The Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by AD 70

The Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by AD 70

Jewish Views on the Resurrection

Many higher critical Bible sceptics, Talmudic Zionists, Muslims, Dispensational Zionists or  Christian Futurist systems of eschatology simply assume that the only concept of the resurrection of the dead in the OT and during Jesus’ day was a biological fleshly one in which an alleged individual’s physical / spiritual body would emerge from the literal grave at the end of time and thus be fitted for the afterlife in the new creation or some paradise on earth.  An understanding that the Bible only teaches this kind of resurrection has resulted in spiritualizing the imminent time texts of the NT away which point to the resurrection being fulfilled by AD 70.  The other gross abuse has been in not acknowledging that the OT and NT authors connect the resurrection event with the judgment of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in AD 70.   It is my purpose in this article to correct the record by doing the hard exegesis that critics and Futurist Christianity has not done.

I like how Lester L. Grabbe points out that, during the Second Temple period, the interpretations of the resurrection in the OT were not all necessarily understood to refer to the physical body. They included the view that the resurrection involved only the souls/spirits of individuals being fit for God’s presence either at death, or only their souls were raised at a general judgment of the dead event.  He points out that there is no evidence that the physical view was any more dominant than the spiritual view.  While lengthy, I think his historical comments will be helpful before we begin an exegesis of the OT and NT resurrection texts and simply assume they are addressing a biological resurrection at the end of time when Jesus or Messiah comes:

“It is sometimes asserted that the resurrection of the body was the characteristic Jewish belief. This is not borne out by the data. A variety of beliefs seem to be attested about the same time in Israelite history. One of these was the resurrection of the body, but there is little reason to think that it was earlier or more characteristic of Jewish thinking than the immortality of the soul or resurrection of the spirit. And it is clear that some Jews still maintained the older belief in no afterlife. The Sadducees (see section 2.7) are one group who thought so; so did Ben Sira. Writing about 190 bce Ben Sira does not seem to think of any life beyond death, as interpreted by the vast majority of scholars. Therefore, it would be quite wrong to refer to any of these beliefs as ‘characteristically’ Jewish or the Jewish belief on the subject.”[1]

“The exact form of the resurrection is not always specified, but we should not expect it always to entail resurrection of the body. Sometimes only the resurrection of the spirit is in mind, as in Jubilees 23:20–22:

And at that time the Lord will heal his servants, and they shall be exalted and prosper greatly; and they shall drive out their adversaries. And the righteous shall see it and be thankful, and rejoice with joy for ever and ever; and they shall see all the punishments and curses that had been their lot falling on their enemies. And their bones shall rest in the earth, and their spirits shall have much joy; and they shall know that the Lord is one who executes judgement, and shows mercy to hundreds, and to tens of thousands, and to all that love him.

Belief in the immortality of the soul is known at least as early as the Book of Watchers (1 Enoch 1–36). The souls of the various sorts of people are preserved in hollow places after death (1 Enoch 22):

And from there I went to another place, and he showed me in the west a large and high mountain, and a hard rock and four beautiful places, and inside it was deep and wide and very smooth . . . Then Raphael, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered me and said to me, These beautiful places are intended for this, that the spirits, the souls of the dead, might be gathered into them; for them they were created, that here they might gather all the souls of the sons of men. And these places they made where they will keep them until the day of their judgement and until their appointed time – and that appointed time will be long – until the great judgement comes upon them.

As the rest of the passage indicates, the souls of the dead are already experiencing reward and punishment in their intermediate state. In this case, the existence of the soul after death seems to be combined with the idea of a final judgement. This may imply a general resurrection, though this is not stated explicitly. In other sections of 1 Enoch, a resurrection is mentioned (46:6; 51:1; 90:33; 91:10; 92:3–4).

Other sources give no indication of a resurrection at all, only the immortal soul. A good example is Wisdom of Solomon which speaks of the soul (e.g., 3:1–9) but does not mention the resurrection. Whether Wisdom thinks the souls of all are immortal, or only those of the righteous, is debated. Many feel that immortality is not inherent in the soul itself but is a gift given only to the righteous.

The Testament of Abraham gives the clearest picture of how the souls are judged after death (Version A 11–14; Version B 9–11). The souls are brought before a throne on which Abel sits as judge. The one who presents the souls for judgement is Enoch, the scribe of righteousness (Version B only). The judged souls go either through the strait gate which leads to life (for the righteous) or the broad gate to destruction (for the sinners). Although there is a brief indication of belief in a general resurrection in the Testament of Abraham (Version B 7:16), judgement of each individual seems to take place immediately after death, and the emphasis is on this immediate judgement of the soul while the body rests in the grave.

On the other hand, the immortal souls and the resurrection may be combined, as in 2 Baruch 29–30:

[30:2] And it shall come to pass at that time that the treasuries will be opened in which is preserved the number of the souls of the righteous, and they will come out, and the multitude of souls will appear together in one single assembly; and those who are first will rejoice, and those who are last will not be cast down. For each one of them will know that the predetermined end of the times has come. But the souls of the wicked, when they see all this, will be the more discomforted. For they will know that their torment is upon them and that their perdition has arrived.[2]

Murray J. Harris after examining the intertestamental period of Judaism agrees:

“And there is the concept of the immortality of the soul or spirit that is gained at death or at the End [of the Mosaic age], with or without a resurrection of the [physical] body.”[3]

In Jewish tradition and exegesis there is also the view that the resurrection takes place 40 years after Messiah,

“Jewish writings stipulate that forty years after the coming of the Messiah there will be a resurrection of the dead, and all who are lying in dust will rise to new life.” (The 13 Principles and the Resurrection of the Dead)

The Rebbe often quotes the Zohar to the effect that the Resurrection will take place 40 years after the advent of Mashiach. (See Igros Kodesh, Vol. II, p. 75; Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. I, p. 274. However, there are also other references in the sichos (e.g., Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVII, p. 206; Sefer HaSichos 5733, Shabbos Parshas Balak, footnote 3).”[4]

The fact that the resurrection could be a resurrection of spirits out of Hades in the coming judgment and that it would be fulfilled 40 years after Messiah was cut-off or during His transitionary reign between their old covenant “this age” and the new covenant “age about to come” fits perfectly with the teachings of Jesus and the NT authors.

Then there are many scholars that point out the main concept of resurrection was to be a corporate body resurrection.  That is after Israel was in exile (death) she would be restored back to the land and temple and thus be back into God’s presence (resurrection).  Here is a list of scholars developing the idea of a corporate body resurrection within Jewish and Christian thought that was sent to me by my good friend Don K. Preston who writes,

“Robert Wilken, Land Called Holy: Wilken, Land Called Holy, (70): “When the Scriptures speak about the ‘resurrection of the body’ (in Ezekiel 37) the Jews believe that there will be a ‘restoration of Jewish polity.’”

Tom Holland, Romans: Divine Marriage, (265) – Commenting on Romans 8:10 – He says that Ezekiel 37 lies behind 1 Corinthians 15 as well as Romans 8. He then says – “The point to note is that the resurrection of Ezekiel 37 is corporate– it is the nation that was raised. The Jew had no notion of individual resurrection because he saw the nation’s resurrection as the fulfillment of covenantal promises. These promises are not the property of the individual Jew but of Israel. The slide into individualism takes us out of the biblical mind-set – including Paul’s– for, while resurrection embraces individuals, it is the experience of the community.”

Steven M. Bryan, Jesus and Israel’s Traditions of Judgment and Restoration, Society for New Testament Studies, Monograph Series 117, (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 105– “Isaiah 26 seems to stand behind Isaiah 52:1-2 where resurrection language describes not actual resurrection as in Daniel 12:2 but to national liberation.”

Robert Alter, Isaiah 26:19, the Hebrew Bible, p. 703: “The entire line of poetry flatly contradicts the declaration in verse 14 that the dead shall not live. The operative term of distinction is “Your.” Is the prophet introducing a doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which is GENERALLY NOT THOUGHT to emerge UNTIL the Book of Daniel? This is at least a POSSIBILITY, and this is certainly the way this verse was LATER understood by communities of believers. BUT, given the theme of NATIONAL RENEWAL that informs this ENTIRE prophecy, it may be MORE LIKELY that what the poet has in mind is a REBIRTH OF THE NATION, LIKE Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones.” (all emp. mine, wb).

Scott McKnight, New Vision, (13) – “Jesus entered Jerusalem at the beginning of the last, fateful week of his life, realized the utter gravity of Israel’s situation, and knew that he had to offer himself consciously and intentionally to God as a vicarious sacrifice for Israel in order to avert the national disaster, and he did so as an atoning, substitutionary sacrifice. … Not only in theological truth but in historic fact, the one bore the sins of the many, confident that in him the whole Jewish nation was being nailed to the cross, only to come to life again in a better resurrection, and that the Day of the Son of Man which would see the end of the Old Israel would see also the vindication of the new.” (Citing Caird, Jesus and the Jewish Nation, p. 22).

Andrew M. Mbuvi, Temple, Exile and Identity in 1 Peter, (T and T Clark International, New York, 2007), Library of New Testament Studies (345)36, n. 140– He cites R. P. Gordon on the Targumists– They said that “even a righteous Israelite could be denied a part in the resurrection if he had been buried beyond the borders of Israel. Conversely, the hope of resurrection was extended to non-Israelites whose only merit was their internment within the holy land.”

Also, the idea of exile as death and restoration to the land as resurrection – Mbuvi, Temple, (p. 36)– “The exile, as separation from God, meant death. The return from exile then came to be understood as a return to life– a resurrection.” “We find the connection here in Ezekiel between the return of the lost tribes of the northern kingdom and the resurrection of the dead” (344); “Whether or not this (Various prophecies such as Ezekiel 37, 1 Enoch 48:7-8; 51:1-5; 61:5; 62:14-16– DKP)– refers to ‘bodily resurrection’ for our purposes it is only necessary to point out that resurrection is intrinsically linked to the end of the Exile and a return to the Land (cf. Ezekiel 37).”

John Watts, Word Biblical Commentary, Isaiah, Vol 24, (Waco, Word, 1985)344, “The exiles in Assyria and Egypt are said to have been perishing. But they will be gathered by God to come and worship him on his holy mountain in Jerusalem (v. 13). Separation from the temple is equivalent to death. Being allowed to participate again in Jerusalem is like coming back to life.”

Jon Levenson, Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel, (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2006)154-155– Levenson gives one of the finest explanations of resurrection as the restoration of fellowship I have seen. “The sources in the Hebrew Bible, as we have seen, have a definition of death that is broader than ours. That is why they can see exile, for example, as death and repatriation as life, in a sense that seems contrived (to state it negatively), or artful (to put it positively), to us but probably did not seem so to the original authors and audiences. In part, this is because the ancient Israelites, altogether lacking the corporealist penchant of thought so powerful in modernity, did not conceive of death and life as purely and exclusively biological phenomena. These things were, rather, social in character, (his emp), and could not, therefore, be disengaged from the historical fate of the subjects of whom they are predicated. Or, to put it differently, death and life in the Hebrew Bible are often best seen as relational events and are for the selfsame reason inseparable from the personal circumstances of those described as living or as dead. To be alive in this frequent biblical sense of the word inevitably entailed more than existing in a certain physical state.” Levenson- Page 38 – Although the author of these verses (Psalms 88–DKP) is surely not yet dead in our sense, in his own view he already dwells—one hesitates to say ‘‘lives’’—in the realm of the dead. In this, Philip S. Johnston finds a contradiction. He finds it impossible to understand ‘‘how an experience of death can be real but partial’’—if, that is, ‘‘death necessarily entails total deprivation of life and irreversible separation from [Yhwh].’’ As he puts it, ‘‘The psalmist who can still pray is clearly not dead.’’∞∂ The answer to Johnston’s objection lies in the Israelite conception of death and its difference from others, especially ours. Whereas we think of a person who is gravely ill, under lethal assault, or sentenced to capital punishment as still alive, the Israelites were quite capable of seeing such an individual as dead. Or, to be more precise, they could do so in their poetic literature without, it seems to me, implying that in a more prosaic genre (like historiography or religious law) they would make the same categorization. In other words, for us death is radically discontinuous with life, a quantum leap, as it were, lying between the two. For the psalmists, by contrast, the discontinuity lay between a healthy and successful life and one marked by adversity, in physical health or otherwise. We are predisposed to think that ancient Israelites conceived of death as involving two stages, one characterized by intense affliction but capable of reversal and another permanent and irreversible, like death as modern secular thought conceives it (figure a). In fact, they saw illness as continuous with death and thought of the reversal of illness as so miraculous as to be in the nature of a resurrection (figure b).– page 38

Here is the quote from Pitre that I cited: Brant Pitre, Jesus, Tribulation and the End of Exile, (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2005, 414 – he says, commenting on Daniel 12: “This prophecy of the resurrection and justification of the ‘many’ like all ‘resurrection’ texts in the Old Testament, is also a prophecy of the restoration of Israel.””[5]

Throughout the body of the article I will also be quoting from the orthodox Partial Preterist Reformed community to see if such a spiritual, forty years new exodus, followed by souls being released from Hades at the end of the old covenant age, and corporate body resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70 and if so, does this harmonize with Full Preterism and the Biblical position.

Reformed Views of a Spiritual Resurrection in AD 70

Many Christians are unaware that Reformed Partial Preterism teaches the “orthodox” view that there was a spiritual resurrection of the dead at the coming of Christ in AD 70.  This position teaches the exact same concepts I will be developing, in that the OT and NT supports that:

1).  There was a spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection from the condemnation and death of the old covenant body of Israel being transformed and rising into the imputed righteousness and resurrection life of the new covenant body of Israel between AD 30 – AD 70.

2). This spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection is consummated at Christ’s coming upon the clouds in the events of AD 67 – AD 70 when God empties the souls from Abraham’s Bosom, or Hades, and causes His righteous to inherit God’s presence and eternal life.

Unfortunately, the weakness of this position is that both the OT and NT teach that this is the ONE end of the age (old covenant age) consummative resurrection event and not just “a” resurrection.

I will be arguing in this chapter that the above “orthodox” Christian understanding of a spiritual, progressive, covenantal and corporate body resurrection is THE general end of the age resurrection event that was fulfilled imminently by AD 70.  We will examine and quote these admissions throughout the body of the article from men such as James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry especially when we address the resurrection of Daniel 12:2

The resurrection of Job 19:25-27?

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me” (Job 19:25-27).

Note how the American Standard Bible translates verse 26 as having the exact opposite meaning as how the physical resurrection proponents would read it: “And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed, then, without my flesh shall I see God.”

The Anchor Bible reads and understands the Hebrew as “without my flesh” and the NIV concedes that this can be the meaning and adds a note (“from my flesh”).

OT and Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch translate the Hebrew in the key verse thus:

“And after my skin, thus torn to pieces, And without my flesh shall I behold Eloah…”

And they further elaborate that this text should not be used to support a fleshly resurrection:

“If we have correctly understood על־עפר, Job 19:25, we cannot in this speech find that the hope of a bodily recovery is expressed.”[6]

Barne’s Notes on the Bible renders it:

“After I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of my flesh shall I see God.”

The Hebrew can actually teach the exact opposite of an expectation of a physical resurrection in that Job is saying “apart from my flesh” or “without my flesh” he would see God.  Therefore, this passage could easily be supporting an understanding of a resurrection of the soul in seeing God and, if so, would be consistent with spiritual Jewish views we just looked at.

Some have postulated that Job was one of those raised out of the tombs with Jesus in Matthew 27, and therefore he saw Jesus standing on the earth before He ascended.  If so, there is no evidence that Job took a physical body to heaven or ascended with Christ.  If such a view was correct (and I don’t think it is), then Job’s physical resurrection was a “sign” type miracle, and he went into the town testifying of Christ and then would die again, as the purpose of Lazarus’ resurrection served.

A more probable interpretation given by Futurists and Preterists alike is that Job is looking for vindication in this life and is not discussing a physical or spiritual resurrection hope in the afterlife. As David Green writes,

“But even if we translate the phrase to read, “from my flesh” (i.e., from the vantage point of my flesh), this could be taken to mean that Job expected to see God within his own lifetime, while still in his flesh.  And, as a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened.

After Job’s time of tribulation and anguish, his Redeemer at last arose on the dust and answered Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1). After God’s “archers”/“troops” (i.e., Job’s accusers) surrounded and “devoured” Job, and after Job was filled up with the afflictions of his flesh, he was redeemed from his sufferings. He was vindicated as “a perfect and upright man” and his enemies were judged (cf. Job 19:29 and 42:79).  Thus Job, with his own eyes, and from his flesh, saw God: I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen You (Job 42:5).

Regarding Job 14:13-17:

O that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would keep me secret, until Your wrath be past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!  If a man dies, shall he live again?  All the days of my appointed time [literally, “warfare”] will I wait, till my change come [or, “until my exchanging or replacement come”].  You shall call, and I will answer You.  You will have a desire to the work of Your hands (Job 14:13-15).

If Job was prophesying concerning the resurrection of the dead in this passage, then we must say that Job was triumphing in the idea that his wretched and miserable condition (his “warfare”) would continue for hundreds or even thousands of additional years while in Sheol (Job 14:14), and that only at the end of human history would God’s “wrath” (Job 14:13) against him pass, and that only then would Job be relieved from his warfare as a battle-wearied soldier is replaced by another (“changed”) (cf. Job 10:17; 14:14-15).

Either God remained/remains angry with Job for hundreds or thousands of years after Job’s death, or Job was not speaking of a vindication at the resurrection of the dead.  As the context leads us to believe, what Job desired was vindication instead of death.  Instead of resigning himself to dying, stricken of God, Job yearned by faith for vindication and redemption in his own lifetime.  He hoped that God would not crush him as an enemy, but would instead relent and restore him to Himself (Job 14:14b, 15).  As we know, Job’s hope was not deferred, as per futurism (Prov. 13:12).  Instead, it was fulfilled, and Job was delivered and vindicated in his own lifetime.  “So, the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).”[7]

The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[a] and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel asks and is told by the angel when all this would be fulfilled in v. 7)7…that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished” (Dan. 12:1-4, 7).

Daniel 12:2-3 is by far the most important and clearest OT text on the resurrection.  Jesus and the other NT writers appeal to its fulfillment in Matthew 13:39-43, John 5, Acts 24:25, Revelation 20:5-15, and even 1 Corinthians 15.

“All these things” (Dan. 12:7)

Daniel is clearly told in verse 7 that the judgment and resurrection of verses 2-4 would be fulfilled at the same time as the “tribulation” period and during the “time of the end [of the old covenant Mosaic age].”  Verse 7 also informs us that this would be a 3 ½ year period of time [the last half of the last seven years of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy] when God would “shatter the power of the holy people” in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Jesus has already connected the “end of the age” resurrection “gathering” and “tribulation” period to be a part of the “all these things” to be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3-34).  This “end of the [old covenant] age” gathering is the same event Jesus described in Matthew 13:39-43.  Let’s get a visual for the parallels and connections:

Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13):
Tribulation on national Israel as never before 12:1 13:40-42
Time of the end / end of “this” OC age separation 12:1, 4, 9, 13 13:39-41
Saints rise and shine in the eternal kingdom 12:2-3 13:43
Wicked rise to shame in eternal condemnation 12:2 13:39-42 
And if B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25):
Pre-kingdom evangelism by Jesus’ evangelism 13:37-38 24:14
Tribulation on national Israel as never before 13:40-42 24:21-22
End of “this” age / end of the age separation 13:39-41 24:30-31; 25:31-41
Sons of the day / hour shine with the Son 13:43 24:27, 30-31, 36
Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 13:43 25:34/Luke 21:30-32 
Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25)
Tribulation and sanctification / Great Tribulation 12:1, 10 24:21-22
Hour / day / time of the judgment (aka separation) 12:1-2, 4 (OG) LXX 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfillment at the time of the end / end of the age / the shattering of Israel’s world/power or her “heaven and earth” (the temple, etc…) 12:4, 7, 9, 13

 

24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35

 

Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom 12:2-3, 13 25:34/Luke 21:30-32
The sons of the day / hour shine with the Son of life 12:3 24:27, 30-31, 36
Kingdom age evangelism via God’s shining ones 12:3

 

24:14, 25:29

 

Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other
Kingdom age evangelism Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Tribulation like never before Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Time of the end (shattering of Israel’s power) / end of the old covenant age (destruction of OC Israel’s temple) Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25
Chosen ones raised and shine to eternal life and wicked raised to eternal condemnation / the righteous raised to shine and tares burn / sheep inherit eternal life / goats to eternal punishment Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25

 Partial Preterist James Jordan now understands the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (and Daniel’s personal resurrection [his soul] in verse 13) as being a spiritual and corporate resurrection that took place from Jesus’ earthly ministry to AD 70.  Jordan even believes that Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s bosom according to Revelation 20 in AD 70.  Here are some selected quotes from his commentary on Daniel:

The resurrection of [Dan. 12:2] seems to connect to the evangelistic and teaching ministry spoken of in verse 3; thus, it is some kind of historical resurrection that is spoke of, a resurrectional event in this world, in our history.”[8]

“…Daniel 12:2 tells us that in the days of Jesus the nation will undergo a last spiritual resurrection, but some will not persevere and their resurrection will only be unto destruction.  The Parable of the soils fits here (Mt. 13:3-23):  three different kinds of people come to life, but only one of the three different kinds of people come to like, but only one of the three kinds is awakened to persevering, everlasting life.

During His ministry, Jesus raised the nation back to life.  He healed the sick, cleansed the unclean, brought dead people back to life, restored the Law, entered the Temple as King, etc.  Then, as always, the restored people fell into sin and crucified Him.

Thus, a resurrection of Israel is in view.  The wicked are raised, but do not profit from it, and are destroyed. The saints experience a great distress, and live with God forever and ever.”[9]

“The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event, were the great proof that Jesus had accomplished the work He came to do.  The fact that the Church exists today, nearly 2000 years after her death in the Great Tribulation, is the ongoing vindication of Jesus work.”[10]

“Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[11]

“What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom, he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.”[12]

After challenging Kenneth Gentry for many years on the timing of the resurrection of Daniel 12, he too has had a recent epiphany recognizing that there had to have been some kind of spiritual resurrection of Daniel 12 fulfilled in AD 70:

“In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.”[13]

“…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”[14]

“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse: Israel as a corporate body is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).  In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represent Israel’s “death” in the Babylonian dispersion (Eze 37). In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life. Luke presents similar imagery in Luke 2:34 in a prophecy about the results of Jesus’s birth for Israel: “And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed.’”

Christ Himself points out that some from Israel will believe and be saved, while others will not (e.g., Mt. 10:34-36; 13:11-15), that in the removing of the kingdom from Israel many will be crushed and scattered like dust (Mt. 21:43-45).  He even speaks of the saved Jews as arising from the “shadow of death” (Mt. 4:16).  Though in AD 70 elect Jews will flee Israel and will live (Mt. 24:22), the rest of the nation will be a corpse:  “wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Mt. 24:28).  Indeed, in AD 70 we see in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Mt. 22:7) that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt. 22:14).  Elsewhere he employs the imagery of “regeneration” to the arising of the new Israel from out of the dead, old covenant Israel in AD 70:  “You who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt. 19:28).”[15]

“…it appears that Daniel is drawing from the hope of a future, literal resurrection and applying it symbolically to the first century leading up the tribulation in AD 70.  That is, he is portraying God’s separating believing Jews out of Israel through the winnowing of Israel in AD 70.”[16]

“Daniel only picks up on resurrection imagery and, like Ezekiel, applies that to corporate Israel.  He is teaching that in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection.”[17]

Let’s summarize the position of Jordan and Gentry here on what the resurrection of Daniel 12 entails:

1). It is Israel’s last spiritual and corporate resurrection.

2). Both Israel and the Church participate in this spiritual, covenantal and corporate resurrection whereby the new covenant Church or new Israel of God is raised out of the corpse of old covenant Israel in AD 70.

3). There was an “already and not yet” type evangelism taking place between Christ’s earthly ministry and His coming in AD 70 which brought about the consummative resurrection or “end” of Israel during the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

4). This resurrection resulted in Daniel’s soul being raised out of Abraham’s bosom to be seated on a throne to reign with Christ and inherit eternal life.

Response – Jordan appeals to the evangelism taking place in the parable of the soils instead of dealing with the evangelism taking place where Jesus actually quotes Daniel 12:2-3, and that is in the parable of the wheat and tares (cf. Mt. 13:39-43).  Jesus clearly places this pre-kingdom evangelism and the resurrection of Daniel 12 to be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age and nowhere else!  And as I demonstrated earlier in our discussion of the end of the age in Matthew 24:3 and 13:39-43, a colleague of Jordan and Gentry’s is Joel McDurmon, who does admit the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43 is the old covenant age. This places the resurrection ONLY at the end of the old covenant age and no other time.

It is important to note that Gentry at one time criticized Dispensational Zionism for having two resurrection doctrines (one before and one after the 1,000 year millennial period):

“Contrary to dispensationalism and historic premillennialism, there is but one resurrection and one judgment, which occur simultaneously at the end of history:  Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:31-32; John 5:28-29…Acts 24:15).”[18]

Gentry NOW says “it appears” there is a double fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history).  Yet he argues against other views giving the tribulation period a double fulfillment or any kind of fulfillment beyond the 3 ½ years Daniel mentions, which he correctly sees being fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  Daniel is told that “all these things” (the tribulation and resurrection) would be fulfilled together during the “time of the end” [of the old covenant age] or during the 3 ½ years – when Israel’s power is completely shattered.

When we harmonize Jordan, Gentry (#1 and #2) and McDurmon on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43 we get the biblical position of NT resurrection:

Major Premise:  The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is “one” general resurrection of the just and unjust to be fulfilled “at the end of the age” and forms the resurrection of Jesus’ teaching and that of the NT authors [cf. Mt. 13:39-43; John 5; Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15; Rev. 20:5-15; etc.] (Gentry #1).

Minor Premise (A):  But the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 has an “already and not yet” pre-kingdom evangelism connected with it that addresses the inward heart and soul of man or the living (Jordan).  This pre-kingdom evangelism is mentioned in Matthew 13:39-43 and 24:14, and was a sign fulfilled before the “end of the old covenant age” in AD 70 (McDurmon).

Minor Premise (B):  But Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s bosom in AD 70 at this last spiritual and corporate resurrection in which the new covenant body of Israel was raised out from the old covenant body of Israel in AD 70 (Jordan and Gentry#2).

Conclusion:  The “ONE” “end of the age” (spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal) resurrection of the just and unjust was fulfilled after a pre-kingdom evangelism affecting the hearts of the living, roughly from AD 27 – AD 67.  This resulted in the new covenant body of Israel being raised out from the corpse of the old covenant body of Israel, a historic event in AD 70 which also resulted in souls being emptied out of Abraham’s bosom to inherit God’s presence and eternal life in AD 70 at the end of the old covenant age (the position of the author – “Reformed and always reforming” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

Some get confused over Daniel’s phrase “sleep in the dust.” This is merely a figure of speech, as David Green points out:

“The dead were not literally sleeping, nor were they literally in the dust.  They were “in dust” only insofar as, in their death, they had not ascended into God’s presence in Christ.  In terms of the righteousness and life of God, they were earth-bound.  From a literal standpoint, they were in Sheol/Hades (the abode of the Adamic dead), and it was from out of Sheol that they were raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2).”[19]

The Resurrection “Gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 30-31 at the “End of the Age”

Since Jesus places the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 to take place at “the end of the age” (Mt. 13:39-43) and this “end of the age” is inseparably connected to His Second Coming in Matthew 24:3, 30-31, we must identify what “end of the age” is in view – the end of the old covenant age or the end of the new covenant age?  When we allow the Bible to interpret itself, it becomes very easy to see how “all these things” in Matthew 24:3-34 were fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”  So, let’s turn our attention to proving just that!

The end of what age? (Mt. 24:3)

“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 (Mt. 24:3)”?

“And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place” (Lk. 21:7)?

The first thing we notice between Matthew’s account placed alongside Mark’s and Luke’s is that after Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple, Mark and Luke do not include the “and end of the age” (Greek suntéleia ho aiṓn) in the disciple’s question(s).  The fact that this phrase is only used in Matthew’s gospel three times (cf. Mt. 13:39-43; 24:3 and 28:18-20) and in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:26-28) communicates its Jewishness.

Since the “end of the age” is referring to the end of the old covenant age when the temple would be destroyed, there is no conflict between the accounts.  If so, are we to expect that Mark and Luke were so careless as to not introduce the subject of the alleged end of world history into the most important account of Jesus’ teaching on Bible prophecy?  For Mark and Luke, when the Son of Man comes upon the clouds in judgment, this is when the temple would be destroyed (which for Matthew is when the old covenant age would end as well).

We should briefly examine Matthew 13:39-43 where Jesus has used “end of the age” (Greek suntéleia ho aiṓn) before.  Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon, commenting on the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43, concedes it is the end of the old covenant age:

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

This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians.  Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege.  This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed, this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).”[20]

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

“So, from the teaching of Jesus, Paul and the author of Hebrews, we get a very clear picture of the two primary ages:  one that endured up until the time of Christ, and another that began around that same period.  I believe these two periods, being hinged upon the coming and work of Christ, pertain obviously to the Old and New Covenant administrations.”[21]

Getting back to the disciple’s 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.”[22]

In the 1994 version of DeMar’s Last Days Madness, he connects Matthew 23 with 24 and adds that the maturity or “consummation” of the new covenant arrived in AD 70 as well:

“The “woes” of Matthew 23 and the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem were a result of all that John the Baptist and Jesus had been warning the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests regarding the judgment that would come upon them if they did not repent. “All these things,” Jesus cautioned, “shall come upon this generation” (23:36). It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” – the temple – that the disciples ask about the “temple buildings” (24:1). Jesus answered the disciples’ questions relating to the time and signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, always with the background of Matthew 23 in view, since His comments in that chapter had precipitated the questions (24:3). The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of Jerusalem. This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation [MJS – bringing to maturity] of the New Covenant.[23]

DeMar explains his position on the “end of the age” and then uses a quote from George Hill to support its historical relevance:

“Notice that the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (kosmos), as some Bible versions translate the Greek word aion.  In context, with the temple and city as their primary focus, they asked about the end of the “age.”  They were asking when time would run out for the temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the covenant promises that were related to the Mosaic system of animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings, and the priesthood.

Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the age of the law and the age of the Messiah. The conclusion of the one was the beginning of the other, the opening of that kingdom which the Jews believed the Messiah was to establish, which was to put an end to their sufferings, and to render them the greatest people upon the earth. The apostles full of this hope, said to our Lord, immediately before his ascension, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? [Acts 1:6].  Our Lord uses the phrase of his coming to denote his taking vengeance upon the Jews by destroying their city and sanctuary.  The “end of the age” refers to the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system with its attendant sacrifices and rituals.”[24]

End of the age” – were the disciples confused?

Virtually all Futurist eschatologies begin with the disciples’ question in Matthew 24:3 and simply assume what they need to prove when they assume that the disciples were “confused” in associating Jesus’ coming and the end of the age with the destruction of the temple.  Since Futurist  eschatology separates these events by thousands of years and the disciples linked them to be fulfilled altogether, they merely assume the disciples were mistaken and not themselves, or they assume their Zionist Futurist system.  Here are some key hermeneutical steps that Futurism willfully skip:

1). The Jews of Jesus’ day understood and connected the phrase “this age” to the old covenant age of Moses and the prophets, with the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple, as predicted in Daniel.  They understood the “age to come” as the new covenant or Messianic age.  The context supports the destruction of the temple the disciples and Jesus were actually looking at. This would mark the “end of the age” that they were currently living in, the old covenant age, not the end of world history.

Daniel in chapters 7, 9 and 12 was told that the eschatological “time of the end” events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of Man and the arrival of the kingdom were “all” to take place together when the city and temple would be destroyed or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (cf. see the consummation and recapitulation scenes in Dan. 7:13-22; 9:24-27, climaxing in Dan. 12:1-7).

2). Isaiah, in his “little apocalypse” (cf. Isiah 24-27), posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet / eschatological gathering / resurrection, etc.) to be fulfilled when Israel violated the old covenant, and thus would 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).  Again, the judgment and destruction of the city and temple were inseparably connected together just as in Daniel.  Why are they “confused” to link them together when the OT prophets connected them together?!?

3).  In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught the judgment and resurrection (“the time of the end” of the eschatological events in Daniel 12:2-3) would “all” take place at the end of their old covenant “this age.”  Jesus specifically asks them if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes” (vs. 51).  We have direct evidence that they DID understand Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age,” contrary to the false assumptions pawned off by Zionists.

4).  As we have seen and proven thus far, Jesus had previously taught the disciples that He would return in some of their lifetimes and be ashamed of some within their contemporary “this generation” (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1).

So, before we even get to the resurrection or eschatological “gathering” in Matthew 24:31, the disciples could have discerned from such prophets as Daniel and Isaiah that all of the eschatological events would be fulfilled together when Jerusalem was judged and her temple destroyed.  And before we get to Matthew 24, Jesus had already clearly stated that He would return in some of their lifetimes and connected this coming with the desolation of their “house” / temple (Mt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 23:36-39).  If this isn’t clear enough, the record clearly confirms the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on the end of their “this age” with a resounding “yes” (Mt. 13:39-51)!  We do not seek to divide what God has joined together or go beyond what Scripture teaches – while Futurist eschatology does.

Since there is no direct evidence here in Matthew 24 that the disciples were “confused,” Futurist systems appeal to the fact that the Gospels often point out that the disciples were confused over various issues.  But this proves nothing here in Matthew 24, or it is a classic example of “proving too much.”  Here is how. In each case, Jesus (or Matthew as a responsible narrator of his gospel) explicitly points out when the disciples are confused or ask a question that needs correction (cf. Mt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).  Therefore, since we don’t find Jesus or Matthew claiming the disciples were “confused” in asking the question they did, the burden of proof is now thrown in the lap of Futurist Premillennial Zionists to prove the disciples are confused in Matthew 24.

Milton Terry was spot on when he wrote of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the Olivet Discourse and elsewhere in the NT (such as Hebrews 9:26-28) as the end of the old covenant age and not the end of world history:

“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.”[25]

After all, the Second Appearing or coming of Christ to close the old covenant age is further described as Christ’s coming “…in a very little while” which “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).  Again, the inspired NT authors both understood what “age” would end and when Christ would come to bring its end!

If Jesus’ coming in AD 70 ended and changed the old covenant age, then there is really no justification for reading into the text (eisegesis) that the disciples were “confused” or that the Olivet Discourse has anything to do with the end of world history.

The Resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31

Gary DeMar and James Jordan of American Vision are now teaching this is not a mere post AD 70 evangelism, but a resurrection event of OT and NT souls being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades into God’s presence in AD 70. In a recent debate with Michael Brown Gary applied this to the souls of the OT dead being raised into God’s presence in AD 70. James Jordan while teaching Daniel 12:2 is a resurrection of souls for the OT worthies in AD 70, now applies Matthew 24:30-31 to the resurrection of the NT martyrs in AD 70. Jordan writes,

“Further confirmation of this interpretation is to be found, I believe, in the phrases that follow in verse 31. There we see messengers gathering the elect not from their graves (which is how the Last Judgment scenes read), nor from all over the earth (which is how an evangelistic passage would read), but from all over the heavens. They are gathered from the four winds, not from the four corners of the earth. They are gathered from the ends of heaven, not from the ends of the earth (cf. Deut. 4:32; Psa. 19:6; Jer. 49:36).

This language might be taken as a general reference to the whole earthly world, except for the fact that it fits so very well with what we find, again, in Revelation. The dead saints “under the altar” are in “paradise” or “Abraham’s bosom,” a location symbolically equivalent to the firmament heavens that are right below the throne-heavens (Rev. 6:9-11). It is these elect, and their newly-massacred brethren who come out of the Great Tribulation, who are gathered before the Throne in Revelation 15.”[26]

He goes on to summarize,

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

At that time, the promised sign will be given, a sign that shows that Jesus, a man, is truly enthroned in heaven. That sign is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Jews will mourn over Jerusalem, and they will realize that the Church, which they had hoped to destroy, has now ascended to the Ancient of Days and has been given the Kingdom promised in Daniel 7. Those saints have been gathered by the angels in connection with the seventh and last trumpet described in the book of Revelation, their souls gathered from all the heavenly places in Paradise where they had been waiting for this day. The saints are gathered before the Throne in the highest heavens, and shortly will sit down on thrones with their Lord and Master. They will be the new stars and moon and will sit where the angels formerly sat in heaven.”[27]

Some brief thoughts on Jordan’s comments:

1).  Since in his commentary on Daniel 12:2-3, 13 he includes Daniel’s soul being raised from Abraham’s bosom in AD 70, there is a larger group of souls raised than just the martyrs.  I would have liked to see him harmonize those two teachings not just going to Revelation and dealing with the martyrs. Yet Gary DeMar in his recent debate with Michael Brown over Matthew 24 taught the gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 was the resurrection of the OT dead elect.

Jordan tries to make a distinction from this spiritual resurrection in AD 70 from an alleged future physical one based on the absence of “graves” which he (without evidence) says must be a future to us “general resurrection.” And although “graves” is not mentioned, from the “dust” (figuratively) is in Dan. 12:2 and here in Mt. 24:31 the description of the same spiritual resurrection is described as from the “four winds” of “heaven.”  Jordan has not proven this isn’t a description of the “general resurrection.”  Especially if he says the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and yet Daniel 12 IS the resurrection from the “graves” of John 5:19-29! This and a resurrection from the “graves” can be a corporate and spiritual resurrection as described in Ezekiel 37:12. Even Gentry sees the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 being a spiritual and corporate resurrection for Israel and the Church in AD 70 and uses the resurrection of Ezekiel 37 as support. So if a spiritual and corporate resurrection can be from “the dust” and or out from “the graves,” then a spiritual and corporate resurrection from the “graves,” the “dust” and from the “four winds of heaven” can refer to the general resurrection in AD 70. Again, a combination of Jordan’s writings have the OT worthies (the dead) and the NT martyrs (those who have died “in Christ”) being spiritually raised together at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 — that IS the Full Preterist view of the resurrection and that of the NT.

2).  Jordan and DeMar’s position on a spiritual AD 70 resurrection at the end of the OC age in AD 70 begs the question – If the righteous OT and NT dead were raised together to inherit eternal life in God’s presence, at Christ’s parousia, at the sound of a trumpet (or “the last trumpet”) in AD 70, then why isn’t this the same resurrection, parousia and trumpet discussed by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15?!?  Paul doesn’t discuss there was coming TWO different kinds of resurrections for the OT “the dead” and those who had died “in Christ” – 1). “a” spiritual one at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 and then 2). a physical one at the end of world history!  Partial Preterist such as Milton Terry and men like Mike Bull at least have connected Jesus’ imminent eschatology with Paul’s in these texts but they teach some kind of limited physical resurrection and “rapture” in AD 70. Of course, none of these texts discuss a limited number being raised or “raptured” but they must have a limited amount to try and get around how historians would miss such an event!

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4-5)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
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 if B (1 Thessalonians 4) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
The sleeping to be raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The living to be caught/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 (Matthew 24 & Parallels) is = to C (1 Corinthians 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 Mosaic Law/temple Mt. 24:1 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” Mt. 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)

 As I point out in my exposition of 1 Corinthians 15, the Corinthians had a hard time reconciling how the OT dead would be raised with those who had died “in Christ,” since they died before or outside the new covenant or being “in Christ.” In a similar way some Jews denied resurrection for those who did not die in or were not buried “in the land.”   Dispensationalists likewise have a hard time seeing how the two groups can be raised together.  Paul has to point out that they are all a part of ONE body that was in the process of “being raised” from Adamic “the death” which was in the process of “being destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT).  The two groups needed each other and could not be made “perfect” without each other (Heb. 11:40).  I would have loved James to try and harmonize how the OT dead and the NT saints were raised out of Abraham’s bosom in AD 70 and yet somehow this wasn’t the general resurrection?  Especially since the judgment  and resurrection of the dead of Daniel 12 is the judgment and resurrection of the dead found in Jn. 5 and is the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead of Rev. 20:5-15.  He still leaves major questions hanging and the exegesis is incomplete.

3). And if the first century Church “judged the angels” (1 Cor. 6:3) or “crushed Satan shortly” “under their feet” (Rms. 16:20/Gen. 3:15) in AD 70 and have taken their place in rulership over the nations with Christ, then the angels and Satan were judged at Christ’s coming in AD 70 per Matthew 25:31-46.

4). Jordan and DeMar are still teaching that the destruction of Jerusalem was a sign of the ascension, and that Christ was ruling from heaven. This is possible, but I agree more with F.F. Bruce in that John in Revelation 1:7-17 and Matthew in Matthew 24:30 is following the OG LXX which reads the Son of Man comes upon the clouds both as the Son of man AND “…AS the Ancient of Days” and not “up to the Ancient of Days.” After all John describes Jesus coming upon the clouds as both the Son of Man and then immediately describes Him as the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 (Rev. 1:7-17). And K&D correctly point out Christ is coming downward on the clouds in judging the little horn and the nations. If the point is that Christ is coming “up to the Ancient of Days,” then it would be after he had come down in judgment in His Parousia of AD 70 to deliver the Kingdom (the raised souls of the OT and NT saints – again the resurrection event) to the Father (1 Cor. 15:23-24 / Dan. 7:13-27). Either way, Jesus and the NT authors interpret Daniel 7:13 as the Second Coming event and not the ascension.

5).  The reformed creeds are at least correct in teaching there is only one end of the age judgment and resurrection for the “quick and the dead,” so the resurrection of dead souls for the OT and NT saints into God’s presence to inherit eternal life at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 is not “a” resurrection, but “THE” resurrection event.

Many Futurists miss that Jesus here in Matthew 24:30-31 is also drawing on the resurrection of Isaiah 27:9-13 where the eschatological “trumpet” “gathering” “harvest” is inseparably connected to the time when Jerusalem “the fortified city” is judged and her “altars” become like “chalkstone.”

The resurrection of John 5:20-29

“For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:20-29).

Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2.  This, and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life,” is Daniel 12:2.  G.K. Beale points out an additional connection, in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers.[28]  Beale points out that Jesus gives the resurrection hour of Daniel 12:1-2 a soteriological and eschatological “already and not yet” period:

“…notice that Jesus also clearly refers to the same Daniel prophecy in verses 24-25 and applies it to people presently (or imminently) coming to life (“an hour is coming and now is”).[29]

He provides this helpful chart and adds:

Daniel 12:1-2 (OG)

John 5:24-25, 28-29

 

 

 

12:1:  “And at that hour…

12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise[anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”

5:24:  “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

5:25:  “…an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”

5:28:  “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,”

5:29:  “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.”[30]

“Jesus understands the Dan. 12 prophecy [and the coming ‘hour’] to have begun fulfillment.”[31] “Dan. 12:1-2 refers to the hour of tribulation followed by resurrection.  In fact, the ‘hour’ of Dan. 12:1 is further understood as ‘the hour of the end’ in Dan. 12:4 OG.”[32]

But as we have seen in combining the writings of James Jordan, Kenneth Gentry and Joel McDurmon, in Daniel 12:1-3 and Matthew 13:39-43, Jesus has placed the “already and not yet” of the resurrection as having its consummation at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70.  This was when Israel and the Church were receiving eternal life and being raised from the death of the fleshly old covenant body of Israel into the spiritual new covenant body of Israel.  This last “already and not yet” resurrection for Israel would result in souls being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades into God’s presence.

I was able to share Beale’s concept of the already and not yet hour of Daniel 12 and John 5 with my co-author, David Green, in our second edition of House Divided, along with the chiastic structure connecting “the coming hour and now is” of John 4 with John 5.  Green was able to add an even better response to Strimple on this key passage:

“In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is” when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”  As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection. The preaching of that message commenced at Pentecost.  “The dead” were physically living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of God” was the gospel.  Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually “dead” were spiritually resurrected.  They lived in that they received eternal life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).

Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were also physically dead.  He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.”  They were not literally in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.

What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.”  As we know from verse 25, that “voice” is the gospel.  The physically dead therefore were going to hear the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel, going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades).  This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living, spiritually dead.  And this inescapably means that both the physically living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God.  One resurrection in two main stages:  First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5). Note the parallels between John 4:21, 23 and John 5:25, 28:

..[T]he hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . . (Jn. 4:23)

[T]he hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (Jn. 4:21)

 

[T]he hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (Jn. 5:25)

[T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. . . . (Jn. 5:28)

These two sets of prophecies are parallel.  They speak of the same timeframes, which were these:

Pentecost (AD 30)

The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

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

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

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

All who were in the graves would hear His voice.

After hearing the gospel, the dead were raised out of their Adamic graves (Hades) in the end of the age.  And those among them who believed the gospel received eternal life in the kingdom of God.  But those who hated the gospel (those who had done evil) were raised out of Hades only to stand before God and to enter into “eternal punishment” / “the second death” (Matt. 25:46; Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:14).”[33]

Excellent Job by David Green!  Let me briefly point out the chiastic structure connecting “the hour that was coming, and now is” of John 4-5 that didn’t make it in the second edition:

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

     (B)  [T]he hour cometh, and now is (the “already”), when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . (Jn. 4:23).

     (B)  [T]he hour is coming, and now is (the “already”), when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (Jn. 5:25).

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

This is interesting in that Kenneth Gentry considers the “already and not yet” of “the coming hour and now is” of John 4 to refer to AD 27/30 – AD 70 in that the “not yet” of the “hour” was realized in AD 70 when the earthly temple was destroyed; the Church now worships God in spirit and in truth as we commune with Him as God’s Mount Zion.  In appealing to John 4:21-23 Gentry writes,

“The New Testament anticipates this imminent change of the old typological temple era into the new final era of spiritual worship.”[34]

For Gentry, Jesus’ teaching in John 4:21-23

“…concludes the anticipatory old covenant era (John 4:20-23; Heb. 1:1; 12:18-29), which “will soon disappear” (Heb. 8:13); it finally and forever closes down the typological sacrificial system, reorienting the worship of God (Heb. 9-10); and it effectively universalizes the Christian faith by freeing it from all Jewish constraints…”[35]

Gentry equates Jesus’ phrase, “the hour has come” (the eschatological “not yet”) with other AD 70 time texts such as “the time is short”, “the day is approaching”, “it is the last hour,” and “in just a little while.”[36]

Therefore, since John is linking John 4-5 together with this chiasm, it should be very apparent that the “already and not yet” of the “hour is coming and now is” of John 5 is also referring to the AD 27/30 – AD 70 transition period.  If not, why not?  Especially since Gentry has already conceded that the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 and that John 5 is the resurrection of Daniel 12!  And if not, the burden of proof is upon the Futurist and Gentry to prove that the phrase an “hour is coming and now is” in John 5 is being used of a completely different time period than that of John 4:21-23!

It’s not difficult to know when the eschatological “not yet” hour of John 4:21 and John 5:28 would arrive when we allow John to interpret himself:

“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:17-18).

“And he said with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come…’” (Rev. 14:7).

“‘Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.’ So, he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped” (Rev. 14:15-16).

And, of course, Partial Preterists such as Gentry understand this eschatological “not yet” “hour” of John in these texts as imminently fulfilled when the old covenant world passed away, when Babylon (Jerusalem) was judged, or when Israel’s harvest/resurrection was fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Major Premise: The “already and not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) is the resurrection “already and not yet” hour of John 5:25-29.  The “not yet” consummation to this hour is further described by John in 1 John 2:17-18 and Revelation 14:7, 15-16.

Minor Premise: But the “not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) was spiritually fulfilled in the “hour/time of the end” described as the 3 ½ years “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” – i.e., in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  As John and his contemporaries approached or were in the AD 67 – AD 70 time frame, he stated clearly that the “last hour” of that harvest judgment and resurrection of Israel had come.

Conclusion: The eschatological “already and not yet” hour/time-of-the-end resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) and John 5:25-29 was a progressive, spiritual, covenantal resurrection in which the new covenant body of Israel was being raised out of the death of the old covenant body between AD 27/30 – AD 70.  It would include “all” the souls of the wicked and righteous being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to either inherit God’s presence/eternal life or eternal punishment.

There needs to be compelling evidence that the “hour is coming, and now is” of John 4:21-23 is a different time period than the “hour is coming, and now is” of John 5:25-28, and Gentry provides none!

There needs to be compelling evidence that the spiritual “already and not yet” resurrection Jordan and Gentry give us for Daniel 12:2-3, which took place between AD 27/30 – AD 70, is not the same “already and not yet” resurrection time frame of John 5:25-29, and we receive none.

Just as Jesus placed the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 13:39-43), He consistently took the “coming hour” judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) in John 4:21-23, 5:25-29 as something imminent and to be fulfilled by AD 70.

The last day resurrection of John 6:37-40

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:37-40).

The “last day” is simply the last day of Israel’s “already and not yet” last days eschaton from AD 30 – AD 70.  Those living within that generation who believed, and were thus sovereignly called to do so (vss. 37, 44), would be raised up to inherit resurrection eternal life at the same time the dead would (cf. Jn. 11:25-27).  God’s “longsuffering” was working out His salvation and granting repentance, not willing that any of His Jewish or Gentile elect ones should perish (2 Pet. 3:9-10).  As the gospel was being preached throughout the Roman Empire before “the end” of the old covenant age (Mt. 24:14), the Father had given the Son a Jewish remnant and group of in-grafted Gentiles to believe in Him before the events of AD 67 – AD 70 unfolded.

Since God has always been and always will be omniscient, omnipotent and all sovereign, those coming through the gates of the New Jerusalem and partaking of the living waters are also ordained or chosen to do so (Rev. 22:17).  This will always ring true as long as there are sinners and the gospel is preached – “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!  We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple” (Ps. 65:4).

As the cross is an in-time historical event accomplished for our salvation and the forgiveness of sins, so too was His second appearing apart from sin to save the members of His body, the Church.  The first century elect ones were anticipating being raised into eternal life in AD 70.  Positionally through Christ’s redemptive work – His death, resurrection and Second Coming – His entire body (past, present and future) has been raised and made perfect in His sight.  Those who believed in Christ prior to AD 70 were raised at the last day of the old covenant age and they “never die,” just as we today who believe the gospel have been raised and “never die.”  And to that subject we now turn our attention.  But before we do, there is no exegetical evidence that John 5-6 teaches a biological resurrection at the end of world history.

A spiritual resurrection for the dead and living in John 11:25-26

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

The death that held both the believing dead [in Abraham’s bosom or Hades] and the living prior to AD 70 in its grip, awaiting Christ’s redemption through the cross and Second Coming, was the spiritual death that came through Adam.  Consider the following seven points or arguments that support this premise and exegesis.

1). Common Hebraic parallelism in our text makes it clear that both “resurrection” and reception of “life” are equivalent to each other in meaning.  Therefore, since the reception of “life” through faith means to “never die” (overcoming the spiritual death that came through Adam the very day he sinned), then the “resurrection” for those who had died in faith should have the same or similar meaning.  That is, both the dead and the living would receive spiritual new covenant or resurrection life and enjoy God’s presence forever in His kingdom.

2). An examination of Jesus’ “I am” statements also supports a spiritual fulfillment of the resurrection.  Thus far in the gospel of John, all of Jesus’ “I am” statements are spiritual:

  1.  I am the Bread/Water of Life (John 6:35) – spiritual Bread & Light
  2.  I am the Light of the world (John 9:5) – spiritual Light
  3.  I am the Door (John 10:9) – spiritual Door
  4.  I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) spiritual shepherd
  5.  I am the Resurrection (John 11:25) – is this the only “I am” that is physical?
  6.  I am the True Vine (John 15:1) – spiritual vine
  7.  I am the Way (John 14:6) – spiritual way

Those who believe in Christ as “Bread” or “Water” partake of Him, or find this fulfilled spiritually.  The same can be true of being in the “Light” and the “Way,” abiding in Him as the “Vine,” etc.

3). Thus far in the gospel of John, all references to “life” are spiritual (cf. chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10).

4). In John, the primary purpose of miracles (other than proving that Jesus is a prophet sent by the Father, or that He is the Great “I Am”) is to point to a spiritual truth.  Feeding a great multitude is to point to the fact that Jesus is the bread from heaven who gives spiritual eternal life (Jn. 6:26-35).  He heals the blind to prove He can heal those who are spiritually blind [thus those who are spiritually dead] (John 9:39).  In Mark’s gospel, Jesus heals a crippled man to prove He has the power to forgive sin (Mrk. 2:10-11).  So here in John 11 Jesus is going to perform a physical sign miracle of raising Lazarus biologically to prove and point to a deeper meaning that He is “the (spiritual) resurrection and (spiritual) life.”

5). We must allow John to interpret John elsewhere.  In John’s version of the Olivet Discourse (the book of Revelation) we learn the following on when and what the resurrection looks like:

A). The judgment of the dead and/or the resurrection out of Hades into God’s Most Holy Place presence is connected to something that would be fulfilled “shortly” or “soon,” and therefore by AD 70 and not the end of world history (Rev. 1:1, 22:20).

B). The judgment of the dead [and thus the resurrection of the dead] was connected to when the “great city” Egypt / Sodom  / Babylon (old covenant Jerusalem – “where the Lord was crucified”) would be judged in AD 70 (Rev. 11:8-19; see also the harvest/resurrection motif in chapters 7 and 14).  Revelation 11 also mentions the 3 ½ year period that is connected with the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-7.

C). Revelation 20-22 mentions NO biological resurrection of corpses, just souls being emptied out of Hades at the “soon” Second Coming, bringing an end to the millennial period (Rev. 20, 22:7, 20).

“In the resurrection whose wife will she be”? (Lk. 20:27-40)

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died.  In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”  And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question” (Lk. 20:27-40).

This argument by the Sadducees (who denied life of the soul/spirit after death) worked well against their Pharisee opponents. Why?  Because many of the Pharisees believed that the Mosaic OT Torah would be carried into the new creation or Messianic age. Therefore, the Sadducee challenge could be summarized like this:

“Since you believe in a physical bodily resurrection to fit men and women to live in the new creation and you believe Torah will be practiced at that time, then explain to us whose wife this woman will belong to once all seven brothers are raised and they are all living in the new heavens and new earth together?!?  After all, there are women giving birth in the new creation (cf. Isa. 65:23), so are these illegitimate children?  Are these births taking place within Torah-ordained marriages?  So is this woman, raised in the resurrection with her seven husbands, going to have children by all of her husbands?  Whose wife will she be”?

You can almost hear them chuckling because this was forcing the Pharisees into the practice of polyandry (the practice of a woman having more than one husband at once), which unlike polygamy (which was condoned and practiced under the OT law) was not lawful and was considered an abomination of sorts.

While this argument worked for the Pharisees, it did not work for Jesus. Why?

First, Jesus did not teach that the resurrection involved physical bodies capable and ready to sexually produce (as they had in their lives upon earth).  Believers in Abraham’s Bosom or Hades would be raised out of Hades into God’s presence to be like the angels in heaven, spiritual beings not producing offspring in the spiritual or heavenly realm.  They would not be placed upon the earth in physical resurrected bodies to be united with their loved ones or prior spouses.

Secondly, Jesus refutes the notion that the OT law (Levirate marriage law) would be applicable in the new creation or new covenant age. The practice of marrying your husband’s brother for the purpose of raising up physical seed was inseparably tied to inheritance laws connected to being “in the land” and was typological and “ready to vanish” in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13).  In the new covenant age, sons of the resurrection are produced or “raised up” through the gospel and produce an inheritance found “in Christ” (not “in the land”).

Jesus effectively silenced BOTH groups.  He silenced the Sadducees who denied that Abraham and the rest of the dead were still alive in the afterlife – “He is not the God of the dead (Sadducees view), but of the living” (inferring that Torah supports and He likewise teaches that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still very much alive).

He also refuted or silenced the Pharisees on two points.  First, He did so by teaching that the dead would be raised from Hades to be “like the angels” (not having physical bodies), so the issue of “marrying” and producing biological children is a moot point for them.  And for the living who inherit the kingdom and continue in the new covenant Messianic age, the Pharisees were also wrong to think that the Mosaic law (and thus the Leverite marriage law) would continue being applicable.

Jesus’ teaching silenced and amazed both groups and the crowd listening to this critical debate on how the resurrection would be played out in the Messianic new covenant age.

This, however, does pose a challenging question to the Talmudic Zionist or Premillennial Zionist, and that is, if you employ a literal hermeneutic to Isaiah 65:17-23 and if everything is perfect in the new creation, then why are there sinners and biological death there and are these births taking place as painless deliveries?  And if there is no marriage after the resurrection and within the new creation, are these illegitimate births taking place in Isaiah 65?

Concluding Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection

At the beginning of this section, we looked at Jewish and Christian views which taught that at the end of the Mosaic old covenant “this age,” or during the “general resurrection judgment,” there would be a resurrection of souls or spirits (not a biological fleshly corpse resurrection) out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit everlasting life in God’s presence, or inherit everlasting punishment and condemnation.

We also looked at Christian views which teach that there was a progressive Great Commission “already and not yet” period or “coming hour and now is” between AD 27/30 – AD 70 before the old covenant “this age” would end, whereby the new covenant body of Israel was being raised out from the death of the old covenant body of Israel.  Not only this, but at the end of this process in AD 70, souls were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life while ruling with Him.

In examining Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection, we find His teaching to be in harmony with these historical spiritual concepts of the resurrection which were believed by Jews before His ministry in the intertestamental period, and were continued to be believed by some during His ministry. This understanding of the resurrection has even continued with us in an orthodox Christian exegesis of Daniel 12:2-3.  We simply argue that Daniel 12:1-4 does not teach two, or double, fulfillments of an “already and not yet” eschaton(s) or resurrection(s) for Israel and the Church separated by thousands or millions of years.  The exegetical evidence within Daniel 12:1-7 itself and how the NT develops this passage, supports that there is only ONE consummative “end of the age” resurrection event, and it was fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Paul on trial and His hope of an “about to be” resurrection of Acts 23:6-9 / 24:13-15 YLT

“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”  When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.  (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.). There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him (Acts 23:6-9).”

“You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.  My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple,or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city. 13 And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.  However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,“…nor are they able to prove against me the things concerning which they now accuse me.  ‘And I confess this to thee, that, according to the way that they call a sect, so serve I the God of the fathers, believing all things that in the law and the prophets have been written, having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; and in this I do exercise myself, to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always” (Acts 24:11-15 YLT).

“And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king!  Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”  “…To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: (Acts 26:6-8, 22).

Paul’s trial and accusations of insurrection

Initially the Pharisee sect, upon hearing that Paul was a Pharisee and on trial for his hope of Israel’s resurrection, said, “We find nothing wrong with this man.”  After all, the real problem was those Sadducees who didn’t believe in any afterlife or resurrection.  But as time went on, they learned something about his resurrection beliefs that caused them to join in with the false accusation that Paul was guilty of insurrection against Rome.  Every time Rome heard his case, the Romans were convinced that Paul was on trial for religious and doctrinal issues with his fellow Jews, and was no threat to Rome.

Futurists assume that, because Paul had a Pharisee background, he must have held to an end of time biological resurrection like all of them believed.  But as I began this chapter, I pointed out that there were various views of the resurrection among the Jews, and I don’t see any definitive proof here that all sects of the Pharisees believed in a fleshly resurrection.

Since there were some Pharisees, or a sect of Pharisees, present who believed in a physical resurrection of the dead that was inseparably connected with a physical resurrection of national Israel, this created a problem.  Why?  Because for this sect, it was believed that if you were a Jew and you died outside of the land, you either would not participate and ceased to exist, or resurrection entailed one tunneling his way underground all the way back to the land in order to pop up and be resurrected, living a life in the new age under TORAH.  They did not separate their physical resurrection hopes from their carnal physical land and kingdom hopes of ruling over the Gentiles from Jerusalem with Torah and the temple still in place.

For Paul, the resurrection was grounded in Jesus being the Resurrection (cf. Jn. 11:25) and His presence within him was his hope of glory (cf. Cols. 1:27).  These Pharisees definitely disagreed with any resurrection hope that was connected with Jesus, because after all He had rejected their carnal views of a Messianic kingdom on earth (cf. Jn. 6) and they knew there was no separating the two.  They despised this aspect of the resurrection which Paul was in the process of attaining to in Philippians 3—in which he had grounds of boasting as a Pharisee under the law, but he considered that life as having “confidence in the flesh” and to be “lost” in order “to gain life and righteousness in Christ” which the law could not give.  In fact, Paul considered that the life he led under Torah as the Pharisee of Pharisees was nothing but “dung/crap” (cf. Phil. 3:3-9).  So while Paul did believe in a resurrection of souls out from Hades into God’s presence, perhaps the main thing they objected to concerning Paul’s hope of an imminent resurrection was that it would not include a physical restoration or resurrection of national Israel under Torah with the temple intact, etc.

For these reasons, Paul had to go.  As Don Preston observes,

“The Pharisees charged Paul with “sedition,” but the Roman authorities rejected that charge.  They did not believe Paul was inciting anti-Roman rebellion.  However, Paul was most assuredly teaching a sedition against the Pharisees and their nationalistic kingdom / resurrection hopes!”[37]

“After all, at first they believed that both Jesus and Paul were their allies.  But they quickly learned differently and put them both on trial for their teachings on the kingdom and the resurrection.  They sought to kill both Jesus and Paul for the very thing they were supposed to believe in![38]

Jesus

Paul

Jesus taught / offered the kingdom. Paul taught / offered the kingdom.
Jews initially accepted the offer. Pharisees initially thought Paul taught the resurrection like they did.
Jesus rejected the offer of kingship. The Pharisees came to reject Paul’s doctrine of resurrection.
When Jesus rejected the Jewish offer, they put Jesus on trial for being seditious, claiming to be king; as His kingship was not the kind they were claiming, as Pilate affirmed. When the Pharisees came to understand Paul’s resurrection doctrine, they put him on trial with the false charge of sedition; the Romans found Paul innocent of political sedition; the real issue was the resurrection.
Jesus: My kingdom is not of this world / The kingdom does not come with observation. “We do not look on the things that are seen, but unseen / “The Jerusalem that is above, the mother of us all” / We have here no abiding city, but seek one about to come” (2 Cor. 4:16f. / Gal. 4:22f. / Hebrews 13:14).[39]

For those Futurists who boast that they have the same kind of physical resurrection and kingdom hope the Pharisees who condemned Paul had, we must ask them the following:  1) Do you believe the dead soul hovers over the “Luz bones” of a person, and then will 2) tunnel itself all the way to the land of Israel to be raised in the land, only to then 3) enjoy life in the new age under Torah?  We prefer to stick with the spiritual kingdom and resurrection hopes and teachings of Jesus and Paul.

Paul’s imminent expectation of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2

Paul’s imminent expectation of the resurrection can be found in the following literal translations, properly translating the Greek word mello in Acts 24:15 as “about to be”:

“…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous…” (Young’s Literal Translation).

“having a hope in God, which they themselves also await, that there is about to be a resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust” (The Berean Literal Bible).

“having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, [that] there is about to be a resurrection of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous;” (Literal Standard Version).

“and having a hope directed towards God, which my accusers themselves also entertain, that before long there will be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous” (Weymouth New Testament).

“Having hope to God, which they themselves also admit, a rising from the dead about to be, both of just and unjust” (Smith’s Literal Translation).

The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament (1897) and The Lexham English Septuagint (LES) Interlinear works also translate mello here in Acts 24:15 as “about to be.”

What was Paul’s source for his resurrection hope?  Paul was accused of teaching things contrary to the Law and the Prophets.  Yet in his own defense he stood there and boldly countered, saying that he testified and preached no other things except that which could be found in the Law and Prophets.  This statement coupled with the fact that there is no other OT text which describes a resurrection for the just and unjust places Daniel 12:2 as Paul’s “about to be” resurrection expectation.

Paul declared that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was the ONE “hope” of Israel.  Notice that Paul does not give the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 a double meaning or double fulfillment!  He clearly does NOT teach an imminent spiritual resurrection coming to close the old covenant age in AD 70 and then another future physical one for the just and unjust at the end of world history.

Does this not fit the orthodox Christian view and exegesis of Daniel 12:2 such as that of James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry?

Jordan teaches that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is referring to “…in the days of Jesus the nation [Israel] will undergo…[one] last [in AD 70] spiritual resurrection…” that would result in Daniel’s soul being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom.  Paul says Daniel 12:2 is his and Israel’s one “hope” (singular) of the resurrection and that it was “about to” take place.

And Kenneth Gentry usually appeals to the Young’s Literal Translation and other literal translations when wanting melloto be translated as “about to be” in the book of Revelation, so according to that standard why doesn’t Paul have an imminent expectation of the resurrection here in AD 70 as well?  I cited several translations and Greek works that have no problem with mello being translated as “about to” take place.

And what about Gentry interpreting the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as, “He is teaching that in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection”?!?  There is no other Mosaic old covenant Israel beyond AD 70 in Mr. Gentry’s theology, as far as I know of. Paul also does not say that there are TWO hope(s) of Israel regarding the resurrection of Daniel 12:2.

Therefore, Paul interpreted the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as the ONE “hope” of his contemporary twelve tribes of Israel which was “about to be” fulfilled in the coming events of AD 67 – AD 70 to close the old covenant age. Paul’s imminent expectation of the spiritual resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is in complete harmony with Jesus’ teaching of it in Matthew 13:39-43 and John 5:25-28.

Paul’s “eagerly waiting” for the resurrection & “at hand” second coming in Philippians 3-4

“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:  circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.  But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a]Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.  Only let us live up to what we have already attained.  Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.  For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:4-21).

“The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5).

Many miss the context of Paul’s discussion on the resurrection of Philippians 3:21.  There is an “already not yet,” or what I like to call an “already becoming / transforming and not yet,” to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection here.  Paul considered his life under the old covenant Mosaic law to be garbage or dung, and that he had already attained to some degree of being conformed to the resurrection of Christ.  Obviously, this is not a biological resurrection. Paul was not half glowing or something like that.  The old covenant Law was “garbage” or “dung/crap” and he was being conformed from that “vile/lowly” old covenant body of Adam and Moses to Christ’s glorious new covenant body.  This “already transforming and not yet” resurrection process would be completed at the “near” Second Coming event (Phil. 4:5).

There is also another imminent time text or Greek word often ignored in Phil. 3:20 – Paul and the first century church were “eagerly waiting” (Grk. apekdechomai) the “near” Second Coming event which would conclude this “already and not yet” resurrection process that Paul has in view.  Partial Preterist Peter J. Leithart lists Paul’s use of apekdechomai in 1 Cor. 1:7-8 as an AD 70 imminent time text referring to the “revealing” “day of the Lord” in AD 70 and then points out,

            “Phil. 3:20 uses the same verb to describe our waiting for the Savior, the Lord Jesus.”[40]

Obviously, Leithart doesn’t want to address this inconsistency.  If the first century church was to “eagerly wait” apekdechomai the “day of the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:7-8) is an imminent time text referring to AD 70, then why wouldn’t Paul’s first century “eagerly waiting” the resurrection and “at hand” coming of Christ in Philippians 3-4 also be referring to AD 70?  Once again Partial Preterism is found to be more than inconsistent or never clarifying their positions on which texts are referring to an imminent AD 70 coming of Christ and resurrection event and which ones are not.  This same problem surfaces again in our next text where Paul not only uses apekdechomai, but mello (“about to be”) and kairos (Paul’s eschatological “now time” or the “appointed time” of consummation).

Paul being in the “appointed or critical time” “eagerly waiting” the “at hand” “about to be,” glorification, “redemption of the body” and “salvation of all Israel” (Rms. 8:18-23YLT; 11:13-15, 25-27; 13:11-12)

“For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [Grk. kairos – Paul’s eschatological “now time” and better translated here as the “appointed time” of fulfillment] are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be [Grk. mello] revealed in us; for the earnest [Grk. apokaradokia – “head outstretched”] looking out of the creation doth expect [Grk. apekdechomai] the revelation of the sons of God; for to vanity was the creation made subject—not of its will, but because of Him who did subject it—in hope, that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now.  And not only so, but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting [Grk. apekdechomai]—the redemption of our body;…” (Rms. 8:18-23 YLT)

“…I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.  For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead.”  “…I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers:  a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘and this will be my ‘covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Rms. 11:13-15, 25-27)

“Besides this you know it is the critical or appointed time [Grk. kairos], that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” (Rms. 13:11-12)

There are several exegetical issues we need to unpack when addressing all three of these eschatological passages (Rms. 8:18-23; 11:13-15, 25-27; and 13:11-12).  What is this kairos “appointed time” Paul says he and the Romans were currently in?  How were these passages “eagerly” “at hand” and thus “about to be” fulfilled by AD 70?  What is this “creation” (Grk. kitisis) that is groaning?  Is Paul’s imminent “appointed time,” “salvation”/“redemption” and resurrection the same as predicted by Daniel and Jesus?

Let me briefly lay out my points of agreement among the divided house of Futurism and Partial Preterism when it comes to these three key eschatological texts:

1).  I agree with Partial Preterist teaching that the time texts in Romans 8:18-23YLT and Romans 13:11-12 support that this resurrection and eschatological day of salvation and redemption was imminently fulfilled in AD 70.

2).  I agree with Partial Preterist’s that believe “all Israel” was “saved” in AD 70 (ex. Gary DeMar and James Jordan).

3).  I agree with the most influential Partial Preterist of all time–John Lightfoot, that the “creation” of Romans 8 is not the physical planet but rather the “creation of men” seeking salvation from the inward “decay” of sin.

4).  I agree with commentators who see Paul’s eschatology in all three of these passages being not only one and the same consummative event, but also addressing the one Second Coming and salvation described by Daniel in Dan. 7; 9; 12; and Jesus’ eschatology in His Olivet Discourse.

Romans 8:18-23YLT        

Since our text clearly addresses the resurrection event (“the redemption of the body”), we must go back to Paul’s previous context to see what kind of “death” and “life” or future resurrection he has been addressing thus far.  Having already gone over the spiritual death that came through Adam the very day he sinned in the garden and the free spiritual gift of eternal life and justification that comes through Christ in Romans 5, I will now pick up Paul’s “already and not yet” “likeness” into Christ’s “death” and “resurrection” motif of Romans 6.

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

“And if we died with Christ [to THE sin of Adam], we believe that we also shall [future] live with him.” (Rms. 6:8)

“For in that he [Christ] died, to THE sin he died once, and in that he lives, He lives to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].” (Rms. 6:10YLT/AB/GNT).

The first thing that jumps out at us is that Paul is not referring to a physical bodily death and resurrection to be “like” Jesus’.  Why?  Because the Romans were still alive and had experienced a “death” and burial “LIKE his,” and thus this clearly is not referring to physical death or biological bodily union or change.  Therefore, to be in union and share in the “resurrection LIKE his,” in the “about to be” future (Rms. 8:18-23YLT) is likewise not referring to a biological bodily union or change at the end of time.  In verse 10 we see that the emphasis and theological point of Paul in pointing out that Christ died once to THE sin of Adam resulted in Him enjoying the Father’s unbroken fellowship and presence.  Therefore, Paul is anticipating a FUTURE (but imminent future) resurrection that is SPIRITUAL and will result in God’s people enjoying His presence.

Well, what about Romans 7, is biological death and resurrection Paul’s point here?

“When the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.”  “Wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death [the corporate body of Adam/Moses] (Rms. 7:9)

Here Paul is personifying himself as being in the corporate body of Adam or the corporate body of Israel and being under “THE law.”  Being within this corporate covenantal body or mode of sinful existence one could never achieve or produce eternal life, but rather only be in a state of spiritual separation and death—awaiting the finished work of Christ through His cross and parousia for full deliverance.  But during the transition period (roughly between AD 30 – AD 70), due to faith and the Spirit’s presence within the saints, they were entering into the “already” resurrection “life” of Romans 8.

Many unfortunately interpret Paul’s phrases such as “body of sin” “body of death” “body of flesh” “flesh” “mortal body” “vile body” as somehow being the physical body that is cursed, evil, or sinful.  This would be Gnosticism which Paul is not teaching.  And if physical aging demonstrates that the physical body is “cursed,” then was Jesus cursed because He aged?  Paul is using these terms to describe a corporate and covenantal body in Adam/Moses that is opposite of that of being in the corporate body of Christ.  If being “in the flesh” is the physical body, then we can never please God while in the physical body – “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rms. 8:8).  And if we are talking about the biological “flesh” and “body” then how can one “not be in the flesh” while being biologically alive and how can the “body [be] dead” while being biologically alive?  (Rms. 8:9-10).

The imminent “appointed time” in Romans is the eschatology of Daniel  

Paul does not use the Greek word kronos for “time” in Rms. 8:18 and Rms. 13:11 which deals with chronological time but rather kairos, which carries more of the idea of a very specific “appointed time” decreed by God concerning a specific eschatological “crisis” or “consummation.”

In the LXX of Dan. 9:27 and Dan. 12:4, kairos is used to describe the appointed time of consummation to Daniel’s seventy-sevens prophecy.  Then the last half of the last seven of Dan. 9:26-27—the “three and a half years” that brings the “the war” of the Romans with the Jews and thus “desolation” upon Jerusalem and the second temple is brought up and recapitulated in Dan. 12:4, 7 as the eschatological “end” or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” between AD 67 – AD 70.  And while Dan. 7 does not use the Greek word kairos, it is recapitulating the same judgment and salvation as Dan. 9 and 12 are but including the Second Coming or coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds and the time of inheriting the Kingdom being within the time of the fourth or Roman Empire:

Daniel 7

Daniel 9

Daniel 12

1).  “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is the time of the judgment       (vss. 25-26) 1).  “half a week” [3 ½ years remaining AD 67 – AD 70] is the “appointed time” for judgment and “end” of 490 years (9:27 LXX Grk. Kairos) 1). “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is “appointed time of the end” judgment  (12:4, 7 LXX Grk. Kairos)
2).  “Little horn” [line of the Herods & Jews] judged for boasting against God and persecuting or making war with the followers of Messiah (vss. 25-26)

 

2).  “Your people,” [Jews] “your holy city” [Jerusalem], temple, “abomination” leading to “desolation” in the “tribulation,” & “THE war” (vss. 24-27)

 

2).  “Power [scepter taken from Judah Gen. 49:10] of holy people [Jews] completely shattered” connected to “abomination” leading to “desolation” & “tribulation” (12:1, 7, 11)
3).  The Judgment [books opened & Ancient of Days on throne] – the esch. “end” (vss. 9-10, 26)

 

3).  The Judgment – the esch. “end” (vss. 24-27)

 

3).  The Judgment & Resurrection of the dead – esch. “end” (vss. 1-4)

 

4).  Messiah – Son of Man comes upon the clouds [second coming] and the reception and inheritance of the Kingdom takes place   (v. 13-14, 27) 4).  Messiah/Prince sends another “Prince” [Titus] & his armies to “desolate” & make “war” against Jerusalem                     (vss. 26-27 LXX) 4). [Implied in that you can’t have the “appointed time” or esch. “end” and judgment & resurrection of the dead w/o arrival of second coming and Messianic Kingdom]
5).  All to take place during 4th. Roman Empire (vss. 7-27) 5).  All to take place within 490 years       (vss. 24-27) 5).  Daniel told to “seal up the vision” because the “appointed time” and esch. “end” was “far off” and he would not live to witness it        (v. 4, 9, cf. 8:26)

There are other LXX versions that describe the resurrection and judgment of Dan. 12:2-4 as the “hour of the end.”  Therefore, Paul is echoing back to Dan. 9:27 and Dan. 12:2-4 when addressing that the “appointed time” or “hour has come” to “awake out of sleep.” It is not a stretch to see that Daniel’s “hour” in Daniel 12:1-2 (OG LXX) of awaking to resurrection is not only Jesus’ eschatological “hour” (John 4:21-23–5:25-28; or “day and hour” Mt. 24:36) but also Paul’s imminent “at hand” “hour” here in Romans 13:

Daniel 12:1-4, 7

Romans 13:11-12

1).  “And at that hour…” (v. 1) 1).  “…you know what hour it is…” (v. 11)
2).  “The hour/time of the end”     (v. 4) 2).  “how it is full time…” (v. 11)
3).  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise…”      (v. 2) 3).  “The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep…” (v. 11)
4).  This “hour” and “end” of resurrection and judgment would be during “3 ½ years” (AD 67 – AD 70)  “when the power of the holy people was completely shattered” (v. 7) 4).  Daniel’s eschatological salvation and resurrection “hour” and “day” was “at hand” for Paul (vss. 11-12)

With this in mind, let’s now look at how Paul is drawing upon the wider eschatology of Daniel in Romans 8—13 as a whole:

Daniel 7; 9; 12 Romans 8; 11; 13 (and other OT sources in 9-11)
1).  The “appointed time” or “hour of the end” (9:27; 12:4 LXX) 1).  The “appointed time” Grk. Kairos or “hour” (8:18; 13:11)
2).  The Second Coming to be fulfilled during the Roman Empire (7:3-13) 2).  The Second Coming to be imminently fulfilled                     (11:27; 13:11-12)
3).  Salvation and forgiveness of sin for Israel (9:24) 3). Salvation and forgiveness of sin for “all Israel” being the believing remnant and Gentiles coming to NC fulness (11:25-27)
4).  This is the time of the Resurrection and judgment of the dead (7:9-10; 12:2-4) 4).  This is the time of the Resurrection and judgment of the dead (8:18-23YLT; 11:15; 13:11-12)
5).  When Messiah would come upon the clouds in judgment over the second temple and Jerusalem between AD 67 – AD 70 “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered”–is also when Israel [the righteous remnant w/ the Gentiles] would be saved and anointed as God’s MHP dwelling (7:10-27; 9:24 27; 12:2-7) 5).  Paul appeals to several OT passages in Rms. 9-11 that connect the salvation of Israel [the Jewish remnant & Gentiles] as being the same time as the judgment of Israel [OC hardened Israel] by AD 70 (cf. 9:27=Isa. 10:22-23 – remnant saved and would “not be delayed” when Jerusalem is judged; 10:19=Isa. 65:1-25 – when OC Jerusalem is judged a remnant forms the creation of the New Jerusalem; 11:9-10=Ps. 69:22-36; 11:26=Isa. 59:16-20 – redeemed remnant at same time performing vengeance on Israel; 11:27=Isa. 27:9-13 – sin of blood guilt atoned for through judgment and resurrection during judgment of Jerusalem)
6).  The “appointed time” of these eschatological events would be fulfilled during the fourth or Roman Empire – 490 yrs. or far off from Daniel. 6).  During time of Roman Empire and the “appointed time” or “hour” of Daniel’s prophetic events were “eagerly” expected–fulfillment was “at hand” or “about to be” consummated by AD70                           (Rms. 8:18-23YLT; 13:11-12).

Before demonstrating Paul’s eschatology in Romans 8-13 is the eschatology of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, let’s first show how Jesus, like Paul, is drawing upon Daniel 7; 9; and 12 for an AD 70 “near” and “this generation” imminent fulfillment:

Daniel 7 Daniel 9 Daniel 12 Mt. 24-25 & Parallels
1).  “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is the time of the judgment(vss. 25-26) 1).  “half a week” [3 ½  years remaining AD 67 – AD 70] is the “appointed time” for judgment and “end” of 490 years (9:27 LXX Grk. Kairos) 1). “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is “appointed time of the end” judgment     (12:4, 7 LXX Grk. Kairos) 1).  “Times of the Gentiles” treading down Jerusalem by Romans [3 ½ years cf. Rev. 11:2-8 AD 67 – AD 70] “appointed time” Grk. Kairos (Lk. 21:8, 24; Mrk. 13:33)
2).  “Little horn” [line of the Herods & Jews] judged for boasting against God and persecuting or making war with the followers of Messiah         (vss. 25-26) 2).  “Your people,” [Jews] “your holy city” [Jerusalem], temple, “abomination” leading to “desolation” in the “tribulation,” & “THE war”         (vss. 24-27) 2).  “Power [scepter taken from Judah Gen. 49:10] of holy people [Jews] completely shattered” connected to “abomination” leading to “desolation” & “tribulation”. (12:1, 7, 11) 2). “Wrath” “against this people” [1st. Cent. Jews], & “land” [of Israel], “tribulation,” “abomination” & “desolation,” – when Jerusalem surrounded by Roman armies, destruction of temple                 (Mt. 24/Lk. 21)
3).  The Judgment [books opened & Ancient of Days on throne] – the esch. “end”             (vss. 9-10, 26) 3).  The Judgment – the esch. “end”   (vss. 24-27) 3).  The Judgment & Resurrection of the dead – esch. “end” (vss. 1-4) 3).  The judgment & Resurrection of the dead, Christ judging on throne – esch. “end” of OC age   (Mt. 24:3, 14, 31; 25:31-46)
4).  Messiah – Son of Man comes upon the clouds [second coming] and the reception and inheritance of the Kingdom takes place       (v. 13-14, 27) 4).  Messiah/Prince sends another “Prince” [Titus] & his armies to “desolate” & make “war” against Jerusalem       (vss. 26-27 LXX) 4). [Implied in that you can’t have the “appointed time” or esch. “end” and judgment & resurrection of the dead w/o arrival of second coming and Messianic Kingdom] 4).  Jesus / Messiah / Son of Man comes upon the clouds [second coming – comes through armies as Father had] and reception & inheritance of Kingdom takes place                  (Lk. 21:27-32)
5).  All to take place during 4th. Roman Empire (vss. 7-27)

 

 

 

5).  All to take place within 490 years                 (vss. 24-27)

 

 

 

 

5).  Daniel told to “seal up the vision” because the “appointed time” and esch. “end” was “far off” and he would not live to witness it           (v. 4, 9, cf. 8:26)

 

 

 

5).  All the esch. events of Dan. 7, 9, & 12 as described in the OD (Lk. 21:22) with its “appointed time” or “end” – fulfilled within the Roman Empire & in Jesus’ contemporary “generation” (24:34)

 

 

 

 

As I discussed in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse, how one interprets the coming of Christ and resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31 is how one will understand these concepts and time of fulfillment in NT eschatology in general. Why?  Because, in a nutshell, it is the eschatology of the NT.  So I would agree with those like John Murray who understood the “redemption” of Luke 21 to be Paul’s redemption hope here in Romans:

“Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom 8:23…). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.”[41]

Since Gentry adds Matthew 24:28 as a text supporting his view that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was a corporate resurrection for Israel in which the new covenant corporate body of Israel was raised from the corporate corpse/body of old covenant Israel in AD 70, I have added it as a possible parallel.  One of Ken’s favorite theologians, John Lightfoot, also understands the “redemption of the body” to be a corporate body (the Church) while others such as Gary DeMar and Phillip Kayser see this as “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70.  And since N.T. Wright has correctly noticed Paul is tracking on the second or new exodus motif, I shall add this to the parallel chart:

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

The creation of men groaning – not planet earth

As we saw in our study of the Olivet Discourse, terms like God establishing the heaven and earth and then destroying or causing the heaven and earth to pass away (Jer. 4) can refer to God forming the creation of old covenant Israel (Isa. 51:15-16) and then causing her to pass away in AD 70 (Mt. 5:17-18; 24:35) – while at the same time establishing a new covenant heaven and earth or new covenant people.  This is exactly what we have Paul doing here in Romans 8:18-23.  The “creation” here is not referring to the physical planet at all.  It is referring to the creation of men, most likely the creation of men of Israel groaning under the law seeking Messianic redemption.

Reformed theologian John Lightfoot correctly associated the “earnest expectation of the creature” and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and interpreted this passage as having nothing to do with the planet earth, not even poetically:

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out-stretched neck.”[42]

And again,

“The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.”[43]  

Lightfoot is on solid ground here citing 2 Peter 1:4, 2 Corinthians 11:3, and 1 Corinthians 15:33. Not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity”, “corruption,” and “decay” as ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen or squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.

“Redemption of the body” the corporate body of the Church – not individual biological resurrections at the end of time

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

“And of the same body [in context he is referring to the corporate body of Christ just mentioned in Eph. 4:13] is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, than ‘the Gentile or heathen world’: not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God, but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption, to wit, the adoption of our body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our mystical body.”[44]

Clearly Lightfoot understood the “creation” to mean the creation of men and not the planet earth, and “redemption of the body” to be the “mystical body” of the corporate Jew/Gentile Church and not an individual physical body.  He was ahead of his time!

Paul’s reference to the “sufferings of this present time” does not have anything to do with losing one’s hair, gaining weight, cancer, etc.  Paul’s mention of the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” have nothing to do with those kinds of issues.  The context of the “groaning” of the first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter.  The sufferings Paul has in mind here were eschatological, the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Mt. 24:8; Rom. 8:22). They had to do with the last days’ persecutions and with the saints of the universal church groaning under the tyranny of sin and condemnation of the Law.

For Paul, sin had produced “death,” but obviously not physical death.  Contrary to Postmillennial and most Futurist assertions, “the body”, “death,” and “the flesh” in Romans 5–8 have nothing to do with the idea of men biologically dying as a result of Adam’s sin.  Paul’s concern is with corporate-covenantal death, as even some Reformed theologians teach.  Tom Holland is a Reformed theologian who sees Paul’s “body” of flesh, sin, and death not referring to our physical flesh but to the corporate body of sin in contrast to the corporate body of Christ—the Church.[45] He counters Gundry’s individualistic views of soma in Paul’s writings.  He also argues for “consistency” in Paul’s use of corporate terms.  “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:2, 7, 15).

For Paul, the glorification, liberation and redemption of this corporate body/creation was “about to” take place (Rms. 8:18ff.YLT)

Still, one might object that the “redemption” associated with the coming of Christ in Luke 21:27-28 has a clear time text (“this generation”) associated with it (v. 32), but the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 does not; therefore, one might conclude that the two passages are not necessarily parallel.  Those who argue this way suggest that the redemption in Luke 21 might simply refer to relief from persecution and nothing more.  The premise of their objection, however, is false.

There is an imminence text associated with the redemption of the body in Romans 8.  Verse 18 reads, “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us” (YLT; cf. NSRV, AV, & WEY: “soon to be manifested”).

At least Partial Preterist Postmillennialists, such as Gary DeMar, concede that the “glory” in Romans 8:18YLT was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70, but pretend to not know what it is:

Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed…”[46]

DeMar also understands the “salvation of all Israel” in Romans 11 to be fulfilled in AD 70.  Thus, the “salvation” and “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 and 11 are not dealing with biological or planetary events at the end of time, but rather imminent redemptive events for the mystical Jew/Gentile corporate body/creation change or resurrection that was to imminently take place in AD 70.

Partial Preterists, such as Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison, don’t address mello here in Romans 8:18.  But interestingly enough, according to Gentry and Mathison, one of the things that was “about to come after” John wrote Revelation 1:19YLT was the arrival of the New Jerusalem and new creation of Revelation 21:1ff.  Mathison and Gentry tell us in their other works that the time texts in Revelation point to a near fulfillment of the passing of “the first heaven and earth.”  They point out that Revelation 21:1 is referring to the passing of the old covenant “creation” in AD 70 and is a fulfillment of Isaiah 65–66.  Gentry even says:

“The absence of the sea (Rev. 21:1) speaks of harmony and peace within. In Scripture the sea often symbolizes discord and sin (13:1–2; cf. Isa. 8:7–8; 23:10; 57:20; Jer. 6:23; 46:7; Ezek. 9:10). Christianity offers the opposite: peace with God and among humankind (Luke 2:14; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:12–18; Phil. 4:7, 9).”[47]

If the removal of the sea represents the removal of sin and discord within, then AD 70 was much more than a physical flight to Pella. It was a soteriological event just as the cross was.

Gentry argues that “when used with the aorist infinitive—as in Revelation 1:19, mello’s predominant usage and preferred meaning is: ‘be on the point of, be about to.’ The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in Rev. 3:10.  The basic meaning in both

Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.”[48] Gentry is correct.  The problem, however, is that when the word mellorefers to the resurrection and judgment of the living and dead in Acts 17:31; 24:15 and 24:25, it is also used with the infinitive.  In the case of Acts 24:15, in a recent article on his site, Gentry appeals to BDAG to somehow prove that when mello is used with the future infinitive, it communicates certainty and shouldn’t be translated as “about to” take place.  But, of course, as I pointed out in our exegesis of Acts 24:15, there are translations, lexicons and interlinears that do render mello there as “about to.”

Not only that, but Gentry and Mathison also fail to address in their writings that mello in Romans 8:18 is in the aorist infinitive (which they say has the “preferred meaning” of “be on the point of, be about to”) and they make no mention that our passage has two other imminent Greek words within the immediate context – apokaradokia and apekdekomai.  This serves to further solidify the translation of mello as“about to be.”  And lastly, BDAG (Gentry’s source for trying to place Acts 24:15 at the end of world history) marks mello in Romans 8:18 as being translated “about to be revealed.”  So much for consistency!

Contextually, there is no reason to not understand Paul’s expectation of the “about to be” glorification and “redemption of the body” to be when the corporate new covenant body of Israel was raised from the corporate old covenant body of Israel in AD 70.  This body/creation was groaning under spiritual Adamic death (magnified by Torah) and was liberated from that death into the life and liberty of Christ’s “at hand” salvation/coming in AD 70.

Paul’s OT passages in Romans 9-11 and the “salvation of all Israel” / “life from the dead”

We should briefly pause to consider Paul’s argumentation in Romans 9-11 and the OT passages he cites as he builds his case that the remnant of Israel and the believing Gentile inclusion “all Israel” will be saved or raised “life from the dead” when Christ comes out of Zion to take away sin in AD 70.

Romans 9 – Hosea 1-2; Isaiah 10:27-28; Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 28:16      

Throughout Romans Paul has been combating the typical Jewish view of “salvation” when Messiah would show up—namely, the entire Nation of Israel was saved already because of their lineage or circumcision and through a militaristic Messiah, Rome and the Gentiles would be destroyed and an earthly glorious theocratic kingdom on earth would be established – and thus “all Israel” would be saved through that process.  And since the majority of Israel had not been converted to Jesus, how could Paul possibly claim He was Messiah and Israel’s promises were and would be imminently fulfilled?

In the previous chapters Paul has pointed out how they cannot trust in circumcision or keeping the law because the issue is having the justifying faith of Abraham who was to function as a Father and blessing to the Gentile Nations.  This and the believing Gentiles in Jesus were keeping the law because the new covenant had been written on their hearts.  Paul is going to make his case that the believing remnant (such as himself being from the tribe of Benjamin) and the believing Gentiles (who do the law because it has been written on their hearts through the new covenant) is HOW “all Israel” is being saved and will be saved at Christ’s “at hand” coming.  But Paul lays out his argument from Torah.

Paul makes it clear that there are two “Israel’s” and therefore God’s promises have not failed,

“But it is not as though the word of God has failed.  For not all who are descended from Israel (natural National Israel) belong to Israel (the true remnant or believing Israel – to whom belong the promises). (9:6)

Paul builds his case by pointing out that God has been completely sovereign throughout Israel’s history – choosing and loving Jacob while hardening and hating Esau before they were even born (9:8-13).  If He can do this with Jacob and Esau, God surely can choose a remnant and work through them while hardening and passing by others among Israel.  After all, if God has the sovereign right to harden Pharoah, surely, He can fashion some from the same lump of Israel as vessels of mercy [including Gentiles] and others as vessels of His wrath (9:14-24).

Hosea 1-2

Paul begins his appeals to Torah in the promises and eschatology found in Hosea in Romans 9:25-26:

“Those who were not my people I will call my people and her who was not beloved I will call beloved.”  “And in the very place where it was said to them, You are not my people, there they will be called sons of the living God.”

The eschatology of Hosea is simple – although God was going to divorce, drive Israel (the ten northern tribes) out of the land (His home), and thus kill her corporately, spiritually, and covenantally by bringing an “end to [her] kingdom,” (through the Assyrian captivity) God had promised that in Israel’s last days He would re-marry her and “gather” her with Judah and be head over them once again by establishing the new covenant with her.  God would remain married to Judah because Messiah had to come through her but her harvest, judgment and divorce would take place in AD 70 as well.  According to Jesus and John in Revelation, the eschatological “gathering,” betrothal, divorce of Judah, and re-marriage was roughly between AD 30 – AD 70 with the divorce and re-marriage being “soon” or “shortly” fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70 when old covenant Israel was cast out of the kingdom (cf. Mt. 8:10-12; Mt. 24-25; Rev. 17-21).  Paul’s point in quoting Hosea 1-2 was to teach Israel’s salvation and restoration had already begun in Christ with the remnant or true “Israel” and ingrafting of believing Gentiles.

Peter also quotes from Hosea 1 in 1 Peter 2:10 and within its context he is demonstrating that Israel is being saved and restored spiritually through Christ and the new covenant with a spiritual – temple, priesthood, sacrifices, race – all forming a spiritual “holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:4-10).  Thus, for Peter and Paul the remnant of Israel was being saved and restored through the new covenant “in Christ” not “in the land” and thus from sin, not from the Gentiles and Roman power.

Isaiah 10:27-28

Paul in Romans 9:27-28 once again returns to the fact that the OT only predicts the salvation of a remnant among the Jews and not the entire Nation, and that this would be a “short work,”

“And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:  Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”

There are various translations of verse 28 – “…and cut it short in righteousness:  because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth,” (KJ) “…the Lord will perform the sentence He is concluding and bringing swiftly upon the earth” (BLT).  The point is simple, since the “sign” of gospel having to be preached in “all the earth” (throughout the Romans Empire) had already been fulfilled (Rms. 10:18/Mt. 24:14), God was going to execute His judgment upon the Nation and it would be “near” and in their “this generation,” (Mt. 24) and thus it would be “without delay.”  Paul is not anticipating a 2,000 years plus period awaiting Israel’s judgment and the salvation of the remnant.  And when the judgment did come—roughly between AD 66 – AD 70 it too was “short” and the Jewish Christian remnant fled the city to Pella and were safe from God’s wrath upon the City.  And to the remnant “offspring” or survivors Paul turns his attention in his next quote from Isaiah.

 Isaiah 1:9

Paul continues quoting Isaiah 1:9,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.”

In context the majority of Jerusalem have become so wicked in persecuting the righteous remnant (even killing some performing the sin of blood-guilt v. 15), that God calls Her “rulers of Sodom” and “people of Gomorrah” (1:10).  If they repent, they will be forgiven, but if not, they will be “eaten by the sword” (vss. 16-20).  Again, we see the same coin with the two sides of salvation for the remnant or judgment for the unrepentant persecuting majority taking place at the same time.  The remnant “survivors” would emerge as “the city of righteousness, the faithful city” while the unrepentant persecutor among Jerusalem is described as a “whore” that would be “burned” in judgment (vss. 21-31).  In the book of Revelation which would be fulfilled “shortly” by AD 70 John describes old covenant Jerusalem (“where the Lord was slain”) as “Sodom” and “Gomorrah” and as an unfaithful wife or “Whore” that would “soon” be judged and burned in the imminent events of AD 67 – AD 70 (cf. Rev. 11; 17-19).

The prophecy continues in Isaiah 2 in addressing the “last days” of which Paul and the Roman church were currently in.  Jesus connects this judgment quoting (2:10, 19, 21) as being the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 in Luke 23:30,

“Then they (the women who were weeping for Him on His way to the cross) will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘cover us.’”

The persecutors among Jerusalem continue to be described as “Sodom” in chapter 3 (3:9) and “in that day” of the “last days,” they would “fall by the sword in battle” (vss. 18-25; cf. Lk. 21:23-24).  Continuing this “in that day” scene Isaiah once again connects the salvation of the righteous remnant with the judgment of Jerusalem,

“In that day the branch of the Lord (Jesus) shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.  And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.” (4:2-4)

Throughout Romans 9-11 Paul is quoting from and drawing from those OT contexts the theme of an imminent salvation coming to the surviving remnant while being the same time for judgment of the unrepentant persecutors.

Isaiah 28:16  

Paul concluding Romans 9 once again (v. 32) appeals to Isaiah to demonstrate that he isn’t coming up with something new concerning the judgment of the majority among Israel (not the salvation of the majority) has been prophesied,

“Behold, I am laying Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

But of course, Paul doesn’t just have this one verse in mind, but is invoking the theological and eschatological context of what scholars have called, “Isaiah’s little apocalypse” (i.e. Isa. 24 – 28).  In quoting from Isaiah 28 Paul is reminding his Jewish scoffers that it was prophesied that most of them would reject and fall over their own Messiah/Stone and that His coming would produce a “strange work” — in that He would come to judge THEM and not the Romans and would save His believing remnant (vss. 5-6) at the time of this judgment (vss. 7-22).  Note this is not an end of world history coming of God in judgment, because it would be as God had come in judgment upon the Philistines and Canaanites (v. 21, cf. 2 Sam. 5:19-20; Josh. 10:10).

Since Paul is leading us eventually to the resurrection and “salvation” of “all Israel” being “life from the dead” (Rms. 11:15-27), it is important at this point to see what kind of death and resurrection or salvation of the remnant is prophesied in Isaiah 27-28.  Israel would undergone a spiritual, covenantal, and corporate bodily “striking” and DEATH or of being “slain” (27:7) when Jerusalem (the “fortified city”) would be “burned” and her “altars” would become “like chalkstone” (27:9-11).  This covenantal, corporate, and spiritual death would result in the resurrection or salvation or redemption of the remnant when the Messianic second exodus or eschatological “gathering” would be realized of which Jesus placed in His contemporary “this generation” (27:11-12=Mt. 24:30-31, 34).  Isaiah 27-28 is prophesying a Messianic spiritual, covenantal, and corporate body resurrection and Paul will not depart from that kind of resurrection once we get to Romans 11:15-27.

It is also important to note that the eschatological “in that day” of Isaiah 27-28 would not only be a time of judgment for the majority of Israel and salvation/resurrection for the remnant, but it would also be when “Leviathan the fleeing serpent” or “dragon” would be “slain” or judged (27:1).  This is why Paul said that Satan was going to be “crushed” or judged “shortly” by AD 70 (Rms. 16:20).

Peter likewise uses Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22 to develop his eschatology of Israel being “destined” to “disobey the word” in rejecting Jesus – the Messianic stone.  Like Paul, the majority of Israel rejecting her Messiah is not a failure of God to keep His promises, it is a part of His means of restoring and saving the remnant under the new covenant making them and the Gentiles a spiritual temple, priesthood, with spiritual sacrifices, and a spiritual race and holy nation (1 Pet. 2:10).  Peter places this judgment of the living and the dead (thus the resurrection) as an event that was “at hand” and would “not be delayed” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; 2 Pet. 2:3) in AD 70—just as Paul teaches in Romans 8:18—13:11-12.

Romans 10 – Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 53:1; Psalm 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 65:1

Paul continues his themes of appealing to the OT scriptures to show that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek in God’s plan of salvation and that this plan included the majority of Israel’s rejection.

Isaiah 52:7

In Romans 10:15 Paul cites Isaiah 52:7,

“And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”

We need to examine the context and theology/eschatology of the rest of this chapter to see what was “preached” to Israel that was the “good news.”  Isaiah’s eschatology is like Daniel’s in that after Israel’s long exile under Gentile powers, Messiah will come and save Israel and resurrected Her “from the dust” spiritually, corporately, and covenantally.  In Isaiah 52 Isaiah connects the coming of Messiah and the eschatological wedding “put on your beautiful garments” with the preaching of the gospel and saving Jerusalem in terms of making her “clean” and raising her – “…for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake yourself from the dust and arise…” [cf. Dan. 12:2] (vss. 1-2).  Isaiah has previously connected the eschatological wedding with the resurrection as the time when “death would be swallowed up” on top of Mount Zion (Isa. 25:6-9).  Another reference here in Isaiah 52 to the resurrection can be seen in the LXX of verse 12 where God is said to be Israel’s “gathering” – just as Isaiah has previously taught and quoted by Jesus in Isaiah 27:12-13/Mt. 24:30-31.  He also speaks of Messiah baptizing or “sprinkling the nations” (vss. 14-15).  But what kind of baptism is this?  John the Baptist taught that while he baptized with water, Jesus would baptize new covenant believers “with the Spirit” (Mt. 3:11).  Thus, Paul sees God saving the remnant Jews and Gentiles through a spiritual circumcision and baptism “in Christ” and not an old covenant one that is connected to one setting their mind “in the land” (Mt. 3:11; Cols. 2:11-12; 3:2; Gals. 3:26-27; 1 Cor. 12:12-13).  Paul is demonstrating that Israel is being saved and restored according to the OT Scriptures, but in a way that the carnal Pharisees could not see – He would be restoring and raising a spiritual new covenant New Jerusalem and saving Her and Her seed by them being “born from above” through faith (John 3:1-18/Ezek. 36:23-29)

Isaiah 53:1

Paul continues his thought invoking the entire theological and eschatological contexts of Isaiah 52-53—having addressed the remnant’s salvation and their preaching the gospel, he asks,

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel.  For Isaiah says, ‘Lord who has believed what he has heard from us?’” (Rms. 10:16)

In other words, not every Jew or the entire nation will believe the gospel report of the remnant – that salvation can only be found in Jesus the Christ (the Messiah and “gospel” of Isa. 52-53).

Did some of the Rabbis teach this passage was Messianic?

Messiah …what is his name? The Rabbis say, ‘The leprous one’; those of the house of the Rabbi (Jehuda Hanassi, the author of the Mishna, 135-200) say: ‘Cholaja’ (The sickly), for it says, ‘Surely he has borne our sicknesses’ etc. (Isa. 53:4).”[49]

And a Targum of Isaiah 53 reads,

“Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men.”[50]

The Messiah as a suffering “servant” is also described for us in the previous immediate context (Isaiah 52:13-15, see also Psalm 22).  In Isaiah, “Savior” is a consistent title for God communicating His preeminence and His uniqueness over against foreign gods and idols:

“I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you” (Is. 43:11, 12).

Isaiah further states that God would show himself as Savior in a future blessing and restoration for Israel described in Isaiah 49:26; 60:16.  It’s simply not accurate that Christians have somehow invented the idea that the Messiah is found in such passages as Isaiah 53 or that Messiah would be a “Savior,” saving Israel (and the Gentile believing world) from their sins.

And it is not enough to just say that the “Son” in Isaiah 53 is national Israel and not Messiah.  Why?  Because within Judaism was also the belief that when Messiah came He would recapitulate Israel’s redemptive history – primarily to usher in a 40-year second exodus based upon Isaiah 11 and other passages.  Jesus is the faithful substitute “Son” and “Vine” who never sinned or failed (unlike the “son” and “vine” of national Israel), and He could be the perfect substitute for man and take His sin justly and fully away.

Let me quote an excellent article by Daniel Mann, a zealous “Jew” who moved to Israel and, after studying Isaiah 53 and what Rabbis taught on it, put his trust in Jesus as His Messiah and Savior:

If anyone was a skeptic about Jews believing in Jesus, I was. Born to second-generation Jewish American parents in Brooklyn, I experienced much anti-Semitism growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s. Since my persecutors weren’t Jewish, I assumed they were Christian. When I was 14, there was talk that a certain Jewish family in my neighborhood had converted to Christianity. I was filled with disgust. How could Jews do such a thing?

As a young adult, I had a lot of pent-up resentment against Christianity. I enjoyed ridiculing anyone who tried to talk with me about Jesus. But I was spiritually hungry. I moved to Israel, lived on a kibbutz, and visited a Hasidic yeshiva to ask questions, but I returned to the United States still wondering how to really connect with God – a Jewish God, not a Christian one.

People kept telling me about Jesus. I had a great problem with him. Many Jews had died in his name, and many who hated Jews called themselves Christians. And the idea of someone dying on a cross for me seemed like a bunch of hocus-pocus.

But I kept meeting Christians who seemed genuine in their love and concern for me, and their prayers for me seemed to “work.” So finally I prayed, “God, if Jesus is the Savior and Messiah that the Hebrew prophets wrote about, You’re going to have to show me.”

As I studied the Bible, I began to see how Jesus could have fulfilled many of the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures. I also discovered that the New Testament wasn’t something arbitrarily tacked onto the Hebrew Bible by people who hated Jews. I was shocked to learn that Jews had written it and that Jesus himself was a Jew.

One of the most convincing passages showing that the Messiah would make the ultimate sacrifice and die for our sins was Isaiah 53.

Present-day rabbis disagree. Rashi (AD 1040-1105) might have been the first to deny that this incredible passage is Messianic. But many Jewish sages, before and after Rashi, saw the Messiah in Isaiah 53.

The highly regarded first-century Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai stated: “The meaning of the words ‘bruised for our iniquities’ [Isaiah 53:5] is, that since the Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of his being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer them for them himself.”[1]

Rabbi Moshe Alshich, a famous sixteenth-century scholar, asserted: “[Our] Rabbis with one voice, accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet [Isaiah 53] is speaking of king Messiah.”[2] In contrast, today’s rabbis have rallied around the assertion that the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53 is the nation of Israel and not the Messiah. Let’s take a look:

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:1–3)

Throughout Isaiah 53, the masculine singular pronoun “he” is used to designate the suffering servant. This pronoun is very rarely used in regards to Israel. More usually, Israel is referred to as “you,” “she/her,” and “they/them.” But there is no problem at all using “he” in reference to the Messiah.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4–6)

Just a quick read through the Prophets will show that Israel could not even bear its own sins, let alone those of others. It was our Jewish people who had “gone astray” and “turned to our own way.”

According to the revered twelfth-century Jewish scholar Ramban (Nachmanides), the Redeemer is the Messiah:

Yet he carried our sicknesses, being himself sick and distressed for the transgressions which should have caused sickness and distress in us, and bearing the pains which we ought to have experienced. But we, when we saw him weakened and prostrate, thought that he was stricken, smitten of God. The chastisement of our peace was upon him – for God will correct him; and by his stripes we were healed.[3]

While today’s rabbis deny substitutionary atonement – one man dying for the sins of the world – this had not previously been the case. The mystical Zohar records:

The children of the world are members one of another. When the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, he smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the rest. Whence do we learn this? From the saying, “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5) (Numbers, Pinchus, 218a)

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

We cannot find any biblical references to affirm that Israel was silent in the face of oppression. But we do find that this is true of Jesus. Before the Sanhedrin, he remained silent. When he finally spoke, it only aided the prosecution:

But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. (Mark 14:61–63)

Jesus astonished Pilate with his silence:

Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the story they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor. (Matthew 27:13–14)

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:8–9)

Jesus was deprived of justice (“judgment”) and was killed. Israel was not “cut off from the land of the living.” It is also clearly untrue that Israel “had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his [Israel’s] mouth.” At times, the prophets charged that our people had morally descended below the Gentiles. The Gospels declare that Jesus’ grave was with both the wicked and the rich, as he died with sinners and was buried in a rich man’s tomb.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:10–11)

There is no reason to suppose that Israel’s death could represent “an offering for sin.” Sin offerings had to be without any blemish. But we were covered with them. How could the knowledge of Israel “justify many?” But faith (knowledge) in the Messiah will.

This servant, who dies as a sin offering for the people, will eventually “see the light of life and be satisfied.” He will live subsequent to his death – a cryptic reference to the resurrection.

Isaiah says that this servant will bear the iniquities of many. When I first studied this passage as a young man, it began to dawn on me that I personally needed to be forgiven for my wrongdoing, what the Bible calls “iniquities.” And this servant – who was looking to me more and more like Jesus – had made that possible.”[51]

When this evidence is brought forth, “Jewish” apologists such as Rabbi Tovia Singer claim that the Christian can’t produce any Jewish tradition that Messiah ben David fulfills Isaiah 53.  But in a radio debate with Dr. Michael Brown, Tovia Singer made such a claim and Michael embarrassed Singer severely.  Here are some those quotes provided by Dr. Brown, demonstrating that Messiah ben David is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:

“Yet he carried our sicknesses [Isa. 53:4], being himself sick and distressed for the transgressions which should have caused sickness and distress in us, and bearing the pains which we ought to have experienced.  But we, when we saw him weakened and prostrate, thought that he was stricken, smitten of God.  …The chastisement of our peace was upon him—for God will correct him and by his stripes we were healed—because the stripes by which he is vexed and distressed will heal us:  God will pardon us for his righteousness, and we shall be healed both from our own transgressions and from the iniquities of our fathers…

He was oppressed and he was afflicted [v. 7]:  for when he first comes, “meek riding upon an ass” [Zech. 9:9], the oppressors and officers of every city will come to him, and afflict him with revilings and insults, reproaching both him and the God in whose name he appears.”[52]

Brown goes on to point out that there are others who apply the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 to Messiah ben David, such as Rabbi Moshe Kohen Ibn Crispin (or Ibn Krispen) and Rabbi Mosheh El-Sheikh (or Alshekh).

Before leaving Isaiah 53 it is important to notice that in the Hebrew Messiah would be undergoing two “deaths” in verse 9,

“And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his deaths, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”

To possibly understand this we should go back to Adam.  We believe that Adam was created a physically dying creature just as the plant life, insects, and animal kingdom were – even before Adam’s sin.  Adam was created “from the dust” and then “put” into the Temple/Garden to undergo a probationary period in his presence. If Adam would have partaken of the Tree of Life he would have eventually biologically died having spiritual eternal life and would have continued in God’s presence.  In other words, this would have been a “good death” for Adam. But once Adam sinned and partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he died spiritually that very day and then God banished him to eventually biologically die not inside the Garden/Temple of His presence having the opportunity to partake of the Tree of Life, but rather he was exiled outside the Garden/Temple back in the outer “dust” from where he was created.  Israel being a corporate Adam would often repeat this process – She would sin and break covenant whoring after other gods, and would therefore die spiritually and corporately being driven from God’s Land and presence into the death and exile of bondage and slavery.  Dying in the “dust” for Israel meant she would die corporately and spiritually in exile from God’s presence (ex. Isa. 52:1-2).  When She came back into the Land say under Ezra and Nehemiah it was a resurrection and a coming out of the “graves” (Ezek. 37).  The Jews new there would be one last and Messianic second exodus from her exile and death during the time of the Roman Empire (cf. Dan. 2; 7; 9; 12).  But being delivered from this death, exile, and bondage didn’t have to do with God destroying the Romans and raising physical corpses in the Land, or establishing a physical paradise on earth, but rather it involved raising Israel’s dead (with believing Gentiles) from the spiritual bondage of “the sin” and “the death” that came through Adam and was magnified through “the law.”

In a similar way Jesus would also die a “bad death” that would include some kind of spiritual separation from the Father [“My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Mt. 27/Ps. 22 and “He who knew no sin became sin for us…” 2 Cor. 5:21] as well as a violent and shameful biological death upon the cross outside the gates of Jerusalem.  Then Jesus’ physical resurrection [in a Garden] was a “sign” that He was the “first” to have overcome the spiritual death and separation that came from Adam and thus He died in the flesh of the old covenant age but was the first to rise in the spirit inaugurating the new covenant age and the first to ascend into the Father’s glory and presence (1 Pet. 3:18).

Psalm 19:4

Paul in Romans 10:18 appeals to Psalm 19:4 to demonstrate that God had given the Jews scattered throughout the nations of the Roman world sufficient warning and an opportunity to hear the gospel through his ministry,

“But I ask, have they not heard?  Indeed, they have, for “their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (cf. Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 16:25-26).

Paul also has in mind Jesus’ “sign” that the gospel had to be preached throughout the Roman world before He would come in his “generation” to bring an “end” to the old covenant age with the destruction of the temple in AD 70 (Mt. 24:3, 14-34).

Deuteronomy 32:21

Paul now cites Deuteronomy 32:21 in Romans 10:19 to demonstrate once again what the message (prophesied in their own Scriptures) would produce among Israel,

“But I ask, did Israel not understand?  First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

The eschatology of Moses in Deuteronomy 31-32 and how Paul and the NT authors develop it couldn’t be clearer.  In Israel’s “last days” (31:29-30) there would come a specific “perverse and crooked generation” (32:5, 20) that would “reject their Rock” – the God who had created and formed them through the exodus event (32:4, 15, 18).  He would bring them to their final “end” within this “last days” specific “perverse and crooked generation” (32:20).  During this generation, He would make them “angry” and “jealous” by forming a new “people” and a new “nation” (32:21).  Yet most of them would not be wise nor be able to “discern what their later end would be” (32:28-29) – even though they sang this song constantly this mass rejection of Messiah was predicted in their own Scriptures!

Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 32:5, 20 in Philippians 2:15 when he exhorts the church who were living in this very specific “last days” “crooked generation” to,

“…be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation[Deut. 32:5, 20], among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

Because Paul understands that they were living in the terminal last days “generation” Moses prophesied of, the “day of Christ” he mentions here he later defined as being “at hand” (Phil. 4:4) in AD 70 just as he does later in Romans (cf. Rms. 13:11-12).

Peter likewise in Acts 2-3 states that the “last days” of Israel and that old covenant economy had come upon them and therefore in Acts 2:40 they needed to,

            “Save yourselves from this crooked generation (cf. Deut. 32:5, 20).”

According to the context of Peter’s sermon, they need to be saved from the

“…day of the Lord” the “great and magnificent day.”  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:20-21)

Peter goes on in Acts 3 to describe the same coming of Christ and warning as chapter 2–as being when He would be “revealed from heaven” to “restore all things” and give “times of refreshing” to the believing remnant while other Jews who would not heed this warning would be “cut off from among the people” (Acts 3:17-23).  Per Peter, God was in the process of restoring Israel by forming a spiritual new covenant “new people” or “nation” (2 Pet. 2) and if they didn’t repent and have faith in Christ and join this new “people” they would be “cut off” from that new covenant people and blessings and be judged in AD 70.

But per Peter, what were the “all things” that needed to be “restored” according to the prophets (Acts 3:21)?  Peter declares,

            “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Pet. 4:7).

The end of all things that were at hand in Peter’s day were the elements of the old covenant world that were already in the process of passing away,

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  Since all these things are being dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God…” (2 Pet. 3:10-11LEB).

Old Testament scholar, David C. Mitchell, points out that Jewish interpreters understood the “Rock” of Deuteronomy 32 to be both God and yet Messiah at the same time and forms David’s prophecy of Messiah the Rock that Israel would stumble over:

“Altogether then, the ‘Shepherd-Rock’ promised to Joseph [Gen. 49:24] is a mighty king.  The Septuagint agrees, rendering ‘Shepherd-Rock’ by one Greek word, Katischusas, ‘conqueror’.  Therefore the coming one promised to Joseph is like the Shiloh world-ruler promised to Judah earlier in the same chapter:  he is one whom the nations will obey.  And, just as the Shiloh-ruler is to come after Judah’s kingdom, a kingdom which has not even appeared at the time of Jacob’s prophecy, so the Shepherd-Rock is a divinely-appointed ruler to come after Joseph’s time, but one greater and freer than Joseph ever was.

Such an interpretation is not a novelty.  Ramban [13th century R. Moshe ben Nahman] says, in his comments on Deuteronomy 32:4, that this Rock from Joseph is the same Rock or Stone as is spoken of in Psalm 118:22.

And he [Moses] said:  Let my teaching fall like rain.  For that which he brought from the heavens, and his speech on the earth, will fall upon Israel, and settle upon them like dew (Deut. 32:2).  For I will proclaim the name of Ha-Shem in the heavens; come, declare the greatness of our God (Deut. 32:3) in the earth.  [The Rock, his work is perfect, etc. (Deut. 32:4).

And all Israel will say also the rock is Joshua, a sign about this land, for, From thence a Shepherd-Rock of Israel (Gen. 49:24).  And it was interpreted long ago:  The rock rejected by the builders has become the capstone; this is from Ha-Shem, etc. (Ps. 118:22-23).  And that is why Joshua said, This rock will be a witness between us (Josh. 24:27).  Also, For behold the rock which I have set before Joshua:  upon one rock are seven eyes (Zech. 3:9).  Let the wise understand.

Ramban’s comments are triggered by the Rock of Deuteronomy 32:4.  This Rock, he says, is not only the ETERNAL, but also Joshua.  Writing in his latter years, in the Mamluk-ruled Holy Land, he says it is a sign for ‘this land,’ and he cites Genesis 49:24, whose Shepherd-Rock he identifies as Joshua.  He then proceeds to link the divine Rock of Deuteronomy 32:4 and the Joshua Rock of Genesis 49:24 with the Rock-rejected-by-the-builders of Psalm 118.  Now Ramban knew Psalm 118 was written long after Joshua’s time.  And he knew its rejected Rock had a long history of messianic interpretations [2Q23 and 4Q173 (=4QpPsb) frg. 5, lines 1-6].  So Ramban is not speaking of Joshua ben Nun, but of another Joshua Rock yet to come, whom he sees prefigured in the rock set before Joshua ben Jehozadak in Zechariah 3:9.  So, when Ramban says that the Joshua Rock is a sign for ‘this land,’ he foresaw the land of the Israel being reconquered and ruled by another Joshua, one still to come in Ramban’s own time, that is, a Joshua messiah, who is the promised Shepherd-Rock.”[53]

And again,

“…he [Ramban] is saying that the Shepherd-Rock promised to Joseph is none other than the Rock of Deuteronomy 32:4, who is the God of Israel himself, the Angel who followed the Israelites through the desert as a thirst-quenching Rock.”[54]

To summarize Paul’s appeal to Deuteronomy 32 – God’s promises had not failed just because a majority among Israel had not believed.  Why?  Because through this process God would form a new “people” and “nation” making them “jealous” and “angry” – with most not being able to “discern what their end” would be.  This “end” (of the old covenant age not world history) was “at hand” in their “last days” “perverse and crooked generation” and inseparably connected with it was the “at hand” Second Coming of Jesus and “the judgment of the living and the dead” (Rms. 11:25-27/13:11-12; Phil. 2:15/4:4; Acts 2:20-40; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).  During this covenantal transitionary generation period, the old covenant “all things” creation was being dissolved and passing away, while God was creating a new covenant creation, people of God, nation, etc…. And on that note, we transition to Paul’s next OT quote coming from Isaiah 65 and the eschatology found there.

Isaiah 65:1-2 

Paul goes on in Romans 10:20-21 to quote Isaiah 65:1-2 to further prove God’s purposes for Israel’s salvation have not failed in that while most of Israel will not discern her end due to spiritual hardness and blindness becoming “angry” and “jealous,” others will be “found” through this process,

“Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, ‘I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.’” But of Israel he says, ‘all day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’”

Since Paul is appealing to the eschatology of Isaiah 65-66 let’s unpack these glorious chapters.

There are TWO peoples / nations / creations that God through Isaiah develops.  The first is God’s old covenant “rebellious people who provoke” Him to His face “continually” which forms the majority of the nation, and they are to be judged (65:2-7).  But as Paul has said in Romans 9:6 “for not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” [that is, there is a true Israel / remnant / seed within the nation] Paul develops here through Isaiah as,

“Thus says the LORD:  As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it, for there is a blessing in it, so I will not destroy them all.  I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there.”

In verses 12-16 there is a contrast between the two in that when God comes to judge “with the sword” (through armies) – the remnant will eat and drink, while the other goes hungry and thirsts.  One rejoices while the other is covered in shame and cry out in pain of heart.  The unbelievers would be cursed in that their “name” (Jerusalem) would be given to the remnant and the remnant would be given a “new name” (New Jerusalem).

But how will this be accomplished?  In verses 17-25 God will covenantally “not remember” His old covenant people / Jerusalem / Creation, but will form His new covenant people / New Jerusalem / New Heavens and Earth.  Paul in quoting Isaiah 65:17 in 2 Corinthians 5:17 makes it clear that the believing Jew / Gentile Church is the “New Creation” or “New Heavens and New Earth” prophesied by Isaiah:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

But what was the “first” that would pass away in AD 70?  To this we briefly turn to Isaiah 51:15-16,

“I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of hosts is his name.  And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, You are my people.”

The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge correctly identifies this creation as old covenant Israel,

“The heavens.  ‘Heaven’ and ‘earth’ are here put by symbolic language for a political universe.  That is, that I might make those who were but scattered persons and slaves in Egypt before, a kingdom and polity, to be governed by their own laws and magistrates.”[55]

In Isaiah 66:19-24 we learn that the remnant “survivors” of the Day of the Lord in AD 70 continue in the New Creation or new covenant age–preaching the gospel to the Nations just as Revelation 22:2, 17 declares.

Paul’s appeal to Isaiah 65 strengthens his case that according to the OT scriptures God would eventually bring National Israel’s old covenant world to an end and form a new covenant world or Nation composed of the Jewish remnant and Gentile believers.  When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Full Preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible.  Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright (to name just a few) teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (cf. Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the old covenant system or world, along with the temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70.  See the following works:

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

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

Romans 11 – Isaiah 29:10; Psalm 69:22-23; Isaiah 59:20-21; Isaiah 27:9; Isaiah 40:12, 28

Isaiah 29:10

Here in chapter 11 Paul appeals to himself and the “present time” as evidence that God had not rejected His people nor has God’s promises failed in that Paul himself was among the chosen remnant elect Jews [Paul being from the Tribe of Benjamin trusting in Jesus vss. 1-6].  Paul in Romans 11:8 references Isaiah 29:10 to prove it was always God’s plan to harden Israel while causing the elect to seek and find salvation in Christ under the new covenant of grace,

“What then?  Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking.  The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”

Once again, we see that when “blind” unbelieving old covenant Jerusalem is judged and “besieged” (vss. 1-16) is also the “in that day” or time when “the eyes of the blind shall see” and “Jacob shall no more be ashamed” (vss. 17-24).  Paul is consistently hammering away and appealing to OT text after OT text that demonstrate the majority of Israel will not believe and are thus judged while at the same time a remnant believes and is saved.

Psalm 69:22-23

Paul once again appeals to a judgment coming upon the “blind” unbelievers [this time using David as a prophet] among Israel in that He has laid a trap for them,

“Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” (Rms. 11:9-10/Ps. 69:22-23)

 John Gill points out that many commentators apply this passage to the Jews gathering for Passover just before the Romans came as God’s instrument of judgment and wrath,

“…nor is it to be overlooked what is suggested by some, that the Passover may be meant by ‘table’; which was their grand yearly feast, and which they were eating when they were surrounded and taken by the Roman army, like birds in a net, or beasts in a trap:  and all this as a recompense to them; a just judgment upon them, by way of retaliation for their ill treatment of Christ when on the cross, giving him gall and vinegar for his meat and drink.”[56]

The Psalm ends by exclaiming that while there is a trap and judgment set for the blind persecutors, this will also be the time of salvation for the “humble” (vss. 32-36).

Isaiah 59:20-21

Paul reminds and exhorts the Christian Gentiles that God was in the process of breaking off some of the Jewish branches (those Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah) and grafting them into Israel’s olive tree [thus fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant] as a “wild olive shoot.”  But Paul sees that God is not finished saving some of the Jews [in his day and generation] and that He is able to graft some of these “natural branches back into their own olive tree” and that their “acceptance” [along with the Gentiles entering into Israel’s fullness at Christ’s coming] will result in “life from the dead” – or be the fulfillment of Israel’s long-awaited restoration or resurrection promises (vss. 19-24).

Isaiah 59 addresses Israel’s sin of bloodguilt or them killing their poor brethren (vss. 3, 7) of which Christ says He would avenge at His coming to destroy their house or temple in His contemporary “generation” (Mt. 23:30-39).  Once again, we see in Isaiah 59:16-20 that at the time of judgment upon the Jewish persecutors is the time Messiah also comes to bring salvation.

Since Paul also cites Isaiah 59 in 1 Thessalonians 5 we should look at the judgment and salvation in view and when and at what event Paul sees it being fulfilled.  First the quote from Isaiah,

“He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.  He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeances for clothing and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.  According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment.  So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives.” (Isa. 59:16-20)

And now let’s look at how Paul uses this to form his eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 5 and to identify the “coming” of the Lord of Isaiah 59 that Paul says is the point at which “all Israel” would be “saved” or receive “life from the dead”:

“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.” (1 Thess. 5:8-10).

Paul understood that he and his contemporaries “belonged to the day” of “salvation” prophesied in Isaiah 59:16ff. and that this would result in resurrection and enjoying eternal life and God’s presences at Christ’s coming [that would take place in some of their lifetime’s cf. 1 Thess. 4:15-17 “we shall not all die” / Mt. 16:27-28].  Paul informs the Thessalonians that Christ would come from heaven in wrath to vindicate them from their Jewish countrymen (cf. Acts 17) that were persecuting them:

“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you [Jewish countrymen – 1 Thess. 2:14-16/Acts 17], and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints…” (2 Thess. 1:5-10)

The text is very clear – Christ was going to come from heaven in the lifetime of Thessalonians to “give them relief” from their Jewish persecutors by giving their persecutors the same kind of “trouble” they were giving the Thessalonians.  But how would this take place?  Remember Paul’s reference to Psalm 69:22-23 that we just covered before Isaiah 59?  God was going to “lay a trap” for these Jewish Thessalonians when they traveled to Jerusalem for Passover and then He would come (through the Roman armies), to “repay” these Jews with “wrath” that they had been “storing up for themselves” (1 Thess. 2:14-16/Mt. 23:30-39).

It may also be helpful to see where else these themes are found such as in the book of Revelation where Christ comes as a mighty warrior, to bring vindication to the martyrs, in a day of wrath which would also bring salvation and the mature “mystery” of God.  First, the events of the prophecy of this book would be fulfilled “shortly” or “near” in AD 70 (Rev. 1:1, 22:10).  Therefore, in Revelation 6 the martyrs would be vindicated “in a little while” and this would be fulfilled when Christ’s “wrath” came upon His enemies (vss. 10-17).  In Revelation 19 Christ is dressed as a warrior and coming in “wrath” to once again “avenge the blood of His servants” (vss. 2, 11-16).  And in chapters 10-11 at the “seventh” or last trumpet, when Christ comes in “wrath” to judge the “city where the Lord was slain” for “3 ½ years” [AD 67 – AD 70] is when the “mystery” [the maturing of the Jew / Gentile union] would “no longer be delayed” and the “judgment [or resurrection] of the dead” would take place (Rev. 10:6—11:1-18).

The imminent Second Coming of Christ described as a coming warrior in a “day” of “wrath” to “avenge” or vindicate the martyrs and bring to maturity the “mystery of God,” the new creation, and to judge [or raise] the dead  
If A (Revelation) is = B (Isa. 59–66)
God comes from heaven “soon” in AD 70 as God had come before 1:7–22:7 64:1-3
He comes in “garments of vengeance” & wrath dipped in the blood of His enemies filling the dimensions of the land of Israel 14:7-20 63:1-6
He would come to punish and repay Israel for the sin of blood guilt & vindicate and reward the martyrs 6:10-11; 59:7; 62:11; 65:6-7
He comes to turn the tables – the wealthy persecutors would now starve while the righteous would feast – wedding motif. 3:9-10; Ch’s. 19-21 65:13-15
The righteous inherit the New Jerusalem/Creation filled with Christ’s light and righteousness which never fades.  The gates are always open to evangelize the Nations in the New Heavens and New Earth Ch’s 21-22 Ch’s 60; 65-66
And if B (Isa. 59—66) = C (1-2 Thess.)
The Lord comes from heaven in the lifetime of the Thessalonians as God had come before 59:16-2064:1-3 1 Th. 1:10;3:13; 4–5;        2 Th. 1:5-2:8
He comes in vengeance, wrath & flaming fire to turn the tables – by giving the Thessalonians who were being “troubled” (by their Jewish countrymen) “relief” and give their Jewish persecutors who were “filling up” the measure of their sin of blood guilt for killing the Prophets and Messiah — the same kind of “trouble”(through the Romans) they were dishing out to the Thessalonians 59:16-20; 65:13-15; 66:14-16 1 Th.2:14-16 /       Acts 17;     1 Th. 1:5-10
At Christ’s coming the righteous are gathered and shine as “Sons of the Day” in God’s presence and Kingdom 59:19;  60;      65-66 1  Th. 5:4-8;               2  Th. 2:1
Then A (Revelation) is = C (1 -2 Thess.)
Lord comes from heaven “soon” (AD 70) and or in the lifetime of these contemporary churches as He had come in the past 1:7–22:7, 10, 20 1  Th.1:10—2  Th. 1:5–2:8
The Lord comes at the sound of the last or seventh trumpet, w/ angels, to bring to maturity the “mystery of God” [Jew / Gentile union], in “wrath,” during a “3 ½ years period” [AD 67 – AD 70] of judgment upon Jerusalem – producing the judgment of the dead 10:6—11:18 1 Th. 4:16
He comes “soon” (AD 70) to the first century audience in vengeance and wrath to turn the tables on the first century persecutors and give relief and blessing to the persecuted 3:9-11;6:10-11,17; Ch’s19-21 1 Th. 1:10; 2 Th. 1:5-10
He comes to punish first century Jews and Jerusalem for “filling up the measure of their sin” for killing the Prophets & Christ Ch’s 17-18 1 Th. 2  /   2 Th. 1:5-10
At this first century coming of the Lord, the “Sons of the Day” or “spotless” Bride inherit God’s presence & NJ – no more night Ch’s 21-22 1 Th. 3:13;5:4-8
Two or More Things that are Equal to Another Thing are Also Equal to Each Other
Revelation Isaiah 59-66 1-2 Thessalonians
The Lord comes from heaven “soon” as He had in the past The Lord will come as He had come in the past The Lord comes from heaven in lifetime of Thessalonians
He comes to punish Jews & Jerusalem for the sin of blood guilt (vindicating martyrs) He comes to punish Jews & Jerusalem for sin of blood guilt (vindicating martyrs) He comes to punish Jews & Jerusalem for sin of blood guilt (vindicating martyrs)
Comes to turn the tables on first century enemies Comes to turn the tables on first century enemies Comes to turn the tables on first century enemies
Comes to give New Creation, Light, and His presence Comes to give New Creation, Light, and His presence Comes to give His Light, and His resurrection presence

Having looked at how Paul cites Isaiah 59 in 1-2 Thessalonians concerning the “wrath” “salvation” and resurrection “day” they would experience at Christ’s Second Coming; this will now help us identify the “coming” of the “Deliverer” of Romans 11:15-27 that produces “salvation” for “all Israel” when She would receive “life from the dead”:

“And so all Israel shall be saved:  as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rms. 11:26)

The context of Isaiah 59:16-19, 21 and how Paul applies Isaiah 59 to the Second Coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 5 should make it abundantly clear that Paul is describing the Second Coming event and not Christ’s incarnation as some have mistakenly assumed.  This will become more clear as we work our way through the other OT texts Paul is drawing on.

Isaiah 27:9

First let’s quote Isaiah 27:9-10 which connects this coming of the Messiah in judgment upon Jerusalem as the time when the new covenant comes to maturity to bring about the forgiveness of sin,

“Therefore, by this guilt of Jacob will be atoned for, and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:  when he makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces, no Asherrim or incense altars will remain standing.  For the fortified city [Jerusalem] is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken,…”

Now Paul in Romans 11:27,

            “and this will be my ‘covenant with them when I take away their    sins.”

The passage and its context in Isaiah couldn’t be clearer.  When the new covenant is matured and there is forgiveness of sins, is “when” Jerusalem is judged and her altars are ground up to be “like chalkstones.”

I have already addressed Isaiah 27 previously, but as a refresher:

1).  The “in that day” that Satan or the “dragon” would be slain or judged of Isaiah 27:1 and Genesis 3:15 Paul says would “shortly” take place (Rms. 16:20).

2).  Israel’s “death” is a spiritual and corporate death that she is to be raised from (cf. Isa. 27:7).

3).  Jesus places the eschatological “gathering” “threshing” (harvest) and “trumpet” resurrection to be at His Second Coming event in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:30-31/Isa. 27:12-13).

Again, this is addressing Christ’s first century Second Coming and resurrection event to occur at the end of the old covenant age and thus even further clarifies the “coming” of the “Deliverer out of Zion” to forgive His people and to raise Israel from the dead–thus bringing His new covenant Jew / Gentile mystery Israel to a full and mature state.

Isaiah 40:13, 28

Paul continues in Romans 11 seeking to prove that the “gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (11:28-31).  But why?  Because the OT prophesied the salvation of the Gentiles and now the process of making some of the Jews jealous [still a remnant] and them coming to faith in Israel’s last days under Paul’s ministry, just before Her judgment in AD 70.

Paul in Romans 11:34 is drawing upon Isaiah 40:13, 28:

“Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel.” “…Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

The exegete must ask, what is the context within Isaiah 40 that causes this outbreak of praise and adoration of God’s divine attributes?  Within the context God is predicting a day when He will come to judge Jerusalem but at the same time save Jerusalem (vss. 1-11).  He then challenges the nations and their gods to see if they could predict and then bring to pass such a salvation and judgment He will bring (vss. 12-28).  No such man, nation, or god can compare to the judgment and salvation God is brining and thus the outbreak of praise.  Therefore, let’s examine what the NT says of Isaiah 40’s coming judgment and salvation.

John the Baptist – Isaiah 40 & Matthew 3:2-12    

John the Baptist is the “voice” that came to “prepare the way” of the judgment and salvation described throughout Isaiah 40 (cf. Mt. 3:3).  John preached repentance because the “kingdom of heaven [was] at hand” (3:2).  John’s generation needed to repent because the “at hand” “kingdom” would be manifested in the coming judgment predicted in Isaiah 40.  In ancient times when someone was building a flat road to your city [to bring in their military equipment] in meant they were coming to conquer you and you had better surrender or there would be consequences.  Jesus would be that conquering King whom they rejected and those that did not repent would be desolated at His coming through the Roman armies in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

In Matthew 3:7 John makes it clear that the kingdom that was at hand would be manifested in an AD 70 “about to be” punishment or wrath that would come upon them,

“When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, ‘You snakes—who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send?’” (Mt. 3:7GNT)

The Smith’s Literal Translation also correctly translates mello in Matthew 3:7 as, “…the wrath about to come?”             

John continues with the language of a first century imminent judgment coming upon the Pharisees,

“Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees.  Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Mt. 3:10)

And that this imminent judgment includes an eschatological harvest is made clear in verse 12,

“His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The “winnowing fork” was a tool to be used at the end of the harvest – so this is a consummative or eschatological “not yet” judgment John is describing that was imminent.  Jesus likewise places the harvest resurrection, gathering, or judgment to take place at the end of the old covenant age in their contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 13:39-43/Mt. 24:3, 31-34).

Here in Matthew 3:2-12 John is predicting an imminent first century “at hand” Messianic “Kingdom” that would manifest itself in a judgment upon Jerusalem in which some would be gathered to be burned and judged while the remnant would be gathered into the barn or the Messianic Kingdom to inherit eternal life.  John is laying out the eschatology of Isaiah 40 in a vey clear way in which there would be both an imminent judgment and yet salvation for Israel to experience at the hands of the Messiah.

John the Baptist – Malachi 3-4

Luke and Jesus inform us that John was also the “Elijah” who came to “prepare the way” of the judgment and salvation of Israel found in Malachi 3-4 (cf. Lk. 1:16-17; Mt. 11:7-15).

“Behold, I send my messenger (John as Elijah), and he will prepare the way before me (Christ). And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple (in judgment – at Christ’s Second Coming); and the messenger of the [New] covenant (Christ) in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire…”

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the SUN of Righteous-ness shall rise with healing in its rays/wings. You shall go out … leaping like calves from the stall… Behold, I will send you Elijah (John) the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Malachi 3-4 predicts TWO messengers: 1) John being the eschatological Elijah preparing the way for 2) the Second Coming of Jesus as the Messiah fulfilling and bringing to maturity the new covenant promises.

“The day” that is “coming” is the Second Coming which is described here not only as “the great and awesome day of the Lord,” but also as the “Sun of Righteousness” “rising” or manifesting Himself with healing rays for the righteous and yet burning the unrepentant.

Premillennial Zionist Michael Brown writes of rabbis seeing this as Messianic:

“According to the famous medieval Jewish commentaries of Radak (David Kimchi) and Mesudat David, “the Lord” refers to none other than “King Messiah.”  However, neither of these commentators took sufficient note of the fact that the Messiah was to come to the Temple that stood in Malachi’s day (and note also that it is called “his Temple”—pointing clearly to the divine nature of the “Lord” spoken of here).  I ask you, did this happen?  If it did, then the Messiah must have come before the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.; if not, God’s Word failed.”[57]

Just as in Daniel 7:13-14 (cf. OG LXX) and Daniel 9:24-27, Messiah had to come not just before the second temple’s destruction in AD 70, but He would be very active in its destruction – coming upon the clouds to desolate it!  This is what is deliberately missed by Futurist and Premillennial Zionist Dr. Michael Brown.  The coming of God/Messiah in the judgment of Malachi 3:1-5 is further described in the next chapter as the “great and awesome day of the Lord” of which John as Elijah came to prepare the way of (Mal. 4:5)!

At least Premillennialist John Gill points out what Michael Brown is afraid of, and that is not only was Malachi 4:5 a Messianic text but, according to him, it was fulfilled at Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70:

“Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; that is, before the coming of Christ the son of David, as the Jews themselves own [cf. T. Bab. Eruvin, fol. 43. 2. & Gloss. in ib.]…[being] the first coming of Christ, reaching to the destruction of Jerusalem: John the Baptist, his forerunner, the Elijah here spoken of, came proclaiming wrath and terror to impenitent sinners; Christ foretold and denounced ruin and destruction to the Jewish nation, city, and temple; and the time of Jerusalem’s destruction was a dreadful day indeed, such a time of affliction as had not been from the creation, Matthew 24:21 and the Talmud interprets [cf. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol 118. 1.] this of the sorrows of the Messiah, or which shall be in the days of the Messiah [and Gill points out elsewhere some believing “days of Messiah” would be 40 years, and they were – AD 27 – AD 67 or AD 30 – AD 70 MJS].”[58]

John Lightfoot sees the connection with John as the fulfillment of Elijah and the “wrath” of God coming in Matthew 3:7ff. and Malachi 4 as Christ coming spiritually in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70:

 “…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.”[59]

Adam Clarke is most helpful and the clearest that Malachi 4:2 is Christ’s spiritual coming in the events of AD 67 – AD 70:

“Malachi 4:1:  Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven – The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.  And all the proud – This is in reference to Mal 3:15 of the preceding chapter. The day that cometh shall burn them up – Either by famine, by sword, or by captivity. All those rebels shall be destroyed.  It shall leave them neither root nor branch – A proverbial expression for total destruction. Neither man nor child shall escape.

Malachi 4:2:  You that fear my name – The persons mentioned in the sixteenth verse of the preceding chapter, ye that look for redemption through the Messiah.  The Sun of righteousness – The Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah; the Hope of Israel.  With healing in his wings – As the sun, by the rays of light and heat, revives, cheers, and fructifies the whole creation, giving, through God, light and life everywhere; so Jesus Christ, by the influences of his grace and Spirit, shall quicken, awaken, enlighten, warm, invigorate heal, purify, and refine every soul that believes in him, and, by his wings or rays, diffuse these blessings from one end of heaven to another; everywhere invigorating the seeds of righteousness, and withering and drying up the seeds of sin. The rays of this Sun are the truths of his Gospel, and the influences of his Spirit. And at present these are universally diffused.

And ye shall go forth – Ye who believe on his name shall go forth out of Jerusalem when the Romans shall come up against it. After Cestius Gallus had blockaded the city for some days, he suddenly raised the siege. The Christians who were then in it, knowing, by seeing Jerusalem encompassed with armies, that the day of its destruction was come, when their Lord commanded them to flee into the mountains, took this opportunity to escape from Jerusalem, and go to Pella, in Coelesyria; so that no Christian life fell in the siege and destruction of this city.”[60]

The Church has argued about whether Malachi 4:5 is the Second Coming of Christ or His spiritual coming in the judgment through the Roman armies in AD 70. Again, the truth is that both views are true at the same time.

My friend and partner in our “Preterist Apologetics” videocast has written an entire book on the eschatology of John the Baptist and its connection to the salvation and restoration of Israel by Paul in Romans 11,

“So, The Voice – John – was to prepare the way of the Lord who was coming to save His people.  Is this not the salvation of Romans 11?  That salvation would arrive at the Day of the Lord.  It would be at the Lord’s coming to reward His saints.   It is when, “all flesh shall see the salvation of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:5).  That might have suggested to Paul’s readers that the salvation of the Gentiles was to have been expected and accepted, as well as conveying to the Gentiles in his audience that they were not being saved “independently” of Israel, but as a part of God’s faithfulness to Israel (Cf. Romans 1:16-17 / 15:16-27).  Either way, Paul’s citation of Isaiah 40 in Romans 11 should cue us into the fact that the coming of the Lord that he was anticipating was not the Incarnation.”[61]

And again,

“So, if John was Elijah – and he was – then the relationship between his ministry and Romans 11:25f. cannot fail to influence our understanding of Romans 11.  Elijah was to come and, “restore all things” (Matthew 17:11).  That most assuredly included Israel, did it not?  In Romans 11, wasn’t Paul talking about the restoration of Israel?  How is it possible for us to divorce John’s ministry of restoration – particularly in light of Luke 1 as noted above – from Paul’s anticipation of restoration?  But again, if John’s ministry of restoration and Paul’s eschatological hope for Israel in Romans 11 are the same, then we must sharpen our focus on the time frame, the context and nature of that restoration.”[62]

John would “restore all things” (Mt. 17:11) because his ministry was to pave  the way for or to point to the Messiah / Jesus who would come in AD 70 to “restore,” transform, and raise Israel from her old covenant natural and weak state, to her mature new covenant glorious state.

Having made the connections between Isaiah 40 with John the Baptist’s eschatology and Paul’s in Romans 11, we should briefly see how and to what event Jesus, John in Revelation, and Peter apply Isaiah 40.

Jesus and Isaiah 40   

Just as John the Baptist understood the judgment and salvation predicted in Isaiah 40 would be something imminently fulfilled for first century Israel (not modern so-called “Israel”) at the coming of the Messiah in AD 70, Jesus likewise appeals to Isaiah 40:10 [along with Isa. 62:11] in Matthew 16:27-28 to describe His coming in judgment to “reward” as something that would take place in the lifetimes of those in the crowd that were listening to Him:

“Behold the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” (Isa. 40:10)

“For the Son of Man is going to come [Greek mello – “about to come” YLT] with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has doneTruly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Mt. 16:27-28)

Once again, we find the Church divided on what the “coming” of Christ is in (16:27) – some say it’s the Second Coming event while others argue it was His AD 70 spiritual coming in judgment upon Jerusalem–of which some listening to Him would experience.  Both “orthodox” views are correct and have formed Full Preterism.

John in Revelation and Isaiah 40

John in Revelation 22:10-12 is also drawing upon Isaiah 40:10 and Isaiah 62:11 when He records our Lord saying,

“Look, I am coming soonMy reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

Peter and Isaiah 40

Peter in 1 Peter 1:23-24 quotes from Isaiah 40:6-9 which concerns the judgment and salvation John was the “voice” to prepare the say of,

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

Here in the immediate context of chapter 1, Peter has already identified that they were born again in anticipating the “inheritance” and “salvation” ready to be revealed in the last time” of which the OT prophets prophesied to come [which would include the salvation of Isa. 40] not in their day and time but in Peter and his contemporary’s day and time (1:3-5; 10-12).  He goes on to explain that the judgment of the living and the dead [thus resurrection of the dead] was “at hand” and thus approaching in the coming events of AD 70 (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).

Having gone thoroughly over Paul’s OT sources in Romans 9-11 and showing their AD 70 connections and fulfillments, we now turn back to Romans 11:25-26 and address some exegetical details.

“I don’t want you to be unaware of this mystery,…: (Rms. 11:25)

Paul within Romans itself tells us what this “mystery” [Grk. musterion] is,

“…according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of the faith…” (Rms. 16:25-26; cf. Cols. 1:25-26)

The “mystery” is the new covenant gospel of Jesus whereby there was now Jew / Gentile union “in Christ” that was once hid in the OT, but by Paul’s day and through his unique “stewardship,” had already been preached to “all nations” throughout the Roman Empire.

The immediate context also makes the “mystery” the Jew / Gentile union in Christ the meaning since Paul has just been explaining [through the metaphor of the olive tree] how Gentiles were being engrafted into Israel’s promises (vss. 17-24).

The order is the same in Ephesians 2-3. In Ephesians 2 Paul describes the remnant Jews and the believing Gentiles being brought together in union using the metaphor of forming one new man, body, and temple [instead of an olive tree] (2:11-22).   This is then followed up by Paul in chapter 3 describing this process as the “mystery” prophesied in the OT and of which he is a “steward” (3:1-6).

“That a partial hardening has happened to Israel…” (Rms. 11:25)

Pastor David Curtis writes of this “partial” hardening as being,

“…adverbial and modifies “has happened,” not hardening.  It should read, “A hardening has happened in part to Israel.”  The hardening isn’t partial, in that it has happened to part of Israel.  The remnant is not hardened.  This is what Paul said in:  “What then?  What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened” (Rms. 11:7).  Please notice that the “elect” obtained it, and the rest, which is Israel, were hardened.  So only part of Israel is hardened, and that part is the great majority of them.

He’s just saying that the hardening is not complete.  There are some who have been saved out of their total depravity and brought to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In other words, he’s saying the same thing that he said in verse 5:  “In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Rms. 11:5).[63]

Until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rms. 11:25)

Again, Pastor Curtis is helpful here on the meaning of “until,”

“The Greek phrase used here is achri hos. This phrase means:  “even unto a point.”  Thayer says, “It is used of things that actually occurred and up to the beginning of which something continued.”  It is a point of referenceand not a point of cessation [and gives plenty of examples such as Acts 7:17-18 / Ex. 1:6-9, 12, 20; Gals. 3:19].”

“So we could read our text, “a hardening has happened to part of Israel even unto to the point where the fulness of the Gentiles has come in.”  So it is not saying that Israel’s hardening stops when the fulness of the Gentiles happens.”[64]

The Greek word here for “fullness” is pleroma and in this context it is pointing to when Christ comes out of Zion [His Second Coming in AD 70] to forgive and or fill with His presence–thus bring to completeness or full maturity the Jew / Gentile body.  Then “all Israel” will be “saved” and or restored in her new covenant form.  A similar meaning can be found in Ephesians 1:23,

“…God gave Him [Christ] as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness [pleroma] of Him who fills all in all.”

The eschatological goal of Christ’s coming or parousia [presence] according to Paul [of which he says some of his contemporaries would live to or “we shall not all die” before experiencing 1 Cor. 15:51 / Mt. 16:27-28]  is “…that God may be all [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] in all [Jew / Gentile]” (1 Cor. 15:23, 28).  Paul even uses “mystery” in connection with Christ’s parousia at the sound of the “trumpet” which unites the OT dead ones of Israel with the Gentiles in Christ.

I think another good description of this is found in Revelation 21-22.  At the “soon” AD 70 Second Coming of Jesus we see the New Jerusalem [the Bride / Church] in Her mature form and she is filled with God’s presence.  The mission has not come to a termination, but to a mature state for since AD 70 she has been inviting sinners to enjoy the fullness of God’s presence and to come through the gates for spiritual “healing” and to partake of the Tree of Life and Living Waters (Rev. 21—22:2, 17).

Concluding the Restoration and Resurrection of Romans 8:18-23YLT / 9—11:15-27 / 13:11-12

We have seen that Paul identifies the Jew / Gentile “creation” of men groaning from the decay of inward sin and spiritual death that came through Adam “eagerly waiting” for the “redemption of the [corporate] body” that was “about to” come in AD 70. What was “about to be” fulfilled was the “appointed time” (Rms. 8:18) [Greek Kairos] of Daniel 9:24-27 LXX and Daniel 12:2-4, 7 LXX which connects this “redemption of the body” with the resurrection and destruction of the second temple in AD 70 foretold by Daniel.  We also noted how Romans 8:18-23 is the second exodus event and the parallels between Romans 8:18YLT—13:11-12 makes it abundantly clear that Paul’s eschatology of the imminent “appointed time” in Romans is that of Jesus’ “appointed time” in the Olivet Discourse.

From there we took a deep dive at all of the OT passages Paul is referencing in Romans 9 – 11.  Here we saw:

Most of these passages spoke of two Jerusalem’s or Israel’s – one judged at the same time the other is saved.  In some passages one is judged for persecuting and putting to death the righteous remnant martyrs – who are raised when the other would be judged.  Jesus places this event to be in His generation – when they would sing at the feast of Passover, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mt. 23:30-39).

As in Daniel 9:24-27 and 12:2-7, the context of many of these OT passages connects the restoration and resurrection of Israel to be at the same time as the judgment of Israel between AD 67 – AD 70 when God “laid a trap” for “hardened” Israel to experience “wrath.”

The pattern both in Romans 9-11 and within the context of these OT texts is that the righteous remnant is saved and “survives” the “last days” “day of the Lord” in AD 70 and continues preaching the gospel to the nations in the new creation.  In other words, the end of world history is never the subject of any of these OT passages.

We spent a long time on Paul’s reference to Isaiah 40 and took a deep dive into John’s eschatology since he was “the voice” to prepare the way of Isaiah’s judgment and salvation.  We also noticed that Jesus, John in Revelation, and Peter appeal to Isaiah 40 and see its judgment and salvation as being imminently fulfilled by AD 70.

Then we returned to do an exegesis of Romans 11:25-27 by demonstrating that Paul’s Jew / Gentile “mystery” was brought to “fullness” or to a complete and mature state in the new covenant at Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70–when He came out from Zion to indwell and take away the sin of the Church.  “In this way or through this manner” “all Israel [was] saved” and experienced “life from the dead” (resurrection).

In conclusion there was perfect and beautiful harmony between the imminent time indicators of Romans 8:18-23YLT and Romans 13:11-12 that could easily be applied to the same “salvation” and or corporate body resurrection and coming of Christ in Romans 11:15-27.  And if one couldn’t see that beautiful harmony and contextual flow from Romans 8:18-23YLT—13:11-12, the OT texts Paul is appealing to in Romans 9 – 11 also pointed to the time of Israel’s restoration and resurrection would be the same time she would be judged in AD 70 for the sin of her bloodguilt.

Paul, in Romans 8:18-23YLT and 13:11-12, awaited the “about to be” corporate bodily resurrection of the new covenant creation/body, and he was waiting for her members to “awake” out of the “hour” of “sleep” of Daniel 12:1-4, 7-13.  Paul not only sees the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as “about to be” fulfilled in Acts 24:15, but he also sees it imminently fulfilled in these crucial eschatological chapters in Romans as well.

Paul expected some of his contemporaries to be alive and witness the coming of Christ and the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15

Space does not permit me to give an in-depth exegesis of every verse of 1 Corinthians 15, but I will address much of it.  For a detailed exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15, see my co-authored book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology and David Green’s exegesis.

Before beginning, I think we need to stick with just the basics on what we have learned so far and ask the following questions and make the following points:

1). No one disputes that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the same resurrection as Daniel 12:2-13.

2). Having established this, we have learned from the immediate context of Daniel 12 that this resurrection would be at the same time as the tribulation and the “time of the end” – that is, “all these things” would be fulfilled together and during a 3 ½ years period of time “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7).  As we will see below, Paul expected the eschatological “end” and resurrection of Daniel 12 in 1 Corinthians 15 to take place within the lifetime of some of those he wrote to in Corinth.

3). Most agree that Jesus’ teaching on the “tribulation” and “end of the age” in Matthew 24 is the same “tribulation” and “time of the end” found in Daniel 12:1-4.  And yet Jesus indicates that the end of the old covenant age and tribulation would be fulfilled during the times of the Gentiles or the 3 ½ years period of AD 67 – AD 70 in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3, 21f.; Lk. 21:20-24, 31-32).

So then if Matthew 24/Luke 21 is equivalent to the same time frame and events as Daniel 12:1-7, and Daniel 12 is the same resurrection as 1 Corinthians 15, lets break this down more and get a logical visual.

A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21)

B (Daniel 12:1-7)

C (1 Cor. 15)

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

We have also learned up to this point the following:

4). A Christian orthodox position on the resurrection of Daniel 12 involves an “already not yet” progressive, spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection taking place between AD 27/30 – AD 70, whereby the new covenant body of Israel was being raised out from the death of the old covenant body of Israel by AD 70.  Can a progressive, corporate bodily resurrection be seen in 1 Corinthians 15?

5). As we have just seen, the Apostle Paul has elsewhere taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was “about to be” fulfilled or was “at hand” (Acts 24:15YLT; Rom. 8:18-23YLT; Rom. 13:11-12).  So the burden of proof would be to prove that Paul’s “ONE” resurrection hope which he had in Acts and Romans has now turned into two.

Therefore, as we approach the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15, we want to see if this critical chapter also involves what we have found thus far in Paul’s teaching on the resurrection. That is, does 1 Corinthians 15 teach a corporate body resurrection that was in the process of taking place in Paul’s day, which he taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would be fulfilled within the lifetime of some of his contemporaries?  We believe so.

There are several exegetical observations which demonstrate that Paul’s eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a depiction of a biological casket-type resurrection for all men that will occur at the end of world history:

1).  The parallels and analogy of faith with Matthew 24 demonstrate a first century generation fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15.

2).  Paul’s argumentation and use of logic (modus tollens) demonstrate that those who denied the resurrection of the dead at Corinth were not denying the resurrection of Christ or the doctrine of resurrection in general, but a resurrection for a particular group (the old covenant dead of Israel).

3).  Paul’s use of the present passive indicative, as already in the process of being fulfilled, demonstrates it is not an end of time biological resurrection.

4).  Paul’s use of familiar corporate body words and phrases within the Corinthian letters and within his other epistles demonstrates that an individual, biological corpse resurrection is wrong.

5).  Paul’s appeal to, and the contexts of, Hosea 13 and Isaiah 25 demonstrate that an end of the world biological resurrection is not in view.

6).  There would be no victory over “the death” until victory over the Mosaic Torah, “the law,” was reached.  This does not fit within a futurist framework, but does within the Full Preterist framework, because “the law” (administration of death) was “soon” to vanish at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and thus was truly imminent in Paul’s day.

The Parallels – Analogy of Faith

Again, let’s look at those parallels which demonstrate that Paul’s eschatology here in 1 Corinthians 15 is that of Jesus’ in Matthew 24/Luke 21:

  1. Christ to come (Greek parousia) – Matthew 24:27 = 1 Corinthians 15:23
  2. His people to be gathered/changed – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
  3. Comes with the sound of a trumpet – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:52
  4. To be “the end” (Greek telos– the goal) – Matthew 24:3, 14 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  5. Kingdom consummation (goal reached) – Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  6. All prophecy fulfilled at this time – Luke 21:22 = 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
  7. Victory over the law/temple – Matthew 24:1 = 1 Corinthians 15:55-56
  8. Same contemporary “you” or “we” – Matthew 24:2ff. = 1 Corinthians 15:
    51-52

The classic Amillennial and Historic Premillennial positions agree with us that the above parallels support the fact that Paul’s eschatological one hope, as expressed in 1 Corinthians 15, is the same teaching and resurrection developed by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse.

However, we also agree with Partial Preterists that Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Therefore, I can use the following historical “reformed and always reforming,” and Scriptural “the Scripture alone” / “analogy of faith” argument:

Major Premise:  The “Parousia,” resurrection “gathering,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” of the age of Matthew 24 is the same eschatological “Parousia,” resurrection “change,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” of the age for Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.  Paul’s eschatology is the eschatology of Jesus (Classic Amillennialism and Historic Premilllenialism)!

Minor Premise:  But the “Parousia”, “gathering,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” of the age of Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary generation at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism, mostly Postmillennial).

Conclusion: Therefore, the one and the same “Parousia,” resurrection “gathering/change,” and “trumpet” call at “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15 and Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually in Jesus’ generation and thus at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

1 Corinthians 15:1-15 – ONE Gospel Preached

Most futurist commentaries on 1 Corinthians 15 merely assume that the resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth denied the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection in general.  It is more than difficult to see how Paul could have still referred to them as “saints,” etc. if they believed such!  Most who take this position believe Paul’s appeal to the 500 who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of his correction because the group rejected Jesus’ resurrection.

This view has many problems, which we will cover shortly, but in reality Paul lays forth the historical resurrection of Christ in the beginning of the resurrection conflict at Corinth NOT because the resurrection deniers at Corinth denied Jesus’ resurrection, but because the Gentile Christians were pridefully and ignorantly denying the resurrection of a Jewish sect (the OC dead ones who had died prior to Christ).  This denial was similar to what some Gentile believers were saying about Israel and the Church at Rome (see Romans 11).  One group or party was denying the resurrection of the other.  The schisms of the various groups at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10 – 3:23) reach their main conflict here in chapter 15, which Paul now desires to set straight. Paul, being the leader of the erring Gentile party who boasted of themselves and Paul as their leader, now humbles himself among the apostles (vss. 7-9) in order to correct this arrogant spirit. He ties his gospel message in as being ONE with the Jewish leaders (vss. 11-12).  The resurrection of Jesus and the gospel message was united and agreed upon in the preaching of Christ’s resurrection by all the parties!  Paul will use this agreement to make his case against them!

Perhaps some of their misunderstandings and arrogance began as early as Acts 18 when they heard Paul say, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  I believe that a misunderstanding of Paul here and perhaps some of his teaching that Gentiles were one body with the Jews, and that a true Jew was one who had been circumcised of the heart, led to a replacement theology and denial of an old covenant Jewish (the dead ones) eschaton / resurrection. After humbling himself and showing his solidarity with the Jewish leaders in preaching the same doctrine, Paul now begins to correct their error.

 1 Corinthians 15:12-19Paul’s Modus Tollens form of Argumentation

To further prove that the deniers of the resurrection of the dead were not denying Christ’s resurrection or the resurrection for all in general, we need to take a look at Paul’s form of argumentation. The Futurist view makes no contextual sense if you follow Paul’s argumentation and the logic he uses. Paul uses a familiar modus tollens or “if then” logical argument.  That is, “If P, then Q, and therefore not P.”

1)  “If P”

“If there is no resurrection of the dead ones…”

2)   Then Q”

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then not even Christ has been raised.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then our preaching is useless…

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then and so is your faith [useless].

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then we are found to be false witnesses about God.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then your and my baptism (of suffering & martyrdom) on the part of the dead is meaningless.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then the Father is subject to Christ.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then some of you are ignorant of God.

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then why are some undergoing a baptism (of suffering & persecution) on behalf of the dead?

If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then there will be no resurrection for anyone and we all might as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

3) “Therefore, not P”

Therefore, your (resurrection of the dead deniers) premise that the resurrection of the (OC) dead will not take place is false (or “therefore, not P”).

Paul’s argument is also known as reduction ad absurdum.  This form of argument demonstrates that a statement (the dead will not rise) is false by showing that a false, untenable, undesirable or absurd result follows from its acceptance.  Again, Paul is using things he has in common with them and things that they would affirm in order to overthrow and show how absurd their false premise actually was in saying that the dead ones would not rise.

The Resurrection of the Dead Error Identified

Since the Corinthians believed in Christ’s resurrection and a resurrection for those who had died “in Christ,” then who is left to deny a resurrection for?  In short, the error at Corinth was an extreme view (or a hyper-dispensational or pre-mature replacement theology of sorts) that divided up the people of God in extreme ways.  They could not reconcile how the dead prior to Christ’s arrival could be raised into or with the body of Christ of which they were now a part.  In short, they were denying a key ingredient to “the better resurrection” that the writer to the Hebrews outlines:

“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they [the OT or old covenant dead] might obtain a better resurrection:   And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they (“the [OT/OC] dead”) without us (the NT/NC saints “in Christ”) should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:35-40).

The resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth saw the “better things” for those who were “in Christ” (dead or alive – their side of the cross), but could not reconcile how the OT or old covenant dead (on the other side of the cross) could participate in a resurrection with those who had died in Christ or how they could be “made perfect” together in the body of Christ.  They had the new covenant “better things,” and thus the OT or old covenant dead were left without participation in the better resurrection to come; this was their reasoning and error.  They did not deny the doctrine of the resurrection in general, just the all-ness or oneness (with all of God’s of people) to the resurrection.

Extreme views of excluding even the righteous dead were not uncommon, even among the Jews.  Some Jews believed that anyone who died outside of the Promised Land would not participate in the resurrection:

“The Talmud records speculations on the various matters connected with the process of Resurrection.  There was a firm belief that the momentous event would take place in the Holy Land.  Some Rabbi took the extreme view that only they who were interred there would share in the future life.  ‘Those who die outside the land of Israel will not live again; as it is said, “I will set delight in the land of the living.”  (Ezek. 26:20)—those who die in the land of My delight will live again, but they who do not die there will not’…” “Even a Cananite maidservant in the land of Israel is assured of inheriting the World to Come’…”[65]

So, in this extreme view, those righteous dead who died outside of being “in the land” would not participate in Israel’s corporate resurrection.  Similarly, some at Corinth took Paul’s teaching – that all prophecy or all the promises of God were fulfilled spiritually “in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20) – too far in that they concluded the resurrection could only take place for those who believed “in Christ” (their side of the cross), and all others perished outside of being in Him.

Therefore, since the old covenant dead perished and were not present to place their faith in Christ, then they couldn’t be a part of the spiritual new covenant body that was in the process of being raised in their day. They lost sight of the great cloud of witnesses who saw Christ’s day and were glad and would thus share in the “better resurrection” with them.

According to both of these extreme Jewish or Christian views, men such as Moses had no resurrection hope but perished outside of being either “in the land” or outside of being “in Christ.”

We see a similar inability to reconcile the OT promises made to Israel and how they would be fulfilled in the NT body of Christ coming from modern day Dispensational Zionists who think there are opposing theologies between the OT and NT.  There are two completely separate bodies of believers or peoples of God needing two separate comings of Christ, programs of salvation, etc.  Of particular interest to our discussion here is the comparison of dividing the OT dead from those who died “in Christ.” Dispensationalists such as Charles Ryrie and Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer argue in the following ways:

“Those who died before Christ’s first advent” are not among “the dead in Christ” (Charles Ryrie).[66]

“The Old Testament saints were not part of the New Creation in Christ,” and “the nation of Israel sustains no relation to the resurrection of Christ” (Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer).[67]

And again, per Chafer, the dead OT saints were not “in the new federal headship of the resurrected Christ…”[68]

This sounds like elements of the resurrection of the dead deniers’ doctrine, and confusion was picked up from Dispensational teaching.

In 1937 William Everett Bell argued against Pretribulationalism, providing evidence that at Christ’s Second Coming (after the Tribulation period) all the righteous dead were to be raised.  The ever-evolving pre-tribulational rapture theory countered with a two-resurrection view – one for those who died “in Christ” at the “rapture” “coming” and one for those who died outside of being “in Christ” (OT dead not “in Christ”) seven years later (after the Tribulation) at the Second Coming.  The resurrection of the dead deniers also divided God’s people up in a way that was contrary to the teachings of Paul, except that for them the best way to avoid the problem (which they created for themselves) was to entirely deny resurrection for the OT dead and only accept a resurrection for those “in Christ.”

These examples (one within the Talmud and modern ones) should be sufficient to demonstrate how it could be possible for some to miss how the OT dead could or even would participate in the salvation of the ONE NT or new covenant body of Christ.

Romans 11 & 1 Corinthians 15

Perhaps the best parallel to what is taking place among the Gentile deniers of the resurrection of the dead at Corinth can be found in Romans 11.  Paul has to explain that the Gentiles did not completely replace old covenant Israel and that there remained a future eschaton and expectation of fulfillment for her. And this future is explained in such a way that without God fulfilling those promises to old covenant Israel, there would be no forgiveness of sin or resurrection life for the Gentiles (cf. Rms. 11:13-27).  In Romans the Gentile arrogance against the Jews was illustrated by an olive tree, branches, and the root to demonstrate the solidarity of the Gentiles with Israel’s resurrection and covenant promises.  As we will see in our next point, Paul uses the illustration of the “first-fruits” harvest to connect the two.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 – First fruits and Solidarity

Paul is going to now further his argument to connect Christ’s resurrection with that of Israel’s, by using the first-fruits analogy.  How could the Gentiles deny Israel’s role in the resurrection when they themselves (along with the believing Jews) were a part of the first fruits awaiting the harvest at Christ’s return (James 1:18, Rom. 8, Rev. 14)?  Paul’s resurrection hope was the “hope of Israel” and the harvest was Israel’s harvest of which they were blessed to be a part or grafted into.  To deny “the dead” or Israel’s future role in the resurrection/harvest was akin to theologically denying Christ’s role and their role at the end of the old covenant age / harvest.

First-fruits, Imminence & Analogy of Faith

Whenever the first fruits were offered up as a pledge, this was a symbol that not only the harvest was guaranteed, but that it was already ripe and being cut.  Paul uses this argument of Christ being the “first-fruits” resurrection to teach that He controls the destiny of Israel’s harvest (the dead), which Paul’s first century “we” audience would experience at “the end” of the old covenant age.

The imminence of this coming harvest judgment was first developed by John the Baptist.  He warned of an “about to” come wrath and punishment (Mt. 3:7GNT/SLT/WUESTNT).  His ax and winnowing fork were already in His hand – indicating that the judgment and end-time harvest would take place in some of their lifetimes (Mt. 3:10-12).

Jesus also taught a spiritual sowing and coming judgment / resurrection harvest which would take place at “the end” of His Jewish audiences’ “this age” (which was the old covenant age) in Matthew 13:39-43.

The first fruits and harvest resurrection and judgment of Revelation 7 and 14 was to be fulfilled “shortly” at Christ’s “soon” and “at hand” AD 70 Second Coming (Rev. 1:1—22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

Paul’s inspired teaching on an imminent harvest resurrection to take place at “the end” (of the old covenant age) is in harmony with the teaching and eschatology of John the Baptist, John the apostle and Jesus.

Major Premise:  The harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12, Matthew 13:39-43, Revelation 7 & 14, and 1 Corinthians 15 is ONE and the same with the end of the age harvest resurrection event (Classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise: But the harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12, Matthew 13:39-43, and Revelation 7 & 14 was “about to be” fulfilled spiritually and “short” at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism – mostly Postmillennialist).

Conclusion:  The ONE and the same harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12, Matthew 13:39-43, Revelation 7 & 14, and 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

First-fruits and the Nature of Jesus’ Resurrection Body

In Pauline theology, Christ is described as the “First” (first-fruit or first-born – Col. 1:18) from among the dead ones.  Since clearly Jesus was not the first to be raised from biological death, many futurists reason that this must then mean He was the first to be raised with a glorified and immortal body the third day, which they assert was different because it could walk through walls and could never biologically die again. However, there is no exegetical evidence that Jesus’ biological body that was raised the third day was substantially different (glorified) than the one He had before He was crucified.  Prior to His resurrection, He was able to walk on water, disappear in the midst of a crowd and transport / teleport Himself and a boat full of disciples instantly to the shore (defy physics).  So just because Jesus could appear or disappear after His resurrection, this does not prove that His body was different and that somehow at the end of history we too will get a “body” like His (that can defy the laws of physics, etc.).

The truth, however, is that Jesus’ body wouldn’t be glorified until some 40 days later at His ascension/enthronement and just prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the resurrection body of Christ that came out of the tomb is not the “same” or “first” immortal and “glorified” body that we allegedly will get at the end of world history.  If it was and ours will be just like it, then since Jesus still had His wounds, then will Christians be raised without limbs, deformities, etc.?

Yet Jesus was the “first” to overcome covenantal sin/death or spiritual separation that came from Adam the very day he sinned against God and was banished from His presence.  Jesus “became sin for us” – that is, He took the full curse (of separation) for His posterity, was raised and 40 days later glorified and restored into the “glory” and presence of the Father He had before the world began. Exactly how Jesus “became sin” and was separated (“My God why have you forsaken Me”) on our account contains concepts that we will not be able to fully understand (such as the incarnation and trinity), but it is what Scripture teaches nonetheless.  At Christ’s Parousia in AD 70, He restored God’s presence with the righteous dead (OC & NC) along with the living.

Therefore, the purpose of Jesus being raised from the dead on the third day was to be a sign (like all of His other miracles that pointed to a deeper spiritual truth) that validated He alone had conquered the curse (sin/death/separation) which came through Adam.  Jesus never came to conquer biological death for Christians.  Jesus repeatedly taught that those who believe on Him (alive or dead – Jn. 8:51; 11:25-26) would “never die.”  In other words, “never die” is synonymous with “eternal life” (i.e. spiritual life and existence in God’s presence).

In Adam or in Christ

Through the corporate body of Adam, “all” come into this world spiritually dead and separated from God (15:21-22), while through Christ and His overcoming of that death “all” of His corporate body or covenant posterity will be restored to God’s presence and have their sin completely taken away at His Parousia.  We will pick up Paul’s “in Adam” or “in Christ” doctrine and how he addresses these terms and concepts in verses 44-58 and Romans 5-8.

At His Parousia

Paul’s teaching on the Parousia (15:23) is not different than what Christ taught of His Parousia to take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:27-34, 37).  The NT knows of only ONE hope or eschatological Parousia of Christ to bring about ONE eschatological “the end” or “end of the age,” and that was His Parousia to close “the end” or “end of the [OC] age” in AD 70.

Then Comes the End & the Kingdom

“The end” (15:24) here is consistent with Jesus’ teaching on the end of the old covenant “this age” to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24). It is Daniel’s “time of the end” (not the end of time) when the resurrection would occur at Jerusalem’s destruction in the three and a half years between AD 67 – AD 70 – i.e. “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:1-7).

Before we approach 1 Corinthians 15, Paul has already informed us that “the end” of the world was “shortened” and the end of the age was to take place in the lifetime of the Corinthians (cf. 1 Cor. 7:29, 31; 10:11).  The miraculous sign and revelatory gifts would confirm the Church until “the end” [of the old covenant age] or Day of the Lord (1 Cor. 1:4-8).

Paul taught that the new covenant Church age was an “age without end” (Eph. 3:20-21), so why would he here be teaching that he expected its end to take place within the lifetime of the Corinthians?  It is the old covenant age that is in view and indeed did pass away within the lifetime of Paul’s audience. The new covenant age was “about to” fully come in, and therefore the old covenant age was about to end (Eph. 1:21 WUESTNT).

The “increase” (that is the everlasting gospel) of Jesus’ government (that is His kingdom and thus His rule in the new covenant Messianic age) is also described as having “no end” in the OT (Isa. 9:7).

Concerning the timing of the consummation of the kingdom, per Daniel chapter seven, the kingdom would arrive in its fulfilled inherited form just after a time of severe persecution (Dan. 7:21) and at Christ’s Second Coming (Dan. 7:13, 18, 22).  Jesus informs us when Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled in Matthew 24.  He instructs His disciples that just after a severe persecution takes place, the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies (the abomination that causes desolation), and just prior to His Parousia the Kingdom would be inherited in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:1-32).  How many consummations to the Messianic kingdom do Jesus and Paul teach?

Paul’s “end” here is connected to the end or fulfillment of the OT Mosaic “THE Law” which was the strength of sin in 1 Corinthians 15:55-56.  This is consistent with Jesus teaching that all that was written in the OT would be fulfilled in His generation (Lk. 21:22-32).

Christ’s Pre-Parousia Reign & His Enemies Placed Under His Feet

As David and Solomon’s reigns over Israel were 40 years, so too was Jesus’ pre-Parousia reign (roughly from AD 30 – AD 70).  Through the proclamation and power of the gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit given in the midst of imprisonment and persecutions, and the imprecatory prayers of the saints against their first century Jewish persecutors, Christ’s enemies were being placed under His feet and would perish at the end of the old covenant age. This is consistent with the teaching of the author to the Hebrews when He instructs us that the first century Jewish “enemies” to be “made his footstool” were “about to” experience a judgment of fire at Christ’s “in a very little while” AD 70 coming that could not be delayed (Heb. 10:13-37YLT).

Last Enemy “The Death” Was in the Process of Being Destroyed – The Present Passive Indicative – The Dead Were Rising

Note that death was in the process of BEING destroyed (present passive indicative):

“As a last enemy, [the] death is being abolished, for all things He put in subjection under His feet.”[69]

Gordon Fee in his work on 1 Corinthians puzzles over this:

“The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling… The sentence literally reads, “’The last enemy is being destroyed.’”[70]

Others comment on the reality of the present tense here:

“It is difficult to do justice to the present passive καταργεῖται in trans-lation. As it stands, the Greek states, The last enemy is being annihilated, (namely) death (v. 26). It is arguable that Paul uses the present to denote the process of annihilation already set in motion by Christ’s (past) death and resurrection.”[71]

There is no confusion or difficulty over the last enemy of “the death” being destroyed during Paul’s day when we realize that this death was spiritual Adamic death, which was being magnified through Israel’s Torah – “the law” or “administration of death” (1 Cor. 15:56-57; 2 Cor. 3).  When the definite article “the” is in front of death, it is the spiritual death which came through Adam the very day he sinned that is in view.

However, there is understandable confusion and difficulty for the present tense of the death being destroyed for Futurists who assume that biological death and resurrection is the last enemy to be destroyed throughout 1 Corinthians 15.  How was biological death in the process of being destroyed in Paul’s day and up to ours for the last 2,000 years?!?  Are arms sticking up out of the graveyards today, with biological corpses in the process of rising and overcoming death?!?  Obviously, Paul has something else in view and Futurists do not understand him correctly.

Related to the problem for the Futurist of “the death” being in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day is Paul’s use of the present passive indicative in other places in this chapter.

Although it is rare that a translation or commentator will point this issue out here in 15:26 (as I have cited above), they are all virtually silent when the present tense is being used in the following verses:

“But God is giving it a body” (v.32).

“…it is being…” (v. 38).

“…it is being raised in glory…” (43).

“…it is being raised in power…” (v. 43)

“…It is being sown a natural body, it is being raised a spiritual body…” (v. 43).

Since most think that the giving of a “body” and it being “sown” a natural body and then being raised in glory and power is allegedly addressing a biologically transformed individual body at Christ’s Parousia at the end world history, the present tense seems impossible.  But when the corporate body of Christ (the old covenant dead who had the gospel preached to them by Christ, those dead “in Christ” and those alive that constitute that ONE body) is in view, Paul’s theology/eschatology begins to make more sense.  Christ was still in the process of fulfilling OT Scripture and thus the new covenant corporate body was still being raised from and saved from the Adamic and Mosaic body of death.

Let’s not forget that Postmillennialists such as James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry believe the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was a progressive spiritual resurrection between AD 30 – AD 70, with Jordan making it clear that this resulted in Daniel’s soul being raised out of the realm of the dead ones into God’s presence in AD 70.  And on the other hand, we have the Reformed orthodox position telling us that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and 1 Corinthians 15 is ONE and the SAME resurrection event.  Therefore, there is simply no reason to not see the progressive and spiritual resurrection that was taking place between AD 30 – AD 70 in both Daniel 12 and 1 Corinthians 15 as being the same “already and not yet” eschaton that resulted in souls being raised into God’s presence at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70.

According to Paul, the ONE resurrection hope of Israel had already broken in and there was an “already and not yet” reality to it (Rom. 11:7; Phil. 3).

That God May Be All in All

This is the eschatological goal of the NT – that “all” of God’s presence (the Father, Son and Spirit) would be in “all” of God’s people (the new covenant body of the Jew and Gentile).  The Holy Spirit’s presence was with the early Church through the charismata and in forming Christ’s image (a spiritual transformation) in the Church.  But it was only at the Second Coming of Jesus in AD 70 that the Father and the Son would then make their home within the Church (e.g. John 14:2-3, 23, 29; Lk. 17:20-21ff.; Rom. 8:18YLT; Col. 1:27).  At the “end” of Christ’s pre-Parousia reign, He would deliver the kingdom up to the Father and its process of being changed (2 Cor. 3) would be complete and consummated into its heavenly form.

The promise of God being “all in all” is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles which we covered in Matthew 24:30-31 and Zechariah 12-14.

1 Corinthians 15:29-34 – Baptism on Behalf of the Dead

There has been much debate on the meaning of those being baptized on behalf of the dead (15:29).  However, the context would seem to indicate that this is a baptism of suffering that is in view (vss. 30-32; see also Lk. 12:50/Mt. 20:20-23; Mt. 23:29-36; Heb. 11:39-40).  Paul’s point and overall argument is that if the old covenant dead would not participate in the resurrection, then those Christians (such as himself) who were undergoing a baptism of suffering, persecution and death/martyrdom on their behalf (the ONE body of Christ that included the old covenant dead) were suffering and perishing in vain.  If the dead would not rise with those who had fallen asleep “in Christ,” then one might as well adopt the fatalistic mindset of “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” for there would be no resurrection for anyone.

1 Corinthians 15:35-58 – The Body (Greek soma) & Consistency within Pauline Theological Terms & Motifs

Much has been said and debated in recent years in regard to Paul’s use of the “body” (Greek soma) in his various epistles.  Many would insist that when Paul uses “body” in his letters to the various churches, he is mostly referring to an individualistic biological or fleshly body.  However, theologians such as Tom Holland are developing a proper cultural context in which Paul is writing with a Hebraic mindset, or within a worldview that is rooted in the OT Scriptures, which sees the body more in a corporate sense and context.  Holland does a great job developing this in Romans 5-7 and 1 Corinthians 1-12, but we find him inconsistent and dropping the ball in Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Holland also has correctly observed that most of the time Paul uses particular theological phrases and terms in a consistent way in writing to the various churches, so that there is little confusion among them.[72]  And while we agree with this, we believe Holland is inconsistent with Paul’s consistent use of “the law”, “the sin,” and “the death” in relationship to being “in Adam” or “in Christ” when addressed in Romans 5-8, and also how he understands these terms and themes in 1 Corinthians 15.  In Romans, Paul does not use these terms and the “in Adam” / “in Christ” motif to be discussing biological death and resurrection, but rather corporate modes of existence.  We argue that Paul uses these terms and motifs virtually the same way in 1 Corinthians 15, and thus he is not addressing a biological death and resurrection motif.

Paul’s Seed Analogy & Being Buried Alive

Since the resurrection of the dead deniers did not deny a corporate bodily resurrection for themselves and those who had died “in Christ” (their side of the cross), then what is Paul’s point in using the seed analogy?  If Paul was correct in what he was saying thus far in his argumentation, then their objection would be something like, “How or what kind of body could the old covenant dead ones possibly be raised in since they died in the state of death found in Adam prior to Christ’s coming (thus they were susceptible to weakness, perishable and merely natural), unattached from us who are “in Christ” where resurrection new covenant eternal life is being realized (cf. 15:35)?”

Paul’s statement, “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be…” summarizes their thinking and error.  For them, they were the one spiritual body that was BOTH being sown spiritually and would be raised spiritually.  In other words, they thought they sowed the same spiritual body that would be, which couldn’t be attached to the old covenant body which they believed perished outside of Christ.  Paul uses the seed analogy to demonstrate that they (along with the old covenant dead ones) were not sown a spiritual body, but rather they had the same sowing/seed origins that the old covenant dead ones were in – i.e. still in a “perishable”, “dishonorable”, “weak”, “natural”, “Adamic” body of death.  The corporate body of Christ did not originate their side of the cross out of thin air, but it originated in and came out from within the Adamic old covenant body (along with the old covenant dead ones).  The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to see that they were still a part of the old covenant body/seed/world (with the old covenant dead) that had not passed away yet.

If Paul had a resurrection of biological corpses in view, then he didn’t know how to teach and use illustrations very well.  Futurists believe the passage teaches that in biological death the body dies and then is buried or sown into the earth to be raised at the end of world history into a different form.  But for Paul in verse 36, the seed/body was not only in the process of being sown (under the earth), it was still alive and concurrently dying only to be raised into a different form.  Futurists are at odds with Paul’s teaching and illustration, which would amount to burying corpses while alive, only to undergo a process of dying and then to be raised.

In order to understand Paul’s buried alive and concurrently dying doctrine, or how the “body” here in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a fleshly individual body but a corporate body, we must allow Paul to interpret himself elsewhere.  We will pick this subject up in Romans 5-8, when addressing the nature of the body in Adam or in Christ, when it surfaces again in verses 44-58.

I believe Don K. Preston’s thesis of Paul using Hosea 6 – 13 as an inclusio as a possible working outline in 1 Corinthians 15 is an excellent observation.

“Hosea: The Outline for Paul’s Resurrection Hope
Hosea 1 Corinthians 15
1). “He has torn but he will heal, and after two days He will raise us up.” 1). Christ rose on the 3rd day according to the Scriptures – Paul introduces Hosea at the very beginning of his discourse and he closes his discourse by quoting Hosea.
2). Israel the Seed (Jezreel–God sows): Israel sown in the earth (2.23). 2). Except a seed– “That which you sow is not quickened unless it die” (John 12).
3). Israel destroyed/died (1.5– I will cause to cease the house of Israel): continuity / discontinuity – Israel destroyed / Israel restored. 3). You do not sow that which shall be (v. 37). That which you reap is not what you sow; that which is spiritual is not first, but the natural.
4). Israel of old – carnal, sinful. 4). It is sown a natural body (v. 42f).
5). Israel sown in the earth (2.23). 5). As we have borne the image of the earthy.
6). Harvest appointed for Judah when I return My people (6.11). 6). Jesus the first fruits (Jesus of Judah), of those who slept – OT saints, i.e. Israel!! (15.12f).
7). Time of the harvest = resurrection (13.14). 7). Resurrection when Hosea fulfilled (15:54-56).
8). Israel like the first fruit (9:10). 8). Christ the first fruit of Israel (15:20f).
9). They transgressed the covenant (6.7; they died (v. 5; 13.1-2, 10) – death for violating the covenant. 9). The strength of sin is “the law” (15.56) –death for violating the Law.
10). New covenant of peace (2:18; Cf. Ez. 37:12, 25f)—> covenant is covenant of marriage. 10). Sit at my right hand…Heb. 10:14–time of the new covenant (Rom. 11:26f.) – the marriage, thus the covenant —> Rev. 19:6.
11). Israel restored in the last days when “David” rules (3.4-5). 11). End of the ages has arrived (10.11); “then comes the end” (15.20f) – Christ on the throne (15.24f).
12). I will be your God. I will be your king! (Hos. 13:10). 12). 1 Corinthians 15:28(God shall be all in all).
13). Resurrection = restoration to fellowship. 13). 1 Corinthians 15: resurrection when “the sin,” the sting of “the death removed.”[73]

 The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to be reminded that they were a part of old covenant Israel’s seed/body that was promised to be raised in the last days harvest to close her age. Without their union into that seed/body, there would be no resurrection for either group.

Israel had been sown in death and captivity, but she was in the process of being raised, united together, and transformed through the good news of the new covenant.  Israel’s process of being transformed and being sown and rising from old covenant glory into new covenant glory in 1 Corinthians 15 & 2 Corinthians 3 should be viewed together, just as a spiritual seeing of God’s face in a glass or mirror found in 1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Corinthians 3-4 should be interpreted together.  We must allow Paul to interpret himself, especially when writing to the same church.  It’s just basic hermeneutics.

In Adam or in Christ & the Corporate Body Cont.

Let’s take a look at the Pauline view of being in the corporate bodies of Adam (as a type) and/or in Christ.

“But the death did reign from Adam till Moses, even upon those not having sinned in the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of him who is “about to” [Smith’s Literal Translation correctly translates mello here] come” (Rom. 5:14).

To further demonstrate that the resurrection for those in Christ is a spiritual resurrection is to notice that in Pauline “in Adam” or “in Christ” theology Adam is a “type” and Christ the anti-type.  In the book of Hebrews, the first was the physical type and shadow with the second and better being the spiritual anti-type.  The point is that the anti-type is always spiritual, and that is what we see here in 1 Corinthians 15 of the second being a “spiritual body” that the new covenant Israel/Church is raised up into.

As I pointed out earlier, there are many similarities between Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Therefore, let’s spend some time here in Romans to see how Paul develops these themes.

In Romans 5:14, the context is involving an eschatological future (“about to”) coming of Christ who is the anti-type of Adam.  It will be when the future hope of glory in verses 1-5 is realized (which Rom. 8:18YLT says was “about to be revealed”) and when they would be saved from a coming wrath in verse 10.

Most Futurists, such as Postmillennialist Keith Mathison, believe that Romans 5:12 teaches that physical death for man and decay for the planet earth came through Adam’s sin and thus at Christ’s return He will reverse what Adam had brought upon the planet:

“As Paul explains, death entered the world because of Adam’s sin (Roms. 5:12).  God’s entire work of redemption from the moment of the Fall onward has been aimed at reversing the effects of sin in man and in creation.”[74]

However, the immediate context of verse 12 is dealing with spiritual salvation described as “reconciliation” being given to the believer in verse 11.  The phrase “…death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” is discussing spiritual death, not physical death, or people would physically die when they “sin.”  As I discussed before, in Genesis Adam died spiritually the very day he sinned.  Through Adam came the reign of spiritual “death” and “condemnation” in verse 18.  This spiritual death and condemnation that came through Adam is countered by Christ because through Him the “free gift” of the gospel is “grace” (v. 15), “justification” (v. 16), and a “reign of life” (v.17), which makes one “righteous” (v. 19).  These are spiritual graces upon the heart of man undoing the reign of spiritual death and condemnation brought through Adam.

Verses 20-21 are important: “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  When the Mosaic law entered the picture, it did not make death any worse, but it did increase and magnify the power and reign of spiritual death and sin in the heart of man.  This is most eloquently described by Paul in his struggle of what the law produced when it was brought upon his conscience in chapter 7.  Saul, the self-righteous Jew, thought they were “alive” under the law, but when they realized that the law could only magnify their sin and it could not completely take it away, they “died” (7:9).  Obviously, Paul did not biologically die the day he realized this.  The entire context of Romans is dealing with overcoming the spiritual death passed down through Adam, which was magnified through the giving of Torah.  This spiritual death was found in the corporate body of the sin, the death, and the flesh which Paul brings out and develops more in chapter 6.

As previously mentioned, fortunately some Pauline reformed theologians are beginning to see what we have in these Pauline terms.  Paul is not addressing an individual resurrection of a physical “fleshly” corpse in Romans 6:

“The concrete mode of existence of sinful man can sometimes be identified with sin as the ‘body of sin’ (Rom. 6:6), the ‘body of flesh’ (Col. 2:11), the ‘body of death’ (Rom.7:24).  Accordingly, the life from Christ by the Holy Spirit can be typified as a ‘doing away with the body of sin’, ‘putting off of the body of the flesh, ‘putting to death the earthly members’, ‘deliverance from the body of this death’ Rom. 6:6; Col. 2:11; 3:5; Rom. 7:24) … All these expressions are obviously not intended of the body itself, but of the sinful mode of existence of man.”[75]

Quoting T.F. Torrance,

“In his death, the many who inhered in him died too, and indeed the whole body of sin, the whole company of sinners into which he incorporated himself to make their guilt and their judgment his own, that through his death he might destroy the body of sin, redeem them from the power of guilt and death, and through his resurrection raise them up as the new Israel[76]

This corporate view of the “body of sin” is also shared by F.F. Bruce:

“This ‘body of sin’ is more than an individual affair. It is rather that old solidarity of sin and death which all share ‘in Adam,” but which has been broken by the death of Christ with a view to the creation of the new solidarity of righteousness and life of which believers are made part ‘in Christ.’”[77]

Holland feels that T.W. Manson has come the closest to the truth:

“He questioned the traditional assumption that in the phrase ‘body of Sin’ the term ‘of Sin’ is a genitive of quality; he argued that it ‘does not yield a very good sense’.  He took it to be a possessive genitive, and said, ‘It is perhaps better to regard “the body of sin” as the opposite of “the body of Christ”.  It is the mass of unredeemed humanity in bondage to the evil power. Every conversion means that the body of sin loses a member and the body of Christ gains one’”[78]

And developing the corporate body motif, commenting on Romans 6:6:

“Also, in 6:6 Paul refers to ‘putting off the old man’.  Once again this has traditionally been seen as a reference to the sinful self that dominated the life of the believer in the pre-converted state.  However, the same terminology is used in Ephesians 2:15 where Paul says, ‘to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace’.  He then goes on to say in 4:22-23, ‘put off your old self (anthropos – man), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’  The exhortation is parallel to that in Romans 6:6ff.  Thus, the new man, which Paul exhorts the Romans to put on, is corporate, for ‘the new man’ in Ephesians is the church, and the two who have been united to form this new man are the believing Jews and the believing Gentiles.  This corporate understanding is further supported by Colossians 3:9-15…  The realm where distinctions are abolished (here there is no Greek or Jew, v. 11) is clearly corporate.  This is indicated by two considerations.  First, ‘here’ is clearly the realm where all distinctions are abolished, and this is the new man.  Second, the meaning of the one body into which they were called (v. 15) is obviously corporate.  These descriptions of corporateness are in the context of the description of the old and new self (vv. 9, 10).  The rendering of anthropos as self by the NIV and sarx as flesh in the AV has inevitably promoted the individualistic understanding and confused the mind of the English reader.  Furthermore, that Paul’s exhortation is corporate is shown in that he appeals to them, “as God’s chosen people clothe yourselves’ (v. 12).  Thus, identifying the imagery of the old and new man as being corporate, and appreciating that it is part of the description of the ‘body of Sin’ in Romans 6:6, along with the other considerations we have presented, establishes a corporate meaning for the term the ‘body of Sin’.”[79]

What is the Soteriological and Eschatological Goal of Christ’s Substitutionary Work?

Before we leave the topic of being in Adam or in Christ, we should probably really define what Christ’s substitutionary redemption and mission is and what it isn’t.

If one defines Christ’s substitutionary work to be that Christ died physically so we don’t have to, then Christ’s redemption has been an epic failure for some 2,000 plus years and counting.  But as we have seen, the WUESTNT correctly translates 1 Corinthians 15:26 as “the death” (that came through Adam – spiritual death and separation) which was already in the process of “beING destroyed” due to Christ’s work on the cross and what He would imminently do at His Parousia to bring an “end” to the old covenant age in AD 70.  If physical death was “being destroyed” in Paul’s day and ours, we should expect physical corpses beginning to rise and walk about like the “Walking Dead” show.  Or we should see men living to be 200 – 900 years old.

And if the “wages of sin is biological death,” and Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross was designed to reverse this process, then again why do we still sin and die physically?  Jesus said that if one believed in Him and kept his commandments he would “never die.”  Again, if this is physical death, then once again Christ’s work and your faith prove Christ and Christians are epic failures.

But if Christ’s substitutionary and redemptive work on the cross and at His Parousia in AD 70 was designed to overcome the spiritual death that came through Adam, now we can understand the following passages:

  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46).

And why Paul teaches:

  • “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern/type of the one [Greek mello] about to come.  But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!  Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.  For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Rms. 5:12-21).
  • God made him who had no sinto be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • “Truly, truly, truly, I tell you, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death” (Jn. 8:51). “…and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.  Do you believe this” (Jn. 10:26)?

Here is a chart that may help:

Adam’s ONE Trespass Christ’s ONE Righteous Act
Sin entered the world Righteousness entered the world
Spiritual death entered the world Spiritual eternal life entered the world
Spiritual death and separation reigned from Adam to Moses w/ Torah magnifying how sinful sin is and how short we fall. For those in Christ, spiritual eternal life and righteousness reigns and brings us into God’s presence.
Many died spiritually in their covenant head of Adam Many are made alive in their covenant head of Christ
Spiritual judgment and condemnation came through Adam Spiritual gift of grace brings justification through Christ
One act of disobedience made those in Adam sinners One act of obedience made those in Christ righteous before God
Christ became sin for us so that  …we might become the righteousness of God

It should be clear that spiritual death and life and positional truth is what is being communicated here by Jesus and Paul.  If we are in Adam, we are subject to sin’s power which results in spiritual separation and death from God’s presence.  But if we place our faith in Christ and we are granted the gift of His grace, then positionally and spiritually we “never die”, we “become the righteousness of God,” are “justified before Him,” and “righteousness reigns in us.”

Christ died to sin or became the curse of Adam’s sin/death which separated us from God’s presence.  This “last enemy” and curse of spiritual death is what was in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day.  When Adam sinned, he died spiritually.  Christ lived a perfect life and committed no sin, so He was a perfect sacrifice capable of satisfying God’s righteous and just wrath so that “we might become the righteousness of God.”  Now through Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and Parousia, we live in the new covenant creation or the “world of righteousness” and are perfectly forgiven in His sight.  And this gift of faith and of His unconditional grace causes us to be born of God whereby we “do not sin, because His seed/presence remains in us, and we cannot sin because we are born of God” (1 Jn. 3:9).  That is, a true child of God cannot commit the specific sin “leading to death” (1 Jn. 5:16-18) which would once again bring us into the spiritual death and headship of Adam.  Or as John would reinforce his meaning in Revelation 3:12, those of us who are in the righteousness of the New Jerusalem will never leave the gates and return to the spiritual death and darkness of being in Adam.

The Sovereign Grace Full Preterist has a substitutionary redemption that has been “accomplished and applied,” which has produced the 100% goal Christ came
to accomplish between AD 30 – AD 70.  We are “in Christ”, “we are His righteous-ness,” and we will “never die” and be found outside of His marvelous grace!  We are made perfect before the Father and behold His face because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross and through His “soon” Second Coming (1 Cor. 13:10-12/Rev. 22:4-7, 10, 20).  Selah.

Paul’s Consistent Use of Terms

Not only do I agree with Holland in his development of Paul being a Hebrew and thinking in Jewish collective or corporate body terms, but I also agree with him that Paul has a “system of theology” that he draws on when he uses certain words, terms, and phrases throughout his various writings:

“Also, it seems quite inconceivable that a man of Paul’s intellectual caliber should be so haphazard as to be indifferent to these alleged inconsistencies.  At Paul’s instruction, his letters were being passed around the churches (Col. 4:16).  Was he not concerned with consistency?”[80]

Paul’s themes of being in a corporate body, whether in “Adam” or “Christ,” in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15, and being raised in the likeness of Christ or experiencing deliverance from “law” (Adam in the garden) or “THE law” (Israel groaning under the Mosaic law), has nothing to do with a casket resurrection from biological death for believers.  This is a soteriological resurrection from the spiritual death inherited from Adam.  The order of being planted or buried first and then simultaneously dying only to be changed and resurrected into Christ’s image is also the same in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15.  We will look at this shortly.

Corruption v. Incorruption

Here is how Paul elsewhere uses “corruption”:

1). “that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).

We should quote from John Lightfoot once again who not only saw the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 to be the corporate body of the Church (which we are arguing is also the case here in 1 Cor. 15), but also identified “vanity” “corruption,” etc. to be internal spiritual vices within the heart of man:

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.”[81]

And again,

“The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time,) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.”[82]  

2). “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8).

Sowing to the flesh has to do with giving in to internal temptations of the mind and heart, and reaping “corruption” has to do with inheriting (in this world and the next) the consequences of sin.  But if one sows to the Spirit, he reaps “eternal life” in this world and the next.  “Corruption” does not have to do with biological flesh.

3). “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.  If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that are unto corruption in the using [or perish as they are used])—according to human precepts and teachings?  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:18-22).

“Corruption” here is referring to the seducing Judaizers seeking to influence Jewish, and/or their proselyte Gentile, Christians into going back under the Mosaic Law to be justified before God.  Seeking to be justified by the Mosaic Law as a means of salvation meant being under the “corruption” of these false teachers and this system which would soon perish with its teachers in the events of AD 70.  Again, “corruption” is an internal reality of the heart and mind connected to sin and false teaching, not a biological change.

4).  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Peter 1:3-9).

It was the knowledge and life of the gospel that delivered them from the inner “corruption” that was in the Jewish or heathen world of false religion.  Peter is consistent with Pauline theology.  Paul taught that through faith they were already being transformed into the image of Christ, which was obviously not a biological process that had already begun (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18).  And according to Paul in Colossians 3:9-10, Christians were “putting off the old self” and “putting on the new self” as a process of “being renewed in the knowledge after the image of its creator.”  Being in the “image of the creator”, “being transformed into the image of Christ,” or “partaking in the divine nature,” for Peter and Paul these were non-biological events and had to do with a change of mind and heart which the gospel had produced and was producing within the hearts of Christians.

5). “For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:18-20).

Once again, we have a warning to not go back to false religion which enslaved men’s hearts and minds to the vices of sin and “corruption,” which the inner “knowledge of Christ” had delivered them from. As we have seen, this Greek word for “corruption,” as used elsewhere in the NT, does not entail a biological corruption of physical flesh needing a biological resurrection or change, nor is it being used this way by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.

But what of Paul’s use of “Incorruption” or “immortality”?

If “corruption” had to do with internal sin, then “incorruption” would seem to be the opposite.  The Adamic or Mosaic world and belief system could only produce, expose and magnify the “corruption” of sin in the heart.  The new covenant world and body of the gospel imputed Christ’s righteousness, resulting in eternal life or “incorruptibility.”

1). He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rms. 2:7-8).

Here “immortality” or “incorruptibility” are equivalent to “eternal life.”  Earlier, we looked at the “already and not yet” (AD 27-30—AD 70) “hour” (Dan. 12:1-4 OG) of the early church receiving eternal or resurrection life, and it had nothing to do with a biological change that was taking place.

2). “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (Eph. 6:24).

The new covenant gospel and love of Christ for His Church and her love for Him (and family members) cannot be corrupted or fail (1 Cor. 13:7-8).

3). “…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me” (II Tim. 1:10).

To understand this passage better we need to go to chapter four:

“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—preach the word; be earnest in season, out of season, convict, rebuke, exhort, in all long-suffering and teaching, for there shall be a season when the sound teaching they will not suffer, but according to their own desires to themselves they shall heap up teachers—itching in the hearing, and indeed, from the truth the hearing they shall turn away, and to the fables they shall be turned aside. And thou—watch in all things; suffer evil; do the work of one proclaiming good news; of thy ministration make full assurance, for I am already being poured out, and the time of my release hath arrived; the good strife I have striven, the course I have finished, the faith I have kept, henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of the righteousness that the Lord—the Righteous Judge—shall give to me in that day, and not only to me, but also to all those loving his manifestation” (2 Tim. 4:1-8 YLT, BLB, LSV).

Paul was entrusted with the gospel which brings immortality or eternal life to the soul of man.  Paul knew severe persecutions were coming for him before the “about to” approaching “day” of the Lord.  His confidence was in knowing that God was going to guard his God-given faith and soul as a precious deposit as that day was “about to” come and his life was going to be poured out (just prior to the events of AD 67 – AD 70).

There is nothing here about Paul having a hope that was connected to an “incorruptible” physical body that he would get at the end of world history.  His deposit was his faith and assurance that his soul was about to receive the gift of eternal life or incorruptibility and immortality.

Peter defined this “ready to be revealed” “inheritance” as the “salvation of the soul” (1 Pet. 1:4-9).

After reading the above verses to see how Paul and the other New Testament writers use them elsewhere, it can be seen that the term “corruption” has reference to life under the Law of Moses and life “in Adam.”  Notice that it was possible to be under a state of “corruption” without having to be dead physically.  Instead, this term had reference to life under the dominion of sin.

Likewise, “incorruption” was used to describe those in the body of Christ.  Those enjoying the “incorruption” or “immortality” were those who had been added to the body (Church) of Christ by responding positively to the gospel.  Just as the Church had to progress towards perfection, the individual Christians within the Church had “incorruption” while at the same time waiting for it to come on the day when God’s wrath would be revealed (Romans 2:7).  This idea is called by some as the “already but not yet” of eschatology.  Because the “already” was not of a physical nature, it makes sense that the “not yet” would be of the same nature.  If you saw the head of a dog coming around a corner, you would expect to see the tail of a dog – not of a cat – following shortly thereafter.  The dog doesn’t change into something else just because it is fully revealed. In like manner, the nature of the incorruption (the spiritual salvation of the soul) remains the same from initiation to consummation.

Natural v. Spiritual

1). “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritualThe natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:6-14).

In the next chapter Paul explains when the “things” were coming that the natural man could not understand:

“So then, let no one glory in men, for all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things about to be — all are yours,” (1 Cor. 3:22 YLT).

The rulers of Paul’s “this age” were the civil and religious rulers of the old covenant age that had crucified Christ and were “natural” men, unable to discern the spiritual blessings coming under the new covenant creation.  They and their system of power and authority were going to “pass away.”

Many exegetes are correct to point out that Paul combines the “things” of Isaiah 64:4 with the coming inheritance of the new creation of Isaiah 65:17 in this OT echo.  Paul in verses 10-14 teaches that the natural man could not accept these new covenant or new creation “things” that were being revealed by the Spirit because these were “spiritual truths.”  The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit, the new birth or God’s people becoming a spiritual “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17/Isa. 65).  The inheritance of the “things” of the new creation of Isaiah 65 were “about to be” received or inherited by the new covenant body of the Church while the rulers of the old covenant “this age” were going to pass away.

2). “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly/natural, unspiritual, demonic.  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James. 3:15).

When was the harvest of judgment and righteousness coming?

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door” (Jms. 5:7-9)

The rich professing Christians were causing division and persecuting the poor Christians in the Church.  Some Christians were even getting caught up into natural/earthly thinking that was demonic and from below, not from new covenant living which was “from above.”  It was important for true Christians to live out their new covenant faith and thus demonstrate that their faith was genuine and without hypocrisy, because the Judge was “at the door” and “at hand.” Those who were natural/earthy were like grass and a flower that would soon be burned up or pass away while others would inherit the crown of life (eternal life) at Christ’s imminent coming in AD 70 (James. 1:11-12/5:7-9; 1 Pet. 1:24/4:5-7, 17/2 Pet. 3).

3). “It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.  They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”  It is these who cause divisions, worldly/carnal/earthy people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 1:19-21).

Judaizers are here described as “carnal” false teachers seeking to place believers back under the Law. 1 Enoch and other Dead Sea Scroll documents predicted that the end of the age judgment of Satan, the Watchers and the wicked would take place in the first century and by AD 70 just as the teachings of Jesus and the NT developed.  Very similar to what we just saw in the book of James, being “carnal” or “worldly” has nothing to do with the physical flesh of man, but being corrupted inwardly with sin and being “devoid of the Spirit.”

Earthy v. Heavenly

The Greek word for “earthy” is only used by Paul here in 1 Corinthians 15:47, 48, 49.  However, we can do a study of “heavenly” in the NT to understand what Paul is referring to.

1). “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water even the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above (or again).’  The wind5 blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”  Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?  Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.  If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things (Jn. 3:5-12)?”

Citizens of the old covenant kingdom were born by flesh and blood, sons of Abraham.  But under the new covenant kingdom, one had to be “born from above” through the Spirit and faith in the Messiah/Jesus – “not of flesh and blood, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:11-13).

 2). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:4-10).

According to Paul, when would the coming age arrive or when would the full inheritance into this heavenly realm arrive?

“…not only in this age, but also in the one about to come” (Ephs. 1:21 WUESTNT).

For Paul, one could experience spiritual resurrection and be in “heavenly places” while being in a physical body.  This spiritual existence would continue for the living in the new covenant “age about to” arrive in AD 70.  So to be “heavenly” does not mean to undergo a biological change.  Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 is teaching that the Church (comprised of the OT dead and the living) was in the process of being raised a “Spiritual Body.”

3). “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So, I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim. 4:17-18).

Again, within the immediate context, when did Paul see full access into this “heavenly kingdom” to take place?

“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 Kingdom/Reign…” (2 Tim. 4:1 YLT, BLB, LSV).

While Paul had been delivered by the lions of the Jewish persecution, as we have seen elsewhere in his writings and as time progressed, it was revealed to him that he would die and his life would be poured out (martyred).  Even if Paul was alive, he understood that he was raised spiritually and currently in “heavenly places,” or if he were to die his soul was “about to” experience the inheritance of the “crown of life” (eternal life) and thus the “manifestation of His Kingdom” at Christ’s imminent coming.  There’s no evidence here that to be raised in a spiritual body means to undergo a biological corpse resurrection.

4). “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.  For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb. 3:1-6).

“Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:23-28).

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb. 12:22-24).

According to the writer of Hebrews, when would the “heavenly Jerusalem/City” arrive?

“For we have no permanent city here, but we are longing for the city which is soon to be ours” (Heb. 13:14 Weymouth New Testament, see also “one about to come” – Worrell NT; Worsley NT; Smith’s Literal Translation)

Through the “heavenly calling” of the gospel, biologically living Christians were already being raised and experiencing and tasting the heavenly realm and calling (having come to or among angels, Christ and the spirits of just men made perfect).  Moses was over a physical old covenant “house,” while Jesus was an administrator and trailblazer in perfecting the new covenant spiritual “house,” which is the body of Christ.  In Hebrews 9-10 the spiritual new covenant body is depicted as the “second” (typified as the Most Holy Place house), and when Christ would come in “a very little while and would not delay” in AD 70, the “first” (the “present age” of the old covenant system, or typified as the Holy Place) would not be standing or have legal standing (Heb. 9:1—10:37).  This is when the “heavenly Jerusalem/City” that was “soon” or “about to” come did come.  Post AD 70, God has raised and filled His spiritual body or house / New Jerusalem / Most Holy Place with His presence (cf. Rev. 21:16—22:17).  There was no biological fleshly change or resurrection for the saints to undergo to experience this “better resurrection” under the new covenant.  Nor is Paul teaching that a biological resurrection of flesh is necessary to be raised a spiritual or heavenly body in 1 Corinthians 15.

The weakness of Flesh v. Power

1). “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 16:13-17).

The revelation of who Christ is, or entrance into Christ’s kingdom, is not something that the power of “flesh and blood” can achieve; it is only something God who is in heaven can grant.

2). “…who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

Again, under the old covenant kingdom, one was and could be born of the blood and flesh of Abraham, but under the new covenant kingdom one had to be “born of God”, “born from above,” and “born of the Spirit.”  This was and is nothing the power of natural man (“flesh and blood”) can achieve.

3). “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.  For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.  And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.  But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh/anyone” (Gal. 1:11-16).

Neither “flesh” nor anyone can ultimately be said to bring one into the kingdom.  It is solely the work of God and His grace.  The power of any man/flesh cannot achieve or bring one into the kingdom ; it is a revelation and birth only God can grant.

Back to the Corporate Body Motif

David Green helps harmonize Paul’s corporate body motifs:

“To find Paul’s meaning, we need only find where in Scripture Paul elaborated on the doctrine of a human “body” that had to be sown/planted/entombed and concurrently put to death, in order that it could be made alive and changed in the resurrection of the dead.  This takes us to Romans 6-8, Colossians 2, and Philippians 3.

In these Scriptures, especially in Romans 6, Paul teaches that believers had been bodily “planted,” through Spirit-baptism, into death / into the death of Christ, in order that the body that had been planted/buried (the “body of Sin,” the “mortal body,” the “body of Death,” the “body of the sins of the flesh,” the “vile body”) would be abolished / put to death, and then be made alive and changed/conformed to the image of the Son of God in the kingdom of heaven. Note the order: Burial then death.

This sequence in Romans 6 is exactly, step by step, what Paul teaches concerning the resurrection of the body in 1 Cor. 15:36-37 and its context.  Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15 both speak of concurrent body-burial and body-death, followed by consummated body-death, body-resurrection, and body-change. Futurist assumptions notwithstanding, there is no doubt that 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 6-8 are speaking of the same burial, death, resurrection, and change—and therefore of the same body. 

The Body

What then is “the body” that was being put to death in Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15? What is the meaning of the word “body” in these contexts?  Essentially, or basically, the “body” is the “self” or “person/ personality” or “individual,” whether that of a singular saint or of the singular church universal (the body of Christ).

According to definition 1b of the word σωμα (body) in Arndt and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, the word “body” in Paul’s writings is sometimes “almost synonymous with the whole personality . . . σώματα [bodies] =themselves.”

Note how that “body” and “yourselves” are used interchangeably in Romans 6:12-13:

Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting your members [of your mortal body] to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members [of your mortal body] as instruments of righteousness to God.

Compare also 1 Corinthians 6:15 and 12:27, where “you” and “your bodies” are synonymous:

. . . your bodies are members of Christ . . . . (1 Cor. 6:15)

. . . you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)

See also Ephesians 5:28, where a man’s body-union with his wife is equated with “himself”:

So, husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

However, the word “body,” when it is used in reference to the eschatological resurrection, means more than merely the “self.” Paul is not using the word as a common reference to “the whole person.”

It does not refer to man’s anthropological wholeness (i.e. material body+soul+spirit=the body). Paul is using the word in a theological eschatological sense to describe God’s people as they are defined either by the wholeness/fullness (body) of Adamic Sin and Death or the wholeness/fullness (body) of Christ. The body is either the “person” united with Sin and Death, or the “person” united with Christ, whether individually or corporately.

We can begin to see this in Colossians 3:5 (KJV), where the body parts (members) of the Sin-body are not arms and legs or other physical limbs. The members of the “earthly body” were death-producing “deeds,” such as “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness . . . ” (cf. Rom. 8:13). Thus, John Calvin wrote in his commentary on Romans 6:6:

“The body of sin . . . does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass . . . of sin.” Since a body is the sum of its parts, and since the parts of the Sin-body are sins/sinful deeds, it follows that “the body of Sin” is not the physical aspect of man.

Instead, the whole of the sins/deeds of the body equals the body of Sin. Or more accurately, the body of Sin was God’s people as they were identified with and defined by the Sin-reviving, Sin-increasing, Death-producing world of the Law.

When Paul said that believers were no longer walking according to “the flesh” (Rom. 8:1, 4, 9), he was saying that believers were putting to death the deeds of the “body” (Rom. 8:10-11, 13). The parts/members of the body equaled the deeds of “the body,” which equaled the walk of “the flesh.” “Flesh” and “body” in this context, therefore, describe man as he was defined by Sin, not man as he was defined by material body parts.

In Colossians 2:11, Paul said that God had buried believers with Christ, raised them up with Him, and had removed “the body of the flesh.” “The body of the flesh” was not the physical body. It was the Adamic man/self/person that had been dead in transgressions and in the spiritual uncircumcision of his “flesh” (Col. 2:13). That “body” (or as Ridderbos puts it, that “sinful mode of existence”) had been “removed” in Christ and was soon to be changed into the glorious, resurrected “body” of Christ.

As a comparison of Colossians 2:11 and Colossians 3:9 reveals, “the body” of Sin is virtually synonymous with “the old man”:

. . . the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh . . . . (Col. 2:11)

. . . having put off the old man with his practices (Col. 3:9; cf. Eph. 4:22)

Compare also 1 Corinthians 15:42 with Ephesians 4:22:

[The body] is sown in corruption . . . . (1 Cor. 15:42)

. . . the old man being corrupted . . . . (Eph. 4:22)

Compare also the references to “man” and “body” in Romans 7:24:

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of Death?

And in Romans 6:6,

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Rom. 6:6)

And in 1 Corinthians 15:44, 45:

. . . There is a natural body [the old man], and there is a spiritual body [the new Man]. And so it is written, the first [old] man [the natural body] Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [the last Man, the spiritual body] a quickening spirit.

Since the natural body is nearly synonymous with the old man, we should expect that the spiritual body is nearly synonymous with “the new man,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 with Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10 and Romans 13:14:

For this perishable [body] must put on the imperishable [body] . . . . (1 Cor. 15:53-54)

and put on the new man [the spiritual body], which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Eph. 4:24)

and have put on the new man [the spiritual body] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. (Col. 3:10)

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ [the new man, the spiritual body], and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)

As most futurists agree, “the old man” and “the new man” are not expressions that describe man in terms of physicality. “The old man” was man as he was in Adam, alienated from God and dead in Sin. He was “the body of Sin.” The new Man is man as he is reconciled to God in Christ, the lifegiving Spiritual Body.”[83]

The Eschatological Mystery

Elsewhere in Paul’s teaching on God’s “mystery,” he demonstrates how the OT predicted (and the NT revelatory gifts developed) the Jew / Gentile unity in the body of Christ.  Here, Paul is demonstrating how the living will be changed and raised with “all” the dead (including the OT dead) together – into the ONE raised and glorified Body of Christ.

The Trumpet Change and Israel’s Feasts

While no one disputes that Paul’s trumpet change here is the same trumpet catching away in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Partial Preterists object that it is somehow different than Jesus’ trumpet gathering at His Parousia in Matthew 24:27-31.  Of course, this is pure eisegesis on their part and a failure to harmonize Jesus’ eschatology with Paul’s, as previously demonstrated.  While we agree that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, we disagree with Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison and their un-creedal and unorthodox position that Matthew 24-25 is not the “actual” Second Coming event, and we disagree with their error that Matthew 24-25 is not the same Parousia and resurrection event as described for us in 1 Corinthians 15!

Paul is in harmony with Jesus when he says that not everyone in his contemporary audience would die before experiencing Christ’s Second Coming trumpet change/gathering into the kingdom (Mt. 16:27-28; 24:30-34/Lk. 21:27-32).

The living would be “changed” not in their physical biological substance, but rather in their covenantal stance before God.  The Adamic and old covenant body of death was natural, weak, mortal, and subject to being perishable.  It needed to be clothed and changed by the heavenly man.

The trumpet call at Christ’s Parousia here is fulfilling multiple OT concepts.  It is the trumpet blown at the wedding in Jewish culture that I have discussed in Matthew 24-25.

Jesus has already been described as the “first fruits,” so we also have the trumpet being blown to fulfill the first fruits of the harvest / resurrection motif or Succot (the feast of harvest).

The blowing the trumpet here also fulfills the typological ceremonial law or the feast of the new moon festival or the feast of trumpets.[84]  These last three feasts that were in the ceremonial law had already broken into Paul’s “already and not yet” eschaton in Colossians 2-3 and Hebrews 9-12, and they are present here in 1 Corinthians 15 as well.  Again, if the trumpet call and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 hasn’t been fulfilled and the OT Mosaic “the law” (v. 55-56) hasn’t been fulfilled, then the Church remains under “every jot and tittle” of the OT Mosaic Law today (Mt. 5:17-19).  One cannot posit the end and fulfillment of all of the ceremonial law to be fulfilled at the cross or Pentecost, because the ceremonial feast days composed the entire structure and function for Israel’s calendar year.  There were three more to be fulfilled post-Pentecost.  According to Paul in Colossians and the writer to the Hebrews, those ceremonial type-and-shadow ceremonial laws and feasts were “about to be” fulfilled at Christ’s “in a very little while and will not delay” Second Coming (Cols. 2-3; Heb. 9-10:37).

The Perishable to be Clothed with Imperishable – the Mortal with Immortality & 2 Cor. 3-6

Paul is not describing an individual’s biological body as being “perishable” and “mortal,” but rather the Adamic and Mosaic corporate body as “perishable” and “mortal” needing to be “clothed.”  To better understand Paul here, again it is important to let him interpret himself.

In 2 Corinthians 3-6 Paul contrasts the glories of the old covenant and new covenant with two houses/temples.  In 2 Corinthians 4 the resurrection is in view (vss. 13-14) and closes by expressing that this hope is not grounded on things which can be seen (that are physical and temporal), but on things that cannot be seen (that are spiritual and eternal) (v. 18).  The “earthly tent/house/temple” in 5:1 that would be destroyed is the corporate old covenant temple/house/system, and the spiritual “heavenly dwelling/temple/house” is the corporate new covenant system.  Their groaning for this house to be revealed from heaven to clothe them is realized in an AD 70 “soon” and “shortly” time frame in the form of the glorified New Jerusalem (which is the corporate body of the Church) coming down from heaven to earth in Revelation 21-22.  The NIV correctly captures the “already and not yet” of the New Jerusalem already being in the process of coming down (cf. Rev. 3:12).  This already and not yet process is in harmony with the eschatological Pauline process of putting on Christ, being transformed into the image of Christ, dying and rising, looking at God’s face spiritually in a dim glass or mirror, a boy maturing into manhood, and here in 1 Corinthians 15 being sown and rising into a spiritual body.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16 further elaborates that the new covenant temple promised in Ezekiel 37:27 (and thus that of 40-47) is the corporate body of the Church.  So the corporate and covenantal context between 2 Corinthians 3 extends to chapter 6:16.

The “groaning” to be further clothed in 2 Corinthians 5:2ff., which correlates to the clothing resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15, is the “groaning” and AD 70 imminent “about to be revealing” of God’s glory within the Church, which in context results in the full adoption of sons, the liberation of creation (of God’s people) and the “redemption of the body” (Rom. 8:18-23YLT).

As we have seen, Gary DeMar admits that the Greek word mello in Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as “about to be” and was fulfilled in AD 70.  But to admit this is to admit that the events of 18-23 were also fulfilled in AD 70.  Lightfoot correctly observed that the “redemption of the BODY” is the corporate body of Christ as in Ephesians 4:13.  Of course we agree that there was a corporate bodily change that was “about to be” fulfilled according to Paul, and that was a transformation from groaning in, and being under, the Adamic/Mosaic body of death to be liberated and raised into the glorious and redeemed body of Christ at Christ’s coming in AD 70.

Paul’s OT Echo’s – Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25

As there is a movement within the Reformed and Evangelical community that seeks to develop Paul’s Hebraic corporate body origins, which is beginning to see what Full Preterists have seen for the last 30 years, there is also a movement led by Richard Hayes which emphasizes developing the OT context of an OT reference or echo mentioned in the NT.  For example, Hayes writes,

“Thematic Coherence: How well does the alleged echo fit into the line of argument that Paul is developing?  Does the proposed precursor text fit together with the point Paul is making?  Can one see in Paul’s use of the material a coherent ‘reading’ of the source text?  Is his use of the Isaiah texts consonant with his overall argument and/or use made of other texts?”[85]

And,

“Satisfaction: Does the proposed intertextual reading illuminate the surround-ing discourse and make some larger sense of Paul’s argument as a whole?  ‘…A proposed intertextual reading fulfills the test of satisfaction when we find ourselves saying, “Oh, so that is what Paul means here in passage x; and furthermore, if that’s right, then we can begin to understand what he means in passage y and why he uses these certain words in that place.”’”[86]

In other words, one is encouraged to find and develop as many similarities between that OT original context and the context and flow of the NT author in order to understand how he is using it.  Therefore, it is important to examine what kind of bodily death and resurrection are taking place in Hosea 13 and in Isaiah’s little apocalypse (Isaiah 24-28), to help understand Paul’s use of them in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.  This will help us understand the kind of bodily resurrection Paul has in mind.

Isaiah 24-28 – Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse

Due to Israel breaking her old covenant Mosaic law (primarily for persecuting and putting to death their poor brethren – the sin of blood guilt), Israel’s covenantal world undergoes an apocalyptic de-creation and shaking process and she corporately and spiritually dies in the form of being ruled over by Gentile leaders.  Through captivity and bondage, Babylon scattered her outside of her land.  When Israel repents and is gathered back into the land, she undergoes a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection as described in Ezekiel 37.

In other words, Israel is a corporate Adam, and just as when Adam broke Edenic covenantal law and died a spiritual covenantal death, resulting in him being scattered from God’s presence (the garden/temple), so too when Israel broke covenant she underwent a covenantal spiritual death that resulted in her being scattered from God’s presence away from her temple and land.

The time of the eschatological wedding is the time of the resurrection (Isa. 25:6-8) and Jesus identifies the time of the wedding as taking place when the Roman armies would judge and burn Jerusalem, or within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 22:1-14; Mt. 24:27-34—25:1-13).

Paul’s other reference to Isaiah is his trumpet change which takes place at Christ’s Parousia, bringing about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23, 52.  This is the trumpet gathering of Isaiah 27:12-13.  And, again, this is the OT echo and foundation to the trumpet gathering and trumpet catching away of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that would take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation,” which Paul taught (under inspiration) and thus expected his first century “we” audience to experience.

 Hosea

Hosea’s context is clear enough as well.  Due to Israel’s spiritual adultery with Baal and breaking their old covenant law, God gave Israel a certificate of divorcement.  The corporate body of Israel breaking the old covenant law resulted not only in a divorce, but it is also described as Israel dying a covenantal and spiritual death.  This death is described as God sowing Israel as a seed into the Gentile lands throughout the Assyrian Empire.  Once again, we see the same kind of corporate covenantal death that came through Adam and Israel when they broke covenant and became spiritually dead and scattered/separated from God’s presence.

But Israel would once again be betrothed and married to God in her “last days.”  The “last days” are the last days of the old covenant age which ended in AD 70 and is consistent with the “this generation” coming of Christ that results in the eschatological wedding / marriage that takes place in the OT.

Simply put, there is no biological casket resurrection that takes place at the end of world history found in Hosea or Isaiah, which Paul uses as his source for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  The parallels are a spiritual corporate and covenantal resurrection, not an individual biological resurrection.  This is consistent with what we have seen earlier when harmonizing Paul with Paul in Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Victory Over the Mosaic OC “the Law” = Victory Over “the Sin” and “the Death”

Some commentators not only puzzle over the present tense of “the death” in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day, but they also puzzle over his reference to the old covenant Mosaic “the law” thrown in with the timing of victory over “the sin” and “the death.”  These last two references seem to correlate well with the resurrection, but what does the Mosaic old covenant “the law” have to do with it, especially since most Futurists see the old covenant Mosaic law being done away with at the cross or possibly by AD 70?

However, there is no problem for the Full Preterist who correctly sees the resurrection as “about to” take place in Paul’s day, bringing an end to the old covenant’s “this age” at Christ’s “this generation” Parousia (Acts 24:15YLT; Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:27-31, 34).  When it came to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection before his accusers, he claimed he wasn’t teaching anything that couldn’t be found in the law and prophets – and Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25 / Daniel 12 are resurrection passages contained in the old covenant “the law” and prophets which Jesus said would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (cf. Lk. 21:22, 32).  Jesus does not posit the old covenant “heaven and earth” of the law and prophets to be fulfilled at the cross, but rather in His generation (Mt. 5:17-18 / Mt. 24:34-35).  This is when it was all fulfilled and when that heaven and earth system “soon vanished” (Heb. 8:13).

Death would be swallowed up, and victory over its sting would only be accomplished when victory over “the law” was attained.  This was brought to fruition at Christ’s first century generation Parousia that closed and fulfilled the promises contained in the Mosaic old covenant age of “the law.” 

Concluding 1 Corinthians 15

After a careful examination of Paul’s modus tollens logical form of argumenta-tion, it becomes evident that deniers of the resurrection of the dead were not denying Christ’s resurrection or those Christians who had died “in Christ” (the new covenant side of the cross).  They could hardly be considered as Christians or saints for denying Christ’s resurrection. They were in effect denying resurrection to a specific group – the old covenant dead, whom they assumed they had replaced or were not a part of the new covenant body of Christ as they were.

As we have seen, the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 demonstrate that an AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and contemporary first century “we” expectation of the Parousia and resurrection was realized and fulfilled in AD 70.

When we allowed Paul to interpret himself (using Romans 5-8), we came to a Scriptural understanding of “the [corporate] body” that was in the process of concurrently dying and rising (present tense) and was “about to be” redeemed.  The corporate and covenantal context and transformation of the temple/body of 2 Corinthians 3-6 also helped us understand what kind of body the early church was “clothed” with (and continues to be clothed with) at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 and beyond.

The examination of Paul’s OT texts (Isa. 25 & Hos. 13) to support His resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 were found to have nothing to do with a casket resurrection of individual biological corpses.  Rather, the cohesiveness and harmony for using those OT texts for Paul was to develop a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection to close the old covenant age in AD 70 at Christ’s ONE imminent Parousia.

When victory over the Mosaic old covenant “the law” came, then victory and resurrection over “the sin” and “the death” was realized.  Victory over the old covenant “the law” was realized when all of its promises were fulfilled and/or its “heaven and earth” soon passed away in AD 70 (Lk. 21:22-32; Mt. 5:17-18; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37).

“Orthodox” Postmillennial Partial Preterism teaches that there was a progressive, spiritual, corporate, covenantal resurrection for Israel and the Church between AD 30 – AD 70 which resulted in souls being raised out from the realm of the dead into God’s presence at the Parousia of Christ in AD 70 (per Dan. 12:1-7,13 and other texts).  As we have seen, THIS IS THE resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15!  Selah.

Individual Body and Corporate Body

When we read 1 Corinthians 15 or 2 Corinthians 5, it sounds very much like Paul is describing a spiritual individual body as the ONE corporate body of Christ, the Church.  And to a degree, I think that is what he is doing.  When one died prior to AD 70, we learn that his soul was gathered back to God who created it (Eccl. 12:7).  Because Christ had not come, even righteous men were separated from God in Abraham’s bosom or Hades.  In this state, they were not shadows or ghosts, but had individual, spiritual bodies that reflected the images they had here on earth.  God allowed Samuel’s soul to be disturbed and come up to visit Saul in 1 Samuel 28:11-20.  Here we see that Samuel’s soul/spirit had a body that resembled the body and appearance he had while on earth.

We often speak of our aging relatives on their death beds with language such as, “Grandma is in ‘her last days’; get a flight out here quickly!”  Or “come quickly and say your goodbyes, because ‘grandpa is fading away quickly’ or ‘passing away quickly.’”  We realize that there is a transition and transformation that takes place at biological death where the temporal shell of our body goes back to the earth and our spirit or soul (our essence – personality, memories, volition, etc.) receives a different form and can continue in that form forever.  In a similar way, the old covenant man/kingdom was never designed to live on this earth forever.  He was temporal and would at some point enter into his “last days” and “soon vanish,” but at the same time would experience a change or transformation into another form, a spiritual one fit for eternity.  God’s kingdom is now a kingdom of heaven “not of this world” and we are blessed to be in it.  When we die on this side of Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 and the end of the old covenant age, we are blessed to experience this eternal life separated from the distractions of life here on earth.  We will have a spiritual body that is recognizable, and will forever live in His majestic presence.

Before leaving the subject of the resurrection, many Futurists have taken 2 Timothy 2:17-18 out of context in order to try and condemn Full Preterism as “heretical.”  Therefore, before leaving this subject, we should address this crucial passage.

2 Timothy 2:17–18

“…and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Without 2 Timothy 2:17–18, the Futurist doesn’t have a biblical leg to stand on in his condemnation of Full Preterists.

Far from being an anti-preterist passage, 2 Timothy 2:17–18 is actually a condemnation of the implications of Futurism.  Allow me to explain.  First of all, Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers.  They were of a class of deceivers who taught Jewish “myths” and “genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4; Titus 1:4), and were self-appointed “teachers of the Law” (1 Tim. 1:7).  They taught believers to abstain from foods (1 Tim. 4:3), no doubt using the Levitical dietary laws as a basis for their teaching.

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

Likewise, in 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul connects Hymenaeus and Philetus to the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16:5, 26.[87]  Korah had led hundreds of the sons of Israel to challenge Moses’ authority.  As God had destroyed Korah and his followers in the wilderness, so God was “about to judge” (2 Timothy 4:1) and destroy the Judaizers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, and others like them (cf. Heb. 3:16–19).

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

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

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

It is also interesting how Paul’s apologetic against Hymenaeus and Philetus is similar to that of those in Thessalonica who were teaching that the Day of the Lord had “already” happened (2 Thess. 2:3).  Notice Paul says nothing like our opponents try and reason against us, such as,

“How in the world could you believe anyone teaching that the Second Coming and resurrection have already been fulfilled in AD 70?!?  Just look around.  We are still here, so the rapture hasn’t taken place, has it?  Corpses are still in the graveyards, aren’t they?  The planet hasn’t been burned up and everything isn’t perfect yet, is it?  So how in the world could you believe the Second Coming and resurrection has already been fulfilled or is a past event?”

Futurists constantly feel that these “just look around; there’s no physical manifestations of the kingdom” type “arguments” are their first and best appeals at refuting Full Preterism and yet Paul never used them.  Why?  Because Paul was a Full Preterist and understood that the Second Coming and resurrection were spiritual and unseen events and that they were “about to be” fulfilled in his future.  Paul had no beef with those teaching that these were spiritual events. He just refuted the timing of their teaching (AD 70 and the destruction of the temple were still future to Paul and his audience) and their connections with the heresy of the Judaizers seeking to usurp his authority and the Torah-free gospel he preached.

Concluding The Resurrection of the Dead

It has been admitted by Jewish and Christian scholars alike that from within the historical context in which the Bible was written that “resurrection” did not have to mean God would raise all physical bodies at the end of the world history.  They concede that resurrection beliefs included the soul or spirit being raised from the body at death.  Or the soul or spirit being raised from Abraham’s bosom or Hades at the end of the old covenant age to be in God’s presence.  And the concept that the ancient Hebrews thought in terms of corporate word pictures and thus they anticipated a corporate bodily resurrection for Israel to go through in Her last days.  We have explored all of these and seen that Jesus and the NT authors taught there was a spiritual and corporate bodily resurrection or restoration of Israel taking place in Her last days in which the Jewish remnant and Gentile believers were “being raised” from the spiritual death and sin of Adam and being transformed into the glorious new covenant body of Christ – the New Jerusalem or Israel of God.  When Christ came out from Zion to bring this Jew / Gentile body to her “fullness” or mature state – then “all Israel was saved” and post AD 70 She welcomes the Nations to be spiritually “healed” and partake of resurrection or eternal life (Rms. 11:15-27; Rev. 22:2, 17).

I have established that the Full Preterist view of the resurrection of the dead honors:

1).  The imminent time texts pointing to AD 70 which was to bring an “end” to the old covenant “age” (not end world history).

2).  The Jewish belief and tradition that the resurrection of the dead would take place during a 40 years Messianic second generation between their old covenant “this age” and the maturing new covenant “age about to come” (AD 30 – AD 70).

3).  The Christian and Jewish concepts and teachings concerning a spiritual, corporate body, and covenantal resurrection to take place at the end of the old covenant age resulting in souls or spirits being raised from Hades / Abrahams bosom to inherit eternal life and God’s presence.  While honoring the Amillennial position as well in that there was to be only ONE general resurrection of the dead at the end of the age.

Therefore, the Full Preterist position is exegetical and harmonizes the conflicting views on both the timing and nature of the resurrection of the dead.   Let those who have ears to hear, hear and those with eyes to see, see.

[1] Lester L. Grabbe, An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus, (T&T Clark Publishing, 2010), see pages 93-96

[2] Ibid.

[3] Murray J. Harris, FROM GRAVE to GLORY RESURRECTION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT Including a Response to Norman L. Geisler, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 70

[4] (Historical Jewish Sources, https://preteristarchives.org/historical-jewish-sources/?fbclid=IwAR2Osz
DkXKqp8Z-qv0RFId1hjS6_tDT7hoysllAAjdGQpUOTi03OmHx67Nc

[5] I asked Don to send me some good quotes on Jewish and Christian scholarship developing the corporate body concept and this is what he sent me which I’m sure are quotes that he has used in many of his books which I highly recommend.

[6] Kiel and Delitzsch, The Pulpit Commentary, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/job/19-26.htm

[7] Green, Hassertt and Sullivan, House Divided, Ibid., 194-195

[8] James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 2007), 618

[9] Ibid., 618-619

[10] Ibid., 620

[11] Ibid. 621

[12] Ibid., 628

[13] Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538

[14] Ibid., 538 emphasis MJS

[15] Ibid., 538-539 emphasis MJS

[16] Ibid., 539 emphasis MJS

[17] Ibid., 540 emphasis MJS

[18] Kenneth Gentry, The GREATNESS OF THE BREAT COMMISSION, (Tyler, TX:  ICE Publishing, 1990), 142 emphasis MJS

[19] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 178

[20] Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51.

[21] Ibid., 46-47

[22] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68.

[23] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1994), 41, bold and underline emphasis MJS

[24] Ibid., 68

[25] Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Rand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.

[26] James B. Jordan MATTHEW 23-25 A LITERARY, HISTORICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision Inc., – this book is currently at the printer to be published), p. 180.

[27] Ibid.,p. 181

[28] G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131-132.

[29] Ibid., 131

[30] Ibid., 132

[31] Ibid., 132

[32] Ibid., 132

[33] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 179-178

[34] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  1998), 89.

[35] Ibid. 46

[36] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 246 footnote 45.

[37] Don K. Preston, Paul on Trial, PAUL, THE PHARISEES AND RESURRECTION, (Ardmore, OK: JaDon, 2020), 123

[38] Ibid. 125

[39] Ibid. 75

[40] Peter J. Leithart, REVELATION 1-11 INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY (New York, NY:  Bloombury T&T Clark, 2018), pp. 25-26

[41] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2 Systematic Theology (Pennsylvania, PA: THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), 390-391

[42] John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157. Lightfoot, Hammond, and Gill understand the “creation” to be referring to Gentiles. “ . . . Crellius (Comm., Para.) explains it as a reference to regenerate Christians and Le Clerc (Supp., NT) refers it particularly to Gentile Christians.” See also John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke.  I tend to see it as more of believers within old covenant Israel groaning under the law (Rms. 7) awaiting Messianic deliverance, but there is no reason to exclude righteous Gentiles also longing for the seed of the woman to deliver them from Adamic death and sin which the Mosaic Law only magnified.    

[43] Ibid., 158–159, emphases MJS

[44] John Lightfoot, Sermon on “Many Mansions,” cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/
vol06.pdf pp. 322-323

[45] Tom Holland, Contours In Pauline Theology (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 85–110.

[46] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, Ibid., 225

[47] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored work/debate, FOUR VIEWS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1998), 89

[48] Kenneth Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, TX: Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989), 141-142, MJS

[49] Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 98b).

[50] Targum Johnathan on Isaiah 53.

[51] Daniel Mann, Isaiah 53: Rabbis, Skeptics, and the Suffering Messiah, https://www.jewsforjesus
.org.au/isaiah-53

[52] Brown, Ibid., Vol. 2, 226-227.  This is taken from Nachmanides.

[53] Mitchell, Messiah be Joseph, Ibid., 16-17

[54] David C. Mitchell, Jesus The Incarnation of the Word (Newton Mearns, Scotland: CAMPBELL PUBLICATIONS, 2021), 39

[55] Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Revised and Expanded, (Thomas Nelson Publishers), p. 802.  John Owen, John Lightfoot, R.C. Sproul, Doug Wilson, Gary DeMar, Peter Leithart, and many more all understand Isa. 65-66 and 2 Pet. 3 to be the removal of the old covenant world and the establishment of the new covenant world in AD 70 – see the list of references on this page.

[56] See John Gill’s Exposition of the Bile or his online Commentary.

[57] Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 1, Ibid., 77-78

[58] Gill, Ibid., free online:  https://www.biblehub.com/commentaries/malachi/4-5.htm

[59] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[60] Adam Clark, Commentary on the Bible [1831], free online at: biblehub.com

[61] Don K. Preston, D. Div., ELIJAH HAS COME A Solution to Romans 11:25-27 (JaDon Management, 2016), p. 13

[62] Ibid., pp. 33-34

[63] Pastor David Curtis of Bereanbiblechurch.com — see his sermon “All Israel Will Be Saved” 06/03/2012

[64] Ibid.

[65] Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York:  E.P. DUTTON & CO., INC., 1949), 361-362

[66] quotes taken from:  Curtis Crenshaw and Grove Gunn, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, 204

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Wuest, K. S. (1997). The New Testament: An expanded translation (1 Co 15:20–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans

[70] Gordon D. Fee, THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans pub., 1987), 756

[71] Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A commentary on the Greek text (1234). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, emphasis MJS

[72] Holland, Ibid., see 90 – 107 for this discussion

[73] Don K. Preston, 2005, 2712 Mt. Washington Rd. Ardmore, Ok.

[74] Keith A. Mathison, co-authored book, WHEN SHALL THESE THINGS BE?  A REFORMED RESPONSE TO HYPER-PRETERISM, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 2004), 196

[75] Tom Holland, CONTOURS OF PAULINE THEOLOGY A RADICAL NEW SURVEY OF THE INFLUENCE ON PAUL’S BIBLICAL WRITINGS, (Mentor Imprint, Scotland, UK:  2004), 90, emphasis MJS.

[76] Ibid, 91

[77] Ibid., 91

[78] Ibid., 91

[79] Ibid., 95-96

[80] Ibid. 107 emphasis MJS

[81] John Lightfoot, Ibid., Vol. 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157.

[82] Ibid., 158–159, emphases MJS

[83] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, Ibid., 206-210

[84] For a good discussion on the present tense found in 1 Corinthians 15 as well as seeing how this chapter fulfills the last three feast days of Israel, see Don K. Preston, Paul on Trial, PAUL THE PHARISEES AND RESURRECTION (JanDon, 1405 4th Ave. N.W. #109, Ardmore, OK. 73401, 2020), 95f.

[85] Richard Hays, The CONVERSION of the IMAGINATION Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), 38

[86] Ibid., 41

[87] William Hendriksen; Simon J. Kistemaker: New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 268.

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

Introduction

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

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

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

“Scripture alone,”

“Reformed and always reforming,”

Believe in the “priesthood of all believers,” and

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

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

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

Short Version

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Letter

“An Open Letter to Gary DeMar,

Dear Gary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the love of Christ the Lord,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 12:1-7, 13 

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

Kenneth Gentry concedes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 17:31YLT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 24:15YLT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8:18-23YLT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul’s “ALREADY” Resurrection in Romans 6:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does Paul use kairos elsewhere in Romans?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Paul writes elsewhere:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Lightfoot on “creation”:

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

John Lightfoot on vanity, bondage & corruption:

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

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

John Lightfoot on the “Redemption of the Body”:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Thessalonians 1:10:

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

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

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

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

1 Thess. 4:16-17:

Kayser teaches that,

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

And,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16

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

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

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

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

On this passage, Beale and Carson write,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Gathered up” (Greek Harpazo) (v. 17)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…in the clouds…” (v. 17)

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

To “meet” the Lord… (v. 17)

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

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

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

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

“…in the air” (v. 17)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Thessalonians 1–5

Matthew 23–24 / Luke 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 13:39-43:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 11 & Revelation 20 / Daniel 12:

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

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

1). Imminence

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

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

2). The symbolic nature of the thousand years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4). Recapitulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 1:11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

Here is how I would answer the three questions:

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

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

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

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

Gary DeMar begins his response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   Daniel 12:1-12

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 12:1:    “And at that hour…” John 5:25:    “…an hour is coming and now is…”
Daniel 12:2:    “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise   [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to   eternal shame.” John 5:24:    “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life,   and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into   life.”

 The “not yet”

Daniel 12:1:    “And at that hour…” John 5:28:    “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear   His voice,
Daniel 12:2:    “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise   [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and   to eternal shame.” John 5:29:    “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection   [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection   [anatasin] of judgment.”MJS – also related:1 John 2:18:    “Dear children it is the last hour…”Revelation   14:7:  “…the hour of His judgment has come.”

From the very start Gentry is at odds with reformed theologians such as G.K. Beale.  Both believe that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the “not yet” of a physical resurrection at the end of history, but consider the problem in that Beale believes the “not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-2—John 5:28-29—1 John 2:17—Revelation 14:7 are all the same event to be fulfilled at the end of history, while Gentry on the other hand believes the judgment and resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-2—1 John 2:17—Revelation 14:7 were fulfilled in AD 70!  However, both reformed views form full preterism when it comes to John’s judgment and resurrection “hour.”  Beale (nor the classical Reformed amillennial position) does not give the “not yet” judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 TWO end of the age (“not yet”) fulfillments as the progressive partial preterists are now forced to do — in order to try and be consistent with NT imminence while trying to please creedal supporters at the same time.
In commenting on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 Gentry mentions the spiritual and corporate nature of the resurrection for Israel in Ezekiel 37 a lot to support his corporate view of Israel being raised into the new covenant Israel by AD 70.  Well, since there was a spiritual and corporate resurrection of the dead coming out of their graves in Ezekiel 37 and there is a spiritual fulfillment for the dead rising within the immediate context of John 5:24-26, there is no exegetical reason why the new covenant anti-type coming resurrection hour out of graves in John 5:28-29 is not also a corporate and spiritual resurrection.
Since partial preterism is now teaching that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 and are fulfilled together, and that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 happened in AD 70, it necessarily follows that they need to prove without a shadow of doubt that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is a physical/biological resurrection which takes place at the end of history and not the AD 70 one.  And if I’m not mistaken Joel McDurmon has also said that this passage could have had a fulfillment in AD 70 just like there “could” have been one in 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20.  Gentry and partial preterism in general have not brought forth any compelling exegetical evidence that John 5:28-29 refers to a biological resurrection at the end of history.
David Green in response to Strimple in our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, has updated his response a bit on this passage (see pages 178-180):
Strimple Argument #6: John 5:28-29 obviously teaches a physical resurrection of the dead in that it speaks of a time in which “all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (297).
Answer: In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is” when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”  As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection.  The preaching of that message commenced at Pentecost.  “The dead” were physically living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of God” was the gospel.  Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually “dead” were spiritually resurrected.  They lived in that they received eternal life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).
Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were also physically dead.  He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.”  They were not literally in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.
What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.”  As we know from verse 25, that “voice” is the gospel.  The physically dead therefore were going to hear the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel, going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades).  This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living, spiritually dead.  And this inescapably means that both the physically living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God.  One resurrection in two main stages:  First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5). Note the parallels between John 4:21, 23 and John 5:25, 28:

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

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

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

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 12

1 Corinthians 15

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

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

The book of Revelation and Daniel 12:1-4

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

MATTHEW 24-25

REVELATION 20:5-15

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

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

DANIEL   12:1-2

REVELATION   20:5-15

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

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

Conclusion

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



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

[12] . Ibid, 136–137.

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

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

[15] . Mathison, Postmillenialism, 230.

[16] . Ibid, 226.

[17]Dominion, 542.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[29] . Ibid., 141.

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

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

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

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

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

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

Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

1).  Exegesis of Daniel 12:2

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

2).  Exegesis of John 5:28-29

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

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

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

3).  An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

i.e., the habitation of

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

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

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

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

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

Or

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
 
Part 13 Romans 8:11
 
David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #13: Christ’s redeeming experience is the
model and pattern of what lies ahead for us. Romans 8:11 says that
God “will also” (i.e., just as He did for Christ) “give life to your mortal
bodies” (288, 294, 297, 326-330, 333-337). Therefore, the word “soma
(body), when used in reference to the resurrection of the dead, means
“the physical, material aspect of our person.”
 
Answer: Strimple is correct that the physical death, physical burial,
and physical resurrection of Christ was the “pattern,” “parallel” and
“model” of the church’s body-burial, body-death, and body-resurrection
with Him. And Strimple is correct that Paul said in Romans 8:11
that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead “will also” give life
to the “mortal bodies” of believers.
 
Nevertheless, the eschatological church’s Spirit-empowered bodyburial,
body-death, and body-resurrection with Christ were not physical/
biological events. The “redemptive experience” of the eschatological
church was not a literal replay-in-process of what Christ experienced.
What Christ experienced physically (literal death, literal burial, and literal
resurrection), the eschatological church was experiencing spiritually
throughout the eschaton: Burial with Christ, death with Christ,
and resurrection with Christ through the age-changing power of the indwelling
Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:4-6,8; 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:4; Gal. 2:20; 3:27; Eph.
2:5,16; Col. 2:12-13,20; 3:1,3; 2 Tim. 2:11).
 
Most futurists accept the doctrine of a non-physical body-burial
with Christ and a non-physical body-death with Christ through the
Spirit. And they should. For as Paul said, “If Christ is in you, the body
is dead because of sin” (Rom. 8:10). The indwelling, Sin-killing Spirit
of Christ brought about the death of the mortal body of Sin and Death
while believers were still physically alive.
 
Preterists and futurists agree that Paul speaks of non-physical
body-death in Rom. 8:10. Yet when the doctrine of non-physical bodyresurrection
is offered, Strimple claims that such a non-physical usage
of the word “body” is “semantic sleight of hand” and a “contradiction in
terms.” He compares those who employ such a non-physical usage of
the word “body” to Humpty Dumpty arbitrarily changing the definition
of words (335-336).
 
Despite Strimple’s irrational ridicule, the Scriptures teach us that as
Christ was crucified physically, put to death physically, buried physically,
and resurrected from the dead physically, so were His people, through
His indwelling Spirit, buried bodily (yet non-physically) with Him into
His death; and while thus dying bodily (yet non-physically) with Him (to
Sin), His people were concurrently being resurrected bodily (yet nonphysically)
with Him through the same indwelling Spirit (Rom. 8:11) in
anticipation of the end of the old covenant age.
 
We know that the “body” was raised non-physically, because the
body” that was non-physically buried with Christ and non-physically
put to death with Him was, as Paul’s logic demands, to be resurrected
with Christ out of its non-physical burial and non-physical death (which
was death to the Adamic world of Sin, Death, and the Law). Therefore,
the eschatological resurrection of “the body” was necessarily non-physical
(not a biological resurrection).
 
In the second half of this chapter I will discuss the meaning of the
word “body” in eschatological, resurrection-of-the-dead contexts. For
now though, I will close this section with a preliminary argument that
bears directly on the historical basis for a resurrection unto biological
incorruptibility.
 
On page 332 of WSTTB Strimple says that Christ’s individual, postresurrection
body was physically “endowed with new qualities” so that it was physically
imperishable, physically glorious, physically powerful, and physically heavenly.
How does Strimple know this?
 
Strimple acknowledges that although Jesus, after His resurrection,
passed through locked doors, and though God “caused Him to be
seen,” and though Jesus suddenly “disappeared from their sight,” these
occurrences do not prove that Jesus’ post-resurrection body had been
changed. As Strimple agrees, even before Jesus was raised from the
dead, He walked on water, was transfigured, and “walked right through
a mob. Even the apostles themselves had passed through locked doors
and had vanished and reappeared (329).
 
Since none of those events indicate that either Jesus or the apostles
had physically imperishable bodies,[1] how does Strimple know that Jesus
had a physically imperishable body after His resurrection? Strimple
offers one piece of evidence, which is this:
 
Christ’s body would never die again. Therefore it was a physically
“imperishable, glorious, powerful, heavenly” body.
 
But this is hardly biblical proof. Enoch and Elijah were physically
taken up without seeing death. According to Strimple’s evidence,
Enoch and Elijah must have had biologically incorruptible bodies. But
if the hope of the promise is to receive a biologically incorruptible body,
then Enoch and Elijah could not have received such a body, because
Heb. 11:39 tells us that they “received not the promise.” If then, in the
futurist framework, Enoch and Elijah could not have put on physically
incorruptible bodies when they were taken up without seeing physical
death, why assume that Jesus became physically incorruptible when He
was assumed into the divine glory-cloud?
 
The fact is there is no scriptural proof that Christ’s body became biologically
incorruptible. That means that the four gospel narratives offer
no historical foundation and no Scripture-proof for the doctrine of a resurrection
of the dead unto biologically incorruptible bodies. The concept
has to be introduced into the gospel so that the gospel will better fit the
futurist supposition of an eschatological “resurrection of the flesh.”
 
Nevertheless, Strimple is so bold as to state, “ . . . [B]ut of course
the New Testament . . . lays great stress on the wonderful discontinuity
between Christ’s body before his resurrection and his body after it”
(332). Strimple offers no hint as to where in the New Testament this
“great stress” is found. That is because the “great stress” is found only
in the assumption of the futurist framework which has been imposed
upon the gospel narratives.
 



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

House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 12 Job 19:25-27

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 12 Job 19:25-27
David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #12: Job 19:25-27 says that Job himself, with
his own “eyes” and in his own “skin,” would “see God.” This is an allusion
to a physical resurrection of the dead. Job 14:13-17 confirms this
interpretation. In that passage it says that if Job’s vindication were to
come after his death, God would hide him in the grave until the time set
for Job’s “renewal,” and that God would then “long for the creature [His] hands have made” (294-295).
 
Answer:
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand at
the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms
destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall
see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another;
though my reins be consumed within me. (Job 19:25-27)
 
As Strimple admits, the phrase “from my flesh,” or “in my flesh,” in
Job 19:26 can be translated “without my flesh” (i.e., outside of my flesh).
Job could have been saying that he expected to be vindicated at a nonfleshly
resurrection (“without my flesh”) on the Last Day. Some preterists
take this interpretation.
 
But even if we translate the phrase to read, “from my flesh” (i.e.,
from the vantage point of my flesh), this could be taken to mean that Job
expected to see God within his own lifetime, while still in his flesh. And,
as a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened.
 
After Job’s time of tribulation and anguish, his Redeemer at last
arose on the dust and answered Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1).
After God’s “archers”/“troops” (i.e., Job’s accusers) surrounded and “devoured”
Job, and after Job was filled up with the afflictions of his flesh,
he was redeemed from his sufferings. He was vindicated as “a perfect
and upright man” and his enemies were judged (cf. Job 19:29 and 42:7-
9). Thus Job, with his own eyes, and from his flesh, saw God:
 
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye
has seen You. (Job 42:5)
 
Regarding Job 14:13-17:
 
O that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would keep me secret,
until Your wrath be past, that You would appoint me a set
time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All
the days of my appointed time [literally, “warfare”] will I wait,
till my change come [or, “until my exchanging or replacement
come”]. You shall call, and I will answer You. You will have a
desire to the work of Your hands. (Job 14:13-15)
 
If Job was prophesying concerning the resurrection of the dead in
this passage, then we must say that Job was triumphing in the idea that
his wretched and miserable condition (his “warfare”) would continue
for hundreds or even thousands of additional years while in Sheol (Job
14:14), and that only at the end of human history would God’s “wrath
(Job 14:13) against him pass, and that, only then, would Job be relieved
from his warfare as a battle-wearied soldier is replaced by another
(“changed”) (cf. Job 10:17; 14:14-15).
 
According to the logical implications of Strimple’s interpretation of
the above scripture, Job remains hidden in Sheol to this very day and
God remains angry with him to this very day. At the same time, according
to the anti-premillennial Strimple, New Testament saints who have
died are in the face-to-face presence of Christ Himself and are reigning
with Him today. Yet Strimple tells us that we cannot establish a contrast
between the afterlife of Old Testament saints, such as Job, and that of
New Testament saints (293).
 
Either God remained/remains angry with Job for hundreds or thousands
of years after Job’s death, or Job was not speaking of a vindication
at the resurrection of the dead. As the context leads us to believe, what
Job desired was vindication instead of death. Instead of resigning himself
to dying, stricken of God, Job yearned by faith for vindication and
redemption in his own lifetime. He hoped that God would not crush
him as an enemy, but would instead relent and restore him to Himself
(Job 14:14b, 15). As we know, Job’s hope was not deferred, as per futurism
(Prov. 13:12). Instead, it was fulfilled and Job was delivered and
vindicated in his own lifetime. “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job
more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).

House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 11 Can Souls Be Raised?

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 11 Can Souls Be Raised?   
 
David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #11: We know that the resurrection of the
dead will be physical because there is no such thing as a non-physical
resurrection of a physically dead person (296-297, 299-300, 326).
 
Answer: The short answer to this argument is that the Bible does
not teach that there is no such thing as a non-physical resurrection of
a physically dead person. Regeneration is a non-physical resurrection,
and nowhere does the Bible exclude the old covenant dead from that
resurrection. Jesus in fact referred to the resurrection of the dead as
the regeneration” or rebirth (Matt. 19:28), and the Scriptures elsewhere
imply that the physically dead saints were “born” out of Death and Hades.
(Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5; see answer to Strimple Argument
#6 above.)
 
Now the long answer: This answer is lengthy because Strimple’s argument
above opens up a futurist “can of worms.” I ask the reader to bear
with me as I navigate through a tangled web of futurist reasoning.
 
Strimple agrees with preterists that “resurrection” (the word and
the concept) can be used as imagery and metaphor, such as when Israel
was promised a “resurrection” to its land in Ezekiel 37:1-4. But, says
Strimple on page 326 (quoting Raymond E. Brown), when it comes to
physically dead people, there is “no other kind of resurrection” than a
physical resurrection. On page 296, Strimple quotes Murray Harris as
saying, “No one could be said to be resurrected while his corpse lay
in a tomb.” And on page 297, Strimple says that the use of the modifier
“bodily” in the term “bodily resurrection” is redundant, because a
physically dead person can only be raised physically/bodily.
 
Additionally, on pages 299 and 300, Strimple argues that the Greek
word for “resurrection” (“anastasis,” literally, “standing up” or “standing
again”), when used in reference to physically dead people, always
meant to first-century Jews and Greeks alike, the resurrection of the
physical aspect of man in contrast to the soul. Strimple supports this
claim by quoting Tertullian, who said that anastasis cannot refer to
the soul because only the physical part of man can fall down, lie down,
sleep, and “stand up.”
 
Now that we have established Strimple’s teaching on the anastasis/
resurrection of physically dead people in WSTTB let us confer with
Strimple’s refutation of premillennialism in the book, Three Views on
the Millennium and Beyond (TVMB). In that book, Strimple actually
teaches that anastasis (“standing up,” resurrection) in Revelation 20:4
refers to a non-physical soul-resurrection of physically dead people.
He defines the “resurrection” in that Scripture as the ushering in of the
disembodied (non-physical) “soul” of a believer upon biological death
into the presence of Christ to reign with Him. Strimple even goes so
far in that book as to say that physical death for the believer today is “in
truth a [non-bodily] resurrection into the very presence of the Savior
in heaven” (Emphasis added) (TVMB, 125-127, 261-262, 276).
 
If this were not confusing enough, on pages 319–320 and 337
of WSTTB Strimple says (quoting John Murray and Murdoch Dahl)
that dead believers today—even though they have been resurrected
“into the very presence of the Savior in heaven”—are actually experiencing
punishment and “condemnation” under the curse of “sin,”
“death,” and “corruption.” He says that our departed loved ones are
actually in a state of soul-and-body death (“psycho-physical death,”
as Strimple calls it). He says they are actually in a “dreadful” state
(319). Quoting Rudolf Bultmann, he teaches that they are even in
a state of “horror,” and that Jesus Himself was in the same horrific
state before He was raised from the dead (320).[1]
 
Finally, Strimple adds that our departed brothers and sisters who
are with Christ today are non-human, i.e., non-man. They are no longer
of the same human nature as Christ, and will remain sub-humans until
they are resurrected at the end of human history. (More on this below)
So we see that when Strimple is refuting premillennialists, he portrays
the Bible as teaching a present-day, non-physical resurrection of
physically dead believers into the very presence of the Savior in heaven
where they are reigning with Him. But when Strimple is refuting preterists,
he portrays the Bible as teaching strictly and only a physical resurrection
of physically dead saints, and he says that disembodied saints
today are in a state of punishment where they are longing for the day
when they will no longer be sin-cursed, condemned, sub-human, and in
a dreadful state of horror.[2]
 
In 1993, in a paper he presented in Mt. Dora, Florida, Strimple suggested
that physically dead persons cannot experience a non-physical
resurrection. Then in 1999, in TVMB, Strimple taught that physically
dead persons do experience a non-physical resurrection. Then in 2004,
in WSTTB, Strimple reverted to teaching that physically dead persons
cannot experience a non-physical resurrection. It seems that some of
Strimple’s central theological convictions come and go roughly every
six years, depending on who he is refuting.
 
The incredible tension between Strimple’s positions here is not “paradox.”
It is not an expression of “already but not yet.” Strimple’s views
are none other than the consummate example of radical contradiction.
Throughout his chapter Strimple makes much of the fact that preterists
disagree with other preterists. Yet as we have seen in this book, futurists
such as Keith Mathison and Robert Strimple not only disagree with
other futurists, they disagree with their own faith-convictions.
In view of the fact that some of the authors of WSTTB have made
their own interpretations of Scripture a proverbial “nose of wax” that
can be reshaped for the sake of expedience (304), we can begin to see
why it is appropriate that their book was called a “reformed” response.
Nevertheless, Strimple deems himself a worthy judge to call into question
the doctrinal “credibility” of preterists (300, 335-336).
 
To be fair, Strimple and Mathison are not the only ones guilty of wild
self-contradiction. The guilt belongs to the futurist camp as a whole. At
funeral services, departed believers are said to be in the highest Heaven
beholding the face of the Lord. But in seminary classrooms, departed
believers are said to be in Hades waiting for the Last Day at the end of
human history, when Hades will be cast into the Lake of Fire and believers
will finally be able to behold the face of the Lord (Rev. 22:4).
 
As far as we know, a human soul cannot be in two different places,
or in two contradictory states of being, at the same time. So where do
the dead in Christ today reside? Is it in Hades or in the highest Heaven?
 
Strimple is an amillennialist. Although the anti-premillennial
Strimple (who says that Revelation 20 teaches a spiritual resurrection
of physically dead people) roundly contradicts the anti-preterist
Strimple (who says that physically dead people cannot be spiritually
resurrected), most of Strimple’s amillennialist brethren disagree with
both Strimples. They define “anastasis” in Revelation 20:4 as regeneration;
that is, not a soul-resurrection at physical death, but a here-and now
spiritual birth through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
 
Paul agrees with amillennialists that Holy Spirit rebirth, received at
the moment of faith in Christ’s sin-atoning blood, was “the first resurrection
with Christ:
 
. . . hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ.
(Eph. 2:5)
 
. . . you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of
God. . . . (Col. 2:12)
 
And you . . . hath he quickened [made alive] together with him,
having forgiven you all trespasses. (Col. 2:13)
 
If ye then be risen with Christ . . . . (Col. 3:1)
 
But ye are come unto . . . the . . . church of the firstborn. . . .
(Heb. 12:22-23)
 
And because Holy Spirit regeneration was the first resurrection
with Christ” (Eph. 2:5; Rev. 20:4-6), it irresistibly follows that Christ
was the beginning and “First Fruit” of that spiritual resurrection (334).
 
Strimple rightly concedes on page 334 of WSTTB that the resurrection
of Christ was “the beginning” of the resurrection of the dead.
Apparently though, according to Strimple, Christ’s resurrection was
“the beginning” of a harvest that was interrupted as soon as it began
and which will not be restarted until thousands of years after its beginning,
even though the “first fruits” (beginning) invariably signals
not merely the nearness but the commencement of the harvest.
 
Though Christ our Forerunner was eternally begotten of God and
eternally God’s Son, He was the first to be “born” or “begotten” of God
when He was raised from the dead and given all authority to reign as
High Priest unto God (Acts 13:33; Heb. 5:5). He was, for our sakes,
born” out of Adamic Death (the condemnation and alienation from
God He endured on the Cross) and Hades into the Presence of the Father.
For this reason, the Son is called:
 
The “firstborn” among many brethren (Rom. 8:29)
 
The “firstborn” of every creature (Col. 1:15)
 
The “firstborn” from the dead (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5)
 
Thus, the rebirth of the Hadean (Old Testament) saints in Christ
with the body-of-Christ church in AD 70 was the regeneration of “all
things,” i.e., of the universal body of the saints:
 
Your dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they
arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for your dew is as
the dew of herbs, and the earth shall give birth to the dead. (Isa.
26:19)
 
. . . in the Regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the
throne of his glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging
the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt. 19:28)
 
Before we move on to Strimple’s next argument, let us briefly
examine Strimple’s teaching that a man without his physical body is no
longer a man:
 
Strimple teaches the non-humanity of the dead on page 337
(through a reference to Rudolf Bultmann and through a correction of
Robert Gundry). According to Strimple, one of the reasons that Paul
defended the resurrection of the body is because a departed believer is
actually a non-human until he or she is physically resurrected.
 
R. C. Sproul Jr. makes the same mistake in his Foreword to
WSTTB where he implies that his daughter will be an incomplete
“ethereal creature” between the time of her death and the time of
Christ’s Second Coming —a span of time that according to Sproul
Jr.’s view could theoretically last a million years or more. It should go
without saying that it is an unbiblical thing to believe that our loved
ones in Christ will suffer “the ravages of . . . sin” (as R. C. Sproul Jr.
puts it) potentially for aeons after the time of their death (ix). But this
is the sad, logical necessity of futurism. If our departed loved ones already
have perfect and complete sinless blessedness today before the
face of God, then there is no scriptural justification for a yet-future
resurrection of the dead.
 
In contrast to Rudolf Bultmann and Strimple, the Bible nowhere
suggests, implies, or otherwise hints that those who die become nonhumans
until they are resurrected. The resurrection of the dead is never
characterized in Scripture as the restoration of former humans back to
their lost humanity. Jesus made reference to a man in Hades (Lk. 16:22-
23), and Paul spoke of the possibility that a “man” was caught up “out
of the body” (2 Cor. 12:2). (He would not cease to be a man outside of
his body.) In both of these instances, the “man” was the non-physical
spirit/soul of the man. Additionally, if we are to say that a departed saint
is a sub-human because he is without his physical body, then we must
also say that Jesus Himself was a sub-human for the three days and three
nights that elapsed between His death and resurrection, because He did
not have his physical body at that time. We could also say, by the same
line of reasoning, that unborn babies and people with missing limbs are
not 100% humans because they also are not “complete.”
 
Contrary to the ghastly horrors of logically consistent futurism, the
departed spirit of the believer is fully human. Whether living in the
flesh or living in the heavens after physical death, the believer today is
complete in Christ. The departed believer in the new covenant world
today is not a homeless, wraithlike phantom, like an exorcized demon.
He is not a “shade” (295). He is not a quivering, shapeless “mist” like
some kind of escaped gas.
 
In stark contrast to such wildly extra-scriptural, futurist notions,
the Bible teaches us that the saints in heaven today are “like the angels
(Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25; Heb. 1:7; 12:22-23). And they are not “naked,”
but they are “clothed” with the everlasting righteousness of Christ, the
new Man (Rev. 6:9-11; 14:13; 15:6; 19:8, 14).



[1] Yet, oddly enough, Strimple dismisses “tales of the shadowy world of
Hades and of Christ’s ‘harrowing of hell’ after his death” (293).
[2] It is noteworthy that Jesus did not say to the thief on the cross, “Today
you will be with me in a paradise of condemnation, sin, death, corruption,
punishment, curse, dread, and sub-human horror” as the anti-preterist
Strimple would have it.
 

House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 6 John 5:28-29

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
 
Part 6 John 5:28-29
 
David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #6: John 5:28-29 obviously teaches a physical
resurrection of the dead in that it speaks of a time in which “all who are
in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good
to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection
of judgment” (297).
 
Answer: In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look
three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is
when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear
shall live.” As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was
referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection. The preaching
of that message commenced at Pentecost. “The dead” were physically
living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of
God” was the gospel. Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually
dead” were spiritually resurrected. They lived in that they received eternal
life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).
 
Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection
to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were
also physically dead. He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called
the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another
figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.” They were not literally
in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.
 
What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living
in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live
by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.” As we know from verse 25, that
voice” is the gospel. The physically dead therefore were going to hear
the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel,
going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades).
This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living,
spiritually dead. And this inescapably means that both the physically
living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected
by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God. One resurrection in
two main stages: First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament
dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5).
 
After hearing the gospel, the dead were raised out of their Adamic
graves (Hades) in the end of the age. And those among them who believed
the gospel received eternal life in the kingdom of God. But those
who hated the gospel (those who had done evil) were raised out of Hades
only to stand before God and to enter into “eternal punishment” /
the second death” (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:14).

House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 5 Daniel 12:1-3

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 5 Daniel 12:1-3
 
David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article)may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #5: Daniel 12:1-3 says that “many of those who
sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to
shame and everlasting contempt.” This is obviously referring to a physical
resurrection of the dead. Additionally, God tells us that this prophecy
is to be fulfilled in “the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4), which is the end
of human history (295).
 
Answer: Daniel’s prediction of the resurrection of the dead begins
with these words: “And at that time . . . ” “That time” refers back to the
end of chapter 11. Philip Mauro in his book, The Seventy Weeks and
the Great Tribulation, argues convincingly that Daniel 11 ends with a
prophecy of Herod the Great.[1]
 
Herod, the first enemy of the incarnate Christ, died very shortly
after Christ was born. It was “at that time” that Christ (“Michael,” “the
Chief Messenger”) stood up for the saints. It was at that time that Christ
came into the world for His people and took on the body of sacrifice
that the Father had prepared for Him (Dan. 12:1; Heb. 10:5-7; Ps. 40:6;
cf. Rev. 12:7).
 
It was the “stand” for the elect that Christ made in His Incarnation
that led to the “war in heaven” (Matt. 11:12; Rev. 12:7), which in turn
led to fleshly Israel being overtaken in the death-throes of the Great
Tribulation (Dan. 12:1). Jesus promised that that time of distress was
going to take place within His own generation, and that it would be consummated
in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary (Dan. 9:26;
12:1; Matt. 24:1-2, 21, 34). That event took place in August-September
of AD 70.
 
According to the angel who spoke to Daniel, it was at that time that
the power of the holy people would be shattered (Dan. 12:7), that the
church would be delivered (Dan. 12:1), that the resurrection of the dead
would take place, and that the righteous would inherit the kingdom
(Dan. 12:2). Jesus, in harmony with Daniel, promised that the kingdom
would be taken from the wicked and given to the righteous in the lifetime
of the chief priests and Pharisees (Mat. 21:43-45). Therefore, “the
time of the end” (not “the end of time,” as it is sometimes mistranslated)
in Daniel 12:4, 9 was not the end of human history; it was the end of
redemptive history in Christ’s generation.
 
It was in AD 70, therefore, that many who slept in “the earth’s dust
awoke. To “sleep in dust” is a figure of speech. The dead were not literally
sleeping, nor were they literally in the dust. They were “in dust
only insofar as, in their death, they had not ascended into God’s presence
in Christ. In terms of the righteousness and life of God, they were
earth-bound. From a literal standpoint, they were in Sheol/Hades (the
abode of the Adamic dead), and it was from out of Sheol that they were
raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2).
Futurist James Jordan writes regarding Daniel 12:13:
 
What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom,
he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on
a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that
came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.[2]
 
Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used
in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in
Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred
to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be
made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only
a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the
many” in Daniel 12:2 referred whole company of all the dead
from Adam to the Last Day.



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

House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 2 Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3

House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

 
Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 2 Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3
 
David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #2: According to Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3,
when the resurrection of the dead takes place, the heavens and the earth
—the whole physical creation—will be physically transformed and
physically renewed. Therefore the resurrection of the dead will also be
physical and will involve a physical transformation/renewal (321-326).
 
Answer: When Paul and Peter wrote their epistles:
 
1. God was “ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Pet. 4:5).
2. It was “time for the judgment to begin” (1 Pet. 4:17).
3. Believers were living in “the last days” (2 Tim. 3:1; 2 Pet. 3:3).
4. Believers were living in “the last times” (1 Pet. 1:20).
5. Believers were “hastening” the coming of the day of God, when
the Morning Star would arise in their hearts (2 Pet. 1:19-20;
3:3, 5, 11-12).
6. The glory and salvation of Israel was “about to be
revealed”/“ready to be revealed” (Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 1:5; 5:1).
7. The night was “almost gone” (Rom. 13:12).
8. The day of salvation was “at hand” (Rom. 13:12).
9. God was “soon” to crush the ancient enemy, Satan, under the
feet of the first-century church (Rom. 16:20), in fulfillment of
Genesis 3:15.
10. “The end of all things” was “at hand” (1 Pet. 4:7).
 
If we are to let the words of Scripture say what they say in their
context, we must admit that the biblical time of eschatological crisis is
now history. The apostles Paul and Peter, through the inspiration of the
Holy Spirit, fully expected the heavens and the earth (the world) to burn
and dissolve in their own generation (2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12). Therefore, we
are to rest in faith that this event, according to God’s faithful and sure
prophetic word, was fulfilled in the apostolic generation.
 
Futurist objections notwithstanding, it requires no stretch of the
imagination to believe God’s word in this regard. We know that when
Peter spoke of the “heavens” and the “earth,” he did not mean the literal
sky and the planet. Peter believed that the heavens and the earth of
Noah’s day were destroyed (2 Pet. 3:5-6). Peter certainly did not think
that the literal stars (“the heavens”) were destroyed in Noah’s flood.
 
When Peter spoke of the end of the world (“the end of all things”), he
was speaking of the world-order in which he lived. He was speaking of
the pre-redemption world that was speedily coming to a consummation
through the power of the recently slain Lamb of God. Peter was not
writing in scientific terms concerning hydrogen and oxygen melting.
He was writing in the fervent, poetic language of the prophets concerning
the impending end of the old covenant age and the resulting liberation
of “the creature” / “all Israel” (all the saints, living and dead) from
the slavery and futility of the spiritual corruption of Sin.
 
Peter’s prophecy in 2 Peter 3 was a reiteration of Isaiah 24. In that
chapter, Isaiah spoke of the time when the sun and the moon (the heavens)
would be confounded and ashamed (Isa. 24:23) and when the earth
would be burned, broken down, dissolved, and would fade away (Isa.
24:4, 6, 19-20). Isaiah was speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem.
 
The heavens and the earth” referred to the pre-Messianic, dead-in-
Sin world of God’s people. That old creation or cosmos was dissolved,
and it vanished shortly after Peter wrote his epistles, in AD 70. There is
no biblical rationale for appending a “resurrection of the flesh at the end
of human history” to the teachings of the apostles.
 
One final note: The Bible says that after the Parousia, after the fulfillment
of all prophecy, in the new heavens and the new earth, there will
be cursed nations that will, year by year, refuse to worship God (Zech.
14:16-19). After the fulfillment of all prophecy, there will be those who
attack God’s people, though ultimately to no avail (Isa. 54:15-17). After
the fulfillment of all prophecy, there will be people loving and practicing
lies outside the city of God in the new heavens and new earth (Rev.
22:14-15).
 
Strimple says that this biblical doctrine is “incredible” and that it
does not “satisfy” him (323). It is the task of futurists to believe and to
be satisfied with what God’s word teaches concerning the eternal, Messianic
world in which we live today.