The Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by AD 70

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The Resurrection of the Dead Fulfilled by AD 70

Jewish Views on the Resurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reformed Views of a Spiritual Resurrection in AD 70

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

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

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

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

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

The resurrection of Job 19:25-27?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barne’s Notes on the Bible renders it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regarding Job 14:13-17:

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

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

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

The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3

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

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

“All these things” (Dan. 12:7)

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

24:14, 25:29

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age (Mt. 24:3)”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting back to the disciple’s question in Matthew 24:3, DeMar correctly writes:

“The disciples question involves three interrelated, contemporary events: (1) the time of the temple’s destruction; (2) the sign that will signal Jesus’ coming related to the destruction of the temple; and (3) the sign they should look for telling them that “the end of the age” has come. These questions are related to the destruction of the temple and the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system and nothing else.”[22]

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

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

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

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

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

End of the age” – were the disciples confused?

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

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

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

2). Isaiah, in his “little apocalypse” (cf. Isiah 24-27), posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet / eschatological gathering / resurrection, etc.) to be fulfilled when Israel violated the old covenant, and thus would take place together when the temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9).  Again, the judgment and destruction of the city and temple were inseparably connected together just as in Daniel.  Why are they “confused” to link them together when the OT prophets connected them together?!?

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

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

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

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

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

“The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.”[25]

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

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

The Resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31

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

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

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

He goes on to summarize,

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

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

Some brief thoughts on Jordan’s comments:

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

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

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

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4-5)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/gathered together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact time unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ comes as a thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers caught off guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of birth pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers not deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to be watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/sunlight shinning from e. to w. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And if B (1 Thessalonians 4) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
The sleeping to be raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The living to be caught/changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the sound of the trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to stand firm 4:18 15:58
Same contemporary “we” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matthew 24 & Parallels) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
Christ to come (Greek: parousia) 24:27 15:23
His people to be gathered/changed 24:31 15:52
To come with the sound of a trumpet 24:31 15:52
To be “the end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All prophecy fulfilled at this point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/temple Mt. 24:1 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” Mt. 24:2ff 15:51-52
Two or More Things that are Equal to Another Thing are Also Equal to Each Other
Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4 1 Corinthians 15
At His coming (24:27-31) At His coming (4:16) At His coming (15:23)
At the trumpet (24:31) At the trumpet (4:16) At the trumpet (15:52)
Dead raised, all gathered (24:31) Dead raised (4:16) Dead raised (15:35-44)
All living gathered (24:31) Living caught together to Him (4:17) Status of living changed (15:51)

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

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

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

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

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

The resurrection of John 5:20-29

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

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

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

He provides this helpful chart and adds:

Daniel 12:1-2 (OG)

John 5:24-25, 28-29

 

 

 

12:1:  “And at that hour…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Pentecost (AD 30)

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

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

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

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

All who were in the graves would hear His voice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The last day resurrection of John 6:37-40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concluding Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul’s trial and accusations of insurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus

Paul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8:18-23YLT        

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 7

Daniel 9

Daniel 12

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Daniel 12:1-4, 7

Romans 13:11-12

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

The creation of men groaning – not planet earth

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

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

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

And again,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hosea 1-2

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 10:27-28

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

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

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

 Isaiah 1:9

Paul continues quoting Isaiah 1:9,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 28:16  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 52:7

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

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

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

Isaiah 53:1

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

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

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

Did some of the Rabbis teach this passage was Messianic?

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

And a Targum of Isaiah 53 reads,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus astonished Pilate with his silence:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 19:4

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 32:21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And again,

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

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

Isaiah 65:1-2 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 29:10

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

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

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

Psalm 69:22-23

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 59:20-21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 27:9

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

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

Now Paul in Romans 11:27,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 40:13, 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John the Baptist – Malachi 3-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And again,

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

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

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

Jesus and Isaiah 40   

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

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

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

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

John in Revelation and Isaiah 40

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

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

Peter and Isaiah 40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21)

B (Daniel 12:1-7)

C (1 Cor. 15)

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

We have also learned up to this point the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Parallels – Analogy of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 15:1-15 – ONE Gospel Preached

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

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

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

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

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

1)  “If P”

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

2)   Then Q”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) “Therefore, not P”

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

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

The Resurrection of the Dead Error Identified

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 11 & 1 Corinthians 15

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

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

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

First-fruits, Imminence & Analogy of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First-fruits and the Nature of Jesus’ Resurrection Body

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

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

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

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

In Adam or in Christ

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

At His Parousia

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

Then Comes the End & the Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Others comment on the reality of the present tense here:

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

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

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

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

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

“But God is giving it a body” (v.32).

“…it is being…” (v. 38).

“…it is being raised in glory…” (43).

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

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

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

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

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

That God May Be All in All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul’s Seed Analogy & Being Buried Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Adam or in Christ & the Corporate Body Cont.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quoting T.F. Torrance,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And why Paul teaches:

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

Here is a chart that may help:

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

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

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

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

Paul’s Consistent Use of Terms

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

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

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

Corruption v. Incorruption

Here is how Paul elsewhere uses “corruption”:

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

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

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

And again,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natural v. Spiritual

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

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

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

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

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

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

When was the harvest of judgment and righteousness coming?

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

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

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

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

Earthy v. Heavenly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his Kingdom/Reign…” (2 Tim. 4:1 YLT, BLB, LSV).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The weakness of Flesh v. Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the Corporate Body Motif

David Green helps harmonize Paul’s corporate body motifs:

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

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

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

The Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And in Romans 6:6,

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

And in 1 Corinthians 15:44, 45:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Eschatological Mystery

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

The Trumpet Change and Israel’s Feasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And,

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

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

Isaiah 24-28 – Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse

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

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

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

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

 Hosea

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

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

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

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

Some commentators not only puzzle over the present tense of “the death” in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day, but they also puzzle over his reference to the old covenant Mosaic “the law” thrown in with the timing of victory over “the sin” and “the death.”  These last two references seem to correlate well with the resurrection, but what does the Mosaic old covenant “the law” have to do with it, especially since most Futurists see the old covenant Mosaic law being done away with at the cross or possibly by AD 70?

However, there is no problem for the Full Preterist who correctly sees the resurrection as “about to” take place in Paul’s day, bringing an end to the old covenant’s “this age” at Christ’s “this generation” Parousia (Acts 24:15YLT; Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:27-31, 34).  When it came to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection before his accusers, he claimed he wasn’t teaching anything that couldn’t be found in the law and prophets – and Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25 / Daniel 12 are resurrection passages contained in the old covenant “the law” and prophets which Jesus said would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (cf. Lk. 21:22, 32).  Jesus does not posit the old covenant “heaven and earth” of the law and prophets to be fulfilled at the cross, but rather in His generation (Mt. 5:17-18 / Mt. 24:34-35).  This is when it was all fulfilled and when that heaven and earth system “soon vanished” (Heb. 8:13).

Death would be swallowed up, and victory over its sting would only be accomplished when victory over “the law” was attained.  This was brought to fruition at Christ’s first century generation Parousia that closed and fulfilled the promises contained in the Mosaic old covenant age of “the law.” 

Concluding 1 Corinthians 15

After a careful examination of Paul’s modus tollens logical form of argumenta-tion, it becomes evident that deniers of the resurrection of the dead were not denying Christ’s resurrection or those Christians who had died “in Christ” (the new covenant side of the cross).  They could hardly be considered as Christians or saints for denying Christ’s resurrection. They were in effect denying resurrection to a specific group – the old covenant dead, whom they assumed they had replaced or were not a part of the new covenant body of Christ as they were.

As we have seen, the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 demonstrate that an AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and contemporary first century “we” expectation of the Parousia and resurrection was realized and fulfilled in AD 70.

When we allowed Paul to interpret himself (using Romans 5-8), we came to a Scriptural understanding of “the [corporate] body” that was in the process of concurrently dying and rising (present tense) and was “about to be” redeemed.  The corporate and covenantal context and transformation of the temple/body of 2 Corinthians 3-6 also helped us understand what kind of body the early church was “clothed” with (and continues to be clothed with) at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70 and beyond.

The examination of Paul’s OT texts (Isa. 25 & Hos. 13) to support His resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 were found to have nothing to do with a casket resurrection of individual biological corpses.  Rather, the cohesiveness and harmony for using those OT texts for Paul was to develop a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection to close the old covenant age in AD 70 at Christ’s ONE imminent Parousia.

When victory over the Mosaic old covenant “the law” came, then victory and resurrection over “the sin” and “the death” was realized.  Victory over the old covenant “the law” was realized when all of its promises were fulfilled and/or its “heaven and earth” soon passed away in AD 70 (Lk. 21:22-32; Mt. 5:17-18; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37).

“Orthodox” Postmillennial Partial Preterism teaches that there was a progressive, spiritual, corporate, covenantal resurrection for Israel and the Church between AD 30 – AD 70 which resulted in souls being raised out from the realm of the dead into God’s presence at the Parousia of Christ in AD 70 (per Dan. 12:1-7,13 and other texts).  As we have seen, THIS IS THE resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15!  Selah.

Individual Body and Corporate Body

When we read 1 Corinthians 15 or 2 Corinthians 5, it sounds very much like Paul is describing a spiritual individual body as the ONE corporate body of Christ, the Church.  And to a degree, I think that is what he is doing.  When one died prior to AD 70, we learn that his soul was gathered back to God who created it (Eccl. 12:7).  Because Christ had not come, even righteous men were separated from God in Abraham’s bosom or Hades.  In this state, they were not shadows or ghosts, but had individual, spiritual bodies that reflected the images they had here on earth.  God allowed Samuel’s soul to be disturbed and come up to visit Saul in 1 Samuel 28:11-20.  Here we see that Samuel’s soul/spirit had a body that resembled the body and appearance he had while on earth.

We often speak of our aging relatives on their death beds with language such as, “Grandma is in ‘her last days’; get a flight out here quickly!”  Or “come quickly and say your goodbyes, because ‘grandpa is fading away quickly’ or ‘passing away quickly.’”  We realize that there is a transition and transformation that takes place at biological death where the temporal shell of our body goes back to the earth and our spirit or soul (our essence – personality, memories, volition, etc.) receives a different form and can continue in that form forever.  In a similar way, the old covenant man/kingdom was never designed to live on this earth forever.  He was temporal and would at some point enter into his “last days” and “soon vanish,” but at the same time would experience a change or transformation into another form, a spiritual one fit for eternity.  God’s kingdom is now a kingdom of heaven “not of this world” and we are blessed to be in it.  When we die on this side of Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 and the end of the old covenant age, we are blessed to experience this eternal life separated from the distractions of life here on earth.  We will have a spiritual body that is recognizable, and will forever live in His majestic presence.

Before leaving the subject of the resurrection, many Futurists have taken 2 Timothy 2:17-18 out of context in order to try and condemn Full Preterism as “heretical.”  Therefore, before leaving this subject, we should address this crucial passage.

2 Timothy 2:17–18

“…and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17-18).

Without 2 Timothy 2:17–18, the Futurist doesn’t have a biblical leg to stand on in his condemnation of Full Preterists.

Far from being an anti-preterist passage, 2 Timothy 2:17–18 is actually a condemnation of the implications of Futurism.  Allow me to explain.  First of all, Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers.  They were of a class of deceivers who taught Jewish “myths” and “genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4; Titus 1:4), and were self-appointed “teachers of the Law” (1 Tim. 1:7).  They taught believers to abstain from foods (1 Tim. 4:3), no doubt using the Levitical dietary laws as a basis for their teaching.

It is because Hymenaeus and Philetus were Judaizers that Paul compared them to “Jannes and Jambres” (2 Tim. 3:8).  According to ancient historians, Jannes and Jambres were Egyptian magicians who challenged Moses’ authority in Egypt.  Like Jannes and Jambres, Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching the strange doctrines of “Egypt” (Rev. 11:8), and were challenging Paul’s gospel-authority, attempting to deceive Christians into believing that God’s new wine (the new covenant land of promise) could be contained within the old “Egyptian” wineskins of the old covenant world.

Likewise, in 2 Timothy 2:19, Paul connects Hymenaeus and Philetus to the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16:5, 26.[87]  Korah had led hundreds of the sons of Israel to challenge Moses’ authority.  As God had destroyed Korah and his followers in the wilderness, so God was “about to judge” (2 Timothy 4:1) and destroy the Judaizers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, and others like them (cf. Heb. 3:16–19).

According to the teaching of Hymenaeus and Philetus, because Jerusalem and the temple still stood (in about AD 67) after the resurrection had allegedly already taken place, it irresistibly followed that “the sons according to the flesh” were now the heirs of the eternal kingdom and that Paul’s Jew-Gentile gospel of grace was a lie.  The blasphemous error of Hymenaeus and Philetus was that the world of the Mosaic covenant would remain forever established after the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets had taken place and the new heavens and new earth (“the resurrection”) had arrived.

This “Hymenaean” heresy is the diametric opposite of Full Preterism.  According to Preterism, the old covenant came to an eternal and irrevocable termination in “the resurrection,” when all things were fulfilled in AD 70. There is absolutely no theological connection between Preterism and Hymenaeus’ blasphemous lie of an everlasting “ministration of death.”

However, there is a clear connection between the heresy of Hymenaeus and the implications of Futurism:  If “the Law and the Prophets” are not fulfilled today, and “heaven and earth” have not passed away, and the jots and tittles of the Law have not passed away, and all things are not yet fulfilled, as futurism says, then logically and scripturally the Law of Moses remains “imposed” to this day (Matt. 5:17–19; Heb. 8:13; 9:10).  This implication of Futurism is exactly what the Judaizers, Hymenaeus and Philetus, taught when they said the resurrection was already past in AD 67.

It is also interesting how Paul’s apologetic against Hymenaeus and Philetus is similar to that of those in Thessalonica who were teaching that the Day of the Lord had “already” happened (2 Thess. 2:3).  Notice Paul says nothing like our opponents try and reason against us, such as,

“How in the world could you believe anyone teaching that the Second Coming and resurrection have already been fulfilled in AD 70?!?  Just look around.  We are still here, so the rapture hasn’t taken place, has it?  Corpses are still in the graveyards, aren’t they?  The planet hasn’t been burned up and everything isn’t perfect yet, is it?  So how in the world could you believe the Second Coming and resurrection has already been fulfilled or is a past event?”

Futurists constantly feel that these “just look around; there’s no physical manifestations of the kingdom” type “arguments” are their first and best appeals at refuting Full Preterism and yet Paul never used them.  Why?  Because Paul was a Full Preterist and understood that the Second Coming and resurrection were spiritual and unseen events and that they were “about to be” fulfilled in his future.  Paul had no beef with those teaching that these were spiritual events. He just refuted the timing of their teaching (AD 70 and the destruction of the temple were still future to Paul and his audience) and their connections with the heresy of the Judaizers seeking to usurp his authority and the Torah-free gospel he preached.

Concluding The Resurrection of the Dead

It has been admitted by Jewish and Christian scholars alike that from within the historical context in which the Bible was written that “resurrection” did not have to mean God would raise all physical bodies at the end of the world history.  They concede that resurrection beliefs included the soul or spirit being raised from the body at death.  Or the soul or spirit being raised from Abraham’s bosom or Hades at the end of the old covenant age to be in God’s presence.  And the concept that the ancient Hebrews thought in terms of corporate word pictures and thus they anticipated a corporate bodily resurrection for Israel to go through in Her last days.  We have explored all of these and seen that Jesus and the NT authors taught there was a spiritual and corporate bodily resurrection or restoration of Israel taking place in Her last days in which the Jewish remnant and Gentile believers were “being raised” from the spiritual death and sin of Adam and being transformed into the glorious new covenant body of Christ – the New Jerusalem or Israel of God.  When Christ came out from Zion to bring this Jew / Gentile body to her “fullness” or mature state – then “all Israel was saved” and post AD 70 She welcomes the Nations to be spiritually “healed” and partake of resurrection or eternal life (Rms. 11:15-27; Rev. 22:2, 17).

I have established that the Full Preterist view of the resurrection of the dead honors:

1).  The imminent time texts pointing to AD 70 which was to bring an “end” to the old covenant “age” (not end world history).

2).  The Jewish belief and tradition that the resurrection of the dead would take place during a 40 years Messianic second generation between their old covenant “this age” and the maturing new covenant “age about to come” (AD 30 – AD 70).

3).  The Christian and Jewish concepts and teachings concerning a spiritual, corporate body, and covenantal resurrection to take place at the end of the old covenant age resulting in souls or spirits being raised from Hades / Abrahams bosom to inherit eternal life and God’s presence.  While honoring the Amillennial position as well in that there was to be only ONE general resurrection of the dead at the end of the age.

Therefore, the Full Preterist position is exegetical and harmonizes the conflicting views on both the timing and nature of the resurrection of the dead.   Let those who have ears to hear, hear and those with eyes to see, see.

[1] Lester L. Grabbe, An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus, (T&T Clark Publishing, 2010), see pages 93-96

[2] Ibid.

[3] Murray J. Harris, FROM GRAVE to GLORY RESURRECTION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT Including a Response to Norman L. Geisler, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 70

[4] (Historical Jewish Sources, https://preteristarchives.org/historical-jewish-sources/?fbclid=IwAR2Osz
DkXKqp8Z-qv0RFId1hjS6_tDT7hoysllAAjdGQpUOTi03OmHx67Nc

[5] I asked Don to send me some good quotes on Jewish and Christian scholarship developing the corporate body concept and this is what he sent me which I’m sure are quotes that he has used in many of his books which I highly recommend.

[6] Kiel and Delitzsch, The Pulpit Commentary, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/job/19-26.htm

[7] Green, Hassertt and Sullivan, House Divided, Ibid., 194-195

[8] James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 2007), 618

[9] Ibid., 618-619

[10] Ibid., 620

[11] Ibid. 621

[12] Ibid., 628

[13] Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538

[14] Ibid., 538 emphasis MJS

[15] Ibid., 538-539 emphasis MJS

[16] Ibid., 539 emphasis MJS

[17] Ibid., 540 emphasis MJS

[18] Kenneth Gentry, The GREATNESS OF THE BREAT COMMISSION, (Tyler, TX:  ICE Publishing, 1990), 142 emphasis MJS

[19] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 178

[20] Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51.

[21] Ibid., 46-47

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

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

[24] Ibid., 68

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

[26] James B. Jordan MATTHEW 23-25 A LITERARY, HISTORICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision Inc., – this book is currently at the printer to be published), p. 180.

[27] Ibid.,p. 181

[28] G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131-132.

[29] Ibid., 131

[30] Ibid., 132

[31] Ibid., 132

[32] Ibid., 132

[33] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 179-178

[34] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  1998), 89.

[35] Ibid. 46

[36] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 246 footnote 45.

[37] Don K. Preston, Paul on Trial, PAUL, THE PHARISEES AND RESURRECTION, (Ardmore, OK: JaDon, 2020), 123

[38] Ibid. 125

[39] Ibid. 75

[40] Peter J. Leithart, REVELATION 1-11 INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY (New York, NY:  Bloombury T&T Clark, 2018), pp. 25-26

[41] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2 Systematic Theology (Pennsylvania, PA: THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), 390-391

[42] John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157. Lightfoot, Hammond, and Gill understand the “creation” to be referring to Gentiles. “ . . . Crellius (Comm., Para.) explains it as a reference to regenerate Christians and Le Clerc (Supp., NT) refers it particularly to Gentile Christians.” See also John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke.  I tend to see it as more of believers within old covenant Israel groaning under the law (Rms. 7) awaiting Messianic deliverance, but there is no reason to exclude righteous Gentiles also longing for the seed of the woman to deliver them from Adamic death and sin which the Mosaic Law only magnified.    

[43] Ibid., 158–159, emphases MJS

[44] John Lightfoot, Sermon on “Many Mansions,” cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/
vol06.pdf pp. 322-323

[45] Tom Holland, Contours In Pauline Theology (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 85–110.

[46] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, Ibid., 225

[47] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored work/debate, FOUR VIEWS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1998), 89

[48] Kenneth Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, TX: Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989), 141-142, MJS

[49] Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 98b).

[50] Targum Johnathan on Isaiah 53.

[51] Daniel Mann, Isaiah 53: Rabbis, Skeptics, and the Suffering Messiah, https://www.jewsforjesus
.org.au/isaiah-53

[52] Brown, Ibid., Vol. 2, 226-227.  This is taken from Nachmanides.

[53] Mitchell, Messiah be Joseph, Ibid., 16-17

[54] David C. Mitchell, Jesus The Incarnation of the Word (Newton Mearns, Scotland: CAMPBELL PUBLICATIONS, 2021), 39

[55] Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Revised and Expanded, (Thomas Nelson Publishers), p. 802.  John Owen, John Lightfoot, R.C. Sproul, Doug Wilson, Gary DeMar, Peter Leithart, and many more all understand Isa. 65-66 and 2 Pet. 3 to be the removal of the old covenant world and the establishment of the new covenant world in AD 70 – see the list of references on this page.

[56] See John Gill’s Exposition of the Bile or his online Commentary.

[57] Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 1, Ibid., 77-78

[58] Gill, Ibid., free online:  https://www.biblehub.com/commentaries/malachi/4-5.htm

[59] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[60] Adam Clark, Commentary on the Bible [1831], free online at: biblehub.com

[61] Don K. Preston, D. Div., ELIJAH HAS COME A Solution to Romans 11:25-27 (JaDon Management, 2016), p. 13

[62] Ibid., pp. 33-34

[63] Pastor David Curtis of Bereanbiblechurch.com — see his sermon “All Israel Will Be Saved” 06/03/2012

[64] Ibid.

[65] Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York:  E.P. DUTTON & CO., INC., 1949), 361-362

[66] quotes taken from:  Curtis Crenshaw and Grove Gunn, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, 204

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Wuest, K. S. (1997). The New Testament: An expanded translation (1 Co 15:20–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans

[70] Gordon D. Fee, THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans pub., 1987), 756

[71] Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A commentary on the Greek text (1234). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, emphasis MJS

[72] Holland, Ibid., see 90 – 107 for this discussion

[73] Don K. Preston, 2005, 2712 Mt. Washington Rd. Ardmore, Ok.

[74] Keith A. Mathison, co-authored book, WHEN SHALL THESE THINGS BE?  A REFORMED RESPONSE TO HYPER-PRETERISM, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 2004), 196

[75] Tom Holland, CONTOURS OF PAULINE THEOLOGY A RADICAL NEW SURVEY OF THE INFLUENCE ON PAUL’S BIBLICAL WRITINGS, (Mentor Imprint, Scotland, UK:  2004), 90, emphasis MJS.

[76] Ibid, 91

[77] Ibid., 91

[78] Ibid., 91

[79] Ibid., 95-96

[80] Ibid. 107 emphasis MJS

[81] John Lightfoot, Ibid., Vol. 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157.

[82] Ibid., 158–159, emphases MJS

[83] Green, Hassertt, Sullivan, Ibid., 206-210

[84] For a good discussion on the present tense found in 1 Corinthians 15 as well as seeing how this chapter fulfills the last three feast days of Israel, see Don K. Preston, Paul on Trial, PAUL THE PHARISEES AND RESURRECTION (JanDon, 1405 4th Ave. N.W. #109, Ardmore, OK. 73401, 2020), 95f.

[85] Richard Hays, The CONVERSION of the IMAGINATION Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2005), 38

[86] Ibid., 41

[87] William Hendriksen; Simon J. Kistemaker: New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 268.