My Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 2: The Problems With Postmillennialism – “In Fulfillment of ALL that has been Written” (Lk. 21:22)

 

Introduction:

As we saw in my first lecture and study of Postmillennialism’s treatment of the eschatological wedding and wedding feast found in Matthew 8:10-12; 22:1-14; 25:1-13 and Revelation 19-22, there is a clear avoidance of the OT fulfillment of this event found in Isaiah 25:6-9, because when the wedding feast is fulfilled (“in that day”) is when “death is swallowed up” or the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15:54/Isaiah 25:6-8 is fulfilled!  Since Jesus came to fulfill all the law and prophets (cf. Mt. 5:17-18) Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31; 25:31ff. came to fulfill Isaiah’s little apocalypse and the trumpet gathering and resurrection of (Isa. 25—27:12-13; Dan. 7:9-14; Dan. 12:2-3, 13).  As we now deal with the OD, Postmillennialism’s clear avoidance of which OT texts Jesus came to fulfill continues to be an exegetical thorn in the side of this eschatological system which brings it tumbling down.  They mostly and arbitrarily only appeal to OT passages when they want to establish apocalyptic language being used by Jesus in the OD.

“For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.” (Lk. 21:22)

Gentry writes of this text,

“Jesus is referring to all things written in the Old Testament.” (Postmillennialism, Third Edition, 544).

But in the same book he affirms the resurrection and judgment of Daniel 12:1-7 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 when the tribulation took place and OC Israel came to her “end” (Ibid., 538-540).

Gentry and other Postmillennialists simply assume what they have never proven (to Full Preterists and other Reformed Futurists) when they claim the coming of the Christ at the trumpet call to gather the elect is not the actual Second Coming and resurrection event even though Luther, Calvin and the Reformed creeds see Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-28 as that very event (as do Full Preterists).  For further proof that the coming of Christ to gather the elect and give redemption in Matthew 24:30-31 and Luke 21:27-28 is the Second Coming and Resurrection of the dead event, we can go to many passages, but let’s stick with two they have already conceded were fulfilled in AD 70 (Daniel 7 and 12). 

The Olivet Discourse Daniel 7 and 12
1.  Tribulation and abomination of desolation (Mt. 24:15/Lk. 21:20-23)

 

1. Tribulation and abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27; 12:1-2, 11)

 

2.  Time of judgment and deliverance (Mt. 24:13/Lk. 21:18-22)

 

2.  Time of Judgment and deliverance (Dan. 7 and 12:1).

 

3. Coming of the Son of Man (Mt. 24-25)

 

3. Coming of the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13)

 

4.  The kingdom would be inherited “within” at Christ’s coming (Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32).

 

4.  The kingdom would be spiritual, eternal and inherited when the coming of the Son of Man was fulfilled (Dan. 7:13-14 22, 27).

 

5.  The judgment and resurrection of the dead or gathering of the elect at the end of the age or “time of the end” is the time of the resurrection (Mt. 13:36-43/Dan. 12:2-3/Mt. 24:3, 30-31; 25:31-46)

 

5.  The judgment and resurrection of the dead takes place at the “time (or hour) of the end” or when the Son of Man comes “as the Ancient of Days” and the books are opened (Dan. 7:9-14 (OG) LXX; 12:2-7).  The trumpet gathering is the resurrection event of Isaiah’s little apocalypse (Isa. 25:6-9—27:12-13).

 

6.  This would all be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:34).

 

6.  This would all be fulfilled when Jerusalem would be destroyed or when the “power of the holy people would be completely shattered” in AD 70 (Dan. 12:2-3, 7).

 

I should also briefly include the fact that Jesus not only came to fulfill “all” of Daniel’s prophecies that included the resurrection and judgment of the dead (cf. Dan. 7:9-14; 12:1-7, 13) and Isaiah’s little apocalypse and New Creation promises (cf. Isa. 24-28; 65-66), but the block of Zechariah 12-14 as well (Mt. 24:30/Zech. 12:11-12).

  1. A gathering and siege of Jerusalem by the surrounding nations takes place (Zech. 12:2-3 = Lk. 21:20-22).
  1. Judgment of the nations takes place while Jerusalem (the remnant or New Jerusalem) is saved (Zech. 12:7-9 = Lk. 21:27-28; Mt. 25:31-46).
  1. They look upon Jesus whom the Jews had pierced and mourn (Zech. 12:11-12 = Mt. 24:30).
  1. The false prophets and demons are cleansed and judged from the land (Zech. 12:2-3 = Mt. 23—25:31-46).
  1. In that day the Lord would prepare a way of escape for the righteous remnant (Zech. 14:4 = Lk. 21:20-22).
  1. This day is only known by the LORD (Zech. 14:6 = Mt. 24:36).
  1. There is always light (Zech. 14:7=Mt. 24:27/Lk. 21:30-32/Rev. 21:25; 22:5-7) —Christ comes as the Sun/Son and His light shines from east to west and is the light of the New Jerusalem that never ceases in the kingdom.
  1. Living waters flow from the New Jerusalem when the King and the Kingdom arrives (Zech. 14:8-9=Lk. 21:27-32/Rev. 11; 21-22).

While Zechariah does not mention the resurrection directly, he does mention the arrival of the King and His kingdom and the living waters flowing from the New Creation.  In the book of Revelation the end of the millennium resurrection (Rev. 20) takes place before and or is synonymous with the arrival of the New Creation and access to the living water and Tree of Life (Rev. 21-22).  In Matthew 24, the end of the age resurrection gathering (24:31/Mt. 13:39-43) takes place before or is synonymous with the time when the OC “heaven and earth” pass away (Mt. 24:35 – which implies the NC takes its place at this time).

Revelation

In the book of Revelation, it is said from beginning to the end (Rev. 1:1; 22:6–7, 10–12, 20) that the prophecies of the book would be fulfilled “shortly.” Those soon-to-be-fulfilled prophecies included the Second Coming, the resurrection of the living and the dead, the last judgment, and the new heavens and the new earth—in other words, literally “all things written.”

Paul

Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:11, tells his first-century audience, “Now all these things happened to them as examples [types], and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Jesus’ and Paul’s audience understood the phrase “this age” to be a reference to the old covenant age, and the “age to come” as a reference to the Messianic or new covenant age. They also understood that under the umbrella of the old covenant “age” (singular) there were various “ages” (plural), or covenants. The covenant that God made with David is an example of this. Thus when the old covenant age was consummated, it was then that all of Israel’s “ages,” as contained in “the Law and the Prophets” (“all things written”), were consummated.

Peter

 Peter’s eschatology is in line with Jesus’,  John’s, and Paul’s.  Per Peter his contemporaries were living in Israel’s “last days” “crooked and perverse generation” that Moses said would witness the “near” “end” of Israel, and that is why Peter said “the end of all things is near” (Deut. 32=Acts 2:40=1 Pet. 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 3).  They were going to going to witness the fulfillment of the eschatological inheritance of the glories of the New Creation coming (1 Peter 1).

What About a Double Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse?

I think everyone agrees that many prophecies in the Old Testament were typologically fulfilled and awaited full realization in the New Testament. This phenomenon reflected the contrast between Old Testament types and shadows, and the New Testament Anti-Type or Body, i.e., Christ (Col. 2:17).

But this principle in no way implies or leads to the notion that New Testament prophecies, which are fulfilled in Christ, will be fulfilled multiple times over potentially millions of years of time. The fact that the Old Testament was “typical” and “shadowy” in no way suggests that the New Testament is of the same pre-Messianic character. The Cross of Christ will not be fulfilled multiple times until the end of human history, and neither will Christ’s Second Coming (Heb. 9:26–28).

Ken Gentry teaches that the time texts of the New Testament “demand” a fulfillment in AD 70, and that the theory of “double fulfilling” Revelation, for example, is “pure theological assertion” that has “no exegetical warrant.” (Kenneth Gentry, Four Views on the Book of Revelation, ed. C. Marvin Pate (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 43–44.

Another partial preterist colleague of Mathison, Gary DeMar, rejects openness to the double fulfillment theory 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 whomJesus 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.” (Gary DeMar, The Olivet Discourse: The Test of Truth, http://www.americanvision.org/blog/?p=190).

The fulfillment that has been wrought in Christ is no piecemeal fulfillment that has remained a “yes and no” fulfillment/non-fulfillment for 2,000 years, as futurists such as Mathison imagine. The Law of Moses does not remain “imposed” as it did between the Cross and the Parousia (Heb. 9:10, NASB). Rather, Christ returned and the old covenant vanished in His Presence forty years after His Cross (Heb. 8:13). If He did not return, and if the dead were not raised in Him, then the old covenant never vanished, and we are still in our sins. This is the inevitable implication of denying that literally “all things written” are fulfilled in Christ today.

Premise #1:  Since it is true that Jesus came to fulfill “all” the law and the prophets and this took place when the “heaven and earth” of the OC system passed away in AD 70 (Gary DeMar/Postmillennialism and Full Preterism agree).

Premise #2:  And since it is also true that Jesus is teaching “all things written” (Lk. 21:22) is referring to “all OT prophecy” (Gentry, DeMar/Postmillennialism & Full Preterism agree).

 Premise #3:  And since it is also true that Jesus comes upon the clouds in His Second Advent to fulfill the judgment and resurrection events of the OT in Daniel 7:9-14, 9:24-27, 12:1-7, 13 and Isaiah 25-27 in Matthew 24:30-31; 25:31-46 (Amillennialism, Premillennialism and Full Preterism agree).

Premise #4:  And since it is true that the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds in Matthew 24:30-31; 25:31-46 was fulfilled spiritually in the AD 30-AD 70 “generation” to close the OC age (DeMar/Postmillennialism and Full Preterism agree).

Premise #5:  And since the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds in judgment (Dan. 7:9-14) to bring about the resurrection of Daniel 12:1-7, 13 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Jordan, Gentry and DeMar/Postmillennialism agrees with Full Preterism).

Premise #6:  And since it is true that Matthew 24-25 cannot have a double fulfillment because Matthew 24:34 “won’t allow it.”

Premise #7:  And since it is also true that the trumpet call and gathering of the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds in judgment of Isaiah 27:12-13 and Daniel 7:9-14 brings about the resurrection of Isaiah 25-26 and Daniel 12:1-7, 13 and this ONE coming of Christ, judgment and resurrection of the dead cannot have a “double” or “multiple” fulfillments (Amillennialism, Premillennialism, some Postmillennialists agree [some still see the resurrection of Dan. 12:2-3 to be ONE event that cannot be double fulfilled] with Full Preterism)

Conclusion:  Then it is also true that Jesus fulfilled “all” the OT prophecies concerning His ONE spiritual (that cannot be double fulfilled) Second Advent, judgment and resurrection of the dead event found in Isaiah 25-27; Daniel 7:9-14; Daniel 12:1-7, 13 and Matthew 24:30-31; 25:31-46 to close the OC age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).

Edenic Eschatology and Luke 21:22

Postmillennialists have tried to divide Israel’s eschatology with Edenic or Adamic eschatology.  Yet, Luke 21:22 reaches back to the early chapters of Genesis.  Jesus in Matthew 23 goes as far back as to avenge the blood of Abel and judge Cain at Christ’s coming in AD 70.  And Gentry believes Matthew 25:31-46 is the actual Second Coming event at which time God will judge and finally crush Satan according to Genesis 3:15.  Yet DeMar and other Postmillennialists such as Keith Mathison believe the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31ff. was fulfilled in AD 70.

Premise #1:  Matthew 25:31-46 describes the Second Coming and final judgment of Satan that was promised in Genesis 3:15 (Gentry agrees with Full Preterism).

Premise #2:  But the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 to close the OC age (DeMar agrees with Full Preterism).

Premise #3:  The promise of God to “crush” Satan “shortly” is the promise of Genesis 3:15 (most agree with Full Preterism).

Premise #4:  The imminent time texts in the NT “demand” their fulfillment to be in AD 70 (Gentry agrees with Full Preterism).

Conclusion:  The final crushing of Satan (Edenic eschatology) was fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” at Christ’s “actual” Second Coming and therefore Paul was correct to say it would be fulfilled “shortly” as that generation was ending (cf. Mt. 24:34–25:31-46; Rms. 16:20).

One cannot separate the vindication of the martyrs and the final crushing and judging of Satan in the Second Coming event found in Matthew 23 and 25:31-46 from the time of His coming, resurrection and the overcoming of “the [spiritual] death” that came through Adam (cf. 1 Cor. 15/Rev. 20:5-15).  This is not complicated.

Conclusion

As we have seen in our study thus far Postmillennialism stands as a “House Divided” among its own theologians and under the umbrella or roof of Reformed Amillennialism in general and therefore “breaks apart.”  But as their inconsistent and contradictory system is breaking apart, Full Preterism is emerging and “Bridging the Gap” between the two.  “All OT prophecy” (Mt. 5:17-18/Lk. 21:22) was fulfilled in AD 70 — when Christ came upon the clouds at the sound of a trumpet to gather and raise the dead spiritually and close the OC age according to (Isa. 25:6-9—27:12-13; Dan. 7:9-14; 12:1-7, 13; Mt. 24:30-31–25:31-46).  We will continue to watch Postmillennialism “break-up” when we get to Matthew 24:30-31—25:31-46 and compare these resurrection and judgment of the dead passages with NT texts such as 1 Thessalonians 4-5; 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20:5-15.

If “all” of the “jots and tittles” of the OC law and prophets (which included the judgment and resurrection of the dead of Isa. 25-27 and Dan. 12) were not fulfilled in AD 70 when her “heaven and earth” passed away, then “all” of them (including the sacrificial system) are present today and to be obeyed per Matthew 5:17-19.  Before AD 70 the OC law was still “imposed” and had a [legal] “standing” (Heb. 9).  Paul performed vows and sacrifices in the Temple to demonstrate he was not teaching the Jews to forsake the law of Moses in accordance to Jesus’ teaching (cf. Acts 21/Mt. 5:19).

To Watch these Lectures or Read this Series go to:  

1).  First Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 1: Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism – My Approach and Methodology (the Analogy of Faith) http://fullpreterism.com/my-lecture-on-the-problems-of-postmillennialism-at-the-2017-ppw-conference-the-wedding-and-resurrection-motif/

2).  First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 2:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism – God’s Divorce, Re-marriage and NC Betrothal http://fullpreterism.com/my-lectures-given-at-the-2017-ppw-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-2-gods-ot-marriage-divorce-betrothal-and-remarriage-promises/

3).  First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism – Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 3-5) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-3-john-3-5-and-nt-betrothal-and-marriage/

4).  First Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 4:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism – Wedding and Resurrection (Mt. 8:10-12/Mt. 22:1-14/Mt. 25:1-13) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-and-resurrection-part-4-mt-810-12-221-14-251-13isa-256-9/

5).  Second Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 5:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism – The Parable of the Wheat and Tares and the Resurrection (Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-in-the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-tares-the-end-of-the-age-and-the-resurrection-mt-1339-43dan-122-3/

6).  Second Lecture at the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse – Structure, Context, the Disciples Question(s), the end of the age and the Great Commission (Mt. 23-24; Mt. 24:3, 14 = Acts 1:8-11) http://fullpreterism.com/lecture-2-at-the-2017-ppw-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-house-divided-the-break-up-of-postmillennialism-and-the-formation-of-full-preterism-taking-its-place/

7).  Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 2:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse – “In Fulfillment of ALL that has been Written” (Lk. 21:22 = Dan. 7:9-14; 12:1-7, 13; Isa. 25:6-9—27:12-13) http://fullpreterism.com/2804-2/

8).  Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 3: Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse (Resurrection Cont.) – the Trumpet Gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 = the Trumpet Catching Away of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 http://fullpreterism.com/my-ppw-conference-lecture-2-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-matthew-2430-31-1-thessalonians-415-17/

9).  Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 4:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse (Resurrection Cont.) – the Trumpet Gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 = the Trumpet Change of 1 Corinthians 15 http://fullpreterism.com/ppw-2017-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-the-olivet-discourse-matthew-24-25-and-the-resurrection-of-1-corinthians-15/

10).  My Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 5:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse (Resurrection Cont.) Redemption and Redemption of the Body Luke 21:27-28 = Romans 8:18-23YLT/11:15-27/13:11-12 http://fullpreterism.com/my-ppw-conference-lecture-2-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-part-4-resurrection-cont-the-redemption-and-redemption-of-the-body-luke-2127-28-romans-818-23ylt/

11).  My Second Lecture at the PPW 2017 Conference Part 6:  Problems for Postmillennial Partial Preterism in the Olivet Discourse – Bringing Healing and Bridging the Gap between Gentry and DeMar’s Eschatological Madness and House Divided Approach to Matthew 24:35—25:31-46 and Revelation 20:5-15 http://fullpreterism.com/my-ppw-lecture-2-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-part-6-the-eschatological-madness-of-gentry-and-demar-in-matthew-24-25-and-revelation-205-15/

THE RESURRECTION FROM THE GRAVES OF JOHN 5:28-29 WAS FULFILLED SPIRITUALLY IN AD 70 – A CONTINUED CHALLENGE TO PARTIAL PRETERISM / KENNETH GENTRY

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 [1]:
AD 30
1.  Daniel 12:1:  “And at that hour…”
1.  John 5:25:  “…an hour is coming and now is…”
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,”
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.”
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 Preterist theologians 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) and that the last hour of John’s eschatology in 1 John 2:17-18 and Revelation 14:7 was fulfilled in AD 70.
Kenneth Gentry wrote the following of the resurrection in Daniel 12:2 on his Facebook page:
“Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel. Thus, it bears similarities with Eze 37 and the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel.”
Dan 12 is not dealing with bodily resurrection but national resurrection (as does Eze 37). Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel. Thus, it bears similiarities with Eze 37 and the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel.”[2] And in his third addition of his book on Postmillennialism he concedes again:
“In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.” “…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”
“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse:  Israel as a corporate body is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).  In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represent Israel’s “death” in the Babylonian dispersion (Eze 37).  In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life.”[3] This is practically the same view taken by James Jordan in his recent commentary on Daniel:
“The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event, were the great proof that Jesus had accomplished the work He came to do. The fact that the Church exists today, nearly 2000 years after her death in the Great Tribulation, is the ongoing vindication of Jesus work.”[4] “Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[5] “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.”[6] When I challenged Gentry on how the NT develops the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 as also referring to AD 70 at the Criswell conference on the millennium in the Q & A period, he changed his tune and now gives Daniel 12:2 a double fulfillment – an AD 70 spiritual tyological fulfillment and then another literal fulfillment at the end of history so he can appease creedal supporters.  But now Gentry is once again guilty of cherry picking Daniel 12:2 from the rest of the events in this chapter.  As I wrote in our second edition of “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…,”
“Gentry gives Daniel 12:2 two fulfillments but won’t allow dispensationalists or any other futurist system to do the same thing with the Great Tribulation, the three and a half years, or the Abomination of Desolation in Daniel 12 or Daniel 9:27.” (HD, 94).In commenting on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 Gentry mentions the spiritual and corporate nature of the resurrection for Israel of coming out of her “graves” in Ezekiel 37 to support his corporate view of Israel being raised into the new covenant Israel by AD 70.  Well, since there was a spiritual and corporate resurrection of the dead coming out of their “graves” in Ezekiel 37 and there is a spiritual fulfillment for the dead rising within the immediate context of John 5:24-26, there is no exegetical reason why the new covenant anti-type coming resurrection “hour” out of “graves” in John 5:28-29 is not also a corporate and spiritual resurrection.  And if James Jordan is claiming that Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades into God’s presence to inherit eternal life in AD 70, why isn’t this the same kind of resurrection Jesus is describing in John 5:28-29?
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.
David Green in response to Robert Strimple in the second edition of our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, has some great comments on this crucial 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)
2. 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).”
Another challenge for Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry, is that he 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 was established.[7]  But then Gentry asserts with no exegetical justification that 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.
Jesus interprets Jesus – Resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to be fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant Age in AD 70 
We have further evidence that Jesus identifies the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and John 5:28-29 to be fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.  In Jesus’ teaching elsewhere in the gospels we find that He posits the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (referencing it directly) to be fulfilled at the end of His old covenant “this age” “gathering” and or in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matt. 13:39-43; Matt. 24:3, 30-31, 34).  Again, Partial Preterism has conceded to Full Preterism that the “end of the age” in Matthew 13 and 24 is not referring to the end of world history, but rather the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70:
“A clear understanding of the parable of the wheat and tares [Matthew 13:39-43] emerges only after the proper translation of aion (age) and the biblical teaching concerning the two ages.  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 sings arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).”[8] “It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” [Matthew 23:40-38] – 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.”[9] If Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in Matthew 13 and 24 is referring to the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70, then according to Jesus, the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled at this time as well.
John interprets John (John 5/Revelation 20)
No one disagrees that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20.  In Revelation those participating in the “first resurrection” is a subject that has been previously addressed in chapters 7 and 14 – these being the first century Jewish “first fruits” or 144,000 that were the first to believe in Christ and continued enduring through the great tribulation until the end. Therefore, they would partake in the harvest/resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant age. These are those who were coming out of their “graves” through the preaching of the gospel (John 5:24-27) and would soon participate and be joined with the rest of the dead in the consummative resurrection event.
In our book (HD, 131-133) I gave seven brief exegetical, orthodox, and historical points which demonstrates that the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20 was fulfilled during AD 30 – AD 70:
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.  In fact even Gentry’s reformed peers understand that if one interpret the imminent time texts at the beginning and end to be referring to AD 70, then everything is fulfilled by AD 70, “But 1:3 and 22:10 are like bookends enclosing the whole prophecy of Revelation. The fulfillment of everything, not just a part, is near.”[10] 2) G.K. Beale has reminded us that it is exegetical and orthodox to believe that the thousand years is not just a symbolic number, but it is one that does not have to be taken to describe a long time (ie. thousands of years etc…): “The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time…”[11] 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 or 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 book of Revelation.
5)  In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the NT, amillennialists and 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 invisible coming of Christ in both Matthew 24 – 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 classic amillennial or creedal position) then d).  the authors of WSTTB? have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of full preterism:
Matthew 24-25 Revelation 20:5-15
a.  Resurrection and judgment Matt. 24:30-31 (cf. Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) Matt. 25:31-46 (cf. Matt. 16:27)
a.  Resurrection and judgment Rev. 20:5-15
b.  De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Matt. 24:29, 35 (cf. Matt. 5:17-18)
b.  De-creation heaven and earth pass/flee Rev. 20:11 (cf. Rev. 6:14; 16:20; 21:1)
c.  Christ on throne to judge Matt. 25:31
c.  God on throne to judge Rev. 20:11
d.  Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Matt. 25:41-46
d.  Wicked along with Devil eternally punished Rev. 20:10, 14-15
7)  If it is true that a).  The judgment (opening of the book) and “hour of the end” resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 was fulfilled by AD 70 (per Gentry) and if it is true that b).  the judgment (opening of the book) and “hour of the end” resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4, 13 is the same eschatological time of the end events described for us in Revelation 20:5-15 (classic amillennial view) and if it is true that c). “John in the book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off” with “parallels” between Daniel 12 and Revelation 20 being hermeneutically valid to make, then d).  Once again the authors of WSTTB? have some explaining to do in that their views form the “this generation” forty years millennial view of Full Preterism:
Daniel 12:1-2 Revelation 20:5-15
a.  Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation Dan. 12:1-2
a.  Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire Rev. 20:12-15
b.  This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Dan. 12:1-2
b.  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 some try and portray it.
Pauline eschatology agrees 
Paul referring to the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 states:
“…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; (Acts 24:15 YLT WEY).
Conclusion 
The resurrection from the “graves” of John 5:28-29 is no more of a literal biological resurrection than the resurrection from the “graves” of Ezekiel 37:12.  Righteous souls such as Daniel’s was raised (Dan. 12:2, 13) out of Hades or Abraham’s Bosom at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 to inherit eternal life in God’s presence.  Jesus identifies the eschatological “gathering” of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to take place at the end of His Old Covenant “this age” and in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 13; Matthew 24).  The resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the resurrection of  Revelation 20 which is said to be fulfilled in a “soon” or “shortly” AD 70 time frame — a resurrection of “souls” not literal corpses coming to life at the end of history.  Pauline eschatology agrees with Jesus’ and John’s “about to be” resurrection coming to close the OC age in AD 70 as well (Acts 24:15 YLT WEY).
The NT teaching on the resurrection is this:
*  There was an evangelistic resurrection or salvation of the soul taking people out of death and darkness into life and light of eternal life.
*  There was a corporate and covenantal resurrection by which the old covenant Israel/body was being changed/transformed/being raised into the new covenant Israel/body roughly during AD 30 – AD 70.
*  There was a resurrection of souls out from among Hades/Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life in God’s presence.
*  This resurrection was from (and an overcoming of) “the [spiritual] death” that came from Adam the very same day he sinned against God.
Orthodox Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry need to give exegetical and logical reasons why the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is a literal biological resurrection to take place at the end of time when they affirm with Full Preterism that:
1.  The resurrection in the immediate context is spiritual (John 5:24-27).
2.  The eschatological “not yet” coming “hour” of (John 4) is referring to AD 70.
3.  The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Jesus referencing it in John 5:28-29).
4.  Jesus elsewhere teaches that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:3, 30-31, 34).
5.  John’s eschatological last “hour” in (1 John 2:17-18) and “hour” of judging the dead in (Revelation 14:7) was fulfilled in AD 70.
Gentry’s progressive Partial Preterism continues to lead his readers into the Full Preterist movement since he continually will not respond to our book and arguments directed towards him.  Selah.  He deserves the criticism from other futurists that his hermeneutics “lead to Full Preterism.”
[1]  G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131132.
[2]  This answer was taken off of Gentry’s facebook. Com page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php
[3]  Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009 Third edition), 538.
[4]  James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), 620.
[5]  Ibid., 621.
[6]  Ibid. 628.
[7]  Kenneth Gentry, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, IVP., 43.  Kenneth Gentry, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 246 footnote 45.
[8]  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.
[9]  Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs GA: American Vision, 1999), 37
[10]  Vern S. Poythress, THE RETURNING KING A GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Company, 2000) 34.
[11]  Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation: A commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (1018). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan – "All Things" Fulfilled Luke 21:20-22

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 4 – All Things Fulfilled Luke 21:20-22

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 Things Written 

In Luke 18:31, Jesus says that when He and His disciples go up to Jerusalem (in about AD 30), “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.” Mathison argues that since the Second Coming did not occur at that time, it follows that when Jesus says in Luke 21:22 that “all things written” will be fulfilled when Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70, He is referring only to prophetic predictions that concerned the destruction of Jerusalem and not to all eschatological prophecy in general (172).

Response: 

Of course no one disagrees with Mathison’s observation that the context of Luke 18:31 limits Jesus’ phrase of “all things” to prophetic material pertaining to His passion.  But Mathison assumes what he needs to prove when he assumes that the context of Christ’s coming in Matthew 24 is only dealing with the fall of Jerusalem, and not His actual Second Coming connected to all eschatological prophecy in general.  Later we will see that Mathison is not in line with the creeds or the historic church when it comes to what the Olivet Discourse actually covers.

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.”[1]  But Gentry fails to understand that the resurrection of the dead was predicted in the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul, who taught the resurrection of the dead, taught “nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place” (Acts 26:21–23). Paul stated specifically that the Old Testament predicted the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:14–15; cf. Dan. 12:2-3; Isa. 25:8; Hosea 13:14). Therefore even if “all things written” in Luke 21:22 refers only to Old Testament prophecies, as Gentry says, it still includes the resurrection of the dead, and therefore literally “all things written.”

In the book of Revelation, it is said from beginning to the end (Rev. 1:1; 22:6–7, 10–12, 20) that the prophecies of the book would be fulfilled “shortly.” Those soon-to-be-fulfilled prophecies included the Second Coming, the resurrection of the living and the dead, the last judgment, and the new heavens and the new earth—in other words, literally “all things written.”

Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:11, tells his first-century audience, “Now all these things happened to them as examples [types], and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Jesus’ and Paul’s audience understood the phrase “this age” to be a reference to the old covenant age, and the “age to come” as a reference to the Messianic or new covenant age. They also understood that under the umbrella of the old covenant “age” (singular) there were various “ages” (plural), or covenants. The covenant that God made with David is an example of this. Thus when the old covenant agewas consummated, it was then that all of Israel’s “ages,” as contained in “the Law and the Prophets” (“all things written”), were consummated.

The fulfillment that has been wrought in Christ is no piecemeal fulfillment that has remained a “yes and no” fulfillment/non-fulfillment for 2,000 years, as futurists such as Mathison imagine. The Law of Moses does not remain “imposed” as it did between the Cross and the Parousia (Heb. 9:10, NASB). Rather, Christ returned and the old covenant vanished in His Presence forty years after His Cross (Heb. 8:13). If He did not return, and if the dead were not raised in Him, then the old covenant never vanished, and we are still in our sins. This is the inevitable implication of denying that literally “all things written” are fulfilled in Christ today.

A comparison of Daniel 12:1–2 with the Olivet Discourse proves that literally every eschatological prophecy in the Scriptures would be fulfilled in AD 70:
Daniel 12:1-12 Olivet Discourse

Daniel 12:1-2

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] ofthe holy people [Israel] has beencompletely shattered [the destructionof the city and the sanctuaryin AD 70], all these things[including the judgment andresurrection] 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 onestone upon another, that shall notbe thrown down” [the destructionof the city and the sanctuary in AD70].” “Verily I say unto you, Thisgeneration shall not pass, till allthese things [judgment & resurrection]be fulfilled.”  (Matt. 24:1, 34)

Mathison believes that the majority of scholars “rightly understand” the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 as being a future biological resurrection of all believers.[2] But he has not explained how that resurrection can be separated from the first-century great tribulation, abomination of desolation, and destruction of Jerusalem in Daniel 12:1, 7, 11. Daniel 12:7 says that when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered (in AD 70), then “all these things would be finished” –not “some” of them.

Partial Preterist James Jordan now understands the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (and Daniel’s personal resurrection in verse 13) as be-ing a spiritual and corporate resurrection that took place from Jesus’ earthly ministry to AD 70. Jordan actually sees this past resurrection as being the resurrection of Revelation 20:

“The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event, were the great proof that Jesus had accomplished the work He came to do. The fact that the Church exists today, nearly 2000 years after her death in the Great Tribulation, is the ongoing vindication of Jesus work.”[3]

“Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[4]

“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.[5]

Mathison’s co-author Gentry has also finally come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70:

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

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

“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse: Israel as a corporate body is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19). In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represent Israel’s “death” in the Babylonian dispersion (Eze 37). In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life.”[6]

We commend Gentry for his recently developed full preterist exegesis of Daniel 12:1-3. However, it presents a problem for him. Gentry stated, in the same book, that the resurrection in the parable of the wheat and tares is not yet fulfilled.[7] Yet Jesus taught that Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the same time as that parable.

Nevertheless, 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 sonin-law, and Director of Research for Gary DeMar’s American Vision)[8]:

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 Jerusalembefore 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).[9]

Curiously, McDurmon does not mention that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 13:39-43. Partial preterists such as McDurmon also ignore the fact that Paul, in agreement with Daniel and Jesus, also taught that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 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 ofrighteous and unrighteous (Acts 24:15, YLT & WEY; cf. Matt. 13:39-43).

There is only one passage found in “the law and prophets” that explicitly speaks of a resurrection of believers and unbelievers, and that is Daniel 12:2-3. This is Paul’s source in Acts 24:15, as virtually any commentary or scholarly work agrees. As G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson wrote on Acts 24:15:

The resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous is based on the prophecy of the end in Dan. 12:2-3, which indicates twogroups of people, some being raised to eternal life and others to eternal reproach and shame, and then refers to the “righteous” (Θ) or to “righteousness” (MT). Clearly this passage lies behind Paul’s statement, although the wording is different.[10]

Partial Preterists such as Gentry who admit the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70 need to not only address the issue of this being Paul’s source for his resurrection doctrine in Acts 24:15, but other places in the NT. Again Beale points out in one of his most recent works, that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 as His source for His teaching on “eternal life” and the coming resurrection “hour” (or “the hour of the end”) of both believers and unbelievers in (John 5:28-29).[11]

And clearly the books being opened in judgment and the resurrection of all in Daniel 12:1-2 is the judgment and resurrection of Revelation 20:5-15. Gentry at one point seeking to refute the Premillennial Dispensational theory of two resurrections cited Daniel 12:2/John 5:28-29/John 6:39-40/Acts 24:15 as evidence of “one resurrection and one judgment, which occur simultaneously at the end…”[12] We couldn’t agree more with Gentry #1 – that these texts are descriptive of “one” and the same resurrection and judgment which take place at the same time in history. And yet we also agree with Gentry #2 – Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70.  Another question or challenge for partial preterists who see the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 as being fulfilled in AD 70 is this:

How many times must Daniel be raised unto, and receive, “eternal life?”

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 [Mosaic OC law] is completely shattered (v. 7) 3. When victory over “the [Mosaic OC] law” comes (v. 56)

 

To be fair and thorough I should point out a recent development in Gentry’s understanding of how the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is fulfilled.  As we saw above, Gentry, in order to refute the two-resurrection theory of premillennial dispensationalism, claimed that the resurrection of this text is the one and same, yet-future resurrection as described by Jesus and Paul in John 5:28-29; John 6:39-40; and Acts 24:15 (and no doubt Revelation 20).Then later, Gentry changed his interpretation when responding to a full preterist (apparently realizing that he could no longer arbitrarily sever the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 from the firstcentury Great Tribulation in verse 1, and the first-century “time, times and half a time” and “shattering of the holy people” in verse 7). On Gentry’s Facebook wall, he wrote regarding Daniel 12:2 that it has nothing to do with a biological resurrection:

“Daniel 12 is not dealing with bodily resurrection but national resurrection (as does Eze 37). Dan 12 sees the ‘resurrection’ of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel.”

But later, following his lecture on the millennium at Criswell Bible College, Gentry gave a slightly different response.  After being challenged on how the New Testament develops the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 in Matthew 13:39–43; John 5:28-28; Acts 24:15 and specifically in Revelation 20:5–15, he responded by saying that Daniel 12:2 was typologically and spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 and that it will be anti-typically and ultimately fulfilled in a literal “bodily resurrection” at the end of world history.

Besides this not being taught by Daniel or any New Testament author, my question and challenge to Gentry’s new explanation of this passage is this:  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 fulfillments.  The ultimate fulfillments will be in our future when Israel rebuilds her temple.

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 12 and Daniel 9:27. Jesus in Luke 21:20-22 and Matthew 13:3943 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.
The Transitive Property of Equality Principle (Since A=B & B=C, then A=C) As It Relates to Dan. 12:1-13 (A), Mat. 13:38-43 (B), and Mat. 24:3-36 & 25:31-41 (C)

                                                   Since A (Daniel 12)  = B (Matthew 13)
Tribulation on National Israel as Never Before Verse 1b Verses 40-42
Time-of-the-End / End-of-‘this’-Age Separation Verses 1c, 4a, 9b, 13b Verses 39b-41
Saints Rise and Shine in the Eternal Kingdom Verses 2a, 2b, 3 Verse 43
Wicked Rise to Shame in Eternal Condemnation Verses 2a, 2c Verses 39-42
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 Verse 43

 

                                                          And B (Matthew 13) = C (Matthew 24-25)
Pre-Kingdom Evangelism by Jesus’ Disciples Verses 37-38 24:14
Tribulation on National Israel as Never Before Verses 40-42 24:21-22
End-of-‘this’-Age / End-of-the-Age Separation Verses 39b-43 24:3, 30-31; 25:31-41
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son Verse 43a 24:27, 30-31, 36
Inheritance of and Entrance into the Kingdom Verse 43a 25:34

 

                                                      Then     A (Daniel 12)  =   C (Matthew 24-25)
Tribulation and Sanctification / Great Tribulation Verses 1b, 10 24:21-22
Time / Day / Hour of the Judgment (aka Separation) Verses 1-2, 4 (OG/LXX) 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfilled at the Time-of-the-End / the End-of-the-Age / the End à viz. The Shattering of National Israel’s World—Her Heaven and Earth (i.e. the Temple, etc.) Verses 4a, 9b, 13b
Verse 7
24:3b, 13-14
24:1-8, 14, 28-29, 34-35
Inheritance of and Entrance into Eternal Kingdom-Life Verses 2b, 3a, 13b 25:34, 46
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son Verse 3a 24:27, 36; 25:34
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 25:29a

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

Daniel 12 (A)          = Matthew 13 (B)   =     Matthew 24-25 (C)
Kingdom-Age Evangelism = Kingdom-Age Evangelism = Kingdom-Age Evangelism
Tribulation Like Never Before = Tribulation Meted Out = Great Tribulation Unlike Before
Time of the End of Daniel’s People; End of the Age of National Israel = Time of the End of that Age To Befall Jesus’ Generation = Age of National Israel to End in the Fall of Its Temple & City
The Chosen Ones to Rise & Shine; The Wicked to Rise to Shame = The Righteous Ones to Rise & Shine; Tares Reaped to Burn = Sheep to Inherit Kingdom; Goats to Inherit Punishment

 


[1] Dominion, 542.
[2] Keith A. Mathison, WSTTB 160–161; From Age to Age: The Unfolding of
Eschatology (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009), 281.
[3] James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), 620.
[4] Ibid., 621
[5] Ibid., 628
[6] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. He Shall Have Dominion (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009 Third Edition), 538.  On Gentry’s Facebook page he answered my question on this text by writing, “Dan 12 is not dealing with bodily resurrection but national resurrection (as does Eze 37). Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel.”  But when I challenged Gentry on how the NT develops the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3/Matt. 13:43/John 5:28-29/Acts 24:15/Rev. 20:5-15 at his Criswell lecture on the millennium, he changed his tune and is now claiming that the resurrection text of Dan. 12:2 has an AD 70 “type” fulfillment and an end of the history “bodily resurrection” fulfillment as well.  I told him that if he can do this with the resurrection of Dan. 12:2, then dispensationalists can double fulfill or have multiple types and anti-types fulfillments of prophetic material that Gentry says was only fulfilled in AD 70 – tribulation, abomination of desolation of a temple in Jerusalem, apostasy, etc…  Again partial preterists like Gentry and Mathison are arbitrary and inconsistent when they want something only fulfilled in AD 70 when debating futurists, but then want something fulfilled in the future when debating full preterists.
[7] Ibid., 235 n. 70, 243.
[8] 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
[9] 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: “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.”
Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second
Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004), 95.
[10] Beale, G. K., & Carson, D. A., Commentary on the New Testament use
of the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;
Apollos, 2007), 598.
[11] 30 G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW (Grand Rapids, MI:
Baker Academic, 2011), 131-132. This creates a huge problem for Partial Preterists
such as Gentry who not only take the resurrection of Dan. 12:2 as fulfilled
in AD 70, but also takes the eschatological “not yet” “hour” of (John 4:21-
24) as fulfilled in AD 70 (as Full Preterists do). Why? Because according to
Mathison (WSTTB, 172-174) Jesus is using the same eschatological “already”
and “not yet” pattern of this coming “hour” in both John 4:21-24 – 5:25-29 and
thus are referring to the same period of time. Once again when we combine
what Beale, Gentry, and Mathison are saying here on these texts, they form
the Full Preterist view in that the “not yet” resurrection “hour” of Dan. 12:1-2/
John 5:28-29 was fulfilled in AD 70. For more on why John 5:28-29 is not a
description of a fleshly end of time resurrection see David Green’s response to
Dr. Strimple.
[12] Kenneth L. Gentry, THE GREATNESS OF THE GREAT COMMISSION
(Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), 142.

 

 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 3 Double Fulfillments

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 3 – Double Fulfillments
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.

 
In this chapter, I will answer objections that Dr. Keith Mathison raised
against preterism in his chapter in WSTTB. Mathison’s chapter was
entitled, “The Eschatological Time Texts of the New Testament.” His
objections included:
 
• Prophetic imminence in the Old Testament
• The futurity of the last days
Prophetic double fulfillment (Part 3)
• Prophetic “telescoping”
• Jesus’ “in-like-manner” return
• “The Rapture”
• The creation groaning
• The abolition of death, pain, mourning, and Satan
• The salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11
• The “thousand years” of Revelation 20
 
Mathison raised other objections in his chapter but they are addressed
elsewhere in this book. At the conclusion of this chapter, I will
offer a critique of Mathison’s tenuous and fragmented approach to the
eschatological time texts of the New Testament.

 
Double Fulfillments
 
On page 168, Mathison observes that Daniel’s prophecy of “the abomination
of desolation” was double-fulfilled. It was first fulfilled in the desecration
of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 BC. Then Jesus
spoke of its future fulfillment two hundred years later. The prophecy of
the birth of Immanuel was also double-fulfilled. It was first fulfilled in
Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz in Isaiah’s day. Then it was “ultimately fulfilled”
in the birth of Jesus many centuries later. Mathison’s conclusion: “New
Testament prophecies may also have multiple fulfillments,” first in AD 70
and then in the end of world history.
 
Response:
 
I think everyone agrees that many prophecies in the Old Testament
were typologically fulfilled and awaited full realization in the New Testament.
This phenomenon reflected the contrast between Old Testament
types and shadows, and the New Testament Anti-Type or Body,
i.e., Christ (Col. 2:17).
 
But this principle in no way implies or leads to the notion that New
Testament prophecies, which are fulfilled in Christ, will be fulfilled multiple
times over potentially millions of years of time. The fact that the
Old Testament was “typical” and “shadowy” in no way suggests that the
New Testament is of the same pre-Messianic character. The Cross of
Christ will not be fulfilled multiple times until the end of human history,
and neither will Christ’s Second Coming (Heb. 9:26–28).
 
Mathison’s co-author Ken Gentry teaches that the time texts of the
New Testament “demand” a fulfillment in AD 70, and that the theory
of “double fulfilling” Revelation, for example, is “pure theological assertion”
that has “no exegetical warrant.”[1] Another partial preterist colleague
of Mathison, Gary DeMar, rejects openness to the double fulfillment
theory 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.[2]
 
The New Testament is the revealing of the salvation promises contained
in the Old Testament, and those promises were to be realized and
found “in Christ” and in His Body the church (2 Cor. 1:20). Mathison
would have us believe that the New Testament is a further obscuring of
the meaning of kingdom prophecies (with more shadowy and typical fulfillments),
which will only become clear at the alleged end of the very age
that Christ died to establish, the age that Mathison—incredibly— calls
“evil” (188).
 
Mathison, while refuting Dispensationalism, writes, “We are no
longer under the old covenant.”[3] DeMar likewise teaches that the time
of the destruction of Jerusalem was “the end of the Old Covenant” and
“the consummation of the New Covenant.”[4]   But Mathison and DeMar
do not seem to realize what their teaching implies. If the old covenant
(“the Law”) is no more and the new covenant reached its consummation,
then according to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17–19, “the Law and
the Prophets” are fulfilled and “heaven and earth” passed away and we
now live in the new heavens and the new earth.
 
It irresistibly follows that if we are no longer under the old covenant,
it is because Christ’s Second Coming took place at the end of the
old covenant age and brought to consummation every “jot” and “tittle
of its promises (cf. Matt 5:18; Heb. 8:13, 9:26–28, 10:25–37). There is
no possibility of double-fulfilling or partial-fulfilling every jot and tittle
of the Law and the prophets.
 
Some of the best Reformed theologians have taught that “heaven
and earth” in Matthew 5:18 refers to the old covenant age 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.[5]
 
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. . . .22
 
Mathison’s double-fulfillment-in-the-New-Testament theory opens
Pandora’s Box to double-fulfilling everything: The earthly ministry of
Christ, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, His Ascension, His
pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and His Second Coming; even the allegedly
future millennium could be double-fulfilled. Even the casting of
Satan into the Lake of Fire could be double-fulfilled.
 
Every New Testament promise in the Bible becomes ultimately
uncertain in Mathison’s theory. The “Christ” of Christianity could
potentially be a type of a future, “actual” Christ (cf. WSTTB, 182,
n39). Therefore, unless we want to end up adopting a liberal, postmodern
approach to God’s word and turn all of His promises into
“yes and no,” Mathison’s double-fulfillment theory must be firmly and
finally rejected.
 



[1] Kenneth Gentry, Four Views on the Book of Revelation, ed. C. Marvin
Pate (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 43–44.
[2] Gary DeMar, The Olivet Discourse: The Test of Truth, http://www.
americanvision.org/blog/?p=190
[3] Keith A. Mathison, Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of
God? (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 1995), 31.
[4] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church
(Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1999), 55.
[5] John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner
of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170.
 

House Divided…

A Futurist Review at Last!

House Divided: Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology has been selling now for about two months. In that time, the responses from futurist critics have been less than substantive. There were complaints that the title is a “rip off” of Bahnsen’s and Gentry’s book, House Divided: The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology (1989). There were complaints that the back cover contains an unattributed five-star “review.” (“A Must Read!”) One critic noted that we use the word “hyper-preterism” on the back cover, and then proceeded to declare that we “self-apply” the word and therefore accept it as an accurate description of our belief. He failed to notice the significance of the fact that we put the word in quotation marks. We were referring to so-called “hyper-preterism.”
Many other critics see no need for a further criticism against the book beyond, “Your book disagrees with 2,000 years of church history!” Ah, the joys of hyper-traditionalism. These critics still have not read our response to Charles Hill (chapter two), which deals specifically and directly with this “argument.”
The most stinging of the negative criticisms have come, ironically, from those who have not read the book. One such critic advised everyone to let their pets defecate on it. Another proposed having a public “book burning” in his back yard and posting the event on YouTube. There have been three or four inflammatory, one-star reviews on Amazon. Most, if not all of them, were obviously written by people who had not read the book. All but one of those reviews (so far) were deleted by Amazon.
So much for the first two months of critiques. It was a fun and glorious time. But it ended a week ago on September 4th. That’s the day that a futurist actually began posting a series of critical reviews wherein the arguments of the book are actually addressed. (We understand that there are one or two other such reviews in the works by other futurists.) It’s a fascinating development. The reviewer’s name is Continue reading “House Divided…”

The ABC’s of Matthew 24-25=1 Thessalonians 4-5=1 Corinthians 15 Embracing the Organic Development of Full Preterist Synthesis Or the Myth of Orthodox “Unity” on the “Essentials” – You Decide

The ABC’s of Matthew 24-25=1 Thessalonians 4-5=1 Corinthians 15

 Embracing the Organic Development of Full Preterist Synthesis

Or the Myth of Orthodox “Unity” on the “Essentials” You Decide

By Michael J. Sullivan
Copyright 2009 – revised and expanded 2013

Since this article is by far one of my most popular ones and has helped so many people come out of their journey from reformed Amillennialism and Partial Preterism into Full Preterism, I decided to add a section at the end which further demonstrates how Full Preterism synthesizes and is the organic development of the two reformed competing views on many eschatological subjects and key texts — all the while exposing the myth that these two views can somehow be “united” in the alleged future “essentials” of eschatology.  For footnotes of what I say about each view – one should get a copy of our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?.
Hermeneutics is defined as “the study or science of interpreting the Scriptures.” The Westminster Confession of Faith correctly states that, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”[1] J.I. Packer understands this to mean “that we must give ourselves in Bible study to following out the unities, cross-references and topical links which Scripture provides.”[2]
In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. Or the property of equality is transitive – for if A = B and B = C, then A = C.  Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.
A = (Matt. 24:27-31, 34)
B = (1 Thess. 4:15-17)
C = (1 Cor. 15)

THE CURRENT CONTRADICTION & DIVIDED HOUSE OF FUTURISM WITHOUT FULL PRETERISM:

Orthodox Reformed Partial Preterism (ex. R.C. Sproul, Kenneth Gentry, Gary DeMar, Keith Mathison, etc…) Teaches the Church That:
A (Matt. 24:27-31) was fulfilled when Christ returned in AD 70 in Jesus’ “this generation” (Matt. 24:34). For the Partial Preterist Jesus’ statement of “this generation” (AD 30-70) connected with the NT’s imminent time texts “at hand,” “shortly,” “soon,” “quickly,” “in a very little while,” “about to,” also refer to an AD 70 fulfillment (cf. Romans 13:11-12; 1 Peter 4:5-7; James 5:7-9; Hebrews 8:13–10:37; Revelation 1:1, 3:11, 10:6-7, 22:6-7, 10-12, 20) and are the “speak more clearly” texts.  We agree with them on this point.  While ignoring the “clear” proposition of Biblical Preterism and traditional Amillennialism that A (Matt. 24:27-31) is equal to B (1 Thess. 4:15-17), they do affirm that both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) are equal to each other and are the Second Coming and resurrection events.
Orthodox Reformed Classic & Creedal Amillennialism Teaches the Church That:
A (Matt. 24:27-31) = B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and that both A (Matt. 24:27-31) and B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) = C (1 Cor. 15).  For example the very Reformed Study Bible in which Partial Preterists R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison are editors we learn this from an Amillennialist contributor concerning Matt. 24:29-31:
“But the language of Matt. 24:31 is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; and 25:31 [passages Partial Preterists say were fulfilled in AD 70], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17.  The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”[3]
Luther, Calvin and even the WCF itself affirms that Matt. 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-28 is the Second Coming event.  While ignoring the “clear” proposition of Biblical and Partial Preterism on Jesus’ use of “this generation” and the imminent time texts, the traditional Amilennialist sees that the analogy of Scripture and the fact that the NT only teaches ONE second coming (not a third) is the hermeneutical “speak more clearly” teaching of Scripture.  We agree with them on this proposition as well.

THE BETTER HERMENEUITCS, LOGIC & SYNTHESIS OF BIBLICAL OR FULL PRETERISM 

Orthodox (“straight”) Biblical Preterism Objects To The Combined Contradictory Statements In That If…
A (Matt. 24:27-31) was fulfilled in AD 70, and if A (Matt. 24:27-31) is equal to both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15), then both B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) and C (1 Cor. 15) were fulfilled at Christ’s parousia in AD 70. In other words, “Things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.”   
“If A (Matt. 24:27-43) bears some relation to B (1 Thess. 4:15 – 1 Thess. 5)” or “A=B”:
If A (Matt. 24) 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)

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)

PREMISE #1:  The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 took place in AD 70 (according to partial preterists and Biblical preterists)
PREMISE #2:  The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the same coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 (according to traditional amillennialists and Biblical preterists)
CONCLUSION:  The parousia/coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 took place in AD 70.
Preterists unite these two clear premises from both groups:
1. Partial Preterism – The imminent time texts concerning the parousia of Christ, judgment/resurrection of the dead = AD 70 and…
2. Classical Amillennialism – The analogy of Scripture supports only one NT “hope” of a Second Coming/judgment/resurrection of the living and dead.
Therefore, we “…speak more clearly” and consistently in our debate with futurists.  The divided corporate Reformed “House” contains the two premises (which we assume are true) and we are simply uniting the two valid premises into one new House.  We’re validating the Reformed and Sovereign Grace House by accepting both of it’s competing premises, and then uniting them, further honoring the Reformed and Sovereign Grace House.  This has and will continue to appeal to Reformed and Sovereign Grace believers as Biblical preterism spreads throughout their churches.   We are making a motion to revise the creeds to make them more “orthodox” (straight) with the “more clear” teaching of Scripture–“Sola Scriptura” and “Semper Reformanda”–selah.
If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.
A (Matt. 24:27-31, 34 fulfilled in AD 70) = B (1 Thess. 4:15-17 fulfilled in AD 70)  = C (1 Cor. 15 fulfilled in AD 70).
Again, I couldn’t agree more with the editors and authors of THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE:
1)  (Matthew 24:27-31, 34) is descriptive of Christ’s invisible parousia taking place in Jesus’ “this [AD 30 – AD 70] generation” and…
2) Matthew 24:27-31 “Most naturally refers to the Second Coming” and is “parallel” to or the same event as developed by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:52.
Synthesis or “Reformed and always reforming”:  Thus the inevitable conclusion is that the Full Preterist view is both “Orthodox” and “Reformed” – Selah.  It is exciting to see (through emails and phone calls) that students of Reformed eschatology are properly learning their ABC’s of Biblical prophecy through Full Preterism and how our view is “Bridging the Gap” between the two futurist contradictory and competing views of Partial Preterism and classic Amillennialism.
Article Expansion
Although originally this article focused on how only the Full Preterism can harmonize what reformed eschatology has taught and is teaching on Matthew 24/1 Thessalonians 4-5/1 Corinthians 15, I would like to expand this now to other eschatological subjects and key texts.  I also want to turn my attention on exposing the “reformed” myth that reformed eschatology can be united on the future (to us) “essentials of eschatology.”
The Last Days

1)      Classic Amillennialism – The NT’s use of the “latter or last days” refers to the time of Christ’s first coming and extends to His one eschatological end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming.
2)      Partial Preterism – The NT’s use of the “latter or last days” was a period roughly from AD 30 – AD 70 which closed the Old Covenant age (Gary DeMar & Joel McDurmon).
3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The NT’s use of the “latter or last days” refers to the time of Christ’s first coming and extends to His one eschatological end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming which was a period roughly from AD 30 – AD 70 which closed the Old Covenant age.
 “This age” and “the age to come”
 1)      Classic Amillennialism – The NT’s use of “this age” is the New Covenant Christian age and the “age to come” is when the one consummative end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming, resurrection and judgment of the living and dead and arrival of the new creation takes place.
2)      Partial Preterism – The NT’s use of “this age” was the then current Old Covenant age and the use of “the age to come” was the imminent arrival of the New Covenant or Christian age in AD 70 (Gary DeMar & Joel McDurmon).
3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The NT’s use of “this age” is the Old Covenant age and the “age to come” is the New Covenant age at which time the one imminent consummative end time event of “the parousia” / Second Coming, resurrection and judgment of the living and dead and arrival of the new creation took place in AD 70.
 The Resurrection and Judgment of the living and dead
1)      Classic Amillennialism – There is only one end time consummative eschatological resurrection and judgment of the living dead event which takes place at the one “the parousia” at the “end of the age.”
2)      Partial Preterism – There was a judgment and resurrection of the living and dead at “the parousia” in AD 70 at “the end of the [Old Covenant] age” in AD 70.  This resurrection of the dead was:

  1. Spiritual and unseen.
  2. Corporate and covenantal.
  3. Of souls taken out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades to receive eternal life in God’s presence (James Jordan).

3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – There is only one end time consummative eschatological resurrection and judgment of the living dead event which takes place at the one “the parousia” at the “end of the [Old Covenant] age” in AD 70.  This resurrection of the dead was:

  1. Spiritual and unseen.
  2. Corporate and covenantal.
  3. Of souls taken out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades to receive eternal life in God’s presence.

Seeing Christ coming on the clouds at His Second Appearing (Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7 and Hebrews 9:26-28)
1)      Classic Amillennialism – The one and final visible bodily Second Appearing/Coming of Christ is described for us again in (Acts 1:11; Matthew 24:30;Revelation 1:7 and Hebrews 9:26-28).  He returns literally on the clouds at the end of the age(s) and we will see Him with our literal eyes.  Hebrews 9:26-28 is describing Christ’s appearing as our High Priest to finish and complete salvation for the Church.
2)      Partial Preterism – The “seeing” of Christ in the Greek of (Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7) means to “understand” or “perceive.”  Through the events of AD 66 – AD 70 when Christ came in power through the Zealot and Roman armies they “saw” “perceived” or “understood” that He had “already” come (Mark 8:38-9:1).  It is not hermeneutically valid to separate the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 from His coming in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7.  They are the same coming and took place in AD 70.  It is also true that hermeneutically / exegetically / logically that Christ’s appearing / coming a “second time” in Hebrews 9:26-28 is Him appearing at the end of the Old Covenant age(s) in AD 70 (Milton Terry).  Hebrews 9:26-28 is describing Christ’s appearing as our High Priest to finish and complete salvation for the Church.
3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The “seeing” of Christ in the Greek of (Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7) means to “understand” or “perceive.”  Through the events of AD 66 – AD 70 when Christ came in power through the Zealot and Roman armies they “saw” “perceived” or “understood” that He had “already” come (Mark 8:38-9:1).  It is not hermeneutically valid to separate the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 from His coming in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7.  They are one and the same coming of Christ and took place in AD 70.  It is also true that hermeneutically / exegetically / logically that Christ’s appearing / coming a “second time” in Hebrews 9:26-28 is describing Him appearing at the end of the Old Covenant age(s) in AD 70 and corresponds to the same coming described in the next chapter that would be “in a very little while” and would “not be delayed” (Heb. 10:37).  Hebrews 9:26-28 is also describing Christ’s appearing as our High Priest to finish and complete salvation for the Church.
The Millennium
1)      Classic Amillennialism – The thousand years of Revelation 20 is a symbolic period of time which does not have to be a very long time.  It is a period extending from Christ’s first coming to His one eschatological end time “the parousia” / Second Coming to close “this age” and judge and raise the rest of the dead.  The WCF confirms that the coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation is indeed His Second Coming.  Revelation 20 recapitulates or is parallel to the same judgment scene depicted in Revelation 1-19 and 21-22.
2)      Partial Preterism –  The thousand years of Revelation 20 is a symbolic period of time ending with the Second Coming of Christ and was or very possibly was from AD 30 – AD 70 (Sam Frost).  Revelation 20 does in fact “pick up where Daniel leaves off” in Daniel 12:1-7, 13 with Daniel himself being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades inheriting eternal life and enjoying God’s presence (James Jordan).  The book of Revelation is John’s version of the Matthew 24-25 which cannot be divided and refers to Christ’s coming in AD 70 (Gary DeMar).  The only coming of Christ mentioned in the book of Revelation is imminent and therefore refers to His coming invisibly in AD 70 to judge Old Covenant Jerusalem/Babylon/The Great City.  Revelation is written in a recapitulation or parallel structure, with chapters 1-19 (and some of 20) and 21-22 being fulfilled in AD 70.
3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) – The thousand years of Revelation 20 is a symbolic period of time which does not have to be a very long time and is therefore from AD 30 – AD 70 extending from Christ’s first coming to His one eschatological end time “the parousia” / Second Coming to close “this age” and judge  of   one eschatological end time Second Coming to close “this age” and judge and raise the rest of the dead.  The coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation is imminent and is His actual Second Coming.  Revelation 20 does in fact “pick up where Daniel leaves off” in Daniel 12:1-7, 13 with Daniel himself being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom/Hades inheriting eternal life and enjoying God’s presence.  The book of Revelation is John’s version of the Matthew 24-25 which cannot be divided and refers to Christ’s coming in AD 70.  Revelation 20 recapitulates or is parallel to the same judgment scene depicted in Revelation 1-19 and 21-22.
The “groaning of creation” and the passing/fleeing of the old heavens and earth and the arrival of the new heavens and new earth (Isaiah 65-66; 2 Peter 3 & Revelation 21-22)
1)      Classic Amillennialism – There is one consummative eschatological end time passing and fleeing of the “elements” of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new heavens and new earth and it arrives at the one “Day of the Lord” “the parousia” or Second Coming of Christ in the NT to close the end of the age.  There is no exegetical evidence to support two passings of the heavens and earth and arrival of a new heavens and a new earth in 2 Peter 3 or in Revelation 21-22.  These passages are clearly describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3.  Romans 8:18-23 is one unit and is also describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3 and the resurrection of the dead.  And “salvation” in (Romans 13:11-12) is the “redemption” of (Romans 8:23) and the same final “redemption” described by Jesus in (Luke 21:27-28).
2)      Partial Preterism – There was a covenantal passing of the “elements” of the “first” heavens and earth and a spiritual and unseen arrival of the new heavens and new earth at Christ’s “the parousia” to close “the end of the [Old Covenant] age” in AD 70.  The Day of Lord or “the parousia” caused the passing of the Old Covenant “elements” in (2 Peter 3) and this coming and de-creation “only” refers to AD 70.  Romans 8:18 is describing the glory that was “about to be” (cf. Young’s Literal Translation) revealed “in” the first century believers in AD 70 (Gary DeMar).  The “creation” (Gk. kitisis) here is not referring to planet earth but to the creation of people as in (Mark 16:15/Colossians 1:23) (John Lightfoot).  The “bondage,” “futility” and “decay” here is not discussing the second law of thermodynamics of the planet, but rather man groaning under sin in the heart and mind (John Lightfoot).
3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) –  There is one consummative eschatological end time passing and fleeing of the “elements” of the “first” heavens and earth and arrival of the new heavens and a new earth and it arrives at the one “Day of the Lord” “the parousia” or Second Coming of Christ in the NT to close the end of the [Old Covenant] age in AD 70.  There is no exegetical evidence to support two passing(s) or two fleeing(s) of the heavens and earth and arrival of a new heavens and a new earth in 2 Peter 3 or in Revelation 21-22.  These passages are clearly describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3 and were fulfilled by AD 70.  Romans 8:18-23 is one unit and is also describing the fulfillment and restoration of Genesis 1-3 and the resurrection of the dead.  Romans 8:18-23 is describing the glory that was “about to be” (cf. Young’s Literal Translation) revealed “in” the first century believers and the Church by AD 70.  The “creation” (Gk. kitisis) here is not referring to planet earth but the creation of people as in (Mark 16:15/Colossians 1:23).  The “bondage,” “futility” and “decay” here is not discussing the second law of thermodynamics, but rather man groaning under sin in the heart and mind. The “salvation” in (Romans 13:11-12) is the “redemption of the body”(Romans 8:23) and the same final “redemption” described by Jesus at His Second Coming in (Luke 21:27-28) and were all eschatological events that were “near,” “at hand” and “about to be” fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”
The Olivet discourse Matthew 24-25; Luke 21 Mark 13 
1)      Classic Amillennialism – Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 helps us understand all of the key eschatological themes (Second Coming/judgment and resurrection/passing of creation) developed in the rest of the NT (ex. 1-2 Thessalonians; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Peter 3; Romans 8:18-23, 13:11-12, 16:20 and the Book of Revelation).
2)      Partial Preterism – Matthew 24-25 cannot be divided and the disciples question regarding the Temple’s destruction, His coming and the end of the age is referring to Christ’s invisible coming to close the Old Covenant age and “nothing else.”  One cannot “double fulfill” it’s content (Gary DeMar).
3)      Full Preterism (Synthesis / “Reformed and always reforming”) –  Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 helps us understand all of the key eschatological events (Second Coming/judgment and resurrection/de-creation and passing of creation) developed in the rest of the NT (ex. 1-2 Thessalonians; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Peter 3 and the Book of Revelation).  Matthew 24-25 cannot be divided and is referring to Christ’s invisible coming to close the Old Covenant age and “nothing else.”  One cannot “double fulfill” it’s content.
Indeed I could produce ABC charts here (as I have elsewhere on my sites) of the Olivet discourse with all of the main eschatological texts in the NT – 2 Peter 3, Revelation 20, etc…, just as I have with 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Conclusion

As one can plainly see the assertion that reformed orthodox eschatology is and can be united concerning the following:

  • The seeing of Christ on the clouds (the Second Coming) at the end of the last days or end of the age(s)…
  •  The judgment and resurrection of the dead at the end of the last days and end of the age(s)…
  • The liberation of creation and arrival of the New at the end of the last days or end of the age(s)…

…is nothing but a pure myth as long as the classic Amillennial position holds to the NT’s “one hope” “the [one] parousia” of Christ is future and the Partial Preterist view says it happened in AD 70.  As long as AD 70 is the “X factor” in all of these crucial eschatolocial passages and and it continues to be “orthodox” and the creedal Amillennial view affirms they are one and the same “end of the age” event, the ONLY way to harmonize the two is with the Full Preterist view.  This is how I came to the Full Preterist view – by comparing Scripture with Scripture (Matt. 24-25=1Thess. 4-5) and realizing the classic Amillennial view and Partial Preterist views were teaching (no matter if they realized it or not) that Christ’s ONE Second Coming happened in the First Century ie. AD 70.
Both the Amillennialist and the Postmillennial Partial Preterist claim that if Full Preterism is true then the Holy Spirit failed in guiding the Church in truth.  And yet if this is the case, this begs the question as to which “truth” did the Holy Spirit guide the Church in Amillennialism or Partial Preterism?  Does the Holy Spirit contradict Himself?  The truth of course is that this is not an either or choice between the two competing views since as I have demonstrated they are both right and yet at the same time both wrong.  The Holy Spirit is guiding the Church through Full Preterism as it unites the two views.  The truth has always been with us, it just hasn’t been put together correctly because of all of the in-fighting between the two and their upholding the reformed creeds as if they have the same authority as the Bible (tradition over Scripture).  And answering a foolish argument according to its folly – are they willing to say that the Holy Spirit failed to lead the Church on the issue of forensic justification for 1500 years prior to Luther?  Do they forget that the Roman Catholic Church and John Eck pointed out that Luther had to be wrong because he was teaching something totally new that had not been taught by the Church Fathers prior to him?!?
When will the Partial Preterist and the classic Amillennialist stop shooting at each other and writing the IVP 3-4 view type books (without Full Preterism being allowed to present the truth)?  The Partial Preterist view fires away at the Amillennial and Premillennial Dispensational views by arguing that they come dangerously close to denying the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible in their handling of the imminent time texts or their approaches to them are more akin to liberal treatments (DeMar & Sproul).  The Amillennialist fires back that the Partial Preterist is denying the reformed creeds (and shouldn’t be considered “reformed”) ripping asunder texts which are united through the analogy of Scripture principle of interpretation.  Wouldn’t it be more constructive for these two groups to humbly sit down at the table with Full Preterists to discuss the creedal position that the creeds are not infallible (as were the previous creeds they radically reformed) and thus really are subject to Scripture and change on eschatology — and that if both the classical Amillennialial and Partial Preterist views are true, then Full Preterism is true!  The day will come and it is inevitable – it is just a matter of when.

 


[1] Westminster Confession of Faith, I. ix.
[2] J.I. Packer, The Interpretation of Scripture, from ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God (Inter-Varsity Press, 1958), pp. 101-114. http://www.bible-researcher.com/packer1.html
[3]   THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE, R.C. Sproul General Editor, (Orlando: FL, Ligonier Ministries) 1401.
[4] If we translate astrape in Matthew 24:27 as a “bright light” from the sun (instead of lightning) coming from the east and shining to the west, then this parallel that I have seen is also possible.

 

House Divided: Imminent Redemption in Luke 21:27-28 / Romans 8:18-23 and The Analogy of Scripture

The Abandonment of the Analogy of Scripture

The Westminster Confession of Faith states that “the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”[1] J. I. Packer understands this to mean “that we must give ourselves in Bible study to following out the unities, cross-references and topical links which Scripture provides.”[2] There is nothing controversial within the Reformed community about the above principles. Reformed believers all strive to be faithful to the principle of “the analogy of Scripture.”  This being the case, why then are there so many differing opinions within the Reformed community when it comes to the question of how to form a sound eschatology? There are perhaps as many differing interpretations of eschatological texts as there are denominations. Clearly, there is a need to bridge the gap and bring healing to this eschatological division within Reformed and Protestant churches.

What is the cause of the division?  It is widely assumed that the cause is the enigmatic nature of the texts in question. While I agree that there are difficult eschatological texts, I submit in this article that the problem lies not in the vagueness of Scripture but rather in our unwitting betrayal of the principle of the analogy of Scripture.

Reformed eschatology has a strong Preterist tradition, which argues that the New Testament’s eschatological statements of imminence must be taken literally because there are no contextual indicators leading us to interpret them in any other way. As Gary DeMar states, “any student of the Bible who does not interpret these time texts to mean anything other than close at hand is in jeopardy of denying the integrity of the Bible.”[3] To put a finer point on it,  R. C. Sproul suggests that any eschatology which denies a literal interpretation of the New Testament’s time texts has adopted a liberal or neo-orthodox view of God and time:  “When F. F. Bruce speaks of faith making the time be ‘at hand,’ this sounds all too much like Rudolf Bultmann’s famous theology of timelessness, which removes the object of faith from the realm of real history and consigns it to a super temporal realm of the always present hic et nunc [here and now].”[4] Sadly, this same view is so commonly articulated among Reformed and Evangelical believers[5] that few seem to recognize its liberal and mystical implications or its exegetical lack of support. In the interest of preserving eschatological futurism, many have compromised the principle of scriptural analogy by sweeping away the plain and obvious meaning of the imminence texts. In so doing, conservatives are unwittingly handling the Scriptures like Bultmann.

In an effort to mitigate this liberalism, some have become partially Preterist, suggesting two returns of Christ, one in AD70 and another yet-future final coming and resurrection. The obvious problem with this view is that “Paul looked for one climactic future event, the return of Jesus Christ, the blessed hope.”[6] The Partial Preterist side of our  “house divided” understands that in the AD 70 return of Christ (accomplished in His generation) God “gathered” and “redeemed” His church. Jesus was straightforward and clear that “all these things” were going to take place in His generation. Thus, Partial Preterists swim bravely against a strong tide of “newspaper exegesis.”

On the other hand,  Evangelical and Reformed theologians who reject Partial Preterism are nevertheless faithful to the principle of the analogy of Scripture when they link the imminent “gathering” in Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27 to Paul’s “gathering” and “catching away” (“rapture”/resurrection) in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1. When they tie the imminent “redemption” in Luke 21:28 to the “redemption of the Body” and of “the creation” in Romans 8:18-23, they rightly reject the exegetical breaking asunder of Scriptures that are thematically one.

The remainder of this article offers a brief examination of these texts as well as a response to the “house divided” approach of Keith Mathison and his co-authors in their critique of “Hyper-Preterism” titled When Shall These Things Be? (hereafter WSTTB?).[7] Mathison and his co-authors are a microcosm of the Church. Though they enjoy unity in the belief of a yet-future “second coming” and resurrection of the dead, their eschatological house is divided. Some believe the eschatology of the Bible is mostly fulfilled. Others believe it is mostly or wholly unfulfilled. Their disagreements with each other are not rooted in the difficulty of the texts, but rather in the rejection of the sure foundation of sound scriptural analogy. In setting aside the plain sense of thematically congruent Scriptures, they have constructed their eschatological house on exegetical sand, and it therefore “cannot stand.”

Restoring the Analogy of Scripture

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:27-28). Appealing to the principle of the analogy of Scripture, John Murray and other Reformed theologians understood Paul, in Romans 8, to be building upon the “redemption” that Jesus discussed in the Olivet discourse:  “Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom 8:23; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:14; 4:30). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.”[8] We cannot brush off Murray’s comments lightly when he connects these texts to the resurrection and redemption of Romans 8, but is it exegetically sound to say that the redemption of Romans 8:18-23 occurred in Jesus’ generation?

According to most Reformed eschatological paradigms, Romans 8 is teaching a biological resurrection and molecular transformation of our corpses and of the entire universe during the return of Christ at “the end of time.”  However, when we consider the Preterist side of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology with regard to the restoration of creation in the various related texts (Matt 5:17-18; 24:29, 35; Eph 1:10; 2 Pet 3; 1 John 2:17-18 and Rev 21:1), we soon discover that, in context, these passages are referring to the temple’s destruction or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles.[9] The civil and religious 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]

In context, the time was “at hand” for the “elements” to be burned and for the world of righteousness to take its place (1 Pet 1:4-12; 4:5, 7, 17; 2 Pet 3). Peter was describing a change of covenantal worlds. As John Owen and John Lightfoot taught, Peter was not referring to a future return of Christ for the purpose of destroying the planet.[11] He was describing a transformation that was to be accomplished at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70. Kenneth Gentry and James Jordan also understand the passing of the “world” and the first heavens and earth (1 John 2:17-18; Rev 21:1) as referring to Christ’s return to end the Old Covenant system in AD 70. It is also understood within Reformed and Evangelical theology that the “times of fulfillment” to reconcile things in “heaven and on the earth” (Eph 1:10) is referring not to the planet earth and angels, but to the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ. This was the “mystery” of the gospel in which the “whole family” of God, in heaven and on earth, would participate. When we combine the exegesis from some of the best Reformed and Evangelical theologians, we quickly see that none of the New Testament de-creation passages are dealing with planet earth, but are references to the Old Covenant or its people.[12]

Lightfoot associated the “earnest expectation of the creature” and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and not with planet Earth—not even poetically.[13] He referenced the “vanity” and “decay” of the creation (Rom 8:20) to the groaning from the “corruption” of sin found in the hearts and minds of mankind (2 Pet 1:4; 2 Cor 11:3; 15:33).[14] Lightfoot is on solid ground here; not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity,” “corruption,” and “decay” as  ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen molecules, or with squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.

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

Lightfoot in his sermon on “Many Mansions” interpreted the “redemption of the body” not as the physical body, but the “mystical body” – the Jew/Gentile Church:

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

Still, one might object that the “redemption” associated with the coming of Christ in Luke 21:27-28 has a clear time text (“this generation”) associated with it (v. 32), but the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 does not; therefore, one might conclude the two passages are not necessarily parallel. Those who argue this way suggest that the redemption in Luke 21 might simply refer to relief from persecution and nothing more. The premise of their objection, however, is false. There is an imminence text associated with the redemption of the body in Romans 8.  Verse 18 reads, “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us” (YLT; cf. NSRV, AV, & WEY: “soon to be manifested”). It is important to note that the Greek word corresponding to the phrase “about to be” is mello. Reformed Partial Preterists such as R. C. Sproul and Kenneth Gentry understand the word mello in the book of Revelation to refer to Christ’s return in AD 70. Sproul also writes that it is not unreasonable to apply the imminence indicators found in Romans 13:11-12 (“. . . for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness. . . .”) to earlier chapters in Romans that do not have explicit time texts.[15]

If mello is a time indicator that needs to be honored, and if we can apply the time texts in Romans 13:11-12 to earlier chapters, then we cannot ignore this approach in Romans 8. Moreover, claims that the teaching of “the” judgment and resurrection of the living and the dead were not given with imminence indicators tied to them directly are simply not true. Acts 24:15, 25 reads, “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. . . . But when he dealt with the subjects of justice, self-control, and the judgment which is soon to come, Felix became alarmed . . .” (cf. Acts 17:31, YLT/WEY; WUESTNT; emphases added).[16]

Of course the plot thickens when Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar admit that Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as “about to be” fulfilled by AD 70!  Gary also understands “all Israel” being saved in Romans 11 as referring to AD 70.  Thus, the “salvation” and “redemption” of Israel or the Jew/Gentile Church was accomplished imminently in AD 70 and has nothing to do with an end of time event with physical bodies coming out of the ground or the physical planet being changed!

In WSTTB? (p. 200), Mathison expresses willingness to concede that the imminence in Romans 13:11-12 was fulfilled in AD 70.

. . . it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand . . . .

Yet The Reformation Study Bible, of which Mathison is an editor, harmonizes Romans 13:11 with Romans 8:23, correctly teaching that “salvation” in that verse is not merely deliverance from persecution (as Mathison theorizes in WSTTB):  “salvation. Here in the sense of future, final redemption (8:23).”[17] The connection between these two passages is made even stronger when we allow the Greek word mello in Romans 8 to be translated the way it is predominately used in the New Testament.

In regard to the phrase “the sufferings of this present time,”—and as much as I can relate to R. C. Sproul, Jr., losing his hair and gaining some weight around his midsection (WSTTB? p. ix)—his appeal to the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” in our text have nothing to do with those kinds of issues. The context of the “groaning” of these first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter. The sufferings Paul had in mind here were eschatological—the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Matt 24:8; Rom 8:22). They had to do with man groaning under the inescapable tyranny of sin brought about by being condemned in Adam under the Law of God. For Paul, this produced a “death” but it was not a physical death—for how is it that a dead man writes a complex legal treatise such as Romans? Death in these chapters (Rom 5-6) had nothing to do with the idea of the fleshly corpse of man dying biologically as a result of Adam’s sin.[18] “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with spiritual death and groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom 7:2, 7, 15). The sufferings in Romans 8, then, referred to the eschatological persecutions that preceded Christ’s return (Dan 7:21-22; Matt 24:9, 27-31; 10:17-23) and not to present day Christians suffering the traumas of birth defects, aging, cancer, etc.

Conclusion

The “salvation” and “redemption” associated with Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 entailed much more than a physical flight to the wilderness of Pella, as some commentators have proposed. Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 was a redemptive and soteriological event that occurred “in” and “within” the minds, consciences and hearts of the Church, when God consumed by fire the Adamic world of Satan, Sin, Death and Condemnation, consummately purging His church of sin through the Cross of Christ (Rom. 8:18-23; 11:26-27; 13:11-12; Heb. 8-10). The “redemption” of Luke 21:28 is the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8:18-23. Both the imminence of the time texts and the spiritual nature of their fulfillment require this interpretation.

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

[1]Westminster Confession, I. ix.
[2] J. I. Packer, “The Interpretation of Scripture” in  ‘Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God (Inter-Varsity Press, 1958), pp. 101-114.  http://www.bible-researcher.com/packer1.html
[3] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, 4th edition (Atlanta: American Vision, 1999), p. 393; emphasis added.
[4] R.C. Sproul, The Last Days according To Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), pp. 108-109; emphasis added.
[5] For example, see Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 126.
[6] Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2003), p.130; emphasis added.
[7] Keith A. Mathison, Kenneth L. Gentry, Charles E. Hill, Richard L. Pratt Jr., Simon J. Kistemaker, Douglas Wilson, and Robert B. Strimple, When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004). David Green, Edward Hassertt, Sam Frost and I have  co-authored a response to this book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? that is available on my “store” link.
[8] John Murray, Collected Writings of John Murray 2:  Systematic Theology (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Publications, 1977) , p.389. Unfortunately Murray was inconsistent when it came to Jesus’ teaching that all things in His discourse would be fulfilled in His generation. Had Murray faithfully followed the analogy of Scripture in this regard, he would have seen two things:  (1) Christ’s coming on the clouds and the de-creation language in the discourse was metamorphic language describing the fall of religious and civil powers, as John Owen and other reformed theologians have understood; and (2) the coming of Christ, the passing away of “heaven and earth,” the redemption, the resurrection of the dead and the judgment were all “about to be” fulfilled in Jesus’ generation (Rom 8:18-23; Acts 17:31, 24:15 YLT WEY).
[9] John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 3 vols. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Publications, [1852] 1967), Vol. 1, pp. 170-174. H. T. Fletcher-Louis in Eschatology in Bible & Theology:Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, K. E. Brower and Mark W. Elliot, eds. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), pp. 145-169.
[10] Fletcher, ibid., pp. 145-169; DeMar, ibid., pp. 141-154.
[11] John Owen, The Works of John Owen (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Publications, 1972), Vol. 9, pp. 134-135; John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), Vol. 3, p. 452.
[12] John Owen, ibid., Volume 9, pp. 134-135; John Lightfoot, ibid., Vol.3, p. 452; John Brown, Discourses, Vol. 1, pp. 170-174; John Locke, A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul, Volume 2 (Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 617-618; R. C. Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus; Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), pp. 363-365; Kenneth Gentry in Four Views on the Book Of Revelation, C. Marvin Pate, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1998), p. 89 (cf. 43 for 1 Jn. 2:17); Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, pp. 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), pp. 269-279; H. T. Fletcher-Louis in :Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, K. E. Brower and Mark W. Elliot, eds. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997), pp. 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), pp. 114, 157-158; N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), pp. 345-346; N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), p. 645, n. 42; Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), pp. 84-86.
[13] “. . . this vanity is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind.  The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles:  the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.” John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4, p. 157;  emphasis added.
[14] Lightfoot, ibid., pp. 158-159.
[15] Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus, pp. 99, 138-140.
[16] Gentry argues that “when used with the aorist infinitive—as in Revelation 1:19—the word’s predominant usage and preferred meaning is: ‘be on the point of, be about to.’ The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in Rev.3:10. The basic meaning in both Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.”  (Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation [Tyler, TX: Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989], pp. 141-142; emphasis added.)  Gentry is correct. The problem, however, is that when the word mello refers to the resurrection and judgment of the living and dead in Acts 24:15 and 24:25, it is used with the present infinitive. So Gentry boldly ignores the word in those texts.
[17] The Reformation Study Bible, R. C. Sproul, General Editor, and Keith Mathison, Associate Editor (Lake Mary, FL:  Ligonier Ministries, 2005), pp.  1, 636.
[18] Tom Holland, Contours in Pauline Theology (Fearn, Scotland, UK:  Christian Focus Publications, 2004),  pp.85-110.  Holland is a Reformed theologian who sees Paul’s “body” of flesh, sin, and death not referring to our physical flesh but to the corporate body of Adam as contrasted to the corporate Body of Christ—the Church. He counters Gundry’s individual views of soma in Paul’s writings. He also argues for “consistency” in Paul’s use of corporate terms. I recommend this book to any serious student of Reformed theology.