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The Coming of the Son of Man as the SUN/SON of Righteousness From the East to the West – Raising the Righteous in AD 70 & the New Covenant Age to Shine Like the SUN/SON in the Kingdom

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  • I am pasting a section from a book I am currently working on as an article.  I enjoyed connecting Christ coming as the SUN/SON of Righteousness in Matthew 24:27/Lk. 17:24Mal. 4:2 to raise the Righteous to shine like the SUN/SON in His Kingdom spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.  Instead of just pasting the sections on Matthew 24:27/Lk. 17:20-37 climaxing with Matthew 13:43, I will provide you with the context of the coming of the Son of Man passages (cf. Mt. 10:17-23 and Matthew 16:27-28) and an in-depth exegesis of the Olive Discourse.  I will also provide more material on the resurrection as I work my way through the critical texts.  Enjoy!  Sorry for the spacing format issue in transferring from Microsoft Word to WordPress.

CHAPTER SIX — THE NT IMMINENT SECOND COMING FULFILLED BY AD 70

 

The third area we are critiquing Islam, Israeli Zionism and Premillennial Zionism on is their understanding of an imminent Second Coming of Jesus (Islam & Premillennial Zionism) or a coming Messianic deliverer (Israeli Zionism).

 

In previous chapters we noted how Islam and Muhammad predicted an imminent Second Coming of Jesus and last hour of judgment to occur within his generation or within a hundred years of him passing.  This alone disqualifies Islam.  But ironically, modern Islamic apologists seek to disqualify the Christian NT Jesus, since he clearly predicted His Second Coming and an end of the world event would occur within His generation.  Since the end of world history did not occur in his generation, they reason he is a false prophet, and we need to trust the Quran’s teaching on its Jesus.  But as pointed out, the Muhammad Jesus failed to come when he said he would to.

Modern apologists of Judaism use the same “argument” as to why Jesus could never be the Messiah – he failed to come when he said he would and say, “just look around, obviously the glorious Messianic kingdom has not arrived” – they reason.

 

And as we noted earlier, Premillennial Zionists simply stick their heads in the sand and pretend that Jesus and the NT authors never really predicted a first century Second Coming of Jesus.  They also have the same carnal misunderstanding of the Messianic Kingdom being a literal glorious kingdom on earth.  They likewise reason that “since the planet earth didn’t dissolve in AD 70 and Jesus didn’t float down on a literal cloud in AD 70 to rule and reign on earth, Christ’s kingdom must be “postponed” until he comes in our near future to set up an earthly Kingdom during a literal thousand years millennial period – with another Temple and animal sacrifices taking place.

 

All three of these religious systems fail to understand and embrace either the imminent time or apocalyptic nature of the Second Coming as taught by Christ and the authors of the NT.  And to this subject we turn our attention.

 

The Big Three  

 

Here I will exegete correctly what Islamic and Jewish apologists (along with other Bible critics) appeal to as “the big three” texts where Jesus allegedly is found to be a false prophet.  They also point out these three passages were understood by the writers of the NT to buttress their doctrine of a first century Second Coming and end of world history event — that failed to happen. They reason this failure proves the NT is not an inspired book as it claims to be.

 

While I agree with my critics that Jesus and the NT authors claimed both divine inspiration and the fulfillment of a first century Second Coming event, their failure is in not understanding the familiar OT apocalyptic (symbolic & metaphorical) language of Christ coming upon the clouds, stars falling, ect., and that Jesus nor any NT writer ever predicted the end of world history – only the end of the Old Covenant age/world.

 

If I can prove the above premise, then I will have proven the following:

 

1).  Jesus is both Messiah and God (as He claimed).

2).  The NT is an inspired document whereby we learn to live out our lives with grace and peace.

3).  Islam, Israeli Zionists and Premillennial Zionists need to come to the Jesus of the Scriptures and not one they have imagined and fashioned to fit their political and religious agendas.

 

#1 Matthew 10:17-23

 

  • “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.  You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.  “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

 

The first century disciples are clearly told that they (not us) would not run out of cities within Israel to flee to (for protection – cities of refuge) before the Son of man came upon the clouds to judge Jerusalem in AD 70.  As D.A. Carson correctly points out,

 

“vv. 17–22, pictures the suffering witness of the church in the post-Pentecost period during a time when many of Jesus’ disciples are still bound up with the synagogue.  vv. 23 The “coming of the Son of Man” here refers to his coming in judgment against the Jews, culminating in the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.”[1]

 

Unfortunately, not many Reformed or Evangelicals are as honest as Carson is on our first text.  Most can’t comprehend how Christ could “come” in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70 so they simply make-up the idea that somehow Christ means Him “coming” in the events of the cross, resurrection or at Pentecost.  There are two main problems with this theory.

 

First, Jesus is very specific that there are some events that would transpire before His “coming” “salvation” and “end” arrive:  1. Some would be scourged in synagogues, 2. Some would be brought before governors and kings, 3. The Holy Spirit would be given as miraculously defense and 4.  Some would be put to death during a period of severe persecution.  NONE of these events took place before the crucifixion, but ALL of these are laid out for in the book of Acts and took place before Christ came in the judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70

 

Secondly, Jesus’ teaching here in Matthew 10:17-23 is a snapshot and introduction of the same event described more in-depth in Matthew 24 – the persecution, the power of the Holy Spirit for a defense, the preaching (GC – still local – known Roman world), and parousia (or Second Coming of the Son of Man) are all said to be fulfilled in the same first century time period (i.e. their “this generation” vs. 34).

 

Matthew 10:17-23 and the Olivet Discourse – the Analogy of Faith (Jesus interprets Jesus)

 

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

 

 

Jesus is not saying in this text that the first century disciples would not be able to finish evangelizing all the towns of Israel before His Second Coming would be fulfilled.  Rather, He is comforting and instructing them that while completing their mission to Israel (roughly between AD 26 – AD 66) they would not have run out of cities to flee to for safety before He returned.  Right up to the end, He would provide them with a city of refuge, somewhere in Israel.  After all Paul confirms that all nations throughout the then known Roman world had heard the gospel in his day (cf. Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26; Cols. 1:5-6, 23;).

 

#2 Matthew 16:27-28 / Mark 8:38—9:1

 

  • “For the Son of Man will (or is “about to…” YLT) come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Mt. 16:27-28).

 

  • “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has [“already” Rotherham Translation] come with power” (Mrk. 8:38—9:1)

 

Before I begin my exegesis of this key text, it is important for others to see that conservative Christians have correctly pointed out our passage is both referring to Jerusalem being destroyed in AD 70 and that it functions as a guide to understanding Christ coming as apocalyptic language and NT imminence is to be interpreted literally.

 

Matthew Henry correctly points out that the coming of the Son of Man in judgment here is referring to,

 

“…the destruction of Jerusalem, and the taking away of the place and nation of the Jews, who were the most bitter enemies to Christianity. Many then present lived to see it, particularly John, who lived till after the destruction of Jerusalem, and saw Christianity planted in the world. “Behold, the Lord is at hand. The Judge standeth before the door; be patient, therefore, brethren.” (Jms. 5:7-9).”[2]

 

Reformed theologian and Westminster “divine” John Lightfoot also agree,

 

“[The kingdom of God coming in power.] In Matthew, it is the Son of man coming in his kingdom. The coming of Christ in his vengeance and power to destroy the unbelieving and most wicked nation of the Jews is expressed under these forms of speech. Hence the day of judgment and vengeance: I. It is called “the great and terrible day of the Lord,” Acts 2:20; 2 Thess. 2:2,3. II. It is described as “the end of the world,” Jeremiah 4:27; Matthew 24:29, &c. III. In that phrase, “in the last times,” Isaiah 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Peter 3:3; that is, in the last times of that city and dispensation. IV. Thence, the beginning of the “new world,” Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13. V. The vengeance of Christ upon that nation is described as his “coming,” John 21:22; Hebrews 10:37: his “coming in the clouds,” Revelation 1:7: “in glory with the angels,” Matthew 24:30, &c. VI. It is described as the ‘enthroning of Christ, and his twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel,’ Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30. Hence this is the sense of the present place: Our Saviour had said in the last verse of the former chapter, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels,” to take punishment of that adulterous and sinful generation. And he suggests, with good reason, that that his coming in glory should be in the lifetime of some that stood there.”[3]

1). “For the Son of Man is about to come…” (Mt. 16:27YLT)

 

The YLT, DARBY, WUESTNT, and WEY translations correctly translate Jesus’ return here as “about to come” or “soon to come.” These translations are accurate since this is the consistent usage of the Greek word mello in Matthew’s gospel let alone it’s predominated usage in the rest of the New Testament. Let’s briefly see how mello is used in Mathew’s gospel:

 

A).  In Matthew 2:13 WEY, Herod is “about to” seek to kill Jesus, and therefore Joseph and Mary need to “escape.”  Mello here is communicating a near imminent danger not just a certain or general danger to be aware of.

 

B).  In Matthew 3:7 GNT, John was preaching to the Pharisees concerning a “wrath about to come.”  The GNT of mello here as “about to” is supported by the immediate context in that John was preaching a kingdom that was “at hand” (Mt. 3:2) in which both the wrath and kingdom would be manifested imminently since God already had His ax at the root of the trees (Mt. 3:10) and His harvesting winnowing fork was already in His hand (Mt. 3:12).  This “winnowing fork” was the tool used at the end of the harvest period to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Jesus likewise teaches the “end of the [Old Covenant] age” resurrection harvest gathering would be fulfilled in His contemporary generation (cf. Mt. 13:39-43/Mt. 24:3, 31-34).

 

C).  In Mathew 17:10-13 mello is used twice. The first occurrence refers to the Jews expecting Elijah “about to” come to prepare the way for Messiah.  In other words, Elijah was the one the entire nation understood to be “about to come” in their day and the text tells us that he had already come in the person of John the Baptist.

 

Many Premillennial Zionists reject Jesus’ direct teaching here that John is the fulfillment of the one who would prepare the way for Christ’s “about to come” “great and dreadful day” of Malachi 4:5-6.  They instead speculate that he will again appear in the future as one of the witnesses in Revelation 11!

 

The second occurrence of mello in this passage is not referring to the general fact that Jesus is going to suffer, but that He was “about to” suffer and be mistreated as John the Baptist was.

D).  In Matthew 24:6 WEY, “Before long” the disciples would begin hearing of a general sign of “wars and rumors of wars,” but Jesus said the “end” (of the Old Covenant age) was not.  Jesus gave general signs that they would begin hearing about in their near future, while the two specific ones (the Great Commission (Mt. 24:14) and the “armies surrounding Jerusalem” (Lk. 21:20) would mark that Christ’s Second Coming was indeed “near.”

 

To conclude this point, Christ’s “about to” coming (Mt. 16:27) is consistent with Christ’s coming in the lifetime of “some” of the crowd listening to him in the next verse – 28!  After thousands of years of the world and Israel awaiting the Seed of the woman or the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom, the span of some of the crowd’s lifetime was a short time for them to wait and thus it was “about to” be fulfilled.

2). “Verily I say unto you…” (Mt. 16:28)

Jesus’ phrase “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly I say unto you,” is used some 99 times in the gospels and gives the meaning of “Absolutely,” “really,” “may it be fulfilled,” and is used as a phrase of emphasis to drive home a point that has gone before it. It is never used to introduce a new subject.  Yet in-spite of this fact, Thomas Ice who is a Dispensational Premillennial Zionist has sought to refute our exegesis of this text by claiming,

 

“…verse twenty-seven looks at the establishment of the kingdom in the future, while a promise of seeing the Messiah in His glory is the thought of verse twenty-eight. They are two separate predictions separated by the words ‘truly I say to you’”[4]

 

But Mr. Ice does not produce one passage where Jesus’ phrase “Truly I say unto you” is ever used to separate the subject matter previously discussed and to introduce and new subject! Since he cannot produce any evidence for his statement, his point at the very least is unscholarly and at worst, irresponsible and deceptive.

 

I remember attending the Evangelical Theological Society one time where a Premillennial Zionist was speaking on the subject of Preterism.  When he approached Matthew 16:27-28 he regurgitated Thomas Ice’s point that “very I say unto you” can be used to introduce a new subject.  In the Q&A session I publicly asked, “can you give me just ONE instance in the teachings of Jesus where the phrase “verily I say unto you” is used to introduce a new subject?”  He stalled for a long time and said, “no.”  I then responded, “please do not parrot the so-called “scholarship” of other Zionists who likewise have not done the homework you clearly haven’t done either.  I have looked up the phrase everywhere it is used and not haven’t found one place where it introduces a new subject.  Just the opposite in fact is the truth –  it is always used to link the previous subject matter with what follows and that is how it is used here in Matthew 16:27-28.  The fact that Christ was “about to come” was exciting to the crowd listening and Jesus wanted to ram-home the point by pointing out it was so near in fact that “some of you standing here shall not die until” you see it fulfilled.”  It was a mic drop moment and I enjoyed it.

 

3). “Some standing here shall not taste of death” and “the kingdom of God” (Mt. 16:28)

As we study Christ’s teachings elsewhere in the Gospels and other related passages in the Old and New Testaments concerning: 1) The physical death of some of the 12 and their first century contemporaries along with 2) The Son of Man coming and the arrival of the kingdom of God in power, we discover Christ is addressing a very specific and prophetic persecution coming in the Apostolic generation than just alluding to some of them dying off of because of mere old age. The only event in the teachings of Jesus that associates the death of some of the Apostles or Saints with the Kingdom of God is the persecution preceding his Second Coming event (cf. Mt. 10:16-23; Lk. 21:16-32; Mt. 23:31-36; Jn. 21:19-22; Rev. 6:10-11, 17; 16:6, 15; 18:5, 20.) The only exception to this is the death of Judas.

 

Daniel’s prophecy confirms Jesus’ teaching.  In Daniel 2, 7, 9, and 12 we learn the following:

1) The kingdom would come and be established during the time of the Roman Empire (cf. Dan. 2 & 7). 2) There would be a time of persecution and death for believers before the Son of Man would come upon the clouds in judgment (Dan. 7:13-22).  Another OT source for Jesus’ coming in our text is Daniel 7:13-14 and Jesus made it clear that Daniel’s prophecy (and “all” OT prophecy) would be fulfilled in His generation (Mt.24:15, 34; Lk.21:20-22).

Some of our opponents have made some real crucial mistakes in trying to refute us on this text. Again, Thomas a prominent Premillennial Zionist, makes another blunder in trying to refute us on this critical passage,

 

“A further problem with the preterist view is that our Lord said “some of those standing here…” It is clear that the term “some” would have to include at least two or more individuals…” “…Peter notes that “John only survived among the 12 disciples till the destruction of Jerusalem.”[5]

 

In other word’s Ice is claiming that the twelve apparently were the only ones Jesus was addressing in this text and therefore if only John was alive till the destruction of Jerusalem, then that does not meet the definition of “some” because “some” necessitates more than one. However, Mark’s account clearly states, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said:…” (Mk. 8:34 – 9:1).

 

This is but yet another embarrassing printed “argument” that is blatantly false.  The first was that “verily I say unto you” (Mt. 16:28) was allegedly used to introduce a new subject (the transfiguration) when the truth is it is never used to introduce a new subject but rather connect what went before with what follows.   Now we have a second embarrassing “argument” in that exposes this Premillennial “prophecy expert” “debater” doesn’t even to take the time to read Mark’s account to see Jesus was speaking to an entire “crowd” and not just the 12?!?  Amazing!

 

4). “…in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh…” (Mk. 8:38).

 

This passage is not dealing with his listeners sleeping with women other than their wives.  It is referring to Israel being known as committing spiritual and covenantal adulterous by rejecting the Messiah / Groom standing right in front of them.  While Christ does not specifically mention Jerusalem’s divorce and remarriage directly in our text, it is implied in Him being “ashamed” of His contemporary “adulterous generation” at His Second Coming event which necessitates both of these eschatological motifs. This and one of Jesus’ OT sources here, addresses Him coming with His “reward” and the eschatological wedding motif. (cf. Isa. 62:4-5, 11).

 

Under the Old Covenant God was married to (cf. Israel Ex. 19-24). This marriage was both pictured as a monogamous marriage (God married to a Mother/Israel) and then after the splitting of the northern kingdom and the southern kingdoms, a polygamous marriage. The picture then becomes God taking two daughters (or sisters) as His wives: 1) Israel (Aholah / Samaria capital of Israel) and 2) Judah (Aholibah / Jerusalem capital of Judah) (cf. Jer. 31:31-32; Ezek. 1:1-4; 1 Kings 11:9-13). These two sisters were notorious for their adultery and playing the prostitute (cf. Ezek. 23:3; Jer. 3).

 

Although God divorced Israel through the Assyrian captivity, He remained married to His other harlot wife Judah, from which line Jesus would come. Judah/Jerusalem was judged by the Babylonian captivity but never divorced (Ezek. 23:22-45).

 

The book of Hosea describes God divorcing Israel through the Assyrian captivity.  He divorced her and put her to death by burying her like a seed in the land of the Gentiles.  Hosea also predicts Judah’s harvest divorcement / judgment in her last days.  But there is hope in that Hosea also predicts God will betroth and re-marry Israel in those same last days.

 

Under the Old Covenant a wife caught in adultery would be stoned and the wife of a priest would be burned.  As we looked at in Revelation 19 the harlot wife of Old Covenant Jerusalem was both stoned and or burned!

 

Therefore, Jesus in Matthew 16:27/Mark 8:38 is describing the judgment of the “adulterous generation/wife” in an “about to be” AD 70 time frame.  Concerning the phrase “be ashamed of” – the adulterous Old Covenant wife would be left without a wedding garment stripped naked and left ashamed (Rev. 17:6), while His New Covenant wife would be clothed in Christ’s righteousness as His New Jerusalem or “house from above” – unashamed and “further clothed” with costly gold, gems, etc… (cf. Mt. 22:1-14; Rev. 3:18; 19:8/2 Cor. 5:1-21; Rev. 21:11ff.).

 

We will pick up the divorce and re-marriage motif in connection with Christ’s first century Second Coming again in Matthew 25:1-12 and in Revelation 17-21 (where it is more directly mentioned).

 

5). “…There, are, certain of those here standing, who shall in nowise taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God, alreadycome in power.” (Mrk. 9:1 Rotherham Translation).

In Mark’s parallel account, we learn that some within the crowd Jesus is addressing live to see His return and His kingdom coming — when he uses the perfect participle while Matthew uses the future tense. In other words, Mark is saying that some of the disciples would live to be able to look back on this event knowing that the coming of the Lord and His kingdom had already come in power. Kenneth Gentry concedes this point citing J.A Alexander:

 

“Here “come” is “not, as the English words may seem to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or already come, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect participle here employed.”[12] Thus, His disciples were to expect its exhibition in power. It was not powerfully to evidence itself immediately, for many of His disciples would die before it acted in power. Yet it was to be within the lifetimes of others, for “some” standing there would witness it. This seems clearly to refer to the A.D. 70 destruction of the temple and removal of the Old Testament means of worship (cf. Heb. 12:25-28; Rev.1:1, 3, 9). This occurred as a direct result of Jesus’ prophecies (John 4:21-23; Mt. 21:33ff.; 23:31-34:34).”[6]

Jesus tells the disciples that some of them would live to “see” His coming and that the Kingdom would have “already come” in power to bear witness of His return. The Greek word here for “see” is eido. Strong’s Concordance defines eido as to “know how” and “perceive” as well as physical sight.

 

Through observing with the physical senses Christ coming through the power of the Romans to desolate the outer shell of the Old Covenant Kingdom, Temple and City in AD 70, “some” of Jesus’ contemporary audience would be able to “perceive” and “know how” Christ’s spiritual Kingdom had “already come” “within” them (cf. Mrk. 8:38-9:1; Lk.17:20-37; Cols.1:27; Jn. 14:2-3, 23).  By connecting Mark 8:38–9:1 with Luke 17:20-37 Christians today can also experientially know and can see from reading our Lord’s words and the testimony of the Scriptures, that Christ’s Second Coming and His Kingdom have “already come” and been established “within” us and the rest of His Body.

 

Just a sidenote.  This text is one of many that refutes a literal so called “rapture” off the earth for the living and remaining at Christ’s return! The fact that they would remain on the earth and “know” He had “already come” coincides with what the prophet says in Isaiah when we learn there are “survivors” of the “Day of the Lord” which continue preaching the gospel to “sinners” in the New Creation (cf. Isa. 65-66).

 

6). Matthew 16:27-28 and the Olivet Discourse – the Analogy of Faith (Jesus interprets Jesus)

 

Earlier we saw that the content of the coming of the Son of Man as developed in Matthew 10:17-23 was a snapshot of what Jesus would develop more fully in the Olivet Discourse.  The same can be said of Matthew 16:27-28 being an abbreviated form of Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse concerning the same events and same first century time of fulfillment.

 

Matthew 16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1).  Christ comes in glory (Lk. 9:26) 1).  Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30)
2).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27) 2).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31)
3).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 3).  Christ comes in judgment

(Mt. 24:28-31; 25:31-34)

4).  Christ and the kingdom come in power(Mrk. 8:38) 4).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32)
5).  Some of the disciples would live

(Mt. 16:28)

5).  Some of the disciples would live

(Lk. 21:16-18)

6).  Some of the disciples would die

(Mt. 16:28)

6).  Some of the disciples would die

(Lk. 21:16)

7).  Christ would be ashamed of some in His “this adulterous generation” (Mrk. 8:38) 7).  All of this would occur in His contemporary“this generation” (Mt. 24:34)

 

 

7).  How the NT authors develop Matthew 16:27-28 confirm our exegesis/interpretation

 

If the Preterist exegesis of Matthew 16:27-28 is correct in that Jesus’ “about to be” Second Coming event (vs. 27) was so imminent, that it would be witnessed in the lifetimes of some of those listening to Him (vs. 28), and thus He would be ashamed of their contemporary “this adulterous generation” at His coming (Mrk. 8:38–9:1), then as that first century audience and generation was closing, then the same events of Matthew 16:27-28 listed would be connected to a “soon” Second event as that generation was closing.  And that is exactly what we see:

 

Matthew 16:27-28 / Mark 8:38—9:1 Revelation 22:12 / Revelation 17:16”
1).  “The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels,…” 1).  “Behold I am coming soon;…”
2).  “then he shall reward every man according to his works.” 2).  “…bringing my reward with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
3).  “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” 3).  “They will make her (the adulterous prostitute – Old Covenant Jerusalem) desolate and naked…”. *Adulterous women in the ancient world were put to shame and stripped naked (cf. Isa. 47:2-3; Jer. 13:26; Lam. 1:8-9; Ezek. 16:37, 39; 23:29; Hos. 2:10; Nah. 3:5).

 

 

The Apostle Paul taught that some of his contemporaries would live to witness Christ’s Second Coming event – “we shall not all die,…” “we who are alive…” (1 Cor. 15:51; 1 Thess. 4:15).     

 

8). Matthew 16:27-28 and the Transfiguration event

Premillennial Zionists such as Thomas Ice who seek to disprove some of the first century disciples Jesus is addressing in Matthew 16:28 would live to witness the Second Coming event in verse 27 try and argue that since the transfiguration event is followed by Jesus’ teaching here in all three synoptic gospels, this must be the event Jesus is referring to.[7]

 

Remember that Dr. Ice claimed “verily I say unto you” can be used to introduce a new subject – when in fact it is never used to do such.  So, Mr. Ice is attempting to pawn off the theory that the event that some of the first century disciples would live to witness is the transfiguration event in the following chapter.  And while “verily I say unto you” is never used to transition to a new subject matter (rather it is used to link the subject which has gone before with what follows), the Greek word kai or “and” is used often as a change of subject and Jesus uses it here – “and after six days Jesus…” (Mt. 17:1).

 

Since the transfiguration event does follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 16:27-28, is there a relationship?  We believe there is.  In the vision, when Peter wants Moses and Elijah to remain and abide with the other disciples and Jesus, God causes the glory of Moses and Elijah to disappear. The theology of the vision is directed at the appearing and disappearing of the Old Covenant order pictured in the glory of Moses and Elijah (the law and the prophets), with the emphasis on the eternal abiding glory of the New Covenant words of Christ – “here Him” (Mt. 17:5-8; cf. Mt.24:35). To seek the abiding glory and nature of the Old Covenant (Moses and Elijah) along with the new (the glory of Christ) was the theological error of the Judaizers and mockers of Peter’s day were making! With this in mind we can now understand Peter’s appeal to the vision as an apologetic against the mockers and false teachers of his day.

The 1 Peter 1:16-19 passage is now very easy to understand. Peter is under attack by the Judaizers who are claiming that he and the other disciples have been teaching Christians “cleverly devised stories” about the Second Coming (2 Pet. 1:16a). Peter’s apologetic against this charge is that he has two other Apostolic witnesses that will bear witness that they got their teaching of the Second Coming as direct revelation from the Father and the Son on the Mount of Transfiguration–verses 16b-18. Although Peter does not use the Greek word metamorphoo, he describes the Church going through a similar process in verse 19a when he says it is “…a light shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.” The “day” singular is none other than the “last day” of John’s gospel and the “in that day” or last day (singular) of (Lk.17/Mt.24-25).

There are only two other places in the New Testament where this Greek word transfigured or transformed is used:  Romans 12:2 & 2 Corinthians 3:18.

 

Paul’s “therefore” of Romans 12:1 is linking it with his teaching on the unsearchable riches of the New Covenant “mystery” (Jew/Gentile) or salvation that he has been developing throughout and reaches its peak here in Romans 11:15, 25-36.  In Romans 7-8 the issue with the Old Covenant law of sin and death and the New Covenant law of the spirit, is realized within the “mind” and walking in this newness.  In chapters 12 and on, are the practical applications of living out this New Covenant salvation and life which was imminently coming at Christ’s return is described as the “night” (of the Old Covenant age) fading away or being “far gone” and the “day” (of the New Covenant age) being “at hand” (cf. Rms. 13:11-12.)

The only other New Testament passage in which metamorphoo is used is in 2 Corinthians 3:18. This text is even a clearer covenantal contrasting section within Paul’s writings. The Church was in the process of “being transformed” into the likeness of Christ which was connected with the Old Covenant veil being lifted from the eyes of their minds and hearts. This was obviously not a literal or biological transformation process but a spiritual and covenantal one!  The Old Covenant glory was “passing away” (2 Cor. 3:7-11) just as the glory of Moses and Elijah had disappeared in the vision given on the mount!  The Old Covenant glory was like Moses seeing God’s face and then that glory fading away, while the New Covenant glory of the gospel is like the creation of the light of day manifested in our hearts – resulting in seeing Christ’s face which does not fade away (2 Cor. 4:6/Rev. 22:4-7ff.).

Since we agree with most who understand the transfiguration event to be a foreshadowing or prefiguring of the parousia we need to ask where in the vision are the following: 1) the passing and burning of the planet earth, 2) Christ floating down on a literal cloud someday and 3) corpses flying out of their caskets at the end of time to be united with their spirits?  The vision of the parousia in the transfiguration event gives us a theological picture/description of what the parousia was going to be all about – the passing and fulfilling of the Old Covenant promises and the bringing in and establishing of the abiding New by AD 70.

 

The first two coming of the Son of Man passages in Matthew 10:17-23 and Matthew 16:27-28/Mark 8:38—9:1 are small snapshots and actually form the main content of Christ’s teaching of His Second Coming the Olivet Discourse:

 

Matthew 10:17-23/16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1).  Delivered up to councils and synagogues 

(Mt. 10:17)

1).  Delivered up to local councils and synagogues (Mrk. 13:9)
2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mt. 10:18) 2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mrk. 13:9)
3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them

(Mt. 10:19-20)

3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them (Mrk. 13:11)
4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mt. 10:22) 4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mrk. 13:12-13)
5).  The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. (Mt. 10:23) 5).  The disciples (and later Paul) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place.

(Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10)

6).  Christ comes in glory (Lk. 9:26) 6).  Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30)
7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27) 7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31)
8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 24:28-31;25:31-34)
9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mrk. 8:38) 9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32)
10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming  (Mt. 16:28) 10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming (Lk. 21:16-18)
11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Mt. 16:28) 11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Lk. 21:16)
12).  Christ was “about to come” and would be ashamed of some in His contemporary

“this generation” (Mt. 16:27YLT/Mrk. 8:38)

12).  All of this would occur and be “near” and “at the door” in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:33-34/Lk. 21:27-32)

 

#3 The Olivet Discourse Matthew 24-25 / Mark 13 / Luke 21

 

“Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things [Temple’s destruction, signs, end of the Old Covenant age and coming of the Son of Man] take place” (Mt. 24:34)

 

“So also, when you see these things taking place [signs, coming of the Son of Man, armies surrounding Jerusalem, etc.], you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place” (Lk. 21:31-32).

 

Before giving a rigorous exegesis of the Olivet Discourse, it may be good to see how it ties into the previous context of Matthew 23.  Some commentators connect Matthew 23-25 with a chiasm which begins with Pharisees hypocritically judging the people from Moses seat and ends with the Son of Man sitting upon His throne righteously judging those same hypocrites.  The issues in the middle are found primarily in Matthew 23-24 with the promise of Christ coming to judge the living and the dead and destroy the Temple within Jesus’ contemporary generation.  While I won’t develop a chiasm here, we should point out some comparisons, contrasts and issues that link them inseparably together.

 

The context and connections between Matthew 23-24

 

Matthew 23 Matthew 24-25
1).  The Pharisees sit in Moses seat and hypocritically judge the people and therefore will not inherit the Kingdom and are sentenced to hell (Mt. 23:2ff.). 1).  Jesus would sit on His glorious throne and judge those very hypocrites and they would not inherit the Kingdom (Mt. 25:31, 41-45).
2).  The “blind” Pharisees and Scribe’s evangelism produced “sons of hell” (Mt. 23:15). 2).  The evangelism of Jesus’ disciples would produce the end of the age, “look up” [to metaphorically see] the “near” “redemption” or inheritance of the Kingdom (Mt. 24:14/Lk. 21:28-32).
3).  They swore by the gold and beauty of the Temple, but Jesus prophesied the destruction of their Temple (Mt. 23:16-36). 3).  Jesus prophesied the destruction of their Temple and cursed them to eternal punishment (Mt. 24:1-2).
4).  The Pharisees would “fill up” the sin of Israel’s blood guilt and it would be completed after they persecuted and killed some of those Jesus would send to them (Mt. 23:31-36). 4).  The Pharisees would experience “wrath” and the “days of vengeance” for beating [in their councils and synagogues] and killing those of whom Jesus sent to evangelize Israel and Nations (Mrk. 13:9-13; cf. Mt. 10:17-23).
5).  This would be the time for the judgment of the living (the Pharisees) and the dead (vindication of the martyrs) (Mt. 23:31-36). 5).  This would be the time for the judgment of the living (“wrath against this people” “fall by the sword” “be led captive”) and the dead (Lk. 21:20-24; Mt. 25:31-46).
6).  The Pharisees had seven woes pronounced upon them and they would be judged when Christ came “again” to desolate their Temple (Mt. 23:13ff.) 6).   The “stars [Israel’s religious and civil rulers] would fall from heaven to earth when Jesus came upon the clouds to judged them and desolate their Temple (Mt. 24:3,29-30).
7).  In their contemporary “this generation,” they would see Him come “again” to judge them and “desolate” their Temple

(Mt. 23:31-39).

7).  The contemporary “this generation” of the disciples and Pharisees would witness Christ come in judgment and “desolate” their Temple (Mt. 24:1-2—34).

 

If we allow for some connections between Matthew 23 and Luke 17 (the same Second Coming event – even with Christ coming as the great light of the Sun shining from east to west) the Pharisees would be judged for what was “within” their unclean hearts, while when Christ and His Kingdom came in AD 70, it would be realized “withinthe hearts of a person [believer] (Mt. 23:27).

 

Let’s now turn our attention to how the Second Coming of Christ is described in Matthew 23:

 

“For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:39 / Psalm 118:26).

The Song of Ascent of Psalm 118:26 and taken from other Psalms, was supposed to be a song of joy and salvation that the Jews would sing on the walls of Jerusalem welcoming the pilgrims to their feast days, but God turned it into a “stage work” for their judgment (not the judgment of their enemies – the Romans).  The Jews were bottled up in Jerusalem (in AD 67 – AD 70) deceiving themselves into thinking God was going to save them from the Romans and usher in a carnal earthly kingdom in fulfillment of OT prophecies (the very mentality that Jesus warned about concerning the coming false prophets in Matthew 24).  In essence, God was forcing them to welcome their own judgment (in song form).  Instead of being met and welcoming pilgrims for the feasts (seeking peace and salvation), they were met with and forced to welcome, God coming in judgment through the Roman armies (as God had “come” in the OT – through the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…).

That the Jews would not “discern what their end would be” was predicted in yet another song – the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:29). God/Messiah as their “Rock” is also a common theme in Deut. 32. Because they forsook God as their “Rock” (Jesus the coming “Corner Stone” of Psalm 118) and trusted in others, He brought upon them certain “disaster” in a particular “perverse generation” which the NT declares was the AD 30 – AD 70 one (cf. Deuteronomy 32:5, 20/Acts 2:40). The OT prophets would go on to describe this coming judgment as God’s “strange work” (judging them at a time when they expected God to judge their enemies).

The exegete also needs to pay attention to how Jesus uses Psalm 118 elsewhere.  Psalm 118:22 sheds light on how Jesus is using verse Psalm 118:26 in Matt. 23:39.  If Jesus uses Psalm 118:22 as being fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment (cf. Matt. 21:42-45), then the burden of proof is upon the Zionist to demonstrate that He is using Psalm 118 in a completely different way – ie. referring to a 2,000+ years distant future context for Israel’s alleged salvation.

Three simple points on Matthew 23:39:

1). Since Jesus used Psalm 118 elsewhere in Matthew to refer to the judgment coming in AD 70, this points us in the direction that He is using Psalm 118 in Matt. 23:39 to the same event.

2). The immediate context of Matt. 23-24 points to AD 70. It is this discussion of Christ “coming” in their (AD 30 – AD 70) “this generation” to destroy their “house” or “Temple” which spurs on a continued discussion regarding the SAME “coming,” the SAME time frame “this generation,” for the destruction of the SAME “Temple.”  It is commonplace for commentators to acknowledge that the disciples understood the Temple’s destruction to take place at Christ’s coming at the end of the age. However, these same commentators based upon a futurist bias claim the disciples were “mistaken” to connect these events. The disciples “understood” Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” (Matt. 13:39-51) and when we identify the “end of the age” to be the end of the Old Covenant age instead of the end of world history, all three (Temple’s destruction, coming of Christ, and end of the age) fall naturally within the “this generation” time frame.

3). Their “stumbling” over Christ produced a “strange work” (Isa. 28:21, etc… – God would come to judge them not deliver them – thus Jesus’ irony in using a song of salvation for their judgment)!

 

We definitely agree with our Premillennial Zionist opponents on the importance of correctly interpreting the Olivet Discourse, because how one understands it will dictate how one understands Bible prophecy throughout the Bible,

 

“A proper understanding of the Olivet Discourse is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to gain a clear picture of God’s plan for the ages.  This discourse is so significant that the way a person interprets it will impact his understanding of the rest of the prophecy in the Bible.”[8]

 

Matthew 23 ends with Christ coming again to judge the Pharisee and desolate their Temple in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”  There is a subtle “sign” in that Jesus hints this will be during one of their feasts when they sing the song of ascent from Psalm 118 upon their walls (“blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

 

Matthew 24 begins or picks up where Matthew 23 left off.  The Temple’s destruction, Jesus’ coming, and the signs are now developed in more detail, but again, with the alarming declaration that all of this will be fulfilled in their “this generation.”

 

The importance of the Olivet Discourse – the Rosetta Stone of all Bible prophecy

 

Thomas Ice writes the following on the alleged differences between Jesus’ use of “this generation” in Matthew 23 and 24:

“In fact, when one compares the use of “this generation” at the beginning of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 23:36 (which is an undisputed reference to AD 70) with the prophetic use in the Matthew 24:34, a contrast becomes obvious.  Jesus in contrasting the deliverance for Israel in Matthew 24:34 with the predicted judgment stated in Matthew 23:36.”[9]

In both Matthew 23-24 there are themes of deliverance and judgment.  In Matthew 23 there is the theme of vindication / deliverance for the martyrs and judgment upon those who have persecuted them — resulting in Christ coming and the destruction of the Temple – both to take place in their contemporary “this generation.”  In Matthew 24, there are likewise the same themes of vindication / deliverance for the persecuted in the city with their flight from Judea and then that of judgment upon those who persecuted them — resulting in Christ coming and the destruction of the Temple – both to take place in their contemporary “this generation.”

While Zionists like Ice admit “this generation” in Matthew 23 is “an undisputed reference to AD 70” and therefore means the contemporary generation of Jesus, they give “this generation” in Matthew 24 an entirely different meaning in order to defend their false Futuristic Zionist theology.  We are told that their re-definition of “this generation” in Matthew 24 is justified because, “…it is obvious that these things did not occur…in AD 70.”[10]

The only thing that is “obvious” to me when interpreting Matthew 24 and other prophetic material in the OT and NT is that Premillennial Zionism interprets prophetic apocalyptic language which uses common symbolism and metaphors with a “literal hermeneutic” and then spiritualizes away and twists clear literal statements such as “this generation” “at hand,” “soon,” “quickly,” “in a very little while and will not delay” to mean nothing!  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!

  • “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 end of what age?

 

The first thing we notice between Matthew’s account placed alongside Mark 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, 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 Preterists 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).”[11]

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; Cols. 1:26; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 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 hindged upon the coming and work of Christ, pertain obviously to the Old and New Covenant administrations.”[12]

 

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.”[13]

 

In the 1994 version of DeMar’s Last Days Madness he wrote the following concerning the “end of the age” in the Olivet Discourse with Matthew,

“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 [bringing to maturity] of the New Covenant.[14]

 

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.”[15]

“End of the age” – were the disciples “confused”?

All Dispensational Zionists begin with the disciple’s 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 end of the age with the destruction of the Temple. Since Zionists theology 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 their Zionist Futurist system.  Here are some key hermeneutical steps the Zionist willfully skip:

 

1).  The Jews of Jesus’ day understood and connected the phrase “this age” to be 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 are looking at and discussing, would mark the “end of the age” — 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 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 that the judgment and resurrection (“the time the end” of the eschatological events of 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 Matthew 24, 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 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 states that 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 the Premillennial Zionist does.

Since there is no direct evidence here in Matthew 24 that the disciples were “confused,” Zionists and other 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 cast in the lap of Futurist Premillennial Zionism 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.”[16]

 

After all the Second Appearing or coming of Christ to close the Old Covenant age is further described as Christ coming “…in a very little while” and “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) the disciples  “confused” or that the Olivet Discourse has anything to do with the end of world history.

How were all the signs fulfilled prior to AD 70?

 

While it is easy to show how all of the signs Jesus gives to mark His coming and end of the Old Covenant age would be “near” and thus fulfilled by AD 70, it is important to point out that there are two groups of signs Jesus discusses.  The first set would be general signs of the times that would “not” mark the near end of the age and His coming while there would be two that would.  The two that would mark the “near” “end” of the age and His coming were the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem.

 

Let’s first address the general signs that were fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary generation.

 

“False Messiahs and Prophets”

 

Jesus predicted that false messiahs would come in the generation of the first century disciples and they did: Theudas Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few.  In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) that they knew it was “the last hour” because the antichrists had arrived (1 John 2:17-18).

The Jewish historian Josephus writes of a false prophet during the destruction of Jerusalem which deceived the Jews to stay and fight the Romans:

“Of so great a multitude, not one escaped. Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope. Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope. Thus, it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.3.6.).

“Wars and Rumors of Wars” 

“In AD 40 there was a disturbance at Mesopotamia which (Josephus says) caused the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, a tumult at Jerusalem at the time of the Passover resulted in 10,000 to 20,000 deaths.  At Caesarea, contentions between Jewish people and other inhabitants resulted in over 20,000 Jews being killed.  As Jews moved elsewhere, over 20,000 were destroyed by Syrians.  At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed.  Thousands were killed in other places, and at Alexandria 50,000 were killed.  At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in an hour’s time.”[17]

“The Annals of Tacitus, covering the period from AD 14 to the death of Nero in AD 68, describes the tumult of the period with phrases such as “disturbances in Germany”, “commotions in Africa”, commotions in Thrace”, “insurrections in Gaul”, “intrigues among the Parthians”, “the war in Britain”, and “the war in Armenia”.  Wars were fought from one end of the empire to the other. With this description we can see further fulfillment: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7)[18]

When Jesus was addressing wars and rumors of wars, He was not referring to what is going on in modern day Russia, China, Israel, Iraq, the United States, or Europe today.  To reach into Matthew 24 and back into the OT and twist these passages and prophecies by asserting that they are referring to these modern-day countries is irresponsible exegesis to say the least.

“Famines & Pestilence”

Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic Old Covenant age and generation (cf. Acts 11:27-29; 1 Cor. 16:1-5; Rms. 15:25-28).

In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered. Tacitus, Suetonius and Orosius all record a famine in the Autumn of AD 65 that killed more than 30,000 throughout the Roman Empire.

 

Sorry, but corona viruses are the subject of the Olivet Discourse.

 

“Earthquakes” 

 

The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26).  “…just previous to 70 AD there were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, and Judea.”[19]

 

“Put to Death” 

 

As we discussed in our treatment of Matthew 10:17-23 first century Christians were expected to be brought before Gentile kings and rulers, imprisonment, beatings, for the sake of Jesus.  Please read the book of Acts 4:3,17; Acts 5:40; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; Acts 12:1-3; Acts 14:19 to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy here in Luke 21:12 and Matthew 10:17-23.

 

In fulfillment of our Lord’s words, Paul and Silas were beaten (Acts 26:23) and Paul was brought before rulers and kings – Gallio, (Acts 28:12), Felix (Acts 24), Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25).   Peter and Paul were put to death in the persecution of Nero.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

The reader at this point says, “I got you. How are you going to be able to prove the gospel was preached throughout the entire globe before AD 70?!?” Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, this is not difficult to prove at all:

 

Prophecy Fulfillment
1). “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumenefor a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14) 1). “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] (Rom. 10:18)
*One definition of oikumene – “The Roman Empire (Acts 17:6); the Jews in the world (Acts 24:5). Of Palestine and the adjacent countries (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28).”
2). “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; Matt. 28:19-20) 2). “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations. . . .” [Greek ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26)
*These are “all the nations [Greek ethnos] under heaven” that were gathered in (Acts 2:4-5) and they returned to those “nations” to preach the gospel and would be followed up by Paul preaching to those same nations prior to AD 70.
3). “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world [Greek kosmosand preach the gospel to every creature” 3). “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6)
*One definition of kosmos – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…”
4). “And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15) 4). “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisisunder heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)
*The creation [kitisis] of men – “in rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).”  The creation of men is preached to.
5). “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)

 

5).  “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
*One definition of ge – “The then known lands, regions, territories, countries etc…”

 

It’s no accident that the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to use ALL of the very same Greek words Jesus used to describe the extent of the Great Commission — to proclaim this “end” time sign had already been fulfilled and therefore teach an “at hand” and “about to be” Second Coming and resurrection event (Phil. 3-4:5; Acts 24:15YLT; Rms. 13:11-12). Not sure how else he could have communicated Jesus’ “end” of the age sign had been fulfilled – exactly when Jesus said it would be, within Paul’s contemporary “this generation.”

I believe that Jonah was not just a type of Christ, but perhaps for Peter and Paul as well being instruments of crossing the Jew/Gentile barrier in fulfilling the Great Commission to the nations of the then known world which was similar to the dispersion of the nations in Genesis 10-11.

I will address more of how Acts 2 reverses the curses laid upon the nations in Genesis 10-11 when I address “What about Acts 1:9-11”?  But for now, just some brief typological thoughts.

Many have seen how Jonah was a type of Christ, but I want to explore how the life of Jonah shares some characteristics with “Peter son of Jonah” and Paul also in their mission to reconcile the nations to Christ.  First Christ:

Jonah a type of Christ

 

  • Both preached a message of repentance.
  • Both appeared alive after three days or from “Sheol.”
  • Jonah gave Nineveh 40 days of testing to repent, Jesus gave Israel and the Nations 40 years.
  • Jonah’s mission grants Gentiles salvation, while later bringing judgment upon unrepentant Israel. Jesus’ mission through the Apostles brings salvation to the Gentiles while later bringing judgment upon unrepentant OC Israel in AD 70.
  • Jonah offered a willing substitutionary death (his life for the sailors); while Jesus offered a willing substitutionary death for the Church – those whom He calls in faith to follow Him.

 

In Acts 2, Peter preached to Jews gathered “from every nation under heaven.”  After 3,000 were converted, they would return back to those “nations” with the gospel and share it with others.  Paul would then travel to these nations and further preach and establish the gospel in those nations.

 

Jonah and “Peter son of Jonah”

 

  • The Bible records the sin and pride of both men.
  • Jonah and Peter faced a crisis during a storm.
  • And for our main purpose here – both Jonah and Peter were first to cross Jew/Gentile boundaries.
  • Jonah fled from Joppa to Tarshish in order to flee from going to the Gentiles; while Peter is commissioned to go to Joppa and raise Dorcus and then commissioned back to Joppa to preach and give the Holy Spirit to Cornelius in Acts 9-11.

 

Jonah and Paul:

  • Both were heading to Spain – Jonah 1:3 Jonah fled to Tarshish (in Spain – the end of the world in the ancient world) and Paul wanted to go to Spain/Tarshish, with tradition teaching he did (cf. Rom 15:24, 28).
  • Both sailed on the Mediterranean – Jonah boarded a ship on the Mediterranean to get away from the Lord’s calling (cf. Jonah 1:3) and Paul was led by the Spirit to sail on the Mediterranean to fulfill his (cf. Acts 27:1).
  • Both experience a great storm on the sea – (cf. John 1:4; Acts 27:13-14).
  • Both crews threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship (cf. Jonah 1:4 Acts 27:18).
  • Presence/absence of seeking the Lord’s guidance – Jonah is exhorted by a pagan to pray, while Paul through answer to prayers assures the captain and crew (cf. Jonah 1:6; Acts 27:24).
  • The miraculous sign of the great fish causes the Ninevites to be amazed and plays a part in their repentance while the miraculous sign of Paul being bitten by a poisonous snake play a role in the conversion of crew members and foreigners on an island.

The Churches Great Commission today in the New Covenant age post AD 70 is found in Revelation 22:17 where the “Spirit and the Bride” invite sinners from the darkness outside the New Jerusalem to come through her gates through faith and drink the waters of eternal life.

“Abomination that causes desolation” or “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies its desolation has come near”

 

Let’s compare and look at how Matthew and Luke’s parallel accounts fulfill “the end” of the Old Covenant age “war” and “desolation” of Daniel 9:26-27.  While we have covered this in our chapter on the end time war, it bears repeating:

 

  • “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [the end], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9:26-27).

 

  • “So, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place(let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Mt. 24:15-16).

 

  • “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written” (Lk. 21:20-22).

 

Luke’s account of Daniel’s “desolation” differs slightly from Matthew’s.  Matthew adds “abomination” with “desolation” and “when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place…” whereas Luke’s account only mentions “desolation” and replaces “standing in the holy place” with “seeing Jerusalem surrounded by armies.”  When we first read “holy place” we are tempted to think this is taking place in the Temple itself.  But as John L. Bray points out,

 

“…in the Apocrypha (inter-biblical writings) “the holy place” meant the whole area of the “holy land.”  In 2 Maccabees 2 it said, “As he promised in the law, will shortly have mercy upon us, and gather us together out of very land under heaven into the holy place.”  This included the city and the temple, all of which were looked on as “holy.”  The land was called “holy” (2 Maccabees 1:7), and the city was called holy (2 Maccabees 3:1).

 

Meyer’s Commentary on the New Testament, on Matthew 24:15 says, “Others, and among them de Wette and Baumgarten-Crusius (comp. Weiss on Mark), understand the words as referring to Palestine, especially to the neighborhood of Jerusalem (Schott, Wiesler), or to the Mount of Olives (Bengel), because it is supposed that it would have been too late to seek escape after the temple had been captured, and so the flight of the Christians to Pella took place as soon as the war began” (Meyer, vol. 1, 414-415).

 

By standing in the holy place, or where it ought not, needs not to be understood the temple only, but Jerusalem also, and, any part of the land of Israel (Lardner, 49).”[20]

 

Godet agrees but adds the observation that the slight difference is for Luke’s primarily Gentile audience,

 

“The sign indicated by Luke is the investment of Jerusalem by a hostile army. We see nothing to hinder us from regarding this sign as identical in sense with that announced by Matthew and Mark in Daniel’s words (in the LXX.): the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Why not understand thereby the Gentile standards planted on the sacred soil which surrounds the holy city? Luke has substituted for the obscure prophetic expression a term more intelligible to Gentiles.”[21]

 

Now it is much easier to harmonize Matthew and Luke’s account of Daniel’s abomination that causes or brings about desolation which is connected to the end time war with armies surrounding Jerusalem.  Let me harmonize and summarize:

 

“when you [the disciples and first century Christians] see the abomination of [the Gentile Roman] armies surrounding and standing in/on the holy place of the land of Jerusalem, then know it’s desolation has drawn near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart…”

 

“Great Tribulation”

Luke’s parallel account differs slightly on the great tribulation period as it does on the “abomination that causes desolation,” so let’s compare both and then look at the language of contemporary authors such as Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls:

  • “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt. 24:21).

 

  • “For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Lk. 21:23-24)

 

  • “Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world; for, to speak only of what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives,…[22]

 

  • And it shall be a time of distress…their afflictions there will have been nothing to equal it from its beginning until its end…”[23]

 

Matthew writes, “great tribulation [Greek thlipsis]” while Luke, “great distress [Greek ananke].”  This is easy to harmonize since The Abbott-Smith Lexicon lists the two as synonyms.

 

Both Matthew and Luke’s accounts begin with “For…” which inseparably connect the tribulation/distress with their versions of the “desolation” of Jerusalem and her Temple connected with the same exhortation to flee from Judea to the mountains (Mt. 24:16-21; Lk. 21:21-24).  This is the same historical flight the Christians obeyed when they saw the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem and fled to Pella to escape God’s covenantal wrath upon Jerusalem.  Luke also adds the desolation and tribulation period would be God’s “wrath” upon “this people” (Jews) in their local “land” and not the globe!  This is the same “wrath” that John the Baptist told the Pharisees was “about to” be unleashed upon them in their lifetimes (Mt. 3:7GNT, 10-12).

 

Matthew addressing a Jewish audience, adds some commonly known hyperbole:

 

“…such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt. 24:21).

 

Compare this language with:

 

  • “behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you [Solomon] has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:12)

 

  • He [Hezekiah] trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him (2 Kings 18:5).

 

  • “Before him [Josiah] there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him” (2 Kings 23:25).

 

Is there a contradiction in the Bible as to which King was the greatest in Israel and or had the most loyal heart for God – Solomon, Hezekiah or Josiah, or is this common Hebraic hyperbole to stress that these three Kings were great within the history of Israel and loyal to God?  The later is obviously the case.

 

And even more applicable is the common Hebraic hyperbole connected with historical judgments upon Jerusalem such as:

 

“And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again” (Ezek. 5:9).

 

This was referring to the “Day of the Lord” that was “near” in Ezekiel’s day when God came through Nebuchadnezzar’s armies (cf. 2 Kings 25; Ezek. 7:7; 33:21) to judge Jerusalem and her surrounding nations around 586 BC.  This historical judgment by the Babylonians can help us understand the Olivet Discourse:

 

1).  The “Day of the Lord” judgment was manifested through an invading Gentile army (Babylonians).

2).  These historical judgments were described as God figuratively coming on the clouds (cf. Ezek. 30-32).

3).  There was the darkening of the heavens, sun, moon and stars or de-creation type language (Ezek. 30–32:7-8).

4).  The language of imminence concerning this judgment being “near” and “without delay” is interpreted literally in relationship to the lifetime of the prophet and his contemporaries (Ezek. 7:7ff. 12:25; 30:3).

5).  The prophet uses common Hebraic hyperbole – this judgment was the worst in relation to Israel’s past and future (Ezek. 5:9).

 

This fits perfectly with Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse:

 

1).  The judgment “Day” of the Lord would be manifested through an invading Gentile army (Romans).

2).  This historical judgment was described as Christ figuratively coming upon the clouds.

3).  The sun and moon would not give there light / de-creation language.

4).  The language of imminence such as “near” “this generation” is to be interpreted literally and referring to the fulfillment being within the lifetimes of the Prophets contemporary audience.

5).  The prophet uses common Hebraic hyperbole – this judgment was the worst in relation to Israel’s past and future.

 

“They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations”

 

Luke’s description also depicts the Jews falling by the sword of the Romans and them being led captive.  Adam Clarke gives a good description of this fulfillment as documented by John Bray,

 

“The number of those who fell by the sword was very great.  Eleven hundred thousand perished during the siege.  Many were slain at other places, and other times.”  “Besides those many of every age, sex, and condition, were slain in the war, who are not reckoned; but, of those who are reckoned, the number would have appeared incredible, if their own historian had not so particularly enumerated them.  See Josephus, WAR, book li. C. 18,20; book iii. c. 2,7,8,9; book iv. c. 1,2,7,8,9; book vii. c. 6,9,11; and Bp. Newton, Vol. li. P. 288-290.

 

Many were also lead away captives into all nations.  There were taken at Jotapa, 1,200.  At Tarichea, 6,000 chosen young men, who were sent to Nero; others sold to the number of 39,400, besides those who were given to Agrippa.  Of the Gadarenes were taken 2,200.  In Idumea above 1,000.  Many besides these were taken in Jerusalem; so that, as Josephus says, the number of the captives taken in the whole war amounted to 97,000.  Those above seventeen years of age were sent to the works in Egypt, but most were distributed through the Roman provinces, to be destroyed in their theatres by the sword, and by the wide beasts; and those under seventeen years of age were sold for slaves.”[24]

 

“…and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” 

 

Pat Robertson interprets the “times of the Gentiles” as a sign that took place in 1967 marking the rapture to take place in 2007 – oops,

 

“The year 586 B.C. was the time that Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem, and that condition lasted, …until the Six Day War that took place not too long ago. When did it happen? 1967. …The Jews took over Jerusalem for the first time since Nebuchadnezzar took it. What is the significance of all this?… At this point of time, a clock began to tick. A generation is 40 years, and a clock began to tick that said there’s 40 years from 1967. (http://www.patrobertson.com/Teaching/TeachingonBabylon.asp– 1-21-2010).”[25]

 

Here are some passages that will help us understand Jesus’ words here and how the Jews of His day would have understood them:

 

“The Lord has rejected all my strong men in my midst; He has called an appointed time against me to crush my young men; the Lord has trodden as in a wine press the virgin daughter [Jerusalem] of Judah. [The Jewish Targum adds, “established a time to shatter” “defile the virgins of the House of Judah until their blood…was caused to flow like wine from a wine press when a man is treading grapes and grape-wine flows] (Lam. 1:15).

 

But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations (Gentiles), and they will trample the holy city (Jerusalem) for forty-two months (3 ½ yrs.)” (Rev. 11:2).

 

“…the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So, the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia” (Rev. 14:18-20).

 

Lamentations 1:15 [and the Targum referred to] is looking back at a past event [Babylon’s military desolation of Jerusalem in 586/587BC] as an “appointed time” when the Lord had “trodden” down Jerusalem like grapes crushed in a winepress in which her blood flowed, and she was “shattered.”  This is talking about a very specific and limited time of military treading down of the city not a protracted period of hundreds of years.  Babylon surrounded Jerusalem and the military campaign of treading her down lasted roughly 2-3 years (from 589 BC to 586/587BC).

 

Revelation 11 and Daniel 12 describes the trampling of Jerusalem by Rome (the 4th Gentile Empire in Dan. 2 and 7) as a period of 3 ½ years which would be a “complete shattering of the holy people.”  Therefore, when we compare Scripture with Scripture and honor this event to take place when Jerusalem would be “surrounded by armies” in Jesus’ contemporary generation, the 3 ½ years war (Dan. 9:26-27/12:7) between AD 67 – AD 70 is what Jesus is prophesying of – nothing else – not 1967 nor any other event!

 

Revelation 14:18-20 confirms the treading down of Israel’s land in a winepress with her blood flowing throughout the exact dimensions of the land of Israel.  As John Gill points out on these dimensions is most likely referring to the then known dimensions of the land of Palestine,

 

“…the measure of the land of Israel, and the common notion of it among the Jews, who make it to be the square of four hundred parsoe: hence they often speak of the land of Israel shaking and moving four hundred “parsoe”, upon some extraordinary occasions; and a “parsa” contained four miles, so that four hundred “parsoe” made a thousand and six hundred miles; and if miles and furlongs are the same, in which sense only the land of Israel could be so large, here is the exact space; for Jerom, who was an inhabitant of it, says, it was scarce 160 miles in length, to which agrees R. Menachem; and it may be observed, that the Arabic version renders the words, “by the space of a thousand and six hundred miles.”[26]

 

“These are the days of vengeance to fulfill all that is written”     

 

Some of our Partial Preterist Reformed opponents have attempted to argue that Jesus is only referring to “all” OT prophecies concerning the fall of Jerusalem and not His Second Coming, end of the age, resurrection, etc…. They appeal to Luke 18:31, where Jesus says that when He and His disciples go up to Jerusalem (in about AD 30), “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.”  They argue that since the Second Coming did not occur at that time, it follows that when Jesus says in Luke 21:22 that “all things written” will be fulfilled when Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70, He is referring only to prophetic predictions that concerned the destruction of Jerusalem and not to all eschatological prophecy in general.

 

Of course, no one disagrees with the observation that the context of Luke 18:31 limits “all things written” to prophetic material pertaining to Jesus’ passion. But Partial Preterists assume what they need to prove when they assume that Christ’s coming in Luke 21:27-28 was only “a” coming and is not the “actual Second Coming” which fulfills all prophecy in general.  Reformed Partial Preterists such as Keith A. Mathison or Gary DeMar are having a hard time convincing anyone that Christ’s coming in the Olivet Discourse is not His Second Coming event.

 

Luke here also varies from Matthew’s account in that he adds the events of AD 67 – AD 70 would be the fulfillment of “all that is written” in the OT, while Matthew teaches the abomination of desolation is the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24-27 and Daniel 12:1-7.  These are easily harmonized since these two sections of Daniel encapsulate in a nut-shell, pretty much all of the end of the age eschatological events predicted in the rest of the OT:

 

Daniel 9:24-27 Daniel 12:1-12 Matthew 24/Luke 21
1).  Abomination that causes desolation (9:27). 1).  Great Tribulation & Abomination of Desolation (12:1,2).

 

1).  Great Tribulation & Abomination of Desolation (Mt. 24:15, 21/Lk. 21:20-23)

 

2).  Judgment upon the Jews and City & atonement made (9:24, 26-27).

 

2).  Judgment & Deliverance (12:1).

 

2).  Judgment & Deliverance                   (Mt. 24:13/Lk. 21:18-22, 28).

 

3).  Bring in everlasting righteousness & fulfill all OT vision and prophecy (9:24 – i.e. Isa. 25:6-9; Hos. 13).

 

3).  Resurrection & Evangelism (12:2-3).

 

3). Resurrection, Evangelism & fulfill “all” OT prophecy (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:30-31; Lk. 21:22-32).

 

4).  “The end will come like a flood” (9:26, 27).

 

4).  “The end” or end of the Old Covenant age (Dan. 12:4, 6, 8-9, 13).

 

4).  The end or end of the Old Covenant age (Mt. 24:3, 14).

 

5).  When Fulfilled?

 

a.  Using the Jewish calendar (not Gentile) – within a period of 490 years (10 Jubilees 49/50 years periods of time 10 x 49 or 70 x 7 = 490) from the “word” of Jeremiah and the destruction of the first temple to the second (420 BC – AD 70 = 490).

 

b.  The prophecy of the 70 7’s ends w/ the abomination of desolation – which is the main sign Jesus gives (Lk. 21:20-24/Mt. 24:15ff.).

 

5).  When Fulfilled?  “All these things” (vss. 1-7) will be fulfilled:

 

a.  “Far off” from Daniel

 

b.  In a “3.5 years” time frame.

 

c.  “When the power (the Old Covenant) of the holy people (1st. century Jews) is completely shattered.”

 

 

 

5).  When Fulfilled?  “All these things” (Mt. 24:34/Lk. 21:32) would be fulfilled:

 

a.  “Near” in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”

 

b.  “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,” it’s
“desolation” will be near
& be the “times of the Gentiles” (or 3.5 yrs. – AD 67 – AD 70) when “Jerusalem is trampled” under their feet (cf. Lk. 21:20, 24/Rev. 11:1-2, 8ff.).

 

 

 

Since it is agreed upon that the book of Revelation is John’s version of the Olivet Discourse and that it has more references to OT prophecies than any NT document, is it in line with Jesus’ teaching that “all that is written” in the OT would be fulfilled by AD 70?

 

In the book of Revelation, it is said from beginning to the end (Rev. 1:1; 22:6–7, 10–12, 20) that the prophecy of this book (not prophecies of books) would be fulfilled “shortly.” Those soon-to-be-fulfilled prophecies included the Second Coming, the resurrection of the living and the dead, the judgment, the passing of the first heavens and earth and the arrival of the new heavens and the new earth—in other words, literally “all things written.”

 

In Revelation 10:6-7 we learn that there would be “no more delay” to the blowing of the seventh trumpet (the last trumpet) ushering in the maturing and fulfilling of the mystery of God as predicted by “His servants and the prophets.”  Paul identifies this “mystery” as the Jew/Gentile one New Covenant Body (cf. Ephs. 3), of which he proclaimed being predicted in the “prophetic writings” (or OT Scriptures).   Therefore, Revelation is consistent with Jesus in Luke 21:22 in that “all” that had been written in the OT prophetic Scriptures would be imminently fulfilled by AD 70.

 

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

 

Peter’s eschatology is in line with Jesus’, John’s, and Paul’s.  Per Peter his contemporaries were living in Israel’s “last days” “crooked and perverse generation” that Moses said would witness the “near” “end” of Israel, and that is why Peter said, “the end of all things is near” (Deut. 32=Acts 2:40=1 Pet. 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 3).  Peter is very clear in telling his contemporaries that all the OT prophets spoke of a fulfillment and eschatological “inheritance” “ready to be revealed” for them at an “at hand” resurrection and judgment event (1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7, 17).

 

What About a Double Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse?

 

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

 

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

 

Ken Gentry who is a Partial Preterist, teaches that the time texts of the New Testament “demand” a fulfillment in AD 70, and that the theory of “double fulfilling” the book of Revelation for example, is “pure theological assertion” that has “no exegetical warrant.”[27]

 

Another Partial Preterist Gary DeMar, rejects openness to the double fulfillment theory here in the Olivet Discourse:

 

“Either the Olivet Discourse applies to a generation located in the distant future from the time the gospel writers composed the Olivet Discourse or to the generation to whomJesus was speaking; it can’t be a little bit of both. As we will see, the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in any of the synoptic gospels does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion. Matthew 24:34 won’t allow for it.”[28]

 

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

While I agree with the Partial Preterist comments on the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation not being “double fulfilled,” I disagree with these men that the coming of Christ in Revelation and Matthew 24:27-31 “is not the actual Second Coming event.”

 

Apocalyptic language – “The stars shall fall from heaven” and “the Son of Man coming on the clouds”

 

The first thing that we need to take note of is that the de-creation language of Matthew 24:29 is associated with the same time-frame and events of the tribulation, distress, abomination, desolation, the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem, wrath upon the Jews and the flight of the Christians from Judea to Pella – in that it says, “immediately after those days…”. And the coming of the Son of Man in verse 30 begins with “then” also connecting all of these events together in the unfolding events of AD 67 – AD 70.  There is no gap of thousands of years between these events.

 

God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven (de-creation language), as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors or symbolic language referring to in-time historical judgments of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet.  This can be seen in such O.T. passages referring to the fall of Babylon (cf. Isa. 13:6), Egypt (cf. Ezek. 30:2-3), Idumea, Bozrah and all the local nations of that time (cf. Isa. 34), a shaking of the then known nations through Darius King of Persia (cf. Hag. 2:6); Judah and Israel (cf. Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Zeph. 1:7, 14; Zech. 14:1; Psalm 18; Psalm 104; Hab. 1:2ff.).  Just a few examples, did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.:

 

“Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)?

 

Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven to earth when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in the OT:

 

“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment” (Isa. 34:4-5)?

 

Another striking passage is found in Jeremiah 4 concerning the judgment of Jerusalem in 586BC:

 

“I looked at the earth/land, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone.  I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.  I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away.  I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger.  This is what the Lord says: “The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.  Therefore, the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.”  At the sound of horsemen and archers every town takes to flight.  Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks.  All the towns are deserted; no one lives in them.  What are you doing, O devastated one?  Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold?  Why shade your eyes with paint?  You adorn yourself in vain.  Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.  I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child— the cry of the Daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, “Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers” (Jer. 4:23-31).

 

Jeremiah is reaching back into Genesis 1-2 and applying that language to the de-creation of Jerusalem (as John will do in Rev. 21-22).  As we pointed out before, Old Covenant Israel understood her land and covenant to be a “heaven” and “earth,” and here they are being desolated through an in-time local judgment that sounds as if it is the destruction of the globe and or the end of world history.

 

Most Evangelical Zionists are clueless that for centuries older and modern commentaries describe the de-creation language and coming of Christ in Matthew 24/Luke 21/Mark 13 as common apocalyptic language that was fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  John Bray’s book, Matthew 24 Fulfilled offers the most documentation of Christians commentators (past and present) that I know of.  I will offer just a few examples.  Quoting N. Nisbett on the de-creation language of Matthew 24:29,

 

[T]his language was borrowed from the ancient hieroglyphics:  for as in hieroglyphic writing, the sun, moon, and stars were used to represent states and empires, kings, queens, and nobility; their eclipse and extinction, temporary disasters or overthrow, &c. so in like manner, the holy prophets call kings and empires by names of the heavenly luminaries; their misfortunes and overthrow are represented by eclipses and extinction; stars falling from the firmament are employed to denote the destruction of the nobility, &c. (Warburton’s Divine Legation, vol. 2, book 4, section 4, quoted by N. Nisbett, Our Lord’s Prophecies of the Destruction of Jerusalem, 22-23).”[29]

 

Adam Clarke after addressing the historical judgments and apocalyptic language of Isaiah 13:9-10; Ezek. 32:7-8 goes on to address,

 

“The destruction of the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes is represented by casting down some of the host of heaven, and the stars to the ground.  See Dan. Viii. 10.

 

And this very destruction of Jerusalem is represented by the Prophet Joel, chap ii. 30, 31 by showing wonders in heaven and in earth—darkening the sun, and turning the moon into blood.  This general mode of describing these judgments leaves no room to doubt the propriety of its application in the present case (Adam Clarke, commentary on Matthew 24:29).”[30]

 

As we have seen the context in Matthew 23-24 is the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple.  The sun, moon, and stars represented the universe of Israel and her rulers which would fall from her covenantal significance by AD 70 for rejecting Christ and His Apostles and prophets (cf. Matthew 23:31-36).

 

Reformed and Puritan theologian John Owen had this to say of the de-creation language in Matthew 24:29,

“And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world.  So, Isa. 34:4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom.  And our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24, he sets it out by expressions of the same importance.  It is evident then, that, in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by ‘heavens’ and ‘earth’, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood”[31]

John L. Bray correctly writes of the stars falling from the heavens of Matthew 24:29:

“Jewish writers understood the light to mean the law; the moon, the Sanhedrin; and the stars, the Rabbis.”[32]

“Heaven and earth will pass away”

So far, we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the Old Covenant age in vs. 3, the stars falling from the heavens in vs. 29 to be the religious and civil rulers falling from the places of power when Jerusalem and her Temple was destroyed in AD 70, but what of verse 35 which addresses the “heaven and earth” passing away? Surely that is referring to the end of planet Earth?  Once again, we must follow a contextual, grammatical and historical hermeneutic that is within the Christian church to help understand this too can be referring to the Old Covenant heavens and earth and it’s Temple.

While not a Preterist, G.K. Beale’s research indicates,

“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.”[33]

Reformed theologian John Brown in identifying the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 writes:

“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.”[34]

Commentators are correct to identify the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 5:18) as the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 24:35), but the context of both point us to the Old Covenant system passing away and not the planet earth. According to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-18 if heaven and earth (and all OT prophecy) have not passed away (or been fulfilled), then we are currently under all of the “jots and tittles” of the Old Covenant Law.

And now specifically of the passing of heaven and earth here in our text, Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:

“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . .  [T]he principal reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology.”[35]

 

Indeed, the Temple was set forth as a creation of heaven and earth:

 

Day Creation Tabernacle
Day 1 Heavens are stretched out like a curtain (Ps. 104:2) Tent (Exod.26:7)
Day 2 Firmament (Gen. 1:2) Temple veil (Exod.26:33)
Day 3 Waters below firmament Laver or bronze sea (Exod. 30:18)
Day 4  Lights (Gen.1:14) Light stand (Exod. 25:31)
Day 5  Birds (Gen. 1:20) Winged cherubim (Exod. 25:20)
Day 6  Man (Gen. 1:27) Aaron the high priest (Exod. 28:1)
Day 7 Cessation (Gen. 2:1)

Blessing (Gen. 2:3)

Completion (Gen.2:2)

Cessation (Exod. 39:32)

Mosaic blessing (Exod. 39:43

Completion (Exod. 39:43)[36]

 

Jesus nor any NT writer ever predicted the end of the planet earth or world history as is simply assumed by so many here in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and elsewhere in the NT.

When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, 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 by mediaplayer”” o:button=”t” style=”width: 10pt; height: 10pt; visibility: visible;”> 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.  The Full Preterist combines the two competing “orthodox” views on the coming of the Lord and de-creation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 to form a consistently exegetical and historical position:

Major Premise – Classic Amillennial: The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the ONE second coming event and the de-creation spoken of here is referring to the end of the current age or end of world history.

Minor Premise – Partial Preterist View:  But the coming of the Son of Man happened spiritually and the end of age, de-creation of verses 3, 29 and 35 are descriptive of the passing of the Old Covenant creation/age and establishing the New Covenant age by AD 70.

Conclusion – Full Preterist View:  (Synthesis of above views – “Reformed and always reforming”): Therefore, the coming of the Son of Man is the ONE Second Coming event fulfilled spiritually, with the end of the age and de-creation language spoken of in verses 3, 29, 35 referring to the Old Covenant creation/age passing away in the events of AD 67 – AD 70, while  establishing the New.

Having given an exegetical and orthodox/historical evidence that the Olivet Discourse predicts the end of the Old Covenant age/heavens and earth and Christ’s coming upon the clouds is common apocalyptic language of God coming through an invading army (the Romans) in the events of AD 67 – AD 70, let’s dig a little deeper into the coming of Christ texts mentioned in Matthew 24:27 and verses 30-31.

“As lightning [or sun light] comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man”

Matthew 24:27 is usually interpreted by Futurists, Partial Preterists and many Full Preterists to mean Christ’s coming here is as “lightning.”  Preterists who see Christ coming as “lighting” here describe Christ coming through the means of the Roman armies to be sudden and quick like lightning – which very well may be true.[37] But there are other Partial Preterists and Full Preterists like myself that believe Jesus’ Second Coming (Greek parousia) here is being described as the sun with its light shining for flashing from east to west.

 

I agree with Partial Preterist author Steve Gregg that translators have done as a disservice on this text,

 

“The word “lightning” is the Greek astrape. This word is in fact, the correct term for lightning, but this is not always it’s meaning.  When defined in the lexicons, astrape is said to mean either “lightning” or, more generally, “bright shining.”  It is in this latter sense that the word is used in Luke 11:36—“If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining [astrape] of a lamp gives you light.”

 

Interestingly, the same translators who rendered astrape as “lightning,” in Matthew 24:27, quite reasonably chose to translate the same word as “bright shining,” in Luke 11:36, where it refers to the brightness radiating from a light source.  But what prevented them from translating the word this way in Matthew 24:27?  Would it not present a very different image if Jesus were to have said, “For as the bright shning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be”?  Instead of a lightning bolt, this would clearly be comparing His coming to a glorious sunrise!”

 

If one should arise before the dawn and watch the eastern horizon, the sky will be observed to change from nearly black to a lighter blue.  On the edge of the horizon a ribbon of red-orange will gradually appear, and the whole sky will become progressively lighter and lighter, nearly like daytie even before the upper rim of the sun is visible.  Within seconds, the sun will fully present itself, and the dawning of the day is complete.”[38]

 

“…the Kingdom’s glory will increase more and more until the moment Jesus appears…”[39]

 

Christ’s parousia (presence) here and the Greek word associated with it astrape, is making reference to Christ’s presence and Kingdom being manifested “within the hearts” of His people in AD 70 using the illustration of the sun’s rays shining “from east and flashing to the west” (see my exegesis of Luke 17:20-37). And it seems to me that there may be a contrast being made between the false prophets and messiah’s hiding in a dark secretive “inner room” of the Temple in the previous verse, with Christ being revealed openly and dramatically as the sun and daylight itself is.

 

Christ’s salvation manifested in both His first and Second Coming events are referred to as Him coming as the “Sun,” or associated with the “day” bringing “healing” or as the “morning star dawning” presence within the hearts of His people:

 

  • “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (Mal. 4:2).

 

  • And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; or you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk. 1:78-79).

 

  • “Besides this you know the time, 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).

 

  • “…as a light that shines in a dark place, until theday dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19).

 

  • “…I will give Himthe morning star” (Rev. 2:28).

 

  • I am the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16).

 

Malachi 3:1—4:1-6:

“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. 2 But for you who fear my name, the SUN of Righteousness shall rise with healing in its rays/wings. You shall go out … leaping like calves from the stall…”5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah (John) the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 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 imminent 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.

Ellicott’s has some helpful comments,

“The fathers and early commentators have understood Christ by the Sun of Righteousness, and they are so far right that it is the period of His advent that is referred to…”. “As the rising sun diffuses light and heat, so that all that is healthy in nature revives and lifts up its head, while plants that have no depth of root are scorched up and wither away, so the advent of the reign of righteousness, which will reward the good and the wicked, each according to his deserts…”[40]

John Gill writes,

“…Christ: and thus it is interpreted of him by the ancient Jews, in one of their Midrashes or expositions (a); they say… until the Messiah comes, as it is said, “unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise”, &c.; and Philo the Jew (b) not only observes, that God, figuratively speaking, is the sun; but the divine “Logos” or Word of God, the image of the heavenly Being, is called the sun; who, coming to our earthly system, helps the kindred and followers of virtue, and affords ample refuge and salvation to them; referring, as it seems; to this passage: indeed, they generally interpret it of the sun, literally taken, which they suppose, at the end of the world, will have different effects on good and bad men; they say (c), “in the world to come, God will bring the sun out of its sheath, and burn the wicked; they will be judged by it, and the righteous will be healed by it:’’[41]

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.”[42]

 

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.”[43]

So, we learn from the ancient Jewish commentators and Christian commentators that Christ coming as the “Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2 is:

 

1).  Understood to be Messianic.

2).  It is the Second Coming event.

3).  It was Christ coming spiritually in salvation for the Christians (an inner spiritual infusion of imputed righteousness) while at the same time a physical salvation or flight to Pella—while being a judgment of fire burning up the wicked in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

All three of these the author defends to be true and applicable to achieving the goals of this work.

 

The other references to Christ being the Morning Star at His Second Coming event manifesting His inner salvation within the hearts of His people as an “inheritance ready to be revealed” or to receive His “soon” reward/presence in the New Creation at His “soon” spiritual Second Coming in AD 70 – the author also fully agrees with (Rev. 2:16, 28–Rev. 22:7-16).  Again, the commentators are divided as to if the coming of Christ and inheritance of Christ being the “Morning Star” was received at His spiritual “soon” coming in AD 70 or will be fulfilled at the Second Coming.  This of course is not an “either or” but a “both and” Futurist dilemma which Full Preterism solves.

 

And of course, the “Sun of RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Mal. 4:2) caused us to “inherit” the New Covenant “world of RIGHTEOUSNESS” when He fully arose in the hearts of His people – described as the “salvation of the soul” (1 Pet. 1:4-12/4:5-7; 2 Pet. 1:19/2 Pet. 3).

 

Paul likewise taught that Christ’s Second Coming being and “at hand” was the “Day” light and life for Christians in the New Covenant age in AD 70 while the “night” of the Old Covenant age was passing away – had to do with the “salvation” of inner forgiveness and not the transformation of physical bodies at the end of world history (Rms. 11:26-27/13:11-12).

 

Here in our text (Mt. 24:27), the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon gives astrape, the meaning of a “bright light” so the question arises as to what great light is Jesus referring to – lightning or the sun?  The Greek word for “shine” is phaino which according to the Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon can mean, “of growing vegetation, to come to light.”  Well, is there a “bright light” that causes “vegetation to grow” that shines “from east to west”?  To me the great light being the sun and it is shining from the east to the west giving light and life to the Church as His garden in salvation makes more sense than Him coming as lightning – which is generally speaking more north to south.

Jesus would not be revealing Himself in some dark inner secret room of the Temple as the false Messiah’s and prophets would shamefully be doing, for they were of the darkness, but on that day, “they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none beside me.  I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:6; 19-25; cf. Mal.1:1, 4:1-2, 5-6).

Perhaps a type of eternal life can be found in Joshuah10:12-14 when God listened to Joshua and the sun stood still. Every day in the new creation is a day without darkness or bearing the reproach of our sins (Isa. 60:19-20; Rev. 21:23-26).  In Joshua’s day this miracle was a sign to all that Jehovah was fighting for Israel. When those who are in darkness outside the gates of the City look at your life and see the joy, light, and warmth of God’s presence radiating from your inner being, God uses this to cause His elect to crave this enduring light and righteousness that can only come from your Lord.

 

This also serves to harden the reprobate – as the sun melts the wax and hardens the clay. In Joshuah’s day this was a sign that the Lord was fighting for Israel and today Christ’s presence and eternal Day within His Church demonstrates that nothing will ever be able to withstand her.

As plants receive life from the sun’s light and energy through photosynthesis, so the Church receives eternal life from Christ alone. In union with Christ, the Church becomes the leaves on the Tree of Life and the Light of the New Jerusalem/Creation brings healing to the nations of the world.  It is the light and living waters of the gospel preached to sinners that serves as “special revelation” to a thirsty sinner’s soul.  No luminary lights of the physical creation can fully demonstrate the righteous ways of God!  Only Christ and His Church serving as a heavenly Kingdom can bring the revelation needed for sinners to be saved.  Without the “Sun of Righteousness” the light and glory of God’s imputed righteousness beaming in upon the heart and mind of man, all is lost. The world truly does revolve around the “Sun/Son of Righteousness.”

 

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mt. 24:30-31)

 

Before beginning an exegesis of our text, let’s first point out a similar passage where again Jesus promises that His contemporaries (the religious rulers) could live to witness Him coming upon the clouds in judgment:

 

“And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”  But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. “Then, the sign, of the Son of Man in heaven” (Mt. 26:62-64).

 

The first thing we need to point out is that the de-creation of the preceding verse 29 which begins with “immediately after those days (the distress/tribulation and wrath upon the land and their flight from Judea)…” and verse 30 begins with “then” – demonstrating all these events transpire together and that there is no gap of thousands of years between them.

Some commentators such as Hofman or Meyer’s thought the sign here was possibly when Josephus discusses that Jews during the AD 67 – AD 70 time-frame, saw an apparition of a glorious man in the clouds above the temple while Jerusalem was under siege,

“R. Hofman thinks that the reference is to that apparition in the form of a man which is alleged to have stood over the holy of holies for a whole night while the destruction of the capital was going on (Meyer’s Commentary on the New Testament, vol. 1, 423).”[44]

Sepher Yosippon (with Steven B. Bowman translating the Hebrew) writes of this event mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus,

“…Now it happened after this that there was seen from above the over the Holy of Holies for the whole night the outline of a man’s face, the like of whose beauty had never been seen in all the land, and his appearance was quite awesome.  Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire.”[45]

And

“When the holiday of Shavu’oth came in those days, during the night the priests heard within the Temple something like the sound of men going and the sound of men marching in a multitude going into the Temple, and a terrible and mighty voice was heard speaking: ‘Let’s go and leave this House.”[46]

Here is another description of the same event from another source,

“Also, after many days a certain figure appeared of tremendous size, which many saw, just as the books of the Jews [Yosippon?] have disclosed, and before the setting of the sun there were suddenly seen in the clouds chariots and armed battle arrays, by which the cities of all Judaea and its territories were invaded.”[47]

Others point out that the Greek of the text is not referring to a sign is in the sky, but rather the destruction of the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple by the invading Roman armies is the actual sign that the Son of Man was sitting at the right hand of the Father and ruling in heaven.  Keith Mathison writes,

“The Greek text of this verse does not state that the Son of the Man will appear in the heavens.  Rather, what appears is the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.  In other words, the destruction of the Jerusalem will be the sign that the Son of Man, who prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, is in heaven.”[48]

Marcellus Kik similarly writes,

“One must note that the verse speaks of a “sign” and not of the personal appearance of Christ Himself.  If Christ had referred to his visible coming in the heavens, he would have said, “And then shall appear the Son of man in heaven.”  But he prophesied the appearance of a sign of the Son of Man who dwells in heaven.

To what sign did Christ have reference?  This had been the question of the disciples:  “Tell us, when shall these things be?  And what shall be the sign of they coming, and of the end of the age?”  Christ had informed them of the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, and when they asked, “when shall these things be?” he indicated to them the sign of his coming and the end of the pre-Messianic age.  The sign of the passing away of the pre-Messianic age and the beginning of the Messianic reign was the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple.  As the old dispensation passed away, the sign would introduce the new dispensation.”[49]

“…and then all the tribes of the earth/land will mourn,…”

Many assume the entire “tribe” of the globe of mankind and or all nations of the globe therein is supposed to physically see Jesus return someday because many translations translate the Greek word ge as “tribes of the earth” instead of correctly translating it, “tribes of the land” as the International Standard Version and Darby Bible Translation correctly have and can be seen the local land of Palestine in the following texts – Matthew 2:6, 20; 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 4:25; 21:23; John 3:22; Acts 7:3.

The Greek word here for “tribes” is phule and is another clear link to the tribes of Israel in the local “land” of Palestine which is the subject of the coming of the Son of Man and not a global event.  Jesus’ OT reference here is to Zechariah 12:10-12 and in that context the mourning involves the “tribe of David,” “tribe of Nathan,” “tribe of Levi,” “tribes of Shimeites” and are connected to a “mourning in Jerusalem.”  Again, the subject matter concerns the are the tribes of Israel that are in view not the globe.

I would agree with Russell who points out when ge (land) and phule (tribes) are used together as they are here, “…its limitation to the land of Israel is obvious…” “restricted,” and “undisputed.”[50]

 

D.A. Carson connecting Matthew 24:30 with Revelation 1:7, 6:15-17 points out that “most scholars” agree that the “mourning” involved here is that of “despair, not repentance.”[51]

 

Since both Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 draw from and are the fulfillment of Zachariah 12:10 and both are seen to be the same eschatological event, we should give it too a brief exegesis at this point.

 

“Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the land. Yes! Amen!” (Rev. 1:7 YLT DARBY).

 

The immediate context tells us that the content of Revelation (thus Rev. 1:7) would be fulfilled “shortly” and within John’s contemporary audience (the seven churches in Asia – Rev. 1:1).

 

Contextually, “every eye” that sees Him are “even those who did pierce him” – that is “all the tribes of the land.”  So, those that “see” Him coming upon the clouds are first century Jews who by their own hands crucified Christ (Acts 2:23).

 

The Greek word for “see” is horao and has the meaning, “of mental and spiritual perception perceive, take note, recognize, find out (AC 8.23);[52] to see with the mind, to perceive, know. 3 to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience.[53]

 

We use this same sense or definition of see as perceive or understand today – “do you see (understand) what I’m saying?”

 

These first century Jews would understand and perceive that Christ was coming upon them in judgment, just as He said He would and as God had come upon the clouds judging their Nation in the past (i.e. the Babylonians, Assyrians, etc.).

 

Josephus, records the Jews saying, “the Son cometh” as the Romans hurled 100 pound boulders over the walls to crush the Jews.[54]

 

Theses apostate Jews knew of Christ pronouncing that they would see him coming upon the clouds of heaven to judge them through the Roman armies and had heard the NT authors proclaim the same message.  Even before they killed James in around AD 63 James once again uttered,

 

“And he answered with a loud voice, Why, do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven.’”[55]

 

The Church understood Christ and the Kingdom had “already come” in power (Mrk. 8:38—9:1) when looking back upon their deliverance from the destruction of Jerusalem, and the apostate Jews “saw” and understood this event to be their doom (mockery or not).  In spite of knowing His predictions, they believed the false prophets predictions until the end–that God would deliver them from the Romans and establish their earthly carnal kingdom.  They would not have Christ rule over them, so they were “slain before Him” (Lk. 19:14-27).

 

Jesus’ OT sources for Matthew 24:30

 

As we have previously seen in Luke 21:22-32, Jesus states very clearly that all OT scripture would be fulfilled and brought to maturity in His contemporary “this generation.”  Therefore, we should look at two of those OT passages Jesus is drawing upon here in Matthew 24:30:  1).  Zechariah 12 – 14 and 2).

 

Zechariah 12 – 14

 

1).  A gathering and siege of Jerusalem by the surrounding nations takes place (Zech. 12:2-3 = Lk. 21:20-22).

 

2).  Judgment of the Nations takes place while Jerusalem (the remnant or New Jerusalem) is saved (Zech. 12:7-9 = Lk. 21:27-28; Mt. 25:31-46).

 

3).  They look upon Jesus whom the Jews had pierced and mourn (Zech. 12:11-12 = Mt. 24:30).

The false prophets and demons are cleansed and judged from the land (Zech. 12:2-3 = Mt. 23—25:31-46).

 

4).  In that day the Lord would prepare a way of escape for the righteous remnant (Zech. 14:4 = Lk. 21:20-22).

 

5).  This day is only known by the LORD (Zech. 14:6 = Mt. 24:36).

 

6).  There is always light (Zech. 14:7=Mt. 24:27/Lk. 21:30-32/Rev. 21:25; 22:5-7) —Christ comes as the Sun/Son and His light shines from east to west and is the light of the New Jerusalem that never ceases in the kingdom.

 

7).  Living waters of salvation or redemption flow from the New Jerusalem when the King and the Kingdom arrive (Zech. 14:8-9=Lk. 21:27-32/Rev. 11; 21-22:7-17).

The Last 3 eschatological Fall Feasts of Zechariah 12-14 (Trumpets / Ingathering / Day of Atonement) fulfilled by AD 70

I agree with Premillennial Zionist Dr. Michael Brown that we can see the last three eschatological feasts of Israel between Zechariah 12-14.[56]  But since these Feasts are a part of the Mosaic Law (cf. Lev. 23/Cols. 2) they had to have been fulfilled by AD 70 or the Church remains under “all” of the Mosaic Law (cf. Mt. 5:17-18) in observing it’s feasts, sacrifices and sabbaths – all of which formed it.

 

Pastor David Curtis explains these three feasts – Trumpets, Ingathering and Tabernacles

 

“There were “ten days of awe and repentance” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Israel’s redemption) – which was to be in preparation for the time of judgment. During the 10 days they would prepare their hearts for the judgment when the “books were opened.” But they didn’t know when it would take place (the “day and hour”) because the “new moon” had to be visible before the trumpet would sound and the feast to take place. The High Priest would send three witnesses on three different mountains to look for the moon to be visible emerging from the clouds so that the trumpet and atonement process could be finished for the year. There were “ten days of awe and repentance” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Israel’s redemption) – which was to be in preparation for the time of judgment. During the 10 days they would prepare their hearts for the judgment when the “books were opened.” But they didn’t know when it would take place (the “day and hour”) because the “new moon” had to be visible before the trumpet would sound and the feast to take place. The High Priest would send three witnesses on three different mountains to look for the moon to be visible emerging from the clouds so that the trumpet and atonement process could be finished for the year. There were “ten days of awe and repentance” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Israel’s redemption) – which was to be in preparation for the time of judgment. During the 10 days they would prepare their hearts for the judgment when the “books were opened.” But they didn’t know when it would take place (the “day and hour”) because the “new moon” had to be visible before the trumpet would sound and the feast to take place. The High Priest would send three witnesses on three different mountains to look for the moon to be visible emerging from the clouds so that the trumpet and atonement process could be finished for the year.  It was the ONLY feast of which it was said, “But of that day and hour knows no man…”.[57]

The Day of Atonement looks back at the sacrifice of Christ in His first coming (the first 4 spring feasts) but also anticipated Christ as the Church’s High Priest returning a “second time” out of the Temple to apply His blood and salvation to the eagerly awaiting congregation. This “Second Appearing” is described in Hebrews to take place in the last days of Israel’s Old Covenant age and thus “in a very little while” and would “not tarry” and thus by AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28—10:37).

Curtis continues explaining the Feast Tabernacles,

“The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is not just a harvest celebration, but the time when Solomon completed and dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 5:1-3). It took Solomon 20 years to compete the Temple (1 Kings 9:10) and when it was finished and dedicated to God, the shekinah glory filled God’s House so strong that the priests could not stand to minister (2 Chron. 5:13-14).

During Sukkot 70 bulls were sacrificed daily according to the pattern designed by King David and carried out by his son Solomon. The nations of the world are connected to the Feast of Tabernacles through Solomon’s dedication of God’s Temple during Sukkot with his sacrificing of 70 bulls. God had originally disinherited the seventy nations of the world in Genesis 10-11, but through Israel being a light to the Nations, they once again would be united to Messiah and He would bring them to the New Jerusalem for healing. Add to this that Zechariah 14:16-17 speaks of a time when the nations, which came against Jerusalem, go up year to year to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Hosts during the Feast of Tabernacles, else they won’t receive a physical and spiritual refreshing of rain.”[58]

Some have given good evidence that Jesus was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Jn. 1:14) and circumcised on the eighth day of Sukkot. If so, perhaps John is using the Feast of Tabernacles to be two theological bookends in describing Christ’s First and Second Comings. He came from heaven to earth and “pitched his booth/tent” among us, and in AD 70 He brought His heavenly presence (kingdom of heaven) to be “within” us as His Most Holy Place Temple/City at His parousia – again, during the Feast of Tabernacles when He destroyed the Old Covenant Temple and established the New in September of AD 70 (Lk. 17:20-37/Jn. 14:2-3, 23, 29/Rev. 21:16–22:17).

Just as we saw in Isaiah 2-3 that in Israel’s “last days” and at the “day of the Lord,” there would be a godly remnant of survivors and the nations would begin to flow to Zion or the New Jerusalem to receive healing through the gospel.  This is exactly what Zechariah 12-14, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation 21-22 teach us.  In AD 70 at the trumpet call God gathered all of His Elect Jew/Gentile into His Kingdom and then post AD 70 the nations continue to be gathered within the New Jerusalem to drink of the Living Waters.

 

Daniel 7:13

 

Our other OT fulfillment or echo Jesus is appealing to in His coming upon the clouds in Matthew 24:30 is Daniel 7:13.

 

Many assume Daniel 7:13 is the ascension event and somehow Jesus is applying it to both His ascension and His coming in AD 70.  I personally believe Christ and the NT authors are following the (OG) LXX where Christ is coming “as” the Ancient of Days and not “up to” the Ancient of Days.  But for the sake of argument, let’s look at other concepts that could be seen as Christ coming “up” to the Ancient of Days that is not the ascension, but connected with Christ’s parousia in AD 70, then I will present my view.

 

The presentation of the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13 is perhaps a reference to Christ in His Parousiadelivering up the kingdom (“the saints”) to the Father (“the Ancient of Days”) in AD 70.

 

“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Cor. 15:24).

 

Or perhaps “the Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13 signifies the Body of Christ (the saints, “the fullness of Christ”) in His Parousia (Eph. 4:13). In this view, the universal church (“the New Man,” “the Son of Man”) was presented to Christ (“the Ancient of Days”) and united with Him in the end of the age, in His Parousia in AD 70 (2 Cor. 4:14; 11:2; Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22, 28; Jude 1:24).

 

However, my preferred interpretation is similar to that of F.F. Bruce.  According to the Old Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man came “as the Ancient of Days” on the clouds of heaven, not “to the Ancient of Days.”  This translation is in harmony with verse 22, which says that it was the Ancient of Days Himself who came in judgment and gave the saints the kingdom.  Also, the New Testament does not give the slightest hint that “the coming of the Son of Man” on the clouds of heaven would be fulfilled in the Ascension.  Keil and Delitzch  points out that Daniel 7:13-14 is addressing Christ coming down in the Second Coming event,

 

“…it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth. If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4; 104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14.”[59]

 

It is also important to point out that John in the book of Revelation alludes to Daniel 7:9, 13 in his description of Christ as both the Son of Man who comes on the clouds to judge those who had pierced Him (first century Jews) and as the eternal Ancient of Days in Revelation 1:7, 13-16.  Again, the context concerns Christ’s “soon” (Rev. 1:1) Second Coming, not His Ascension.

 

And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Mt. 24:31)

 

The Futurist system is conflicted over our passage.  Some teach the coming of Christ here was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, while others say this could be a problem for their creedal system in that the analogy of faith teaches us this coming of Christ is the same as that of 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4.

 

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 Postmillennialists such as Mathison and DeMar 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.”

 

This is more than a bit odd since R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison believe and teach the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 (and Mathison 25:31) was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 – and yet we learn in their own Study Bible these passages “most naturally refer to the Second Coming”!

 

John Murray appealing to the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation in examining this passage also correctly observes,

 

“There is ample allusion to the sound of the trumpet and to the ministry of angels elsewhere in the New Testament in connection with Christ’s advent (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).  Hence verse 31 can most readily be taken to refer to the gathering of the elect at the resurrection.”[60]

 

 

Some Partial Preterists while admitting the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, have thought the gathering of the elect here refers to a post AD 70 evangelism, when in fact the analogy of faith principle of interpretation teaches us that this is the resurrection event to take place at the end of the Old Covenant age.  Let’s pay attention to another passage where Jesus mentions the eschatological “gathering” and judgment that was to take place at the “end of the age” is the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3:

 

  • “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt. 13:39-43)

 

The parallels between Matthew 13; Matthew 24 forming the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12 cannot be denied by any honest exegete of holy Scripture:

 

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

 

Premillennial Zionists claim there are two future physical resurrections – one before the thousand years millennial period and another after that period.  But Daniel and Jesus teach there is only one judgment / resurrection / separation for both believers and unbelievers at the end of the Old Covenant age in Daniel 12; Matthew 13 and Matthew 24 – along with John 5.

 

Unfortunately, Pre-tribulational Zionists also believe there are two different comings or two phases of one coming separated by seven years.  They give two main arguments.

 

The first “argument” is that Christ must come in a “secret rapture” “for” Christians separated by seven years.  After this, then the Second Coming is fulfilled when Christ comes “with” the Church.  The “rapture” coming is for the Church while the Second Coming is for Israel to fulfill and bring God’s kingdom and millennial promises for her to earth.

 

The second “argument” is that the Second Coming is a “sign-less” coming while the “rapture” could happen at any time.

Mark Hitchcock presents this “argument”:

“The rapture is an imminent, signless event, which, from the human perspective, could occur at any moment.  But contrast, the Second Coming will be preceded by many signs (see Matthew 24:1-29).  The same event cannot logically be both signless and yet portended by numerous signs.  This is flatly contradictory.”[61]

And looking for support he appeals to John MacArthur,

“Scripture suggests that the Second Coming occurs in two stages—first the Rapture, when He comes for His saints and they are caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), and second, His return to earth, when He comes with His saints (Jude 14) to execute judgment on His enemies.  Daniel’s seventieth week must fall between those two events.  That is the only scenario that reconciles the immanency of Christ’s coming for His saints with the yet unfulfilled signs that signal His final glorious return with the saints.”[62]

 

Early founders of Dispensational Zionist eschatology such as John Nelson Darby and William E. Blackstone back as early as 1925 cited Matthew 24:36-42 arguing for the rapture, so we will add it here to make the system’s support for the two-coming theory:

 

No signs before “rapture” “for” saints Signs before Second Coming “with” saints
Matthew 24:36-42 Matthew 13:41 / Matthew 24:27-31
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Luke 17:20-37 / Luke 21:25-28

 

It should be clear enough that the Apostle Paul is following Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse – virtually almost in the same order.  There is no exegetical evidence that Jesus nor Paul is teaching or expecting two comings:

 

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/gathered together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact time unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ comes as a thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers caught off guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of birth pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers not deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to be watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/sunlight shinning from e. to w. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And 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)

 

First, let me address my former Pastor and College President – John MacArthur’s treatment of NT “imminency.”  Sadly, MacArthur’s attempt at explaining NT imminence was not only an embarrassment to the Church on an exegetical level, but it was also an embarrassment in response to liberal skeptics, Muslims and Jewish Zionists.[63]

 

MacArthur provided no Greek word study on the various words the NT uses for Christ’s imminent “rapture” or Second Coming.

 

He admits that Paul taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Christ could have come at any time for Paul and his contemporaries and this is indeed what Paul was expecting for his contemporaries and thus those living in his generation.[64]  Apparently it doesn’t dawn on John that if Paul was inspired and believed and taught Christ’s coming would take place within the lifetime of some of his contemporaries, then Paul was not inspired and wrong!  Paul does not give us his opinion on when he thought Christ would return, he gives us divine revelation that Christ would come within some of the lifetimes of his contemporaries.

 

MacArthur like many Dispensational Zionists believe the return of Christ was just as imminent in the first century as it is today and oddly concluded his section on an “imminence” in the NT that isn’t really imminent at all by writing,

 

“I suppose it is also possible that Christ could delay His coming another 2,000 years or longer.”[65]

 

This of course is the exact opposite position of the Biblical testimony of Christ coming in “a very little while” and “would not delay” the author of Hebrews teaches under inspiration (Heb. 10:37).

 

Premillennial Zionists have a very hard time explaining How the “rapture” or the Second Coming events were truly imminent for the first century Christians since the Temple had not been destroyed in AD 70 when Paul was writing let alone another alleged “re-built” one?  But perhaps we should back up even further, how could they have expected a truly imminent coming of Christ if in the Zionist view, the gospel had not been preached throughout the entire globe?  Or when Paul was writing, the Jews being scattered throughout the world let alone being re-gathered (in unbelief – which is also an unbiblical tenant of this system) and become a nation again (ex. the “super sign” of 1948 – another abuse of Scripture) hadn’t even taken place or was even close to being fulfilled?

 

Since all of these events are necessary to take place before the “rapture” or Second Coming could be fulfilled, how can MacArthur even pretend to say that the “rapture” was “imminent” and therefore Paul and his contemporaries expected it to happen?   Perhaps MacArthur’s explanation of NT imminence should be equivalent to what he has to say of the Charismatics speaking in “tongues” today — just plain unbiblical “gibberish.”  Selah.

 

Now let’s address the two arguments concerning signs and no signs and Christ coming for and then with saints.

First, there is no “contradiction” of Christ coming “with” the dead saints that He just raised out of Hades (and coming with the angels) “for” the living, whereby they would both reside in the kingdom and God’s presence.  The exegetical support for there being a seven-year gap between these two comings of Christ is no less of a heretical and unbiblical view than the Partial Preterist who sees thousands of years between two comings of Christ (one in AD 70 & another at the end of world history) or that of the Jehovah Witnesses for that matter!  The idea that Jesus in the Olivet Discourse or Paul in 1 and 2 Thessalonians (or the NT in general) teaches two different comings of Christ separated by seven or seven thousand years is nothing but pure eisegesis and created out of thin air to uphold their eschatological system.

Secondly, both Dispensational Zionists and Partial Preterists make a distinction in Matthew 24 and Thessalonians that is not present when it comes to a “coming of Christ preceded by signs” verses another one “without signs.”  And to that subject we turn as to if there are two comings of Christ or two sections involved or just one.

Division Theories to justify two comings of Christ refuted – Signs vs. no signs & Luke 17:20-37  

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:37-51).

 

Let’s review the Zionist Pre-tribulationalist and Partial Preterist “arguments” that this section allegedly proves two different comings of Christ are allegedly taught in Matthew 24.

 

A Dispensational Zionist view: 

 

Signs mentioned so “rapture” coming seven years before Second Coming No signs mentioned so Second Coming
Matthew 24:27-31 Matthew 24:36-42
Luke 17:20-37 / Luke 21:25-28 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

A Partial Preterist view: 

 

Signs mentioned so

Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70

No signs mentioned so

Future Physical Second Coming

Matthew 24:3-34 Matthew 24:36ff.
Luke 17:20-37 Luke 17:20-37

 

It is always humorous to watch these two views attack and debate each other over the Olivet Discourse and Luke 17 and try and explain which verses are referring to AD 70, which verses are Second Coming verses and which ones could or shouldn’t be “rapture” verses distinct from Second Coming ones.  Some Dispensationalists think Matthew 24:36-42 is the Second Coming while others think it’s the secret rapture.  Some Partial Preterists think Luke 17:20-37 is referring Christ coming spiritually in AD 70 while others think it’s a Future Second Coming event.  It’s like the blind leading the blind.  There is no consistency and thus no real answer to the Bible skeptic, Talmudic skeptic or Muslim.  But that’s all changing!

 

Recapitulation in Matthew 24-25 Disproves the two-coming theory

Jesus is using common Hebraic or prophetic recapitulation in Matthew 24-25 concerning just ONE coming.  This is even more obvious when the parallels in Luke 21 and Mark 13 only address ONE coming of Christ.  Are we really to believe they forgot to mention that Christ really taught on TWO different comings of the Christ spanning 7 years or thousands of years per Dispensational or Partial Preterist interpretations?  Matthew’s account is simply emphasizing recapitulation and adding more parables due to his Jewish audience when addressing the same coming of Christ and same judgment.  Matthew 24 is addressing only one coming of Christ and it was either fulfilled by AD 70, or it is a Future to us event.  While not a Preterist, John Murray correctly points out that Matthew 24 is “recapitulatory” in its structure concerning one coming and one judgment,

“The [Olivet Discourse here in Mt. 24], as to structure, is recapitulatory…” “It is not, therefore, continuously progressive.  We are repeatedly brought to the advent and informed of its various features, [i.e. contemporary, concurrent or interrelated events], and consequences (vss. 14, 29-31, 37-41; 25:3146.”[66]

And is it even true that Jesus is not addressing signs in Matthew 24:36-42ff.?  The truth of the matter is that when Jesus exhorts the disciples to “watch and pray” or to “be ready,” this is contextually tied to His discussion of the signs the disciples asked about an He already covered in Matthew 24:3-30.

And if Jesus was trying to use Noah as an example of a “sign-less” “secret rapture” (per Dispensationalism) or a future Second Coming event (per Partial Preterism), wouldn’t building an ark for a very long time be a sign to Noah’s contemporaries?!?

There simply is no exegetical evidence that there are two different comings of Christ (a sign coming and a non-sign coming of Christ) taught by Jesus in Matthew 24-25.

The parallels between Matthew 24-25 and Luke 17 disproves the two comings theory

When we compare Jesus’ teaching of His coming in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, it becomes even more obvious that Jesus is not addressing two different comings or Matthew has “two section” to his account.

Gary DeMar is a Partial Preterist who like me, disagrees with other Partial Preterists and Dispensational Zionists who try and make this two comings of Christ distinction of signs v. no signs “argument” in the Olivet Discourse.  We disagree with Kenneth Gentry and other Partial Preterists that “argue” Christ’s coming in Matthew 24:27-30 is His coming in AD 70 because Jesus gives “signs” and Christ’s coming in Matthew 24:36—chap. 25 is allegedly His future coming because no signs are allegedly mentioned.  We also disagree with Dispensational Zionists who claim the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 is the Second Coming event because signs are discussed while Matthew 24:36-42 is a different coming due to no mention of signs.  Gary writes,

Many futurists claim that the phrase “took them all away” (Matt. 24:39) refers to a rapture that is still in our future. On the contrary. “In the context of 24:37–39, ‘taken’ presumably means ‘taken to judgment’ (cf. Jer. 6:11 NASB, NRSV).” 1 The phrase ties the judgment of the world in Noah’s day with the judgment of the Jews’ world in Israel’s day that took place with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

 

Who was taken away in the judgment of the flood? Not Noah and his family. They were “left behind” to carry on God’s work. John Gill writes in his commentary on this passage: “the whole world of the ungodly, every man, woman, and child, except eight persons only; Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives. . . .” were taken away in judgment. And what does Gill say about those in the field?: They shall be taken away “by the eagles, the Roman army, and either killed or carried captive by them.” The Bible gives its own commentary on the meaning of “took them all away” in Luke 17:2729: “Destroyed them all” is equivalent to “took them all away.”

 

A number of commentators (e.g., J. Marcellus Kik and Kenneth Gentry) argue that Matthew 24:35 is a “transition text.” It’s at this point, they argue, that Jesus is referring to a time period that is still in our future. Luke 17:22–37 describes five Olivet-Discourse prophetic events that are identical to those found in Matthew 24. The difference between Matthew 24 and Luke 17 is in the order of the events, a characteristic of the passages that few commentators can explain. Ray Summers writes:

 

This is a most difficult passage. The overall reference appears to be to the coming of the Son of Man—Christ—in judgment at the end of the age. Some small parts of it, however, are repeated in Luke 21 in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), and larger parts of it are in Matthew 24, also in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. The entire complex cautions one against dogmatism in interpreting. 2

 

Taking Matthew 24 as the standard, Luke places the Noah’s ark analogy (Matt. 24:37–39) before the events of Matthew 24:17–18 (“let him who is on the housetop not go down”), verse 27 (“for just as the lightning comes from the east”), and verse 28 (“wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather”). If the five prophetic events of Matthew 24 that are found in Luke 17:22–37 are numbered 1–2–3–4–5, Luke’s numbering of the same events would be 2–4–1–5–3. While this is not positive proof of an A.D. 70 fulfillment for chapters 24 and 25, it certainly adds credibility to the position.))

 

 

 

 

Another line of evidence offered by those who believe that events following Matthew 24:34 refer to a yet future personal and physical return of Jesus is the meaning given to “after a long time” (24:48; 25:19) and the “delay” by the bridegroom (25:5). On the surface these examples seem to indicate that two different events are in view, one near (the destruction of Jerusalem) and one distant (the second coming of Christ). This is the view of Stephen F. Hayhow.

 

Both parables, the parables of the virgins (vv. 1–13), and the parable of the talents (vv. 14–30), speak of the absence of the bridegroom/master, who is said to be “a long time in coming” (v. 5) and “After a long time the master of the servants returned” (v. 19). This suggests, not the events of A.D. 70 which were to occur in the near future, in fact within the space of a generation, but a distant event, the return of Christ. 3

 

Notice that the evil slave says, “My master is not coming for a long time” (Matt. 24:48). The evil slave then proceeds to “beat his fellow-slaves and eat and drink with drunkards” (24:49). But to the surprise of the “evil slave” the master returned when he least expected him (24:50). The master did not return to cut the evil slave’s distant relatives in pieces (24:51); he cut him in pieces. The evil slave was alive when the master left, and he was alive when the master returned. In this context, a “long time” must be measured against a person’s lifetime. In context, two years could be a long time if the master usually returned within six months.

 

The same idea is expressed in the parable of the “talents.” A man entrusts his slaves with his possessions (25:14). The master then goes on a journey (25:15). While the master is gone, the slaves make investment decisions (25:16–18). We are then told that “after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them” (25:19). In this context “a long time” is no longer than an average lifetime. The settlement is made with the same slaves who received the talents. In every other New Testament context, “a long time” means nothing more than an extended period of time (Luke 8:27; 23:8; John 5:6; Acts 8:11; 14:3, 28; 26:5, 29; 27:21; 28:6). Nowhere does it mean centuries or multiple generations. The delay of the bridegroom is no different from the “long time” of the two previous parables. The bridegroom returns to the same two groups of virgins (25:1–13). The duration of the delay must be measured by the audience.

 

This brief analysis helps us understand the “mockers” who ask, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:3–4). Peter was aware that Jesus’ coming was an event that would take place before the last apostle died (Matt. 16:27–28John 21:22–23). The doctrine of the soon return of Christ was common knowledge (Matt. 24:3426:64Phil. 4:5Heb. 10:251 John 2:18Rev. 1:13). It is not hard to imagine that the passage of several decades would lead some to doubt the reliability of the prophecy, especially as the promised generation was coming to a close. The horrendous events of A.D. 70 silenced the mockers.”[67]

 

Luke 17:20-37

 

Just as Matthew 23-25 is written with a common chiastic structure connecting these chapters as to who really deserves to be sitting and judging Israel (the hypocrites sitting in Moses seat or the Son of Man sitting on the throne who would come and judge those same hypocrites)—addressing the same coming of Christ, the same judgment for the living and the dead, the destruction of the same Temple – in the same time frame “this generation;” Luke 17:20-37 is also structured with a chiasm.

 

Since some may be asking “what in the world is a chiasm”(?), let me briefly point out its basic structure.  Here is the classic example.

 

(A)  No one can serve two masters,

(B)  for either he will hate the one

(C) and love the other,

(C) or he will be devoted to the one

(B) and despise the other.

(A) You cannot serve God and money.

Usually in a chiasm the beginning and end correspond with each other and ram home the point.   The middle also corresponds with each other and the beginning and end and can serve as the main point or the meat in the middle.  In ancient Hebrew and Biblical times this form of teaching was popular because the parallel structure made it easy to memorize the teaching.

Now notice the chiasm structure in Luke 17:20-37 begins and ends with two questions and the point Jesus is addressing is when and how His Kingdom will be manifested.

(A)  The question by the Pharisees – when will the kingdom come or be realized (17:20-21)?  It will come “within the heart of a person.”

(B)  When the coming of the Son of Man is revealed as the Sun (17:22-25).

(C)  This will be like in the days of Noah (17:26-27).

(C)  This will be like in the days of Lot (17:28-29).

(B)  When the Son of Man is revealed (17:30)

(A) The question by the disciples – Where, Lord? “Where the dead body is.”

Luke 17:20-37 is a chiasm centered around two questions (the Pharisees and then the disciples) addressing the eschatological point as to when, how and where the kingdom will come and be realized.  The answer for the Pharisees is that when the Kingdom comes, it will be unseen and realized “within” the hearts of their enemies – when the Son of Man is revealed from heaven (which will be like the days of Noah or Lot).  The answer to the disciple’s question, as to when, how or “where” the Kingdom comes—is connected to when their enemies would be “gathered” together in order to be slain like a dead body the birds of the air would pick apart.  This too would be realized when Christ would be revealed from heaven (which would be like the days of Noah or Lot).  Remember, Jesus taught elsewhere that the kingdom would be “taken” from the Pharisees and “given” to the Church or “Nation” bearing the fruits thereof (Mt. 21:43-45). Our text here in Luke 17 DESCRIBES HOW, WHEN and WHERE that transfer would be accomplished in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

“Within you”

 

Some modern translators translate entos as “among you” or “in your midst” without any linguistic justification. They appear to do this for two reasons.  First, they can’t have Jesus’ spiritual “within” kingdom associated with the eschatological “not yet” or at Christ’s Parousia, so “among you” or currently “in your midst” places the phrase comfortably in the here and now of the “already.”  And secondly, they think that if you translate the passage as “within you” this would have Jesus saying the unbelieving Pharisees had the kingdom within them.

Therefore, let’s consider the linguistic evidence for “within you” or “within your heart” and also to whom is Jesus referring to when He says within “you.”

Strong’s Concordance pretty much nails the definition of entosas as “within you”:

“1787. ἐντός entós; adv. from en(1722), in. Within. Used also as a prep. with the gen. (Luke 17:21, “the kingdom of God is within you,” meaning it is located in your heart and affections, not external). With the neut. def. art., tó entós, the inside (Matt. 23:26; Sept.: Ps. 39:4; 109:22). Zodhiates, S. (2000).”

Consider the following arguments that prove with 100% certainty that entos should be translated as “within you”:

1).  The context of Luke 17:21 is giving a contrast between something that is outward and physically seen – “lo here or lo there” as opposed to something that is spiritual and “within.”

2).  Entos is only used one other time in the NT and it is located in Matthew 23:26, where again there is a contrast being made between what the hypocritical Pharisees do outwardly – sitting in Moses seat and doing their deeds to be “SEEN by men,” dress to be SEEN by men, and love the best seats so as to be SEEN by men.  But Jesus drives the point home when He addresses they are overly concerned about outward washings and cleanliness, not realizing that they are unclean and spiritually dead from the “inside” (entos) – (23:25-28).

There are also some other parallels between Matthew 23 and Luke 17-18. Christ’s Second Coming will fall upon them “quickly” or within their “this generation” for persecuting the Messiah and killing the OT prophets and those Jesus will send to them – and thus both passages deal with the vindication of the first century persecuted church at the hands of the Pharisees (Mt. 23:29-39 / Lk. 17-18).  I will show how Luke 17 is connected with Luke 18 in a bit.

3).  Strong’s also appeals to the LXX which universally translates the OT Hebrew being ““within” a building such as the temple or something taking place “within” a person’s “inward parts” or within the spiritual nature of man as contrasted with the outward – see also the LXX. in Psalm 103:1Psalm 109:22Isaiah 16:11.”

4).  Outside the NT, entos never means “among.”

5).  In order to express “among, amidst,” or “in the middle of,” the New Testament always uses mesos already employed in the Old Testament 307 times, and in the New Testament there are 27 occurrences with Luke, often using mesos much more than any of the other gospel writers. This clearly implies that Luke would certainly have used mesos in 17:21 if the meaning were “among you.”

6).  Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that in Liddell-Scott, (p. 577), gives Luke 17:21 the translation of entosas to be “in your hearts.”

  1. All the early church fathers who were closer to koine Greek than we are, universally understood entosas to be “within you.”

8).  It has only been in recent times that some translations have rendered entos as “among you” in the fear that Jesus is teaching the kingdom of God would be “within” the unbelieving Pharisees.  But as William Hendriksen points out,

“The pronoun you (whether singular or plural) have more than one meaning such as “a person” or “one.”[68]

Therefore, Jesus is teaching that when the kingdom of God comes (at His Second Coming) you will not be able to physically see it, because it will be realized and fulfilled “within the heart of a person.”

One last point on Luke 17:20-37.  Luke’s account of Jesus’ teachings often times closes a discourse with a parable (6:20-49; 10:1-37; 11:14-36; 11:37-12:21; 12:22-48; 16:9-31; 17:20-18:8). Thus the “day(s) of the Son of Man” will include: inheritance of the kingdom & Parousia, but also severe persecution requiring vindication of which Jesus now turns His attention to. While the disciples may be tempted to want the kind of kingdom the Pharisees wanted (a violent vindication from their Roman enemies) due to the coming persecutions, Jesus does assure them that His Parousia would include an aspect of physical deliverance and vindication of their enemies. This would occur “quickly” (Lk. 18:8) at His Second Coming and not thousands of years in the future.

 

Concluding the parallels of Matthew 24:37-51 and Luke 17:20-37

 

There is no exegetical evidence to support Matthew 24-25 is addressing two comings of Christ as some Dispensational Zionist have taught (ex. Darby) and as some Partial Preterists (ex. Gentry) teach.

Was Luke so confused and forgetful that when Christ taught on His Second Coming in Luke 17 and Luke 21 he only addresses ONE coming while Matthew points out that there are really TWO comings?  If Luke understood Christ teaching two comings in the Olivet Discourse, then why does he mix up the order of those events in Luke 17 to be one and the same event?

 

When we compare Jesus’ teaching on His Second Coming and the arrival of His Kingdom in Luke 17:20-37 with Luke 21:27-32 we realize that both His Kingdom and Second Coming would be fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” and His Kingdom and Parousia presence would not be physically seen, because it would be revealed “within the hearts” of His people.  He would come as “The Sun of Righteousness” “shinning from the east to the west” “healing” and bring resurrection life “within the hearts” of His people – while the Old Covenant Kingdom would be desolated and never remembered.

 

 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates/door” (Matthew 24:32-33) / “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near” (Lk. 21:30-32)

 
Premillennial Zionist “prophecy experts” claim this text is a “super sign” teaching us that when Israel (the fig tree) became a nation in 1948, Christ’s coming and the arrival of His Kingdom are “near” for our contemporary “this generation.”  In a similar way some like Pat Roberts reasoned the “times of the Gentiles” was somehow fulfilled in 1967, so we are the “this generation” that will experience the secret “rapture.”

 

But the clear contextual meaning is that the fig tree and all the trees beginning to put forth their leaves is = to the signs being fulfilled (specifically the sign(s) of the great commission and the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem).  This would indicate that the arrival of “summer” was “near” is = to the desolation of Jerusalem being near or the Kingdom and Second Coming being “near.”

 

“Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf,… When the disciples would see the sign of “Jerusalem being surrounded by [Roman] armies [& or the GC of Mt. 24:14]…
…you see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near(Lk. 21:30-32) …know that its desolation is near (Lk. 21:20).  Or, they would know that the coming of the Son of Man and His Kingdom would be “near” or “at the door” in their “this generation” (cf. Lk. 21:27-32).

 

In Matthew and Luke’s accounts there is slight difference.  In Matthew’s account of the parable the disciples are exhorted to just look at the fig tree (one tree), while Luke adds “and all the trees.”  So, if modern Israel becoming a nation in 1948 is the “fig tree” beginning to bring forth her leaves, then they need to explain what “and all the trees” sprouting forth their leaves means in Luke’s account – which of course they never attempt to do.  If the fig tree is Israel, then “all the trees” would be the other nations?  If so, what happened to all of the modern Nations of the globe in 1948 per this bizarre twisting of God’s Word?

 

It is true that in the OT and even the NT the fig tree can represent Israel.  But Jesus on a previous occasion cursed the fig tree (Israel after the flesh) so that it would never bear forth fruit again (Mt. 21:18-19).  Not only this, but the Kingdom would be “taken” from the Pharisees and Jews and “given” to “another Nation” [the Church] that would bear fruit after Israel was judged in AD 70 to never bear fruit again (Mt. 21:43-45/1 Pet. 2:15).

 

The other slight difference between Matthew’s account and Luke’s, is that Luke includes the “Kingdom” being near at this point while Matthew does not mention the Kingdom being near but rather Christ Himself.  As we will see in our study of Luke 17:20-37 the coming of Christ and the Kingdom are once again linked together and them being “near” in the disciple’s generation in Luke 21 is further explained as to this being manifested or fulfilled “within the hearts of a person” in AD 70.

 

The best evidence that our exegesis is accurate is if the inspired NT writers understood these signs being fulfilled in their time and likewise taught the Second Coming was “at the very gates/door” (Mt. 24:33).  And of course, that is exactly what we find James writing,

 

“…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. 5:8-9).

 

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Mt. 24:34 KJV)

Other relevant translations which understanding this is referring to Jesus’ contemporary generation correctly understand the meaning to be,

“Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died” (Mt. 24:34 GNT).

“I tell you the truth, all these things will happen while the people of this time are still living” (Mt. 24:34 NCV).

There are three texts which answer the disciples question as to when the Temple would be destroyed and the signs, coming of the Son of Man and the end of the age would be fulfilled.  They are:

 

1).  After the gospel had been preached throughout the then know “whole world” or Roman Empire “then the end [of the Old Covenant age asked about in v. 3] will come” (Mt. 24:14).

 

2).  “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies then know that its desolation has come near” (Lk. 21:20).

 

3).  And the third is here when Jesus sums up that everything the disciples asked about and which He just finished answering, would “all” be fulfilled in their contemporary generation.

 

In the immediate context here in Matthew 24:1-34 and Luke 21:5-32 there is no confusion on what the “all these things” are.  They are:

 

1).  All of the general signs that would “not” mark the near coming of the Lord and end of the Old Covenant age.

 

2).  The two specific signs of the Gospel being preached throughout the then known world (or “nations”) within the Roman Empire and the armies surrounding Jerusalem would mark the “near” “end.”

 

3).  The Great Tribulation.

 

4).  All OT prophecy would be fulfilled.

 

5).  The casting down of Israel’s “stars” or religious rulers.

 

6).  The flight of Christians from “Judea” to escape the “wrath coming upon this people (Jews), which would be “the days of vengeance” when those Jews would “fall by the end of the sword” or Jerusalem would be trodden down during the “times of the Gentiles.”

 

8).  The “gathering of the elect” or “redemption” (resurrection) that would occur at the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds or when the “Kingdom” would arrive.

 

When we understand that Matthew 24-25 is written in the common prophetic and Jewish genre of recapitulation, then we understand the “day and hour,” “passing of heaven and earth” the time of the parables [including Israel’s wedding] describing His coming before the judgment of the nations, the Devil and his angels–also all fall under the umbrella of being fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”

 

The Thayer Greek-English Lexicon and Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines “generation” (Greek genea) here in Matthew 24:34 (and in the other relevant passages), as Jesus addressing His Jewish contemporary generation (AD 30 – 70) and therefore this generation and no other generation is the subject of the prophetic pronouncement,

the whole multitude of men living at the same time: Mt.xxiv. 34; Mk. xiii. 30; Lk. i. 48; xxi. 32; Phil. ii. 15; used esp. of the Jewish race living at one and the same period: Mt. xi. 16; xii. 39, 41 sq. 45; xvi. 4; xxiii.36; Mk. Viii. 12, 38; Lk. Xi. 29 sq. 32, 50 sq.; xvii. 36; Heb. iii. 10…” “…who can describe the wickedness of the present generation, Acts viii. 33 (fr. Is. Liii. 8 Sept.).”[69]

“…of the whole multitude of men living at the same time, Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 1:48; 21:32; Phil. 2:15 Matt. 24:34;…i.e., a period ordinarily occupied by each successive generation, say, of thirty or forty years, Acts 14:16; 15:21; Eph. 3:5; Col. 1:26; see also, e.g., Gen. 15:16.”[70]

Although somewhat inconsistent, the most impressive Greek work and interpretation I have come across thus far comes from Collin Brown,

 

“In Matt. it has the sense of this generation, and according to the first evangelist, Jesus expected the end of this age (Time, art. aion) to occur in connection with the judgment on Jerusalem at the end of that first generation (see Mk. 9:1 and Matt. 16:28).”[71]

And again,

“But if these events were expected within the first generation of Christians (and “generation” is the most probable translation of genea), either Jesus or the evangelists were mistaken…” or “…there is an alternative interpretation of the passage which points out that insufficient attention has been paid to the prophetic language of the passage as a whole.

The imagery of cosmic phenomena is used in the OT to describe this-worldly events and, in particular, historical acts of judgment. The following passages are significant, not least because of their affinities with the present context: Isa. 13:10 (predicting doom on Babylon); Isa. 34:4 (referring to “all the nations”, but especially to Edom); Ezek. 32:7 (concerning Egypt); Amos 8:9) Amos 8:9 (the Northern Kingdom of Israel); Joel 2:10 (Judah). The cosmic imagery draws attention to the divine dimension of the event in which the judgment of God is enacted. The use of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:15-21 provides an instance of the way in which such prophetic cosmic imagery is applied to historical events in the present (cf. also Lk. 10:18l Jn. 12:31; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:10ff. Rev. 6:12-17; 18:1).  Other OT passages relevant to the interpretation of the present context are Isa. 19:1; 27:13; Deut. 30:4; Zech. 2:6; 12:10-14; Mal. 3:1.  In view of this, Mk. 13:24-30 may be interpreted as a Son of man will be vindicated. Such prophecy of judgment on Israel in which a judgment took place with the destruction of Jerusalem, the desecration of the  Temple and the scattering of Israel – all of which happened within the  lifetime of “this generation.” “…Such an interpretation fits the preceding discourse and the introductory remarks of the disciples (Mk. 13:1ff. par).”[72]

Brown is at least attempting to allow the Bible to interpret itself unlike Dispensational Zionists.  And if I’m not mistaken, he seems to be consenting the “rapture” or resurrection passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as being fulfilled by the “historical event” of AD 70 just as the apocalyptic language of Matthew 24 can or should be interpreted.

False interpretations of “this generation”

There have been many false interpretations of “this generation” given by Dispensational Zionists and even other Futurist Christian systems.  These include the following:

1).  Popularized by the Zionist funded and friendly Scofield Study Bible, this view teaches Jesus meant that the entire Jewish race would not pass away until all things were fulfilled.

My Response – If this was Jesus’ meaning He would have used the Greek word genos which means, “1) kindred 1a) offspring 1b) family 1c) stock, tribe, nation 1c1) i.e. nationality or descent from a particular people 1d) the aggregate of many individuals of the same nature, kind, sort.”[73]  But clearly Jesus did not use genos, He used genea.

2). Our contemporary generation which saw Israel (the “fig tree) become a nation in 1948 and the “times of the Gentiles” end in 1967, is the end time generation. Hal Lindsey, an alleged “prophecy expert” who, based on current events and not the Bible claimed,

“WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ.”[74]

And then this view was fueled from the pulpit from mega church Pastors such as one of my former Pastor’s, Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel movement,

“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[75]

That 1981 was the alleged date was further solidified in his book Future Survival (1978) where he writes,

“From my understanding of biblical prophecies [and genea], I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[76]

My Response – As we have seen in our exegesis of these passages, the parable of the “fig tree” “and all the trees” is referring to the disciples seeing the signs being fulfilled in there generation.  These signs being fulfilled would mark the “near” “at the door” arrival of “summer” which is the arrival of the Son of Man upon the clouds and inheritance of the Kingdom event.

The “times of the Gentiles” when the Gentiles would tread down Jerusalem according to Luke 21; Rev. 11 and Daniel 12 would be the period of 3 ½ years or between AD 67 – AD 70. 1948 nor 1967 have anything to do with our Lord’s prophetic utterance.

3). Jesus’ uses the phrase “this generation” to be referring to a future generation that is alive to witnesses these signs whenever they begin to be fulfilled.

My Response – Jesus does not say “that [as in a future] generation,” He says, “this [His contemporary] generation.”  And we have seen how all of the signs and Christ’s Kingdom were fulfilled when Jesus said they would.

4).  Jesus is simply describing an evil generation of people that is descriptive of the last days generation – whoever that may be.

My Response – Just because Jesus adds an adjective of “evil” “sinful” or “adulterous” before “this generation” does not justify changing the meaning of genea to be spanning thousands of years as an “evil people.”  The commonsense understanding is that Jesus was describing His contemporary generation as being evil, sinful and adulterous, because they had rejected Him and would crucify Him.  Because of that, they (the tribes of the land of Israel) would mourn and see Him coming in judgment using the Roman armies.  This is not difficult.

Uses of “generation(s)” or “this generation”

We will start with how “generation(s)” or “this generation” is used within the gospel of Matthew itself.

1).  “So, all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations” (Mt. 1:17).

Obviously 42 “races” which came from Abraham does not work here.  Clearly, genea means, the whole multitude of men living at the same time” “a period ordinarily occupied by each successive generation, say, of thirty or forty years.”   

2).  “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, (Mt. 11:16).

 

In context “this generation” is the contemporary generation Jesus is speaking to who falsely accused John the Baptist of “having a demon” (v. 18) and Jesus “a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (v. 19).  It is the same generation that was expecting the “about to coming” of Elijah which Jesus said was John and thus were also expecting the about to be coming of the great day of the Lord to be imminent after his appearing (cf. vss. 8-15).

 

3).  But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also, will it be with this evil generation” (Mt. 12:39-45).

Jesus’ contemporary generation was “evil” and “adulterous” is seeking a sign.  But just as Jonah being raised out of the great fish after three days was a sign to Nineveh that they needed to repent, Jesus’ contemporary generation would experience the “sign” of Him being raised after three days and nights. 

Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” was so “evil” it was like a demon possessed man who after having a demon driven from him was not thankful nor repentant (did not get his house/heart in order with such graces), and thus the later state (the demon got seven others to enter the man) was worse than before.  Israel’s history was that of persecuting the prophets, but her judgment coming in AD 70 would be a seven folded most severe one because in killing Christ and the NT messengers He would send to her, she would “fill up the measure” [store up severe wrath] of her sins throughout her history. 

4).  “And Jesus answered, “O faithless and crooked generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Mt. 17:17-20).

Here Jesus is echoing the language and prophecy of Deuteronomy 32:5, 20 which would be Israel’s terminal generation.  The disciples contemporary generation was characterized as not having faith in its Messiah and even they needed to increase their faith in order to engage in imprecatory prayers to uproot and move the apostate mountain(s) of Israel, to cast it into the sea in the imminent judgment of fire that would come upon that generation (cf. Mt. 21:18-21/Rev. 8:3-8/Deut. 32:5, 20, 22[77]).

5).  “Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation” (Mt. 23:36).

The context is clear, the contemporary generation of the Pharisees of whom Jesus is talking to would “fill up the measure” of the sin of blood guilt and it would be manifested in the destruction of “their house” or the Temple in AD 70.

Now we will move beyond Matthew’s gospel and see if the meaning is the same throughout the NT.

3).  “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).

 

The same understanding and interpretation of genea as in Matthew 1:17 is to be understood.  Or as Ecclesiastes 1:4 teaches, “A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.”  These are “successive generations” or periods of 35-40 of people living at the same time.”

 

4).  “But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Lk. 17:25-30).

 

It should go without saying, it was the first century contemporary “this generation” of Jesus that would cause her Messiah to “suffer” and be crucified.  And as we have pointed already, the context before this verse and after, is referring to the coming of the Son of Man in the judgment of AD 70.  I think it is safe to say that the reference of that generation crucifying Christ and experiencing judgment in AD 70, are two themes brought together well in Revelation (cf. 1:7; 11:8ff.; chapters 17-19) and also see Matthew 21:33-45; 22:1-14; 23:1-36.

 

5).  “And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40).

 

This passage falls within Peter’s sermon in which his contemporary generation was living in the “last days” having with their own hands–crucified the Lord of Glory (Acts 2:14-23).  Therefore, they needed to “call upon the name of the Lord” in repentance and thus be “saved” from the “great day” of the Lord’s coming in their “crooked generation” (v. 20-40).

 

Peter, like the Lord, appeals to the terminal “last days” “crooked generation” of Deuteronomy 31-32 that would see her “end.”  Peter clearly understood his contemporary generation would experience the final end of Israel when he taught “the end of all things is near” (cf. 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).

 

6).  “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, 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 (Phil. 2:15-16).

 

Now like Jesus and Peter, Paul will likewise teach that his contemporary generation is Israel’s “crooked generation” (Deut. 32:5, 20) that will experience “the day of Christ” which he says in chapter 4:5 was “at hand” and thus to be fulfilled in AD 70. 

 

One last example will do. 

 

7).  “Therefore, I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways’” (Heb. 3:10).

 

The first thing we notice is that if a NT author wants to communicate a past or different generation than the one He is addressing, “that generation” is referred to.  So again, if Jesus meant a future generation would witness “all these things” listed in the Olivet Discourse, He would have naturally said, “that generation.”  Hebrews 3:10 uses the Greek word ekeinos which is primarily translated by the KJV and Strong’s (1565) as “that” in the NT – (that 99x), those (40x), the same (20x), they (14x), misc. (38x).  In Matthew 24:34 Jesus uses the Greek word houtos which is primarily translated by the KJV and Strong’s (3778) as “this” in the NT – this (157x), these (59), he (31x), the same (28x), this man (25x), she (12x), they (10x) and misc. (34).

 

The context of Hebrews 3-4 and 10 is that the forty years wilderness wandering “generation” was a type of “another day” of receiving sabbath rest in Christ.  The author in chapter 10 says this “another day” he spoke of in the earlier chapters “was drawing near” when Christ would come in judgment and salvation “in a very little while and would not delay” (Heb. 10:25-37).

 

When we piece together the evidence of “this generation,” it’s pretty clear the 40 years wilderness wandering generation was typological of the imminent judgment and salvation that would be realized in Christ’s contemporary and terminal generation at His imminent coming in AD 70.

 

I was very disappointed in my former Pastor and College President John MacArthur’s attempted refutation of my/our position here of “this generation” (Mt. 24:34), claiming we use a “wooden literalness”[78] when interpreting it.  If my former Pastor means I/we allow the rest of Scripture to give us the literal meaning of Jesus’ words, then I guess I’m gladly guilty.  Odd, that a “wooden literal” Dispensational Zionist is accusing us of giving “this generation” its normal meaning.  Go figure.  

 

Having already addressed and connected the “heaven and earth” passing away with the end of the Old Covenant “age” passing away along with the de-creation of Matthew 24:29 being the civil and religious rulers falling from their places of authority in AD 70, we shall now turn to the “day and hour” of Matthew 24:36.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Mt. 24:36).

 

While Jesus predicted His Second Coming event would occur “near” and within His contemporary “this generation,” he said no one would know the exact “day and hour” of it.  Here are other commentators who correctly understand/see the “day and hour” of His coming being fulfilled by AD 70.

 

Adam Clarke writes,

“Verse 36. But of that day and hour—…here, is translated season by many eminent critics, and is used in this sense by both sacred and profane authors. As the day was not known, in which Jerusalem should be invested by the Romans, therefore our Lord advised his disciples to pray that it might not be on a Sabbath; and as the season was not known, therefore they were to pray that it might not be in the winter; Matthew 24:20.[79]

Even Premillennialist John Gill correctly noted that Matthew 24:36 is referring to AD 70,

“Ver. 36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, &c.]… …the coming of the son of man, to take vengeance on the Jews, and of their destruction; for the words manifestly regard the date of the several things going before, which only can be applied to that catastrophe, and dreadful desolation: now, though the destruction itself was spoken of by Moses and the prophets, was foretold by Christ, and the believing Jews had some discerning of its near approach; see #Heb 10:25 yet the exact and precise time was not known: it might have been: calculated to a year by Daniel’s weeks, but not to the day and hour; and therefore our Lord does not say of the year, but of the day and hour no man knows; though the one week, or seven years, being separated from the rest, throws that account into some perplexity; and which perhaps is on purpose done, to conceal the precise time of Jerusalem’s destruction: nor need it be wondered at, notwithstanding all the hints given, that the fatal day should not be exactly known beforehand; when those who have lived since, and were eyewitnesses of it, are not agreed on what day of the month it was; for, as Dr. Lightfoot {i} observes, Josephus {k} says,

“that the temple perished the “tenth” day of “Lous”, a day fatal to the temple, as having been on that day consumed in flames, by the king of Babylon.”

And yet Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai, who was also at the destruction of it, as well as Josephus, with all the Jewish writers, say it was on the “ninth of Ab”; for of this day they {l} say, five things happened upon it:

“On the “ninth of Ab” it was decreed concerning our fathers, that they should not enter into the land (of Canaan), the first and second temple were destroyed, Bither was taken, and the city ploughed up.”

Though the words of R. Jochanan, cited by the doctor, refer to the first, and not to the second temple, and should have been rendered thus:

“If I had been in the generation (which fixed the fast for the destruction of the first temple), I would not have fixed it but on the tenth (of Ab); for, adds he, the greatest part of the temple was burnt on that day; but the Rabbins rather regarded the beginning of the punishment {m}.”

And so, the fasting of Rabbi, and R. Joshua ben Levi, on the “ninth” and “tenth” days, were on account of the first temple; for they were under the same difficulty about the one, as the other:

no, not the angels of heaven; who dwell there, always behold the face of God, stand in his presence ready to do his will, and are made acquainted with many of his designs, and are employed in the executing of them, and yet know not the time of God’s vengeance on the Jews; to this agrees the sense that is given of the day of vengeance in #Isa 63:4 it is asked {n},

“what is the meaning of these words, “the day of vengeance is in my heart?” Says R. Jochanan, to my heart I have revealed it, to the members I have not revealed it: says R. Simeon ben Lakish, to my heart I have revealed it, ytylg al trfh ykalml, “to the ministering angels I have not revealed it.””

The Ethiopic version adds here, “nor the son”, and so the Cambridge copy of Beza’s; which seems to be transcribed from #Mr 13:32 where that phrase stands; and must be understood of Christ as the son of man, and not as the Son of God; for as such, he lay in the bosom of the Father, and knew all his purposes and designs; for these were purposed in him: he knew from the beginning who would betray him, and who would believe in him; he knew what would befall the rejecters of him, and when that would come to pass; as he must know also the day of the last judgment, since it is appointed by God, and he is ordained to execute it: but the sense is, that as he, as man and mediator, came not to destroy, but to save; so it was not any part of his work, as such, to know, nor had he it in commission to make known the time of Jerusalem’s ruin:

but my Father only; to the exclusion of all creatures, angels and men; but not to the exclusion of Christ as God, who, as such, is omniscient; nor of the Holy Spirit, who is acquainted with the deep things of God, the secrets of his heart, and this among others.”[80]

Clearly, Matthew 24:36 is not evidence of another coming of Christ at the end of world history.  Partial Preterists like Kenneth Gentry simply abuse its context in hopes of tolling the creedal line in order of keeping his creedal “orthodox” job.

The eschatological marriage

  • “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:5-12).

 

Classic Premillennial Dispensational Zionism teaches there are two kingdoms, two elect predestined peoples of God (earthly Israel and heavenly Church), two plans of salvation, two gospels, two hopes, two Second Comings all mysteriously and mystically coexisting in the Scriptures.  So, it should not surprise us that they teach two eschatological weddings, one for the Church (His heavenly people/bride) and another for Israel (His earthly people).  Of course, there is no hint of this two-comings or two-weddings eschatology anywhere in the OT or NT and surely there is no hint of it here in our Lord’s teaching on the eschatological wedding.

 

I think Reformed eschatology also has a problem with a two-comings or two eschatological wedding and wedding feast doctrine.  Partial Preterists teach the eschatological wedding and or wedding feast in the following passages teach Christ consummated His marriage to His New Covenant wife/Jerusalem in AD 70 when He divorced and judged His Old Covenant wife/Jerusalem in the following texts:  Matthew 8:11-12; 22:1-14; 25:1-13; Rev. 19-21.  Classic Amillennialist authors point out this eschatological wedding and wedding feast motif found in these Scriptures is the fulfillment of the resurrection “in that day” of Isaiah 25:6-9 and therefore must be fulfilled in the future.  Since Partial Preterism has evolved into also teaching two resurrections (a spiritual one in AD 70 and a so-called physical one at the end of world history), it too must necessitate a two eschatological wedding and wedding feast motif to match.  I’m wondering which Partial Preterist will be the first to try and develop that?

 

Here is an article (from a lecture) I produced on the problems for the Reformed community concerning the fulfillment of the eschatological wedding and wedding feast as it pertains to the end of the age resurrection event.

 

Matthew 8:10-12:

 

10 When Jesus heard this [expression of the Gentile’s faith], he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west [Gentiles] and recline at the table [wedding feast of Isa. 25:6-9] with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven [in the resurrection], 12 while the sons of the kingdom [Pharisees and unbelieving Jews] will be cast out into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Gentry writes,

 

“In Matthew 8:11-12 we read of the faithful gentile who exercises more faith than anyone in Israel. We hear once again of the people from the east. This time they sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the rightful place of the Jews). While the Jews themselves are “cast out” into “outer darkness.” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 175). And, “God is preparing to punish his people Israel, remove the temple system, and re-orient redemptive history from one people and land to all peoples throughout the earth.” “This dramatic redemptive-historical event…ends the old covenant era…” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 342).

 

Strengths:

 

The “casting out” of the “subjects of the kingdom” is a reference to OC Israel being judged in AD 70, at which time the believing Jewish/Gentile Church takes her place at the end of the OC era (but notice he is afraid of using the term “age”).

 

The “casting out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” he says refers to AD 70.

 

Weaknesses:

 

There is no mention of Isaiah 25:6-9 as Jesus’ source (cf. Mt. 5:17-18). They do the same thing in the OD when it comes to the resurrection gathering of Isa. 25-27/Mt. 24:30-31!

 

There is no consistency on Jesus’ phrases of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” to Matthew 24:51 and 25:30. There is nothing throughout Matthew’s gospel that indicates there are TWO (casting out into outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth) judgments in Jesus’ teaching throughout the gospels.

 

Unanswered questions – Why isn’t this the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 13 and Revelation 20 in AD 70 when Daniel’s soul was raised out of the realm of the dead to inherit eternal life and God’s presence – since some Postmillennialists are teaching this now?

 

Commentators who are not Postmillennial Partial Preterists have no problem pointing out the OT passages Jesus is referring to when He addresses the eschatological wedding feast.

 

D.A. Carson writes,

 

“The picture is that of the “messianic banquet,” derived from such OT passages as Isaiah 25:6–9 (cf. 65:13–14)…” and “…the presence of Gentiles at the banquet, symbolized the consummation of the messianic kingdom (cf. Mt 22:1–14; 25:10; 26:29). “Son of” or “sons of” can mean “sons of the bridal chamber” [9:15; NIV, “guests of the bridegroom.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, pp. 202–203).

 

Bloomberg writes, “Jesus characterizes that bliss as taking “their places at the feast,” the messianic banquet image depicting the intimate fellowship among God’s people in the age to come (cf. Isa 25:6–9; 65:13–14).” (Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 142). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers).

 

Leon Morris connects this “feast” with “the coming bliss of the messianic banquet,” to be fulfilled “in the world (or age) to come.” (Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 195). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press).

 

R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible admits that the table and feast of Matthew 8:11 is,

“A reference to the messianic banquet theme of Is. 25:6-9. Gentiles now appear in place of the natural sons.” (p. 1684).

 

Strengths:

 

Jesus is teaching on the fulfillment of the messianic wedding banquet and resurrection of Isa. 25:6-9 and inheriting the new creation of 65:12-14 at the end of the then current age, and in the age to come.

 

They connect the judgment of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” with Matthew 24:51 and 25:30 as ONE separating judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel.

 

Weaknesses:

 

They ignore the time texts and clear references to the ONE AD 70 judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel and the time texts of the wedding and resurrection in Mt. 24-25 and Revelation – “this generation,” “soon,” etc…

 

The hermeneutical steps are incomplete in that no work is done on the context of Isaiah 24-25 or Isaiah 65 which demonstrate an “in time” and local judgment and not an end of time and global transformation event.

 

Matthew 22:1-14:

 

And again, Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So, the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

 

Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,

 

“Here the first servant-messengers (another reference to the prophets, no doubt) were simply ignored. Another wave of servant-messengers (more prophets) are treated as such a nuisance that while some still ignored them, “the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (v. 6). Jesus is certainly adding [the murdering of the servants or prophets] here as part of the same indictment of Jerusalem He would give again in (Matt. 23:34-36).”

“The murderers were the entire generation of Israelites….” “…the armies would set the murderers’ city on fire (again exactly what happened in AD 70).”

 

And of verses 8-14, “…yet, after this destruction…” “…during this post-destruction wedding feast, some would sneak in who did not belong.” “…Whether [the man w/out the wedding garment] should be interpreted as the Judaizers who would cause so much dissention in the NT Church, or whenter these should just be understood as general heretics in the Church, is not clear.” (Jesus v. Jerusalem, 157-158, bold emphasis MJS).

 

Strengths:

 

The Great Commission invitation to the feast is between AD 30 – AD 70 in verses 1-7.

The sending out, rejection and killing of the servants is equated to Mt. 23 and the AD 70 judgment.

 

The judgment and burning of the city closes the OC era/age in AD 70.

 

The AD 70 judgment is once again characterized as being “cast out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

Weaknesses:

 

Again, there is no mention that Jesus came to fulfill Isaiah 25:6-9 or 65:12-14 because they would have to address the timing and nature of the resurrection.

 

Postmillennialists miss that Mt. 22:1-14 is structured with recapitulation:

 

a). vss. 1-7: 1. There is an invitation to the wedding feast, 2. It is rejected, and 3. this rejection leads to the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70 – burning their city.

 

b). vss. 8-13: 1. There is an invitation, 2. BUT there is NEW information given to us about the same time period that vss. 1-7 didn’t tell us about. This rejection results in the invitation to the undesirables – the 10 northern tribes/Samaritans and Gentiles (as laid out in Acts 1:8) and describes the success of the GC between AD 30 – AD 70. And then finally 3. There is a judgment for their rejection (except this time it’s described differently – with a Jew or Judaizer trying to achieve salvation by works of the law and not through belief in the Son and His grace – who is then “CAST” out in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (which is the same language used for the AD 70 judgment Postmillennialists give Mt. 8:11-12). So there is no exegetical evidence that vss. 8-13 is a post AD 70 GC resulting in a different judgment at the end of time.

 

As far as commentators that are not Postmillennial or Partial Preterist, they again have no problem connecting our Lord’s teaching here with the eschatological wedding feast consummation and resurrection of Isaiah 25:6-9. And most give lip service to God sending His armies to burn the city to be the AD 70 judgment (some such as Kistemaker try and downplay it). But these men refuse to interpret the rest of the parable as referring to AD 70 let alone connect Isaiah 25:6-9 with that judgment since it would destroy their Futurism.

 

Matthew 25:1-13

 

1″At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9″‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11″Later the others also came. ‘LORD, LORD,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12″But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Postmillennialists such as Keith Mathison, Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Mike Bull, etc… no longer divide Matthew 24-25 into two comings of the Lord. They correctly see every reference to the coming of Christ in the OD to be His spiritual coming in AD 70.

 

As I pointed out earlier, the reference to “day and hour” not being know by the Son but only the Father (24:36) is echoing the OT betrothal/marriage/resurrection motifs coming in Israel’s last days terminal generation (AD 30 – AD 70) — of which Jesus came to fulfill (Lk. 21:22; Mt. 5:17-18).

 

Others such as Kenneth Gentry see the coming of the Lord and “day and hour” in 24:36—25:31-46 as THE Second Coming consummative event with apparently another eschatological wedding and wedding feast to follow!

 

So again, Postmillennialists are face with TWO eschatological marriages, feasts and resurrections when the NT only knows of ONE.

 

So, let’s do what the Postmillennialists won’t do (they won’t even MENTION Jesus fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9) and what the other Futurists won’t (they mention Jesus is fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9 or Isa. 65:12-14 but then won’t develop those OT contexts).

 

Context of Isaiah 25:6-9

 

“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.  In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

 

In context, the Messianic wedding banquet comes as a result of judgment upon OC Israel for her breaking the Old Covenant Torah (cf. Isa. 24:5). This makes no sense in the Futurist paradigm because all the Mosaic Law was supposed to have been fulfilled and passed away at the cross or no later than AD 70.

 

The Messianic wedding banquet comes when Old Covenant Jerusalem is judged with her city becoming a “heap of rubble” (cf. Isa. 25:2). Again, this points to an “in time” and local event and not an end of time or global destruction and renewal.

 

Therefore, Jesus is using Isaiah 24-25 consistently and accurately to demonstrate that the Messianic wedding banquet and resurrection would be fulfilled in AD 70 when OC Israel would break Torah, was judged, and her city and Temple were left in a heap of rubble.

 

I would further add that one of the OT references for the “trumpet” call and “gathering of the elect” (Mt. 24:30-31) is the fulfillment of the resurrection of Isaiah 26:12-21–27:12-13.  This would also be the time of punishing “Leviathan” and the “dragon” (Isa. 27:1).  According to Isaiah 27, this would be “when He makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces…” and when the “fortified city [Jerusalem] would be “forsaken” and made “like a wilderness”—and thus would “not have compassion on them” and “He who formed them will show no favor” (Isa. 27:9-11).  As we have here in Matthew 24-25 the desolation of Jerusalem and her Temple would be the time of Christ’s trumpet gathering and the punishment of Satan and his angels.

 

Context of Isaiah 65:12-14

 

I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will fall in the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.

 

Here we are told that God was going to judge OC Israel “by the sword” and their fathers “in full” measure.  But at the same time would save a remnant along with the Gentiles (cf. Roms. 10:20—chapter 11).

 

In that day of judgment, the remnant of believing Jews and Gentiles would feast at the wedding supper and be called by a new name (an everlasting NC name – the New Jerusalem) while OC Israel would not feast, but rather starve and would be remembered no more. This is in line with the “soon” AD 70 coming of the Lord throughout the book of Revelation.  In Revelation 19-21, while the Church (the transformed Israel of God) feasts at the wedding feast, OC Israel not only starves, but is actually feasted upon by the birds of the air.

 

Putting it All Together “Bridging the Gap”

 

The Analogy of Faith or Analogy of Scripture Hermeneutic: Teaches us that Scripture interprets Scripture, and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.

 

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. 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=B=C.

 

A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) = Wedding or wedding feast, end of the age, and parousia fulfilled by AD 70.
B (Isa. 25:6-9) = The wedding feast & resurrection are fulfilled together “in that day.”
C (1 Cor. 15) = The resurrection and end of the age are fulfilled at the parousia.

 

If A bears some relation to B – Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach that His eschatological wedding feast would be fulfilled at His parousia to close the end of the OC age in AD 70.

 

…and B bears the same relation to C, – Paul uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) in C (1 Cor. 15) to teach that the resurrection would take place at Christ’s parousia and at “the end [of the age].”

 

…then A bears it to C – Both Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) and Paul in C (1 Cor. 15) use a common source B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach the resurrection will be fulfilled “at the end [of the OC age]” parousia event.

 

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 – The ONE Parousia/Second Coming, Eschatological Wedding, End of the Age and Resurrection event of A (Mt. 8; 22; 25), B (Isa. 25:6-9) and C (1 Cor. 15) was fulfilled in AD 70.

 

When we harmonize what Partial Preterist Postmillennialists are teaching when it comes to the eschatological wedding and wedding feast with a spiritual resurrection taking place in AD 70 at Christ’s parousia, with what other Futurists are teaching on this being THE ONE consummative event for the Second Coming, resurrection and wedding to occur at the end of the age —- we get Full Preterism.”[81]

 

The coming of the Son of Man and the judgment of the nations

 

  • “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

The coming of the Son of Man here in glory with His angels is the same coming of Christ as mentioned previously in Matthew 24:30 (and Mt. 16:27-28) to be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary generation.  Again, this is common Hebraic or prophetic recapitulation Matthew is developing while Mark and Luke do not.  There is no evidence this is a different or future to us coming of Christ.

 

The judgment separation of the sheep from the goats is the same event mentioned by Jesus in the separation of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:39-43 or the “wrath about to come” separation in the “harvest” John the Baptist was teaching in Matthew 3:7-12GNT.

 

There are differing views as to who the “nations” are that Jesus is referring to.  Are they strictly the nations of the Jews or do they include the nations of the Gentiles within the Roman Empire and previous evil Kings and Nations in Hades?

 

  1. Stuart Russell makes the connection of Christ coming in judgment upon the mourning tribes of the Land of Palestine in Matthew 24:30 with the Jewish “nations” here,

 

“In our Lord’s time it was usual to speak of the inhabitants of Palestine as consisting of several nations.  Josephus speaks of ‘the nation of the Samaritans,’ ‘the nation of the Batanaeans,’ ‘the nation of the Galileans,’—using the very word which we find in the passage before us.  Judea was a distinct nation, often with a king of its own; so also was Samaria; and so with Idumea, Galilee, Perea, Batanea, Trachonitis, Ituraea, Abilene,–all of which had at different times princes with the title of Ethnarch, a name which signifies the ruler of a nation.  It is doing no violence then, to the language to understand… [this judgment to be upon]…as referring to ‘all the nations’ of Palestine, or ‘all the tribes of the land.’”[82]

 

While Russell offers a compelling argument here, I should point out that the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14 was not limited to the “nations” of Palestine, but rather the “whole world” and the “nations” that made up the Roman Empire.  Paul’s mission was to the Jews and Gentiles of this world and these nations.  Paul would preach to the Jew first and then to the Gentile.

 

It was his custom to begin in the synagogues where there were Jewish members who had been scattered throughout the Roman Empire and their Gentile proselyte converts.  Some within these synagogues were converted to Christianity and thus a Church plant had begun.  Those that were not converted to Christ began to persecute the Jews and Gentiles that had in these early churches.

 

Most likely Nero being married to a Jewess who had friends in high places such as the Pharisees who had an ax to grind with the Christians, came up with a scheme to blame the Christians for the fires Nero had started.  So, these synagogues for a season were somewhat protected from the wrath of Nero.

 

When the feasts of Israel began in and around AD 67, Jews and Gentiles from the synagogues (Judaizers or Christians) within the Roman Empire would have traveled to Jerusalem.  Those that had not converted to Christ would have been deceived by the false messiahs and prophets to stay within the walls of Jerusalem and not leave (just as those Jews and their Gentile converts would have who lived in Jerusalem)–thus Christ’s wrath fell upon them and He gave them the same kind of “trouble” they had given the Jewish and Gentile Christians (cf. 2 Thess. 1:5-10) through the hands of the Romans.

 

When Roman Jewish tensions began to heat up during the beginning of the war, Jews throughout the Roman Empire also revolted, and Rome was no longer favorable to them and thus wrath fell upon them and many perished from both groups.  But the Jewish and Gentile converts would have fled to Pella and would be safe.

 

In this way the Great Commission and God’s wrath and judgment extended to the “nations” of the Roman world as well.

 

The gospel itself preached throughout the nations of Rome and the nations of Palestine served as judgment being an “aroma of life” to those God sovereignly called to it and an “aroma of death” to those who rejected it (cf. 2 Cor. 2:16).

 

I think Russell also misses that this was also a judgment that took place in the spiritual realm for “the Devil and his angels” with Hades being emptied and all those in it being judged at Christ’s coming.  Jesus connects the vindication of the dead going as far back as Genesis in Matthew 23, so this was not just a local judgment upon Palestine.  Therefore, it would have included all of the wicked Jewish and Gentile Kings and those “nations” of the OT who had died and were awaiting judgment at Christ’s coming in AD 70 (cf. Revelation 20:5-15—chap. 22).

 

Jesus Himself identified “the day of judgment” connected with His coming at the end of the Old Covenant age to not just involve unbelievers within the disciple’s local Jewish towns and nations of Israel, but also to that of “Sodom and Gomorrah” (cf. Mt. 10:15, 17-23).

 

The author of Hebrews mentions it is appointed to die once and then experience judgment (Heb. 9:26-28).  This would apply to those who died prior to AD 70 awaiting the judgment and those who die post AD 70 and either continue in God’s presence or are immediately cast in the lake of Fire only to continue having no rest day and night being eternally separated and tormented.

 

Jesus said that if anyone did not believe that He was the great “I am” then he would “die in his sins” (Jn. 8:24).  The same principle applies today as we continue to preach the everlasting Gospel to the “nations” in the New Covenant age (cf. Rev. 22:2, 17).  In fact, the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the wrath involved is a testimony not only of the Deity of Christ, but of one’s eternal destiny in responding to His gospel.  For if God took the sin of rejecting His Son so seriously that He came upon the clouds to judge His own covenant nation, how much more will He pour out His wrath upon those today who hear the message of the “Spirit and the Bride” concerning the “Faithful and True Witness” in fulfilling His prophecies of His passion and parousia in the historical events of AD 30 – AD 70?!?  Selah

 

If our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse has been accurate, we should continue to let the Bible interpret itself for further support.  Therefore, we will briefly examine how the language of OT imminence was interpreted in connection with metaphoric and symbolic apocalyptic language.

 

Harmonizing OT and NT apocalyptic language and imminence

 

I recently debated Charismatic Zionist Dr. Michael Brown on the subject of “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:8-12) proving the sign and revelatory miracle gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge “ceased” in AD 70 at the “soon” Second Coming and we are spiritually seeing His face today in the New Covenant age (cf. Rev. 22:4-7).[83]

 

In that debate knowing Dr. Brown is also an OT scholar I challenged him with the fact that in the OT de-creation language was not only figurative and metaphorical, but these imminent judgments were fulfilled within the lifetimes of the prophets or their contemporaries.  I will summarize his answer and then critique it – since it is applicable to concluding the harmony of Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse with the OT prophets.

 

Dr. Michael Brown’s answer summarized:  “OT imminence may be understood in a few ways.  First, the “Day of the Lord” being “near” (ex. Isa. 13) may be referring to a truly imminent coming of the Lord in the lifetimes and generation to whom the prophecy was given.  Secondly, it may be referring to a coming of the Lord being “near” to the immediate audience while at the same time being typological of the Second Coming to be fulfilled at the end of the age or to end world history.  And lastly, it may be referring to projected imminence, that is when the prophecy will be fulfilled, or begin to unfold it will be “soon” at that point.  I could provide you with a list if you like?  NT imminence follows this OT pattern, and I could believe that the coming of the Lord in Matthew 24:27 for example was imminently fulfilled in AD 70, and this wouldn’t affect my position at all.  And yet when I read the coming of the Lord is “near” in the NT, I believe God is using a different calendar (2 Pet. 3:8) or standard (than that of OT imminence?) and is simply a way of God wanting every generation to think His coming is “near” for them.”

 

The O&A session was very short so we could not get into all of these OT prophecies and examine them.  I did ask for a “list” of OT time texts that were not fulfilled within the lifetime of the prophet or his contemporaries so we could examine them, but he did not provide his proof texts.  So, let’s go to a book Dr. Brown has endorsed hoping to refute Full Preterism, Debunking Preterism for that list and see if it supports the Full Preterist exegesis or the Premillennial Zionist position.  Brock Hollett writes,

 

  • “…the historical manner of interpreting the time statements finds its origins in the Old Testament Prophets.  The prophets warned of an impending judgment upon the wicked at the day of the Lord:

 

  • “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!” (Isaiah 13:6)
  • “…its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged” (Isaiah 13:22)
  • “For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near” (Ezekiel 30:3)
  • “Alas for the day!  For the day of the LORD is near” (Joel 1:15)
  • “the day of the LORD is coming; it is near” (Joel 2:1; cf. Isaiah 9:9; Malachi 4:1)
  • “For the day of the LORD is near upon all nations.  As you have done, it shall be done to you” (Obadiah 1:15)
  • “For the day of the LORD is near (Zephaniah 1:7)
  • “…in a little while” (Haggai 2:6)”[84]

My response – There are really three issues here we must address: 1).  OT imminence of the day of the Lord being near being a pattern to NT imminence of the day of the Lord being near, 2).  OT types and NT anti-types or double fulfillments of the day of the Lord, and 3).  Did or does Psalm 90:4 or 2 Peter 3:8 change the meaning of any OT or NT imminent prophetic material to mean thousands of years?

1). OT Imminence – the day of the LORD is near  

In our debate I appealed to such passages as Ezekiel 7 and 12 along with Isaiah 13:6 and asked if the day of the Lord judgment in these texts were truly “near” and “without delay” and thus fulfilled within the time of the prophet’s audience and Dr. Brown affirmed that they were – kind of sort of.  I emphasized that in Ezekiel 7 and 12 where we learn that “the day of the Lord is NEAR” and would be “WITHOUT DELAY” (12:23-25; 7:7) and it was the FALSE prophets who sought to change the meaning of God’s revelation from “near” and “without delay” to “The vision he [Ezekiel] sees is for MANY years from now, and he prophesies about the DISTANT future” (12:27).  This misapplication and twisting of God’s truly prophetic imminent coming in judgment caused God’s anger to burn against these false prophets and therefore He affirmed once again, “None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD” (12:28).  What a stinging rebuke for the Futurist (Evangelical or Reformed) and Charismatic Futurists of our day such as Dr. Brown whom, seek to change the Second Coming and Day of the Lord being “near” “in a very little while and would NOT be DELAYED” (ex. Heb. 10:37) in AD 70, to be, well, in reality fulfilled in the “distant future” from the first century Church.  As you can clearly see Mr. Brock Hollett did not include a discussion of Ezekiel 7 and 12 in addressing OT imminence.  How revealing indeed.

Let’s go ahead and address the “list” Brown and Hollett have come up with:

A).   “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!” (Isaiah 13:6) and “…its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged” (Isaiah 13:22)

Response:  Unfortunately, many think this prediction is referring to the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Medes years beyond Isaiah’s contemporaries.  But the truth is this is referring to the judgment upon Babylon at the hands of Assyria some 15 years from Isaiah’s prophetic word.  Thus, the prophecy was literally “near” as even a Dispensationalist Zionist commentary points out,

“After Sargon II died in 705 there was much rebellion in the Assyrian Empire. The Elamites put Mushezib-Marduk over Babylon (692–689); he made an alliance with several nations including the Medes. To subdue the rebellion in Babylon, Sennacherib marched there in 689 and destroyed it.” (Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures(Vol. 1, p. 1061). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)

“Isaiah 13:14–18 (BKC): The statement I will stir up against them the Medes (v. 17) has caused much discussion among Bible students. Many interpreters, because of the mention of the fall of Babylon (v. 19), assume that Isaiah was (in vv. 17–18) prophesying Babylon’s fall in 539 (cf. Dan. 5:30–31) to the Medes and Persians. However, that view has some difficulties. In the Medo-Persian takeover in 539 there was very little change in the city; it was not destroyed so it continued on much as it had been. But Isaiah 13:19–22 speaks of the destruction of Babylon. Also the word “them,” against whom the Medes were stirred up (v. 17), were the Assyrians (referred to in vv. 14–16), not the Babylonians. It seems better, then, to understand this section as dealing with events pertaining to the Assyrians’ sack of Babylon in December 689 b.c. As Seth Erlandsson has noted, “The histories of the Medes, Elamites, and Babylonians converge around the year 700 in the struggle against the Assyrian world power and … Babylon assumes a particularly central position in that great historical drama from the latter years of the 8th century down to the fall of Babylon in 689”[85]

“Babylon was besieged no fewer than three times – in the lifetime of Isaiah, viz., in 710 by Sargon, and in 703 and 691 by Sennacherib.”  Babylon’s fall in 689 is, however, “die einzige wirkliche Zerstorung von Babylon, die uberhaupt stattgefunden hat.”

“With regard to Babylon’s role in the history, her position mainly in the 6thcentury has been delineated when dealing with Old Testament texts.  The main reason for this was that Babylon’s history during the Assyrian period was less familiar, while, on the other hand, the historical events involving Babylon in the 6thcentury were well known.  It is therefore significant that when the new Akkadian text-finds from Mesopotamia began to be published towards the end of the 19thcentury, they gave rise to a reconsideration of the current interpretations of various passages…”.

“…we have arrived at the culmination of the many bloody struggles, namely the fall of Babylon.  When the king of Elam was smitten by a stroke of apoplexy in April 689, Sennacherib took advantage of the occasion and marched against Babylon to take there his revenge against Elam and put an end to Babylon’s power once and for all. In December 689 the city was captured and Mushezib-Mushezib-Arduk taken prisoner.  That which no one previously had dared and which was considered to be out of the question, Sennacherib now accomplished.  Marduk’s famed and holy city had laid in ruins.  “like the on-coming of a storm I broke loose, and overwhelmed it like a hurricane” (cf. Isa. 21:1).  “I completely invested that city…whether small or great, I left none.  With their corpses I filled the city squares (wide places)…The gods dwelling therein, –the hands of my people took them, and they smashed (usabbiru) them” (cf. Isa. 21:9). “The city and (its) house, from its foundation to its top, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire.  The wall and outer wall, temples and gods, temple towers of brick and earth, as many as there were, I razed and dumped them into the Arahtu Canal.”  His final gesture was to have huge volumes of water released over the ruins in order to obliterate every trace of that city which had constantly been in revolt.  “I made its destruction more complete than that by a flood.  That in days to come the site of that city, and (its) temples and gods, might not be remembered, I completely blotted it out with (floods of) water and made it it like a meadow.”  That event must have had to the effect of a bomb on the contemporary world and it is significant that Sennacherib’s successor, as his first measure, sets himself to the reconstruction of the “holy” city.  He laid stress on Babylon’s cosmopolitan character and its destiny as an open city and gathering place of the peoples.  What had befallen Babylon as a result of Sennacherib’s fury should never happen again.  When the Neo-Babylonian kingdom had come to an end 539 and was succeeded by the Persian, no one did violence to Babylon.

This historical excursus has thus shown that the histories of the Medes, Elamites and Babylonians converge around the year 700 in the struggle against the Assyrian world-power and that Babylon assumes a particularly central position in that great historical drama from the latter years of the 8thcentury down to the fall of Babylon in 689.[86]

Dr. Brown while agreeing that imminence was literal in Isaiah 13:6, 22 mentioned that Isaiah 13 was going on to deal with the destruction of the planet.  Yet again the hyper-literal Zionist Bible Knowledge Commentary admits,

“The statements in 13:10 about the heavenly bodies (stars.… sun … moon) no longer functioning may figuratively describe the total turnaround of the political structure of the Near East. The same would be true of the heavens trembling and the earth shaking (v. 13), figures of speech suggesting all-encompassing destruction.” (ibid., p. 1059)

There is nothing in the passage which tells us this is a type of a literal “day of the LORD” resulting in the end of world history and the destruction of the planet that Jesus allegedly picks up on Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and applies to our future.  But this is simply assumed here in Isaiah and in Matthew 24.  The truth is that both Isaiah 13 and Matthew 24 are referring to two contemporary and imminent judgments using common non-literal apocalyptic language.

B).  “For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near” (Ezekiel 30:3). “When I blot you out, I Will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord God. (Ezek. 32:7-8)

My Response – This is addressing a historical judgment upon Egypt Around 587 BC by the Assyrians and was literally fulfilled in a “near” time frame using symbolic apocalyptic language.

Again, nothing in the passage telling us this is a type of a physical cloud coming of God in the future to destroy the planet.

C).  Obadiah 1:15 – The “day of the LORD is NEAR”

My Response – The quote below is part of what John Gill had to say of this passage which was true, but later he begins dropping the ball and compromising of an end of time judgment for Edom and Rome connected to “antichrists.” But for the accurate statement here it is,

“Edom and the other surrounding nations/heathen to Jerusalem rejoiced to see God’s people punished by Him through the Babylonians (somewhere between 605 – 586BC or in the Jewish calendar 439 – 420BC), and so God would come in a “near” time frame upon them (within 5 years) after His judgment of Jerusalem. The “nations” here are local nations:  the Edom, Egyptians, Philistines, Tyrians, Ammonites, Moabites and others…”[87]

God was able to deceive Edom and other nations – giving them over to their pride. He allowed even their “friends” to deceive them (v. 7). God likewise laid a trap for Old Covenant Jerusalem in AD 70 giving them over to their pride and false prophets – in thinking and calculating Daniel’s seventy weeks so as to think it was the time in which God was going to deliver them from the Romans, when in fact the opposite was the case — they would be food for the vultures of Rome for rejecting their Messiah/Jesus.

We have learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls that even the Essenes were even caught up in their self-righteousness thinking God was going to deliver them (the true children of light) from the Romans and Apostate Jerusalem.

But as the Apostate religious rulers of Jerusalem learned along with those Monkish Essenes who isolated themselves, all who rejected Jesus would perish at the hands of their own brethren, friends and Rome in the events of AD 67 – 70.

D).  “Alas for the day!  For the day of the LORD is near” (Joel 1:15) “the day of the LORD is coming; it is near” (Joel 2:1; cf. Isaiah 9:9; Malachi 4:1)

My Response – Joel 1-3 is address two Days of the Lord.  One that was literally “near” for Joel’s immediate audience and one that would be near in the last days.  The second is consistent with say Deuteronomy 31-32 which taught Israel’s “end” would be “near” in her “later days” when a specific “perverse and crooked generation” arrived – which Peter tells us were predicting his contemporary generation and therefore the time of the “end of all things is NEAR” (Acts 2:40/1 Pet. 1:10-12, 4:5-7).

 

Don Preston, points out,

 

“So, the language of the Day of the Lord is used in the Old Testament. When the Old Testament prophets said the Day was near, they were not referring to the end of the age, consummative Day of the Lord. When they referred to a Day of the Lord that was near, it was an event that was to occur in their lifetime (See Ezekiel 12.21f again). However, when they were speaking of the last days, when the kingdom would be established, the resurrection, etc., they were told that it was not near (cf. Isaiah 2.2-21f).

 

This is clearly illustrated in Joel. In the first two chapters, the prophet declared “the Day of the Lord is near.” (Joel 1.15; 2.1, 10). He repeatedly describes events that took place historically, in an in-time Day of the Lord, as we have documented above.

 

However, in verse 28 the prophet said: “It shall come to pass afterward.” What does “afterward” mean? It means after the events he had been describing, at another time known as the last days, the events that he then describes would be near. Notice that in 3:1, he then says “In those days (the last days, DKP) and at that time…”

 

Joel is a case of projected imminence. That is my term to describe what happens in the O.T. when a prophet speaks of events that were not for his day, but, he describes events in the distant future. As he describes those events, he says that in the days under consideration, other events would be near. Moses did this in Deuteronomy 4.25f, when he spoke of Israel’s coming future. He said that after they had dwelt long in the land, and then became corrupt, that then, a long time off from his perspective, when they became corrupt, “you will soon utterly perish from the land.” Moses was not saying that they were, when he wrote, about to utterly perish. He was projecting himself and his audience to a distant time, and saying that when certain things happened, their apostasy, that then their destruction would be near.

 

This is what happens in Joel. The writer speaks of events that were for his day. They were truly near. Then, however, he turns to the distant future, and says that when those distant days came, then, and not until then, another Day of the Lord would be near (Joel 3.14). Joel was not affirming that the last days Day of the Lord was near, or else Peter was wrong in 1 Peter 1.10!”[88]

 

Malachi 4:1: Dr. Brown writing of Malachi 3:1-5,

 

“…God would visit the Second Temple, purifying some of his people [bringing salvation] and bringing judgment on others.  “There would be a divine visitation of great import that would occur in the days of the Second Temple.” “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 has failed.”[89] 

The context of Malachi 3:1-5 / 4:1-6 and how it is applied to John the Baptist (as Elijah) is very clearly referring the Second Coming of Jesus in AD 70.  

Brown arbitrarily divides the “divine visitation of God” in a judgment of fire whereby He saves and purifies some and brings wrath on others here in Mal. 3:1-5 as AD 70, from the SAME coming day of the Lord approaching and judgment of fire in Mal. 4:1-6.  Let’s once again take a look at the context and description of this ONE coming of the Lord in AD 70 and John the Baptist’s imminent “already” and imminent “not yet” eschatology in developing these OT passages.

1).  Luke 1:77-79; 7:27:“…for you [John] will go before the LORD to prepare his ways,…” “…whereby the sunrise [inclusive of the imminent “not yet” Second Coming Mal. 4:2] shall visit us from on high…”.This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

2).  Malachi 3:1-5/4:1-6: “Behold, I send my messenger [John as Elijah], and he will prepare the way before me [Jesus]. And the Lord [Jesus] whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple [Second Coming]; and the messenger of the [New] covenant [Jesus] in whom you delight, behold, he is coming [Second Coming], says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming [Second Coming], and who can stand when he appears [Second Coming]? 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 Righteousness [Second Coming] 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 [Second Coming]. 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.”

3).  Matthew 3:2: “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

The context will develop that the Kingdom being “at hand” is not just the arrival of the imminent eschatological “already,” of the Kingdom, but the imminent judgment or “not yet” of the Kingdom as well.     

4).  Matthew 3:3: “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” 

And yet the context of what John is “crying” and the way he is preparing is one of not just salvation but judgment,  

5).  Isaiah 40:5-10: “A voice cries…” “…the glory of the LORD shall be revealed [seen], and all flesh shall see it together,…” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” “… Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him [cf. Mt. 16:27-28], And His work before Him.”  

6).  Matthew 3:7: “Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is [Greek mello] coming soon?”  (Mt. 3:7 CEB). “…the punishment [or wrath] God is about to send (WUESTNT; GNT)?”

7).  Matthew 3:10-12: “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fireHis winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:10-12).

We prefer the Reformed Historic Premillennialist view of this passage over Dr. Brown’s Dispensational or Zionist friendly one,

“…the awful judgment of God, which Christ was ready to execute, and in a short time would execute on the unbelieving and impenitent Jews: hence it is said to be “in his hand.”  …By “his floor,” is meant the land of Israel, where he was born, brought up, and lived; of which the Lord says, “O my threshing, and the corn of my floor!” #Isa 21:10.”[90]

Concluding Malachi 3-4 and John the Baptist’s imminent “not yet” eschatology:  The truth is the Church has identified the coming of the Lord here as both His imminent coming in judgment in AD 70 and as the Second Coming event.  As Full Preterists, we acknowledge both positions are true.

E).  “For the day of the LORD is near upon all nations.  As you have done, it shall be done to you” (Obadiah 1:15)

My Response – Matthew Poole points out there was truly and imminent judgment of Edom and the surrounding nations here,

“For the day of the Lord, of just revenge from the Lord upon this cruelty of Edom, the time which the Lord hath appointed for the punishing of this and other nations, is near upon all the heathen; which God had given to Nebuchadnezzar, and which by this man’s arms God would punish, as Jeremiah 27:2-7; and that day may justly be accounted near, which shall come within the compass of one man’s life, and that well advanced in years, as Nebuchadnezzar now was.  

As thou hast done, perfidiously, cruelly, and ravenously against Jacob, with a hostile, revengeful mind, it shall be done by thine enemies to thee, as Obadiah 1:7; and this came to pass on Edom within five years after Jerusalem was sacked and ruined; within which space of time Obadiah prophesied, reproving Edom, and threatening him for what he had done against Jerusalem and its inhabitants.”[91]

Again, there is no exegetical evidence within Obadiah that this is a truly imminent judgment upon Edom and the surrounding nations that is typological of another NT “day of the Lord” of which “near” then means 2,000 plus years and counting.  Brown’s “argument” is “bizarre” and “fascinating” to use Dr. Brown’s phrases in our debate.

F).  “For the day of the LORD is near (Zephaniah 1:7)

My Response – This is descriptive of an imminent judgment upon the Jews at the hands of the Babylonians.  John Gill writes of this passage and the genuine nearness of the event,

“For the day of the Lord is at hand; the time of his vengeance on the Jewish nation for their sins, which he had fixed in his mind, and had given notice of by his prophets: this began to take place at Josiah’s death, after which the Jews enjoyed little peace and prosperity; and his successor reigned but three months, was deposed by the king of Egypt, and carried thither captive, and there died; and Jehoiakim, that succeeded him, in the fourth year of his reign was carried captive into Babylon, or died by the way thither; so that this day might well be said to be at hand:”[92]

Again, there is no exegetical evidence here of a truly imminent day of the LORD that is typological of a NT day of the Lord that is said to be “near” but really isn’t!

G).  “…in a little while” (Haggai 2:6)”

My Response – Here is a section taken from our book on this passage concerning its truly imminent fulfillment in Haggai’s day and then the truly imminent anti-type in the fulfillment of the book of Hebrews of which was fulfilled within that first century audience in AD 70,

“The prophecy of Haggai 2:6–9, 21–23 was fulfilled, in a “typical” sense, in the lifetime of Zerubbabel. In about four years (“in a little while”) after the prophecy was given, God overthrew all the nations, (He “shook the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land”) and the desire or wealth of all nations came, and the temple was filled with glory (with gold and silver). (Compare Haggai 1:15; 2:10 and Ezra 6:15.)

This all took place when Darius King of Persia overturned Israel’s enemies, who for years had been preventing the rebuilding of God’s house. Darius decreed, “May God . . . overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem” (Ezra 6:11–12). Darius forced Israel’s enemies themselves to pay the full cost of the rebuilding, as well as the full cost of all the daily, priestly services (Ezra 6:8–10).

The military and political power of Israel’s enemies was overthrown.  They had tried to turn the king against Israel (Ezra 5), but God turned their own stratagems against them. He made them subservient to His people, taking their own wealth for the building of His glorious, earthly house. God had thus “moved heaven and earth” to keep the covenant that He had made with His people through Moses (Ezra 6:18; Hag. 2:5).

The prophecy of Haggai 2:6–9; 21–23 also foreshadowed the fulfillment of the better promise (Heb. 8:6) that was fulfilled in Christ’s generation. Israel’s building of the greater, earthly house in Zerubbabel’s generation was an example of the building of the true, heavenly “House” in Christ.

Within perhaps only four years (“in a little while”) after Hebrews 12:26 was written, God overthrew all the nations. He “shook the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land.” The desire of all nations came, and God’s Temple was filled with Glory.

This happened when God overturned His kingdom-enemies who, in their persecution of the church, had furiously resisted the construction of His new covenant temple (Eph. 2:21–22; I Peter 2:5). Despite the rage of the enemies, God enlisted countless multitudes of them to build His new House (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21; Rev. 5:9); and the enemies who resisted to the end were crushed, and were cast out of the kingdom in AD 70 (Matt. 8:12; 21:43; Lk. 13:28; Acts 4:25–28; Gal. 4:30; Rev. 3:9).

God “moved heaven and earth” to keep the covenant that He made with His elect through the blood of Christ. Now the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell eternally in the universal church, which is the new covenant House of promise (Jn. 14:23; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 2:21–22; 3:17; Col. 1:27; II Peter 1:19; Rev. 3:20; 21:2–3). rough the power of the eternal gospel, the desire of the nations flows into “the more perfect tabernacle” today and forever (Heb. 9:11; Rev. 21:26–27), and God Himself is its unfading Glory (Rev. 21:23). Amen.”[93]

This is truly a convoluted and contradictory position to take. Especially when Dr. Brown has endorsed a book by Brock Hollett saying essentially the same thing, yet also affirming if you do believe there was an imminent “this generation” or “soon” coming of the Lord in AD 70 (Partial Preterism), this will lead to Full Preterism.    

2). OT types & NT anti-types or double fulfillments

My Response –  As I addressed previously of Jesus’ teaching in Luke 21:22 that all OT prophecy would be fulfilled and this is not discussing “double fulfillments” of Jesus’ teaching in fulfilling those OT promises  – I think everyone agrees that many prophecies in the Old Testament were typologically fulfilled and awaited full realization in the New Testament. This phenomenon reflected the contrast between Old Testament types and shadows, and the New Testament Anti-Type or Body, i.e., Christ (Col. 2:17).  I pointed out in my debate with Dr. Brown that the author of Hebrews goes from physical OT typological fulfillments being fulfilled “better” and spiritually “in a very little while” in AD 70.  There is no inspired text teaching us the author of Hebrews says his imminent spiritual anti-type fulfillment is really just another typological fulfillment of another literal fulfillment in the distant future.  “Bizarre” understanding and interpretation from Dr. Brown indeed.  He is guilty of going “beyond what is written” in Hebrews and the rest of the NT for that matter.

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

The New Testament is the revealing of the salvation promises contained in the Old Testament, and those promises were to be realized and found “in Christ” and in His Body the church (2 Cor. 1:20).  Dr. Brown would have us believe that the New Testament is a further obscuring of the meaning of kingdom prophecies (with more shadowy and typical fulfillments), which will only become clear at the alleged end of the very age that Christ died to establish, the age that Brown is forced to see as “evil.”

Dr. Brown does not keep the jots and tittles of the Old Covenant law or the sabbath.  And again, we need to point out that one of his contributing Charismatic authors (Sam Storms) believes “heaven and earth” “passed away” in AD 70 per (Mt. 5:17-18).  It irresistibly follows that if we are no longer under the Old Covenant, it is because Christ’s Second Coming took place at the end of the Old Covenant age and brought to consummation every “jot” and “tittle” of its promises (cf. Matt 5:18; Heb. 8:13, 9:26–28, 10:25–37). There is no possibility of double-fulfilling or partial-fulfilling every jot and tittle of the Law and the prophets.

Dr. Brown’s double-fulfillment-in-the-New-Testament theory opens Pandora’s Box to double-fulfilling everything: the earthly ministry of Christ, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, His Ascension, His pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and His Second Coming; even the allegedly future millennium could be double-fulfilled. Even the casting of Satan into the Lake of Fire could be double-fulfilled – if not why not?

Every New Testament promise in the Bible becomes ultimately uncertain in Dr. Brown’s theory. Therefore, unless we want to end up adopting a liberal, postmodern approach to God’s word and turn all of His promises into “yes and no,” Dr. Brown’s double-fulfillment theory must be firmly and finally rejected.

3). Does 2 Peter 3:8 change the meaning of NT imminence and if it does why not OT imminence? 

My Response – “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one dayThe Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:8-9)

Peter is quoting from Psalm 90:4 which in context reads,

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:2-12)

In our debate Dr. Brown appealed to 2 Peter 3:8 and claimed Peter was using it to communicate “God has a different calendar than we do” and therefore NT imminence of “near,” “soon,” “about to,” “quickly,” “in a very little while and will not delay” can really mean 2,000 plus years and counting.

There are several points I would like to make on these passages.

Point #1 – Since Dr. Brown and Mr. Hollett have admitted the OT days of the Lord that were “near” were genuinely near and fulfilled within the lifetimes of their audiences, and Psalm 90:4 is an OT passage, then how is it that “God’s calendar of time that isn’t ours” didn’t change the meaning of “near” in the OT?!?  As seen in Ezekiel 7 and 12, God was upset when the false prophets changed the meaning of “near” and “would not delay” to “far off” or to a fulfillment for “many days” beyond their lifetimes.  If Dr. Brown’s interpretation of 2 Peter 3:8 is correct, then God had no right to be angry and the false prophets could have appealed to Psalm 90:4 and reasoned, “we know Ezekiel is saying the day of the Lord’s judgment is “near” and will “not be delayed,’ BUT “remember, with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” therefore, really the prophecy is “far off.””

If Psalm 90:4 wasn’t used in the OT to change the meaning of the day of the Lord being “near,” it most assuredly wasn’t being used by Peter or any NT author that way.

Point #2 – The context of Psalm 90 is that the generation of unbelief are perishing in the desert just as God had determined and promised.  They were not outlasting God’s judgment for God’s word was sure and accurate.  The Psalm begins with a reminder going as far back to Adam who returned to the dust after 930 years.  Psalm 90:4 is a contrast of Adam returning to dust not achieving a thousand years and God considering man’s longest days as nothing or a “day” in His sight. Even when man may come close to a thousand years—Methuselah lived 969 years (Gen 5:27)—in God’s reckoning it is but “a day.”  As mentioned in Ezekiel 7 and 12, the POINT was not only they were twisting the meaning of “near” but were boasting that they could OUTLAST God’s predicted judgment.

The context of the mockers in 2 Peter is similar.  In the case of the “mockers” they were mocking Jesus’ prediction to come in their generation as if it would not come and they would outlast it.  “All things continue” (2 Pet. 3:4) was their response to a definite prophesy of their demise.  But Peter has to point out that they are deliberately forgetting to remember certain aspects of their history of which Psalm 90 covers – when God has determined a judgment upon man (Adam returing to dust, the flood, perishing in the wilderness, etc…) it is certain to take place when God says it will, and most assuredly they too would not outlast or dismiss it away.  Peter’s point is that others like the mockers within our history have thought they could outlast or deny God’s certain and imminent judgments, but they couldn’t. While they appealed to a history lesson of their fathers since the creation of the Old Covenant age, at the same time they were deliberately leaving out very important things concerning the judgments of their people. So, YES Jesus is KEEPING His promise and despite their mocking, they would not outlast His “NEAR” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17) judgment coming upon them anymore than others thought they could.

Not only that, but the Rabbi’s used Ps. 90:15-17 to teach a 40 yrs. second exodus generation in which Messiah would have a transitionary reign between their Old Covenant “this age” and the Messianic “about to come” New Covenant age.  So, YES Jesus is KEEPING His promise would be another point in appealing to Psalm 90.

Psalm 90:4 is also brought up in Revelation 20 as well with the Church currently being within the 1,000 years millennial reign.  Here were some of my thoughts on this text taken from our book,

“Adam falling short of the 1,000-year lifespan by 70 years (Gen. 5:5) may represent his being created a mortal being and perishing in sin outside of God’s presence. If this is the case, then it is more than reasonable that the number 1,000 took on the symbolism and representation of Christ’s and the church’s victory over Death in contrast to Adamic man’s vain existence apart from God’s salvation (Eccl. 6:6).

Some Evangelicals and Reformed theologians along with some preterists such as Milton Terry do not understand the long lifespans in the early chapters of Genesis to be literal.[3] They believe that the lifespans were symbolic and contained numerological elements. But even if Adam’s lifespan was a literal 930 years, this does not exclude an anti-typical, symbolic 1,000 years in Revelation 20.

When Messiah came as “the last Adam,” His reign in and through the church for a symbolic thousand years brought the church not to the dust of the earth separated from God’s presence, but to the Tree of Life and into the very presence of God (Rev. 20–22:12). Through faith in and union with Christ as the Last Adam (the Tree of Life and New Creation), Christians have achieved what Adam could not. The church was clothed with “immortality”; it attained unto the “fullness” of life in AD 70; and it will never die for the aeons of the aeons (2 Cor. 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:45–53; Rev. 21–22; Jn. 11:26–27).”[94]

Christ and the Church were reigning for a symbolic 1,000 years period (Rev. 20). Old Covenant Israel and its “mockers” would not outlast this transitionary or probationary period.  They would become a “corpse” picked apart by the Roman vultures/eagles by AD 70, while the Church would continue with Him in the Spirit having eternal life and having dominion over the nations through the everlasting gospel. Selah.

While I would not agree with this commentator on all that he has to say of our text, I would agree that Peter’s emphasis is that God was not slow or producing a delay to His coming,

“The idea that “the Lord” is not slow is probably an allusion to Hab 2:3: “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” In some Greek translations of the OT exactly the same word is used for “delay” that 2 Peter uses. Furthermore, one could understand the Greek as saying, “He will not be slow” or “He will not delay.” While a similar thought is expressed in Isa 13:22, Sir 35:19 (LXX; 35:22 in the NRSV) is closer to our thought here, “Indeed, the Lord will not delay, and like a warrior [or “upon them”] will not be patient until he crushes the loins of the unmerciful.…”[95]

Unfortunately, this commentator does not see the significance of my next point (#3) below in connection with these OT reference he cites in relation to Jesus’ and Peter’s prediction of a genuine nearness that “will not delay.”

Point #3 – The very fact that the mockers (Judaizers – false prophets and teachers) were mocking the reality of Yeshua’s coming in light of some of the early church fathers having already died, — demonstrates that the coming of the Lord was not a limitless coming but one in which was well known to be prophesied to take place within some of their lifetimes, in their generation and thus “near” to them (Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:27-34; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17). The fact that the text implies the false prophets understood NT imminence better than Dr. Brown and other Futurists is a sad commentary indeed.

Point #4 – If a Bible College or Seminary student asked the instructor in a hermeneutics class,

“If I have over 200 clear text on a given subject and I only have 1 passage that seems to give a contradictory interpretation of the clear 200, which passage, or passages should I go with?”

Everyone knows what the hermeneutics instructor would say (no matter what the denomination), “You go with the 200 clear passages and interpret the 1 passage in light of the others or in such a way that does not contradict them.”

And yet when the Full Preterist has over 200 OT and NT clear texts which demonstrate the “Day of the LORD” was “near” or “without delay,” so many of these same instructors are willing to throw NT imminence under the bus of a misunderstanding of 1 passage (2 Pet. 3:8) in order to toll the creedal line and keep their jobs.  Sad really.          

Summing up OT & NT imminence in light of Psalam 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 

In examining the “list” of OT day of the Lord passages that were “near” we found that God was capable of communicating with man in language he understands “near” “without delay” to be.  There was no exegetical evidence that “near” or “without delay” meant thousands of years and that this is somehow the way to interpret over 150 direct imminent statements in the NT.     

In a few passages in the OT there were some typological passages or projected imminence passages in which when the prophecy would begin to be fulfilled in Israel’s last day’s they would be near.  But once in the NT, since the last days had arrived the “nearness” of that day of the Lord had literally come.  We also looked at a passage which developed the partial fulfillment type and the NT anti-type and found that both used “nearness” literally to their respected audiences (ex. Hag. 2/Heb. 12).

While no one disagrees that the OT predicted partial or typological fulfillments, what Brown and men like Hollett are unwilling to see, is that the NT writers are developing the imminent eschatological “not yet” anti-types to be fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.  This is one of the reasons why I asked Dr. Brown in the cross-examination period to demonstrate from the book of Hebrews or any NT book where Yeshua or the author goes from the OT physical typological promises, gives them a spiritual and imminent anti-type fulfillment, and THEN goes back to develop a physical fulfillment.  He did not answer the question or give me a passage.

God “set a day” on His eschatological “calendar” that was “about to be” (Acts 17:31YLT) fulfilled concerning Jesus’ truly imminent Second Coming in judgment by AD 70 and He communicated it’s nearness in language we understand.

It was also odd to see Dr. Brown admit the coming of the Lord in Matthew 24:27 could have been fulfilled literally “near” and “soon” in AD 70 and yet also assert this would not do any damage to his position.  This is not only wrong in that NT imminence of the “soon” coming of the Lord flows from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:27-34, but Dr. Brown gave a glowing review of Brock Hollett’s book in which Hollett admits Partial Preterism (the belief NT imminence is literal) logically leads to Full Preterism.  So again, to use statements Dr. Brown used in our debate – Brown’s position on OT and NT imminence is “bizarre,” “strange,” and “rips the Bible apart.”  Selah.

Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 NEVER changed the meaning of what “far off” “many days” or “near” means.  Daniel and Revelation contain the same eschatological promises and God communicated consistently in language man can understand concerning the prophetic material of both inspired books.  Daniel was told to “seal up” his vision because the time of fulfillment was “far off” or would be fulfilled in “many days” from Daniel.  Daniel is told that he would die and not be able to witness the event.  But John is told the exact just opposite – “do NOT seal up” his vision because the time of fulfillment was “near” and that he could live to witness it (cf. Mt. 16:27-28Jn. 21:21-23):

Daniel Revelation
·      “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now” (Dan. 8:26)

 

·      “and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” (Dan.10:14)

 

·      “But you Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.” “…go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”(Dan. 12:4, 13)

 

 

 

 

 

·      “And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near

(Rev. 22:10)

 

Review and Concluding “the Big Three” (Mt. 10:17-23; Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:3-34)

 

When we examine the coming of the Son of Man passages in Matthew 10:17-23 and Matthew 16:27-28 we found that they are abbreviated forms or snapshots of what Christ would fully develop in the Olivet Discourse.  And in all three cases, Jesus promised that His Second Coming event would be fulfilled in some of the lifetimes and contemporary generation of the first century church:

 

Matthew 10:17-23/16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1).  Delivered up to councils and synagogues 

(Mt. 10:17)

1).  Delivered up to local councils and synagogues (Mrk. 13:9)
2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mt. 10:18) 2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mrk. 13:9)
3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them

(Mt. 10:19-20)

3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them (Mrk. 13:11)
4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mt. 10:22) 4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mrk. 13:12-13)
5).  The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. (Mt. 10:23) 5).  The disciples (and later Paul) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place.

(Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10)

6).  Christ comes in glory (Lk. 9:26) 6).  Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30)
7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27) 7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31)
8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 24:28-31;25:31-34)
9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mrk. 8:38) 9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32)
10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming (Mt. 16:28) 10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming (Lk. 21:16-18)
11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Mt. 16:28) 11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Lk. 21:16)
12).  Christ was “about to come” and would be ashamed of some in His contemporary

“this generation” (Mt. 16:27YLT/Mrk. 8:38)

12).  All of this would occur and be “near” and “at the door” in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:33-34/Lk. 21:27-32)

The Bible skeptic which now includes Muslims, Talmudic Jews are dead wrong in thinking that Jesus predicted that He would float down on a literal cloud to bring an end to planet earth and world history in His contemporary generation.  He clearly was prophesying the end of the Old Covenant age and the de-creation of Israel’s world or heaven and earth.

Dispensational Zionists who parade themselves as “prophecy experts” do nothing but twist the teachings of our Lord here.  The Olivet Discourse has nothing to do with current world events nor is its content being fulfilled “right before our eyes in the Newspapers” etc.  The Church needs to get back to Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis.

But not all is lost.  When we combine the sounder observations the Church we arrive at the Biblical position:

Major Premise:  The coming of the Son of Man in the Olivet Discourse is the ONE Second Coming event to be fulfilled at the end of the age or when heaven and earth pass away (Classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise:  But the coming of the Son of Man throughout the Olivet Discourse is the spiritual coming of Christ to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  It was at this time Christ brought an “end” to Israel’s Old Covenant “age” or “heaven and earth” and ushered in the New Covenant spiritual one (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  Therefore, the coming of the Son of Man in the Olivet Discourse is the spiritual coming of Christ to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  It was at this time Christ brought an “end” to Israel’s Old Covenant “age” or “heaven and earth” and ushered in the New Covenant spiritual one (“Reformed and always reforming” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

While some Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison have admitted that the coming of Christ in Matthew 10:22-23; Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24-25 (along with every reference to Christ’s coming in the book of Revelation) was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70, they depart from common sense and even their own creedal position which states the coming of Christ in the Olivet Discourse and throughout the book of Revelation is the actual Second Coming event.

Their system is forced to teach that Christ had little or nothing to say of His Second Coming and that God would work through Paul latter in developing this revelation and doctrine in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.  This doesn’t even pass the smell test.  Most of Christianity understands Paul is following Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and many admit that he too expected the Second Coming to occur in the lifetimes of his contemporaries:

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/gathered together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact time unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ comes as a thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers caught off guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of birth pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers not deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to be watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/sunlight shinning from e. to w. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And 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)

 

Once again, we solve the heated division within the orthodox Christian church and continue the work of reformation in the area of eschatology and solve this debate:

 

Major Premise:  The analogy of faith and parallels between Matthew 24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 teach us that Paul is simply developing and elaborating on the doctrine of our Lord’s ONE return at the end of the age (Classic Amillennialism and Historic Premillennialism).

 

Minor Premise:  But the coming of Christ in the Olivet Discourse was fulfilled spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary generation to bring about the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism – mostly Postmillennialists)

 

Conclusion:  Therefore, since Christ’s ONE Second Coming event in the Olivet Discourse was spiritually fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70, and since the analogy of faith and parallels between the Olivet Discourse and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 teach us this is the same event, then Christ’s ONE Second Coming event was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (“Reformed and always reforming” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

What about…:

  • The resurrection of Job 19:25-27; Daniel 12:2-3; Acts 24:15; John 5:21-29; John 11:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15?

Introduction

Jewish Views on the Resurrection

Many Talmudic Zionists, Muslims and Dispensational Zionists 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.  But this is simply not the case.

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 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.”[96]

He continues,

“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 Enoch1–36). 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.”[97]

 

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.”[98]

 

Christian Views of a Spiritual Resurrection in AD 70

 

Many Christians are unaware that Reformed Partial Preterism teaches 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 there was:

 

1).  A spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection from the death of the Old Covenant body of Israel being transformed and raised into the 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 teaches 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.

 

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 having the exact opposite meaning as 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 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, Whom I shall behold for my good, And mine eyes shall see Him and no other – My veins languish in my bosom.”

 

And 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.”[99]

 

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.

 

Some have postulated that Job was one of those raised out of the tombs with Jesus in Matthew 27 and therefore 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).”[100]

 

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 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”

 

Daniel is clearly told in verse 7, that the resurrection of verses 2-3 would be fulfilled at the same time as the “tribulation” period and during the “time of the end [of the Old Covenant Mosaic age].”  This would be a 3 ½ years period of time [the last half of the last 7 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:

 

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 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.”[101]

 

  • “…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.”[102]

 

  • “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.”[103]

 

  • “Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[104]

 

  • “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.”[105]

Kenneth Gentry is also just now recognizing the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70:

 

  • “In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.”[106]
  • “…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”[107]

 

  • “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 Marry 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 tweleve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt. 19:28).”[108]

 

  • “…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.”[109]

 

  • “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.”[110]

 

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 to 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.

 

My 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.

 

It is important to note that Gentry at one time criticized Dispensational Zionism for having two resurrection (one before and one after the 1,000 years 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).”[111]

 

Gentry 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 “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 [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).

 

Conclusion:  The “ONE” (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 in the spiritual world (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 wre raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2).”[112]

 

Shining like the Sun in the Kingdom

 

Before leaving the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43, we should note that at the end of the Old Covenant age, Jesus teaches that “the righteous would shine like the Sun in the Kingdom” (Mt. 13:43).  This connects well with my position of Christ’s Second Coming being fulfilled in AD 70 as the great light of the Sun shining from east to the west in Matthew 24:27 and Luke 17:24. This was a “within” resurrection for the living and a resurrection for the righteous dead out of Hades or Abraham’s bosom in which both groups inherited eternal life.

 

Before leaving Daniel 12, Gentry and Jordan have understood the resurrection of Daniel 12 to be similar to that of Ezekiel 37 which was a non-biological coming out of the “graves” or covenantal and corporate resurrection.  On the subject of coming out of the graves we turn our attention to how Jesus understands the resurrection of Daniel 12 to be fulfilled in John 5.

 

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.[113]  Beale points out that Jesus gives the resurrection hour of Daniel 12:1-2 a soteriological and eschatological “already and not yet,”

 

“…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”).[114]  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.”

 

“Jesus understands the Dan. 12 prophecy [and the coming “hour”] to have begun fulfillment.”[115]  But adds, “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.”

 

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 to find 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 “already and not yet” resurrection 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 in “House Divided” David Green, along with the chiastic structure connecting “the coming hour and now is” of John 4, and we came up with this in response to our critics,

 

“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.

 

  1. 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).”[116]

 

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:

 

(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 gives the “already and not yet” of “the coming hour and now is” of John 4 as referring 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 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.”[117]

 

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…”[118]

 

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,” “in just a little while.”[119]

 

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?  And if not, the burden of proof is upon the Futurist and Gentry to prove it is being used differently than in 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 is the resurrection “already and not yet” “hour” of John 5:25-29.  The “not yet” 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 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 where in the AD 67 – AD 70 time frame, he stated clearly that the “last hour” of the AD 67 – AD 70 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 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 John 4’s “hour is coming, and now is” is a different time period than John 5’s “hour is coming, and now is” – 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 that 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 is taking the “coming hour” judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) in John 5:25-29 as something imminent and to be fulfilled by AD 70.

 

  • “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 (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 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) have been raised and made perfect in His sight.  Those that believed in Christ living 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.

 

  • “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 7 points or arguments that supports this 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 that 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 proves a spiritual fulfillment of the resurrection is in view.  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 that believe in Christ as “Bread” or “Water” – partake of Him or find this fulfilled spiritually.  The same can be true of all of these “Light,” “Way,” abiding in Him as the “Vine” etc…

 

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

 

4).  In John, the primary purpose of miracles (other than proving Jesus is a prophet sent by the Father, or 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 cripple 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 years 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).

 

[1] Carson, D. A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, p. 252, bold emphasis MJS).

[2] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1995, bold emphasis MJS), 1699

[3] John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, (Hendrickson pub. 1979, emphasis added), 422

[4] Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, END TIMES CONTROVERSY THE SECOND COMING UNDER ATTACK, (Eugene, OR:  Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 87, emphasis added.

[5] Ice, Ibid., 88

[6] Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, third edition 2009), 219-220, emphasis added

[7] Ice, Ibid., 88

[8] Ibid., 151

[9] Ibid., 93

[10] Ibid.

[11] 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.

[12] Ibid., 46-47

[13] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68.

[14] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1994), 41, (bold and underline emphasis MJS).

[15] Ibid., 68

[16] Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.

[17] Bray, Ibid., p. 28

[18] Gary DeMar, LAST DAYS MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 1994), p. 62

[19] DeMar, ibid., 64

[20] John L. Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, Fifth Edition, 2008), 58

[21] Godet, F. L. (1881). A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke,  A commentary on the gospel of St. Luke. (E. W. Shalders & M. D. Cusin, Trans.) (Vol. 2, p. 266). New York: I. K. Funk & co.

[22] Josephus The Complete Works, Chapter 9:4, https://ccel.org/ccel/josephus/complete/complete.iii.vii.ix.html

[23] 1QM 1:11-12

[24] Bray, Ibid., p. 91-92

[25] Don K. Preston, The Times of the Gentiles?  Past-Present-Or What? https://donkpreston.com/the-times-of-the-gentiles-past-present-or-what/

[26] Gill, Ibid.,

[27] Kenneth Gentry, Four Views on the Book of Revelation, ed. C. Marvin Pate (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 43–44.

[28] Gary DeMar, The Olivet Discourse: The Test of Truthhttp://www.americanvision.org/blog/?p=190).

[29] Bray, Ibid., 136

[30] Ibid. 137

[31] John Owen, Ibid., 134

[32] John Bray, Ibid., 125

[33] G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25

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

[35] Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157

[36] See also, J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.

[37] Bray, Ibid., pp. 120-128

[38] Steve Gregg, EMPIRE of the RISEN SON A TREATISE ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD—WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT MATTERS BOOK ONE:  THERE IS ANOTHER KING, Maitland, FL:  2020), 388-389

[39] Ibid., 389

[40] Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/malachi-4.html

[41] John Gill’s Exposition, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/malachi/4.htm

[42] 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.

[43] Adam Clark, Commentary on the Bible [1831]

[44] Bray, Ibid., 161

[45] Sepher Yosippon, A Mediaval History of Ancient Israel, translated from the Hebrew by Steven B. Bowman

[46] Ibid.

[47] Pseudo-Hegesippus, online text, public domain, translated from the Latin into English by Wade Blocker, made available online by Roger Pearse in 2005.  This taken from chaper 44, corresponding to pp. 391-394 in Latin critical text edited by Vincente Ussani entitled, Hegesippi qui dicitur historiae libri V, found in the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum series, volume 66, Vienna: Holder-Pichler-Tempsky (1932).  Special thanks to Ed Stevens for sending me these sources.

[48] Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism An Eschatology of Hope, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 1999), 114

[49] J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 1971),  137-138

[50] James Stuart Russell, The Parousia A Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, third printing 1990), 77

[51] D.A. Carson, F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Vol. 8, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 505

[52] Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 284

[53] Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G3708

[54] Josephus, The Jewish Wars, v.vi.3

[55] Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, vol. II, ch. 23:13

[56] Michael L. Brown, Answers to Jewish Objections to Jesus, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Books, 2000), 83-84

[57] See David Curtis’ 8-part series on the Feasts of Israel fulfilled by AD 70 https://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/studies/series.php  I highly recommend this series.

[58] Curtis, Ibid.

[59] Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F., Commentary on the Old Testament. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), (Daniel 7:13-14), bold emphasis MJS.

[60] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2 Systematic Theology, (Carlisle, PA:  THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), 391

[61] (Mark Hitchcock, COULD THE RAPTURE HAPPEN TODAY?, (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2005) 80-81

[62] Ibid., 81

[63] John MacArthur, THE SECOND COMING, pp. 51-68

[64] Ibid., 52

[65] Ibid, 57

[66] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY Vol. 2:  Systematic Theology, (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust Pub., 1977]), 398

[67] Gary DeMar, Is the Rapture Found in Matthew 24? https://christianfamilystudycentre.home.blog/2020/12/07/is-the-rapture-found-in-matthew-24/

[68] William Hendriksen, Gospel of Luke, p. 805

[69] Joseph Henry Thayer, D.D., A GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), 112 (bold emphasis added).

[70] W.E. Vine (edited by F.F. Bruce), VINE’S Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Bible Publishers, 1981), 42 (bold emphasis added).

[71] Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 37-38 (bold emphasis added).

[72] Ibid., 38-39

[73] Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon, Online Bible Software, Ibid, (emphasis added).

[74] Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, back-cover, p.144, New York: Bantam, 1980

[75] Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35.

[76] Francis X. Gumerlock, The Day and the Hour Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 2000), 290.

[77] I would agree with Lightfoot who takes Deuteronomy 32:22 as the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70.  And other commentators who see the “mountains” (plural) to be referring to the seven hills/mountains that represented and were present within Israel.  Israel was also known as a “mountain” (singular) or “Mount Zion.”  The Church had become the New Covenant Mount Zion and Old Covenant Israel had become apostate and rejected her Messiah.

[78] John F. MacArthur, THE SECOND COMING Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999), 80

[79] See Clarke’s comments on Mark 13:32, Adam Clarke’s Commentary – available online https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/24-36.html

[80] See John Gill’s Commentary on Matthew 24:36 – free online https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/24-36.html

[81] My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 4: The Problems for Postmillennialism – Wedding and Resurrection (Mt. 8:10-12/Mt. 22:1-14/Mt. 25:1-13)

My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 4: The Problems For Postmillennialism – Wedding and Resurrection (Mt. 8:10-12/Mt. 22:1-14/Mt. 25:1-13)

[82] Russell, Ibid., 105.

[83] Review of My Debate with Dr. Brown Over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, https://fullpreterism.com/reviewing-and-critiquing-my-debate-with-charismatic-dr-michael-brown-over-1-corinthians-138-12-and-introducing-a-full-preterist-chronomessianic-interpretation-argument-on-daniel-924-27-that-went-un/  The debate on my YouTube includes viewing the charts and Power Point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5DZRv56eQg&t=185s

[84] Brock Hollett, DEBUNKING PRETERISM How Over-Realized Eschatology Misses the “Not Yet” of Bible Prophecy, (Kearney, NE:  Morris Publishing, 2018), 21

[85] The Bible Knowledge Commentary quotes from the scholarship provided in, The Burden of Babylon: A Study of Isaiah 13:2–14:23. Lund, Sweden: C.W.K. Glerrup, 1970, pp. 91–2)

[86] Seth Erlandsson, The Burden of Babylon A Study of Isaiah 13:2—14:23, 91-92

[87] John Gill, Ibid.,

[88] Don K. Preston, Can God Tell Time, p. 29-30

[89] Brown, Ibid. AJOJ, Vol. 1, pp. 77-78 

[90] John Gill’s Commentary, Ibid. free online

[91] Matthew Poole’s Commentary, also free and available online

[92] John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Ibid.

[93] David Green, Ed Hassertt and Michael Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, pp. 63-65

[94] House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 130

[95] Davids, P. H. (2006). The letters of 2 Peter and Jude (p. 278). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.)

[96] 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

[97] Ibid.

[98] 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

[99] Kiel and Delitzsch, The Pulpit Commentary, from the Bible Hub website https://biblehub.com/commentaries/job/19-26.htm

[100] Green, Hassertt and Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…, Second Edition, Ibid., 194-195

[101] James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 2007), 618

[102] Ibid., 618-619

[103] Ibid., 620

[104] Ibid. 621

[105] Ibid., 628

[106] Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538

[107] Ibid., 538

[108] Ibid., 538-539

[109] Ibid., 539

[110] Ibid., 540

[111] Kenneth Gentry, The GREATNESS OF THE BREAT COMMISSION, (Tyler, TX:  ICE Publishing, 1990), 142

[112] House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 178

[113] 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.

[114] Ibid., 131

[115] Ibid., 132

[116] House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 179-178

[117] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  1998), 89.

[118] Ibid. 46

[119] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 246 footnote 45.

Footnotes
  1. Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 115.[]
  2. Ray Summers, Commentary on Luke: Jesus, the Universal Savior (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1972), 202.[]
  3. Stephen F. Hayhow, “Matthew 24, Luke 17 and the Destruction of Jerusalem,” Christianity and Society 4:2 (April 1994), 4.[]