PART 3a. DEBATE CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE TO: JAMES WHITE, SHABIR ALLY, ANTHONY ROGERS, SAM SHAMOUN – ALL THE SIGNS, ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION, TRIBULATION, TIMES OF THE GENTILES – "IN FULFILLMENT OF ALL THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN" (MATT. 24:1-25/LUKE 21:20-24)

Introduction
Now I want to move on to another passage White virtually avoided altogether in his debate with Shabir Ally (ie. Matthew 24) and was the subject of Anthony Rogers unfinished article series responding to Shabir (since White “dreads” [his words] the subject).
I personally believe White was a bit deceptive with Shabir in that Shabir kept appealing to Matt. 16:27-28/Matt. 24/1 Thess. 4:12-17 to demonstrate that Christ’s COMING was predicted to take place within the first century – and all White really had to say was to use the term “in AD 70” and mentioned that back home he was teaching a study on Matthew 24. So it gave the impression that perhaps White was at least a Partial Preterist and believed that “a” parousia or coming of Christ was fulfilled in AD 70. But once you listen to those lectures on Matthew 24, White does NOT take the Partial Preterist view on the coming of the Lord being fulfilled in 70 for those passages. He appeals to the classic Amillennial view’s interpretation of Matthew 24 and the “Two-Age Model” (he claims to agree with Kim Riddlebarger’s view in A Case for AMILLENNIALISM UNDERSTANDING THE END TIMES, pp. 92-99, 157-179).[1] The only things White claims were kind-of-sort-of fulfilled by AD 70 are some of the signs. BUT Shabir’s argument was not addressing the signs but the coming of Christ, therefore, White was dishonest or at the very least misleading in his use of the term “AD 70.”
White’s Introduction
White makes mention of D.A. Carson and Kim Riddlebarger to help make some introductory points:

  1. Matthew 24 is one of or the most “difficult passages” to interpret in the NT. Therefore, White tells his church that he has been “secretly dreading” dealing with it.
  2. Whatever your view of Matthew 24 is, it will be (or should be) your interpretation in such NT books as 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Revelation and NT eschatology in general. Riddlebarger also correctly states that it will also form your “millennial view.”
  3. White claims the “truth is somewhere in the middle” between Dispensationalism’s futurism and Full Preterism.

My response
White’s admissions only make my case against him. It is true that the Olivet Discourse is a “difficult passage” for futurism because there is a stale-mate between the classical Reformed Amillennial position (James White’s position) in Matthew 24 (and NT imminence) with that of the Reformed Partial Preterist position (Anthony Rogers / Sam Shamoun’s position). White also makes my point when he claims that the “truth is somewhere in the middle of these two” which is really somewhere in the middle of the middle:
Classic Amillennialism (James White/Kim Riddlebarger) – The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27-30—chapter 25 is the ONE NT’s Second Coming event that takes place at the end of the ONE “end of the age” (Matt. 24:3) in our future.
Partial Preterism (Anthony Rogers) – The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27-30—chapter 25 was fulfilled spiritually to close “the end of the (old covenant) age” (Matt. 24:3) in AD 70.
Full Preterism (Michael Sullivan / synthesis “Reformed and always reforming”) – The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27-30—chapter 25 is the ONE NT’s Second Coming event fulfilled spiritually to close “the end of the (old covenant) age” (Matt. 24:3) in AD 70.
The difficulty is that without Full Preterism “Bridging the Gap” between the two and a willingness to reform the creeds on the timing and nature of fulfillment for the Second Coming, the two form a contradiction. And if one is truly Reformed, he or she will submit to the teachings of the Reformed creeds which state that they can be in error and are subject to an accurate exegesis of God’s Word (“The Scriptures only” — Bereans — “Reformed and always reforming” concepts).
I also agree with White, Carson, and Riddlebarger, that whatever ones view of the coming of the Son of Man is upon the clouds of glory in Matthew 24:27-30—25:31, it will (and should) dictate your interpretations of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, and NT eschatology in general (ex. Acts 1:8-11; 1 Cor. 15).
Having stated where I agree with James White on the importance of understanding Matthew 24-25 (and how it will affect ones eschatology), I must clearly state that I disagree with him that the passage is “very difficult” to understand or a subject one should “dread.”
The Disciples Question(s) and End of the Age          
Critiquing James White’s position:
James White begins his study of Matthew 24 by making two foundational interpretive errors:
The disciples alleged “confusion”
First, he performs eisegesis (reading something into the text that is not there) and “question begging” when he assumes the disciples were “confused” in believing the Temple’s destruction end of the age, and Jesus’ Parousia/Second Coming would all be fulfilled together. Is this something the text tells us (as it does in other places of Matthew’s gospel when they are confused)? No. But is this doctrinal mantra used by White (and futurism) depicting the disciples as being allegedly “confused” a necessary inference necessary so that they he can then go on to create division theories (that he admits no one can really agree upon) as to which verses were fulfilled in AD 70 and which ones allegedly are end of time ones. In other words White NEEDS the disciples to be “confused” so that he can then try and “solve” that confusion by giving the OD two fulfillments – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history.
“The Two-Age Model”      
White immediately tells us what has influenced him the most in his study of NT eschatology and in fact is his foundation upon which he builds – the “two-age model” of the Jesus’ teaching and that of the NT. For White “this age” is somehow the New Covenant or Church age and the “age to come” is when the Second Coming/New Creation/Eternal state arrives. White references Matthew 13:39-43 and Luke 20:27-40 for support.
My response to these two points:
First, I find it interesting that White quickly contradicts himself when he points out that the disciples correctly understood Jesus connecting His coming with the destruction of the Temple right before we enter into the OD in Matthew 23:38-39. So this immediately creates some interpretive questions White needs to respond to. If the disciples correctly connected Jesus’ future coming with the destruction of the Temple in Matthew 23:38-39, and this “sets the stage or context for Matthew 24,” then why isn’t the future coming the disciples asked about in connection with the Temple’s destruction in Matthew 24:3ff. (and the one Jesus refers to throughout) the same AD 70 judgment coming of Christ?!? If Jesus did “come in judgment” to destroy the Temple according to Matthew 23:38-39, then where else in Jesus’ teaching (if not in Matt. 16:27-28, Matt. 24; or the rest of the NT for that matter), is this “coming” of Jesus addressed? And if Jesus taught on his “coming” to destroy the Temple, was this teaching anticipated by any of the NT authors as being something that would happen “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand,” “shortly,” “about to be,” or in their “this generation” (cf. 23:36), etc… as AD 70 was approaching?!? In other words White just opened himself up to a two NT comings view of Partial Preterism and now the burden of proof is upon him to prove that not only the coming in Matthews 23:38-39 is not the coming of Christ in Matthew 24, but to tell us which NT future coming of Jesus passages are referring to AD 70 and which ones are allegedly future?
Here are some other problems White has that he doesn’t address:
First, In Part 2 of my response to White and Rogers I dealt with this subject of “this age” and the “age to come” in-depth and would refer the reader to that section if they haven’t read it already. In regards to White, he does no “historical” exegesis in that the Jews of Jesus’ day understood “this age” to be the Old Covenant age of the law and prophets, and the “age to come” to be the New Covenant age or the age Messiah would usher in. That being said, when Jesus in Matthew 13:39-43 states that the separation of the wheat and tares and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the end of their “this age,” He is referring to the commonly understood “this age” of the Old Covenant law and prophets. Jesus hadn’t even died and rose again, so while alive in addressing the crowd about something that would be fulfilled in their current “this age” (not having shed His blood ushering in the inauguration of the NC age), Jesus is teaching that the resurrection would be fulfilled at the end of the OC age – not the NC age. Another issue White avoids in Matthew 13:39-43, 51 is that after Jesus gives His teaching on the “end of this age,” He specifically asks the disciples if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes (vs. 51). Obviously the reason White avoided this text in his mention of Matthew 13 is that it contradicts his necessary theory that the disciples were confused as to what events would be associated with and fulfilled at the end of their “this age.”
Another issue related to a “historical” hermeneutic is where is White’s discussion of how others have interpreted “end of the age” in (Matt. 24:3) within the Reformed Church? Surely he knows that some throughout church history within the Reformed church have taught that the “end of the age” in Matthew 24 is the OC age and not the NC age (such as the view that Anthony Rogers is trying to defend in his response to Shabir Ally)? I think the answer is obvious why he doesn’t want that to be public knowledge for his church or the Christian community to think about.
Secondly, in the book of Daniel the consummation of the major eschatological events can be found in chapters 7, 9 and 12.  Daniel connected the eschatological “time of the end” (not end of time) events such as the desolation of the Temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of man, and the arrival of the kingdom to take place when the city and temple would be destroyed – or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (ie. “all these things” (not some of them) would be fulfilled together Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 27; Dan. 9:24-27; Dan. 12:1-7). Not to mention Daniel predicted that Messiah’s Kingdom would be fulfilled during the time of the fourth Kingdom (Rome) and this is exactly when Christ’s Kingdom and coming took place (cf. Luke 21:27, 31-32).The disciples had the OT Scriptures to guide them in that all these events would be fulfilled together (not thousands of years apart – ie. James White’s position). And thus far in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus has been consistent with this OT time frame for all of these events being fulfilled within some of their lifetimes. This leads us to our next point.
Thirdly, Jesus had previously taught that His coming would take place within some of their lifetimes (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1). If Jesus has already taught the disciples that His coming would take place within some of their lifetimes and connects to the destruction of the Temple (Matt. 23:38-39), why would the disciples be “confused”? Maybe it’s really White and his futurism that is “confused” on this subject and not the disciples or Full Preterism?
Fourthly, although White briefly addresses Matthew 23 as forming the context of Matthew 24, he does not address that Jesus previously taught the disciples that all the blood from righteous Abel (from Genesis up to those He would send to them) would be avenged when the Temple was destroyed in their “this generation” (Matthew 23:30-36, 38)
Fifthly, Isaiah in his “little apocalypse” (Isiah 24-28) posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet, the resurrection, etc…) to take place together when the temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9). So before we even get to Matthew 24, the disciples could have discerned from such prophets as Daniel and Isaiah, that all of the eschatological events would be fulfilled when the temple was destroyed.  The record clearly states that the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on “the end of age” or the end of their “this age.”  And lastly, Jesus had already taught them that some of them would live to witness His return and the destruction of the Temple.  Therefore, they were NOT mistaken to associate and connect Jesus’ coming (to destroy the Temple [that they were looking at and discussing] in their generation) with His coming and the end of the age.
Sixthly, White and others trying to make the point that the disciples were confused on previous occasions is classic mistake of “proving too much.” Why? Because Matthew (as a responsible narrator) and or Jesus makes this clear when the disciples are confused or they need to be corrected (cf. Matt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25). We don’t find that in Matthew 24:3ff.!
And lastly, it is understandable why James White “dreads” addressing Matthew 24 – because he can’t even begin addressing the first verses or the context of the passage without contradicting himself or performing eisegesis!
White’s “harmonization” apologetic against Shabir Ally
In White’s debate with Shabir Ally, Shabir tried to show how the gospels “contradicted” themselves at various points and that this somehow proved they had been corrupted. What was White’s response? He demonstrated that Shabir’s points (and the liberal theologians he was trying to use to discount the reliability of the gospels) could easily be solved through what he called the “harmonization” process of comparing the gospels in that each gospel was written to a different audience which accounted for some of the differences (not contradictions) between them. If White was willing to see that the “end of the age” in the context of the Temple’s destruction in (Matt. 24:3) is the end of the OC age, then he would be ready to see how and why Mark and Luke do not record “and the end of the age” in their versions and why a “harmonization” between them supports the Full Preterist position.
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4)
“So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7)
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3)
Stuart Russell brings up the issue of “harmonization” to point out that all three are dealing with “different aspects of the same great event” in AD 70:
“They must have gathered from the Saviour’s language that this catastrophe was imminent; and their anxiety was to know the time and the tokens of its arrival. St. Mark and St. Luke make the question of the disciples refer to one event and one time—‘When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?’ It is not only presumable, therefore, but indubitable, that the questions of the disciples only refer to different aspects of the same great event. This harmonizes the statements of St. Matthew with those of the other Evangelists, and is plainly required by the circumstances of the case.” (James Stuart Russel, The Parousia The New Testament Doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House Company, 1887 and reprinted again in 1990), 57 – 59).
The “end of the age” in the Greek, (syntéleia toú aiṓnos) is an expression found only in the gospel of Matthew and therefore suggests that it has a peculiar understanding to the Jewish mind. When we broaden this study beyond the gospels with that of the rest of the NT, we discover that syntéleia toú aiṓnos and tṓn aiṓnōn, are only used six times in the NT – five in Matthew’s gospel and once in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:26) which again, is written to a highly Jewish audience. This is probably why Matthew also includes more parables than Mark and Luke do.
If the “end of the age” is referring to the end of planet earth, one would expect to find such crucial information not being omitted by Mark and Luke in the form of the disciples question since this sets the stage and makes an outline of sorts for Jesus’ teaching in the OD.
Perhaps a similar situation as to why something that seems at first to be very important and is omitted in one gospel but added to another, can be found in Jesus’ teaching on divorce. If “fornication” (some mistranslate this as “adultery”) is grounds for divorce, then why would Mark and Luke omit this exceptive clause from Jesus’ teaching in their accounts while we only find it in Matthew’s gospel? Again, it seems to lie in the different audiences being addressed that accounts for the differences.
In Jewish law the first part of the marriage contract was conducted through betrothal. The two were considered “husband and wife” during this period even before their sexual consummation. A betrothed husband could write his “wife” a certificate of “divorce” if she committed “fornication”/pornia (not “adultery”) during this time period. This is why Matthew mentions this in the case of Joseph and Marry and Mark and Luke do not (cf. Matthew 1:19). Since this aspect of “divorce” within the betrothal period (first part of the marriage contract) within Jewish law was only applicable for Matthew’s Jewish audience, Matthew records the exceptive clause, while Mark and Luke do not (written primarily to Gentiles). Also, in Jewish law a woman could not divorce her husband and this is why Matthew does not mention this while Mark does (cf. Mark 10:12 / Matthew 19:9).
Therefore, in essence the three harmonize well in that Jesus’ teaching on divorce agree – “what God has joined together let no man separate.” And when it comes to the disciples question in Matthew, Mark, and Luke (that is a reaction to Jesus telling them that the Temple would be destroyed) – all three accounts harmonize well because all three are dealing with the destruction of the Temple and the end of the Jewish or OC age – “nothing else” (as even Reformed Partial Preterist Gary DeMar has informed us).
Before leaving the subject of the “end of the age” I should point out that the only strength to White’s Amillennial position on the two age view, is just that – Jesus only really taught on “TWO ages.” White ridicules Dispensationalism for having “little mini ages” “here and there in-between the two ages” when no such exegetical warrant can be found in the teachings of Jesus or the NT. But why doesn’t White criticize the Partial Preterist position here as well? Is it because if we really do study what the two views “in the middle” (his Amillennialism and Partial Preterism) are on this subject we arrive at “the truth” of Full Preterism? However, Partial Preterism does need to be criticized for inserting within the teachings of Jesus and that of the NT: TWO Parousias of Christ, TWO Great Commissions, TWO arrivals of the New Creation, TWO Judgments and Resurrections of the living and dead, and TWO “end of the age” doctrines to support their double vision and double-talk eschatology. Selah.
Let’s now shift our attention from Mr. White to that of Anthony Rogers and Sam Shamoun.
Critiquing Anthony Rogers and Sam Shamoun
Unlike White, at least Anthony Rogers attempts to correctly identify the “end of the age” in Matthew 24:3 and “the end” throughout as the end of the OC age in AD 70 and quotes Milton Terry for support (as most Preterists have). Milton Terry following Russell’s lead was spot on in identifying Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the Olivet discourse and elsewhere in the NT (such as Hebrews 9:26-28) as the OC age ending in AD 70:
“The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.” (Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442).
After all the “Second Appearing” or “Second Coming” of Christ to close the OC age is further described as Christ coming in an AD 70 imminent time frame: “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” in the next chapter (Hebrews 10:37). But let’s think about this for just a moment. The very text by which Christianity has formed the term “The Second Coming of Jesus” Partial Preterism says was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70! This is why when I try and explain this position (even once being a PP), people look confused and say, “So they believe in a “second, second coming’”???
Reformed Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar would agree with Full Preterism on three crucial points in interpreting Matthew 24-25 properly: 1. The disciples were not confused, 2. The “end of the age” is the OC age ending in AD 70, and 3. There are not two comings (one in AD 70 and one at the end of world history) described in these chapters. On the disciples question in Matthew 24:3 DeMar correctly writes,
“The disciples question involves three interrelated, contemporary events:  (1) the time of the temple’s destruction; (2) the sign that will signal Jesus’ coming related to the destruction of the temple; and (3) the sign they should look for telling them that “the end of the age” has come.  These questions are related to the destruction of the temple and the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system and nothing else.” (Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA:  Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68, bold emphasis added).
Explaining his position on the “end of the age” being the OC age, DeMar quotes George Hill to support its historical relevance of “this age” being the OC age and the “age to come” being the NC or Messianic age,
“Notice that the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (kosmos), as some Bible versions translate the Greek word aion. In context, with the temple and city as their primary focus, they asked about the end of the “age.”  They were asking when time would run out for the temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the covenant promises that were related to the Mosaic system of animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings, and the priesthood.
Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the age of the law and the age of the Messiah.  The conclusion of the one was the beginning of the other, the opening of that kingdom which the Jews believed the Messiah was to establish, which was to put an end to their sufferings, and to render them the greatest people upon the earth.  The apostles full of this hope, said to our Lord, immediately before his ascension, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? [Acts 1:6].  Our Lord uses the phrase of his coming to denote his taking vengeance upon the Jews by destroying their city and sanctuary.17
The “end of the age” refers to the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system with its attendant sacrifices and rituals.” (Ibid., 68).
Connecting this with the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds throughout Matthew 24-25 DeMar writes,
Jesus never indicates that He has a distant coming in mind.  There is nothing in the Olivet Discourse that would give the reader the impression that a distant event [such as the end the planet earth or NC Christian age] is in view.” (Ibid., 68, brackets mine).
My response:
As helpful and as exegetical as these quotes are, the weakness of DeMar’s Partial Preterism should be apparent. As White and other Reformed Amillennialists have pointed out Jesus only taught on two ages “this age” and the “age to come.” As I covered in Part 2 of this series, Jesus places the ONE resurrection and judgment of the living and dead of Daniel 12:2-3 at the end of the OC “this age” or “end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Luke 20:27-40. And as we noted in Part 2, there is no exegetical evidence that Jesus uses Daniel’s “hour” (Dan. 12:1-4 (OG) LXX) in John 4-5 as being fulfilled literally at the end of world history either.
Like Gary DeMar, this is a subject Anthony Rogers wants to avoid (and has so far) in his series of articles trying to respond to Shabir Ally in areas White “dreaded” to address. The spiritual resurrection at the end of the ONE “end of the (OC) age” in AD 70 is the Achilles heel of Partial Preterism and is something that continues to lead its readers into the Full Preterist movement. They want one foot in sound exegesis while trying to keep the other in the WCF on the “end of the age” and that “dog just won’t hunt” as they say around here.
General and Specific Signs
Critiquing James White
As I recall White gives most of the signs a dual type fulfillment. He criticizes Dispensationalism for giving a futuristic view of the signs and yet his double-type fulfillment on most of them leaves the door right open for Dispensationalism to do the very thing White criticizes.
False Christ’s / Messiah’s (vss. 5, 11, 23-24)
Because James White debates many views and professing “Christian” cults he points out that this passage could be applied to events prior to AD 70 but claims it is still being fulfilled today (example all of the cults he debates etc…). I don’t really see much of a difference between James White’s interpretations here and say that of David Hunt’s.
Jesus predicted that false messiahs would come in the generation of the first century and they did:  Theudas (Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few.  In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) the first century Church that they knew it was “the last hour” because the Antichrist’s had arrived (1 John 2:17-18). For those who understand the “Antichrist” and “Man of Sin” to be the same person, we should point out that this individual was alive and “already at work” during the time of Paul (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8).  As I discussed in Part 2 of this series, John’s “last hour” was the “hour” of Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection and judgment upon Jerusalem and that of Daniel 12 in (Matt. 24:36; John 4:20-24; John 5:24-29/Dan. 12:1-2 (OG) LXX). James White has the Church living in a very LONG “it is the last hour” that should be a sign of Christ’s coming upon the clouds of heaven in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
The Jewish historian Josephus writes of a false prophet during the destruction of Jerusalem which deceived the Jews to stay and fight the Romans:
“Of so great a multitude, not one escaped. Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope. Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope. Thus it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.3.6.).
“Wars and Rumors of Wars” (vss. 6-7)
If I recall White spends most of his time here pretty much mocking Dispensationalists for claiming the “end is near” every time there is a war (which is all the time), famine, earthquake, persecution of Christians, etc…. Yet White seems to miss the significance to all of the signs (even the general ones) being fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period. As John L. Bray wrote:
“In AD 40 there was a disturbance at Mesopotamia which (Josephus says) caused the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, a tumult at Jerusalem at the time of the Passover resulted in 10,000 to 20,000 deaths.  At Caesarea, contentions between Jewish people and other inhabitants resulted in over 20,000 Jews being killed.  As Jews moved elsewhere, over 20,000 were destroyed by Syrians.  At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed.  Thousands were killed in other places, and at Alexandria 50,000 were killed.  At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in an hour’s time.” (John L. Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, p. 28)
“Famines” and earthquakes (vss. 7-8)
Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic old-covenant age and generation (Acts 11:27-29).  In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered.
The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26).  “…just previous to 70 AD there were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, and Judea.” (Gary DeMar, ibid., 64)
“Put to death,” “The love of many will grow cold” “He who endures till the end shall be saved” (vss. 9-13) 
The first century Christians were to expect tribulation, to be brought before kings and rulers, imprisonment, beatings, for the sake of Jesus. Please read the book of Acts 4:3,17; Acts 5:40; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; Acts 12:1-3; Acts 14:19 to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Luke 21:12.   In fulfillment of our Lord’s words, Paul and Silas were beaten (Acts 26:23) and Paul was brought before rulers and kings – Gallio, (Acts 28:12), Felix (Acts 24), Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25).   Peter and Paul were put to death in the persecution of Nero.
Now White references a lot of these NT passages as well and discusses Nero’s persecutions etc…, but then again claims this has no real significance to a fulfillment of Christ’s return in the passage and the end of the age since the Church has always been persecuted throughout Church history.
But White seems to miss the golden thread of the NT’s teaching on: The preaching, persecution, power (charismata present), before the parousia.
We now enter the “persecution” before “the end.” White claims “the end” here is nothing more than the “end” of an individual’s life which could be fulfilled for any persecuted group of Christian’s pre or post AD 70. But contextually “the end” should be seen as the fulfillment to “the end of the age” the disciples asked about in (v. 3). But if this wasn’t clear enough, we need only go back earlier in Jesus’ teaching on the same subjects in Matthew 10:17-23:
“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7)
“I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Matt. 10:15)
“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” (Matt. 10:22-23)
I find it interesting that James White refers to the book When Shall These Things Be? in hopes that someone can refute Full Preterism – since he is unwilling to debate and respond to us. Yet here in this book Mathison (my opponent) references D.A. Carson (someone White appeals to often as well) as someone applying the fulfillment of this passage to AD 70 (WSTTB?, 175, fn. 23). Ironically, Mathison’s source for all the main views on this passage ends up taking a Preterist one! Carson finds view #7 to be the most contextually accurate in light of the limited cultural and local indicators connected with this persecution and the coming of the Son of Man:
“7. The “coming of the Son of Man” here refers to his coming in judgment against the Jews, culminating in the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple (so France, Jesus, p. 140; Feuillet, “Les origines,” pp. 182–98; Moule, Birth, p. 90; J.A.T. Robinson, Jesus and His Coming [London: SCM, 1957], pp. 80, 91–92; and others).” (Carson, D. A. (1984). Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, pp. 252–253). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House).
“Against this background the coming of the Son of Man in v. 23 marks that stage in the coming of the kingdom in which the judgment repeatedly foretold falls on the Jews. With it the temple cultus disappears, and the new wine necessarily takes to new wineskins (see on 9:16–17). The age of the kingdom comes into its own, precisely because so many of the structured foreshadowings of the OT, bound up with the cultus and nation, now disappear (see on 5:17–48). The Son of Man comes.
Above all this interpretation makes contextual sense of v. 23. The connection is not with v. 22 alone but with vv. 17–22, which picture the suffering witness of the church in the post-Pentecost period during a time when many of Jesus’ disciples are still bound up with the synagogue. During that period, Jesus says in v. 23, his disciples must not use the opposition to justify quitting or bravado. Far from it. When they face persecution, they must take it as no more than a signal for strategic withdrawal to the next city (W. Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, 2 vols. [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 1:378–80) where witness must continue, for the time is short. They will not have finished evangelizing the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes in judgment on Israel.” (Carson, Ibid.).
In addition to Carson’s comments, I would argue that the coming of the Son of Man in verse 23 is not just connected to verses 17-22, but would include Jesus’ announcement that the Kingdom was “at hand” in verse 7 and “the judgment” coming upon the “villages” and “towns” of 15 also point to Christ coming upon Jerusalem in AD 70.
Herman Ridderbos is partially correct when he tries to say that it is not the mission of the disciples that is the issue, but the persecution in this passage (Herman Ridderbos, The COMING of the KINGDOM, (P&R pub., 1962), pp. 508-509). But the truth of the matter is that both go hand in hand. The OT echo and background here is the “city of refuge” in which individuals unjustly convicted of crimes could flee to for safety when wrongly accused or persecuted (cf. Ex. 21; 13; Num. 35:6, 11, 14; Deut. 21:2, 9; Josh. 20:1-9). With this being the background some have actually translated the text as,
“But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish fleeing to all the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”
These cities being evangelized would obviously fall under the umbrella of the gospel having been preached to “every creature under heaven” and in “all the world/earth” and to “all nations” Cols.1:5-6, 23; Rms.10:18; Rms.16:25-26 prior to AD 70. Not all the cities would have persecuted them during their missionary journeys but when they were, they were promised to have a city to flee to for safety. We also know from history that the Christians fled to Pella (a city of refuge) when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies as predicted and directed by our Lord Luke 21:20ff.
While briefly here in Matthew 10:17-23, I should point out that a lot of Rreformed theologians try and say that this coming of the Son of Man was fulfilled in the resurrection or ascension events. Yet, as Carson observed, the text is inseparably linked to the preaching and persecutions that precede it. Therefore, the challenge for this is to demonstrate where is it EVER recorded in the NT that the disciples were: 1) “delivered up to councils” in verse 17, 2) “scourged in the synagogues” in verse 17, and 3) given the Holy Spirit to be “brought before governors and kings as a testimony to them and the Gentiles” vs. 19-20, prior to the resurrection and ascension? All of these events are recorded for us in the book of Acts and took place AFTER the resurrection and ascension of Christ and not before it. Selah. However, all of these events occurred before Christ came on the clouds to make an “end” of the Jewish or OC age in AD 70 and “save” His people from the wrath that was to engulf Jerusalem. The persecution and fleeing passages are inseparably linked to the time of “the end.” The chapter ends with those among Israel whom will receive a “prophet’s reward” Matt.10:40-42. These “prophets” in the context, are the disciples (cf. Matt. 23:34-36) whom some of which were promised to be alive to witness the Son of Man coming to reward every man (Matt.16:27-28/Rev. 22:12) as I proved in Part 1 of this series
The persecution connected to “the end” here in Matthew 10:22-23 and that of Matthew 24:3, 12, 14 is once again pointing us back to Daniel’s “time of the end” or “the end” of the Seventy Sevens which again find their fulfillment in AD 70 (cf. Dan. 9:24-27; 12:1-13). In connection with the coming of the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13 the contextual setting was prophesied that the little horn would wage war against the saints (thus inferring martyrdom) before they could poses and inherit the kingdom. This is what we are seeing in both Matthew 10:7, 17-23 (persecution takes place in light of the fact that the “kingdom is at hand” — connected to the coming of the Son of Man) and Matthew 24/Mark 13/Luke 21:27, 31-23 (persecution, kingdom at hand or at the door, and coming of the Son of Man predicted to take place within their “this generation”).
Here are some of the other parallels:

Matthew 10:17-23 Olivet Discourse
1.     Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Matt. 10:17 1.     Delivered up to local councils and synagogues – Mark 13:9
2.     Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Matt. 10:18 2.     Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles – Mark 13:9
3.     Holy Spirit would speak through them – Matt. 10:19-20 3.     Holy Spirit would speak through them –    Mark 13:11
4.     Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be saved – Matt. 10:22 4.     Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” – Mark 13:12-13
5.     The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. Matt. 10:23 5.     The disciples (and later Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place. Matthew 24:14/Mark 13:10

D.A. Carson claims that the coming of the Son of Man and “the end” in Matthew 10:17-23 have to refer to Christ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70 because of the unique cultural and temporal indicators describing the disciples persecutions (“local councils” and “synagogues” etc…) that are inseparably connected to the time frame of the coming of the Son of Man. But these SAME cultural and temporal indicators are inseparably connected to the coming of the Son of Man in the Olivet Discourse – which pose a problem for both Carson and White!
It is ultimately Carson working from a creedal bias and faulty assumptions that the coming of the Son of Man in judgment upon Jerusalem in Matthew 10:17-23 cannot be the Second Coming event as is described in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 that forces him to not see Full Preterism. This causes him to hastily brush aside these parallels and Jesus’ teaching in the OD in which Christ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem is the Second Coming event which brought about “the end” of her age or OC age in AD 70. Where is Carson’s exegetical work on Jesus’ OT echo here for “the end” which posit the destruction of the Temple and City (in AD 70) to be the time for the judgment and resurrection of the dead to take place (ie. Daniel 12:1-13)?
In allowing Jesus to interpret Himself in comparing the persecution of the first century pre-AD 70 disciples in our text Matt. 24:13 with that of “the end” in (Matt. 10:17-23/Mark 13) we see that “the end” is not the end of an individual’s life pre or post AD 70 as White merely assumes, but Daniel’s “time of the end” and in the immediate context “the end of the age” the disciples asked about. White did absolutely no paralleling (“harmonization”) with Mark 13 or addressed this same subject in the gospel of Matthew in chapter 10. Sloppy use of hermeneutics and exposition on White’s part and his church need to be Bereans and challenge him on his “dreaded” approach to Matthew 24.
We will revisit what this “the end” is once we get to verse 14 – where White creates all kinds of problems for himself. But first let’s address the sign of the apostasy in this passage.
At this point we are getting into what Riddlebarger observed in that how one interprets the OD will form ones “millennial view” to some extent (Riddlebarger, Ibid., 157). What are the “days” (plural) that lead up to “the day” (singular) of Christ’s coming and judgment throughout Matthew 24? White’s Amillennialism and that of the “Two-Age Model” would teach these are describing the NT’s use of the “last days” of the Church age in which the “last day” of the Second Coming takes place. So for Amillennialists is Matthew 24 and say 2 Timothy 3 teaching an “optimistic Amillennial view” or what some call a “pessimistic Amillennial view?” Now some Reformed Partial Preterists have taken the NT’s use of the “last days” to be exclusively from roughly from AD 30 – AD 70 referring not to the last days of the Church or NC age, but the last days of the Jewish or OC age ending in AD 70 (Chilton, DeMar, etc…). However, some like Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison like to try and “have their cake and eat it to” when it comes to the “last days” and persecution or apostasy is the subject. Why? Because Postmillennial Partial Preterists in debating “pessimistic Dispensationalists” or “pessimistic Postmillennialists” here in Matthew 24:12 and 2 Timothy 3 would like to get this fulfilled in a Preterist “past” time frame so that they can promote an “optimistic Postmillennialism.” Since their eschatology has the vast majority of the nations of the world being Christianized right before the Second Coming takes place, passages like these HAVE to be already be fulfilled in the past or in throws a monkey wrench into their eschatology. I addressed this “doubletalk” in my response to Keith Mathison in our book:
“Mathison says that 2 Timothy 3:1 and 2 Peter 3:3 imply that the last days are still future. Let us see if that interpretation holds water.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come (2 Tim. 3:1).
In his book, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope, Mathison writes to futurists concerning this verse and its context:
The . . . “last days” . . . and similar phrases are often used to refer to the last days of the Jewish age (e.g., Heb. 1:2; 1Pet.1:20; 1John 2:18). . . . [This passage] speaks to a pastoral situation that Timothy was dealing with in his own day. It is not a prophecyof conditions at the end of the world.[4]
But five years later, in WSTTB, when debating “hyper preterists,” Mathison says that the very same last days prophecy (2 Tim. 3:1) will be fulfilled in our future:
. . . [Some] New Testament texts . . . seem to refer to “the last days” as something yet to come. Paul, for example, warns Timothy that “In the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3:1; cf. 1 Tim. 4:1). Peter warns his readers “that scoffers will come in the last days” (2 Peter 3:3). [Paul and Peter] say . . . that “the last days” will be the time in which something that is future will happen. The coming of “perilous times” and of “scoffers” is explicitly said to be future. The future times during which these things will come is called “the last days.” The implication is that “the last days” referred to in these texts are still future.
So while we are already in the last days, there is still some sense in which the last days can be considered future.[5]
But then yet another five years later, in his new book, From Age to Age, Mathison reverts to the biblical-preterist view that the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1 refer to the first century.
According to some, these verses refer to an apostasy to occur in the time immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus. There are at least three reasons, however, to doubt this conclusion.[6]
Who do we believe? The 1999 preterist Mathison (Postmillennialism) or the 2004 futurist Mathison (WSTTB) or the 2009 preterist Mathison (From Age to Age)? Are the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1 the last days of the “Jewish age,” as Mathison implies while defending partial preterist postmillennialism against other futurists? Or are the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1 the last days of a future end of world history, as Mathison implies while attempting to refute biblical preterism?
Mathison says “the last days” are past when he is refuting other futurists because he knows that if “the last days” are still future, then the growing and increasing apostasy which characterizes those “perilous times” are still present and future for us as well; and if this is the case, then there is nothing left to his “optimistic” and “successful” postmillennial “golden age” that will gradually blossom before Jesus allegedly comes back peacefully for His Second (Third) Coming in our future.
But Mathison does not concern himself with this implication of making “the last days” future when he refutes “hyper-preterists.” His only concern when dealing with us is to counter “hyper-preterism” at any cost, even, apparently, at the cost of his own doctrinal integrity.
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts. (2 Peter 3:3)
The majority of futurist commentators, men such as Mathison’s coauthor Simon Kistemaker, are certain (as are we) that Peter’s “last days” involves at least one or two signs that Jesus spoke of in the Olivet Discourse, namely, false prophets and the apostasy (2 Peter 1:16; 2:1ff; cf. Matt. 24:3–5, 11, 23–26; 27–34). This fact leads us to an AD 70 fulfillment, not a future-to-us fulfillment.
The “mockers” and “ungodly men” of 2 Peter 3:3–7 are the “false teachers” of 2 Peter 2:1–3, whose destruction was imminent in Peter’s day. Partial preterist Peter Leithart writes of these false teachers and mockers:
Peter says explicitly that the destruction of false teachers is coming “soon.” Their destruction is the same event as the destruction of the present heavens and earth, the “day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (3:7). If the destruction of false teachers was near when Peter wrote, so also was the destruction of the heavens and earth and the coming of a new heavens and earth.[7]
Peter responds to mockers who doubt the promise of Jesus’ coming because time has passed without any sign of the Parousia.
If there were no time limit on the original prophecy, then the mockers would have no grounds for their mockery and no way to attract converts to their skeptical views. Therefore, the original prophecy must have included a time limit, a terminus ad quem, and that time limit must have been the lifetime of the apostles.16
Since these mockers were already present, it is illogical for Mathison to say that the perilous times of the last days will take place in our future (190). There is not one scintilla of evidence, whether explicit or implicit, for Mathison’s contention that “the future” for Peter and his audience is still “the future” for us.
According to Isaiah, the coming of the Lord and His righteous judgment of these scoffers would be likened to the Lord’s return in judgment upon the Philistines and the Amorites at Mount Perazim and the Valley of Gibeon (Isa. 28:21). These were not global judgments that burned the face of the planet or that disintegrated the elements of the periodic table.
Isaiah repeatedly tells us that there were to be “survivors” of this “Day of the Lord” even after the “earth”/“land” is burned with fire and the new creation takes its place (Isa. 1–5; 24–25; 65–66). This precludes the notion that Isaiah was speaking of a fiery destruction of the face of planet Earth and of the stars and planets.
The Law and the Prophets never predicted a literal torching of the planet. “The last days” were the last days before the judgment of apostate, old covenant Judah/Jerusalem and the “elements” (rudiments) of her world, and cannot be applied to an alleged ending of the eternal, new covenant age/world. There can be no “last days” of an age that has “no end” (Isa. 9:7; Eph. 3:21). There is therefore no 2000+ year extension or expansion of the “last days” into our future, as Mathison and other futurists theorize.” (Sullivan, Green, Hassertt, House Divided, Ibid., pp. 81-84).
Recently, Mr. Gentry has sought to take issue with White’s Amillennialism in 2 Timothy 3 and is arguing for a first century fulfillment of the passage while at the same time trying to be more “orthodox” on the “last days” claiming the Church is still in those days. For Gentry’s form of Partial Preterism (and apparently that of Mathison), he has ONE eschatological “last days” period that spans through TWO eschatological “already not yet” periods which end two ages (OC age in AD 70 and the Churches at the end of world history). Of course Gentry is extremely arbitrary in this construction that is neither creedal nor Biblical (as White, Riddlebarger, Strimple, and Full Preterists have pointed out). As I pointed out Gentry and Mathison have other problems with these passages in that they describe “signs” in Matthew 24 that they say were fulfilled in AD 70, while trying to claim 2 Timothy 3 and 2 Peter 3 need to have a future fulfillment when in fact these chapters are inseparably connect to the same AD 70 fulfillment signs! They should have listened to their Partial Preterist brethren and that of Full Preterists on these passages but they would not.
And because White fails to understand that this specific sign of apostasy here in Matthew 24:12 was to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (not in the Church age post AD 70) and that the “last days” and apostasy described in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 is describing the “last days” of the Jewish or OC age, he too incorrectly interprets these passages. Since White has already told us that “the truth can be found in the middle (of classical Amillennialism & Partial Preterism) let’s solve this tiff between Gentry and White on these passages:
James White (Classic Amillennialism) – The “last days” span between the “Two-Age-Model” of Jesus’ and the NT’s teaching on the signs of persecution, apostasy, and false teachers found in Matthew 24; 2 Timothy 3; and 2 Peter 3.
Gary DeMar (AV Partial Preterism) – The “days” leading up to “that day” in Matthew 24 and the NT’s use of the “last days” are describing, leading up to, and were fulfilled when the OC age ended in AD 70 and therefore Matthew 24; 2 Timothy 3; and 2 Peter 3 were fulfilled by AD 70.
Michael Sullivan (Full Preterism synthesis “truth is in the middle”) – The “last days” of the OC age ended in AD 70 and were a span of time that that were between the NT’s “Two-Age-Model” (not three per Gentry and even DeMar – both claim “the end of the age” in Matt. 28:18-20 is still future) found describing the signs of persecution, apostasy, and false teachers found in Matthew 24; 2 Timothy 3; and 2 Peter 3. Therefore, all three passages have already been fulfilled (cf. Luke 21:22/1 Peter 1:4-12/2 Peter 4:5-7/2 Tim. 4:1YLT).
But having taken a necessary and exegetical “rabbit trail” here in looking at the “last days” signs found in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 2 Peter 3 in developing Matthew 24:9-13, it would be nice to hear how Gentry believes the living and dead were judged in AD 70: “I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his reign” (2 Tim. 4:1YLT/1 Peter 4:5-7). Selah. It’s always fun to watch a Partial Preterist squirm and address that topic – trying to explain to Amillennialists and Full Preterists how the NT supposedly teaches TWO judgments and resurrections from the dead. All the while they try and keep a straight face and tell you that they are creedal and their views don’t lead to Full Preterism – lol.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Based upon everything you hear up to this point in listening to James White’s treatment of  Matthew 24 up to this point is a lot of eisegesis and very disappointing. But once he gets to Matthew 24:14 he catches you a bit by surprise. White actually claims that in interpreting this passage and (Mark 13:10) we should understand the terms “whole world” and “all nations” in a “local” first century context in relation to the Roman world or the world as they knew it — and for support he goes to Colossians 1:5-6, 23 in fulfillment of these passages in Paul’s day! You would think you are listening to a Partial Preterist or Full Preterist at this point. But what White says of this passage creates some exegetical problems for him.
First, “the end” in verse 14 is referring contextually to “the end of the age” the disciples asked about in v. 3. This is the same problem White ran into with “the end” in 24:13. Even Kim Riddlebarger (whom White claims he is following for the most part) admits “In verse 14, Jesus gave another sign of the end of the age…” (Riddlebarger, Ibid., 166). Well, if v. 14 is a “sign of the end of the age” the disciples asked about, then contextually one of the signs of “the end of the age” was fulfilled in Paul’s day. That being the case, then “the end of the age” or “the end” refers to the OC age that Paul identified as “shortly” coming to an end in his day (1 Cor. 7:29, 31; 1 Cor. 10:11).
Secondly, if the sign (of the end of the age) concerning the Gospel being preached to the “whole world” and to “all nations” was fulfilled just prior to AD 70 (White citing Cols. 1:5-6, 23), then “the end” or “the end of the (OC) age” is what the disciples asked about and clearly what Jesus is saying would be fulfilled within their AD 30 – AD “this generation” (Matt. 24:34). But to do this, it takes White out of his “Two-Age-Model!” So what do you do? One might substitute “the end” or “end of the age” with the “apostolic age”? Since White claims he is following Riddlebarger for the most part let’s quote him a bit more on this verse. I want you to pay attention to his use of the “apostolic age” and also his references to the “Roman Empire” and Acts 1:8:
Clearly, this sign (of the end of the age), extended not only to the apostolic age, in which the gospel was proclaimed throughout most of the Roman Empire by A.D. 70 (cf. Acts 1:8). But this same gospel which Jesus preached must be preached to all nations before the end of the age. This idea applies to the end of the age and second coming advent, not the events of A.D. 70.” (Ibid.)
“Clearly” Riddlebarger must know that the NT does not mention anything about an “apostolic age” since we have to remind him that he only holds to a “Two-Age-Model.” If Acts 1:8 is referring to the Roman Empire, then the gospel had been preached throughout the Roman Empire just prior to the end of the OC age in AD 70. So when you compare what White is saying of Matthew 24:14/Mark 13:10/Colossians 1:5-6, 23 as referring to the “known world at that time” / “Roman world” / “nations” being “local” not global, and Riddlebarger claiming the “ends of the earth” is referring to the Roman Empire in (Acts 1:8) – you have to kind of scratch your head a bit. “Clearly” Riddlebarger and White are confused. Every Greek word Jesus uses for the fulfillment of the GC, the Apostle Paul turns right around and uses (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to teach that the GC had already been fulfilled in his day:
PROPHECY            FULFILLMENT

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

Jesus nor the Apostle Paul meant nor understood these phrases of “into all the world,” “all nations,” “every creature,” or “end of the earth,” to be global terms but rather the nations of the Roman Empire or “the inhabited world as they knew it” in the first century as Riddlebarger and White have admitted to these Biblical definitions!
“Clearly,” Paul in Colossians 1:5-6, 23 and in Romans 10:18 does not say that the gospel had been preached into “most” of the “end of the earth” – just that it had been preached to “all the earth” and to “the ends of the earth” just as the end of the OC age was approaching. And “clearly” within the context of Matthew 24:14 there is no mention of this being fulfilled by the “apostolic age” – the only “the end” is referring to the “end of the (OC) age” connected to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. I would rather follow the Paul’s inspired teachings and thus his development of NT imminence (that is really imminent) than Riddlebarger and White who feel way to comfortable “going beyond what is written.”
Although I would disagree with John Murray and what he views as fulfilled in AD 70 and what is allegedly future, I would agree with his observations that like other prophetic material (such as the book of Revelation), Jesus in the OD is using the commonly practiced use of “recapitulation” throughout:
“1. The discourse, as to structure, is recapitulatory to a considerable extent. It is not, therefore, continuously progressive. We are repeatedly brought to the advent and informed of its various features, concomitants, and consequences (vss. 14, 29-31, 37-41, 25:31-46).” John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2: Systematic Theology, (Carlisle, PA: THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), 398-399).
Murray’s structure is spot on and creates problems for White’s exegesis so far in what he and Riddlebarger have said of the GC described in Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10 in their appeals to Colossians 1:5-6, 23 and Acts 1:8 with how Paul understood these terms of the commission being fulfilled just prior to the end of the OC age asked about in Matt. 24:3 (not the “apostolic age”) approaching AD 66 – AD 70. It also creates problems for Partial Preterists who claim Matthew 24:30-31 is descriptive of a second GC commission (removed from v. 14) gathering post AD 70 and not the actual ONE “Second Advent” or “end of the age” gathering and resurrection described for us in Matthew 13:39-43/Matthew 24:30-31. Matthew 24:30-31 is not a second GC, but is the “recapitulation” of the consummation or fulfillment found in v. 14! Again, let me stress, the gathering of the elect at the Second Coming (the fulfillment of the harvest) fulfills the GC of v. 14.
But I think Murray misses that Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23 is also a recapitulated consummation scene to the disciples question in v. 3 as well. And to that subject we now turn our attention to.
“The abomination that causes desolation” “Then let those who are in Judea flee” (vss. 15-20) “For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” (Luke 21:20-22)
We finally reach some passages that James White is willing to admit have been 100% fulfilled by AD 70 (at least in Matthew’s account). In the previous passages White criticizes and mocks Dispensationalism’s futuristic treatment of the signs and yet we have found that White ironically gives them the same kind of futuristic double-type fulfillments that fuels the “extremes” of newspaper Dispensational eschatology! But now it is safe to say White is separating himself from Dispensationalists when it comes to agree with Partial Preterists and Full Preterists that these verses have been fulfilled by AD 70.
White at this point of his exegesis of Matthew 24 finally wants to do some “harmonization” between Matthew 24:15-20 with other parallel accounts to the OD such as Luke 21:20-23. Why? Well, mostly it is to further mock Dispensationalism. But putting that aside, White is correct to point out to Dispensationalists that there is no need for a future re-built Temple to fulfill this passage. Nor is their understanding of trying to identify a future to us “anti-Christ” (“alive and well on planet earth”) to do abominable acts in this future to us re-built Temple in hopes of fulfilling this passage. Why? Because a “harmonization” of Matthew 24:15-20 with that of Luke 21:20-23 concerning this “desolation” makes it plain that the Roman armies on Jerusalem’s land (surrounding the City and Temple area) would be an “abomination” to the Jew, and thus a fulfillment of the Daniel 9:27 Jesus references.
White is correct to point out the clear AD 70 local and temporal indicators within the (Matt. 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23) passages such as:

  1. The surrounding of Jerusalem being the Romans in AD 66.
  2. The flight of the Christian Jews from Jerusalem to the city to Pella.
  3. References to “Judea” and pre-AD 70 cultural references to one being on a “roof.”

For White, Partial Preterists and Full Preterists this is sound hermeneutical ground to see these passages as being fulfilled in the events of AD 66 – AD 70.
But of course it is my job as a “Berean,” thorough exegete, and a Full Preterist theologian to bring up and address issues White did not address on these passages:

  1. If I recall there was no mention or exegesis of what the, “For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” passage means (Luke 21:22) which of course is sandwiched in-between the abomination and desolation/flight of (Matt. 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23).
  2. Since White appealed to D.A. Carson on how “difficult” and yet significant and important Matthew 24 is to how one will interpret his eschatology say in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, we should ask ourselves where else could this AD 66 – AD 70 “wrath” be described in Thessalonians? This is especially relevant as it pertains to passages that have been brought up in Muslim debates and articles addressed to Sam Shamoun etc…
  3. There was no real exegesis from White on the OT echo or reference Jesus brings up in Daniel 9:27 which is the fulfillment of the Seventy Sevens of Daniel 9:24-27 and how those verses could have been fulfilled by AD 70. Exegetically speaking, anytime a NT author quotes or alludes to an OT reference, it is the Christian exegete’s responsibility to develop that OT context to see how, what, when, and where that context applies to the NT author’s use of the passage in the NT.

Daniel 2 / 7 / 9 / 12 recapitulation and Matthew 24:15/Luke 21:22 “all things written”
As the book of Revelation and Matthew 24-25 are written in a common prophetic “recapitulation,” structure understood in the context of Jesus’ day, so too was the prophetic book of Daniel. So if Jesus says that Daniel 9:27 would be fulfilled by AD 70 that isn’t exactly the end of the issue. Because in context, Daniel 9:27 is the climax of the redemptive events being fulfilled for the entire Seventy Seven’s prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27. And have some of these same events been recapitulated previously in say chapters 2 and 7, and will they be recapitulated again in chapter 12 with indicators that they too would all be fulfilled by AD 70 – ie. “all things written” (the coming of the Son of Man, the judgment, and resurrection) (Luke 21:22/Matt. 5:17-18)?
Daniel 2 – Nebuchadnezzar has a dream which troubles him. He seeks to have his wise men to tell him what he dreamt and its interpretation. No one could do this except the God of Daniel. The dream was of a statue which represented four world powers (1. Head of gold = Babylon, 2. Chest and arms of silver = Medo-Persia, 3. Belly and thighs of bronze = Greece, and 4. Legs of iron and feet of clay = Roman (and possibly the Hasmonean dynasty). It is revealed that the God of heaven will establish His everlasting Kingdom that will never be destroyed through the use of a “stone cut out of a mountain without hands” that will strike the feet of the statue (during the time of the Roman Kingdom).
Daniel 7 – This is the time for the eschatological judgment when the Ancient of Days would open the books. In verse 13 in the (OG) LXX it depicts one like a Son of Man coming with/upon the clouds of heaven “as the Ancient of days.” Daniel wants to understand more about this and is given an angelic interpretation in vss. 19-27. We are told that a “little horn” from the “fourth beast” (Rome) would wage war against the saints (implying persecution and martyrdom) before the Ancient of Days would come in judgment and the saints could “poses” or inherit the kingdom.
Jesus and the book of Revelation depict Christ coming as the Son of Man upon the clouds and as the Ancient of Days in His Second Advent (Matt. 16:27-28; Matt. 24:30-31—25:31; Rev. 1:7-18). The Second Advent of the Son of Man and His Kingdom (cf. Luke 21:27, 31-32; Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1) is described to take place within some of lifetimes of Jesus’ first century audience and in their “this generation.” This is consistent with an AD 70 imminent “shortly” fulfillment of Christ’s coming as the Ancient of days in judgment found in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1—-22:20).
So before getting into Daniel 9:27, we can see that there has been a “recapitulation” of progressive development of how and when God’s everlasting Kingdom will come during the time of the Roman Empire. In chapter 2 why find out that it comes during the time of the fourth kingdom (Rome) and that it comes in the form of a Stone (Jesus Christ the Chief Corner Stone) bringing an end to the times of the Gentiles (we will get into that when approaching Luke 21:24 – shortly). Recapitulation in the form of progressive revelation (or description of this same event) further describes the coming Stone as a Son of Man coming upon the clouds “as the Ancient of Days” in judgment upon the little horn of the fourth beast (Rome) at which time the Kingdom is established. But here we are given further information about the same end time judgment event in that there is persecution for the saints before they can inherit this spiritual and eternal kingdom.
Daniel 9:24-27 – As I stated earlier, since there is no disagreement between myself, White, Rogers, and Shamoun, on the fulfillment of Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23 being fulfilled by AD 70, I want to develop the context and spend a little more time on the immediate context of Daniel 9:24-27.
This too is one of those allegedly “difficult” passages to interpret but it really isn’t. As we have seen so far in Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24, the truth is easy to see and has been a synthesis or combination of the Classical Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist views. The truth of the matter is that a easy explanation of the Seventy Sevens is found “in the middle” of two Christian views that have been seen as contradictory (working within the box of the creeds), but when combined together actually form the Biblical view.
View #1 – Many of the early church fathers and even exegetes today (even Partial Preterists) find the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24-27 in Christ’s appearance in the flesh, His death, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70 – closing the OC age. Many within this view try and make the prophecy be a literal 490 years.
View #2 – Other church fathers and even modern theologians have interpreted the prophecy from the Babylonian Exile to the kingdom’s arrival attended by the Second Coming of Christ – at the end of the days or end of the Church age. This view understands the Seventy Sevens (or as some call them “The Seventy Weeks”) not to be a literal 490 years, but a prophetic and symbolic period of time.
My View – (synthesis “Reformed and always reforming”) – The Seventy Sevens is a prophetic and or symbolic period of time from God calling His people back into their land from the Babylon captivity (through Cyrus’ decree – under Nehemiah and Ezra leadership), to Christ in His Second Advent gathering His elect “in Him/the Kingdom/Heavenly Land” from Babylonian captivity (out from among the OC apostate “Great City” Jerusalem) at the close of the OC age in AD 70.
As we have seen thus far, Jesus identifies the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and Her Temple with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Dan. 9:24a, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22). Daniel 9:27 is brings an “…the end that is decreed” – that is it is the climatic event or the last seven that fulfills “Seventy sevens decreed for” Daniel’s people and their city of (Dan. 9:24). So whatever these six redemptive (from cross to parousia) events are depicted in this decree and these verses, they will be (in a nut-shell) the fulfillment of “all things written” (Luke 21:22). And as this information will be progressively built upon through recapitulation into Daniel 12:1-13, we will see that this is clearly the time of the judgment and resurrection of the dead as well (“all things written”).
The strengths of view #1 or the Partial Preterist view is that it tries to honor Christ’s teaching that the prophecy somehow must be fulfilled with a reference to AD 70 but it doesn’t exactly know how to get there.
But the problems for this view are two-fold.
First, the argue for a literal 490 years chronology of fulfillment claiming the seventy sevens (filled with redemptive material) were fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Christ (roughly in AD 26 – AD 30) and then reference the destruction of AD 70 as kind of addendum or exclamation mark to it. After all how could AD 70 be considered a redemptive event that would bring an end to sin?
Secondly, seeing that the problem in that the math doesn’t work, some have had to suggest a 40 years “gap” in the chronology from AD 30 – Christ coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70. This is ironic because these same individuals criticize Dispensationalism for taking the prophecy for a literal 490 years (like they do) and placing a “gap” of thousands of years between the 69th and 70th. Weeks. Taking this prophecy with a literal 490 years is the first error, and the second is creating a “gap theory” (of 40 or thousands of years).
The strengths of view #2 is that it eliminates and solves the math problem by demonstrating that a more symbolic period marked by the number (seventy sevens) makes more sense. Its other strength is that it sees some of the redemptive aspects contained in Daniel 9:24-27 to be referring to Christ’s Second Coming at “the end of the age.” After all the Second Coming does have redemptive aspects to it – not just the cross and resurrection of Christ.
There are at least 5 problems I see with view #2.
It errs in failing to acknowledge that Christ posits His redemptive “end” or the unfolding of the kingdom to be fulfilled:  1. During the time of the Roman Empire (not at the end of world history), 2. During the time of the destruction of the Temple and City (Dan. 9:24, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22), 3. “the end” or “end of the age” in (Matt. 24:3, 14) is referring to the end of the OC age in AD 70 (again not the end of world history) 4. Jesus posits the fulfillment of redemption and the arrival of His Kingdom and Second Coming to take place within the same AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period (Luke 21:27-32).
Let’s now turn our attention to the Biblical view. Commenting on the seventy sevens prophecy as being a symbolic period of time marked by the number 7 and tying it into God’s Sabbath rrest Lee Irons and Meredith Kline write:
“The seventy “weeks” (literally “sevens”) comprise a definite period of time until the coming of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem…a period that is actually longer than a literal 490 years.”
“…the point of the seventy weeks is not to provide a precise chronological prediction but to make the profound theological point that the coming of Christ and the abrogation of the Old Covenant order will usher in the eschatological Sabbath rest for the people of God.” (Lee Irons, Meredith Kline, J. Ligon Duncan, David W. Hall, Hugh Ross, Gleason L. Archer, THE GENESIS DEBATE Three Views on the Days of Creation, (Mission Viejo, CA:  Crux Press, Inc., 2001), 227).
I would also agree with Keil and Delitzsch on the point that this is not a reference to a literal 490 years of chronology:  “That by this word common years are to be understood, is indeed taken for granted by many interpreters, but a satisfactory proof of such a meaning has not been adduced. Moreover, in favour of year-weeks (periods of seven years) it has been argued that such an interpretation was very natural, since they hold so prominent a place in the law of Moses; and the Exile had brought them anew very distinctly into remembrance, in as much as the seventy years’ desolation of the land was viewed as a punishment for the interrupted festival of the sabbatical years: 2 Chron. 36:21 (Hgstb., Kran., and others).  But since these periods of seven years, as Hengstenberg himself confesses, are not called in the law שָׁבֻעִים or שָׁבֻעֹות, therefore, from the repeated designation of the seventh year as that of the great Sabbath merely (Lev. 25:2, 4, 5;26:34, 35, 43; 2 Chron. 36:21), the idea of year-weeks in no way follows. The law makes mention not only of the Sabbath-year, but also of periods of seven times seven years, after the expiry of which a year of jubilee was always to be celebrated (Lev. 25:8ff.). These, as well as the Sabbath-years, might be called שָׁבֻעִים. Thus the idea of year-weeks has no exegetical foundation. Hofmann and Kliefoth are in the right when they remark that שָׁבֻעִים does not necessarily mean year-weeks, but an intentionally indefinite designation of a period of time measured by the number seven, whose chronological duration must be determined on other grounds.” (Keil,C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentaryon the Old Testament (Vol. 9, pp. 717–718). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Irons and Kline also point out that symbolism using sevens is not an unusual way of communicating within the Jewish world and give the genealogy of Matthew 1:1-17 (whereby evidence is given that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah) as an example:
“Similarly, in his genealogy of Christ, Matthew employs sabbatical theology to structure history.  He purposely dropped at least four names and counted David twice to construct a sabbatical structure of the history of redemption from Abraham to the Messiah.  He states that from Abraham to David is 14 generations; from David to the captivity is 14 generations; and from the captivity to Messiah, 14 generations (Matt.1:17).  This was intentional:  the author purposely wanted to stress this numerical system, primarily because of its sabbatical symbolism (3×14 = 6×7); the generations of the Messiah represents the seventh seven, thereby showing that it is He who inaugurates the ultimate Sabbath rest for the people of God, the eschatological age.  Matthew employs sabbatical symbolism to underscore one of his major themes:  the Messiah’s advent constitutes the apex and fulfillment of redemptive history.” (Irons and Kline, Ibid., 227).
The book of Hebrews in chapters 3-4 tells us that entering the land and Sabbath rest were typological pointing to “another day” of Sabbath rest coming. This is the second appearing or “the Day approaching” in (Heb. 10:25, 37) that was coming in a “very little while” and would “not be delayed” in which God’s raging fire was “about to” consume the enemies of God – “his people” (Heb. 10:27 YLT, 30).  In Hebrews 9:26-28 we are told that Jesus appeared in Israel’s “last days” “at the end of [the OC] age” (this is in “the end” or “the end that is decreed” for the seventy sevens to be fulfilled) “to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself…” “…sacrificed to take away the sins of many;” (cf. Dan. 9:27) and “bring salvation to those who are waiting” “a second time.”  Hebrews 9:26-28 so accurately describes the work of Messiah in the last seven of the seventy sevens (his redemptive work being accomplished from His First and Second Appearings as the Churches Great High Priest).
Simply put, the prophecy of the seventy sevens symbolizes a period between the imminent fall of Babylon in Daniel’s day (in 538 BC) to the imminent fall of “Babylon” (the old order or old covenant “Jerusalem” the apostate “Great City” or “Harlot” of Revelation) in John’s day (in AD 70) – a period covering roughly 608 literal years (not 490).  The book of Revelation is outlined with the number 7 representing perfection/completion, Sabbath rest and New Creation motifs (7 churches, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 angels with 7 plagues, 7 bowls of God’s wrath, etc…  Revelation 22 depicts entering into this Sabbath or New Creation rest after Babylon’s/Jerusalem’s fall in an imminent AD 70 time frame (the same imminent time frame we see in the book of Hebrews):  “…sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place,” “Behold I am coming soon,” “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near,” (cf. Rev. 22:6-7, 10-12, 20).
Daniel 9:24 – Here are the main elements of the seventy sevens in Daniel 9:24-27 to be fulfilled for the people and her city Jerusalem:

  1. Finish transgression – Jerusalem “filled up” or “finished transgressions” against God and His Messiah within Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 23:31-38; Dan. 9:24a).
  2. Put an end to sin – As we have seen in our brief discussion of entering into the sabbath rest in the book of Hebrews, Christ put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while” Second Appearing as the Great Anointed High Priest fulfilling the NC promises made to Israel and to close the “last days” of the OC age in AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28/10:37; Rom. 11:26-27/13:11-12; Dan. 9:24b.).
  3. To atone for wickedness or the covering over of iniquity – See references in #2.  In the New Creation our sins are remembered no more and covered in the depths of the sea (Isa. 65-66; Micah 7:19).
  4. To bring in everlasting righteousness – At Christ’s return in AD 70, He brought in “everlasting righteousness” or a “world of righteousness” in 2 Peter 3 – the “end of all things” being “at hand” in Peter’s day (1 Peter 4:5-7). “but also on ours, to whom it [righteousness] is about to be reckoned — to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead,” (Romans 4:24).  “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” (Galatians 5:5).
  5. To seal up vision and prophecy –  Jesus teaching is clear, all of Israel’s promises and prophetic material concerning His redemptive work  would be accomplished within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 21:22-32).  Prophecy would “cease” when “that which is perfect” (the Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation) arrived in AD 70 (1 Cor. 1:7-8/13:8-12/Rev. 21-22:6-7, 10-12, 20).  The NT bears witness that all would be fulfilled imminently in AD 70 (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Pet. 1:4-12; 4:5-7).  Therefore, all the eschatological promises made to Israel concerning vision and prophecy were fulfilled or sealed up by AD 70 in fulfillment of the seventy sevens prophecy.  This effective destroys all of the “last days” cults and Islam whom claim that they were given divine revelation and that their “prophets” (Muhammad, Joseph Smith, the Watchtower, etc…) have legitimacy.
  6. To anoint the most holy – Christ anointed and consummated the New Covenant Church as His Most Holy Place and Bride in AD 70 (Ex. 20, 29-31, 40; cf. Hebrews 9:6-10; Revelation 11:18-19, 19–21:16). The New Jerusalem is pictured as the anointed and perfected Most Holy Place (a perfect cube) coming down from heaven to earth in Revelation 21. This was all to be fulfilled in an AD 70 “at hand,” “soon,” “shortly,” “quickly” “about to be” time period (Rev. 1:1—22:6-20).

Daniel 9:25 – The “decree (of Cyrus) to restore and re-build Jerusalem” is found in (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Isa. 44:24, 26, 28; 45:13; cf. Josephus, Antiquities, xi, 6, 12).  It’s rebuilding in the “difficult times” of Ezra and Nehemiah can be read in those OT books.  The first 62 sevens represents a period from the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and Ezra to the first coming of Jesus – the “Anointed One.”  Jesus was anointed by the Father to preach the good news of the Gospel to Israel.
Daniel 9:26 – The Anointed One/Prince/Ruler/Leader/Messiah (Jesus the Christ), would be “cut off” after the 62 sevens.  Isaiah 53 teaches us the same about a coming Messiah who would be cut off and have nothing (with some Jews conceded Isa. 53 is Messianic).  “The people (the Jews or Roman soldiers) of the Ruler (Jesus), will destroy the city and the sanctuary.  The end (of the seventy sevens) will come like a flood:  War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.”  Between AD 66 – AD 70 not only did the Romans surround the city, but the Idumeans (Jewish Zealots) did as well and entered Jerusalem resulting in the city being divided into three warring sects – all shedding blood over the Temple area and for control of Jerusalem.  War and blood shed took place within the Temple and thus it was subject to abominations.  The Romans (who were also under the control of Christ) did very little except wait it out and let “the people” that rejected their Messiah to devour (sometimes literally) each other.  Also through the imprecatory prayers of the Christians (people of the Prince), Jerusalem was destroyed and it’s mountain removed and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 21:18-22; Revelation 8:8).
Daniel 9:27 – The “He” here is still the Messiah (not an alleged “Anti-Christ”) and through His sacrifice He established the New Covenant for the “many” (ie. the Church the new Israel of God).  This last seven was from the anointing of Jesus in His first coming to His anointing the Church in His Second in AD 70.  His Wife and or New Jerusalem is described as a perfect cube as the MHP place was (cf. Rev. 21:16 & “the first” [Holy Place] representing the OC community being removed in AD 70 and “the second” [the Most Holy Place] representing the NC community and its establishment during the time of the “new order” fully arriving at the end of the OC age in AD 70 in a “very little while” cf. Heb. 9:6-10, 26-28; 10:37).  Christ came and overshadowed Jerusalem with desolation and determined wrath upon the desolate in AD 70 (cf. Matthew 24:15ff/Luke 21:20-24).
As we can see, if Jesus fulfilled Daniel 9:27, then He fulfilled the last seven – ALL of the redemptive events from His First Coming to His Second when He came upon the clouds of heaven to judge Jerusalem in AD 70. This was not just a physical “salvation” and flight to Pella. That was an outward show of a physical salvation that demonstrated what Christ Had done within His people in atoning for their Sins.
So from the birth of Israel’s King and Messiah (Jesus the Christ) to His Second Appearing at the end of her OC age in AD 70 is roughly another more significant 70 years for her coming out of bondage and slavery from OC “Jerusalem/Babylon” (an administration of death) into the freedom/rest and salvation found not “in the land” but “in Christ” – in the NC or New Jerusalem wherein is eternal life.  Selah.
I want to turn our attention to how Daniel 12 now recapitulates events within chapters 7 and 9 and makes clearer that AD 70 would be the time of the resurrection to be fulfilled – thus “all that is written” would be fulfilled when God would judge OC Jerusalem.

Daniel 7 & 9 Daniel 12
Dan. 7 – Time of persecution – “war” with saints and they are “defeated” for a time before Son of Man comes and they inherit the Kingdom. Time of great distress – persecution before judgment and resurrection takes place.
Dan. 7 – Time of judgment – books were opened Time of judgment – Those written in the book would be delivered.
Dan. 9:24-27 – finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, anoint the most holy (Christ as HP – redemption accomplished and applied – from First to Second Comings – last seven). Here is made more clear that the six redemptive events in the seventy sevens was the time of the resurrection
Dan. 7 – When? – “Time, times and half a time” (3 ½)  Dan. 9 – in the middle of the last 7 (3 ½). When? – “Time, times, and half a time” (3 ½)
Dan. 9 – “end of decree” “the end” of the seventy sevens. Time of the end.”
Dan. 9 – When destruction of Jerusalem takes place, is when all the redemptive events of the seventy sevens are fulfilled. When destruction of Jerusalem takes place (“when the power of the holy people is completely shattered”) “all these things” (including judgment and resurrection) – all is fulfilled.

As one can see, Daniel and Jesus placed the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 to be the time frame when:   1).  the Son of Man would come upon the clouds, 2).  the judgment and resurrection of the dead,  and 3).  the time that the saints would inherit the Kingdom.  Jesus in Matthew 24/Luke 21 states that all of these events would be fulfilled in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (see chart in Part 2 comparing Daniel 12 with OD).
Concluding meditations upon Matthew 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23 – If the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 fulfilled the seventy sevens prophecy, then Christ as the Churches Great High Priest came a “Second Time” to the eagerly awaiting congregation to accomplish/fulfill and apply (sprinkle the blood) His redemption (from sin) for Her. Anthony Rogers believes Hebrews 9:26-28/10:37 was fulfilled in AD 70, therefore, AD 70 was much more than just a physical salvation or deliverance. If we didn’t get this in Daniel 7-9 God makes it even clearer in chapter 12 in which it is unambiguously taught that when the destruction of the City takes place – it is the time for the judgment and resurrection to be fulfilled. Thus this is how we are to understand how “all things written” were fulfilled by Jesus in AD 70 (cf. Luke 21:20-22). I will have more to say upon this subject once we discuss the “heaven and earth” passing away of Matthew 24:35 and connecting this as the time Jesus fulfilled ALL the law and prophets in Matthew 5:17-18.
If I recall, White avoids any discussion or harmonization of Luke 21:22 in his treatment of Matthew 24:15-20. Nor does he do any exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27 of which Jesus references in Matthew 24:15. And if I recall Anthony Rogers does not address these issues either. I find this to be sloppy and inadequate exegesis – to say the very least.
So if you turn to one of the authors White recommends and is following (Kim Riddlebarger), you will quickly see that he quotes Kline favorably. Concerning the last 3 ½ or broken seven period he quotes Kline:
“The last week is the age of the church in the wilderness of the nations for a time, a times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14). Since the seventy weeks are ten jubilee eras that issue in the last jubilee, the seventieth week closes with angelic trumpeting of the earth’s redemption and the glorious liberty of the children of God. The acceptable year of the Lord which came with Christ will then have fully come. Then the new Jerusalem whose temple is the Lord and the Lamb will descend from heaven (Rev. 21:10, 22) and the ark of the covenant will be seen (Rev. 11:19), the covenant the Lamb has made to prevail and the Lord as remembered.” (Ibid., 155).
And Riddlebarger commenting on this,
“Although he has wrought the blessings of the jubilee, including the forgiveness of sins and everlasting righteousness, that which has been accomplished by Christ remains yet to be consummated. The final three-and-one-half years of the seventieth week as interpreted by John is symbolic of the church on earth during the entire time of its existence. It also is a reference to the tribulation depicted in Daniel.” (Ibid., 156).
First, the second exodus motif as developed in the NT is not a period depicting the NC Church age (ie. thousands of years), but as I pointed out in Hebrews, it is rather a transition AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” period between the passing of the OC age (separating from literal land), awaiting the AD 70 “in a very little while” “another day” of inheriting a spiritual city, mountain, heavenly land “in Christ” at the end of the OC age (Heb. 3-4; 9-10:37; 11-13:14YLT).
Secondly, the Church was taken and delivered from the wrath of the Dragon when they fled Jerusalem in AD 66 in obedience to Christ’s warnings in Matt. 24:15-20/Luke 21:20-23.
Thirdly, yes the 3 ½ years is symbolic of a period of time (not a literal 3 ½ years) that has something to do with the tribulation period. The Church did undergo some tribulation and persecution prior to AD 66, but were delivered from the “wrath” that soon befell the city. As we will soon see, the Great Tribulation was a specific historic event connected to the fall of Jerusalem and has already been fulfilled. Even Anthony Rogers points this out in his article response to Shabir Ally.
Fourthly, the events of Revelation 11, 12, and 21 have already been fulfilled with the last trumpet being blown at Christ’s “at hand” “soon” coming in AD 70. We will cover that more when getting into Matthew 24:30-31 and a little of Revelation 11 when discussing “Jerusalem being trampled” as being the “times of the Gentiles” be fulfilled (Luke 21:23-24). The Church is not in the “already and not yet” – we are in the “face to face” fulfillment of enjoying God’s presence in His eternal NC glorious Kingdom/New Creation/Age (Rev. 21-22:4-6ff.).
The Great Tribulation in “those days” (vss. 21-25) “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:23-24)
Well, right when you think there is ray of hope in White’s attempts at exegeting Matthew 24 by finally giving verses 15-20 a 100% AD 70 fulfillment (not a dual fulfillment as he has up to this point), White apparently get’s sucked back into regurgitating Kim Riddlebarger’s theory that the Tribulation may have had some fulfillment in the events leading up to AD 70, but in reality it is to be stretched out throughout the entire Church age. Really?
Apparently once again we need to remind White to do that “harmonization” thing that he chided Shabir Ally on not doing in his debate with him and compare this passage with its parallel in Luke 21:23-24 since there it is even clearer the time frame for the abomination that causes desolation and the tribulation period are inseparably connected to the same historical events leading up to AD 70. And since Luke covers “the times of the Gentiles” (and Matthew does not) we should spend a little time on that as well.
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand. “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.” (Matt. 24:21-25).
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-24).
Argument #1 – Grammatically the phrase “For then…” or “For these are the days…” connects the historically unique days of the abomination that causes desolation period leading up to AD 70 with the historically unique days of the tribulation period. Therefore, if White is going to argue with Dispensationalists that the abomination of desolation cannot have a future or double fulfillment, White can’t then turn around and make the same misstate with the tribulation period!
Argument #2 – Local and cultural indicators – previously White argued that Matthew 24:15-20 was 100% and uniquely fulfilled in the days leading up to AD 70 (and could not have a double type fulfillment) because of some of the local and cultural indicators within the text such as “Judea,” “fleeing to the mountains,” being on the “house top,” farming, etc… He is obviously following Kim Riddlebarger and D.A. Carson on these verses,
“As D.A. Carson points out, the details of what follows are too limited “geographically and culturally to extend this beyond A.D. 70.” (Riddlebarger, Ibid., 168).
I would add the “flight” on “the Sabbath” to be among these limited cultural indicators, but since James White is a Reformed Baptist he no doubt still legalistically thinks this is still in place today (he and Chantry would consider the wrong Sabbath a “delight” – see my previous comments on when the anti-type Sabbath arrived in AD 70 in Hebrews). But notice that Luke describes the tribulation period with similar local and cultural indicators – “great distress (tribulation) in the land and wrath upon this people.” And that “this people” would “fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations.” Obviously “Judea” and “in the land” “this people” are all equivalents describing the same time period. And “falling by the edge of the sword” and being “led captives” were uniquely cultural practices of the Roman Empire and fulfilled in the events leading up to AD 70 and shortly thereafter.
Argument #3 – In understanding the recapitulation structure of Daniel 7, 9 and 12, we saw that the time of the abomination of desolation with that the tribulation period would be fulfilled together at the end of the seventy sevens and when Jerusalem would be destroyed in AD 70 – “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered.” To claim the abomination of desolation was fulfilled in AD 70 but give the tribulation period some kind of double or expanded fulfillment is purely arbitrary and eisegetical.
It shouldn’t surprise us that Kim Riddlebarger (whom White is following for the most part) ends up speaking out of both sides of his mouth on the tribulation period. Previously I documented him stretching out the Great Tribulation period throughout the “Church age” when interpreting Daniel and his 3 ½ years period. And let’s watch him struggle once again on the tribulation period as described in the OD,
“The reason people were to flee the city was that the horrors to come upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 were the worst that Jerusalem had ever experienced. It would be greater than the destruction of the temple in 583 B.C. It would be greater than the desolation of 163 B.C. at the hands of Antiochus Epiphanes. This would be Israel’s darkest hour.” (Ibid., 171).
“Yet Jesus continued to speak, not of the final judgment at the end of the age, but of God’s grace in restraining the evil forces which would fall on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In verse 22, Jesus said, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Even as Israel would become desolate and the temple destroyed, God would shorten the days of judgment for the sake of his elect, a reference to Christians living in Jerusalem at the time of the city’s destruction. Israel would be cut off, and the Jews dispersed but God would preserve his people, even under the worst circumstances.
Yet the possibility of double fulfillment surfaces again. Is this prophecy of horrible tribulation limited to the destruction of Jerusalem and the events of A.D. 70? Indeed, it is possible that the events of A.D. 70 pointed beyond historical fulfillment to the great tribulation to be faced by God’s people during the apostasy, which will come immediately before the end of the age.” (Ibid., 172, bold emphasis mine).
So the Amillennialism of White and Riddlebarger argue against the Dipsensationalist that the abomination of desolation was a unique event fulfilled in AD 70 that cannot have double fulfillments and yet once they get into the Great Tribulation period they want to do the very thing they condemn Dispensationalists of! And of course Postmillennial Partial Preterists argue that they have no right to do this,
“As Christ pointed out in Matthew, the Great Tribulation was to take place, not at the end of history, but in the middle, for nothing similar had occurred “from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” Thus the prophecy of the Tribulation refers to the destruction of the Temple in that generation (A.D. 70) alone. I cannot be made to fit into some “double-fulfillment” scheme of interpretation; the Great Tribulation of A.D. 70 was an absolutely unique event, never to be repeated.” (David Chilton, THE GREAT TRIBULATION, (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 14, bold emphasis mine).
So what have we seen so far? White and Riddlebarger (Amillennialism) claim the Dispensationalist can’t have a future fulfillment or double-fulfillment for the abomination of desolation period but want to have one for the Tribulation period (which contextually is describing the same period)! Then the Postmillennial Partial Preterist comes along and claims the Dispensationalist nor the Amillennialist can have a future or double-fulfillment for the abomination of desolation and Great Tribulation period, because they are fulfilled together. But once the Postmillennial Partial Preterist gets into Daniel 12:1-7, they want to give the resurrection a future or double-fulfillment when debating the Full Preterist, even though verse 7 clearly says the Tribulation and the Resurrection would be fulfilled together at the same historical event – ie. the destruction of Jerusalem. Consistency thou rare jewel.
Times of the Gentiles and Revelation 11 
“And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24). 
James White does not really deal with Luke’s account of the times of the Gentiles and them trampling Jerusalem. Riddlebarger doesn’t really address this issue either in his treatment of the OD. But since Riddlebarger has mentioned Revelation 11 being representative of Daniel’s 3 ½ years or the “Church age,” we should spend a little time on Revelation 11 as it pertains to our text here. This is an excerpt from my response to Simon Kistemaker on Revelation 11 in our book:
Revelation 11
Kistemaker spends a substantial portion of his chapter interpreting Revelation 11:2:
And leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
Kistemaker says that according to this verse, the new covenant church on Earth (“the holy city”) is destined by God to be trampled underfoot for the entire church age (“forty-two months”) while “Satan and his henchmen” “rule the world” and “have full sway on the face of this earth” until the end of time (238, 249).
One does not need to be a “hyper-preterist” to see a problem here. Kistemaker’s interpretation of Revelation 11:2 is what happens when we mysticize the time statements of the New Testament so that the imminence that saturates it is not really “imminence” at all. We take an obvious historic-prophetic reference to the trampling of Jerusalem that culminated in its destruction in AD 70 and turn it into a trans-historical “ideal” of defeat for the church (cf. Rev. 13:5–7) throughout the entirety of world history until the end of time. Again we see Kistemaker’s doctrine being cruel news for the people of God.
Let us compare Revelation 11:2b with Luke 21:24 (which was fulfilled in AD 70):
[A]nd they [“the nations”] will trample under foot the holy city for forty-two months. (Rev. 11:2b)
. . . Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the nations until the times of the nations [“forty-two months”] be fulfilled. (Lk. 21:24)
In both of these verses, the nations trample Jerusalem for a period of time. There is more than similarity of language here. Jesus and John prophesied the same event —an event that was “near” and that took place in Christ’s “generation” (Lk. 21:32; Rev. 1:3; 22:10). Therefore, “forty-two months” does not signify 2,000+ years. It signifies some months or years between AD 66 and 70, the years of the war that ended in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary. That was the same period of time that the angel called “a time, times, and half a time” in Daniel 12:7 and which was consummated when the power of the Old Testament “holy people” was shattered in AD 70.
Kistemaker moves on to Revelation 11:8. He says that “the great city” (“Babylon”) in that verse was “not the earthly city of Jerusalem,” even though the verse specifically states that “the great city” was “where also their Lord was crucified.”
One of the reasons Kistemaker rejects earthly Jerusalem as being “the great city” is that, according to Kistemaker, “God’s enemies inhabit the great city, which cannot be one particular place, but ‘the worldwide structure of unbelief and defiance against God’” (226). But this argument can be quickly dismissed, because there is no indication that all unbelievers lived in “the great city.” When the city fell in chapter eighteen, the kings of the earth who had committed adultery with her stood from afar and mourned over her (Rev. 18:9–10).
The historical referent is clear enough in that the “great city” is “where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8). “It is Jerusalem that is guilty of the blood of the old covenant witnesses; she is, par excellence, the killer of prophets (Matt. 21:33–43; 23:34–38). In fact, Jesus said, ‘it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem’ (Luke 13:33).”[1] Compare Revelation 18:24 with Matthew 23:35.
Kistemaker also argues that “the holy city” in Revelation 11:2 cannot be Old Testament Jerusalem because that city was no longer holy after the veil was ripped in two in about AD 30. In this argument, Kistemaker is implying that the holy covenant that was established with terrible and blazing fire, an earthquake, darkness, gloom, fear, trembling, whirlwind, and the staggering blast of a trumpet (Heb. 12:18–21) came to a final end in God’s sight with the tearing of the veil (which was later sewn back together). And therefore earthly Jerusalem ceased to be holy at that time.
In contrast to this futurist myth, the author of Hebrews taught that the covenant that began with momentous signs was going to end with momentous signs in the near future:
And His voice shook the earth then [at Mount Sinai], but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things [the old covenant world], in order that those things which cannot be shaken [the kingdom of Christ] may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:26–29)
The old covenant did not vanish when Christ died on the Cross (Heb. 8:13). Therefore Jerusalem was still holy after Christ died because it was still the covenant city of God, even though it was being “shaken” and was being nullified (2 Cor. 3:7, 11–12) through the age-changing power of the Cross. It was still the holy city of God even though it had become “Babylon,” “Sodom,” and “Egypt” because of its sins.
To the holy-yet-hardened Jewish nation belonged “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Rom. 3:2; 9:4). Those blessings were all still intact even after the Jews murdered the Lord and persecuted His church (1 Thess. 2:15). The unbelieving Jewish nation was still in the kingdom of God after the death and resurrection of Christ; but its days were numbered. It was soon to be cast out of the kingdom in the Parousia of Christ in the consummation of the ages (Matt. 8:12; 13:41; Gal. 4:21–31).
The tearing of the veil was a sign of the coming judgment upon that generation and its temple and world. The biblical record is clear that the old covenant law remained in force for the Jews, both believing and nonbelieving, even after the Cross, until “heaven and earth” passed away in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13; 2 Cor. 3:7–18; Matt. 5:17–19; Acts 21:20–26; 24:17).
Finally, Kistemaker feels he has a valid objection in the fact that “the great city” was called “Egypt” (Rev. 11:8), while old covenant Jerusalem/ Israel was never described in Scripture as “Egypt” (226–227). But as David Chilton eloquently observed, this is to miss the forest for the trees: Commentators are generally unable to find Bible references comparing Israel (or Jerusalem) to Egypt, but this is the old problem of not being able to see the forest for the trees. For the proof is contained in the whole message of the New Testament. Jesus is constantly regarded as the new Moses (Acts 3:20–23; Heb. 3–4), the new Israel (Matt. 2:15), the new Temple (John 1:14; 2:19–21), and in fact a living recapitulation / transcendence of the entire history of the Exodus (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1–4).”[2] (Ibid., HD, 144-147).
So Jerusalem being trampled by the Nations/Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled refers us back to Daniel’s prophetic material. The OC Kingdom/Jerusalem was subject to the rule of the four Gentile earthly kingdoms, but in AD 70 the OC literal Kingdom/Jerusalem would be consummatively changed into and “given” up to be a NC spiritual Kingdom/Jerusalem “from above” “not of this world” (Gals. 4/Heb. 12/Rev. 21; Matt. 21:33-45). Post AD 70 the NC Kingdom of God is not subject to “the times of the Gentile” nor can be as the OC Kingdom had. In Revelation 11:15 we have God’s spiritual NC Kingdom (the fifth and everlasting kingdom of Daniel 2) taking over. It is now universalized in that it is no longer a predominately Jewish and localized kingdom.
This is all taking place at the sound of the last and seventh trumpet at which time two other events take place – 1. time for the judgment and rewarding of the dead to take place (Rev. 11:18; cf. Matt. 24:30-31; 25:31-46/1 Thess. 4:15–17) and 2. the “rapture” of the Church symbolized by the two witnesses being caught up to heaven (Rev. 11:3-12).
There of course has been many different views as to who these two witnesses are: 1) Enoch and Elijah, 2) Moses and Elijah, 3) Jeremiah and Elijah, 4) Joshua and Caleb, 5) Peter and Paul, 6) John the Baptist and Jesus, 7) John and his brother James, 8) Stephen and James of Zebedee and 9) Peter and James and 10) representative of the Jewish and Gentile church. Commentators are divided on if this is referring to two individuals or the two witnesses are symbolic of the churches testimony.  I prefer the view that the two witnesses represent the testimony of the Church in fulfilling the Great Commission through the images of Moses (the law) and Elijah (the prophets) and then in 11:4 with the imagery of Zechariah’s two olive trees and a golden lampstand (Zech. 4:2-3) bring to bear the imagery of Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor – to be representative of the Church as a kingdom of Priests and Kings.
Chapter 10 just finished issues pertaining to the mystery (Jew / Gentile union) and the Great Commission with there being no more “delay” because the time of fulfillment was “near” during the time John was writing.  In chapter 10 we have both the OC prophets and the message of the NC believers through the gospel coming together as a testimony against the OC apostate City for rejecting her message. Just as the 24 elders previously represent the OC 12 tribes and the NC 12 apostles upon which the church is built represents the fulfillment of the message of the mystery of the Church; so we have here in chapter 11 with the imagery of the two witnesses coming together bearing testimony against Jerusalem. Jesus said that the OT Scriptures and Moses himself, were sufficient to condemn them (cf. John 5:45).  Jesus and Paul taught no other things than that which were written in the law and the prophets (Acts 26:22; 28:23). So it is the Church as the NC Israel of God (of which the OC Law and Prophets bore testimony of), condemning OC Jerusalem through the message of the gospel.  Fire comes out of their mouths consuming their enemies, because the Word of God is described as “fire” (Jer. 23:29).  This is also why the sword (also depicting the word or testimony of God) comes forth from Jesus’ mouth and how He conquers (Rev. 19:15/Heb. 4:12).  A literal interpretation of these witnesses in the midst of a self-proclaimed symbolic book is totally misguided to say the least.
These two witnesses are being described with hyperbole to represent the Church in the first century as the persecuted martyrs of God first described for us in chapter 6. This same group will be consistently depicted throughout the book – even into chapter 20. Probably the best commentary on this section especially in light of the immediate context of chapter 10’s themes of the great commission, the mystery, and the message of the prophets, can be found in Colossians 1:23-29. Here we see the Apostle Paul filling up in his flesh what was still lacking in regards to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of the Church. And Paul and the Church were dying daily to the old-covenant age/law in hopes of further attaining the resurrection (Rms. 5-8; Phil. 3).  The Church is now recapitulating the eschatological suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. G.K. Beale notes that the use of “body” and “bodies” still represent the church as a corporate body,
“…(the body)” could be a collective singular.” “…But we must ask why singular forms of (“the body”) in vv 8a and 9a are followed by the plural (“the bodies”) in v 9b.” “…The likely reason for the change in number is to connote the corporate nature of the witnesses.” (G.K. Beale, The New International Greek TestamentCommentary The Book of Revelation, (Eerdmans pub. 1999), 1018-19, (emphasis added).
And what of the loud voice calling the two witnesses to “come up here” and their ascent into heaven in verse 12? Is this a proof text for the literal rapture or a defense for a literal biological resurrection of corpses at the end of history?  I would agree in connecting the ascent of the two witnesses with God gathering the Church into His kingdom at His parousia/coming in Matthew 24:30-31/Luke 21:27-32/1 Thessalonians 4:16-17/1 Corinthians 15.  After all, this is the time of the seventh and final trumpet Revelation 11:15-19 in which 1. The dead are judged, 2.  The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ,” and 3. Access into the Most Holy Place presence of God is fully granted.  Clearly, this is the same end time trumpet being blown in these passages accomplishing these eschatological goals.  The blowing of the trumpet had a lot of salvific and covenantal imagery connected with it. It was the blowing of the trumpet at which God gathered Israel at Mount Sinai. The anti-type being God now consummately gathering the new covenant Israel up to Mount Zion. The trumpet sounded at the Harvest time. The anti-type being this was the time of the consummative harvest and resurrection of Israel to take place at the end of the OC age. The trumpet would sound when the groom came for the bride. The anti-type being the consummation in which Christ was coming to gather His Bride the New Jerusalem. The trumpet would sound as a battle cry to bring down God’s enemies as the last and seventh trumpet brought down the walls of Jericho. The anti-type here being old covenant Jerusalem is now the enemy of God being destroyed for not heeding the Churches message.
However this “rapture” of the two witnesses is no more literal than fire coming out of their mouths.  I will give a more detailed exposition of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 later on in this series demonstrating that a literal interpretation of this passage is also not accurate.  The corporate testimony and resurrection of the two witnesses symbolically represent the resurrection and transformation of the new Israel of God – the Church emerging from the glory of the OC economy to the NC one. Just as the passing of the “heaven and earth” in (Matt. 24:35) implies that this is the time the new arrives (with the coming of the Son of Man), so too OC Israel being a dead corporate carcass implies the time for a raised and glorified Israel emerging from its ashes (Matt. 24:28). As Gentry says of Israel being a carcass in Matthew 24:28:
“…in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection.” (Kenneth Gentry, HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, Third Edition, 2009), 540, see also 539).
Concluding Part 3a. –
As we have seen thus far, all of the signs preceding Christ’s coming to end the OC age were fulfilled prior to the events leading up to AD 66 – AD 70. James White and Kim Riddlebarger are more than inconsistent to argue against Dispensationalism that the abomination that causes desolation cannot have a double-fulfillment (it was 100% fulfilled by AD 70), and then turn around and give the Tribulation period (during the same time frame of those days) a double-fulfillment. And there is also a beam in the eye of Postmillennial Partial Preterism when it claims these two events in Matthew 24 cannot have double or typological fulfillments for our future, and then turn around and do that very thing with the resurrection in Daniel 12:1-7. Jesus tells us that in fulfilling the abomination of desolation and the Tribulation period, would be when “all that has been written” would be fulfilled. Our study of Daniel 7, 9, and 12 confirms this to be the time when the coming of the Son of Man, the judgment, and the resurrection – thus “all that has been written” would be fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.
In Part 3b. we will look at the de-creation and coming of the Son of Man. White correctly tells us in his Matthew 24 series that this is “where the rubber meets the road!”
PART 1 – Debate Challenge and Response to:  James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – Matt. 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1 https://fullpreterism.com/james-whites-embarrassing-failure-to-address-matthew-1627-28-matthew-24-and-1-thessalonians-416-17-in-his-debate-with-shabir-ally-and-my-public-challenge-to-debate-shabir-ally-james-whit/
PART 2 – Debate Challenge and Response to: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, and Anthony Rogers – “Time/Hour of the End” = “End of the Age” Resurrection (Dan. 12=Matt. 13=Luke 20:27-40=Matt. 24:30-31, 36=John 4-5) All Fulfilled In AD 70 https://fullpreterism.com/debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-part-2-the-end-of-the-age-matthew-13-matthew-24/
PART 3a. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun – All The Signs, Abomination That Causes Desolation, Tribulation, Times Of The Gentiles – “In Fulfillment Of All That Has Been Written” (Matt. 24:1-25/Luke 21:20-24) https://fullpreterism.com/part-3-a-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-matthew-241-25/
Part 3b. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Shabir Ally, Sam Shamoun, And Anthony Rogers – The Coming Of The Son Of Man (Matt. 24:27—-25:31) Fulfilled By Ad 70 https://fullpreterism.com/part-3b-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-shabir-ally-sam-shamoun-and-anthony-rogers-the-coming-of-the-son-of-man-matt-2427-2531-fulfilled-by-ad-70/
Part 3c. – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun, Shabir Ally: Matthew 24-25 “This Generation” And Division Theories Refutedhttps://fullpreterism.com/part-3c-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-shabir-ally-matthew-24-25-this-generation-and-division-theories-refuted/
Part 4 – Debate Challenge And Response To: James White, Anthony Rogers, Sam Shamoun And Shabir Ally (1 Thess. 4:16-17 & Acts 1:9-11) https://fullpreterism.com/part-4-debate-challenge-and-response-to-james-white-anthony-rogers-sam-shamoun-and-shabir-alley-1-thess-416-17-and-acts-19-11/
[1] . David Chilton, Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 281.
[2] . Chilton, The Days of Vengeance, 281 (emphasis added).
 
 
[1] http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1211111247417 http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=21912203751
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=22612125672
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=41121345334
 

House Divided Chapter Four The NT Time Texts Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison Vs. Full Preterist Michael J. Sullivan Part 5 Prophetic Telescoping Two Different Comings in Matthew 24-25?

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 5 – Prophetic Telescoping Two Comings in Matthew 24-25?
Michael J. Sullivan
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or Michael J. Sullivan), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
articles or reviews.

 
Prophetic Telescoping
 
On pages 167 and 180, Mathison presents the following argument:
Daniel 11:21–12:1 is one continuous prophecy. Verses 21–35 describe
the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes. The next verses, 11:36–12:1, describe
events that are unrelated to Antiochus Epiphanes. Yet there is no indication
of a subject change in the prophecy. Daniel thus prophesied events
that would be separated in time but he did not give any indication that
the two groups of events were to be so separated. It is possible that we
see similar “telescoping” in the Olivet Discourse. It could be that “Jesus
utilized the prophetic technique of telescoping two distant events into
one prophecy without much contextual indication of a change in subject.”
Matthew 24:34 could be a transitional verse. It could be that everything
before verse 35 occurred in Jesus’ generation (the great tribulation
and the destruction of Jerusalem) and that everything after verse 34
is yet to be fulfilled (the Second Coming and Last Judgment).


Response:
 
According to the two-section theory of interpreting the Olivet Discourse,
the coming of false christs and the revealing of the Son of Man as “in the
days of Noah” are two events that will take place at the end of world history
(in section two of the Olivet Discourse: Matt. 24:37–39). But this
causes a problem. Luke relates the events of the Olivet Discourse in a
slightly different order than Matthew, and he puts those two supposedly
end-of-world-history events in between the coming of the Son of Man “as
the lightning” (Lk. 17:24) and the fleeing of people from their housetops
and fields (Lk. 17:31). But those events are in the alleged “first section”
of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:17–19, 24). Luke thus has two “second section”
events (allegedly in the end of world history) sandwiched between
two “first-section” events that were fulfilled in the first century.
Luke was not aware of the theory of a “telescoped” Olivet Discourse.
We see this problem present itself again when Jesus prophesies that
one would be taken and one would be left. According to the two-section
theory, that event will take place at the end of world history (in section
two of the Olivet Discourse: Matt. 24:40–41). But Luke puts that event in
between the fleeing of people from their housetops and fields (Lk. 17:31)
and the vultures gathering at the corpse (Lk. 17:37). But those events are
in the alleged “first section” of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:17–18, 28)
and were fulfilled in the first century. Thus Luke again has a “second section”
event (allegedly in the end of world history) sandwiched between
two “first-section” events that were fulfilled in the first century.
 
According to the two-section theory, Luke 17:23–37 reads like this:
 
Lk. 17:23–24 (false christs; Son of Man as lightning in His day) AD 70
Lk. 17:26–30 (the days of Son of Man as the days of Noah) End of world history
Lk. 17:31–33 (people fleeing from housetops and fields) AD 70
Lk. 17:34–36 (one taken, one left) End of world history
Lk. 17:37 (vultures gathered at the corpse) AD 70
 
The absurdity that results in exegetically “ping-ponging” through
this text is most pronounced in the last four verses. In verses 34–36, Jesus
supposedly tells His disciples that at the end of world history, some
people will be “taken,” i.e., literally raptured into the clouds (Lk. 17:34–
36).[1] Then in verse 37, the disciples ask Him, “Where, Lord?” That
is, “Where will those people be taken?” According to the two-section
theory, Jesus answered His disciples’ question about the Rapture at the
end of world history by telling them about the corpses of Jews becoming
the food of vultures in AD 70.[2]
 
But, if it can be believed, the confusion deepens further still. In
his book, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope, Mathison actually
implies that Luke 17:20–37 was all fulfilled in AD 70. His argument in
that book is that we can know that Jesus was probably speaking of the
destruction of Jerusalem in Luke 18:7–8 partly because “in the preceding
chapter (Luke 17:20–37), he speaks of the coming destruction of
Jerusalem in A.D. 70.”[3]
 
Based on his argument in Postmillennialism, Mathison has it that
when Jesus prophesied that the judgment in the days of the Son of Man
would be as the judgment in the days of Noah, and when He prophesied
that some would be taken and others left, Jesus meant those prophecies
to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in Luke 17 and simultaneously
meant them to refer to the end of world history in Matthew 24. Yet
Mathison says he believes that Matthew 24 and Luke 17 contain the
same subject matter (WSTTB, 176). How can these things be?
 
Mathison’s many contradictory exegeses result in mind-boggling
conundrums. But the word of God on this matter is clear enough.
Luke, in Luke 17:22–37, mixes the events of Matthew 24:17–28 (first
section) with the events of Matthew 24:37–41 (second section). In so
doing, Luke unifies Matthew 24:17–41, confirming it to be one prophecy
that would be fulfilled in one set of events in one generation. In
contrast, “two-section” theorists violently break the prophecy in pieces
to conform it to the futurist paradigm. There is no question that this
theory is unworkable and that Luke saw no “telescoping” in the Olivet
Discourse. Selah.
 
As a matter of fact, in Mathison’s latest book, From Age to Age, he
abandons his two-section view of the Olivet Discourse, finally conceding
that the prophecy was fulfilled in the first century. He is also more
consistent in that book in his preterist interpretation of “the coming
of the Son of Man.” He now sees every reference to the coming of the
Son of Man as referring to Christ’s Ascension/Coming in AD 70. This
includes Matthew 25:31—the prophecy of the sheep and goats. Not one
church father interpreted Matthew 25:31 as having been fulfilled in the
first century. But Mathison does.
 
Mathison disagrees with the unified testimony of the universal
church. How then can he continue to anathematize us for disagreeing
with the unified testimony of the universal church?[4] Furthermore,
Mathison is out of step with the church fathers, and with the Reformed
community, and with “hyper preterists,” all of whom “stand shoulder
to shoulder” in opposition to him on this point. We all agree with the
church fathers that the promises of the coming of the Son of Man refer
to Christ’s Second Coming, and that we cannot separate the coming of
the Son of Man from 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.



[1] Though Mathison implies that this prophecy will be fulfilled at the
end of world history, he is silent in all of his books as to its meaning. We can
only surmise that he believes it refers to the futurist “Rapture.”
[2] “Jesus’ reference to the vultures in [Matt. 24:28] refers to Jeremiah
7:33. Again He is using Old Testament judgment imagery.” Keith A. Mathison,
Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R
Publishing, 1995), 142
[3] Postmillennialism (213)
[4] Postmillennialism, 117 (emphasis added)

 

An Exposition of "This Generation" (Matthew 24:34) Part 3

By Michael J. Sullivan
We are continuing our series on the “this generation” of (Matthew 24:34) and are discussing the various false interpretations that have been set forth in order to avoid the most clear one. We now approach a false interpretation that is probably the most detrimental to the Christian Church in our generation and one that has left many Evangelicals faith cold causing them to question the reliability of some of their so called “prophecy experts.” In addressing this interpretation I also wanted to take a look at the alleged OT “proof texts” that support that the gathering of Israel back into her land in 1948 is somehow a fulfillment of prophecy. I will be covering the Dispensational false teaching that OT prophecies and promises made to Israel cannot “in any way” be fulfilled by the Church. To the Dispensationalist, this even includes the promise of the New Covenant which has profound implications upon the Christian faith and the gospel. These are SERIOUS issues and I hope you will open your Bible as we begin this very important study.
2) “Our generation which saw Israel become a nation 1948 will witness Christ’s return.”
Hal Lindsey, an alleged “prophecy expert” who, based on current events and not the Bible claimed,
“WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ”[1] And then this view was fueled from the pulpit from the mega church Pastors such as Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel movement:
“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[2] In his book Future Survival (1978) Chuck wrote,
“From my understanding of biblical prophecies, I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[3] Having attended Pastor Chuck Smith’s church–Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA as a very young boy till about the age of 22, I was indirectly and directly influenced by this false interpretation. As a boy crossing the intersection of Sunflower and Fairview everyday for school I would read the words, “Jesus is coming soon. God keeps His promises” painted on the back wall of the Chapel Store (the church book store). After the Lord saved me at the age of 18, I would then attend and graduate from Calvary Chapel Bible College and had more direct interaction with Lindsey’s and Smith’s false newspaper eschatology. For Smith and Lindsey, Christ’s announcement that He is coming “soon” only “truly” meant He was coming “soon” for our generation because it was said that only our generation witnessed the “super sign” of Israel becoming a nation in 1948.
Another popular Calvary Chapel Pastor and author Jon Courson, instead of confronting Lindsey and Smith sought to manipulate his following as well and tried to ignite the dulling faith of those failed predictions of Smith and Lindsey,
“The fig tree is the symbol of Israel nationally, historically, and scripturally. On May 14, 1948, the fig tree blossomed once again when the land of Israel was returned to the Jews. Jesus said the generation that sees that event take place will not pass away. Who is that generation? We are.”[4] “Written by a then-unknown author named Hal Lindsay, The Late Great Planet Earth exposed an entire generation to the concepts of the Rapture of the church and the return of Jesus Christ. It was foundational to the Jesus Movement of the 70s, which started on the West Coast, spread across the country, and eventually circled the globe. Lindsay and other teachers of prophecy during that time stressed this teaching in Matthew 24. The parable of the fig tree enflamed the hearts of an entire generation for Jesus said the budding of the fig tree signaled His impending return.
What is the budding of the fig tree? Scripture interprets Scripture. Thus, Jeremiah, Joel, Hosea, and others identify the fig tree as the nation Israel. For centuries, Israel seemed to be a dead tree. In the year A.D. 70, the Romans marched into Jerusalem, destroyed the city, and took over the country. The Jews scattered every direction in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:64-67. But in addition to saying the Jews would be scattered throughout the world, God also said, But The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land (Jeremiah 23:8).” (Courson, ibid,)
“So it was that on May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation again. The fig tree that had appeared to be dead and hopeless suddenly sprang back to life and blossomed just as Jesus prophesied. And, according to Matthew 24:34, the generation that saw that happen would be the final generation.
What constitutes a generation? Hal Lindsay and others taught that a Biblical generation could be a thirty-eight to forty-year time period.
And the Lords anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed. Numbers 32:13
And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the LORD sware unto them. Deuteronomy 2:14
Thus, anticipation grew. Excitement and expectancy filled the hearts of many, for if you add forty years to 1948 and if you believe the rapture of the Church takes place seven years before the return of Jesus, the Rapture would take place in 1980 or 1981. Truly the time was near! T-shirts, bumper stickers, and posters were printed. Maranatha Come quickly, Lord became the watchword of believers. 1981 came. So did 1982, 83, 84, 85, and 86. And then something began to happen. A whole bunch of radical Christians began to cool off, saying, Maybe were here for a while after all. Maybe we shouldn’t be so committed to this kingdom thing. Oh, they didn’t say it in those exact words, but that’s what they were thinking. And a dulling of expectancy swept over our generation.
What went wrong? Perhaps forty years is not the figure we should work with when looking at a Biblical generation. Take a look at Genesis 15
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again. Genesis 15:13, 14, 16
Here in Genesis 15, God refers to the four-hundred-year period the Jews were in Egypt as four generations. Therefore, in this model, a generation is not forty years but one hundred years. If a generation is one hundred years, am I suggesting that the Rapture will take place in 2048 one hundred years after the rebirth of the nation of Israel? No. I suggest it will be before then. You see, there is a principle in Bible interpretation called the Principle of First Mention that says foundational understanding about any given subject is usually found in the first place it is mentioned in Scripture. Where is the Greek term, generation first mentioned? In Matthew 1:17 we read: So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
Sharpen your pencils and think with me: Christian and Jewish theologians alike agree that, based on Biblical genealogies, Abraham was called by God in the year 2085 B.C. Genesis 2 tells us he was seventy-five years old at that time, which means Abraham was born in 2160 B.C. Matthew 1:17 tells us there were forty-two generations (14×3) from Abraham to Christ. So, if you divide 2160 the year of Abrahams birth by 42, you get 51.4. Thus, scripturally, there is validity for a Biblical generation to be 51.4 years”
“I believe you who are in your teens and early twenties are very possibly the last generation. Set your heart on things above. Live for heaven. Seek first the kingdom, and you will be happy presently, rewarded eternally, and grateful constantly.
You who are older, continue setting an example for us who are younger. Continue to make the Lord top priority in your life. Were looking to you in a very real sense. Please keep the fire hot.
Fellow baby boomers, we need to realize that Jesus Christ is coming soon. We don’t have time to play around. We don’t have time to chase worldly pursuits any longer. We need to return to ministry and service, worship and prayer, Bible study and street witnessing. Whatever it was you used to do when you were fired up about Jesus in the 70s, do it again. Maranatha!” (Courson, ibid)
Well, 1999 like 1981, came and went too! And just like the last days cults of Mormonism and the Watchtower of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, when Jesus doesn’t come back in the lifetime and 40 year generation of their “Holy Spirit led,” “prophets” and “prophecy expert” teachers, they just keep stretching out the meaning of “this generation” from 40 to 50, 60, 70 – 100 years and manipulating and trying to get people “fired up” with new newspaper eschatological schemes and scenarios that allegedly teach that our generation is the one that will witness the “rapture.” This is how these last days cults, TBN and such mega churches as the Calvary Chapel’s “Jesus movement” have grown!
Well, I’m 41 now, so I guess according to Jon Courson I am somewhere between the younger generation that is going to see Christ’s return and the baby boomers who’s faith have become cold and dull due to the false date setting of men like Lindsey, Smith and Courson. So I (and I hope you will too) accept John’s exhortation and challenge to: 1) Set my heart on things above, 2) Live for heaven, 3) Seek first the kingdom, 4) I won’t play around, and 5) return to ministry, service, worship, prayer, Bible study, and witnessing. In doing these things however I will need to refute Jon’s false interpretation of “this generation.”
“Look at the fig tree and all the trees” (Luke 21:29)
As we have seen Dispensationalists usually interpret the fig tree in Matthew 24:32 as the Nation of Israel coming back into the land in 1948. And usually Amillennialists, Postmillennialists and Preterists counter with Luke 21:29 and ask, “Well, if Israel is the fig tree beginning to get tender in 1948, then what about “all the trees” or nations? What happen to them in 1948?!?” It is then pointed out that the next verse equates the signs with the leaves beginning to get tender and the kingdoms arrival with Christ’s return as “summer.” Well, why not combine the two concepts? I don’t have a problem in the least seeing Israel as the “fig tree” and the rest of “all the trees” as the Gentile nations in this passage. Other than the abomination of desolation, the other major sign that marked “the end” is the Great Commission. The gospel was bearing fruit throughout the land of Israel and among the Gentile nations within the Roman Empire or world as they knew it (cf. Colossians 1:5-6, 23; Isaiah 27:6).
PROPHECY FULFILLMENT
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world (Greek oikumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14)
“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:
‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Greek oikumene)” (Romans 10:18)
“And the gospel must first be published among all nations (Greek ethnos)”
(Mark 13:10)
“…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations (Greek ethnos)…” (Romans 16:25-26)
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world(Greek kosmos) and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)
“…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world(Greek kosmos), as is bringing forth fruit…,” (Colossians 1:5-6).
And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Greek kitisis) ” (Mark 16:15)
“…from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature (Greek kitisis) under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister” (Colossians 1:23)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Greek ge)” (Acts 1:8).
“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:
‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth (Greek ge), and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18)
The Great Commission and bearing forth fruit here is the fulfillment of Genesis 1:28 and paradise is being restored and about to come into its fullness at Christ’s imminent return. Although not a preterist, G.K. Beale at least makes the parallels:
Genesis 1:28
Colossians 1:6, 10
‘increase [auxano] and multiply and fill the earth…and rule over all the earth’.
‘in all the world also it [‘the word of truth, the gospel’] is bearing fruit and increasing [auxano] (v.6); ‘in every good work bearing fruit and increasing [auxano]…’ (v.10).
“Several commentators have noticed that verse 6 and 10 are an allusion to Genesis 1:28 (and perhaps 1:22). It appears that the Hebrew text may be the focus, since the Greek Old Testament renders the Hebrew para (‘bear fruit’) by auxano (‘increase’) and raba (‘to multiply’) by plethuno (‘to multiply’).”[5] There is a new Adam—Christ, and He is exercising dominion through His seed and progeny–the Church. Through the Holy Spirit, His light was shinning through them and transforming them as God’s New Covenant Creation (verse 3; cf. 2 Corinthians 3-5:17).
The Church or God’s New Israel (comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles) was the fig tree or the “seed” that was “being sown” and “being raised” (the present tense is used in 1 Corinthians 15:37-44) through the gospel and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This process would reach its resurrection fullness and maturity at Christ’s return. His return would usher in an “end” to the Old Covenant “the law” of the Adamic and Mosaic body of sin and death for His people (Rom. 5-8; 1 Cor. 15). Without God attending to Israel as His olive tree, vine, or seed, her vineyard could not bring forth resurrection life/fruit, and there could be no salvation/resurrection/harvest for the Gentiles or the rest of “all the trees” (Luke 21:29-31/Rom. 11:15ff.).
Combined, Reformed theologians such as Peter Leithart and James Jordan understand the resurrection and harvest of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13 as an evangelistic/resurrection process for Israel, that ended at the end of her Old Covenant age in A.D. 70.[6] The wheat and the tares were in the process of growing together as they each responded to the gospel. I understand the presence of the Holy Spirit as a glorious light reflecting the glory of Jesus Christ raising and changing God’s elect from the Old Covenant mode of existence to the New. Between A.D. 66-70 Christ as the “Sun of Righteousness” came from the East to the West (cf. Matthew 24:27 – I translate astrape as the rays of light from the sun and not the lightning) bringing the final maturity and ripeness to the fruit and gathered it into His barn while burning up the chaff, tares and grass (Matthew 3:2-12; Matthew 13; 1 Corinthians 15-“first fruits” harvest motif., Revelation 7, 14; James 1:11; 5:1-9).
I may be wrong, but to me (and my reading of Isaiah and the OT prophets), the putting forth of the fig tree’s leaves and their blossoming (the Restored New Covenant Israel) along with all the trees (the time for the fullness of the Gentiles to be gathered and engrafted/redeemed into the Kingdom), seems to embrace the substance and fulfilling of the sign of the Great Commission in relation to Christ’s return in AD 70. Through the sign of the Great Commission being fulfilled and the power of the gospel, people/trees were about to blossom and become a well watered garden of God in His restored kingdom/paradise placed within the Land (Isaiah 27:6; 35; 44:1-5; 61:11). The Jew understood his Temple, City/Jerusalem and Promised Land to be the “heavens and earth” or a heaven on the earth of light in which the beasts/gentiles needed to come out of the darkness of their lands and enter in order to be saved. This is what we see in the book of Revelation with paradise being restored and the nations coming to the New Jerusalem for life (cf. Revelation 21-22:6-7, 10-12, 17, 20).
It always amazed me how Pastor Chuck Smith wanted to get people excited about how much agriculture and flowers he saw over in Israel the last time he was visiting there. He used this as an alleged “sign” along with Israel becoming a nation in 1948 and her making plans to re-build the temple again, that we were indeed living in the generation that would witness Christ’s return – yadee yadee – you know the story I’m sure. But this isn’t the kind of fruit and blossoming the book of Isaiah or Jesus is concerned with! The Bible is always interested in the heart and it is “within” and “in” this realm where the kingdom of God/heaven would come in Jesus’ “this generation” (Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:31-32).
As I have sought to use the “this nation will not pass until all these things are fulfilled” interpretation against the dispensationalists by teaching that indeed the Old Covenant nation of Israel did indeed pass away in AD 70; so too I will use the Israel=fig tree argument against them here by offering a much better explanation as to how the remnant of Israel (the fig tree) and the nations (“and all the trees”) began to bud and blossom through the sign of the Great Commission being fulfilled before Christ’s imminent return in AD 70.
Since the alleged “re-gathering” of Israel in 1948 is supposed to be the “supersign” that we are living in the last days generation predicted by Jesus, we should give some attention to this imaginative interpretation. Instead of rebuking Hal Lindsey and Chuck Smith’s false interpretation and predictions arising from this text, Calvary Chapel Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie still teaches this, and quoting from Mark 13:28-29 he writes,
“Jesus said the rebirth of Israel will be a supersign of the last days…” “Of course we know this prophecy was fulfilled not that long ago. On May 14, 1948…”[7] 1948 – A fulfillment of what prophetic “re-gathering”?
In this section I want to analyze the various “proof texts” that Dispensationalists use to support that 1948 was a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. I will focus mainly on the writings of John Hagee and Thomas Ice. We also examine the empty claims of Dispensationalists that OT prophetic material made to Israel cannot be applied or fulfilled in the Church age.
Now days most Dispensationalists are either abandoning the system or going further into it by embracing the “Christian Zionist Movement.” This movement seeks to try and persuade Jews from around the world to move back to Israel in order to usher in the Great Tribulation period and hasten the pre-tribulation “rapture” of the Church. Newspaper prophetic sensation John Hagee has built a foreign policy advocacy organization called Christians United for Israel (CUFI) around this false doctrine and false interpretation of Scripture. He is pushing for a pre-emptive war with Iran to quicken the “rapture.” In 2006 while lobbying in Washington Hagee was clear in his agenda, “The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West,” he said. This was supposed to be a step in the right direction as allegedly mapped out in the Bible, “a biblically prophesied End Time confrontation…which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation…and the Second Coming of Christ.” Hagee not only uses guilt manipulation techniques on the members of his church and T.V. audiences to tithe to his “ministries” through his false “prosperity gospel,” but also uses guilt manipulation to push his false Dispensational Zionism doctrine. Hagee clearly insists that if you are not on board with him and his alleged Holy Spirit led agenda of believing 1948 was a fulfillment of prophecy, and that God has a literal real estate “forever” in the literal city of Jerusalem today, any other view for a Christian to embrace “sin.”[8] It is sad that this false doctrinal system/gospel of Hagee’s is tolerated among Evangelicals and it is more scary when he is allowed to lecture and manipulate our politicians and give them “altar calls” while pushing this agenda as part of his “gospel” of redemption etc…
In Deuteronomy 4:25-31; 28 – 29; and Leviticus 26, God lays forth His covenant with Israel of blessings and cursings. If Israel obeyed God they would be blessed in the land and if they disobeyed, they would be “scattered” among the Nations. The condition for their re-gathering back into the land was repentance and faith. Even though this is clearly laid out in the texts above, Dispensational Premillennialists such as Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum assert (in order to defend their system that 1948 was a prophetic gathering), that Scripture actually addresses two re-gatherings of Israel in the land: 1) in un-belief, and 2) another re-gathering in belief. Thomas Ice quoting his favorite dispensationalist theologian states,
“The re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 has not only thrown a wrench in amillennial thinking, but it has also thrown a chink in much of the premillennial thinking. Amazingly, some premillennialists have concluded that the present state of Israel has nothing to do with the fulfillment of prophecy. For some reason the present state somehow does not fit their scheme of things, and so the present state becomes merely an accident of history. On what grounds is the present state of Israel so dismissed? The issue that bothers so many premillennialists is the fact that not only have the Jews returned in unbelief with regard to Jesus, but the majority of the ones who have returned are not even Orthodox Jews. In fact the majority are atheists or agnostics. Certainly, then, Israel does not fit in with all those passages dealing with the return. For it is a regenerated nation that the Bible speaks of, and the present state of Israel hardly fits that picture. So on these grounds, the present state is dismissed as not being a fulfillment of prophecy.
However, the real problem is the failure to see that the prophets spoke of two international returns. First there was to be a regathering in unbelief in preparation for judgment, namely the judgment of the Tribulation. This was to be followed by a second worldwide regathering in faith in preparation for blessing, namely the blessings of the messianic age. Once it is recognized that the Bible speaks of two such regatherings, it is easy to see how the present state of Israel fits into prophecy.”[9] Ice then seeks to give us some proof texts for this position,
“In 1948 when the modern state of Israel was born, it not only became an important stage-setting development but began an actual fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies about an international regathering of the Jews in unbelief before the judgment of the Tribulation. Such a prediction is found in the following Old Testament passages: Ezekiel 20:33-38; 22:17-22; 36:22-24; 38-39; Isaiah 11:11-12; Zephaniah 2:1-2 presupposes such a setting.” (Ice, Ibid.).
Scripture simply does not teach a prophetic “re-gathering in unbelief” and that is why other dispensationalists are struggling with this position! Let’s briefly address some of these passages that Dispensationalists use as their “proof texts”:
Ezekiel 20:33-38
The context of this passage is dealing with the Babylonian captivity and has nothing to do with Israel being re-gathered back into the land in 1948! The context is that Israel was being unfaithful to God and wanted to be like the heathen nations around them. Therefore, God would take Israel out of her land in the wilderness (symbolic of the Babylonian captivity) and “purge” the wicked there so that the unbelievers would perish as God had purged the unbelieving generation under Moses in the wilderness. So this text actually teaches the opposite of what Dispensationalists say, because it would be the unbelievers who would be purged and die outside the land and not enter it. How is this passage teaching us that unbelievers would be re-gathered in the land of Israel in 1948 “in unbelief” is baffling to say the least!
Paul combines and applies both Isaiah 52:11 and Ezekiel 20:34 to the Church age in 2 Corinthians 6:17 which Dispensationalists claim cannot be done in any way.
Ezekiel 22:18-22
Again, the context is the “near” (vs.3-4) judgment of Israel by means of the Babylonians in B.C. 586 for their sins of spilling innocent blood and idolatry. The unbelievers are “dross” and would “melt.” This prophecy has nothing to do with God gathering Israel in the land in 1948 as a covenant gathered blessing, and it definitely does not teach a gathering of Israel in unbelief in 1948 either!
Ezekiel 36:22-24
The immediate context of this chapter is describing Israel’s sins of idolatry and her sins of blood guilt. For these reasons she was scattered into the Gentile nations and made slaves. As slaves they remained unfaithful to God and were thus a poor witness of Jehovah to the nations in which they were scattered. But God for His own great name sake would cleanse them from their sins and call them back into their land to rebuild the waste places. In type form, this prophecy (and chapter 37) was fulfilled under the restoration of Nehemiah and Ezra when the people came back into the land in repentance and began re-building the waste places of Jerusalem. There is NO contextual evidence whatsoever that there was a “re-gathering” of Israel in “unbelief” let alone any suggestion whatsoever that 1948 is the focus of this prophecy!
Ezekiel 37, 40-48
John Hagee writes of this chapter,
“MORE THAN 2,600 years ago the prophet Ezekiel prophesied the resurrection of Israel from the Gentile graves in the lands to which she had been scattered, predicting the rebirth of Israel, which took place May 14, 1948.”[10] “I want to make it clear that I do not believe that Ezekiel’s vision has anything to do with the resurrection of the dead saints of the church.” (Ibid.).
“The dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision represent the nation of Israel during the Dispora, beginning in A.D. 70 (Ezkek. 37:11). Gradually the bones came together, and the sinews and flesh came upon them.” (ibid. 130-131).
And popular Calvary Chapel Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie has sought to get his piece of this sensationalistic money making pie as well,
“On more than one occasion in Scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree (see Judg. 9:11; Hos. 9:10; Joel 1:7-8). I believe that Mark 13:28-29, along with many other Scripture passages, such as Ezekiel 37-39, speak of the rebirth of Israel—the regathering of God’s people. When the nation of Israel comes back into the existence, Jesus was stating prophetically, it is a supersign that His coming is near.”[11] Of course some Dispensationalists disagree with Lindsey, LaHaye, Smith, Laurie, Courson, Ice, etc., that Ezekiel 37 has anything to do with 1948,
“The Israelites residing in Palestine today are not the fulfillment of this prophecy.”[12] Everyone agrees that the resurrection depicted in Ezekiel 37 is a “national” resurrection. In other words Israel experienced national and covenantal “death” when she was scattered from her land and experiences a “resurrection” when she is restored back into the land. Again, like chapter 36, this prophecy was partially fulfilled through typology when the two houses of Israel came back into the land under the restoration and leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, both chapters contain elements of Messiah’s work of salvation (the anti-type) with the coming Messianic New Covenant.
Ezekiel 37:22-28 discusses the coming New Covenant King/Shepherd who would cause: 1) His people to possess the land, 2) establish an everlasting covenant of peace with them, 3) multiply them, and 4) “sanctify” them by establishing His “sanctuary” and “tabernacle” in their midst forever.
Are OT prophecies fulfilled in the Church? IN CHRIST OR IN THE LAND?
Dispensationalism makes the bizarre claim that OT prophecies made to Israel cannot be fulfilled “in any sense” to the Church. Keith Mathison provides a helpful list of quotes from some of Dispensationalism’s leading theologians on this point:
Lewis Sperry Chafer. “That the Christian now inherits the distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture.”
J. Dwight Pentecost. “…it would be impossible for the church to fulfill God’s promises made to Israel.”
Charles C. Ryrie. “The church is not fulfilling in any sense the promises to Israel.”[13] They believe that OT prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel in such passages as Isaiah 11, 35, 43, 44, 61; Ezekiel 11, 28, 34, 37; Jeremiah 16, 18, were made exclusively to Israel and therefore cannot be fulfilled in and through the Church “in any sense.” Dispensational Zionist John Hagee believes these passages motivate the Church to get Jews around the world to re-inhabit Israel today in order to hasten the “rapture” of the Church and usher in the last days World War III event.[14] However, the context of these passages and how they are understood by the NT authors, make it clear that these “gathering in the land” promises were fulfilled 70 years after the Babylonian captivity under the restoration ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah (in type or partial fulfillment form), which pointed to them being ultimately fulfilled in Christ and through the Church (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Dispensationalism argues that Israel under the Abrahamic covenant has not yet inherited all of the land promised by God, in spite of God clearly saying otherwise (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:20-21; Joshua 11:23; 21:41-45; Nehemiah 9:21-25). The objection from Dispensationalists is that Israel has not inherited the land “forever.” Sometimes in Scripture “forever” means forever and other times it simply means a long time. In the passages listed above, God’s promises made to Israel concerning the land had not failed to come to pass. Indeed in type and shadow form, through the 40 year reigns of David and in particularly Solomon, Israel received peace in all the land that God had promised to give Israel. All the blessings under the Old Covenant were realized “in the land.” However, in the NT we discover that the anti-type and “true” fulfillments of the Abrahamic promise is found in the gradual 40 year “this generation” pre-parousia reign of Jesus and the reception of a “heavenly country” that was “about to come” in the first century (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14YLT). The writer to Hebrews (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) applies the New Covenant Promised Land, City, Tabernacle/Temple, Mount Zion, Sabbath/Rest/Inheritance and Kingdom promises made to Old Covenant Israel to the Church with the reception of these promises to be fulfilled at Christ’s “in a very little while” coming in which He would “not tarry” (Heb. 1-10:37). The NT emphasis is not “in the land” but rather in a person – “in Christ” through faith. For “in Christ” and through the Church, are all the OT promises of God realized and fulfilled (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20).
The New Covenant promises
Since the gathering back into the land and New Covenant prophecies of Jeremiah 30-31parallel much of the same historical re-gathering and New Covenant material found in Ezekiel 37, we should probably examine the blatantly unbiblical comments of dispensationalists who claim that the New Covenant promises made to Israel are not being fulfilled in the Church. Dwight Pentecost writes,
“the Church cannot be presently fulfilling the New Covenant.” John Walvoord agrees, saying that “the New Covenant is with Israel and awaits the second coming of Christ for its fulfillment.” (Mathison, Ibid. 28)
Pentecost concedes that if the Church has been redeemed with the blood of Christ under the New Covenant, then the other covenants must also be applied to the Church and that would mean that the Bible does not teach an earthly millennium,
“The whole covenant takes on importance, in addition, for amillennialism attempts to show that the church is fulfilling Israel’s covenants because the church today is redeemed by the blood. If the church fulfills this covenant, she may also fulfill the other covenants made with Israel and there is no need for an earthly millennium.”[15] Charles Ryrie claims that the Bible condemns Dispensatinalism if the New Covenant is being fulfilled by the Church,
“If the church is fulfilling Israel’s promises as contained in the new covenant or anywhere in the Scriptures, then [dispensational] premillennialism is condemned.”[16] These are obviously startling statements to say the very least. How can any Christian claim that he or she has not been redeemed by the blood of Christ’s blood under the New Covenant when the Scriptures are so clear that we are? The answer is that these men have become so engrossed in defending their eschatological system, that this has forced them into rejecting foundational elements to the gospel and indeed the Christian faith.
One King
Jesus began fulfilling the Davidic Covenant or “One King” prophecies of (Ezek. 37:22; Jer. 30:9) at His ascension (Heb. 1-2). Every element that is required for a King to reign is given to Christ through the Church. He was seated on a throne and rules through a City and Nation—that is the Church (1 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 12; Gals. 4). The sending of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Davidic and New Covenant is the focus of attention in (37:24ff.).
One Shepherd with one flock
Jesus would be Israel’s “one shepherd” who’s sheep would walk in His judgments and observe His teachings and do them (Ezk. 37:24). This prophecy is clearly fulfilled in the words of Jesus in John 10 and 17. Obviously OT promises made to Israel are being applied to the Church–the New Covenant fold of God! In the striking and sacrifice of the True Shepherd, the everlasting New Covenant (v. 25) seals the sheep’s/Churches salvation (Mark 14:27; Mt. 26:28; Heb. 8, 12:24, 13:20).
A New Covenant Temple, Peace and Sacrifices
The New Covenant of peace and temple motif began with Christ sending the Holy Spirit within His people. It would be competed and matured when He returned in AD 70 for them. At this time God placed His glory and everlasting peace “within” the Church who is the ultimate New Covenant fulfillment of the Temple promises (Hag. 2:9/Jn. 14). Christ and the Church are the fulfillment of Israel’s New Covenant Tabernacle/Sanctuary/Temple promises with Christ being the chief corner stone (Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22-23/“the builders rejected”/Acts 4 “YOU rejected”/Mt. 21:33-45/1Pet. 2:4 -10; Ezk. 37:27/2 Cor. 6:16; Ephs. 2:19-20; Amos 9:11-12/Acts 15:7-19). God’s New Covenant/Temple/Kingdom plans for Israel were not postponed because of Jesus’ rejection and sacrifice (per Dispensationalism), but rather this rejection of the nation and belief of the remnant and the Gentiles established and began fulfilling God’s Kingdom promises made to Israel with Christ’s return in AD 70 bringing them to full maturity. While here in Ezekiel 37 and on the temple motif alone, we see Paul quoting Ezekiel 37:27 in 2 Corinthians 6:16 and applying this prophecy to the Church! But Dispensationalists seem oblivious to the hermeneutics of Paul and remain adamant that this is somehow a prophetic description of a “literal” rebuilt temple in the millennial age,
“These promises anticipate the detailed plans for God’s new sanctuary (chaps. 40-43). This literal structure will serve as a visual object lesson to Israel and the nations of God’s presence in the midst of His people.” (Walvoord & Zuck, Ibid., 1299).
BUT Paul claims that the Church is the fulfillment of these temple/millennial promises and says nothing about a literal “rebuilt” temple in order to fulfill Israel’s millennial promises thousands of years off in the future!
One of the most disturbing elements within Dispensationalism’s “literal hermeneutic,” is that within this literal rebuilt temple, animal sacrifices will be re-instituted. Some Dispensationalists such as Scofield gave the farm away by claiming that it is possible that the sacrifices in Ezekiel’s temple prophecy are not to be interpreted literally,
“The references to sacrifices is not to be taken literally, in view of the putting away of such offerings, but is rather to be regarded as a presentation of the worship of redeemed Israel, in her own land and in the millennial temple, using the terms with which the Jews were familiar in Ezekiel’s day”[17] But obviously if the sacrifices are not to be interpreted literally, then neither should the altar or the entire temple structure itself be so interpreted.
The vision of the Temple structure is completely symbolic as James Jordan points out,
“The things Ezekiel describes in these chapters could never have been built. The Temple, City, and Land are entirely visionary and symbolic. The Kingdom of God in the Restoration was going to be so powerful and glorious that it simply could not be pictured in any architectural model that could be built. Only a vision would do.”[18] Unfortunately, most Dispensationalists seek to defend that these are literal animal sacrifices taking place after Christ has returned to Jerusalem and sits on his literal throne,
“However no difficulty exists if one understands the proper function of these sacrifices. First, animal sacrifices never took away human sin; only the sacrifice of Christ can do that (Heb. 10:1-4, 10). In Old Testament times Israelites were saved by grace through faith, and the sacrifices helped restore a believer’s fellowship with God. Second, even after the church began, Jewish believers did not hesitate to take part in the temple worship (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:42) and even to offer sacrifices (Acts 21:26). They could do this because they viewed the sacrifices as memorials of Christ’s death.” (Walvoord & Zuck, Ibid., 1305).
First of all, the writer of this statement (Charles H. Dyer) fails to acknowledge that the writer to the Hebrews applies the sacrifice of Christ’s blood of the New Covenant to the Church thus “condemning” (Ryrie’s term) Dispensationalism altogether (Heb. 7-10, 12).
Secondly, I appreciate the admission by Mr. Dyer, that Jewish Christians were obeying the Old Covenant Mosaic Law, because this is what Jesus clearly taught they should do in Matthew 5:17-19 before He fulfilled it all. Here Jesus instructs that ALL the jots and tittles of the Mosaic Old Covenant Law are to be obeyed UNTIL: 1) heaven and earth passes away, which is equivalent to the time period of when 2) all the Law would be fulfilled. Dispensationalist Thomas Ice seems oblivious to what this text says and actually cites it to claim that the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in Christ’s first coming,
“The Mosaic Covenant…” “…was fulfilled through the ministry of Jesus Christ during His first advent (Matthew 5:17). (Ice, Charting the End Times, Ibid., 79).
But clearly the Old Covenant Law was not all fulfilled in Christ’s first coming, but was binding and should be obeyed until heaven and earth passes away or it is all fulfilled. But since the futurist interprets “heaven and earth” here as the planet having not yet vanished, this necessitates that the Church today should be obeying all of the Mosaic Law—including the animal sacrifices. However, the truth is that the Christian Jews did participate in temple worship and animal sacrifices during a particularly unique period (“this generation” roughly AD 30-70) in which the Old Covenant was still being fulfilled by Jesus and the New was reaching its full maturity. According to the writer to the Hebrews, the Old Covenant Law was still in the process of “aging” and would “soon vanish” at Christ’s “in a very little while” return in which the “about to” reception of the New Jerusalem/Creation would take place (Heb. 8:13-10:37-13:14YLT). This all took place “soon” when the Old Covenant Mosaic Temple was destroyed at Christ’s return in AD 70. Dispensationalists (and most futurists) concede that “soon” in (Hebrews 8:13) is a literal time statement that most likely applies to AD 70,
“…the author’s words suggest that he recalled the prophecy of Jesus that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed (Matt. 24:1-2). Probably this prophecy was fulfilled soon after Hebrews was written. If so, it was a dramatic confirmation of the writer’s thesis about the Old Covenant.”[19] But unfortunately once in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, the abomination and desolation of this same first century temple Jesus and the disciples are looking at and discussing, becomes an alleged rebuilt one thousands of years removed from them. How you might ask? Apparently all it takes is a wave from the eisegetical wand of Dispensational theology. And although the literally “soon” vanishing of the Old Covenant in (Hebrews 8:13) applies to the temple being destroyed in AD 70, Christ’s coming in a “very little while” in which He would “not delay” in (Hebrews 10:37) is spiritualized away by these “literalists” and finds no contextual harmony with their literal interpretation of “soon” in (Hebrews 8:13)!
Once the Mosaic Law was all fulfilled and it “soon vanished” at Christ’s imminent return in AD 70, there is no Scriptural support for the statement that “The Old Covenant Is Not Dead.” (Hagee, In Defense, Ibid., 158). God indeed has kept His vows and has not altered His covenant promises, sending Jesus in a literally “some standing here,” “this generation,” “soon,” “in a very little while” time period in order to fulfill all of Israel’s promises by AD 70. For Dispensationalism to claim otherwise and return to the prophecies contained in the prophets and Old Covenant Law for support of another re-built temple with animal sacrifices, is a complete reversal of what the book of Hebrews teaches. The writer instructs us that redemption moves from physical Old Covenant types and shadows to their spiritual New Covenant substances and “true” fulfillments in Christ and through the Church. The writer says nothing about all of the Old Covenant Law being fulfilled in Christ’s earthly ministry, and neither does he teach that it is “not dead” and will somehow come back to life again thousands of years off in the future with another re-built temple for Israel! These concepts are literally READ INTO THE PAGES OF THE NT with millions of evangelical Christians asleep and refusing to be Bereans and hold these men accountable!
Dispensationalists claim that other OT passages such as Isaiah 66:20-23 teach the literal temple and sacrifice motif to take place in our future. And yet Paul references this passage in Romans 15:16 to demonstrate that he was a priest (in the temple predicted by Isaiah) offering up as a sacrifice the Gentiles (not literal animals). The prophecies in Isaiah that Dispensationalists reference as “proof texts” concerning the Jews and Gentiles coming to the “last days” Holy Mountain/Mount Zion/Temple, Jesus and the NT authors identify as being spiritual and fulfilled in the Church (John 4; Hebrews 12; Ephesians 2; 1 Peter 2).
The unity of Ezekiel’s visions of the heavenly Temple
Most Dispensationalists have not been exposed to other historical views of the Church other than their “literal” interpretations coming from their local church or TV “prophecy experts.” Therefore I would like to expose the reader to some excellent exegetical comments of the Ezekiel Temple from a few Reformed theologians and then I will put these concepts together and place them in their proper NT preterist paradigm.
Following the lead of Block, G.K. Beale points out the unity of the visions in Ezekiel and that this heavenly/spiritual Temple is not a literal structure but is rather intimately connected with God’s presence among His people during the exile period,
“…chapter 40 begins where chapter 11 left off describing God’s heavenly presence that had departed from the physical temple and had taken up invisible residence with the remnant of Israel in exile (11:16, 23-25). It is, therefore, quite viable that Ezekiel’s final vision of the temple describes the heavenly sanctuary to which the remnant on earth are related (Tuell 1996). The formal and thematic parallels between chapters 1, 8 – 11 and 40 – 48 ‘require that the same hermeneutical principles [of symbolism] employed in the interpretation of the previous prophecies apply here, and that one interpret this block [chs. 40 – 48] in the light of the previous visions of God’ (Block 1998: 496-497).” [20] But how would Jews worship in the midst of exile without a temple? The answer as Beale points out lies within God’s promise to be their Temple and in analyzing the Qumran community who considered themselves as being the last days Temple Ezekiel prophesied. The Jew during a time in which the current temple was defiled with an apostate priesthood or was destroyed by Gentile invaders taught that the renewal of the covenant and atonement could come through ones own repentance, obedience and commitment to the Word of God,
“This spiritualization of the altar in the temple was based on analogy with the temple altar in Ezekiel 41:22. To engage continually in the study of the Law was equivalent to building the temple prophesied in Ezekiel 40 – 47 (Midrash Rabbah Leviticus 7:3). Repentance could be ‘accounted unto a person as if he had … built the Temple and the altar, and offered theeron all the sacrifices’ (Midrash Rabbah Leviticus 7:2). Part of the precedent for Qumran and John conceptualizing Ezekiel’s temple in a non-structural manner and applying it to a remnant of Israel or to the church may have been given by the prophet Ezekiel himself!” (Beale, Ibid., 318).
Another Reformed view taken from James Jordan sees the descent of the heavenly temple in Ezekiel 40 – 48 being more applicable during the reformation and rebuilt temple under Ezra. He emphasizes its fulfillment during the post exilic era before then applying it to the New Covenant Temple or age of the Church under Messiah,
“This time Ezekiel was given a vision and blueprint for the post-exilic Temple, but it was a temple so vast and huge that it could never be built. Ezekiel’s visionary Temple symbolized both the nature and the glory of the restoration establishment, but the Temple actually built by Ezra was a small affair. Ezra’s Temple symbolized the nature, but not the glory, of the new restoration covenant.” (Jordan, Ibid., 242).
He also points out that there is a de-creation that takes place upon the Land of Israel and the Temple during this period (cf. Jer. 4:23-28, see also Isa. 24-25) and that even the language of a new heavens and earth should be applied to the covenant’s renewal under Ezra and Nehemiah before it is applied to the New Creation’s arrival at Christ’s return,
“The new covenant and the new heavens and earth ultimately point to the coming of Christ, but their first fulfillment is to be found in the restoration of Israel from exile. That restoration was a downpayment, a pledge of God’s faithfulness. After all, each new covenant, being a resurrection in more glorious form of the previous one, pointed to the New Covenant.
It is often overlooked that the restoration establishment was indeed a new covenant, and an advance in glory beyond the Davidic establishment. Whether we call the post-exilic establishment a new covenant or simply a “covenant renewal,” the fact is that there were very great changes involved in the new cosmos, changes equivalent to the changes involved in the previous new covenants.” (Jordan, Ibid., 243-244).
The River
Of the river in Ezekiel 47 Jordan writes,
“This is not a picture first and foremost of the New Testament, but of the spiritual realities present in the Restoration. This is indicated by the context of the prophecy, but there are also clear indications in the text, especially the fact that the river in Chapter 47 only flows in one direction, not four, and only to the edge of the Holy Land, not into the wider world.” (Jordan, Ibid., 246).
Jesus in John 4 and particularly in John 7:37-38 Jesus promises that the coming of the Holy Spirit would be like water welling up within the believer’s heart. Jesus claims that this is in fulfillment of the “Scriptures.” Of what Scriptures is Jesus alluding to? Since the Apostle Paul has already identified the promise of the Ezekiel Temple with the believer and the Church, it only follows that this is so because his Master had taught His disciples the same. John Gill and John Lightfoot are on the right track when Gill writes,
“And here may be an allusion to the waters issuing out of Ezekiel’s temple, #Eze 47:1 Re 22:1 Zec 14:8. Dr. Lightfoot and others tell us it was a custom of the Jews, which they received by tradition, the last day of the feast of tabernacles to have a solemnity, which they called Libatio aquae—The pouring out of water. They fetched a golden vessel of water from the pool of Siloam, brought it into the temple with sound of trumpet and other ceremonies, and, upon the ascent to the altar, poured it out before the Lord with all possible expressions of joy. Some of their writers make the water to signify the law, and refer to #Isa 12:3; #Isa 55:1. Others, the Holy Spirit. And it is thought that our Saviour might here allude to this custom. Believers shall have the comfort, not of a vessel of water fetched from a pool, but of a river flowing from themselves. The joy of the law, and the pouring out of the water, which signified this, are not to be compared with the joy of the gospel in the wells of salvation.”[21] Again, it is difficult to understand how Dispensationalists can claim that that OT promises made to Israel cannot be fulfilled in and through the Church when Jesus and the NT writers do just that very thing in practically every page of the NT!
In the book of Revelation, Christ’s imminent coming serves to reward and clothe the Church with the New Creation. It is through the power of Christ and the Church that the gospel of the Eternal Life is preached to sinners and this is symbolically described as a river flowing and welcoming the Gentile nations to come through its gates and receiving healing in drinking from its living waters (Rev. 21-22:17).
The measuring of the Temple
A lot of Dispensationalists claim that the Ezekiel Temple must be physical since there is so much detail given to its measurements. But in the OT measuring generally was a symbolic way of decreeing protection for the covenant people[22] and there are obvious elements of symbolism and numerology as well.
In Revelation 11 we see this concept of measuring the Temple once again, but this time it is connected with the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. It is more than difficult to dismiss the parallel subject matter in regard to the prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem between Luke 21:24 and Revelation 11:2. Both passages discuss the “trampling” of “Jerusalem” or the “holy city” by the “Gentiles.” In Revelation 11:1-2 the inner sanctuary, the worshippers and the altar are measured. This represents the New Covenant believers. The “outer court” is not to be measured because it’s so called worshippers have become apostate and will not be given God’s protection and given over to the Romans to be trampled and judged. The “outer court” represents the physical structure of the Old Covenant system itself[23] – the destruction of the earthly temple and city and the worshippers who have looked to it for their salvation rather than to Christ and His followers.
Putting the Temple promises of Ezekiel 37, 40 – 48 all together
I would agree with Keith Mathison when he concludes that no matter which view above is the correct one, the heavenly Temple described in Ezekiel 40 – 48 is a non-literal structure,
“If the unique introductory fourmula connects all three visions, then the question is whether the temple vision in chapters 40-48 “refers to the purely heavenly temple dimension that descends in the midst of the faithful saints on earth (as in chapters 1 and 11), or the heavenly dimension in the midst of another (new) earthly temple in the structural form, as in chapters 8-9.” In either case, the emphasis is upon the heavenly dimensions of the temple dwelling in the midst of God’s people. Beale concludes that the vision of Ezekiel 40-48 is “a figurative vision of a real heavenly temple that would descend and be established on earth in a non-structural form in the latter days.”[24] Ezekiel prophesied of a literal “at hand” or “near” Day of the Lord (Ezekiel 7 & 12) upon Judah for her apostasy. Her temple and city were about to be imminently destroyed by the Babylonians and was depicted as a symbolic and metamorphic de-creation event. In Matthew 24, Jesus is predicting a “this generation” imminent return of Himself upon the clouds to bring an end to the Old Covenant system and age once and for all using the familiar metamorphic and symbolic language of the prophets.
Although the heavens and earth of Israel’s Temple and City would lay desolate through God sending the Babylonians, God assured His faithful remnant that He would function as their sanctuary during their exile and absence of a literal temple. This transition period of a spiritual temple laid the foundation for the NT teaching that the Christ and His disciples was the True New Covenant last days Temple predicted by the prophets.
The other typological picture comes in the form of the restoration period or covenant renewal during the ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah. The “gathering” and resurrection of the Jews and their Gentile proselyte converts whom came from among the Gentile nations of slavery and exile (death) back into the Land in faith and repentance (resurrection) to rebuild the temple and city, were typological of the restoration, “gathering” and glory of the New Covenant Temple/Creation that Christ would perform in and through the Church. During the transition period, Christian Jews continued Old Covenant worship in the Temple until Jesus as their High Priest appeared a second time and thus fulfilled all of the promises of that covenant system (Mt. 5:17-19; Heb. 9:6-10, 26-28). During this period the out pouring of the Holy Spirit, obedience to Jesus’ teachings and the spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire was the process by which Israel’s “last days” New Covenant Temple was being built up. This was the “already” aspect of Biblical eschatology and the descent of the heavenly last days Temple. The “not yet” to Biblical eschatology in the form of the completion and maturity of the last days Temple is undisputedly tied to Christ’s imminent parousia in AD 70 (Rev. 21-22:6-7, 10-12, 20).
The Jew understood his covenant with Jehovah in the Land and Temple to be a “heaven and earth” filled with the living waters and light of Torah. When Gentile converts came from among the death and darkness of their nations to Jerusalem in faith and repentance, they partook of the cleansing waters of God’s Word and were considered a “new creation.” This is what we see taking place in Revelation 21-22:17.
Multiplying seed promises
The Abrahamic and Davidic covenants of multiplying seed is fulfilled in Christ and those placing their faith in Him (either Jew or Gentile) and thus become the fulfillment of these New Covenant promises (Gen. 9, 12-13, 15, 17,22:17-18àGal. 3:16, 29; Isaiah 53:10, Isaiah 65-66; 2 Sam. 7:12; Psalm 18:50; 89:29). The fulfillment of these Abrahamic “faith,” “seed” and “circumcision” promises that constitute the New Covenant “Jew” had not been postponed thousands of years (per Dispensationalism), but were being fulfilled in Paul’s day through the Church (Rms. 2:28-29; 4).
Jeremiah 31:31-34
The NT is very clear that the New Covenant promises made to Israel through Jeremiah apply and are fulfilled in the Church (Luke 22:20; Heb. 7-12 especially 8:6-13; 2 Cor. 3:6).
Ezekiel 38-39
There is nothing in these two chapters that even remotely suggests that Israel is being “re-gathered” in “unbelief” in 1948 as the fulfillment of this prophecy. It is said that God’s judgment of the wicked will be a witness to the nations of Himself. He also states that He will make Himself holy in the ones He calls back into the land 39:27-29 and this as well is a witness to the nations. Again repentance, faith, cleansing, and restoration in the hearts of Israel are necessary requirements to be gathered from among the nations back into the land. We can understand from the text how FIRST the wicked being judged are a witness to the nations of God’s holy character, but how was 1948’s alleged re-gathering in unbelief a witness of God’s holiness and faithful covenant dealings with Israel? The answer is that it isn’t and simply does not meet the covenantal requirements. And if 1948 is a fulfillment of Israel’s Old Covenant Mosaic Law promises, are Dispensationalists claiming that currently Israel is under the Old Covenant while we are currently living in the Church age?
John Hagee writes,
“We are on a countdown to crisis. The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty. The war of Ezekiel 38-39 could begin before this book gets published (MJS- don’t worry it won’t and it will get “revised” once again!). Israel and America must confront Iran’s nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons.” (Hagee, Ibid., 53).
“No prophetic scripture is more crystal clear than Ezekiel’s vivid and specific description of the coming massive war in the Middle East that will sweep the world toward Armageddon. Ezekiel’s war as described in chapters 38 and 39 will consist of an Arab coalition of nations led by Russia for the purpose of exterminating the Jews of Israel and controlling the city of Jerusalem.”(Ibid.).
Of the battle of Armageddon as described in Revelation 16, Wal-Mart sensation Tim LaHaye writes of China’s alleged involvement,
“…China is already moving in the political direction that will make it possible for her to do what Revelation indicates she will during the Tribulation: march over the Euphrates River to participate in the Battle of Armageddon. Such an action would have been considered impossible just sixty years ago. Today it is not only feasible, but with her Communist-inspired obsession to take over all of Asia and perhaps even the entire world, it may be feasible. Just another suggestion that “the time is near.”[25] Revelation 16:16 is simply a historic reference and symbol of war that is directed to a place – the mount of Megiddo or the city of Megiddo where famous battles of Israel had been fought (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29) and is thus used as we might use the term of someone “Meeting your Waterloo.” Gary DeMar captures the intent of the text well when he writes,
“Israel remembered Megiddo as a place where God vented His divine wrath against rebellion, whether exhibited by Israel or a foreign power. God brought the nations of the world against first-century Jerusalem as he had promised (Matthew 22:7; 24:34). Rome, as an “empire of nations” (Syria, Asia Minor, Palestine, Gaul, Egypt, Britain, and others) representing all the nations of the world (see Luke 2:1),came up against Jerusalem and destroyed her.” “There were those in Israel who actually attempted to fight against this world empire and, met their “Waterloo.” “It no more takes place in Megiddo than Jerusalem is Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon”[26] (MJS – These cities in Revelation describe apostate old-covenant Jerusalem 11:8; 18:24/Matthew 23:31-36).
As John writes towards the end of Jesus’ and his “this generation,” the prophetic last days battle, was to be fulfilled “shortly” not 2,000+ years away.
Like the other eisegetical embarrassing elements to Dispensational Zionism, is the belief that Russia will invade Israel because Ezekiel 38:2 and 39:1 use the Hebrew words rosh (which sounds like Russia) and Meshech (which sounds like Moscow). The other reasons are that Russia has some ancient cities residing in its domain that were ancient cities recorded in Ezekiel. But none of these other cities “sound like” their modern counterparts like Rosh (Russia) and Mesech (Moscow) allegedly do. Obviously this sound alike word game of “hermeneutics” is a “make up the interpretive rules as you go” game that is being plaid fast and loose with God’s Word. Again DeMar writes,
“The most damaging piece of evidence to the theory that Ezekiel 38 and 39 refer to modern Russia’s invasion of Israel during the Great Tribulation is that there is no mention of Gog and Magog or Meshech and Tubal in Revelation 4-19, yet this passage is where dispensationalists tell us the Great Tribulation is described. Revelation 20:8 describes the battle of Gog and Magog as coming after the thousand years. Moreover, its characteristics are quite different from the Ezekiel battle. This means, like “Jezebel” (Revelation 2:20), “Sodom and Egypt” (11:8), and “Babylon” (14:8), the Battle of Gog and Magog is characteristic of an Old Testament event, but it is not the same event! One is past (Ezekiel 38-39); the other is future – after the “thousand years” (Revelation 20:8).” (DeMar, Ibid., 366).
Another problem for Dispensationalists revolves around the question – was the gathering of Israel in 1948 a “super sign” that we are in the “later days” or “last days” of (38:16), or are the “last days” strictly an OT prophecy for Israel separated from the Church? Hard line Dispensationalists claim that we are not in the last days because the OT never predicted the church and the “last days” prophecies only address Israel after the “rapture” of the Church takes place. But others such as Charismatic Dispensationalists teach that the gifts of Acts 2 are continuing in our day (“the last days”), and that 1948 was the “super sign” that God’s time clock for Israel has been activated. In other words it is a sign that the Church is in the last days expecting the imminent “rapture.” But if the distinctions between the Church age and the last days to Israel’s age overlap, this collapses the Dispensational system.
These passages in Ezekiel (cf. also chapters 6 and 12) are referring to the scattering of Israel among the nations in the Babylonian captivity and are not addressing a scattering which took place in AD 70. When does Scripture teach that God would “gather” Israel back into her land from among the nations? Jeremiah tells us that it would be after 70 years were completed (Jer. 29). And this typological scattering and re-gathering under the hands of Cyrus, Ezra and Nehemiah pictured the true fulfillment of the New Covenant promises in Ezekiel 37 and Jeremiah 31under Jesus. This historical slavery and deliverance only typified the slavery of sin of which Jesus through the New Covenant gathering of the Gospel and through His parousia would deliver His people from.
Isaiah 11:1-12
Dispensationalists understand this section of Isaiah 11to be teaching a literal 1,000 year millennial period and Ice sites it as a proof text for a gathering of Israel in unbelief in 1948. This allegedly results to Israel’s millennial period in our imminent future. But again, the text only supports a gathering of the remnant of Israel and the Gentiles into the Kingdom in belief and not unbelief (vv. 11-12)!
Like we saw in 2 Corinthians 6:16/Ezekiel 37:27, Paul once again dismisses the Dispensational theory that Isaiah 11 is dealing with a future millennial period when he quotes Isaiah 11 in Romans 15:8-12. Here Paul makes it crystal clear that God was in the process of fulfilling His covenant promises to Israel because this fulfillment was resulting in the salvation of the Gentiles. Clearly if the “gathering” of Israel is the “in that day” millennial period which results in the salvation of the Gentiles, then Paul is emphatically teaching that this prophecy was being fulfilled and that the Church was in the millennial period. This portion of Isaiah deals with the second exodus theme which I will deal with in more detail towards the end of this article.
Isaiah 35:10
John Hagee appears to believe that Isaiah 35, 43, and 44 are dealing with literal “agricultural accomplishments” fulfilled in 1948 and today,
“If Israel as a nation had not been reborn, if the Jews had not returned to the land, if the cities of Israel had not been rebuilt, if the Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) had not been occupied, if the trees that the Turks cut down had not been replanted, if the agricultural accomplishments of Israel had not been miraculous, there would be a valid reason for every person to doubt that the Word of God is true. But listen to the prophets of God declare his intention for the Jews of the world to reinhabit Israel.” (Hagee, In Defense of ISRAEL, Ibid., 150).
It is indeed true that under the blessings and curses of the Old Covenant Mosaic Law that God would withhold rain (harden the land) or give rain (cause fruitful produce) for Israel in order to picture the state of their hearts. The desert beginning to bloom and blossom is really dealing with the hearts of God’s people turning to Him in faith and repentance under Ezra and Nehemiah, but is ultimately fulfilled in the out pouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jew and Gentile (the Church) in the NT.
Verse 3ff. is quoted in Hebrews 12:12. Within the immediate context, this passage is designed to comfort the fearful among Israel of the invading Gentile Lords. Eventually God would come and deliver them and bring them back into their land through Cyrus, Nehemiah, and Ezra – all types of Christ. Therefore, in type form, this historical coming of the Lord in judgment and salvation would picture the imminent return of Jesus in AD 66-70 – Hebrews 10:37. In Hebrews 12:11-13, the writer interprets the agriculture, the way/path, and healing of Isaiah 35 as a “harvest of righteousness” and “peace” to be realized in the salvation of Jesus. Unfortunately for Hagee and Dispensational theology in general, the writer to the Hebrews in chapter 12 does not teach that Israel’s kingdom promises of salvation and a New Covenant were “postponed” until 1948 (and counting into the “literal” 1,000 years millennial period), but rather that they were being fulfilled and received in the first century by the Church!
Jesus performed literal miracles of deliverance in the Gospels for the “unclean” from their blindness, deafness, not being able to speak, leprosy and being lame (vv. 5-6), because these infirmities pictured the bondage of sin in the heart of man. Jesus would bring the ultimate healing (the forgiveness of sins) through the cross, outpouring of the Holy Spirit and at His parousia in AD 70.
Isaiah’s promises to Israel of a “highway of holiness” and “Way” that the “redeemed” travel on (vv. 8-10), have not been postponed for thousands of years, but are being fulfilled today in the Church age through faith in Christ (cf. John 14:6).
Isaiah 43:5-6
Clearly God did bring His scattered children back into the land from the south, north, east and west from the Assyrian and Babylonian (cf. v.14) captivities through the deliverance of Cyrus and the restoration period of Ezra and Nehemiah’s day. As in Isaiah 11 the “second” or “new” exodus under Messiah is the contextual setting here and was ultimately fulfilled in Christ’s blood and parousia.
God gathered all kinds of His children from the east, west, north, and south into His kingdom through the preaching of the Gospel and at His return in AD 70 (Isaiah 27:13/Mt. 24:14-30-31; Luke 21:22-32). These children included not just the remnant of Israel, but the Gentiles and they were gathered into the kingdom when the Old Covenant Kingdom was judged and taken from the Jews and given to the Church in AD 70 (Mt. 21:33-43; Luke 13:28-30).
Again, Christ and His New Covenant salvation is the “way” and “new thing” (cf. Jeremiah 31:21-22, 31) in the desert which causes men’s hearts to blossom as the very garden of God (43:19-21).
Isaiah 44:24, 26
Here it becomes abundantly clear that the “miraculous” “agricultural accomplishments” that Hagee literalizes, the prophet Isaiah identifies as the water and outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of His people. The water is the Holy Spirit and the grass, meadow and poplar trees are God’s people (vv. 1-4).
The time of deliverance here is clearly typified during the time of Cyrus who functioned as God’s shepherd and would, “…accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, Let it be rebuilt, and of the temple, Let its foundations be laid.” (v. 28).
Perhaps there is some application for false prophets such as Hal Lindsey, Chuck Smith, Jon Courson and John Hagee in verse 25. God clearly has made “foolish” their “Holy Spirit led” false predictions of the 1948 “this generation” scenario–“overthrowing” them, and making them “nonsense” and “fools” in His sight!
Isaiah 61:4
The “miraculous” “agricultural accomplishments” or the “planting of the Lord,” according to Isaiah has to do with His people being “oaks” and displaying the sprouting of His righteousness and praise before the nations (vv. 3, 11).
Jesus applies the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2’s “the year of the Lord’s favor” to His personal ministry in Luke 4:16-19. There is nothing in the prophecies of Isaiah or anywhere in the Gospels that even remotely suggests that Jesus’ ministry and Kingdom promises made to Israel got postponed for some 2,000 years and counting.
Amos 9:11-15 is a parallel prophecy to Isaiah 61:4 and the rebuilding and restoration here is clearly identified as the salvation of the remnant of Jews and the Gentiles in Acts 15:16-17. This rebuilding of the ancient ruins was fulfilled in type form during Nehemiah’s ministry and fulfilled in anti-type form through the building up of Christ and His master builders the Apostles and the Church.
Zephaniah 2:1-2
This is but yet another prophetic passage that has to do with the Babylonian captivity which was “near” and would hasten “quickly” during the time the prophecy was written (Zeph. 1:7, 14). The context is dealing with a casting out of Judah from the land in judgment because of sin and not a “re-gathering” back into the land in unbelief in 1948! God was calling Judah to gather together in repentance or face their imminent judgment. They refused this exhortation (3:6-8).
Let’s now move on to consider another interpretive error of “this generation” make in hopes to avoid the obvious and clear interpretation.
[1] Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, back-cover, p.144, New York: Bantam, 1980
[2] Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35.
[3] Francis X. Gumerlock, the Day and the Hour Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 2000), 290.
[4] Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s APPLICATION COMMENTARY NEW TESTAMENT CD-ROM, Nelson pub.
[5] G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: INTERVARISTY PRESS, 2004), 264. See also references to Genesis and trees as Nations and people in Ezekiel 31; 47; Revelation 22).
[6] James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL, A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), 619-628. And Leithart sees the harvest at the end of “this age” in Matthew 13 as taking place by A.D. 70, Peter J. Leithart, THE PROMISE OF HIS APPEARING AN EXPOSITION OF SECOND PETER, (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004), 94-95.
[7] Greg Laurie, ARE THESE THE LAST DAYS? HOW TO LIVE EXPECTANTLY IN A WORLD OF UNCERTAINTY, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books From Gospel Light, 2005), 20.
[8] John Hagee, IN DEFENSE OF ISRAEL THE BIBLE’S MANDATE FOR SUPPORTING THE JEWISH STATE, (Lake Mary, FL: FrontLine, 2007,) 4-5. It is true that Christians are called to continue in doctrine and in the teachings of Jesus and Apostles, but since Hagee’s teaching is not Biblical, his exhortations are purely manipulative.
[9] Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, CHARTING THE END TIMES A visual Guide to Understanding Bible Prophecy, (Eugene, Oregon, 2001), 86, (emphasis added).
[10] John Hagee, (REVISED AND UPDATED) JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN A PRELUDE TO WAR, (Lake Mary, FL: Frontline pub, 2007), 129.
[11] Greg Laurie, Ibid.
[12] John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty OLD TESTAMENT (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Victor Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 1298.
[13] Keith A. Mathison, DISPENSATIONALISM Rightly Dividing the People of God?, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1995), 19 (bold emphasis added).
[14] Hagee, Jerusalem Countdown, Ibid., 129-135. John Hagee, IN DEFENSE OF ISRAEL THE BIBLE’S MANDATE FOR SUPPORTING THE JEWISH STATE, (Lake Mary, FL: Front Line Pub., 2007), 149-154.
[15] Dwight Pentecost, THINGS TO COME A Study in Biblical Eschatology, (Findlay, OH: Dunham Publishing Company, 1958)
[16] Curtis I. Crenshaw and Grover E. Gunn, III, DISPENSATIONALISM TODAY, YESTERDAY, AND TOMORROW, (Memphis, TN: Footstool Publications, 1986), 175.
[17] C.I. Scofield, The New Scofield Reference Bible, (New York: Oxford, 1967), 888.
[18] James B. Jordan, THROUGH NEW EYES Developing a Biblical View of the World, (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1988), 246.
[19] John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck, Zane C. Hodges, The Bible Knowledge Commentary An Exposition of the Scriptures NEW TESTAMENT by Dallas Seminary Faculty (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor COOK COMMUNICATIONS MINISTRIES, 2004), 800.
[20] G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove: Illinois, 2004), 339.
[21] John Gill, John Gill’s Expositor, Online Bible CD.
[22] Beale, Ibid., 314.
[23] Kenneth L. Gentry (contributing author), FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 65-66.
[24] Keith A. Mathison, FROM AGE TO AGE THE UNFOLDING OF BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009), 257.
[25] Tim LaHaye, REVELATION UNVEILED, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan 1999), 256.
[26] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, (Atlanta GA: American Vision, 1999), 318.

An Exposition of "This Generation" (Matthew 24:34) Part 2

By Michael J. Sullivan
We ended part 1 of our exposition of Matthew 24:34 by examining the strong lexical evidence that genea should be understood as the first century contemporary generation that Jesus was speaking to and therefore the language of Christ coming on the clouds, gathering His elect, and the de-creation cosmic imagery (“all these things”) should not be interpreted with a strict literalism.  Brown understanding the analogy of Scripture, was even forced to say that  such passages as 2 Peter 3 and 1 Thessalonians 4 could be interpreted through the lense of a first century “historical judgment.”  In other words, the more clear passages such as “this generation” should guide the exegete into understanding some of the seemingly more difficult passages that use apocalyptic language as being fulfillled as “historical judgments” – ie. AD 70, and not an end of time event.
We now turn our attention to examining some of the false interpretations of genea.
False Interpretations of “This Generation” Considered
1) “This race” will not pass a way
Of the 27 translations I looked at for genea, only one (WUESTNT) sought to translate it with having no regard to the context and with a futurist bias, “This nation shall by no means pass away until all these things take place.” And although the reader may find some documentation somewhere giving genea a meaning of “nation, stock, or race,” even those sources will or should admit that the predominant meaning is, “The whole multitude of men living at the same time” or “a period of “30 – 40 years.” It is difficult to understand how so many can be led astray in translating or interpreting genea as “race” when even the KJV and Strong’s Concordance admits that the word is used 42 times with the predominant translation being “generation,” – 37 times as “generation,” 2 times as “time,” 2 times as “age,” and only 1 time as “nation.”
This particular interpretation and translation has been popularized by Continue reading “An Exposition of "This Generation" (Matthew 24:34) Part 2”

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.