By: Michael J. Sullivan – Copyright 2018 – all rights reserved. Thank you for your Christian charity and honesty in advance.
The first thing any Futurist Pastor, commentary, Bible College or Seminary professor and or scholar is going to tell you is just how “very difficult” (allegedly) and that there are just so many “various views” of Daniel 9:24-27 to navigate through. And of course, this is true for the Futurist, and they readily admit this confusion on our Lord’s teaching in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation as well. This is probably due to the fact that Daniel 9:24-27 is a microcosm and recapitulation of Daniel chapters 2; 7 and 12 and these three verses in essence function as a fulfillment of all OT prophecy and thus is the corner stone to understanding the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation (that is understand all prophecy). But for the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist, confusion on Daniel 9:24-27 (as well as the OD and book of Revelation) is removed and a very simple, exegetical and common-sense interpretation emerges from all the confusion Futurism has given us.
Solutions Summarized “Reformed and Always Reforming”
My approach will be to describe various views of Daniel’s seventy seven’s prophecy and seek to harmonize them with Jesus’ teaching that this prophecy and the entire OT would be fulfilled in His contemporary generation (Lk. 21:20-32).
1). The Historical and or Christotelic Messianic View: While there may be some differences between Calvin, Luther, and modern Calvinists such as Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Kenneth Gentry, R.C. Sproul, and E. J. Young, these men old and modern, may be said to represent this position. This view sees Daniel 9:24-27 as Jesus (not some “antichrist”) coming to usher in or inaugurate the New Covenant or Kingdom of God. This view emphasizes the time period covered by the prophecy to be fulfilled around AD 30-35 or so, but also gives lip service that it concludes with the destruction of the temple in AD 70.
It is important to point out that within Partial Preterism, it is taught that Daniel’s “the end” “time of the end” or Jesus’ “end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-43 and 24:3, 14 refers to Christ coming to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70 and that there was a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection that was fulfilled during this time. Basically, they have stolen the Full Preterist view of the resurrection but that’s another issue.
There is also some confusion as to when the decree begins some starting it with Cyrus in his command to rebuild the temple/city in 538 BC and yet others with the various kings (Ezra 6:14) and thus place it more around in 457 BC. Those that start the count with Cyrus end up 50 years before Christ’s birth and over a 100 years short of AD 70. These folks either end up adopting a spiritual view (ex. see Kline and Storms below) or reworking the numbers to arrive at Christ’s birth to AD 65 (see Lurie below).
2). The Symbolic and Sabbatical Messianic View: Is held by men such as Meredith Kline, Keil,C. F. & Delitzsch, F., Ian Duguid, Sam Storms and Andrew Steinman (all sharing different denominational backgrounds). While this view focuses on the redemptive work of Christ as the fulfillment of the seventy sevens prophecy, it does not try and force what is really a roughly 600 years period into a literal 490. This view sees the number 490 being symbolic of various periods of time in redemptive history. Therefore, unlike the Futurist historical messianic view, this view sees the fulfillment extending until the Second Coming – to close the “last days” or bring about “the end” or end of the age.
3). Ten 49 Cycles of the Sabbath Jubilee (490 yrs.) or From 424/422 BC to the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70: This view is held by Margaret Barker and was held during first century Judaism and during the development of the NT. The 70 7’s of Daniel 9:24-27 refer to the first century Jewish expectation that Messiah would accomplish redemption for Israel roughly between AD 17/26 to AD 66/70. Jewish tradition goes on to see the 490 years period extending from the first Temple’s destruction in 424/422 BC (Jewish calendar) to AD 70. I will argue that Jesus in fact did fulfill this 10 th. Jubilee cycle between AD 26 – AD 66-70.
The second view is accurate to point out the 490 years are connected to the Jubilee and dealing with a theological point concerning sabbath rest extending to the Second Coming of Christ to close the age. However, it errs in that it fails to acknowledge that Christ posits its redemptive end and unfolding of the kingdom to be fulfilled:
- at the destruction of the first century temple and city (Dan. 9:24, 26-27/Matt. 24:15/Luke 21:20-22),
- the “end of the age” or “the end” in (Matt. 24:3, 14) is referring to the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and not the end of world history or the end to the new covenant or Christian age, and…
- Jesus posits the fulfillment of redemption and the arrival of his kingdom and second coming to take place within the same AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” time period (Luke 21:27-32).
The view I will be arguing for is #3 which acknowledges all of these key elements to Daniel’s prophetic material while embracing a first century chronological setting for the prophecy.
Premise #1– If it is true that Daniel 9:24-27 is about Christ establishing His New Covenant Kingdom age with the prophecy ending with the destruction of Jerusalem to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70,…
Premise #2–…and if it is also true that Daniel 9:24-27 is connected to Daniel 2; 7; and 12 and covers the “last days” extending to the Second Coming of Jesus to bring an “end” to the age and thus usher in the New Creation or world of righteousness,…
Premise #3 – …and if it is also true that the Jew during the first century expected Messiah to come soon to fulfill the 10th. cycle of the Jubilee (490 yrs. – with no 2,000 plus years and counting gaps) and Yeshua showed up during this “set time” to fulfill the soteriological and eschatological expectations of Daniel 9:24-27 and Isiah 61:1-11…
Conclusion/Synthesis (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism)– …Then in honoring NT imminence, the above historic views of the church, and the historical expectation and setting of the 10th. Jubilee cycle among the Jews of Yeshua’s day—we conclude it must be true and orthodox to believe that Daniel 9:24-27 was fulfilled when Christ (in Israel’s last days) appeared (in His first and second appearings as High Priest Heb. 9-10:37) to close the Old Covenant age and establish and mature the New Covenant age by AD 70. This is the time when all OT prophecy was fulfilled (Lk. 21:20-22), and the sign and revelatory gifts ceased along with the office of Prophet from the Church. Selah.
The rest of this article will further prove the conclusion reached above.
Jewish Traditions of Daniel 9:24-27 and 7:13-14
And by way of introduction, we should also note that this passage was known to be messianic among some Jews. Dr. Michael Brown points out a well known Rabbinic commentator took the prophecy as both fulfilled by AD 70 and yet at the same time as fulfilled in the times of Messiah,
“…Rashi taught that the prophecy pinpointed the death of Agrippa and the destruction of the Temple–major events in the last generation of the Second Temple era–but then simply drifted off to the distant future in terms of the final fulfillment of the prophecy.” (Dr. Michael Brown, ANSWERING JEWISH OBJECTIONS to JESUS, Volume Three, Baker Books, 2003, p. 90).
“…He [Rashi] interprets the destruction of the city and the sanctuary as pointing to that same event under Titus the Roman general. As translated by Jewish historian Heinrich W. Guggenheimer, “the power of his reign [Titus] will be blown away by the Messiah.” Third, he makes reference again to God’s kingdom coming in power through the Messiah, but once more, it is merely appended without explanation.” (Ibid. 89).
“…He [Rashi] explains how all the prophesied events culminate and unfold in a time period on generation after Jesus and then says, “And the real end of the story will take place in the days of the Messiah” — which, according to traditional Judaism, still have not arrived, now two thousand years later.” (Ibid. 90).
Ironically, Dr. Brown is guilty of the very thing he accuses Rashi of – saying out of one side of his mouth that the prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70, but then out of the other side of his mouth saying it will be fulfilled in the far distant future. However, Brown out of one side of his mouth claims “…everything Daniel 9:24-27 reached its fulfillment by 70 C.E.” Yet [out of the other side of his mouth] “It is also possible that on the basis of our Messiah’s atoning work, the ultimate fulfillment will take place at the end of this age, when Jesus returns.” (Ibid., p. 98).
Brown misses the NT’s teaching that AD 70 was the event that proved Christ would come “in a very little while and would NOT delay (Heb. 10:37) and was the event the Church could look back upon and know that Christ and His Kingdom “had already come” in “power” (Mt. 16:27-28/Mrk. 8:38–9:1). The fulfillment of “all” the events in Daniel 9:24-27 by AD 70 caused the miraculous revelatory “visions” and thus the office of “prophet” to “end” “stop” or “cease” confirming the claims of Christ to be God and come “As the Ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:13 (OG) LXX; 9:24; Mt. 26:62-64/Rev. 1:1, 7-18; 1 Cor. 1:5-8; 13:8-12). This is especially troubling since Brown claims to be a Charismatic (many touting him as a “prophet”) yet admits he has “prophesied” falsely (ironically of modern Israel) in the past.
Here are some more statements that underscore the passage was seen to be Messianic:
San 97a: “Our masters taught as follows of the particular seven-year period at whose end [Messiah] son of David will appear” (This seems to refer directly to the Danielic final week!)
San 97b: “Rav said: All times set for redemption have passed, and the matter now depends only on repentance and good deeds” (All time calculations had been fulfilled).
San 97b: “R. Samuel bar Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: Blaste be the bones of those who presume to calculate the time of redemption. For they are apt to say, ‘Since redemption has not come at the time expected, it will never come.’ Rather, one must wait for it…what then delays its coming? The measure of justice delays it…”
I couldn’t agree more that these Jews did in fact miss and reject the redemptive work of their Messiah (Jesus the Christ) in Daniel’s last seven and “Judaism” hasn’t been the same since AD 70 – having reached her “end” during that terminal “crooked and perverse generation” (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:20-40/Luke 17:20-21, 25; 21:32). Moses predicted that many of them would not be able to “discern” their “end” (Deut. 32:29).
As so-called Christian “Zionists” like Dr. Michael Brown like to point out — the fact remains, if Messiah didn’t come before the destruction of the second temple and in AD 70, then Messiah didn’t come at the appointed time to the Jewish people and their future Messianic expectations are false. But I would add, just as the modern Zionist is in trouble if Messiah didn’t come before the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, it is equally true for the Christian so-called “Zionist” such as Brown, if Messiah’s Second Coming didn’t occur when the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, the Christian view of OT and NT prophecy comes tumbling down as well and is no less credible than modern Zionists twisting of Daniel 9:24-27. Both modern “Jewish” “Zionist” views seek a physical fulfillment/ manifestation of the Kingdom which is rejected by Christ and the NT authors. Fortunately, a sound Christian Sovereign Grace Full Preterist solution and sound exegesis is here. Selah.
It is also important to point out in connection with Daniel 7 and 9 that the Jews prior to the arrival of Jesus, also had a Messianic view of Daniel 7:13-14 and a concept of the “two powers in heaven.” That is a belief that God is both a Spirit being in heaven and there is a second person of the Godhead that is His Son that is equally eternal and the “Word” and can manifest Himself as an angel or man on earth. In about AD 100, this view was condemned as “heresy” because Jesus and the Christians were affirming that Christ was the fulfillment of this divine Messiah.
The Overall Structure, Historical Context and Theme
When Israel disobeyed the covenant it is said, “The land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its Sabbaths while it is made desolate without them.” (Lev. 26:43). In Second Chronicles we read, “All the days of its desolation, it kept Sabbath to fulfill Sabbath to fulfill seventy years” (2 Chron. 36:21 NSAB). As those 70 years of captivity were ending and the land had received its Sabbath rest, Daniel prays for his people and is given a prophetic time explaining Israel’s imminent deliverance from the Babylonian captivity and yet at the same time, encompassing her coming Messiah within a period of 70 sevens in which there would be a greater rest and restoration for Israel.
The Anointed/Prince/Ruler/Messiah Jesus is the anti-type of (or the new) Cyrus delivering Israel from her bondage of sin and raising her from the graves of sin-death. And this partial restoration back into the land typified through Nehemiah and Ezra pointed to an anti-typical eschatological gathering “in Christ” at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Matt. 13:39-43, 49; 24:30-31—25:31-46).
Various Chiastic Structures Considered
Of the book of Daniel in general:
A – Daniel 1–Daniel Exiled into Babylon – land of death.
B – Daniel 2–Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision (Statue representing four kingdoms)
C– Daniel 3–Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace
D– Daniel 4–Nebuchadnezzar Humbled (seven years of insanity)
D– Daniel 5–Belshazzar Humbled (handwriting on the wall)
C– Daniel 6–Deliverance from the Lion’s Den
B– Daniel 7-9–Daniel’s Visions (Four kingdoms represented in various ways)
A– Daniel 10-12–Daniel’s Vision – end of the Exile and Promise to Be Raised in Another Restoration under Messiah
In this chiasm we can see how “B” chapters 7 and 9 elaborate on when the spiritual kingdom of Daniel 2 arrives. The Second Coming and arrival of the kingdom take place during the time of the Roman Empire in chapter 7. In chapter 9:24-27 we have a further development in that it will involve the Messiah suffering and His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem that will establish the spiritual New Covenant Kingdom.
Here is one that connects Daniel 7 with 12 (cf. A1-2) and sees 9:24-27 (C1) as the central part:
A1 (2:4b-49) – A dream of four kingdoms replaced by a fifth.
B1 (3:1–30) – Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace.
C1 (4:1–37) – Daniel interprets a dream for Nebuchadnezzar.
C2 (5:1–31) – Daniel interprets the handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar.
B2 (6:1–28) – Daniel in the lions’ den.
A2 (7:1–28)– A vision explained of four world kingdoms replaced by a fifth.
A1 (7)– Judgment of the dead & kingdom’s arrival.
B1 (8) – A vision of third kingdom & “time of the end.”
C1 (9)– 70 7’s “abomination of desolation” “the end” and Atonement/Consummation
C2 (10–11) – “abomination of desolation” “the end.”
B2 (11) – A vision of second & third kingdom & “time of the end.”
A1-2 (12)– Vision explained: Consummation of Kingdom – Judgment / Resurrection & “time of the end.”
I prefer the above chiasm since it correctly connects Daniel 2, 7, 9 and 12.
Of Daniel 9:24-27 as the central theme and summary from chapter 8-12:
A. Vision of Future Gentile Kings and Kingdoms (8:1-27)
B. Darius the Mede (9:1-2)
C. Daniel’s Distressed Prayer (9:3-19)
D. Angelic Messenger – Daniel Commended (9:20-23)
E. The Seventy ‘Sevens’ and the Messiah (9:24-27)
D. Angelic Messenger – Daniel Commended (10:1-11)
C. Daniel’s Terror Comforted (10:12-21)
B. Darius the Mede (11:1)
A. Vision of Future Gentile Kings and Kingdoms (11:2- 12:4)
While this chiasm seeks to emphasize Daniel 9:24-27, I think it is important to note that while Daniel 9:24-27 is central, Daniel 12:1-7 is in essence a recapitulation of the same prophetic time period and promise – just described differently.
A further breakdown of Daniel 9:25-27:
In this chiasm, (and in the study or story of Israel’s covenant and redemptive history) we should take notice that what is physically re-built and restored under the Old Covenant and being “in the land” will eventually be destroyed and shaken one last time in order to make way for spiritually re-building and establishing Christ’s New Covenant Kingdom or New Jerusalem / Temple “in Christ.” This is what many scholars have referred to as the “two Jerusalem’s.” When the physical city is being destroyed, God is saving His remnant and the New Jerusalem. The NT makes this connection in Galatians 4 and the tale of the two cities/wives in Revelation – one physical (OC Jerusalem) and subject to being imminently destroyed in AD 70, and the other spiritual (NC Jerusalem) to imminently descend from heaven and be a sanctuary for sinners to flee to post AD 70 (Rev. 17–22:17). In Daniel 9:24-27 there is a destruction of one Jerusalem and Most Holy Place, and an yet an anointing of another.
As David Green writes (see article after this one), this is “The Preterist Paradox”:
“To the prophet Daniel, the prophecy of the “seventy weeks” might have sounded contradictory. Gabriel first told him (in verse 24) that at the end of “seventy weeks,” the transgression would be finished, an end would be made of sins, atonement would be made for iniquity, everlasting righteousness would be brought in, and the Most Holy Place would be anointed. But then when Gabriel came to the end of the prophecy, he said that the Messiah would be killed and that the city and the sanctuary would be defiled, desolated, and destroyed in the flood of war. Gabriel offered no further explanation.
How could the devastating ending of the “weeks” in verses 26 and 27 be compatible with the joyful ending of the “weeks” in verse 24? How could the “seventy weeks” be consummated in both the destruction of the temple (Dan. 9:26) and in the anointing of the temple? (Dan. 9:24). Or how could the resurrection of the dead and glorification of the saints be fulfilled when the power of the holy people is shattered? (Dan. 12:1-3,7)
This paradox is the heart of the preterist interpretation of Bible prophecy. It is what the futurists and the Jews have missed for centuries upon centuries: The destruction of (earthly) Jerusalem signified the advent of (heavenly) Jerusalem. The destruction of the (earthly) Most Holy Place meant the consummated anointing of the (heavenly) Most Holy Place. The (spiritual) sons of the kingdom inherited the kingdom when the (fleshly, unbelieving) sons of the kingdom were cast out of the kingdom (Matt. 8:12; 13:38, 43). This is the preterist key that unlocks the meaning of the “seventy weeks,” and of Zechariah 14, and a host of other prophecies of the Last Days.” (David Green, From Babylon to Babylon: An Exposition of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks).
Seventy Sevens Literal or Symbolic?
Symbolic or Theological View
Lee Irons and Meredith Kline are at least correct in pointing out that Daniel’s seventy sevens prophecy is not a literal 490 years chronology:
“The seventy “weeks” (literally “sevens”) comprise a definite period of time until the coming of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem…a period that is actually longer than a literal 490 years.”
“…the point of the seventy weeks is not to provide a precise chronological prediction but to make the profound theological point that the coming of Christ and the abrogation of the Old Covenant order will usher in the eschatological Sabbath rest for the people of God.”
Sam Storms following Kline writes,
“Let us remember that not only were the Israelites themselves to rest on the 7th day, the land also was to rest in the 7th year. When Gabriel spoke of the “sevens,” 70 of which were decreed for Israel, he had in mind the 7 year period, the 7th year of which was a sabbatical year of rest for the land (Lev. 25:2-7). Kline proceeds to make the point that the sabbath itself, whether for the people or the land, functioned “as a prophetic symbol of the consummation of the covenant order. As elaborated in the Mosaic covenant . . . the sabbath served as a sign of the messianic age of redemptive liberation, restitution, and rest [see esp. Heb. 4:1-11]”.
It would appear, then, that this precise chronological or numerical framework was chosen not because Gabriel desired to set calendrical boundaries of a beginning and end in which the six-fold goal of 9:24 would be accomplished. Rather, he chose this framework, first, because it is sabbatical, and second, because the sabbath (and the number 7) bore special symbolic import for the nation Israel.
This point is confirmed when we observe that Gabriel spoke of “70” of these units of 7, hence 490 years. Why did he not choose 30 or 50 or 80 “sevens” instead of “70 sevens”? The reason is found in Lev. 25:8-55 and the observance of the year of JUBILEE. Let us note particularly vv. 8-12.
When we examine the year of jubilee in detail we discover that its provisions were as follows: (1) the return of all property, according to the original Mosaic distribution, to the original owner or to his family; (2) the release of all Jewish slaves; (3) the cancellation of debts; and (4) the land is to lie fallow, i.e., it is neither to be sown, pruned, reaped, nor gathered for an entire year.
The Jubilee, therefore, was a year in which social justice and equity, freedom, pardon, release, and restoration were emphasized and experienced. The jubilee signalled a new beginning, the inauguration of moral, spiritual, and national renewal. Hence it is no surprise that the jubilee became a symbol and prefigurement of the ultimate redemption, release, and restoration that God would accomplish spiritually on behalf of his people. Indeed, the eschaton, the final day of salvation to be inaugurated by Messiah, was conceived and described in terms of the release ordinance of the Mosaic year of jubilee.
This all takes on special significance when we realize that there is decreed for Israel a total period of seventy sevens of years or 490 years, which is to say 10 JUBILEE ERAS, “an intensification of the jubilee concept pointing to the ultimate, antitypical jubilee”.
The purpose of the 70 weeks prophecy, outlined in Dan. 9:24, was to secure that ultimate salvation, that release, redemption, and restoration of which the Jubilee year was a type or symbolic prefigurement. When Jesus declares that in himself the jubilee of God [Lk. 4:16-21/Isa. 61:1-2] has come he is saying, in effect, that the 70 weeks of Daniel have reached their climax. The new age of jubilee, of which all previous jubilees were prefigurements, has now dawned in the person and ministry of Jesus. THE GOAL OF THE 70 WEEKS PROPHECY IS THE CONSUMMATE JUBILARY SALVATION OF GOD! That is why the chronological frame of reference in which it is said to transpire is jubilary in nature: 10 jubilees = 490 years! The meaning of the period, therefore, is THEOLOGICAL, not calendrical. The 70 weeks are not designed to establish precise chronological parameters for redemptive history. Rather, they serve to evoke a theological image, namely, that in “Messiah Jesus” God will work to effect the final jubilee of redemptive history. The 10 jubilee framework (i.e., the 490 years or 70 weeks) is thus symbolic of the divine work of redemption, at the conclusion of which the eternal and perfected jubilee will appear: THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH (Rev. 21-22).
According to the conclusions reached above, the first half of Daniel’s 70th week runs from the baptism of Jesus to 70 a.d. The destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 a.d. is the middle of the week, and the present church age is its latter half. Kline concurs and summarizes as follows:
“When we survey the fulfillment of Gabriel’s prophecy from our vantage point, it appears that the last half of the 70th week is the age of the community of the new covenant, disengaged from the old covenant order with whose closing days its own beginnings overlapped for a generation. In the imagery of the NT Apocalypse, the last half week is the age of the church in the wilderness of the nations for a time, and times, and half a time (Rev. 12:14). Since the 70 weeks are 10 jubilee eras that issue in the last jubilee, the 70th week closes with the angelic trumpeting of the earth’s redemption and the glorious liberty of the children of God. The acceptable year of the Lord which came with Christ will then have fully come.” (Sam Storms, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, https://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/daniels-70-weeks)
My brief response to Sam Storms and Meredith Kline here:
Ironically, in Sam Storm’s three part series on Matthew 24 he admits that the coming of Christ and the blowing of the trumpet of Matthew 24:30-31 very well could refer to AD 70. He also defends the position that the “heaven and earth” of (Mt. 24:35 and Mt. 5:17-18) is referring to the Temple and Old Covenant heaven and earth that “passed away” in AD 70. And since virtually all scholars agree that John’s version of the Olivet Discourse is the book of Revelation, it is more than ironic that Storms won’t make the AD 70 fulfillments he holds to or favors in interpreting Matthew 24 to be present here in the book of Revelation. The “this generation” coming of Christ in AD 70 found in Matthew 24 which causes “heaven and earth” to “pass away” (Mt. 24:30-35 and Mt. 5:17-18) is the same same “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation which causes the “heavens and earth” to “pass away” (Rev. 21–22:7).
Yeshua came to fulfill both halves of the last seven between AD 30 – AD 70. Since the NT places the “soon” Second Coming event in Revelation to be in AD 70 (to judge Babylon the Great Harlot City or Old Covenant Jerusalem – Rev. 11:8), this is when the New Creation or New Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22 reaches her mature state, and thus we see His face and therefore, vision and prophecy are sealed up or have come to reach there desired goal (Rev. 22:4-7/1 Cor. 13:8-12/Dan. 9:24). This destroys Sam Storms heretical Charismatic theology.
The jubilee is ushered in at the seventh or last trumpet of which in John’s day there would be “no more delay” and corresponds to Yeshua’s saying it would be blown at His Second Coming — within His “this generation” (Rev. 10-11/Mt. 24:30-34).
Therefore, moving from the seventh and last trumpet of Revelation 10-11 we move into Kline’s appeal to the 3.5 years of Revelation 12. It is interesting that Storms in his article takes the flight of Luke 21:20ff. and Matthew 24:15ff. to be fulfilled just prior to the Roman’s treading down Jerusalem from AD 66 – AD 70, but when the same flight and protection event is described with symbolic language in Revelation 12, this is somehow symbolic of the Church age instead of the AD 66 – AD 70 period?!?
Kline agrees that the Old Covenant overlapped the New Covenant for the “generation” between AD 30 – AD 70. Therefore, if the OC age was “soon to vanish” (Heb. 8:13) then there is no reason not to accept this was due to the fact that Jesus was coming to come in the same time period “in a very little while and would not delay” to bring an end to that last days age (Heb. 9:26-28–10:37). That “generation” was the overlapping of the two ages and the “already and not yet” period. Post AD 70 (after the trumpet has blown) we don’t live or “wander” in the “wilderness” according to the book of Hebrews, because the “heavenly land” and “city” Abraham and the OT saints longed for was “about to come” and did in AD 70 (Heb. 11:14ff.; 13:14YLT)!
Thus, I would disagree with Kline and Storms that the first half of the seven is from the baptism of Jesus to AD 70 and yet somehow we are in the last half (3.5) awaiting its completion. No, both halves of the last seven were fulfilled from Christ’s first coming to His Second Appearing “in a very little while” (i.e. in AD 70). The Church is not waiting within the last half of the seven for it’s completion, it has been fulfilled at His parousia in AD 70 and that is why we are in the 50th / jubilee rest and liberation of the New Covenant age which has no end (Ephs. 3:20-21). Due to Sam’s commitment to Futurism and Charismatic false teaching, he misses the accurate unfolding or sequence of the theology contained within Daniel 9:24-27 and how it is developed in the rest of the NT. To miss when the that seventh trumpet is blown, is to blow the theological accuracy and point of Jesus’ development of the prophecy.
No matter how we understand the seventy sevens, they are patterned after the number seven and point to Messiah bringing us into His heavenly land – rest in Him.
INTRODUCING FULL PRETERISM CHRONOMESSIANISM THE CALENDAR OF SABBATICAL CYCLES — THE PROPER AD 26–AD 66-70 CONTEXTUAL APPROACH TO DANIEL 9:24-27 AND ISAIAH 61–63:1-6
What modern Christian commentators have missed in Daniel 9:24-27 is the context is addressing Daniel being concerned with the prophetic “word” of Jeremiah (Jer. 25 and 29) and the angel is not discussing beginning the 490 years count down beginning with a “decree” of a Gentile king, but rather explaining the “word” of Jeremiah connected with what God had revealed to Daniel in the vision of Daniel 7. The 70 years of Babylonian captivity is included within the 490 years prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27. The 70 years of captivity are connected to the Babylonian dominance over Israel but there were three more Gentile kingdoms to go before true and New Covenant restoration under Messiah would be achieved. The 70 years x 7 (based on breaking the sabbath laws of Lev. 25-26) = 490 years.
The next major error, is that Yeshua was a Jew and He along with the Jews of the first century would have used the Jewish calendar which dated the destruction of the first temple around 420 BC and not the Gentile calendar of 586 BC. Therefore, first century “Chronomessianism” began the 490 years countdown from the destruction of the first temple to an anticipated arrival of the Messiah before the destruction of the second temple. Messiah had to arrive at the end of the last and 10th jubilee to accomplish all the soteriological and eschatological events listed in Daniel 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61:1-11. They expected Messiah to arrive right around AD 26 – AND HE DID! But because they missed the spiritual nature of His Kingdom (Lk. 17:20-37), they missed the fulfillment of this powerful prophecy unfold before their very eyes from AD 26 — AD 66-70. Even though Daniel prophesied of a spiritual kingdom (Dan. 2 and 7) and it was clear from their own prophets that they would not be able to “discern” their own “end” when it drew “near” in that particular “perverse and crooked generation” (Deut. 32/Acts 2:40/1 Pet. 4:5-7). The fact that God would be coming to judge their unbelief and not the Romans was prophesied to be a “strange work” (Isa. 28). Their carnal expectations caused them to miss Isaiah’s “new work” of the spiritual New Covenant.
This is the “year of the Lord’s favor” or the eschatological time frame that Eden was GIVEN BACK to man and his SLAVERY from “the death” that came through Adam and Satan was completely removed. The trumpets have been blown, and Post AD 70 we are in the eternal NC age of Jubilee – come enter the gates of the New Jerusalem and celebrate with us (Isa. 65-66/Rev. 21-22:17). Experience the redemption, rest and inheritance that is yours and that can ONLY be found “in Christ” where all the promises of God have been fulfilled (2 Cor. 1:20/Lk. 21:20-22). Selah!
In the Jewish mind,
“422 BC is associated with when the first temple burned 70 Sabbaticals (490 years) before the second temple burned in 70 AD.” (A Treatise on the Sabbatical Cycle and the Jubilee, 1866, by Dr. B. Zuchermann, Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary).
“The 2nd century CE rabbinic work Seder Olam Rabbah, which formed the basis of the era counting of the Hebrew calendar, interpreted the prophecy of seventy weeks in Daniel 9:24-27 as referring to a period of 490 years, with a “week” being interpreted as a period of seven years, which would pass between the destruction of the First and Second Temple. This is used to date the destruction of the First Temple to 423 BCE (3338 AM) – about 165 years after the current scholarly dating of the event. The discrepancy between these two dates is referred to as “missing years”.” (Missing Years, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_years_%28Jewish_calendar%29).
The Jews connected the destruction of the first temple (424/422BC), the seventy years of Babylon captivity, the restoration and rebuilding of the Temple (under Ezra and Nehemiah 515BC – 70 yrs. from the first Temple’s destruction), to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 —- as the 10th. Jubilee cycle or 490 years! They expected Messiah to arrive right around AD 26 (AND HE DID!) to fulfill all of His redemptive promises given to them through the prophets, but because they missed the spiritual nature of His Kingdom (Lk. 17:20-37), they missed the fulfillment of this powerful prophecy unfold before their eyes in the redemptive events from AD 26 — AD 66-70. Even though Daniel prophesied of a spiritual kingdom (Dan. 2 and 7) and it was clear from their own prophets that they would not be able to “discern” their own “end” when it drew “near” in that particular “perverse and crooked generation” (Deut. 32/Acts 2:40/1 Pet. 4:5-7). The fact that God would be coming to judge their unbelief and not the Romans was prophesied to be a “strange work” (Isa. 28). Their carnal expectations caused them to miss Isaiah’s “new work” of the New Covenant.
We must enter into the Jewish and historical context when approaching Daniel 9:24-27 as relating to the Sabbatical calendar and the redemption of Israel.
While I would differ on some points with Ben Zion Wacholder, I would agree with the majority of these quotes and that there is sufficient,
*** “…evidence in the biblical, Qumran׳ New Testament, and rabbinic literature for a hitherto unnoticed but apparently at one time widespread belief, that the inevitable coming of the messiah would take place during the season when Israel celebrated the sabbatical year. Sabbatical messianism, or chronomessianism, are appropriate terms for a phenomenon that inspired a search in the scriptural prophecies for the exact date of the redeemer’s coming. Although most powerful in the apocalyptic tradition, chronomessianism appears as well in the mainstream of Judaism. The locus classicus of chronomessianic doctrine is found in Daniel 9, particularly in the mysterious verses 24-27.” (Ben Zion Wacholder, CHRONOMESSIANISM THE TIMING OF MESSIANIC MOVEMENTS AND THE CALENDAR OF SABBATICAL CYCLES, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, p.1, bold emphasis MJS).
More quotes from his article that I found useful include the following:
*** “The pre-history of chronomessianism may be traced in several biblical pasages. Isa. 23:15-18 predicts that Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, at the end of which time the Lord will again remember the famous city.Jeremiah employs the 70-year period for the length of Judah’s coming exile in Babylonia (Jer. 25: 11-12; 29: 10). The use of the number 70 might reflect the Jewish affinity for the numeral seven and its multiples, evidenced in weekly and yearly sabbaths (shemittah) and the jubilee; alternately, it might have been a common Near Eastern convention for the maximum life expectancy or the normal span of two or three generations. Whatever that number’s function in Jeremiah, Zech. 1:12 regards the number 70 as the precise length of Judah’s exile. By fusing Jeremiah’s “70-year prophecy” with the assertion in Lev. 26:34-35, 43, that during the exile the land would atone for the sabbaths that Israel had violated, 2 Chron. 36:21-23 suggests not only that Jeremiah’s words came true, but explicitly interprets Cyrus’ edict as having reference to them.
Whatever the precise meaning of these passages, the credit for inventing sabbatical messianism belongs to the author of Daniel 9.” (Ibid., pp. 1-2).
*** “The ancient Jewish exegesis of Dan. 9:24-27 differs from modern scholarship in two significant ways. With a few exceptions, all medieval and recent commentators translate the key-word shavu’a (supposedly following the LXX) as heptomad or a “week,י’ seven years. The ancient exegetes, it will be shown, understood shavu’a to refer to the seven- year cycle, the last year of which was “the year of the Lord” (Lev. 25:2), the equivalent of the year of shemittah or release (Deut. 15:1-2), when debts were canceled and land lay fallow. The difference between the two interpretations is that, according to the former, any septennial number will do; according to the latter, however, each seven-year period had its fixed place in a series, precise in beginning and end. A second difference stems from the first. Modern exegetes interpret the passage without reference to Jewish chronology current at that time. The ancients, however, took it for granted that the numbers in 9:24-27 had to harmonize with their calendar of sabbatical cycles. No student would undertake to determine the day of the week without reference to the Jewish or Christian calendar; yet none of the nineteenth or twentieth century commentators, I have concluded, tries to harmonize Daniel with the sabbatical cycles as they were uninterruptedly observed during intertestamental and early rabbinic times.” (Ibid., pp. 2-3).
*** “The recently published fragments from a partially preserved pesher offer a fascinating presentation of sabbatical chronomessianism. Although written in the familiar Qumran style, the pesher applied Daniel’s insight into what evidently was an anthology of biblical passages related to the sabbatical and jubilee themes, but which also included allusions to the reigns of the Righteous (Melchizedek) and Wicked (Melchiresha). After commenting on Lev. 25:13 in regard to the Israelites’ return to their patrimony in the year of דרור (jubilee), the remission of debts in Deut. 15:2, and freedom (דרור) to the captives, proclaimed in Isa. 61:1, llQMelch 3 II continues: “Its interpretation is: that He will proclaim them to be among the children of Heaven and of the inheritance of Melchizedek… For He will restore (their patrimonies?) to them and proclaim freedom to them and make them abandon all of their sins. This shall take place during the sabbatical cycle (shabu’a) of the first jubilee following the nitne] jubilees, and on the Day of Atonement falling at the en[d of the jujbilee, the tenth; To forgive on it (the day of atonement) for all of (the sins) of all the children of [God and] the men of the lot of Melchizedek.” Although its main thought is quite clear, the precise chronology of the pesher remains obscure. There is no doubt, however, that the tenth jubilee alludes to the chronology of Dan. 9:24’s 70 sabbatical cycles, which equals 10 jubilees, when Melchizedek will overcome Me(a)lchiresha°. Any lingering doubt that this is so disappears when one reads in line 18 of our fragment: “And the herald of good tidings (Isa. 52:7a) refers to the messiah, the Spirit concerning whom it was said by Dan[iel (9:25): ‘Until the coming of the messiah, the prince, 7 sabbatical cycles…'” Despite the fact that the pesher utilizes a long list of biblical passages, Dan. 9:24-27 remained the key to the author’s chronology of sabbatical messianism.” (Ibid., pp. 10-11).
*** “Chapters 29-30 of Seder Olam, which may be regarded as a kind of midrash on Dan. 9:24-27, tailor the chronology of the burnings of the First and the Second Temples to make them conform to the author’s view of Daniel’s sabbatical numbers: 10 Jubilees = 70 Sabbatical cycles = 490 years elapsed from Nebuchadnezzar’s to Titus’ conquests of Jerusalem.” (Ibid., p. 11).
*** “It is evident that the observance of the sabbatical years and jubilees during the intertestamental times played a far larger role in the consciousness of Israel than has been hitherto recognized. Immense as were the effects of the calendar of sabbatical cycles on the agricultural and social life of the people, its influence was no less on the formulation of Jewish religious beliefs. Concepts such as creation, history, apocalypse, and eschatology all became enmeshed with the calendar of sabbatical cycles. In the 7th year debts were cancelled, hard labor in the fields stopped; the voice of freedom was heard throughout the land as the steps of the messiah were believed to have become more and more audible.” (Ibid. p. 18).
James M. Hamilton Jr. also comments on this relevant Qumran material in relation to Daniel 9:24-27 and the eschatological jubilee of 490 years:
“This seems to indicate that the reference to ‘Melchizedek’ in this passage should be understood along the lines of the David Psalm 110. In that case, 11Q Rule of Melchizedek bears witness to a hope for a David and Melchizedekian figure who will be anointed by the Spirit, make atonement for his people (the sons of light, i.e. the seed of the woman), thereby freeing them from their sins, proclaiming liberty to the captives, enabling the return from exile, and all these magnificent things take place at the tenth jubilee.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., With the Clouds of Heaven The book of Daniel in biblical theology, IVP, p. 162, bold emphasis MJS).
I believe Hamilton is correct to see this material including the Messianic second exodus and Messianic gathering motif as well. He includes the blowing of the trumpet and eschatological gathering of Isaiah 27:13 with Daniel 9:24-27 (Ibid.). This is significant in that both Yeshua and Paul connect the trumpet gathering of Isaiah 27:13 with the Second Coming of Christ and resurrection to take place in their generation and in the lifetime of their contemporaries (Mt. 24:30-34; 1 Thess. 4:15-17). This trumpet eschatological gathering at Christ’s Second Coming in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 is described by Luke as the “days of vengeance” which correlate to Isaiah’s “day of vengeance” during this last eschatological cycle of the Jubilee (Lk. 21:20-32/Isa. 61–63).
Margaret Barker comes the closest to my position because she at least connects this last 10th cycle to the “soon” AD 66 – AD 70 fulfillments to the prophecy of Revelation.
“The seventy weeks of years, 490 years, were ten Jubilees, and the alternative way of reckoning this period was as ten Jubilees. Jewish tradition remembered that the 490 years ended in 68CE; calculation from the second temple Jubilee sequence beginning in 424BCE gives 66CE. A two years discrepancy is hardly significant in the light of what this implies, namely that the tenth Jubilee began in 17/19 CE. In other words, tenth Jubilee fervour and expectations were the context for the ministry of Jesus.” (Margaret Barker, THE TIME IS FULFILLED JESUS AND THE JUBILEE, 1999, http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/JesusAndTheJubilee.pdf).
She points out in the article that there seems to be some confusion or discrepancy on the years 422 BC or 424 BC from the second Temple Jubilee and then the next issue to work through would be if one should be calculating based on 50 or 49 for a Jubilee cycle. But if I’m reading her correctly, then 422 BC or 424 BC is where the 10 Jubilee’s countdown from Daniel 9:24-27 begins in Jewish tradition and the first century context in which Jesus and the NT authors ministered.
When I calculate Jubilees (based on 50 and not 49) from the “sign” in (Isaiah 37:30ff.) for Hezekiah in 722 BC, and work backwards until I get to a jubilee in 422 BC and the second Temple, and then calculate the 10 jubilee’s from 422 BC, this brings us to AD 27 as the 10th. Jubilee cycle.
But to be thorough, here are the various ways to calculate where the 10.th Jubilee cycle began in the lifetime of Yeshua based upon two dates for the second Temple 424 BC/422 BC and or using and counting from a 49 or 50 Jubilee year approach:
Based upon Josephus, one can calculate a seventh year sabbath in AD 27. So based upon this information and my math, the 10th Jubilee cycle is in around AD 26/28 and this is when Jesus makes the declaration in the synagogue that He is the fulfillment of the Jubilee of Isaiah 61:1-11 in Luke 4:16-21. This would give a Jubilee Sabbatical or seventh year sabbatical in the following years (all falling within the last 10th Jubilee cycle 490 years):
1). AD 26/28 — Yeshua begins fulfilling the soteriological and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee — ministry — “cut off” — inaugurates NC age — First half of Daniel’s last “7.”
2). AD 33/35 – Seventh year sabbath
3). AD 40/42 – Seventh year sabbath
4). AD 47/49 – Seventh year sabbath
5). AD 54/56 – Seventh year sabbath
6). AD 61/63 – Seventh year sabbath
7). AD 67/69 — Yeshua fulfilling “Days of vengeance” — end of OC age — maturity of NC age — last half of Daniel’s last “7” AD 67 falls within the parousia or Second Coming of Christ event — that is the “day of vengeance” of (Isa. 61:2) which was fulfilled within Yeshua’s contemporary “this generation” and described by Him as “…the days of vengeance in fulfillment of all that has been written” and Israel’s “redemption” (Lk. 21:20-22; 27-32=Dan. 9:24-27/Isa. 61:1-11).
Josephus also records that the temple was destroyed on the 10th of Ab, the same date on which the first temple was destroyed (Josephus, Wars, 6:4:5).
*** All of Israel’s feast days (Spring and Fall) were fulfilled during this last “7” of Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy – which was the anticipated Messianic “last days” 10th. cycle of the Jubilee in Yeshua’s day. This understanding of the OT prophets and tradition of the day along with the view that when Messiah came He would usher in a transitionary reign of the second exodus generation between their Old Covenant “this age” and the Messianic New Covenant “age about to come” are the views of Jesus and the inspired NT authors. Selah. For a review of our study on Israel’s feast days go here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/berean-bible-church/part-2-25-1018-mon-sat-exodus-23-and-israels-feasts/10155296783138616/
It has become very clear to me that Leviticus 23-26 is the key to understanding how Yeshua fulfilled all the feasts of Israel within that last 10th cycle of Jubilee (of which Israel’s calendar and redemptive history was based off) and the second exodus generation! Click on chart to enlarge:
There are a couple of different ways in calculating the 10 Jubilee or 490 years cycle. Some begin with 424 BC others 422 BC. Some calculate based on the 49 years others include the 50thyear. So I ran the numbers on all the possible scenarios. Barker used the calculation seen in #3. But I also find #’s 2 and 4 interesting because AD 26 or AD 28 would be during Jesus’ earthly ministry and His announcing that He is the fulfillment of the Jubilee prophecy in Isaiah 61 and Daniel 9. He would then shortly be ”cut off” (crucified) and His Second Coming as High Priest in AD 66 – AD 70 would still fall within that 10 th.Jubilee cycle of 490 years. This transition period also fulfilled the 40 years second exodus generation motif from their OC “this age” to the NC “age about to come” that they calculated based upon Isa. 10-11, Ps. 90 and other passages.
I did find someone (and I do not share her eschatology obviously) who calculated the jubilee cycle as I had (see #2 in the chart). Marie Casale writes,
“According to Luke 3:21-23, Jesus began to be about 30 years of age when he was baptized by John the Baptist. Having been born in the fall of 5 BC, he was baptized in the fall of 26 AD at the time of his birthday. Then, according to the scriptures, after his fall baptism, he went immediately into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan for forty days. (Mat 4:1-2) He returned to Jerusalem for the first Passover of his ministry, April 9, 27 AD. (Jhn2:13-25) Some time later Jesus began preaching in Galilee after John the Baptist was put in prison. (Mar 1:14-15, Mat 4:12, Luk4:14-15)
The next event after this was that Jesus preaches in Nazareth on the Sabbath day – Luk4:16-30 * Luk4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
Luk4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luk4:18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to SET AT LIBERTY them that are bruised, Luk4:19 To preach THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.
Luk4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave [it] again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. Luk4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
The message in Luk4:19 has to do with the announcement of ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’. This must be the Sabbath year of 26 AD.
Jesus would have probably announced these words on the Feast of Pentecost in 27 AD. The next holy day, the Day of Trumpets in 27 AD, would begin the second year of his ministry.
The message in Luk4:18 also has to do with a ‘proclamation of liberty’. Liberty was to be proclaimed as we see here in the commandments of the Sabbath year and of the Jubilee year. (cf. Deut. 15:12-18). (Marie Casale, THE SABBATH JUBILEE YEARS POINT TO THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST).
The “Already and Not Yet” of the Jubilee Cycle of Isiah 61/Luke 4
I should briefly address those such as Dr. Michael Heiser whom point out that Yeshua did not quote the “day of vengeance” when he quoted Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:18 because of an alleged 2,000 plus “already and not yet” period.
- In Jewish hermeneutics often times a Rabbi would quote just one section of a prophecy and the audience knew the theological context of the entire passage was referenced as well.
- Even for those that discuss Yeshua was only addressing the “already” aspect of fulfilling the Jubilee of Isaiah 61 through His earthly ministry and passion — this does not address the NT places the “not yet” being fulfilled in the first century “this generation,” “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand,” “about to,” “would not be delayed,” etc… This and the 10th Jubilee cycle had to be fulfilled within 49-50 years from AD 26. In Luke 4:18 Jesus may be focusing on the first half of the last 7 if Daniel 9:24-27; but this does not prove the “not yet” of the last half of the 7 is 2,000 plus years and counting.
From what I understand, some commentators do claim Jesus’ declaration of the Jubilee of Luke 4:18-21/Isaiah 61 was made in an actual Jubilee year sabbath period, but it is not developed much by them or proven the way I have (and confirmed to me by Marie Casale). If this is accurate and we have a Jubilee sabbath rest year in AD 26/AD 28, then Jesus is in essence saying: “You know the 10th Jubilee of Daniel 9:24-27 that you are expecting as the time of Messiah coming to visit you with salvation and judgment, well, I am Him and the time of this prophetic period being fulfilled is taking place in your hearing and before your very eyes.” The Lord would confirm in (Luke 21:20-22, 27-32; Mt. 24:15-34) that all of the seventy sevens (and thus their “redemption”) would be fulfilled when the “abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel” took place within their contemporary “this generation.” When the Roman armies stepped foot on Israel’s land (known to them to be “a holy place” Mt. 24:15/Lk. 21:20-22) this event (the judgment of Jerusalem) brought the 70 7’s prophecy of Daniel to a perfect fulfillment and fulfilled all OT prophecy (as in Daniel 12:1-7).
Here are some more helpful insights from Barker’s article in not just developing the first part of the 10th. cycle to the earthly ministry of Christ, but the last part of the cycle to the “soon” AD 70 judgment,
*** “The Qumran Melchizedek text (11QMelch), written in the middle of the first century BCE but not necessarily composed at that time, describes the events of the tenth Jubilee14. Only fragments have survived so it is possible that the complete text described the other nine Jubilees also. The text begins by quoting the Jubilee laws in Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15, interpreting them ‘for the last days’. The captives who are to return are people whose teachers have been ‘hidden and kept secret’ and these ‘people of the inheritance of Melchizedek’ will return. There is insufficient text for certainty, but this looks like a group who have been secretly preserving the teachings of the first temple, when there was a Melchizedek priesthood. In the tenth Jubilee they would ‘return’, perhaps to the temple as priests? The liberty of the Jubilee is interpreted as release from iniquities, the beginning of the atonement which will occur on the Day of Atonement at the end of the tenth Jubilee. The return and the release from iniquity were to happen in the first week, the first seven years, of the tenth Jubilee i.e. approximately 19-26 CE. If Jesus was born in 7/6 BCE15 and was baptised when he was about thirty years old (Luke 3.23), he began his ministry during the crucial first ‘week’ of the tenth Jubilee.
11 QMelch alludes many times to the Jubilee oracle in Isaiah 61: ‘… the LORD God has anointed me… to proclaim liberty to the captives (Isa.61.1, ‘proclaim liberty’, deror. being a quotation from Lev.25.10). The coming Melchizedek is to rescue his own people (? the sons of light, but the text is damaged here) from the power of Belial. There was to be a messenger of peace announcing to Zion ‘Your God reigns’, thus fulfilling Isaiah 52.7. The messenger was probably Melchizedek, but again the text is too damaged for certainty. He would be the anointed one prophesied in Daniel 9.25, but described in 11 QMelch as ‘anointed of the Spirit’, a conflation with Isaiah 61.1. The anointed one would instruct in the end times of the world16 and some people (the text is broken here) would establish the covenant, another Day of Atonement theme.
This gives the context for the opening scenes of the gospels. In the first week of the tenth Jubilee Jesus was baptised with the Spirit, which was interpreted as his anointing (Acts 10.38). After his time in the desert he returned to Galilee announcing ‘the time is fulfilled’ i.e. the tenth Jubilee is inaugurated and ‘Melchizedek’ is here, ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent’, because the final Day of Atonement was also at hand at hand, ‘and believe the good news’ of the Jubilee release. Luke’s account of Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth shows that he claimed to have inaugurated the final Jubilee; no other interpretation can be put on the claim to have fulfilled that day (Luke 4.21) the Jubilee prophecy in Isaiah 61 which was central to the Melchizedek expectations of the time. 17
The first miracle was an exorcism (Mark 1.21-26), setting one of his own people free from the power of Belial. He spoke of a woman bound by Satan and released her (Luke 13.16), of slaves to sin whom the Son could release (John 9.31-38). He forgave sins and illustrated his teaching with a parable of two debtors whose debts were cancelled (Luke 7. 41-48). The healing miracles restored to the community people who would have been excluded as ritually unfit: the disabled, the lepers, a woman who was bleeding. This was the great ingathering of the Jubilee. Jesus spoke of those who would inherit the earth (Mat.5.5) and at the Last Supper, he spoke of the New Covenant and of his blood poured out for the remission of sins (aphesis, the Jubilee word, Mat.26.28).
The Jubilee also brought the Day of Judgement, vividly described in 11QMelch. Melchizedek would take his place in the heavenly assembly and, as described in Psalm 82.1, begin to judge the `elohim, the heavenly beings. This was to be the year of Melchizedek’s favour, a very significant alteration to Isaiah 61.2, which proclaims the Jubilee as the year of the LORD’s favour. Similarly with Psalm 82.1; it is Melchizedek who takes his place in the heavenly assembly, whereas in the original Psalm it is God. The only possible conclusion is that Melchizedek, the heavenly high priest, was the LORD, the God of Israel. In 11 QMelch he has armies and brings the vengeance of divine judgement, and these were expected to appear in the tenth Jubilee. 11 QMelch explains why Jesus is depicted as judge and warrior in the Book of Revelation and why the Book of Revelation is described as ‘The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place’ (Rev.1.1). These were the teachings of Melchizedek, revealing in the tenth Jubilee the ends times of the world. When the Lamb takes his place in the heavenly assembly (Rev.5.6-14 fulfilling Ps.82.1) the judgement begins. The Word of God rides out from heaven, wearing a white robe sprinkled with blood; he is the high priest who has taken the atonement blood into the holy of holies. He rides out with his with his army (Rev.19.11-16) and the judgement follows.
The letter to the Hebrews explained the role of Jesus as the new Melchizedek (Heb.7.11), the one who had attained the priesthood by ascent, being raised up, not by descent from Aaron18. The crucifixion and ascension had been recognised as the enthronement of the Lamb, exactly as described in Hebrews 10.12: ‘When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, there to wait until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet’. The remainder of the tenth Jubilee was the time of waiting until the final battle and victory when the Great High Priest would emerge to complete the Atonement and conclude the Jubilee.” (Ibid.).
*** “The seventh seal [of Revelation] would bring the return of the heavenly high priest to complete the great atonement at the end of the tenth Jubilee which was, by that time, imminent. In August 66CE, the nationalists gained entrance to the temple area and burned all records of debt20, the start of the Jubilee.” (Ibid.).
***” There is insufficient evidence to say with confidence how closely the Parousia expectations of the early church were bound up with the Jewish nationalism of the first century CE. They had Jubilee expectations in common, but the present form of the gospels invites us to believe that Jesus spiritualised the Jubilee, interpreting release from debt and slavery as forgiveness of sins and release from the power of Satan. This, however, is exactly the interpretation in 11QMelch, which was quite clear about the events of the tenth Jubilee. A spiritual interpretation of Jubilee does not necessarily indicate a separate agenda from the nationalists. Jesus did warn that the blood of the prophets would be required of his generation (Luke 11.50), in other words, that the Day of Judgement would occur within the lifetime of his hearers. This explains the urgency of his words: ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the good news’.” (Ibid.).
*** “The Jubilee was used to measure time in the second temple period even when a literal application of the land laws was no longer possible10. Later tradition divided the history of Israel into Jubilees, but the remarkable coincidence of important events and Jubilee years does suggest that the Jubilee system was a significant factor in Israel’s actual history and not just in the memory of its historians.” (Ibid.).
That the Jubilee of Isaiah 61 was considered an imminent eschatological expectation in Jesus’ days is supported by other scholars:
“In 11Q13 phrases from Isa. 61:1–2 are linked with Lev. 25:13; Deut. 15:2; Ps. 7:8–9; 82:1–2; Isa. 52:7 to portray the expectation of the eschatological Jubilee (M. P. Miller 1969; J. A. Sanders 1975: 85). (Pao, D. W., & Schnabel, E. J. (2007). Luke. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 288). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos).
My Response to Margaret Barker’s Article
Jubilee Used to Measure Time and the History of Israel
As to Barker’s insight into the Jews dividing up their history in jubilee years and expectations of Messiah coming to fulfill Daniel’s 10th cycle of Jubilee during the times of Jesus — see my comments on the eschatological genealogies of Matthew and Luke’s gospels and George F. Moore’s article, Fourteen Generations: 490 Years: An Explanation of the Genealogy of Jesus, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan., 1921), pp. 97-103 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School.
The “Days of Vengeance” – Luke 21:20-32 and the 10th. Jubilee Cycle
Yeshua predicted that His coming soteriological and eschatological “redemption” “kingdom” “days of vengeance” of the Jubilee of Isaiah 61–66 would arrive at the sound of a trumpet and would be accomplished within His first century “this generation” audience (Lk. 21:20-32/Mt. 24:30-34). This was the fulfillment of “all that had been written” in the OT (Lk. 21:20-22ff.), which would obviously include Isaiah 61–66 and Daniel 2; 7; 9 and 12.
The Book of Hebrews and the 10th Jubilee Cycle
In chapters 3-4 the author demonstrates that the OT predicted “another sabbath rest” for Israel to enter into of which the land promise was only a type. In chapters 9-10 this “approaching day” of sabbath rest is connected to His Second Appearing as the Great High Priest to finish His atonement work. The first century Church was “eagerly” awaiting this return that is described as taking place in the last days of the Old Covenant age and “in a very little while” and would “not delay.” He was “about to” (Greek mello) burn up His Old Covenant apostate Jewish enemies and place them under His feet at this AD 66 – AD 70 Second Appearing.
In chapter 7 Melchizedek only functioned as a type of Christ, therefore the fist century imminent expectations of the eschatological “last days” Melchizedek is rightfully applied to Christ as Messiah and God to accomplish what they thought this figure would.
The Book of Revelation and the 10th Jubilee Cycle
The book of Revelation picks up where Daniel leaves off. Daniel had to “seal up the vision” because the time of fulfillment was “far off” (Dan. 12), whereas John is told the opposite concerning the SAME prophecy. He is told to “NOT seal up the vision” because the time of fulfillment is “at hand” (Rev. 22). Most of the book of Revelation deals with Daniel’s final “7” and places it being fulfilled in a fist century AD 66 – AD 77 period (i.e. “shortly” “soon” “at hand” “about to” “quick”).
Revelation also addresses issues of atonement, forgiveness of sin, sabbath rest and restoring man’s original Edenic inheritance in Christ at His “soon” Second Coming event during AD 66 – AD 70.
Yeshua – the Only Messianic Candidate
No matter how you look at it, the Jews were expecting Messiah to arrive during the Roman Empire and during the 10th Jubilee cycle/period and thus be made manifest to them between AD 17/19 or AD 26/28 Jesus was the ONLY one claiming to be Messiah and fulfilling this prophecy in His day, that I know of. Jesus arriving during this 10th. Jubilee cycle and proclaiming “liberty” along with His physical miracles, demonstrated that He indeed was who He claimed to be. Who else during this period was making this specific claim and having the miracles to back it up?!? And who else was prophesying that He would come on the clouds as the Ancient of Days and destroy the Temple within that same generation (Mt. 24:15-34/Lk. 21:20-32)?!?
Daniel 9:24-27 and the 10th. Jubilee Cycle Fulfilled Between AD 26–AD 66-70
When you read the commentators concerning these six promises Messiah will accomplish in the last 7 — which is divided into 2 3.5 periods, many recognize there is an “already and not yet” of Messiah’s redemptive work (cf. Heb. 9-10) that must be fulfilled between Him being “cut off” (the cross – or “already”) and His Second Appearing as High Priest out from the Temple–to finish the atoning process. Others have seen that the seventy sevens prophecy simply ends with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. And yet others will readily admit that the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds in Daniel 7:13 is developed by Jesus in Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:1-34 as Him coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70 through the Romans. Connecting these observations together, we see that Jesus gives a “this generation” period to be the “already and not yet” period for these events to take place and NOT a 2,000 plus years and counting period. This becomes clear in the first of these six events of which we not turn.
Other Historical Works Confirm the Same Contemporary Time Frame of Inspired NT Imminence
This Age and the Age About to Come
N.T. Wright correctly points out Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on the “end of the age,” is in harmony with “…the ‘two-age’ structure…of Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism.” The “end of the age” in Mt. 13:39, 43; Mt. 24:3; Heb. 9:26 Wright correctly identifies as “…the fall of Jerusalem and the Parousia of Jesus.” (The RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, p. 645). Wright is correct here on the ages and the parousia of Christ occurring in AD 70, except by “parousia” we see a reference to the Second Coming of Christ (not the ascension) consummating the OC age in judgment and ushering in and brining to maturity the New Covenant age in which we live today.
The 40 Years Generation “Transition” Between the Old Covenant and New Covenant Ages
“Many Rabbis believed the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age [OC age] and the “age to come” [NC age] (Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, p. 356). “‘How long will the days of the Messiah last? R. Akiba said, ‘forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land” (Ibid.).
This “transition stage” or second exodus of a 40 years generation type/anti-type understanding is developed for us by Yeshua in the Gospels, John the Baptist, the Apostle Paul, the author of Hebrews and forms the infallible and prophetic NT’s view of inspired imminence (cf. Mt. 3-4; 24:34; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14YLT).
The Essenes & Inspired NT Imminence
Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essenes interpreted Habakkuk 2, the book of Daniel and Ezekiel 38-39 regarding the coming of Messiah in judgment, the “last days” and end time battle to be referring to the same time of fulfillment that Yeshuah and the NT authors did:
- Essenes believed they were the “final generation” that would experience “the end of the [OC] age.” (1QpHab 7:1-2)
- Yeshua and Peteraffirmed “the end” or “end of the age” was “near” in their contemporary generation (Mt. 24:3-34; Acts 2:20-40/Deut. 32:5, 20; 1 Pet. 4:5-7). Hebrews affirms the appointed time of Habakkuk’s prophecy had arrived and thus Yeshua’s Second Appearing to finish the atonement process would come “in a very little while” and would “not delay” at the approaching last days of the OC age (Heb. 9:28–10:37-38/Hab. 2:3-4).
- The Essenes believed based upon Daniel 9:24-27, Habakkuk 2, Ezekiel 38-39 and other OT passages that their “last days” “generation,” would experience the end time war of Gog and Magog — when Rome came against apostate Jerusalem and their priesthood (1QpHab 9:5-11; 12:5-13). They also believed Messiah would come and join them to defeat both the Romans and the apostate priesthood of Jerusalem. After the community was almost wiped out by the Romans, they joined their apostate Jerusalem enemies in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 to fight Rome. But event then they remained hopeful that Messiah would come and deliver them and destroy both of the Romans and apostate Jerusalem in this end time battle.
- Yeshua and Johnaffirm “the last days” end time battle would be “near” in their generation when God would judge OC Jerusalem (or Babylon) for slaying Yeshua and His Apostles and Prophets (Lk. 21:20-24, 32/Dan. 9:26-27; Lk. 23:28-31/Isa. 2-4; Rev. 6:10-11; 11:8; 16; 19; 20).
We can imagine that while the Essenes were seeking to self-fulfill their carnal earthly views of the Messianic kingdom by going to Jerusalem and joining the war of AD 66 – AD 70, the Christians would be leaving the city being delivered by Messiah and knowing the kingdom “within” them was arriving RIGHT ON TIME (Lk. 17:20-37; 21:20-32).
Alright, back to Daniel…
1). Finish transgression
Jerusalem “filled up” or “finished transgressions” against God and His Messiah within Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 23:31-38; Dan. 9:24a). Dr. Michael Brown cites James E. Smith as understanding this verse likewise to be, “To fill up [or restrain] the transgression. Within the 490 year period the people of Israel would commit their final transgression against God. Jesus indicated that the leaders of his generation were about to fill up the measure of the sin of their forefathers (Matt. 23:32)…” (Michael Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 3, 93).
And Brown himself takes this interpretation when he writes,
“…take seriously Yeshua’s words spoken in Matthew 23:32, when he sarcastically exhorted the hostile Jewish leaders of his day, “Fill up the measure of the sin of your forefathers!” Thus, the generation that rejected the Messiah would suffer the culmination of the sins of all the previous generations: “Upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth…I tell the truth, all this will come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:35a, 37).” (Ibid., p. 96, bold emphasis MJS).
Unfortunately, Brown’s commitment to Futurist Zionism causes him to not “take seriously Yeshua’s words spoken in Matthew 23…,” because this is the consummative judgment of the living (the Pharisees) and the dead (martyrs) going all the way back to Genesis. As that contemporary generation was ending, the book of Revelation confirms the same first century time frame of fulfillment in that the vindication of he martyrs blood at the hands of the great harlot city Babylon (which is OC Jerusalem where the Lord was crucified – Rev. 11:8) would be fulfilled in a “very little while” at the “soon” Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 6:10-11; 17–22:6-7, 10-12, 20). The judgment and resurrection of the dead is once again connected with the fall of Jerusalem in Daniel 12:1-7.
Arminianism and Brown portrays and interprets Matthew 23:37 as it being Jesus’ will to save the vast majority within Jerusalem, but because of their free will and rejection, He simply could not pull it off. Some within Dispensationalism also claim that Jesus wanted to save the majority in Israel and establish His kingdom on earth at His first coming, but again due to unbelief, He couldn’t and had to resort to “plan b” (the cross). But somehow, we are to be assured that man’s “free will” and rejection of Christ will not be a problem for God’s will when He comes a second time, when the vast majority within Jerusalem allegedly will cry out with their free will at that time in repentance, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The Context of Matthew 23
Matthew 23:37-39 is a part of the entire teaching and context beginning in v. 1. Jesus is pointing out the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (vss. 1-12). Then Jesus begins pronouncing 7 judgmental “woes” upon them in vss. 13-39. It is important to note Jesus’ emotional disposition is that of righteous anger at the Pharisees, and not Him weeping over the fact that He simply cannot accomplish His will to save the majority among Jerusalem.
Israel’s sin of blood guilt (whereby she killed the righteous among them throughout her history) was “filling up” from the time of Cain’s killing of righteous Abel, to those NT prophets and teachers Jesus would send to them – of which they too would persecute and kill (from AD 30 – AD 66 – vss. 32-34, cf. Matt. 10:17-23). In vss. 35-36, 38 Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the time of judgment for all their bloodshed would fall upon them/their “this generation” – when their “house”/temple would be left desolate in AD 70. This particular “this generation” was prophesied by Moses in Deuteronomy to experience her “end” (Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:20-40). At this time the righteous remnant among Israel (the “Israel within Israel” trusting in Messiah) along with the believing Gentiles would “rejoice” for God judging OC Israel’s sin of blood guilt and bringing her to this end (Deut. 32:43).
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
First, this verse leading into vss. 38-39 is apart of Jesus’ 7th and last judgment “woe” began in v. 29. Again, Jesus’ disposition is that of righteous anger not Him weeping because His will is being thwarted because the majority within Jerusalem would not believe in Him.
Secondly, in the context of this chapter, “Jerusalem” should be identified as the “Pharisees” who sought not to let others enter the kingdom v. 14. And the “children” would include some of those that they sought to lay heavy burdens upon v. 4.
Thirdly, “gathering” here is the Messianic new exodus gathering predicted by the prophets (ex. Isa. 11:10-12). Some Jews during Jesus’ day saw this new exodus being another 40 years generation or transitionary period between the OC “this age” of the law and prophets, and the NC or Messianic “age to come” based upon Psalm 90:15 and other texts. This is the inspired time frame of Jesus and the rest of the NT writers. There is an “already and not yet” aspect to this gathering which falls within Jesus’ “this generation” prophecy.
The “already” aspect of it can be said to have begun with the preaching of the gospel by Jesus in the gospels (and Pentecost and beyond) by which He was gathering the first fruits into His kingdom. According to Paul and Peter, this is God gathering Jew and Gentile into one spiritual New Man or Temple.
The “not yet” aspect of this Messianic gathering and the blowing of the trumpet at His Second Coming to close the end of the OC age in AD 70 would be the full harvest when He gathered all of His elect within that generation and caused them to inherit the kingdom. Both the “already” and “not yet” aspects to this Messianic judgment and gathering are said to take place within Jesus’ AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or at the end of His Old Covenant “this age” (Matt. 13:29-43; 23:36; 24:30-34).
In respect to the “already” – this gathering involved Jesus gathering “the children” to hear His preaching. The leadership or Pharisees / “Jerusalem” sought to hinder this process or “would not” allow it (that is to the best of their abilities). John 9-10 is probably a good commentary here on this concept. The blind man is healed but his family is scared because the Pharisees had begun persecuting anyone who believed in Jesus – by kicking them out of the synagoue 9:22. Jesus goes on to depict the Pharisees here as the truly “blind” ones and then in chapter 10 as “thieves” “robbers” and “hired hands” while He is the faithful Shepherd gathering His sheep (such a the blind man healed in chapter 9) into safety and green pastures. He also goes on to affirm that none of His sheep the Father gives Him (by name in election) would fail to come to Him in faith and would not perish (cf. chapter 10). This refutes the Arminian and Brown’s twisting of Matthew 23:37.
God sovereignly foreordained and used the persecutions of the Pharisees to kill His Son and persecute the early church. Why? Because this was His prophetic and ordained will and method of establishing His kingdom – not a means by which it got postponed or God’s will get’s frustrated in saving all He ordains to come to Him.
Before leaving this subject of Jewish persecution and a coming judgment, Paul addresses this problem as well in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 where the Jews were persecuting Christians and seeking to hinder the preaching of the gospel. He also expected the eschatological “not yet” first century “wrath” and “trouble” to come upon those first century Jews (in their lifetimes) – this being consistent with the teachings of John the Baptist and Jesus elsewhere (cf. Matt. 3:7-12GNT; Lk. 21:20-32; 2 Thess. 1:5-7).
“Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
First, Jesus’ phrase “For I tell you” or “verily, verily I say unto you,” is always a linking phrase of emphasis to drive home the point of His teaching that has just gone before. So the “coming” of v. 39 begins with connecting what follows with the judgment in AD 70 – ie. when “your house/temple is left to you desolate” v. 38. Therefore, this is not some 2,000 and counting years “coming” of Christ that is designed to save the vast majority of Israel in our future.
Secondly, the exegete needs to examine the context of that OT text Jesus is quoting from and see what event He has identified with it elsewhere in His teachings. Jesus is quoting and applying Psalm 118:26 here in Matthew 23:39 to Him coming in judgment upon Jerusalem and her temple in AD 70. This is consistent with how Jesus has used Psalm 118 elsewhere. In Matthew 21:42-45 Jesus references Psalm 118:22 to prove He is the Cornerstone by which the Pharisees would stumble over – and thus be judged. This was the time when the kingdom would be taken from them and given to another nation bearing its fruits. Consistent with Jesus, Peter uses Psalm 118 to refer to a coming salvation and judgment that was “ready” and “at hand” in his day (1 Peter 1:5-12—2:4-10–4:5-7).
Therefore, the burden of proof is upon the Futurist such as Brown to demonstrate that Jesus is using Psalm 118 in a completely different way – ie. referring to a 2,000+ years distant future context – ie. for Jerusalem’s mass salvation, and not her imminent judgment in AD 70. Brown despises what he calls “replacement theology,” and yet when all the law and prophets were fulfilled by AD 70 (Lk. 21:20-22), the OC kingdom was “taken” and “given” to the Jew/Gentile Church in its spiritual/transformed/matured form. When the OC kingdom is “taken” from Israel after the flesh is when the OC “vanished” and the Jew/Gentile Church inherited the spiritual and heavenly New Jersalem/City (Heb. 8:13; 13:14YLT).
Thirdly, Psalm 118:26 was commonly known as “The Song of Ascent.” The Song of Ascent was supposed to be a song of joy and salvation that the Jews would sing on the walls of Jerusalem welcoming the pilgrims for her feast days. But God made Christ a Cornerstone or Rock by which Israel “stumbled” producing a “strange work” (Isa. 28:21 – ie. God would come to judge them – and not their enemies). Instead of being met and welcoming pilgrims for the feasts, they were met with and forced to welcome – God coming in judgment through the Roman armies (as God had “come” in the OT – through the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…).That the Jews would not “discern what their end would be” was predicted in yet another song – the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:29).
Again, Jesus’ disposition is that of righteous anger and thus He is using irony in appealing to a song that was typically used of salvation and peace, to be a song sung welcoming her enemies for her judgment! The Jews were bottled up in Jerusalem in AD 66 – AD 70 deceiving themselves into thinking that God was going to save them from the Romans and usher in the kingdom in fulfillment of OT prophecies (the very mentality that Jesus warned about concerning the coming false prophets in Matt. 24).
The climatic question that was begging in the minds of the disciples is that they wanted to know more specifically when and what signs Jesus might give concerning his coming to vindicate the persecutions coming and the blood of the martyrs, destroy the city and temple within their generation. Jesus had already given a subtle sign of Him coming during one of the feasts when they would be singing the Son of Ascent on the walls (Mt. 23:38-39/Ps. 118). And they already understood He would come in judgment to close their OC age (cf. Mt. 13:39-51). They were not “confused” to associate His coming with the destruction of the temple and the end of their OC age. They knew it would take place in their lifetimes (cf. Mt. 10:17-23; Mt. 16:27-28) and generation (Mt. 23:36-39), they just wanted more clarity when Jesus brings up the Temple and it’s destruction again in Matthew 24 and Jesus gave it to them. The climatic and concluding answer given by Jesus to the disciples as to when all of these things would take place was “this generation” (Mt. 24:34). This closes the inclusio of His “this generation” which was begun in Matthew 23.
Matthew 23-25 involves ONE Second Coming event to close the OC age in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.” The discourse has NOTHING to do with a literal bodily coming of Jesus to close world history. The recapitulation structure of the OD dismantles the division theories of futurists and even that of Postmillennial Partial Preterists. Selah. The coming of Christ in Matthew 23:38-39–24:27-31 is the Second Coming. The “gathering” (Mt. 24:30-31) is the rising of the dead (of all the dead) that takes place at the end of the age already discussed in Matthew 13:36-43/Daniel 12:1-4.
“This Age” & “Age to Come” / The Second Exodus 40 Years Generation & Days of Messiah
The Jew during Jesus’ day understood “this age” to be the OC age of the law and prophets and the “age to come” to be the NC age of Messiah which would follow. As I point out in my/our book, it is Reformed and orthodox Christian interpretation to identify Jesus and Paul’s “this age” to be the OC age (not the Christian age) and the “age to come,” to be the NC age of Messiah arriving when the OC age passed away in AD 70. (Michael Sullivan, David Green, Ed Hassertt, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, (Ramona, CA: Vision Publishing, Second Edition, 2013), 91). Jesus and Paul do not depart from this traditional Jewish two age structure as they look to an imminent fulfillment coming in the lifetimes of their first century audiences – in which the old would pass and the new arrives in a mature state (ie. AD 70).
Isaiah 11 predicted a second exodus coming for Israel. The Jews prior to Christ and during his day based upon Psalm 90:15 and other OT passages, also believed “the days of Messiah” would be a transition period between the OC “this age” and the Messianic NC “age to come” and that this would be another Forty Year exodus period:
“How long will the days of Messiah last? R. Akiba said, Forty years, as long as the Iraelites were in the wilderness.” (Dr. BOAZ COHEN, NEW AMERICAN EDITION Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York: E.P. Dutton & CO., 1949), 356).
Amazing how Dr. Michael Brown does not address these Jewish traditions of interpretation and or Christian exegesis and then seek to harmonize them with Messiah’s own teaching and that of the infallible NT Apostles and Prophets. The NT likewise teaches a 40 years second exodus generation of a pre-parousia “transitional” reign of Messiah Yeshua from their OC “this age” (which was passing away and ready to vanish) to the NC “age about to” arrive in it’s mature state–roughly from AD 30 – AD 70.
2). Put an end to sin
As we have seen in our brief discussion of entering into the sabbath rest in the book of Hebrews, Christ put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while” Second Appearing as the Great Anointed High Priest fulfilling the NC promises made to Israel and to close the “last days” of the OC age in AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28/10:37; Rom. 11:26-27/13:11-12; Dan. 9:24b.).
3). To atone for wickednessor the covering over of iniquity
See references in #2. In the New Creation our sins are remembered no more and covered in the depths of the sea (Isa. 65-66; Micah 7:19).
4). To bring in everlasting righteousness
At the Day of the Lord in AD 70, He brought in “everlasting righteousness” or a “world of righteousness” per 2 Peter 3 – the “end of all things” being “at hand” in Peter’s day (1 Peter 4:5-7). “but also on ours, to whom it [righteousness] is about to bereckoned — to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead,” (Romans 4:24). “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” (Galatians 5:5). See “Appendix A” at the end of this article which discusses the fulfillment of Isaiah 61-66 in relation to entering into the New Creation within the 10th cycle of the Jubilee rest and inheritance – i.e. between AD 26/27–AD 66-70.
Please see my exegesis of the Day of the Lord ushering in the New Creation of Isaiah 61-66 later in this article.
5). To seal up vision and prophet
Many commentators agree that Daniel 9:24-27 is a tiny snapshot of the fulfilling of the first and second redemptive comings of Yeshua. Yet at the same time, commentators struggle with the fact that the prophecy ends with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 per Yeshua (Lk. 21:20-22ff). Yeshua’s teaching is clear, all of Israel’s OT promises and prophetic material concerning His redemptive work would be accomplished within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 21:22-32).
Don Preston offers a concise major consensus upon scholars concerning the meaning of “seal up vision and prophet”:
1.) “Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344).
2.) “The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.” (Charles John Ellicott, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Cassell and Co; London, 1884), 387).
3.) “The vision and prophet will be sealed, that is accredited, because their final accomplishment has been reached in those events of blessing for God’s earthly people.” (A. C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Kregel, 1968), 133).
4.) “The reference is not to the accrediting of the prophecy, but to sealing it up so that it will no longer appear. Its functions are finished and it is not henceforth needed.” (Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1953), 200).
5.) “The words taken together refer to the final fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, i.e., when their functions are shown to be finished.” (James Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel,(Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1973), 250).
6.) “To set seal to them, to ratify and confirm the prophet’s prediction.” “The close of the seventy weeks will bring with it the confirmation of the prophetic utterances.” “A.V. and R.V. ‘seal up,’ means to close up, preclude from activity, the sense of the expression upon this view, being supposed to be that, prophecies being fulfilled, prophet and vision will be needed no more.” ( S. R. Driver, The Book of Daniel, (Cambridge University Press Warehouse, 1905), 136).
7.) “The idea is, that everything in the form of prophetic visions and predictions that had been produced in the course of theocratic development from the time of Moses should receive ‘sealing’ i.e. Divine confirmation and recognition, in the form of actual fulfillment (I Kings 21:8).” (John Peter Lange, Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Ezekiel-Daniel, edited by Phillip Schaff, (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1876), 195).
8.) “To fulfill the anticipations of all prophetic books.” ( J. R. Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, (New York, McMillan Co., 1923), 540).
9.) “The idea seems to be that they would at that time be all sealed, in the sense that they would be closed or shut up–no longer open matters–but that the fulfillment would, as it were, close them up forever.” Barnes also cites Hengstenberg, Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, and Langerke as concurring with the idea that vision and prophecy are sealed by fulfillment.” (Albert Barnes, Daniel Vol. II, (Grand Rapids; Baker, 1978), 145).
10.) “The sealing up of vision and prophet implies the confirming and fulfilling of all the sacred oracles that had spoken of the great day of the Lord and the glorious age to follow, in which the earth would be full of the knowledge of the Jehovah.” ( Milton S. Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics, (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1988 reprint), 201). For more on this see Don’s book, Seal up Vision and Prophecy.
Our passage is teaching us that when Daniel 9:24-27 (which is a concise prophecy of all OT prophecy) is fulfilled, then the office of “prophet” will “cease.”
I was meditating on Jeremiah 23 the other day and the false prophets and priests claiming to speak for God in God’s name — and how outraged God was at this! Yet Charismatics simply continue to claim to be prophets and prophesy in His name falsely on a REGULAR basis. Some Charismatics admit an 80% failure rate of “prophecies” being the result of them talking to themselves, thinking dreams are from God when they aren’t or making predictions that don’t come true. Does not Jeremiah say that false prophets are guilty of claiming to have visions and dreams that come from “delusions in their own minds” (Jer. 23:16, 25-26)? Is God not “against” those that speak in His name giving false prophecy saying, ‘The LORD declares.’ Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams.” And these false prophets “lead my people away with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them.” And “But you must not mention ‘the oracle of the LORD’ again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you DISTORT THE WORDS OF THE LIVING GOD, THE LORD ALMIGHTY, OUR GOD.” (Jer. 23:16, 25-36).
The other thing we need to point out is that it was the false prophets in Ezekiel’s day that turned the “at hand” coming of the Lord in judgment upon Jeremiah’s contemporaries to be twisted into something that would be far off for others to experience and not them (cf. Ezek. 7 and 12). The false prophets of the Charismatic Movement claim that the NT inspired Apostles and Prophets declaring an “at hand” and “soon” first century Second Coming event, wasn’t really “at hand” for them, but their so-called “prophets” and “prophecies” make these promises allegedly truly “at hand” or “near” in our day! Amazing how that works.
I was also reminded of some statements I have read by my Charismatic opponent next month in his book, Playing With Holy Fire. Let me address the serious error’s of Dr. Brown and the Charismatic view of modern “prophets” and failed “prophecies” uttered in God’s name.
False and Failed “Prophets” and “Prophecy”
In Brown’s book Authentic Fire in one of the appendix sections he has another author (Sam Storms) peddle the Charismatic view that NT prophets could make false predictions or their “prophecies” may not be 100 % accurate. After all Brown uttered a false prophecy about Israel (see below) – right? Might as well admit NT prophecy fails, if yours do and you want to be portraying yourself as being “biblical” and others actually consider you a “prophet” – right?!?
I tried getting the audio or transcript of Brown’s “prophecy” but couldn’t. So here is an article addressing Brown’s false and failed “prophecy” I found online:
“Michael Brown’s False Prophecy
By now we are all familiar with the prophecy – first denied to be a prophecy, then admitted to be a prophecy, then denied to be a prophecy – issued by John Kilpatrick on April 6, 1997 against CRI and its president, Hank Hanegraaff.
However, it has been discovered that John Kilpatrick is not the first Brownsville Assembly of God staff member to have prophecied falsely. As far back as 1987, Dr. Michael Brown, Brownsville’s chief apologist, issued one of his own.
“…While speaking at that Jerusalem gathering, Michael Brown proceeded to tell the attendees that “tonight,” that night, would be a “history making” night insomuch as the Holy Spirit would descend in power and fire as earth-shaking and monumental as the literal day of Pentecost detailed in Acts, chapter 2. On a video of this speech in the presence of Israeli Messianic leaders including such leading scholars as Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum who all witnessed the false prophetic predictions, Michael Brown went so far as to interpret the national disaster of forest fires destroying 20% of Israel’s reforested land as emblematic of the outpouring. [Reported in the Moriel Newsletter Number 9; Jacob Prasch Ministry] Somewhere around 2am, when it became apparent nothing “earth shaking” was going to occur that evening, Brown’s “prophecy” fizzled and he subsequently issued a letter of apology, attempting to claim that the reason nothing came of it was because several people in attendance were allegedly praying “against” his “prophesy”. He would ultimately go on to admit that, in fact, he must not have been “in the Spirit” when he made the aforementioned proclamation.
A transcript of this infamous meeting will be made available once we have the tape.
Article by Bob Hunter and Debra Bouey.” http://op.50megs.com/ditc/brownprophecy.htm
Brown tries to address this issue in his book, Playing With Holy Fire (pp. 89-92). Just when you think you are getting a sincerely humble confession from Brown, it is un-done with Brown boasting about how much he fasted before giving this false prophecy and that in the end, it was allegedly “the greatest outpouring in the history of modern Israel” and “technically speaking what I spoke came to pass” (Ibid. pp. 90-91). And of course the false or failed aspect he uttered apparently didn’t come true because it was “conditional” (Ibid. p. 91)?!?
MacArthur in his book Strange Fire documents Charismatics admitting that 80% of their “prophecies” never come true. They don’t see any problem with this. Wow. They should be glad they are not living in the OT.
Brown tries to distance his failed prophecies and countless others in the movement by exhorting his fellow-charismatics to instead of using OT and NT language of “thus says the LORD…” use, “I sense the Lord could be showing me this…” (Ibid., p. 82 bold MJS). Brown claims NT prophecy and that of Charismatics can be in error (unlike what the Bible teaches Deut. 18:15-22) because unlike the OT period, so many have the gift (Ibid., p. 83). Really? So the Holy Spirit in the OT had NO PROBLEM communicating to the prophets and them having a 100% accuracy rating, but because the Holy Spirit has more on His plate when He came upon all kinds of Jews, Samaritans, God-fearers, and Gentiles in the NT (from Pentecost to AD 70) and allegedly today (per Charismatic false doctrine), a 80% error rate is now allowed and we can just re-define the nature of prophecy and the office of prophet to fit their failed “experiences”?!? Wow! Let that sink in folks!
While at was at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa under Pastor Chuck Smith I personally heard many so-called “prophecies” that centered around the “soon” coming rapture and or Second Coming of Jesus in the after glow services. They were uttered by “prophets” or those alleged gifted with the gift of prophecy. Some were given through someone speaking gibberish (not a known foreign language) and then “interpreted” as something like, “I am coming for you soon my beloved. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!” They of course felt comfortable with this because after all Hal Lindsey and Pastor Smith were teaching that the generation from 1948 to 1988 would experience the “soon” coming rapture.
From what I understand the Brownsville “revival” also uttered similar “soon” Second Coming prophesies. This is not uncommon. All of your major cults started in the early eighteenth century were giving “prophecies” or dogmatic teachings about the “soon” Second Coming to take place in their generation. These same cults argued that the main church had been in apostasy until God began restoring the church through their teachings. While the Pentecostal and Charismatic moment or the Brownsville “revival” may not go that far, they definitely teach that if you didn’t make the “pilgrimage” to their church, where the Holy Spirit was allegedly really moving, you were missing out. And within the Charismatic Movement, if you are not experiencing what they are, you are “quenching the spirit” in your life etc. If you rebuke them in love with the Word some would go as far as saying you are “touching God’s anointed” or “blaspheming the Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-12
I would agree with Charles John Ellicott connecting the “sealing up of vision and prophet” to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, “The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-12 describes the “this generation” eschatological “already and not yet” transition period roughly from AD 30 – AD 70. There was a PROCESS taking place. Something “partial” that need to be “complete” or a child growing into the “maturity” of manhood. When this process was finished the “in part” “childish” miraculous “things” of prophecy, tongues and knowledge would no longer be needed and “pass away” or “cease.” In AD 70 they did just that!
The miraculous sign and revelatory gifts were given to the early church to confirm HOW (spiritually) and WHEN (their “generation” and “soon”) the OT prophecies concerning Israel would be fulfilled. They were looking at God’s glory in the face of Christ through the mirror or revelation of the OT Scriptures — seeing how they were being fulfilled in Christ and through His New Covenant Body – the Church/Israel of God/Zion/New Jerusalem/Temple etc… They were in the process of being transformed (obviously spiritually) from Old Covenant glory to New Covenant glory. They did not fully know what they (the New Covenant Body) would look like apart from the Old Covenant Body when it would “soon vanish” in AD 70. They did full understand what the New Covenant body would look like and how it would function without the earthly system they had know for thousands of years. But they would “be like Him when He appeared” in that they would have His righteousness accredited to them apart from the works performed under the Old Covenant system and abide in the New Covenant “world of righteousness” He ushered in in AD 70.
The process of a child becoming a man was the process by which Christ was fulfilling the OT Scriptures and maturing the Church from the Old Covenant system within that transitionary period of the two covenants. The OC age with it’s types and shadows was “passing away” and “ready to vanish” while the NC age was “about to” come at the “soon” Second Coming of Christ.
The office of “prophet” would “cease” when “that which is perfect” (the Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation) arrived in AD 70 (1 Cor. 1:7-8/13:8-12/Rev. 21-22:6-7, 10-12, 20). The NT bears witness that “all” would be fulfilled imminently in AD 70 (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Pet. 1:4-12; 4:5-7). This effective destroys all of the “last days” cults, Islam and all forms of Charismatic and Pentecostal theology whom claim that they were/are given divine revelation and or that there are modern day “prophets” today (Muhammad, Joseph Smith, the Watchtower, the New Apostolic Reformation, Pentecostals, Charismatics, etc…).
Other Charismatic arguments are easily refuted:
- The sign and revelatory gifts last throughout the “last days” until the Second Coming (Acts 2; 1 Cor. 1:5-8; 13:8-12). Yet the Bible teaches the “last days” were the last days of the Old Covenant age that would end at the “soon” Second Coming event whereby we see God’s face today in the New Covenant New Creation (Rev. 21-22:4-7, 20).
- The sign and revelatory gifts last and are “with” the Church until she has finished the Great Commission — which is the main “sign” before Jesus returns (Mt. 24:14; Mrk. 13:10; Acts 1:8; Mrk. 16:15-18/Mt. 28:18-20). Yet the INSPIRED Apostle used the very same Greek words Jesus used and said it had already been fulfilled in his ministry (Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26).
The miraculous sign and revelatory gifts primary function then was to confirm that the OT promises of the New Covenant would transform Israel into a spiritual body and Temple. To PROVE Yeshua’s spiritual fulfillments of the OT promises of the kingdom to be “in Him” and through and “in” His followers–was a message that went directly against their hyper-literal traditions of reading the Law and the Prophets and needed miraculous confirmation. This is what Charismatic Zionists such as Dr. Michael Brown miss completely which force them into having to re-define the gifts of tongues from known human languages into gibberish and infallible prophecy into their admitted 80% fallible “prophetic” version! Brown thinks he and other men like Benny Hinn are in the business of “revival” and transforming the Church and culture. But they aren’t! Brown and many like him have missed the PURPOSE of the sign and revelatory gifts completely. And his appearance in modern Israel (which is not the Biblical Israel of the OT and NT) giving false prophecies while at the same time promoting his false teaching of Zionism concerning the physical land, temple, Levites and animal sacrifices is further evidence he just doesn’t understand the purpose of the gifts and thus provides us with a perfect transition into our next redemptive event Messiah would accomplish by AD 70.
6). To anoint the most holy place
Christ anointed and consummated the New Covenant Church as His Most Holy Place and Bride in AD 70 (Ex. 20, 29-31, 40; cf. Hebrews 9:6-10; Revelation 11:18-19, 19–21:16).
David Green writes,
“Finally, it was through the anointing of the Holy Spirit that the whole city of Jerusalem was made new and became “the Tabernacle of God,” when the worldly Holy Place fell in 70 (Heb. 9:1, 8). Under the old covenant, every article of God’s tabernacle was consecrated by the anointing of oil (Ex. 30:25-30; 40:9; Lev. 8:10, 12). In the same way, in the Last Days, God taught His elect ones the truth of His gospel through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21,22; I Jn. 2:20,27), until all of them had come to know Him (Jn. 6:39). Then came “the end” (Dan. 9:26), when the Body of Christ, all His holy ones, the living and the dead, were raised up to become His anointed (God-taught) “Most Holy Place” in the new covenant world (Jn. 6:44-45; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 8:11-13; Rev. 21:3).” (David Green, From Babylon to Babylon).
The OT promises of the New Covenant described in terms of a perpetual Temple, Levitical Priesthood, Sacrifices, Land, Jerusalem, etc…
The other day I was reading some comments made by Charismatic Zionist Dr. Michael Brown out on the “anointing of the Most Holy Place” (Dan. 9:24) and that of Jeremiah 23 and particularly in Jeremiah 33:15-22. Here New Covenant land promises are connected to perpetual Temple sacrifices of the Levitical Priesthood.
As usual Dr. Brown talks out of both sides of his mouth when he interprets the “anointing of the Most Holy Place” to the Church but at the same time a physical future temple:
“…it could refer to the spiritual temple–i.e., the redeemed people of God, who, according to the New Testament authors, have become a holy dwelling place for the Spirit. This Temple was, in fact, inaugurated by Jesus the Messiah, and the community of believers who make up this Temple are, in fact, anointed by the Spirit of God. On the other hand, the reference could be to a still-future Temple, the Messiah’s millennial Temple in Jerusalem.” (AJOJ, Vol. 3, p. 98).
Let’s look at another New Covenant promise made to Old Covenant Israel:
“…nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.” (Jer. 33:17-18).
Amazingly, Brown who many in the Charismatic Movement consider a “prophet” has to likewise interpret this passage “literally” and thus embarrassingly writes of this passage in his commentary on Jeremiah,
“How exactly these Levitical priests will fulfill their mission remains to be determined, but God’s promise to them is certain.” (THE EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE COMMENTARY REVISED EDITION #7 Jeremiah – Ezekiel, Zondervan, 2010, p. 425).
There’s no mystery here folks. The Church is the New Covenant New Heavens and and New Earth of Isaiah 65-66 (Isa. 65:17/2 Cor. 5:17). She is the New Covenant Temple of Ezekiel 37-48 (Ezek. 37:27/2 Cor. 6:16). She is the New Jerusalem/Zion/Heavenly City or “Nation” born and “given” the kingdom that Abraham and the OT saints looked to and was in the process of “coming down” and “about to” arrive at Christ’s “soon” coming in AD 70 (cf. Isa. 65-66/Mt. 21:43-45/1 Pet. 2:9/Heb. 10–13:14YLT/Gals. 3-4/Rev. 3:11-12NIV–21-22). Isaiah 66:19-22 makes it clear that those who survived the Day of the Lord in AD 70 (the Second Coming is an in time event not an end of time event) would preach the gospel and stream into the New Covenant “Holy Mountain” or “New Jerusalem” with others and function AS the sacrifices and Levites,
“19 and I will set a sign (Mt. 24:30-31) among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord. 22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.”
There are “sinners” and evangelism taking place in the spiritual New Covenant New Heavens and New Earth of Isaiah 65-66/Revelation 22:17 post AD 70 by which the nations are being healed. The Church and Christians are the “Levites” offering up our lives as a living sacrifice of praise to God! If not, Brown’s eschatology is no less deplorable than the hyper-literal Dispensationalism of MacArthur, Ice, and the rest of those “delusional” (God’s word) “prophets” or so-called “prophecy experts” which would have the consummation of redemption brought in through the Second Coming being — a PHYSICAL temple being re-built and some being consistent having Christ smelling the stench of PHYSICAL animal sacrifices being offered up at the hands of the PHYSICAL “Levitical Priesthood.” Good brief! All the genealogies of the Jews were burned up in AD 70. When Brown was asked by Gary DeMar what tribe he was from, Brown said, “We THINK the tribe of Judah.” Brown has no clue what tribe he is from let alone how to literal “Levites” are coming back.
Brown finds this passage that refutes his Zionism “intriguing” (Ibid., 112). In the New Covenant age the Old Covenant “ark” “will NEVER enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one BE MADE.” (Jer. 3:16). And yet Zionist’s like Dr. Michael Brown and John Hagee believe they have an entire “ministry” based upon getting the Church excited concerning what is taking place in modern Israel and so-called “prophecies” of a future physical Temple, Ark and Levitical Sacrifices being “made” again and re-instituted as the climax of redemptive history. Wow. In my estimation Brown’s Historic Premillennial Zionism is no less extreme and unbiblical than John Hagee’s Dispensational Zionism. Selah.
On the one hand when Brown is debating Reformed Covenant Theology or Preterism he likes to ridicule these systems as “replacement theology,” and that we are guilty of not interpreting the restoration of Israel’s promises in the OT “literally.” Yet, when debating unbelieving Jews, Brown argues for a spiritual fulfillment of these OT prophecies. Here is an example of Brown now claiming the temple, priesthood and sacrifices of the temple mentioned in Ezekiel is spiritual, because for a Jew — it would be natural to describe spiritual blessings in the Old Covenant land and sacrificial system in which he lived,
“Perhaps the Scripture passage [Ezekiel] was never meant to be literally fulfilled.” (AJOJ Vol. 2, 177).
The prophetic events [by Ezekiel, Haggai and Zechariah] were describing,
“…events so glorious that they could only be described as a new creation and a second exodus.” (Ibid.)
“Ezekiel the priest was shown a vision of future glory, and for him, nothing could be more glorious than a restored Temple. And for a priest like Ezekiel, nothing could more certainly speak of purification and atonement than blood sacrifices. Nothing could convey a greater sense of promise that God would again favor his people than a vision such as this.” (Ibid.)
“This brings us back to the theme of the prophesied return from exile and rebuilding of the Second Temple. Either the words of the prophets were not fulfilled because the Bible is not true…” “…or God fulfilled his promises [spiritually] through the coming of the Messiah into the world (which makes sense in light of dozens of other Scripture passages – quoting Ephs. 2:21-22; 2 Cor. 6:16–7:1; Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:4-5; Heb. 13:15-16; ).” (Ibid.)
The OT prophets,
“…spoke in language that they [historically & culturally] had…” (Ibid., 180).
“How then would the Spirit, communicate through Ezekiel, speak of God providing atonement for his people, of him dwelling in our midst, of the provision of forgiveness and reconciliation, of freedom from slavery and oppression? Could it be that he would do so through a glorious Temple vision, complete with sacrifices, offerings, and priests? I think this is a possibility worthy of consideration.” (Ibid., 180).
But right when you think Brown is understanding Jesus’ and the inspired NT’s Apostolic hermeneutic of interpreting all of Israel’s New Covenant restoration promises spiritually by being “in Christ” and not “in the land,” Brown has to please his Charismatic Premillennial [mostly Dispensational] base and begins postulating that after the Second Coming there may be a third literal re-built temple with sacrifices (per Dispensational “Evangelicals,” Ibid., 180ff.). But there is an interesting point that Brown makes in defense for this view,
“Just as sacrifices were offered for forty years after Yeshua’s death and resurrection–and Messianic Jews apparently participated in some of those sacrificial rites (see Acts 21:17-26)–it could be that sacrifices will be offered in a future Temple, without being in conflict with the atonement provided for us in Jesus.” (Ibid., 181)
The theological 500 pound gorilla in the room that Brown is missing here, is that the Messianic 40 years “second exodus” “already and not yet” NT transition period–roughly between AD 30 – AD 70, included a time when the Old Covenant was still “imposed” and thus all of the “jots and tittles” of the law were binding upon Jewish Christians “until” it would “all” be fulfilled — that is, when the Old Covenant “heavens and earth” would “pass away” or “soon vanish” at the “in a very little while” Second Appearing of Christ in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13–10:37; Mt. 5:17-18).
Because Brown misses the inspired NT’s 40 years transitional “already and not yet” period, this causes Brown out of one side of his mouth when debating Covenant Theology and Preterism to argue for New Covenant OT promises being fulfilled PHYSICALLY (just look what they say!), but when debating unbelieving Jews, to argue for these same OT promises being fulfilled SPIRITUALLY (because for a Jew this is how he would communicate blessings in terms of Temple, Priesthood, Sacrifices, etc…). It is interesting that Brown is willing to give the OT Temple, Priesthood and Sacrifice promises a spiritual fulfillment in the New Covenant, but NEVER the Land (at least that I’ve seen). You can’t have a spiritual temple and sacrifices without some spiritual land – period. This is why “ALL [not some] of the promises [in the OT] and yes and amen in Christ” (2 Cor. 1:20).
Daniel 9:25 – Beginning the countdown with the “Decree” or the Prophetic “Word” of Jeremiah?
Some take the “decree (of Cyrus) to restore and re-build Jerusalem” found in (2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; Isa. 44:24, 26, 28; 45:13; cf. Josephus, Antiquities, xi, 6, 12) as the fulfillment of this verse. However, a literal chronology from Cyrus does not reach the times of Christ. Ezra 6:14 seems to connect the decree as an unfolding event through the king(s) of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes–of which some see the decree beginning in 457 BC in order to arrive at Christ’s ministry in AD 26/27. But those who usually take this position end the 490 years in around AD 32-35. But clearly the prophecy extends to AD 70. This is where the concept of a “gap” is not necessary. It’s more of Yeshua fulfilling the 10th. Jubilee “cycle.” Between AD 26–AD 66-70 not only fulfills the second exodus generation motif of Isaiah 11 and first century Jewish expectations that Messiah would have a transition reign between the OC “this age” and the NC “age about to come,” but Yeshua has 49-50 years to fulfill the Jubilee of Daniel 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61 which are grounded in the feast day sabbaths of Leviticus 23, 25-26.
The rebuilding in the “difficult times” can be read in Ezra and Nehemiah. The first 62 sevens represents a period from the rebuilding of Jerusalem by Nehemiah and Ezra to the first coming of Jesus – the “Anointed One.” Jesus was anointed by the Father to preach the good news of the Gospel to Israel and gather a believing remnant and the Gentiles/Greeks to Himself.
The Parallel Connections Between Verses 26-27 and the Last 7 Establishing the Everlasting New Covenant Between AD 30 – AD 70
There is a parallel structure here that should not be missed as it pertains to Messiah fulfilling the last 7 of this prophecy which involves His redemptive work from cross to parousia in AD 70 in order to establish the New Covenant. There is a parallel structure here with verse 27 expounding more upon verse 26 and then climaxing with verse 27 putting an end to sacrifices in AD 70.
- A– verse 26: “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah [māšîaḥ] will be cut off and have nothing,”
- B– verse 27: “And the people of the prince [nāgîd] who is to come will destroy [or spoil] the city and the sanctuary. And its end will comewith a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
- A– verse 27: “And he will make a firm/strongcovenant with the many during(or in the midst of, not “for”) one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering”
- B– verse 27: “And on the wing of abominations will comeone who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
The parallels suggest that not only is Daniel being comforted by the angel in that although Messiah will be “cut off” this will in fact result in the strengtheningof a new covenant made with the many; but that this covenantal process will end when Jerusalem is judged.
Isaiah 9-10 and Daniel 9:24-27
I agree with Meredith Kline who sees the connection between
Isaiah 9-10 and Daniel 9:26-27:
“Particularly significant for the meaning of higbir in Daniel 9:27 is the use of gibbor in Isaiah 9 and 10. Isaiah identified the Messiah, the Son of David, as “the mighty God” of the covenant formula by declaring His name to be ‘el gibbor (Isa. 9:5, ). Then in Isaiah 10 this messianic ’el gibbor is mentioned again in the very passage from which Daniel 9:27 derives its thought and wording alike (see verses 21-23). Isaiah spoke there of God’s mighty messianic fulfillment of covenant blessing and curse: a remnant of Jacob would return unto ’el gibbor, but in overflooding (sotep) judicial righteousness the annihilation (kalah) that was determined (neherasah) would befall the land. Daniel 9:26b, 27 echoes Isaiah’s prophecy: the covenant would be made to prevail (higbir), as a blessing for the many who were the faithful remnant, but as a curse in the form of the determined annihilation (kalah weneherasah) which would be poured out on the abominations of apostate Israel like a flood (setep). The unmistakable dependence of Daniel 9:27 on Isaiah 10:21 ff. points directly to the ’el gibbor of Isaiah 10:21 as the inspiration for the higbir of Daniel 9:27.This confirms the conclusions that the subject of higbir is not antichrist or any other than the anointed one whose name is ‘el gibbor and that the object of higbir, the covenant made to prevail, is the redemptive covenant sealed by the reconciling blood of Christ [i.e. the New Covenant].” (Meredith G Kline, “The Covenant of the Seventieth Week,” in The Law and the Prophets: OldTestament Studies in Honor of Oswald T. Allis (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1974), 8-9).
As I have addressed in previous articles, I think the entire Messianic block of Isaiah 7-11 is prophesying the first and second comings of Messiah to occur within the second exodus generation (AD 30 – AD 70) and during this specific generation, establish and bring to maturity the New Covenant age that we live in today post AD 70.
Limited and Definite Atonement for “the Many” in the New Covenant
It is more than troubling that Dispensationalism turns a wonderful promise of Christ making the New Covenant with the believing Church (remnant Jews and Gentiles) into a covenant between the “antichrist” and “apostate Jews.” This is none other than the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:31-33; as is so clearly laid out for us in Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 8:7-12–10:15-37 and truly embraces the eschatological fulfillment of the OT Law and the Prophets – in Christ’s first and second appearings in Israel’s last days.
Again the parallels between Isaiah and Daniel are striking. In Isaiah 53 Christ is likewise prophesied to be “cut off out of the land of the living” and yet “by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many(Isa 53:8, 11). Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 26:28 that His shed blood is for the disciples and those whom He prays for that will come to Him through their message (cf. John 17:9-26). Jesus as the High Priest of the New Covenant does not offer His blood for the “world,” nor does He pray for the world! John 17 harmonizes well with John 3:16 when we understand that Jesus is telling a Jew who thought salvation was only for the Jews, that His salvation was for the “world” (that is believing Jews and Gentiles). The literal Greek reading of John 3:16 is, “in order that every one believing in him may not perish.” As R.K. McGregor Wright observes, “There is no word for “whosoever” in the original…” “…John 3:16 states explicitly that the purpose of God in sending his Son to die was limited to atoning for believers only, that they ‘should not perish, but have everlasting life.’” (R.K. McGregor Wright, NO PLACE for SOVEREIGNTY What’s Wrong with Freewill Theism, p. 159). Jesus only lays down His life for those sheep the Father has given Him and they alone come to Him (John 6 and 10).
The Anointed One/Prince/Ruler/Leader/Messiah (Jesus the Christ), would be “cut off” after the 62 sevens. Again, Isaiah 53 teaches us the same about a coming Messiah who would be cut off and have nothing (with some Jews conceded Isa. 53 is Messianic). “The people (the Jews or Roman soldiers) of the Ruler (Jesus), will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end (of the seventy sevens) will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” Between AD 66 – AD 70 not only did the Romans surround the city, but the Idumeans (Jewish Zealots) did as well and entered Jerusalem resulting in the city being divided into three warring sects – all shedding blood over the Temple area and for control of Jerusalem. War and blood shed took place within the Temple and thus it was subject to abominations. The Romans (who were also under the control of Christ) did very little except wait it out and let “the people” that rejected their Messiah to devour (sometimes literally) each other. Also, through the imprecatory prayers of the Christians (people of the Prince), Jerusalem was destroyed with its apostate mountain removed and thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 21:18-22; Revelation 8:8).
The “He” here is still the Messiah (not an alleged “Anti-Christ”) and through His sacrifice He established the New Covenant for the “many” (ie. the Church the new Israel of God). This last seven was from the anointing of Jesus in His first coming to His anointing the Church (His Most Holy Place New Jerusalem) in His Second in AD 70. His Wife and or New Jerusalem is described as a perfect cube as the MHP place was (cf. Rev. 21:16 & “the first” [Holy Place] representing the OC community being removed in AD 70 and “the second” [the Most Holy Place] representing the NC community and its establishment during the time of the “new order” fully arriving at the end of the OC age in AD 70 in a “very little while” cf. Heb. 9:6-10, 26-28; 10:37). Christ came and overshadowed Jerusalem with desolation and determined wrath upon the desolate in AD 70 (cf. Matthew 24:15ff/Luke 21:20-24).
Typological Considerations – Cyrus a Type of Christ:
- Both of their births and future rules were threatened at birth. Astyages, King of Media, the grandfather of Cyrus saw in a dream that Cyrus would threaten his kingdom and thus sought to have him killed at birth. Herod was threatened by Jesus and sought to kill Him at birth.
- Both anointed to set captives free.
- Both called Shepherds.
- Both their rules involved a deliverance of Israel and the Gentiles from the captivity of Babylon.
- Both were born Kings to deliver Israel from 70 years of Babylonian bondage. From birth to parousia, Christ reigned over Israel (roughly for 70 years) calling the believing remnant to “come out” from among “Babylon” which in Revelation is OC Jerusalem where the Lord was slain.
- Both were involved in gathering the Jews and Gentiles from the four corners of the earth and making the kingdoms of the world theirs. Post AD 70 Christ”s reign is an everlasting reign and He continues to bring healing to the nations through the everlasting gospel.
- Cyrus’ predicted coming ended the 70 years of Babylonian captivity; while JESUS’ predicted Second Coming brought an end to the seventy sevens prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.
- Both were involved in gathering the Jews into the promised land to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple — with Jesus gathering God’s Church into the NC spiritual land, city and temple.
- The Hebrew OT Tora (not the Christian OT) ends with Chronicles – giving a chronology and ending with the praises and accomplishments of Cyrus’ rule, authority and accomplishments. Matthew’s gospel begins (The Christian NT) with a chronology tracing JESUS back to Abraham – through whom the curse of Babel would be eventually reversed (through the seed of Messiah) and was by AD 70. Matthew ends his gospel declaring JESUS as having all rule and authority over the nations.
Our Life Cycle and Israel’s Redemptive Life Cycle Move Within the Cycles of Sevens
*** The three months gap between the 4 Spring Feasts and the 3 Fall Feasts represent the overlapping of the Old Covenant “this age” (that was passing away and would “soon vanish”) and the New Covenant “age about to come” (and did in AD 70)! This prophetic gap of four months was called by the Rabbi’s, “The time for waiting the judgment” and was the period or season by which the 10th eschatological Jubilee cycle Messiah Yeshua was fulfilling all OT prophecy (Lk. 21:20-22/Dan. 9:24-27).
4). Seven Years (7 years) — Israel was to work the land for six years and then let it rest for the seventh year (Lev. 25:1-7).
5). Seven of Sevens of Years (49 years) — The period of time between each celebration of the Year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8-17).
6). Seven of Decades (70 years) — Man’s average life span (Ps. 90:10). After 70 years man’s physical body returns to the dust and he remains in a spiritual body fit for the after life and the spiritual realm. During the 70 years between Christ’s birth to parousia, and the “last days” of Israel, Israel transitioned from a physical Old Covenant body to a New Covenant spiritual body.
7). Seven of Sevens of Decades (490 years) — In Jewish tradition, “422 BC is associated with when the first temple burned 70 Sabbaticals (490 yrs.) before the second temple burned in 70 AD.” (Dr. B. Zuchermann, Professor at Jewish Theological Seminary). The Jews believed Messiah would come to establish the Kingdom during the 10th Jubilee cycle (490 yrs. from first temples destruction). Jesus’ first coming in AD 26 was a jubilee yr. and ushered in the 10th. cycle (Lk. 4/Isa. 61). Christ as High Priest accomplished His atonement process between AD 30 – AD 70 fulfilling Israel’s Second Exodus. (Dan. 9:24-27; Isa. 10-11).
The Sovereign Grace Full Preterist view harmonizes the various Christian views on this crucial passage while at the same time honors the first century historical context of Messiah arriving during the 10th cycle of the Jubilee and during the Roman Empire to establish His kingdom and usher in the eschatological rest and inheritance.
As Margaret Barker demonstrated in developing the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, just prior to Yeshua’s birth and during His earthly ministry — right up to AD 66, there was a 10th. eschatological Jubilee cycle and Messianic frenzy expectation.
The symbolic view which understands Daniel 9:24-27 as addressing not only the first coming of Yeshua, but also His second is correct. They simply will not submit to the exegetical facts that the prophecy and Jesus Himself connects His Second Coming with the fall of Jerusalem in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:20-32).
The soteriological and eschatological sabbath connected to the 490 years does not have to be “symbolic” of “10 Jubilee eras (490)” of which the last 3.5 of the last 7 — is STILL waiting to be fulfilled for the last 2,000 and plus years. If one uses the Jewish calendar and thinks the way the first century Jew did, then the last Messianic and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee was from 424/422 BC to AD 26/27–AD 66-AD 70.
The Seventy Sevens prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 predicted both redemptive comings of Messiah which would reach there fulfillment when OC Jerusalem and her Tempe would be judged and desolated. The desolation of Jerusalem coinciding with the fulfillment of all the main eschatological events are once again recapitulated in Daniel 12:1-7 and thus fulfilled “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” in AD 70.
From the birth of Israel’s Messianic King (Jesus the Christ) to His Second Appearing at the end of her OC age in AD 70, is roughly another more significant 70 years for her coming out of bondage and slavery from “Babylon” into the freedom/rest and salvation found not “in the land” but “in Christ.” And thus typologically, just as Cyrus was predicted and anointed to fulfill prophecy by setting the captives free from the 70 years of Babylonian captivity — within 70 years of Christ’s predicted First and Second Comings, He fulfilled Daniel’s 70 7’s prophecy. Selah.
Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 was also the reversal of God’s disinheritance of the 70 nations and creating one new Israel of God whereby the nations are blessed in the New Covenant age today (Gen. 10-15; Mt. 21:43-45; Gals. 3-6; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 22:17).
If Christ didn’t fulfill BOTH of His redemptive comings as the Churches Great High Priest between AD 30 – AD 70 during that last and 10th. Jubilee cycle (during the time of the 4th. Gentile power / Roman Empire and when both the OC and NC age overlapped) – then not only did the Jews miss their Messiah, but many Christians have missed the climax of their professed Christian faith and are thinking just as carnally as they first century Jews were when it comes to the Kingdom of Christ.
Christ through His work on the cross and parousia – is our Jubilee Sabbath rest and the anchor of our soul in full assurance of salvation. The events of AD 66 – AD 70 will always be a reminder of what God thinks of man centered religion grounded in “free will” and a salvation of works. He despises it and will destroy those that approach Him in this way. But for those of us who trust in the finished work of Christ, He has become for us our “inheritance,” “salvation of the soul” and thus established His kingdom and presence “within” us. If this isn’t exciting enough for you, then go buy a failed Hal Lindsey book at a garage sale for twenty-five cents. As for me and my house, we will serve and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. Selah.
A Deeper Exegesis of the Jubilee Rest and Inheritance of Isaiah 61-66 and Relevant NT Texts
Since there are sound exegetical and Qumran 10th. cycle (490 yrs.) Jubilee connections between Daniel 9:24-27 and Isaiah 61–66, I will develop more aspects of fulfillment within Isaiah 61–66. The “day of vengeance” of Isaiah 61:2 is the coming of God to reward and judge in Isaiah 62. Then the “day of vengeance” is picked back up in Isiah 63:1-6. This Second Coming event is what ushers in the eschatological jubilee sabbath/inheritance of the New Jerusalem and the New Creation of Isaiah 65-66.
And since the imminent “coming of the Son of Man” passages of Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:30-34 have there OT reference in Daniel 7:13 (which is inseparably connected to Dan. 9:24-27) we will examine Matthew 16:27-28 in detail as well.
Isiah 62/Matthew 16:27-28
“Behold your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense is with him.” (Isa. 62:11).
Isaiah 62 addresses the eschatological wedding and Second Coming of Christ motifs. Yeshua refers to Isaiah 62:11 in His promise to return in judgment during the lifetimes of His first century audience in Matthew 16:27-28 and Mark 8:38—9:1.
“For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his words. “Assuredly, I say to you there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Mt.16:27-28)
I will lay forth several exegetical arguments proving that Mt. 16:27-28 cannot be divided into speaking of two different events which is the typical futurist approach. Most commentators teach verse 27 is speaking of the second coming and that in verse 28 Jesus decides to no longer address the second coming but that some of the disciples would live to witness one of three events: 1) The transfiguration, 2) The ascension of Christ, or 3) Pentecost. Before digging into a vigorous exegesis of the passage, I shall quote Westminster “divine” John Lightfoot on our text and then build upon some of his foundational comments,
“[The kingdom of God coming in power.] In Matthew, it is the Son of man coming in his kingdom. The coming of Christ in his vengeance and power to destroy the unbelieving and most wicked nation of the Jews is expressed under these forms of speech. Hence the day of judgment and vengeance: I. It is called “the great and terrible day of the Lord,” Acts 2:20; 2 Thess 2:2,3. II. It is described as “the end of the world,” Jeremiah 4:27; Matthew 24:29, &c. III. In that phrase, “in the last times,” Isaiah 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Peter 3:3; that is, in the last times of that city and dispensation. IV. Thence, the beginning of the “new world,” Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13. V. The vengeance of Christ upon that nation is described as his “coming,” John 21:22; Hebrews 10:37: his “coming in the clouds,” Revelation 1:7: “in glory with the angels,” Matthew 24:30, &c. VI. It is described as the ‘enthroning of Christ, and his twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel,’ Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30. Hence this is the sense of the present place: Our Saviour had said in the last verse of the former chapter, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels,” to take punishment of that adulterous and sinful generation. And he suggests, with good reason, that that his coming in glory should be in the lifetime of some that stood there.”
a). “For The Son of Man Is About To Come…”
The YLT, DARBY, WUESTNT, and WEY translations correctly translate Jesus’ return here as “about to come” or “soon to come.” These translations are accurate since this is the consistent usage of the Greek word mello in Matthew’s gospel let alone it’s predominate usage in the rest of the New Testament. Let’s briefly see how mello is used in Mathew’s gospel:
1) In (Mt. 2:13 WEY) Herod is “about to” seek to kill Jesus, and therefore Joseph and Mary need to “escape”. Mello here is communicating a near imminent danger not just a general danger to be aware of.
2) In (Mt. 17:12b WEY) Jesus’ point is not that He is going to suffer, but that His suffering is rapidly approaching or is “about to” take place.
3) In (In Mt.17:10-13) mello is used twice. The first occurrence refers to Elijah’s “about to” appearing in the future fulfilled sense. In other words, Elijah was the one the entire nation understood to be “about to come” and the text tells us that he had come in the person of John the Baptist. John is the fulfillment of the nation’s expectancy of Elijah’s “about to” or “soon to come” presence — preparing the way for His “about to come” “great and dreadful day” of Mal.4:5-6 as previously discussed. Therefore, this is but one more piece of exegetical evidence that is in harmony with what Jesus and John the Baptist had been teaching previously Mt. 3:2-12; 4:17; 10:7, 15-23, 16:27-28. His return would be in some of their lifetimes or “The Son of Man is about to come…” Why? Well, since Elijah who was expected to come “soon,” had come in the person of John, Jesus’ second coming could be expected soon, for Elijah must first come, “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord” comes Mal. 4:5-6. The second occurrence of mello in this passage is not referring to the general fact that Jesus is going to suffer, but that He was “about to” suffer and be mistreated as John the Baptist was.
4) Here in (Mt. 17:22; 20:22 WEY) as in point #2 above, Jesus’ emphasis is not the mere fact that he is going to suffer, but that His suffering is rapidly approaching.
5) In (Mt. 24:6 WEY) “Before long” is consistent with Jesus promising that “all these things” (including the signs) would occur in the twelve’s contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:34). To conclude this point, Christ’s “about to” coming in verse 27 is consistent with Christ’s coming in the lifetime of “some” of the crowd listening to him in verse 28. After thousands of years of the nations and Israel awaiting the Seed of the woman or the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom, the span of some of the crowd’s lifetime was a short time for them to wait and was thus “about to” happen.
b). “Verily I say unto you…”
Jesus’ phrase “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly I say unto you,” is used 99 times in the gospels and gives the meaning of “Absolutely,” “really,” “may it be fulfilled,” and is used as a phrase of emphasis to drive home a point that has gone before it. It is never used to introduce a new subject. Another Editor of a multi-authored book seeking to refute our position states of our text, “…verse twenty-seven looks at the establishment of the kingdom in the future, while a promise of seeing the Messiah in His glory is the thought of verse twenty-eight. They are two separate predictions separated by the words ‘truly I say to you’” But Mr. Ice does not produce one passage where Jesus’ phrase “Truly I say unto you” is ever used to separate the subject matter previously discussed! Since he cannot produce any evidence for his statement, his point at the very least is unscholarly and at worst, irresponsible and deceptive.
c). “Some standing here shall not taste of death” and “the kingdom of God.”
As we study Christ’s teachings elsewhere in the Gospels and other related passages in the Old and New Testaments concerning: 1) The physical death of some of the 12 and their first century contemporaries along with 2) The Son of Man coming and the arrival of the kingdom of God in power, we discover Christ is addressing a very specific and prophetic persecution coming in the Apostolic generation than just alluding to some of them dying off of because of mere old age. The only event in the teachings of Jesus that associates the death of some of the Apostles with the Kingdom of God is the persecution preceding his second coming Mt.10:16-23; Lk.21:16-32; Mt.23:31-36; Jn.21:19-22; Rev.6:10-11, 17; 16:6, 15; 18:5, 20. The only exception to this is the death of Judas. Daniel’s prophecy confirms Jesus’ teaching. Daniel in (Dan. 2, 7, 9, 12) taught: 1) the kingdom would come and be established during the time of the Roman Empire. 2) There would be a time of persecution and death for believers during this period. The “little” horn would wage “war with the saints” and “prevail against them (thus some of them would be martyred) “Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and (at this time) the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” The prevailing in war with the saints from the little horn answers to the persecution and “death” of some of the Apostles and their contemporaries. Jesus made it clear that Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled in His generation (Mt.24:15, 34; Lk.21:20-22).
Some of our opponents have made some real crucial mistakes in trying to refute us on this text. Thomas Ice makes another blunder, “A further problem with the preterist view is that our Lord said “some of those standing here…” It is clear that the term “some” would have to include at least two or more individuals…” “…Peter notes that “John only survived among the 12 disciples till the destruction of Jerusalem” (Ice, Controversy, p.88). In other word’s Ice is claiming that the twelve were the only audience Jesus was addressing in this text and therefore if only John was alive till the destruction of Jerusalem, then that does not meet the definition of “some” because “some” necessitates more than one. However, Mark’s account clearly states, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said:…” (Mk. 8:34 – 9:1).
When we study Christ’s teaching on the “death” of some of His first century disciples in the Gospels it is always in the context of some of them living (while others would not) to witness His Second Coming and inheriting the Kingdom. Jesus’ teaching on the death of some of His disciples and some of them living to witness a specific event is never addressing the transfiguration event, the ascension of Christ, or Pentecost. It is always referring to His Second Coming and to that the Old and New Testaments bear unanimous witness.
d). “…in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh…”(Mk. 8:38).
Those, whom Christ would be ashamed of at His coming, would be “this adulterous and sinful generation” of A.D. 30 – A.D. 70. Under the old covenant God was married to Israel Ex. 19. This marriage was both pictured as a monogamous marriage (God married to a Mother/Israel) and then after the splitting of the northern kingdom and the southern kingdoms, a polygamous marriage. The picture then becomes God taking two daughters (sisters) as His wives: 1) Israel (Aholah / Samaria capital of Israel) and 2) Judah (Aholibah / Jerusalem capital of Judah) Jer.31:31-32; Ezk. 1:1-4; 1Kings 11:9-13. These two sisters were notorious for their adultery and playing the prostitute (cf. Ezk. 23:3; Jer. 3).
Although God divorced Israel through the Assyrian captivity, He remained married to His other harlot wife Judah, from which line Jesus would come. Judah/Jerusalem was judged by the Babylonian captivity but never divorced Ezk. 23:22-45. Under the old covenant a wife caught in adultery would be stoned and the wife of a priest would be burned. In Revelation the harlot wife of old-covenant Jerusalem was both stoned and burned! Mathison admits that Jerusalem is Babylon in Revelation. Therefore, Mt.16:27/Mrk.8:38 is describing the judgment of the “adulterous generation/wife” in an “about to be” A.D. 70 time frame. Concerning the phrase “be ashamed of” – The old covenant wife would be left without a wedding garment naked and ashamed while the His new covenant wife would be clothed in Christ’s righteousness as His new creation “house from above” thus unashamed and “further clothed” Mt.22:1-14; Rev.3:18; 19:8/2Cor.5:1-21.
Isaiah 62 and the Eschatological Marriage Theme Continued…
10 When Jesus heard this [expression of the Gentile’s faith], he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west [Gentiles] and recline at the table [wedding feast of Isa. 25:6-9] with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven [in the resurrection], 12 while the sons of the kingdom [Pharisees and unbelieving Jews] will be cast out into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“In Matthew 8:11-12 we read of the faithful gentile who exercises more faith than anyone in Israel. We hear once again of the people from the east. This time they sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the rightful place of the Jews). While the Jews themselves are “cast out” into “outer darkness.” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 175). And, “God is preparing to punish his people Israel, remove the temple system, and re-orient redemptive history from one people and land to all peoples throughout the earth.” “This dramatic redemptive-historical event…ends the old covenant era…” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 342).
The “casting out” of the “subjects of the kingdom” is a reference to OC Israel being judged in AD 70, at which time the believing Jewish/Gentile Church takes her place at the end of the OC era (but notice he is afraid of using the term “age”).
The “casting out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” he says refers to AD 70.
There is no mention of Isaiah 25:6-9 as Jesus’ source (cf. Mt. 5:17-18). They do the same thing in the OD when it comes to the resurrection gathering of Isa. 25-27/Mt. 24:30-31!
There is no consistency on Jesus’ phrases of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” to Matthew 24:51 and 25:30. There is nothing throughout Matthew’s gospel that indicates there are TWO (casting out into outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth) judgments in Jesus’ teaching throughout the gospels.
Unanswered questions – Why isn’t this the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 13 and Revelation 20 in AD 70 when Daniel’s soul was raised out of the realm of the dead to inherit eternal life and God’s presence – since some Postmillennialists are teaching this now?
Commentators who are not Postmillennial Partial Preterists have no problem pointing out the OT passages Jesus is referring to when He addresses the eschatological wedding feast.
D.A. Carson writes,
“The picture is that of the “messianic banquet,” derived from such OT passages as Isaiah 25:6–9 (cf. 65:13–14)…” and “…the presence of Gentiles at the banquet, symbolized the consummation of the messianic kingdom (cf. Mt 22:1–14; 25:10; 26:29). “Son of” or “sons of” can mean “sons of the bridal chamber” [9:15; NIV, “guests of the bridegroom.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, pp. 202–203).
Bloomberg writes, “Jesus characterizes that bliss as taking “their places at the feast,” the messianic banquet image depicting the intimate fellowship among God’s people in the age to come (cf. Isa 25:6–9; 65:13–14).” (Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 142). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers).
Leon Morris connects this “feast” with “the coming bliss of the messianic banquet,” to be fulfilled “in the world (or age) to come.” (Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 195). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press).
R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible admits that the table and feast of Matthew 8:11 is,
“A reference to the messianic banquet theme of Is. 25:6-9. Gentiles now appear in place of the natural sons.” (p. 1684).
Jesus is teaching on the fulfillment of the messianic wedding banquet and resurrection of Isa. 25:6-9 and inheriting the new creation of 65:12-14 at the end of the then current age, and in the age to come.
They connect the judgment of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” with Matthew 24:51 and 25:30 as ONE separating judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel.
They ignore the time texts and clear references to the ONE AD 70 judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel and the time texts of the wedding and resurrection in Mt. 24-25 and Revelation – “this generation,” “soon,” etc…
The hermeneutical steps are incomplete in that no work is done on the context of Isaiah 24-25 or Isaiah 65 which demonstrate an “in time” and local judgment and not an end of time and global transformation event.
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,
“Here the first servant-messengers (another reference to the prophets, no doubt) were simply ignored. Another wave of servant-messengers (more prophets) are treated as such a nuisance that while some still ignored them, “the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (v. 6). Jesus is certainly adding [the murdering of the servants or prophets] here as part of the same indictment of Jerusalem He would give again in (Matt. 23:34-36).” “The murderers were the entire generation of Israelites….” “…the armies would set the murderers’ city on fire (again exactly what happened in AD 70).”
And of verses 8-14, “…yet, after this destruction…” “…during this post-destruction wedding feast, some would sneak in who did not belong.” “…Whether [the man w/out the wedding garment] should be interpreted as the Judaizers who would cause so much dissention in the NT Church, or whenter these should just be understood as general heretics in the Church, is not clear.” (Jesus v. Jerusalem, 157-158, bold emphasis MJS).
The Great Commission invitation to the feast is between AD 30 – AD 70 in verses 1-7.
The sending out, rejection and killing of the servants is equated to Mt. 23 and the AD 70 judgment.
The judgment and burning of the city closes the OC era/age in AD 70.
The AD 70 judgment is once again characterized as being “cast out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Again, there is no mention that Jesus came to fulfill Isaiah 25:6-9 or 65:12-14 because they would have to address the timing and nature of the resurrection.
Postmillennialists miss that Mt. 22:1-14 is structured with recapitulation:
a). vss. 1-7: 1. There is an invitation to the wedding feast, 2. It is rejected, and 3. this rejection leads to the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70 – burning their city.
b). vss. 8-13: 1. There is an invitation, 2. BUT there is NEW information given to us about the same time period that vss. 1-7 didn’t tell us about. This rejection results in the invitation to the undesirables – the 10 northern tribes/Samaritans and Gentiles (as laid out in Acts 1:8) and describes the success of the GC between AD 30 – AD 70. And then finally 3. There is a judgment for their rejection (except this time it’s described differently – with a Jew or Judaizer trying to achieve salvation by works of the law and not through belief in the Son and His grace – who is then “CAST” out in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (which is the same language used for the AD 70 judgment Postmillennialists give Mt. 8:11-12). So there is no exegetical evidence that vss. 8-13 is a post AD 70 GC resulting in a different judgment at the end of time.
As far as commentators that are not Postmillennial or Partial Preterist, they again have no problem connecting our Lord’s teaching here with the eschatological wedding feast consummation and resurrection of Isaiah 25:6-9. And most give lip service to God sending His armies to burn the city to be the AD 70 judgment (some such as Kistemaker try and downplay it). But these men refuse to interpret the rest of the parable as referring to AD 70 let alone connect Isaiah 25:6-9 with that judgment since it would destroy their Futurism.
1″At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9″‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11″Later the others also came. ‘LORD, LORD,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12″But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Postmillennialists such as Keith Mathison, Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Mike Bull, etc… no longer divide Matthew 24-25 into two comings of the Lord. They correctly see every reference to the coming of Christ in the OD to be His spiritual coming in AD 70.
As I pointed out earlier, the reference to “day and hour” not being know by the Son but only the Father (24:36) is echoing the OT betrothal/marriage/resurrection motifs coming in Israel’s last days terminal generation (AD 30 – AD 70) — of which Jesus came to fulfill (Lk. 21:22; Mt. 5:17-18).
Others such as Kenneth Gentry see the coming of the Lord and “day and hour” in 24:36—25:31-46 as THE Second Coming consummative event with apparently another eschatological wedding and wedding feast to follow!
So again Postmillennialists are face with TWO eschatological marriages, feasts and resurrections when the NT only knows of ONE.
So let’s do what the Postmillennialists won’t do (they won’t even MENTION Jesus fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9) and what the other Futurists won’t (they mention Jesus is fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9 or Isa. 65:12-14 but then won’t develop those OT contexts).
Context of Isaiah 25:6-9
“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. 9In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”
In context, the Messianic wedding banquet comes as a result of judgment upon OC Israel for her breaking the old covenant Torah (cf. Isa. 24:5). This makes no sense in the Amillennial paradigm because all the Mosaic Law was supposed to have been fulfilled and passed away at the cross.
The Messianic wedding banquet comes when OC Jerusalem is judged with her city becoming a “heap of rubble” (cf. Isa. 25:2). Again this points to an “in time” and local event and not an end of time or global destruction and renewal.
Therefore, Jesus is using Isaiah 24-25 consistently and accurately to demonstrate that the Messianic wedding banquet and resurrection would be fulfilled in AD 70 when OC Israel would break Torah, was judged, and her city and Temple were left in a heap of rubble.
Context of Isaiah 65:12-14
12I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will fall in the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” 13Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. 14My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.
Here we are told that God was going to judge OC Israel “by the sword” and their fathers “in full” measure. But at the same time would save a remnant along with the Gentiles (cf. Roms. 10:20—chapter 11).
In that day of judgment, the remnant of believing Jews and Gentiles would feast at the wedding supper and be called by a new name (an everlasting NC name – the New Jerusalem) while OC Israel would not feast, starve and would be remembered no more. This is in line with the “soon” AD 70 coming of the Lord throughout the book of Revelation. In Revelation 19-21, while the Church (the transformed Israel of God) feasts at the wedding feast, OC Israel not only starves, but is actually feasted upon by the birds of the air.
Putting it Altogether “Bridging the Gap”
The Analogy of Faith or Analogy of Scripture Hermeneutic: Teaches Scripture interprets Scripture, and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.
In mathematics and logic: If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. If A = B and B = C, then A = C. Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.
A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) = Wedding or wedding feast, end of the age, and parousia fulfilled by AD 70.
B (Isa. 25:6-9) = The wedding feast & resurrection are fulfilled together “in that day.”
C (1 Cor. 15) = The resurrection and end of the age are fulfilled at the parousia.
If A bears some relation to B…
Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach that His eschatological wedding feast would be fulfilled at His parousia to close the end of the OC age in AD 70.
…and B bears the same relation to C,…
Paul uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) in C (1 Cor. 15) to teach that the resurrection would take place at Christ’s parousia and at “the end [of the age].”
…then A bears it to C.
Both Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) and Paul in C (1 Cor. 15) use a common source B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach the resurrection will be fulfilled “at the end [of the OC age]” parousia event.
Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal.
The ONE Parousia/Second Coming, Eschatological Wedding, End of the Age and Resurrection event of A (Mt. 8; 22; 25), B (Isa. 25:6-9) and C (1 Cor. 15) was fulfilled in AD 70.
Premise #1: Since it is true that Jesus taught the wedding feast of (Mt. 8; 22; 25) would be fulfilled at His parousia to close the OC age in AD 70 (Postmillennialists now agree with Full Preterists).
Premise #2: And since it is also true that Jesus in (Mt. 8; 22; 25) came to fulfill (Isa. 25:6-9) (Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree).
Premise #3: And since it is also true that Paul teaches Jesus’ parousia would fulfill the resurrection of (1 Cor. 15) (all agree).
Premise #4: And since it is also true that the end of the age, the end, parousia and resurrection of (Mt. 8; 22; 25) and (1 Cor. 15) are the same event (Amillennialists and Full Preterists agree).
Conclusion: Then it is also true that the wedding feast, parousia, the end of the OC age and resurrection of (Mt. 8; 22; 25), (Isa. 25:6-9) and (1 Cor. 15) were fulfilled in AD 70. (Full Preterism Synthesis)
When we harmonize what Postmillennialists are teaching when it comes to the eschatological wedding feast and a spiritual resurrection taking place in AD 70 at Christ’s parousia, with what other Futurists are teaching on this being THE ONE consummative event for the Second Coming, resurrection and wedding to occur at the end of the age —- we get Full Preterism. This will become apparent as well when studying the parable of the wheat and tares along side of Daniel 12 which will be next and Part 5 of this series.
e). “…There, are, certain of those here standing, who shall in nowise taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God, already come in power.” (Mrk.9:1 Rotherham Translation).
In Mark’s parallel account, some of the disciples live to see Christ’s return and kingdom coming when he uses the perfect participle while Matthew uses the future tense. In other words Mark is saying that some of the disciples would live to be able to look back on this event knowing that the coming of the Lord and His kingdom had already come in power. Kenneth Gentry concedes this point citing J.A Alexander: “Here “come” is “not, as the English words may seem to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or already come, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect participle here employed.” Thus, His disciples were to expect its exhibition in power. It was not powerfully to evidence itself immediately, for many of His disciples would die before it acted in power. Yet it was to be within the lifetimes of others, for “some” standing there would witness it. This seems clearly to refer to the A.D. 70 destruction of the temple and removal of the Old Testament means of worship (cf. Heb. 12:25-28; Rev.1:1, 3, 9). This occurred as a direct result of Jesus’ prophecies (John 4:21-23; Matt.21:33ff.; 23:31-34:34).”
I experientially know and can see from reading my Lord’s words and the testimony of the Scriptures themselves that the historical destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 proves without a shadow of doubt He has established His Kingdom “within” me and the rest of His Body. Jesus tells the disciples that some of them would live to “see” His coming and that the Kingdom would have already come in power to bear witness to His return. The Greek word here for “see” is eido. Strong’s Concordance defines eido as to “know how” and “perceive” as well as physical sight. Through observing with the physical senses the destruction of the outer shell of the old-covenant kingdom’s temple and City in A.D.70, “some” of Jesus’ contemporary audience would be able to “perceive” and “know how” Christ’s spiritual Kingdom had come “within” them Lk.17:20-37; Cols.1:27; Jn.14:2-3, 23. This text is one of many that refutes a literal so called “rapture” or literal resurrection off the earth for the living and remaining at Christ’s return! The fact that they would remain on the earth and “know” He had come coincides with what we saw the prophet Isiah teach of the “survivors” of the “Day of the Lord” to culminate the “last days.” Keeping Isaiah’s prophecy in mind once again, let’s turn our attention to the next exegetical point on the timing of “rewards” mentioned in our text.
f). The “reward” of Isa.40 & 62, Mt.16:27-28, & the Rev. 1-3; 20-22:12 Connection.
The “about to” coming of the Son of Man to reward the righteous and the wicked mentioned in Mt.16:27-28 is taken from the “last days” prophecy of the coming “Day of the Lord” in (Isa.2-3:10-11; Isa.40:10; Isa.62:11). Since everyone agrees that Jesus quoting Isa. 2:19 in Lk.23:30 refer to the A.D. 70 judgment, and Mathison understands Christ coming to vindicate the martyrs in Rev.6:15 and give rewards in Rev. 22:12 as the A.D. 70 coming of Christ and judgment; therefore is there any reason he should not apply Mt. 16:27-28 to the same event?
Parallels (analogy of faith) Between Mt.16:27 Rev.22:12:
· “The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, ”
· “Behold I am coming soon”
· “then He shall reward every man according to his works”
· “and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his workshall be”
When Mt.16:27-28 is taken together with the book of Revelation from beginning to end, both form an inescapable A.D.70 time of fulfillment harmony. Mathison and Gentry agree with us that the audience and subject matter of the book of Revelation was written to seven historical churches in Asia Rev.1:4 who were told that they would experience the coming of the Lord, judgment, and receive rewards in an “at hand,” “about to be,” “shortly,” time frame Rev.1:1, 3, 7, 19-mello;” Rev.2:5, 7, 10-11, 16, 17, 25-29; Rev.3:4-5, 10-12, 18, 21; 22:6-7, 10-12, 20. But once we get into the book of Revelation, is the “coming” of Christ associated with His judging the City and rewarding “every man” including “the dead,” (Rev. 11:13, 18) the ascension event or His second coming and imminent return in A.D. 70?
The (OG) LXX of Daniel 7:13 reads, “Upon the clouds of heaven came one like a Son of Man, and he came as the Ancient of Days” (whereas the the Aramaic and the Tehodotionic LXX have “he came up to the Ancient of Days”). It would appear that Jesus and John follow the (OG) LXX rendering as it fits better with Revelation 1:7, 13-17 where Jesus is described coming on the clouds as the Ancient of Days. The context here and elsewhere in the NT where a reference to Daniel 7:13 is referred to is that Christ is coming down from heaven upon the clouds in judgment upon Jerusalem – this is not a coming “up to” the Father in AD 30. Besides this, the context of Daniel 7 has to do with the general judgment when the books are opened etc…, not the ascesion event.
Any unbiased reader of both sides of the reformed house divided can see: 1) the time statements point to an A.D. 70 time of fulfillment (per Mathison & Gentry), and 2) the coming of Christ in the book of Revelation refers to the second coming to render judgment and reward every man–the living and the dead (per most Reformed and Evangelical) commentators. When we combine these two observations from the Reformed community we arrive at our position. Jesus’ teaching here in Mt.16:27-28 and elsewhere in the gospel of Matthew lays the foundation of what we see with the A.D. 70 imminence throughout Revelation.
g). Mt. 16:27-28 and the Olivet Discourse connection.
Jesus in the Olivet discourse ties the same subject matter in with both Mt. 16:27 & 28. Not only is the same subject matter taken as one unit in the Olivet Discourse, but the same time frame for the second coming is reiterated by Christ, “This generation”:
1) Christ comes in glory Luke 9:26
1) Christ comes in glory Matthew 24:30
2) Christ comes with angels Matthew 16:27
2) Christ comes with angels Matthew 24:31
3) Christ comes in judgment Matthew 16:27
3) Christ comes in judgment Matthew 24:28-31; 25:31-34
4) Christ and the kingdom come in power Mark 8:38
4) Christ and the kingdom come in power Luke 21:27-32
5) Some of the disciples would live Matthew 16:28
5) Some of the disciples would live Luke 21:16-18
6) Some of the disciples would die Matthew 16:28
6) Some of the disciples would die Luke 21:16
7) Christ would be ashamed of the disciples generation Mark 8:38
7) All of this would occur in the disciples generation Matthew 24:34
This is a very specific historical event and is not addressing several comings of Christ at: 1) the ascension, 2) Pentecost, 3) A.D. 70, and 4) a future coming to end history.
Partial Preterist Gary DeMar of American Vision is on record as teaching:
· John’s version of Matthew 24-25 can be found in the book of Revelation.
· Matthew 16:27=24:30=25:31-46 and is descriptive of Christ coming in the judgment of AD 70.
· That Matthew 24-25 can be paralleled to the vast majority of eschatological passages in the NT to prove AD 70 fulfillments and thus disprove Dispensationalism.
Therefore, it is pure eisegesis and a creedal bias which causes Partial Preterism to avoid making these parallels here:
1) Matthew 25:31=Revelation 20:11 — Christ/God on the Throne to Judge. 2) Matthew 24:29, 35=Revelation 20:11 — Heaven and Earth pass/flee. 3) Matthew 25:31/Matthew 16:27=Revelation 20:12 — “all men” “each person”“all Nations” “the rest of the dead” “small and great “according to what they have done.” 4) Matthew 25:41-46=Revelation 20:10, 14-15— Wicked along with the Devil thrown into Lake of Fire for eternal punishment.
Since Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar tell us that the imminent time indicators within the book of Revelation point us to an AD 70 fulfillment of its content, there is no exegetical evidence which would indicate that Revelation 20:5-15 does not fall within the “shortly,” “about to be,” “at hand,” “quickly” time frame. And since Partial Preterists such as James Jordan or Joel McDurmon tell us that the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-3 was fulfilled in AD 70 and that “John picks up where Daniel leaves off,” then once again we see evidence for the judgment and rewarding of Revelation 20:5-15 being fulfilled in AD 70.
h). Matthew 16:27-28 and the Transfiguration event.
Mathison states, “It has also been suggested that the “coming” of the Son of Man in 16:28 refers to the Transfiguration (cf. Matt. 17:1-8). (p.176). It is also suggested by many of the same commentators that the transfiguration event is a prelude or foretaste of the Second Coming described in verse 27. So what is the relationship? In the vision, when Peter wants Moses and Elijah to remain and abide with the other disciples and Jesus, God causes the glory of Moses and Elijah to disappear. The theology of the vision is directed at the appearing and disappearing of the old-covenant order pictured in the glory of Moses and Elijah (the law and the prophets), with the emphasis on the eternal abiding glory of the new-covenant words of Christ – “here Him” (Mt. 17:5-8; cf. Mt.24:35). To seek the abiding glory and nature of the old covenant (Moses and Elijah) along with the new (the glory of Christ) was the theological error of the Judaizers and mockers of Peter’s day were making! With this in mind we can now understand Peter’s appeal to the vision as an apologetic against the mockers and false teachers of his day.
The 1Pet. 1:16-19 text is now very easy to understand. Peter is under attack by the Judaizers whom are claiming that he and the other disciples have been teaching Christians “cleverly devised stories” about the second coming (2Pet.1:16a). Peter’s apologetic against this charge is that he has two other Apostolic witnesses that will bear witness that they got their teaching of the second coming from direct revelation from the Father and the Son on the Mount of Transfiguration–verses 16b-18. Although Peter does not use the Greek word metamorphoo, he describes the Church going through a similar process–in verse 19a he says it is “…a light shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.” The “day” singular is none other than the “last day” of John’s gospel and the “in that day” or last day (singular) of (Lk.17/Mt.24-25).
There are only two other places in the New Testament where this Greek word transfigured or transformed metamorphoo is used (Rms.12:2 & 2Cor. 3:18). Paul’s “therefore” of Rms.12:1 is linking it with his teaching on the unsearchable riches of the new-covenant “mystery” (Jew/Gentile) or salvation that he has been developing throughout and reaches its peak here in (11:15, 25-36; cf. 1Cor.2). In chapters 7-8 the issue with the old-covenant law of sin and death and the new-covenant law of the spirit, is realized within the “mind” and fleshing that out (so to speak), through a spiritual walking in the newness of this new-covenant life. In chapters 12 and on, are the practical applications of living out this new-covenant salvation and life which was imminently coming at Christ’s return 13:11-12. They were not to be conformed to the old-covenant world, but be “transformed” through the new – “by the renewing of” their minds”! This was and continues to be a “spiritual act of worship” in the new-covenant age (cf. verse 1; Jn.4:24). Paul shows how this new-covenant life is to be worked out individually within the corporate Body of Christ in verses 3-16. He then closes with words connected with Christ’s new-covenant law (the true riches and meaning that were always there within the old) given on the Mount in verses 17-21/cf. Matthew 5.
The only other New Testament passage in which metamorphoo is used is in 2Cor. 3:18. This is likewise a very clear covenantal contrasting section within Paul’s writings. The Church was in the process of “being transformed” into the likeness of Christ which was connected with the old-covenant veil being lifted from the eyes of their minds and hearts. This was obviously not a literal or biological transformation process but a spiritual and covenantal one! The old-covenant glory was “passing away” (2Cor. 3:7-11) just as the glory of Moses and Elijah had disappeared in the vision given on the mount!
Since we agree with most who understand the transfiguration event to be a foreshadowing or prefiguring of the parousia we need to ask where in the vision are the following: 1) the passing and burning of the planet earth, 2) Christ floating down on a literal cloud someday and 3) corpses flying out of their caskets at the end of time to be united with their spirits? The vision of the parousia in the transfiguration event gives us a theological picture/description of what the parousia was going to be all about – the passing and fulfilling of the old-covenant promises and the bringing in and establishing of the new by A.D. 70.
The Orthodox and Organic Development of Full Preterism on Matthew 16:27-28
The “orthodox” (or straight) truth on Matthew 16:27-28 is found in the middle of the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist view: 1) (Matthew 16:27) is the actual Second Coming event (as is Matt. 24:30–25:31) and 2) (Matthew 16:28) teaches us that it was to take place within the lifetime of “some” of those standing and listening to Jesus and thus in their first century “this generation.”
The Jubilee “Day of Vengeance” of Isaiah 63:1-6 and Revelation 14:17-20; 17:5-6; 19:15
Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” 2 Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. 4For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. 5I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. 6I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
We are continuing our glorious study of the Jubilee begun in Isaiah 61:1-11. While there is the promise of the glorious rest and re-taking the inheritance of the New Creation and Tree of Life in Christ that will be coming in chapters 65-66, the “day of vengeance” is the other side of the coin described for us in Isaiah 61:2 and Isaiah 63:1-6. We have briefly alluded to Yeshua developing both the Jubilee theme of “redemption” and the “days of vengeance” in Luke 21:20-32 as pertaining to Christ’s Second Coming being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in the events of AD 66 – AD 70. So we now need to turn to John’s version of the Olivet Discourse in the book of Revelation to develop Isaiah 63:1-6.
17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.
As David Chilton noticed (Days of Vengeance, 374) in Revelation 6:9-11 the martyrs are pleading under the golden altar of incense for vengeance upon their enemies. God’s answer is that vengeance will be “in a very little while.” Then at the beginning of the trumpets vision, the angel combines the prayers of the saints in the censer with fire and casts it upon the land in judgment (cf. Rev. 8:3-5). Now the same angel over “the fire” appears from God’s altar of fire to once again depict the vengeance of God’s wrath upon “Babylon” (OC Jerusalem 11:8) in chapter 14 being described as a harvest of grapes being crushed in God’s winepress of wrath. This is a harvest and “wrath” that was “about to come” upon the threshing floor of the land of Israel as was depicted by John the Baptist in (Mt. 3:2-12). Another key to seeing this prophecy being applied to the AD 66 – AD 70 judgment is the distance of bloodshed of “sixteen hundred stadia.” This was the distance of the land of Israel. This is NOT a global day of vengeance and wrath, but rather, a covenantal and local one upon OC Jerusalem.
We should note that sabbath rest is a theme here in this chapter as well. The righteous dead who die in the Lord post AD 70 “…rest from their labors” while the wicked are tormented with fire in presence of the Lamb “day and night” and they “have no rest” (Rev. 14:11).
Revelation 17:5-6; 18:6:
“And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of the earth’s abominations. And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs.”
Here in chapters 17-18 the Great Harlot Wife / Babylon (OC Jerusalem) is guilty of drinking and getting “drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Rev. 17:5). Therefore, she will be paid back “double” for her deeds with the angels and Romans and “mixing a double portion” for her to drink from the cup of God’s wrath (Rev. 18:6).
15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”
Again, this is another reference to Isiah 63:1-6 and the day of vengeance. In Isiah His robe has the blood of his enemies and here His name “King of kings and Lord of lords” is written upon it. There is a contrast between being invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (19:1-9) and being devoured by the Romans and the animals at the Great Supper of God (19:17-19) from which the blood comes on His robe.
“For behold, the LORD will come with fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.”
2 Thessalonians 1:5-9
5 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— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 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 8 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. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson point out the OT reference for Paul here in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 is Isaiah 66:15
“The claim that it is just for God “to repay [antapodounai] those who afflict you with affliction, and you who are being afflicted with rest” involves the OT principle of retribution—the lex talionis, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Although Scripture frequently affirms the theme of divine recompense, at times also using the identical verb “to repay” (Deut. 32:35; Ps. 138:8 [137:8 LXX]; Obad. 15; cf. Isa. 63:4), the allusions to Isa. 66 in the subsequent verses strengthen the possibility that Paul has that same passage in view here. In fact, there are two verses from Isa. 66 that are relevant: “The voice of the Lord repaying [antapodidontos] retribution to his enemies” (66:6); “For the Lord will come like a fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to repay [apodounai] his punishment with anger, and his rebuke with a flame of fire” (66:15).”
“…1:8a – It appears likely, therefore, that the alternate reading “in a flame of fire” is in fact original and that this phrase involves an allusion to Isa. 66:15. Paul uses the imagery of a flaming fire to portray in a powerful manner the frightening judgment that awaits those who have been oppressing the Thessalonian believers.
1:8b – Paul continues to comfort his persecuted readers by picking up again the OT idea of divine retribution that he introduced in 1:6. Whereas that earlier verse balances the punishment of Thessalonians’ persecutors with the reward that believers will receive, this verse stresses only the negative half of judgment: “giving vengeance [didontos ekdikēsin] to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” The phrase “give vengeance” (didōmi ekdikēsin), with slight variations, occurs several times in the LXX (Num. 31:3; Deut. 32:35; 2 Kgdms. 4:8; 22:48 [2 Sam. 4:8; 22:48]; Ps. 17:48 [18:47 ET]; Ezek. 25:14, 17). It is striking, however, that this phrase occurs also in Isa. 66:15 (apodounai … ekdikēsin)—the same text alluded to in the immediately preceding phrase, “a flame of fire.” The action of “giving vengeance” in Isa. 66:15, as in the other OT texts containing this phrase, is ascribed to God. In Paul’s use of this phrase, however, the divine work of meting out judgment is transferred to the returning Christ (the participle didontos modifies tou kyriou Iēsou).
This vengeance will be given not only to the persecutors of the Thessalonians, but also to a much larger group: “to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” Several commentators have concluded from this double clause that Paul has two distinct groups in mind, most likely Gentiles and Jews (so, e.g., Dobschütz 1909: 248; Frame 1912: 233; Marshall 1983: 177–78). This “two group” interpretation appeals not only to the repetition of the definite article tois, but also to the description of the people in each clause. The first clause refers to “those who do not know God” (tois mē eidosin theon), an OT expression that typically refers to Gentiles (Job 18:21; Ps 79:6 [78:6 LXX]; Jer. 10:25) and that has this meaning elsewhere in Paul’s letters (Gal. 4:8–9; 1 Thess. 4:5; cf. 1 Cor. 1:21). The second clause refers to “those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (tois mē hypakouousin tō euangeliō tou kyriou hēmōn Iēsou), an expression that may well allude to Isa. 66:4, where “they did not obey [God]” (ouch hypēkousan mou) refers to the Jewish people. (Weima, J. A. D. (2007). 1-2 Thessalonians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (pp. 884–885). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos).
Beale and Carson have no problem connecting the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 with 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 with the Day of the Lord judgment of Isiah 2-4. Other than the trumpet gathering and resurrection of Isaiah 27:12-13, G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect this coming of the Lord “from heaven” of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 with Isaiah 2:10-12’s “in that day” “Day of the Lord” judgment,
“The main clause of 1 Thess. 4:16, “because the Lord himself will come down from heaven,” recalls…the prophetic literature of the OT that envisions “the day of the Lord,” when God will come to judge the wicked and save the righteous (Isa. 2:10–12;…) (Weima, J. A. D. (2007). 1-2 Thessalonians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 880). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos).
But Beale and Carson also connect 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 with Isaiah 2,
“This (in context – giving the Thessalonians relief from their Jewish persecutors) will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out (excommunicated [from the heavenly Temple] as they had done to the Christians) from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
But let’s quote the passage in context,
“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, 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.”
Here we clearly see that when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven, it is for the purpose of giving “relief” to first century Christians who were being persecuted by Jews who were filling up the measure of their sins (1 Thess. 2:14-16). At the same time He was going to give relief to these first century Christians, by judging or “repaying” their Jewish persecutors with the same kind of affliction and pressure they were giving them. He did this when by laying a trap for them when they made their journey to Jerusalem and were convinced by the false prophets to stay within the city and were judged with His “wrath” between AD 66 – AD 70. Jesus taught the time of vindication and the judgment for the living and the dead in Matthew 23 would be in His “this generation.” And the time of vindicating the first century Church pictured as a persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 would be “quickly” and not 2,000 plus years and counting.
Of this passage Beale and Carson write,
“eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” This description clearly echoes the triple refrain of Isa. 2:10, 19, 21, where on the day of the Lord the wicked are commanded to hide themselves behind rocks and in caves “from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might whenever he will rise to terrify the earth.” (Ibid. 885).
So since both 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 fulfill the coming of the Lord “from heaven” in the judgment found in Isaiah 2, let’s examine when Jesus and John see Isaiah 2 being fulfilled.
Jesus – Luke 23:27-30:
27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us (from Isa. 2:19 and Hos. 10:8).
There’s a consensus among the commentators that this passage was fulfilled in God’s judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70.
John – Revelation 6:15-17:
“15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[a] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
Postmillennialists correctly tell us that every reference to the coming of the Lord in Revelation was said to be fulfilled “soon,” “at hand,” “quickly” or “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70. This is when the martyrs blood would be vindicated in just – “a little while longer” (vss. 10-11).
Concerning Isaiah 2; Revelation 6; and 2 Thessalonians 1, Gentry argues that Christ had to come in judgment in AD 70 to vindicate those being persecuted in Revelation 1-3 & Revelation 6 because if He hadn’t (per futurism), God would be “mocking their [first century] circumstances.” Gentry also appeals to Matt. 23-24 in developing the AD 70 time-frame for the fulfillment of the Thessalonians to be relieved and vindicated from their Jewish persecutors in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-20. But this begs the obvious heremeneutical question – as to why doesn’t 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 also form the foundation for Christ’s coming to relieve the Thessalonians from their first century Jewish persecutors?!?
If futurism’s 2,000+ year delay of Christ’s coming creates a “cruel mockery” for the persecuted in the book of Revelation, then why doesn’t Gentry’s futuristic 2000+ years delay of Christ’s coming to relieve the Thessalonians and judge their persecutors in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 create a “cruel mockery” for their first century “circumstances?” Again, this is why Gentry’s critics charge him with inconsistent hermeneutics and holding to a view that only serves as a stepping stone to Full Preterism.
Premise #1 – If it is true and orthodox to believe that Luke 23:27-30; Revelation 6:10-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7 all fulfill the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2.
Premise #2 – And if it is true and orthodox to believe that 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7 are the same and ONE Second Coming coming event and that both passages fulfill the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2 (Full Preterists agree with Amillennialists and Premillennialists),…
Premeise #3 – And if it is also true and orthodox to believe that 2 Thessalonians 1:7 fulfills Isaiah 2’s “last days” “in that day” judgment in AD 70 (Full Preterists agree with Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar on this point),…
Conclusion – Then it necessarily follows and is also true and orthodox to believe that the ONE Second Coming event of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 fulfilled the “last days” “in that day” judgment of Isaiah 2 in AD 70 just as 2 Thessalonians 1:7 was fulfilled at this time.
1 Thessalonians 1:10
“for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” (1:9-10).
The Thessalonians were to eagerly wait for Christ. The definition of anaménō
“…(from 303 /aná, “up, completing a process,” which intensifies 3306 /ménō, “wait, remain”) – properly, earnestly wait (linger, abide); actively wait with rising intensity and clarity about what is hoped for (note the prefix, ana). Thayers – “to wait for one (with the added notion of patience and trust).”
Even Dispensationalists such as Pastor John MacArthur writes of this passage,
“…the immanency of the deliverance was something Paul felt could happen in their lifetimes.”
Did Paul just “feel” it could happen or did he write it as an inspired and authoritative Apostle being led into all truth “trusting” in the very words of Jesus Himself that He would return at the end of the OC age, in their generation, and in some of their lifetimes (Matt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:27-34)?!?
Make no mistake about it, MacArthur’s Futurism effectively portrays Christ and the Apostle Paul as false prophets – out of ignorance or not, this is the undeniable conclusion. MacArthur needs to worry less about the serious implications of Charismatic false prophecy and teaching and take the forest out of his own eye in this area! Why would I conclude MacArthur’s failed Futurism has any less bad implications for the church than false Charismatic doctrine? They ALL ignore the message of Christ and the Apostolic Prophetic message and have invented their own “delusional” (God’s term) understandings of them. Selah.
Christ comes “from heaven.” The definition of “heaven” here can mean the literal sky and clouds where the birds fly, but in Pauline eschatology the term “from heaven” is primarily dealing with God’s heavenly dwelling where His presence is along with the angelic hosts.
Christ comes to “rescue” the Thessalonians to Himself.
The definition of rescue here is rhýomai (from eryō, “draw to oneself“) – properly, draw or (pull) to oneself; to rescue (“snatch up”); to draw or rescue a person to and for the deliverer. To draw or snatch from danger, rescue, deliver. This is more with the meaning of drawing to oneself than merely rescuing from someone or something (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers).
Christ comes to rescue the Thessalonians from the “coming wrath.”
God laid a trap for the persecuting Jews whom went to Jerusalem for the feast days in AD 66 and they experienced God’s wrath. Christians that did go to Jerusalem to fellowship with the Jerusalem Church in AD 66 ALL fled together from the city and were rescued from this wrath.
Jews who especially sympathized with the Jewish revolt were persecuted throughout Rome during this period – 50,000 died in Egypt alone. Christians were known for being peaceful law abiding citizens for the most part. They fled to Pella and were safe. This was a known anti-Jewish town filled with a lot of Greek veterans. They did not support the Jewish rebellion against Rome and so had no problems accepting the peaceful Christians who likewise did not support the rebellion against Rome or the false prophets proclaiming an earthly messianic kingdom.
Just a brief point – the flight of the Christians in fulfillment Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks was the point in time that God “sealed up” that is, brought to an end the office of prophet and the gift of prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27/Lk. 21:20-32).
Paul’s doctrine on an imminent coming of Christ and wrath is in line with Jesus’ teaching:
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:20-23).
And Postmillennialists admit the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31 was fulfilled in AD 70 and there was a judgment of the dead that took place as well according to 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 and Revelation 11. Therefore, Jesus responds to the dead as well about this being a time of wrath,
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Harmonizing the coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 with 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
1. First century audience – “you” “us.”
1. First century audience – “we.”
2. Eager expectation – imminence
2. “We who are still alive…” – imminent expectation.
3. Christ comes “from heaven.”
3. Christ comes “from heaven.”
4. Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing that the living would be rescued.
4. Jesus’ resurrection is mentioned as a sign or event guaranteeing the dead in Christ would be raised and the living would be brought into God’s presence.
5. “Snatches” from wrath but to Christ.
5. “Catches/snatches away” to Christ.
The Partial Preterism of Kenneth Gentry & Keith Mathison
Mathison and Gentry don’t deal with the imminence here in connection with Jesus’ teaching in the OD. This is odd since they claim to want to address imminence and they both admit Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD! They also fail to demonstrate how the deliverance from this wrath here in chapter 1 is an allegedly future event for us, while Paul’s treatment of Christ coming attended with “wrath” in the very next chapter (cf. 1 Thess. 2:16) is fulfilled by AD 70. Again, no consistent hermeneutic and no agreement among them.
The Partial Preterism of Gary DeMar
Unlike Gentry and Mathison, Gary DeMar concedes that the coming of Christ here in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 was fulfilled in AD 70. But Gary fails to do any exegetical work to harmonize his Preterist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 1:10 with his futurist creedal view of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. In both passages Christ comes “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” away His people to Himself. On what exegetical grounds is the first apocalyptic language fulfilled in AD 70 while the later is physical and 2,000 plus years removed?!? Again, no consistent hermeneutic or flow of Paul in his writings per the man pleasing and man fearing tradition laid out within Postmillennial Partial Preterism. Why would the Thessalonians think these are two different comings of Christ “from heaven” to “snatch” or “catch” His people to Himself?!? DeMar is no less guilty of perverting God’s prophetic Word through Paul than the Charismatics and MacArthur. Lord willing this isn’t the legacy he wants to leave. While he needs to count the cost for embracing the truth (ex. knowing what Gary North put David Chilton through), he needs to embrace it and “shout it from the rooftops.” Selah. 3).
I’ll stick with the reliability of SGFPism’s understanding of Apostolic NT imminence verses the false prophets and false prophecies of Futurism and Charismatic Futurist false prophets ANY DAY! God’s Word is STILL “a hammer that breaks” apart the false doctrines and false prophecies of those that are uttered in His name and He still vindicates the prophecies of the Lord and His faithful New Covenant shepherds that were “led into all truth concerning things to come.” We rest in THEIR prophetic Word and that our Lord is truly the “Faithful and True Witness.”
THE NEW CREATION PROMISES OF ISAIAH 65-66; REVELATION 21-22; 2 PETER 3 AND ROMANS 8:18-23YLT
Reformed theologians such as John Owen and John Lightfoot along with many others, correctly understood the “elements” here not as the rocks and tress of the planet earth, but of the old-covenant law and the “Day of the Lord” occurring in AD 70. John Owen in his sermon on 2 Peter 3 also describes Isaiah 51:15-16 as the Old Covenant system except unlike Spurgeon he correctly and clearly states it passed away and her “elements” burned up in AD 70. Since the foundation to the promise of 2 Peter 3 is Isaiah 65, it is relevant to what Spurgeon would have been reading on the subject. Please note that he says the passing and burning of the first heavens and earth is “ONLY” referring to the OC system and the New is only the gospel of the NC dispensation:
“I shall only observe, by the way, not to look into the difficulties of these verses, that I not be too long detained from my principal intendment, – that the apostle makes a distribution of the word into heaven and earth, and saith, they ‘were destroyed with water, and perished: We know that neither the fabric or substance of the one or other was destroyed, but only men that lived on the earth; and the apostle tells us, verse 5, of the heavens and earth that were then, and were destroyed by water, distinct from the heavens and the earth that were now, and were to be consumed by fire; and yet, as to the visible fabric of heaven and earth, they were the same both before the flood and in the apostle’s time, and continue so to this day; when yet it is certain that the heavens and earth whereof he speaks were to be destroyed and consumed by fire in that generation. We must, then, for the clearing our foundation, a little consider what the apostle intends by `the heavens and the earth’ in these two places:
“1. It is certain, that what the apostle intends by the ‘world,’ with its heavens and earth, verses 5, 6, which was destroyed by water; the same or somewhat of that kind, he intends by ‘the heavens and the earth’ that were to be consumed and destroyed by fire, verse 7. Otherwise there would be no coherence in the apostle’s discourse, nor any kind of argument, but a mere fallacy of words.
“2. It is certain, that by the flood, the world, or the fabric of heaven and earth, was not destroyed, but only the inhabitants of the world; and therefore the destruction intimated to succeed by fire, is not of the substance of the heavens and the earth, which shall not be consumed until the last day, but of persons or men living in the world.
“3. Then we must consider in what sense men living in the world are said to be the ‘world,’ and the ‘heavens and earth’ of it. I shall only insist on one instance to this purpose, among the many that may be produced, Isa. 51. 15, 16. The time when the work here mentioned, of planting the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth, was performed by God, was when he ‘divided the sea,’ verse 15, and gave the law, verse 16, and said to Zion, ‘Thou art my people,” – that is, when he took the children of Israel out of Egypt, and formed them in the wilderness into a church and state. Then he planted the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, – made the new world; that is, brought forth order, and government, and beauty, from the confusion wherein before they were. This is the planting of the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth in the world. And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world. So Isa. xxxiv. 4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom. The like also is affirmed of the Roman empire, Rev. vi. 14; which the Jews constantly affirm to be intended by Edom in the prophets. And in our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matt. xxiv., he sets it out by expressions of the same importance. It is evident, then, that in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by ‘heavens’ and ‘earth,’ the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood. So were the heavens and earth that world which was then destroyed by the flood.
“4. On this foundation I affirm, that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state; for which I shall offer these two reasons, of many that might be insisted on from the text: –
“(1.) Because whatever is here mentioned was to have its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffer and the those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews; – some of them believing, others opposing the faith. Now, there was no particular concernment of that generation in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread for the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation; and besides, an ample testimony, both to the one and the other, of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ – which was the thing in question between them.
“(2.) Peter tells them, that, after the destruction and judgment that he speaks of, verse 13, ‘We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,’ etc. They had this expectation. But what is that promise? where may we find it? Why, we have it in the very words and letter, Isa. Ixv. 17. Now, when shall this be that God will create these ‘new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness?’ Saith Peter, ‘It shall be after the coming of the Lord, after that judgment and destruction of ungodly men, who obey not the gospel, that I foretell.’ But now it is evident, from this place of Isaiah, with chap. lxvi., 21, 22, that this is a prophecy of gospel times ONLY; and that the planting of these new heavens is NOTHING BUT the creation of gospel ordinances, to endure forever. The same thing is so expressed, Heb. xii. 26-28.
“First, There is the foundation of the apostle’s inference and exhortation… ‘Seeing that I have evinced that all these things, however precious they seem, or what value soever any put upon them, shall be dissolved, – that is, destroyed; and that in that dreadful and fearful manner before mentioned, – in a way of judgment, wrath, and vengeance, by fire and sword; – let others mock at the threats of Christ’s coming. – he will come, he will not tarry; and then the heavens and earth that God himself planted, – the sun, moon, and stars of the Judaical polity and church, – the whole old world of worship and worshippers, that stand out in their obstinacy against the Lord Christ, – shall be sensibly dissolved and destroyed. This, we know, shall be the end of these things, and that shortly.’ “
And more from Owen:
“1. Because in every such providential alteration or dissolution of things on the account of Christ and his church, there is a peculiar coming of Christ himself. He cometh into the world for the work he hath to do; he cometh among his own to fulfil his pleasure among them. Hence such works are called ‘his coming;’ and ‘the coming of his day.’ Thus James exhorts these very Jews to whom Peter here writes, with reference to the same things, James v. 7-9, ‘Be patient unto the coming of the Lord.’ But how could that generation extend their patience to the day of judgment? ‘Nay,’ saith he, ‘that is not the work I design, but his coming to take vengeance on his stubborn adversaries;’ which he saith, verse 8, ‘draweth nigh,’ is even at hand; yea., Christ, ‘the judge, standeth before the door,’ verse 9, ‘ready to enter;’ – which also he did within a few years. So upon or in the destruction of Jerusalem (the same work), Luke xxi. 27, the Son of man is said to ‘come in a cloud, with power and great glory;’ – and they that escape in that desolation are said to ‘stand before the Son of man,’ verse 36. So, in the ruin and destruction of the Roman empire, on the account of their persecution, it is said that ‘the day of the wrath of the Lamb was come; Rev. vi. 16, 17.” (John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Banner of Truth pub., Vol. 9 see pp. 132-135, 138-139, MJS emphasis added).
And John Lightfoot agrees. Notice what he says of Christ’s coming in Matthew 24 and 2 Peter 3 and the de-creation and new creation language:
“That the destruction of Jerusalem is very frequently expressed in Scripture as if it were the destruction of the whole world, Deut. xxxii. 22; ‘A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell’ (the discourse there is about the wrath of God consuming that people; see ver. 20, 21), ‘and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains’ Jer. iv. 23; ‘I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light; The discourse there also is concerning the destruction of that nation, Isa. lxv. 17; ‘Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered,’ And more passages of this sort among the prophets. According to this sense, Christ speaks in this place; and Peter speaks in his Second Epistle, third chapter; and John, in the sixth of the Revelation; and Paul, 2 Cor. v. 17.”
More of Lightfoot on this subject:
“With the same reference it is, that the times and state of things immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem are called ‘a new creation,’ ‘new heavens,’ and ‘a new earth,’ Isa. lxv. 17; `Behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth’ When should that be? Read the whole chapter; and you will find the Jews rejected and cut off; and from that time is that new creation of the evangelical world among the Gentiles.
“Compare 2 Cor. v. 17 and Rev. xxi. 1, 2; where, the old Jerusalem being cut off and destroyed, a new one succeeds; and new heavens and a new earth are created.
“2 Pet. iii. 13: `We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth’ The heavens and the earth of the Jewish church and commonwealth must be all on fire, and the Mosaic elements burnt up; but we, according to the promise made to us by Isaiah the prophet, when all these are consumed, look for the new creation of the evangelical state.”
“That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of this world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt. xxiv. 29, 30, `The sun shall be darkened,’ Then shall appear the `sign of the Son of man,’; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. 2 Pet. iii. 10, `The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,’. Compare with this Deut. xxxii. 22, Heb. xii. 26: and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal. iv. 9, Coloss. ii. 20: and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks ONLYof the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses.” (John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, pp. 318-319; Vol. 3, p. 452-453, Hendrickson pub, 2003, MJS emphasis added).
As I document in our book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…pp. 116-123 Lightfoot didn’t see the physical planet as being in a process of “decay” or poetically “groaning” to be the subject matter in Romans 8 either! He correctly understood the passage to be the “creation of men” groaning under sin. Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar concedes mello in Romans 8:18 YLT should be translated as “the glory ABOUT TO BE revealed in you…” and is referring to AD 70. Therefore, contextually this allegedly “end of the planet” or physical “renewal of the planet” passage and “redemption of the body” was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 – at the “near” coming of the Lord when Satan was to be “crushed shortly” (cf. Rms. 13:11-12; 16:20) and has NOTHING to do with the Futurist or creedal concept. Here is that material (HD, 116-123):
John Lightfoot 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: themanifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.” (John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, p.422, Hendrickson pub. 1979, emphasis added.)
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…” (Ibid., p. 227).
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.
“The sufferings of this present time.” As much as I can relate to R.C. Sproul Jr. losing his hair and gaining some weight around his midsection (WSTTB, ix), 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 (Matt. 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 under the Law.
For Paul, Sin had produced “death,” but not physical death. Contrary to Mathison’s 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. “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:2, 7, 15).
The “redemption” associated with the coming of the Son of Man in AD 70 entailed much more than a physical flight to the wilderness of Pella, as some commentators have proposed. Appealing to the principle of the analogy of Scripture, John Murray and other Reformed theologians understand Paul in Romans 8 to be speaking of the same “redemption” that Jesus discussed in the Olivet Discourse:
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; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:14; 4:30). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.
The following chart confirms that the “redemption” of Christ’s disciples in the first century in Luke 21:28 was the redemption of “the body” in Romans 8:18–23:
|Romans 8||Olivet Discourse & Luke 17|
|Present sufferings (Rom. 8:17–18)||Suffering to come (Matt. 24:9)|
|Receive and share in Christ’s glory (Rom. 8:17–18)||Christ comes in glory (Matt. 24:30)|
|Glory will be “in” them (Rom. 8:18)||Kingdom will be realized “within”at Christ’s return (Lk.17:21–37; 21:27–32)|
|Redemption and salvation – resurrection (Rom. 8:23–24; cf. 11:15–27; 13:11–12)||Redemption and salvation – resurrection (Lk. 21:27–28; Matt. 24:13, 30–31/Matt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3)|
|Birth pains together (Rom. 8:22)||Birth pains of the tribulation (Matt. 24:8)|
|This was “about to” take place (Rom. 8:18)||This would all happen in their “this generation” (Matt. 24:34)|
On page 200 of WSTTB, Mathison expresses willingness to concede that the imminence in Romans 13:11–12 was fulfilled in AD 70. The passage reads:
. . . it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. . . .
But The Reformation Study Bible, of which Mathison is an editor, harmonizes Romans 13:11 with Romans 8:23, correctly teaching that “salvation” in that verse is not merely deliverance from persecution (as Mathison theorizes in WSTTB): “salvation. Here in the sense of future, final redemption (8:23).” The connection between these two passages is made even stronger when we allow the Greek word mello in Romans 8 to be translated the way it is predominately used in the New Testament:
For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us. (Rom. 8:18, YLT)
It is more than arbitrary for partial preterists such as Gentry to honor Young’s literal translation of melloin Revelation 1:19 when debating Dispensationalists and Amimmennialists, but then not honor it in Romans 8:18 when debating full preterists. Mello is used in the aorist infinitive in both verses. Gentry writes of mello in Revelation 1:19:
…this term means “be on the point of, be about to.” …According to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, Revelation 1:19 reads: “Write the things that thou hast seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to come[mello] after these things.” The leading interlinear versions of the New Testament concur. This is surely the proper translation of the verse. …when used with the aorist infinitive — as in Revelation 1:19 — the word’s preponderate usage and preferred meaning is:
“be on the point of, be about to. The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in the Rev. 3:10. Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion.
Where is Gentry’s disappointment when it comes to translators not translating Romans 8:18 by the same grammatical standard? It is nowhere to be found, even though there are two other Greek words of imminence (apokaradokia and apekdekomai — “eagerly waiting”) within the immediate context.
At least partial preterist Gary DeMar has tried to be more consistent with a proper translation of mello in Romans 8:18. Citing Robert Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible he writes:
“Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed’…”
We appreciate the honesty on properly translating mello here as “about to be revealed,” but contextually there is no ambiguity as to what the imminent manifestation of this “glory” was — the liberation of creation from its groaning and bondage, the full adoption of the sons of God, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 18-23).
Interestingly enough though, according to Gentry and Mathison one of the things that was “about to come after” John wrote Revelation 1:19 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).
But then Mathison and Gentry assign an “expanded” meaning to 2 Peter 3, which discusses the same promises in Isaiah 65–66. They suggest that Peter is addressing the geological “elements” of the planet while the Apostle John, referencing the same Old Testament passage, is not.
This is not only arbitrary, it is amazing. If Gentry and Mathison can give prophetic New Testament passages “expanded” meanings to fit their eschatology, then they have surrendered their debate with Dispensationalists, who constantly employ this strategy to force their eschatology upon New Testament passages.
In Mathison’s section on the “Restoration of Creation” (195–197), he appeals to the literal and global beginnings of Genesis 1–3 to point out that preterists have interpreted “the end” in Romans 8 and in the rest of the New Testament in an inaccurate way. But Mathison should be open to considering the interpretations of Genesis 1–3 that are presented by some within the Reformed tradition and by other futurists.
Combined, authors such as Augustine, Milton Terry, David Snoke, Meredith Kline, and dispensationalist John Sailhamer teach the following:
- Man was created a physical dying creature like all the plant and animal life around him.
- The physics of the creation did not change after Adam.
- Genesis 1–2 uses the Hebrew word eretz, which should be translated as “land” or “ground” and not [planet] “earth.”
- God’s emphases in the early chapters of Genesis are not scientific but theological, emphasizing the origins of sin in the heart and man’s need for the Seed of the woman to redeem him from Sin.
As the theological emphasis in Genesis 1–2 is on the local land of Eden, which is both theologically and geographically tied to Israel’s Promised Land, so too is the emphasis of the New Testament on a Great Commission preached to the nations of Israel and to the Roman Empire with a judgment that would affect the nations of that world.
Both the localized and covenantal judgment in Eden and the one in AD 70 affected and continue to affect all humankind. The introduction of spiritual death (condemnation and alienation from God within the heart and conscience of man through Adam) was overcome by Christ’s death, resurrection, and indwelling presence in AD 70. All men and nations of the world are either inside the new Israel and New Jerusalem or outside her gates — as the gospel continues to bring healing and judgment to the nations today and forever (cf. Rev. 21–22:17).
When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a preterist interpretation of 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 teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (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.”63
Reformed theologian John Brown not only stresses that the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 is the OC system, but that those familiar with the OT should understand the phrase as such:
“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.” (John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord(Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 ), 1:170, MJS – emphasis added).
Like we saw with The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Owen and Lightfoot — those that are familiar with the OT Scriptures have and continue to see this while you and liberals don’t.
Scholars that aren’t even Preterists (but often times give the impression that they are leaning in such a direction), such as G.K. Beale are admitting that the Jew understood his land or Temple to be a “heaven and earth,”
“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.” (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A
biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25). See also J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.
I called in a radio show where Beale was being interviewed concerning this quote in his book and asked him why he didn’t apply his statements here with Jesus’ and the disciples discussion of the Temple in Matthew 23-24. He avoided the subject and merely began name-calling. Sad indeed.
But Evangelicals are making the Full Preterist connections with NT texts where Beale is afraid to. Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on the heaven and earth in Matthew 5:18 and Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:
“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . . [T]he principle reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] [or Matthew 24:35] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology. (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157).
Gary DeMar is exegetical and contextually consistent when he admits that the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 24:35 is the same subject (the fall of OC Jerusalem and her OC world/age) and de-creation event as 24:29,
“The darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (24:29), are more descriptive ways of saying that “heaven and earth” will pass away” (24:35).” (Last Days Madness, 192).
DeMar and the Present Tense of 2 Peter 3:11
I agree with Gary DeMar that Futurists are biased to not see the present tense in 2 Peter 3:11,
“In fact, St. Peter was quite specific about the fact that he was not referring to an event thousands of years in their future, but to something that was already taking place:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements (stoicheia) will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things are being dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements (stoicheia) are being melted with fervent heat? (2 Pet. 3:10–12)
Contrary to the misleading renderings of translators blinded by their presuppositions, St. Peter insists that the dissolution of “the present heaven and earth”—the Old Covenant system with its obligatory rituals and bloody sacrifices—was already beginning to occur: the “universe” of the Old Covenant was coming apart, never to be revived.”
But could DeMar, other Futurists and translator’s be “blinded by their presuppositions” when the NT is quite specific about the fact that the resurrection was not referring to an event thousands of years off in their future, but to something that was already taking place and would “soon” be fulfilled.
Was physical death to be overcome at the imminent parousia in Paul’s contemporary “we” audience OR the spiritual death and separation brought through Adam the very day he sinned?
“…death is being destroyed” (1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT).
“But God is giving it a body” (1 Cor. 15:32).
“…it is being sown…” (1 Cor. 15:38).
“…it is being raised in glory…” (1 Cor. 15:43).
“…it is being raised in power…” (1 Cor. 15:43)
“…It is being sown a natural body, it is being raised a spiritual body…” (1 Cor. 15:43).
“…becoming conformed…” (Phil. 3:21YLT).
Would this understanding not be consistent with Paul elsewhere,
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory [Old Covenant glory] to another [New Covenant glory]. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
Was the physical heavens and earth in the process of being destroyed/dissolved or was it the OC heavens and earth or world?
“…are being destroyed/dissolved.” (2 Pet. 3:11).
Peter is consistent with Paul,
“those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Cor. 7:31).
“The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (1 Jn. 2:17)
“For behold, the LORD will come with fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.”
2 Thessalonians 1:5-9
5 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— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 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 8 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. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Jubilee “day of vengeance” is carried from Isiah 61 all the way to Isiah 66 which ushers in the sabbath rest of the New Creation. Paul draws upon Isaiah 66 in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 and informs us that it is in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 that Christ would be revealed from heaven in vengeance giving relief to the first century Thessalonians while at the same time “repaying” with wrath and vengeance a “trouble” of fire and judgment. These wicked Jews that were persecuting these Christians in the Thessalonians epistles, would go to the annual feasts and be ensnared by the false prophets prophecies of a coming deliverance from the Roman armies. Therefore, they were consumed in the fire of God’s judgment in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 when Christ as revealed from heaven.
Old Covenant Salvation “in the Land” vs. New Covenant Salvation “in Christ”
In typological form Israel’s promises were fulfilled during the reign of Solomon. God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation and make his descendants as numerous as “the dust of the earth” and as the stars of the heavens was fulfilled in the OT (Gen. 12:2; 13:16 = 2 Chron. 1:9; 1 Chron. 27:23; 1 Kings 4:11). Even Israel’s land promises “from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates” were fulfilled (Gen. 12:7; 22:17 = 1 Kings 4:20; Josh. 11:23; 21:41-45; Neh. 9:21-25).
Once we reach the NT we learn that Israel’s promises have their ultimate fulfillment not in the literal land or literal real-estate, but rather in the New Covenant or being “in Christ.” Christ Himself and those united to Him through faith are blessed with Abraham and fulfill the seed promise (Gal. 3:9, 16, 18, 28-29). We also learn that Abraham’s faith in the promise was rooted in a spiritual fulfillment of a heavenly land and city that were “about to” be received at Christ’s “in a very little while” Second Coming to close the OC age (cf. Heb. 9:26-28—10:37—11:10-16—13:14YLT). Even Paul’s statement that believers would inherit “the world” (Rms. 4:13) is understood in context to mean believers (Jew and Gentile) in all nations (Rms. 4:11-12, 16-17).
The heavenly land and city (New Jerusalem) that Abraham looked to for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise (along with the prophets promise of a New Creation – Isaiah 65-66) was in the process of coming down in John’s day and “shortly” did at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 1:1, 3:12NIV—chapters 21:1–22:20). This is not a literal cubed city/tabernacle/MHP that will someday float down to earth, but rather the perfecting of the New Covenant people of God or New Covenant believers (the “Jerusalem from above” – Gals. 4). The coming Tabernacle/Temple of Ezekiel 37, 40-48 is referring to the Body – the Church (Ezek. 37:27=2 Cor. 6:16). Again, the New Creation is not physical real-estate, but rather New Covenant believers (Isa. 65:17 = 2 Cor. 5:17).
Literal land or global real-estate inheritance concepts coming from say Premillennialism and Postmillennialism are “heretical” and on par with unbelieving “Jewish dreams and myths” originating in a hyper-literal non-apostolic hermeneutic and we reject them as such.
The Jew understood his Temple and Land to be a “heaven and earth” with the light of Torah radiating from it, while the Gentiles were in utter darkness outside. Once a Gentile converted to the teaching of Torah and believed in Jehovah he entered the land and was declared a “new creation.” This gives the historical context on how Revelation ends the way it does. The Church is the spiritual New Jerusalem / Most Holy Place dwelling of God and a New Heaven and Earth with the light of the Gospel radiating from her bidding the nations to enter her with open gates.
Post AD 70 Salvation is Complete – No More Death, Tears or Pain (Rev. 21-22)
Because “the death” that came through Adam is spiritual death (alienation from God) realized through the commandment-breaker Adam and amplified or increased under the Law of Moses (the old covenant), we can see how God gave His elect the victory over “the death” in the end of the old covenant age of condemnation. The fact that men die physically is in no way evidence that the “spiritual conflict” of “the death” continues for the church throughout the new covenant age.
God’s people under the old covenant, unlike God’s people today, experienced covenantal and spiritual death (cf. Hosea 13:1–14; Isa. 25–27; Eze. 37). What made physical death dreaded for the saints under the old covenant was that they died with the awareness that their sins had not yet been taken away. In the new covenant creation, Jesus promises that whether we biologically die in Him or biologically live in Him, we “never die” (John 11:25–26). This was not the case before Christ.
Thus under the old covenant, the residents of Jerusalem wept because they did not have a lasting atonement or eternal redemption. They longed and groaned for the day of Messiah’s salvation. Until that day would come, they knew their sins were not put away (Heb. 9:26–28; 10:4, 11). The promise that there would be no more mourning or crying or pain does not refer to any and every kind of mourning, crying, and pain. It refers to mourning, crying, and pain concerning God’s people being dead in sin under the condemnation, curse, and slavery of God’s law. That sad Adamic state is no more. In the Son, God’s people are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).
As Athanasius wrote in his Festal Letters, iv. 3, “For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness.”
Under the old covenant, when David or the nation was exiled from Zion and God’s city and temple, there was much inner pain, weeping, and bondage that followed (2 Sam. 15:30; Ps. 137; Isa. 14:3; Isa. 22:4–5; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; Jer. 22:9–10; Lam. 1:16; Joel 2:17). Under the new covenant, the heavenly country and Jerusalem are not subject to being made desolate or shaken by invading armies as was the old (Isa. 62:4; Heb. 12:27–28). The concept of the gates of the New Jerusalem always being open, even at night (Isa. 60:11; Rev. 21:25), is not merely a picture of evangelism; it is also a picture of security for the residents of God’s City. The believer, through faith in Christ, is the new covenant creation and it is impossible for him to be exiled from the City (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:12; 22:12). The new covenant believer is characterized as one whose weeping has ended, because God has forever taken away his sin and united Himself with him (Isa. 60:20; 65:14, 18–19; Jn. 17:21–23).
Christians in the new covenant world do not shed tears in agony and cry out to God to save them from the Adamic Death of Sin, as Jesus Himself did on our behalf (Heb. 5:7). “The sting [pain] of the Death” cannot harm us anymore (1 Cor. 15:56) because the power of Sin has been removed through Jesus, the Law-Fulfiller who clothes us and indwells us. Now we live and reign with Christ in the new covenant world, wherein dwells the Righteousness of God.
It is noteworthy that Partial Preterists usually avoid any mention of Paul’s declaration that Satan would be “crushed” “shortly” (Rom. 16:20). The reason for this is that the majority consensus among all brands of commentators is that the “crushing” of Satan in Romans 16:20 is a direct reference to the final “crushing” of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 20. Manifestly, the judgment and wrath that came in AD 70 was not merely “a” “minor” judgment. It was “the” judgment. It was the crushing of Satan.
Future eschatologies would challenge us with the empirical reality that Death and Satan could not have met their ultimate demise in AD 70 because, after all, just look around and you will clearly see that people still physically die and that there are wars and murders taking place all over the world today. Are these clear evidence that Satan and his demonic hordes are active in our world?
There were certainly times that Satan moved men, such as Judas, to commit sins. But the Bible does not teach us that this was ever the norm. James tells us that wars and fights come from within men (Jms. 4:1) instead of from Satan and demons. Satan’s primary purpose has come to an end: He can no longer function as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), because Christ came out of Zion a second time at the end of the old covenant age to put away Sin once and for all for His church (Acts 20:28; Rom. 11:26–27; 13:11–12; Heb. 9:26–28).
Our salvation and Christ’s Second Appearing/Coming as the Churches great High Priest are not events that take place at the end of time, but rather within time – namely at the end of the OC age in AD 70. The seed of the woman has overcome the Sin, the Death, the Law and crushed Satan for His heavenly people – the Church/New Creation. You may not feel perfect or like a city of jewels and gold, but that is how God views you through His Son’s finished redemption – accomplished and applied for you through His work on the cross and Second Appearing. Go now and preach this message (Rev. 22:17)!
Concluding the Messianic Soteriological and Eschatological Promises of Isaiah 61-66
There can be little doubt that Yeshua was the ONLY Messianic candidate that came saying He was the fulfillment of the 10th cycle of the Jubilee of Daniel 9:24-27 and Isiah 61 (Lk. 4:18) in His earthly ministry and redemptive work on the cross and “day of vengeance” or Second Coming between AD 26 – AD 66-70.
Jesus not only appealed to the soteriological and eschatological promises of Isiah 61:1-11 to be fulfilled within His contemporary generation but Isaiah 62:11 as well (Mt. 16:27-28/Mrk. 8:38–9:1).
When we examine the same “day of vengeance” of Isiah 61:2 in Isaiah 63:1-6 — comparing it to John’s version of the Olivet Discourse (the book of Revelation), we again see this is a judgment upon OC Jerusalem — the harlot wife or “Babylon” and thus covenant wrath being poured out upon her land.
In Isiah 66 Messiah is once again described as coming to judge the wicked from heaven by fire and Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 describes this as Christ being revealed from heaven to give relief to the first century church and render divine retribution of fire to their Jewish persecutors. Did Christ come and give the first century Thessalonians “relief” from their Jewish persecutors, or do we have very old first century Christians still living and roaming the earth today among us still waiting for the Lord to come and give them relief?
It is this “soon” Second Coming of Christ that ushers in the New Creation or Jubilee Sabbath rest and restores the Church to Her inheritance in Christ as the Tree of Life (Rev. 21-22:6-7, 10-12, 20).
Jesus is the “Faithful and True Witness” having fulfilled His Messianic promises as Prophet, Priest and King in the time and manner He claimed to. He is the greatest expositor of the Law and the Prophets and we need to align our theology with His. Do not go “beyond what is written” and confess that “If God be true” makes “everyman a liar” in your particular theological circle you are currently swimming in, then so be it. Selah.
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Lee Irons, Meredith Kline, J. Ligon Duncan, David W. Hall, Hugh Ross, Gleason L. Archer, THE GENESIS DEBATE Three Views on the Days of Creation,(Mission Viejo, CA: Crux Press, Inc., 2001), 227. I would also agree with Keil and Delitzsch onthe point that this is not a reference to a literal 490 years ofchronology: “That by this word common years are to be understood, is indeed taken for granted by many interpreters, but a satisfactory proof of such a meaning has not been adduced. Moreover, in favour of year-weeks (periods of seven years) it has been argued that such an interpretation was very natural, since they hold so prominent a place in the law of Moses; and the Exile had brought them anew very distinctly into remembrance, in asmuch as the seventy years’ desolation of the land was viewed as a punishment for the interrupted festival of the sabbatical years: 2 Chron. 36:21 (Hgstb., Kran., and others). But since these periods of seven years, as Hengstenberg himself confesses, are not called in the law שָׁבֻעִיםor שָׁבֻעֹות, therefore, from the repeated designation of the seventh year as that of the great Sabbath merely (Lev. 25:2, 4, 5;26:34, 35, 43; 2 Chron. 36:21), the idea of year-weeks in no way follows. The law makes mention not only of the Sabbath-year, but also of periods of seven times seven years, after the expiry of which a year of jubilee was always to be celebrated (Lev. 25:8ff.). These, as well as the Sabbath-years, might be calledשָׁבֻעִים. Thus the idea of year-weeks has no exegetical foundation. Hofmann and Kliefoth are in the right when they remark thatשָׁבֻעִיםdoes not necessarily mean year-weeks, but an intentionally indefinite designation of a period of time measured by the number seven, whose chronological duration must be determined on other grounds.”(Keil,C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentaryon the Old Testament(Vol. 9, pp. 717–718). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson). See also David Green’s comments as to why Daniel 9:24-27 can’t be a literal 490 years – see his Q & A #’s 96-97 http://www.preteristcosmos.com/question5.html#note97
 John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, p.422, Hendrickson pub. 1979, emphasis added.
 ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament.
 Don Preston states in his tract, Can You Believe Jesus Said This?!?, p. 11-12, “Unless “verily” is being used as an introduction and not for emphasis in Matthew 16:28/Mark 9:1 there is only one place in all the New Testament where the word is used to introduce a new subject [John 10:1]. In all other occurrences,…THE WORD IS ALWAYS USED TO EMPHASIZE A STATEMENT ABOUT A SUBJECT THAT IS ALREADY UNDER CONSIDERATION! Don was mistaken on (Jn.10:1). See my comments on (Jn.10:1) and how it applies to the previous context. Pink says, “The Pharisees’ ‘casting out’ of the poor beggar was, in reality, the Shepherd leading him out from the barren wilderness of Judaism to the green pastures of Christianity.” Christ in this text is contrasting the false shepherds of the Pharisees just mentioned to Himself. “Verily” is expanding the teaching of the miracle and bringing forth a deeper meaning to what had just happened. Arthur W. Pink, EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL of JOHN, 1Vol. unabridged version, p. 511, Zondervan pub., 1975, emphasis added. James Boice concurs, “What is the context? Well, obviously, the context is to be found in the preceding chapter in the story of the man born blind and in his mistreatment by those who were the leaders of the people. I say this is obvious because of the absence of any transitional words at the beginning of chapter 10. When John indicates a transition either geographically or in time he usually says something like ‘after these things,’ ‘after this,’ “on the next day,’ or ‘as Jesus passed by.’ Here the words of Jesus flow on immediately after his comments about the Pharisees at the end of chapter 9 and therefore are related to them.” As soon as we recognize this, we recognize that the thieves and robbers must refer to the false shepherds of Israel (the Pharisees) and that the sheepfold represents Judaism. The ones who hear Christ’s voice and respond to His call are those of His own who are within Israel, of whom the man born blind is an example.” James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John An Expositional Commentary Five Volumes In one, Zondervan pub.[emphasis MJS], 629-630, emphasis added.
Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, END TIMES CONTROVERSY THE SECOND COMING UNDER ATTACK, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 87, emphasis added.
 Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, Third edition 2009), 219-220, emphasis added