. I will not take issue with that.
Classic Amillennialism
The classic Amillennial view is probably the most popular view throughout Church history. It has been held by the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformed Church. Although some Amillialists have held to a Partial Preterist interpretation of some of these eschatological events in the OD, the vast majority have not – especially when it comes to the coming of the Son of Man as being one future event. Therefore, it is this later version that I will address in this book.
Weaknesses
Like the previous view, it assumes that the disciples were “confused” in associating the destruction of the Temple, end of the age, and coming of the Son of Man to take place within the same time frame.
Like the Premillennial Dispensational view, its proponents believe the “end of the age” or “the end” in the discourse is referring to the end of the planet or the end of the New Covenant Christian age.
It tends to erratically chop up the Discourse believing some events refer to AD 70 while others are future. It separates the surrounding of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 from the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds – which is the Second Coming to take place at the end of the New Covenant Christian age to close world history. I say this view “erratically chops up” the discourse because the disciples connect all the events to be fulfilled together and Jesus in answering their question(s) does as well (after discussing all these events) when He says, “Most assuredly, this generation will by no means pass away until all these things are fulfilled.” Notice he does not say “some of these things” would be fulfilled in AD 70 while others would not – but “all these things.”
Therefore, it will become very apparent as we make our way through the OD that this view cannot deal with Jesus’ teaching that His coming would take place within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and thus its attempts to deal with NT imminence will also fall short of honoring God’s Word.
Strengths
Similar to the Premillennial Dispensational view, the classic Amillennial position consistently sees the coming of the Son of Man throughout the discourse as Jesus’ actual Second Coming. Unlike Premillennial Dispensationalism, it is a very simple view in that when the ONE Second Coming of Jesus takes place at the end of the age, the de-creation (and by implication the new arrives), and the judgment and resurrection of the dead occurs. And of course the rest of the NT follows this pattern.
Partial Preterism & Progressive Partial Preterism
Most Partial Preterists and Progressive Partial Preterists today and throughout Church history have been Postmillennialists. Why? Well, in order for their “optimistic” “eschatology of victory” to take place (that is the Christianization of every nation on planet earth before the Second Coming takes place), it needs to get some of the negative things for the Church to be fulfilled in the past (preterism). Therefore, this view arbitrarily uses the preterist hermeneutic to get the Great Tribulation, severe persecutions from the beast, Man of Sin, apostasy, etc…, in the past so that it can promote Postmillennialism.
Partial Preterism
Weaknesses
As the previous two views have errored, so too does this one when it assumes from the very beginning that the disciples were “confused” in associating the destruction of the Temple, end of the age, and coming of the Son of Man to take place together or within Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time frame.
Like the first two views outlined above, many Partial Preterist believe that the “end of the age” in the OD is referring to the end of world history or the end of the Christian age. This too is a major exegetical weakness of this position.
Strengths
Some of the things this view has going for it on an exegetical level is that it views all of the signs elaborated by Jesus to be fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” inspired time period. Therefore, the Great Tribulation and the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies and the desolation of the Temple are also events fulfilled by AD 70.
The de-creation in Matthew 24:29 is not literal but rather prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language referring to the end of Israel’s Old Covenant age or world in AD 70.
The coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds in Matthew 24:27, 30 is also prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language referring to Christ’s coming in judgment upon Jerusalem through the Roman armies in AD 70 – one of its main strengths.
“This generation” is interpreted as it is everywhere else in the gospels and that is Jesus’ contemporary AD 30 – AD 70 generation – thus “a” coming of Jesus, the signs, and the stars falling from the heavens etc…, were fulfilled within this inspired time frame. Unfortunately for this view, they do not include “the end of the age” as apart of “all these things” are fulfilled within that contemporary generation and so they need to insert that subject in Matthew 24:
Matthew 24:35-36 allegedly marks a division in the OD. At this point Jesus begins addressing His actual Second Coming and “end of the age” — attended by the literal de-creation of “heaven and earth” (and by implication the new arrives). In this section the judgment and resurrection of the dead follow as well.
Some of the positives of this view is that it tries to honor Jesus’ time frame claiming that most of verses 3-34 were fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.” In doing so, it also honors the use of OT prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language. Since Christ’s parousia and de-creation (and implied new creation) took place in AD 70, it also tries to honor most of the NT’s imminence passages.
The negatives to this view is that nowhere previous to Matthew 24-25 or after, do we find Jesus teaching on TWO comings to end TWO end of the age(s). There is only one, and it is said to take place within the lifetime of His first century audience (cf. Matt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 26:64) – ie. by AD 70. Therefore, the disciples in the OD do not ask about TWO comings of Christ. As I will develop later, their arguments to support TWO comings and two sections of the OD will not hold water. Their arguments that the OD teaches two comings is simply read into the text as is their theory that the rest of the NT teaches this two comings idea.
Progressive Partial Preterism
This view still falls within the realm of “Partial Preterism,” but since it seeks to try and solve some of the exegetical problems I have briefly addressed above within Partial Preterism, and at the same time has moved closer and closer to Full Preterism over the years, I have termed it “Progressive” Partial Preterism. Progressive Partial Preterists are fond of pointing out how Progressive Dispensationalism has “crossed certain lines” in their interpretations of key passages which undermine the Dispensational system. And if consistently played out (they argue) Progressive Dispensationalism should lead their theologians and students to Covenant Theology and or Reformed Eschatology. I find this ironic since Progressive Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar are no longer holding to a two parousia(s)/coming(s) theory of Jesus in Matthew 24-25 – this has undermined his Partial Preterism and if consistently played out should lead him and his readers into Full Preterism. In fact this has been the case for me and many other students that have read his materials.
I will be classifying J. Stuart Russell’s position as Progressive Partial Preterism because although he takes the Second Coming taking place in AD 70, he argued that we are still in the millennium and therefore the millennium of Revelation 20 has not been fulfilled. This is neither exegetical nor can it be considered Full Preterism. His view of a partial literal rapture is neither exegetical nor consistent with Full Preterisms understanding of a spiritual fulfillment of the Kingdom promises being realized “within” in AD 70.
Strengths
Unlike the previous three views, Progressive Partial Preterism does not assume that the disciples were confused in associating the coming of Christ in the OD with the destruction of the Temple and end of the age. This is an exegetical strength and refreshing to hear coming from this view.
This leads to another exegetical strength that cannot be found within the previous three as well, “the end of the age” or “the end” in the OD both are addressing the end of the Old Covenant age and not the end of the planet earth or the end of the New Covenant Christian age.
Like the traditional Partial Preterist view, all of the signs, the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies and the desolation of the Temple, the Great Tribulation and wrath, the de-creation in Matthew 24:29 and coming of Christ in verses 27, 30 are discussing prophetic, apocalyptic, and symbolic language addressing the end of Israel’s Old Covenant age in AD 70. But unlike other Partial Preterists, there are no TWO parousia(s)/coming(s) of Christ or two sections in the OD for this group. The coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 is Christ coming in the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70. These are definitely strengths of this view and hopefully other Partial Preterists will follow.
Weaknesses
However, the exegetical weaknesses of this view should be clear enough in that it is now forced to teach that Jesus never discussed His actual Second Coming in Matthew, Mark and Luke and that the teaching on the Second Coming is really more of a doctrine that the Apostle Paul was given to develop (thus separating Jesus’ eschatology from Paul’s). This is a bizarre position to take to say the least. Because of this, some within this group don’t know if the NT teaches two comings of Christ or one with different manifestations/fulfillments (Some trying to call this “Realized Preterism”). Apparently it is so secret and confusing, that it has yet to be fully developed or “realized” in print or in any systematic way. It is attempting to fix on the one hand some of the exegetical problems within traditional Partial Preterism, while on the other, remain creedal so as to not lose their ministries, orthodox publishing contracts, or get excommunicated from their creedal churches (which is also the tightrope that traditional Partial Preterism has sought to walk).
Full Preterism
I will be arguing for the Full Preterist view of the OD which is none other than the organic development (or “Reformed and always reforming”) of the Classic Amillennial view and that of the Partial Preterist views.
A Synthesis of the Classic Amillennial & Progressive Partial Preterist Views
The disciples were not wrong in associating the destruction of the Temple with Christ’s coming and the end of the age (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The “end of the “age” or “the end” is referring to the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Progressive Partial Preterism).
All of the signs, the Great Tribulation, desolation of Jerusalem and Temple (wrath poured out upon the land) were local (not global events) fulfilled by AD 70 (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The “end of the age” and de-creation (and by implication the arriving of the new) are exegetically connect in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and are referring to the passing of Israel’s OC world or age and the arrival of the NC Israel’s world or age in AD 70 (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 is not a literal or bodily return of Jesus on literal clouds, but rather the language of the OT prophets, apocalyptic, symbolic language of Christ coming through the Idumean and Roman armies in judgment upon Jerusalem in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Progressive Partial Preterism).
The coming of the Son of Man throughout Matthew 24-25 is the ONE and actual Second Coming event which takes place at the end of the age and brings about the ONE arrival of the New Creation, judgment and resurrection of the dead (Classic Amillennialism).
The ONE “the parousia/coming” of Christ, de-creation (implied new), and eschatological harvest “gathering” at the end of the age – judgment and resurrection of the dead taught by Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31—chapter 25 (cf. Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3, 7, 13) sets the stage for the timing and nature of fulfillment for the rest of the NT (Classic Amillennialism).

CHAPTER 1

The End of the age

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

“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:1-3).
Virtually all futurist eschatologies begin their exegesis of the OD with a false assumption related to the disciples question in Matthew 24:3. That is they simply assume what they need to prove when they assume that the disciples were “confused” in associating Jesus’ coming and end of the age with the destruction of the temple. Since futurist systems separate these events by thousands of years, and the disciples linked them to be fulfilled altogether, they merely assume the disciples were mistaken and will not concede that it is their systems that are being imposed upon the OD that has created the confusion of this important passage throughout Church history.
Let’s first address each of the four views we will be interacting with and get their own words and views concerning the disciples questions.
Premillennial Dispensationalism
My former Pastor and College President John MacArthur has sought to refute Partial and Full Preterism and writes of the disciples question,
“Whether they fully realized it or not, the disciples were actually raising multiple questions in Matthew 24:3. “When will these things be?” refers to the destruction of the temple and the events surrounding that catastrophe. “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” deals with a larger eschatological subject – the question of how Christ’s victorious coming as Israel’s Messiah fits into the whole prophetic timetable.
As we shall see in chapters to come, Jesus’ answers by no means erased all the mystery from those questions. The interpretation of the Olivet Discourse is no easy undertaking.” [43] Hence according to MacArthur,
“…Christ’s only explicit remarks about the destruction of the temple are those recorded in verse 2, as Jesus and the disciples were departing from the temple (v.1). In the Olivet Discourse itself He makes no clear reference to the events of A.D. 70. His entire reply is an extended answer to the more important question about the signs of His coming and the end of the age. Virtually ignoring their initial question, He said nothing whatsoever about when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur. That is because those events were not really germane to the end of the end of the age. They were merely a foretaste of the greater judgment that would accompany His return, previews of what is to come ultimately.”[44] Please observe that MacArthur is reading into the text statements like Jesus “ignores” their question and does not tell the disciples when the destruction of Jerusalem would occur because it wasn’t really that important!?! The only “mystery” here is how MacArthur can’t see that the OT prophets taught that when the Temple was destroyed and judgment rendered upon Jerusalem was the event that would mark and bear witness of “Christ’s victorious coming as Israel’s Messiah!” The “end” that the disciples are asking about in regards to the destruction of the Temple and the “end” that Jesus discusses throughout the discourse (hardly “ignoring” it!), is found in (Dan. 9:24-27; Dan. 12).
And per MacArthur, allegedly Jesus doesn’t answer their question as to when the destruction of the Temple and judgment upon Jerusalem would take place in the discourse, but wherever it is, it is only a “foretaste” and “previews” what is ultimately to come? It is this kind of eisegesis (reading something into the text that is not there) that has caused the OD to be so confusing for so many. We will explore MacArthur’s double type fulfillment theory more when we get to Luke 21:20-22.
In a multi-authored book designed to refute both Partial and Full Preterism produced by Dispensationalists Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice we read:
“The disciples’ question in Matthew 24:3 is divided into two parts. The first question relates to the destruction of the Temple, which took place in A.D. 70. The second question, composed of two parts but related to one another, refers to events that are still yet to come. The disciples apparently thought that all three elements – the destruction of the Temple, the sign of Christ’s coming, and the end of the age – would occur at the same time. Yet this is not what Jesus was saying.”[45] And referring to Pentecost and Stanley Toussaint as authorities they quote:
“J. Dwight Pentecost tells us: ‘The questions showed that they had arrived at certain conclusions… To these men Christ’s words concerning the destruction of
Jerusalem was the destruction predicted by Zechariah that would precede the advent of the Messiah. In Jewish eschatology two ages were recognized: the first was this present age, the age in which Israel was waiting for the coming of the Messiah; the second was the age to come, the age in which all of Israel’s covenants would be fulfilled and Israel would enter into her promised blessing as a result of Messiah’s coming.’[46] “Stanley Toussaint echoes this notion: ‘This sequence is so clearly in view that Luke records the question concerning the destruction of Jerusalem only (Luke 21:7). That is, the disciples took the destruction of Jerusalem to be completely eschatological. Therefore, Luke records this question only, as though Jerusalem’s destruction would mark the coming of the King to reign. Bruce is correct when he asserts, ‘The questioners took for granted that all three things went together: destruction of temple, advent of Son of Man, end of the current age“[47] Let’s stop here just for a minute to observe that Dispensationalism is admitting that within Jewish eschatology the first “this age” for them was that of the law and the prophets and the “age to come” was that ushered in by Messiah – the NC age promised to Israel in her Scriptures. This will be important in the next phase of our exegesis when we identify what exactly the “age” is the disciples are asking about! But at this point all that is needed to observe is that like MacArthur, no exegetical evidence is given for this naked assertion that the disciples were confused in linking all three of these events together.
Amillennialism
Amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger writes on the importance of understanding the disciples question as it pertains to a correct understanding of what follows,
“The questions put to Jesus by the disciples are the key to interpreting the passage correctly. For the disciples, the destruction of the temple would be such a momentous event that it must mean the end of the age was at hand.
This assumption is clear from the three questions they asked: When will this happen? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age? The way the questions were phrased, the last two questions are clearly linked, the assumption being that the Parousia or the coming of the Lord and the end of the age occur at the same time. Jesus answered their questions but in doing so made plain that the coming destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem, while connected to God’s judgment on Israel, was not the Parousia nor the end of the age. National Israel would be cut off and her people dispersed to the ends of the earth. But another judgment will occur at the second coming of Jesus Christ, signaling the end of the age. Therefore, Jesus spoke of two judgments: a judgment to come on Israel within a single generation (the events of A.D. 70) and a final judgment at the end of the age (after an indeterminate period of time). What makes the prophecy difficult to interpret is the determination of which events belong to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and which belong to the future.”[48] Riddlebarger is correct in that the key to understanding the OD is to understand the disciples question(s) and how Jesus answers it/them. But again because Kim assumes that the disciples were wrong in connecting the destruction of the Temple to Christ’s coming and the end of the age, this leads to the second error of inserting TWO judgments within the OD that are simply not there – thus making the “prophecy difficult” to interpret.
Partial Preterism
In Kenneth Gentry’s (Partial Preterist) debate with Dispensationalist Thomas Ice, he unfortunately makes the same mistake Ice does regarding the question of the disciples and there alleged confusion or “bewilderment” when he writes,
“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 (24:36-25:46, which is after a “long time,” 25:19).”[49] And joining hands in the fundamental error of Dispensationalist Thomas Ice Gentry writes that the disciples “were wrong” that he can then insert his two sections/two comings of Jesus theory into the discourse hoping no one will notice,
“As House and Ice admit: “It is probably true that the disciples thought of the three events (the destruction of the temple, the second coming, and the end of the age) as one event. But as was almost always the case, they were wrong.” Thus, Christ divided up the events for them. The coming “tribulation” (24:36; 24:34; cp. 1Thess. 2:16) and was to be foreshadowed by certain signs (Matt. 24:4-8). But the Second Advent was to be at “that” far day and hour, and was not to be preceded by particular signs of its nearness, for no man can know it (24:36).”[50] I will address Gentry’s division theory of the discourse at Matthew 24:35-36ff. when we get to those verses, but for now I only want to document his eisegesis of claiming the disciples “were wrong” or “bewildered” in connecting the Temple’s destruction with Christ’s Parousia and the end of the age. Before leaving Gentry’s interpretation here I want to address the examples he gives in Matthew’s gospel of the disciples being confused – which is at least an attempt at some kind of exegesis to support an alleged confusion here in the OD. But as we will see Gentry ends up “proving too much.”
The first text Gentry cites is where the disciples were confused over the “leaven of the Pharisees” (Matt. 16:6-12). Unfortunately for Gentry, the text clearly states that they didn’t understand and thought Jesus was talking about literal bread (v.7) and then Jesus rebukes and corrects them (vss. 8-11). From there Matthew tells us that they then understood (v.12) “then they understood.” So on the first “proof text,” it only proves the Full Preterist case in that when the disciples are confused about something Matthew or Jesus explicitly states it!
The second text Gentry cites is where the disciples are confused over Jesus’ teaching of His impending crucifixion (cf. Matt. 16:21-23). Again, the text clearly explains this confusion in the words of Peter trying to correct Jesus and then the following rebuke of Jesus to Peter in (vss. 22-23). Again, where there is confusion or error Matthew or Jesus clearly points it out.
The third text Gentry cites is concerning the disciples’ confusion over the transfiguration (cf. Matt.17:4-5). Again, the text states their error of seeking to pitch tents for Moses and Elijah in that the Father rebukes them (v. 5). The first part of the disciples confusion was in their seeking the abiding “let’s make tents” of the glory of the OC (symbolized through Moses = law & Elijah = the prophets) along with the everlasting NC (Jesus = NC) (cf. 2 Cor. 3 & 4; we will address Matt. 24:35 being the passing of the OC heaven and earth later). The second thing they were confused on was why Jesus didn’t want them to speak of the vision (vss. 9-10). After all wasn’t Elijah coming in the vision a fulfillment of prophecy they asked (v. 10)? Jesus corrects their understanding of this by pointing out that Elijah’s prophecy had already been fulfilled in John the Baptist (vss. 11-12). Then Matthew as a responsible narrator clearly tells his readers that then they “understood” (v.13). None of this explicit confusion and correction is taking place within Matthew 24:1-3ff.
The fourth text that Gentry gives to buttress his case that the disciples were “bewildered” is in the case of the disciples being rebuked by Jesus when they were seeking to correct those who were brining children to Him (cf. Matt. 19:13-15). Jesus rebuking them makes it clear in the text that the disciples were in error and then He instructs them on the kingdom using the children as an example. Again, the text is clear that an error in understanding is present in the passage.
The fifth example Gentry gives is that of the disciples’ understanding of being great in the kingdom (cf. Matt. 20:20-25). Once again Jesus clearly states, “You do not know what you are asking,” (v. 22). Then He proceeds to instruct them that there can be no crown in the kingdom without suffering first (vss. 22-23). Then He follows this with instruction on humility (vss. 24-27). Where is Jesus’ statement that the disciples “…do not know what they are asking about” in Matthew 24:1-3ff. if this is the norm that we should expect in the OD?
When we carefully examine the “proof texts” or examples Gentry gives us in Matthew’s gospel we are forced to a different conclusion than Gentry offers us for interpreting Matthew 24:1-3ff. Again, in each of these cases Matthew is a very responsible narrator or Jesus as the great teacher, explains when there is confusion on the part of the disciples and when there isn’t. When we come to the one question broken down in three parts of Matthew 24:3 there is no hint at all from Matthew or Jesus that the disciples were confused let alone Jesus “correcting them” or “ignoring” (per MacArthur). At this point Gentry is just as much of an irresponsible “exegete” as MacArthur and Ice are – having read into the text the disciples’ alleged confusion into the Olivet Discourse.
But on the topic of “bewilderment,” we need to press Gentry on these comments regarding the disciples question and Jesus’ answer on the end of the age in the OD,
“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…”[51] And that,
“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)”[52].
And therefore this “change of the age” judgment in the context of the gospels is to be found even earlier on in John the Baptist’s teaching,
“Matthew records John’s warning that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (3:10). Here John draws his imagery from God’s judgment against Assyria (Isa. 10:33-34): that sort of judgment soon will break upon Israel. Indeed, “his winnowing fork is in his hand” already (Matt. 3:12).”[53] Of course I will not dispute that “the full answer to the disciples question” concerning “the end of the age” in Matthew 24:3ff. is “when the Romans laid waste Jerusalem in AD 70” – this being contextually tied to the end of the OC age and destruction of the Temple in AD 70, not the NC age or end of world history. And I have no problem appealing to Christ’s coming in the judgments of Matthew 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1; Matthew 3:7-12; to support my interpretation that the “full answer to the disciples question on the end of the age” refers to “when the Romans laying waste Jerusalem in AD 70.”
Obviously, Gentry is speaking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to what the “end of the age” is here in Matthew 24:3ff. What is even further confusing in reading Gentry, is that he identifies “the end” connected to the Great Commission in (Matt. 24:14) with AD 70! Well, the only “the end” being discussed in the OD is the “end of the age” the disciples asked about in (Matt. 24:3)!
Another problem for Gentry that we will discuss more in-depth later on in Matthew 24:30-31 is that he now takes “the end” and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 as referring to AD 70.[54] Well, if “the end” and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled in AD 70, and Jesus explicitly refers to Daniel 12:2-3, concerning the end of his “this age” in Matthew 13:39-43, then the end of the age gathering/resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3/Matthew 13:39-43 was fulfilled in AD 70. If not why not Mr. Gentry? Yet Gentry’s problems and that of Partial Preterism won’t stop here. Partial Preterism is now conceding that the “end of the age” or “this age” gathering and resurrection in the parable of the wheat and tares in (Matthew 13:39-43) is the end of the OC age in AD 70 and not the end of world history. We will take a look at this shortly. But since this is the case, we need to take God’s Word for what it actually teaches when the disciples were asked directed if they understood Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” here in Matthew 13:39-51:
“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.” (Matt. 13:51).
But to make matters worse, Gentry also now concedes that Matthew 24–25 does not necessarily need to be divided and that all of Matthew 24 could be addressing one coming of Christ in AD 70:
“Orthodox preterists see no doctrinal problems arising if we apply all of Matthew 24 to A.D. 70. We generally do not do so because of certain exegetical markers in the text. But if these are not sufficient to distinguish the latter part of Matthew 24 from the earlier part, it would not matter.”[55] Really? I think I will call Gentry’s bluff here. If a Partial Preterist doesn’t divide the OD as Gentry arbitrarily does, then Progressive Partial Preterists such as one of Gentry’s co-authors Gary DeMar, have no problem teaching that the disciples were not confused and that the “end of the age” is the OC age. Here we begin to see Partial Preterism giving the farm away to Full Preterism. To this view we now turn our attention.
Progressive Partial Preterism
We now turn our attention to a much clearer and exegetically accurate teaching from Partial Preterist or Progressive Partial Preterists on the “end of the age” in the OD.
Progressive Partial Preterist Gary DeMar
On the disciples question in Matthew 24:3 DeMar correctly writes,
“The disciples question involves three interrelated, contemporary events: (1) the time of the temple’s destruction; (2) the sign that will signal Jesus’ coming related to the destruction of the temple; and (3) the sign they should look for telling them that “the end of the age” has come. These questions are related to the destruction of the temple and the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system and nothing else.”[56] There is no reading into the text that the disciples are “confused” in order fix a problem that isn’t in the text by slipping in a “futurist solution” or agenda in the OD – that we have seen the previous views do. This is refreshing exegesis to say the least. And now notice that DeMar does something that Dwight Pentecost could not do in affirming that the Jews of Jesus’ day understood the end of the age to be the OC age of the law and prophets and thus that is the “end of the age” the disciples and Jesus are discussing throughout the OD. DeMar explains his position on the “end of the age” and then uses a quote from George Hill, to support its historical relevance,
“Notice that the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (kosmos), as some Bible versions translate the Greek word aion. In context, with the temple and city as their primary focus, they asked about the end of the “age.” They were asking when time would run out for the temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the covenant promises that were related to the Mosaic system of animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings, and the priesthood.
Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the age of the law and the age of the Messiah. The conclusion of the one was the beginning of the other, the opening of that kingdom which the Jews believed the Messiah was to establish, which was to put an end to their sufferings, and to render them the greatest people upon the earth. The apostles full of this hope, said to our Lord, immediately before his ascension, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? [Acts 1:6]. Our Lord uses the phrase of his coming to denote his taking vengeance upon the Jews by destroying their city and sanctuary.17
The “end of the age” refers to the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system with its attendant sacrifices and rituals.”[57] Connecting this with the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds throughout Matthew 24-25 he writes,
“Jesus never indicates that He has a distant coming in mind. There is nothing in the Olivet Discourse that would give the reader the impression that a distant event [such as the end the planet earth or NC Christian age] is in view.”[58] In the 1994 version of DeMar’s Last Days Madness he wrote the following concerning the “end of the age” in the OD,
“The “woes” of Matthew 23 and the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem were a result of all that John the Baptist and Jesus had been warning the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests regarding the judgment that would come upon them if they did not repent. “All these things,” Jesus cautioned, “shall come upon this generation” (23:36). It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” – the temple – that the disciples ask about the “temple buildings” (24:1). Jesus answered the disciples’ questions relating to the time and signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, always with the background of Matthew 23 in view, since His comments in that chapter had precipitated the questions (24:3). The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of Jerusalem. This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation of the New Covenant.”[59] Although these statements from Progressive Partial Preterist Gary DeMar are more accurate and exegetical in communicating that there was no confusion on the disciples’ part in connecting the end of the OC age with the destruction of Jerusalem and Christ’s coming to bring judgment upon the age in which the Temple they were looking at existed, DeMar has some problems he needs to address from me and Full Preterism:
Since he has taken the position that the “end of the age” in the OD is the OC age, will he now admit that the “end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-43 is also the end of the OC age? As we will see shortly, Gary has published his ministry partner’s (Joel McDurmon’s) book on Luke whereby he develops that the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43 is referring to the end of the OC age. Does Gary agree with this? And one of Gary’s co-authors Peter Leithart places the fulfillment of the parable of the wheat and tares at the end of the OC age in Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” as well. Does Gary agree with him?
Since Gary and American Vision published James Jordan’s commentary on Daniel, and Jordan concedes that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2/Revelation 20 was fulfilled in AD 70 at which time Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abrahm’s Bosom or Hades at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 – does DeMar also agree with this position that he has published? If he agrees with his Partial Progressive Partial Preterists that he co-authors books with and publishes, then the questions we have asked of Gentry apply to him as well – since Jesus identifies the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to take place at the end of the OC “this age” in Matthew 13:39-43, did the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 take place in AD 70? If yes, then the “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 24:30-31 is also the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 being fulfilled in AD 70. If not, exegetically why not – is the challenge that DeMar and some of his other Progressive Partial Preterists have not answered let alone articulated in any way up to this point.
And if the “end of the OC age” gathering/resurrection depicted in Matthew 13:39-43/Matthew 24:30-31/Daniel 12:1-4, 7, 13 were fulfilled in AD 70 according to Jesus’ teaching, then why wouldn’t Jesus’ teaching on John 5:28-29 be fulfilled spiritually as well in AD 70 since Jesus is once again appealing to Daniel 12:2? Or…
Since DeMar takes the Greek word mello as “about to be” virtually everywhere in NT eschatological contexts as referring to AD 70, then why wouldn’t Paul’s eschatology be consistent with Jesus’ when he appeals to Daniel 12:2 concerning an “about to be” resurrection of the just and unjust in (Acts 24:15 YLT)?
And since DeMar believes John’s version of the OD is found in the book of Revelation and virtually every commentator and scholar agree that the resurrection and judgment of the dead at the end of the millennium in Revelation 20 is the resurrection of Daniel 12, and Gary agrees that the content of the book of Revelation would come to pass in an AD 70 “shortly” time period, will he now conceded that the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20 was also fulfilled in AD 70? If not, hermeneutically and logically why not?
These are just a few challenges I have given to DeMar and other Partial Preterists over the years and I haven’t heard much from them. Why? Because they don’t have consistent exegetical answers and they would have to admit that they are getting closer and closer to Full Preterism – that’s why.
There are other modern Progressive Partial Preterists that are worthy to quote and address in identifying the “end of the age” in Jesus’ teaching as the OC age in AD 70, and not the end of the NC Christian age or world history.
Progressive Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon
Joel McDurmon (Partial Preterist Gary North’s son-in-law, and Director of Research for Gary DeMar’s American Vision) writes:
It is clear that Jesus did not have in mind the end of the world, nor did He mean the final judgment. Rather, Matthew 13:2430, 36-43 describe the judgment that would come upon unbelieving Jerusalem. During this time, the angels would “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (13:41) and these would be judged with fire. Many of them literally were burned in fire during the destruction of Jerusalem. During this same time, however, the elect of Christ— “the children of the kingdom” (v. 38)—will be harvested. While the explanation of the parable does not tell us their final end, the parable itself has the householder instructing the harvesters to “gather the wheat into my barn.” In other words, they are protected and saved by God.
This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians. Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege. This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).[60] I should also note that McDurmon goes a bit further than his mentor DeMar, in that he develops Jesus’ teaching on “this age” as the OC age, and the “age to come” in Pauline eschatology to be one and the same as Jesus’.[61] We agree with this but let’s examine the quote above and address the issues related to Paul’s “end of the age” teachings as being the same as Jesus’.
Once again McDurmon (like the other Partial Preterists addressed thus far) fail to address with any consistency (in what they are writing and what the analogy of Scripture teaches us), that the “end of the age” “harvest” “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:30-31 is THE resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 that they are saying was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70!
Further, Jesus and the rest of the NT does not develop the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 to be fulfilled at two different time periods – 1. At the end of the OC age in AD 70 and 2. At the end of the NC or Christian age to end world history. In McDurmon’s oral debate with Don Preston McDurmon was forced to acknowledge that it is possible that there was an AD 70 resurrection depicted in 1 Corinthians 15 and at the end of the millennium in Revelation 20, and yet he still argued that there would be a further literal fulfillment of these texts as well. Amazing indeed! These statements are not only not exegetically accurate, but they are not creedal as well. The Reformed creeds only know of one “end of the age” judgment and resurrection of the dead not TWO. Not only are Partial Preterists very arbitrary in their exegesis, they are arbitrary in calling Full Preterists “heretics” per the Reformed creeds. Selah.
Progressive Partial Preterist N.T. Wright
Another popular Partial Preterist worth noting would be N.T. Wright. Wright commenting on the Jewish concept of Christ returning bodily on a literal cloud at the end of time to end world history as a foreign concept to the Jewish mind is profound – even challenging for Wright’s own futurism. His identifying the “end of the age” as the Jewish age is also relevant to our debate and discussion.
“…there was no reason, either in their own background or in a single thing that Jesus had said to them up to that point, for it even to occur to them that the true story of the world, or of Israel, or of Jesus himself, might include either the end of the space-time universe, or Jesus or anyone else floating down to earth on a cloud. They hand not yet even thought of his being taken from them, let alone that he might come back; nor did they have any idea of another figure, earthly, heavenly, or something in between, who would one day come on a literal cloud. Had Jesus wished to introduce so strange and unJewish an idea to them he would have had a very difficult task; as often find in the gospels, their minds were not exactly at their sharpest in picking up redefinitions even of ideas with which they were already somewhat familiar.
The disciples were, however, very interested in a story which ended with Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem to reign as king. They were looking for the fulfillment of Israel’s hopes, for the story told so often in Israel’s scriptures to reach its appointed climax. And the ‘close of the age’ for which they longed was not the end of the space-time order, but the end of the present evil age (ha’olam hazeh), and the introduction of the (still very much this-worldly) age to come (ha ‘olam haba’) – in other words, the end of Israel’s period of mourning and exile and the beginning of her freedom and vindication.” [62] “Matthew is not, in other words, out on a limb from Mark and Luke at this point. The question at the start of all three versions, seen from within the story the disciples have in their minds, must be read to mean: When will you come in your kingdom? When will the evil age, symbolized by the present Jerusalem regime, be over?”[63] And Wright does not agree with the traditional Partial Preterist division theory of two comings of Jesus throughout Matthew 24-25 either. In footnote 104 in this section of the disciples question(s) he writes,
“Nor does he divide his chapter into two halves (vv. 4-35, 36-51) on the basis of this double question, the dealing with Jerusalem and the second with the ‘second coming’ (against France 1985, 335).”
And again on the Jewish two age structure and the end of the age in Matthew 13:39; 24:3; Hebrews 9:26-28 being the end of the OC or Jewish age Wright comments,
“The final promise, that Jesus will be with his people ‘until the close of the age’ (hoes tes synteleias tou aionos), belongs closely within the ‘two-age’ structure of chronology which we have seen to be characteristic of mainstream Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism, and also of early Christianity, particularly Paul. The point here is that the ‘age to come’ has now been launched with Jesus’ resurrection, and that the risen Jesus represents and embodies this new age, and hence becomes the human bride between it and the present one. His promise to be ‘with you always’ is thus at the same time the fulfillment of the Emmanuel promise, and with it of YHWH’s promise to be with even a small group of worshippers as though they were actually in the Temple itself. It is also the sign that in him the eschaton has come to birth, so that his people are guaranteed safe passage through the present age and into the long-awaited age to come.” (Footnote 42 reads, “On ‘the close of the age’ in Mt., cf. 13:39f., 49; 24:3 (where it is linked with the fall of Jerusalem and the parousia of Jesus). See too Heb. 9:26; 1 En. 16.1; 4 Ezra 7.113.”[64] For the exegetical problems and implications for not seeing Matthew 24-25 as the Second Coming event and avoiding how Jesus and the rest of the NT develops the resurrection of Daniel 12 as taking place imminently or at the end of the OC Jewish age, see my challenges to DeMar and the other Progressive Partial Preterists.
Let’s now move from more modern day Progressive Partial Preterists to some older ones such as Milton Terry and J. Stuart Russell.
Progressive Partial Preterist Milton Terry
Terry was spot on when he wrote of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the OD and elsewhere in the NT,
“The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.”[65] Interestingly enough, Hebrews 9:26-28 is where we get the term “Second Coming” from and if the end of the age here is the OC age, then Terry’s logic and the analogy of Scripture would place the coming of Christ both in the OD and Hebrews 9:26-28 to be in AD 70. And to this the book of Hebrews confirms to us in the next chapter when His coming would take place “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).
While Terry has some insightful comments here in identifying the “end of the age” to be the OC age in AD 70 (following most of J. Stuart Russell’s exegesis), his exegesis of the OD is faulty at times. For example he seems to argue and prefer the interpretation that the eschatological “gathering” in Matthew 24:30-31 is some kind of limited literal rapture connecting it to the “one being taken” in Matthew 24:40-41,
“The sending forth of the angels, and the gathering of the elect, described in Matt. 24:31, whatever its exact meaning, does not necessarily depict a scenic procedure visible to the human eyes. If understood literally, it may, nevertheless, be only verbal revelation of what took place in such a supernatural manner as that no man might behold it and remain alive. It is said in verses 40-41 that at the parousia “two men shall be in the field; one is taken and the one is left…” “In such a miraculous rapture of living saints (comp. 1 Thess. 4:16, 17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52) the person left may not have been permitted to see the one taken.”[66] The strength of his position here is that he at least uses the analogy of Scripture hermeneutic and equates the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 with that of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15 as the same event taking place in AD 70. Men like Gentry, DeMar, McDurmon, Mathison, etc… simply won’t make these parallels as Terry has done and Reformed theology traditionally has.
I will give a rigorous exegesis of Matthew 24:30-31 later on in our study, but for now let me point out a few exegetical weaknesses or problems that Terry was not able to address or overcome here – at least in my estimation:
As with the previous Partial Preterists, the resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12:2-3 takes place at the end of the OC age per Matthew 13:39-43. Therefore, if Terry is going to hermenutically argue for a “literal” “rapture” of all the living Christians at that time, then he must also argue consistently that a literal resurrection from the literal “dust” took place in AD 70 as well (cf. Dan. 12:2). Some Partial Preterists have actually tried to take this position! This to me makes no exegetical sense let alone is simply not historically accurate. We know that the Apostle John lived well beyond AD 70 into the time of Domitian’s reign in the AD 90’s. We also know historically that the living Christians fled Jerusalem to Pella (not literally “raptured”). And are we really to believe that history would not see physically the literal rapture of thousands of Christians let alone the empty tombs of the righteous and wicked per Daniel 12:2?!?
Not to mention if Paul had been teaching a literal “gathering” or “catching away” in the Thessalonian Epistles, he surely would have argued differently to refute those that were teaching that Christ had “already come” prior to end the OC age in AD 70. Surely Paul would have said something like, “Uh, hey guys remember Jesus and I taught you that this was going to be literal taking of you off of planet earth in a secret “rapture” and since you are all still here…., well, hello?!?” Or in refuting those that had believed the resurrection had “already” taken place in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 before the close of the OC age in AD 70. Again, if Paul had been teaching this literal rapture or literal resurrection of rotting corpses from the graveyards, we would expect to hear something along the lines of, “Uh, remember that Jesus and I have been teaching you that the resurrection is a literal biological event and so have you seen any evidence of this, hello?!?” So the implication is that Paul was developing a spiritual rapture or using apocalyptic language. Had Terry been consistent in his use of symbolic apocalyptic langue that he used up to this point in interpreting the OD, and had he been consistent with noting this would be the time of fulfilling the kingdom promise of it not being a literally seen or experience (ie. Luke 17:20-21) (447), he would have come to the conclusion that this was a “gathering” in the kingdom that was a “within” the person event and not a literal secret “rapture” one. I will be arguing for this position later on.
Progressive Partial Preterist J. Stuart Russell
I consider Russell a “Progressive Partial Preterist” for two reasons: 1. Like Russell, he erred on the spiritual nature of fulfillment when it came to Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on being “gathered” or “caught up” in the clouds of God’s Kingdom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70. And 2. He erred on the millennium believing it has yet to be fulfilled which is not Full Preterism and has a lot of exegetical errors of its own. But for the sake of our purposes at this point in examining the disciples’ question(s) and Jesus’ answer, Russell’s response is one of the boldest and clearest I can think of when he writes,
“It is not easy for the ordinary reader to follow the ingenious critic through his convoluted scheme; but it is plain that the disciples must have been hopelessly bewildered amidst a rush of crises and catastrophes from the fall of Jerusalem to the end of the world. Perhaps we shall be told, however, that it does not signify whether the disciples understood our Lord’s answer or not: it was not to them that He was speaking; it was to future ages, to generations yet unborn, who were destined, however, to find the interpretation of the prophecy as embarrassing to them as it was to the original bearers. There are no words too strong to repudiate such a suggestion. The disciples came to their Master with a plain, straightforward inquiry, and it is incredible that He would mock them with an unintelligible riddle for a reply. It is to be presumed that the Saviour meant His disciples to understand His words, and it is to be presumed that they did understand them.
3. The interpretation which we are considering appears to be founded upon a misapprehension of the question put to our Lord by the disciples, as well as of His answer to their question.
It is generally assumed that the disciples came to our Lord with three different questions, relating to different events separated from each other by a long interval of time; that the first inquiry, ‘When shall these things be?’—had reference to the approaching destruction of the temple; that the second and third question—, ‘ What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?’—referred to events long posterior to the destruction of Jerusalem, and, in fact, not yet accomplished. It is supposed that our Lord’s reply conforms itself to this threefold inquiry, and that this gives the shape to His whole discourse. Now, let it be considered how utterly improbable it is that the disciples should have had any such scheme of the future mapped out in their minds. We know that they had just been shocked and stunned by their Master’s prediction of the total destruction of the glorious house of God on which they had so recently been gazing with admiration. They had not yet had time to recover from their surprise, when they came to Jesus with the inquiry, ‘When shall these things be?’ etc. Is it not reasonable to suppose that one thought possessed them at that moment—the portentous calamity awaiting the magnificent structure, the glory and beauty of Israel? Was that a time when their minds would be occupied with a distant future? Must not their whole soul have been concentrated on the fate of the temple? And must they not have been eager to know what tokens would be given of the approach of the catastrophe? Whether they connected in their imagination the destruction of the temple with the dissolution of the creation, and the close of human history, it is impossible to say; but we may safely conclude, that the uppermost thought in their mind was the announcement which the Lord had just made, ‘Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down.’ They must have gathered from the Saviour’s language that this catastrophe was imminent; and their anxiety was to know the time and the tokens of its arrival. St. Mark and St. Luke make the question of the disciples refer to one event and one time—‘When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?’ It is not only presumable, therefore, but indubitable, that the questions of the disciples only refer to different aspects of the same great event. This harmonizes the statements of St. Matthew with those of the other Evangelists, and is plainly required by the circumstances of the case.”[67] And I particularly like Russell’s comments above that this interpretation of the disciples’ question “harmonizes” and or is “contemporaneous” with the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke. He elaborates further on this,
“The only point that requires elucidation here refers to the extent of their interrogatory. St. Mark and St. Luke represent it as having reference to the time of the predicted catastrophe and the sign of its fulfillment coming to pass. St. Matthew varies the form of the question, but evidently gives the same sense, — ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?’ Here again it is the time and the sign which form the subject of the inquiry. There is no reason whatever to suppose that they regarded in their own minds the destruction of the of the temple, the coming of the Lord, and the end of the age, as three distinct or widely separated events; but, on the contrary, it is most natural to suppose that they regarded them as coincident and contemporaneous.”[68] “…we do know that they had been accustomed to hear their Master speak of His coming again in His kingdom, coming in His glory, and that within the lifetime of some among themselves. They had also heard Him speak of the ‘end of the age;’ and they evidently connected His ‘coming’ with the end of the age. The three points embraced in the form of their question, as given by St. Matthew, were therefore in their view contemporaneous; and thus we find no practical difference in the terms of the question of the disciples as recorded by the three Synoptics.”[69] That is about as well put as it gets!
Full Preterism
Harmonizing Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s versions on the disciples’ question
On the issue as to why Matthew adds the question related to “the end of the age” and Mark and Luke do not – it may be interesting to note that “end of the age” in the Greek, (syntéleia toú aiṓnos) is an expression found only in the gospel of Matthew. I remember asking a Partial Preterist (Greg Bahnsen), many years ago, “Where do you see any justification in Matthew 24 for the teaching that when the Son of Man will come upon the clouds of heaven is is for the purpose of ending world history – when you teach that His coming in Matt. 24:27, 30 was to end the Jewish age in AD 70?” His answer was, “The disciple’s question in Matthew 24:3 on the end of the age – this referring to the end of world history.” My reply was, “If this is the case, then why would Mark and Luke not address such an important topic at the very outset of the OD?” Bahnsen brought up that within Matthew, Mark and Luke differences are seen in various aspects to Jesus’ such as Jesus adding the phrase “except for sexual immorality” in Matthew while Mark and Luke do not.” But this only begged the same question on a different topic, “Okay, then if there are grounds for divorce (and obviously that’s an important aspect to answering the disciples questions and or the Pharisees challenge on this topic), then why would Mark and Luke neglect to point this out to their audiences — who didn’t have the advantage that we do in reading Matthew along with Mark and Luke?” I thought it was providential that Bahnsen would bring this up an example, because I had just finished reading James Montgomery Boice on on this subject and others taking the “betrothal view” of the exceptive clause in Matthew 5 and 19 – thus harmonizing the synoptics gospel’s teaching on Jesus’ teaching here very well.
To be brief and to summarize this view – in Jewish law the first part of the marriage contract was conducted through betrothal. The two were considered “husband and wife” during this period even before their sexual consummation. A betrothed husband could write his “wife” a certificate of “divorce” if she committed “fornication”/pornia (not “adultery”) during this time period. This is why Matthew mentions this in the case of Joseph and Marry and Mark and Luke do not (cf. Matthew 1:19). Since this aspect of “divorce” within the betrothal period (first part of the marriage contract) within Jewish law was only applicable for Matthew’s Jewish audience, Matthew records the exceptive clause, while Mark and Luke do not (containing a Gentile audience or directed mostly to them). Also, in Jewish law a woman could not divorce her husband and this is why Matthew does not mention this while Mark does in their parallel accounts of the Pharisees challenge (Mark 10:12 / Matthew 19:9). Again – since the exceptive clause is brought up to a Jewish audience regarding the first aspect of a Jewish marriage (betrothal) Matthew addresses it, and since Jesus’ teaching here is not applicable to Mark and Luke’s Gentile readers it is omitted by them. Therefore, in essence the three harmonize well in that Jesus’ teaching on divorce agree – “what God has joined together let no man separate.”
So it is often times the different audiences being addressed in the synoptic gospels that dictate why something is left out or added that needs to be considered. Since the “end of the age” was a more familiar concept within Jewish eschatology, Matthew places it within his account while Mark and Luke do not. Since the “end of the age” is the OC Jewish age attended with Christ’s coming, we don’t lose any pertinent information in Mark and Luke’s accounts – AD 70 is still the subject in all three. Also worthy of note, is that within Matthew’s gospel there are more parables given, since the main purpose of the parables was probably to demonstrate that Israel was still in an exile condition (Matt. 13:10-17/Isa. 6:9-10). Therefore, this explains why Matthew’s version of the OD includes additional parables and OT eschatological echos that are not found in Mark and Luke’s versions (cf. Matt. 25).
Also an interesting point is that syntéleia toú aiṓnos and tṓn aiṓnōn, are only used six times in the NT – five in Matthew’s gospel and once in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:26) which again, is written to a highly Jewish audience (and the LXX of Dan. 12:4 being undoubtedly the source for both).
Here are some key hermeneutical steps the futurist willfully skips over from the very outset in interpreting the OD:
The Jews of Jesus’ day understood the phrase “end of the age” or end of “this age” to be the Old Covenant (OC) age of Moses and the prophets and the “age to come” to be the New Covenant (NC) or Messianic age. Therefore, applying a “historic hermeneutic” here, the “end of the age” or of “this age” (Matthew 13:39-43) in which they were currently living is referring to the end of the OC age at which time the NC or Messianic age of the Church would follow and reach maturity. As we have seen even Dispensationalists like Dwight Pentecost see this and yet dismiss it as nothing. Apparently they want Full Preterists and Reformed Covenant Theology/Eschatology to embrace their literal and unbelieving expectations the first century Jews had of a literal kingdom on earth, and yet they don’t want to embrace Jewish teachings of the same time period that identified “this age” as the OC law and the “age to come,” to be the NC or Messianic age. Nor would they want to accept the Jewish beliefs that would give credence to a 40 years transitional millennial reign of Christ between the OC age and the NC age – which fit perfectly within the imminent time constraints of the book of Revelation and is the Full Preterist view.
The hermeneutical immediate contextual argument fits the Full Preterist view as well – since the topic is the destruction of the Temple in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” of Matthew 23:36-38 and Matthew 24:1-2, the destruction of the Temple is the epitome to the end of the OC age, and not the end of world history.
When it comes to the disciples understanding on the time frame of these three events, they in fact did have the OT prophets as a guide as well. In the book of Daniel the consummation of the major eschatological events can be found in chapters 7, 9 and 12. Since many scholars correctly connect Daniel’s eschatological “time of the end” (not “end of time” – a futurist assumption) to Jesus’ teaching on the end of the age in Matthew 13, 24 and 28, the end of world history is not the subject. Another problem for futurist eschatologies is that Daniel’s “time of the end” eschatological events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of man and the arrival of the kingdom, all take place when the city and temple would be destroyed – stating clearly that “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together (see the consummation scenes in Dan. 12:1-7; Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; Dan. 9:24-27).
Another “immediate context” and “OT echo context” argument can be seen in Jesus’ previously teaching the disciples that all the blood from righteous Abel (from Genesis up to those He would send to them) would be avenged when the temple was destroyed in their “this generation” (Matthew 23:30-36, 38). Isaiah in his “little apocalypse” (Isiah 24-28) posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet, the resurrection, etc…) to take place together when the temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9).
In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught that the judgment and resurrection (“the time of the end” eschatological events) would take place at the end of their OC “this age.” Jesus specifically asks them if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes” (vs. 51). It doesn’t get any clearer than this! Why go beyond what is written when it comes to the disciples understanding of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age”?!? If they said they understood they understood, and surely Jesus doesn’t say anything to the affect, “Oh, but I know you don’t etc…”
Jesus had previously taught that He would return in some of their lifetimes (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1). So it would only be natural for them to equate His coming, with the destruction of the Temple, as being the end of their OC “this age.” No mysteries or “difficulties” here folks – only for the futurist.
Some such as Kenneth Gentry have pointed out that the disciples were confused on other issues in the gospel of Matthew and then use this to assert that this justifies importing their alleged confusion here in the OD. But again, this is a classic case of “proving too much.” Why? Because when the disciples are confused or wrong about something Matthew’s gospel clearly teaches us that this indeed is the case (ex. Matt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25). As in these other cases where it is clearly pointed out by Matthew (as a responsible narrator) or Jesus as the great teacher – that there is any inclination that the disciples are confused and a correction ensues. We just don’t have Matthew or Jesus giving such a scenario here in the OD. Therefore, there is no need to perform eisegesis – and read something into the text that isn’t there in order for futurist biases to be imported throughout the OD. Selah.
A Progressive Partial Preterist and Full Preterist understanding of the “end of the age” or “the end” being the OC age throughout the OD, harmonizes with the disciples question in the parallel accounts in Mark 13 and Luke 21.
The Partial Preterist and Progressive Partial Preterist cannot articulate the exegetical fact that Jesus’ teaching on “the end of the [OC] age” harvest “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:30-31 is Christ coming on the clouds ushering in the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 7, 13 – which some of them oddly see as being fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Gentry and Jordan). This is why Partial Preterists are afraid of dealing with the resurrection of the dead when it comes to NT imminence. It eventually leads to problems in their adherence to the Reformed creeds and confessions. Amillennialists see that these passages are in fact dealing with the resurrection of the dead, but will not bow before the exegetical evidence of God’s Word that this takes place at the end of the OC age and not the end of world history. And they too cannot deal with the NT imminence when it comes to Christ’s ONE parousia, the end of the age, and the judgment and resurrection of the dead. NT imminence concerning these eschatological events follow’s Jesus’ teaching in the OD that “all these things” (not “some of these things”) would be fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation.”
Part 2 – The end of the age signs – general and specific all fulfilled by AD 70
General signs
Before giving a brief exegesis of the general signs Jesus gives in Matthew 24:4-13, we should address what the various futurist views are teaching concerning them.
Premillennial Dispensationalism
Before there was Tim LaHaye and the Left Behind series (and now movie) making millions, there was Hal Lindsey and The Late Great Planet Earth making millions. Lindsey was the first Dispensationalist who really popularized sensationalistic date setting using the “signs” (Israel becoming a nation in 1948 being the main one) and Jesus’ teaching on “this generation” in Matthew 24 as a guide to catapult an imminent rapture and or return of Christ in our generation. In his famous book, The Late Great Planet Earth Lindsey wrote,
“Jesus said that this would indicate that He was ‘at the door,’ ready to return. Then He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place’ (Matthew 24:34). What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs-chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like forty years. If this is a correct deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives believe that this is so.”[70] “WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ”[71] This view was then fueled from the pulpits of such mega church Pastors as Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel (this was my home church and I am a graduate of Calvary Chapel Bible College 1989):
“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[72] In his book Future Survival (1978) Smith wrote,
“From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[73] Calvary Chapel proudly painted on the back of its bookstore (of which I would work) for all traffic to see, “Jesus is coming soon. God keeps His promises.” For Smith and Lindsey, Christ’s announcement that He is coming “soon” only “truly” meant Jesus was literally coming “soon” for our generation. Apparently when the inspired NT authors wrote within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period, “soon” can’t be interpreted literally – only when the Dispensational “Holy Spirit” led “prophecy experts” use the term it means what it says!
Lindsey began by admitting that a generation “was something like forty years.” Since 40 years have long passed, instead of throwing in the towel on his theory and repenting, Lindsey now claims a generation could be 40 – 100 years and therefore we should still be waiting for his interpretation to pan out.[74] If this doesn’t sound new, it’s because it isn’t. The “expanding” of “this generation’ is exactly what the last day’s cults of Mormon’s and Jehovah’s Witnesses have done when their false predictions concerning “this generation” don’t come true![75] Sign #1 – False Christ’s & deception
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:4-5)
“At that time many will turn away from the faith…” (Matt. 24:10)
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:11)
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24)
Dave Hunt has been another popular Dispensationalist teacher over the years who has followed Lindsey’s prophetic scheme. Hunt after appealing to the passages above and then stringing together some further NT passages concludes this “Major Sign is Here Today.”[76] This involves the teachings and influence of the Roman Catholic Church, with any ministry expressing unity or ecumencalism with the RCC such Billy Graham etc…, emphasis in the “signs and wonders” movement from John Wimber and Peter Wagner, the “name it and claim it” Faith movement, Robert Schuller and his Self-Love doctrine/movement, and on and on he goes.
Sign #2 – Wars and Rumors of Wars
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matt. 24:6)

[1] Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A. (2007). Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (pp. 12–13). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos.
[2] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, pp. 49–50). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[3] Adam Clark, Commentary on the Bible [1831] [4] G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Acaddemic, 2011), 412
[5] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[6] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[7] R.C. Sproul, THE LAST DAYS ACCORDING TO JESUS, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 23.
[8] Kenneth Genry, Thomas Ice, The Great Tribulation Past or Future?, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999), 18, bold emphasis MJS.
[9] Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, THIRD EDITION: REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 175. Bold emphasis MJS
[10] John Gill, John Gill’s Espositor, Online Bible Software, Version 2.10.06, 2007 Bible Foundation. www.onlinebible.us, emphasis added
[11] Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (pp. 62–63). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press.
[12] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Acts-1 Corinthians (Vol. 4, p. 30). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[13] Clark, Ibid.
[14] Clark, Ibid.
[15] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2068). Peabody: Hendrickson.
[16] Henry, Ibid., 2068
[17] Kenneth L. Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION: REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 342-343
[18] Charles Ryre, RYRE Study Bible, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1986, 1994,), 1420.
[19] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty NEW TESTAMENT edition, (Colorado Springs, CO, 1983, 2004), 24, emphasis mine
[20] John McArthur, The MACARTHUR Study Bible, (Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1997), 1396, 1518
[21] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Ibid., 25, bold emphasis mine.
[22] MacArthur, Ibid., 1397
[23] Ibid.
[24] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Ibid., 25
[25] William Hendriksen, & S.J. Kistemaker, NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY The Gospel of Matthew, (Grand Rapids: MI, Baker Book House, 1953 – 2001), 197
[26] Ibid., 198-199.
[27] Ibid., 204.
[28] Ibid., 205-206.
[29] Ibid., 208-209.
[30] Simon Kistemaker, The Parables of Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1980), 148.
[31] Ibid., 210.
[32] Ibid., 210-211.
[33] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, pp. 49–50). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[34] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
[35] Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, THIRD EDITION: REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 175.
[36] R.C. Sproul, THE LAST DAYS ACCORDING TO JESUS, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 23.
[37] Gentry, Ibid., 175.
[38] J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia A Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1887 – 1909), 15-16
[39] Ibid., 14-15.
[40] Ibid., 23-24.
[41] Carson, D. A. (1984). Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (489). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
[42] Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for AMILLENNIALISM UNDERSTANDING THE END TIMES, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 2003; and Leicester LE1 7GP: England, Inter-Varsity Press, 2007), 157.
[43] MacArthur, John, The Second Coming Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books A Division of Good News Publishers, 1999), 77.
[44] Ibid., 80.
[45] Tim LaHaye & Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 155, emphasis MJS.
[46] Ibid., 155-156
[47] Ibid., 156
[48] Riddlebarger, Ibid., 163.
[49] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry Jr., The Great Tribulation Past or Future? (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999), 26, emphasis MJS.
[50] Greg Bahnsen, and Kenneth Gentry Jr., House Divided The Break-up of Dispensational Theology, (Tyler: TX: ICE Publishers 1989), 267, emphasis MJS
[51] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, ibid., 58, emphasis MJS
[52] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, ibid., 63 emphasis MJS
[53] Thomas Ice and Kenneth Gentry, ibid., 18
[54] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. He Shall Have Dominion (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009, Third Edition), 538-540.
[55] Ibid., 540.
[56] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68.
[57] Ibid., 68
[58] Ibid., 68
[59] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1994), 41, (bold and underline emphasis MJS).
[60] Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51.
[61] Ibid., 46-47.
[62] N.T. Wright, JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF GOD, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345-346
[63] Ibid., 346.
[64] N.T. Wright, N.T. THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645
[65] Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.
[66] Ibid., 447-448.
[67] James Stuart Russel, The Parousia The New Testament Doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1887 and reprinted again in 1990), 57 – 59. Also being used is the Online Bible’s software where Russell’s book is available electronically.
[68] Ibid., 67
[69] Ibid., 67
[70] Lindsey, Late., p. 54.
[71] Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, (New York: Bantam, 1980), 144 and back-cover.
[72] Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35.
[73] Francis X. Gumerlock, the Day and the Hour Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 2000), 290.
[74] Hal Lindsey, Planet Earth – 2000 A.D., (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front, Ltd. 1994), 3.
[75] Michael J. Sullivan, THE FAILED ESCHATLOGICAL JESUS OF THE LIBERALS, MORMONS,
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES AND THE DATE-SETTING “HOLY SPIRIT LED” EVANGELICALS, http://www.treeoflifeministries.info/index.php?view=article&catid=35%3Apreterist-eschatology-all-prophecy-fulfilled-by-ad-70&id=118%3Amike-sullivan-&option=com_content&Itemid=75
[76] J. Dave Hunt, Flashes of Falling Away, https://www.raptureready.com/terry/james17.html

MY TESTIMONY ON HOW I BECAME A FULL PRETERIST – MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN

Here is the short version:  The Lord providentially guided me and opened my eyes to Full Preterism by allowing me to first experience the frustration, confusion and errors of Dispensationalism and then later seeing that a synthesis between the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view seemed more exegetical and Biblical (ie. Full Preterism – which for a brief season I didn’t know even existed).
Now the slightly longer and more detailed version.
Dispensationalism
As an aspiring young man seeking the ministry shortly after my conversion to Christ, I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College (CCBC – affiliated with Pastor Chuck Smith) and graduated in the late 80’s.  There I was indoctrinated in the confusing Dispensational system with all of its two programs and comings (for the Church & Israel) – 1. a secret “rapture” coming for the Church and 2. The second coming designed to establish an earthly 1000 years millennium for Israel  separated by two resurrection etc… .  And who can forget all of those very confusing colorful charts as well, trying to make sense of it all along with 3.  this alleged “gap theory” between Daniel’s 69th “week/seven” and the 70th etc… .  What a mess!
After I graduated CCBC, I went back to my home Church – Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and I began getting involved in the Jr. H.S. and H.S. programs.  I remember one New Year’s Eve – Pastor Chuck Smith was giving one of his famous “Prophecy Updates.”  His approach just didn’t sit well with me after being trained in hermeneutics and expository preaching – he simply read select passages out of Matthew 24 and assumed that everything that was happening at that time in the Middle East (and other current events “signs”) were for our generation and that he was “convinced” that the “Lord was coming soon to rapture” the Church.
Classic Amillennialism
After a brief stay at my home church I decided to further my theological training and attended another Dispensational Bible College – The Master’s College (affiliated with Pastor John MacArthur).  It was there that I was doing a report on “the kingdom of God” and had read several books – but this time a great deal of Amillennial or Covenant Theology material mixed in with Dispensational sources.  I quickly was converted to Amillennialism in that I saw no Biblical support for these Dispensational doctrinal distinctions such as:
1. Jesus allegedly offered a literal earthly kingdom to Israel.
2.  This kingdom allegedly got “postponed.”
3.  There wasn’t this major distinction between the Church and Israel – in particularly noticing that the Apostles hermeneutic in interpreting the OT was vastly different than Dispensationalism’s – applying OT promises to the Church (the very thing Dispensationalism said couldn’t be done etc…).
4.  The Amillennial hermeneutic and its use of the analogy of Scripture was so much simpler and better in that there was only ONE coming of Christ, attended with one judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of the age.  I thought all of my eschatological wows had ended!  But…
Partial Preterism
On a spring break from The Master’s College I met a former student in Post Falls ID, that was Reformed.  We had so much to talk about and he gave me one of his Pastor’s articles that he had written for a local News Paper.  The article was on how Dispensationalism was false teaching and he simply went through Matthew 24 demonstrating how all of the signs were fulfilled by AD 70 and that exegetically “this generation” was the AD 30 – AD 70 one.  He briefly touched upon NT imminence as well I believe.  Well, this just seemed so “exegetical” and simple too!  I began getting a hold of every Partial Preterist book I could – David Chilton, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Marcellus Kik, Greg Bahnsen, etc….
It wasn’t too long that the uneasiness I felt about Dispensationalism began coming back.  The “double vision” hermeneutics and confusion that I had left behind in Dispensational came back this time “seven fold” in the form of:  1. two comings of Christ – one in AD 70 to end Israel’s eschaton and the second (third?) coming to end history and end the Churches eschaton.  2.  Two Great Commissions to bring an end to… 3. Two end of the age(s) to… 4. judge the dead (one spiritual in AD 70 and an alleged literal one at the end of world history)… that would 5. Usher in two New Heavens and Earth(s) (one spiritual in AD 70 and an alleged physical one at the end of world history) etc….
Another source of uneasiness was that in all of the Partial Preterist material I had (to that date) gave a lot of exegesis of Matthew 24:1-34, but really none beyond verses 35-36 which were practically assumed to be referring to another coming of Jesus thousands of years removed from the one in the previous verses.  These two issues brought much uneasiness.
I remember giving a “persuasive speech” in my speech class and it was designed to convince the class (virtually all Dispensationalists) that the Great Tribulation is past, all the signs were fulfilled by AD 70, and that “a” parousia/coming of Christ took place at that time as well.  I thought it went well until the Q & A session kicked in.  Virtually every question or comment came out, “Aren’t you saying that the second coming took place then too if these other events were fulfilled in AD 70”?  I of course had to remind them that there were two comings in the NT which was followed by comments such as, “Yeah, but that doesn’t make much sense etc…”  I was thinking to myself that this two coming theory didn’t make much sense to me either – but I couldn’t let them know that!
Synthesis of Classic Amillennialism & Partial Preterism
I remember doing a study on Christ coming as a thief in my dorm room at The Master’s College and looking at the various conflicting views on this subject and the NT texts which developed it.  It was in that study I stumbled upon David Chilton’s comments that he took the coming of Christ as a thief in Matthew 24:43 as being fulfilled in AD 70:
“This interpretation [on the New Heavens and Earth of Rev. 21 and 2 Peter 3 arriving in AD 70] is confirmed by St. Peter’s further information:  In this imminent “Day of the Lord” which is about to come upon the first-century world “like a thief” (cf. Matt. 24:42-43; 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 3:3), “the elements will be destroyed with intense heat” (v. 10; cf. v. 12).”  (David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, p. 542, emphasis mine).
I thought to myself, “finally, someone that actually goes beyond verse 34 in Matthew 24, and sees what I’m seeing!”  When it was confirmed to me that there was only ONE coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25, it became clear that the rest of the NT follows that pattern and that the ONE Second Coming event was fulfilled in AD 70.  First let me provide you with a chart that gives you a visual of what I was looking at when it came to the conflicted nature of the Church on Christ coming as a thief, then I will provide another chart that shows once Matthew 24-25 is not divided, the rest of Pauline eschatology follows suit.

Christ comes “as a thief”
Passage
Partial Preterism
D. Chilton
Partial Preterism
K. Gentry
Pre-Trib. Rapture
J. MacArthur
Amill & Hist. Premill.
Matt. 24:43 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future  Rapture Future Second Coming
2 Peter 3:10 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future
Second Coming
Future  Second Coming
1 Thess. 5:2, 4 AD 70 Future  Second Coming Future  Rapture Future  Second Coming
Rev. 3:3 AD 70 AD 70 Future  Rapture Future  Second Coming
Rev. 16:15 AD 70 AD 70 Future
Second Coming
Future  Second Coming

This is what was going through my mind at this point:
Premise #1If it is true that the coming of Christ as a thief is both the Second Coming and Rapture event (Matt. 24=1 Thess. 4-5=2 Pet. 3=Rev. 3; 16),…
Premise #2 – …and if it is also true that Christ coming as a thief was imminently and spiritually fulfilled in AD 70,…
Conclusion – …then it necessarily follows that when Christ came as a thief spiritually in AD 70, that is when the Second Coming and Rapture event was fulfilled.
I said to myself, “Really, is this someone [David Chilton] who sees what I’m seeing?  There isn’t this “two sections” or “two comings” of Jesus in Matthew 24?!?”  Well, providentially I was coming up on another break from college and my roommate invited me to stay at his house (in Sacramento, CA) so I tagged along with him.  I noticed that David Chilton didn’t live far away from this area and so I set up a lunch appointment with him.  When we met, I almost immediately brought up what he had written and asked, “If you take Christ coming as a thief in Matthew 24 to be AD 70, then you don’t divide Matthew 24 into two sections or comings – do you?  And if you don’t, perhaps you are seeing what I am, in that there is only one second coming of Jesus mentioned in the NT and it happened in AD 70?”  His response was priceless – he simply smiled at me and said, “Mike, there is a book you need to read by James Stuart Russell, The Parousia.  From there he invited me over to his house for a while and he just wanted to have small talk.
It was dawning on me- “What if the Amillennial view is correct in that there is only one second coming being discussed throughout Matthew 24-25 and the Partial Preterist view is correct that the Son of Man coming on the clouds and or “the parousia” happened in AD 70 (ie. that the second coming of Jesus happened in AD 70 and has already been fulfilled)?  This was followed with me doing my own study comparing Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and charting out the parallels and noting that these were one and the same coming of Christ!  It became very obvious to me that the Amillennial view which taught Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4-5 was accurate (ie. a correct use of the Analogy of Scripture hermeneutic), while at the same time the Partial Preterist view was accurate in that the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds – at the sound of a trumpet, happened within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (ie. an exegetical approach to the use of apocalyptic language and NT imminence).  The following chart expresses what was going through my mind at this point.
If A (Matt. 24) was fulfilled in AD 70 and yet is = to B (1 Thess. 4-5) and B (1 Thess. 4) is = to C (1 Cor. 15) then A (Matt. 24) is = to C (1 Cor. 15). And therefore, both B (1 Thess. 4) and C (1 Cor. 15) were also fulfilled in AD 70 just as A (Matt. 24) was.  Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other:

Since A (Mat. 24) = B (1 Thess. 4)
Christ Returns from Heaven 24:30 4:16
With Voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With Trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/Gathered Together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the Clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact Time Unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ Comes as a Thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers Caught Off Guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of Birth Pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers Not Deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to Be Watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to Sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/Sunlight Shinning From E. to W. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And B (1 Thess. 4) =  C (1 Cor. 15)
The Sleeping to Be Raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The Living to Be aught/Changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s Coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the Sound of the Trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to Stand Firm 4:18 15:58
Same Contemporary “We” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matt. 24)  =  C (1 Cor. 15)
Christ to Come (Greek: Parousia) 24:27 15:23
His People to Be Gathered/Changed 24:31 15:52
To Come with the Sound of a Trumpet 24:31 15:52
To Be “The End” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom Consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All Prophecy Fulfilled at This Point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Law/Temple Mat. 24:1 15:55-56
Same Contemporary “We” Mat. 24:2ff 15:51-52

Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other.

Matthew 24                     1 Thessalonians 4          1 Corinthians 15 

At His Coming (24:27-31) = At His Coming (4:16) = At His Coming (15:23)
At the Trumpet (24:31) = At the Trumpet (4:16) = At the Trumpet (15:52)
Dead Raised, All Gathered (24:31) = Dead Raised (4:16) = Dead Raised (15:35-44)
All Living Gathered
(24:31)
= Living Caught Together to Him (4:17) = Status of Living Changed (15:51)

I would latter write David Chilton a private letter expressing that his smile made me feel uncomfortable in that it communicated to me that he knew what the truth was but he was sitting on it or compromising it.  He wrote me a scathing letter back expressing how my view would never amount to anything except to be a footnote in one of his books.  This letter was responded to by my second, in which I told him I would be praying that the Lord would discipline Him for compromising and suppressing the truth and for his pride.  Within a year or two, I had moved to Sacramento, CA (having dropped out of Master’s College – no need to go in debt for a theological education that was bogus) and was living two blocks from the hospital David Chilton ended up staying in (after his heart attack).  I took the church I was attending (a small Sovereign Grace Full Preterist Church) and our worship team and visited David in the hospital where we sang worship songs (I didn’t mention our correspondence).  We would later have lunch again, and David apparently did remember our correspondence and apologized to me for his letter and did say that he knew that the second coming happened in AD 70.  From there he contacted other Full Preterists such as Don Preston and would be more vocal about his convictions.
Then I would begin writing Gary DeMar and realized that he too did not believe Matthew 24 could be divided into two comings of Christ.  He assured me he would be addressing this issue in his next edition of Last Days Madness, which he did.
Let’s first get a bird’s-eye view of where everyone is on 1 and 2 Thessalonians and then I will address Gary’s problems:

Passages Full Preterism Partial Preterism Milton Terry Partial Preterist Gary DeMar Partial Preterist Keith Mathison Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry Amill. &
Hist. Premill. 
 
1 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future
1 Thess. 3 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future
1 Thess. 4 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future Future Future
1 Thess. 5 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 1 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future Future
2 Thess. 2 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 AD 70 Future

But here are the problems with Gary’s current position which he has held to for way too long without progressing or “continuing in doctrine.”
Gary DeMar believes 1 Thessalonians 5 was fulfilled in AD 70.  One of the reasons he does so is because Paul uses the same phrases Jesus uses concerning the coming “birth pains” and Christ coming as a “thief” in Matthew 24.  Look at numbers 7 and 9 below:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 5 – Fulfilled in AD 70
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 9.  Birth pains (5:3 – fulfilled in future?)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

But why wouldn’t DeMar address the remaining 6 parallels or phrases Paul is getting from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 and import them into 1 Thessalonians 5? Because to do so, would bring to much attention to this parallel hermeneutic and have people asking and demanding why he doesn’t follow this same approach in paralleling Matthew 24:30-31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (see #’s 1-5 in chart)?!?
This begs another question for DeMar to answer – since he publishes James Jordan’s commentary on Daniel 12 – which supports Daniel (his soul) was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit eternal life, then why isn’t 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 descriptive of this spiritual AD 70 fulfillment?!?
Partial Preterist Keith Mathison in his book on Postmillennialism  took 1 Thessalonians 5 as fulfilled in AD 70.  One of his reasons for this was because of Paul’s use of “birth pains” (again see #9 below) and paralleled this phrase with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Still Future? 1 Thessalonians 5 – Fulfilled in AD 70
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8) 9.  Birth pains (5:3)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

But what about the other 7 phrases and parallels Paul uses in the rest of 1 Thessalonians 5 that He is getting from Jesus in Matthew 24? If Mathison is consistent in his use of parallelism and in using an identical phraseology heremeutic, then this disproves his first theory (he too no longer divides Matthew 24 – see his new book, From Age to Age) that Matthew 24:36ff. contains eschatological material that needs to be fulfilled in our future.
If parallels and similar phrases from Matthew 24 prove that 1 Thessalonians 5 was fulfilled by AD 70, then why wouldn’t the same hermeneutic of parallels and similar phrases prove that 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was also fulfilled in AD 70 (again #’s 1-5)?
Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry cites authors to support Paul is following Matthew 24 when he parallels and makes his Preterist case  that 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70.  But those same sources he uses, produce these parallels as well which Gentry arbitrarily ignores, because he knows if he was consistent in this use of the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation, it would lead him to Full Preterism.  Here is how Gentry understands Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5:

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4 – Still Future?
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
Matthew 24 – Still Future? 1 Thessalonians 5 – Still Future?
6.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 6.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
7.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 7.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 8.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
9.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 9.  Birth pains (5:3 – fulfilled in future?)
10.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 10.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
11.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 11.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 12.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
13.  The Day, shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 13.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

So why wouldn’t Gentry parallel Matthew 24:36-49 with 1 Thessalonains 5:1-8 to prove that both of these sections are to be fulfilled in the future?To do so would have Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 use the “birth pains” (an alleged future fulfillment) parallel to Matthew 24:8 – which he says was fulfilled in AD 70. This is a similar problem Gentry has if he compares Matthew 24 with Luke 17, in that Luke 17 makes it clear there are not two comings of Christ in view.  Luke mixes up AD 70 events to alleged future events, and allegedly future events, he places to be fulfilled in AD 70.
To make all of the 7 parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 would end up “proving to much” – in that everyone would be asking why not make the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 then?!? If Paul is following Jesus’ material in 1 Thessalonians 5, why isn’t he following it in 1 Thessalonians 4?!? (again #’s 1-5).
Another problem Gentry has created for himself is that he now teaches the resurrection of Dan. 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s parouisa in AD 70. Therefore, this begs another question for Gentry to answer – WHY isn’t 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 descriptive of the spiritual coming and spiritual resurrection of Daniel 7:13/Daniel 12:2 — that he says was fulfilled in AD 70?!?
It should be abundantly clear that Paul is following Jesus’ teaching Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4-5.  As G.K. Beale points out in his commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians – Paul practically follows the exact same chronology of Jesus in Matthew 24!  This is why the Classic Amillennial view and the Full Preterist view either have all of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 as fulfilled in the future or fulfilled in AD 70.  The analogy of Scripture demands one or the other.  But the first century imminent expectation demands the Full Preterist interpretation.
Full Preterism
At this point I was a Full Preterist (in the broad sense of the definition) and didn’t know it.  After I got back to The Master’s College and received Russell’s book (from Walt Hibbard’s GCB’s) and read his exegesis of Matthew 24 – I remember jumping up and down in my dorm room shouting, “YES!  I found someone that believes what I do (the NT only teaches one Second Coming and it was fulfilled in AD 70)!”  But then the depression and lonely feelings came back as I noticed that this author wrote the book in the 1800’s and was dead.  But I was determined to find out if there was anyone (alive that is) that believed and saw what I did.  I got onto the Internet and began debating my position on Matthew 24 with others online to see what would happen.  It wasn’t long before I got into contact with Ken Davies and David Green.  I was finally at peace and have been a Full Preterist now for 26 years and have never even thought of looking back.
Although the Lord (at least up to this point) never called me to be a Pastor, He did open the doors up for me to be a Full Preterist theologian, apologist, and author.  I enjoy writing Full Preterist articles on my two web sites:  www.fullpreterism.com and www.treeoflifeministries.info.  I  have also been blessed to be a co-author in House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?  In the book I wanted to have as our guiding foundation and apologetic to be the one that actually led me into the Full Preterist movement – that is a synthesis between the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view (or simply put – one of the Reformation’s cries, “Reformed and always reforming”).  The Full Preterist movement is nothing other than the “organic development” between these two Reformed eschatological views.  As I wrote in HD:
“1)  Partial Preterism – Imminence and fulfillment are accepted.  Christ appeared a second time at the end of the old covenant age.  There was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection of the living and dead which was attended by a passing of the old creation and arrival of the new in AD 70 (Dan. 12:1-4; Matt. 5:17-18; 13:39-43, 24-25; Acts 1:11; Rom. 8:18; 13:11-12; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37; 1 Peter 4:5-7; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 1-22).
2)  Classic Amillennialism – The New Testament teaches only one future coming of Christ, general judgment, and resurrection of the living and dead attended by the restoration of creation at the end of the age.”
“…The choice is simple. Either one continues propagating the myth that these two propositions within the futurist paradigm do not lead to a contradiction, or one accepts the organic development of full preterism which unites them.” (HD Second Edition, 139).
My exhortation to the reader studying Full Preterism
And again, here is a small portion of our conclusion in HD that I made a contribution towards and want to pass on to you as you study the Full Preterist position:
“As a Reformed believer, dear reader, you know that there is no middle ground between Arminianism and Calvinism.  You may have tried at one time to say that you were neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.  Or you may have acknowledged that the Bible teaches Calvinism, but you rejected the teaching because you were troubled by its implications.  Or you may have even been a closet Calvinist for years.  Though the road was perhaps difficult, you eventually embraced the doctrines of grace, and now you know there is no compromise position between the two doctrines.
Many Reformed believers today are having the same experience with the doctrine of preterism.  They are learning that it is also a hard pill to swallow and that it is nevertheless the doctrine of Scripture.  They are learning that it represents “the whole counsel of God” in the area of eschatology.  After we are confronted with biblical preterism, we may try to straddle the fence, but there is truly no middle ground.  Just as R.C. Sproul (Sr.) would consider a four-point Calvinist to be in reality a “confused Arminian,” more and more futurists, on their way to biblical preterism, are beginning to see that partial preterism is just “confused futurism.”  There is no biblical basis for “partial preterism” even as there is no biblical basis for “partial Calvinism.”  This is why partial preterism invariably leads to full preterism.  This is why Keith Mathison and Ken Gentry have both come closer to “hyper-preterism” since they wrote WSTTB.  Mathison now believes that the prophecy of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Gentry now believes that the resurrection in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This is why partial preterist theologian David Chilton became a full preterist before he passed away, even though he knew he would be creedally anathematized by partial preterists such as his publisher Gary North.
Though we consider futurists who condemn us to be our brothers in Christ, we must acknowledge that they have been confronted with the truth, and rejected it, and declared us to be accursed.  They would have done well to heed the wisdom of Gamaliel:  “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39). But instead, they are persecuting us and suppressing the truth, though ultimately to no avail.
The biblical record from cover to cover teaches us that taking a stand against traditions and authorities which nullify Scripture is not easy.  When leaders take their stand against the teachings of Scripture for the sake of tradition, that is when God raises up “the things which are not” (1 Cor. 1:28)—fishermen, shepherds, janitors, waiters, drivers, etc.,— to stand in the gap.  The rise of Reformed preterists within the history of the church can be likened to the conflict between David the shepherd and Saul the king, and between Luther and the One, Holy, Roman Catholic Church—small and humble beginnings, with powerful and profound results to be looked for in the future.
Preterists have been forced into the wilderness and caves by those who have felt threatened by our stand for the Word of God; and God continues to add to the number of men and women who are shunned by creedal futurists.  These believers have been driven out by Saul-ish spear throwers, but they find their purpose in defending the truth at all costs.  And as a result, they become God’s valiant warriors.
It took only a handful of committed Christians with a passion for God’s word to turn the Jewish and Roman world completely upside down with the gospel. God is not calling closet Calvinists or closet preterists, but faithful men to boldly proclaim His truth to His flock.  Be assured that persecution and tears will come, but if you faithfully proclaim and trust in God’s Word, He will keep your tears in His bottle and turn back your enemies, and in one way or another, He will vindicate you and the truth together in Him (Jer. 1; Josh. 1; Ps. 56).” (HD, 235-236).
This is why every HD book I sign and mail off, I list Jer. 1; Josh. 1 and Psalm 56 – because this has been my experience and exhortation I want to pass on to you.  That is, tears of pain and tears of joy will enter your heart when you see this truth and rejoice in God’s Word – and yet at the same time you will always have to be “strong and very courageous” never being “discouraged” to “fear the faces of men” or seek to compromise, for He will fight your battles, turn back your enemies, and His Word will not return to Him void!  This is your calling, your duty and your privilege.  Peace – Selah.

A Full Preterist Response to Kenneth Gentry’s Articles: DANIEL 12, TRIBULATION, AND RESURRECTION and ACTS 24:15 AND THE ALLEGED NEARNESS OF THE RESURRECTION

A Full Preterist Response to Kenneth Gentry’s Articles:  DANIEL 12, TRIBULATION, AND RESURRECTION and ACTS 24:15 AND THE ALLEGED NEARNESS OF THE RESURRECTION 
By:  Michael J. Sullivan
“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time.  And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.  2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt (cf. John 5:28-29; Matthew 13:39-43/24:3, 30-31; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:5-15).  3Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end (Matthew 13:39-43/24-25); many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase (of Messiah and new covenant salvation).”  Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be (vss. 1-4)?”  Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things (including the resurrection and glorification of vss. 2-3) shall be finishedAlthough I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things (again they are all fulfilled together)?”  And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. 11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.  13 But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.
Introduction
There are several things that are missing from Mr. Gentry’s new view that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled corporately in AD 70 in his book,[1] article on his site,[2] or in the various lectures he has given where this passage comes up.
First, there is no humble acknowledgment that his new position on this text is the result of Full Preterist arguments pressing him to it over several years.  Nor is there any humble apology or acknowledgment to the Full Preterist community (or even to his futurist readers for that matter) for his past faulty eisegesis oF cherry-picking the time and fulfillment of the resurrection from the other eschatological events he took as fulfilled in AD 70 (the shattering of Jerusalem in judgment, the tribulation, and the three and a half years’ time frame).  Contextually the passage tells us that “all these things” not “some of these things” would be fulfilled together during the same “time of the end” period (Dan. 12:7).
Secondly, not only does Gentry neglect to tell his readers that his change on Daniel 12:2 is a result of full preterism pushing him in that direction, he doesn’t think twice about accepting the fact that men like him and James Jordan have actually stolen and are teaching the full preterist view on the resurrection and judgment of the dead.  Here is what they are proposing happened which is the full preterist view:

  • There was an “already/becoming/not yet” or progressive resurrection taking place for Israel roughly between AD 30 – AD 70.  In AD 70 the Church (God’s new covenant corporate Israel) was raised from the carcass of old covenant corporate Israel.
  • The souls of OT saints such as Daniel and Christians whom died prior to AD 70 were raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom and inherited God’s kingdom/presence/eternal life at that time.

In a nut shell, that is the full preterist view on the judgment and resurrection of the living and dead between AD 30 – AD 70.  The only difference between progressive partial preterists and full preterists at this point is that full preterists do not go beyond what is written and make up an additional “already/becoming/not yet” eschaton beyond AD 70 which allegedly involves a casket resurrection at the end of history – to appease the creeds and or creedal supporters and publishers.
Thirdly, perhaps Gentry is not remorseful for his eisegesis and cherry-picking Daniel 12:2 from the rest of the AD 70 fulfillments he has given in this chapter, because he knows his new interpretation continues with this deplorable approach.  Let me explain.  There is no exegetical defense of Gentry’s novel view that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 can have two or multiple fulfillments (one in AD 70 and a “consummate” physical one at the end of time).  Therefore, Gentry has come full circle on performing eisegesis (reading things into the text that are not there) or cherry-picking the eschatological events in Daniel chapter 12 from verse 2.  If Gentry can give Daniel 12:2 two fulfillments (one in AD 70 and one in our future), then what is to stop the dispensationalist from saying something like this:  “There may have been some kind of fulfillment of the Great Tribulation in an AD 66–70 (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21) and in the “desolation” of Jerusalem and her temple in AD 70 (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), but those events were only typological or preview fulfillments for Israel today after Israel rebuilds her temple in the near future.”  Or why should Gentry oppose the amillennialist teaching that, while the Great Tribulation may have had some aspect of fulfillment in the events leading up to AD 70, we should not consider it as one historic event but an “already but not yet” process the church goes through until the end of history?  Gentry gives Daniel 12:2 two fulfillments but won’t allow dispensationalism 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 9:27. Jesus in Luke 21:20-22 and Matthew 13:39-43 did not say that all Old Testament prophecy or the resurrection and glorification of Daniel 12:2–3 would be fulfilled in two totally different ways spanning thousands or millions of years from AD 70 to the end of world history. He said that these things would all be fulfilled in His generation (“this generation”) at the end of the old covenant age.
It is more than inconsistent for Gentry and other partial preterists when debating premillennialists, dispensationalists, and amillennialists to argue that their preterist fulfillments in Matthew 24 and 95% of the book of Revelation were fulfilled in AD 70 and cannot have double, multiple, or be placed in a 2000+ “already-not yet” fulfillment reaching beyond AD 70; and then turn around and use this very argument on the resurrection when debating and trying to dismiss Full Preterist exegesis!  Selah.  For example Gary DeMar, rejects openness to the double fulfillment, mixed fulfillments, or future fulfillment theories in the Olivet Discourse:
“Either the Olivet Discourse applies to a generation located in the distant future from the time the gospel writers composed the Olivet Discourse or to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking; it can’t be a little bit of both. As we will see, the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in any of the synoptic gospels does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion. Matthew 24:34 won’t allow for it.”[3]
And Gentry teaches that a theory of “double fulfilling” AD 70 fulfillments in the book of Revelation, for example, is “pure theological assertion” that has “no exegetical warrant.”[4]  We couldn’t agree more!  So if it is true that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is found in the Matthew 24 and in the book of Revelation, then it would be “pure theological assertion” to claim another fulfillment of that resurrection is yet future to us.  Per Gentry, his approach has “no exegetical warrant” to it.
Similarly, Gentry and other partial preterists have attempted to blur and muddy their NT two comings of Christ (the parousia), two great commissions, two end of the ages, two fulfillments of the passing of the first creation and arrival of the new, and now two judgments and resurrections of the dead under the guise of two “already and not yet” eschatons.  If you have seen the plethora of exegetical problems with the dispensational double vision eschaton of a “the parousia” consummation/coming of Christ for Israel before the millennium and then another “the parousia” (“secret rapture”) consummation/coming of Christ for the Church, then one can easily see how partial preterism suffers from the same kind of eisegetical double vision hermeneutic which rips apart the harmony and analogy of the NT Scriptures!  Partial preterism teaches that there was one “already and not yet” 1)  roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 for Israel, and then what appears to be the first “not yet” in AD 70 becomes the “already” of the second “already and not yet” 2)  AD 70 – end of time for the Church.  They have learned from their futurist opponents that when an AD 70 fulfillment is exegetically developed their opponents “out” seems to be to throw it into a scholarly “already and not yet” scene.  This is Gentry’s approach now in debating Full Preterists which according to him is “pure theological assertion” with “no exegetical warrant.”  Even partial preterist Joel McDurmon tried this in his debate with Don Preston.  When pressed into a corner on such passages as Daniel 12:2/1 Corinthians 15/Revelation 20 – McDurmon admitted that these passages “could” have had “a” fulfillment in AD 70, but await another fulfillment/manifestation.  To claim that the resurrection and or judgment of the dead in 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20 “could have a fulfillment in AD 70” is a huge admission which “gives the farm away.”
Fourthly, when one considers Gentry’s older writings and new writings on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 they definitely do lead us to Full Preterism.  In the past Gentry has argued that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is the same “one” resurrection as what we see in these texts (Matt. 13:39-43; John 5:28-29—6:40; Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 20).  This is a Full Preterist view.  In his new writings he is arguing that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually and corporately in AD 70.  This too is a Full Preterist position.
Fifthly, Gentry never explains how Daniel (the person ie. his soul) was raised and received everlasting life in AD 70 (cf. Dan. 12:2, 13).  How and how many times must Daniel be raised from the dead to inherit eternal life and the kingdom?!?  Does Gentry believe that Daniel was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom (as James Jordan believes according to Revelation 20) in AD 70 and inheriting everlasting life was being raised into God’s presence?  Who knows because Gentry cannot articulate his position or attempt to answer the tough questions.
Lastly and most importantly, there is no exegetical work done by Gentry on where the judgment, resurrection, and “end” of Daniel 12:1-4 is referenced and alluded to in the NT (ex. Matt. 13:39-43/Matt. 24:3, 31; John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20) in order to prove that the Full Preterist view that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was consummately fulfilled in AD 70 is the wrong view.  As I will demonstrate in the bulk of this article, Ken doesn’t want to even acknowledge the collecting of these dots because he knows how reformed creedal eschatology and how full preterism has “connected these dots!” Gentry simply asserts that his new view that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70 does not lead to Full Preterism.   He  references only a few passages in the gospels and in the book of Revelation which he feels is an AD 70 fulfillment of Daniel 12:2 (where most commentators and orthodoxy has not made the connections) while ignoring the main passages such as Matthew 13:39-43; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15 and Revelation 20 (where commentators and orthodoxy has made the connections)!   Here are the passages which Gentry applies to Daniel 12:2 and note how the relevant passages I listed are ignored:
“Christ himself points out that some from Israel will believe and be saved, while others will not (e.g., Mt 10:34–36; 13:11–15), that in the removing of the kingdom from Israel many will be crushed and scattered like dust (Mt 21:43–45). He even speaks of the saved Jews as arising from the “shadow of death” (Mt 4:16). Though in AD 70 elect Jews will flee Israel and will live (Mt 24:22), the rest of the nation will be a corpse: “wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Mt 24:28). Indeed, in AD 70 we see in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Mt 22:7) that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14).
Second, elsewhere he employs the imagery of “regeneration” to the arising of the new Israel from out of dead, old covenant Israel in AD 70: “You who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt 19:28).
This paralleling of divine blessing and divine curse, of life and death (cf. Ro 11:15) for those in Israel is a frequent theme (under varied images) in the Book of Revelation
Third, God’s angels protect some Jews from the winds of judgment, while not protecting others (Rev 7:1–9). John measures some Jews for safe-keeping in the temple, while not measuring others (11:1–2). Some stand high upon Mt. Zion in safety (Rev 14:1–5), while others do not (Rev 14:17–20).
Returning now to Daniel, it appears that Daniel is drawing from the hope of the future, literal resurrection and applying it symbolically to the first century leading up to the tribulation in AD 70. That is, he is portraying God’s separating believing Jews out of Israel through the winnowing of Israel in AD 70. Again, this is much like Ezekiel’s practice in his vision of the valley of dry bones.
Fourth, though Ezekiel’s prophecy is concerned with Israel as a whole, whereas Daniel shows that Israel’s hope is the believing remnant.
In Daniel 12:4 the prophet hears a command to seal up his message until Israel’s end, thus delaying its prophesied actions. In Revelation 22:10 John receives a command precisely the opposite of Daniel’s, resulting in Revelation as a whole being opened and thereby fulfilled shortly: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” (Rev 22:10; cp. 1:1, 3; 22:6).”[5]
I feel this is by far the most glaring weakness of Gentry’s new view on Daniel 12:2, and therefore I will go ahead and do the exegetical work he can’t do and won’t do while quoting and referencing other reformed theologians to make the full preterist case.

Jesus’ Teaching on the Resurrection and Judgment of Daniel 12:1-4

Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3
Historical Argument:
The Jews during the times of Jesus and the NT era believed in two ages.  The first “this age” was that of the Mosaic old covenant law and prophets and the “age to come” or “age about to come” was that ushered in by Messiah and answered to the new covenant age.
“The end of this age” Exegetical Argument#1:
The new covenant age had not yet begun when Christ was teaching his audience about the judgment and resurrection which would take place at the end of their “this age” (Christ had not shed His blood yet).  Clearly the “this age” he is discussing is the old covenant age and the harvest/judgment/gathering/resurrection which would take place at that time.
Partial Preterist (Orthodox) Admission to Full Preterism confirms this interpretation:
Some of Gentry’s partial preterist colleagues have come to the conclusion that the parable of the wheat and tares was also fulfilled in AD 70.  For example, Joel McDurmon (Gary North’s son-in-law, and Director of Research for Gary DeMar’s American Vision):[6]
It is clear that Jesus did not have in mind the end of the world, nor did He mean the final judgment.  Rather, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 describe the judgment that would come upon unbelieving Jerusalem. During this time, the angels would “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (13:41) and these would be judged with fire.  Many of them literally were burned in fire during the destruction of Jerusalem.  During this same time, however, the elect of Christ— “the children of the kingdom” (v. 38)—will be harvested.  While the explanation of the parable does not tell us their final end, the parable itself has the householder instructing the harvesters to “gather the wheat into my barn.”  In other words, they are protected and saved by God.
This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians. Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege.  This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).[7]
“The end” or “This age” Exegetical Argument #2:
“The end” of “this age” is equivalent to Daniel’s “time of the end” in (Daniel 12:4) and thus answers to the same time period.  That this is the same “time of the end” resurrection is clarified even stronger in our next argument.
“Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” Exegetical Argument #3:
Virtually every commentator understands that Jesus is referencing the resurrection and glorification of (Daniel 12:2-3) in which the wise and righteous rise and “shine like the firmament” and “like the stars forever and ever.”
Gentry simply avoids the exegetical facts that Jesus is teaching the harvest/judgment/resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 would be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70.  Here merely assumes that the parable of the wheat and tares will be fulfilled at the end of the Christian age or “end of history.”  Following James Jordan, the closest Gentry wants to come to applying the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 to Matthew 13:39-43 (the parable of the wheat and tares) is oddly in the parable right before it in Matthew 13:11-15 (the parable of the soils):
“Christ himself points out that some from Israel will believe and be saved, while others will not (e.g., Mt 10:34–36; 13:11–15), that in the removing of the kingdom from Israel many will be crushed and scattered like dust (Mt 21:43–45).”[8]
The harvest is the end of the age” Exegetical Argument #3
Gentry writes of Daniel’s resurrection,
“That is, he (Daniel) is portraying God’s separating believing Jews out of Israel through the winnowing of Israel in AD 70.”[9]
Uh, but isn’t it Jesus here in Matthew 13:39-43 that is connecting the resurrection/glorification of Daniel 12:2-3 with a “harvest” and thus a “winnowing of Israel in AD 70”?!?  Don’t be afraid of the text Ken.  At least another partial preterist Peter Leithart, who understands that the parable of the wheat and tares was fulfilled in AD 70 correctly 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.”[10]  Gentry takes the eschatological harvest/judgment/gathering of John the Baptist’s teaching in Matthew 3:7-12 as fulfilled in AD 70, so why is Ken so afraid of Jesus’ harvest/judgment/gathering in Matthew 13:39-43 as being the same harvest fulfilled in AD 70?  The answers I believe are as follows:
First, if Gentry concedes that the harvest/gathering/judgment/resurrection took place at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70, then this is but one more passage he has surrendered to full preterism – thus once again demonstrating that his writings and that of partial preterism in general “leads to full preterism” (something Gentry try’s to deny but everyone from any other eschatological school of thought knows to be true).
Secondly, if Gentry concedes that the harvest/gathering/judgment/resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43 took place in AD 70, then the harmony of Jesus’ teaching in the gospel of Matthew and exegetical evidence would demonstrate that the eschatological gathering at the “end of the age” in (Matthew 24:3, 30-31—chapter 25) was also fulfilled in AD 70 along with  the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 at “the end [of the old covenant] age.”
Thirdly, if Gentry concedes that the harvest/gathering/judgment/resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43 took place in AD 70, then a “double,” “multiple,” “type / anti-type,” “already not yet” sell on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 becomes virtually impossible to make to reformed/creedal orthodox folks who finance his ministry or creedal publishers who publish his materials.  This is also why American Vision and Gary DeMar have avoided this issue as well in my opinion.  If Jesus is directly teaching that the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4, 13 would take place at the end of the old covenant “this age,” it would be pure and direct eisegesis (reading into the text something that is not there) to claim that somehow He meant that TWO different kinds of resurrections would take place in two different “this age” time frames spanning thousands or millions of years.  Early creedal statements and that of the Church fathers believed the “age to come” or “age about to come” was still future and when it came the Second Coming and judgment and resurrection of the living and dead would occur.  They did not teach that the NT’s use of the “age to come” or “age about to come” was fulfilled in AD 70 as partial preterists are now admitting and conceding to full preterism.
Concluding Daniel 12:1-4/Matthew 13:39-43 and the teachings of progressive partial preterism.  Directly or indirectly, progressive partial preterism has conceded to full preterism that Jesus taught the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70 at the end of the old covenant age in fulfillment of the parable of the wheat and tares.  This begs the question as to if Jesus elsewhere in the gospels taught this AD 70 doctrine of the judgment and resurrection of the dead and if the rest of the NT applies the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4 to AD 70 or the end of time.  To this issue we continue.
Matthew 24-25/Daniel 12:1-4

   Daniel 12:1-12

Olivet Discourse
1.  Tribulation and Abomination that causes   Desolation  (Dan. 12:1, 12) 1.  Tribulation and Abomination that causes   desolation

(Matt. 24:15, 21; Lk. 21:20-23)

2.  Judgment and Deliverance  (Dan. 12:1) 2.  Judgment and Deliverance

(Lk. 21:18-22, 28; Matt. 24:13)

3.  Resurrection  (Dan. 12:2-3) 3.  Resurrection (Matt. 13:40-43; 24:30-31; Lk.   21:27-28)
4.  The End (Dan. 12:4, 6, 8-9, 13) 4.  The End (Matt. 24:13-14)
5.  When would all this take place?  “. . .when the power [The Law] of the holy people [Israel] has been completely shattered [the destruction   of the city and the sanctuary in AD 70], all these things [including the judgment   and resurrection] shall be finished.”  “But you, go your way till the end; for you   shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.”   (Dan. 12:7, 13) 5.  When would all this take place?  “There shall not be left here one stone upon   another, that shall not be thrown down” [the destruction of the city and the   sanctuary in AD 70].”  “Verily I say   unto you, This generation shall   not pass, till all these things [judgment & resurrection] be   fulfilled.”(Matt. 24:1, 34)

 
Argument #1 The Analogy of Scripture “Parallels”
Of course progressive partial preterists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison have surrendered to full preterism the belief that Matthew 24-25 cannot be divided into two comings of Christ (one in AD 70 and another at the end of time), but rather one in AD 70.  Gentry has nowhere to go at this point except to concede that this is now a legitimate and orthodox position to take although Luther, Calvin and the WCF all have taught that the coming of Christ in the OD is indeed the Second Coming.  For example the Reformation Study Bible, is in perfect harmony with full preterism in interpreting the parallel’s in Matthew 24:30-31 as being the same eschatological event with the following passages:
“But the language of [Matthew 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31, as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14–17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”
It is important to note that full preterist hermeneutical “parallels” are reformed “parallels.”  Let’s briefly enjoy the analogy of Scripture which partial preterism arbitrarily rips asunder in hopes of trying to deal with NT imminence and stay creedal at the same time.
Matthew 24-25/Luke 21 & Matthew 13 Parallels
Evangelism in the world takes place (Mt. 24:14/Mt. 13:38).
There is persecution, tribulation, apostasy, & faithfulness (Mt. 24:9-13/Mt. 13:19-30).
The subject is the growth and reception of the kingdom at which time the judgment at the “end of the age” takes place (Lk. 21:31-32/Mt. 13:43; Mt. 24:3/Mt. 13:40).
The Son of Man comes with His angels to gather the sheep/wheat into His barn/kingdom and the wicked goats/tares are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned (Mt. 24:30-31, 25:31-41/Mt. 13:39-42).
Matthew 24-25/Luke 21 & 1 Corinthians 15 Parallels
Christ’s coming/parousia and trumpet call (Mt. 24:27, 31/1 Cor. 15:23, 52).
This is the time of “the end” (Mt. 24:3, 14/1 Cor. 15:24).
At this time God judges His enemies (Mt. 21:43à22:41-44à24-25/1 Cor. 15:24-28).
This is the time for inheriting the kingdom (Lk. 21:31-32/1 Cor. 15:24).
This is the time for God’s final redemption when the sin, the death, and the Law are destroyed for God’s people (Lk. 21:27-28/1 Cor. 15:23, . The temple’s destruction =’s the death being swallowed up in victory over “the [Mosaic Torah] Law” (1 Cor. 15:55-56/Dan. 12:7).
Matthew 24 & 1 Thessalonians 4-5 Parallels
Reformed and Evangelical commentators such as G.K. Beale see that in 1 Thessalonians 4–5, Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24.
“That both [1 Thessalonians] 4:15–18 and 5:1–11 explain the same events is discernible from observing that both passages actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24. . . .”[11]
Christ returns 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:30
From heaven 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:30
Accompanied by angels 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:31
With a trumpet of God 1 Thess. 4:16=Matt. 24:31
Believers gathered to Christ 1 Thess. 4:17=2 Matt. 4:31, 40-41
In clouds 1 Thess. 4:17=Matt. 24:30
Time unknown 1 Thess. 5:1-2=Matt. 24:36
Coming like a thief 1 Thess. 5:2=Matt. 24:43
Unbelievers unaware of impending judgment 1 Thess. 5:3=Matt. 24:8
Judgment comes as pain upon an expectant mother 1 Thess. 5:3=Matt. 24:8
Believers not deceived 1 Thess. 5:4-5=Matt. 24:43
Believers to be watchful 1 Thess. 5:6=Matt. 24:37-39
Warning against drunkenness 1 Thess. 5:7=Matt. 24:49
Beale goes on to write:
“Other significant parallels include:  the use of the word parousia for Christ’s coming; reference to Christ’s advent as “that day” (Mt. 24:36) or “the day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2); and a description of someone coming to “meet” another (eis apantesin autou, virgins coming out to “meet” the bridegroom in Mt. 25:6; eis apantesin tou kyriou, believers “meeting” the Lord in 1 Thess. 4:17; see further Waterman 1975).”[12]
Gentry, to support his argument that 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70, says that “Most commentators agree that the Olivet Discourse is undoubtedly a source of the Thessalonian Epistles.[13]  Unfortunately Gentry’s sources of authority end up proving too much.  For example, both D.A. Carson and G. Henry Waterman (the same source Beale uses) make virtually the same parallels between Matthew 24–25 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 that we do.
Another partial preterist and outspoken critic of full preterism Keith Mathison attempts to avoid the unified parallels between Matthew 24–25 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 by claiming that his Reformed brothers and “hyper-preterists” merely assume that “Jesus is speaking of his second advent when he speaks of ‘the coming of the Son of Man’ in Matthew 24 and that Paul is speaking of the same thing in 1 Thessalonians 4.”[14]  The notion that Mathison is trying to pawn off here in his new book From Age to Age, is that Jesus in Matthew 24-25 was not teaching on his Second Coming (thus Mathison contradicts Luther, Calvin, and the WCF) and had very little to say about it at all in the gospels, and that it was the Holy Spirit who allegedly leads Paul to develop the doctrine of the Second Coming more in-depth in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up folks!  Where is this taught in the reformed creeds and what early church fathers were teaching this?  The self-evident fact of the matter however is that Mathison turns a blind eye to overwhelming evidence because Mathison assumes that partial preterism is right.  It is more than inconsistent and arbitrary to claim preterist parallels between Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2[15] and between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 to support AD 70 fulfillments of Pauline eschatology,[16] and then deny the obvious parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4.  But this is what partial preterists such as Mathison do to remain creedal and support doctrines the Scripture does not teach.  This is why partial preterism is a nothing more than a stepping stone to full preterism.
Argument #2 – Christ came to fulfill “all” of the “jots and tittles” of the OT law and prophets in AD 70 (Matthew 5:17-18=Matthew 24:35).  This would have to include the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4
Gentry says that when Christ referred to the fulfillment of “all things written” in (Luke 21:22), He was referring to Old Testament prophecies only, and that Christ therefore did not include the resurrection of all men and the Second Coming in the term “all things written.”[17]  But if Jesus came to fulfill “all” of the “jots and tittles” of the OT law and prophets when “heaven and earth” pass and if Reformed, Evangelical and partial preterist theologians are admitting that “heaven and earth” in (Matthew 5:17-18) refers to the Temple and or old covenant world of Israel which perished in AD 70, then “Houston we have a problem” for Gentry and partial preterism!  Some of the best Reformed theologians have taught that “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 refers to the old covenant system which passed away in AD 70.  Reformed theologian John Brown:
But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.[18]
Evangelical theologian Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis agrees:
. . . [T]he principal reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm.  Mark 13[:31] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. . . .[19]
One of Gentry’s co-author and partial preterist colleague’s Gary DeMar agrees and goes further building upon John Brown’s observations:
“The darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (24:29), are more descriptive ways of saying that “heaven and earth will pass away” (24:35).  In other contexts, when stars fall, they fall to the earth, a sure sign of temporal judgment (Isa. 14:12; Dan. 8:10; Rev. 6:13; 9:1; 12:4).  So then, the “passing away of heaven and earth” is the passing away of the old covenant world of Judaism…[20]
Exegetically, Jesus says nothing about two passing’s of “heaven and earth.”  And another interpretive problem for progressive partial preterists such as Gary DeMar would be that they take both “heaven and earth” passages passing in (Matthew 5:17-18/Matthew 24:35) as the old covenant temple or world perishing in AD 70.  Follow me with these exegetical/logical points along with the teachings of reformed eschatology and see where we end up.
If the analogy of Scripture teaches us that these passages are “parallel” and thus are the same eschatological time of the end judgment and resurrection events (ie. Matthew 13:39-43=Matthew 24:31ff.=Daniel 12:1-4) and…
If Jesus’ statement of coming to fulfill “all” the OT “jots and tittles” of the law and prophets (Matthew 5:17-18) includes the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (no one I know denies this).  And…
If all of the OT “law and prophets” were fulfilled when Israel’s “heaven and earth” passed in AD 70 (the necessary implication of partial preterism).  And…
If the passing of “heaven and earth” in both of these passages took place in AD 70 (ie. Matthew 5:17-18=Matthew 24:35), and…
If it is true per partial preterism (DeMar and others) that Matthew 24 cannot have double, multiple or have mixed fulfillments beyond AD 70,…
Then… the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (necessarily implied in Matthew 5:17-18 and found in Matthew 13 and Matthew 24) took place at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and therefore, cannot have a double, mixed or fulfillment beyond AD 70.  Remember partial preterist teaching on the fulfillment of Matthew 24:  “Either the Olivet Discourse applies to a generation located in the distant future from the time the gospel writers composed the Olivet Discourse or to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking; it can’t be a little bit of both. As we will see, the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in any of the synoptic gospels does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion. Matthew 24:34 won’t allow for it.”[21]
Gentry’s assertion that Matthew 24:30-31 is not dealing with the Second Coming or resurrection event (and it’s possible that neither is Matthew 24:36ff.) is simply not valid.  It is not valid because 1)  Jesus is simply discussing the same end of the age gathering He addressed in Matthew 13:39-43 (which is Daniel 12:2-3), 2)  Pauline parallels between Matthew 24-25 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 prove Jesus was addressing the gathering of the elect as the resurrection, 3)  When Jesus says He came to fulfill the OT law and prophets when Israel’s old covenant “heaven and earth” would pass away in such passages as Matthew 5:17-18/Luke 21:22/Matthew 24:35, He not only has the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 in view in Matthew 24-25 but also of what commentators and theologians have called “Isaiah’s little apocalypse” (Isa. 24—28):
“IN THAT DAY (the last day of the old covenant age) the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, WILL BE GATHERED (cf. Matt. 13:39-43, 49/Matt. 24:30-31/2 Thess. 2:1) up one by one. And in THAT DAY A GREAT TRUMPET WILL SOUND (Matt. 24:30-31/1 Thess. 4:15-17/1 Cor. 15:52) those who were perishing in Assyria and those who WORSHIP THE LORD ON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN IN JERUSALEM.” (Isa. 27:13).
Of Isaiah 27:13‘s connection with the NT texts I inserted above, let’s turn to G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson for support:
“The trumpet as a sign of the day of the Lord in 1 Cor. 15:52 recalls Isa. 27:13…” Of 2 Thessalonians 2:1, “The content of Paul’s appeal in this section concerns not only “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but also “our gathering to him.” The immediate reference to this latter subject is the comforting picture given in the previous letter of how all believers, both those who have died and those who are still alive, will be gathered together to Jesus at his return (1 Thess. 4:16–17). The motif, however, goes back to the widespread OT hope in the gathering together of the scattered exiles to their own land on the day of the Lord (Ps. 106:47 [105:47 LXX]; Isa. 27:13; 43:4–7; 49:12; 56:8; Jer. 29:14; 30:3, 18; 31:8, 23; 33:7; Joel 3:1–2; Zech 2:6; Tob. 14:5; 2 Macc. 1:27; 2:7, 18; Pss. Sol. 17:50; T. Ash. 7:6–7; T. Naph. 8:3). This hope was taken over by Jesus and his scattered followers to refer to the final gathering of God’s people with the Messiah (Matt. 24:31 par.; cf. 23:37 par.).[22]
Within “Isaiah’s little apocalypse” the resurrection is to take place at the time of this trumpet gathering in Isaiah 27:13 and on a mountain where the wedding feast takes place Isaiah 25:6-8.  In Jewish weddings the feast always follows the wedding which leads us to our next argument.
Argument # 3 Wedding=Resurrection
If the parousia of Christ in both Matthew 24-25 is pointing to Christ coming to close the old covenant age in AD 70 (DeMar and Mathison’s view with Gentry seeing no problem with it), and if the wedding takes place at this time (cf. Matthew 25:1-13), then it necessarily follows that the resurrection of Isaiah 25:6-8 was also fulfilled in AD 70.
Daniel’s time of the end judgment and resurrection had to either be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 or at the end of the Christian age – it can’t be both!  Either the passing of “heaven and earth” and the fulfilling of all the OT law and prophets were fulfilled when Israel’s old covenant world “heaven and earth” passed away with the destruction of the temple in AD 70, or it refers to the literal planet at the end of time – it can’t be both!  Either Christ came in His parousia and the wedding/resurrection took place in AD 70 or it takes place at the end of time – it can’t be both!  Whey?  Because in the words of DeMar,  “…Matthew 24:34 won’t allow for it.”
Concluding the teachings of progressive partial preterism on Matthew 24-25/Daniel 12:1-4.  Through 1)  the analogy of Scripture and 2) seeing that Jesus came to fulfill all the OT law and prophets by AD 70 in such passages as Matthew 5:17-18/Matthew 24:35/Luke 21:22 full preterism is justified in taking a consistently reformed position that the judgment and resurrection of the dead described by Jesus and Daniel in Matthew 13:39-43=Daniel 12:1-4=Matthew 24-25 were events fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70.  This is when all OT prophecy was fulfilled (cf. Luke 21:20-22/Matthew 5:17-18/Matthew 24:35) and there can be no double, multiple, or mixed fulfillments of this prophetic material beyond AD 70.  This is consistent reformed eschatology pure and simple.  Selah.
John 5:28-29/Daniel 12:1-2
Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2 and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life” is Daniel 12:2.  G.K. Beale points out an additional connection – in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers:[23]
The “already” or imminent “already”

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

 The “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,
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.”MJS – also related:1 John 2:18:    “Dear children it is the last hour…”Revelation   14:7:  “…the hour of His judgment has come.”

From the very start Gentry is at odds with reformed theologians such as G.K. Beale.  Both believe that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the “not yet” of a physical resurrection at the end of history, but consider the problem in that Beale believes the “not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-2—John 5:28-29—1 John 2:17—Revelation 14:7 are all the same event to be fulfilled at the end of history, while Gentry on the other hand believes the judgment and resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-2—1 John 2:17—Revelation 14:7 were fulfilled in AD 70!  However, both reformed views form full preterism when it comes to John’s judgment and resurrection “hour.”  Beale (nor the classical Reformed amillennial position) does not give the “not yet” judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 TWO end of the age (“not yet”) fulfillments as the progressive partial preterists are now forced to do — in order to try and be consistent with NT imminence while trying to please creedal supporters at the same time.
In commenting on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 Gentry mentions the spiritual and corporate nature of the resurrection for Israel in Ezekiel 37 a lot 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.
Since partial preterism is now teaching that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 and are fulfilled together, and that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 happened in AD 70, it necessarily follows that they need to prove without a shadow of doubt that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is a physical/biological resurrection which takes place at the end of history and not the AD 70 one.  And if I’m not mistaken Joel McDurmon has also said that this passage could have had a fulfillment in AD 70 just like there “could” have been one in 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20.  Gentry and partial preterism in general have not brought forth any compelling exegetical evidence that John 5:28-29 refers to a biological resurrection at the end of history.
David Green in response to Strimple in our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, has updated his response a bit on this passage (see pages 178-180):
Strimple Argument #6: John 5:28-29 obviously teaches a physical resurrection of the dead in that it speaks of a time in which “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (297).
Answer: In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is” when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”  As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection.  The preaching of that message commenced at Pentecost.  “The dead” were physically living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of God” was the gospel.  Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually “dead” were spiritually resurrected.  They lived in that they received eternal life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).
Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were also physically dead.  He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.”  They were not literally in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.
What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.”  As we know from verse 25, that “voice” is the gospel.  The physically dead therefore were going to hear the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel, going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades).  This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living, spiritually dead.  And this inescapably means that both the physically living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God.  One resurrection in two main stages:  First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5). Note the parallels between John 4:21, 23 and John 5:25, 28:

  1. . . . [T]he hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . . (Jn. 4:23)
  2. . . . [T]he hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (Jn. 4:21)

1. . . . [T]he hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (Jn. 5:25)
2. . . . [T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. . . . (Jn. 5:28)
These two sets of prophecies are parallel.  They speak of the same timeframes, which were these:
Pentecost (AD 30)
1. The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

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

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

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

2. All who were in the graves would hear His voice.
After hearing the gospel, the dead were raised out of their Adamic graves (Hades) in the end of the age.  And those among them who believed the gospel received eternal life in the kingdom of God.  But those who hated the gospel (those who had done evil) were raised out of Hades only to stand before God and to enter into “eternal punishment” / “the second death” (Matt. 25:46; Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:14).”
Gentry agrees with full preterism that Jesus’ “already and not yet” eschatological “hour” in John 4 is between AD 30 – AD 70 when the old covenant mountain and temple worship is removed and the new established,[24] but then Gentry would claim Jesus’ same phrases on the coming eschatological “hour” in John 5 allegedly deal with the end of time.  We again find this arbitrary and exegetically unconvincing.

The Apostle Paul’s teaching on the Resurrection and Judgment of Daniel 12:1-4

We now turn our attention to Pauline eschatology and how Paul develops the resurrection of  Daniel 12:2, 13 in the NT.  Does Paul follow the same teaching that Jesus does in the gospels concerning an imminent AD 70 “hour” and judgment/resurrection of the living and dead?
Acts 24:15/Daniel 12:2
Paul, in agreement with Daniel and Jesus, also taught that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was imminent in the first century:  “having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous (Acts 24:15, YLT & WEY)
Argument #1 – Paul taught the OT resurrection:
The Apostle Paul taught, “…nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place” (Acts 26:21-23).  This would obviously include Daniel 12:2
Argument #2 – Only one place in Prophets that predicted a resurrection for both groups:
There is only one passage found in “the law and prophets” (Acts 24:14-15) that explicitly speaks of a resurrection of believers and unbelievers, and that is Daniel 12:2.  This is Paul’s source in Acts 24:15, as virtually any commentary or scholarly work agrees.
Argument #3 – Paul’s resurrection was “about to” take place:
Paul says that Daniel’s resurrection was “about to” take place.  Although Gentry has completely ignored arguments 2-3 above, he has tried to appeal to lexical and language works such as BDAG to get rid of the imminence in this passage.[25]  He and other partial preterists appeal to YLT and WEY translations in supporting passages they want to be fulfilled in AD 70 when debating futurists, but somehow everyone is supposed to think that these translations must be in error if they posit the resurrection as being imminent in the first century when debating full preterist’s.  Unbelievable. 
Argument #4 – The burden of proof is now upon Gentry:
Gentry’s new progressive partial preterist interpretation that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70 begs the question – if Jesus in the gospels and John in the book of Revelation apply the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 to AD 70, then why is it a stretch to believe that the Apostle Paul isn’t developing the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 in Acts 24:15 to AD 70 as well?
In Gentry’s article Acts 24:15 AND THE ALLEGED NEARNESS OF THE RESURRECTION,[26] he claims this passage does not support a full preterist interpretation concerning the judgment and resurrection of the dead.  Since Gentry and his partial preterist partners in crime have stolen a full preterist view of an AD 30 – AD 70 “already and not yet” resurrection (one that was progressive, spiritual, and corporate for Israel resulting in the souls of saints being raised out Hades or Abraham’s Bosom) the burden of proof is now upon Gentry to prove that Acts 24:15 isn’t the AD 70 judgment and resurrection he claims did take place in AD 70 (no matter if mello here should be translated as “about to” or not)!
Argument #5 – Cowards are usually found hiding and unable to respond:
Gentry will not allow myself, Don Preston or William Bell to add comments under his articles on his site, because he doesn’t want to look bad and have us demonstrate to his readers how indeed his teachings are in fact leading people to full preterism.  Nor does he want it publicly pointed out how he is avoiding 3 out of the 4 arguments that we have given on this passage (see above).  I continue to find Gentry arrogant, deceptive, ignorant and unscholarly when he behaves in such a manner.
Romans 13:11-12/Romans 8:18-23 YLT/Romans 11:11-27 & Daniel 12
Again since Paul taught no other things on the resurrection except that which could be found in the law and the prophets, it is no stretch to see that Daniel’s “hour” (cf. OG LXX) in Daniel 12:1-2 of resurrection is not only Jesus’ or John’s in (John 5:28-29) but also in Paul’s (Romans 13:11-12).  If Beale is correct in that the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-2 has an “already and not yet” aspect to it, and he makes parallel’s to the (OG) LXX with that of the “already and not yet” “hour” of John 5:24-29, then I see no reason why Paul is not drawing from that same “hour” and waking out of “sleep” here:  “Besides this you know what hour it is (cf. 1 John 2:17-18), how it is full time (the end time or time of the end of Daniel 12:4) now for you to wake from sleep (Dan. 12:2). For salvation (cf. Dan. 9:24 – finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness) is nearer to us now than when we first believed (the NT’s “already”); the night is far gone, the day is at hand (the NT’s AD 70 “not yet”). Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on (the transformation resurrection process) the armor of light; (Romans 13:11-12).

Daniel 12:1:    “And at that hour…” Romans 13:11:    “…you know what hour it is…”
Daniel 12:4:    “the end time” or “time of the end” Romans 13:11:    “…how it is full time…”
Daniel 12:2:    “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise Romans 13:11:    “The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep…”

Partial preterists such as Jordan and Gentry believe that Jesus and the Apostle John taught that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 had a spiritual and corporate body resurrection process taking place between AD 30 – AD 70.  We have this already and imminent not yet process in Paul’s theology on the resurrection in this passage as well pointing to AD 70.
Argument #1 – Imminence:
The resurrection of Romans 13:11-12 was the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 and it was “at hand.”
Argument #2 – The analogy of Scripture:
Partial preterists have acknowledged that Romans 13:11-12 was fulfilled in AD 70 and yet the Reformed Study Bible and classic amillennialists believe that the restoration of creation and the resurrection or redemption of the body in Romans 8:18-23 are the same events.  We couldn’t agree more and accept both of these reformed conclusions!
Argument #3 – Imminence in Romans 8:18-23 YLT and analogy of Scripture:
In our second edition of House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology (pages 116-120) I pointed out how Gary DeMar (Mathison and Gentry’s partner in crime when it comes to trying to overthrow full preterism) agrees with us and the YLT and WEY translations that the glorification of the Church or the “glory” that was “about to be revealed” points to an AD 70 fulfillment of (Romans 8:18).  At least this is more progressive and honest than Gentry’s more than inconsistent “scholarship” on mello here.  I wrote the following and would like a response from Mr. Gentry:
“It is more than arbitrary for partial preterists such as Gentry to honor Young’s literal translation of mello in Revelation 1:19 when debating Dispensationalists and Amimmennialists, but then not honor it in Romans 8:18 when debating full preterists.  Mello is used in the aorist infinitive in both verses.  Gentry writes of mello in Revelation 1:19:
…this term means “be on the point of, be about to.” …According to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, Revelation 1:19 reads: “Write the things that thou hast seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to come [mello] after these things.” The leading interlinear versions of the New Testament concur. This is surely the proper translation of the verse.[27]    …when used with the aorist infinitive — as in Revelation 1:19 — the word’s preponderate usage and preferred meaning is: “be on the point of, be about to.  The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in the Rev. 3:10.[28]  Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion.[29]
Where is Gentry’s disappointment when it comes to translators not translating Romans 8:18 by the same grammatical standard?  It is nowhere to be found, even though there are two other Greek words of imminence (apokaradokia and apekdekomai —  “eagerly waiting”) within the immediate context.
At least partial preterist Gary DeMar has tried to be more consistent with a proper translation of mello in Romans 8:18. Citing Robert Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible he writes:“Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed’…”[30]
We appreciate the honesty on properly translating mello here as “about to be revealed,” but contextually there is no ambiguity as to what the imminent manifestation of this “glory” was — the liberation of creation from its groaning and bondage, the full adoption of the sons of God, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 18-23).”
To further complicate matters for progressive partial preterists such as Gentry, Mathison and DeMar on Paul’s imminent expectation of the glorification of the Church, liberation of creation, full adoption of the sons of God and the resurrection or redemption of the body in Romans 8:18-23 is my reference to John Lightfoot (one their favorite partial preterists to quote) who in no uncertain terms held to a full preterist view of the “creation” groaning – being men and not the planet earth (not even poetically).
And of course one final response to Gentry here on the use of mello in Romans 8:18 – Ken used BDAG as virtually his end all argument in his attempt to translate mello in (Acts 24:15) as “shall” or “will” instead of “about to be,” and yet BDAG references (Romans 8:18) as “about to be revealed.”  Once again we find partial preterist’s such as Gentry being unable to deal with what other partial preterists teach on important texts and or are using grammatical arguments and linguistic works arbitrarily.
Argument #4 – Romans 11:11-27:
Gentry, and his anti-full preterist co-authors in WSTTB? and other partial preterist associates form full preterism – the imminent glorification, restoration of creation, and resurrection in (Romans 8:18-23) and (Romans 13:11-12) were “about to be” fulfilled in an AD 70 “at hand” time frame along with a third resurrection text partial preterists take as fulfilled in AD 70 (“all Israel shall be saved” being “life from the dead”) which to my knowledge Gentry has not acknowledged along with Mathison (Romans 11:11-27) (see pages 126-128):
“Mathison neglects to interact with other partial preterists such as DeMar and Jordan who teach that “all Israel” was saved by AD 70 and that covenantally, there no longer remain “ethnic” Jews after AD 70.[31] Why was not the view of DeMar and Jordan one of the many “possible interpretations” within Mathison’s eschatology of uncertainty?”
To drive the point home again – if it is true that there was a spiritual corporate (process and covenantal) resurrection which was fulfilled to close the old covenant age in AD 70 (climaxing with dead saints such as Daniel himself being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom) per orthodox partial preterism, then why wouldn’t the Apostle Paul be teaching this kind of resurrection in Acts 24:15 YLT; Romans 8:18-23 YLT; Romans 13:11-12; and Romans 11:11-27?  If not why not Mr. Gentry?  And if so partial preterists such as Joel McDurmon need to prove from these passages that both an AD 70 resurrection is in view but an ultimate physical one is found in the text as well.
1 Corinthians 15/Daniel 12:1-4
Again, we would concur with Reformed Study Bibles, commentators and theologians whom state that Paul is following Christ’s eschatology and thus the two are “parallel” in such passages as Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Or that Daniel’s resurrection is Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 15.  But can Gentry and Jordan’s progressive AD 30 – AD 70 resurrection for Israel resulting in the dead being raised out of Hades be seen in 1 Corinthians 15?  As Joel McDurmon has admitted there could have been an AD 70 fulfillment of the passage.

Daniel 12

1 Corinthians 15

1.  Resurrection unto “eternal life” (v. 2) 1.  Resurrection unto incorruptibility or immortality (vss. 52–53)
2.  Time of the end (v. 4) 2.  Then cometh the end (v. 24)
3.  When the power of the holy people [the Mosaic OC law] is completely shattered (v.   7) 3.  When victory over “the [Mosaic OC] law” comes (v. 56)

Argument #1 The rising of the dead:
There definitely seems to be good reason to plug Gentry’s progressive and corporate view of the resurrection of Israel into 1 Corinthians 15.
Wuest’s translation of the present tense of (1 Cor. 15:25) correctly renders the last enemy of death as in the process of “being” destroyed.  Obviously this is not a fleshly corpse resurrection taking place over the last two thousand years.  Are corpses coming out of the ground?  Are men living to be 500-900 years old?  No.  But between AD 30 – AD 70 the administration of the old covenant condemning power of “the law” was present and its promises contained in the Law and Prophets had not been completely fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-19/1 Cor. 15:54-56).
In Hosea, Israel had been sown in death and captivity but she was in the process of being raised from something greater than a Gentile power (ie. “the death” that came through Adam), united together, and transformed through the good news of the new covenant.  Israel’s process of being transformed and being sown and rising from old covenant glory into new covenant glory in (1Cor. 15 & 2 Cor. 3) should be viewed together.  The Greek and grammar of these passages being in the present passive indicatives renders a more probable translation of “if the dead are not rising,”(vss. 16, 29, 32), “the death being destroyed” (vs.26), “But God is giving it a body,” (vs.38) and,  “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is being sown in corruption; it is being raised in incorruption:  It is being sown in dishonour; it is being raised in glory: it is being sown in weakness; it is being raised in power:  It is being sown a natural body; it is being raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (vss.42-44).  Gordon Fee in his work on (1Cor.15) puzzles over this,
“The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling…” “The sentence literally reads, “The last enemy is being destroyed.”[32]
Perhaps something else that might be “puzzling” in 1 Corinthians 15 that my friend Don K. Preston pointed out to me at the Criswell Conference concerning (1 Corinthians 15:49) is that  the text does not say “we shall bear the image” it is literally “let us bear the image.”  It is in the subjunctive, (phoresomen) not simple future!  That first century Christians were playing an active role in their resurrection (through the sovereign power and free grace of God) is something that we have already seen in the “already and not yet” resurrection of Romans 13:11-12/Daniel 12:1-2.
Most if not all of Gentry’s amillennial co-authors in WSTTB? would agree with the Reformed Study Bible for example which equates the parousia and or resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:27-31 with 1 Corinthians 15:
But the language of [Matthew 24:31] is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; 25:31, as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14–17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”
The classic amillennial position is that the one end time resurrection and judgment of Daniel 12:1-4 is the resurrection and judgment Paul is developing in 1 Corinthians 15.  So…
Argument #2 – Analogy of Scripture:
If it is true that the resurrection and judgment of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled in AD 70 (per Gentry) and if it is also true that the resurrection and judgment of Daniel 12:1-4 is the same time of the end resurrection described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 (which cannot be double fulfilled – per classic amillennial view), then the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This is a perfectly logical and reformed conclusion to make regarding the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15.
There are many more full preterist arguments that Gentry needs to respond to when it comes to 1 Corinthians 15 which are addressed in chapter seven of our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology.

The book of Revelation and Daniel 12:1-4

Revelation 20/Daniel 12
Gentry has been very outspoken that the millennium of Revelation 20 was not fulfilled by AD 70 and yet at the same time holds that there was a progressive judgment and resurrection for Israel between AD 30 – AD 70.  In our second edition of HD, I added seven closing arguments or points on the millennium of Revelation 20 which would also refute Gentry’s futuristic position (pages 131-133):
“In scriptural usage, a symbolic “thousand” can be likened to “one” (day / yesterday / a watch in the night), or used in reference to millions of hills, or to eternity (“forever”). A “thousand” can be likened unto or used to represent a number lesser or greater than a literal thousand. Only its context can determine its literal numerical meaning, but the basic idea that is communicated by the number is “fullness.” As G. K. Beale wrote, “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time . . .”[33]
To conclude my section on the millennium of Revelation 20, please consider the following exegetical, orthodox, and historical points:
Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT). There is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.
As G.K. Beale has said, the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands of years).
It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/ world to come.”  These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land. This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT).  And as we have noted from Reformed partial preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).
Reformed partial preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry, and James Jordan teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation.  And amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22.  Full preterists hold to both of these Reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation.
In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, amillennialists and many postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the parable of the wheat and tares, or in Matthew 24–25.  But as we have seen, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the old covenant age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.
If it is true that a) the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and 25 is referring to the AD 70 judgment, as Mathison and other partial preterists are now proposing, and if it is true that b) John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation, and if it is true that c) Matthew 24:27-31 — 25:31ff. is descriptive of the one end-of-the-age Second Coming, judgment, and resurrection event (the creedal position), then d) the authors of WSTTB have some explaining to do, because these orthodox doctrines form the “this-generation” forty year millennial view of full preterism.

MATTHEW 24-25

REVELATION 20:5-15

Resurrection and   judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf.   Matt. 16:27-28) Resurrection   and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
De-creation   heaven and earth pass/flee matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18) De-creation   heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
Christ   on throne to judge Matt. 25:31 God   on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
Wicked   along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46 Wicked   along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15

If it is true that a) the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 were fulfilled by AD 70 (per Gentry), and if it is true that b) Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is parallel to Revelation 20:5-15 (classic amillennial view), then c) once again the authors of WSTTB have some explaining to do, in that these orthodox views form the “this-generation” forty-year millennial view of full preterism.

DANIEL   12:1-2

REVELATION   20:5-15

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

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the full preterist view of the millennium is: 1) consistent with the teaching of Revelation, 2) falls within the “orthodox” views the Reformed church, 3) is in harmony with the analogy of Scripture, and 4) has historical support from Rabbis who saw a forty-year transition period between the two ages. Our view on the millennium is exegetically sound and orthodox. It is not as “difficult” as Mathison attempts to portray it.”
Mr. Gentry wants to apply his AD 30 – AD 70 judgment and resurrection view of Daniel 12:1-4 in Revelation 7 and 14 but doesn’t want to touch upon where everyone clearly sees Daniel 12:1-4 being fulfilled in the book of Revelation – ie. Revelation 20!  This appears to be once again an arbitrary creedal philosophy guiding him and not a commitment to “sola scriptura” or sound exegesis.  Again, Ken has already informed his readers that anyone wanting to give multiple or double fulfillments to his AD 70 fulfillments in the book of Revelation, would be guilty of “pure theological assertion” which  has “no exegetical warrant.”[34]  So he can’t then turn around and claim that John in Revelation 7 and 14 is giving the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-2 two fulfillments.  He sure would have to disagree with partial preterist Joel McDurmon who claimed there could have been an AD 70 fulfillment of the resurrection in Revelation 20 but it would also have to have another “final” fulfillment at the end of time.  McDurmon’s comments are indeed “pure theological assertion” without “exegetical warrant.”
I’m sure Ken would say that John in Revelation 7 and 14 is using the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 typologically to point to AD 70 whereas in Revelation 20 he is using Daniel 12:1-4 to refer to the “final” resurrection.  But once again reformed theology sees an “already” resurrection process for the living taking place in Revelation 20 culminating in what partial preterist James Jordan sees as a resurrection for Daniel’s soul being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom (per Daniel 12:2, 13/Revelation 20).  After all, where in Revelation 20 is there any mention of a physical or biological resurrection per Gentry?  Only “souls” are mentioned.  And your typical amillennialist is going to tell us that the same end time resurrection and judgment of the dead in Revelation 7, 11 and 14 is then recapitulated in Revelation 20.  These are orthodox views that full preterists have taken on the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Revelation 11, 7, 14 and 20.  We have no desire to “go beyond what is written” or “add” to the prophetic material in Revelation so that we can be creedal.  When creedal tradition seeks to trump sound exegesis, it’s time for the true reformed Christians to make a stand on sound exegesis and what the historical church (combined amillennial and partial preterists) have written on the millennium of Revelation 20.

Conclusion

If no written or printed response is forthcoming from Mr. Gentry and his co-authors of WSTTB? to our second edition of HD, then I will conclude with Gary North’s kind of logic in these matters and that this debate is over because no consistent exegetical one can be given.  I wanted to express my sincere appreciation to the work that Mr. Gentry and his co-authors and anti-full preterist associates have done thus far in demonstrating what full preterists have been saying all along:  the “one” Second Coming or “THE parousia” of Christ attended with the one judgment and resurrection of the living and dead was a process from AD 30 to AD 70 for Israel coming out of her old covenant world/body and into the her new covenant world/body, was spiritual, corporate, resulting in the souls of men such as Daniel (Daniel 12:13) being raised out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom to close the old covenant age in AD 70.
This article has proven that progressive partial preterists have indeed “given the farm away” to full preterism when it comes to the judgment and resurrection of the dead.  This used to be the defining difference between the two views, but as we have seen Gentry and his progressive partial preterist associates have only stolen our AD 70 judgment and resurrection view of the living and dead (w/out giving us credit) and simply asserted with no exegetical evidence that such passages as John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15YLT; 1 Corinthians 15; and Revelation 20 teach two fulfillments or that a biological resurrection at the end of time is present in any of these passages.
Gentry co-authored a book entitled, HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UP OF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY in which he and others demonstrated that progressive dispensationalists have given the farm away to covenant theology/eschatology and thus there remains nothing left to dispensationalism.  They must accept that their house is falling apart and cannot stand or accept covenant theology/eschatology.  Gentry is now on the receiving end of this kind of logic.  Our “House Divided” book has demonstrated without a shadow of doubt that progressive partial preterists such as Gentry, DeMar, McDurmon and Mathison combined with the classical amillennial and creedal views form full preterism and they can either accept this or watch their house continue to fall at the feet of full preterism.



[1] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. He Shall Have Dominion (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009 Third Edition), 538.
[2] Kenneth Gentry, DANIEL 12, TRIBULATION AND RESURRECTION, http://postmillennialism.com/2012/03/daniel-12-tribulation-and-resurrection/
[3] Gary DeMar, The Olivet Discourse: The Test of Truth, http://www. americanvision.org/blog/?p=190
[4] Kenneth Gentry, Four Views on the Book of Revelation, ed. C. Marvin Pate (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 43–44.
[5] Kenneth Gentry, DANIEL 12, TRIBULATION AND RESURRECTION, http://postmillennialism.com/2012/03/daniel-12-tribulation-and-resurrection/
[6]   Gary North, perhaps not knowing his own son-in-law’s position at the time, wrote in 2001: “Anyone who equates the fulfillment of [the parable of the wheat and tares] with A.D. 70 has broken with the historic faith of the church.” http://www.preteristcosmos.com/garynorth-dualism.html
[7] . Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51. One of DeMar’s co-authors
Peter Leithart, has also conceded that the parable of the wheat and tares was fulfilled in the first century, Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing:  An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID:  Canon Press, 2004), 95.
[8] Kenneth Gentry, DANIEL 12, TRIBULATION AND RESURRECTION, http://postmillennialism.com/2012/03/daniel-12-tribulation-and-resurrection/
[9] Ibid.
[10] Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing:  An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID:  Canon Press, 2004), 95.
[11] G.K. Beale, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series 1–2 Thessalo-nians (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2003), 136.  Copyright 2003 by G.K. Beale.  Some Progressive Partial Preterists are now agreeing that 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 took place in AD 70.  Mike Bull is admitting that Gentry and Mathison are forced to “dodge and weave to put this passage [1 Thess. 4:15-17] into our future.” Mike Bull, The Last Trumpet, http://www.bullartistry.com.au/ wp/2011/06/05/the-last-trumpet/

[12] . Ibid, 136–137.

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

[14] . Mathison, From Age to Age, 515.

[15] . Mathison, Postmillenialism, 230.

[16] . Ibid, 226.

[17]Dominion, 542.

[18] .  John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170.

[19] .    Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Edited by Kent E. Brower & Mark W. Elliot, Eschatology in Bible & Theology: Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium (Downers Grove, IL:  Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145.

[20] DeMar, Last Days Madness, Ibid. Fourth revised edition, 192.
[21] Gary DeMar, The Olivet Discourse: The Test of Truth, http://www. americanvision.org/blog/?p=190
[22] Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A. (2007). Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (747, 886–887). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos..

[23] 0. G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The

Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131132.

[24] Gentry, ibid. FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, 43.
[25] Kenneth L. Gentry, Acts 24:15 AND THE ALLEGED NEARNESS OF THE RESURRECTION http://postmillennialism.com/2012/02/acts-2415-and-the-alleged-nearness-of-the-resurrection/
[26] Kenneth Gentry, Acts 24:15 AND THE ALLEGED NEARNESS OF THE RESURRECTION, http://postmillennialism.com/2012/02/acts-2415-and-the-alleged-nearness-of-the-resurrection/
[27] . Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Beast of Revelation, (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), 23–24.
[28] . Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell, (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), 141–142.

[29] . Ibid., 141.

[30] . Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 1999), 225.

[31] Gary DeMar, All Israel will be saved:  Notes on Romans 11:26, American Vision http://americanvision.org/1234/all-israel-will-be-saved-notes-onromans/#.UG3auVGJr3A.  James B. Jordan, The Future of Israel Re-examined, July 1991. Biblical Horizons, No. 27 July, 1991

[32] Gordon D. Fee, THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans Publishing, 1987), 756.
[33] . G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 1018.
[34] Kenneth Gentry, Four Views on the Book of Revelation, ed. C. Marvin Pate (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 43–44.
 

House Divided – Excerpts From Chapter 6 (Expositions of Daniel 12:2 and John 5) and Chapter Seven – The Resurrection of the Dead An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Excerpts From Chapter 6 (Response to Robert Strimple) &  Chapter Seven (Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15)
Including an Exegesis of:  Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29, and 1 Corinthians 15
The Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by AD 70
David A. Green

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 David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

1).  Exegesis of Daniel 12:2

Strimple Argument #5: Daniel 12:1-3 says that “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” This is obviously referring to a physical resurrection of the dead. Additionally, God tells us that this prophecy is to be fulfilled in “the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4), which is the end of human history (295).
Answer: Daniel’s prediction of the resurrection of the dead begins with these words: “And at that time . . . ” “That time” refers back to the end of chapter 11. Philip Mauro in his book, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, argues convincingly that Daniel 11 ends with a prophecy of Herod the Great.[1]
Herod, the first enemy of the incarnate Christ, died very shortly after Christ was born. It was “at that time” that Christ (“Michael,” “the Chief Messenger”) stood up for the saints. It was at that time that Christ came into the world for His people and took on the body of sacrifice that the Father had prepared for Him (Dan. 12:1; Heb. 10:5-7; Ps. 40:6; cf. Rev. 12:7).
It was the “stand” for the elect that Christ made in His Incarnation that led to the “war in heaven” (Matt. 11:12; Rev. 12:7), which in turn led to fleshly Israel being overtaken in the death-throes of the Great Tribulation (Dan. 12:1). Jesus promised that that time of distress was going to take place within His own generation, and that it would be consummated in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary (Dan. 9:26; 12:1; Matt. 24:1-2, 21, 34). That event took place in August-September of AD 70.
According to the angel who spoke to Daniel, it was at that time that the power of the holy people would be shattered (Dan. 12:7), that the church would be delivered (Dan. 12:1), that the resurrection of the dead would take place, and that the righteous would inherit the kingdom (Dan. 12:2). Jesus, in harmony with Daniel, promised that the kingdom would be taken from the wicked and given to the righteous in the lifetime of the chief priests and Pharisees (Mat. 21:43-45). Therefore, “the time of the end” (not “the end of time,” as it is sometimes mistranslated) in Daniel 12:4, 9 was not the end of human history; it was the end of redemptive history in Christ’s generation.
It was in AD 70, therefore, that many who slept in “the earth’s dust” awoke. To “sleep in dust” is a figure of speech. The dead were not literally sleeping, nor were they literally in the dust. They were “in dust” only insofar as, in their death, they had not ascended into God’s presence in Christ. In terms of the righteousness and life of God, they were earth-bound. From a literal standpoint, they were in Sheol/Hades (the abode of the Adamic dead), and it was from out of Sheol that they were raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2). Futurist James Jordan writes regarding Daniel 12:13:
What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom, he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.[2]
Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the “many” in Daniel 12:2 referred to the whole company of all the dead from Adam to the Last Day.

2).  Exegesis of John 5:28-29

Strimple Argument #6: John 5:28-29 obviously teaches a physical resurrection of the dead in that it speaks of a time in which “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (297).
Answer: In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is” when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection. The preaching of that message commenced at Pentecost. “The dead” were physically living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of God” was the gospel. Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually “dead” were spiritually resurrected. They lived in that they received eternal life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).
Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were also physically dead. He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.” They were not literally in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.
What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.” As we know from verse 25, that “voice” is the gospel. The physically dead therefore were going to hear the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel, going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades). This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living, spiritually dead. And this inescapably means that both the physically living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God. One resurrection in two main stages: First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5). Note the parallels between John 4:21, 23 and John 5:25, 28:
1. . . . [T]he hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . . (Jn. 4:23)
2. . . . [T]he hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (Jn. 4:21)
1. . . . [T]he hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (Jn. 5:25)
2. . . . [T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. . . . (Jn. 5:28)
These two sets of prophecies are parallel.  They speak of the same timeframes, which were these:
Pentecost (AD 30)
1. The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
1. The dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and live.
Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)
2. God’s worshipers would no longer worship Him in Jerusalem.
2. All who were in the graves would hear His voice.

Interjection by Michael Sullivan – “Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2 and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life” is Daniel 12:2.  G.K. Beale points out an additional connection – in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers (cf. G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131132).
That being the case, note these parallels:
Pentecost (AD 30)
1.  Daniel 12:1:  “And at that hour…”
1.  John 5:25:  “…an hour is coming and now is…”
Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)
2.  Daniel 12:1:  “And at that hour…”
2.  John 5:28:  “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,”
Pentecost (AD 30)
1.   Daniel 12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise   [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
1.  John 5:24:  “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life,   and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into   life.”
Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)
2.  Daniel 12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise   [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
2.  John 5:29:  “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.” (also related:  1 John 2:18: “Dear children it is the last hour…” and Revelation 14:7:  “…the hour of His judgment has come.”).
Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry have finally conceded to Full Preterism that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70 spiritually – “when the power of the holy people is/was completely shattered” (v. 7).  They also affirm that the last hour of John’s eschatology in John 4, 1 John 2:17-18, and Revelation 14:7 was fulfilled in AD 70.  There is obviously some arbitrary and inconsistent exegesis taking place from Mr. Gentry on the coming “hour” of judgment and resurrection in John’s writings.
Here are the exegetical challenges for Kenneth Gentry on the resurrection of John 5:28-29 at this point:
1.  If the judgment and resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-2 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, and…
2.  If Jesus’ source for His teaching on the coming judgment and resurrection “hour” in John 5:28-29 was Daniel 12:1-2,
3.  Then the judgment and resurrection “hour” of John 5:28-29 was also fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.” (end note by Michael Sullivan)
David A. Green continued – After hearing the gospel, the dead were raised out of their Adamic graves (Hades) in the end of the age. And those among them who believed the gospel received eternal life in the kingdom of God. But those who hated the gospel (those who had done evil) were raised out of Hades only to stand before God and to enter into “eternal punishment” / “the second death” (Matt. 25:46; Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:14).

[1] . Philip Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation (Swengel, PA: Reiner Publications [now Grace Abounding Ministries]), 135-162.
[2] . James B. Jordan, The Handwriting on the Wall: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Inc., 2007), 628. (Emphases added)

3).  An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15

The position I take in this exposition is often called “the collective body view” or “the corporate body view.” It is as follows:
Some at Corinth were denying that the pre-Christian saints[1] would rise to inherit the kingdom at the Parousia. Those who were in error at Corinth were not arguing with Paul about the reality of the resurrection. They were arguing with Paul in regard to who would participate in the resurrection. They believed that believers in Christ would be resurrected but that “the dead” would not. Paul’s answer to their error was that “all”—not merely some of God’s people—would be raised. Through the Spirit-empowered dying (to Sin and to the Law) of the eschatological church on behalf of the dead (the Old Testament saints), the mortal “body” of Sin and Death (the Adamic/Mosaic saints and the eschatological church; the entire “world” of God’s people) would rise and be “changed”/“transformed” into the spiritual body of Christ in the kingdom of God.
Though this interpretation is commonly called “collective” or “corporate,” these terms are inadequate. Paul does not speak only or merely in collective terms of the resurrection body. Not even in 1 Corinthians 12 is “body” simply a reference to a collective or communal “body of believers.”
The terms “body of Christ” and “body of believers” are not synonymous. The church is not a “body” because it is a group of people who have organized and united around Christ. Nor is it a body because it is a kind of “corporation.” The church is the body of Christ because it is literally the dwelling and fullness of the individual Man, the Person, Christ Jesus (Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:23; 4:13). “This mystery is great. . . ” (Eph. 5:32).
As we shall soon see, Paul used the word “body,” in the relevant passages, not as a term of either physicality or collectivity, or even as a term of mere anthropological wholeness. Paul used the word “body” as a term of theology, much as he used the terms “spirit,” “new man,” “the world about to come,” the “new creation,” the “kingdom of God,” and the heavenly “house/home.” All of these eschatological terms (and their opposites, “mortal body,” “flesh,” “old man,” etc.) are intimately related in their meanings, and are not easily defined with exactness.
As I will explain in more detail below, “body” describes God’s people, whether individually or as a whole, whether living or dead, in terms of their cosmic-covenantal self or identity, as they are constituted either in Sin and Death or in Christ. Thus the view I am presenting in this
self in this chapter to defining their error more generally as a denial that the dead from Adam until Christ would be raised.
chapter may more accurately be called “the cosmic-covenantal body view.”
Necessary Inferences
In beginning this exposition, we must understand that reading 1 Corinthians 15 is comparable to listening to one side of one phone conversation out of a series of phone conversations. Paul and the resurrection-of-thedead deniers have a long established context with long established word usages. We on the other hand, as a third party, may have our own context and our own usages that we unwittingly apply to the conversation.
This is the problem we face in 1 Corinthians 15. We hear Paul’s refutation of the resurrection error but we do not hear many details about what he is refuting. All we know from explicit statements in the chapter is that some at Corinth denied “the resurrection of the dead” because they believed “the dead” had no “body” with which they could be rising (1 Cor. 15:35). But what does this mean? What did Paul and those who were in error at Corinth mean when they used those terms?
If we do not make correct inferences from Paul’s side of the “conversation,” we not only misunderstand the error he was refuting, we misunderstand the truth he was defending. This has been the historic failure of the futurist interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15. Futurists have resisted making necessary inferences in Paul’s arguments because those inferences do not fit the futurist paradigm.
It is widely believed that the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers denied the very concept of the resurrection of dead people universally, and that they therefore denied the resurrection of Christ and of Christians. The implications of Paul’s words, however, do not support this view. As Paul argued, if the dead are not being raised, then:

  1. not even Christ has been raised” (1 Cor. 15:13-17)
  2. the apostles are liars (1 Cor. 15:14-15)
  3. those also who have fallen asleep in Christ perished” (1 Cor. 15:18)
  4. we are hoping in Christ “in this life only” (1 Cor. 15:19)

These four logical outcomes of the resurrection error were not doctrines that the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers were teaching. These conclusions were not designed to describe the error. They were designed to overthrow it, through reductio ad absurdum. Paul was bringing the resurrection error to absurd conclusions that were antithetical to the beliefs of the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers. Paul was essentially saying:
“We all believe in the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:13-17) and in the eschatological hope in Christ that all believers share (1 Cor. 15:19), both living and asleep (1 Cor. 15:18); but you do not realize that if there is no resurrection of the dead, as some of you are saying, then these gospel truths that we all hold so dear are nothing but falsehoods and delusions.”
We can infer from Paul’s “if . . . then” arguments that the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers did not espouse those inevitable results of their teaching. Instead, they agreed with Paul that:

  1. Christ had been raised from the dead.
  2. The apostles were faithful and true witnesses of God.
  3. Christians who had “fallen asleep” had not “perished” (i.e., had not died in their sins).
  4. All Christians, both living and “asleep,” had a sure “hope” in Christ. Their hope in Him was not a pitiable delusion.

Because the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers believed in the resurrection of Christ, and because they believed that sleeping Christians had therefore not died in their sins (“perished”) but were, along with the living, looking forward to the fulfillment of the Christological “hope,” we must infer that the “hope” to which the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers looked was that of the Christological resurrection of Christians, both living and “asleep” (Acts 23:6; 24:15; 26:6-7; 28:20; Eph. 4:4). They did not believe merely in the continuation of existence after death; they looked forward to the fulfillment of the eschatological “hope” in Christ.
We can also reasonably surmise that since the resurrection-ofthe-dead deniers believed that the apostles were faithful witnesses and since they believed in the apostolic gospel of the historic resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:13-17) and in the Christian resurrection-“hope,” it is not unlikely that they also believed the apostolic testimony that Christ Himself had raised multiple people from the dead and that the apostles themselves had raised multiple people from the dead.
(We can add to this that since the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers were members of the church at Corinth, which was filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including miracles, it is not far from the realm of possibility that resurrection-miracles were performed at the Corinthian church before the very eyes of the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers.)
So from verses 13-19, we must infer that even though those who were in error at Corinth denied the resurrection of “the dead,” they nevertheless believed in the resurrected and resurrecting Christ, and in the resurrecting apostles, and in the miracle-working church at Corinth, and in the resurrection-“hope” of all Christians, living and asleep.
These inferences have been overlooked because under the assumption of futurism, they make no sense. How could someone deny the very concept and possibility of the resurrection of dead people and at the same time believe in the resurrected and resurrecting Christ, and in the resurrecting apostles, and in the Christological resurrection-“hope” of all Christians, living and asleep? With futurism as our starting point, there is no answer to this question. There are only strained theories.
The problem for futurism thickens when we see other implications of Paul’s arguments in 1 Corinthians 15. In verses 35-37 we read:
But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come?” You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
We know that Paul’s argument here was aimed at those who already believed in the eschatological resurrection of Christians. We can infer then that he was not trying to convince them of the concept of resurrection. We can also infer that body-sowing and body-rising (bodyresurrection) were “givens” in the seed analogy. The only doctrines that Paul was defending and seeking to prove in his analogy were body-death (“You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies”) and body-change (“and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be”). Sowing and coming to life (resurrection) were givens. Putting the body to death and changing the body were not givens.
The resurrection-of-the-dead deniers believed in the sowing of the body and in the resurrection of the body but they denied that the body had to die and be changed. They erroneously espoused the burial and resurrection of the same, unchanged, living body. This makes no sense in the futurist framework, but we shall see below that it makes perfect sense in Paul’s preterist framework.
We see again that the resurrection body was a given, in verse 46: But the spiritual [body] was not first, but the natural [body], then the spiritual [body].
No one at Corinth needed to be convinced of the coming “spiritual body . . . that shall be” (1 Cor. 15:37), or of the “hope” of the raising up of Christians, whether dead (“asleep”) or living (1 Cor. 15:19), or of the coming kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:50). They needed only to be convinced that there was a “natural body” that came first, and that it had to be put to death and “changed” into the differentspiritual body.”
The Dead
Let us now look at one more inference we must make from Paul’s arguments—an inference that will begin to allow us to undo the confusion of the futurist interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15. Verse 35:
How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come?
As this verse implies, the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers could not fathom the possibility of the resurrection of the dead. They could not so much as conceive of “how”the dead” could have a “body” with which they could be raised. The very idea was beyond their capability to believe.[2]
As we have seen, those who were in error at Corinth believed in the historic resurrection of Christ and in the “sowing” of the “spiritual body” and the resurrection of the same “spiritual body.” They looked forward to the fulfillment of the “hope” that all Christians, living and asleep, would be raised with the spiritual body in the kingdom of God. Yet at the same time, according to verse 35, we see that those who were in error at Corinth were unable to conceive of the feasibility of the bodily resurrection of the dead.
How can this be? In the futurist paradigm, this simply “does not compute,” and the exegetical dilemma is mind-bogglingly insoluble. The blinders of futurism have thus made it impossible for interpreters to make sense of all of 1 Corinthians 15. The result has been that, through a time-honored exegetical haze, futurism has unwittingly transformed the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers into veritable madmen.
There is no doubt that the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers were ignorant and foolish regarding the resurrection of the dead, but it is not reasonable to portray them as thinking in insanely contradictory propositions, i.e., believing in the reality of resurrection and at the same time being unable to conceive of the very possibility of resurrection. The resurrection-of-the-dead deniers had no rational reason to reject the believability, imaginability, thinkability, or feasibility of a biological resurrection of the flesh. Therefore, what they denied—and what Paul was defending—was something else.
Those who were in error at Corinth were denying neither the existence of, nor the futurity of, nor the somatic (bodily) character of the resurrection. They believed in the future body-resurrection of Christians. Yet at the same time, they denied the resurrection of “the dead” because they could not conceive of the possibility of the dead having a body with which they could rise. This means that the resurrection-ofthe-dead deniers were not denying the bodily resurrection of everyone, but were denying only the possibility that certain people other than Christians—“the dead”—were participating in the resurrection of the body.
“The dead” in 1 Corinthians 15 were, in contrast to dead Christians, Hadean saints (1 Cor. 15:55). They were, as Paul says, those “out from among” whom Christ had been raised (1 Cor. 15:12, 20). Christ did not rise “out from among” dead, Spirit-indwelt Christians. “The dead” were the saints who had lived and died, not in Christ, but “in Adam” (1 Cor. 15:22), before Christ. They were those who were “asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20), in contrast to those who had “fallen asleep in Christ” (1 Cor. 15:18).
They were none other than the pre-Christian saints;[3] which inescapably means they were primarily and for the most part those who lived within the Abrahamic community of historic covenant Israel.[4]
Buried Alive
Let us look again at 1 Corinthians 15:36:
. . . That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.
As I mentioned above, Paul teaches in this verse that the body is first sown (planted, buried, or entombed), and then it dies in order that it can be raised a changed body. If Paul was teaching a biological resurrection of the dead, then we must admit that he was saying that only physical bodies that have first been buried alive and have then been put to death underground can be raised to eternal physical life on Resurrection Day.
Futurism has thus created an absurdity and a contradiction in verse 36. The absurdity is the teaching that only physical bodies that have been buried alive can be resurrected. The contradiction is the idea that physical death is a prerequisite to being resurrected. This contradicts verse 51, where Paul said that the physically living would be “made alive” (resurrected) and changed along with the physically dead (cf. verse 22).
No one believes that Paul was teaching that living physical bodies must be physically buried, and that the physically buried bodies must then physically die underground in order that the physically buried-and-dead bodies can then be physically resurrected and changed. Although that is definitely what Paul’s words say in the futurist framework, no futurist accepts this meaning. Instead, most interpreters apply themselves to Herculean efforts to making the verse make sense in the futurist framework.
Their time, however, would be better spent finding Paul’s meaning, letting him say what he says, rather than making his words conform to the futurist paradigm. To find Paul’s meaning, we need only find where in Scripture Paul elaborated on the doctrine of a human “body” that had to be sown/planted/entombed and concurrently put to death, in order that it could be made alive and changed in the resurrection of the dead. This takes us to Romans 6-8, Colossians 2, and Philippians 3.
In these Scriptures, especially in Romans 6, Paul teaches that believers had been bodilyplanted,” through Spirit-baptism, into death / into the death of Christ, in order that the body that had been planted/buried (the “body of Sin,” the “mortal body,” the “body of Death,” the “body of the sins of the flesh,” the “vile body”) would be abolished / put to death, and then be made alive and changed/conformed to the image of the Son of God in the kingdom of heaven. Note the order: Burial then death.
This sequence in Romans 6 is exactly, step by step, what Paul teaches concerning the resurrection of the body in 1 Cor. 15:36-37 and its context. Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15 both speak of concurrent bodyburial and body-death, followed by consummated body-death, bodyresurrection, and body-change. Futurist assumptions notwithstanding, there is no doubt that 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 6-8 are speaking of the same burial, death, resurrection, and change—and therefore of the same body.
The Body
What then is “the body” that was being put to death in Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15? What is the meaning of the word “body” in these contexts? Essentially, or basically, the “body” is the “self” or “person/personality” or “individual,” whether that of a singular saint or of the singular church universal (the body of Christ). According to definition 1b of the word σωμα (body) in Arndt and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, the word “body” in Paul’s writings is sometimes “almost synonymous with the whole personality . . . σώματα [bodies] = themselves.”[5]
Note how that “body” and “yourselves” are used interchangeably in Romans 6:12-13:
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting your members [of your mortal body] to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members [of your mortal body] as instruments of righteousness to God.
Compare also 1 Corinthians 6:15 and 12:27, where “you” and “your bodies” are synonymous:
. . . your bodies are members of Christ . . . . (1 Cor. 6:15)
. . . you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)
See also Ephesians 5:28, where a man’s body-union with his wife is equated with “himself”:
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.
However, the word “body,” when it is used in reference to the eschatological resurrection, means more than merely the “self.” Paul is not using the word as a common reference to “the whole person.” It does not refer to man’s anthropological wholeness (i.e., Material body+soul+spirit=the body). Paul is using the word in a theologicaleschatological sense to describe God’s people as they are defined either by the wholeness/fullness (body) of Adamic Sin and Death or the wholeness/fullness (body) of Christ. The body is either the “person” united with Sin and Death, or the “person” united with Christ, whether individually or corporately.
We can begin to see this in Colossians 3:5 (KJV), where the body parts (members) of the Sin-body are not arms and legs or other physical limbs. The members of the “earthly body” were death-producing “deeds,” such as “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness . . . ” (cf. Rom. 8:13). Thus John Calvin wrote in his commentary on Romans 6:6: “The body of sin . . . does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass . . . of sin.” Since a body is the sum of its parts, and since the parts of the Sin-body are sins/sinful deeds, it follows that “the body of Sin” is not the physical aspect of man. Instead, the whole of the sins/deeds of the body equals the body of Sin. Or more accurately, the body of Sin was God’s people as they were identified with and defined by the Sin-reviving, Sin-increasing, Death-producing world of the Law.
When Paul said that believers were no longer walking according to “the flesh” (Rom. 8:1, 4, 9), he was saying that believers were putting to death the deeds of the “body” (Rom. 8:10-11, 13). The parts/members of the body equaled the deeds of “the body,” which equaled the walk of “the flesh.”   “Flesh” and “body” in this context, therefore, describe man as he was defined by Sin, not man as he was defined by material body parts.
In Colossians 2:11, Paul said that God had buried believers with Christ, raised them up with Him, and had removed “the body of the flesh.” “The body of the flesh” was not the physical body. It was the Adamic man/self/person that had been dead in transgressions and in the spiritual uncircumcision of his “flesh” (Col. 2:13). That “body” (or as Ridderbos puts it, that “sinful mode of existence”)[6] had been “removed” in Christ and was soon to be changed into the glorious, resurrected “body” of Christ.
As a comparison of Colossians 2:11 and Colossians 3:9 reveals, “the body” of Sin is virtually synonymous with “the old man”:
. . . the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh . . . . (Col. 2:11)
. . . having put off the old man with his practices (Col. 3:9; cf. Eph. 4:22)
Compare also 1 Corinthians 15:42 with Ephesians 4:22:
[The body] is sown in corruption . . . . (1 Cor. 15:42)
. . . the old man being corrupted . . . . (Eph. 4:22)
Compare also the references to “man” and “body” in Romans 7:24:
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of Death?
And in Romans 6:6:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Rom. 6:6)
And in 1 Corinthians 15:44, 45:
. . . There is a natural body [the old man], and there is a spiritual body [the new Man]. And so it is written, the first [old] man [the natural body] Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [the last Man, the spiritual body] a quickening spirit.
Since the natural body is nearly synonymous with the old man, we should expect that the spiritual body is nearly synonymous with “the new man,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 with Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10 and Romans 13:14:
For this perishable [body] must put on the imperishable [body] . . . . (1 Cor. 15:53-54)
and put on the new man [the spiritual body], which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Eph. 4:24) and have put on the new man [the spiritual body] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. (Col. 3:10)
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ [the new man, the spiritual body], and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)
As most futurists agree, “the old man” and “the new man” are not expressions that describe man in terms of physicality. “The old man” was man as he was in Adam, alienated from God and dead in Sin. He was “the body of Sin.” The new Man is man as he is reconciled to God in Christ, the lifegiving Spiritual Body.
The World-Body
Note that in Colossians 2:11-14, believers had been bodily buried and bodily raised with Christ, but it was the “handwriting in ordinances” that God had crucified. In Romans 6:6, it was “the old man” that had been crucified. In Galatians 5:24, it was “the flesh” that had been crucified.
And in Galatians 6:14, it was “the world” that had been crucified. These verses together demonstrate the “cosmic” dimension of the Pauline, eschatological “body.” The Spirit was not merely changing hearts and lives of individuals; He was changing the “world-body” of Adam/Moses (Israel as it was defined by the earthly temple-system of Law-Sin-Death) into the world-body of Christ.
Thus it is in 2 Corinthians 5 that the soon-to-be-destroyed “mortal . . . body” is equal to the “earthly [made-with-hands] house of the tabernacle” (2 Cor. 5:1, 4, 6, 10), i.e., the old covenant world. The “house,” or world, of the man-made temple of God was “the mortal . . . body” that had been buried with Christ, and that was being put to death, and that was soon to be clothed with the heavenly/spiritual body of Christ.
Though all believers were individually “putting on Christ” in anticipation of the Last Day (Rom. 13:11-14), believers were not doing this merely as a collective of individuals. They were together, through the power of God, putting on (becoming clothed with) the Lord Jesus Christ who is Himself the Tabernacle/House/Body of God from out of heaven. They were being changed into the cosmic New Man—the “body” of God Himself.
Through the indwelling Holy Spirit,

  • the mortal body of Sin and Death (The Adamic-Mosaic world),
  • the old man/humanity and,
  • the flesh had been sown/planted/buried and were being put to death through

the eschatological work of the Holy Spirit, and were being raised

  • the body of the triune God (“that God may be All in all”),
  • the new Man and
  • spirit (that which is spiritual; that which is of the Spirit),

i.e., the habitation of

  • the Father,
  • the Son and
  • the Holy Spirit

The consummated change took place when the world of the handmade city and sanctuary (the body of Sin and Death) was thrown down, and the heavenly/spiritual city and sanctuary (the body of Christ) were established “among men” in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8).
Through the indwelling of the Spirit, the church’s body of Sin and Death (its old, pre-Christ world-identity; the fleshly, Adamic “man” or self) was buried into the death of Christ. It was put to death, having been buried with Him through the without-hands baptism of the Holy Spirit into the dead-to-sin body of Christ. Believers had thus been “bodily” buried together into body-death, and their body-life was hid with the soon-to-be-revealed Savior of the Adamic world (Rom. 6:11, 13; Phil. 3:10; Col. 3:3).
The two contrasting and co-existing eschatological bodystates in Paul’s epistles (the concurrent dying and rising and changing of “the body” that had been buried) depended on neither physicality nor nonphysicality.[7] They depended on the saints’ relationship to Sin or to Christ. They depended on whether one was in Adam (under the dominion of Sin and Death) or in Christ (under grace and indwelt by the life-giving Spirit).
The elect before Christ were the body of Sin and Death in that they had been incorporated into Sin and Death in Adam. They were wholly defined, constituted, organized, systematized, and comprehended in (i.e., indwelled by and “clothed with”) Adamic Sin and Death through the curse of the commandment of God. They were both individually and collectively the embodiment (the body) of Sin and Death.
But in the new world in Christ, through faith in His shed blood, all of His saints in heaven (non-physical) and on earth (physical) are the cosmic embodiment, “fullness,” and habitation of the triune God. The fulfillment of the resurrection of “the body” in AD 70 brought into being the universal communion of all the saints (old covenant and new covenant) in the one, spiritual body (Christ Himself). This is what the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers denied would take place. They denied the death and resurrection with Christ of the natural body (the preChristian world of God’s people) and its change/transformation into the universal (Christian and pre-Christian), spiritual body of Christ.
The Universality19 of the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20-28)
In denying the resurrection of the pre-Christian saints, or of old covenant Israel, the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers were denying not the fact of the resurrection, but the “all-ness” of the resurrection and the “all-ness” of Christ’s atoning work. They denied that Christ had died for “all,” and therefore they denied that “all” would be raised. Though they agreed with Paul that Christ had died for “our” (the eschatological church’s) sins
(1 Cor. 15:3, 11), they denied that Christ had died for the sins of “the dead.”
Contrary to their doctrine, the resurrection of Christ was not the begin-
ing either material or immaterial.” The Body, John A. T. Robinson (SCM Press Ltd., Bloomsbury Street London, 1966), 32. Reformed theologians Ridderbos and Holland acknowledge that some of Robinson’s exegeses are flawed, but they endorse the substance of his insights on “the body.” I cite Robinson here in the same spirit.

  1. When I use the terms “universal” and “universality,” I am not referring to any form of “Universalism.” I am referring to the trans-historical assembly of the saints of all generations, from Adam to AD 70, or from Adam to the present day.

ning of the resurrection of the last days church only. It was also the beginning of the resurrection of the great cloud of saints (“the dead”/“them that slept”) who had come and gone before the advent of the last days church. Christ became the “First Fruits” of the eschatological church and of the Hadean saints “out from among” whom He had been raised (1 Cor. 15:55; Rev. 1:5). His resurrection was the beginning of the resurrection of “all” the saints who were “in Adam” (1 Cor. 15:20), not merely of the eschatological church. As all the saints, Christian and pre-Christian, had been condemned and alienated from God (i.e., had died) in Adam through Sin (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 7:9), so “all[8] were going to be raised up in “the Christ,” the second “Man” (or the second Humanity), the Savior of “the world” (1 Cor. 15:21-22). Because Christians were “of Christ,” and because Christ was the First Fruit of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23), Christians were, in Him, “first fruits” of the resurrection (James 1:18; Rev. 14:4), so that Christ was “the First Fruits” of “the first fruits.”[9] The resurrection of Christians “in His Parousia,” therefore, was not to be the consummation of the life-giving reign of Christ (1 Cor. 15:22-24), as the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers supposed. The eschatological church’s resurrection in “Christ the First Fruits” was instead the beginning of the end of the resurrection-harvest, and was to be followed by “the end,”[10] or “consummation,” which was the resurrection of the dead, i.e., the death of Death (the abolition of the alienation of God’s people from Him)—when “all” the elect became the habitation of the lifegiving Spirit through the gospel (Jn. 5:25; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:5-6).
Christ, through the Holy Spirit, was not reigning in the Spirit-indwelt, eschatological church merely so that the church by itself would attain unto the resurrection and inherit the kingdom. He was reigning in the church so that the historic kingdom would, in Him, be universalized” in and brought under the rule of “the God and Father” of “all” the saints (1 Cor. 15:24). The Adamic saints were not going to be left unredeemed from the “rule,” “authority,” and “power” of Satan, Sin, Death, and Condemnation. Rather, the Father was going to place all those kingdom-enemies under the feet of Christ, and Christ was going to “abolish,” or “annul,” them all.
He was already in process of abolishing the last and greatest kingdom-enemy, Death itself, through the kingdom-transforming, kingdom-universalizing work of the Cross and the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 15:26). “All things” (or literally, “the All Things,” the cosmic body of Sin and Death) were going to be subjected to Christ, and changed (Phil. 3:21) in the Father, by the power of the Father, and under the authority of the Father, so that all of the enemies would be done away; so that all of the Father’s elect (from Adam to AD 70) would be made alive in Christ; so that the universal church would become the habitation of the triune God, so that He would become “All Things in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).
If the Resurrection is not Universal (1 Cor. 15:12-19; 29-34)
The Son did not come to set up His own new religion that excluded the historic saints who had worshiped the Father in the Adamic ages. To the contrary, the Son was sent by the Father and under the authority of the Father for the purpose of restoring “all” the elect to the Father, to “universalize” the Father’s dominion. Unbeknownst to the resurrectionof-the-dead deniers, if Christ had come to save only the eschatological church and to exclude the pre-Christian world, this would have left only two possibilities. Either:

  1. Christ would be the conqueror of the God of the pre-Christian world, and the Father would be put in subjection under the feet of the Son (1 Cor. 15:27).[11]

Or

  1. Christ was not sent to accomplish the Father’s cosmos-saving work; therefore the Father had never raised Him from the dead, and the gospel was a lie, and Christianity was merely a man-made religion.

Of these two possibilities, Paul countered the first in passing (1 Cor. 15:27), but rigorously pursued the implications of the second. As we know, many at Corinth were living as though the second possibility was the truth.
As Paul reasoned: If Christ did not come to accomplish the Father’s work of restoration (Isa. 55:11), to gather and unite “all” (Christian and pre-Christian) who were chosen in the Father from before the world began, then Christ was not of the Father. Then neither the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ nor the resurrection-hope of the eschatological church was true or valid. Then Paul and the other apostolic preachers were liars, and Christ did not die for the sins of the eschatological church, and the Father never raised Him from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4, 11, 13-16).
Consequently, Christ was not reigning. Therefore no one had been born of the Spirit that proceeded from the Father. Then the gospel was vain, and the faith of believers was vain (1 Cor. 15:14, 17). Then no one had been saved and empowered by the grace of God either to preach the gospel or to believe it (1 Cor. 15:1-2, 5-8, 10-11).
Christians were, then, still in their sins, and those who had fallen asleep in Christ had died in their sins (1 Cor. 15:17-18). Then the resurrection-hope that believers had in Christ was false (1 Cor. 15:19). Then those Christians who were undergoing baptism (Spirit-led suffering and death) on behalf of the dead (1 Cor. 15:29; Matt. 20:23; 23:34-35; Luke 12:50; Heb. 11:40; Rev. 6:9-11) were in reality suffering for nothing more than a man-invented delusion. They were not being led by the Spirit but were instead going to a hopeless, meaningless death.
Moreover then, the apostles were fighting with “beasts” (enemies of the gospel) and were standing in jeopardy every hour, dying daily, not to change the world of God’s people, but for absolutely nothing, because
of Israel and His law) was the root error of the doctrine that would later be known as Gnosticism.
their gospel sufferings were not being wrought through the cosmosresurrecting, cosmos-changing power of the indwelling eschatological Spirit, but through the power of mere man (1 Cor. 15:30-32).
If the gospel was a lie and there was no God-ordained, worldchanging need of dying daily through the Spirit, of suffering hardships, humiliations and dangers, then the apostles should logically have lived as the arrogant, carnal Corinthians themselves were living (I Cor. 4:8). They should have rejected their humiliating sufferings for the gospel and put off dying for some other day (“tomorrow”) (1 Cor. 15:32-34).
In the end, the whole church, following the apostles and the Corinthians, would have forsaken the shame of the Cross of Christ and escaped the eschatological sufferings to which it had been called. All believers would have lived in the status quo of the old world. Though the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers did not know it, this was the practical, church-corrupting result of their dead-excluding error. This is why it was urgent for them to “awake righteously” from out of their shameful and sinful ignorance of God.
Contrary to the resurrection error, believers were being called to “die” for (on behalf of) “all” (the whole “creation”/“body” of God’s people). The church’s eschatological death and resurrection with Christ was for the purpose of bringing about the transformation of the preChrist world of the saints (“all Israel”). Though the resurrection-of-thedead deniers were unaware of it, their doctrine was implicitly opposed to the cosmic gospel-purpose of the Father.
The first-fruits church, through the indwelling Spirit of the reigning Christ, was putting to death the Adamic world-body of Death itself (alienation from the Father) through the newly-revealed gospel of God. Through the Death-destroying, Life-giving, “man”-changing power of the gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ, the fleshly, Adamic “man” or “body” or “creation”—the whole world-system of the dominion of Sin and Death—was being put to death and “abolished.” It was that body which would soon be raised up and “changed” (in AD 70) into the new, Christological, spiritual “body” in the kingdom of God (the new covenant world).
The Seed Analogy (1 Cor. 15:35-50)
Paul’s illustrations from nature in verses 36-41 are problematic if they are interpreted as arguments that are aimed at someone who denies the very possibility of resurrection. How does the fact that sheep differ from sparrows serve in any way to validate the doctrine of resurrection for someone who does not believe in the very concept of resurrection? How does it serve to make the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead imaginable or feasible (345)? It doesn’t.[12][13]
The difficulty with Paul’s words concerning the bodies/fleshes/glories of creation vanishes only when we let it sink into our minds that Paul was reasoning with people who already believed in the eschatological, body-resurrection of Christians. The resurrection-of-the-dead deniers would have already agreed that a seed rising up to become a plant illustrates the truth of resurrection. And that is why Paul used the analogy. The fact of resurrection was common ground between Paul and the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers.
Paul therefore made reference to the universal death and change of seeds,[14] not to demonstrate the already-agreed-upon fact of resurrection, but to demonstrate the following four things that those who were in error at Corinth were denying:

  1. The necessity of the death of the pre-resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:36)
  2. The differentness of the pre- and post-resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:37)
  3. The necessity of the change of the pre-resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:38a)
  4. The universality of the pre-resurrection body and the postresurrection body (1 Cor. 15:38b)

After establishing these premises through the common-ground analogy of the “resurrection” of seeds, Paul went on to reference the whole of the material universe, because insofar as it is filled with innumerable, different bodies—just like the multitudes of different kinds of seeds and plants in verse 38b—it confirms the universality of the two different bodies (the existence of which Paul established in the seed analogy itself).
The universal diversity of the Genesis creation served as an analogy of the cosmos-changing work of the gospel. As the whole Genesis creation is filled with differing bodies (fleshes, glories), so the whole “creation” (the body) of God’s chosen ones in Adam, living and dead, “from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other,” was going to put off the old “body” of Sin and Death (the Adamic, mortal, corruptible, dishonorable, weak, and natural “old man”), and was going to be “clothed” with the wholly otherbody of Christ” (the immortal, incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and spiritual new Man; the Christological “new creation”) (Matt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:42-44).
The resurrection-of-the-dead deniers thought that the eschatological church was an altogether separate entity from the Adamic, old covenant world. They thought that the body of Christ essentially appeared out of nowhere, as it were, absolutely disconnected from the world that preceded it. They thought the eschatological church was buried the spiritual body and that it was going to be raised the same spiritual body on the Last Day.
The reality though was that the eschatological church was itself in the mortal, corruptible, dishonorable, weak, and natural “body” of the pre-Christ saints. It was still bearing “the image of the earthy” (1 Cor. 15:49), not in a biological sense, but in a cosmic-covenantal sense. God’s old covenant ministration of Death and Condemnation still stood, and God’s church was still an organic part of that world-order. It was therefore still in the body of Sin and Death, and was putting that body to death through the Spirit.
The pre-Christian, Adamic saints existed in a state of “mortality” in that they did not yet have consummated eternal life, redemption, and face-to-face union with God (Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 Jn. 2:25; Rev. 22:4). They were in a state of “corruptibility[15] in that they did not yet have the incorruptible, “eternal righteousness” of Christ (Dan. 9:24). They were in a state of “dishonor” in that they were not yet clothed with the glory of the new covenant in Christ’s justifying blood (Rom. 4:24; 2 Cor. 3:7-18). They were in a state of “weakness” in that, as long as the condemning old covenant world remained standing, they had not yet inherited eternal life (cf. 1 Cor. 6:14; Heb. 7:6; 1 Jn. 2:25). They were “natural” in that they had not yet been made the spiritual dwelling of the triune God (Jn. 14:23).
Before Christ, the saints bore the image of Adam, the disobedient one. They were unable to attain to heavenly life (1 Cor. 15:45, 48-49). Their sins had grounded them in the mundane, the worldly, the carnal, the “corruptible.” Their worship of God consisted in earthly types, shadows, and copies of the heavenly. Their fellowship with God was not face to face, but was through the agency of sinful, earthly mediators. Their sacrifices were reminders of sin. They were separated from the Father.
They were under the reign of Sin and Death.
Through its body-burial and body-death with Christ, the church was putting to death that old, corruptible “world” or “body” or “creation” or “man” through the sin-killing Spirit on behalf of the dead. In the consummation of the Spirit’s work in the church, the body of God’s people, living and dead (“all Israel”), was going to be redeemed, changed, and gathered together into the eternal, spiritual kingdom of Christ.
This is the “knowledge of God” of which the resurrection-of-thedead deniers were woefully ignorant. Because they thought that the eschatological church, to the exclusion of “the dead,” was “the body [of Christ] that shall be,” they could not grasp “how” the saints of old could be resurrected with the church. Here is an expanded paraphrase of their objection in verse 35:
“We, the eschatological church, are the blood-bought body that has been sown (planted, buried) with Christ through the Holy Spirit in order that we might be raised with Him to inherit the kingdom of God. The saints of old lived and died before Christ arrived. They have not been sown (planted/buried) with Him, as we have. There is no resurrection outside of Christ’s body, and we are His body. Therefore, the dead have no part in the resurrection body. How then are the dead being raised with us? If your doctrine is true Paul, then answer this question: With what body are the dead being raised?”[16]Paul’s answer (verses 36-37):
“The dead are being raised through the burial and death of the body of Sin, of which we are still a part (since the old covenant world has not yet vanished). The dead, therefore, are being raised through our (the last-days, first-fruit church’s) dying to Sin (the burial and death of the Adamic ‘body’ with Christ) on their behalf, and they will therefore be ‘changed’ with us into the resurrected, spiritual body of Christ in the new covenant world.
“Look at your own experience for confirmation of this truth. When you yourselves are planting a seed (as God has planted us with Christ) you are not planting the tree that will be. Likewise, God did not plant the ‘spiritual body’ of the age to come in order that the same ‘spiritual body’ will emerge. That is not God’s purpose. The Christological resurrection-body is not what has been sown/buried. It is not we alone who shall be raised. Rather, it is the Adamic ‘natural body’ that has been ‘sown’ with Christ, through the Spirit in us, so that the ‘natural body’ (the dead together with the last-days-of-the-Adamic-ages church—the whole Adamic ‘man’) is now being raised up and
changed’/‘transformed’ into the spiritual body of Christ.”
The objection of the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers was not biological; it was theological. Though they understood that the eschatological church had been “buried” with Christ through the Sin-killing work of the Holy Spirit in order that the church would be raised up on the Last Day, they erroneously thought that the church had been buried so that the church alone would be raised up on the Last Day. Thus Paul’s corrections in verse 44 (KJV):
. . . [T]here is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
That is, there was not a spiritual body only, as the resurrection-ofthe-dead deniers supposed.
And in verse 46:
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The spiritual body did not appear out of nowhere, as the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers imagined. Rather, the pre-existing “natural body” was being raised up and transformed into the “spiritual body.”
The reality that the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers did not apprehend was that the eschatological church was in a state of Adamic bodyunion (solidarity, interdependence) with “the dead,” and it therefore stood in need of a universal body-change. The church was not merely the new man and the spiritual body. It was the dying old man; the dying body of Sin and Death.
It was not the case that the Old Testament saints would be replaced by the body of Christ. Instead, the body of Sin had to die through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and be raised, and be changed by the same Spirit (Heb. 11:40). The church could not be saved by itself. The church was bearing the image of “the first man” and was in process of being transformed, on behalf of the dead and with the dead, into the image of “the Christ” (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:45-49; 2 Cor. 3:18).
Without the death and universal change of “the body” through the power of the eschatological Spirit, not so much as one Christian could be made alive in the Father. The resurrection in Christ was to be cosmos-wide, or not at all. The whole world of God’s people had to be transformed.
The eschatological church thus stood in need of the consummated world-change from the “flesh-and-blood” world-body of “corruption” (sub-divine righteousness) to the “spiritual,” Christological body of incorruptible and eternal righteousness in the new covenant world (1 Cor. 15:50). If that change did not take place when the temple fell in AD 70, then Christ was never raised from the dead, the gospel was a lie, and all Christians were and are without hope. Either the eschatological church and “the dead” were changed and God became All Things in “all,” or Christ was never raised, and the church remains in her sins, and the world-body of the hand-made temple of God maintains its standing before God today.
The Universal Change (1 Cor. 15:51-58)
The coming transformation of God’s covenant-universe (dead and living, Jew and Gentile) through the gospel of the death and resurrection of the body of Christ was the “mystery” that had been kept secret since the world began. It was the mystery that the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers failed to grasp. “The dead” and the eschatological church were going to be made alive together in Christ and were going to be united in the Father. “All things . . . in the heavens and things upon the earth” were going to be summed up in Christ (Rom. 11:15, 25-26; 16:15; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:9-10; 3:6-10; Col. 1:26-27).
The world-change, or body-change, took place and the “mystery” was fulfilled before Paul’s generation passed away (1 Cor 15:51). The sounding of the symbolic “last trumpet[17] took place when the worldly city and sanctuary fell in AD 70 (Rev. 10:7; 11:2, 8; cf. Heb. 9:8). When that old “house” fell and the old Adamic “garment” was folded up and “changed,” the dead were raised and all the elect were “clothed” with the body of Christ in the new covenant world (Heb. 1:10–12). “All” put off the old man (Adamic Sin) and “put on” the new Man (the righteousness of Christ). “All” God’s people were “clothed with” the tabernacle/body of the triune God.
When the old garment was removed and the house of the old covenant was thrown down, believers were not found “naked,” nor left “unclothed” or homeless for even the indiscernible “moment” of “the twinkling of an eye,” as would have been the case if there was no resurrection of the dead and consequently no world-change (Rev. 3:17-18; 16:15; 17:16). If there was no resurrection, then the fall of the city and the sanctuary would have been the death knell for Christians just as much as it was for unbelieving Jews. Indeed, it would have been the death knell for humanity. But because the dead were raised and the cosmos of God’s people was transformed in Christ, believers were clothed in AD 70 with the Christological, new covenant house from out of heaven (Col. 2:2; Heb. 1:12; 8:13; Rev. 16:15).
Death (condemnation and alienation from God) was deprived of its sting, which was Sin, when Sin was finally sealed up, covered over, and done away in the consummation of the Adamic/Mosaic ages through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. This happened when Christ appeared the second time in AD 70, having consummated His high-priestly work of atonement (Lev. 16). This is when He swept away the old covenant world of Sin, Death, condemnation, and alienation and changed the universal church into the completed, anointed, Most Holy Place of God Himself (Rev. 21:2, 16; Heb. 3:6, 9:6-8).
Sin was deprived of its power, which was the Law of Moses, when through the power of the Cross, the Law came to its end in AD 70. That is when the Law-covenant (the ministration of Death and Condemnation) vanished[18] (Heb. 8:13) and “all things” in earth and in heaven (“all” the saints, living and dead) were reconciled to God (Col. 1:20).
When all these things were consummated, the corruptible and mortal Adamic body “put on” the incorruptible and immortal body of Christ (1 Cor. 15:53). The old, corruptible house (the old covenant world) fell.
The new, eternal house (the New Jerusalem) came down from out of heaven. The church and the Hadean saints were raised up and united in the one body of Christ, and were irrevocably and gloriously “changed” into the “perfect” tabernacle of God.
Thus, through the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, God gave His church the eschatological, cosmos-transforming victory of faith over Sin, Death, and the Law. Her gospel labors in Him bore world-transforming fruit. Reigning with the risen “Christ of God,” her worldburying, world-destroying, world-resurrecting, and world-changing labors were consummated in the AD-70 realization of the hope of Israel —in the universal gathering of “all” the saints, living and dead, in “the God and Father of all” (1 Cor. 15:57-58). Thus was the beginning of the Christian age, “a dispensation more divine than many are disposed to think.”[19]
Summary and Conclusion
The resurrection-of-the-dead deniers believed the following: The eschatological church was the “spiritual body” of Christ that had been buried with Christ and which was being raised up the same spiritual body of Christ. There was no “natural body” involved in the church’s resurrection with Christ. There was no body-union between the church and the pre-Christian saints (“the dead”). The dead were not going to be included in the resurrection and the kingdom. God, through the indwelling Spirit, had “sown,” or “buried,” the spiritual body of Christ (the church) so that the church by itself (to the exclusion of the dead) would be resurrected unchanged (still the same spiritual body of Christ that it was when it was buried with Christ) in the consummation.
If there was no resurrection of the Old Testament dead, these were the undesired results:

  1. God did not raise Christ from the dead.
  2. The eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ were liars.
  3. The preaching of the apostles was vain.
  4. The faith of Christians was vain.
  5. Christians were still in their sins.
  6. Christians who had fallen asleep had died in their sins (perished).
  7. The persecuted apostles were to be pitied more than all men.
  8. Christians who were being martyred for the dead were doing so for nothing.
  9. Christians were battling the enemies of the gospel by merely human power.
  10. Christians should have forsaken their sufferings and lived mundane lives.
  11. Christians would not be able to inherit the kingdom of God.
  12. Christians would remain under the curse of Sin, Death, and the Law.
  13. Christians would remain clothed with corruption, mortality, dishonor, and weakness, and would remain natural.

Here is why those results necessarily followed from the denial of the resurrection of the Old Testament dead:
God raised Christ from the dead not so that the natural Adamic body (the people of God in their Adamic state of Sin and Death) would be replaced by the spiritual body of Christ (the church). The Father raised the Son from the dead so that the Adamic body would be buried, put to death, resurrected, and transformed into the universal body of Christ. The eschatological church was not in a separate body from the Adamic dead. It was part of the natural, corruptible, dishonorable, and weak Adamic body, and was putting that body to death through the Spirit on behalf of the dead.
Apart from the creation-wide “body-change” of “all” the elect from Adam to the Last Day in AD 70, there could be no resurrection-life for any Christian. The church could not inherit the kingdom of God unless the whole universe of God’s people was resurrected and changed together. This was the cosmic scope and purpose of the Cross of Christ. This is what those who were in error at Corinth did not understand.
Though futurists today do not realize it, they are, in principle, unknowing followers of the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers at Corinth. Futurists believe that the church (the body of Christ) has been spiritually resurrected and seated with Christ in the spiritual kingdom for 2,000 years now, but that the pre-Christian (Old Testament) dead have not yet been resurrected into that kingdom. Though many futurists inconsistently believe that the Old Testament saints were released from Hades between Jesus’ death and resurrection (contradicting the timeframe of Rev. 20:14), they do not hold that those saints have been “resurrected” into the kingdom. As anti-preterist Strimple teaches (in contrast to anti-premillennial Strimple), physically dead people cannot experience a resurrection and remain physically dead.
Though futurists certainly do not deny the resurrection of the dead, they unwittingly teach a “short circuit” in the cosmic gospel-purpose of the Father when they teach that God gave the spiritual kingdom to the church on Earth, but has put off “resurrecting” the Old Testament dead into the kingdom until 2,000+ years later.
This “gap” between Christians and “the [Old Testament] dead” is not a biblical option. As Paul argued, either the dead and the church would inherit the kingdom together, or no one could inherit the kingdom at all. Either all the elect, the church and the dead, were made alive (resurrected) together in Christ in the end of the old covenant age, or all the elect remained dead in Adam (cf. 1 Thess. 5:10). In other words, either all the saints were resurrected in AD 70, or none were resurrected, not even Christ. There is no other possibility.
Therefore, as with the error at Corinth, the undesired implication of the doctrine of a yet-future resurrection of the dead is that Christ has not been raised and that our faith is vain and that we are still in our sins. Futurism is not a damnable doctrine, just as the error at Corinth was not a damnable doctrine. Nevertheless, futurism, with its parousiadelay and resurrection-delay, shares implications with the Corinthian error which, if followed through logically, ultimately serve to destroy the Faith. If Paul were alive today, it is possible that he would say to futurists what he said to his Corinthian brethren, and for essentially the same reason:
. . . [S]ome have ignorance of God. I speak this to your shame.
(1 Cor. 15:34)

[1] . Those who hold to “the collective body view” of 1 Corinthians 15 believe that the root error at Corinth was a radical kind of “replacement theology,” i.e., a disdain for Israel and a denial that historical Israel would take part with the church in the resurrection and in the kingdom of God. While that interpretation of the error at Corinth may be entirely correct, I am not convinced that it is provable that the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers had antiIsrael or anti-Semitic sentiments (though their error was certainly implicitly antagonistic to God’s historic covenant nation). For this reason, I confine my-
[2] . Charles Hill is therefore incorrect when he says: “It is not that the Corinthians could not comprehend what Paul was talking about; rather, one party in Corinth, comprehending all too well what Paul had in mind, did not find it to their liking and were opposing it.” (104)
[3] . When we consider that 1 Corinthians was written a mere twenty-five years after the beginning of Christianity, and when we consider that the eschatological, first-fruits church was already partaking of the coming resurrection, and when we consider the eager expectation in that era of the imminent fulfillment of the end of the Adamic ages and of the resurrection the dead, we should expect that believers in that historical moment would refer to the vast multitudes that had lived and died before the advent of Christ as the “dead [ones].” This is not to say that the term “the dead” in the New Testament was code for “the dead of the Old Testament in contrast to dead Christians.” It is to say only that in that eschatological generation, if reference were made to the pre-Christian dead in contrast to the relatively few dead Christians (in about AD 55), the designation “the dead” or “dead ones” sufficed.
[4] . There was therefore no need for Paul to say explicitly that the dead were primarily “historical Israel,” as Hill insists in his chapter (115). If “the dead” were the righteous, pre-Christian dead, then they were (with relatively few exceptions) none other than the saints of the historic, Abrahamic covenant community (i.e., Israel) along with the saints who lived before the promises given to Abraham.
[5] . Similarly in American law today the basic meaning of the word “body” is “a person.” “A corporalis [bodily] injuria” is “a personal injury.” We use the word “body” this way when we speak of “somebody,” “anybody,” “nobody,” or “everybody.” This usage of the word used to be more common than it is today: “The foolish bodies say in their hearts: Tush, there is no God.” (Ps. 14:1, Coverdale translation, 1535)
[6] . Although Reformed theologian Herman Ridderbos was a futurist and expected a literal transformation of the physical bodies of believers, he nevertheless understood that such Pauline terms as “the body of sin,” “the body of the flesh,” “the earthly members,” and “the body of this death” “are obviously not intended of the [material] body itself, but of the sinful mode of existence of man.” Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975), 229; Cf., Tom Holland, Contours of Pauline Theology: A Radical New Survey of the Influences on Paul’s Biblical Writings, Mentor, 2004.
[7] . “[The spiritual body] is not in the least constituted what it is by its being physical. It fulfills its essence by being utterly subject to Spirit, not by be-
[8] . “All” in 1 Cor. 15:22 corresponds to “the many” in Rom. 5:15-16 and 19. When Paul says that “all” died in Adam and that “all” would be made alive in Christ, he means that all of God’s people (the whole cosmos of Gods’ elect) died in Adam and would be made alive in Christ.
[9] . Strimple inexplicably denies this doctrine on pages 309 and 342 of
WSTTB.
[10] . In Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, on page 62, Strimple teaches that “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15:24 is the same “end” that Jesus said would come after the gospel was “preached in the whole world” in Matthew 24:14. Thus Strimple holds that the resurrection of the dead takes place upon the completion of the preaching of the gospel “in the whole world.”   But this presents a problem for Strimple, because the gospel was “preached in the whole world” almost 2,000 years ago, in Christ’s generation, shortly before the fall of the earthly house (the old covenant world) in AD 70 (Rom. 16:25-26; Col. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:17). If we are to accept Strimple’s sequence of events, we must conclude that the resurrection of the dead happened at the fall of the temple in AD 70, as Jesus and the apostles said it would.
[11] . This hyper-dispensational implication of the Corinthian resurrection-error (i.e., that Christ came to wage war against and to conquer the God
[12] . If the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers already believed in the historic, physical resurrection of Christ, as Strimple admits (309, 333), why would Paul have needed to convince them of the “feasibility,” “imaginability,” and “thinkability” of the very concept of physical resurrection, as Strimple says elsewhere quoting Berkouwer) (341)? How could it be that the resurrectionof-the-dead deniers were unable to accept the feasibility of a concept (1 Cor.
[13] :35) to which they already held as the gospel truth (1 Cor. 15:11)?
[14] . The necessary “death” of seeds, by the way, demonstrates that physical corruption and physical death existed before Adam sinned. The earth, by God’s decree, brought forth seed-yielding plants on the third day of creation (Gen. 1:11-13), and Adam was placed in the Garden to dress and keep the plants (Gen. 2:15). Therefore the cycle of literal seed-death and seed-resurrection/ change was already in process before Sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam. In the same way, God’s decree to the animals and to man that both “be fruitful and multiply” implied the cycle of biological birth, biological reproduction, and biological death; and that cycle was instituted before Adam sinned (Gen. 1:22, 28). Biological death did not enter the world through Sin. It was already in the world. It was alienation from God and slavery to Sin (Sin-consciousness, spiritual Death) that entered the world through Sin.
[15] . The terms “mortal” and “corruptible” do not describe the quality or duration of Adam’s physicality or the quality or duration of his soul. They describe the quality and duration of his sub-divine righteousness and works.
[16] . Strimple favorably quotes Robert Gundry as saying, “Paul uses soma precisely because the physicality of the resurrection is central to his soteriology.” In reality, Paul used soma precisely because the resurrection-of-the-dead deniers used the word soma in their objection (1 Cor. 15:35). The meaning of the word cannot be deduced from the fact that Paul repeated it.
[17] . In Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (112), Strimple says that since the Greek word “eskatos” (“last”) is used in the term “last trumpet,” it would “seem strange” if the “last” trumpet did not signal the end of Christ’s mediatorial reign and of the resurrection of the dead. Yet in the same book, Strimple does not think it “strange” when he says that the “last” (“eskatos”) days have thus far lasted almost 2,000 years (TVMB, 64).
[18] . Pratt (the author of chapter three of WSTTB) speaks for perhaps most futurists when he puzzles over the mention of “the law” in First Corinthians 15:56: “The emergence of the second theme regarding the law, however, seems to have no real antecedent in this letter.” (Holman New Testament Commentary: I&II Corinthians, 272) In the futurist paradigm, there is no real connection between the condemning power of the Law of Moses and the resurrection of Christians in the end of world history. Paul though makes the connection because the resurrection of the dead was going to happen when the old covenant (the Law) vanished in his generation. The two events were simultaneous (cf. 1 Cor. 7:29, 31; 10:11; 15:51-52). Cf., Law, Sin, and Death: An Edenic Triad? An Examination with Reference to I Corinthians 15:56, by Chris Alex Vlachos (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, volume 47; June, 2004).
[19] 0. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, book I, chapter II.

House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 13 Romans 8:11

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
 
Part 13 Romans 8:11
 
David A. Green
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 David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #13: Christ’s redeeming experience is the
model and pattern of what lies ahead for us. Romans 8:11 says that
God “will also” (i.e., just as He did for Christ) “give life to your mortal
bodies” (288, 294, 297, 326-330, 333-337). Therefore, the word “soma
(body), when used in reference to the resurrection of the dead, means
“the physical, material aspect of our person.”
 
Answer: Strimple is correct that the physical death, physical burial,
and physical resurrection of Christ was the “pattern,” “parallel” and
“model” of the church’s body-burial, body-death, and body-resurrection
with Him. And Strimple is correct that Paul said in Romans 8:11
that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead “will also” give life
to the “mortal bodies” of believers.
 
Nevertheless, the eschatological church’s Spirit-empowered bodyburial,
body-death, and body-resurrection with Christ were not physical/
biological events. The “redemptive experience” of the eschatological
church was not a literal replay-in-process of what Christ experienced.
What Christ experienced physically (literal death, literal burial, and literal
resurrection), the eschatological church was experiencing spiritually
throughout the eschaton: Burial with Christ, death with Christ,
and resurrection with Christ through the age-changing power of the indwelling
Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:4-6,8; 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:4; Gal. 2:20; 3:27; Eph.
2:5,16; Col. 2:12-13,20; 3:1,3; 2 Tim. 2:11).
 
Most futurists accept the doctrine of a non-physical body-burial
with Christ and a non-physical body-death with Christ through the
Spirit. And they should. For as Paul said, “If Christ is in you, the body
is dead because of sin” (Rom. 8:10). The indwelling, Sin-killing Spirit
of Christ brought about the death of the mortal body of Sin and Death
while believers were still physically alive.
 
Preterists and futurists agree that Paul speaks of non-physical
body-death in Rom. 8:10. Yet when the doctrine of non-physical bodyresurrection
is offered, Strimple claims that such a non-physical usage
of the word “body” is “semantic sleight of hand” and a “contradiction in
terms.” He compares those who employ such a non-physical usage of
the word “body” to Humpty Dumpty arbitrarily changing the definition
of words (335-336).
 
Despite Strimple’s irrational ridicule, the Scriptures teach us that as
Christ was crucified physically, put to death physically, buried physically,
and resurrected from the dead physically, so were His people, through
His indwelling Spirit, buried bodily (yet non-physically) with Him into
His death; and while thus dying bodily (yet non-physically) with Him (to
Sin), His people were concurrently being resurrected bodily (yet nonphysically)
with Him through the same indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:11) in
anticipation of the end of the old covenant age.
 
We know that the “body” was raised non-physically, because the
body” that was non-physically buried with Christ and non-physically
put to death with Him was, as Paul’s logic demands, to be resurrected
with Christ out of its non-physical burial and non-physical death (which
was death to the Adamic world of Sin, Death, and the Law). Therefore,
the eschatological resurrection of “the body” was necessarily non-physical
(not a biological resurrection).
 
In the second half of this chapter I will discuss the meaning of the
word “body” in eschatological, resurrection-of-the-dead contexts. For
now though, I will close this section with a preliminary argument that
bears directly on the historical basis for a resurrection unto biological
incorruptibility.
 
On page 332 of WSTTB Strimple says that Christ’s individual, postresurrection
body was physically “endowed with new qualities” so that it was physically
imperishable, physically glorious, physically powerful, and physically heavenly.
How does Strimple know this?
 
Strimple acknowledges that although Jesus, after His resurrection,
passed through locked doors, and though God “caused Him to be
seen,” and though Jesus suddenly “disappeared from their sight,” these
occurrences do not prove that Jesus’ post-resurrection body had been
changed. As Strimple agrees, even before Jesus was raised from the
dead, He walked on water, was transfigured, and “walked right through
a mob. Even the apostles themselves had passed through locked doors
and had vanished and reappeared (329).
 
Since none of those events indicate that either Jesus or the apostles
had physically imperishable bodies,[1] how does Strimple know that Jesus
had a physically imperishable body after His resurrection? Strimple
offers one piece of evidence, which is this:
 
Christ’s body would never die again. Therefore it was a physically
“imperishable, glorious, powerful, heavenly” body.
 
But this is hardly biblical proof. Enoch and Elijah were physically
taken up without seeing death. According to Strimple’s evidence,
Enoch and Elijah must have had biologically incorruptible bodies. But
if the hope of the promise is to receive a biologically incorruptible body,
then Enoch and Elijah could not have received such a body, because
Heb. 11:39 tells us that they “received not the promise.” If then, in the
futurist framework, Enoch and Elijah could not have put on physically
incorruptible bodies when they were taken up without seeing physical
death, why assume that Jesus became physically incorruptible when He
was assumed into the divine glory-cloud?
 
The fact is there is no scriptural proof that Christ’s body became biologically
incorruptible. That means that the four gospel narratives offer
no historical foundation and no Scripture-proof for the doctrine of a resurrection
of the dead unto biologically incorruptible bodies. The concept
has to be introduced into the gospel so that the gospel will better fit the
futurist supposition of an eschatological “resurrection of the flesh.”
 
Nevertheless, Strimple is so bold as to state, “ . . . [B]ut of course
the New Testament . . . lays great stress on the wonderful discontinuity
between Christ’s body before his resurrection and his body after it”
(332). Strimple offers no hint as to where in the New Testament this
“great stress” is found. That is because the “great stress” is found only
in the assumption of the futurist framework which has been imposed
upon the gospel narratives.
 



[1] Mathison in his chapter did not see what Strimple sees here. As
Mathison said: “Jesus’ resurrection body was changed enough that he was not
always recognized immediately. . . . He was also able to travel unhindered by
normal impediments. . . . ” Mathison did not realize that he was “proving” that
before Jesus’ resurrection, both He and the apostles had physically imperishable
bodies (193).
 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Conclusion

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
Conclusion
Michael J. Sullivan
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 Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.  

Conclusion 
Mathison says that interpreting New Testament eschatological timetexts is a “difficult problem” that has “perplexed commentators forcenturies,” and that it is therefore a subject upon which he and his coauthors do not agree (155, 178, 204). Consequently, Mathison’s treatment of the time texts is ambiguous and he casts a fog over the whole matter. Here are some examples of Mathison’s pervasive uncertainty as he wrestles against God’s eschatological time-statements.
“You shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.”
 Commentators have interpreted [Matthew 10:23] in a number of different ways. (175–176) Mathison presents five competing futurist and partial preterist interpretations.
He eventually lands on an interpretation but he does not express unequivocal confidence in it.
“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standinghere who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” 
. . . [W]hat does it mean for Jesus [in Matthew 16:27–28] to suggest that [the coming of the Son of Man] will happen within the lifetime of his hearers? (176)
But of course, Jesus did more than merely “suggest” that His coming would happen within the lifetime of His hearers, as Mathison weakens the words of the Lord.
• The Coming of the Son of Man
 Each of the texts we have looked at (Matt. 10:23; Matt. 16:27–28; 24–25) seems to portray the coming of the Son of Man as something that would occur soon after the words were spoken.
This has perplexed commentators for centuries. (178)
Mathison then makes reference to “all of the difficulties surrounding these [time] texts” and adds that “several” interpretations have been “suggested” (178–179).
But as preterists know, these texts are unequivocal and non perplexing. Note that Mathison admits that all of the biblical texts he cited in Matthew (including the prophecy of the sheep and goats) “seem” to say what preterists say they say. When Mathison says that the texts are surrounded by “difficulties” and that they have “perplexed commentators,” the reason is—obviously—because the texts, if left to interpret themselves, teach “hyper-preterism.” Yet five pages later Mathison says, “There is nothing in any of these texts that demands or even strongly suggests a hyper-preterist interpretation” (183).
“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” 
. . . [S]everal possible interpretations [of Matthew 24:34] have been offered.
Mathison presents nine competing futurist and partial preterist interpretations (179–181). All of the “possible interpretations” of the word “generation” proposed by Mathison are puzzling though, since he tells readers in his book, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope, while refuting Dispensationalism, that they can “know” the preterist interpretation of “this generation” in Matthew 24:34 is the true interpretation:
We know that the phrase “this generation” refers to the generation of Jews to whom Jesus was speaking for these reasons. . . .[1]
Treading water in a great sea of uncertainty and contradiction, Mathison flounders among the “many possible interpretations” of these and other passages, and then miraculously arrives at the shore and concludes with curious confidence: “Just as there is nothing in the Gospels that even remotely suggests hyper-preterism, so there is also nothing in the book of Acts or in the New Testament epistles that suggests hyper-preterism” (205, emphases added). “The New Testament . . . does not even suggest hyper-preterism” (213, emphases added).
Let’s see now. Mathison admits that Jesus said (or suggested or seemed to teach) many times and in many places that His coming would happen within the lifetime of His hearers. Mathison admits that this fact has perplexed futurist commentators for centuries (176–179). Mathison admits that Paul and other New Testament writers seemed to teach that Christ was coming soon and that the end of the age was near (201–202). Then Mathison says that there is nothing in the New Testament “that even remotely suggests hyper-preterism” (205, 213). Our question to Mathison is not when, but how can these things be?
Mathison undertakes to evaluate and dismiss the preterist position while he himself is uncertain as to how to interpret the verses that “seem” to support preterism (but at the same time do not even “remotely suggest” preterism). Mathison’s particular beliefs are a matter of opinion and debate, because according to Mathison, who can know with any certainty what such terms as “near” and “soon” and “this generation” and “some of you standing here” really mean? There are many possible interpretations.
Mathison should consider that his eschatological particulars (the time texts) are vague and uncertain because his eschatological universals (the physical and yet-future second coming, resurrection, and judgment) are askew. If we all were to agree and stand “shoulder to shoulder” (155) on the universal that eschatology is all about the fall of the Soviet Union, the result would be that our interpretation of a myriad of verses would become a “difficult problem” (Mathison’s term).  Mathison’s quandary vividly illustrates the centuries-old problem with futurism. Two or three flawed universals have made a vast multitude of particulars unfathomable.
. . . [O]rthodox Christianity was characterized by two eschatological doctrines: the future return of Christ to judge mankind and the future bodily resurrection of all men for judgment. . . . [A]part from these two doctrines, there was nothing approaching consensus for the first four centuries [of church history].[2]
This problem is alive and well today, as Mathison’s multi-authored book demonstrates. Mathison uses wild understatement when he says of the authors of WSTTB: “ . . . [T]he contributors to this volume do not completely agree in their interpretation of every eschatological text” (155).  The fact is that all seven of the contributors to Mathison’s volume do not agree at all on any (or at least virtually any) eschatological doctrine except the doctrine “that the second coming of Jesus Christ, the general resurrection, and the Last Judgment are yet to come” (155). Mathison can call that “shoulder-to-shoulder” agreement, but it is not impressive. Agreement on only a few points out of a myriad merely indicates that those few points are wrong.
It is more than difficult to understand how these authors can portray their historical positions as unified on these points when between their two systems (partial preterism and amillennialism) two contradictory propositions emerge when you examine the particulars – that is the  passages that are used to arrive at a futurist position for these three events:
1)      Partial Preterism – Imminence and fulfillment is accepted, Christ appeared a second time at the end of the old covenant age, there was a spiritual, corporate, covenantal judgment and resurrection of the living and dead which was attended by a passing of the old creation and arrival of the new in AD 70 in such passages as these: Daniel 12:1-4; Matthew 5:17-18, 13:39-43, 24-25; Acts 1:11; Romans 8:18, 13:11-12; 1 Peter 4:5-7; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 1-22; Hebrews 8:13, 9:26-28,[3] 10:37.
And yet we are also told that this proposition is true –
2)       Classic Amillennialism – The NT only teaches one coming of Christ, general judgment and resurrection of the living and dead attended by the restoration of creation at the end of the age.
How can these things be indeed?  Obviously both of these propositions cannot be true at the same time unless full preterism is true and accepted. Allow me to use two particular passages in connection with my testimony on how I became a full preterist which illustrates the problem the authors of WSTTB have with their so called “shoulder to shoulder” unity.  One day I was reading Reformed amillennial and partial preterist books while also studying Matthew 24-25 and comparing it with 1 Thessalonians 4-5 in my dorm room at the Master’s College.  I concluded that the partial preterist was accurate in teaching that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled in AD 70 spiritually using apocalyptic language and that the amillennialist was also accurate in that Paul was drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and that there is only one “the parousia” of Christ in the NT.  Therefore “orthodoxy” was teaching me that 1  Thessalonians 4-5 was the same coming of Christ described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25.  But since the futurist errs on the nature of the resurrection assuming it is biological and at the end of time, the readers of WSTTB are forced into a contradictory “either or” situation on passages such as these when the truth is a “both and.”  I think one can see the problem the authors of WSTTB are trying to sweep under the rug when it comes to how they can “unify” in teaching that the Second Coming is still future when the particulars of what they are each saying on the given texts and how they relate to each other teach otherwise.
The choice is simple.  Either one continues propagating the myth that these two propositions within the futurist paradigm do not lead to a contradiction, or accept the organic development of full preterism which unites them in seeing that these events were fulfilled in AD 70 when Christ came (once a “second time”) invisibly to close the old covenant age dissolving the elements of that world while establishing the new.
It is ironic that the title of Mathison’s book is When Shall These Things Be?  Not only is there no consensus among the authors as to the answer to that very question, but Mathison himself (the only author who attempts to answer the question) fails to arrive at an unequivocal and decisive answer. Within a span of six pages (177–182), Mathison tacitly admits that the question is a problem for futurism, and offers seven or eight possible “solutions.”[4]
If we were to apply Mathison’s method in eschatological matters to all other areas of life, we would be certain of nothing; we would all be postmodernists. The truth would become unknowable. Mathison himself, in his book The Shape of Sola Scriptura, teaches that “clear” and “firm scriptural proof for every article of faith” is a “necessity.”[5]
Yet in WSTTB, Mathison demonstrates with his plethora of “possible interpretations” that he lacks “clear” and “firm” scriptural proof either for futurism or against preterism. Nevertheless, he feels at liberty to anathematize us for our preterist challenge to futurism (213).
Mathison claims that Christ died to leave the church, for 2,000 years and counting, in an “evil age.” As my editor has said, “Joy to the world!” Postmillennialists such as Marcellus Kik and Keith Mathison have produced not so much an Eschatology of Victory or An Eschatology of Hope, as a “sick” eschatology, because, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Prov. 13:12). Preterism will stand the test of time; and as godly men embrace it and teach it, it will bring healing to the “eschatological schizophrenia” of Mathison et al, and to the eschatological division within the church as a whole.
Interestingly, Gentry and Mathison in their books pit old school dispensationalism against modern day progressives as a “House Divided” that “cannot stand” unless they move more toward covenant theology.  And yet we have documented their “House Divided” approach which equally “cannot stand” unless full Preterism is embraced to “bridge the gap.”  And since they also exhort progressives such as Pastor John MacArthur in his/their changes which are moving closer and closer to covenant theology, we too applaud Gentry and Mathison for coming closer and closer to full Preterism in what they have written since WSTTB.  If a five point Calvinist and progressive dispensationalist such as MacArthur can be seen as “inconsistent,” holding to a “compromised” position, or being content in being a stepping stone for others to come into covenant theology, then full preterists can view Gentry and Mathison’s writings as such in their moves towards full preterism.
If not why not? As a Reformed believer, dear reader, you know that there is no middle ground between Arminianism and Calvinism. You may have tried at one time to say that you were neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian. Or you may have acknowledged that the Bible teaches Calvinism, but you rejected the teaching because you were troubled by its implications. Or you may have even been a closet Calvinist for years. Though the road was perhaps difficult, you eventually embraced the doctrines of grace, and now you know there is no compromise position between the two doctrines.
Many Reformed believers today are having the same experience
with the doctrine of preterism. They are learning that it is also a hard
pill to swallow and that it is nevertheless the doctrine of Scripture. They
are learning that it represents “the whole counsel of God” in the area of
eschatology. After we are confronted with biblical preterism, we may
try to straddle the fence, but there is truly no middle ground. Just as
R.C. Sproul (Sr.) would consider a four-point Calvinist to be in reality a
“confused Arminian,” more and more futurists, on their way to biblical
preterism, are beginning to see that partial preterism is just “confused
futurism.” There is no biblical basis for “partial preterism” even as there
is no biblical basis for “partial Calvinism.” This is why partial preterism
invariably leads to full preterism. This is why Keith Mathison and Ken
Gentry have both come closer to “hyper-preterism” since they wrote
WSTTB. Mathison now believes that the prophecy of the sheep and
the goats in Matthew 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Gentry now believes
that the resurrection in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70.
 
 


[1] Mathison, Postmillennialism, 111 (emphasis added)
[2] Postmillennialism, 33
[3] Milton Terry wrote of Hebrews 9:26-28, “The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer [to the Hebrews] regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.” Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, 441-442.
[4] Ken Gentry, in another book, gave a decisive interpretation of Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question: “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 (vv. 6 and 15 anticipate this) and pick apart Jerusalem (v. 28).” Thomans Ice, Kenneth Gentry, The Great Tribulation Past or Future? Two Evangelicals Debate the Question (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1999), 58.
[5] Keith Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001), 32
 
 
 

 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 13 What About Hymenaeus and Philetus 2 Timothy 2:17-18?

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be?
Part 13 – What About Hymenaeus and Philetus 2 Timothy 2:17-18?

Michael J. Sullivan

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 Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical  articles or reviews.  

2 Timothy 2:17–18

I recently received an email and phone call from an elder in a church who was secretly placed under church discipline and then excommunicated for studying the preterist view of Bible prophecy. He and his family were told that their salvation was in question unless they repented of studying (let alone holding to) this position. The source material that was used against them was When Shall These Things Be?, and the Bible text that was used to anathematize them was 2 Timothy 2:17–18. Apparently the eldership of the church did not see the irony. The editor of When Shall These Things Be? concedes that 2 Timothy 2:18 “cannot” be used even to “criticize” preterists, much less anathematize them, because according to Mathison, it may very well be that “the resurrection” of 2 Timothy 2:18 truly did take place in AD 70:

. . . [2 Timothy 2:1–18] cannot be used to criticize hyper-preterism until . . . [it can be] demonstrated from other texts that nothing of the sort occurred in A.D. 70. (194)

This is quite an admission from a man who says that hyper-preterism is “a much different religion” than Christianity (213). What Bible verses can Mathison use, other than 2 Timothy 2:17–18, to brand preterism as a different religion? Answer: There are no other verses. Without 2 Timothy 2:17–18, Mathison doesn’t have a biblical leg to stand on in his condemnation of preterists. All he has are the baseless words of those, like himself, who have set themselves up to condemn us based solely on the assumption that our rejection of futurism is a damnable error.

We agree with Mathison that 2 Timothy 2:17–18 cannot be used to criticize us. But we must go further than this. Far from being an anti-preterist passage, 2 Timothy 2:17–18 is actually a condemnation of the implications of futurism. Allow me to explain. First of all, Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers. They were of a class of deceivers who taught Jewish “myths” and “genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4; Titus 1:4), and were self-appointed “teachers of the Law” (1 Tim. 1:7). They taught believers to abstain from foods (1 Tim. 4:3), no doubt using the Levitical dietary laws as a basis of their teaching.

It is because Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers that Paul compared them to “Jannes and Jambres” (2 Tim. 3:8). According to ancient historians, Jannes and Jambres were Egyptian magicians who challenged Moses’ authority in Egypt. Like Jannes and Jambres, Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching the strange doctrines of “Egypt” (Rev. 11:8), and were challenging Paul’s gospel-authority, attempting to deceive Christians into believing that God’s new wine (the new covenant land of promise) could be contained within the old, “Egyptian” wineskins of the old covenant world.

Likewise in 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul connects Hymenaeus and Philetus to the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16:5, 26.[1] Korah had led hundreds of the sons of Israel to challenge Moses’ authority. As God had destroyed Korah and his followers in the wilderness, so God was “about to judge” (2 Timothy 4:1) and destroy the Judaizers Hymenaeus and Philetus and others like them (cf. Heb. 3:16–19).

According to the teaching of Hymenaeus and Philetus, because Jerusalem and the temple still stood (in about AD 67) after the resurrection had allegedly already taken place, it irresistibly followed that “the sons according to the flesh” were now the heirs of the eternal kingdom and that Paul’s Jew-Gentile gospel of grace was a lie. The blasphemous error of Hymenaeus and Philetus was that the world of the Mosaic covenant would remain forever established after the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets had taken place and the new heavens and new earth (“the resurrection”) had arrived.

This “Hymenaean” heresy is the diametric opposite of preterism.  According to preterism, the old covenant came to an eternal and irrevocable termination in “the resurrection,” when all things were fulfilled in AD 70. There is absolutely no theological connection between preterism and Hymenaeus’ blasphemous lie of an everlasting “ministration of death.”

However, there is a clear connection between the heresy of Hymenaeus and the implications of futurism: If “the Law and the Prophets” are not fulfilled today, and “heaven and earth” have not passed away, and the jots and tittles of the Law have not passed away, and all things are not yet fulfilled, as futurism says, then logically and scripturally, the Law of Moses remains unfulfilled and “imposed” to this day (Matt. 5:17–19; Heb. 8:13; 9:10). This implication of futurism is exactly what the Judaizers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, taught when they said the resurrection was already past in AD 67.

As we have seen on virtually every page of WSTTB, Mathison and his co-authors are in conflict over a multitude of eschatological passages.  It comes as no surprise that they are in conflict even in regard to how or even if the Bible anathematizes preterists. And it is more than ironic that the one passage in all of Scripture that can conceivably be perceived as decisively anathematizing preterists is in reality applicable to the implications of futurism.[2] Selah.

Partial Preterist Mr. Gary North, has said that if one side of the debate ceases to respond to the others arguments then the one who has responded last (thus silencing the other) in essence has won the debate (my paraphrase).   He has also written of dispensational scholars and their inability to keep up with postmillennial works and critiques, “Like a former athlete who dies of a heart attack at age 52 from obesity and lack of exercise, so did dispensational theology depart from this earthly veil of tears.  Dispensational theologians got out of shape, and were totally unprepared for the killer marathon of 1988.” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UPOF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Publishers Foreword, xx.).  In the same book DeMar claims that “Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste” and “shall not stand” and is guilty of “Theological Schizophrenia” (Ibid. 349-350).  Apparently Mr. Mathison was not prepared for the killer marathon of 2009 and since that time has been too busy engorging himself from the profits P&R provided him and is simply too scared and out of shape to open our book let alone read and respond to my critique and response to him?  And we document the “House Divided” “Theological Schizophrenia” and contradictory approach Reformed eschatology has sought to use against us let alone the contradictions (and yet at the same time progressive views moving towards Full Preterism) that are within Mathison’s writings alone.

Therefore, I have decided to post my chapter response to his online (in small parts) in hopes that both the Futurist and the Full Preterist communities will contact him for an official response.  If no response continues to come, then I will allow him to be judged by the same standard that his own postmillennial partial preterist colleagues have set up, and accept that he is unable to respond and has lost our debate.

 


[1] William Hendriksen; Simon J. Kistemaker: New Testament Commentary:  Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 268.
[2] For more on 2 Timothy 2:17–18, see David Green’s response to “Strimple Argument #1” in chapter seven of this book.

House Divided Chapter Four NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan – The Millennium Revelation 20

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 
Chapter Four
The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be?

The Millennium Revelation 20
Michael J. Sullivan
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 Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. 
Millennium
Mathison writes: “ . . . [T]he hyper-preterist interpretations of the millennium fail to take seriously the long-term time text involved. . . . When the word thousand is used in Scripture, it refers either to a literal thousand or to an indefinite, but very large, number” (209).
Response:  
Psalm 50:10 is often cited, usually by postmillennialists, to teach that “a thousand” symbolizes literally “many thousands or millions.” For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. (Ps. 50:10)
Postmillennialists reason that God owns the cattle on every hill; therefore “a thousand hills” symbolizes or represents “many thousands or millions of hills.” Thus, they reason, we are led by Scripture to interpret the “thousand years” in Revelation 20 to mean “many thousands or millions of years.”
That reasoning sounds solid at first glance. However, the context of Psalm 50:10 does not lead us to a principle that a symbolic “thousand” always signifies “many thousands.” It leads us to the principle that a symbolic “thousand” signifies “fullness.” The “thousand” of Psalm 50:10 is interpreted for us two verses later:
The world is Mine, and the fullness thereof. (Ps. 50:12b)
In Psalm 90:4, a “thousand years” is as “yesterday” and as “a watch in the night.” In 2 Peter 3:8, a “thousand years” is as one “day.” In those verses, a “thousand” (and “yesterday” and “a watch” and a “day”) is used to teach us that to God, a small piece of time is no different than a fullness of time. (Compare Job 7:7; Ps. 39:5; 90:2; 144:4; Heb. 13:8; Jms. 4:14.) Thus in Psalm 105:8, a “thousand” corresponds with “forever”: He has remembered His covenant forever, the word that he commanded to a thousand generations. (Ps. 105:8)
In scriptural usage, a symbolic “thousand” can be likened to “one” (day / yesterday / a watch in the night), or used in reference to millions of hills, or to eternity (“forever”). A “thousand” can be likened unto or used to represent a number lesser or greater than a literal thousand. Only its context can determine its literal numerical meaning, but the basic idea that is communicated by the number is “fullness.” As G. K. Beale wrote, “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time . . .”[1]
How one interprets the thousand years in Revelation 20 depends on one’s eschatological framework. The passage does not interpret itself, but must be interpreted by the overall eschatology of Scripture. Within the preterist interpretive framework, the biblical-eschatological context of Revelation 20 should lead us to interpret the “thousand years” to signify the time of the Christological filling up of all things (Eph. 1:10; 4:10). That time was from the Cross of Christ to the Parousia of Christ in AD 70. That was the time during which “the [spiritual] death” which came through Adam and was magnified through “the law” was in process of being destroyed. The literal timeframe of the “thousand years” was roughly forty years.
Mathison admits that he does not know if there were any rabbis who used the number 1,000 to symbolize forty years (210). Reformed theologian G. K. Beale tells us that some Jews considered the length of the intermediate messianic reign to be forty years. He also states that one Jewish tradition made an anti-type connection between Adam’s lifespan (almost 1,000 years) and a reign of Messiah for a (possibly symbolic) thousand years.[2] Many Christians have attempted to make this connection and have also paralleled the thousand years of 2 Peter 3:8 with John’s thousand years in Revelation 20:2–6.
Adam falling short of the 1,000-year lifespan by 70 years (Gen. 5:5) may represent his being created a mortal being and perishing in sin outside of God’s presence. If this is the case, then it is more than reasonable that the number 1,000 took on the symbolism and representation of Christ’s and the church’s victory over Death in contrast to Adamic man’s vain existence apart from God’s salvation (Eccl. 6:6).
Some Evangelicals and Reformed theologians along with some preterists such as Milton Terry do not understand the long lifespans in the early chapters of Genesis to be literal.[3] They believe that the lifespans were symbolic and contained numerological elements. But even if Adam’s lifespan was a literal 930 years, this does not exclude an anti-typical, symbolic 1,000 years in Revelation 20.
When Messiah came as “the last Adam,” His reign in and through the church for a symbolic thousand years brought the church not to the dust of the earth separated from God’s presence, but to the Tree of Life and into the very presence of God (Rev. 20–22:12). Through faith in and union with Christ as the Last Adam (the Tree of Life and New Creation), Christians have achieved what Adam could not. The church was clothed with “immortality”; it attained unto the “fullness” of life in AD 70; and it will never die for the aeons of the aeons (2 Cor. 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:45–53; Rev. 21–22; Jn. 11:26–27).
All of the authors of WSTTB understand that the Second Coming is the event that brings the millennium to its consummation. However, the only future coming of Jesus discussed in the book of Revelation is the one that would take place shortly (Rev. 3:11; 22:6–7, 10–12, 20). Both Mathison and Gentry concede that this imminent coming of Christ took place in AD 70. But then they err in assuming that the imminent coming of Jesus in Revelation was not His “actual second coming” (182).
To conclude my section on the millennium of Revelation 20, please consider the following exegetical, orthodox, and historical points:

  1. Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT). There is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters.
  2. As G.K. Beale has said, the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands of years).
  3. It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/ world to come.” These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land. This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT). And as we have noted from Reformed partial preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).
  4. Reformed partial preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry, and James Jordan teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation. And amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22. Full preterists hold to both of these Reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the bookof Revelation.
  5. In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, amillennialists and many postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the parable of the wheat and tares, or in Matthew 24–25. But as we have seen, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the old covenant age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.
  6. If it is true that a) the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 and 25 is referring to the AD 70 judgment, as Mathison and other partial preterists are now proposing, and if it is true that b) John’s version of Matthew 24-25 is found in the book of Revelation, and if it is true that c) Matthew 24:27-31 — 25:31ff. is descriptive of the one end-of-the-age Second Coming, judgment, and resurrection event (the creedal position), then d) the authors of WSTTB have some explaining to do, because these orthodox doctrines form the “this-generation” fortyyear millennial view of full preterism.
MATTHEW 24-25 REVELATION 20:5-15
Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf.   Matt. 16:27-28) Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18) De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31 God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46 Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15

7. If it is true that a) the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 were fulfilled by AD 70 (per Gentry), and if it is true that b) Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is parallel to Revelation 20:5-15 (classic amillennial view), then c) once again the authors of WSTTB have some explaining to do, in that these orthodox views form the “this-generation” forty-year millennial view of full preterism.

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

Conclusion:

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the full preterist view of the millennium is: 1) consistent with the teaching of Revelation, 2) falls within the “orthodox” views the Reformed church, 3) is in harmony with the analogy of Scripture, and 4) has historical support from Rabbis who saw a forty-year transition period between the two ages. Our view on the millennium is exegetically sound and orthodox. It is not as “difficult” as Mathison attempts to portray it.
[1] . G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 1018.
[2] . Ibid., 1018–1019.
[3] . Carol A. Hill, Making Sense of the Numbers of Genesis (http://www. asa3.org/aSA/PSCF/2003/PSCF12–03Hill pdf); Milton S. Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 62.
 
 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan – All Israel Will Be Saved Romans 11:26

House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 
Chapter Four:  The Eschatological Madness of Mathison or How Can These Things Be? 
All Israel Will be Saved Romans 11:26
Michael J. Sullivan
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 Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. 

All Israel will be Saved
Mathison argues: In Romans 11:25–26, Paul seems to be saying that ethnic Israel as a people will be saved. This has not happened yet (199–200).
Response:
There is a great debate between Amillennialists and Postmillennialists on the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25–26, as can be seen in the opposing views of Gentry and Strimple.[1] Postmillennialists such as Gentry and Mathison argue that “all Israel” being saved refers to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews before Christ comes in our future. Amillennialists understand “all Israel” being saved to refer to the salvation of the church as the new Israel of God.
As for the view that “all Israel” refers to ethnic Jews in our future, we can immediately know that this view is incorrect. With the passing of the old covenant in AD 70, there is no covenantal Israel other than the united Jew-Gentile church. The things of the old order passed away. So the covenant promises in Romans 11 cannot refer to the modern nation of Israel or to the modern Jewish race or community. The only “Israel” in the New Testament that was to be cleansed from sin is the Jew-Gentile church, the body of Israel’s Messiah. This is the “Israel” (“all” of it) that entered into the Holiest of Holies in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8). Let us briefly summarize Paul’s argument in Romans 11.
Even though God’s old covenant people in their last generation were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1– 2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in her last generation, the truth was that old covenant Israel was being saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel”—fulfilling His promises to “the fathers”—partly by means of the hardening of its last generation. Here’s how:

  1. By means of old covenant Israel’s transgression/failure and rejection in her last days, riches and reconciliation (through the gospel) were coming to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:18). As Paul said, “They are enemies for your sakes.” (Rom. 11:28)
  2. The salvation of the Gentiles was making last days Israel “jealous,” so that a remnant was becoming zealous for righteousness and being saved. (Rom. 11:2–10,11,13,14)
  3. The hardening, or reprobation, of old covenant Israel in her last generation was to continue until the fullness of the Gentiles came in, i.e., came into Israel. (Rom. 11:25)
  4. In this manner, or by this process, all of the saints of historic, old covenant Israel were going to be saved (resurrected) along with the last days remnant, and with the believing Gentiles who had been grafted into historic Israel. The consummation of this process took place in the Parousia of Christ in AD 70, according to the promises made to the fathers. (Rom. 11:26) That is when Israel died, and was raised up a new, transformed Israel. That is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last days Jewish remnant, and the believing Gentiles) were consummately united in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was thus that all Israel was saved.

Mathison neglects to interact with other partial preterists such as DeMar and Jordan who teach that “all Israel” was saved by AD 70 and that covenantally, there no longer remain “ethnic” Jews after AD 70.[2] Why was not the view of DeMar and Jordan one of the many “possible interpretations” within Mathison’s eschatology of uncertainty?
It has now been 4 years since I have responded to Keith A. Mathison’s chapter The Eschatological Time Texts in the NT” in our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?  For me Mathison’s excuse for not responding (“I have been too busy”) has expired.
Partial Preterist Mr. Gary North, has said that if one side of the debate ceases to respond to the others arguments then the one who has responded last (thus silencing the other) in essence has won the debate (my paraphrase).   He has also written of dispensational scholars and their inability to keep up with postmillennial works and critiques, “Like a former athlete who dies of a heart attack at age 52 from obesity and lack of exercise, so did dispensational theology depart from this earthly veil of tears.  Dispensational theologians got out of shape, and were totally unprepared for the killer marathon of 1988.” (Greg L. Bahnsen, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., HOUSE DIVIDED THE BREAK-UPOF DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), Publishers Foreword, xx.).  In the same book DeMar claims that “Any theological position divided against itself is laid waste” and “shall not stand” and is guilty of “Theological Schizophrenia” (Ibid. 349-350).  Apparently Mr. Mathison was not prepared for the killer marathon of 2009 and since that time has been too busy engorging himself from the profits P&R provided him and is simply too scared and out of shape to open our book let alone read and respond to my critique and response to him?  And we document the “House Divided” “Theological Schizophrenia” and contradictory approach Reformed eschatology has sought to use against us let alone the contradictions (and yet at the same time progressive views moving towards Full Preterism) that are within Mathison’s writings alone.
Therefore, I have decided to post my chapter response to his online (in small parts) in hopes that both the Futurist and the Full Preterist communities will contact him for an official response.  If no response continues to come, then I will allow him to be judged by the same standard that his own postmillennial partial preterist colleagues have set up, and accept that he is unable to respond and has lost our debate.
[1] . Kenneth Gentry, Robert Strimple, Ed. Craig Blaising, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999), 112–118, 133–142.
[2] . Gary DeMar, All Israel will be saved: Notes on Romans 11:26, American Vision http://americanvision.org/1234/all-israel-will-be-saved-notes-onromans/#.UG3auVGJr3A. James B. Jordan, The Future of Israel Re-examined, July 1991. Biblical Horizons, No. 27 July, 1991