My Review/Paper on the Oct. 12, 2012 Criswell Bible College Conference on the Millennium
The “Already” and Imminent AD 70 “Not Yet” of the Resurrection in Revelation 20
By: Michael J. Sullivan
I had the privilege of attending Criswell College’s 2012 conference on the Millennium in which the following speakers were present to present their views on the millennium: Don Preston (Full Preterism), G.K. Beale (Amillenialsm), Kenneth Gentry (Postmillennial Partial Preterism), Craig Blaising (Pre-trib. Premillennialist), Craig Blomberg (Post-trib. Premillennialst) and H. Wayne House (Pre-trib. Premillennialist). It was nice to have a Full Preterist present at the conference to help solve problems within futurism that have been gridlocked now for some two thousand years.
Both the Amillennial and Postmillennial views believe that Premillennialism isolates Revelation 20 from the rest of the NT’s “already and not yet” development of eschatology. Gentry describes this correctly as “the proverbial dog that was the tail.” Unfortunately for the Amillennial and Postmillennial views, they cannot clearly agree on which crucial OT and NT texts describe the “already and not yet” period. And all three eschatological systems error in understanding that the NT’s “not yet” of the parousia, judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the New Creation was imminent in the first century and fulfilled by AD 70 – the “time of the end” and not the end of time.
May I humbly suggest that if all of the speakers and students at the conference could agree on the following clear and common sense propositions we can make history and bring healing to the Church concerning this controversial issue of the millennium:
1) The thousand years is not a literal period of time – honoring the symbolic nature and apocalyptic nature of the book (Reformed and Full Preterist view). It is not necessarily a description of a very long time (Beale & Full Preterism).
2) The thousand years millennial period is a time in which Israel according the flesh is present (a combination of the Premillennial views presented and the Full Preterist view – also uniting some observations on Romans 11 from Blaising and Gentry).
3) The imminent time texts of the book describe things that have happened in the past, present (in John’s day) and were “about to” be fulfilled in the future (this including Rev. 20, cf. Rev. 1:19 YLT). The judgment of the Great Harlot City/Babylon is OC Jerusalem (combination of Postmillennial Partial Preterist and Full Preterist).
4) Revelation 1-19, 21-22 were fulfilled “shortly” and point to AD 70, but Revelation 20 recapitulates the same judgment and inheritance scenes in chatpers 1-19, 21-22 (Amillennial, Postmillennial Partial Preterist and Full Preterist).
I believe the above are common sense and exegetical positions to take which brings healing to the division of this debate over the last 1900 years or so.
As far as giving you a road map to my approach here, I will use my public question/challenge to Kenneth Gentry at the conference as a guideline for the body of this review or exegesis of the “already—rising/transforming—not yet” resurrection throughout the NT. My question was simple to Mr. Gentry and one that I have been asking him for a while now on my web sites – “Now that you have conceded that the resurrection of Daniel 12:1-2 took place in AD 70, would you now please address the NT texts which cite and allude to it (ex. Matthew 13:39-43; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15 and Revelation 20:5-15). Since the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is the background to other resurrection texts in the NT such as Romans 13:11-12; 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonias 4, I have included them in the body of this review/paper as well. And since G.K. Beale has done a good job of developing how the resurrection or “time of the end” is reiterated as “the end of the age” or “the end/telos” within the NT, I would like to harmonize these two views and demonstrate that the NT’s “not yet” and end of the millennium finds its fulfillment by AD 70. Because I have co-authored a book/debate in which my two opponents were also a Postmillennial Partial Preterist (Keith Mathison) and an Amillennialist (Simon Kistemaker), whom co-authored a response seeking to refute Full Preterism, I have included them in this critique as well. Since the judgment and resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:1-4 and Revelation 20 is the “sticking point” for futurists against Full Preterism I am going to use Gentry’s admission that Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled in AD 70 as a spring board to prove that the NT’s teaching concerning the judgment and resurrection of the dead was fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 – not at the end of time. If I can do this along with provide internal and broader NT exegetical evidence that the judgment and resurrection of Revelation 20 would be fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70, then I have accomplished my objective.
Daniel 12:1-2 (OG) LXX along Side John 5:24-29
In the past I have seen the significance and influence of the Old Greek (OG) Septuagint (LXX) in Daniel 7:13 upon the teachings of Christ and the rest of the NT concerning the Son of Man coming “…as the Ancient of Days” (not “up to the Ancient of Days”) being His actual Second Coming (and not the ascension and or a minor AD 70 coming of Jesus) in such passages as Matthew 16:27-28; 24:30-31; 26:64-65; Rev. 1:7, 13-17. So it did not surprise me to read Beale and find that the Jesus and John use or rely heavily upon the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12 to develop the resurrection “hour” of John 5:25-29 or the “last hour” of (1 John 2:18).
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.”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 and Beale have problems. Both believe that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the “not yet” of a physical resurrection at the end of history, but 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 and yet Gentry believes the resurrection or “hour” of Daniel 12:2—1 John 2:17—Revelation 14:7 were fulfilled in AD 70!
For G.K. Beale the resurrection of Daniel 12:1-2 is both a spiritual “already” resurrection and yet the “time of the end” of Daniel’s prophecy points to a physical/fleshly resurrection at the end of time. He identifies these passages with the resurrection and judgment scene found at the end of the millennium in Revelation 20:5-15.
At the Criswell Conference on the Millennium Beale challenged Premillennialist Craig Blaising’s assertion that the Greek word anatasis in Revelation 20 and in the rest of the NT always refers to a resurrection from the literal dirt of the earth – thus Blaisings point is that the literal realm of a literal thousand years millennium on earth is place where this takes place. Similarly, he writes in his debate with Robert Strimple and Kenneth Gentry over the millennium,
“…anastasis is never used in the Bible for the continuing existence of the physically dead.” “… it always refers to the elimination of the condition of physical death through bodily resurrection.”
Beale’s counter in his lecture was to appeal to the spiritual (OG) LXX “already” resurrection in Daniel 12:2/John 5:24-25 regarding anastasis but at the same time having to concede that the “not yet” leads to a physical resurrection of the body. Therefore, Beale’s argument was only partially successful when it came to the resurrection. He did point out however that “thrones” are used 46 times in the book of Revelation and not one reference is on the earth. But why not be consistent and point out that the resurrection in these passages do not mention a resurrection of the flesh at the end of time?!? Jesus’ mentioning of the “graves” in John 5:28-29 is an OT echo back to Ezekiel 36-37 where a spiritual/covenantal/corporate resurrection is in view. There is no hard exegetical evidence that the alleged physical “not yet” “hearing” and resurrection in the verses prior to John 5:28-29 are spiritual while the later are literal awaiting 2,000+ years and counting to be fulfilled.
At one time Kenneth Gentry sought to refute the Premillennial view of Blaising’s two resurrections separated by a literal thousand years (righteous before the wicked) by appealing to OT and NT passages which describe one general resurrection of both groups taking place at the same time – at Christ’s return/at the end of the age. Gentry writing that there is no thousand years gap of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 or the rest of the NT once wrote,
“According to Paul Christ’s coming marks “the end” (Gk. telos) [1 Cor. 15:23-24]. At his second coming history is over in that the resurrection occurs at “the end”; there will be no millennial age on the present earth to follow. The resurrection is a general resurrection of both the righteous and unrighteous (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15), which will occur on the “last day…”
And in another book,
“Contrary to dispensationalism and historic premillennialism, there is but one resurrection and one judgment, which occur simultaneously at the end of history, see: Daniel 12:2; Matthew 24:31-32; John 5:28-29; 6:39-40; 11:40; Acts 24:15.”
For now I want the reader to pay attention to the passages above which he once claimed are addressing “one resurrection and judgment” taking place “simultaneously.” But after many years of Full Preterists (including me) challenging Ken that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 takes place in AD 70 when the tribulation takes place or when the power of the holy people takes place (“all these things” Dan. 12:1-7) – Gentry has now changed his position on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 claiming it is not a bodily/fleshly resurrection but a spiritual one which took place in AD 70. This is good on the one had (it is contextually accurate), but now Gentry needs to prove that the “one” resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is now really two (one in AD 70 and another at the end of time). He also needs to prove that Daniel 12:2 is not connected with these texts he once said takes place “simultaneously” with it! If Gentry can have two resurrections or two phases – one in AD 70 and one at the end of time (separated by thousands of years), then what is to stop Blaising and other Premillennialists from having their two resurrections separated by a literal thousand years? Selah.
For a defense that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is not a resurrection of the fleshly physical body — we need to turn to the new position of Kenneth Gentry. In Ken’s writings there are several issues he needs to address concerning the time and nature of the fulfillment of Daniel 12:2 not only in John 5:28-29, but other key NT passages which scholars have connected to Daniel 12.
First, he applies Jesus’ eschatological “not yet” phrase of “…a hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem” in (John 4:21-24) as referring to AD 70. This being the case, the burden of proof now rests upon him to prove Jesus’ eschatological “not yet” “hour is coming” in John 5:25-29 is not the same AD 70 period. And since most (such as Beale) would contend that this “hour” in John 5:28-29 is the same “last hour” of (1 John 2:17-18) and the “hour of His judgment” of (Rev. 14:7) and Gentry believes these later texts were fulfilled in AD 70, Gentry is forced to come up with another “not yet” “hour” that is foreign to John’s theology.
Secondly, since Gentry now has conceded to Full Preterism that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled spiritually, covenantally and corporately in AD 70, then why wasn’t the resurrection of John 5:28-29 fulfilled at the same time? Of Daniel 12:2 Gentry now writes,
“In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation [which he takes as being fulfilled by AD 70] to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life.” 
And in a question I posed to him on this text off of his Facebook page he responded,
“Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel. Thus, it bears similarities with Eze 37 and the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel.” Dan 12 is not dealing with bodily resurrection but national resurrection (as does Eze 37). Dan 12 sees the “resurrection” of Israel in the birth of the Christian Church, which is the New Israel. Thus, it bears similiarities with Eze 37 and the resurrection of the dry bones of Israel.”
This is practically the same view taken by James Jordan in his recent commentary on Daniel. Here are some good excerpts from his commentary,
“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.”
“Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”
“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.
We of course agree that Daniel 12:2-3 is addressing the national or corporate body resurrection of the Church as it was in the process of being raised out from the persecutions and the dying corpse of Old Covenant Israel, but we also apply this resurrection taking place from the Adamic body of the sin, the death, and thus the Old Covenant “the law” by AD 70 in (Romans 5-8:18-23 YLT; 1 Cor. 15).
Thirdly, Gentry and (and Jordan) have yet to explain how Daniel for example (and other OT saints) were raised from Hades or Abraham’s bosom” in AD 70 (cf. Dan. 12:13/Revelation 20) spiritually, but need but yet another resurrection?!? If Jordan applies the resurrection of Daniel in the resurrection of Revelation 20 in AD 70, then this would necessitate that the end of the millennium resurrection took place shortly before AD 70 and was spiritual in nature. And if the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 20 were spiritually fulfilled at “time of the end” (or end of the OC age in AD 70), then there is nothing to stop that the “not yet” resurrection of the “hour” in John 5:28-29 and “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15 were also fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70.
Fourthly, now that Gentry has conceded the exegetical fact that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 takes place in AD 70 (along with the Great Tribulation – “all the things” of Dan. 12:1-7), he has not addressed how Daniel 12:2-3 is developed in the NT’s imminent “not yet” time period. We have made the connections between Daniel 12:1-2 with John 5:28-29 which Gentry has yet to deal with, but there are more.
Matthew 13:39-43/Daniel 12:2-3
Beale unfortunately does not develop the connection with the resurrection at the end of the age in Matthew 13:43 with Daniel 12:2-3 especially with the LXX, but most commentators agree Jesus is referencing Daniel here and that these are the same event linking the resurrection to eternal life and the “righteous” “shining like the stars” of (Dan. 12:2-3) with the gathering of the wheat into the barn as, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Also an accurate parallel would be that in (Dan. 12:4) this is the “time of the end” and Jesus is addressing “the end of this [OC] age” in (Matt. 13:39-40). Gentry knows that Gary DeMar, James Jordan, Peter Leithart and Joel McDurmon have already conceded that the end of “this age” in (Matt. 13:39-40) was the end of the OC age in AD 70. Yet Gentry in the same book where he concedes the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 took place in AD 70, turns around and claims the same resurrection referenced by Jesus in Matthew 13:39-43 refers to the “end of time.” Nothing could be farther from the truth!
Matthew 24:1–31/Daniel 12:1-4
Commentators from a wide range of views have correctly identified the “end of the age” or “the end” of (Matthew 24:2, 14-15) with Daniel’s “time of the end” in (Daniel 12:4). As we will see in our study of 1 Corinthians 15/1 Thessalonians 4, Beale has stated that the trumpet coming of the Lord in Matthew 24:30-31 is the same coming of the Lord as is depicted in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and thus the resurrection is “implied” in Matthew 24:30-31. This is not only an exegetical observation in comparing Matthew 24-25 with 1 Thessalonians 4-5, but it is also an exegetical observation in comparing the eschatological gathering at the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43 with the same eschatological gathering at the end of age in Matthew 24:31. Unfortunately for futurists such as Beale and Gentry, Jesus’ end of “this age” is not the NC Christian age but the OC age, and Jesus posits the eschatological trumpet gathering in His “this generation” (ie. AD 70 – when the armies surround Jerusalem), and not at the end of history.
Gentry in his debate with Thomas Ice over the Great Tribulation, has given conflicting statements as to if he thinks the “end of the age” or “the end” in (Matt. 24:2, 14-15) is referring to the end of the OC age in AD 70 or the end of time.
Acts 24:15YLT/Daniel 12:2-3
Gentry has tried to claim Paul’s resurrection declaration in (Acts 24:15 YLT/WEY) was not imminent or fulfilled by AD 70 referring to BDAG and others whom render mello here as “shall” or “will” and not “about to be” as the YLT and WEY translations render it:
“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.”
Although I do disagree with him on the translation of mello here (and find it arbitrary that he wouldn’t agree with BDAG on the use of mello in Rom. 8:18YLT/WEY as “about to be revealed see discussion below), he does not address other Full Preterist points in their exegesis of this text. In the book of Acts Paul declares that his doctrine on the resurrection was his and Israel’s “one hope” and that he preached no other things than that which could be found in the law and prophets. Therefore, the only place in the OT which teaches a resurrection for both groups is found in Daniel 12:2!
Romans 4—16:20/Daniel 12
1) Romans 4:21-25
Before addressing Romans 8—11—13:11-12 and connecting them with the (OG) LXX and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-2, I want to briefly address Beale’s concept of the “already and not yet notion of justification” in his new book (A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW, pp. 469ff.) in Romans. I agree that there is an aspect to justification that is eschatological and has to be addressed with the “not yet” of Christ’s return, but the book of Romans posits this “not yet” to an AD 70 “about to” time period:
- “And having been fully persuaded that what He hath promised He is able also to do: wherefore also it was reckoned to him to righteousness. And it was not written on his account alone, that it was reckoned to him, but also on ours, to whom it is about to be reckoned — to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead, who was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised up because of our being declared righteous.” (Rom. 4:21-25 YLT).
As Full Preterism solves the gridlock debate over the millennium, it also solves the present day debate over the eschatological “not yet” aspect to justification demonstrating that Christ has vindicated His Church at His parousia in AD 70 and has caused her to inherit the world/home of righteousness predicted in Isa. 65-66/2 Pet. 3/Rev. 21-22.
2) Romans 8:18-23YLT/WEY/AV
Gentry argues that “when used with the aorist infinitive—as in Revelation 1:19—the word’s predominant usage and preferred meaning is: ‘be on the point of, be about to.’ The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in Rev. 3:10. The basic meaning in both Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.” Gentry is correct. The problem, however, is that when the Greek word mello refers to the resurrection and judgment of the living and dead in Acts 17:31; 24:15 and 24:25, it is used with the infinitive. In the case of Acts 24:15 in a recent article on his site Gentry appeals to BDAG’s appeal that when mello is used with the future infinitive, it communicates certainty. Of course there are translations and lexicons that do render mello here as “about to.” Gentry also fails to address in his writings that mello in Romans 8:18 is in the aorist infinitive (of which he said has the “preferred meaning” of “be on the point of, be about to”) and also has two other imminent Greek words within the immediate context – apokaradokia and apekdekomai which further solidifies this translation of mello as “about to be.” And once again, BDAG (Gentry’s source for trying to nullify the imminence of Acts 24:15) places Romans 8:18 as having the rendering “be about to be revealed.”
Contextually, if the glorification was “about to be revealed” “in” the first century Church, then this is likewise the time when the creation would be liberated from its decay and groanings, the full adoption (the process) of sons would be manifested and the “redemption of the body” would come. Beale in his new book seems to see the “already and not yet” aspect to this resurrection/glorification process to Romans 8:18-23 and how all of these events are inseparably connected – but once again fails to see the imminent AD 70 significance of the “not yet” in the texts before him.
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 not with planet Earth—not even poetically. He referenced the “vanity” and “decay” of the creation ( Rom 8:20) to the groaning from the “corruption” of sin found in the hearts and minds of mankind (2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 11:3; 15:33). Lightfoot is on solid ground here; not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity,” “corruption,” and “decay” as ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen molecules, or with squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.
3) Romans 11
Since Beale stated in his lecture at Criswell that the only main differences between he and Blaising was his interpretation of Romans 11 and Revelation 20, and since Romans 11 came up in Blaising’s debate with Gentry over the millennium in their co-authored book THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, it may be appropriate to give a positive and accurate exposition of this text at this point.
There is of course great debate between Amillennialists, Premillennialists and Postmillennialists on the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25-26. Postmillennialists such as Gentry and Mathison argue that “all Israel” being saved refers to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews before Christ comes in our future. Amillennialists understand “all Israel” being saved to refer to the salvation of the church as the new Israel of God.
As for the view that “all Israel” refers to ethnic Jews in our future, we can immediately know that this view is incorrect. With the passing of the old covenant in AD 70, there is no covenantal Israel other than the united Jew-Gentile church. So the covenant promises in Romans 11 cannot refer to the modern nation of Israel or to the modern Jewish race or community. The only “Israel” in the New Testament that was to be cleansed from sin is the church, the body of Israel’s Messiah. This is the “Israel” (“all” of it) that entered into the Holiest of Holies in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8). Let us briefly summarize Paul’s argument in Romans 11.
Even though God’s old covenant people in their last generation were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1-2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in her last generation, the truth was that old covenant Israel was being saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel” —fulfilling His promises to “the fathers”— partly by means of the hardening of its last generation. Here is how:
1. By means of old covenant Israel’s transgression/failure and rejection in her last days, riches and reconciliation (through the gospel) were coming to the gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:18). As Paul said, “They are enemies for your sakes” (Rom. 11:28).
2. The salvation of the gentiles was making last-days Israel “jealous,” so that a remnant was becoming zealous for righteousness and being saved (Rom. 11:2-10, 11, 13, 14).
3. The hardening, or reprobation, of old covenant Israel in her last generation was to continue until the fullness of the gentiles came in, i.e., came into Israel (Rom. 11:25).
4. In this manner, or by this process, all of the saints of historic, old-covenant Israel were going to be saved (resurrected) along with the last-days remnant and the believing gentiles who had been grafted into historic Israel. The consummation of this process took place in the Parousia of Christ in A. D. 70, according to the promises made to the fathers (Rom. 11:26).
This is when Israel died, was resurrected, and made new. This is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last-days Jewish remnant, and the believing gentiles) were consummately united in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was at Christ’s return to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70 that all Israel was saved.
Gentry of course knows that two of his Partial Preterist Postmillennialists share a similar interpretation of Romans 11 (Gary DeMar and James Jordan). So not only is my exegesis of Romans 11 accurate, but it is also “orthodox.”
Romans 13:11-12/Daniel 12:2-3
I find it rather strange that Beale and many commentators and scholars do not see the connection between Romans 13:11-12 with the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2. 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 “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…”|
Does Paul in Romans further demonstrate that the end of the millennium motifs found in Revelation 20 (imminent new creation/resurrection) would be fulfilled “shortly?” We now turn to Paul’s understanding of the imminent destruction of Satan.
4) Romans 16:20
There is no ambiguity here. Gentry seeks to honor the time statement here of Satan being “crushed” “shortly” and thus applies this to AD 70. But the problem is that virtually all commentators apply this to Satan’s final defeat as depicted in Gen. 3:15/Matt. 25:31-46/Rev. 20:10. Since Gentry gives this a multi-phased or typological fulfillment reaching to the end of time, then there is nothing stopping the futurists that he debates from coming to Matthew 24 and the rest of the NT imminent time texts and giving those AD 70 fulfillments the same treatment he gives the crushing of Satan here. Per his hermeneutic here, there can be a future great apostasy, another surrounding of Jerusalem, a rebuilding of another temple to be destroyed etc…
Having agreed with Beale and others that there is an “already” becoming process and “not yet” to the resurrection in Romans 6-8 and have developed it here in Romans 13:11-12, lets now turn to the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 and it’s relationship to the “already” and not yet resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4.
1 Corinthians 15=1 Thessalonians 4/Daniel 12:1-4, 13
I agree with Beale that when Jesus or the Apostle Paul refers to “the end” or “the end of the age” (cf. Matt. 24:2, 14-15; 1 Cor. 1:8; 15:24) that they are going back to the fulfillment of Daniel 12:1-4. However, the “orthodoxy” which comes from Kenneth Gentry’s Partial Preterist Postmillennial colleagues (such as Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon) have identified the eschatological “not yet” or “the end of the age” and “the end” in Matthew 13:39-43; 24:2, 14-15 with the end of the OC age in AD 70 and not the end of time and history. And the majority reformed view would correctly identify Paul’s “the end” and “the parousia” in (1 Corinthians 15:23-24) with that of “the end of the age,” “the end,” and “the parousia” of (Matthew 24:2, 14-15, 27-30). Beale has also identified the parousia and gathering the elect of Matthew 24:27-31 as the resurrection being implied and being the same event as 1 Thess. 4:15-17 in his commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians following Waterman’s research! But now in his new book he wants to follow R.T. France and apply Christ’s coming in Matthew 24:30-31 as fulfilled in AD 70.
Seeing the Full Preterist train coming he calls his conflicting views a “thorny problem” that “deserves much more study” — which begs the question that Full Preterism has not done that study and solved the problem. He thinks he escapes this “thorny problem” by stating that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 25:31ff is “…clearly applied to the very end of the age at Christ’s final coming.” But this isn’t “clear” for reformed Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar or Keith Mathison either in identifying the “end of the age” as the OC age ending in AD 70, or in applying the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 25:31ff. to AD 70 and not “Christ’s final coming.”
No one disagrees that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 are the same event. But if Matthew 24—1 Thessalonians 4—1 Corinthians 15 are connected or seen as the same event fulfilling the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12, this no doubt is more than a “thorny problem” for futurists!
Matthew 24 & 1 Corinthians 15/1 Thessalonians fulfills the resurrection of Daniel 12
In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. Or the property of equality is transitive – for if A = B and B = C, then A = C. Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.
A = (Matt. 24:27-31, 34)
B = (1 Thess. 4:15-17)
C = (1 Cor. 15)
“IF A (Matt. 24:27-43) bears some relation to B (1 Thess. 4:15 – 1 Thess. 5)” or “A=B”:
Christ returns from heaven Matt. 24:30 = 1 Thess. 4:16
With archangelic voice Matt. 24:31 = 1 Thess. 4:16
With God’s trumpet Matt. 24:31 = 1 Thess. 4:16
Believers gathered/caught up with Christ Matt. 24:31 = 1 Thess. 4:17
Believers “meet” Christ in “clouds” Matt. 24:30, 25:6 = 1 Thess. 4:17
Exact time unknown Matt. 24:36 = 1 Thess. 5:1-2
Christ comes like a thief Matt. 24:43 = 1 Thess. 5:2
Unbelievers caught unaware Matt. 24:37-39 = 1 Thess. 5:3
Birth pains Matt. 24:8 = 1 Thess. 5:3
Believers are not deceived Matt. 24:43 = 1 Thess. 5:4-5
Believers told to be watchful Matt. 24:42 = 1 Thess. 5:6
Exhortation against drunkenness Matt. 24:49 = 1 Thess. 5:7
The Day, sons of light, sons of the day Matt. 24:27, 36-38 = 1 Thess. 5:4-8
The same 1st. Cent. audience “you” “we” Matt. 24:2…, 34 = 1 Thess. 4:15-17
AND “…B bears the same relation to C…” or “B=C”:
All agree that B (1 Thess. 4:15-17) bears the same relation to C (1 Cor. 15) or “B=C” and is referring to the second coming and resurrection events:
Those asleep will be raised 1 Thess. 4:13-14 = 1 Cor. 15:12-18
The living will be “caught up” “changed” 1 Thess. 4:15-17 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52
At the sound of a “trumpet” 1 Thess. 4:16 = 1 Cor. 15:52
At Christ’s coming (Greek parousia) 1 Thess. 4:15 = 1 Cor. 15:23
“Encourage” “Stand firm” 1 Thess. 4:18 = 1 Cor. 15:58
Same contemporary audience “we” 1 Thess. 4:15-17 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52
THEN A (Matt. 24:27-31) bears it to C (1 Cor. 15)” or “A=C”:
Christ comes (Greek parousia) Matt. 24:27 = 1 Cor. 15:23
To “gather” or “change” His people Matt. 24:31 = 1 Cor. 15:52
With a “trumpet” Matt. 24:31 = 1 Cor. 15:52
To bring “the end” (Greek telos) Matt. 24:3, 14 = 1 Cor. 15:24
Deliver up & fulfill “kingdom” promises Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Cor. 15:24
The fulfillment of all OT prophecy Luke 21:22 = 1 Cor. 15:54-55
Stones of temple & “the Law” destroyed Matt. 24:1, 15 = 1 Cor. 15:55-56
Same contemporary audience “you” “we” Matt. 24:2…, 34 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52
PREMISE #1: The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 took place in AD 70 (according to Partial Preterists and Biblical Preterists)
PREMISE #2: The parousia/coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the same coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 (according to traditional Amillennialists and Biblical Preterists)
CONCLUSION: The parousia/coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 took place in AD 70.
Preterists unite the two clear premises (1. the imminent time texts = AD 70 & 2. the analogy of Scripture supports only one second coming) of futurists and thus we “…speak more clearly” and consistently in our debate with futurists. The divided corporate Reformed “House” contains the two premises (which we assume are true) and we are simply uniting the two valid premises into one new House. We’re validating the Reformed and Sovereign Grace House by accepting both of it’s competing premises, and then uniting them, further honoring the Reformed and Sovereign Grace House. This has and will continue to appeal to Reformed and Sovereign Grace believers as Biblical preterism spreads throughout their churches. We are making a motion to revise the creeds to make them more “orthodox” (straight) with the “more clear” teaching of Scripture– “Sola Scriptura” and “Semper Reformanda”–selah.
Again, If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.
- If A (Matt. 24:1-31, 34 fulfilled in AD 70) = B (1 Thess. 4:15-17)
- And B (1 Thess. 4:15-17 fulfilled in AD 70) = C (1 Cor. 15).
- Then A (Matt. 24:1-31, 34 fulfilled in AD 70) = C (1 Cor. 15 fulfilled in AD 70).
It is exciting to see (through emails and phone calls) that students of Reformed eschatology are properly learning their ABC’s of biblical prophecy through Exegetical, Full or Consistent Preterism. Selah.
For an exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15 please see our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be? But at this point I want to identify if 1 Corinthians 15 should be seen not only as the “already and not yet” but more properly the “already—becoming—and not yet.”
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 5-900 years old? No. But between AD 30 – AD 70 the administration of the OC 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 rendering 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.”
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) which reads, “As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall bear the image of the heavenly” – However, 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.
Peter states that the imminent AD 70 coming of the Lord involves the salvation of “souls” of which the OT prophets foretold (1 Pet. 1:4-12). Of a spiritual resurrection of “souls” (not fleshly corpses at the end of time), we now turn to our attention to the millennium of Revelation 20.
Revelation 20:5-15/Daniel 12:1-2
Beale correctly points out that the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-2 is the same end of the millennium judgment and resurrection as depicted in Revelation 20:5-15:
“That “the sea” and “death and Hades gave up the dead” so that all were “standing before the throne” refers to the final general resurrection of all people (in line with John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Rev. 20:5a), some of whom will be judged in the “lake of fire” and others whose names are “found written in the book of life” will be rewarded with “life.” The reference to those “written in the book of life” is an allusion to Dan. 12:1-2: “And at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting contempt.” The “book of life” in 20:15 is best understood as an appositional genitive, “the book which is life,” which is clarified earlier in 20:12: “another book was opened, which is of life.” The same basic meaning for “the book of life” occurs in 3:5; 13:8; 17:8, which I take to be resurrection life because all are allusions to Dan. 12:1-2.”
It is only pure eisegesis which would not connect these passages or claim as Gentry has that the imminent time texts throughout the book apply to an AD 70 fulfillment for Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 but somehow Revelation 20 is not affected by them! Who is guilty now of isolating Revelation 20 from the rest of the book (something Gentry accuses the Premillennialist of doing). It is more than arbitrary to follow the recapitulation structure of the judgment scene in chapters 1-19 as being fulfilled in AD 70 and then fail to not tie the same judgment scene of chapter 20 with the preceding chapters.
And now coming back full circle to John 5 we can’t help but see the parallels between John and Daniel’s “one” judgment brought back up by John:
Simon Kistemacker makes the following parallels between John’s teaching on the resurrection in John 5 with that of Rev.20:
|A. First Resurrection||A. First Resurrection|
|I most solemnly assure you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has everlasting life … has passed out of death into life. I most solemnly assure you, the hour is coming — yea, has already arrived! — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.||“… and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded … and such as worshiped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.… This is the first resurrection.|
|… and (he) does not come into condemnation. (For the solemn introductory formula see on 1:51.)||“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: over these the second death has no power.”|
|B. Second Resurrection
|B. Second Resurrection
|Stop being surprised about this, for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out: those who have done good, for the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil, for the resurrection of condemnation.||“And I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it.… And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works: And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.… And if any was not found in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”|
We too make the parallels, but again we see two phases of ONE spiritual resurrection taking place for “the dead” (both righteous and wicked) occurring at the end of the old-covenant age, not two kinds – one spiritual and one physical being taught by Jesus and John. Possibly during Jesus’ ministry the “already” of the resurrection harvest had begun, but with the Holy Spirit being poured out on Pentecost, the “now is” “already” and “inauguration” stage of the new creation and “firstfruits” (Rev.14:4-20) resurrection had most definitely begun. The “second” phase of the harvest/resurrection included the harvest “gathering” of these souls into the kingdom / new creation of God in a “end of this age,” “this generation,” “at hand,” “soon,” “some standing here,” time frame (Mt.13:39-43; 24:30-31, 34 –25; Rev.1:1, 22:12/Mt.16:27-28). Since the resurrection includes the souls of those whom had died prior to A.D. 70, the continuity of a spiritual resurrection of souls remains the same. In farming one does not begin with the firstfruits of grain and then at harvest time bring in something completely different such as bananas. This was a resurrection of “souls” from the time of the firstfruits to the harvest! Jesus being the “firstborn” or “firstfruits” demonstrates that His resurrection included something more than a physical body – rather, He was the first to overcome the spiritual death/curse brought through Adam the very day he sinned. The continuity of the “one judgment and resurrection” of “souls” and overcoming the spiritual death of Adam is the point of the resurrection from Daniel 12:2-3—John 5:24-29—Acts 24:15 to Revelation 20:1-15.
To further demonstrate that the millennium of Revelation 20 is roughly a forty year “this generation” transition period between the Old and New Covenants and that the judgment and resurrection of the dead in this chapter takes place during the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, I will allow the views and exegesis of Mathison, Gentry and Kistemker to once again make our case. I will also use the rest of the NT to testify and solidify our points as to the inspired time frame of fulfillment.
The Partial Preterist position of Mathison and Gentry instructs the church that Revelation 1-19 is the judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70. We of course agree. And yet Kistemaker claims that Revelation 20 recapitulates or uses “progressive parallelism” to describe the same time frame and judgment/salvation scene as shown in chapters 1-19 finding their fulfillment at the end of the age (WSTTB?, 242, 246-247, 254). Of Revelation 20:1-15 G.K. Beale writes,
“20:1–15: The Millennium. The millennium is inaugurated during the church age when God limits Satan’s deceptive powers and when deceased Christians are vindicated through their reign in heaven. It is concluded by a resurgence of Satan’s deceptive assault against the church and the final judgment.
Ch. 20 is a part of the larger literary segment extending from 17:1 to 21:8. The first sections of the literary unit have dealt with the announcement of Babylon’s fall at the conclusion of history (ch. 17), elaboration of that fall, especially the responses drawn forth both from unredeemed and redeemed multitudes (18:1–19:10), and Christ’s judgment of wicked world forces at the end of history (19:11–21).
The precise thematic and temporal relationship of ch. 20 to ch. 19 is hotly debated. The exegesis of ch. 20 in this commentary will argue that 20:1–6 refers to the course of the church age and temporally precedes the narration of final judgment in chs. 17–19 and that 20:7–15 recapitulates the description of final judgment in 19:11–21.”
Therefore, the “organic development” of these two “orthodox” interpretations/positions is that the millennium of Revelation 20 recapitulates the AD 30-70 fulfillment already depicted in chapters 1-19. If men such as Kistemaker, Beale and Strimple would stop spiritualizing the imminent time texts away in the book of Revelation and Mathison and Gentry would submit to the exegetical fact that Revelation 20 is recapitulating the same judgment of the dead and consummation depicted in the previous chapters, then there would be no problem reaching a consensus that the thousands years is a symbolic of a “this generation” time period between Christ first and second appearing’s. Selah.
Another point I would like to bring out is that the eschatological events that take place “after” the thousand years are “over” also fall within the AD 70 time period. I agree with Kistemaker’s criticism of Russell’s view of the millennium,
“Indeed, they [Russell & I would add Partial Preterists] claim that everything in the Apocalypse, with the exception of Revelation 20:5-10, has been fulfilled. But it is puzzling why these six verses are excluded, because they are an integrated part of chapter 20.” (WSTTB?, 246-247, brackets MJS).
If I can further demonstrate the first century fulfillment of these events that take place after the millennium, it will not only buttress the forty year millennial view, but at the same time refute some Partial Preterist’s who view the millennium as still taking place or some Premillennial Partial Preterists whom actually think “a” pariousia or “the” one and only parousia took place in AD 70 but the millennium actually began in (not ending by) AD 70.
We concur with our opponents that John was already in the millennium – “what is now” (Rev. 1:19). Thus the “binding” of Satan here began with the earthly ministry of Jesus. Therefore, Christians were already being raised and reigning on thrones, the saints were already a kingdom of priests (Matt. 12:25-29; Eph. 2:5-7; John 5:24; 1 Pet. 2:5). J. Marcellus Kik makes a good case that Revelation 20:4 is describing the lives of the saints while upon the earth (preferring the ARV translation of the text),
In the King James version the verbs sat, was given, lived, reigned, are in one tense; while the verbs had worshipped, had received, are in another. But in the Greek the same tense is used for all—the aorist. Since they are all in the same tense they must refer to the same time. That is, the time of not worshipping the beast and not receiving his mark is the same time as that of sitting on thrones and living and reigning with Christ.
He translates “psuchai” in verse 4 as, “And I beheld the lives of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus” indicating that they were already reigning and living victorious lives upon the earth through the work of Christ on the cross and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit before they were martyred.
While John is living during the time of the millennium, the inspired time frame for Revelation’s fulfillment demands that he is now standing towards the end or consummation of it–the things which John was told would “shortly” take place “later” (Rev. 1:1, 19). John was told that no part of the vision was to be sealed up, because it was all to be fulfilled shortly and nowhere are we told that the millennium is not a part of that vision. If the millennium was not a part of the vision to be fulfilled shortly, we would expect John to be given instruction to seal at least that portion of the vision since it’s time of fulfillment would be “far off” – as Daniel was instructed. It is the Partial Preterist eisegesis of Mathison and Gentry which separates the imminent fulfillment of the millennium from the rest of the “at hand” prophecy. Although not a Full Preterist, Vern Pothress points out the inconsistency of the Partial Preterist view of Mathison and Gentry as we do,
“But 1:3 and 22:10 are like bookends enclosing the whole prophecy of Revelation. The fulfillment of everything, not just a part, is near.”
The Fulfillment of the Great Commission
The purpose of the binding of Satan is that he can no longer deceive the nations – so that the commandment of the Great Commission could be fulfilled by the end of the age (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:18-20). But the NT teaches us that the Great Commission to all the nations was fulfilled by the end of the Old Covenant age:
|“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world (Greek oikumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14)||“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Greek oikumene)” (Romans 10:18)|
|“And the gospel must first be published among all nations (Greek ethnos)” “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, (Greek ethnos)…” “…I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Mt.28:19-20)||“…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations (Greek ethnos)…” (Romans 16:25-26)|
|“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world(Greek kosmos) and preach the gospel to every creature” “…And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues (Greek glossa) (Mark 16:15, 17)||“…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world(Greek kosmos), as is bringing forth fruit…,” (Colossians 1:5-6).|
|And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Greek kitisis) “ (Mark 16:15)||“…from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature (Greek kitisis) under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister” (Colossians 1:23)|
|“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land (Greek ge)” (Acts 1:8).Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (Greek glossa), as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation (Greek ethnos) under heaven.||“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land (Greek ge), and their words to the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18) Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly” : “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land (Greek ge), and to every nation (Geek ethnos), and kindred (Greek phule) and tongue (Greek glossa), and people, (Greek laos)” (Rev.1:1; Rev.14:6). See also Revelation 10:6-7; 20:3; 22:10-11 in regards to the Great Commission’s success to the “nations” of Israel and the Roman Empire along with imminent time of fulfillment.|
God’s new Israel – the Church would accomplish the salvation of the remnant within a “short” period and “all nations” of “the world” would hear the gospel and bring forth fruit (Rom. 1:8; 9:28; 10:18; 16:25-26; Col. 1:5-6, 23). Per Kistemaker’s reasoning, if the Great Commission to the nations has been fulfilled, then the Church is no longer in the millennium (WSTTB?, 250). We agree. Partial Preterists have now surrendered “the end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-40 and Matthew 24:2 to be the Old Covenant age. Therefore, it is pure eisegesis to then approach Matthew 28;18-20 and then claim the term means the end of history etc…
Beale stated at the conference and in writing that he believes that Satan was bound for the primary purpose of not being able to gather the nations against the City or Church for “the war” (Rev. 20:7-9). It is true that Satan and the Beast has persecuted the Church earlier in the book of Revelation and that the early Jewish Church were within OC Jerusalem when Satan or the Beast comes to make war against Her. But she obeyed Jesus’ warning in the OD and fled when She saw the Roman armies (who were formed out from the many “nations” she had conquered) surrounding Jerusalem. What follows is “the war” in which the sea beast (Rome) turns upon the land beast (OC Jerusalem) between AD 66-70.
The First Resurrection and the Resurrection of the “Rest of the Dead”
Those participating in the “first resurrection” is a subject that has been previously addressed in chapters 7 and 14 – these being the first century Jewish “first fruits” or 144,000 that were the first to believe in Christ and continued enduring through the great tribulation until the end. Therefore, they would partake in the harvest/resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant age. These are those who were coming out of their “graves” through the preaching of the gospel (John 5:24-27) and would soon participate and be joined with the rest of the dead in the consummative resurrection event.
In verse 5 “the rest of the dead” participate in the resurrection “after” the thousand years are over. This refers to the end time “harvest” at “the end of the [Old Covenant] age” encompassing the “all” of (John 5:28-29). This included not only all of the righteous dead pre-AD 70 but also that of unbelievers (Daniel 12:2/Matt. 13:39-43, 49). Therefore, we have the raising of all the dead, the emptying of Hades, the great judgment (along with Satan’s imminent judgment Rom. 16:20) taking place shortly after the millennium (20:10-14). The analogy of Scripture confirms this imminent end to the millennium period by describing the same imminent resurrection of all the dead and the judgment of the world, “…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; (Acts 24:15 YLT WEY). “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;” (Rom. 8:18 YLT, WEY). Again, contextually the glory “about to be” revealed in them was when the “redemption of the body” in v. 23 and becoming sons of God in the New Creation takes place.
Martyr Vindication, Satan’s Imminent Judgment and THE War
“After” the success of the Great Commission and at the end of the thousand year’s period, Satan is released for a “short” or “little while” (Rev. 20:3). In chapter 6 we are told that the martyrs are to wait a “short” or “little while” until the rest of their fellow brethren have been martyred (Rev. 6:10-11). This would be followed with God avenging and judging those who participated in their persecutions – “For the great day of their wrath has come and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:17). In Revelation 12:5-12 we see the same motifs to what we have seen in Revelation 6 and 20 — previous suffering followed by a “short” or “little while” of more to come, and then an imminent judgment upon their enemies. The “great city” or “Babylon” where Jesus was slain and whom God holds responsible for shedding the blood of the prophets and the saints is none other than Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8, 18:20, 24).
The analogy of Scripture confirms this. This “little while” time frame of Satan’s last persecution (through the Jews and Romans) and thus the martyrs having to wait “a little while” longer before justice is wielded out upon their persecutors is consistent with Jesus’ teaching that all of the blood of the martyrs of the prophets and those Jesus would send to Jerusalem would be avenged in a first century “this generation” with her “house/temple” being left “desolate” (Matt. 23:31-38). Pauline eschatology weighs in as well describing the same first century Jewish persecution and the Thessalonians being promised “relief” from God through Him giving their enemies the same kind of “trouble” they were giving them through Christ coming down from heaven in “blazing fire” “punishing” them with “everlasting destruction” along with the Man of Lawlessness (1 Thess. 2:14-16; 2 Thess. 1:5—2:12). Mathison believes this coming of the Lord and “everlasting destruction” and “punishment” of “fire” in (2 Thess. 1-2) was fulfilled in AD 70 paralleling much of this material with Matthew 24 for exegetical evidence. And yet all of the same elements that are present in Revelation 6, 12, 16 and 20 are present in 1 and 2 Thessalonians! The first century persecuted church wouldn’t have to wait much longer because the Man of Lawlessness (Mathison identifying as Nero) was “already” present through the work of Satan himself – awaiting “the rebellion” and then his judgment (2 Thess. 2:3-10). Once again Mathison is creedally selective in making AD 70 fulfillment “parallels” between 1 Thessalonians 2 and 5 and 2 Thessalonians 1-2 with that of Matthew 24 and neglecting those parallels concerning the resurrection of the dead found in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and Matthew 24:30-31. The paralleling of 1 and 2 Thessalonians with Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation, gives us the same time frame for the end of the millennium in Revelation 20:
- The Thessalonians were already in the millennium.
- They were being persecuted.
- They were promised relief in their lifetimes.
- The Lord came to close the millennium by destroying The Beast/Man of Sin whom was already present and active in their day — with everlasting destruction and punishment.
- He came to raise the dead.
There are four main enemies of God and His saints in the book of Revelation and they are introduced in chapter 12 and onward in the order of Satan, the sea beast, the land beast and or false prophet and Babylon. As Revelation progresses their defeat in judgment is pictured in reverse order. These are different scenes of the same end time persecution and judgment of God’s enemies.
Kistemaker understands the timing of the judgment scene and the casting of Satan into the lake of fire in 20:10 as the “presumed place” where the great harlot is burned with fire in 17:16. And he most definitely affirms that this takes place “at the same time” the beast and false prophet are cast into this fiery lake 19:20. Kistemaker affirms that there is only one final war or end time judgment in Revelation and it is consistently referred to in John’s use of the Greek phrase “to gather them for the war” in (Rev. 16:14; 19:19; 20:8) (244-245). Strimple in a debate with Gentry over the millennium makes the same point, “In 16:14 kings are called forth to the battle. In 19:19 the beast and the kings of the earth come forth to the battle. In 20:8 Satan leads his host up to the battle. It seems clear that these three texts describe not three battles but one.” And yet Partial Preterists such as Mathison and Gentry understand “the war” of (Rev. 16:14), the burning of the Harlot in (Rev. 17:6) and the judgment of the false prophet and beast being thrown into lake of fire in (Rev. 19:20) as being fulfilled by AD 70. Once again we can readily see how Full Preterism is the organic development of our opponent’s views and effectively “bridges the gap” between them.
Let me briefly give two more texts regarding the judgment and destruction of Satan which further develops my point. Most reformed commentators correctly understand that the timing of Satan being thrown into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:10 is equivalent to him being “crushed” “shortly” in (Romans 16:20/Genesis 3:15). Partial Preterists such as Gentry inform us that this time statement along with all of the other NT imminent time statements refers to AD 70. And yet the majority of reformed commentators understand these passages to be addressing the “not yet” consummation of biblical eschatology (ie. the final defeat of Satan at the end of the millennium – followed with the Adamic curse of death being destroyed for the Church in the New Creation). Likewise, as stated previously, Mathison along with Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar no longer divide Matthew 24-25 into two comings of Christ with two judgments – separated by thousands or millions of years. This necessitates that the judgment of the dead, with that of Satan and his angels into “everlasting punishment” would take place in Jesus’ “this generation” (Matt. 24:34—25:31-46). Again, most reformed commentators correctly understand Matthew 25:31-46 to be a depiction of the final second coming and the same “not yet” consummation judgment scene as taking place at the end of the millennium in Revelation 20:10. If Mathison and Gentry along with their other futurist colleagues become Full Preterists, then they can truly be said to be in “shoulder to shoulder unity” concerning last things – and not the blatant contradictions we find in their writings.
Earth and Sky Fled
In verse 11 we read, “Earth and sky fled from his presence,..” For Full Preterists and men such as Kistemaker this same de-creation event has already been recapitulated in connection with the Second Coming of Jesus in (Rev. 6:14 and Rev. 16:20) and will re-surface shortly in the next chapter (Rev. 21:1). But for Mathison and Gentry, the de-creation events depicted in (Rev. 6:14; Rev. 16:20 and Rev. 21:21) were “non-literally” fulfilled or are the removal of “Israel’s world” or the Old Covenant world in AD 70 being “parallel” to the AD 70 fulfillments found in Matthew 24:15-31. The question begging to be answered of course is, why can’t Gentry’s comments of an imminent de-creation non-literal fulfillment of Revelation 21:1 be applied to Revelation 20:11?
“The description of the new creation and New Jerusalem bride-city extends from Revelation 21:1 to 22:5. Following immediately upon that, we read: “The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, The God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things which must soon take place’” (22:6 italics added). And for good measure, four verses later John adds: “Then he told me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near’” (22:10, italics added). A delay of several thousand years would override sound exegesis of these clear temporal statements.”
Again, we must ask – How does Revelation 20:1-15 get separated from “the prophecy of this book” of which was said to be fulfilled “soon” and “near”?!? The truth of course once again lies in the middle of the two views – the de-creation of Revelation 6:14; 16:20; 20:11 and 21:1 are all depictions of the same events and were fulfilled “non-literally” and referring to the passing of “Israel’s world” or the Old Covenant world in AD 70 at Christ’s Second Coming.
The Dead Were Judged
In verses 12-15 the dead are judged, Hades gives up the dead and those whose names were not written in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire. For Kistemaker, such passages as Revelation 2:23; 3:5; 6:17; 11:18; 16:14; 20:5, 12-15; 22:10-12; Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 25:31-46 all refer to ONE final judgment at the end of the age. We agree, but it is the end of the Old Covenant age that the NT places this judgment in and not the New Covenant age or end of history. Between Mathison and Gentry (and Gary DeMar), all of the above judgment passages were or could have been fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 except Revelation 20:5-15 allegedly being the exception. And yet all of the rewards (to be presented at the judgment) for the churches in Revelation 1-3 were to be given when Christ was to come soon and correspond to inheriting the New Creation in Revelation 21 – of which Mathison and Gentry claim arrived in AD 70. If the New Creation follows the millennium (and those events that take place soon after the millennium) in Revelation 20:1-15, then the judgment and resurrection of the dead had to have taken place imminently at that time as well. To this we need to turn to the rest of Scripture for confirmation since Gentry has informed us that Revelaiton 20 is not isolated from the rest of the NT.
They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” “…But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:5, 7).
And in the same context Peter in verse 17 uses the definite article to emphasize he is referring to “THE time” of “THE judgment,” not just “a” minor one in AD 70,
“For the time has come for the judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17).
“…because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead” (Acts 17:31 YLT, WEY).
“I solemnly implore you, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is about to judge the living and the dead, and by His Appearing and His Kingship:” (2 Tim. 4:1 WEY, YLT).
Kistemaker once again confirms the judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:12-13 is one Day of Judgment and has already been addressed in the previous chapters “…sixth seal (6:17), the seventh trumpet (11:18), and the sixth bowl (16:14) all refer to the moment when the great Day of Judgment comes. John presents his Apocalypse in a cyclical manner and looks at God’s revelation from different perspectives. “And the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were completed” (20:5a). Here as well as in 20:12–13 the term alludes to all people: some receive rewards and others condemnation.
But in order for Gentry and Mathison to take the time texts literally in the NT and in the book of Revelation, they have to invent two judgments of the dead in order to stay “orthodox” when the analogy of the Scripture truly only affirms one judgment of the dead at the end of the Old Covenant age connected with one Second Coming.
The Thousand Years of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 20
Michael Bennett has made some interesting parallels between 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 20:
“The 1000 years expires before the GWT judgment (Rev 20). The GWT judgment had to occur before “some standing there had died” (Matthew 16:27-28).So what was the thousand years? If we compare Revelation to the writings of Peter we will find that they are about the same event.
1 Peter 1:1 church in asia
Rev 1:4 church in asia
1 Peter 2:9 made a preisthood
Rev 1:6, Rev 20:6 kingdom of priests
1 Peter 4:5 ready to judge living and the dead
Rev 11, and 20 judge the living and the dead
1 Peter 1:20 foundation of the world
Rev 13:8 foundation of the world
1 Peter 4:17 judge family of God
Rev 4 warnings against churches
1 Peter 5:13 Babylon
Rev 14, 16, 17, and 18 Babylon
1 Peter 5:8-10 resist Devil, suffer a little while
Rev 20:3 released for a short time
2 Peter 2:4 angels chains
Rev 20:1-3 chains
2 Peter 3:13 new heaven and new earth
Rev 20:11, Rev 21 heaven and earth flee, New heaven and earth
2 Peter 3:8 day a thousand years thousand years a day
Rev 20:2 thousand years
Books opened AFTER the 1000 years.
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison…11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.
Books opened AT AD70.
…There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered…”It will be for a time, times and half a time…When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
Therefore: 1000 years ENDED at AD 70.
All Revelation is about is things in the PAST, PRESENT and SHORTLY TO COME…Revelation 1
19`Write the things that thou hast seen GOSPELS, and the things that are EPISTLES, and the things that are about to come (MELLOW) after these things; AD 70
1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound HAST SEEN him for a thousand years. 7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison THINGS THAT ARE DURING EPISTLES 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire THINGS ABOUT TO COME and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.
Things thou HAST seen – GOSPELS
28But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
Things that ARE – EPISTLES
1 Peter 5
8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Things ABOUT TO come – AD 7O
20And the God of peace shall crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
And on the inconsistency of Gentry and other Partial Preterists on the time texts in the book of Revelation Mike writes,
Partial Preterists who claim to hold to the “time texts” should hold that they are already in the “city” of Revelation 22. There are time texts regarding the city. The city comes in Revelation 21. Therefore: all Partial Preterists should say they are in the city of Revelation 21 and 22.
1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. 6The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
1Then I saw a (A) new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, (B) “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be (C) no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
See A, B, C above and compare to A, B, C below.
(A) This event should be fulfilled according to Partial Preterists hermeneutics.
2 Peter 3
12as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.
(B) This event should be fulfilled according to Partial Preterists hermeneutics.
1 Thessalonians 4
17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 5
9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him
(C) This event should be fulfilled according to Partial Preterists hermeneutics.
1 Corinthians 15
55″Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The organic and historical development between the Amillennial and the Partial Preterist views lead us to Full Preterist view of the millennium or that Revelation 20:1-15 was fulfilled by AD 70. It is time to stop ignoring this and accept it and begin re-working the creeds and our traditions to fit the proper exegetical and historical model that has been presented by Full Preterism.
Challenge To Gentry
When I asked Gentry at the Criswell conference to now address how the NT develops Daniel 12:2, he did not address any of the texts I brought up (and have in this article). He attempted to say that Daniel 12:2 falls under the “already and not yet” and is “typological” of a future physical resurrection. I responded that if this be the case then Beale has the right to stretchhhhhhhh the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24 throughout the “already and not yet” and have it not be a specific one time event as he argues in his books. And if AD 70 was merely “typological” then there is nothing hermeneutically stopping the dispensationalists on the panel that day from saying, “Well, sure Ken maybe there was a coming of Christ in judgment upon Israel and her temple in AD 70, but that was merely typological of Israel being gathered back into her land as a nation in 1948 and her building another temple which will usher in another desolation period and Armageddon etc…”
The Millennium of Revelation 20 does not stand on its own and does reflect the NT’s “already—becoming/rising—and not yet” period being fulfilled by Daniel’s “time of the end” or the end of the OC age in AD 70. As in the case of Romans 11 Israel is present and all Israel (the remnant and Gentiles) were being raised/grafted in and were in AD 70 at the parousia of Christ.
Gentry, Beale, Blaising and the others have an “already and not yet” which does not conform to the NT’s transition of the covenants period with the imminent “not yet” of eschatology being in AD 70 not at the end of history.
This of course nullifies the lively and unnecessary debate between Blaising and Blomberg at the end of the conference in the Q and A period over a pre or post-tribulation rapture position. The truth is again in the middle. The Christians did go through the Tribulation, but fled Jerusalem before God’s “wrath” came upon unbelieving Israel from AD 66-70.
I did want to share something that took place shortly after the conference when I went out to eat with Don and some others. As I was leaving the restaurant I saw a gentleman carrying a Bible and asked him if he was doing some witnessing and he said “yes.” I told him I was a Christian and was here in town for a conference. He asked me what it was on and I said, “the millennium.” He said, “the millennium is in the book of Revelation right? You know I have a friend who has changed his pre-trib. Position and is now trying to tell me that all of Revelation was fulfilled in AD 70!” Talk about God’s hand. I shared with the man that this was my view too and we talked for about a half an hour. I also shared with him that the odds of him running into another Full Preterist and striking up a random conversation was very small and that most likely his friend had been praying for him. I continue to pray from the guy on the street to the scholar in the podium when it comes to my visit this last Oct 12, 2012 in Dallas, TX at the Criswell College Conference on the Millennium. I also pray that this review/paper will benefit those to whom the Lord has led to it.