A BIBLICAL AND FULL PRETERIST DEFENSE OF HOW THE SABBATH, COMMUNION & BAPTISM ARE SPIRITUALLY FULFILLED TODAY IN THE NEW COVENANT AGE – LEGALISM & RITUALISM DE-THRONED

Introduction: 

I have been a Christian now for thirty-three years and have watched churches and denominations split over their views of the sabbath, communion and baptism – even to the point of referring to other groups as “legalists” or “Antinomian” (and thus doubting their salvation).   The churches split on eschatology is also rampant and most do not understand the link between their bad eschatology which perpetuates the various divisions on the sabbath, communion and baptism.  While this article will be exegetical, it’s long term goal will be to bring unity and peace over these four issues (as much as is possible).  In the initial stages mediating views serve only to make other sides angry with them, but as time goes on, they demonstrate where various sides are both wrong and right on the various issues or texts involved and bring healing and unity.

I.  SABBATH(S):

Paul in Colossians exhorts the Gentile believers to not be under the “bondage” of the “elements” that the Judaizers were trying to impost upon them such as Old Covenant Sabbath days, food regulations, and proselyte circumcision and baptism (Cols. 1-3). Per Pauline theology, these were simply types and shadows of the Old Covenant Law that had been fulfilled in Christ, were continuing to be fulfilled, and was about to be fulfilled at Christ’s imminent Second Coming.  In other word’s they were all fulfilled and being fulfilled in Christ’s New Covenant spiritual salvation.  While it may be debated that Jewish believers continued in obeying some aspects of the civil and ceremonial laws prior to its “heaven and earth passing away” in AD 70 (Mt. 5:17-19), Paul is very clear that Gentile believers did not have to be placed under the bondage of such regulations – let alone for justification.

Various Kinds of Old Covenant Sabbaths

Under the Old Covenant there was the seventh day sabbath, a sabbath for the land to be implemented every seven years and then every forty-nine years as well as sabbaths connected to new moons and various feasts of Israel (Ex. 31:13; Lev. 16:29-31; Lev. 19:3; Lev. 23-26).

Did the Church Worship on Saturday (the seventh day of the week) or Sunday (the first day of the week) – and did Sunday Take the Place of a Literal Sabbath to be Obeyed Today?          

The early Church met on both Saturday and Sundays.

Saturdays

For example, it was Paul and the Apostle’s “custom” to meet with the Jews on Saturday (the Jewish sabbath) in their synagogues because this is when they gathered to discuss theology – and thus a great opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them (Acts 13:14-16, 44; Acts 15:21; Acts 16:13; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4).

Paul was not preaching in the OT temple on the Jewish Sabbath, but rather in the synagogues which began in the Babylonian captivity.  This was brought about through the traditions of the Rabbi’s and was not a part of the OT law.  But due to Paul being a Jew, he very well may have obeyed the Sabbath before the entire Old Covenant system passed away in AD 70 (Mt. 5:17-19).  Either way, there is no exegetical support that Gentile Christians were to obey the Sabbath before or after AD 70.

Sundays   

The early Church also met from house to house on the first day of the week (Sundays) because this was the day Christ rose from the dead.  On this day they broke bread (had a potluck meal or “love feast”), preached the Word, prayed, fellowshipped and gathered financial support for the poor and needs of those in other churches (John 20:19; Luke 24:1-2, 21; Acts 2:44-46; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2, 20; 2 Pet. 2:13; Jude 1:12; Rms. 16:16; 1 Thess. 5:26).  This seems only logical since it was on a Sunday that Christ rose, preached how He fulfilled the Law and Prophets, had a meal with the disciples, commissioned them to preach the gospel, and the day they received some aspect of the Spirit (Lk. 24:27; John 20:20-23).

Paul is very clear in that no man was to judge Gentile Christians (by the rituals of the Law and their traditions they built around it) in “respect of an holyday, or of the new moon (first day of the month festival) or of the Sabbath days” (Cols. 1:16).

Eschatology and Sabbath Rest in the New Covenant

The Seventy Sevens Promised Sabbath Rest (Daniel 9:24-27)

When Israel disobeyed the covenant (and disobeying the sabbath rests for the land and the poor) 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).

Typological Considerations – Cyrus a Type of Christ:

The first “anointed” ruler of the seventy sevens prophecy which is dealing with the 49 years (7 x 7) is dealing with the rise of Cyrus and the restoration back into the land which would occur through him – functioning as a type of Christ.  The second “anointed” is Messiah/Jesus who would give His New Covenant Zion sabbath rest in the “heavenly land” at His “in a very little while” and would “not be delayed” Second Coming in AD 70 (Heb. 3-4; 9-13:14YLT).

  • 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 (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

1). Seven of Days (7 days) — Work six days rest on the seventh (Gen. 1:31-2:3Ex. 31:12-17).

2). Seven of Weeks (49 days) — Time between the feast of First Fruits and the feast of Pentecost (Deut. 16:9-12Lev. 23:15-16).

3). Seven of Months (7 months) — The seven months of the Jewish religious calendar which contain all seven of the Jewish feasts (Deut. 16Lev. 23).

*** The four 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).

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 the four kingdoms in Daniel 7 and earlier in chapter 2.  The Jews of the first century interpreted the passage to have the 70 years of Babylonian captivity 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 the true and New Covenant restoration under Messiah would be achieved (of which Ezra and Nehemiah only typified).  The 70 years of Babylonian captivity times 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.   Yeshua was only developing what He revealed to Daniel, when he prophesied a spiritual kingdom (Dan. 2 and 7).  Not only this, but it was clear from their own prophets that they would not be able to “discern” their own “end” when it would drawn “near” in a particular “last days” “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.  The same carnal and physical expectations of the Messianic Kingdom has also caused my opponent Dr. Michael Brown (and most of the Church today) to have a delayed 2,000 plus years and counting arrival of the kingdom and ignore or re-define NT imminence.

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 recognizedImmense 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 correctly sees the document including 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 book 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).

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 below). 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) Sometime 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 – Luke 4:16-30.

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.  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, 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, To preach THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.  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. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The message in Luke 4:19 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 Luke 4:18 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 Sabbath Cycle of Isiah 61-63/Luke 4

Many scholars today use the phrase “the already and not yet” and yet refuse to submit to the inspired time frame of this period of NT eschatology and that the “not yet” was genuinely and literally “near” and would “not be delayed” (i.e. fulfilled in AD 70):

TOPIC “THE ALREADY– TRANSFORMING/RISING– AND IMMINENT NOT YET”
Death “…the death is being destroyed”(1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT) AND 1 Cor. 15:54-55
Body / Resurrection / Image Ephs. 2:6“…is giving it a body”“…it is being sown…”

“…it is being raised in glory…”

“…it is being raised in power…”

“…it is being sown…”“…it is being raised…”(1 Cor. 15:32, 38, 43)“…becoming conformed…”(Phil. 3:21YLT)“…are being transformed”(2 Cor. 3:18)

AND 1 Cor. 15:52-53Heb. 11:35-40Acts 24:15YLT“about to be
World /Heavens & Earth / New Creation  “…are being destroyed/dissolved.”(2 Pet. 3:11)“…this world is passing away.”(1 Cor. 7:31)“The world is passing away…”(1 Jn. 2:17)2 Cor. 5:17 AND 2 Pet. 31 Pet. 4:5-7, 17“end of all things is near”1 Jn. 2:18 “last hour”Rev. 21–22:7, 10, 20“at hand” “soon
New Jerusalem “coming down”(Rev. 3:12 NIV) AND Rev. 21:1ff.Heb. 13:14YLT“about to come
Kingdom “receiving a kingdom”(Heb. 12:28) AND Lk. 21:31-32 “this generation” “near
Salvation “being saved” (2 Cor. 2:15) AND Rms. 13:11-12       “at hand” “nearer”
Grace Rms. 5:2 AND 1 Pet. 1:13
Forgiveness of sin 1 Jn. 2:12 AND Rms. 11:25-27Heb. 9–10:37
Righteousness / Justification Jms. 5:16Rms. 3-4; 8:30 AND Gals. 5:5YLTRms. 4:23-24YLT“about to
Inheritance Ephs. 1:11 AND Cols. 3:23-24
Sanctification 1 Cor. 6:11 AND 1 Thess. 5:23
Adoption / Redemption Gal. 4:4-6Ephs. 1:7 AND Rms. 8:18-23YLT “about to be”Lk. 21:28-32 “this generation” “near
Glorification Rms. 8:30 AND Rms. 8:18 YLT“about to be revealed
Eternal life 1 Jn. 5:13 AND Mrk. 10:30
Enemies Ephs. 1:21-22 AND Heb. 10:13-27-37“…about to consume enemies
Old Covenant age / New Covenant age – 40 yrs. Transition “passing away” “increasing” “about to come” (2 Cor. 3:7-18/Heb. 8:13; Mt. 12:32/Ephs. 1:20YLT AND Heb. 8:13 “ready to vanish;”Mt. 13:39-43;Mt. 24:3, 14; “this generation” “near

I should briefly address those such as Dr. Michael Heiser whom point out that Yeshua did not quote the “day of vengeance” when he opened up Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:18 — this allegedly proving a 2,000 plus “already and not yet” period or gap.

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.  Dr. Brown hates when Full Preterist’s use this approach but if you ever watch Dr. Brown lecture on Yeshua quoting from Psalm 22, you will see Dr. Brown develop the entire context of the Psalm – which was Yeshua’s desire.

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 issue that 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.  The last 3.5 years of the 7 was fulfilled between AD 66 – AD 70.

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 Sabbath 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 Sabbath 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 – and DID.

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 Sabbath 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

Visio-Eschatology-chronomessianism

No matter how you look at it, the Jews were expecting Messiah to arrive during the Roman Empire and during the 10th Jubilee Sabbath 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)?!?

Yeshua fulfilled all of the seven feast days and the “climatic” second exodus generation between AD 26 – AD 66-AD 70.

Let’s now examine the six events listed in Daniel 9:24 and show how they were fulfilled by AD 70.  We will begin with “seal vision and prophet or prophecy” since this is most relevant to the debate of “prophecy” “passing away” in AD 70 per (1 Cor. 13:8-12).

1).  “Seal Vision and Prophecy/Prophet”

Here are some relevant quotes which demonstrate when Daniel’s seventy weeks would be fulfilled, is when the gift and office of prophecy and prophet would “stop” or “end”:

  • “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).
  • “…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).
  • “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).

Daniel 9:24-27 – The “Already & Not Yet” fulfilled by AD 70  

2).  To Finish or “fill up” the transgression and rebellion of Israel’s Sin

Agreeing with Smith, Dr. Brown understands this to mean, “Within the 490 years period the people of Israel would commit their final transgression against God.  Jesus indicated that the leaders of his generationwere about to fill up the measure of the sin of their forefathers (Matt. 23:32)…” (Michael Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 3, 93). The book of Revelation teaches the same time period for the vindication of the martyrs and the judgment of the dead (i.e. AD 70).  The martyrs would be avenged in “a very little while” when OC Jerusalem/Babylon was judged “soon” for putting to death the Apostles and Prophets (Rev. 6:10-11; 11–22:7-12). 

3) — 4).  Put an end to sin or atone for wickedness (covering over of iniquity)

In the book of Hebrews, Christ as the Anointed Great High Priest put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while and would not delay” “Second Appearing” 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.).  As being or in the New Creation, our sins are remembered no more, covered in the depths of the sea and then removed positionally in Christ (Isa. 65-66/2 Cor. 5:17; Mic. 7:19).

5).  To bring in everlasting righteousness

According to Peter, the inheritance the OT prophets predicted in the form of the New Creation or “world of righteousness” was “ready to be revealed” and thus “the end of all things” was “at hand” (1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7).  According to Paul, “…[righteousness] is/was about to be reckoned  (Rom. 4:24) and “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope” (Gal. 5:5).  This “hope” Paul defines as, “Christ in you the hope of glory (Cols. 1:27; Lk. 17:20-37).

6).  To anoint the Most Holy Place – Hag. 2:6-9- AJOJ, Vol. 1, p. 75ff. 

In Dr. Brown’s lectures and writings he claims this prophecy and those of Ezekiel, can refer to the Church as the spiritual millennial Temple, Levitical Priesthood and Sacrifices of Ezekiel 37:27; 40—48 / 2 Cor. 6:16; Jn. 7:37-39 or a physical millennial temple with a literal priesthood and sacrifices as the climax of redemptive history.

But obviously it can’t be both and the inspired “time frame” of Daniel 9:24-27 requires the spiritual fulfillment by AD 70! The truth is the New Jerusalem is the New Covenant “Jerusalem from above” of (Galatians 4) and is in the shape of a perfect cube because it is God’s Most Holy Place dwelling which was in the process of “coming down” and would “soon” come down to earth at Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming event in AD 70 (Rev. 3:11-12NIV—Rev. 21:16—22:20). God placed His “glory/presence” in this Temple at His Parousia/presence in AD 70.  “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Cols. 1:27).

It is in the New Jerusalem or the Most Holy Place dwelling of God (the Church) where God’s glory, righteousness and presence resides.  It is this Most Holy Place Temple that fulfills Haggai 2:6-9 where it is stated, “the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,” and functions as the “desire of the nations.” It is here where God grants “peace” that surpasses all understanding.  The “nations” come through the gates of this City/Temple for healing in Revelation 22:17 AFTER the ”soon” Second Coming was fulfilled.  God “shook” the Old Covenant Kingdom or Mount Sinai made of things that were created in AD 70 and brought to maturity the  spiritual New Covenant mount Zion that “cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:18-28).  And the author tells us when this Most Holy Place City would arrive, “For here [in physical Jerusalem] we do not have an enduring or eternal city, but we are looking for the city that is about to come.” (Heb. 13:14YLT).

My calculations are on the left using a count for the Jubilee to be every 50 years.  Using my calculation, Yeshua opens the scroll of Isaiah 61 in Luke 4 during a Jubilee Sabbath year somewhere between AD 26/28 at the beginning of His ministry and fulfills the entire 10th and final cycle of events between AD 26 — AD 66-70.  The two columns on the right are Margaret Barker’s calculations counting a Jubilee to be every 49 years.

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1). AD 26/28 — Yeshua begins fulfilling the soteriological (Lk. 4/Isa. 61) and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee and is “cut off” – inaugurating the 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 “Day(s) of vengeance” (Lk. 21:22-32/Isa. 61:2) which ends the OC age and brings to maturity the NC age — last half of Daniel’s “7” 

Concluding the Sabbaths 

Many Seventh Day Adventists and Reformed theologians tell us that the Saturday “sabbath” or Sunday “sabbath” is binding upon us today because all the OT law has not been fulfilled, heaven and earth has not passed away (Mt. 5:17-19, or the Second Coming and arrival of the New Creation rest has not come (2 Pet. 3/Rev. 21-22).  As this article has demonstrated along with my co-authored book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…, these “arguments” have been put to rest because these promises have indeed been fulfilled!   

Under the mature New Covenant age today we can rest in Christ’s fully established salvation.  “In Christ,” we have entered into God’s fully established Jubilee Sabbath Rest.     

II.  COMMUNION / CRACKERS & GRAPE JUICE / THE LORD’S SUPPER

Introduction

Legalistic churches seek to control their people by church membership, obeying the “sabbath,” and of course they can’t miss the weekly partaking of the crackers and grape juice and the silent prayers remembering the Lord’s death.  We shall now examine what it is to feast on food and drink in the New Covenant Kingdom or Passover today.

The New Covenant fulfillment of Passover has nothing to do with celebrating Easter yearly or partaking of crackers and grape juice weekly, monthly or whenever.

Church historians tell us that the Lord’s Supper in Corinthians was the same thing as the “Love Feasts” (or potlucks) the Church partook of on Sundays from “house to house” to benefit the poor (ex. Acts 2:46-47; Jude 1:12; 2 Pet. 2:13; 1 Cor. 11).  But by 158AD most of the church were poor and met underground, in catacombs and or caves – exchanging very little bread and wine.  This “tradition” was then made into the “ritual” of our modernday Evangelical “communion.”

Through the first physical and typological Passover God baptized Israel “into Moses” and they became a corporate and Old Covenant body or “house” of which Moses was the head and faithful mediator of (1 Cor. 10:2; Heb. 3:1-6).  This was filled with physical OC symbols and rituals pointing to the spiritual NC Kingdom to come.

The spiritual anti-type is fulfilled in Christ being the Passover Lamb and establishing & building His spiritual corporate and New Covenant “body” or “house/temple” which is the Church.

Feasting on Food and Drink in the New Covenant Age – as Prophesied in the Old Testament 

Isaiah 25:6-8:  

“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever;”

Isaiah 55:1:  

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wineand milk without money and without price.”

Isaiah 65:12-14:

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

The New Covenant gospel would be characterized with a spiritualfeasting and drinking in the Messianic Kingdom.  This being the case, and since Jesus came to fulfill “all” the OT law and prophets (Mt. 5:17-18), we must first look at how Jesus saw these promises being fulfilled in and through Him.

Jesus and Feasting and Drinking

John 6:23-71: 

In reading John 6 we come away learning that eating “food” = “eternal life” and that Jesus is the “true bread” “bread of life” “from heaven” (vss. 27, 32-35).  The “bread” He gives is the “bread” of His “flesh” (v. 51). He who eats His “flesh=bread” and drinks His “blood” has “eternal life” (vss. 53-58).  These “words” or teachings “are spirit (spiritual) and life.”

Spiritually eating and drinking produces spiritual & eternal life- no physical fulfillment here.

Matthew 4:4 / John 4:34:

Believing in or doing the WORD or works of God is to “eat” from the mouth of God. Again, a spiritual fulfillment and not a physical eating or drinking found in these passages.

Matthew 8:11-12:

“I Tell you, many will come from east and west (Gentiles) and recline at tablewith Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness.”

Since Jesus is referring to the wedding feast of Isaiah 25:6-9, we need to harmonize what the commentaries and theologians have said of Matthew 8:11-12 / Isaiah 25:6-9 and the eschatological wedding feast.

Kenneth Gentry writes,

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

D.A. Carson writes,

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

Bloomberg writes,

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

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

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

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

Matthew 22:1-14:

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

Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,

“Here the first servant-messengers (another reference to the prophets, no doubt) were simply ignored. Another wave of servant-messengers (more prophets) are treated as such a nuisance that while some still ignored them, “the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (v. 6). Jesus is certainly adding [the murdering of the servants or prophets] here as part of the same indictment of Jerusalem He would give again in (Matt. 23:34-36).” “The murderers were the entire generation of Israelites….” “…the armies would set the murderers’ city on fire (again exactly what happened in AD 70).”

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

Strengths:

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

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

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 25:1-13:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Context of Isaiah 25:6-9

“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines. 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 All Together “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 #3: 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.

Luke 22:15-30:

“And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God (cf. Lk. 17:20-37 – when He is revealed from heaven it will be “within” them / Lk. 21:27-32 when He and the Kingdom come in their generation).”  17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.  24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table (a physical table?) in my kingdom and sit (physically?) on thrones (physically?), judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

What I find interesting here is that both Partial Preterism and Full Preterism see verses 29-30 — that is “eating and drinking at the table” and “sitting on thrones” judging Israel in the “Kingdom” as metaphorical (non-physical) language, but many still want a PHYSICAL “eating” and sitting down on the pews with the Pastor up front at the “table” serving up literal crackers and grape juice for “communion” — so as to keep the false doctrine of the ritualists such as the Judaizers and Roman Catholic Church alive and well.

Here’s another way of looking at these passages:

A = (Lk. 22:15-18) – Kingdom=eating=drinking.

B = (Lk. 22:29-30) – Kingdom=eating=drinking.

Major Premise:  The AD 30 – AD 70 arrival of the New Covenant spiritual “kingdom” in (Luke 22:15-18; 29-30) are the same spiritual kingdom fulfillment.

Minor Premise:  But Partial and Full Preterism agree the AD30– AD 70 arrival of the kingdom in (Lk. 22:29-30) is spiritually fulfilled and not a physical “eating,” “drinking” or “ruling” on physical “thrones.”

Conclusion:  Therefore, the AD 30 –AD 70 “kingdom,” “eating” & “drinking” of (Lk. 22:15-18) is also “fulfilled” spiritually and need not to be referring to a literal “table” with “crackers and grape juice.

It is important to point out the obvious in that Jesus’ “Last Supper” with His disciples was literally His last Old Covenant “Last Passover” with them. What follows from Jesus at this point has nothing to do with a weekly or monthly partaking of “crackers and grape juice” or a Roman Catholic yearly “Easter” celebration.

The Passover lamb was picked out and inspected for 5 days to see if it had any defects. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey 5 days before Passover — before offering Himself as the spotless Lamb of God for His Church (the New Covenant “Israel of God”).

Israelites were to have their lamb for some time and become attached to it. Then they were to have it offered at the temple court by the priests who would collect the blood and sprinkle it on the altar.  Then they would take the lamb home and eat of it. Jesus spent 3 ½ years with His disciples which was His family and after riding in on a donkey spent the four or five days prior to Passover teaching once again in the Temple so that Israel would once again know Him and His doctrine – before they would offer Him up.  It was now time to take the sin of His New Covenant Israel of God (Gals. 6) upon Himself and then have them consume His flesh (cf. as in John 6) by believing in and then following and teaching His doctrine of being the Churches New Covenant propitiation.

Jews regularly acted out their covenants and contracts and this is exactly what Jesus does by lifting up the bread and breaking it as His body and lifting up the cup and identifying it as His blood shed for them in order to establish the New Covenant.

The Four Cups of the Passover

While Matthew, Mark and Luke portray Jesus and the disciples as parting of the Passover to be the “last supper,” John’s Gospel seems to portray it more as a preparatory meal before the Passover supper. For in John’s account Christ is crucified at 3:00pm when the lambs are being offered in the Temple area. The “preparations” before the Passover was still technically seen to fall within the “Passover”

period:  http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/john/john_13_01_last-supper.htm?fbclid=IwAR0nRWM9M5P2PW5Xx2uprkNeXDqV814CoOepaxP5KGVKaHg_PdhFSkSQPMM.

Either way, to be thorough, let me address the typology of the 4 cups. We don’t know exactly how the Passover was kept in Jesus’ day and even this tradition of the four cups may or may not have been practiced pre-AD 70. But let’s address them since many Futurists think the fourth cup is referring to a literal future “rapture” instead of the New Covenant “within” rapture that took place at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70.

Some Jewish tradtions have identified the drinking of the four cups to the four historical redemptions of the Jewish people: 1. the choosing of Abraham, 2. the Exodus from Egypt, 3. the survival of the Jewish people throughout the exile, and 4. with what will be fulfilled at the end of days. But there is more clarity found in the passage from which it is derived.

After the lighting of the candles (God and His Word guiding Israel), the four cups of wine portion of the feast would begin. The leader of the family would then say, “As we read through the Haggadah, we will drink of ‘cup of the fruit of the vine,’ four times. These four cups stand for the four “I wills” that are recorded in Exodus 6:6-7:

“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

This is a basic outline of how God would redeem Israel through the Exodus and establish them in His house (the Promised Land).

  1. The words, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” was understood to be the cup of sanctification. God was setting Israel apart to be His elect nation among the other nations and thus they were to set apart themselves to obey Him.
  1. The words, “I will deliver you from slavery to them” was identified as the cup of judgment or deliverance.
  1. The words, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” was known to be the cup of redemption or even identified as drinking the “blood of the lamb.”
  1. The words, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God” was understood to be communicating the cup of joy and restoration. There would be much joy when God took and restored Israel as His wife by establishing them in the Promised Land (His home) to be His Kingdom.

K&D comments upon this passage,

“This assurance, which God would carry out by the manifestation of His nature as expressed in the name Jehovah, contained three distinct elements: (a) the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, which, because so utterly different from all outward appearances, is described in three parallel clauses: bringing them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians; saving them from their bondage; and redeeming them with a stretched-out arm and with great judgments; – (b) the adoption of Israel as the nation of God; – (c) the guidance of Israel into the land promised to the fathers (Exodus 6:6-8). נטוּיה זרוע, a stretched-out arm, is most appropriately connected with גּדלים שׁפטים, great judgments; for God raises, stretches out His arm, when He proceeds in judgment to smite the rebellious.”

The Third Cup – the Blood of the Lamb – Inauguration of the New Covenant

When Jesus identifies the “cup” He drinks with the disciples as “His blood” of the New Covenant, this is the third cup of redemption known as the “blood of the lamb.” Clearly this is the “already” of soteriology / eschatology or the cross. Also in the Jewish betrothal ceremony the groom and the betrothed would initiate the covenant by drinking wine from each others cups – symbolizing they were entering into a covenant to be one blood and body.

The early church did partake of the “cup” of His suffering in that the martyrs suffering was avenged in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” and “in a little while” at His “soon” Second Coming in AD 70 (Mt. 23-25 / Rev. 6). They were “sheep led to the slaughter” and Paul “filled up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ” (Rms. 8; Cols. 1).

And we partake of this cup and eat the bitter herbs when we pick up our cross, deny self and daily follow our Lord as we meditate upon Him taking our bitter sin upon Himself.

As Noah’s ark was covered within and without with red pitch to protect it from the wrath of the water raining down upon them, so we are covered in the blood of Christ within and without – by having His righteousness imputed to our account and thus saturating us and changing our condition to be holy in His sight.

The Singing of Psalm 118 Between the Third and Fourth Cups & Jesus’ Use of it in Matthew 21:43-45 & 23:39

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

This was commonly known as one of the “Songs of Ascent” sung at the three annual feasts.  This Psalm was read and sung between the drinking of the third and fourth cups at Passover.

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 on their feast days, but God turned it into a “stage work” for their judgment (not the judgment of their enemies). 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). In essence, God was forcing them to welcome their own judgment (in song form). Instead of being met and welcoming pilgrims for the feasts (seeking peace and salvation), they were met with and forced to welcome, God coming in judgment through the Roman armies (as God had “come” in the OT – through the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…).

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

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

Three simple points:

  1. Since Jesus used Psalm 118 elsewhere in Matthew to refer to the judgment coming in AD 70, this points us in the direction that He is using Psalm 118 in Matt. 23:39 to the same event.
  1. The immediate context of Matt. 23-24 points to AD 70. It is this discussion of Christ “coming” in their (AD 30 – AD 70) “this generation” to destroy their “house” or “Temple” which spurs on a continued discussion regarding the SAME “coming,” the SAME time frame “this generation,” for the destruction of the SAME “Temple.” It is common place for commentators to acknowledge that the disciples understood the Temple’s destruction to take place at Christ’s coming at the end of the age. However, these same commentators based upon a futurist bias claim the disciples were “mistaken” to connect these events. The disciples “understood” Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” (Matt. 13:39-51) and when we identify the “end of the age” to be the end of the Old Covenant age instead of the end of world history, all three (Temple’s destruction, coming of Christ, and end of the age) fall naturally within the “this generation” time frame.
  1. Their “stumbling” over Christ produced a “strange work” (Isa. 28:21, etc… – God would come to judge them not deliver them – thus Jesus’ irony in using a song of salvation for their judgment)!

When the Jews said, “His blood be upon us and our children,” the Passover blood of Christ would be poured out upon them when they would be sining Psalm 118 — and welcoming that very judgment!  The blood of Christ covered/baptized the New Covenant “Israel of God” in a way that produced salvation and the cleansing of the conscience, but for Old Covenant Israel in rejecting their true Passover Lamb, they would be covered/baptized in His blood in an entirely different way in AD 70.

The Fourth Cup – the Consummation of the Kingdom and the Inner “Rapture” (Greek Harpazo)

The fourth cup that Jesus will drink “anew” with the disciples “in the kingdom” is the soteriological / eschatological “not yet.” The Hebrew word for “take” is laqach and has a similar meaning to harpazo in the Greek — in that it was related to taking a wife to oneself, taking spoil from an enemy, taking one up in a vision, etc… At Christ’s parousia in AD 70, He consummated the betrothal process and He and the Father have made Their home within us. His banner over us is love and He makes His beloved’s cup run over with joy and gladness today in the Kingdom. Every day is a spiritual wedding feast or Jubilee Sabbath Rest “In Christ.” Selah.

So how then is the Church to take the Lord’s Supper “anew” today in the Kingdom post AD 70? According to John 14, the Father and the Son have made their dwelling/home within us and dine/eat/fellowship with us spiritually. We have inherited and partake of Christ as the “hidden manna.” We continue to partake or eat of Christ spiritually but in a fulfilled sense. Pre-AD 70 the Church partook of Christ spiritually realizing that He baptized them (covered over stained them) with the blood and had sprinkled their hearts and conscience with it. This was in anticipation of Him coming “in a very little while” and would “not delay” to close the Old Covenant age – that is come from the heavenly Temple to make His home “within” them and bring maturity to the New Covenant (Heb. 9:26-28–10:37; Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32; Jn. 14).

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver believers from their persecutions and pour out His wrath upon their persecutors (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7). When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal. Therefore, the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18–22).

What we have then in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities —the transcendent profundities of Christological glory in and among the saints in the consummation of the ages.  If this sounds like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal removal of the church out of the world:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

The “rapture” passage is no more literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4–14. In that passage, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together. He attached tendons to them and put skin

on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel.  They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel.

In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection-harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement.  As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His power. They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). That is when God afflicted the persecutors of His church, when He gave His people relief and glorified Himself in them (2 Thess. 1:8–10).

Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 Jn 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed. It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal Tabernacle, His spiritual Body, the New Man, the heavenly Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem in the Spirit. “This mystery is great” (Eph. 5:32), and is therefore communicated in the accommodative “sign language” of prophetic metaphor.

Since our Lord came “with His saints” and destroyed the earthly temple in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11–12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10). This

was not the case in the Old Testament, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God. As Paul says in Romans 14:8–9, “ . . . whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” 

“According to the Lord’s own word” (1 Thess. 4:15)

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4-5 Fulfilled in AD 70
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
6.  Use of contemporary “you” and parousia to be fulfilled in their contemporary generation (24:34) 6.  Use of contemporary “we” and parousia expected while some are still alive (4:15)
7.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 7.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
8.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 8.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
9.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 9.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
10.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 10.  Birth pains (5:3)
11.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 11.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
12.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 12.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
13.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 13.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
14.  The Day, Sunlight (bright light) shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 14.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

The fact that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD not only destroys the two comings theory of Postmillennial Partial Preterism, but the two comings theory of John MacArthur’s Pre-trib. Dispensationalism.

Add to the mix that NT scholars such as N.T. Wright are seeing that the language of BOTH Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 are not to be take physically or having anything to do with “Christians flying around in mid-air on clouds” because the genre is more “apocalyptic” and contains “metaphors.”  (N.T. Wright, THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, 215).

Major Premise:  The One Second Coming event of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 is ONE and the same eschatological event (Historic Premillennialism / Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree).

Minor Premise:  But the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree).

Conclusion / “Reformed and Always Reforming”:  The ONE Second Coming of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

“Gathered up” – Harpazo (1 Thess. 4:17)

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving it a theological and parallel connection to the eschatological gathering of (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:30-31 & 2 Thess. 2:1). Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.”

Harpazo means to “take one’s plunder openly and violently,” “catch or snatch away.” Liddel-Scott gives an additional meaning – “to captivate” or “ravish” – here is an example from me – “I was so captivated or enraptured (inwardly) by my wife’s beauty, that I didn’t realize what time it was.” But is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 discussing an inward or outward and upward catching away and ravishing of God’s people into the glory cloud of His kingdom?

Here are some very clear uses of harpazo:

Matthew 12:29 – Satan was “bound” and Christ was “carrying away” (harpazo) his plunder which were people that were rightfully his (that is Christ’s) held captive by Satan and demons. But how was He doing this? It was by casting out demons (an inward reality), and in some cases actually giving faith to these individuals to follow him (again an inward reality).

Matthew 11:12 – “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing (Christ casting out demons openly and publicly taking Satan’s plunder), and (in return) the forceful men (believers) lay hold of it(harpazo – through faith, vigor, power, and determination in light of present persecution – such as the case of John).

Matthew 13:19 – In the parable of the sower, the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart (again, an inner spiritual reality)

John 6:65 – “No one can come to me unless the Father has (Greek didómi) caused, drawn, dragged or enabled him.” A different Greek word is used here, but the concept is that God opens the heart first and inwardly drags/draws/causes the person to believe in Christ. Without this active inward rescuing and initiative from God, no one can believe. This is an inward “dragging.”

John 10:12 – “…the wolf (Pharisees sons of Satan) sought to snatch and scatter” the sheep/ people of Israel. How did the Pharisees seek to “snatch” and “scatter” the Jews from following Jesus? The first phase involved seeking to deceive them in their hearts and minds (an inward snatching) that He was not the Christ by perverting the Scriptures. The second phase was a physical excommunication or scattering of Christians from their synagogues.

John 10:28-29 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus cannot be “snatched” out of the Father’s hand. That is, that he cannot be influenced (snatched inwardly) in his or her mind and heart to leave God. Like Peter, “Where else can we go Lord, you alone have the words to eternal life.”

Acts 8:39 – This simply means that the Holy Spirit directed Philip in His heart and mind (inwardly) to go elsewhere and the Eunuch did not see him again. Nothing in the text to support that Philip was “raptured” into the atmosphere (waved to some birds) and was then dropped off miles and miles away from where they were.

The eschatological “already” of the inward kingdom gathering and catching away was spiritual and the eschatological “gathering” and “catching away” in the kingdom at Christ’s return would be at the end of the OC age in AD 70. But was this “not yet” aspect an inward event as well? Jesus said when the kingdom would come at His return to gather all His elect, that it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes—Luke 17:20-37/Luke 21:27-32/Matthew 24:30-31.

The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds…” (1 Thess. 4:17)

As I have demonstrated thus far (per the OT and NT prophets) Christ coming on the clouds is apocalyptic language and not referring to literal clouds.

To “meet” the Lord… (1 Thess. 4:17)

This Greek word to “meet” the Lord, is wedding language and is only used twice in the NT – here and in the wedding motif Jesus develops in Matthew 25:1-13 which Postmillennialists such as Mathison and DeMar are admitting was fulfilled in AD 70. In Jewish betrothal, it was customary for the groom to consummate his marriage sexually at her father’s house before taking her to his father’s house where they would continue consummating for seven days and having the feast. Again, since the wedding banquet follows the wedding in Jewish culture, AND the resurrection takes place at this time (cf. Isaiah 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:54-55), then Postmillennialists are now forced to concede that the ONE eschatological wedding and resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70, or teach that there are two weddings for the Church to match their two comings, resurrections and weddings with that of Dispensationalism’s version. Selah.

This Greek word for “meet” was also often used of a King or dignitary coming to make his home in a city in which his Empire or Kingdom had conquered. On the news of the imminent coming of the King or dignitary, the members of the city would go out of the city and “meet” him and escort him back to their home/town. The King’s presence is established WHERE the people already lived. Again, the imagery does not support a literal “rapture” of people off of planet earth, but rather of God coming to rule and reign in the hearts of His people where they are – living on planet earth.

“…in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17)

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)?

Strong’s Greek Dictionary, defines it as: “From “aemi”, to breath unconsciously, to respire.By analogy, to blow. The air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air.” So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.

The Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains lists (Eph 2:2; 1 Th 4:17; and Rev 16:17) in its definition of eros as meaning, “the space inhabited and controlled by [spiritual] powers.” The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says of Ephesians 2 – “…Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons.”

Ephesians 2 refers to Satan as the “Prince and Power of the AER.” He dwelt in the spiritual realm not the physical – flying through the literal clouds and sky with the birds. The war we see Christ and Satan fighting over in the NT is for the spiritual condition of men – within their hearts and minds. Paul goes on to say that Satan, “now works in the children of disobedience.” And consistently Jesus defines His kingdom as something that He is setting up “in” and “within” men and transforming them into His image spiritually.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possess” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His Ephs. 2:1-10. Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind, when He said, “It is finished” (Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15)! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70 and for those that put their faith in Him.

Had Paul meant to clearly communicate that believers would physically fly off the planet into the sky and atmosphere above, he would have used the Greek word “ouranos” which clearly states this as its meaning.

The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence “within” us. Just as we see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence with His Church here.

11 Problems for the Postmillennial or Literal Futurist or “Preterist” AD 70 Rapture or Resurrection Views

1). For Partial Preterist Ed Stevens – If the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Matthew 24:31 is allegedly “clear” and some kind of literal expectation, then he should be consistent with other Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Mike Bull and begin teaching that the resurrection language is also a literal expectation and therefore the dead were raised from their physical graves and the literal dust in AD 70 as well. And why not begin teaching that Jesus came physically in AD 70? And while carrying out this physical expectation he might as well “reason” and go all the way in his thinking and conclude that since the de-creation language in Matthew 24 also sounds like a literal expectation, that either the prediction failed (liberalism), or spiritualize the time statements and continue hoping for these literal expectations (Futurism). Futurism and the skeptic are his only choices at this point when he begins reasoning along these lines.

2). Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” in 2 Thessalonians 2 by simply saying, “Aren’t you still here and the dead still in their graves? Obviously, He has not come!” But since Paul did not hold to the literal rapture view or a literal resurrection view attended with Christ’s parousia, and was a real Full Preterist, he did not argue in such a way.

3). The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15 of which there are Christian survivors (66:19) whom are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the New Creation and New Covenant age.

4). In Mark 8:38-9:1 the Greek is different than Matthew 16:27-28 and actually teaches that those that were alive to witness Christ’s coming would be able to look back (while still alive) on the historical events of Him coming in power and great glory in the destruction of Jerusalem and thus know that He had “already come.”

5). After Christ and the Father come and make their home (dwelling mone John 14:2, 23) within the believer, they are told, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (14:29). If they were literally raptured, I don’t think they would need to be reminded to believe that it had been fulfilled! These words make more sense if it was a spiritual fulfillment that could not be seen with the literal eyes and to be realized “within” (cf. Lk. 17:20-37).

6) Contrary Russell, Terry, Stevens, Bull and others — Jesus of course promised not to remove the Church off of planet earth (John 17:15).

7). Church history tells us that Christians were not raptured but fled to Pella. Church history tells us that the Apostle John was still alive during Domician’s reign in the mid AD 90’s and that Timothy, Titus, and Luke lived beyond AD 70. Stevens claims not all the Christians were raptured, only the super spiritual ones — the others were apparently unfaithful “sleepers” he claims. Odd, that Stevens claims to be a Calvinist and teaches such non-sense as the carnal Christian heresy! So I guess according to this heretical view, John, Timothy, Titus, and Luke became unfaithful “sleepers” and missed the rapture of the faithful. Oh boy!

8). If there was a literal resurrection in AD 70 to go along with a literal rapture, we have to wonder how everyone missed recording that “all” the righteous and unrighteous dead were literally raised from the dust of the earth in fulfillment of Daniel 12:2/Acts 24:15YLT/John 5:28-29/Rev. 20:5-15 along with tens of thousands of living Christians that just simply disappeared?!?

They have tried to avoid this by claiming there was a small number of faithful Christians that were “raptured” and not all the dead were raised in AD 70. But obviously this is NOT what Daniel 12:2 says, nor is this how it is developed in the NT. David Green writes concerning the world “many” in Daniel 12:2,

“Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the “many” in Daniel 12:2 referred to the whole company of all the dead from Adam to the Last Day.” (HD, 178).

9). If the “gathering” and “catching away” of Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 were the same event and if the “gathering” of Matthew 24:31 and Matthew 13:39-43 are the same event, then why weren’t the “wicked” “tares” or “weeds” “gathered” (i.e. “raptured”) off of planet earth (the same way the wheat were “gathered” into the kingdom) in AD 70 and thrown into the fire and judged (the Lake of Fire)?

10). During the OC to NC AD 30 – AD 70 transition period, we have the “already—becoming/transforming—and not yet” process of salvation and resurrection taking place. If a physical transformation of the literal living or the dead was the eschatological goal of the parousia, then why weren’t the living physically being “transformed” and literally “seeing” God’s face in some way before He came? Why weren’t they physically glowing a little before they were totally transformed into the NC glory they were receiving by AD 66? How was “the death being destroyed” and the dead “being raised” physically in 1 Corinthians 15 prior to the parousia?

11). Ed’s main premise for believing a literal rapture is because we don’t have any early church fathers teaching the parousia or Second Coming was fulfilled in AD 70. Ed claims he “lost sleep” over this subject and God showed him that the literal rapture solves his sleep problem. Of course Partial Preterists don’t have any early church fathers teaching that Babylon was OC Jerusalem or that Matthew 24:31 or 25:31 was Christ’s coming in AD 70 either. The Reformed church didn’t have any early writings about forensic justification by faith alone prior to Luther. Did Ed loose sleep over those things?

But Ed saws off the branch he is sitting on when we point out and ask – if Christians were literally raptured, and immediately after that, the Christian “sleepers” who were left repented of their sleepiness and started preaching the gospel—why didn’t they record the literal “rapture” of the faithful?!? It just gets more and more foolish. Literal rapturists argue the “sleepers” didn’t want to discuss or record God’s faithfulness in rapturing the faithful, because they would be persecuted. This is supposed to explain the reason for the silence. Well, if there was no literal rapture, then why couldn’t this same reasoning apply for the silence of those still alive on planet earth? Per the rapturist, the living were afraid of persecution. Their reasoning applies to both groups and solves no problem.

The bottom line – those that hate the truth concerning a spiritual fulfillment in AD 70 would not believe even if we had documentation of the event say in AD 85. They would simply reason, “Oh, this is when the gnostic heresy of Full Preterism began.” I don’t lose sleep over what the Word of God says – it actually strengthens my faith and gives me peace.

For my full article and exegesis of the “rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 go to: http://fullpreterism.com/my-ppw-conference-lecture-2-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-matthew-2430-31-1-thessalonians-415-17/

1 Corinthians 5:6-8:

Paulidentifies the Church as “a new lump” of “unleavened” bread. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17:

16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partakeof the one bread.

We partake in the New Covenant Passover when we eat the spiritual bread of Christ and drink the cup of His blood — as our source of eternal life. We participate and partake in the New Covenant Passover when we fellowship with each other as ONE body/bread – bearing each others burdens, weeping with those that weep, rejoicing with those who rejoice, comforting those with the comfort we have received from the Lord, etc….

1 Corinthians 11:17-33:

There are a few things we can take away from this passage:

  1. The “Lord’s Supper” is an entire meal (just as the Lord ate a meal to show the true meaning of the Passover in Luke 22).Not crackers & grape juice.
  2. Paul says they are not TRULY partaking of the Lord’s Supper, because they are DIVIDED and selfish (eating the poor’s food & getting drunk) – and therefore “not discerning the ONE Body of Christ.
  3. To share an entire meal together where we care for the poor is an opportunity to “show forth His death” [i.e. our UNION w/ Him].After He comes, the meal will take on a greater significance – the wedding feast [the 4th. Cup].

Concluding the Lord’s Supper

We come together as one body/bread and fellowship around the teaching of Christ delivering us from the bitter bondage of sin and death through His death, resurrection and Parousia.  We confess our sins one to another & encourage each other of who we are in Christ and to die to self daily.

We need to be active in the community and invite the poor to our fellowship to physically eat & hopefully God will open their hearts to feast upon Christ spiritually with us “anew ” in His Kingdom.

Let’s worship our King in “spirit and in truth” and make sure we don’t perpetuate the false worship of the Judaizers or Roman Catholic ritualistic “traditions” through “Easter” or “crackers & grape juice.”

III.  THE SPIRITUAL ONE NEW COVENANT BAPTISM 

Introduction

There is much confusion in the church today over baptism.  When we hear the word “baptism” we have been conditioned to think in terms of physical “water” and what is the mode today (emersion, dipping, pouring or sprinkling?).  Or, if we hear the term, “baptism of the Holy Spirit” we only think in terms of speaking in tongues and the miraculous (are they for today or have they ceased?).  This is very unfortunate in that the New Covenant baptism of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with physical water.  And while there was the miraculous associated with the New Covenant baptism of the Holy Spirit during the transition period (AD 30 – AD 70), this “one baptism” continues today and places believers in the “one body.”

Outline:

1).  Define baptism.

2).  Look at the various OT

types of baptisms & cleansings.

3).  The baptism of John

4).  The baptism of Jesus

5).  Paul’s doctrine on the NC “ONE

baptism”

6).  Peter and John on baptism.

7).  Hebrews and baptism.

8).  Luke and baptism in Acts

1).  Defining Baptismbaptizō, baptisma, baptismos, baptō

Means to cover, be influenced or overwhelmed (which can be through repetitive dipping or submerging) producing cleansing or a change of condition.

Pastor Jim Brown following Strongs points out that this was,

“…a common word used among the Greeks signifying to stain or dye a garment; the predominant signification of the word means to cover over with a stain or dye which produced a change of condition.”

Thayer adds:

it can mean identifying oneself in a person or his teachings such as Moses and the OC (1 Cor. 10:2), or Christ and the New Covenant which unites all believers into one body (1 Cor. 12:13), bringing them into fellowship with Christ (Gals. 3:28), imbuing them richly with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), and overwhelming unbelievers with fire in the day of judgment (Matthew 3:11). (Thayer, Joseph Henry, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm’s Wilke’s ClavisNovi Testamenti, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1951, 94-95).

After twenty years of studying these Greek words and how they are used inside and outside the Bible, James Dale concluded with this definition:

“…whatever is capable of thoroughly changing the character, state, or condition of any object, is capable of baptizing that object: and by such change of character, state, or condition does, in fact, baptize it.” (JOHANNIC BAPTISM AN INQUIRY INTO THE MEANING OF THE WORLD AS DETERMINED BY THE USAGE OF THE HOLY SCROPTURES, P&R, p. vi.)

Dr. Dale has traced the word Baptismos and its cognates to the causative agencies (and modes of action of course), suggested by the following record among others not here specified: 1. Baptism of wine, a drunken condition. 2. Baptism of war, a desolated condition. 3. Baptism of care, anxious condition. 4. Baptism of trouble, a harassed condition. 5. Baptism of passion, and excited condition. 6. Baptism of grief, a sorrowful condition. 7. Baptism of ignorance, an un-lightened condition. 8. Baptism of wickedness, a depraved condition. 9. Baptism of taxes, an oppressed condition. 10. Baptism of debts, a bankrupt condition. 11. Baptism of mental labor, and imbecile condition. 12. Baptism of questions, a bewildered condition. 13. Baptism of disease, a sickly condition. 14. Baptism of Magian arts, a superstitious condition. 15. Baptism of poverty, an impoverished condition. 16. Baptism of a drug, a somnolent condition. 17. Baptism of pleasure, a joyous condition. 18. Baptism of fright, an alarmed condition. 19. Baptism of surprise, a startled condition. 20. Baptism of heifer ashes, a ceremonially pure condition. 21. Baptism of mersion or submerging, a whelmed condition. —Twenty examples against one (the later), in favor of a variety of meanings, and of non-physical as well as physical applications of the word. (Johannic Baptism, p. 237)

William B. Orbis defines Baptizo:

“1. to merge into, as to“baptize into Christ,” to merge into Christ; 2. to consecrate or transfer allegiance to, as, “baptized unto Moses,” allegiance transferred to Moses; 3. to come into a vital union with; as Christ says,“Abide in me and I in you;” 4. to renew, convert, or regenerate, through this vital union of the one all pure, with one that was impure: hence, 5. to purify, sanctify, cleanse, remit sin, wash, hallow, etc.

Baptisma: 1. a saved or merged condition (1 Pet. 3:21); 2. a doctrine that points the way to salvation (Lk. 20:4). 3. a purified or endowed condition.” (RITUALISM DETHRONED AND THE TRUE CHURCH FOUND, OR THE DIVINE LIFE IN ALL THE CHRISTIAN AGES MOST REVEALED IN THOSE CHURCHES AND “MARTYRS OF JESUS” THAT HAVE WITNESSED AGAINST A CEREMONIAL AND SACRAMENTAL LAW, A Plea for Christian Liberty, Christian Union, and the Higher Christian Life, Forgotten Books, pp. 100-101).

Strong’s says of baptism here in Ephesians 4:5,

(X) “…The whole paragraph, Eph. 4:1–5, is indicative of Paul’s desire that there should be unity of the Spirit in the body of Christ. No reference is made to water baptism at all. The verse says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” This baptism must be, therefore, the spiritual baptism, the baptism in the Spirit that was promised by John the Baptist that the One coming after him would accomplish (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33) and Jesus Christ Himself promised in Acts 1:5. This took place in Acts 2 and was followed by the resultant speaking with other tongues; also in Caesarea in Acts 11:16–18; 10:44–46 and in Ephesus with the same manifestation of speaking in other languages (Acts 19:1–7). The purpose of this Spirit baptism is shown in 1 Cor. 12:13 as the incorporation of all believers into the body of Christ, the Church (Eph. 1:22, 23).” (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament(electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers).

Just based upon the definition alone, does it sound like Jesus’ “ONE” NC baptism (Ephs. 4:4-5) is:

A). A water ritual bringing about the forgiveness of sins and changing one’s character and status before God.

Or

B). It’s Christ baptizing and cleansing us by the Holy Spirit who cleanses our hearts and consciences in the blood of Christ – thus changing our condition, character and state – placing us “in Christ.” Thus, through faith we follow & identify with (are baptized into) the truth of Christ’s teachings and doctrine in the NC age.

I personally go with “B.”

2).  Various OT types of baptisms & cleansings

Hebrews 6 and 9 informs us that the Hebrew Christians needed to move beyond PHYSICAL OC baptismois(“washings” “ceremonial washings” “ritual washing”) that were imposed upon the bodies and clothing of the priests, people and upon the tabernacle/temple – into the once for all NC blood of Christ which  sprinkles/washes the heart and consciences of man.

Exodus 24:6, 8:

Moses (the 1st. High Priest of Israel) sprinkleshalf the blood on the altar with 12 pillars (representing all of Israel) and he sprinkled them with the other half of the blood to seal the Old Covenant.

Exodus 29:16-21:   

Aron and his sons (the priests) were to sprinkleblood on the altar and then on their ears along with oil.  And then to further sprinkle their priestly garments with blood and oil.

Exodus 30:18-21

Priests were to wash in a bronze basin or laver before and during the sacrifices.  The washing in the laver was not for sanitation purposes but to remind the priests that they needed a pure heart in performing the work of the Lord on behalf of the people.  Psalm 24:3-4:  Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

Leviticus 14:

The Jews had to ceremonially wash when they came into contact with a leper or a leper was to ceremonial wash when coming back into the community.  Because leprosy destroyed the person and separated them from the covenant community, it was a perfect picture of sin.  If one was exposed and in the vicinity of a leper – undergoing a baptism/washing was a parable that you came into contact with sin. If one was more intimately exposed to the disease of leprosy, washing in literal water wouldn’t cure or prevent it’s spreading upon the body.  After being healed or cleansed of leprosy, the ritual of water baptism/washing still didn’t bring about the healing.  The water washing/baptism simply was symbolic that the Jew needed to be separated from sin (which leprosy typified). 

Numbers 19:7:

Jews were to ceremonial wash if they came into contact with a dead body. A dead or decaying body also pictured sin.  One was separated from praising God in the covenant community and thus physical death typified sin and separation.

3).  John’s Baptism

Matthew 3:11“I baptize you with (physical) water for repentance, BUT (a contrast is coming) he who is coming after me is mightier than I,…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit(spiritually) and fire.”

John’s baptism &“fulfilling all righteousness”

The purpose of John’s baptism was to perform a physical ceremonial washing that would make “manifest” “the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29-33).   Therefore, it pointed to the spiritual baptism of the Spirit applying the blood of the Lamb to the heart and conscience (Heb. 10:22).

But the Jews ADDED water baptism or proselyte baptism to the OT law. As a Gentile proselyte you were only required to: 1. be circumcised and 2. offer two turtle doves. But the Jews ADDED (in their verbal law) a third step: 3. water baptism by which one was then declared a “new creation” and a member of the OT kingdom.

The Pharisees thought anyone in northern Israel was unclean and needed to undergo a water purification (proselyte) baptism. Jews in the norther area could not teach without this cleansing. “Can anything good come from Nazareth” was the mentality. So, to fulfill their “righteousness” (apart of their civil law at this time) Jesus underwent it as well.

The location of John’s baptism has eschatological significance for Israel.  Baptism in the Jordan is pointing to the second exodus motif. Jesus being the new Joshua coming in the land after 40 days and beginning the conquest (driving out evil spirits, refuting the Jew’s oral traditions, etc…).

John’s THEOLOGY on the coming NC baptism of Jesus will usher in has nothing to do with water in fact a sharp contrast from it is given – “I baptize with WATER, BUT… He will baptize with the Holy Spirit”(Mt. 3:11).

The transitional baptism from John’s disciples to Jesus’ is still before the NC an under OC washings/baptisms (Jn. 3; Heb. 9-10).

4).  Jesus’ Baptism

John 3:3-9:

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of waterand (better “EVEN”) the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Do not marvel that I …said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 

To understand what Jesus and John meant by “water EVEN the Spirit,” we need to:  1. look at the internal evidence in John and 2. Examine Jesus’ OT sources.

  1. John’s Internal Evidence of a Spiritual Baptism Producing Eternal Life 

John 4:14:

Jesus gives “a well of waterspringing up to eternal life.” 

John 6:63:

“it is the Spiritwho gives [eternal] life.”

John 7:37–39:

“…If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said (where? – Ezek. 36:25; Ezek. 47; Zech. 13:1), ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Clearly the rest of John makes obvious that it is Holy Spirit metaphorically as cleansing water that produces eternal life welling up in the believer.

Jesus expects Nicodemus to find His teaching on the new birth from the OT and Jesus NEVER taught on a water baptism to be performed under the New Covenant, but He did teach on Baptism as it pertained to the coming of the Holy Spirit:

“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptizedwith the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Ac 1:4–5; cf. Jn. 7:37-39; Jn. 14-16). 

  1. How Water is Used in the OT

Water was used figurativelyfor salvation or covenant renewal:

Isaiah 4:4

In the NC, the “Branch” Messiah gives spiritual water.

Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13

To forsake Yahweh is to forsake “the fountain of living water.”

Isaiah 55:1-3

In the NC, God will give the thirsty spiritualwaters and food for free – as a description of the NC gospel.

Ezekiel 36:25-27:

I will sprinkle (washing/baptize)clean wateron you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 AndI will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

***  This passage contains the New Covenant promise of the Holy Spirit as cleansing water that Nicodemus should have known.

Isaiah 51:1, 52:13-15:

Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments(wedding garments washed/dyed in the blood of the Lamb – or “putting on Christ”), O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean (the NC “circumcision w/out hands”). …Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.  …his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance (obviously Jesus),…so shall he SPRINKLE (i.e. spiritually wash/purify/baptize “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”) many nations.

Ezekiel 47:

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple…of the altar.  …And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food (and spiritual “healing”).

Since Paul informs us that this temple is the Church (cf. Ezek. 37:27/2 Cor. 6:16), then the living waters from it is what flows from our heart and is Jesus’ OT source as well in John 7:37-39 and Revelation 22:17.

Zechariah 13:1:

On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sinand uncleanness.

5).  Paul’s doctrine on the New Covenant “ONEbaptism”

Parallels / Analogy of Faith Between 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 4:4-6:

Ephesians 4:4-6:

“There is one body and one Spirit, according as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in you all (Jew and Gentile),”

1 Corinthians 12:13:

“for also in one Spirit we all to one body were baptized, whether Jews or Greeks, whether servants or freemen, and all into one Spirit were made to drink,”

The parallels are clear:

  1. “one Spirit,”
  2. “one body”
  3. [one] “baptism”

In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Christ baptizes Jew and Gentile by means or through the Holy Spirit. John baptized with water, “BUT” (a contrast is coming from physical water to the Spirit) Jesus would baptize Jew and Gentile (believers in the NC one body) in and through the means of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11; Mrk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Acts 1:5). John’s baptism was physical (of which he administered in a physical river) and Jesus’ baptism was spiritual (of which He administers spiritually through the Holy Spirit – the living waters/river Ezek. 36:25; Ezek. 47/Jn. 7:37-39). We drink from the same Spiritual waters of the Spirit which produces eternal life within us.

So, I would understand 1 Corinthians 12:13 as, “for also in one Spirit we all to one body were identified/united/purified/baptized [by Christ the one Lord], whether Jews or Greeks, whether servants or freemen, and all into one Spirit were made to drink,”

While here in Corinthians let’s briefly look at another baptism text:

1 Corinthians 10:2:

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were united/identified to Moses in the cloud and in the sea…

While John Calvin was a water ritualist, of 1 Corinthians 10:2 he correctly sees this baptism as a baptism into the Old Covenant doctrine or ministry of Moses and his guidance:

“They were, says he, baptized in Moses, that is, under the ministry or guidance of Moses.”

John Gill also a water ritualist, understood this baptism to mean,

“For instance, their following Moses into the sea, which is meant by their being “baptized into him,” was an acknowledgment of their regard unto him, as their guide and governor, as baptism is a following of Christ, who has left us an example that we should tread in his steps; and is an owning him to be our prophet to teach us, and lead us the way; and it is a profession of our faith in him, as our surety and Saviour, and a subjection to him as our King and Governor.”

We are baptized “in Christ” and the New Covenant in a similar way that the Israelites were baptized in Moses and the Old Covenant. Israel trusted the revelation that came through Moses to identify them with him and God to obey the covenant and bring them into the Promised Land. The anti-type being we trust the revelation and doctrine that come through Christ and identify our lives in His doctrine of eternal life and trust Him that we have inherited all of the spiritual blessing that come through Him.

Before leaving 1 Corinthians, we should probably briefly look at 1 Corinthians 1 and see if Paul water baptized and or saw water baptism as a part of the gospel.

Let’s first look at the Young’s Literal Translation:

1 Corinthians 1:13-17 YLT: “…was Paul crucified for you? Or to the name of Paul were ye baptized; I give thanks to God that no one of you did I baptize, except Crispus and Gaius—that no one may say that to my own name I did baptize; and I did baptize also Stephanas’ household—further, I have not known if I did baptize any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but—to proclaim good news; not in wisdom of discourse, that the cross of the Christ may not be made of none effect;”

And now from a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist (Dr. Kelly Nelson Birks) who had a Phd in Biblical languages and spent many weeks diagraming this passage and came up with the following translation that makes Paul’s argument more consistent,

1 Corinthians 1:13-17 (Dr. Kelley Birks):

“…was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized (passive voice) in the name of Paul (as Christ passively baptizes us spiritually [w/out water] through the Holy Spirit? The implied or rhetorical answer is “no” none of them have). I am thankful that I none of you I baptized. Surely not even Crispus or Gaius. Lest anyone should say I have baptized in my own name. But even the rest of the house of stephanas I baptized not. I would know if I baptized some other. For Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel.”

According to YLT Paul’s argument is inconsistent and portrays him as having a bad memory. Some who do not believe water baptism is applicable today believe Paul in rare cases performed proselyte water baptism, but did not see this as “preaching the gospel.”

Dr. Kelley Birks’ translation is more consistent and does not see Paul baptizing anyone in water because it was not apart of “preaching the gospel.” I favor Birks’ translation, but either way, Paul was thankful he didn’t baptize (many or any) because water baptism was not a part of preaching the gospel.

Is Romans 6:3-5 Teaching a Physical Water Baptism or Paul’s New Covenant “ONE” Spiritual Baptism Ephesians 4:5/1 Corinthians 12:13?

Romans 6:1-8:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been

baptized/merged/united into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united

(Greek – súmphutos merged/grafted into, to be one) with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.6 We know that our old self was old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

I agree with Martin Lloyd Jones as far as not even remotely seeing water baptism in this text,

“Indeed I go further and suggest that to argue that the Apostle has water baptism in his mind in any shape or form here is to give a prominence to baptism that the Apostle Paul never gives to it. . . . The conclusion therefore at which I arrive is that baptism by water is not in the mind of the Apostle at all in these two verses; instead it is the baptism wrought by the Spirit. It is the plain, explicit teaching of I Corinthians 12:13, and indeed in the whole of the chapter, as it is in other places where the Apostle treats of this particular aspect of truth. And I argue further that the use of this term ‘planted together’, in verse 5, supports what I am saying. All are agreed that the idea of planting has nothing to do with baptism at all; it is rather the idea of grafting a shoot into a tree. ‘Planted together’ – in unity, identification – that is the meaning of the term. Paul is not using the figure of baptism in any shape or form there, but is still emphasizing this unity. That also is the work of the Spirit.”

When we follow the contextual flow of Paul to be examined leading in to Romans 6, follow the correct definition of baptize and understand the parallel word he uses for it sumphutos– all this points to a spiritual baptism which changes our sinful condition before God and unites us to Christ’s righteousness.

1. “Baptized (Greek baptizo: to come under the influence of or to merge into union with) into Christ & His death” – Here baptism means to be “brought into UNION with or to be brought under the controlling influence of a person which results in a changed condition.” This is supported by the parallel word “united with him in a death like his” (sumphutos) later in the context. Through our faith in Christ, we too underwent a “blood baptism” of death with and in Him. Christ and His death are the controlling agents or sources of influence in this baptism which brings about a change of condition resulting in resurrection or newness of life. We have been “submerged and or dipped repeatedly like a cloth that has been soaked through and through having come out of that process a different color or in a different condition than before.”

As Christ died to sin daily and perfectly abiding in the Father (always doing His will), so too we are called to die daily to sin and abide in the Son.

2. “United with Him” (Greek súmphutos:grafted into – as a branch into a tree). We were once like a branch in the tree of Adam whose sap source (union or identification chapter 5) was only making us capable of sinning. But now we are like a branch that has been broken off the tree of Adam and has been “ingrafted into” the Tree of Life — whose life source is the Holy Spirit giving us the ability we never had before – to bear forth the fruits of the Spirit and walk in the power of resurrection and newness of life.

“Baptized into his death” and “United into His death” are grammatically and contextually parallel concepts and help us follow the proper definition of baptizo here in identifying it as the controlling influence in our spiritual conversion, producing our spiritual union and condition in Christ — and not a water ceremony.

Baptizo here in Romans 6 is also in the passive voice. When water baptism is in view (ex. John the Baptist’s baptism or Acts 8 with the Eunuch and Philip) , the voice is active because the one submitting is active (planning, going to the place, subjecting to) and the one pouring, dipping or dunking is actively doing the baptism (actively “with hands” v. NC spiritual baptism in the passive voice “withOUT hands”).

Trinity Structure Not Lost in Our Exegesis of Ephesians 4:4-6

  1. Verse 4 – The Holy Spirit unifies the Body (Jew/Gentile).
  2. Verse 5 – The Lord (Son) is the fulfillment of the NC system of faith and gives the gift of faith baptizing through the means of the Holy Spirit (both unifying Jew/Gentile).
  3. Verse 6 – The Father is over all (even Son and Spirit) and through all (in Jew/Gentile).

PHYSICAL Sacraments Not the Issue

Commentators who have taken Ephesians 4:5 to be water baptism, often wonder why or try and explain why, the Lord’s Supper is not mentioned or involved in the text as well. The obvious answer is that the sacrament of water baptism isn’t even the issue in Ephesians 4:5, so don’t worry about another sacrament not being mentioned.

Again – Paul’s New Covenant Spiritual Exegesis

There is nothing in Ephesians itself that would point us to obeying a literal water ritual for salvation or even as a sign of salvation. Paul tells the Ephesians (and by extension us) that they have been raised from a spiritual death and seated in the heavenly realm. He tells them that they are a spiritual body or NC New Man/Temple. And most importantly, Christians have been saved by grace through faith (even this was a gift) apart from works.

Paul elsewhere confirms in Colossians that Gentile Christians are not under the Old Covenant rituals of circumcision or water baptisms/washings that the Judaizers wanted to place them under, because they had been circumcised and baptized “without hands” (Cols. 2:11-14). Selah.

Galatians 3:27:

“in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized/ purified/ mergedor unitedinto Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one(i.e. the “one body” by the “one Spirit” & “one baptism”) in Christ Jesus – (this fit’s perfectly with the “one [spiritual] baptism” of Ephs. 4:5 / 1 Cor. 12:13; Roms. 6:3-5).

The putting on of garments and sprinkling of the nations of Isaiah 51-52 according to Paul is “putting on Christ” through the baptism that comes through the Spirit which places us in the one body.

Colossians 2:11-13(GWT):

In himyou were also circumcised. It was not a circumcision performed by human hands. But it was a removal of the corrupt nature in the circumcision performed by ChristThis happened whenyou were placed in the tomb with Christthrough baptism/union/induction. In baptism you were also brought back to life with Christ through faith in the power of God, who brought him back to life.”

Does it make any logical sense that Paul would condemn the Judaizer’s belief that faith in Christ is not enough because one had to obey a covenant ritual (i.e circumcision as “another gospel”) — only to then turn around and affirm faith in Christ is not enough, one must obey another physical covenant ritual (i.e. water baptism) in order to be saved or  justified by God?!?

The Greek supports Colossians 2:12a being translated as “you were circumcised whilebeingburied with Him in baptism.” This would argue that spiritual baptismal regeneration or that burial with Christ in baptism is synonymous with the spiritual circumcision made without hands.

Gentile Conversion Under the NC – Whereas Romans 6:3-4 speaks of death, burial and resurrection, Colossians 2:11-12 speaks of circumcision, burial and resurrection.

Romans 6:3-4 Colossians 2:11-13
Spiritual union with Christ described as a spiritual baptism Spiritual union with Christ described as a spiritual circumcision & spiritual baptism
1.  Death 1.  Circumcision
2.  Burial 2.  Burial
3.  Resurrection 3.  Resurrection

Spiritual circumcision, περιτομὴν ἀχειροποιήτην, and burial in baptism are both figures for the same process, namely union with Christ in his death. Both circumcision and baptism or washing was performed on the 8thday and under the OC & traditions of verbal law were necessary for Gentiles to be in Israel’s “Kingdom of God.”  Herethese familiar physical proselyte rituals are described as spiritual realities performed without hands.  Gentiles were no longer in “bondage” to these “elements.” 

Paul is consistent – NC salvation “in Christ” involves a SPIRITUAL “Putting on of Christ” (Gals. 3:27), undergoing a SPIRITUAL circumcision (Cols. 2:11), and a SPIRITUAL baptism (Gals. 3:27/Cols. 2:12/Ephs. 4:5), which are necessary to SPIRITUALLY place us into the “ONE Body” (1 Cor. 12:13).

Isaiah 52:1-2, 15 – New Covenant salvation involves:

1).  Putting on spiritual garments (Gals. 3:27-28).

2).  Being spiritually circumcised (Cols. 2:11).

3).  Being spiritually raised (Cols. 2:11-13).

4).  Being spiritually sprinkled / washed / baptized (Cols. 2:12)   

Church of Christ Preterists who interpret all (1-3) of these New Covenant realities as spiritual except #4 and must still have a literal water baptism embarrass themselves. 

6).  John and Peter on baptism

Revelation 1:5:

…Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”

Revelation 7:14:

“And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”     

First Typological Exodus Second Anti-Type Exodus
Israel & a great multitude come out of tribulation (Ex. 4:31 LXX) A great multitude come out of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 7:14)
They are required to wash their garments before approaching God (Ex. 19:10). Garments must be washed in the blood / righteousness of Christ (Rev. 7:14).
They are saved / covered by the sprinkling of blood (Ex. 28:8) They are saved/covered by the blood of Christ (Rev. 7:14).
God as husband provided physical food (mana), water (from the rock) etc…. (Ex. 19-24; Lev. 23:40). Christ as Groom/Husband provides spiritual bread, water etc… for us (Rev. 2:17; Rev. 21:6-10).

1 Peter 3:20-21

1 Peter 3:20-21 is a common passage for the Church of Christ cult whereby they believe unless one is not water baptized they cannot be saved and receive forgiveness of sins. They assume the passage is discussing water baptism and even other denominations make this same mistake.

Baptized in the Pitch & Ark an OT Type

Let’s first look at the OT type. Noah was commanded to take the pitch (red in color / blood from the tree) and COVER (baptize) the ark within and without it, in order to keep it afloat — functioning as a barrier from the wrath of God (the water). 

Pastor Jim Brown following Strong’s writes,

“Baptized- Greek: baptizo- to make whelmed; to cover all over; from: bapto. – to whelm or cover wholly with fluid; a common word used among the Greeks signifying to stain or dye a garment; the predominant signification of the word means to cover over with a stain or dye.

I Peter 3:20, 21– in the days of Noah– the ark was a preparing-eight souls were saved by water– the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us– by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

save – Greek: sozo- to protect and deliver safely from one place to another without harm.

Genesis 6:14– (God speaking to Noah) Make thee an ark of gopher wood 1pitch it within and without with 2pitch.

1pitch (verb)- Hebrew: Kaphar – to cover; appease; atonement; purge; pardon

2pitch (noun)- Hebrew: Kopher – to cover with bitumen from the henna plant; a stain colored coating to make boats watertight; ransom, redemption price.

Ephesians 4:5– One Lord, One faith, one Baptism

The water was the wrath of God in the story of the flood. It was the pitch that was the picture of New Testament baptism. Baptism (the pitch) saved (delivered) Noah and his family upon the waters (the judgment of God). Baptize, pitch and atonement all mean to “cover with a stain or dye”. Once a year the high priest would enter into the Most Holy Place and sprinkle the blood of the atonement lamb (a type of the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God) covering the Ark of the Covenant (baptizing with blood – Heb. 9:7; Lev. 23:27). “Without shedding of blood is no remission (Heb. 9:22)”. Gods divine presence hovered upon the mercy seat (kapporeth-from kaphar). If the Lamb was without spot or blemish (a type of Christ, the Lamb without sin), the wrath, of God would be appeased (Kaphar). God would look through the blood-stained covering of the mercy seat (on top of the Ark of the Covenant) at the broken law inside and the sins of the people would be forgiven. Israel was saved by baptism (covered with stain) from the wrath of God. The pitch was the covering stain (baptism/atonement) that protected and delivered (saved) Noah and his family from the wrath (water) of God. The pitch (baptism) kept the ark from sinking throughout the judgment of God. In like manner, the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29) covers and stains the believer (baptizing him), protecting and delivering (saving) him through the fiery baptism (Matt: 3:11; I Peter 1:7) of God’s judgment. Paul said in Rom. 5:9, “–being now justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through him. John said, “He washed us from our sins in his own blood (Rev. 1:5).” The one true baptism is Holy Spirit baptism in the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, covering his elect, atoning for their sin, and calling them to obedience (I Peter 1:2) as he delivers them from the wrath of God. Baptism (staining of Christ’s blood) doth also now save us (deliver us through wrath).”

The “ONE [spiritual] Baptism” – the NT Anti-type

Being baptized by Christ through the means of the Spirit (the ONE spiritual baptism of Ephs. 4:4-6/1 Cor. 12:13/Rms. 6/Cols. 2:11-14) is having the Spirit cover us with the blood and authority of Christ which produces a good conscience before God and brings about the remission of sins. Salvation was still a process for the first century Christians (Christ as the High Priest hadn’t come out of the heavenly temple yet Heb. 9:26-28) and they were also still being saved through the trial of fire and suffering (birth pains).

In the midst of the Christians being persecucuted by the trial of fire – God kept and purified their faith through His power (even in the midst of martrdom).

When it came to the baptism of fire for Israel between AD 67 – 70 “not a hair on the head” of believers would be touched. Just as Christ stood with the three friends of Daniel – while they watched the fire burn those that had bound them, so too the Jewish Church fled Jerusalem when Christ told them too, and God rendered tribulation upon their enemies.

Like the red pitch that covered the ark, so the blood of Christ covered and preserved the faith of the early Christians in the midst of their persecutions giving them a pure conscience before God and man.

The Rebuke and Exhortation to the Church of Christ Cult

1 Peter 3:20-21 has nothing to do with water baptism according to the coc cult – ugh. They have water on the brain and trying to get people dunked in water, while we have the REAL “ONE baptism” of the Spirit which COVERS us in His blood (it is a propitiation from His wrath and covers us with His righteousness) on ours. We have set our minds on things above and that of which the spiritual man meditates and hopes in, while they on fleshly rituals which profit nothing and cannot save the soul.

7).  Baptism in Hebrews

Hebrews 9:14:

“how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

Hebrews 10:22:

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

The theology of Hebrews couldn’t be cleaer – moving from the inferior physical OC types and shadows to their “better” spiritual and inward realities.  The Old Covenant types of baptisms or sprinklings (Heb. 6:2; 9:10) included blood, water, ashes and oil.  The New Covenant anti-type baptism is all about the blood of Christ which sprinkles and cleanses the conscience and heart before God (Heb. 9:14; 10:22).

8).  Baptism in Acts.

Acts 1:4 

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spiritnot many days from now.”

This is the “ONE” NC spiritual “baptism” of Ephesians 4:5/1 Corinthians 12:13 and points us back to Matthew 3:11 and John 3:5.

Acts 2:38

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized (i.e. converted cf. 3:19; identified/united in or covered in) every one of you upon (the authority of) the name of Jesus Christ into the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is the “ONE” New Covenant spiritual baptism which places us in union w/ Christ producing the forgiveness of sins and a purified heart and conscience.

Acts 2:38 – Where’s the Water?

This is in the passive voice whereas when water baptism is usually in view it is in the active voice.

It would take longer than one day for the disciples to water baptize 3,000.

It was Pentecost (a high holy day) and “work” such as water baptism would be a violation of the law.

The Romans imported scarce water into Jerusalem for drinking.  The Pharisees and Rome would not allow Christians to use their scarce water for this purpose.

Acts 8:12(Samaria): 

But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized (by the Spirit & placed into the body of Christ), both men and women.

The baptism is in the passive voice here.

Acts 8:15-17:  

(Peter & John) came down (from Jerusalem) and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 forhe had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes in the book of Acts when some believe in Christ and were baptized in the Spirit they spoke in tongues while at other times they were still baptized through the Spirit, but would experience a secondary work of the falling of the Spirit by the laying of hands by the Apostles.  In this case, being Samaritans, God wanted the Apostles to get a hands on experience to confirm that God was saving all kinds of men – even the Samaritans.

Acts 8:35-38

Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Here the baptism is in the active voice because it’s a water baptism.

This is most likely a Gentile eunuch(not Philip) who wants to be ritually cleansed in water – which is all he ever knew.

Philip accommodates his request just as Elisha accommodated Naaman’s request to take dirt home with him (2 Kings 5).

This is around AD 35 before Paul’s conversion and his revelations on how Gentiles will be saved and Peter’s vision (Acts 10) on how to deal w/ Gentile converts.

Acts 9:17 (Saul’s Conversion):

Paul was “filled” and thus “baptized in the Spirit” (passive voice).

Acts 22:16:  (Saul’s Conversion or Baptism Cont.):

“Why tarry?  (what are you waiting for Paul?  Everything you need so that you can go preach to the Gentiles has been done for you). Having risen, having been baptized (by the Spirit – passive middle voice – not water), having washed away your sins, having already called upon the name of the Lord.”

Acts 10:47-48

“Cannot anyone hold back (dam up or stop) the water?  Baptize notthese who have received the Holy Spirit even as we.  On the contrary he commanded (or better – defined or prescribed) them to have been baptized(aorist tense, passive voice by the Spirit not water) in the name of the Lord;…”

Jews with Peter wanted to ritually cleanse these unclean Gentiles, but Peter having had his vision that they are clean in God’s eyes (vss. 9-19) and seeing that they had already been baptized in the Holy Spirit — stopsthe water from coming.

In Acts 11 Peter gives an “orderly” (sequential) account of what happened with Cornelius and his testimony addresses the following:

  1. No mention of water baptism.
  2. Does mention the “Holy Spirit falling upon them” (Acts 11:15/Acts 10:44).
  3. Peter remembers Jesus’ teaching in Acts 1:4 “(Peter) remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 11:16).

Acts 16:13-15 (Lydia & her household):

“And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women that were come together.

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul.  And afterward having been baptized (aorist passive) and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”

There is no water mentioned in relation to the baptism.  And again this is in the passive voice which suggests the baptism of the Spirit and not water.

Acts 16:27-34(Jailer & household):“Sirs what must I do to be saved?”  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.  And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  …And was baptized (passive voice) he and all his houseat once / immediately / instantly / presently(Greek parachrema)…”

There is no water mentioned in relation to this baptism.

They were all baptized “instantly.”  Perhaps in a similar way that the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 disciples in Acts 2 or upon Cornelius & his family in Acts 10.

Acts 19:1-6:

“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples: and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given. And he said, into what then were ye baptized (aorist passive)? And they said, into John’s baptism. And Paul said, John baptized (aorist active) with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus. And when they heard this, they were baptized/identified/consecrated (aoristpassive) into the name (cause or authority) of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tonguesand prophesied.”

Again, these were religious men having some connection with John the Baptist’s baptism.  Once they hear the gospel they are baptized in the Spirit and then by the laying on of the Apostle’s hands the Holy Spirit falls upon them.

Concluding Baptism:

The Church of Christ and Roman Catholic cults (along with many other ritualist denominations) have had to read into Ephesians 4:4-5 a “one baptism” of WATER, when there is no exegetical grounds to do so. As Christians we have one allegiance and identification and that is found in our union “in Christ” which has nothing to do with obeying or being bound to, a physical ritual.

For those claiming to be Christians and wanting to place men under a physical ritualistic gospel for justification, is according to Paul, to preach “another gospel” and be numbered among the “false brethren” (Galatians). This is not a light matter.

How much bloodshed and divisions within religion has been spilled over baptism and the Lord’s Supper?  How much division over eschatology?  God in His good and sovereign providence has guided you to this article to equip you to be a true “Reformer” and “Peace Maker.”  Count the cost, but also the rich blessings!

The Church needs to do more outreach in the community inviting the poor and lame to our New Covenant wedding Banquet and Love Feasts by which we can feed them physically and spiritually.  If Churches actually did this instead of focusing on outward physical rituals, perhaps we could eliminate government food stamps and unnecessary government social programs?  Actually, placing the focus where it needs to be (dining with Christ & living this out to the world) instead of fighting over unbiblical modes of physical rituals is what New Covenant Kingdom living was and is meant to be.  Selah.

CONCLUDING THE NEW COVENANT SABBATH,

PASSOVER/LORD’S SUPPER & BAPTISM 

Since the Church has missed that Christ’s Second Coming happened when Jesus and the NT writers predicted, this has led to other divisions and fighting over such issues as the Sabbath, the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.

We have followed a Biblical and Preterist hermeneutic.  After looking at the OT sources of the New Covenant Sabbath, Passover and Baptism promises and how the NT authors develop them, we have concluded that they have been spiritually fulfilled in the Kingdom today.  We rest in the FINISHED work of Christ on our behalf, feast upon His faithfulness, partake and fellowship as God’s NC Passover “one unleavened loaf/body” and have been washed in the blood of Christ.

Legalists and false religion will continue to fight over and seek to control their followers in their false understanding of how the New Covenant sabbath and “sacraments” are to be implemented today.  This was prevalent in Paul’s day, and yet he fought the Judaizers in their attempts to place Gentile believers in “bondage” to the “elements” of the Old Covenant law concerning sabbaths, foods, circumcision and baptism.  I will likewise fight against modern day Judaizers such as the Church of Christ who teach a covenant ritual of water baptism is necessary to be placed in Christ.  Or the Seventh Day Adventists or some within the Reformed community who impose their false understanding of the “sabbath” upon their people.

Source: Fulfilled

How the “ONE” New Covenant “BODY” Partakes of the Passover/Lord’s Supper/Wedding Feast “Anew/Fulfilled in the Kingdom” & How the “ONE Baptism” is Likewise Spiritually Fulfilled Today in the Kingdom – Physical Ritualism De-throned

Introduction

Here are some meditations I gave on Facebook concerning what it really means to partake in the Lord’s Supper or feast upon the Living Bread /Lamb of God today “anew” and “fulfilled in the Kingdom” (Lk. 22:15-18).  Not only this, but Paul’s “ONE Baptism” (Ephs. 4:5/1 Cor. 12:13/Rms. 6/Cols. 2:11-12) is not of physical “water” like John’s baptism, but of the “Holy Spirit” which places us in the ONE New Covenant Body (Mt. 3:11/Jn. 3:5=Ezek. 36:25-27).  The Reformation did not reform the Church in the area of eschatology nor the meaning of the New Covenant so-called “sacraments.”  This article accomplished at both.  

This will need to be edited and then possibly produced in a little book.  But for now, you can still enjoy the benefits of my “meditations” upon these subjects.

PART 1 – THE NEW COVENANT PASSOVER / LORD’S SUPPER / LOVE FEASTS / WEDDING FEAST

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John 6

The words and doctrine Jesus gave were “spirit” and “life.” Jesus identified Himself as the heavenly bread Israel ate and Paul identifies the water that came from the Rock in the wilderness wandering to have come from Christ. Even these physical forms of nourishment were types of Christ and parking of eternal life and thus “never thirsting,” “never being hungry,” and thus “never die.” Jesus equates Him being the spiritual bread with His flesh. Therefore, Jesus’ appeals to eat of His flesh and drink His blood in order to be His disciples were metaphorical and spiritual teaching and set the stage to understanding how Passover and the Lord’s Supper is to be followed in the New Covenant age.

When tempted by Satan to turn a rock into bread, Jesus points out that to read and obey God’s will as revealed in His Word is the real food God’s people need to concern themselves with.

He tells His religious opponents that He has meat/food to eat that they don’t know of which He identifies as doing the Father’s will.

Putting this altogether we clearly see that to “eat” of Christ as our bread or His flesh is to place our faith in Him and thus obey and do His will as the divine Logos or Word. To follow His doctrine is to partake and eat of His or be baptized spiritually (saturated into a changed condition).

To “drink His blood” is simply another way of saying the same thing.

Luke 22:15-18 Last Passover / 1 Corinthians 10-11 the Lord’s Supper Spiritually “Fulfilled” “Anew” in the “Kingdom” Between AD 30 – AD 70 and Beyond!

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It is important to point out the obvious in that Jesus’ “Last Supper” with His disciples was literally His last Old Covenant “Last Passover” with them. What follows from Jesus at this point has nothing to do with a weekly or monthly partaking of “crackers and grape juice” or a Roman Catholic yearly “Easter” celebration.

The Passover lamb was picked out and inspected for 5 days to see if it had any defects. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey 5 days before Passover — before offering Himself as the spotless Lamb of God for His Church (the New Covenant “Israel of God”).

Israelites were to have their lamb for some time and become attached to it. Then they were to have it offered at the temple court by the priests who would collect the blood and sprinkle it on the altar.  Then they would take the lamb home and eat of it. Jesus spent 3 ½ years with His disciples which was His family and after riding in on a donkey spent the four or five days prior to Passover teaching once again in the Temple so that Israel would once again know Him and His doctrine – before they would offer Him up.  It was now time to take the sin of His New Covenant Israel of God (Gals. 6) upon Himself and then have them consume His flesh (cf. as in John 6) by believing in and then following and teaching His doctrine of being the Churches New Covenant propitiation.

Jews regularly acted out their covenants and contracts and this is exactly what Jesus does by lifting up the bread and breaking it as His body and lifting up the cup and identifying it as His blood shed for them in order to establish the New Covenant.

Paul informs us that the unleavened “bread” is the corporate body of Christ of which we partake of when we gather together and fellowship (1 Cor. 10-12). Scripturally, the terms “the Lord’s Supper” used by Paul, Jude’s “feast of charity,” and Luke’s “breaking of bread” from “house to house” with “gladness and singleness of heart” are all the same thing. The early Church from AD 30 – AD 70 showed the Lord’s death until He came in AD 70, by eating full meals and engaging in the study of Scripture and prayer.

In Jewish culture the evening supper was their long meal and time for fellowship. The Christians were to pull their resources together and have a potluck of sorts whereby the more wealthy brethren helped provide for the poorer brethren and to be a means of outreach in inviting the poor and lame unbelievers to these feasts as well. In 1 Corinthians 11 we learn that they were abusing this meal and selfishly partaking to the point where they were full and “drunk” while the poor went “hungry.” The irony is that those that ate the most were dying due to their selfishness, just as Ananias and his wife Sapphira died for their selfishness and lying to the Holy Spirit in Acts 4. This was no longer the “Lord’s Supper,” the Corinthians were engaging themselves in, but was becoming a mockery of Christ and Christianity with the poor and unbelievers coming only to see full gluttons and drunks who ate their portion of food and wine. This was selfish and disgraceful behavior on display and Christ and Paul wanted nothing to do with it. So Paul has to remind them of what it was to partake of Christ’s body and to drink of His wine (that is to humbly partake in the “ONE Body” – the Church).

Prior to AD 70 (before the “Lord’s Coming”), the Jewish believers did partake of the Old Covenant Passover, but were to do it by remembering how Christ had inaugurated the New Covenant through His blood. But of course after AD 70 and the “soon vanishing” of the Old Covenant, the Church did continue in their agape or love feasts – but partook of it with Christ “anew in the Kingdom.”  

Luke 22:15-30:  “And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God (cf. Lk. 17:20-37 – when He is revealed from heaven it will be “within” them / Lk. 21:27-32 when He and the Kingdom come in their generation).”  17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”  19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.  24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

What I find interesting here is that both Partial Preterism and Full Preterism see verses 29-30 — that is “eating and drinking at the table” and “sitting on thrones” judging Israel in the “Kingdom” as metaphorical (non-physical) language, but many still want a PHYSICAL “eating” and sitting down on the pews with the Pastor up front at the “table” serving up literal crackers and grape juice for “communion” — so as to keep the false doctrine of the Judaizers and Roman Catholic Church alive and well.

The Four Cups of the Passover

While Matthew, Mark and Luke portray Jesus and the disciples as parting of the Passover to be the “last supper,” John’s Gospel seems to portray it more as a preparatory meal before the Passover supper. For in John’s account Christ is crucified at 3:00pm when the lambs are being offered in the Temple area. The “preparations” before the Passover was still technically seen to fall within the “Passover” period:  http://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/transcripts/john/john_13_01_last-supper.htm?fbclid=IwAR0nRWM9M5P2PW5Xx2uprkNeXDqV814CoOepaxP5KGVKaHg_PdhFSkSQPMM.

Either way, to be thorough, let me address the typology of the 4 cups. We don’t know exactly how the Passover was kept in Jesus’ day and even this tradition of the four cups may or may not have been practiced pre-AD 70. But let’s address them since many Futurists think the fourth cup is referring to a literal future “rapture” instead of the New Covenant “within” rapture that took place at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70.

Some Jewish tradtions have identified the drinking of the four cups to the four historical redemptions of the Jewish people: 1. the choosing of Abraham, 2. the Exodus from Egypt, 3. the survival of the Jewish people throughout the exile, and 4. with what will be fulfilled at the end of days. But there is more clarity found in the passage from which it is derived.

After the lighting of the candles (God and His Word guiding Israel), the four cups of wine portion of the feast would begin. The leader of the family would then say, “As we read through the Haggadah, we will drink of ‘cup of the fruit of the vine,’ four times. These four cups stand for the four “I wills” that are recorded in Exodus 6:6-7:

“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

This is a basic outline of how God would redeem Israel through the Exodus and establish them in His house (the Promised Land).

1. The words, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” was understood to be the cup of sanctification. God was setting Israel apart to be His elect nation among the other nations and thus they were to set apart themselves to obey Him.

2. The words, “I will deliver you from slavery to them” was identified as the cup of judgment or deliverance.

3. The words, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” was known to be the cup of redemption or even identified as drinking the “blood of the lamb.”

4. The words, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God” was understood to be communicating the cup of joy and restoration. There would be much joy when God took and restored Israel as His wife by establishing them in the Promised Land (His home) to be His Kingdom.

K&D comments upon this passage,

“This assurance, which God would carry out by the manifestation of His nature as expressed in the name Jehovah, contained three distinct elements: (a) the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, which, because so utterly different from all outward appearances, is described in three parallel clauses: bringing them out from under the burdens of the Egyptians; saving them from their bondage; and redeeming them with a stretched-out arm and with great judgments; – (b) the adoption of Israel as the nation of God; – (c) the guidance of Israel into the land promised to the fathers (Exodus 6:6-8). נטוּיה זרוע, a stretched-out arm, is most appropriately connected with גּדלים שׁפטים, great judgments; for God raises, stretches out His arm, when He proceeds in judgment to smite the rebellious.”

The Third Cup – the Blood of the Lamb – Inauguration of the New Covenant

When Jesus identifies the “cup” He drinks with the disciples as “His blood” of the New Covenant, this is the third cup of redemption known as the “blood of the lamb.” Clearly this is the “already” of soteriology / eschatology or the cross. Also in the Jewish betrothal ceremony the groom and the betrothed would initiate the covenant by drinking wine from each others cups – symbolizing they were entering into a covenant to be one blood and body.

The early church did partake of the “cup” of His suffering in that the martyrs suffering was avenged in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” and “in a little while” at His “soon” Second Coming in AD 70 (Mt. 23-25 / Rev. 6). They were “sheep led to the slaughter” and Paul “filled up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ” (Rms. 8; Cols. 1).

And we partake of this cup and eat the bitter herbs when we pick up our cross, deny self and daily follow our Lord as we meditate upon Him taking our bitter sin upon Himself.

As Noah’s ark was covered within and without with red pitch to protect it from the wrath of the water raining down upon them, so we are covered in the blood of Christ within and without – by having His righteousness imputed to our account and thus saturating us and changing our condition to be holy in His sight.

The Fourth Cup – the Consummation of the Kingdom and the Inner “Rapture” (Greek Harpazo)

The fourth cup that Jesus will drink “anew” with the disciples “in the kingdom” is the soteriological / eschatological “not yet.” The Hebrew word for “take” is laqach and has a similar meaning to harpazo in the Greek — in that it was related to taking a wife to oneself, taking spoil from an enemy, taking one up in a vision, etc… At Christ’s parousia in AD 70, He consummated the betrothal process and He and the Father have made Their home within us. His banner over us is love and He makes His beloved’s cup run over with joy and gladness today in the Kingdom. Every day is a spiritual wedding feast or Jubilee Sabbath Rest “In Christ.” Selah.

So how then is the Church to take the Lord’s Supper “anew” today in the Kingdom post AD 70? According to John 14, the Father and the Son have made their dwelling/home within us and dine/eat/fellowship with us spiritually. We have inherited and partake of Christ as the “hidden manna.” We continue to partake or eat of Christ spiritually but in a fulfilled sense. Pre-AD 70 the Church partook of Christ spiritually realizing that He baptized them (covered over stained them) with the blood and had sprinkled their hearts and conscience with it. This was in anticipation of Him coming “in a very little while” and would “not delay” to close the Old Covenant age – that is come from the heavenly Temple to make His home “within” them and bring maturity to the New Covenant (Heb. 9:26-28–10:37; Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32; Jn. 14).

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver believers from their persecutions and pour out His wrath upon their persecutors (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7). When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal. Therefore, the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18–22).

What we have then in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities —the transcendent profundities of Christological glory in and among the saints in the consummation of the ages.  If this sounds like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal removal of the church out of the world:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

The “rapture” passage is no more literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4–14. In that passage, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together. He attached tendons to them and put skin

on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel.  They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel.

In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection-harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement.  As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His power. They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). That is when God afflicted the persecutors of His church, when He gave His people relief and glorified Himself in them (2 Thess. 1:8–10).

Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 Jn 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed. It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal Tabernacle, His spiritual Body, the New Man, the heavenly Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem in the Spirit. “This mystery is great” (Eph. 5:32), and is therefore communicated in the accommodative “sign language” of prophetic metaphor.

Since our Lord came “with His saints” and destroyed the earthly temple in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11–12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10). This

was not the case in the Old Testament, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God. As Paul says in Romans 14:8–9, “ . . . whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” 

“According to the Lord’s own word” (1 Thess. 4:15)

Matthew 24 – Fulfilled in AD 70 1 Thessalonians 4-5 Fulfilled in AD 70
1.  Christ comes from heaven (24:30) 1.  Christ comes from heaven (4:16)
2.  With archangelic voice (24:31) 2.  With archangelic voice (4:16)
3.  With God’s trumpet call (24:31) 3.  With God’s trumpet call (4:16)
4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (24:31) 4.  Gathered/Caught to Christ (4:17)
5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (24:30) 5.  Believers meet Christ in clouds (4:17)
6.  Use of contemporary “you” and parousia to be fulfilled in their contemporary generation (24:34) 6.  Use of contemporary “we” and parousia expected while some are still alive (4:15)
7.  Exact time unknown (24:36) 7.  Exact time unknown (5:1-2)
8.  Christ comes like a thief (24:43) 8.  Christ comes like a thief (5:2)
9.  Unbelievers caught unaware (37-39) 9.  Unbelievers caught unaware (5:3)
10.  Birth pains (24:8 – fulfilled in AD 70) 10.  Birth pains (5:3)
11.  Believers are not deceived (24:43) 11.  Believers are not deceived (5:4-5)
12.  Believers told to be watchful (24:42) 12.  Believers told to be watchful (5:6)
13.  Exhortation against drunkenness (24:49) 13.  Exhortation against drunkenness (5:7)
14.  The Day, Sunlight (bright light) shinning from east to west, (24:27, 36-38) 14.  The Day, sons of light, sons of day (1 Thess. 5:4-8)

The fact that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in the OD not only destroys the two comings theory of Postmillennial Partial Preterism, but the two comings theory of John MacArthur’s Pre-trib. Dispensationalism.

Add to the mix that NT scholars such as N.T. Wright are seeing that the language of BOTH Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 are not to be take physically or having anything to do with “Christians flying around in mid-air on clouds” because the genre is more “apocalyptic” and contains “metaphors.”  (N.T. Wright, THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, 215).

Major Premise:  The One Second Coming event of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 is ONE and the same eschatological event (Historic Premillennialism / Amillennialism and Full Preterism agree).

Minor Premise:  But the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism and Full Preterism agree).

Conclusion/”Reformed and Always Reforming”:  The ONE Second Coming of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

Even if someone wants to deny that Paul is drawing from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24, the fact remains that both Jesus and Paul are referring to some of the same OT prophecies concerning the Second Coming and resurrection.  Jesus said He came to fulfill all the the law and prophets and it would “all” be fulfilled at His coming in His “this generation” (Mt. 5:17-18; Lk. 21:22-32).  And since Paul taught no other things except that which could be found in the law and prophets, then his sources are Jesus’ sources.  Mathison’s Postmillennial theory that Jesus didn’t discuss His “actual” Second Coming in the gospels, but rather Paul was the one God had develope this doctrine is a joke on many levels.  It separates the unity between Jesus’ eschatology and Paul’s and it ignores the fact that both are teaching that they are getting their eschatology from the same OT law and prophets!

“…WE who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord…” (v. 16)

1 Thessalonians 4 Luke 21/Matthew 24
We who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord.” (v. 15) When you see…,” “…your redemption is drawing near,” “This generation.” (Lk. 21:20-32)

Partial Preterist Keith Mathison argues: Some have said that since Paul used the word “we” in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and 17, Paul expected the events of 1 Thessalonians 4 to occur within his own lifetime. “The problem with this interpretation is that in several other epistles Paul talks as though he could die soon.”  Therefore “Paul [was] simply using the pronoun ‘we’ in a general way to mean ‘we Christians.’ As far as Paul knew, Christ could have returned in his lifetime, but there was nothing that demanded He do so” (WSTTB?, 194). 

To my knowledge, no preterist thinks that Paul assumed that he himself would be included in the group of believers who would remain alive to the coming of the Lord. If I were to say, “We who live long enough to see the year 2030,” there is no reason to think that I would be assuming that I myself would be among the living in 2030. My only assumption would be that some of us today would be alive in 2030.  In the same way, Paul’s words imply only that he knew that some of

his contemporaries would still be alive when Christ returned, as Christ Himself promised would be the case in Matthew 16:27–28; 24:34.

According to Postmillennialists like DeMar and Mathison, all of Paul’s “we,” “you,” and “our” statements in 1 and 2 Thessalonians refer to Paul’s own first-century audience and address Christ’s coming in AD 70—except for the statements in 1 Thessalonians 4 (“the rapture”).  Mathison and DeMar magically decide that “we” in 1 Thessalonians 4 means something other than what it means everywhere else in 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Suddenly in chapter 4, “we” includes Christians who potentially will not be alive for a million years from today. Now let us move on from arbitrary Mathisonian constructs to a biblical look at “the rapture” passage, 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” (1 Thess. 4:16) 

The “thorny problem” is solved when the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonains 4 are accepted, the first century audience expectancy is accepted, and apocalyptic language is accepted in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 just as it is in Matthew 24 (basic Hermeneutics 101 observations).

1 Thessalonians 4 Matthew 24
1).  The Lord comes down from heaven (v. 16). 1).  The Lord comes in or upon the clouds of heaven (27-30).
2)  Since this is the same event as Mt. 24:27-30, why isn’t it considered “orthodox” to interpret Paul as using apocalyptic language? 2).  That Jesus is using spiritual and apocalyptic language here is accepted as “orthodoxy.”

How had God described His “coming down from heaven” to “reveal Himself” (2 Thess. 2:7) and “rescue” (1 Thess. 1:10) His people being persecuted in the past?

Apocalyptic language Psalm 18  

“6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7 The earth trembled and quaked (literally?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (literally?); they trembled because he was angry. 8 Smoke rose from his nostrils (literally?); consuming fire came from his mouth (remember 2 Thess. 1:7 – Jesus is “revealed from heaven in blazing fire…”) , burning coals blazed out of it. 9 He parted the heavens and came down (literally?); dark clouds were under his feet. 10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced (literally?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal voice?). 14He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare (literally?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

Christ is coming here in 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 as God had come from heaven and on the clouds in the OT – ex. Did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.: “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)?

OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16

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” 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 #2And if it is also true and orthodox to believe that 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 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 Milton Terry, Mike Bull, N.T. Wright; Gary DeMar [2 Thess. 1] on this point),…

ConclusionThen 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. 

“Gathered up” – Harpazo (1 Thess. 4:17)

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving it a theological and parallel connection to the eschatological gathering of (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:30-31 & 2 Thess. 2:1). Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.”

Harpazo means to “take one’s plunder openly and violently,” “catch or snatch away.” Liddel-Scott gives an additional meaning – “to captivate” or “ravish” – here is an example from me – “I was so captivated or enraptured (inwardly) by my wife’s beauty, that I didn’t realize what time it was.” But is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 discussing an inward or outward and upward catching away and ravishing of God’s people into the glory cloud of His kingdom?

Here are some very clear uses of harpazo:

Matthew 12:29 – Satan was “bound” and Christ was “carrying away” (harpazo) his plunder which were people that were rightfully his (that is Christ’s) held captive by Satan and demons. But how was He doing this? It was by casting out demons (an inward reality), and in some cases actually giving faith to these individuals to follow him (again an inward reality).

Matthew 11:12 – “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing (Christ casting out demons openly and publicly taking Satan’s plunder), and (in return) the forceful men (believers) lay hold of it(harpazo – through faith, vigor, power, and determination in light of present persecution – such as the case of John).

Matthew 13:19 – In the parable of the sower, the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart (again, an inner spiritual reality)

John 6:65 – “No one can come to me unless the Father has (Greek didómi) caused, drawn, dragged or enabled him.” A different Greek word is used here, but the concept is that God opens the heart first and inwardly drags/draws/causes the person to believe in Christ. Without this active inward rescuing and initiative from God, no one can believe. This is an inward “dragging.”

John 10:12 – “…the wolf (Pharisees sons of Satan) sought to snatch and scatter” the sheep/ people of Israel. How did the Pharisees seek to “snatch” and “scatter” the Jews from following Jesus? The first phase involved seeking to deceive them in their hearts and minds (an inward snatching) that He was not the Christ by perverting the Scriptures. The second phase was a physical excommunication or scattering of Christians from their synagogues.

John 10:28-29 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus cannot be “snatched” out of the Father’s hand. That is, that he cannot be influenced (snatched inwardly) in his or her mind and heart to leave God. Like Peter, “Where else can we go Lord, you alone have the words to eternal life.”

Acts 8:39 – This simply means that the Holy Spirit directed Philip in His heart and mind (inwardly) to go elsewhere and the Eunuch did not see him again. Nothing in the text to support that Philip was “raptured” into the atmosphere (waved to some birds) and was then dropped off miles and miles away from where they were.

The eschatological “already” of the inward kingdom gathering and catching away was spiritual and the eschatological “gathering” and “catching away” in the kingdom at Christ’s return would be at the end of the OC age in AD 70. But was this “not yet” aspect an inward event as well? Jesus said when the kingdom would come at His return to gather all His elect, that it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes—Luke 17:20-37/Luke 21:27-32/Matthew 24:30-31.

The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds…” (1 Thess. 4:17)

As I have demonstrated thus far (per the OT and NT prophets) Christ coming on the clouds is apocalyptic language and not referring to literal clouds.

To “meet” the Lord… (1 Thess. 4:17)

This Greek word to “meet” the Lord, is wedding language and is only used twice in the NT – here and in the wedding motif Jesus develops in Matthew 25:1-13 which Postmillennialists such as Mathison and DeMar are admitting was fulfilled in AD 70. In Jewish betrothal, it was customary for the groom to consummate his marriage sexually at her father’s house before taking her to his father’s house where they would continue consummating for seven days and having the feast. Again, since the wedding banquet follows the wedding in Jewish culture, AND the resurrection takes place at this time (cf. Isaiah 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:54-55), then Postmillennialists are now forced to concede that the ONE eschatological wedding and resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70, or teach that there are two weddings for the Church to match their two comings, resurrections and weddings with that of Dispensationalism’s version. Selah.

This Greek word for “meet” was also often used of a King or dignitary coming to make his home in a city in which his Empire or Kingdom had conquered. On the news of the imminent coming of the King or dignitary, the members of the city would go out of the city and “meet” him and escort him back to their home/town. The King’s presence is established WHERE the people already lived. Again, the imagery does not support a literal “rapture” of people off of planet earth, but rather of God coming to rule and reign in the hearts of His people where they are – living on planet earth.

“…in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17)

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)?

Strong’s Greek Dictionary, defines it as: “From “aemi”, to breath unconsciously, to respire.By analogy, to blow. The air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air.” So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.

The Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains lists (Eph 2:2; 1 Th 4:17; and Rev 16:17) in its definition of eros as meaning, “the space inhabited and controlled by [spiritual] powers.” The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says of Ephesians 2 – “…Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons.”

Ephesians 2 refers to Satan as the “Prince and Power of the AER.” He dwelt in the spiritual realm not the physical – flying through the literal clouds and sky with the birds. The war we see Christ and Satan fighting over in the NT is for the spiritual condition of men – within their hearts and minds. Paul goes on to say that Satan, “now works in the children of disobedience.” And consistently Jesus defines His kingdom as something that He is setting up “in” and “within” men and transforming them into His image spiritually.

Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possess” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His Ephs. 2:1-10. Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind, when He said, “It is finished” (Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15)! The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70 and for those that put their faith in Him.

Had Paul meant to clearly communicate that believers would physically fly off the planet into the sky and atmosphere above, he would have used the Greek word “ouranos” which clearly states this as its meaning.

The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence “within” us. Just as we see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence with His Church here.

11 Problems for the Postmillennial or Literal Futurist or “Preterist” AD 70 Rapture or Resurrection Views

1). For Partial Preterist Ed Stevens – If the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Matthew 24:31 is allegedly “clear” and some kind of literal expectation, then he should be consistent with other Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Mike Bull and begin teaching that the resurrection language is also a literal expectation and therefore the dead were raised from their physical graves and the literal dust in AD 70 as well. And why not begin teaching that Jesus came physically in AD 70? And while carrying out this physical expectation he might as well “reason” and go all the way in his thinking and conclude that since the de-creation language in Matthew 24 also sounds like a literal expectation, that either the prediction failed (liberalism), or spiritualize the time statements and continue hoping for these literal expectations (Futurism). Futurism and the skeptic are his only choices at this point when he begins reasoning along these lines.

2). Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” in 2 Thessalonians 2 by simply saying, “Aren’t you still here and the dead still in their graves? Obviously He has not come!” But since Paul did not hold to the literal rapture view or a literal resurrection view attended with Christ’s parousia, and was a real Full Preterist, he did not argue in such a way.

3). The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15 of which there are Christian survivors (66:19) whom are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the New Creation and New Covenant age.

4). In Mark 8:38-9:1 the Greek is different than Matthew 16:27-28 and actually teaches that those that were alive to witness Christ’s coming would be able to look back (while still alive) on the historical events of Him coming in power and great glory in the destruction of Jerusalem and thus know that He had “already come.”

5). After Christ and the Father come and make their home (dwelling mone John 14:2, 23) within the believer, they are told, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (14:29). If they were literally raptured, I don’t think they would need to be reminded to believe that it had been fulfilled! These words make more sense if it was a spiritual fulfillment that could not be seen with the literal eyes and to be realized “within” (cf. Lk. 17:20-37).

6) Contrary Russell, Terry, Stevens, Bull and others — Jesus of course promised not to remove the Church off of planet earth (John 17:15).

7). Church history tells us that Christians were not raptured but fled to Pella. Church history tells us that the Apostle John was still alive during Domician’s reign in the mid AD 90’s and that Timothy, Titus, and Luke lived beyond AD 70. Stevens claims not all the Christians were raptured, only the super spiritual ones — the others were apparently unfaithful “sleepers” he claims. Odd, that Stevens claims to be a Calvinist and teaches such non-sense as the carnal Christian heresy! So I guess according to this heretical view, John, Timothy, Titus, and Luke became unfaithful “sleepers” and missed the rapture of the faithful. Oh boy!

8). If there was a literal resurrection in AD 70 to go along with a literal rapture, we have to wonder how everyone missed recording that “all” the righteous and unrighteous dead were literally raised from the dust of the earth in fulfillment of Daniel 12:2/Acts 24:15YLT/John 5:28-29/Rev. 20:5-15 along with tens of thousands of living Christians that just simply disappeared?!?

They have tried to avoid this by claiming there was a small number of faithful Christians that were “raptured” and not all the dead were raised in AD 70. But obviously this is NOT what Daniel 12:2 says, nor is this how it is developed in the NT. David Green writes concerning the world “many” in Daniel 12:2,

“Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the “many” in Daniel 12:2 referred to the whole company of all the dead from Adam to the Last Day.” (HD, 178).

9). If the “gathering” and “catching away” of Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 were the same event and if the “gathering” of Matthew 24:31 and Matthew 13:39-43 are the same event, then why weren’t the “wicked” “tares” or “weeds” “gathered” (i.e. “raptured”) off of planet earth (the same way the wheat were “gathered” into the kingdom) in AD 70 and thrown into the fire and judged (the Lake of Fire)?

10). During the OC to NC AD 30 – AD 70 transition period, we have the “already—becoming/transforming—and not yet” process of salvation and resurrection taking place. If a physical transformation of the literal living or the dead was the eschatological goal of the parousia, then why weren’t the living physically being “transformed” and literally “seeing” God’s face in some way before He came? Why weren’t they physically glowing a little before they were totally transformed into the NC glory they were receiving by AD 66? How was “the death being destroyed” and the dead “being raised” physically in 1 Corinthians 15 prior to the parousia?

11). Ed’s main premise for believing a literal rapture is because we don’t have any early church fathers teaching the parousia or Second Coming was fulfilled in AD 70. Ed claims he “lost sleep” over this subject and God showed him that the literal rapture solves his sleep problem. Of course Partial Preterists don’t have any early church fathers teaching that Babylon was OC Jerusalem or that Matthew 24:31 or 25:31 was Christ’s coming in AD 70 either. The Reformed church didn’t have any early writings about forensic justification by faith alone prior to Luther. Did Ed loose sleep over those things?

But Ed saws off the branch he is sitting on when we point out and ask – if Christians were literally raptured, and immediately after that, the Christian “sleepers” who were left repented of their sleepiness and started preaching the gospel—why didn’t they record the literal “rapture” of the faithful?!? It just gets more and more foolish. Literal rapturists argue the “sleepers” didn’t want to discuss or record God’s faithfulness in rapturing the faithful, because they would be persecuted. This is supposed to explain the reason for the silence. Well, if there was no literal rapture, then why couldn’t this same reasoning apply for the silence of those still alive on planet earth? Per the rapturist, the living were afraid of persecution. Their reasoning applies to both groups and solves no problem.

The bottom line – those that hate the truth concerning a spiritual fulfillment in AD 70 would not believe even if we had documentation of the event say in AD 85. They would simply reason, “Oh, this is when the gnostic heresy of Full Preterism began.” I don’t loose sleep over what the Word of God says – it actually strengthens my faith and gives me peace.

For my full article and exegesis of the “rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 go to: http://fullpreterism.com/my-ppw-conference-lecture-2-the-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-matthew-2430-31-1-thessalonians-415-17/

The Wedding Feast & Resurrection in the New Covenant Age – Post AD 70

Matthew 8:10-12:

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

Kenneth Gentry writes,

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

D.A. Carson writes,

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

Bloomberg writes,

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

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

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

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

Matthew 22:1-14:

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

Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,

“Here the first servant-messengers (another reference to the prophets, no doubt) were simply ignored. Another wave of servant-messengers (more prophets) are treated as such a nuisance that while some still ignored them, “the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (v. 6). Jesus is certainly adding [the murdering of the servants or prophets] here as part of the same indictment of Jerusalem He would give again in (Matt. 23:34-36).” “The murderers were the entire generation of Israelites….” “…the armies would set the murderers’ city on fire (again exactly what happened in AD 70).”

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

Strengths:

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

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

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 25:1-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Context of Isaiah 25:6-9

“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines. 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 All Together “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 #3: 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.

We Celebrate the New Covenant Passover / Lord’s Supper / Wedding Feast / Resurrection Spiritually Today in the Kingdom.

The “Sacrament” of a Literal Water Baptism or Pauls “ONE [Spiritual] Baptism?

I have already addressed Jesus’ and Paul’s “ONE baptism” to not have anything to do with dunking, dipping or sprinkling in physical water. John baptized with water, but Jesus would baptize His body spiritually with the water and cleansing of the Holy Spirit whereby He would sprinkle our hearts with the blood of Christ.

To be a member of the Old Covenant kingdom of Israel, one was circumcised, washed in water and had two turtle doves offered on his account. Is not membership in the SPIRITUAL New Covenant Israel of God and Kingdom a circumcision and baptism “WITHOUT HANDS” and His sacrifice and blood spiritually sprinkled on our hearts (Cols. 2:11-12/Dan. 2; Heb. 9-10:22)?!?

See my article on baptism here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/mike-sullivan/pauls-one-new-covenant-spiritual-baptism-in-ephs-45-1-cor-1213rms-6-water-ritual/10155042188039364/

Temple Theology and the Two So-called Physical “Sacraments” of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and How They are Truly and Spiritually Fulfilled in the ONE New Covenant Temple/Man Today

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The NC “ONE baptism” (Ephs. 4:5/Mt. 3:11/Jn. 3:5) and partaking of the “Passover” “anew” or when it is “fulfilled in the kingdom” (Lk. 22:15-18) AND the ONE Temple / Man (Ephs. 2-3) — are the spiritual anti-types to two OT types which are spiritually fulfilled in the mind, heart and conscience (i.e. that which the what the ark represents). Hebrews tells us the ark is our heart spiritually sprinkled with the blood of Christ which produces a clean conscience (Heb. 9-10:22). This is Jesus’ NC baptism “with the Holy Spirit” which places us in the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13/Ephs. 4:5/Ezek. 36:25). There were other items in the Ark which point to fulfilling the Passover or Last Supper typology as well.

The manna which Jesus tells us He is (the “TRUE bread” or “Hidden Manna”) – which we must eat to have “eternal life” (Jn. 6 & Rev. 2:17). Thus BOTH of these alleged physical “sacraments” were spiritually being fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70 through the inauguration of Christ’s Kingdom in AD 30 –> to bringing the ONE NC Temple/Man (the NC kingdom) to it’s “maturity” in AD 70. Bringing the kingdom to her maturity and fulfillment does not take her BACK to physical rituals and ceremonies (as was performed under the OC).

There were other things in the ark such as the law, Arrons staff budding and possibly oil used by the Priests to anoint the Temple. God has written his law on our hearts and “causes” us to obey it through His power in the NC baptism (Ezek. 36:25-27). The staff budding was possibly a reference to the Tree of Life. The oil – being the Holy Spirit given to us as an anointing to continue in the truth as 1 John points out. Hebrews tells us not only that our hearts are the fulfillment of the ark, but that the Holy Place was a type of the “then present” OC transitional age and the OC people of God while entering behind the veil into the Most Holy Place was symbolic of entering into the NC and the NC people of God (Heb. 9). When the “first” Holy Place was removed in AD 70, then ONLY the NC Most Holy Place would be standing which is the picture John gives us in Revelation when the OC Harlot city/Wife [Babylon where the Lord was crucified Rev. 11:8] is judged and the NC Wife is consummated with Her Groom (Rev. 21:16). Daniel 9:24-27 assures us that when the first OC Temple and city was destroyed in AD 70 God, was going to “anoint” another “Most Holy Place” with “gladness” (LXX). Thus we are the Most Holy Place NC Temple/Man that has been purified, washed/sprinkled in the ONE Holy Spirit Baptism and eat the “TRUE Bread” from heaven and partake of the “ONE Body” (also unleavened bread of the Passover) — SPIRITUALLY.

For more on how the Temple is structured like a man and the ark representing the relationship between the heart, mind and conscience of man see my article here: http://fullpreterism.com/568/

Applications

We partake of the Lord’s Supper today by realizing all that Christ has accomplished for us through His cross and Parousia and by picking up our cross daily and dying to self. This is a spiritual inward meditating, rejoicing and an offering up of ourselves as a living sacrifice to God.

We feast upon Him and with Him in the wedding feast — by doing His will in following His teaching and by unselfishly fellowshipping with the rest of His Body of Christ — serving Her with the gifts He has given us. In AD 70 God’s OC wife starved (eating her own young) and was feasted upon by the vultures of Rome, while God’s NC bride fled the city to Pella and were feasting upon the wine and bread of Christ “within” them (Rev. 19-21; Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32; Lk. 22:15-18; Jh. 14:23).

We may still very well have home meals together where we invite the poor, study Scripture and pray together. But none of this has anything to do with religious RITUALS of “crackers and grape juice” or celebrating Easter which was a carnal invention of the Roman Catholic Church. It is very important to worship our King “in Spirit and in truth” and not in carnal superstitious rituals or the traditions of men. The Reformation did not reform and correct the influence of the Judaizers and Roman Catholic teaching on the “sacraments.” Selah.

It is disturbing to think of how much bloodshed and divisions have been caused by religious folk thinking New Covenant baptism and communion have anything to do with physical rituals and or “sacraments” the church can use to manipulate and control its members. Be free in God’s sovereign and free grace and live victoriously in this beautiful New Covenant Kingdom that He has caused us to inherit and enjoy “within us” and that is “cut without hands.”

Here is a great message by Dr. Kelly Nelson Birks Memorial on the Lord’s Supper: http://drkellynelsonbirks.com/audio/miscSeries/MISC002.mp3?fbclid=IwAR0bDybvRwDcWzD_HBIB107qqyPgPJZOUxyD5oB2VESfEVrsGoIyWKvS0po

PART 2 – THE SPIRITUAL ONE NEW COVENANT BAPTISM

Introduction

This very brief article explores if the baptism of Ephesians 4:5 is the covenant ritual of a ceremonial water baptism, or is the work of Christ baptizing believers through the Living Waters of the Holy Spirit through the blood of Christ – cleansing the heart and conscience from dead works. I will be arguing for the later.

Defining Baptism: baptizō, baptisma, baptismos, baptō

Means to cover, be influenced or overwhelmed (which can be through repetitive dipping or submerging) producing cleansing or a change of condition.

Pastor Jim Brown following Strongs points out that this was,

“…a common word used among the Greeks signifying to stain or dye a garment; the predominant signification of the word means to cover over with a stain or dye which produced a change of condition.”

Thayer adds:  it can mean identifying oneself in a person or his teachings such as Moses and the OC (1 Cor. 10:2), or Christ and the New Covenant which unites all believers into one body (1 Cor. 12:13), bringing them into fellowship with Christ (Gals. 3:28), imbuing them richly with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), and overwhelming unbelievers with fire in the day of judgment (Matthew 3:11). (Thayer, Joseph Henry, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament being Grimm’s Wilke’s ClavisNovi Testamenti, Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1951, 94-95).

After twenty years of studying these Greek words and how they are used inside and outside the Bible, James Dale concluded with this definition:

“…whatever is capable of thoroughly changing the character, state, or condition of any object, is capable of baptizing that object: and by such change of character, state, or condition does, in fact, baptize it.” (JOHANNIC BAPTISM AN INQUIRY INTO THE MEANING OF THE WORLD AS DETERMINED BY THE USAGE OF THE HOLY SCROPTURES, P&R, p. vi.)

Dr. Dale has traced the word Baptismos and its cognates to the causative agencies (and modes of action of course), suggested by the following record among others not here specified: 1. Baptism of wine, a drunken condition. 2. Baptism of war, a desolated condition. 3. Baptism of care, anxious condition. 4. Baptism of trouble, a harassed condition. 5. Baptism of passion, and excited condition. 6. Baptism of grief, a sorrowful condition. 7. Baptism of ignorance, an un-lightened condition. 8. Baptism of wickedness, a depraved condition. 9. Baptism of taxes, an oppressed condition. 10. Baptism of debts, a bankrupt condition. 11. Baptism of mental labor, and imbecile condition. 12. Baptism of questions, a bewildered condition. 13. Baptism of disease, a sickly condition. 14. Baptism of Magian arts, a superstitious condition. 15. Baptism of poverty, an impoverished condition. 16. Baptism of a drug, a somnolent condition. 17. Baptism of pleasure, a joyous condition. 18. Baptism of fright, an alarmed condition. 19. Baptism of surprise, a startled condition. 20. Baptism of heifer ashes, a ceremonially pure condition. 21. Baptism of mersion or submerging, a whelmed condition. —Twenty examples against one (the later), in favor of a variety of meanings, and of non-physical as well as physical applications of the word. (Johannic Baptism, p. 237)

William B. Orbis defines Baptizo:

“1. to merge into, as to“baptize into Christ,” to merge into Christ; 2. to consecrate or transfer allegiance to, as, “baptized unto Moses,” allegiance transferred to Moses; 3. to come into a vital union with; as Christ says,“Abide in me and I in you;” 4. to renew, convert, or regenerate, through this vital union of the one all pure, with one that was impure: hence, 5. to purify, sanctify, cleanse, remit sin, wash, hallow, etc.

Baptisma: 1. a saved or merged condition (1 Pet. 3:21); 2. a doctrine that points the way to salvation (Lk. 20:4). 3. a purified or endowed condition.” (RITUALISM DETHRONED AND THE TRUE CHURCH FOUND, OR THE DIVINE LIFE IN ALL THE CHRISTIAN AGES MOST REVEALED IN THOSE CHURCHES AND “MARTYRS OF JESUS” THAT HAVE WITNESSED AGAINST A CEREMONIAL AND SACRAMENTAL LAW, A Plea for Christian Liberty, Christian Union, and the Higher Christian Life, Forgotten Books, pp. 100-101).

Strong’s says of baptism here in Ephesians 4:5,

(X) “…The whole paragraph, Eph. 4:1–5, is indicative of Paul’s desire that there should be unity of the Spirit in the body of Christ. No reference is made to water baptism at all. The verse says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” This baptism must be, therefore, the spiritual baptism, the baptism in the Spirit that was promised by John the Baptist that the One coming after him would accomplish (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33) and Jesus Christ Himself promised in Acts 1:5. This took place in Acts 2 and was followed by the resultant speaking with other tongues; also in Caesarea in Acts 11:16–18; 10:44–46 and in Ephesus with the same manifestation of speaking in other languages (Acts 19:1–7). The purpose of this Spirit baptism is shown in 1 Cor. 12:13 as the incorporation of all believers into the body of Christ, the Church (Eph. 1:22, 23).” (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers).

Just based upon the definition alone, does it sound like Jesus’ “ONE” NC baptism (Ephs. 4:4-5) is:

A). A water ritual bringing about the forgiveness of sins and changing one’s character and status before God.

Or

B). It’s Christ baptizing and cleansing us by the Holy Spirit who cleanses our hearts and consciences in the blood of Christ – thus changing our condition, character and state – placing us “in Christ.” Thus, through faith we follow & identify with (are baptized into) the truth of Christ’s teachings and doctrine in the NC age.

I personally go with “B.”

Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit, according as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in you all (Jew and Gentile),”

The Immediate Context Preceding Ephesians 4:5

Before exegeting our text it is important to look at the previous context to see how physical rituals and works are viewed by Paul and how he says the New Covenant Body is saved.

1. Blessed in Christ with every SPIRITUAL blessing in heavenly places due to His predestination & will (1:3-5, 11).

2. We have “redemption” and “forgiveness of sins THROUGH His blood.”

3. Sealed spiritually with the promised Spirit (the NC baptism) upon belief (1:13-14).

4. Paul prays that they would continue to have the Spirit to spiritually enlighten their hearts to all the spiritual blessings & inheritance that they have (1:18).

5. God raised us up from the dead spiritually and seated us with Him by His grace (2:5-6).

6. Saved by His grace through faith (not of our selves but a gift) and not of our works (2:8-10).

7. Gentiles once separated due to a physical ritual of circumcision (“with hands”) and a physical temple, God has reconciled by His “blood” making one spiritual NC “Man” and “Holy Temple in the Lord” by the Spirit (2:11-22).

8. Christ and the “fullness of God” dwells in our “hearts” and “inner being” spiritually through faith (3:14-20).

The Immediate Context Following Ephesians 4:5

9. We spiritually put off the old man/life and put on Christ through faith in our minds (Ephs. 4:22-24).

10. We are children of spiritual light (5:7-11).

11. We are to spiritually fill our spirits with fellowship and worship (5:18-21).

12. As husbands we spiritually cleanse/wash our wives in the Word as Christ has purified/sanctified/cleansed/washed us through the Word (5:25-27).

13. And the Ephesians were not engaged in a battle of physical “flesh and blood” but put on spiritual armor to fight the Devil and the demonic and prayed “in the Spirit” (6:10-18).

*** Paul looks down upon physical rituals and ceremonies performed by “hands” and a physical temple (both of which served to separate) and exalts God’s sovereign grace and the blood of Christ as the reason man has been saved from spiritual death. The emphasis consistently before and after Ephesians 4:5 is on what takes place by the Spirit in the heart and not anything performed by a physical ritual or in conjunction with it. God gives the gift of faith and explicitly says salvation is “not of works.” Yet the Church of Christ cult boasts in a physical ceremony/ritual performed by “mans hands” and also boasts that salvation is by works. Their false teaching has separated them from the rest of Christianity which again is something they oddly boast in.

Parallels / Analogy of Faith Between 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 4:4-6:

Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit, according as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in you all (Jew and Gentile),”

1 Corinthians 12:13: “for also in one Spirit we all to one body were baptized, whether Jews or Greeks, whether servants or freemen, and all into one Spirit were made to drink,”

1. “one Spirit,”

2. “one body”

3. [one] “baptism”

In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Christ baptizes Jew and Gentile by means or through the Holy Spirit. John baptized with water, “BUT” (a contrast is coming from physical water to the Spirit) Jesus would baptize Jew and Gentile (believers in the NC one body) in and through the means of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:11; Mrk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Acts 1:5). John’s baptism was physical (of which he administered in a physical river) and Jesus’ baptism was spiritual (of which He administers spiritually through the Holy Spirit – the living waters/river Ezek. 36:25; Ezek. 47/Jn. 7:37-39). We drink from the same Spiritual waters of the Spirit which produces eternal life within us.

So I would understand 1 Corinthians 12:13 as, “for also in one Spirit we all to one body were identified/united/purified/baptized [by Christ the one Lord], whether Jews or Greeks, whether servants or freemen, and all into one Spirit were made to drink,”

While here in Corinthians let’s briefly look at another baptism text:

1 Corinthians 10:2:Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were united/identified to Moses in the cloud and in the sea…

While John Calvin was a water ritualist, of 1 Corinthians 10:2 he correctly sees this baptism as a baptism into the Old Covenant doctrine or ministry of Moses and his guidance:

“They were, says he, baptized in Moses, that is, under the ministry or guidance of Moses.”

John Gill also a water ritualist, understood this baptism to mean,

“For instance, their following Moses into the sea, which is meant by their being “baptized into him,” was an acknowledgment of their regard unto him, as their guide and governor, as baptism is a following of Christ, who has left us an example that we should tread in his steps; and is an owning him to be our prophet to teach us, and lead us the way; and it is a profession of our faith in him, as our surety and Saviour, and a subjection to him as our King and Governor.”

We are baptized “in Christ” and the New Covenant in a similar way that the Israelites were baptized in Moses and the Old Covenant. Israel trusted the revelation that came through Moses to identify them with him and God to obey the covenant and bring them into the Promised Land. The anti-type being we trust the revelation and doctrine that come through Christ and identify our lives in His doctrine of eternal life and trust Him that we have inherited all of the spiritual blessing that come through Him.

Before leaving 1 Corinthians, we should probably briefly look at 1 Corinthians 1 and see if Paul water baptized and or saw water baptism as a part of the gospel.

Let’s first look at the Young’s Literal Translation:

1 Corinthians 1:13-17 YLT: “…was Paul crucified for you? Or to the name of Paul were ye baptized; I give thanks to God that no one of you did I baptize, except Crispus and Gaius—that no one may say that to my own name I did baptize; and I did baptize also Stephanas’ household—further, I have not known if I did baptize any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but—to proclaim good news; not in wisdom of discourse, that the cross of the Christ may not be made of none effect;”

And now from a Sovereign Grace Full Preterist (Dr. Kelly Nelson Birks Memorial) who had a Phd in Biblical languages and spent many weeks diagraming this passage and came up with the following translation that makes Paul’s argument more consistent,

1 Corinthians 1:13-17 (Dr. Kelley Birks): “…was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized (passive voice) in the name of Paul (as Christ passively baptizes us spiritually [w/out water] through the Holy Spirit? The implied or rhetorical answer is “no” none of them have). I am thankful that I none of you I baptized. Surely not even Crispus or Gaius. Lest anyone should say I have baptized in my own name. But even the rest of the house of stephanas I baptized not. I would know if I baptized some other. For Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the gospel.”

According to YLT Paul’s argument is inconsistent and portrays him as having a bad memory. Some who do not believe water baptism is applicable today believe Paul in rare cases performed proselyte water baptism, but did not see this as “preaching the gospel.”

Dr. Kelley Birks’ translation is more consistent and does not see Paul baptizing anyone in water because it was not apart of “preaching the gospel.” I favor Birks’ translation, but either way, Paul was thankful he didn’t baptize (many or any) because water baptism was not a part of preaching the gospel.

Is Romans 6:3-5 Teaching a Physical Water Baptism or Paul’s New Covenant “ONE” Spiritual Baptism Ephesians 4:5/1 Corinthians 12:13?

Romans 6:1-8: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized/merged/unitedinto Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united (Greek – súmphutos merged/grafted into/planted) with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.6 We know that our old self was old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Contextual Flow of Paul in Romans

  1. Romans 1-4: No one can seek or please God and we are not saved by works or covenant ceremonies / rituals such as circumcision – but faith alone. A true Jew or believer is one who has been circumcised spiritually or of the heart.
  2. Romans 5: The Holy Spirit is the controlling agent of baptism and has been “poured out in our hearts” producing joy. We are either identified and controlled in the covenant heads of Adam or Christ. We are identified or in union with either of these controlling bodies.
  3. Romans 7-9: The context following Romans 6 continues to be spiritual – the mind of the flesh v. the Spirit — inward renewal and salvation is in view not an external ritual of water that is necessary to produce this cleansing. Also, we learn in chapter 9 that one’s salvation is dependent upon God’s choice and not ours (going back to even before birth). It is “NOT of him would WILLS, but of God who has mercy on whom HE WILLS.”

The understanding of the Church of Christ cult is nowhere found in the book of Romans. There is no emphasis on “free will” “salvation by works,” or even as we will see, obedience to a physical water baptism that is necessary for salvation. Totally foreign to the context!

I agree with Martin Lloyd Jones as far as not even remotely seeing water baptism in this text,

“Indeed I go further and suggest that to argue that the Apostle has water baptism in his mind in any shape or form here is to give a prominence to baptism that the Apostle Paul never gives to it. . . . The conclusion therefore at which I arrive is that baptism by water is not in the mind of the Apostle at all in these two verses; instead it is the baptism wrought by the Spirit. It is the plain, explicit teaching of I Corinthians 12:13, and indeed in the whole of the chapter, as it is in other places where the Apostle treats of this particular aspect of truth. And I argue further that the use of this term ‘planted together’, in verse 5, supports what I am saying. All are agreed that the idea of planting has nothing to do with baptism at all; it is rather the idea of grafting a shoot into a tree. ‘Planted together’ – in unity, identification – that is the meaning of the term. Paul is not using the figure of baptism in any shape or form there, but is still emphasizing this unity. That also is the work of the Spirit.”

When we follow the contextual flow of Paul to be examined leading in to Romans 6, follow the correct definition of baptize and understand the parallel word he uses for it sumphutos– all this points to a spiritual baptism which changes our sinful condition before God and unites us to Christ’s righteousness.

1.“Baptized (Greek baptizo: to come under the influence of or to merge into union with) into Christ & His death” – Here baptism means to be “brought into UNION with or to be brought under the controlling influence of a person which results in a changed condition.” This is supported by the parallel word “united with him in a death like his” (sumphutos) later in the context. Through our faith in Christ, we too underwent a “blood baptism” of death with and in Him. Christ and His death are the controlling agents or sources of influencein this baptism which brings about a change of condition resulting in resurrection or newness of life. We have been “submerged and or dipped repeatedly like a cloth that has been soaked through and through having come out of that process a different color or in a different condition than before.”

As Christ died to sin daily and perfectly abiding in the Father (always doing His will), so too we are called to die daily to sin and abide in the Son.

2. “United with Him” (Greek súmphutos: grafted into – as a branch into a tree). We were once like a branch in the tree of Adam whose sap source (union or identification chapter 5) was only making us capable of sinning. But now we are like a branch that has been broken off the tree of Adam and has been “ingrafted into” the Tree of Life — whose life source is the Holy Spirit giving us the ability we never had before – to bear forth the fruits of the Spirit and walk in the power of resurrection and newness of life.

“Baptized into his death” and “United into His death” are grammatically and contextually parallel concepts and help us follow the proper definition of baptizo here in identifying it as the controlling influence in our spiritual conversion, producing our spiritual union and condition in Christ — and not a water ceremony.

Baptizo here in Romans 6 is also in the passive voice. When water baptism is in view (ex. John the Baptist’s baptism or Acts 8 with the Eunuch and Philip) , the voice is active because the one submitting is active (planning, going to the place, subjecting to) and the one pouring, dipping or dunking is actively doing the baptism (actively “with hands” v. NC spiritual baptism in the passive voice “withOUT hands”).

Trinity Structure Not Lost in Our Exegesis of Ephesians 4:4-6

1. Verse 4 – The Holy Spirit unifies the Body (Jew/Gentile).

2. Verse 5 – The Lord (Son) is the fulfillment of the NC system of faith and gives the gift of faith baptizing through the means of the Holy Spirit (both unifying Jew/Gentile).

3. Verse 6 – The Father is over all (even Son and Spirit) and through all (in Jew/Gentile).

PHYSICAL Sacraments Not the Issue

Commentators who have taken Ephesians 4:5 to be water baptism, often wonder why or try and explain why, the Lord’s Supper is not mentioned or involved in the text as well. The obvious answer is that the sacrament of water baptism isn’t even the issue in Ephesians 4:5, so don’t worry about another sacrament not being mentioned.

Again – Paul’s New Covenant Spiritual Exegesis

There is nothing in Ephesians itself that would point us to obeying a literal water ritual for salvation or even as a sign of salvation. Paul tells the Ephesians (and by extension us) that they have been raised from a spiritual death and seated in the heavenly realm. He tells them that they are a spiritual body or NC New Man/Temple. And most importantly, Christians have been saved by grace through faith (even this was a gift) apart from works.

Paul elsewhere confirms in Colossians that Gentile Christians are not under the Old Covenant rituals of circumcision or water baptisms/washings that the Judaizers wanted to place them under, because they had been circumcised and baptized “without hands” (Cols. 2:11-14). Selah.

Hebrews

Hebrews is likewise clear that the NC spiritual “ONE BAPTISM”/washing/sprinkling has to do with cleansing our hearts and consciences as opposed to OC physical baptisms/washings that could not cleanse the heart and concience before God (Heb. 6; 9; 10).

1 Peter 3:20-21

1 Peter 3:20-21 is a common passage for the Church of Christ cult whereby they believe unless one is not water baptized they cannot be saved and receive forgiveness of sins. They assume the passage is discussing water baptism and even other denominations make this same mistake.

Baptized in the Pitch & Ark an OT Type

Let’s first look at the OT type. Noah was commanded to take the pitch (red in color / blood from the tree) and COVER (baptize) the ark within and without it, in order to keep it afloat — functioning as a barrier from the wrath of God (the water). Bob Minner writes,

“The word use in Gen 6:14 is interesting:

“Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall COVER it inside and out with PITCH.”

The word for “cover” is kaphar, the common OT word for atone / atonement. The word for “pitch” is kopher which according to Strong’s can mean the price of a life, a ransom, or to cover.

The ark was covered in the reddish bitumen pitch inside and out, a baptism if you will, considering the root bapto means to cover and stain with a dye (literally a change of condition or state).

This “baptism” brought them through the judgement of God, which was the flood.

So then, the words in 1 Pet 3:21 carry more weight in showing that the NT baptism isn’t water, but, like the ark of Noah, a covering of atonement done upon us by the Lord.”

Pastor Jim Brown following Strong’s writes,

“Baptized- Greek: baptizo- to make whelmed; to cover all over; from: bapto. – to whelm or cover wholly with fluid; a common word used among the Greeks signifying to stain or dye a garment; the predominant signification of the word means to cover over with a stain or dye.

I Peter 3:20, 21– in the days of Noah– the ark was a preparing-eight souls were saved by water– the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us– by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

save – Greek: sozo- to protect and deliver safely from one place to another without harm.

Genesis 6:14– (God speaking to Noah) Make thee an ark of gopher wood 1pitch it within and without with 2pitch.

1pitch (verb)- Hebrew: Kaphar – to cover; appease; atonement; purge; pardon

2pitch (noun)- Hebrew: Kopher – to cover with bitumen from the henna plant; a stain colored coating to make boats watertight; ransom, redemption price.

Ephesians 4:5– One Lord, One faith, one Baptism

The water was the wrath of God in the story of the flood. It was the pitch that was the picture of New Testament baptism. Baptism (the pitch) saved (delivered) Noah and his family upon the waters (the judgment of God). Baptize, pitch and atonement all mean to “cover with a stain or dye”. Once a year the high priest would enter into the Most Holy Place and sprinkle the blood of the atonement lamb (a type of the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God) covering the Ark of the Covenant (baptizing with blood – Heb. 9:7; Lev. 23:27). “Without shedding of blood is no remission (Heb. 9:22)”. Gods divine presence hovered upon the mercy seat (kapporeth-from kaphar). If the Lamb was without spot or blemish (a type of Christ, the Lamb without sin), the wrath, of God would be appeased (Kaphar). God would look through the blood-stained covering of the mercy seat (on top of the Ark of the Covenant) at the broken law inside and the sins of the people would be forgiven. Israel was saved by baptism (covered with stain) from the wrath of God. The pitch was the covering stain (baptism/atonement) that protected and delivered (saved) Noah and his family from the wrath (water) of God. The pitch (baptism) kept the ark from sinking throughout the judgment of God. In like manner, the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29) covers and stains the believer (baptizing him), protecting and delivering (saving) him through the fiery baptism (Matt: 3:11; I Peter 1:7) of God’s judgment. Paul said in Rom. 5:9, “–being now justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through him. John said, “He washed us from our sins in his own blood (Rev. 1:5).” The one true baptism is Holy Spirit baptism in the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, covering his elect, atoning for their sin, and calling them to obedience (I Peter 1:2) as he delivers them from the wrath of God. Baptism (staining of Christ’s blood) doth also now save us (deliver us through wrath).”

The “ONE [spiritual] Baptism” – the NT Anti-type

Being baptized by Christ through the means of the Spirit (the ONE spiritual baptism of Ephs. 4:4-6/1 Cor. 12:13/Rms. 6/Cols. 2:11-14) is having the Spirit cover us with the blood and authority of Christ which produces a good conscience before God and brings about the remission of sins. Salvation was still a process for the first century Christians (Christ as the High Priest hadn’t come out of the heavenly temple yet Heb. 9:26-28) and they were also still being saved through the trial of fire and suffering (birth pains).

In the midst of the Christians being persecucuted by the trial of fire – God kept and purified their faith through His power (even in the midst of martrdom).

When it came to the baptism of fire for Israel between AD 67 – 70 “not a hair on the head” of believers would be touched. Just as Christ stood with the three friends of Daniel – while they watched the fire burn those that had bound them, so too the Jewish Church fled Jerusalem when Christ told them too, and God rendered tribulation upon their enemies.

Like the red pitch that covered the ark, so the blood of Christ covered and preserved the faith of the early Christians in the midst of their persecutions giving them a pure conscience before God and man.

The Rebuke and Exhortation to the Church of Christ Cult

1 Peter 3:20-21 has nothing to do with water baptism according to the coc cult – ugh. They have water on the brain and trying to get people dunked in water, while we have the REAL “ONE baptism” of the Spirit which COVERS us in His blood (it is a propitiation from His wrath and covers us with His righteousness) on ours. We have set our minds on things above and that of which the spiritual man meditates and hopes in, while they on fleshly rituals which profit nothing and cannot save the soul.

John’s Baptism and Baptism in Acts

1. John’s baptism & “fulfilling all righteousness”

a. John is from a priestly family. Priests were to be washed/baptized with water and sprinkled with blood and oil before entering the priesthood. Jesus is the incoming Messianic Priest who is anointed with the Spirit — and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So fulfilling all righteousness here can refer to the OT law.

b. But the Jews ADDED water baptism or proselyte baptism to the OT law. As a Gentile proselyte you were only required to: 1. be circumcised and 2. offer two turtle doves. But the Jews ADDED (in their verbal law) a third step: 3. water baptism by which one was then declared a “new creation” and a member of the OT kingdom.

The Pharisees thought anyone in northern Israel was unclean and needed to undergo a water purification (proselyte) baptism. Jews in the norther area could not teach without this cleansing. “Can anything good come from Nazareth” was the mentality. So to fulfill their “righteousness” (apart of their civil law at this time) Jesus underwent it as well.

c. It is in the Jordan – pointing to the second exodus motif. Jesus being the new Joshua coming in the land after 40 days and beginning the conquest (driving out evil spirits, refuting the Jew’s oral traditions, etc…).

d. John’s THEOLOGY on the coming NC baptism of Jesus will usher in has nothing to do with water in fact a sharp contrast from it is given – “I baptize with WATER, BUT… He will baptize with the Holy Spirit”(Mt. 3:11).

e. The transitional baptism from John’s disciples to Jesus’ is still before the NC an under OC washings/baptisms (Jn. 3; Heb. 9-10).

2. Jesus’ teaching on His coming NC baptism of the “water” (spiritual or metaphorical) and the “Holy Spirit.”

a. He appeals to the OT for it in Jn. 3:3-9/Jn. 7:37-39 and those OT texts have NOTHING to do with physical water baptism (Ezek. 36:25-27; Isa. 44; Isa. 51-52:15; Ezek. 47; etc…). Didn’t He come to fulfill the law (Mt. 5:17-18) and yet no promise in the OT of a physical NC water baptism. Hmmm.

b. The ONLY time Jesus teaches on this baptism of the Holy Spirit is in Jn. 7:37-39; Jn. 14-16. No NC physical water baptism there. Some think Mt. 28:18-20, but I see “baptizing them” there as covering them in authority/truth and teaching of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In a similar way a husband is to wash/teach his wife in the Word (as Christ washes/baptizes us in His Word).

3. Paul’s didactic doctrinal teachings.

a. I agree with Robert M. that we should not then jump into Acts next (historical narrative). We need to go FIRST to Paul’s teaching on the NC baptism.

b. It’s only “ONE baptism” and it’s clearly not water but spiritual (Ephs. 4:4-5/1 Cor. 12:13/Cols. 2/Rms. 6).

c. Paul didn’t baptize anyone – not even Gaius or Crispus in 1 Cor. 1 (see Birks translation of 1 Cor. 1:14-17 in chart below). Paul was thankful that he didn’t water baptize anyone, for he came to preach the gospel and not baptize.

4. Baptism in Acts.

a. Acts 1:4-5 points us back to Mt. 3:11 and Jn. 3:5 which has nothing to do with a NC physical water baptism ritual.

b. Acts 2:38 – The baptism here is the “One [spiritual] Baptism” of Paul and it produces the forgiveness of sins (a looking back to the cross or in anticipation of the parousia).

c. Acts 8 – A Gentile proselyte eunuch asks Philp to baptize him in water. This is very early on in the transitionary period (around AD 35). No “revelations” from Paul (cf. Galatians) on how to deal with Gentile believers in Jesus yet. Peter hadn’t had his vision telling him Gentiles were clean yet (Acts 10-11).

d. Acts 10 – See translation by Birks and Jim Brown (in chart below). Peter was not asking or commanding Gentile converts to undergo a proselyte water baptism under Jesus (as the Jews with him were wanting to do in getting water), but rather calling them to “stop” the water coming. Why? Because they had already been baptized by the Holy Spirit (the ONE baptism) and thus “defined” to be clean.

e. Acts 22:16 – Again see Birk’s translation on this passage in chart below. Everything Paul needed as far as equipping him to go preach the gospel to the Gentiles had already been accomplished. He had already been raised and baptized (in the Holy Spirit – the ONE baptism).

There are various baptisms and Jesus’ New Covenant baptism was not to be with physical water – that was John’s baptism:

Conclusion:

The Church of Christ and Roman Catholic cults (along with many other ritualist denominations) have had to read into Ephesians 4:4-5 a “one baptism” of WATER, when there is no exegetical grounds to do so. As Christians we have one allegiance and identification and that is found in our union “in Christ” which has nothing to do with obeying or being bound to, a physical ritual.

For those claiming to be Christians and wanting to place men under a physical ritualistic gospel for justification, is according to Paul, to preach “another gospel” and be numbered among the “false brethren” (Galatians). This is not a light matter.

How much bloodshed and divisions within religion has been spilled over baptism and the Lord’s Supper?  How much division over eschatology?  God in His good and sovereign providence has guided you to this article to equip you to be a true “Reformer” and “Peace Maker.”  Count the cost, but also the rich blessings!

The Church needs to do more outreach in the community inviting the poor and lame to our New Covenant wedding Banquet and Love Feasts by which we can feed them physically and spiritually.  If Churches actually did this instead of focusing on outward physical rituals, perhaps we could eliminate government food stamps and unnecessary government social programs?  Actually placing the focus where it needs to be (dining with Christ & living this out to the world) instead of fighting over unbiblical modes of physical rituals is what New Covenant Kingdom living was and is meant to be.  Selah.

Appendix A

Dr. Kelley Birks’ transaltions (He had a PhD in Biblical languages)

Where’s The Water?

This series asks and answers the question, “What is the one baptism” referred to in Ephesians 4:5? A complete study on water baptism. Should it still be practiced in the church today?

Where’s The Water, Part 1

Where’s The Water, Part 2

Where’s The Water, Part 3

Where’s The Water, Part 4

Where’s The Water, Part 5

Where’s The Water, Part 6 (go to about 49:00 — 1:08 for trans. of 1 Cor. 1:13-17)

Where’s The Water, Part 7

Where’s The Water, Part 8

Where’s The Water, Part 9

Where’s The Water, Part 10

Source: Fulfilled

Guest Article – An Exegesis of James 2 by Pastor David Curtis

James & Salvation, Pastor David Curtis (preached April 7, 2019)

We have been talking for that last couple of weeks about the fact that you don’t get to heaven because of what you do or don’t do. You go to heaven because you believe in Yeshua. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. Every time I talk about the fact that “good works” are not necessary for salvation, that a person is saved by what he believes, faith alone, not what he does, James 2 always comes up. “But what about James?” So, this morning we are going to be looking at James 2 to see if we can figure out what James is saying. The trouble with James starts in verse 14:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14 ESV

A literal Greek rendering would read more like this,

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Faith cannot save him, can it? James 2:14

This translation is based on the original Greek and is crucial to a correct interpretation. The form of the question that James asks in the last part of the verse is one which expects a negative response. The expected answer, from James’ point of view, would be: “No, faith cannot save him.”

I could show you 200 verses from the New Testament that say that salvation is by faith apart from works and people will run to James chapter two to support the idea that works are necessary for eternal life. It seems that James 2 is a trump card for works being necessary for eternal life. These few verses in James 2 trump everything that Yeshua said, everything that Paul said, James seems to have the final say on the necessity of works for salvation. Why? Where did James get all this authority?

There is no doubt that these verses in James are some of the most difficult verses in the Bible. These verses are surrounded by a lot of confusion and multiple interpretations.

This verse in James caused Martin Luther to call the book of James, “The Epistle of Straw” and to even question its inclusion in the cannon of Scripture.

Mike sent me a video link of a message that Kelly Birks did back in December of 2013, entitled, Why The Church is Bound to Only One Baptism Pt. 3. And in that video at the 38:00-minute mark Kelly says, “There is no such thing as justification by works, James was wrong, James got it wrong. I don’t think that James should have ever been in the cannon…I don’t think it’s inspired.”

James seems to be contradicting the biblical teaching of salvation by faith alone. He seems to be contradicting the Reformation principle of “Sola fide”—faith alone! Look at what James says:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14 ESV

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17 ESV

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? James 2:20 ESV

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:26 ESV

James says, without a doubt, “works are necessary for salvation.” That is clearly what he says here. Now if you hold to the verbal inspiration of Scripture, If you believe that the Bible is the Word of God, then you must admit that something is wrong here. Either Scripture contradicts itself or we’re interpreting something wrong. Now, which one of those are you more comfortable with?

James is not discussing a doctrine of salvation, which is based only on faith. James insists that works are necessary for salvation. Many interpreters have seen James as standing in opposition to the Pauline Doctrine of justification by faith alone. I’m sure you can understand that. Look at what Paul writes:

and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Yeshua, …For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Romans 3:24 & 28 ESV

Paul says that a man is justified by faith apart from any works. Paul goes on to say:

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, Romans 4:5 ESV

Does that sound like it contradicts James 2:14?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14 ESV

James says that faith alone cannot save, but Paul says it does. Paul says it is all of faith, and works play no part:

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6 ESV

Paul is saying here that grace and works are mutually exclusive. If salvation is by grace, then works play no part. Can you understand why people have a problem reconciling James and Paul? James says, “Faith alone cannot save,” and Paul says, “Faith alone saves.”

Martin Luther, using Romans, began the Reformation on the principle of “Sola fide”—faith alone. No wonder he called James a “strawy epistle.” James clearly states that works are necessary for salvation.

Many expositors have tried to harmonize James and Paul, but all harmonizations with a doctrine of “Sola fide” are awkward and forced. Guthrie wrote, “It may well be that James is correcting a misunderstanding of Paul or vice versa, but it cannot be said that James and Paul are contradicting each other.” What is the difference? Is he saying that one of these guys is wrong and the other is straightening them out. What about inspiration? How can an inspired writer of God’s Word be wrong? The Bible, all of it, is God’s inspired inerrant Word.

Albert Barns, commenting on James 2:14, writes:

“He doubtless had in his eye those who abused the doctrine of justification by faith, by holding that good works are unnecessary to salvation, provided they maintain an orthodox belief. As this abuse probably existed in the time of the apostles, and as the Holy Ghost saw that there would be danger that in later times the great and glorious doctrine of justification by faith would be thus abused, it was important that the error, should be rebuked, and that the doctrine should be distinctly laid down that good works are necessary to salvation [emphasis mine DBC]. The apostles, therefore, in the question before us, implicitly asserts that faith would not ‘profit’ at all unless accompanied with a holy life, and this doctrine he proceeds to illustrate in the following verses. [Barns’ Notes on the New Testament, James—Jude, page 42.]

So, according to Mr. Barns, we are saved by faith plus works. In other words, we must “earn” our way into heaven by our good works. Barns’ statement, “faith would not ‘profit’ at all unless accompanied with a holy life” is probably held by most folks in the Church today.

John Piper writes, “Works of any kind are not acceptable in the moment of initial justification. But when James affirms ‘justification by works’ he means that works are absolutely necessary in the ongoing life of a Christian to confirm and prove the reality of the faith which justifies.”

Prove to who? Others? To God? So, I would interpret what Mr. Piper is saying as, Works are not necessary to get saved, but they are necessary to stay saved. He says, “Works are absolutely necessary in the ongoing life of a Christian to confirm and prove the reality of the faith which justifies.” So, if you don’t have these works, then you don’t have a faith which justifies. Which means, works are necessary!

Johnstone writes, “That faith can save a man, and that nothing else can, is written throughout the Scriptures as with a pencil of light.” I agree whole heartedly! The Scriptures clearly teach that salvation is by faith alone.

Because of the conflict between James and Paul, a desperate effort has been made to avoid the impact of James 2:14 by translating it as “that faith” (NASB, ESV) or “such faith” (NIV). Indicating that there is a “kind” of faith that does not save. We talked about this last week, there are not different kinds of faith, just different objects of faith.

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faithsave him? James 2:14 NIV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faithsave him? James 2:14 ESV

Translating it this way is an unjustified exaggeration of the “article of previous reference” in the Greek and has nothing to commend it here. The article of previous reference says that since there is a definite article with faith, “the faith” (ten piston), we can substitute words such as “that faith” or “such faith.” With abstract nouns like “faith” or “love,” the article is perfectly normal when the noun is used as the subject. The construction of James 2:14 is identical to that found in:

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4 ESV

But no one attempts to translate this as “And let ‘that’ steadfastness, or ‘such steadfastness have its perfect work.” The same construction is found in:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV

We don’t translate this as “that” love or “such” love is patient.

In James 2, the definite article also occurs with “faith” in verses 17, 18, 20, 22, and 26. The attempt to single out 2:14 for specialized treatment carries its own refutation. Why do they try to change what James is saying? They are trying to make James say that it is a certain kindof faith that saves you. But, James point is clear, faith alone cannot save.

Did James really disagree with Paul on salvation being by grace through faith alone? Notice what he wrote in:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. James 1:17-18 ESV

While doing a verse-by-verse study of James these are the verses that brought me to Calvinism. Good gifts come from God, and salvation is one of those good gifts. God, by a sovereign act of His own will, gives us grace and faith to believe His Word. “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth”—James sees the new birth as a sovereign act of God. Salvation happens because of God’s will, not man’s will.

James and Paul were in fundamental harmony about the way eternal life is received. For both of them, it is a gift of God, graciously and sovereignly bestowed.

What then does James mean in 2:14?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14 ESV

We need to apply a very basic rule of hermeneutics: “Determine carefully the meaning of words.” The Greek verb sozoused in 2:14 for “save” has a wide range of possible meanings. It can mean: “physical healing, rescue from danger, spiritual deliverance of various kinds and preservation from final judgement, the wrath of God.” We must determine its meaning from its context. To help us understand how James uses it, look at how he closes this letter:

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 ESV

Here the meaning of the verb “sozo” is clear. It refers to preservation of the physical life from death. The Greek expression “sozin ten psuche” is a standard and normal way of saying, “to save the life.” There is no text in the Greek Bible where it can be shown to have the meaning “to save the soul from eternal wrath.”

The theme of the book of James is found in:

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21 ESV

Save your souls is “sozin ten psuche” in the Greek. It is the normal way of saying, “to save the life.” James is talking to Christians, telling them that they can save their lives (they’re already Christians) from the damage that sin brings if they will walk in holiness. He has already warned them of the death dealing consequences of sin:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:13-15 ESV

Again, he is writing to believers. In verse 21 he suggests that the antidote to the kind of consequence spoken of in 1:15 is the life saving capacity of God’s Word. This theme is repeated frequently in the Proverbs:

Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die. Proverbs 11:19 ESV

In 1:21-25, James says that his readers will be “saved” from the destruction that sin brings if they are doers, rather than just hearers, of God’s Word. And in 2:14-26, he is saying that they will be saved in the same sense, not by what they believe (faith), but by what they do about what they believe (works).

The reason that James 2:14 seems to be contradicting the doctrine of justification by faith alone is because many have missed James subject. James is not talking about eternal life and how to obtain it. James is writing about preserving temporal lifeand the damage that sin brings to the life of a believer:

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:12-14 ESV

James is asking, “Does the fact that you are a believer save you from the temporal judgment of God if you live in sin?” His question demands a negative answer. We saw last week that the idea of temporal judgment in the life of a believer is also taught in the parable in Matthew 18 on forgiveness where a believer is turned over to the torturers.

If we are saved by grace apart from works, does it matter how we live? Absolutely! God brings temporal judgement on those believers who do not live out the principles of their faith. If your faith doesn’t work—living out the teachings of Christ—you will suffer temporal judgment because of it.

The solution to the problem of James 2:14 is simple—understand the correct subject. No text can be read correctly when the writer’s real subject is not perceived. James’ subject is “deliverance from temporal judgement [physical preservation], not eternal redemption.” He has already made it perfectly clear that eternal life is a gift of God’s sovereign choice.

Now, someone is bound to be thinking, “Are you trying to tell us that for many centuries of Christian teaching the Church has missed the true meaning of this passage?” Yes, I am! You do consider yourself a Protestant don’t you? Would you have discouraged Martin Luther or John Calvin in their attempt to reform the Church?

Emperor Charles the V said of Luther at the Diet of Worms, “A single friar who goes counter to all Christianity for 1,000 years must be wrong.” The greatest conviction of the Reformation was the supremacy of an appeal to Scripture over the tradition of the Church. We must stand in the fundamental principle of the Reformation, “Sola Scruptura”—the Scriptures alone!

The way I see it, we only have two options; We either see James opposing Paul and denying “Sola fide” or we see his subject as different. As I have already said, every time I talk to someone about the fact that salvation is by grace alone, their first response is, “What about James?” It is not too strong to say that the misreading of James 2:14-26 is one of the most tragic interpretive blunders in the history of the Church. It is a misreading of this text that has caused believers to encourage people to find assurance in their good works. We tell them, “If you don’t live a holy life, you must not be saved.”

If good works are really a condition, or an essential fruit of salvation, I can never really be sure of my eternal salvation. How do I know that I won’t quit working some day? An insistence on the necessity of works undermines assurance and postpones it, logically until death. When an end cannot be achieved apart from certain things being done, those things logically become conditions for the end in view. To add works to faith is to make works essential to salvation. Is your assurance based on your works, or on the grace of God?

What does James mean by “dead faith”?James 2:14-26 is the only New Testament passage which speaks of a dead faith. Please notice that the distinction in James is between dead faith and living faith, not false faith and true faith. James is clearly teaching that works are necessary for salvation—physical preservation. He states his argument in verse 14:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14 ESV

Then he illustrates his argument in verses 15-16:

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? James 2:15-16 ESV

The fact that the preserving of life lies at the heart of this illustration is apparent. Can the fact that a man holds correct beliefs and is orthodox save him from the deadly consequences of sin? Of course not! That is like giving your best wishes to a destitute brother or sister, when what they really need is food and clothing. It is utterly fruitless. Neither will your faith do your physical well being any good if you live in sin.

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17 ESV

What are works? In the prior verses the failure was to help the needy, which is love. I think if we examine the context of chapter 2, we will see that the works that James is talking about is love.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. James 2:8 ESV

If your faith doesn’t produce love, it is a dead faith and in danger of temporal judgement. The moral dynamic of faith is love. Since faith is invisible, a persons’ possession of faith is dependent upon his verbal testimony alone. How can you tell if a person has faith? They don’t smoke, or drink, they live a very moral lifestyle. They witness to others of their faith. They give money to the church, they study their Bible, they are a sacrificial and giving person. Is that how you spot faith? I have just described a Mormon, who does not believe in the deity of Christ or in salvation by grace alone, and is under the wrath of God because of his unbelief.

Faith is static, but love is always active, it does something, and without it faith dies. Verse 17 says that if faith is by itself—no love—it is dead.

Believers, faith and works are connected. It is by works that faith is made mature. As we act on what we believe and live out our Christianity, our faith grows and matures. But if we fail to work—love, our faith will die. And a dead faith, one that is unproductive, will come under the temporal judgment of God. Keep your faith alive—walk in love.

Beginning in verse 18 James introduces the words of an imaginary objector to his ideas:

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! James 2:18-19 ESV

Both of these verses belong to the objector. The response of James only begins in verse 20. The literary format James uses here was familiar in ancient times from the Greek diatribe. The diatribe was a learned and argumentative form of communication. The two phrases “But someone will say”(verse 18), and “But do you want to know, O foolish man”(verse 20) clearly show that the diatribe format is being employed. These two phrases bracket the words of the objector in verses 18 -19.

In a large majority of the Greek manuscripts of this epistle, we read “by” in verse 18 in the place of the word “apart from.” The literally Greek would read like this:

“You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith from your works, and I will show you from my works, my faith. You believe that there is one God; you do well. The demons also believe; and tremble” (James 2:18, 19).

The objector is in effect saying, “Faith and works are two distinct entities.” “It is absurd to see a close connection between faith and works. For the sake of argument, let’s say you have faith, and I have works. Let’s start there. You can no more start with what you believe and show it to me in your works, than I can start with my works and demonstrate what it is that I believe.”

The impossibility of showing one’s faith from one’s works is now demonstrated (so the objector thinks) by this illustration: “Men and demons both believe the same truth (that there is one God), but their faith does not produce the same response. Although this article of faith may move a man to ‘do well,’ it never moves the demons to ‘do well.’ All they can do is tremble. Faith and works, therefore, have no built-in connection at all. The same creed may produce entirely different kinds of conduct. Faith cannot be made visible in works!”

Gordon Clark’s question is appropriate: “The text says the devils believed in monotheism. Why cannot the difference between the devils and Christians be the different propositions believed, rather than a psychological element in belief?” In other words, the text does not say that the demons believe in Christ as Savior, or even that they believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. Those who use the illustration of the demons’ faith to prove the existence of a false intellectual faith that does not redeem, are “comparing apples with oranges.”

Even if demons believed the truth of the gospel they cannot be redeemed. Christ did not die for demons but for man. Demons cannot be redeemed and that is why they “tremble.” Judgment was certain for them.

Are faith and works in the Christian daily experience dynamically related? Does faith really die without the sustaining energy of works? “Such thoughts,” the objector is saying, “are contrary to reality.” He maintains that there is no visible, verifiable connection between faith and works. “Faith and works are not really related to each other in the way you say they are, James. So, don’t criticize the vitality of my faith because I don’t do such and such a thing.”

Now, in verses 20-26, we have James reply to the objector:

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  James 2:20 ESV

“Foolish person”— what a stupid argument, how foolish you are to make it. Are you willing to know that faith apart from works is useless? A thing can properly be said to be useless/dead when it fails to respond to its environment. So, dead faith would be faith that does not respond to its environment.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18 ESV

Dead faith is a faith that does not love. Love is action, love is obedience to God’s laws. Dead equals barren or unproductive. The Textus Receptus uses the word “dead” in verse 20, but the modern critics generally accept the reading “barren” as most likely the true meaning. There is a subtle play on words here in the Greek, ergon – arge, which is: “works – workless.” If you don’t work, your faith is barren.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV

The word “ineffective” is the Greek word argoswhich is often used of things from which no profit is derived. Faith without works is “ineffective/barren.”

To prove his point, James uses the illustration of Abraham in verses 21-24. If one could not see the dynamic interaction between faith and works in Abraham’s famous act of obedience, he could not see it anywhere. Abraham had a living faith because he acted on what he believed.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  James 2:21 ESV

When James says, “our father” he is not using it as a term that speaks of the Jews racial tie to Abraham. In the New Covenant, Abraham is only the father of those who believe in the Lord Yeshua the Christ (see Galatians 3:7-9).

James says that Abraham was “justified by works.” This would have caused paroxysms! Abraham was the father of faith. To be “justified” is to be right with God. Paul taught in Romans 4 that Abraham was justified by faith. Paul makes it clear in Romans 4 that justification is by faith alone. Paul also says this in:

just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?  Galatians 3:6 ESV

So, Paul says that justification is by grace through faith and he uses Abraham as his illustration, and he quotes Genesis 15:6. But James is saying justification is by works and he also uses Abraham as his illustration, and he too quotes Genesis 15:6. How do we reconcile this? I think that the key to understanding this is in:

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.  Romans 4:2 ESV

Notice the phrase “but not before God,” you cannot be justified by works before God, only by faith. When you believe the gospel, the righteousness of God is imputed to you. In Romans 4:3, Paul quotes Genesis 15:6:

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”  Romans 4:3 ESV

When you trust in Christ, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to you:

just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:  Romans 4:6 ESV

“Counts” here means: “to deposit to your account.” It is a gift of God’s grace. We were all bankrupt, we stood before God with nothing in our account. God, by a sovereign choice of His will, deposited Christ’s righteousness in our account when we believed the gospel.

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.  Genesis 15:6 ESV

That is how it has always been, Old and New Testament, we are made right with God by his grace. He dispenses that grace to us and we respond by believing and are saved, works are not involved. Does James believe this? Yes, he does—in James 2:23 he quotes Genesis 15:6. Well, what then does James mean in:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  James 2:21 ESV

Listen carefully! James says here that he was justified when? When he offered Isaac on the alter. That was forty years after the time when he is said to have believed God. If works are necessary for justification, Abraham went forty years believing God without being justified.

This problem is resolved by understanding that there is “another” justification, and it is by works. There is a justification before God, by faith. And there is a justification before man, by works. It should be clear that James and Paul are not using the word “justified” in the same sense. Remember our hermeneutical principle; determine carefully the meaning of words. James uses the word “justified” in the sense of: “vindicate.”

  1. Wiersby writes, “By faith he was justified before God and his righteousness declared: by works he was justified before men and his righteousness demonstrated.” L. Strauss writes, “There is one’s justification before God and one’s justification before the world of men.” George M. Gutzke writes, “James uses the word justified with a different emphasis than Paul did. When James writes about justification he is referring to the experience of a person being made acceptable before God in actual practice. It is one thing to be cleared from all guilt because Jesus died for us. It is another thing to have our way of life acceptable in the sight of God.” I agree with this statement.

There are two kinds of justification. Abraham was justified by faith before God but he was also justified by works before men. The only way we can demonstrate our faith before men is by love.

For in Christ Yeshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.  Galatians 5:6 ESV

Living faith is demonstrated in love. Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 15:6, and he was justified by works in Genesis 22 which was forty years later. Before Isaac’s birth Abraham had nothing to rely on but a promise. In Genesis 22 we see that forty years after he was promised a son and he finally got his son and now he was told to kill him. Would he act on his faith and obey God?

Abraham’s faith in the covenant keeping God was alive and he acted. This is an incredible act of faith. God had made Abraham a very specific promise of blessing to the whole world through Isaac. Abraham might have thought, “I don’t know how God is going to keep His promise if I kill Isaac, but that is for Him to work out, my responsibility is to obey.” Abraham tells his son that God will provide the sacrifice — this is a prophecy of the atonement of Yeshua, the Lamb of God. You know the story.  Abraham put his son on the alter, raised the knife to kill him, and God stopped him and provided a ram for the sacrifice.

This was an incredible act of faith on Abraham’s part. He believed God’s promise and he acted on what he believed.

The word “justified” can be used in one of two ways:

  1. To declare and treat as righteous.
  2. To vindicate, to show or demonstrate as righteousness.

Paul uses the first and James the second. So, James is using the word “justified” to speak of vindication or a demonstration of his righteousness.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  James 2:21 ESV

Here we see that Abraham was justified WHEN he offered Isaac on the alter. Remember, this was forty years after his justification by faith. Then he goes on to say:

You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  James 2:22 ESV

One might conclude from this that the main factor in reaching the goal was works, so this can’t be referring to the first use of justification—to declare righteous. Works strengthen his faith and give it vitality. “Completed” is: “matured.” Our faith is matured by works. As clearly as faith had generated obedient activity, so too, had obedient activity generated a richer faith. When you act on what you believe, your faith will grow.

Could Abraham have believed God and not acted to offer Isaac? Yes. Do you believe that God sovereignly controls all things? Do you believe that Romans 8:28 is true? Yes, but do you always act on what you believe? No!

Point: Like Abraham, we too have been accounted righteous before God by faith. Yet, that original confidence in God can be expanded and developed by a life of active obedience.

and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.  James 2:23 ESV

Yeshua said in John 15:14 that the friends of God are those who do what he commands them to do

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  James 2:24 ESV

The shift to the second person plural shows that the argument with the imaginary opponent has been dropped and he returns to the point. James never speaks of justification by faith and works; it is either faith or works.

In verse 24, James is saying that justification by faith is not the only kind of justification there is. James does not say that justification by faith cannot exist apart from justification by works. If this was true, it would have been forty years before Abraham was justified.

Next, James moves to the illustration of Rahab.

And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  James 2:25 ESV

In this illustration, he returns to his fundamental theme of saving the life from judgment. Abraham and Rahab were as different as they could be; Jew/Gentile, man/woman, good/evil, God fearer/pagan. But Rahab was like Abraham in that she acted on what she believed. What did she believe?

And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.  Joshua 2:11 ESV

She believed Yahweh was God. By acting on what she believed she literally, physically saved her own life. She would have died with the inhabitants of Jericho had she not acted on her faith. By her “love”, she saved her own life and the life of her family. Josephus accredits Rahab’s safety to her good deed.

James’ readers could do the same thing, save their lives, if they were committed doers of the word. So can we. If it was a case of escaping physical death which sin could so greatly hasten, faith alone could not save anyone. But faith that worked could. Do you see the connection between faith and works? There is a vital connection. Life preservation is at the core of this whole passage.

What kind of works vindicate faith? Love is the work of faith.

For in Christ Yeshua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. Galatians 5:6 ESV

Abraham and Rahab both laid their lives on the line for what they believed. Their love caused them to be willing to sacrifice all for what they believed. Their faith was alive!

James closes his argument with this:

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.  James 2:26 ESV

“For as”is literally: “just as even so.”In this analogy, in both cases, if the second member is missing the result is death. A person’s faith, like his body, can die. James’ point: works are actually the key to the vitality of faith. His point is not that a vital faith is the key to works. When love separates from faith, that faith becomes lifeless and useless. When our faith dies we loose our fellowship with God and come under temporal judgment. Abraham’s obedience to God was an act of love. Rahab’s risking her life was an act of love. Biblical love is defined as obedience to God and sacrificial service to a neighbor. Love is the spirit that keeps faith alive. The Corinthians were believers but they lacked love and were temporally judged because of it.

How would you characterize your faith? Is it living or dead? Are you a doer of the word or only a hearer? A dead faith is in danger of temporal judgment. It is a living faith that preserves the physical life and brings temporal blessings.

So there is no disagreement between Paul and James, both believe that eternal life come from faith in Christ. But acting on what you believe will bring a life of full joy.

This message was preached by David B. Curtis on April 7, 2019. Media #954.

Berean Bible Church provides this material free of charge for the edification of the Body of Christ. You can help further this work by your prayer and by sending a contribution to:

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Reviewing and Critiquing My Debate with Charismatic Dr. Michael Brown over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 and Introducing a Full Preterist Chronomessianic Interpretation/Argument on Daniel 9:24-27 that went Untouched

  • This review and critique is still in progress…keep checking back until done.  I was told that the video of the debate would be edited in such a way that our Power Point slides would match our lectures.  The version Dr. Brown posted today (1/25/19) on YouTube does not show my slides and charts that I am referring to.  Of course had I known that my presentation would not include the Power Point slides it would have been a bit different.  But here are the slides of the debate and the charts that went untouched:  Sullivan v. Brown debate 1 Cor. 13

Introduction

Although it took two years in the making, I appreciate Dr. Michael Brown debating me over this crucial passage and issue that has brought much division in the Church.

My approach in this critique will be to go through the debate and address the Scriptures and arguments that were brought up by myself and Dr. Brown and carefully exegete them.  And since I just didn’t have time to address everything I wanted to, I may add some additional material in this critique.  Dr. Brown has already informed me that he will not respond to any of my articles critiquing his book or this one going over our debate. That of course is his prerogative.

Objective and Approach 

I sought to prove from the Scriptures that Christ and the inspired Apostles prophesied a first century Second Appearing of Messiah (“that which is perfect”) in order to demonstrate that prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased in AD 70.

The best place to start is with what theologians and skeptics have called “the big three” — where Yeshua promised His Second Coming would be fulfilled in the lifetime and generation of the first century church (1. Mt. 10:17-23; 2. 16:27-28; 3.  Mt. 24:3-34). Having established this exegesis, the next step was to point out NT imminence flows from Yeshua’s teaching on these passages with emphasis on Matthew 24 = 1 Thessalonians 4 = 1 Corinthians 15 and developing the analogy of faith principle of interpretation (Scripture interprets Scripture and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture).  All the while I wanted to appeal to Dr. Brown’s position and that of his Charismatic contributing authors in Authentic Fire (or those Charismatics he has supported or cites as scholars within the Charismatic community) — which together actually form my position that the coming of the Lord or Parousia in Matthew 24=1 Thessalonians 4=1 Corinthians 15 is “that which is perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10 and arrived in AD 70.

Since Dr. Brown appeals to a variety of Rabbinc traditions and interpretations in order to harmonize them with Yeshua and the NT record to prove Yeshua is God and the Messiah in his debates with Rabbis, I too appealed to Rabbinic interpretations that supports NT imminence and my position.  One of which was a second exodus “transitionary” generation in which Messiah would reign between their Old Covenant “this age” and the coming Messianic or New Covenant “age about to come.”  Not only this, but the Dead Sea Scrolls and first century beliefs and exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27; Isaiah 61; Habakkuk 2:3-4; and Ezekiel 38-39 reveals that Messiah was about to come on the scene and accomplish the following mission or 10th Jubiliee (49-50 years) of Daniel’s 490 years:

  1. Accomplish atonement.
  2. Gathering the remnant and Gentiles to Himself.
  3. Usher in the “day(s) of vengeance.”
  4. Fulfill the “last days” end time war of Daniel 9 and Ezekiel 38-39 with Rome.
  5. Reward the righteous, judge the ungodly, Satan and the fallen Watchers.

Messiah had to accomplish all of these events within a period of 49-50 years and before the destruction of the second temple, and if He didn’t, then, “Houston we have a problem.”  Dr. Brown effectively demonstrates in his writings and lectures that Messiah had to have come before the destruction of the second temple in AD 70 and no other.  The problem of course for Dr. Brown is that the OT Scriptures and Yeshua Himself connect the destruction of the temple in AD 70 with His Second Appearing to close the Old Covenant age.  There are other problems I sought to point out such as Dr. Brown’s hyper-literal Futurist hermeneutic causes him to create two more literal unbiblical temples to support his Zionism and Charismatic false teaching allegedly found in Luke 21; Ezekiel 37:27; chapters 40-48.  The other glaring problem in Brown’s writings and lectures is his affirming that Daniel’s seventy weeks were “all fulfilled” by AD 66 – AD 70 (with no large gaps), but then claims they will be fulfilled at a future Second Coming event to end world history – which obviously creates a “large gap” in the fulfillment of the prophecy.  You can’t have it both ways and instead of explaining his view and contradiction, he just claimed I “misrepresented” his position on Daniel 9:24-27 — but I’ll let the reader determine that.

Brown’s Common Error with Skeptics and Unbelieving Jews

The common error between Dr. Brown and the critics he has debated such as Bart Ehrman or with his Jewish opponents – is their physical and carnal expectations of what the Kingdom of Yeshua is…  If the kingdom wasn’t fulfilled physically in Yeshua’s “generation” or “soon” because there is still evil and sinners in the world today, then Yeshua was a false prophet and the NT isn’t inspired (ex. skeptic Bart Ehrman). Or maybe NT imminence needs to be re-defined to have it fulfilled thousands of years from the words of Yeshua and the NT authors (ex. Dr. Michael Brown).  Both Ehrman and Brown are incorrect, Christ and the inspired NT authors prophesied the end of the Old Covenant age and passing of that “heaven and earth” with the kingdom fulfilled “within” His people – an event that He said would not be seen with physical eyes “see here or see there” (Mt. 24:3-35; Lk. 17:20-37).  And the Scriptures make it clear that there would be sinners and evangelism in the New Creation (Isa. 65-66/Rev. 21-22:17).

We could sum up 80% of Dr. Brown’s “arguments” to be, “You can’t be right because we don’t physically see this or that fulfilled…”. Yet again, Yeshua doesn’t share Brown’s view of the kingdom and affirmed when He would be revealed from heaven (the truly imminent eschatological “not yet”) in His generation, the kingdom would NOT be physically seen (Lk. 17:20-37; 21:27-32).  The remaining 20% of Dr. Brown’s points were emotional appeals, scare tactics, rude sarcasm, church tradition, rattling off many verses with no exegesis of those passages and assuming what he needed to prove.

Michael Sullivan’s Affirmative and Opening Arguments  

The Purpose of the Miraculous Sign and Revelatory Gifts Confirming the Spiritual Hermeneutic of OT Typological Promises

There were a few reasons for the miraculous in the Bible. First, the miraculous were to confirm the messenger or prophet sent by God (and thus God’s message through him). Second, they were signs proving Yeshua’s claims to deity.  But the third purpose is closely connected with the second and of which I sought to try and focus on in the debate as it related to 1 Corinthians 13:8-12.  Yeshua in the gospel of John utters seven “I am” statements and performs seven miraculous signs to prove He is God and that He is ushering the Second Exodus (which is spiritual) and the one greater than Moses. Let’s look at the seven “I am” statements:

1).  I am the Bread/Water of Life (John 6:35)
2).  I am the Light of the world (John 9:5)
3).  I am the Door (John 10:9)
4).  I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
5).  I am the Resurrection (John 11:25)
6).  I am the True Vine (John 15:1)
7).  I am the Way (John 14:6)

None of these “I am” statements are to be taken physically, and yet Dr. Brown and other Futurists cherry-pick #5 to be physical. I will address this issue of the resurrection more fully in this critique of the debate.  Some of these “I am” statements are also connected to the seven miraculous signs in the gospel of John which are also designed to point to the deeper spiritual fulfillment in Christ:

1).  Water into wine (John 2:1-11).

2).  The healing of the official’s son (John 4:43-54).

3).  The healing at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-9).

4).  The feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-5).

5).  Walking on the water (John 6:16-25).

6).  The healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41).

7).  The raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).

Again, the seven “I am” statements and seven miraculous “signs” point to Christ’s deity and to a deeper spiritual truth and fulfillment of the OT promises.  Not only this, but there were three miraculous “gifts” given by God in the exodus which were celebrated on the feast of tabernacles typologically pointing to Yeshua as Messiah and a spiritual anti-type fulfillment in Him:

1).  Manna– from heaven, which was a physical type of the spiritual reality of Christ being the true bread or hidden manna from heaven (John 6; Revelation 2:17).  This is referring to Christ being eternal life for the believer.

2).  Water– from the rock, which was a physical type of the spiritual reality of Christ being the living water or river of life (John 4:7-42; 6:35; 7:38-39).  Again, another description of Christ being our spiritual eternal life.  Moses first miracle was to turn water into blood whereas Yeshua’s first miracle was to turn water into the best wine (Jn. 2:1-11).  The new and better exodus under Messiah had arrived and the old wineskins of the Old Covenant would not contain it.

3).  Light– in the pillar of fire and cloud at night, which was a physical type of the spiritual reality of Christ being the light and righteousness of our souls (John 9-10).  Only God can miraculously open eyes to see Him (spiritually) as the source of light, life, righteousness and source of sabbath rest for the soul.

Yeshua, prophesied that the Feast of Trumpets / In Gathering / Succot / or the Feast of Tabernacles would be at His “near” coming in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:30-36).  This was a spiritual gathering “in Christ” and in His Kingdom of which we are found to dwell in Him and He in us.  Old Covenant blessings manifested through a corporate, covenantal and spiritual resurrection of Israel being “gathered” “in the land” was a mere type and shadow of being raised and gathered “In Christ” at His Second Appearing by AD 70.  Yeshua and the NT Apostles and Prophets worked miraculous “signs” to develop and point to the deeper and spiritual nature of the New Covenant Kingdom which was in-breaking and was about to be matured at Christ’s Parousia in AD 70.  Once the Second Coming, Kingdom and maturity of the Jew / Gentile New Covenant age arrived, the purpose and goal of these temporal and childish gifts ceased.

In Daniel 2 and 7 God predicted His Messianic spiritual kingdom thatwould replace the fourth and earthly kingdom consisting of Iron (Rome) and clay (fleshly Israel) who would join together to persecute the believing remnant in Israel’s “last days.”  This Messianic kingdom according to Isaiah would be a “new thing” (Paul’s “mystery”) that would “spring up” in their midst when Messiah would recapitulate and fulfill all of Israel’s promises through His Body – the Church – described as aspiritual kingdom, Israel of God, seed/children, New Jerusalem, Temple, Priesthood, New Creation, etc…

Even though the OT prophets predicted the Messianic last days generation would be Peter’s, the NT Apostles and Prophets were still looking into them as in an enigma or dark mirror (1 Cor. 13:12) seeing how they were being fulfilled “in Christ” and through the Church.  In order to PROVE and develop Yeshua’s spiritual fulfillment of the OT promises was the inspired hermeneutic to interpret the Law and Prophets, Yeshua extended and gave the Apostles, Prophets and the early Church these miraculous and revelatory gifts to interpret and confirm what Yeshua prophesied (a spiritual fulfillment) and when (“soon” “near” “this generation”) He said they would be fulfilled.

Dr. Brown gives lip service to the spiritual fulfillment “in Christ,” in the eschatological “already” but creates a 2,000 plus years “delay” to the Second Coming or the “not yet.”  He believes in the “not yet” all of God’s promises go back to the physical – even to the point of a third and then fourth re-built Temple with Christ smelling the stench of animal sacrifices in an alleged literal 1,000 earthly reign of Messiah in literal Jerusalem.

The problem for Brown is that many of these New Covenant spiritual promises that constitute Christ’s Kingdom are inseparably connected to Christ’s truly imminent Second Coming or the “not yet” promises.

A). Physical OC Heavens and Earth or “World passing away” (Isa. 51:15-16; Mt. 5:17-18; 24:35; 1 Jn. 2:17-18; Rev. 21:1ff.; 1 Cor. 7:31)

A). Spiritual NC New Heavens and Earth “soon” to come or World/Age “about to Come” (Isa. 65-66; Rev. 21-22; Heb. 2:5 – Greek mello “about to”)

B). Physical OC Seed/Birth (Gen. 12:1-3; Jn. 8:33-39)

B). Spiritual NC Seed/Birth (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3ff.; Gal. 3:16-29/Gen. 12:1-3)

C). Physical OC Tabernacle / Temple (Amos 9:11-12; Ezek. 37:26, 27 / 2 Sam. 7:4, 5; 2 Chron. 22:6-10; Heb. 7-9)

C). Spiritual NC Tabernacle / Temple (Acts 15:6-21; Heb. 8:1-3; 9:23-24/ 2 Cor. 6:16; Ephs. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 3:12NIV – in the process of “coming down”; 21:16 – would “soon” arrive 22:7ff.)

D). Physical OC Priesthood (Heb. 9:6-8; 7:11-12)

D). Spiritual NC Priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5-9; Heb. 7:11-12; Rms. 15:16; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6)

E). Physical OC Sacrifices (Heb. 10:1-6; 9:9-10)

E). Spiritual NC Sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5; Heb. 13:15-16; Rms. 12:1; 15:16)

F). Physical OC Mountain / Sinai (Heb. 12:18; Gal. 4:25)

F). Spiritual NC Mountain/ Zion (Heb. 12:22; Rms. 11:26)

G). Physical OC Land (Gen. 13:14-15; 15:18)

G). Spiritual NC Land (Mt. 5:5; Heb. 12:22-28)

H). Physical OC Resurrection from the Graves and Slavery of Babylon – Back “in the Land” (Ezek. 37:12).  Through Elijah, the Father (the great “I Am”) in the OC raised a dead boy and spiritually raised corporately and covenantally Israel “in the land” (Jn. 5:21)

H). Spiritual NC Resurrection from the Graves and Slavery of Sin & Death Are Realized “In Christ”the “I AM” and “Better Resurrection” (Jn. 5:22-29; 11:25-26; 2 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 10:37—11)

I). Physical OC Jerusalem / Israel (Gal. 4:25 / Rms. 9:6-8)

I). Spiritual NC Jerusalem / Israel/ “City About to Come” (Heb. 12:22; 13:14YLT; Gal. 4:26; 6:16-29; Rev. 3:12NIV; 21:2ff.; Rms. 9:6-8)

J). Physical OC Throne / Kingdom (1 Kings 2:12; Ezek. 21:27 / Mt. 21:43-45)

J). Spiritual NC Throne / Kingdom (Heb. 1:1-3; Acts 2:25-36; 7:49-50 / Heb. 12:28; Mt. 21:43-45; Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:30-32; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 11:15 – when Babylon/OC Jerusalem is judged in AD 70 11:8)

K). Physical OC “This Age”/ “This Present Evil Age”/ Christ Appeared at the End of the [OC] Age(s) (Mt. 13:39-43; 24:3; Gal. 1:4; Heb. 9:26-28)

K). Spiritual NC “Age About to Come” & “Without End” (Mt. 12:32 – Greek mello “about to”; Eph. 1:21 Greek mello “age about to come,” 3:20-21; Heb. 6:5 – Greek mello “about to come” WUESTNT)

L). Physical OC Kingly Rule – Davidic Covenant “Anointed One” / “Messiah” & 40 years reigns of David and Solomon as Types: (cf. 1 Sam. 16:1, 12-13; 2 Sam. 7; 23:5; Isa. 7:14-16; 9:1-7; 11:1-16; 1 Kings 2:11; 11:42.

L). Spiritual NC Kingly Rule – Ascended ruling from throne in spiritual realm (Acts 2:34-35); built a spiritual “house / tabernacle / temple” forever (Acts 15:6-21). Reigned over fleshly Israel for 40 years putting them “under His feet” and judging them with fire at His Second Appearing (Heb. 10:13-37).

Redemptive history moves from physical to spiritual (within the two covenant ages) and all the “better” promises are spiritual and thus would be realized “within the heart” at Christ’s Parousia. The physical and typological Old Covenant Heavens and Earth / Kingdom was restored, transformed, and raised into a spiritual and glorified New Covenant Heavens and Earth / Kingdom at Christ’s “this generation” “at hand” “in a very little while” Second Coming event – that would “not be delayed.” The Church can look back on this historical event and know that the Second Coming and Kingdom have come in glory and power and prove Jesus is a faithful Prophet, Priest, King and very God as he claimed.

The Dangerous Admission by Dr. Brown

Dr. Brown conceded in the debate that if Yeshua and the Apostles taught a spiritual kingdom fulfillment and restoration of God’s promises made to Israel being fulfilled in AD 70, this would make them false prophets and the NT unreliable because it would allegedly make them contradict the OT prophets.  There of course is only a contradiction if one thinks the land, temple and Old Covenant world was not purely typological (as Yeshua and the NT authors teach) and pointing to the spiritual New Covenant fulfillments.  But since Brown does hold to a faulty unbiblical view of Old Covenant Israel, it causes Him to reject the inspired teaching of Yeshua and the NT Apostles and their interpretations of the OT Prophets.  While he does no hold the position, he is indirectly affirming Yeshua and the NT inspired Apostles were false prophets – due to his hyper-literal hermeneutic and desire to have Israel’s Old Covenant typological world enter the fulfillment of the NT (where none exists).

The common error of Yeshua’s day and one that continues through men like Dr. Brown or ministries such as “Jews for Jesus,” or even through unbelieving “Jews” such as “Jews for Judaism” is that the Kingdom of God or the restoration of Israel promises made in the OT are to be fulfilled physically.  It is interesting that when Dr. Brown debates unbelieving Jews they claim Yeshua couldn’t be the Messiah, because mockingly they say, “just look out your window, Israel’s promises haven’t been fulfilled physically.”  Dr. Brown simply places these alleged physical fulfillments at the end of world history of which these Jews correctly point out, Yeshua promised they would be fulfilled in the first century.  Since they were all fulfilled physically and within His generation, he is a false prophet and couldn’t be Messiah.  Again, 80% of Brown’s “arguments” against me were the same unbelieving and mocking kind of statements, “Just look out your window, we don’t SEE (physically) all these promises fulfilled.”

Dr. Brown and so many others, completely miss the main purpose of NT miracles which were designed to confirm the Messianic Kingdom and the restoration of Israel promises were NOT to be fulfilled physically (as so many misinterpreted them) but rather spiritually “in Christ” and through His body the Church.

Properly Identifying the “Already and Not Yet” or “This Age” and “the Age About to Come”

1 Corinthians 13:8-12

“already-maturing-not yet”

“this age” – “age about to come”

2 Corinthians 3:7-14

“already-transforming-not yet”

“this age” – “age about to come”

 

1.     Love of the New Covenant will remain – unlike the 3 gifts.

 

1.     New Covenant glory will remain unlike the Old Covenant glory.

 

2.     Gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge would pass away.

 

2.     The Old Covenant & it’s glory was passing away.

 

3.     Looking [spiritually] at God’s face through the mirror of the Old Covenant Scriptures as an enigma.

* Revelatory gifts of prophecy, tongues & knowledge confirming the SPIRITUAL “already and not yet” fulfillment of OT New Covenant and Kingdom promises.

3.     Looking [spiritually] at the glory [or form] of God through a mirror and being transformed [spiritually] into the image of Christ from Old Covenant glory to New Covenant glory.

 

I would agree with Charismatic D.A. Carson in his Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament when he and others correctly connect the seeing of God through a mirror in both 1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Corinthians 3 to be the eschatological “already and not yet” of an unclear seeing of God under “this age” that will be more clearly realized in the “age to come” when Christ returns.

But he has two problems.  First, the Jews and the NT writers understood “this age” to be the Old Covenant age of the Law and Prophets and the “age about to come” as the Messianic or New Covenant age – as even Continuationist N.T. Wright admits (see below). Secondly, in 2 Corinthians 3 the “already and not yet” process contextually is addressing the passing of the Old Covenant age and glory being contrasted with the in-breaking and maturing glory of the New Covenant age.  This “already and not yet” process was taking place between AD 30 – AD 70 and ended in AD 70 when the OC “soon passed away” at Christ’s “in a very little while and would not be delayed” coming (Heb. 8:13—10:37).

Argument #1

Major Premise:  Both 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 and 2 Corinthians 3:7-14 describe the eschatological “already and not yet” process between “this age” and the “age about to come.”  The Second Coming (“that which is perfect”) brings an end to this process and the 3 gifts. (Charismatic D.A. Carson, Brown / Sullivan)

Minor Premise:  But, the “this age” of the NT is the Old Covenant age and it’s glory was passing away and would “soon vanish” when Christ appeared in “in a very little while” and in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3-34; Heb. 9:26-28—10:37). (Continuationist N.T. Wright / Sullivan)

Conclusion:  Therefore, the miraculous gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge “passed away” when the glory of the Old Covenant “this age” “passed away” and the increasing or maturing of the New Covenant “age about to come” was brought to its fullness in AD 70.   

Charismatic Sources of Authority for Brown and Other Charismatics

D.A. Carson & Sam Storms Teach and or favor the view that the stars falling (de-creation) from the heavens, Christ spiritually coming upon the clouds through the Romans to judge Jerusalem and her Temple was fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary generation in AD 70 (per Mt. 10:22-23/Carson; Mt. 24:29-30, 34/Carson & Storms).

This is true, and yet according to Brown this is when “that which is perfect” arrives (1 Cor. 13:10).  Both views form my position that prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased in AD 70.

Sam Storms – who is a contributing author in Authentic Fire – Holds or favors the view that the “heaven and earth” of (Mt. 5:17-18 & Mt. 24:35) is referring to the Temple and OC system which “passed away” at Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70.

This is true, and yet according to Brown this is when “that which is perfect” arrives (1 Cor. 13:10).  Both views form my position that prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased in AD 70.

Apostle” C. Peter Wagner Taught that the “last days” or “end times” mentioned in the NT ended with Christ’s coming on the clouds to end the Old Covenant in AD 70 (citing Mt. 24:1-34). (DOMINION! How Kingdom Action Can Change the World, pp. 60-61).

This is true, and yet according to Brown this is when “that which is perfect” arrives (1 Cor. 13:10).  Both views form my position that prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased in AD 70.

N.T. Wright – Argues that when Yeshua or Paul used “this age” it was the Old Covenant age and the “age to come” is referring to the New Covenant age – being in harmony with “…the ‘two-age’ structure…of Pharisaic/rabbinic Judaism.”  So, he interprets the “end of the age” in Mt. 13; Mt. 24 and Hebrews 9 as Christ Parousia being fulfilled in “…the fall of Jerusalem and the Parousia of Jesus.” (The RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD, p. 645).  Not only this, but he doesn’t believe the “rapture” passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is a literal event but is using common prophetic apocalyptic language (Ibid., p. 215).  He just “gave the farm away…” on all these crucial passages and yet Brown tells us he is a Continuationist scholar we need to listen to!

These positions are true, and yet according to Brown it is at the end of “this age” or the “end of the age” of (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:3ff. and Heb. 9:26-28) and the coming of Christ in 1 Thess. 4:15-17 — is when “that which is perfect” arrives (1 Cor. 13:10).  Both views form my position that prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased in AD 70.

“The Big Three”: The Second Coming (“that which is perfect”) Fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant Age in AD 70

1).  Mt. 10:17-23 = Dan. 7:13-27; 9:24-27, 12:1-12

2).  Mt. 16:27-28 = Dan. 7:13-27; 9:24-27; Isa. 40:10; 62:11—chpt. 66

3).  Mt. 24:30-34/Lk. 21:20-32 = “All that is written” including Dan. 7:13-27; 9:24-27; 12:1-12; Isa. 24-28; etc…

In preparation for my debate with Dr. Brown, I listened to countless debates between Brown and unbelieving Jewish Rabbi’s that used “the big three” (above along with Mt. 26:62-64) to prove Yeshua was a “false prophet” because He didn’t come upon the clouds in the first century generation to rule and reign on earth and end evil in the world. Brown’s “apologetic” was to ignore these passages and how they form NT genuine imminence of the Second Coming of Yeshua.  He missed an opportunity to use these very same passages to prove Yeshua’s claims to be God and that He is a faithful and true prophet, priest and king.

1).  Matthew 10:17-23 & D.A. Carson (a Charismatic):

“But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, youwill not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

“vv. 17–22, pictures the suffering witness of the church in the post-Pentecost period during a time when many of Jesus’ disciples are still bound up with the synagogue.

23 The“coming of the Son of Man here refers to his coming in judgment against the Jews, culminating in the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.” (Carson, D. A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke(Vol. 8, p. 252).

In the immediate context of His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem Yeshua has made the declaration that the kingdom of God is “at hand” and a “day of judgment” for Israel is approaching.  Daniel 7 is the OT echo for Yeshua’s teaching.  In Daniel 7 the Son of Man comesin judgmentand there is severe persecutionbefore the kingdom is inherited. These eschatological motifs will be developed more in Matthew 24, but if we doubt that the coming of the Son of Man here is His coming upon the clouds with angels in the judgment of Daniel 7, our next text clarifies more on our road to Matthew 24:

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

2).  Matthew 16:27-28

27‘For, the Son of Man is about to come [Greek melloYLT] in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then he will reward each, according to his work. 28Verily I say to you, there are certain of those standing here who shall not taste of death till they may see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’

“Verily I say unto you” is a linking phrase of emphasis connecting vss. 27-28 together.  Christ “about to come” (v. 27) answers to the same time frame as Him coming in the lifetime of some in the crowd (v. 28).

In a parallel account in Mark 8:38—9:1 Yeshua informs the Church that she would be able to look back upon this event and know that He and His kingdom had “already come” in power and glory when this passage was fulfilled.  Many say this passage is Christ’s Second Coming, while others like Matthew Henry teach the coming of the Son of Man in glory and with His angels was fulfilled in AD 70.  Both are right and form my position.

This is the same coming of God to “reward” in judgment and wrath that John the Baptist came to “prepare the way” for and was likewise described as an “about to come” “wrath,” “judgment” or “punishement” (Mt. 3:2-7WUESTNT; GNT/Isa. 40:10; 62:11).

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

“the destruction of Jerusalem, and the taking away of the place and nation of the Jews, who were the most bitter enemies to Christianity. Many then present lived to see it, particularly John, who lived till after the destruction of Jerusalem, and saw Christianity planted in the world. “Behold, the Lord is at hand. The Judge standeth before the door; be patient, therefore, brethren.” (Jms. 5:7-9). (Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1699). Peabody: Hendrickson).

As we saw in Matthew 10:17-23, this is the same coming of the Son of Man that will be developed more fully in Matthew 24:

Matthew 16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1. Christ comes in glory (Luke 9:26) 1. Christ comes in glory (Matt. 24:30)
2. Christ comes with angels (Matt. 16:27) 2. Christ comes with angels (Matt. 24:31)
3. Christ comes in judgment (Matt. 16:27) 3. Christ comes in judgment (Matt. 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 (Matt. 16:28) 5. Some of the disciples would live (Luke 21:16-18)
6. Some of the disciples would die (Matt. 16:28) 6. Some of the disciples would die (Luke 21:16)
7. Christ would be ashamed of some in His generation (Mark 8:38) 7. All of this would occur in His  generation (Matt. 24:34)

3).  Matthew 24:3-34 / Luke 21

The “when” question:

  • “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

The “when” answers:

  • Whenyou see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation [Dan. 9:26-27/12:11] is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written [OT eschatology specifically Dan. 9:24-27/12:1-12].
  • Truly I tell you, this generationwill certainly not pass away until all [not “some”] of these things are fulfilled (Mt. 24:4-34/Lk. 21:8-32).

In Matthew’s gospel Matthew or Yeshua clearly tells you when the disciples are “confused” (5 times – see below in point #1) about something. And the disciples clearly said they understood Yeshua’s teaching about the end of the age (Mt. 13:39-51).  In context, the temple’s destruction marked the near end of the OC age not the end of world history.

Luke connects the abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:26-27 and 12:1-11 with the fulfillment of “all that has been written” in the OT and to be fulfilled within their contemporary generation.

The Question of the disciples, the end of the age and how many comings of the Son of Man?

Dr. Brown in his writings and lectures on Matthew 24 makes some fundamental errors that are pure eisegesis in nature.  First, he claims the disciples were “confused” to connect the destruction of the temple with the coming of the Son of Man and the end of the age.  Secondly, he does not allow the Bible to interpret itself on the meaning of stars falling etc… (common apocalyptic language).  Third, his interpretation of Matthew 24:34 would have Yeshua teaching that only “some things” would be fulfilled in Yeshua’s “this generation” and not “all these things” as He clearly states.  He also is proposing that Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are discussing the desolation of two different temples instead of the ONE they were discussing and that fell in AD 70.  And lastly, he offers contradictory theories of “this generation.”

Exegetical Point #1:  The clear statements of the disciples demonstrated that “yes,” they understood Jesus’ teaching on the end of their OC “this age” (Mt. 13:39-43, 51).  When the disciples are confused about something Matthew’s gospel informs us.  For example, their confusion about the “leaven of the Pharisees” (16:6-12), Christ’s death (vv. 21-23), the purpose of the Transfiguration (17:4-5), Christ’s interest in children (19:13-15), and the nature of kingdom service (20:20-25).  Since this is Matthew’s pattern, we would expect him to point it out here in Matthew 24:3 if the indeed the disciples were confused to associate Christ’s coming and the end of the age with the destruction of the temple.

Exegetical Point #2:  Contextually, the Temple’s destruction Jesus and the disciples are looking at answers to the end of the OC age and has nothing to do with the end of the Church or NC age. The OT and NT teaches the Messianic or NC kingdom age “has no end” so that cannot be the subject under discussion: (Dan. 2:44; 6:26; 7:14, 18; Isa. 7:13-14; 9:6-7; Lk. 1:32; Ephs. 3:20-21). 

Exegetical Point #3:  Contextually, Jesus in verse 14 identifies the “end of the age” the disciples asked about simply as “the end.” The ONLY “the end” in context is the end of the age the disciples asked about.  Even in Daniel “the time of the end” “the hour of the end” is also described simply as “the end” (cf. Daniel 12).  Since Brown’s Charismatic contributing author in his book, Authentic Fire Sam Storms believes the sign of the Great Commission here in v. 14 was fulfilled before AD 70 (citing Rms. 10:18; Cols. 1:5-6, 23), then clearly Yeshua is identifying “the end” with the “end of the age” the disciples asked about.  Since both are addressing the end of the OC age and not the end of world history, this overthrow’s Dr. Brown’s theory and eisegesis that the discourse has anything to do with the end of world history or a future to us coming of Jesus.

Exegetical Point #4:  The parallel accounts of Mark 13 and Luke 21 Mark and Luke do not record the phrase “and the end of the age” or promote a TWO coming(s) theory.  In our debate Brown in the Q&A period seemed willing to concede that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27 was fulfilled in AD 70 but not 24:30ff.

Are we to expect that Mark and Luke simply decided to not let their readers know that Jesus taught about the end of world history and TWO comings separated by thousands of years?!?  The fact that Matthew records “end of the age” and adds more parables than the more Gentile audiences of Mark and Luke’s account of the same event explain the difference. Thus, there is no need to eisegetically assume that just because Matthew 24:3 adds “and the end the age” while the others do not, this somehow justifies a two coming theory of Jesus spanning thousands of years in Matthew’s account while Mark and Luke do not.  Harmonizing the parallel accounts makes “clear” sense, not Dr. Brown’s gymnastics to chop it up into the possibility of two comings of Christ.

Besides this, Mark 13:12-13 while not mentioning “the end of the age” does mention the signs of persecution connected to “the end” coming upon that first century audience just as Matthew 24:14 does.  When we follow the context and harmonize the parallel accounts, we see that the discourse is about the end of the OC age when the Temple would be destroyed – not the end of world history.  

Exegetical Point #5:  OT reference – Jesus is drawing from Daniel 7, 9 and 12 in the OD where again the end of the age is described as the “time of the end,” “hour of the end” (OG LXX), or just “the end.”  Yeshua informs us His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem would fulfill “all” of these OT promises (Lk. 21:22), therefore, “the end of the age” (Mt. 24:3) or the rest of the discourse has anything to do with the end of world history but the OC age in AD 70.

Exegetical Point #6:  As Continuationist N.T. Wright points out, the historical context the disciples were living in understood the age they were living in to be the OC age and the “age to come” or “the age about to come” to be the NC or Messianic age.

“stars falling,” = coming of the Son of Man = “heaven and earth passing away” = “this generation” = “all these things” 

Dr. Brown writes,

genea…normally means generation” and “…it is possible that Yeshua was speaking to his own generation about the coming destruction of the Temple, informing them that it would happen in their lifetimes (which it did, just 40 yrs. later).  In this sense, some commentators [D.A. Carson & Sam Storms] also believe that he was speaking about hiscoming in judgment-–just as God sometimes referred to his own coming in acts of judgment in the Hebrew Scriptures…” Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Vol. 4, pp. 154, 321, emphasis MJS).

Charismatic Craig Keener (contributing author to Dr. Brown’s Authentic Fire) writes the following on geneain his commentary on Matthew,

“Matthew uses genea here for the 10th time, so his use of the term has a range of emphases — it consistently refers to the time span of a single generation. All the alternative senses proposed here (the Jewish people, humanity, the generation of the end times signs, wicked people) are artificial and are based on the need to protect Jesus from error. This generation is Jesus’ generation of contemporaries.” Jesus uses the term [in Mt. 24:34/Lk. 21:32] as normally [understood as]…the climactic ‘generation.’” (A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Eerdman’s Pub.)

Charismatic D.A. Carson writes the following on Matthew 24:29-30, 34

The words of vs 29–31 are “…drawn from Is. 13:10 and 34:4, where the language of cosmic upheaval symbolized the political fall of pagan nations.” “…this poetic language appropriately refers to the great changes which were about to take place in the world, when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed.”  “…The fall of the temple is thus presented, in highly allusive language, as the end of the old order, to be replaced by the new régime of Jesus, the Son of Man, and the international growth of his church, the new people of God.”  “All this would happen very soon…”

“Within this generation it would all be over; we have Jesus’ word for it! “‘This generation’ can only with the greatest difficulty be made to mean anything other than the generation living when Jesus spoke.” (New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.).

Charismatic Sam Storms (contributing author to Dr. Brown’s Authentic Fire) not only agrees with Carson on the apocalyptic de-creation language of Matthew 24:29, but goes a step further and holds to or favors the interpretation that “heaven and earth” (Mt. 24:35) is the Old Covenant system and temple which passed away at Christ’s coming in AD 70,

“…a compelling argument “that ‘by heaven and earth’ is meant the Jerusalem temple and the Torah constitution at the center of which the former stands [can be made]. . . . [Thus the phrase ‘heaven and earth shall pass away’ refers] to the imminent end to the social, religious and economic structure of Israel’s covenant relationship with God with the attendant destruction of the temple” (Sam Storms, The Olivet Discourse and Matthew 24Part 3; “The Destruction of the Temple and the Relativization of the Old CovenantMark 13:31 and Matthew 5:18,” in Eschatology in Bible & Theology: Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, edited by Kent E. Brower & Mark W. Elliott [Downers Grove: IVP, 1997], 146).

God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors referring to the judgment of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet.  This can be seen in such OT passages referring to the fall of Babylon, Egypt, Edom, and Israel (Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Ps. 18; Ps. 104; Hab. 1:2ff.).  Did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.: “Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)?  Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in (Isa. 34:4-5)?  No, this was common metaphoric language used by the OT & NT prophets.

Jesus nor the NT writers ever predicted the end of the planet earth as is simply assumed by so many here in Luke 21:25-26 (or its parallel in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35) and elsewhere in the NT. When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright 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 OC 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 (cf. John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke, Mk. 9:1 and Matt. 16:28).” (Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 37-38 (bold emphasis added).

Exegetical problems for Dr. Brown and his Partial Preterist Charismatic colleagues

Dr. Brown in his writings and lectures admits that God “visited” Israel in purification and judgment in AD 70 but never tells us if it was Yeshua or what texts actually describe this “visitation.”  But as previously mentioned, in our debate he said he may be willing to concede that the coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24:27 was fulfilled in AD 70.  But Brown knows to commit on this would be to have to honor NT imminence.  Why?  Because 1. if Yeshua promised that his “Parousia” (Mt. 24:27), was fulfilled in AD 70, and 2.  Parousia is a technical term for the Second Coming and Paul follows Yeshua in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15, then 3.  when Paul and the other writers used Parousia or referred to an “at hand” “quickly” “soon” coming of Christ toward the end of their generation, then why wouldn’t this be the AD 70 parousia or coming of Christ prophesied in Matthew 24:27?!?  This is also a problem for Charismatic D.A. Carson who readily admits Yeshua’s teaching in the Olive Discourse forms the eschatology of Paul in 1-2 Thessalonians and the book of Revelation.

The problem for Brown’s Charismatic colleagues such as Keener, Carson and Storms is that Yeshua connects the fulfillment of “all these things” (that is the signs, His coming, and “the end” or “end of the age”) being fulfilled in Yeshua’s “contemporary” and “climatic generation” and if they take the “coming” (Mt. 24:27, 30) as fulfilled in AD 70, there is no exegetical evidence for another coming in Matthew 24 since the “coming” passages in the rest of the chapter (and going into chapter 25) is simply a recapitulation of the same coming and judgment mentioned earlier.

Additional problems for Sam Storms would include two things.  First, if the de-creation and “heaven and earth” passing away language of (Mt. 24:29, 35) is the Old Covenant system passing away in AD 70 (and it is), this correlates contextually with the “end of the age” (Mt. 24:3) as referring to the end of the Old Covenant age and not the New Covenant age or the end of world history.  And as I will demonstrate later, if the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled prior to AD 70 because of what Paul says in Romans 10:18, then the Great Commission of Acts 1:8 was also fulfilled prior to AD 70 based upon what Paul declares in Romans 10:18.  If not why not?!?

Now let’s step back and see how the “big three” harmonize perfectly and how Matthew 10:17-23 and 16:27-28 build upon each other to form what Yeshua will fully develop in Matthew 24-25.

Matthew 10:17-23/16:27-28 & Parallels Matthew 24/Mark 13/Luke 21
1.  Delivered up to local councils and synagogues (Mt. 10:17) 1.  Delivered up to local councils and synagogues (Mrk. 13:9)
2.  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles        (Mt. 10:18) 2.  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles     (Mrk. 13:9)
3.  Holy Spirit would speak through them (Mt. 10:19-20) 3.  Holy Spirit would speak through them (Mrk. 13:11)
4.  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mt. 10:22) 4.  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mrk. 13:12-13)
5.  The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. (Mt. 10:23) 5.  The disciples (and later Paul) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place. (Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10)
6.  Christ comes in glory (Lk. 9:26) 6.  Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30)
7.  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27) 7.  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31)
8.  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 8.  Christ comes in judgment             (Mt. 24:28-31;25:31-34)
9.  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mrk. 8:38) 9.  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32)
10.  Some in the crowd would live     (Mt. 16:28) 10.  Some in the crowd would live.    (Lk. 21:16-18)
11.  Some in the crowd would die      (Mt. 16:28) 11.  Some in the crowd would die.     (Lk. 21:16)
12.  Christ was “about to come” and would be ashamed of some in His contemporary “this generation”        (Mt. 16:27YLT/Mrk. 8:38) 12.  All of this would occur and be “near” and “at the door” in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:33-34/Lk. 21:27-32)

How did the inspired NT authors understand “the big three”?

Therefore, how did the inspired NT authors understand Daniel’s and Yeshua’s teaching concerning His Second Coming attended by the judgment and resurrection/gathering of the living and dead at the end of the OC age associated with the destruction of the Temple and City?  Did they understand “the big three” according to my exegesis or Dr. Brown’s?  Clearly, their inspired instruction of a “soon,” “at hand,” “quickly,” “about to,” “this generation,” “in a very little while and will not delay” Second Coming supports my view verses Brown’s 2,000 plus years and counting delay view:

Acts 2:20, 40; Acts 17:31YLT; Acts 24:15YLT/Dan. 12:2-3, 7; Rom. 8:18-23YLT/AV; Rom. 13:11-12; Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor.7:29-31; 1 Cor. 10:11; 1 Cor. 15:51; Phil. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:15ff–5:1-10; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; 2 Tim. 4:1YLT; Heb. 8:13–10:37; Heb. 13:14YLT; James 5:7-9; 1 Pet. 1:4-12; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17; 1 John 2:17-18; Rev. 1:1–22:6-7, 10-12, 20 — this is just a small list of NT imminence.

Argument #2

(Mt. 10:22-23=Mt. 16:27-28=Mt. 24:30-34)

Major Premise:  The coming of the Son of Man in judgment, with angels, on the clouds, before “the end” [of the age] in these passages is the ONE and ONLY Second Coming and resurrection event or “that which is perfect” of (1 Cor. 13:10).  (Dr. Brown / Sullivan)

Minor Premise:  But, Yeshua promised that His coming in these passages would occur within the lifetimes and generation of His contemporaries or by AD 70 when the temple was destroyed (Mt. 10:22-23-Carson; Mt. 24:30-34-Wagner, Carson, Storms / Sullivan).

Conclusion:  Therefore, the arrival of “that which is perfect” was fulfilled by AD 70 when prophecy, tongues and knowledge passed away.       

Having proven that Matthew 10:17-23 and Matthew 16:27-28 are little snap shots of what Yeshua will develop more fully in Matthew 24 and that in each case Yeshua prophesied His return within the lifetime and generation of His contemporaries, I will now seek to prove that Paul simply follows Yeshua’s eschatology in these passages.

Euclid was considered the “Father of Geometry” and came up with the following axiom which President Lincoln used in logic in order to demonstrate proofs and solid arguments as a Lawyer and then President:

“If A = B, and B = C, then A = C.  Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other – that is A = B = C.”

Let’s follow this approach while using the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation – which simply means Scripture interprets Scripture, and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.

A= (Mt. 24:1-34) – Fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 & using common OT apocalyptic language  (Wagner, Carson, Storms, Wright / Sullivan)

B= (1 Thess. 4:15-17) – Is a non-physical event using apocalyptic language (Wright / Sullivan)

C= (1 Cor. 15) – Is the same event as A and B above (Brown / Sullivan)

Since A (Mt. 24) is = B (1 Thess. 4)

Christ Returns from Heaven 24:30 4:16
With Voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With Trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/Gathered Together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the Clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact Time Unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ Comes as a Thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers Caught Off Guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of Birth Pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers Not Deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to Be Watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to Sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/Sunlight Shinning From E. to W. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8

And B (1 Thess. 4) is = C (1 Cor. 15)

The Sleeping to Be Raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The Living to Be aught/Changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s Coming (Greek: Parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the Sound of the Trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to Stand Firm 4:18 15:58
Same Contemporary “We” 4:15-17 15:51-52

Then A (Mt. 24) is = C (1 Cor. 15)

Christ to Come (Greek: Parousia) 24:27 15:23
His People to Be Gathered/Changed 24:31 15:52
To Come with the Sound of a Trumpet 24:31 15:52
To Be “The End” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom Consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All Prophecy Fulfilled at This Point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Law/Temple Mat. 24:1 15:55-56
Same Contemporary “We” Mat. 24:2ff 15:51-52

“Two or More Things that Are Equal to Another Thing Are Also Equal to Each Other.”

Matthew 24                     1 Thessalonians 4          1 Corinthians 15

At His Coming (24:27-31) = At His Coming (4:16) = At His Coming (15:23)
At the Trumpet (24:31) = At the Trumpet (4:16) = At the Trumpet (15:52)
Dead Raised, All Gathered (24:31) = Dead Raised (4:16) = Dead Raised (15:35-44)
All Living Gathered
(24:31)
= Living Caught Together to Him (4:17) = Status of Living Changed (15:51)

Since Continuationist N.T. Wright has not given a full exegesis as to how the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is non-literal but apocalyptic language, I will further develop this and demonstrate how the passage and Christ’s parousia was fulfilled in AD 70.

Spiritual nature of fulfillment

A day was approaching when Christ would deliver first century believers in the Thessalonian Church from their first century Jewish persecutors by giving them the same kind of trouble they were giving them (1 Thess. 1:10; cf. 2 Thess. 1:6–7).  Are members of the first century church and their Jewish persecutors alive today?  Uh, no they are not.

When that day came, the Lord descended from heaven with a word of command (or “a shout”), with archangelic voice, and with a trumpet call of God; and the dead in Christ rose.  Then the living in Christ and the dead in Christ were simultaneously “caught up” in “clouds” to “a meeting of the Lord in the air.”

We can know that Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17 are not to be interpreted literally (a literal trumpet, etc.) because the Scriptures tell us elsewhere not to interpret them literally. In Exodus 19 and 20, the Lord came down in a cloud over Mount Sinai. He spoke with a loud voice. There was the sound of a loud trumpet. And Moses met the Lord on Mount Sinai. Then God established His covenant with His people.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that though the trumpet and the voice of the old covenant were literal, the “trumpet” and the “voice” of the new covenant are not literal (Heb. 12:18–19). Neither is the mountain (Mount Zion) literal in the new covenant (Heb. 12:18, 22). Therefore, neither is the cloud (which descended to cover the ountain) literal in the new covenant.

Since the cloud-covered mountain is not literal, but is heavenly, neither then is the meeting that takes place in the heavenly mountain (i.e., in the clouds in the air) literal. Therefore the shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 are all spiritual antitypes of the literal shout, voice, trumpet, mountain, cloud, and meeting of Exodus 19 and 20 (Heb. 12:18–22).

What we have then in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is the “rapturously” metaphorical language of a prophet who is speaking of antitypical, spiritual realities —the transcendent profundities of Christological glory in and among the saints in the consummation of the ages.  If this sounds like an over-spiritualization, it shouldn’t. The Lord Jesus Himself was opposed to a literal removal of the church out of the world:

I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

The “rapture” passage is no more  literal than the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:4–14. In that passage, God caused a valley full of dry bones to come together. He attached tendons to them and put skin on them. Then He caused the bodies to breathe and they stood on their feet as a vast army. The bones represented the house of Israel.  They were hopelessly cut off from the land, and were said to be in “graves.” As God had done for the dry bones, He was going to do for the house of Israel.

In the same way, in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, God raised up His church —the first fruits of the resurrection-harvest— which was anxiously longing for the consummation of redemption and atonement.  As a mighty warrior, the Lord issued forth his shout of command and sounded the trumpet of God. Then His spiritual army arose by His power. They met Him on His way to His temple to judge the enemies in His kingdom (Mal. 3:1). That is when God afflicted the persecutors of His church, when He gave His people relief and glorified Himself in them (2 Thess. 1:8–10).

Being revealed with Christ in glory (Col. 3:4) and becoming like Him and seeing Him in His Parousia (1 Jn 3:2) had nothing to do with escaping physical death or with being literally caught up into the literal sky or with being biologically changed. It had to do with God’s people, living and dead, being “gathered together” to become His eternal Tabernacle, His spiritual Body, the New Man, the heavenly Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem in the Spirit. “This mystery is great” (Eph. 5:32), and is therefore communicated in the accommodative “sign language” of prophetic metaphor.

Since our Lord came “with His saints” and destroyed the earthly temple in AD 70 (Heb. 9:8), the church of all ages lives and reigns in glory with Him forever (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 13:4; 2 Tim. 2:11–12). Now whether we are alive or asleep, we “live together with Him” (1 Thess. 5:10). This was not the case in the Old Testament, when to die was to be cut off from the people of God. As Paul says in Romans 14:8–9, “ . . . whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

“Gathered up” (1 Thess. 4:17)

The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up” thus giving a theological connection to the eschatological gathering of (Mt.13:39-43; Mt.24:30-31 & 2 Thess. 2:1). Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.” The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament renders a good definition of harazo as, “of an ecstatic vision or experience catch up or away (2C 12.2).” (Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 75, emphasis added).

Thus one could be “caught up” with visions or “caught up” in having a joyful “experience” associated with Christ’s return that did not necessitate a physical removal from the planet! The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament gives the meaning to a word related to harpazo–harpagmos, “…c. “to take up an attitude to something as one does to what presents itself as a prey to be grasped, a chance discovery, or a gift of fate, i.e., appropriating and using it, treating it as something desired and won.” “The figurative element in the expression still remains, and a οἷον or ὥσπερ is often put before it.” (Kittel, Gerhard (Hrsg.) ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William (Hrsg.) ; Friedrich, Gerhard (Hrsg.): Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. electronic ed. Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans, 1964-c1976, S. 1:473).  The Liddell and Scott Lexicon render harpazo as “…5. grasp with the senses, 6. captivate, ravish.”

As I pointed out earlier, Jesus said when the kingdom would come at His return, that it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes—Luke 17:20-37; Mark 9:1. The realm of the “snatching away” was an “experience” and “attitude” “within” Christians. They “grasped” and were “captivated” and had “seen” and “perceived” in their hearts and minds what Christ had done for them physically and most importantly “in” them in purifying their conscience and taking away their sins. The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words “clouds” and “air.”

“…in the clouds…” (1 Thess. 4:17)

In Revelation one of the descriptions of the Churches “rapture” or “resurrection” is described by the two witnesses (described as Moses–the law & Elijah–the prophets) being received up into a cloud Rev. 11:12. This is the consummation and the Church being raised and caught up into the presence of God is the fulfillment and climax of everything taught in the Law and the Prophets. Those that did not heed her message, were assured of imminent destruction. The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament gives the concept of the cloud as referring to a Theological “revelation,” “Mark 9:7a, b par. Matt 17:5a, b / Luke 9:34a, b, 35 contain the idea of the cloud of revelation, or the theophany motif, in the account of the transfiguration.  (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 2:464).

The transformation was a “vision.”  The transfiguration event is what we are to “see/understand” the parousia being all about – the passing glory and fulfilling of the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) with Christ’s words of the new covenant age continuing. For Peter to want to desire Moses and Elijah to abide with Christ is to get a rebuke from the Father, because the age of the law and prophets would soon pass away and their was no need for new wine to be contained in old wineskins.  The only other two place in the NT where this Greek word is used (metamorphosis or transformation) is in 2 Corinthians 3 and Romans 12  and it had to do with a spiritual transformation of the mind and heart from old covenant glory to new covenant glory and its application. Unlike the Judaizers whom were “waterless clouds” (Jude 12) and could not give doctrine or revelation resulting in the salvation of the soul, the Christians were and remain a heavenly people full of living water ready to rain down the righteousness of Christ upon thirsty souls through the preaching of the gospel (Isa. 45:8/Jn. 7:38/Ezk. 47/Rev. 22:17).  A “cloud” can include the revelation or testimony of people such as the OT saints (Heb. 12:1).

To “meet” the Lord in “the air” (1 Thess. 4:17)

To “meet” the Lord, is wedding language and since Partial Preterists are now teaching that the coming of the Lord in both Matthew 24 and 25 was fulfilled in AD 70 (and that of Revelation 19-22), then the wedding/meeting of Matthew 25:10ff. and Revelation 21 was fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment. Since the wedding banquet follows the wedding in Jewish culture, AND the resurrection takes place at this time (cf. Isaiah 25:6-8/1 Cor. 15:54-55), then Partial Preterism is now FORCED to concede that the ONE eschatological wedding and resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70.

This Greek word for “meet” was also often used of a King or dignitary coming to make his home in a city in which his Empire or Kingdom had conquered. On the news of the imminent coming of the King, the members of the city would go out of the city and “meet” the King/dignitary and escort him back to their home. The King’s presence is established WHERE the people already lived. Again, the imagery does not support a literal “rapture” of people off of planet earth, but rather of God coming to rule and reign in the hearts of His people where they are – living on planet earth.

But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)? This word is defined as, “space inhabited and controlled by powers (Eph 2:2; 1Th 4:17; Rev 16:17). (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, S. GGK113).  Another reference works says of Ephesians 2 – “This ruler appears as the aeon of this world, or, one might say, his atmosphere (air) allows the world to appear as Aeon, the god of eternity, whose false claim brings death to humankind (H. Schlier, Der Brief an der Epheser [1958] 102f.). From the perspective of the history of religion this represents a combination of the Empedoclean and Pythagorean worldview, according to which the air is full of souls which cannot yet rise to the ethereal world (E. Schweizer, The Letter to the Colossians [1982] 128–34), and Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons (Billerbeck IV, 516). (Balz, Horst Robert ; Schneider, Gerhard: Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Eerdmans, 1990-c1993, S. 1:34).

Prior to A.D. 70, demon’s “possessed” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. This is consistent with the word harpazo as meaning “seizing” or “possessing” one inwardly. Satan used the old-covenant Mosaic law to blind the hearts and minds of people in the realm of the “air”—within their souls, hearts, and minds in producing an arrogant and zealous self righteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rms. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His Ephs. 2:1-10. Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind, when He said, “It is finished” Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15!  The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men, have all been conquered by Christ at His parousia in AD 70. The early church did ecstatically experience the joys of this event while on earth, and as our opponents admit, our numbers keep growing!”

“The Day of the Lord has ‘already come.’” (2 Thess. 2:2)

This is an issue Brown brought up in the debate which allegedly proved my position was “very dangerous.”  If you notice in the debate I wanted to address it but didn’t get the opportunity — all the while Brown was allowed to ask me another question after time elapsed.  So let me address this issue of those that were teaching the day of the Lord and the resurrection had been fulfilled prior to AD 70 and how Paul answered their view.  I will address some of his point here and then H & P in 2 Timothy 2 later.

Before leaving 1 Thessalonians 4-5, let’s take a quick look at some of the reasoning that Partial Preterists use against a futurist interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 5 and then apply it to the “rapture” and or resurrection texts of 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Timothy 2.

1. “As in the case of 1 Thessalonians 5, no commentator who approaches this text under the assumption that it refers to the events surrounding the Second Coming has ever been able to offer an even remotely plausible explanation for the belief of the Thessalonian Christians that the day of the Lord had already come. If we grant the assumptions of these commentators, then Paul has already told them in his first epistle that this event would involve the bodily resurrection of the dead and the “catching up” in the air of those who would still be alive to be with the Lord forever. Unless one concludes that the Thessalonians were profoundly oblivious to reality, there is no explanation for why they would have believed that this had already taken place.

2. Futurists interpreters have also failed to offer a plausible explanation of Paul’s argumentation in 2 Thessalonians 2. If the “coming” of Christ, our “gathering” to Him, and the day of the Lord in this chapter refer to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, then it is necessary to explain Paul’s method of proving that these things had not yet occurred. Why would Paul have tried to convince a group of believers that the Rapture and the bodily resurrection of all believers had not yet occurred by arguing that the apostasy and revelation of the man of lawlessness must coming first? If this chapter is referring to the Second Advent, the Rapture, and the bodily resurrection of the dead, the proof that these things had not yet happened would have been far more simple and obvious. The entire argument of 2 Thessalonians 2 could have been reduced to the single question, “Are you still here?” (Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism, 229).

Since BOTH comings of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 took place in AD 70, Mathison’s question (and those of other Partial Preterist Charismatics) needs to include 1 Thessalonians 4 and 2 Timothy 2 and ask…:

–  “If Paul’s doctrine among the churches was a literal “rapture” of the bodies of the living and a literal resurrection of dead corpses, then why wouldn’t his apologetic against these false teachers be something as simple as this, “How can you believe the coming of the Lord, our gathering to Him and resurrection of the dead has ‘already’ taken place, we are obviously still here and the graves still contain rotten corpses do they not?””

Some Partial Preterists have now come around to admit that the coming of Christ in BOTH 1 Thessalonians 4 – 5 are the same coming and therefore have proposed the idea that there was a literal rapture of the Church by AD 70.  This position as well does not address the exegesis I have provided here let alone the question I have proposed above.  Nor does it account for Jesus’ teaching that the first century Christians would witness the destruction of the city and Temple and God’s kingdom come in power while remaining on the earth post AD 70:

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”  And he said to them, “…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” (Mark8:38- 9:1 Rotherham).  

Partial Preterist Kenneth Gentry quoting Alexander, correctly points out of Mark 9:1, “Here the root word erchomai, which is translated “come” is “not, as the English words may seems 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.” (Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion A Postmillennial Eschatology, Third Edition, 219-220).  Jesus clearly taught that some of His first century audience would live to witness His second coming and experience His kingdom and discern from the events of AD 66 AD 70 that He and His kingdom had “already come” spiritually “within” them (Luke 17:20-21/21:30-32).

We have examined the “gathering up” or “catching away” “rapture” passages and have proven exegetically the following:

1. Analogy of Scripture:   Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are addressing the same coming of Christ and resurrection/rapture event.

2.  Audience Relevancy & Timing:  Jesus taught that Matthew 24:30-31, 34 would be fulfilled in His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” while further addressing His contemporary “you” audience.  The Apostle Paul’s doctrine is consistent with Jesus’ in that towards the end of that generation he taught an imminent second coming event and resurrection/catching away of his first century audience “we…”

3.  Spiritual Nature of Fulfillment:  Jesus taught that His new covenant Kingdom would not come with physical observation but would be realized “within” His people at His return (Luke 17:20-21ff., 21:30-32).  We examined the terms “snatch,” “clouds,” and “air” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and found that there is exegetical evidence that this passage would be fulfilled within the person without taking him or her off planet earth.

4.  Powerful Argument From Silence:  If Jesus’ second coming event attended with the resurrection and rapture of the living was to be a physical event whereby rotting corpses were raised and the living would disappear off of planet earth, then why didn’t Paul in Thessalonians and 2 Timothy argue against those that believed these events had “already” happened – “How can you believe this?  You are still here and the dead are still in their graves right?”

5.  Jesus’ teaching in John 17 and Mark 8:38-9:1 inform us that it was/is not God’s will to take the Church off of planet earth (through a secret “rapture”) and even goes as far to teach that some living in the first century would live to witness Christ’s coming and kingdom and know that it had “already come” in and post AD 70.

Argument #3

(Mt. 24=1 Thess. 4-5=1 Cor. 15)

Major Premise:  The coming of Christ in Mattehw 24, 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 is the ONE and the SAME trumpet sounding Second Coming event – or “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10) (Brown / Sullivan)

Minor Premise:  But, the coming of Christ on the clouds in Matthew 24:30 was “apocalyptic,” spiritual and fulfilled in AD 70 (Carson, Storms, Wagner / Sullivan).  And the “catching away” in the “air” and “clouds” (1 Thess. 4:15-17) is also non-literal “apocalyptic” language (Wright / Sullivan).

Conclusion:   Therefore, the ONE and the SAME non-literal trumpet sounding Second Coming event of Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4 was fulfilled in AD 70 when “that which is perfect” came to maturity and the gifts ended.

The Olivet Discourse and Acts 1-3

Since I also anticipated Dr. Brown would be appealing to the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 and Acts 3:17-23 as a Future event, I further developed the analogy of faith principle of interpretation demonstrating the book of Acts is also following Yeshua’s teaching in the Olivet Discourse.

Matthew 24 / Mark 13 / Luke 21

Acts 1-3

1. Only the Father has authority and knows the day and hour of the Kingdom’s arrival (Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32; Mt. 24:36). 1. Only the Father has authority and knows the time and dates of the kingdom’s arrival (Acts 1:3-7).
2. The Holy Spirit (& charismata) would be given to boldly fulfill the G.C. (Mrk. 13:10-13) 2. The Holy Spirit (charismata) would be given to boldly fulfill the G.C. (Acts 1:4-8).
3. Jesus would come from heaven upon His glory cloud in their generation(cf. Mt. 24:14-34).

 

3. Jesus would come from heaven upon His glory cloud in their generation and “cut off” those Jews that didn’t listen (cf. Acts 1:11; 2:20-40; 3:17-23).

Since Dr. Brown would affirm the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 and 3:17-23 is the same coming of Christ his Charismatic Partial Preterist colleagues teach was fulfilled spiritually in Matthew 24:30, we should pay attention to the fact that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 would be “near” when the Great Commission of v. 14 would be fulfilled.  Likewise, since Dr. Brown believes the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14 and Acts 1:8 are the same, it is reasonable to say when that Great Commission is fulfilled is when the coming of Acts 1:11 is fulfilled just as Yeshua taught in Matthew 24:14-34.

4 Areas Covered in the G.C.

4 Pentecost’s Following the G.C. of Acts 1:8 to Confirm the One Body

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in:  1. Jerusalem, 2. in all Judea and 3. Samaria, and 4. to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8) 1.     Acts 2 – Jews in (“Jerusalem”) “from every nation under heaven”

2.     Acts 8 – the Samaritans (“and Samaria”)

3.     Acts 10 – God-fearers (“in all Judea”)

4.     Acts 19 – the Gentiles (“to the ends of the earth/land” ge – Roman Empire).

In the OT, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon Moses and then to the 70 elders who prophesied.

Then Moses told Joshua that he wished the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all of God’s people.  Moses’ desire was actually God’s intent, and through Joel God predicts that in Israel’s “last days” His Spirit would be poured out upon “all flesh.”

There is much confusion in the OT and in the NT as to how God was going to include all the Jews, Samaritans, God-fearers (Proselyte – Gentile converts to Judaism that weren’t circumcised), and Gentiles within God’s redemptive plan. The book of Acts not only records the fulfillment of the G.C. to these various groups, but it is Luke’s purpose to demonstrate that the power and outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s work was primarily confirmatory in nature, so as to demonstrate that all these groups would now be equal citizens in the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, Luke actually records 4 Pentecost’s of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon each of these groups in fulfillment of the G.C. of Acts 1:8 (see chart above).

In each of these cases “all” within these groups received the miraculous out-pouring of the Holy Spirit unlike the Charismatic doctrine of the have and have not Christians.  And these were examples or real miraculous “tongues” (known human languages) taking place unlike today – which is just learned behavior and gibberish.

The miraculous out-pouring manifestations of the Holy Spirit during this time period were temporal and unique in God’s redemptive plan. After the end of the OC age and the maturing of the NC age at Christ’s parousia in AD 70, these 4 categories of people are gone – there are just believers and unbelievers.  With the genealogies and the Temple being destroyed in AD 70, there isn’t even a “Jew” or right to Judaism as a valid religion.  In Dr. Brown’s exchange with Gary DeMar, when Gary asked Brown what tribe he was from he said, “I think Judah.”

The Second Coming and Restoration of the Nations – in Acts 2/Gen. 10-11/Deut. 32:8-9 

Luke draws our attention to Peter referencing not just the fulfillment of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Second Coming of Jesus in Joel 2, but the restoration and fulfillment of Genesis 11 and Deuteronomy 32 in Acts 2 as well.

The Septuagint (LXX) of Acts 2:2-3 references “divided” to Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and “bewildered” to Genesis 11:7 (for a detailed explanation of this see:  Dr. Michael Heiser, The Unseen Realm Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible, p. 298).  These are deliberate exegetical “echoes” or “hooks” taking us back to these OT passages.  In other words, this is the reversing and restoring of God’s judgment upon the nations in Genesis 10-11/Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and Him bringing them back together under the uniting and “pure” tongue/language of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

G.K. Beale writes,

“Why does Luke want readers to see the link to Genesis 10-11? Babel’s sin of uniting and consequent judgment of confused languages and of people being scattered throughout the earth is reversed at PentecostGod causes representatives from the same scattered nations to unite in Jerusalem in order that they might receive the blessing of understanding different languages as if all these languages were one.” (G.K. Beale,The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, p. 202)

Josephus on Genesis 11

Peter in Acts 2

The spoke “with other tongues” [“alloglossous glossais”] (Ant. 1.117; Ant. 1.120), “They began to speak “with other tongues [heterais glossais] (Acts 2:4)
God “gave to each his own language” [“idian hekasto phonen”] (Ant. 1.118) “”We hear each in our own dialect [“hekastos- te idia dialekto”] (Acts 2:6, 8)

Beale also sees Peter using the LXX to conflate Joel 2 with the last days evangelism to the nations of Isaiah 2,

“At the beginning of the Joel 2:28 quotation, Peter substitutes the phrase “in the last days” (en tais eschatais hemerais)  in place of Joel’s “after these things.”  The substitution comes from Isa. 2:2 (the only in the LXX where this precise phrase occurs):  “In the last days (en tais eschatais hemerais) the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.” Thus, Peter appears to interpret the Spirit’s coming in fulfillment of Joel to be also the beginning fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of the end-time mountain temple, under the influence of which the nations would come.” (G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT; p. 603).

Peter Leithart observes,

“Pentecost sounds like a repeat of Babel, but, unlike Babel, Pentecostal tongues communicate rather than confuse. Filled with the Spirit, the apostles preach the gospel to everyone in his own language, and the tongues of the Spirit join rather than separate nations. Glossolalia marks the church as an anti-Babel.

The apostles announce that all Israel has hoped for has now happened in the cross and exaltation of Jesus. The Spirit’s arrival is one of the indicators that Israel’s hopes are fulfilled. In contrast to Deuteronomy, the New Testament treats tongues not as an omen of exile but as a sign that exile has ended. Speaking in tongues, the early church isn’t being invaded. The church is the invader.

This helps answer our question, To whom was Pentecost a threat? On the one hand, it was a signal to Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah. Judaism was being “invaded” by a new people who claimed, in Paul’s words, to be “true Jews,” circumcised in heart rather than flesh (Rom 2).

On the other hand, tongues were a warning to Rome. Though dominated by Latin in the west and Greek in the east, the empire was polyglot. The sounds of the Pentecostal church told Rome that another multinational empire had invaded and was settling down in Roman territory. No wonder Roman emperors regarded the church as a dangerous rival.”  (Peter Leithart, THE POLYGLOT POLITICS OF PENTECOST, https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/05/the-polyglot-politics-of-pentecost).

I would agree with Mr. Leithart that tongues were a sign of a uniting force for the nations coming into the fold of God through the Church, BUT it also functioned as a sign of judgment and exile for Old Covenant Jerusalem who would be “cast out” (exiled) of the kingdom in AD 70 (Mt. 8:10-12; 21:43-45).

The theological point is that Peter’s sermon is the SEED that will be sent to plant the gospel in the Gentile nations (that were once disinherited by God in Gen. 10-11).  These Jews would go back to their synagogues where there were not only Jews but believing Gentile proselytes and God-fearers.  They too would hear the good news of what Messiah had done for them. Form here, God will send the Apostle Paul (as another faithful Jonah from Tarshish– the end of the ancient world) to make the mission complete and blossom into its fulness – thus bringing the nations back into the fold and kingdom of God.  He would do this by going to the Jew first and then the Gentile.  No doubt his first stop would be in these synagogues and churches established from Peter’s sermon, and then would branch out from there.

The Great Commission of

Mt. 24:14=Acts 1:8

Both Fulfilled by AD 70

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Mt. 24:14).

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in 1. Jerusalem, and 2. in all Judea and 3. Samaria, and 4. to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8)

 

 

“But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world[Greek oikumene]’” (Rom. 10:18).

 

It is more than arbitrary for Dr. Brown’s Charismatic Partial Preterist contributing author Sam Storms to claim the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled by AD 70 because Paul uses the same Greek word oikumene in Romans 10:18 and then ignore that Romans 10:18 also uses ge to support the Great Commission of Acts 1:8 was also fulfilled by AD 70.  Selah.

Argument #4

Tongues & Great Commission (Mt. 24:14=Acts 1:8=Rms. 10:18)

Major Premise:  When the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14 and Acts 1:8 is fulfilled [which are the same event] is when the ONE and Second Coming of Yeshua of Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; 2:20-40 and 3:17-23 will be fulfilled and is when the arrival of “that which is perfect” comes (1 Cor. 13:10) (Brown / Sullivan).

Minor Premise:  But, the Great Commission and “the end” of Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled by Paul’s declaration of the gospel having already been preached in “all the earth” and to the “ends of the world” of (Rms. 10:18) being a “sign” of the “near” “this generation” AD 70 fulfillment of the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-34 (Storms / Sullivan).

Conclusion:  Therefore, since the “last days” “sign” of the Great Commission was fulfilled before AD 70 marking the “near” “this generation” ONE Second Coming of Christ event in Matthew 24/Acts 1-3 (“that which is perfect”), then the purpose and sign of tongues and prophecy also ceased in AD 70.

Fixing Dr. Brown’s confusion and contradictions on Daniel 9:24-27

Brown writes the following on the seventy weeks of Daniel 9,

“I believe it is best to understand all the events of the seventieth week as referring to the destruction of the Temple under Titus.”“…the second half of that week did not unfold for almost forty more years (specifically, from 67-70 C.E.).”  “…everything Daniel recorded in 9:24-27 reached its fulfillment by 70 C.E.”“…there may be some minor gaps” in the 490 years prophecy, but “…they could not be so large as to disrupt the the overall chronological flow that makes this 490-year period so important. (3) The gaps could not cause the 490-year period to end later than the time specified in the text.” But right when you think Dr. Brown is being honest with the passage he claims that the Second Coming of Yeshua in 7:13 is apart of the prophecy is still future – (Michael Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 3, pp. 105, 107).

In an online lecture he exhorts unbelieving Jews,

“If you are a traditional Jew and Messiah didn’t show up to fulfill Daniel 9:24-27 by AD 70 and the destruction of the second temple what happened?  I’ve had traditional Jews tell me that there are messianic prophecies that were supposed to be fulfilled by AD 70 but weren’t because of our sin and disobedience we missed it.  Rather than saying whatGod promises didn’t happen and whenGod gave a timetable for it to happen it didn’t happen – that is when the second temple was destroyed not just any temple [yet Brown elsewhere when addressing debating me – needs a third and fourth temple!] — if it didn’t happen then, then it will never happen.” (Online YouTube video on Dan. 9).

These are very confusing words by Dr. Brown indeed.  Out of one side of his mouth “…everything Daniel recorded in 9:24-27 reached its fulfillment by 70 C.E.” and yet out of the other, he claims the prophecy includes the Second Coming to be fulfilled beyond AD 70.  Out of one side of this mouth Daniel 9:24-27 is addressing the destruction of the second temple in AD 70 and “not just any temple,” but then when arguing against Full Preterists, claims Luke 21 may be addressing a third re-built temple connected to another “desolation” in fulfillment of Daniel 9:27?!?  As we have seen so far, Yeshua and the OT connects the destruction of the second temple in AD 70 with the “this generation” “near” Second Coming in AD 70 – therefore, to use Brown’s words, “…if it didn’t happen then, then it will never happen.”  Selah.

First Century Jewish interpretations and expectations of Daniel 9:24-27

“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 9:24-27as 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.” (Missing Years, Wikipedia.org)

11Q13 (11Melch):  Appeals to the coming of Messiah in the 10thcycle or within the 490 years of Daniel 9 which would be in Israel’s “last days.” He had to accomplish the following before AD 70:  1. the Day of Atonement, 2.  gather the believers to Himself, 3.  pour out the days of vengeance upon the wicked and 4.  judge Satan and the fallen Watchers – (directly or indirectly appealing to such passages as Lev. 25; Isa. 27:13; 61:1-11; Dan. 9:24-27; Ps. 7; Ps. 82).

Introducing Christian Full Preterist Chronomessianism

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 the four kingdoms in Daniel 7 and earlier in chapter 2.  The Jews of the first century interpreted the passage to have the 70 years of Babylonian captivity 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 the true and New Covenant restoration under Messiah would be achieved (of which Ezra and Nehemiah only typified).  The 70 years of Babylonian captivity times 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.   Yeshua was only developing what He revealed to Daniel, when he prophesied a spiritual kingdom (Dan. 2 and 7).  Not only this, but it was clear from their own prophets that they would not be able to “discern” their own “end” when it would drawn “near” in a particular “last days” “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.  The same carnal and physical expectations of the Messianic Kingdom has also caused my opponent Dr. Michael Brown (and most of the Church today) to have a delayed 2,000 plus years and counting arrival of the kingdom and ignore or re-define NT imminence.

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 recognizedImmense 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 correctly sees the document including 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 book 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).

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 below). 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) Sometime 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 *

Luke 4:16-20 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.  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, 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, To preach THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.  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. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The message in Luke 4:19 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 Luke 4:18 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 61-63/Luke 4

Both Dr. Brown and men like Dr. Michael Heiser refuse to submit to the inspired time frame of the “already and not yet” period of NT eschatology:

 

TOPIC “THE ALREADY– TRANSFORMING/RISING– AND IMMINENT NOT YET”
Death “…the death is being destroyed”

(1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT)

AND 1 Cor. 15:54-55
Body / Resurrection / Image Ephs. 2:6

“…is giving it a body”

“…it is being sown…”
“…it is being raised in glory…”
“…it is being raised in power…”
“…it is being sown…”

“…it is being raised…”

(1 Cor. 15:32, 38, 43)

“…becoming conformed…”

(Phil. 3:21YLT)

“…are being transformed”

(2 Cor. 3:18)

AND 1 Cor. 15:52-53

Heb. 11:35-40

Acts 24:15YLT

about to be

World /

Heavens & Earth / New Creation

 “…are being destroyed/dissolved.”

(2 Pet. 3:11)

“…this world is passing away.”

(1 Cor. 7:31)

“The world is passing away…”

(1 Jn. 2:17)

2 Cor. 5:17

AND 2 Pet. 3

1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17

“end of all things is near

1 Jn. 2:18 “last hour

Rev. 21–22:7, 10, 20

at hand” “soon

New Jerusalem “coming down”

(Rev. 3:12 NIV)

AND Rev. 21:1ff.

Heb. 13:14YLT

about to come

Kingdom “receiving a kingdom”

(Heb. 12:28)

AND Lk. 21:31-32 “this generation” “near
Salvation “being saved” (2 Cor. 2:15) AND Rms. 13:11-12             “at hand” “nearer”
Grace Rms. 5:2 AND 1 Pet. 1:13
Forgiveness of sin 1 Jn. 2:12 AND Rms. 11:25-27

Heb. 9–10:37

Righteousness / Justification Jms. 5:16

Rms. 3-4; 8:30

AND Gals. 5:5YLT

Rms. 4:23-24YLT

about to

Inheritance Ephs. 1:11 AND Cols. 3:23-24
Sanctification 1 Cor. 6:11 AND 1 Thess. 5:23
Adoption / Redemption Gal. 4:4-6

Ephs. 1:7

AND Rms. 8:18-23YLT “about to be

Lk. 21:28-32 “this generation” “near

Glorification Rms. 8:30 AND Rms. 8:18 YLT

about to be revealed

Eternal life 1 Jn. 5:13 AND Mrk. 10:30
Enemies Ephs. 1:21-22 AND Heb. 10:13-27-37

…about to consume enemies

Old Covenant age / New Covenant age – 40 yrs. Transition “passing away” “increasing” “about to come” (2 Cor. 3:7-18/Heb. 8:13; Mt. 12:32/Ephs. 1:20YLT AND Heb. 8:13 “ready to vanish;”Mt. 13:39-43;

Mt. 24:3, 14; “this generation” “near

I should briefly address those such as Dr. Michael Heiser whom point out that Yeshua did not quote the “day of vengeance” when he opened up Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:18 — this allegedly proving a 2,000 plus “already and not yet” period or gap.

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.  Dr. Brown hates when Full Preterist’s use this approach but if you ever watch Dr. Brown lecture on Yeshua quoting from Psalm 22, you will see Dr. Brown develop the entire context of the Psalm – which was Yeshua’s desire.

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 issue that 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.  The last 3.5 years of the 7 was fulfilled between AD 66 – AD 70.

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)?!?

45878532_10156697132264192_8128908576199540736_n

My calculations are on the left using a count for the Jubilee to be every 50 years.  Using my calculation, Yeshua opens the scroll of Isaiah 61 in Luke 4 during a Jubilee Sabbath year somewhere between AD 26/28 at the beginning of His ministry and fulfills the entire 10th and final cycle of events between AD 26 — AD 66-70.  The two columns on the right are Margaret Barker’s calculations counting a Jubilee to be every 49 years.

1). AD 26/28 — Yeshua begins fulfilling the soteriological (Lk. 4/Isa. 61) and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee and is “cut off” – inaugurating the 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 “Day(s) of vengeance” (Lk. 21:22-32/Isa. 61:2) which ends the OC age and brings to maturity the NC age — last half of Daniel’s “7”

Click on chart below to enlarge:

Visio-Eschatology-chronomessianism-7

Yeshua fulfilled all of the seven feast days and the “climatic” second exodus generation between AD 26 – AD 66-AD 70.

Let’s now examine the six events listed in Daniel 9:24 and show how they were fulfilled by AD 70.  We will begin with “seal vision and prophet or prophecy” since this is most relevant to the debate of “prophecy” “passing away” in AD 70 per (1 Cor. 13:8-12).

1).  “Seal Vision and Prophecy/Prophet”

Here are some relevant quotes which demonstrate when Daniel’s seventy weeks would be fulfilled, is when the gift and office of prophecy and prophet would “stop” or “end”:

  • “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).
  • “…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).
  • “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).

Daniel 9:24-27 – The “Already & Not Yet” fulfilled by AD 70

2).  To Finish or “fill up” the transgression and rebellion of Israel’s Sin

Agreeing with Smith, Dr. Brown understands this to mean, “Within the 490 years period the people of Israel would commit their final transgression against God.  Jesus indicated that the leaders of his generationwere about to fill up the measure of the sin of their forefathers (Matt. 23:32)…” (Michael Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 3, 93). The book of Revelation teaches the same time period for the vindication of the martyrs and the judgment of the dead (i.e. AD 70).  The martyrs would be avenged take in “a very little while” when OC Jerusalem/Babylon was judged “soon” for putting to death the Apostles and Prophets (Rev. 6:10-11; 11–22:7-12).

3) — 4).  Put an end to sin or atone for wickedness (covering over of iniquity)

In the book of Hebrews, Christ as the Anointed Great High Priest put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while and would not delay” “Second Appearing” 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.).  As being or in the New Creation, our sins are remembered no more, covered in the depths of the sea and then removed positionally in Christ (Isa. 65-66/2 Cor. 5:17; Mic. 7:19).

5).  To bring in everlasting righteousness

According to Peter, the inheritance the OT prophets predicted in the form of the New Creation or “world of righteousness” was “ready to be revealed” and thus “the end of all things” was “at hand” (1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7).  According to Paul, “…[righteousness] is/was about to be reckoned  (Rom. 4:24) and “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope” (Gal. 5:5).  This “hope” Paul defines as, “Christ in you the hope of glory (Cols. 1:27; Lk. 17:20-37).

6).  To anoint the Most Holy Place – Hag. 2:6-9- AJOJ, Vol. 1, p. 75ff.

In Dr. Brown’s lectures and writings he claims this prophecy and those of Ezekiel, can refer to the Church as the spiritual millennial Temple, Levitical Priesthood and Sacrifices of Ezekiel 37:27; 40—48 / 2 Cor. 6:16; Jn. 7:37-39 or a physical millennial temple with a literal priesthood and sacrifices as the climax of redemptive history.

But obviously it can’t be both and the inspired “time frame” of Daniel 9:24-27 requires the spiritual fulfillment by AD 70! The truth is the New Jerusalem is the New Covenant “Jerusalem from above” of (Galatians 4) and is in the shape of a perfect cube because it is God’s Most Holy Place dwelling which was in the process of “coming down” and would “soon” come down to earth at Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming event in AD 70 (Rev. 3:11-12NIV—Rev. 21:16—22:20). God placed His “glory/presence” in this Temple at His Parousia/presence in AD 70.  “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Cols. 1:27).

It is in the New Jerusalem or the Most Holy Place dwelling of God (the Church) where God’s glory, righteousness and presence resides.  It is this Most Holy Place Temple that fulfills Haggai 2:6-9 where it is stated, “the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,” and functions as the “desire of the nations.” It is here where God grants “peace” that surpasses all understanding.  The “nations” come through the gates of this City/Temple for healing in Revelation 22:17 AFTER the ”soon” Second Coming was fulfilled.  God “shook” the Old Covenant Kingdom or Mount Sinai made of things that were created in AD 70 and brought to maturity the  spiritual New Covenant mount Zion that “cannot be shaken” (Heb. 12:18-28).  And the author tells us when this Most Holy Place City would arrive, “For here [in physical Jerusalem] we do not have an enduring or eternal city, but we are looking for the city that is about to come.” (Heb. 13:14YLT).  That one verse alone destroys Dr. Brown’s carnal Premillennial Zionist theology.

Visio-Eschatology-chronomessianism-2

Argument #5

Daniel 9:24-27 / 1 Corinthians 13:8-12

Major Premise:  1 Corinthians 13 and Daniel 9:24-27 predicted the end of the Charismatic gifts of prophecy and tongues — when all prophecy would be fulfilled (i.e. “seal vision and prophecy”) (Dr. Michael Brown / Michael Sullivan).

Minor Premise:  But according to Dr. Brown, “…everything Daniel recorded in 9:24-27 reached its fulfillment by 70 C.E.” (Dr. Michael Brown / Michael Sullivan).

ConclusionTherefore, 1 Corinthians 13, and its prediction of the passing away of prophecy and tongues, was fulfilled no later than AD 70.

First Century Jewish Traditions Harmonize with Inspired NT Imminence

Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essenes interpreted Habakkuk 2 and the book of Daniel to be teaching the following:

  1. They were the “final generation” that would experience “the end of the [OC] age.” (1QpHab 7:1-2).  Jesus and Peter affirmed “the end” was “near” in their contemporary generation (Mt. 24:3-34; Acts 2:20-40/Deut. 32:5, 20; 1 Pet. 4:5-7).
  2. In their generation, the end time war of Gog and Magog would be when Rome came against apostate Jerusalem and their priesthood (1QpHab 9:5-11; 12:5-13). 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).
  3. They 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.  Even then they remained hopeful that Messiah would come and deliver them and destroy both of their enemies in this end time battle.  Yeshua and John affirm “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).
  4. “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?  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 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).

Dr. Michael Brown’s Opening Statements, Arguments, Objections

with Michael Sullivan’s Responses

(I have more time now to go over the many passages Brown threw at me endlessly – a debater’s tactic).

Dr. Brown (1 Cor. 13:12 / Ephs. 4:13):  Because our text mentions a complete knowledge of God and the fact that we haven’t attained it is demonstrated in this debate.  That is, since we are debating if we have perfect knowledge proves my case that we haven’t attained it!  How can we say we haven’t attained to the “unity of the faith” (Ephs. 4:13), if we are debating and disagreeing issues that have brought division?

Sullivan’s response:  The knowledge attained at the Parousia in AD 70 is positional truth/knowledge not complete knowledge.  A young Christian may not know that they have been predestined before the world began, feel or physically see that they have been spiritually raised and seated with Christ in the heavenly or spiritual realm, or even know what Ephesians 1-2 teaches yet, but it doesn’t change this positional truth/knowledge of who they are and how God sees them “in Christ.”

Let’s deal with Ephesians 2-4 issues while here in Ephesians.

1 Corinthians 12–13:10

Grk. Telios (Mature Man)

Ephesians 2-4:13

Grk. Telios (Mature Man)

 

Gentiles 12:2; Greeks 12:13

 

Jew/Gentile discussion 2:11; 3:1; 4:17
“All in all” 12:6, 12

 

Emphasis on “all” 4:6
Emphasis on oneness and the unity between Jew and Gentile because the same Spirit and miraculous gifts were given to both 12:4-14

 

Emphasis on oneness and the unity between Jew and Gentile with both benefiting from miraculous gifts given by the one Spirit – Chapters 2-4

 

*  New Covenant age “about to come” 1:21

 

Gifts listed:  12:4-11, 27-31; 13:1-3; 14:1-40 – but miraculous gifts listed with FIRST Apostles, second Prophets…” 12:28 Gifts listed 4:7-11. “Built on the FOUNDATION of “Apostles and Prophets” 2:20
Human body illustration 12:12-13, 14ff. Human body illustration of unity 4:12-16

The Jew / Gentile Church reaching to “the unity of THE faith” (Ephs. 4:13) is not addressing perfect unity in the sense of no more differing opinions in the Body of Christ or the doing away with denominational differences etc…. Again, in context, this is the Church as the “mystery” being revealed or a maturing of a boy into manhood – from the Old Covenant faith into “THE faith” meaning the New Covenant system of faith.  This is a maturity of equality of Jew / Gentile of which the Old Covenant could not bring them or to the attaining the fulness or forgiveness of sin the Old Covenant couldn’t bring as well.  Paul prayed that the Church would grow in their spiritual understanding of this positional knowledge and love (Eph. 3:14-19).

While here in Ephesians let’s deal with Brown’s argument of Cessationists picking and choosing which gifts ceased and which ones continue today.  He claimed I “misrepresented” him as conceding to Sam Waldron that the unique and miraculous gift and office of Apostle (as in the 12) has ceased.  Yet, within the same breath he affirmed that this is in fact is what he believes and that these kinds of Apostles no longer exist! Bizarre.  The lists or foundation of the Church in Ephesians 2 and 4 along with 1 Corinthians 12 begin with the Apostles (that is the 12) and Prophets and Brown affirms this particular miraculous gift of Apostle has passed away.  The lists and foundation of “Apostles and Prophets” are not addressing small “a” apostles that were sent as messengers of the churches, but rather inspired miracle workers of THE capital “A” kind of Apostles sent as messengers of Yeshua.

In Ephesians 2-3 we learn this “building up” until the early church reached a mature [telios] new covenant man or temple is referring to the Jew / Gentile union. Paul says this process of the maturing of the one new covenant man and temple was the “mystery” not fully revealed in the OT, but was being revealed to Him and the other Apostles and NT Prophets by divine “revelation.”  Jesus promised the Apostles that He would send the Spirit to lead THEM “into all truth concerning things to come” or eschatology (Jn. 16:13).  We can readily see how these two offices were unique in their revelatory function and we don’t need them anymore, just like we don’t need another “Cornerstone” to lay the same “foundation.”  Since it is a fact that Dr. Brown conceded in his debate with Sam Waldron that the unique revelatory and charismatic gift and office of Apostle given to the church ended in the first century, Dr. Brown is guilty of the very thing he accuses Cessationist’s off – picking and choosing which of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 have ended and which ones continue today.

Since there are no more miraculous and revelatory Apostles and Prophets developing the New Covenant “mystery” and since tongues when interpreted functioned as revelatory prophecy (1 Cor. 14:5), the miraculous gift of tongues likewise ceased in AD 70 along with the unique foundational offices of the Apostles and Prophets.      

Paul uses the Greek word mello in Ephesians by which he taught under inspiration that this “unity of the faith” would be achieved in the “age about to come” (Ephs. 1:21). Paul anticipated that life would go on after this event or after AD 70 in the “coming ages” (Ephs. 2:7) whereby Christ would showcase His grace through His New Covenant Body.

Dr. Michael Brown’s Objection: Scripture commands us to prophesy and speak in tongues according to 1 Corinthians 14:39-40.  Who overruled or says these Scriptures no longer apply?

Michael Sullivan’s Response: Obviously, Dr. Brown is guilty of assuming what he needs to prove and avoiding one of the first rules of hermeneutics – audience relevancy.  This “command” was obviously relevant for the first century church at Corinth, but they were likewise taught that these gifts were to “cease” when Christ’s Second Coming (“that which is perfect”) would be imminently fulfilled (in AD 70).  There are plenty of “commands” in the OT, such as Israel marching around Jericho seven times blowing trumpets, killing all the “ites” in Cannan by the sword, or being stoned for picking up sticks on the sabbath.  Maybe we need to ignore to whom those “commands” were given to as well and apply them for us?

Paul affirmed to the first century Corinthian Church (not us) that “the time is short,” and that the end of the Old Covenant age(s) had come upon them (not us) (1 Cor. 7:29; 10:11).  Paul specifically said that there were some at Corinth “we” that would not all die, therefore some of them would live to experience the Parousia just as Christ had taught the same first century audience (1 Cor. 15:51/Mt. 16:27-28/Mt. 24:27-34).

Dr. Michael Brown’s Objection: “The big issue” is the resurrection of the dead and that was not fulfilled physically in AD 70.  Daniel 12:2-3 and John 5:28-29 teach a physical resurrection from the “dust of the earth” and from the “graves.”

Michael Sullivan’s Response:  In the course of the debate I pointed out Dr. Brown was not addressing the timeframe for the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 which forms the resurrection not only for John 5:24-29 but of 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20.

Daniel 12:1-12

The angel informs Daniel that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 would be fulfilled when the judgment, time of the end, tribulation and abomination of desolation would “all” be fulfilled together (v. 7).  He clearly says that “all these things” would be fulfilled during that last 3.5 years or last half of the 7 years brining the 70 weeks of Dan. 9:24-27 to a conclusion – “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7). So, Brown has a few problems here that he never addressed.

First, Yeshua connects the end of the Old Covenant “this age,” the tribulation, abomination of desolation and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-11 to be fulfilled in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3-34; Mt. 13:39-43).  And even if Dr. Brown doesn’t like it, as I documented in our book, HD – some Reformed Partial Preterists have conceded that the “end of the age” in Matthew 13:39-43; 24:3 is the end of the Old Covenant age, and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was fulfilled in AD 70.  This only complicates the “orthodox” Futurist position and leads their readers to our position.

Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13) 

Time of the-End / End-of the-Age Separation Verses 1, 4, 9, 13 Verses 39-41
Saints Rise and Shine in the Eternal Kingdom Verses 1, 4, 9, 13 Verses 39-43
Wicked Rise to Shame in Eternal Condemnation Verse 2 Verses 39-42
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 Verses 37, 43

 And B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25)

Evangelism in the world takes place Verses 37-38 24:14
There is persecution, tribulation, professors / apostasy, & faithfulness Verses 19-30 24:9-13
Christ comes with or sends his angles to participate in the judgment of separation Verses 41 24:30-31
Christ and Angles Come at the End of the Age to Fulfill Daniel 12:1-4 – Time of Separation, Judgment and Resurrection of Living and Dead Verses 39b-43/Dan. 12:2-3 24:3, 30-31; 25:31-41
The Sons of the Day Shine with the Son/Sun of Righteousness Verses 39b-43/Dan. 12:2-3 24:27, 30-31 /  Lk. 17:20-37When Day Star (Christ) Rises “Within” the “Heart” (cf. Phil. 2:15; 1 Pet. 1:9; Rev. 2:28/22:16, 20)

 Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25) 

Tribulation and Sanctification / Great Tribulation Verses 1b, 10 24:21-22
Time / Day / Hour of the Judgment (aka Separation) Verses 1-2, 4 (OG/LXX) 24:36; 25:31-33
Fulfilled at the Time of the End / the End of the Age / the End – The Shattering of National Israel’s World—Her Heaven and Earth (i.e. the Temple, etc.) Verses 4a, 9b, 13bVerse 7 24:3b, 13-14
Inheritance of and Entrance into Eternal Kingdom-Life Verses 2b, 3a, 13b 25:34, 46 / Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32
The Sons of the Day / Hour Shine with the Son/Sun Verse 3a 24:27, 36; 25:34
Kingdom-Age Evangelism via God’s Shining Ones Verse 3 24:14, 27; 25:29a 

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 (Daniel 12)  B (Matthew 13)  C (Matthew 24-25) 
Kingdom-Age Evangelism Kingdom-Age Evangelism Kingdom-Age Evangelism
Tribulation Like Never Before Tribulation Meted Out Tribulation Like Never Before
Time of the End of Daniel’s People; End of the Age of National Israel Time of the End of that OC Age End of the Old Covenant Age of National Israel — the Fall of Its Temple & City in their “generation”
Righteous Rise & Shine; Wicked Rise to Shame The Righteous Gathered to Rise & Shine; Tares Gathered to Burn Sheep to Inherit Eternal Life (and light) in the Kingdom; Goats to Inherit Eternal Punishment (in outer darkness).

Secondly, the war and abomination of desolation of Daniel 9:26-27 which Brown says was fulfilled between AD 66 – AD 70, is recapitulated in Daniel 12:11 that the angel says would be fulfilled with the resurrection (v. 2) when the city is destroyed or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” in AD 70 (v. 7) (“all these things”).  And Yeshua clearly informs us that the “desolation” of Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 12:11 would be the final sign and fulfilled when the Roman armies would surround Jerusalem in their generation (Lk. 21:20-32).

And lastly, the dead were not literally “asleep” in the “dust” or in physical “graves,” but were conscience in the realm of the dead – Abraham’s Bosom or Hades.  Being “asleep in the dust” is a figure of speech.  I also pointed out that God used “graves” in Ezekiel 36-37 to discuss Israel being raised spiritually and corporately when they came out of their “graves” back into the land under Ezra and Nehemiah.  So, a reference to people being “asleep in the dust” or a reference to “graves” does not necessitate a physical resurrection at the end of world history.

The “hour that is coming and now is” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) LXX; John 4; John 5  

There are three concepts that connect John 4 and 5 together with Daniel 12 and they are:

1). The coming “hour.”

2). The receiving of “eternal (resurrection or harvest) life.”

3). The chiastic structure of John 4-5 on this coming “hour” of “eternal life.”

The Old Greek (OG) Septuagint (LXX) of Daniel 12:1, 4 reads:

“And at that hour…” “the hour of the end.

Now let’s connect the “already and not yet” and the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-4 with the chiastic structure of John 4-5 concerning this coming “hour”:

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

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

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

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

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – the “already”

The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth (receiving eternal life).

The dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and live (receiving eternal life).

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – the imminent “not yet”

God’s worshipers would no longer worship Him in Jerusalem (because they received eternal life and entered and ascended to the New Jerusalem / Mount Zion).

All who were in the graves would hear His voice (because they received eternal life and entered and ascended to the New Jerusalem / Mount Zion).

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – The “Already”

Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”

John 5:25: “…an hour is coming and now is…”

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – The Imminent “Not Yet”

Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”

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

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – The “Already”

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

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

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – The Imminent “Not Yet”

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

John 5:29: “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.” (also related: 1 John 2:18: “Dear children it is the last hour…” and Revelation 14:7: “…the hour of His judgment has come”).

In John 5:24-29, Yeshua addresses two groups needing to overcome the same death.  The first group consisted of those who were alive physically but were spiritually dead and hearing His voice coming out of death into life.  The second group included the physically dead or the “all” in the graves.  The “voice” is consistently is the gospel and the dead would hear it as well per (1 Pet. 4:6).  Both groups were under the spiritual death and separation that came through Adam.  Yeshua connects both groups (living and dead) again in John 11:25-26 where both are promised that they would “never die” – that is never be separated from God’s presence or would be released from the clutches of Adamic sin-death.  This spiritual sin-death reached all the way into the realm of the dead and neither group would experience all of “eternal life” or the promise of “never dying” until Yeshua would come in AD 70.

There was a spiritual “already and not yet” of the coming “hour” and “eternal life” of Daniel 12:1-4; John 4 and John 5:24-29–which answers to the same “already and not yet” process of seeing God’s face in a mirror in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12/2 Corinthians 3:7-14 that would be completed at the end of the Old Covenant age and the maturing of the New by AD 70.

Daniel 12:1-2 / Revelation 20:5-15

  • Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from eternal condemnation Dan. 12:1-2
  • Only those whose names are written in the book would be delivered/saved from the lake of fire Rev. 20:12-15
  • This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Dan. 12:1-2
  • This is the time for the resurrection and judgment of the dead Rev. 20:5-15

No one disagrees that the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is the end of the millennium resurrection of Revelation 20. In Revelation those participating in the “first resurrection” is a subject that has been previously addressed in chapters 7 and 14 – these being the first century Jewish “first fruits” or 144,000 that were the first to believe in Christ and continued enduring through the great tribulation.  Therefore, they would partake in the harvest/resurrection and inheritance of eternal life at the end of the Old Covenant age.  These are those who were coming out of “death” into “life” and their “graves” through the preaching of the gospel (John 5:24-29) and would soon participate and be joined with the rest of the dead in the consummative resurrection event.

The fulfillment of the millennium and judgment and resurrection of Revelation 20 is said to be fulfilled “shortly” and is not a Future event per Dr. Brown.  Dr. Brown offered no response or interaction when I brought up Daniel was told to “seal up the vision and prophecy because the time of fulfillment of the end was far off” but John is told the opposite, “do not seal up the vision and prophecy because the time of fulfillment is at hand.”  This is the SAME prophecy and one prophet is told it’s fulfillment will not take place in his lifetime and the fulfillment is far off while the other did live beyond AD 70 and was told the fulfillment was at hand.  There is no exegetical evidence of God allegedly “having a different calendar” than us (per Dr. Brown).

Daniel 12:2 and Pauline Eschatology

Daniel 12:2 / Acts 24:15YLT

Paul’s infallible teaching on the first century imminent fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is in harmony with Yeshua’s in the gospel of John and the book of Revelation along with Matthew 13:39-43.  Paul appealing to the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 explicitly wrote that there was “about to be” a resurrection of the just and unjust (Acts 24:15YLT).

Daniel 12:2 / 1 Corinthians 15 

  1. Resurrection unto “eternal life” (Dan. 12:2).
  2. Resurrection unto incorruptibility (1 Cor. 15:52-53).
  1. “Time (or hour) of the end” (Dan. 12:4).
  2. “Then cometh the end” (1 Cor. 15:24).
  1. When the power of the holy people [the OC law] is completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7).
  2. When victory over the [Mosaic OC] law comes (1 Cor. 15:56).

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul expected the Second Coming and “end” of the OC age [the “end” of Daniel 12] to take place in the lifetime of his first century audience [because that is where Jesus placed it – Mt. 10:22-23; Mt. 24:3, 14, 27-34]. Not only this, but it was a resurrection that had an “already–becoming–and not yet” aspect to it as well.

The Present Passive Indicative – The Dead Were Rising

It is interesting that Reformed theologians such as G.K. Beale can see the “already and not yet” of the resurrection of Daniel 12 in connection with John 5 and others see the resurrection of Daniel 12 as fulfilled in AD 70 (James Jordan/Kenneth Gentry), yet these theologians miss Paul’s “already–rising–not yet” of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.  While Charismatic Gordon Fee in his commentary on 1 Corinthians “puzzles” over the present passive indicative of the last enemy “the death” actively and presently “being destroyed” in Paul’s day, Kenneth Wuest correctly translated it,

“As a last enemy, [the] death is being abolished, for all things He put in subjection under His feet.” (Wuest, K. S. (1997). The New Testament : An expanded translation (1 Co 15:20–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Related to the problem for Futurists such as Dr. Brown of “the death” being in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day, is Paul’s use of the present passive indicative in other places in this chapter:

“But God is giving it a body” (v.32).

“…it is being sown…” (v. 38).

“…it is being raised in glory…” (43).

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

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

Once again we have a spiritual and not biological “already–becoming/transforming/maturing/rising–not yet” process that we have seen and developed in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12/2 Cor. 3:7-14 and that we have seen in John 4-5.

How has physical death been in the process of “being destroyed” for the past 2,000 years per Dr. Brown’s Futurism?  Perhaps the spiritual “the death” that came through Adam and the “administration of death” through the Old Covenant law which magnified the awareness of this death, is what was in the process of being overcome in Paul’s day and not biological death?  And since most think that the giving of a “body” and it being “sown” a natural body and then being raised in glory and power is allegedly addressing a biologically transformed individual body at Christ’s parousia to end world history, the present tense seems to be communicating something entirely else here as well.  When the corporate body of Christ (the Old Covenant dead, those dead “in Christ” and those alive Jew/Gentile believers – that constitute the ONE body) is in view, Paul’s theology/eschatology begins to make more sense.

The resurrection of the dead deniers were denying a resurrection for the Old Covenant dead whom had died prior to Christ coming and the arrival of New Covenant life. Paul used a logical form of argumentation called modus tolens to persuade them that since they believed Yeshua had been raised, the dead “in Christ” would be raised, and that they themselves had a future “hope,” then if they denied the resurrection of the Old Covenant dead ones, then they could not logically believe the other propositions.  See our book House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology… for a detailed exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15.

Paul’s harvest eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is in harmony with John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ as addressing an “about to come” wrath and salvation to be fulfilled at the end of their Old Covenant “this age” (cf. Mt. 3:7-12 v. 7 uses Gk. mello “about to” GNT/WUESTNT; Mt. 13:39-43).  Christ was not the “first” to be raised from physical death, but to have overcome and conquer the spiritual death and curse of Adam for His Body – the Church.  The 144,000 Jewish first fruits believers would follow on Pentecost and the rest of the harvest that would include Gentiles and the dead would follow at Christ’s parousia in AD 70.

It is interesting that most do not have a problem grasping the transition of the Old and New Covenants by such terms and concepts when contrasting: temples, Jerusalem’s, mountains (Sinai and Zion) or even in terms of the New Covenant being described as the “New Man.” But once Paul begins developing the “Old Man” with the “New Man” in other terms such as the “Outer Man” with the “Inner Man” or a “Natural Body” with a “Spiritual Body” or a “Mortal Body” with an “Immortal Body,” they can’t help but see an individual physical body being changed or transformed at the end of world history.  The other difficult concept some Futurists have in contrasting the covenants is the use of “heaven and earth” or “world.”  But as I pointed out in the debate, one of Dr. Brown’s contributing authors (Sam Storms) understands “heaven and earth” passing away and a new taking it’s place is referring to the Old and New Covenant worlds per Yeshua (Mt. 5:17-18; Mt. 24:35).  This just needs to be developed more in Paul’s soma and resurrection language as well.  Selah.

I believe the transition from the physical body to a spiritual body fit for the afterlife has always been taking place (pre and post AD 70), and is a process in this life by which Paul could also describe the passing of the physical and mortal Old Covenant Body yielding to the spiritual and immortal New Covenant Body in AD 70.

Argument #6

(Dan. 12:1-11=Jn. 4-5:24-29=Rev. 20:5-15=Acts 24:15YLT=1 Cor. 15)

Major Premise:  The resurrection of Daniel 12; John 5; Revelation 20; Acts 24:15 and 1 Corinthians 15 brings an end to the seeing of God in a mirror and the maturing of the boy into manhood process – when “that which is perfect” arrives  (1 Cor. 13:8-12).

Minor Premise:  But the resurrection transformation process of Daniel 12; John 5; Revelation 20; Acts 24:15 and 1 Corinthians 15 was a non-biological resurrection that was “at hand” or “about to be” fulfilled in Paul and John’s day.

Conclusion:  Therefore, the non-biological process or “that which is perfect” arrived in an “about to be” AD 70 time frame and is the historical event by which prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased.

Dr. Michael Brown’s Objection:  Since we do not literally see wolves laying peacefully with lambs or the knowledge of the Lord covering the earth per Isaiah 11, “that which is perfect” has not arrived and the miraculous gifts continue today.

Michael Sullivan’s Response:  Premillennialists such as Dr. Brown are fond of placing passages off in the future in an alleged literal 1,000 years millennial period — that the NT writers teach were spiritually being fulfilled in their day and in the imminent arrival of the New Covenant age.  Isaiah 11 is such a passage.

Isaiah 11 is addressing the coming of Messiah as the “branch” (Isa. 11:1) to fulfill the “in that day” “second” exodus gathering (Isa. 11:10-11).  The promises of peace the Messiah would bring described as the “wolf laying with the lamb” and “the earth being full of the knowledge of the LORD” would be fulfilled “in that day” (Isa. 11:10-11).  The Apostle Paul in Romans states the “in that day” Messianic period had arrived.  Quoting Isaiah 11:10 Paul writes, “And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” (Rms. 15:12).  Even Charismatic D.A. Carson writes,

“…for Paul, that time [of salvation] has arrived (see Isa. 11:1-9).” (G.K. Beale, D.A. Carson, COMMENTARY on the NEW TESTAMENT Use of the OLD TESTAMENT, p. 690).

“Paul, too, understands the text to speak of the Messiah, the new David, who has arisen to rule over the Gentiles. Yet Jesus rules not by the sword, but rather by his resurrection from the dead (see 1:1–7). The nations enter into the salvation that he brings as they place their hope in him. It is in this way that they submit to him. Paul’s mission of effecting the “obedience of faith” (1:5; 15:18; 16:26) is embedded within this citation. His apostolic “priestly service” [hierourgeō[15:16–18; cf. 1:9]), by which the Gentiles are reclaimed, is thus an echo of the Messiah’s “service” (diakonos[15:8]).” (Ibid.).

The wolf laying with the lamb (Isa. 11:6-8)

Paul applies this passage to him being the Apostle to the Gentiles and fulfilling the Jew / Gentile “mystery” and fulfilling Isaiah 66:20 with him being a priest offering up the Gentiles as a sweet sacrifice to God (Rms. 15:16).  Paul is taking the poetic language of Isaiah 11—the “in that day” “wolf laying with the lamb” as the Gentile / Jew union presently being fulfilled spiritually in the Messianic Kingdom rule of God.

The promise of the wolf laying with the lamb is brought up again in the New Creation of Isaiah 65:25.  I will address the New Creation under Dr. Brown’s objections and arguments over 2 Peter 3 later on.  But for now I just want to point out a few things in Isaiah 65.

First, if we are to incorporate Dr. Brown’s hyper-literalism, then there will be physical work, sex, childbirth, physical death, sinners and evangelism in the New Creation (cf. Isa. 65:17-25).  This was a point Dr. Brown never addressed when I brought it up in the cross examination period when he challenged me on Revelation 21-22.

Secondly, according to the context of Isaiah 65, what brings about the New Creation is when God judges His Old Covenant people for breaking the Old Covenant or Mosaic Law.  This gives a pre-AD 70 context when Old Covenant Israel was going to be judged through the means of the Mosaic Old Covenant curses of Deuteronomy 28 being unleashed.

And lastly, Paul interprets the New Creation of Isaiah 65:17 as being Christians in 2 Corinthians 5:17 just as he says the millennial temple of Ezekiel 37:27 is the Church in 2 Corinthians 6:16.  Dr. Brown has to “go beyond what is written” in order to have his hyper-literal and unbiblical future kingdom on earth come about.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain (Isa. 11:9)

The Old Covenant Kingdom did advance through the literal sword with Jews being commanded to subdue and have dominion over the Gentiles, but the New Covenant Kingdom of Yeshua advances through the sword of the Spirit – or the Word of God/the everlasting Gospel which brings unity to the ONE Jew / Gentile “nation” whereby the rest of the “nations” receive “healing” and peace (Mt. 21:43-45/1 Pet. 2:9/Isa. 66/Rev. 21–22:17).

Knowledge of the LORD covering the earth (Isa. 11:9)

As I pointed out previously in discussing the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14, Acts 1:8 and Jews being gathered from “every nation under heaven” in Acts 2:5, the reversing of Babel’s curse and gathering again of the Gentile Nations (cf. Gen. 10-11; Deut. 32:8-9; 43) was fulfilled in Paul’s day (Rms. 16:25-26; Cols. 1:5-6, 23).  The Septuagint (LXX) of Acts 2:2-3 references “divided” to Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and “bewildered” to Genesis 11:7 (for a detailed explanation of this see Dr. Brown’s friend’s work –  Dr. Michael Heiser, The Unseen Realm Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible, p. 298).  These are deliberate exegetical “echoes” or “hooks” taking us back to these OT passages.  In other words, this is the reversing and restoring of God’s judgment upon the nations in Genesis 10-11/Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and Him bringing them back together under the uniting and “pure” (Zeph. 3:9) tongue/language of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul in Romans teaches this was to be “a short work He will accomplish upon the earth” (Rms. 9:28) and it had been fulfilled and accomplished through Paul’s ministry (cf. Rms. 10:18) – not a 2,000 plus years and counting work or sign before the Lord’s return (per Dr. Brown).

Prophecy and Fulfillment

  • “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)
  • “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” [Greek oikumene] (Rom. 10:18)

* One def. of oikumene – “The Roman Empire (Acts 17:6); the Jews in the world (Acts 24:5). Of Palestine and the adjacent countries (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28).”

  • “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” [Greek ethnos] “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’” [Greek ethnos] “‘. . . I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19-20)
  • “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations. . . .” [Greek ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26)

* These are “all the nations [ethnos] under heaven” in (Acts 2:4-5)

  • “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world [Greek kosmos] and preach the gospel to every creature” “. . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;they shall speak with new tongues.” [Greek glossa] (Mark 16:15, 17)
  • “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6)

* One def. of kosmos – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…”

  • “And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15)
  • “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisis] under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)

* One def. of kitisis – “In rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).” The creation of men not literally the planet earth.

  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8)
  • “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom. 10:18)

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

  • Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [Greek glossa], as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [Greek ethnos] under heaven. (Acts 2:4-5)
  • Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly”: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land [Greek ge], and to every nation [Greek ethnos], and kindred [Greek phile] and tongue [Greek glossa], and people.” [Greek laos] (Rev.14:6). “The scene is Pentecost, 30 A.D. (cf. Heb. 12:22-24). This is when the gospel began to be preached under the authority of the great commission (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-49) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 33; 1 Pet. 1:12). From here the gospel was preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (cf. Matt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10; Rom. 1:16; 10:18; Col. 1:23).” (Arthur Ogden, The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets Commentary on Revelation, pp. 292-293).

The Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul use every Greek word Jesus used to describe the Great Commission being fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to close the OC age — to make it CLEAR it was fulfilled in Paul’s day!

While knowledge of Messiah and His last days “time of end” judgment and salvation would be “increased” (Dan. 12:4) between AD 30 – AD 70 through the Great Commission, the miraculous gift of “knowledge” was at work as well (1 Cor. 13:8-12). An example of this can be seen in Acts 15 where the Holy Spirit teaches the Church that the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of Amos 9 and the Tabernacle of David being rebuilt.

Messiah would function as a banner. The typological fulfillment of this is when a remnant of scattered remnant Jews and believing Gentiles from the Assyrian and Babylonian judgments and captivities came home under the leadership and ministries of Cyrus, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The anti-type was Messiah functioning as a banner gathering the lost tribes throughout the Roman Empire along with the Gentiles beginning in His earthly ministry and consummating at His parousia harvest at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Mt. 13:39-43; 24:3, 30-31).

It amazes me that unbelieving “Jews” Dr. Brown debates appeal to these same passages in Isaiah (and Isa. 2 which we will address next) to “prove” Yeshua was not the Messiah.  They say, “Just look out your window, you don’t see universal peace among the nations do you?”  Yet Dr. Brown uses this same unbiblical hyper-literal hermeneutic to reject the imminent time frame and spiritual nature of fulfillment for the Second Coming of Messiah.  Selah.

Argument #7

(Isaiah 11 / Roms. 15 –> Rms. 9:28; Rms. 10:18; Rms. 16:25-26 –> Rms. 8:18YLT/13:11-12)

Major Premise:  When the wolf will lay with the lamb and the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth (Isa. 11) is when “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10-12) arrives and the gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge cease.  (Brown / Sullivan)

Minor Premise:  But, Paul applies these promises spiritually to the Jew / Gentile union or mystery in Christ and that this would be a “short work” with the gospel and knowledge of God having already been spread throughout the entire world and earth through Paul’s ministry (Rms. 9:28; 10:18; 16:25-26).

Conclusion:  Therefore, “that which is perfect” or the peace and knowledge of the New Creation was “about to” arrive and was “at hand” (Rms. 8:18YLT; 13:11-12) in AD 70 and this is when prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased.

 

Dr. Michael Brown’s Objection:  We do not physically see or experience the universal peace of the nations depicted in Isaiah: “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isa. 2:4).  Dr. Brown affirmed we are still in the “last days” because these kinds of prophecies have not literally been fulfilled and the “Day of the LORD” was not fulfilled in AD 70 because Paul draws from it in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10and “clearly” the Lord’s presence has not been revealed from heaven and the Thessalonians and the rest of the Church has not experienced “relief” from persecutions.

Michael Sullivan’s Response: Once again Dr. Brown’s hyper-literal unbelieving “Jewish” roots and hermeneutic on the Messianic kingdom causes him to miss how Isaiah 2 has been fulfilled by Yeshua.  As we will see Yeshua, John and Paul all consistently place the “last days” “Day of the Lord” (being revealed from His presence and from heaven) of Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled in AD 70.

“It shall come about in the last days” (2:2) 

Again, the very popular “Apostle” C. Peter Wagner has followed other Partial Preterist Postmillennial theologians such as Gary DeMar and Joel McDurmon into the view that the “last days” described by the NT writers is referring to the last days of the Old Covenant system which ended in AD 70 and is not a NT phrase describing the last days of the New Covenant age or the end of world history.

In the debate Dr. Brown did not like me using Wagner as a Charismatic source of authority or leader that could be connected with him.  Yet, multiple Christian online sources connect Dr. Brown and the Brownsville “revival” as being apart the NAR (New Apostolic Movement) of which C. Peter Wagner was the main founder.  NAR “Apostle” Yonggi Cho prophesied/manipulated this “Brownsville Revival” into existence and NAR “prophets” such as Cindy Jacobs spoke at Dr. Brown’s church declaring the mighty “miracles” allegedly being performed by leaders such as C. Peter Wagner.  Not only this, but Dr. Brown has written and endorsed at least one of Wagner’s books that I know of.  While Wagner was not a main source of authority in Dr. Brown’s book, Authentic Fire, for him to deny he hasn’t considered him a leading source of authority in the Charismatic or third wave movement was misguided and inconsistent from the sources I have read.

As I pointed out in our debate the book of Hebrews describes Yeshua coming to Israel within her “last days” and appearing toward the end her “age” (Heb. 1:1-2; 9:26-28).  From Christ’s birth to AD 70 was roughly a 70 years period which would mark the “last days” of the Old Covenant “age” which began way back in 1446 BC.  So yes, the last 70 years would be considered the “last days” of an “age” that had lasted up to 2,000 years in the times of Yeshua and the NT authors. If however you believe (as Dr. Brown does) Yeshua appeared in the last days of the New Covenant age, that would not be grammatically, mathematically, theologically or logically correct to have Him appearing at the “end” of a period that has now last 2,000 plus years (having now exceeded the entire period of Israel’s Old Covenant age).  Not only this, but Paul teaches there is no lasts days or end to the New Covenant age (Ephs. 3:20-21).

“…the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it…” “…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isa. 2:2-4)  

The Chief Mountain/Temple (v. 2)

This great mountain is the spiritual Messianic Kingdom/Mountain predicted to come in the last days of Daniel 2 and was further elaborated to be fulfilled at Christ’s coming in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Dan. 7:13-27; 9:24-27; 12:1-7 / Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32).  It is also described as God’s “house” or Temple.  As G.K. Beale notes,

“…Isaiah 2:2-3 utilize a ‘mountain’ to symbolize Israel, but the image is integrally connected to the temple, ‘the mountain of the house of the Lord.’

Second, such a close link between mountain and temple is made throughout the Old Testament, so that Mount Zion is sometimes merely referred to as ‘mountain’, ‘hill’ or other like image.  These ways of speaking about Mount Zion either closely associate it or virtually equate it with the temple as a synecdoche of the whole for the part.”

And,

“Among the best illustrations of this is Isaiah 2:2-3 and Micah 4:1-2 which equate ‘the mountain of the house of the LORD’ with ‘the mountain of the LORD…the house of the God of Jacob (Mic. 4:1-2 is identical).  The description of the mountain in Daniel 2 rings with the same intonations of these descriptions in Isaiah and Micah.

Enhancing this point is the observation that every temple associated with God’s people in the Old Testament is on a ‘mountain’:  Ezekiel 28:13-14, 16 and 18 refers to ‘Eden, the garden of God…the holy mountain of God’, and also refers to it as containing ‘sanctuaries’!”

“Additionally, it is clear that the eschatological temple was to be situated on a mountain (Ezek. 40:2; Rev. 21:10).”  (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, pp. 145-146).

John the Baptist came preparing the way or road (a spiritual road/fulfillment) that would be traveled to this Messianic Kingdom or described here as Mount Zion of which the nations flow (Mt. 3:2-12/Isa. 40).  Contrary to the empty claims of Dr. Brown in our debate, the New Covenant Church is Mount Zion – the New Jerusalem or the City of the Living God (Heb. 12:22ff.; Gals. 4:24-31).  And to make it even clearer, the book of Revelation describes the New Jerusalem as the “Bride” of Christ (Rev. 21-22) of which God’s presence dwells in us and us in Him.

Out of Zion shall go the law (v. 3) 

The law that proceeds from God’s New Covenant Mountain/Temple is the Law of Christ or the Everlasting Gospel which brings healing to the nations today.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares…neither shall they learn war anymore (v. 4)    

In the Messianic kingdom nations will take their tools of warfare and convert them into peaceful tools of agriculture.  Like the language of the “wolf laying with the lamb,” that I addressed in Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 65, this is poetic or metaphoric language describing the peace of Yeshua’s Kingdom between Jew and Gentile and not literal.  Again, under the Old Covenant the physical kingdom did advance and have dominion over the Gentiles through the literal sword but today in the New Covenant Israel of God (the Church), we bring peace and healing to the nations through the gospel.  The Jews and Gentiles from the “nations” that flow into and form the “nation” of the Church do not “learn war anymore,” in the sense that we do not advance and conquer like the other worldly nations.

The Day of the LORD    

And this is where Dr. Brown’s Futurist Premillennial eschatology and his false Charismatic theology comes crashing down.

The Day of the LORD is what brings the “last days” to an end.  Yet here is how the Day of the Lord is described in Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21 of which Yeshua teaches would be fulfilled in the imminent judgment of AD 70, and not the end of time.

Charismatics such as Dr. Brown and D.A. Carson believe 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 fulfill the “Day of the Lord” “from heaven” in the judgment found here in Isaiah 2, but let’s examine when Yeshua and John see Isaiah 2 being fulfilled.

Jesus – Luke 23:27-30:  

And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us (from Isa. 2:19 and Hos. 10:8).

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 Lamb17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

More consistent Partial Preterists than D.A. Carson and Sam Storms 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 and this is when the martyrs blood would be vindicated in just – “a little while longer” (vss. 10-11).  John is consistent with the same first century time frame of Isaiah 2’s “last days” “Day of the Lord” being fulfilled as Yeshua teaches in Luke 23:27-30.

D.A. Carson connects 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 and Kingdom] 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 beginning in verse 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—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; cf. Mt. 23).  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 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.

Dr. Brown offered a straw man argument when he stated 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 couldn’t have been fulfilled because the Church TODAY has not experienced “relief” from persecution.  Of course, I never affirmed this, and more importantly our passage is promising “relief” for first century Christians from their Jewish persecutors and this was fulfilled in the events of AD 66 – AD 70 contrary to Brown’s eisegesis and sarcasm.

Argument #8

(Isa. 2:2-4, 10, 19, 21=Lk. 23:27-30=2 Thess. 1:5-10)

Major Premise:  When the “Day of the Lord” ends the “last days” of Isaiah 2, is when “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10) arrives.

Minor Premise:  But, Yeshua (and virtually all commentators Charismatics alike) identified the “Day of the Lord” of Isaiah 2 with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 and Paul when Yeshua was revealed from heaven to give the Thessalonians “relief” from their Jewish persecutors.

Conclusion:  Therefore, the “last days” “Day of the Lord” or “that which is perfect” was fulfilled in AD 70 and is the time when the miraculous gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased.

 

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

In our debate, Dr. Brown did not give the “list” of OT time texts so let’s go to a book that he has endorsed hoping to refute Full Preterism (“Debunking Preterism”) for that list.  Brock Hollett writes,

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

“Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!” (Isaiah 13:6)

“…its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged” (Isaiah 13:22)

“For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near” (Ezekiel 30:3)

“Alas for the day!  For the day of the LORD is near” (Joel 1:15)

“the day of the LORD is coming; it is near” (Joel 2:1; cf. Isaiah 9:9; Malachi 4:1)

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

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

“…in a little while” (Haggai 2:6)” (Brock Hollett, DEBUNKING PRETERISM How Over-Realized Eschatology Misses the “Not Yet” of Bible Prophecy, p. 21)

Michael Sullivan’s Response:  There are really three issues here we must address: 1.  OT imminence of the day of the Lord being near being a pattern to NT imminence of the day of the Lord being near, 2.  OT types and NT anti-types or double fulfillments of the day of the Lord, and 3.  Does 2 Peter 3:8 change the meaning of NT imminence?

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

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

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

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

Response:  Unfortunately many think this prediction is referring to the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Medes some 200 years beyond Isaiah’s prediction.  But the truth is this is referring to the judgment upon Babylon at the hands of Assyria some 15 years from Isaiah’s prophetic word.  Thus the prophecy was literally “near” as even a Dispensationalist commentary points out,

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

“Isaiah 13:14–18 (BKC): The statement I will stir up against them the Medes (v. 17) has caused much discussion among Bible students. Many interpreters, because of the mention of the fall of Babylon (v. 19), assume that Isaiah was (in vv. 17–18) prophesying Babylon’s fall in 539 (cf. Dan. 5:30–31) to the Medes and Persians. However, that view has some difficulties. In the Medo-Persian takeover in 539 there was very little change in the city; it was not destroyed so it continued on much as it had been. But Isaiah 13:19–22 speaks of the destruction of Babylon. Also the word “them,” against whom the Medes were stirred up (v. 17), were the Assyrians (referred to in vv. 14–16), not the Babylonians. It seems better, then, to understand this section as dealing with events pertaining to the Assyrians’ sack of Babylon in December 689 b.c. As Seth Erlandsson has noted, “The histories of the Medes, Elamites, and Babylonians converge around the year 700 in the struggle against the Assyrian world power and … Babylon assumes a particularly central position in that great historical drama from the latter years of the 8th century down to the fall of Babylon in 689” (The Burden of Babylon: A Study of Isaiah 13:2–14:23. Lund, Sweden: C.W.K. Glerrup, 1970, pp. 91–2).” (Bible Knowledge Commentary).

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

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

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

This historical excursus has thus shown that the histories of the Medes, Elamites and Babylonians converge around the year 700 in the struggle against the Assyrian world-power and that Babylon assumes a particularly central position in that great historical drama from the latter years of the 8thcentury down to the fall of Babylon in 689.  (Seth Erlandsson, The Burden of Babylon A Study of Isaiah 13:2—14:23, pp. 91-92)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God was able to deceive Edom and other nations – giving them over to their pride. He allowed even their “friends” to deceive them (v. 7). God likewise laid a trap for Old Covenant Jerusalem in AD 70 giving them over to their pride and false prophets – in thinking and calculating Daniel’s seventy weeks so as to think it was the time in which God was going to deliver them from the Romans, when in fact the opposite was the case — they would be food for the vultures of Rome — for rejecting their Messiah/Yeshua. The Essenes were even caught up in their self-righteousness thinking God was going to deliver them from the Romans and Apostate Jerusalem. ALL who reject Yeshua would perish at the hands of their own brethren, friends and Rome in the events of AD 67-70.

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

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

Don Preston, points out,
 
“So, the language of the Day of the Lord is used in the Old Testament. When the Old Testament prophets said the Day was near, they were not referring to the end of the age, consummative Day of the Lord. When they referred to a Day of the Lord that was near, it was an event that was to occur in their lifetime (See Ezekiel 12.21f again). However, when they were speaking of the last days, when the kingdom would be established, the resurrection, etc., they were told that it was not near (cf. Isaiah 2.2-21f).
This is clearly illustrated in Joel. In the first two chapters, the prophet declared “the Day of the Lord is near.” (Joel 1.15; 2.1, 10). He repeatedly describes events that took place historically, in an in time Day of the Lord, as we have documented above.
However, in verse 28 the prophet said: “It shall come to pass afterward.” What does “afterward” mean? It means after the events he had been describing, at another time known as the last days, the events that he then describes would be near. Notice that in 3:1, he then says “In those days (the last days, DKP) and at that time…”
Joel is a case of projected imminence. That is my term to describe what happens in the O.T. when a prophets speaks of events that were not for his day, but, he describes events in the distant future. As he describes those events, he says that in the days under consideration, other events would be near. Moses did this in Deuteronomy 4.25f, when he spoke of Israel’s coming future. He said that after they had dwelt long in the land, and then became corrupt, that then, a long time off from his perspective, when they became corrupt, “you will soon utterly perish from the land.” Moses was not saying that they were, when he wrote, about to utterly perish. He was projecting himself and his audience to a distant time, and saying that when certain things happened, their apostasy, that then their destruction would be near.
This is what happens in Joel. The writer speaks of events that were for his day. They were truly near. Then, however, he turns to the distant future, and says that when those distant days came, then, and not until then, another Day of the Lord would be near (Joel 3.14). Joel was not affirming that the last days Day of the Lord was near, or else Peter was wrong in 1 Peter 1.10!  (Don K. Preston, Can God Tell Time, p. 29-30)

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

“…God would visit the Second Temple, purifying some of his people [bringing salvation] and bringing judgment on others.  “There would be a divine visitationof great import that would occur in the days of the Second Temple.” “I ask you, did this happen?  If it did, then the Messiah must have come before the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.; if not, God’s Word has failed.” (AJOJ, Vol. 1, pp. 77-78). 

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

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

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

b).  Malachi 3:1-5/4:1-6:  “Behold, I send my messenger [John as Elijah], and he will prepare the way before me [Yeshua]. And the Lord [Yeshua] whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple [Second Coming]; and the messenger of the [New] covenant [Yeshua] in whom you delight, behold, he is coming [Second Coming], says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming [Second Coming], and who can stand when he appears [Second Coming]? For he is like a refiner’s fire…” “For behold, theday is coming, burninglike an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the SUN of Righteousness [Second Coming] shall rise with healing in its rays/wings. You shall go out … leaping like calves from the stall…” “Behold, I will send you Elijah [John] the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes [Second Coming]. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We prefer the Historic Premillennialist view of this passage over Dr. Brown’s,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God “moved heaven and earth” to keep the covenant that He made with His elect through the blood of Christ. Now the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell eternally in the universal church, which is the new covenant House of promise (Jn. 14:23; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 2:21–22; 3:17; Col. 1:27; II Peter 1:19; Rev. 3:20; 21:2–3). rough the power of the eternal gospel, the desire of the nations flows into “the more perfect tabernacle” today and forever (Heb. 9:11; Rev. 21:26–27), and God Himself is its unfading Glory (Rev. 21:23). Amen.” (House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?,pp. 63-65)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Brown’s double-fulfillment-in-the-New-Testament theory opens Pandora’s Box to double-fulfilling everything: the earthly ministry of Christ, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, His Ascension, His pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and His Second Coming; even the allegedly future millennium could be double-fulfilled. Even the casting of Satan into the Lake of Fire could be double-fulfilled.

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

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

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

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

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

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

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

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

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

If Psalm 90:4 wasn’t used in the OT to change the meaning of the day of the Lord being “near,” it most assuredly didn’t in the NT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Messiah came as “the last Adam,” His reign in and through the church for a symbolic thousand years brought the church not to the dust of the earth separated from God’s presence, but to the Tree of Life and into the very presence of God (Rev. 20–22:12). Through faith in and union with Christ as the Last Adam (the Tree of Life and New Creation), Christians have achieved what Adam could not. The church was clothed with “immortality”; it attained unto the “fullness” of life in AD 70; and it will never die for the aeons of the aeons (2 Cor. 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:45–53; Rev. 21–22; Jn. 11:26–27).” (House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…, Second Edition, p. 130).

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

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

“The idea that “the Lord” is not slow is probably an allusion to Hab 2:3: “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” In some Greek translations of the OT exactly the same word is used for “delay” that 2 Peter uses. Furthermore, one could understand the Greek as saying, “He will not be slow” or “He will not delay.” While a similar thought is expressed in Isa 13:22, Sir 35:19 (LXX; 35:22 in the NRSV) is closer to our thought here, “Indeed, the Lord will not delay, and like a warrior [or “upon them”] will not be patient until he crushes the loins of the unmerciful.…”(Davids, P. H. (2006). The letters of 2 Peter and Jude(p. 278). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.)

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

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

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

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

Everyone knows what the hermeneutics instructor would say (no matter what the denomination),

“You go with the 200 clear passages and interpret the 1 passage in light of the others or in such a way that does not contradict them.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 NEVER changed the meaning of what “far off” “many days” or “near” means.  Daniel and Revelation contain the same eschatological promises and God communicated consistently in language man can understand concerning the prophetic material of both inspired books.  Daniel was told to “seal up” his vision because the time of fulfillment was “far off” or would be fulfilled in “many days” from Daniel, and John just he opposite – “do NOT seal up” his vision because the time of fulfillment was “near”:

Daniel

Revelation

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

 

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

 

But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.”

 

“But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:4, 13)

“And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.  (Revelation 22:10)
Argument # 9 (Isa. 40/Mal. 3-4=Mt. 3:2-12/Lk. 7:27)

Major Premise:  When the arrival of the Second Coming (“great and dreadful day of the Lord” “Sun of Righteousness”) judgment/rewarding of Isaiah 40; Malachi 3:1-5/4:1-6 would be fulfilled is when “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10) would arrive and the gifts cease (Brown / Sullivan)

Minor Premise:  But, John the Baptist taught this harvest salvation and judgment of the kingdom was “at hand” and “about to” be fulfilled in AD 70 or within the lifetimes of the Pharisees and those present being baptized — because God had His ax and winnowing fork already in His hand (cf. Mt. 3:2-12; Lk. 7:27).

Conclusion:  Therefore, “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10) was fulfilled in an AD 70 “at hand” and “about to be” time frame and this is when the miraculous and revelatory gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge “ceased” 

Argument #10 (OT & NT Imminence) – The “Day of the LORD is Near” and would be “without delay”

Major Premise:  OT imminence of the “day of the Lord” being “near” was fulfilled within the lifetime and generation of the audiences the prophets addressed. The way the OT uses imminence can (and does) set a pattern for the way NT imminence can (should) be understood as well. (Brown, Hollett, Sullivan)
Minor Premise:  But to believe that Christ predicted His coming would be “near” in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:27-34 – Brown says this is possible) and that the NT authors were in harmony with Yeshua’s teaching of a literal “soon” coming of the Lord in AD 70 (Partial Preterism) — will inevitably lead to Full Preterism (Hollett and Sullivan)
Conclusion:  Therefore, the “soon” coming of the Lord in the NT was fulfilled in AD 70 and this is when the miraculous and revelatory gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge “ceased.”  After all, if one honors NT imminence (Partial Preterism), this will inevitably lead to Full Preterism. 
Argument #11 (Dan. 8:26/10:14/12:4, 13 and Rev. 22:10)
Major Premise:  When Daniel and John’s prophetic visions concerning the “time of the end” or “last days” (the eschaton) is fulfilled is when “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10) arrives and the gifts cease.
Minor Premise:  But, Daniel was told to “seal up” his prophetic material because it would be fulfilled in the “last days” or in “many days” from his lifetime while John was told the opposite concerning the “time of end” – “do not seal up” the vision because the time of fulfillment was “near” and John could be alive to witness it (Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:34; Jn. 21:20-23).
Conclusion:  Therefore, the “last days” “time of the end” visions given to Daniel and John  containing “that which is perfect” — the Second Coming, judgment, tribulation, abomination of desolation and resurrection were fulfilled “at hand” in John’s lifetime and is the time when prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceased.

Dr. Michael Brown’s Objection:  Zechariah 12-14– Describes Israel’s last three fall feasts which are eschatological.  All Israel and the Jews didn’t cry out weeping for salvation in AD 70.  All nations of the globe didn’t surround Jerusalem in AD 70 ushering in the end time battle.  All nations did not physically journey to literal Jerusalem by AD 70.  Since these events didn’t happen, then “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10 – the Second Coming) didn’t arrive in AD 70 and the gifts remain.

Michael Sullivan Response:  The “tribes of the land” of Israel did weep and mourn when they saw/understood/perceived that Christ was coming upon the clouds in judgment upon between AD 67-AD 70.  The remnant experienced “redemption” and were “survivors” of this “day of the Lord” pictured for us in Isaiah, Zachariah and Luke 21.  Yeshua in Matthew 24:30 and John in Revelation 1:7 applies this weeping for Israel primarily as judgment and not salvation.  The Roman army consisted of the nations of the then known world and surrounded Jerusalem during this period.  Also, there were Jewish “nations” that persecuted the Church and were responsible for the destruction of Jerusalem between AD 66 – AD 70. After this judgment the Church stood mature as the New Covenant New Jerusalem and the nations of the world have been flowing to her for healing ever since.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.  The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;” (Zech. 12:10-12).

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt. 24:30).

Dr. Brown in our debate admitted that it is possible that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27 (a text he currently believes is “that which is perfect” 1 Cor. 13:10) could have been fulfilled spiritually in AD 70.  And so now let’s pay attention to what one of his contributing Charismatic authors (Sam Storms) has written of Zechariah 12:12/Matthew 24:30 (another text Brown believes is “that which is perfect”),

“…Literally, v. 30 reads as follows:

“And then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then will mourn all the tribes of the land and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

In other words, Jesus was not telling his disciples that He would appear in the sky. Rather, “He told them that they would see a sign that proved He was in heaven, sitting at His Father’s right hand (Acts 2:30-36). Those who would witness Jerusalem’s destruction would see the sign of Jesus’ enthronement when they saw Jerusalem’s destruction” (Demar, 159). In other words, the “sign” of the Son of Man being enthroned and vindicated in “heaven” is the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple “on earth”. It is the sign that appears, not the Son of Man. What does the sign signify? It signifies that the Son of Man is in heaven, exalted, vindicated, and enthroned at God’s right hand.

“…by the “mourning” predicted in Zech. 12:10-14. France explains:

All the tribes of the earth is better translated ‘all the tribes (families) of the land’, for in Zechariah 12:10-14 the mourning is explicitly restricted to the families of Israel. What is in view here, then, is not so much a world-wide lamentation, but the response of Israel when they see the vindication of ‘him whom they pierced’” (345).

Two important interpretive points need to be made:

The word translated “tribes” (phule) has Israel in view. France points out “that the reference in Zechariah 12:10-14 is explicitly to a mourning of the tribes of Israel, the tribes of David, Nathan, Levi and Shimei being specified, and a final ‘all the families that are left’ extending the scope to the whole nation” (237).

The Greek noun translated “earth” (ge) can refer generally to the tangible ground, the earth, or more specifically to a particular land area. Often in the NT ge refers particularly to the “land” of Israel, i.e., Palestine (see Mt. 2:6,2027:45Mark 15:33Luke 4:2521:23John 3:22Acts 7:3).

This “coming” is not a visible, physical appearance by which Jesus returns to earth…  Rather, they will “see” him in the sense that they will “understand”, i.e., spiritually perceive that he is the vindicated and enthroned King. For “seeing” = “understanding”, see John 12:40 (Isa. 6:10); Acts 26:18; cf. 1 Kings 8:29,522 Kings 2:166:2019:16Isa. 35:542:7,16; see also Luke 24:31; also note Mark 1:44Luke 17:22John 3:3,36Rom. 15:21.

Let’s review what Dr. Brown’s Charismatic co-author is admitting:

  • The coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds is a spiritual coming resulting in the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70.
  • The “tribes of the land” of Israel and not the globe are the ones that will “see” or “understand” that Christ had come through the Roman armies to judge them.

D.A. Carson points out that this mourning is that of “despair, not repentance” according to “most scholars”:

  • Most scholars see the mourning (v. 30) as that of despair, not repentance (Rev 1:7, 6:15–17)” (Carson, D. A. (1984). Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke(Vol. 8, p. 505). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House).

Revelation 1:7

I find it more than inconsistent that Sam Storms follows Kenneth Gentry and Gary DeMar’s exegesis of Matthew 24:30 as fulfilled spiritually and “near” in Yeshua’s contemporary “this generation” but here in the book of Revelation concerning the same “soon” coming of Christ and fulfillment of the same Zechariah 12:12 passage, he stops being a Preterist.  The same hermeneutical principles apply here:

  1. The “tribes of the land” are referring to the local land of Israel.
  2. This is further supported in identify them as those that have “pierced Him.”
  3. The “seeing” of the Son of Man coming upon the clouds is an “understanding” or “perceiving” that Christ has come through the events of AD 67-70.

Sam Storms “sees (understands) the train coming” in that if the “soon” “coming” of Christ throughout the book of Revelation was fulfilled in AD 70 (as he teaches of Mt. 24:30), then this produces the seeing of God’s face (Rev. 22:4-7=1 Cor. 13:10-12) and therefore he can no longer believe in and defend the false teaching of Charismatic doctrine.  But he is more committed to embracing the errors of Futurist Amillennialism and Charismatic false teaching than he is in using the analogy of faith principle of interpretation.

Analogy of Faith – Parallels Between the Olivet Discourse and Zechariah 12–14

Charismatics have all kinds of problems affirming that Matthew 24:27-30 could have been fulfilled or were fulfilled in AD 70 while at the same time affirming Zechariah 12-14 is future.  Yeshua taught that “all” OT prophecy would be fulfilled in His contemporary generation and obviously that would include Zechariah 12-14.

  1. A gathering and siege of Jerusalem by the surrounding nations takes place (Zech. 12:2-3 = Lk. 21:20-22).
  1. Judgment of the nations takes place while Jerusalem (the remnant or New Jerusalem) is saved (Zech. 12:7-9 = Lk. 21:27-28; Mt. 25:31-46).
  1. They look upon Jesus whom the Jews had pierced and mourn (Zech. 12:11-12 = Mt. 24:30).
  1. The false prophets and demons are cleansed and judged from the land (Zech. 12:2-3 = Mt. 23—25:31-46).
  1. In that day the Lord would prepare a way of escape for the righteous remnant (Zech. 14:4 = Lk. 21:20-22).
  1. This day is only known by the LORD (Zech. 14:6 = Mt. 24:36).
  1. There is always light (Zech. 14:7=Mt. 24:27/Lk. 21:30-32/Rev. 21:25; 22:5-7) —Christ comes as the Sun/Son and His light shines from east to west and is the light of the New Jerusalem that never ceases in the kingdom.
  1. Living waters flow from the New Jerusalem when the King and the Kingdom arrives (Zech. 14:8-9=Lk. 21:27-32/Rev. 11; 21-22).

I’m sure Dr. Brown would agree with John Calvin who correctly noticed that the “day” only known by the LORD in Zechariah 14:6 was the same “day” of Matthew 24:36 only known by the Father.  And yet there are sufficient Reformed and Evangelical commentators and even Premillennialists whom would affirm Matthew 24:36 is actually referring to Christ’s coming in AD 70.

Adam Clarke on Matthew 24:36:

“Verse 36. But of that day and hour—wra, here, is translated season by many eminent critics, and is used in this sense by both sacred and profane authors. As the day was not known, in which Jerusalem should be invested by the Romans, therefore our Lord advised his disciples to pray that it might not be on a Sabbath; and as the season was not known, therefore they were to pray that it might not be in the winter; Matthew 24:20. See on Mark 13:32.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary On Matthew 24)

Premillennialist John Gill on Matthew 24:36:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but my Father only; to the exclusion of all creatures, angels and men; but not to the exclusion of Christ as God, who, as such, is omniscient; nor of the Holy Spirit, who is acquainted with the deep things of God, the secrets of his heart, and this among others.” (John Gill, Online Bible Commentary).

Sam Storm’s follows Gary DeMar’s exegesis of Matthew 24 until verse 36 and yet this is what DeMar correctly affirms:

“Jesus does not change subjects when He assures the disciples that “heaven and earth will pass away.” Rather, He merely affirms His prior predictions, which are recorded in Matthew 24:29­31. Verse 36 is a summary and confirmation statement of these verses.(6) Keep in mind that the central focus of the Olivet Discourse is the desolation of the “house” and “world” of apostate Israel (23:36). The old world of Judaism, represented by the earthly temple, is taken apart stone by stone (24:2). James Jordan writes, “each time God brought judgment on His people during the Old Covenant, there was a sense in which an old heavens and earth was replaced with a new one: New rulers were set up, a new symbolic world model was built (Tabernacle, Temple), and so forth.”(7) The New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant with new leaders, a new priesthood, new sacraments, a new sacrifice, a new tabernacle (John 1:14), and a new temple (John 2:191 Corinthians 3:16Ephesians 2:21). In essence, a new heaven and earth.” ( (Last Days Madness, 4th rev.)

While Zechariah does not mention the resurrection directly, he does mention the arrival of the King and His kingdom and the living waters flowing from the New Creation.  In the book of Revelation the end of the millennium resurrection (cf. Rev. 20) takes place before and or is synonymous with the arrival of the New Creation and access to the Living Water and Tree of Life (Rev. 21-22).  In Matthew 24, the end of the age resurrection gathering (24:31/Mt. 13:39-43) takes place before or is synonymous with the time when the OC “heaven and earth” pass away (Mt. 24:35 – which implies the NC takes its place at this time).

Zechariah 12 and Armageddon 

We have looked at the end time or last days war and day of the Lord in Isiah 2-4; Daniel 9:26-27 and Luke 21 and found them all to be fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70.  But what about the book of Revelation?

Revelation 16 – “THE war” and Armageddon

The passages I want to develop here in Revelation 16 are verses 14-16, 19-20:

“They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle (or the war) on the great day of God Almighty. 15″Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” 16Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Rev. 16:14-16).

“The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.” (Rev. 16:19-20).

The first point I would like to make and that we should take careful notice of, is that the context for the gathering of the armies in “Armageddon” and the coming “THE war of the Great Day of God” that ensues in Revelation 16, is for the purpose of judging Babylon.  Therefore, to understand when this war takes place we need to identify who Babylon is in the prophecy.  Earlier in 11:8 we are told that Babylon or this great city is OC Jerusalem – where Jesus was crucified.  So “Armageddon” and “THE war” here has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church, the lands or nations of modern day Iran, Iraq, Syria, Muslims, the Russians, or even modern Israel.  This is a “war” and judgment upon OC Jerusalem.

The rest of the prophecy tells us why “THE war,” comes about or why Babylon is to be judged.  In chapters 17-18 we learn it is because OC Jerusalem or Babylon has played the harlot, and has a history of killing all the prophets God sends to her, and has gotten drunk off the blood of the Apostles, prophets, and martyrs (again that Jesus promised to send to her in Matthew 23), and as a result, then judges her because she has now filled up the measure of their suffering, and the thus the cup of God’s wrath is now full and ready to be poured out.  The time of avenging the last Apostles and Prophets Jesus had sent to her along with all the blood of martyrs going as far back to Genesis had come!

The coming “Great Day” of God’s judgment and wrath in Revelation 16 in relation to brining judgment upon Israel’s sin of bloodguilt, has also been previously addressed in Revelation 6.  In Revelation 6 John is consistent with Jesus’ time frame of “the war” and vindication of the martyrs as developed in Isaiah 2—4.  John tells us that the vindication for the martyrs would be in a “very little while” after their number would be completed.  This corresponds with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23 where He says the blood of the martyrs would be filled up or completed within their generation when He would come and judged their city and Temple.

John, like Jesus, also cites the last days war and coming Day of judgment of Isaiah 2—4 in Revelation 6:15-17.  Here people are seeking to hide in themselves from the majesty of the Lord’s “Great Day” of judgment coming – in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  And in both Revelation 6 and our Armageddon prophecy here in Revelation 16, parallel de-creation language is used.  “Every mountain and island was removed” in chapter 6 is parallel to “Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found” in chapter 16.  So thus far John is using the last days war of Isaiah 2—4 to be against OC Jerusalem for shedding the blood of the martyrs and to be judged imminently in that first century generation.

So then what relationship does the term “Armageddon” have with “THE war of the Great Day of God”?  Armageddon simply means “Mount Megiddo.”  There is no “mountain” there because it is a plain, but the closest one is Mount Carmel.  This term and geographical locations are referred to because they function as a symbol for famous battles Israel and her enemies had there.  As David Chilton and Farrer explain,

“Megiddo” thus was for St. John a symbol of defeat and desolation, a “Waterloo” signifying the defeat of those who set themselves against God, as Farrer explains:  “In sum, Mt. Megiddo stands in his mind for a place where lying prophecy and its dupes go to meet their doom; where kings and their armies are misled to their destruction; where kings and their armies are misled to their destruction; and where all the tribes of the earth mourn, to see Him in power, whom in weakness they had pierced.” (David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, p. 412).

Christ coming as “a thief” in the following verse is another way of describing the coming of “the Great Day of God.” And we know from Revelation 3 that Him coming as a thief was His AD 70 “soon” coming.  Not only this, but His coming as a thief once again connects this event to Christ coming in the generation of AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:43).

In putting this together so far we learn the following:

Premise #1 – Revelation 16-18 teaches us that the gathering for “the war” in “Megiddo” was for the purpose of bringing judgment upon the Great City of Babylon (who is identified in 11:8 as OC Jerusalem) for shedding the blood of the martyrs.

Premise #2 – The war designed to Judge OC Jerusalem and vindicate the martyrs in Revelation chapters 16-18 is referring to the same “Great Day” of judgment and vindication of the martyrs in Revelation 6 to take place “in a very little while” and is the “last days” war of Isaiah 2—4.

Conclusion:  Both Jesus and John prophesied that “the war” and vindication of the martyrs in Isaiah 2—4 would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or “in a very little while,” when Jerusalem (or Babylon) would be judged in “THE war” between AD 66 – AD 70.

Before getting into the battle of Gog and Magog, let’s first point out some problems for Charismatic Dispensational Zionists and Charismatic Partial Preterists.  Problems for the Dispensational Zionist include the following:

Problem #1:  According to Ezekiel 38:16 this war takes place in Israel’s “last days,” and yet Peter informs us that the promise made to Israel concerning the “last days” had already begun in and during the Church age in Acts 2 (something Dispensationalists tell us cannot happen).

Problem #2:  According to Revelation 19:17-18 and Ezekiel 39:17-20 this gathering for “THE war” and the great supper of God whereby the animals feast upon the dead bodies, takes place at the Second Coming when Jesus comes on a white horse depicted as “The Word” and “King of Kings” in Revelation 19:11-15. So we have “THE war” of Gog and Magog taking place BOTH at the Second Coming before the millennial period, and yet somehow the same war takes place at the end of a 1,000 years millennial period.

Problem #3: “THE war” of Gog and Magog according to John would take place “shortly” and thus not 2,000 plus years and counting or in our future.

Just as a quick side-note, the main problem for the Partial Preterist lies in the Preterist hermeneutic they have already used in chapters 1-19, 21-22.  They admit that “THE war” of Revelation 16 and 19 is one and the same being fulfilled between AD 66 – AD 70.  Why?   Because the time statements and the recapitulation structure of Revelation demand this.  However, they assume Revelation 20 is an island unto itself and the time statements and the recapitulation structure of the judgment of the dead, martyr vindication, and de-creation in the previous chapters don’t apply to Revelation 20.  Why?  Not because their hermeneutic demands this, but their creeds do!  However, “THE war” and judgment scene of Revelation 16, 19, and 20 is one and the same, but these chapters describe the same war using different imagery to be fulfilled at the same time – “shortly.”

Revelation 19 and “THE War” with the Beast

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make [THE] war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” (Rev. 19:19)

Again, chapters 18-19 are contextually tied to the defeat of “Babylon” which 11:8 and Matthew 23 has identified as the city where Jesus was crucified (ie. old covenant Jerusalem) the persecutor excel lance of the OT prophets and apostles Jesus would send to her.

Revelation 19:11-21 is simply another recapitulation of the same end time battle and judgment we have seen in chapter 11 and 16 — except described differently with different imagery etc….

Amazingly the Premillennial and Dispensational “prophecy experts” claim the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 is the “antichrist,” but there is absolutely no exegetical evidence for this. Here in chapter 19 once again the rider of the White horse is described as Jesus Christ. In chapter 6 Christ comes on the white horse (His second coming) conquering – thus vindicating the martyrs “in a very little while” in the “great day of His wrath” pouring out the covenant curses upon the land of Israel which Jesus also identified to take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Matthew 24/Luke 21).

Josephus describes the Jews in Jerusalem between AD 66 – AD 70 as a Jewish “beast” devouring their own flesh (the infighting between the Priests, Zealots, and Idumeans) that would eventually burn down their own city.

I would tend to agree with Adam that the beast here in Revelation 19 is not Roman but Jewish.  He connects the beasts fate in Daniel 7 and Revelation 19 thus,

““…I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame” (Daniel 7:11).

“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).

If the Roman Empire was the beast of Revelation, how was this empire captured, slain, destroyed, burned, and cast into the lake of fire? Rome actually came out of the Jewish-Roman War (AD 66 -73) stronger than ever. History tells us that Rome was stronger in the second century AD than it was in the first century AD.

Someone might say that this applied to Nero, who is said to be the beast in a singular sense. Nero was indeed killed – with his own sword, but he was not captured and he was not burned. Nor did he go down at the same time as any false prophets who worked with him.

It was Israel that was captured, slain, destroyed, and burned – as we can see in great detail in “Wars of the Jews” by Josephus.”  (Adam Maarschalk, Who Was the Beast? (Five Clues) – Long Island Conference Presentation https://adammaarschalk.com/2017/04/09/who-was-the-beast-five-clues-long-island-conference-presentation/)

And of the false prophets working with the Zealots Adam writes,

“In Antiquities 20.8.6 Josephus wrote the following about numerous false prophets who deceived the Jews during the time of the Procurators Felix (52-58 AD) and Festus (59-62 AD):

“These works, that were done by the robbers, filled the city with all sorts of impiety. And now these impostors and deceivers persuaded the multitude to follow them into the wilderness, and pretended that they would exhibit manifest wonders and signs, that should be performed by the providence of God. And many that were prevailed on by them suffered the punishments of their folly; for Felix brought them back, and then punished them. Moreover, there came out of Egypt about this time to Jerusalem one that said he was a prophet, and advised the multitude of the common people to go along with him to the Mount of Olives…”

In Wars 2.13.4-6 Josephus wrote about various false prophets and deceivers who worked to persuade the people to revolt against the Romans and who killed those who refused to revolt:

“There was also another body of wicked men gotten together… These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of Divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty…

for a company of deceivers and robbers got together, and persuaded the Jews to revolt, and exhorted them to assert their liberty, inflicting death on those that continued in obedience to the Roman government, and saying, that such as willingly chose slavery ought to be forced from such their desired inclinations; for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men, and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire; and this till all Judea was filled with the effects of their madness. And thus the flame was every day more and more blown up, till it came to a direct war.”

In Wars 6.5.1-2 Josephus talked about how, when the temple was burned down, the number of people killed in that blaze was especially high because so many people listened to the words of a false prophet. Josephus also revealed that this false prophet was one of many false prophets who had been hired by the Zealots to control the people and keep them from fleeing from their control:

“A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now there was then a great number of false prophets suborned [hired] by the tyrants to impose on the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting” (Wars 6.5.2).” (Maarschalk, Ibid.).

This end time “THE Battle” describes the covenant cursing divorcement and judgment of God’s OC Wife/Jerusalem, while at the same time He consummates His marriage to His NC Wife/the New Jerusalem (the Church).  While the wedding feast takes place for the NC Wife/Jerusalem, the OC Harlot Wife/Jerusalem gets fed to the birds – “all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh” (Rev. 19:6-9; 21).

Revelation 20 – THE war of Gog and Magog

Gary DeMar sees the historical reference to Gog and Magog to be fulfilled in type form in the time of Esther.  While others such as William Hendriksen believes it is during the time of the Seleucids,

“The expression ‘God and Magog’ is borrowed from the book of Ezekiel, where the term undoubtedly indicates that power of the Seleucids especially as it was revealed in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the bitter enemy of the Jews. The centre of his kingdom was located in North Syria. Seleucus established his residence there in the city of Antioch on the Orontes. To the east his territory extended beyond the Tigris. To the north the domain over which the Seleucids ruled included Mesheck and Tubal, districts in Asia Minor. Accordingly, Gog was the prince of Magog, that is, Syria. Therefore, the oppression of God’s people by ‘Gog and Magog’, refers, in Ezekiel, to the terrible persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of Syria.”  (William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Book House, 7th reprint 1990), 193).

If this view is correct and the attack of Gog and Magog (Syria under Antiochus Epiphanes) was the last great oppression which Israel endured to close the OT, it stands to reason that John in the book of Revelation would use this in a symbolical or type/anti-type way to describe the end time battle to close the old covenant age and the liberation of the new covenant Israel of God. And it appears that Jesus is using the typological “abomination that causes desolation” and “tribulation” under Antiochus Epiphanes which was severe and brief, to describe the final anti-type fulfillment desolation, wrath, and tribulation that would be unleashed upon the land of the Jews during AD 66 – 70 (Matthew 24:15-34/Luke 21:20-32).

John is using the symbolism of a past battle of Gog and Magog to depict a future (but “shortly” “at hand” soon” “about to be”) battle for John’s day.

Also notice that the use of ancient weapons is being used and burned (Ezek. 38:4-5; 39:9) which would fit the warfare, destruction, and fire of AD 66 – AD 70 more than it would a description of nuclear or modern day warfare.

Here we have Satanically led OC Israel being pictured as Gog and Magog gathering nations from the four corners of the earth (or better translated as the land of Palestine) to surround the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.”  The Greek word here for “earth” is ge and is consistently and accurately translated as “land” in Revelation from the Young’s Literal Translation.  In 1876 Alfred Edersheim, wrote that the Jewish Rabbi understood the phrase “the land” to be “Palestine,” and all other countries being summed up under the designation of ‘outside the land’” (Sketches of Jewish Public Life, p. 14).  Since virtually everyone agrees that the book of Revelation is John’s version of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, we should follow the analogy of faith principle of interpretation and turn to Matthew 24 and Luke 21 to understand the meaning of ge (land), the and Jerusalem being “surrounded.”  In Luke 21 we read:

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people” (Luke 21:20-23).

We are also taught by our Lord in Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 that it is the “tribes of the land” (of Israel that crucified Him), that we find mourning as a result of His “this generation” and “at hand” coming.

In Revelation 7:1 the phrase, the “four corners of the land” is used and there it is also describing the covenant wrath that was going to be poured out upon the land of Judea or Palestine and not the Roman Empire or the globe.

What are we to make of OC Israel gathering the “nations” to help destroy the Christian remnant (the Israel of God) that are still within OC Jerusalem?  These are not the “nations” of the globe, but rather the nations within Palestine.  As James Russell points out,

“In our Lord’s time it was usual to speak of the inhabitants of Palestine as consisting of several nations.  Josephus speaks of ‘the nation of the Samaritans…” ‘the nation of the Galileans…’ etc…  Judea was a distinct nation, often with a king of its own; so also was Samaria; and so with Idumea, Galilee, Perea…all of which had at different times princes with the title of Ethnarch, a name which signifies the ruler of a nation.”  (Russell, The Parousia, p. 105).

So what we have here is the Zealot movement (with help from the Idumeans) gaining momentum throughout the nations of Palestine coming up against the Christians in Jerusalem to make war.  This war climaxes with Jerusalem eventually being surrounded by angelic armies and then the Roman armies as well (which also consisted of the nations of the world as they knew it).  At some point, the Christians see the sign of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies and flee the city to Pella as the Lord directed them.  There Rome ironically protects them from continued Jewish persecution.

The Martyr Vindication Theme

The “soon” Second Coming that took place at the end of the millennium was to vindicate the martyrs here in Revelation 20.  Again this is consistent with what we saw in Revelation 6 and 16-18 along with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23-24.

Through the imprecatory prayers of the persecuted Church and the cries of the martyrs, they call fire down upon the apostate mountain of OC Jerusalem and have it thrown into the sea (Mt. 21:18-22 / Rev. 8:1-8). It was through the preaching of the gospel throughout the then known world, the filling up the measure of Israel’s guilt in their killing of the martyrs, and the imprecatory prayers of the saints, that God uses to take the kingdom from OC Israel and give it to the Church in her restored, matured, and glorified form.

Zechariah 14:4-5 – Will Yeshua Physically Land on the Mount of Olives and Split it?

Many Futurists such as Brown believe Zechariah 14:4-5 teaches Jesus will descend someday land on the Mount of Olives and split it.  But as David Green writes,

“A literalistic approach to Zech. 14:4-5 is contextually awkward and exegetically wanting, but a symbolic approach finds that Scripture illumines the prophecy: 

“…so will the Lord of hosts come down to wage war on Mount Zion and on its hill’” (Isa. 31:4). 

For behold, the Lord is coming forth from His place. He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth. The mountains will melt under Him, and the valleys will be split, like wax before the fire, like water poured down a steep place.” (Micah 1:3-4) 

He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, the ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting.” (Hab. 3:6)

These Scriptures, and their contexts, reveal that the prophetic image of God standing on a mountain, or on mountains, and causing it to split or shatter or melt under Him is a symbol of God waging war against His enemies and delivering His saints. 

Note that in Zech. 14:4-5, a mountain became a valley of salvation; and what were once valleys became mountains. This is virtually the same metaphor that was used by Isaiah, Matthew and Luke: 

“…Make ready the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough roads smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Isa. 40:3-4; Matt. 3:3; Lk. 3:4-5)

According to this prophecy, whatever stood in the Church’s way was going to be removed. Instead of a rough and winding highway over a mountain range (the wearying burden of the corrupted Jewish leadership), the Church would be given a straight and smooth road (the easy yoke of Christ). The Way of escape and salvation would overcome all that opposed It.

So in Zech. 14:4-5, the obstacle that opposed the Church would be shattered and overcome by a great valley that would extend to the other side of the obstacle. This is why Zechariah mentioned “the Mount of Olives” by name. That mountain stood in front of the City of Jerusalem, in the path of any who would flee directly to the East away from the City. The Mount of Olives thus served as a physical symbol of a spiritual obstacle or barrier, because of its location in front of Jerusalem.

As Zechariah’s obstacle was split and made into a way of salvation, so through Christ Jesus was the “veil” of condemnation torn in two and replaced with the Way of salvation for all men. (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 9:8; 10:19-20) So too was the barrier of “the dividing wall” torn down and replaced with the peace of Christ in all nations. (Eph. 2:14-15) And so too was the destroying “mountain” of Babylon (the Jerusalem of slavery) burned up, cast into the sea, and replaced with the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Jer. 51:25; Matt. 21:21; Mk. 11:23; Rev. 8:8) 

Zech. 14:4-5 is a prophecy of Gospel salvation. Before God destroyed His enemies in A.D. 70, He removed the barrier between His elect and their salvation. He provided a Way of escape and of salvation for His Church. That “Way” was Christ, His Word, His Gospel. At the sound of His Gospel-Voice, His disciples fled from the corruption of the world and from the wrath of God (Matt. 3:7; Lk. 3:7; 21:36; Rom. 2:3; Heb. 2:3; 6:18; 12:25; II Peter 1:4; 2:20; Rev. 12:6; 18:4). Abiding in His Word, they were hid under the refuge of the shadow of His Wings, in the valley of His Mountains. (Zech. 14:5).”  (David A. Green, pretcosmos.com, Q&A).   

Last 3 Eschatological Fall Feasts 

Feast of Trumpets/Ingathering and Day of Atonement  

I agree with Dr. Brown that we can see the last three eschatological feasts of Israel between Zechariah 12-14 (AJOJ, Vol. 1, pp. 83-84).  But since these are a part of the Mosaic Law (cf. Lev. 23/Cols. 2) they had to have been fulfilled by AD 70 or the Church remains under “all” of the Mosaic Law in observing it’s feasts, sacrifices and sabbaths – all of which formed it.  

Mt. 24:29-31, 36 / Hebrews 9-10 – There were “ten days of awe and repentance” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Israel’s redemption) – which was to be in preparation for the time of judgment.  During the 10 days they would prepare their hearts for the judgment when the “books were opened.”  But they didn’t know when it would take place (the “day and hour”) because the “new moon” had to be visible before the trumpet would sound and the feast to take place.  The High Priest would send three witnesses on three different mountains to look for the moon to be visible emerging from the clouds so that the trumpet and atonement process could be finished for the year.  It was the ONLY feast of which it was said, “But of that day and hour knows no man…”.

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

Feast of Tabernacles 

As Pastor David Curtis points out,

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

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

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

Just as we saw in Isaiah 2-3 that in Israel’s “last days” and at the “day of the Lord,” there would be a godly remnant of survivors and the nations would begin to flow to Zion or the New Jerusalem to receive healing through the gospel, this is exactly what Zechariah 12-14; the Olivet Discourse and Revelation 21-22 teach us as well and the same AD 70 time frame is confirmed.

Argument #12 (Zech. 12-14 / Mt. 24:30-31 / Heb. 9-10 / Rev. 21-22 / Mt. 5:17-19 / Cols. 2 / Lev. 23)

Major Premise:  Zechariah 12-14 predict the last 3 Fall Feasts of the Mosaic Law (Lev. 23/Cols. 2) and when these three feasts are fulfilled then “that which is perfect” is fulfilled and the gifts cease (1 Cor. 13:8-12).

Minor Premise:  But Yeshua and the NT writers predicted these last three feasts and all the OT law and prophets would be fulfilled in their “generation” and “soon” (Lk. 21:22-32; Rev. 1:1–22:7, 20).

Conclusion:  Therefore, the Church is obligated to keep “all” of the OT Mosaic law with her feasts, sacrifices and sabbaths (Lev. 23/Cols. 2/Mt. 5:17-19), or they were all fulfilled by AD 70 (Lk. 21:22) when Yeshua and the NT writers said they would and the gifts ceased at that time.

 

Dr. Michael Brown’s Objection:  The millennium of Revelation 20 is a literal 1,000 years period and therefore a “this generation” or  40 years millennial period has to be rejected.

Michael Sullivan’s Response:  My approach will be to refute Dr. Brown’s Charismatic Premillennialism based upon the hermeneutic he tells us we should use in interpreting the book of Revelation.  After this, I will seek to refute the larger Charismatic movement that embraces the Classic Amillennial and or a Partial Preterist Amillennial or Postmillennial view of the 1,000 years millennial period in Revelation 20 and show how together, they actually prove a “this generation” or 40 years millennial position.

Refuting Dr. Brown’s Premillennialism

I find Brown’s insistence that the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 must be literal – to be very odd and inconsistent.  When discussing the book of Revelation elsewhere he tells people that since Revelation is a highly symbolic book we must establish doctrine and time frames elsewhere in the NT and THEN seek to interpret Revelation in light of what we find there.  And yet when we do follow Brown’s approach, we find the 1,000 years to be a symbolic period of the NT’s “already and not yet” – between the Old Covenant “this age” that was “passing away” and “ready to vanish” and the New Covenant “age about to come” in AD 70.  Then there is the fact and agreement among scholars that John’s version of the Olivet Discourse (Mt. 24-25) is the book of Revelation, so a “this generation” time of fulfillment corresponds perfectly to a “shortly” and “soon” time frame for the millennium of Revelation 20 to be fulfilled.

If Dr. Brown was to actually follow his own hermeneutic in interpreting the book of Revelation, he would have compared the two phases of the resurrection and judgment of John 5:24-29 with the resurrection and judgment of Revelation 20.  Brown’s Premillennialism teaches TWO PHYSICAL resurrections separated by a literal 1,000 years.  One for believers before the 1,000 and then another one at the end for unbelievers. Yet, as I have demonstrated earlier, John 5:24-29 teaches two phases of a spiritual resurrection to be fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70.

Simon Kistemacker makes the following parallels between John’s teaching on the resurrection in John 5 with that of Revelation 20:

Fourth Gospel Revelation
A. First Resurrection A. First Resurrection
I most solemnly assure you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has everlasting life … has passed out of death into life. I most solemnly assure you, the hour is coming — yea, has already arrived! — when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. “… and I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded … and such as worshiped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.… This is the first resurrection.
… and (he) does not come into condemnation. (For the solemn introductory formula see on 1:51.) “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: over these the second death has no power.”
B. Second Resurrection
(unto judgment)
B. Second Resurrection
(unto judgment)
Stop being surprised about this, for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out: those who have done good, for the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil, for the resurrection of condemnation. “And I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it.… And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works: And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.… And if any was not found in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”

(Hendriksen, William ; Kistemaker, Simon J.: New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1953-2001 (New Testament Commentary 1-2), S. 1:200).

We too make the parallels, but again we see two phases of ONE spiritual resurrection taking place for “the dead” (both righteous and wicked) occurring at the end of the old-covenant age, not two kinds – one spiritual and one physical being taught by Jesus and John.  Possibly during Jesus’ ministry the “already” of the resurrection harvest had begun, but with the Holy Spirit being poured out on Pentecost, the “now is” “already” and “inauguration” stage of the new creation and “firstfruits” (Rev.14:4-20) resurrection had most definitely begun.  The “second” phase of the harvest/resurrection included the harvest “gathering” of these souls into the kingdom / new creation of God in a “end of this age,” “this generation,” “at hand,” “soon,” “some standing here,” time frame (Mt.13:39-4324:30-31, 34 –25; Rev.1:122:12/Mt.16:27-28).  Since the resurrection includes the souls of those whom had died prior to A.D. 70, the continuity of a spiritual resurrection of souls remains the same.  In farming one does not begin with the firstfruits of grain and then at harvest time bring in something completely different such as bananas.  This was a resurrection of “souls” from the time of the first fruits to the harvest!  Jesus being the “firstborn” or “first fruits” demonstrates that His resurrection included something more than a physical body – rather, He was the first to overcome the spiritual death/curse brought through Adam the very day he sinned.  The continuity of the “one judgment and resurrection” of “souls” and overcoming the spiritual death of Adam is the point of the resurrection from Daniel 12:2-3—John 5:24-29—Acts 24:15 to Revelation 20:1-15.

Dr. Brown also appealed to the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as allegedly refuting my position without making any comments on verse 7 which places this resurrection when Jerusalem was judged in AD 70 (during the 3.5 years when the “power of the holy people” was “completely shattered”).  But the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) LXX creates more problems for Dr. Brown’s Premillennial view.

G.K. Beale points out how both Jesus and John use or rely heavily upon the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12 to develop the resurrection “hour” of John 5:25-29 as an “already and not yet” process that involves a spiritual resurrection already begun and not awaiting a literal 1,000 years period:

The “already” or Imminent “already”

Daniel 12:1:  “And at that hour…” John 5:25:  “…an hour is coming and now is…”
Daniel 12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.” John 5:24:  “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”                                                  

The “Not Yet”

Daniel 12:1:  “And at that hour…” John 5:28:  “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,
Daniel 12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.” John 5:29:  “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.”Also related:1 John 2:18:  “Dear children it is the last hour…”Revelation 14:7:  “…the hour of His judgment has come.”

(G.K. Beale, A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2011), 131-135).

When we actually follow Dr. Brown’s advice in interpreting the highly symbolic book of Revelation with the rest of the NT and OT, we have to leave his literal 1,000 years millennial view behind. The OT and NT teaches the “already” or “first” resurrection is a spiritual one (not physical) which began in the first century (not in the future).  The OT and NT also confirm the harvest or consummative “not yet” resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant age involves a resurrection of BOTH the righteous and the wicked (not just the wicked).

How the Various Charismatic Millennial Views Form Full Preterism 

I may cite Partial Preterists in this section that are not Charismatics or Continuationists (ex. Kenneth Gentry or Keith Mathison), but since many Partial Preterist Charismatic and Continuationists (ex. Joseph Balyeat and Joel McDurmon) follow their writings, I may refer to them at times.  This will also apply to Charismatic Amillennialists (ex. Sam Storms) who may follow non-Charismatic Amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker or Robert Strimple.

Here are 7 points I used in our book to prove how the Classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist Amillennial or Postmillennial views (which many Charismatics follow) have actually formed the Full Preterist view of the millennium and thus for our purposes here actually proves “that which is perfect” (the Second Coming) caused the miraculous gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge to “cease” in AD 70,

“Here are seven brief points that destroys the Postmillennial view that the end of the millennium of Revelation 20:5-15 is a future event.

1). Imminence

Kenneth Gentry informs us that the book of Revelation is about things which were past, present, and “about to be” fulfilled in John’s day (Rev. 1:19, YLT). Therefore, there is no exegetical evidence that Revelation 20 does not fall within these inspired parameters. The millennium was still future when John wrote, therefore the end of the millennium falls within those things that were “about to be” fulfilled. As Vern Poythress and Simon Kistemaker (also contributors to The Reformation Study Bible) have pointed out in their works, if the imminent time texts in Revelation 1:1 and 22:20 are to be taken literally and refer to AD 70, and since they function as brackets or bookends, then the millennium of Revelation 20 would have also been fulfilled by AD 70 as well.

Therefore, both of these views teach the end of the millennium resurrection and judgment of the dead were fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70. Why would we be considered “heretics” for agreeing with both?

2). The Thousand Years

As G.K. Beale (the NT editor to The Reformation Study Bible) has taught in his commentary on Revelation, that the symbol of the thousand years does not have to be taken as describing a long period of time (i.e., thousands or millions of years).

Therefore, the thousand years millennium can be a symbolic depiction of relatively short period of time – forty years.

3) Rabbinic Typology of a Forty Years Millennial PeriodHistorical Argument

It has also been acknowledged by Reformed theologians such as Beale, that many Rabbis believed that the period of Messiah was to be a transitionary stage between “this age/world and the age/ world to come.” These Rabbis (such as R. Adiba), understood this transition period to be forty years, based upon how long the Israelites were in the wilderness before inheriting the land. This type/anti-type understanding is developed for us in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 3-4; 10:25, 37; 11—13:14, YLT). And as we have noted from Reformed Partial Preterists such as Joel McDurmon and Gary DeMar, it is within the realm of Reformed orthodoxy to believe that Jesus’ and Paul’s “this age/world” was the old covenant age, and that “the last days” were the days of transition between the old covenant age and the new covenant age (AD 30 – 70).

4). Recapitulation

Reformed Postmillennial Partial Preterists such as Keith Mathison, Kenneth Gentry, and James Jordan teach that the content of Revelation 1-19 and 21-22 was fulfilled by AD 70, at which time there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead and arrival of the new creation. And Amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker teach that Revelation 20:5–15 recapitulates the same judgment and consummation scenes that are depicted in chapters 1–19 and 21–22.

Therefore, sicne Full Preterists hold to both of these reformed and “orthodox” positions in interpreting the book of Revelation the end of of the millennium resurrection and judgment event was fulfilled in AD 70. Why would I be considered a “heretic” for agreeing with both common sense views?

5). Revelation 20 an Isolated Event? The “Already and not Yet,” “This Age and the Age to Come” and the “Last Days” Millennial Period

In criticizing the premillennial view, which often seeks to isolate Revelation 20 from the rest of the New Testament, Amillennialists and many Postmillennialists hold that Revelation 20 falls within the “already and not yet” of the “last days” period in the New Testament, and that this transition period is depicted in the parable of the wheat and tares, or in Matthew 24–25. But as we have seen in the writings of Partial Preterists, it is “orthodox” to believe the “last days” ended with the OC age in AD 70, and that the harvest/gathering and coming of Christ in Matthew 13 and 24–25 was fulfilled by AD 70.

Therefore, since the period between “this age and the age to come” is the millennial period and it was the transition period between the OC age and the NC age (AD 30 – AD 70), and the “Last Days” is also the transition and millennial period of Revelation 20 but was also from AD 30 – AD 70, the end of the millennial resurrection and judgment of the dead was fulfilled when the OC age passed away and the last days ended in AD 70. Why should we be considered “heretics” for agreeing with both common sense views?

6). The Second Coming in Matthew 24-25 Ends the Millennium of Revelation 20

The “long time” and close of the age in Matthew 24-25 is supposed to be the millennial period of Revelation 20 that ends at Jesus’ Second Coming described in 25:31ff. — per Partial Preterist Gentry. Yet at the same time Postmillennialists affirm the “long time” and “end of the age” of Matthew 24-25 falls within the “this generation” time frame and the coming of the Son of Man in 25:31 is His spiritual coming to close the OC age in AD 70 – per Partial Preterist DeMar.

Therefore, according to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 the “long time” or millennial period of Revelation 20 ended at Christ’s spiritual Second Coming in AD 70. Why should we be considered “heretics” for agreeing with both common sense views?!?

7) The Second Coming of Revelation Ends the Millennium of Revelation 20

The reformed community and The Reformation Study Bible(with its contributors) are confused on the coming of Christ in the book of Revelation as well. One side teaches everywhere the coming of Christ is mentioned in the book, it is THE Second Coming event (as stated in the WCF) which ends the millennium and thousand years period in Revelation 20. Yet the Postmillennial Partial Preterist side claims all references to Christ’s coming in Revelation were fulfilled “soon,” “at hand” and “quickly” in AD 70.

Therefore, the ONE Second Coming event was spiritual and ended the millennial resurrection and judgment of the dead event “soon,” “at hand” and “quickly” in AD 70. Why should we be considered “heretics” for agreeing with both common sense exegetically sound views – and fixing exegetical problems and contradictions that they have created for the Church?!?

Therefore, the reader should be able to discern that the Full Preterist AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” millennial view is:

1). Consistent with the teaching of Revelation itself…

2). Falls within the “orthodox” views of the Reformed church…

3). Is in line with the analogy of Scripture and…

4). Offers historical support from many Rabbis whom promoted a forty years transitional period between the two ages.

My position on the millennium is both exegetically sound and orthodox. Finding support for the Full Preterist view of the millennium is not as difficult as Dr. Brown and others want to portray it – selah.” (Michael Sullivan, David Green, Ed Hassertt, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, Second Edition, pp. 131-133).

Is the 1,000 years literal or figurative?

As one of Dr. Brown’s Amillennialist contributing author in Strange Fireadmits elsewhere on the 1,000 years of Revelation 20,

“…the thousand-year period is not a chronologically literal piece of history; it is a symbolic number coextensive with the history of the church on earth between the resurrection of Christ and his return.”  (Sam Storms,THE MILLENNIUM, THE FINAL BATTLE, AND THE FINAL JUDGMENT – REVELATION 20:1-15,).

I agree with Amillennialist and Charismatic Sam Storms that the 1,000 years is not a literal chronological piece of time, but rather is “symbolic.”  Leading Amillennialist scholar G.K. Beale even admits the 1,000 years symbolic that is

“…probably not a figurative reference to a long time…” (G.K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary:  The Book of Revelation, p. 1018).

Therefore,the thousand years millennium can be a symbolic depiction of a relatively short period of time – forty years.

Since there are Charismatic or Continuationists such as Amillennialists (ex. Sam Storms) and Postmillennialists (Joseph R. Balyeat and Joel McDurmon), I will not limit my response to Dr. Brown, but also demonstrate how these other Charismatic or Continuationist positions on the millennium actually form my position that the millennium was a “this generation” (40 yrs.) period of time ending with the “soon” Second Coming of Christ in AD 70 – and thus “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:10) arrived bringing an end to the miraculous gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge.

Psalm 50:10 is often cited, usually by Postmillennialists, to teach that “a thousand” symbolizes literally “many thousands or millions.” For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. (Ps. 50:10)

Postmillennialists reason that God owns the cattle on every hill; therefore “a thousand hills” symbolizes or represents “many thousands or millions of hills.” Thus, they reason, we are led by Scripture to interpret the “thousand years” in Revelation 20 to mean “many thousands or millions of years.”

That reasoning sounds solid at first glance. However, the context of Psalm 50:10 does not lead us to a principle that a symbolic “thousand” always signifies “many thousands.” It leads us to the principle that a symbolic “thousand” signifies “fullness.” The “thousand” of Psalm 50:10 is interpreted for us two verses later:

The world is Mine, and the fullness thereof. (Ps. 50:12b)

In Psalm 90:4, a “thousand years” is as “yesterday” and as “a watch in the night.” In 2 Peter 3:8, a “thousand years” is as one “day.” In those verses, a “thousand” (and “yesterday” and “a watch” and a “day”) is used to teach us that to God, a small piece of time is no different than a fullnessof time. (Compare Job 7:7; Ps. 39:5; 90:2; 144:4; Heb. 13:8; Jms. 4:14.) Thus, in Psalm 105:8, a “thousand” corresponds with “forever”: He has remembered His covenant forever, the word that he commanded to a thousand generations. (Ps. 105:8)

In scriptural usage, a symbolic “thousand” can be likened to “one” (day / yesterday / a watch in the night), or used in reference to millions of hills, or to eternity (“forever”). A “thousand” can be likened unto or used to represent a number lesser or greater than a literal thousand. Only its context can determine its literal numerical meaning, but the basic idea that is communicated by the number is “fullness.” Again G. K. Beale wrote,

“The primary point of the thousand years is probably not a figurative reference to a long time . . .” (G. K. Beale, The New International Greek Testament Commentary:The Book of Revelation(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 1018).

How one interprets the thousand years in Revelation 20 depends on one’s eschatological framework. The passage does not interpret itself, but must be interpreted by the overall eschatology of Scripture. Within the Full Preterist interpretive framework, the biblical-eschatological context of Revelation 20 should lead us to interpret the “thousand years” to signify the time of the Christological filling up of all things (Eph. 1:10; 4:10). That time was from the Cross of Christ to the Parousia of Christ in AD 70. That was the time during which “the [spiritual] death” which came through Adam and was magnified through “the law” was in process of being destroyed. The literal timeframe of the “thousand years” was roughly forty years.

As I have pointed out before, Reformed theologian G. K. Beale tells us that some Jews considered the length of the intermediate messianic reign to be forty years. He also states that one Jewish tradition made an anti-type connection between Adam’s lifespan (almost 1,000 years) and a reign of Messiah for a (possibly symbolic) thousand years. Many Christians have attempted to make this connection and have also paralleled the thousand years of 2 Peter 3:8 with John’s thousand years in Revelation 20:2–6.

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

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

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

Revelation 20:1-15

We concur with our Charismatic Amillennial and Postmillenniasl opponents that John was already in the millennium – “what is now” (Rev. 1:19). Thus the “binding” of Satan here began with the earthly ministry of Jesus. Therefore, Christians were already being raised and reigning on thrones, the saints were already a kingdom of priests (Matt. 12:25-29; Eph. 2:5-7; John 5:24; 1 Pet. 2:5). J. Marcellus Kik makes a good case that Revelation 20:4 is describing the lives of the saints while upon the earth (preferring the ARV translation of the text),

“In the King James Version the verbs sat, was given, lived, reigned, are in one tense; while the verbs had worshipped, had received, are in another. But in the Greek the same tense is used for all—the aorist. Since they are all in the same tense they must refer to the same time. That is, the time of not worshipping the beast and not receiving his mark is the same time as that of sitting on thrones and living and reigning with Christ.” (J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of VICTORY, (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing CO., 1971), 228).

He translates “psuchai” in verse 4 as,

“And I beheld the lives of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus” indicating that they were already reigning and living victorious lives upon the earth through the work of Christ on the cross and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit before they were martyred” (see Kik, Ibid., 227).

While John is living during the time of the millennium, the inspired time frame for Revelation’s fulfillment demands that he is now standing towards the end or consummation of it–the things which John was told would “shortly” take place “later” (Rev. 1:1, 19YLT). John was told that no part of the vision was to be sealed up, because it was all to be fulfilled shortly and nowhere are we told that the millennium is not a part of that vision. If the millennium was not a part of the vision to be fulfilled shortly, we would expect John to be given instruction to seal at least that portion of the vision since it’s time of fulfillment would be “far off” – as Daniel was instructed. It is the Charismatic Partial Preterist eisegesis of men like Joseph Balyeat and Joel McDurmon which separates the imminent fulfillment of the millennium from the rest of the “at hand” prophecy. Although not a Full Preterist, Vern Pothress points out the inconsistency of the [Charismatic] Partial Preterist view as we do,

“But 1:3 and 22:10 are like bookends enclosing the whole prophecyof Revelation. The fulfillment of everything, not just a part, is near.” (Vern S. Poythress, THE RETURNING KING A GUIDE TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2000), 34. Bold emphasis MJS).

The First Resurrection and the Resurrection of the “Rest of the Dead”

Those participating in the “first resurrection” is a subject that has been previously addressed in chapters 7 and 14 – these being the first century Jewish “first fruits” or 144,000 that were the first to believe in Christ and continued enduring through the great tribulation until the end. Therefore, they would partake in the harvest/resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant age. These are those who were coming out of their “graves” through the preaching of the gospel (John 5:24-27) and would soon participate and be joined with the rest of the dead in the consummative resurrection event.

In verse 5 “the rest of the dead” participate in the resurrection “after” the thousand years are over. This refers to the end time “harvest” at “the end of the [Old Covenant] age” encompassing the “all” of (John 5:28-29). This included not only all of the righteous dead pre-AD 70 but also that of unbelievers (Daniel 12:2/Matt. 13:39-43, 49). Therefore, we have the raising of all the dead, the emptying of Hades, the great judgment (along with Satan’s imminent judgment Rom. 16:20) taking place shortly after the millennium (20:10-14).

The analogy of faith and that of Scripture confirms this imminent end of the millennium period by describing the same imminent resurrection of all the dead and the judgment of the world,

“…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; (Acts 24:15 YLT WEY).

“For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us;” (Rom. 8:18 YLT, WEY). Again, contextually the glory “about to be” revealed in them was when the “redemption of the body” in v. 23 and becoming sons of God in the New Creation takes place.

Martyr Vindication, Satan’s Imminent Judgment and THE War

“After” the success of the Great Commission and at the end of the thousand year’s period, Satan is released for a “short” or “little while” (Rev. 20:3). In chapter 6 we are told that the martyrs are to wait a “short” or “little while” until the rest of their fellow brethren have been martyred (Rev. 6:10-11). This would be followed with God avenging and judging those who participated in their persecutions – “For the great day of their wrath has come and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:17). In Revelation 12:5-12 we see the same motifs and recapitulation to what we have seen in Revelation 6 and 20 — previous suffering followed by a “short” or “little while” of more to come, and then an imminent judgment upon their enemies. The “great city” or “Babylon” where Jesus was slain and whom God holds responsible for shedding the blood of the prophets and the saints is none other than OC Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8, 18:20, 24).

The Analogy of Faith and Scripture confirms this. This “little while” time frame of Satan’s last persecution (through the Jews and Romans) and thus the martyrs having to wait “a little while” longer before justice is wielded out upon their persecutors is consistent with Jesus’ teaching that all of the blood of the martyrs of the prophets and those Jesus would send to Jerusalem would be avenged in a first century “this generation” with her “house/temple” being left “desolate” (Matt. 23:31-38).

Pauline eschatology weighs in as well describing the same first century Jewish persecution and the Thessalonians being promised “relief” from God through Him giving their enemies the same kind of “trouble” they were giving them through Christ coming down from heaven in “blazing fire” “punishing” them with “everlasting destruction” along with the Man of Lawlessness (1 Thess. 2:14-16; 2 Thess. 1:5—2:12).  Some Partial Preterist Continuationists believe this coming of the Lord and “everlasting destruction” and “punishment” of “fire” in (2 Thess. 1-2) was fulfilled in AD 70 paralleling much of this material with Matthew 24 for exegetical evidence.  And yet all of the same elements that are present in Revelation 6, 12, 16 and 20 are present in 1 and 2 Thessalonians!

The first century persecuted church wouldn’t have to wait much longer because the Man of Lawlessness (of whom many Partial Preterists identify as Nero) was “already” present through the work of Satan himself – awaiting “the rebellion” and then his judgment (2 Thess. 2:3-10).  The Partial Preterist is creedally selective in making AD 70 fulfillment “parallels” between 1 Thessalonians 2 and 5 and 2 Thessalonians 1-2 with that of Matthew 24 and neglecting those parallels concerning the resurrection of the dead found in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and Matthew 24:30-31.

The paralleling of 1 and 2 Thessalonians with Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation, gives us the same time frame for the end of the millennium in Revelation 20:

  • The Thessalonians were already in the millennium.
  • They were being persecuted.
  • They were promised relief in their lifetimes.
  • The Lord came to close the millennium by destroying The Beast/Man of Sin whom was already present and active in their day — with everlasting destruction and punishment.
  • He came to raise the dead.

There are four main enemies of God and His saints in the book of Revelation and they are introduced in chapter 12 and onward in the order of Satan, the sea beast, the land beast and or false prophet and Babylon. As Revelation progresses their defeat in judgment is pictured in reverse order. These are different scenes of the same end time persecution and judgment of God’s enemies.

Charismatic Amillennialists such as Sam Storms would understand the timing of the judgment scene and the casting of Satan into the lake of fire in 20:10 to be harmonious with where the great harlot is burned with fire in 17:16 and the beast and false prophet are cast into 19:20.

Storms would concur with other Amillennialists such as Simon Kistemaker or Robert Strimple whom affirm that there is only one final war or end time judgment in Revelation and it is consistently referred to in John’s use of the Greek phrase “to gather them for the war” in (Rev. 16:14; 19:19; 20:8). Strimple in a debate with Gentry over the millennium makes the same point,

“In 16:14 kings are called forth to the battle. In 19:19 the beast and the kings of the earth come forth to the battle. In 20:8 Satan leads his host up to the battle. It seems clear that these three texts describe not three battles but one.” (Craig A. Blaising, Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., Rober B. Strimple, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), 125, bold emphasis MJS).

And yet Charismatic Partial Preterists such as Balyeat and McDurmon understand “the war” of (Rev. 16:14), the burning of the Harlot in (Rev. 17:6) and the judgment of the false prophet and beast being thrown into lake of fire in (Rev. 19:20) as being fulfilled by AD 70.  Once again we can readily see how Full Preterism is the organic development of our opponent’s views and effectively “bridges the gap” between them.

We have to once again point out the problem Romans 16:20 is for Charismatic Postmillennial Partial Preterism or just Partial Preterism in general. Most reformed commentators correctly understand that the timing of Satan being thrown into the lake of fire here in Revelation 20:10 to be equivalent to him being “crushed” “shortly” in (Romans 16:20/Genesis 3:15). Partial Preterists inform us that this time statement along with all of the other NT imminent time statements refers to AD 70. (Gentry, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM, 246). And yet the majority of reformed commentators understand these passages to be addressing the “not yet” consummation of biblical eschatology (ie. the final defeat of Satan at the end of the millennium – followed with the Adamic curse of death being destroyed for the Church in the New Creation). And since Partial Preterists such as DeMar and Mathison understand the coming of Christ in BOTH Matthew 24-25 as fulfilled in AD 70, and Gentry sees the coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46 to be the Second Coming that ends the millennium of Revelation 20, this necessitates that the judgment of the dead, with that of Satan and his angels into “everlasting punishment” would take place in Jesus’ “this generation” (Matt. 24:34—25:31-46).

Therefore,the spiritual “this generation” Second Coming of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46 ended the millennium and fulfilled the resurrection and judgment of the dead event in Revelation 20:5-15!

Earth and Sky Fled 

In verse 11 we read, “Earth and sky fled from his presence,..” For Full Preterists and Amillennial Charismatics such as Sam Storms, this same de-creation event has already been recapitulated in connection with the Second Coming of Jesus in (Rev. 6:14 and Rev. 16:20) and will re-surface shortly in the next chapter (Rev. 21:1).

But for Charismatic Partial Preterists such as Balyeat and McDurmon, the de-creation events depicted in (Rev. 6:14; Rev. 16:20 and Rev. 21:21) were non-literally fulfilled or are the removal of Israel’s world or the Old Covenant world in AD 70 being “parallel” to the AD 70 fulfillments found in Matthew 24:15-31. The question begging to be answered of course is, why can’t the Charismatic Postmillennial interpretation of an imminent de-creation non-literal fulfillment of Revelation 21:1 be applied to Revelation 20:11?

Joel McDurmon is a Continuationist or sympathetic Continuationist that has TRIED to answer this question and I responded to his deceptive answer.

Joel McDurmon’s Eisegetical Distinctions Between Revelation 20:11 – “Fled Away” (Greekpheugo) and Revelation 21:1 – “Passed Away” (Greekparechomai)

McDurmon writes,

Revelation 20:11says earth and heaven “fled away” (ESV) from the face of the enthroned One. The verb here is ephugen(from pheugo). It means “run away” in the Monty Python sense: “retreat” or “flee” in the sense of seeking safety from an imminent threat. We get our word “fugitive” from pheugo.

“Pheugois a common word used some 279 times throughout the New Testament and Old Testament LXX, but almost always has the distinct meaning of running away out of fear or self-protection. For example, Genesis 39:12, 13and 15(LXX) use the word to describe Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife who had him by the garment. The Exodus is described with this word (Ex. 14:5). So is David fleeing Saul who wants to murder him (1 Sam. 19:18), Ahaziah fleeing Jehu (2 Ki. 9:27), God’s enemies in general (Ps. 68:1; Prov. 28:1), Jonah fleeing God’s presence (Jon. 1:3), Baby Jesus’ family fleeing Herod (Matt. 2:13), persecuted disciples leaving town (Matt. 10:23; 24:16), fearful disciples scattering after Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt. 26:56). The list is long, and the word is consistent in this meaning.Revelation 21:1, on the other hand, says “the first heaven and the first earth had passedaway.” The verb here is apelthan(an aorist of aperchomai).” (my full response: https://treeoflifeministries.info/content/mike-sullivan-64/)

As one can clearly see McDurmon didn’t go through the proper hermeneutical / exegetical steps of pointing out how pheugowas used earlier and within the book of Revelation itself when it comes to a de-creation text/event:

“And every island fled(Greekpheugo) away, and the mountains were not found.” (Rev. 16:20).

Obviously, Joel McDurmon “fled” from this text as in, “Run away in the Monty Python sense: “retreat” or “flee” in the sense of seeking safety from an imminent threat [Full Preterism]” because he and other Partial Preterists take this de-creation text as the fleeing/passing of the Old Covenant creation – not the literal creation. So much for his “argument” that two different events are referred to because two different Greek words are used!

Dr. Brown appealed to Sam Frost no longer being a Full Preterist in our debate.  Yet, American Vision new-comer Sam Frost has been claiming that his and McDurmon’s view of fulfillment is that of such scholars as G.K. Beale and yet Beale identifies the de-creation and judgment of Revelation 6:14, 16:20, 20:11 and 21:1 as the same eschatological end time or “not yet” event/judgment,

“Almost identical language has already been used of the last judgment in 6:14 and 16:20 (see there, esp. for OT background). That this signifies the end-time cosmic destruction is apparent further from 21:1, which affirms that “a new heaven and a new earth” replaced the vanishing “first heaven and first earth,” which had fled away. “A place was not found for them” is from Dan. 2:35 Theod., where it is used of the destruction of the wicked kingdoms at the end time.” (G.K. Beale, (1999). The book of Revelation: A commentary on the Greek text. New International Greek Testament Commentary (1032). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press).

And again,

“The absolute nature of the judgment is continued by a picture of the further breakup of the cosmos: “every island fled, and the mountains were not found” (see on 6:14). Virtually identical descriptions in 6:14 and 20:11 also indicate the conclusive, universal destruction of the earth at the judgment day. That parts of the world “were not found” (οὐχ εὑρέθησαν) anticipates the same portrayal of Babylon’s final, definitive destruction repeated three times in ch. 18 (οὐ μὴ εὑρεθῇ in 18:21, 22, and similarly in 18:14).

Note the striking parallel languagein 6:14; 20:11; and 16:20:

6:14– πᾶν ὄρος καὶ νῆσος ἐκ τῶν τόπων αὐτῶν ἐκινήθησαν (“every mountain and island were moved from their places”)

16:20– πᾶσα νῆσος ἔφυγεν καὶ ὄρη οὐχ εὑρέθησαν (“every island fled, and the mountains were not found”)

20:11– ἔφυγεν ἡ γῆ καὶ ὁ οὐρανός καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς (“the earth and the heaven fled, and a place was not found for them”)

Destruction of mountains was a sign of the end of the cosmos in Jewish apocalyptic (1 En.1:6;Assumption of Moses10:4; Sib. Or.8.234–35).” (Beale, Ibid. 844).

McDurmon tries to mock Full Preterists for making the same “parallels” that other Futurist Reformed theologians make.

The other ironic thing is that McDurmon made “parallels” between Matthew 24 and 2 Peter 3 to support his Preterist view that the de-creation of 2 Peter 3 was fulfilled in AD 70, and yet he and DeMar can’t seem to address the “parallels” we have made between Matthew 25:31-46 (which DeMar says was fulfilled in AD 70) and Revelation 20:5-15. As usual McDurmon was just trying to blow smoke and produced NO exegesis and he can’t consistently harmonize the analogy of faith principle of interpretation within Reformed eschatology as we have. And DeMar remains in hiding from debating Full Preterism while at the same time boasting that his inconsistent view is “winning the debate on eschatology” – Selah.

The Dead Were Judged

In verses 12-15 the dead are judged, Hades gives up the dead and those whose names were not written in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire. For most Amillennialists and Premillennialists such as Dr. Brown, such passages as Revelation 2:23; 3:5; 6:17; 11:18; 16:14; 20:5, 12-15; 22:10-12; Daniel 12:1-2; Matthew 25:31-46 all refer to ONE final judgment at the end of the age. We agree, but it is the end of the Old Covenant age that the NT places this judgment in and not the New Covenant age or end of history. Between McDurmon, DeMar, Mathison and Gentry, all of the above judgment passages were or could have been fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 except Revelation 20:5-15 allegedly being the exception (because of creedal commitments).

And yet all of the rewards (to be presented at the judgment) for the churches in Revelation 1-3 were to be given when Christ was to come soon and correspond to inheriting the New Creation in Revelation 21 – of which Mathison and Gentry claim arrived in AD 70. If the New Creation follows the millennium (and those events that take place soon after the millennium) in Revelation 20:1-15, then the judgment and resurrection of the dead had to have taken place imminently at that time as well. To this we need to turn to the rest of Scripture for confirmation since Gentry has informed us that Revelaiton 20 is not isolated from the rest of the NT.

  • “They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” “…But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:5, 7).

And in the same context Peter in verse 17 uses the definite article to emphasize he is referring to “THE time” of “THE judgment,” not just “a” minor one in AD 70,

  • “For the time has come for the judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17).
  • “…because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the worldin righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead” (Acts 17:31 YLT, WEY).
  • “I solemnly implore you, in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is about to judge the living and the dead,and by His Appearing and His Kingship:” (2 Tim. 4:1 WEY, YLT).

Kistemaker once again confirms the judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:12-13 is one Day of Judgment and has already been addressed in the previous chapters “…sixth seal (6:17), the seventh trumpet (11:18), and the sixth bowl (16:14) all refer to the moment when the great Day of Judgment comes. John presents his Apocalypse in a cyclical manner and looks at God’s revelation from different perspectives.

“And the rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were completed” (20:5a). Here as well as in 20:12–13 the term alludes to all people: some receive rewards and others condemnation. (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, Ibid., 344). 

Conclusion

When we follow Dr. Brown’s advice that we need to FIRST go to the more clear passages in the OT and NT to interpret a “highly symbolic” book and section of Revelation such as Revelation 20, we found NO support of TWO physical resurrections separated by a literal 1,000 years.  To the contrary, we found the “already and not yet” judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4; John 5:24-29 and Revelation 20:5-15 to begin roughly between AD 27-30 and being a spiritual resurrection of the soul (not physical) and was “about to be” fulfilled “soon” at Christ’s coming to bring an “end” to the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (also being spiritual – an emptying of souls out of Hades).    

Argument #13 (the “already and not yet” of Dan. 12:1-4/Rev. 20:4-15/Jn. 5:24-29 & harmonizing the Charismatic Millennial views) 

Major Premise:The ONE Second Coming throughout the book of Revelation is what ends the Millennium and judgment of Revelation 20 — with the judgment of Revelation 20 being recapitulated throughout the rest of the book in chapters 1-19, 21-22 (Classic Charismatic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise:But the coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation was fulfilled “shortly,” “soon,” “quickly” in the judgment of AD 70 — along with chapters 1-19, 21-22 (Charismatic Partial Preterist Postmillennialism or even Charismatic Partial Preterist Amillennialism).

Conclusion:Therefore, the ONE Second Coming of Christ throughout the book of Revelation was fulfilled “shortly,” “soon,” “quickly” and thus ended the millennium in the judgment of AD 70 — with the content of Revelation 20 being recapitulated in the other chapters 1-19, 21-22.  This “soon” Second Coming event (“that which is perfect” 1 Cor. 13:10) brought the Church to seeing God’s face in AD 70 (1 Cor. 13:12/Rev. 22:4-7) and therefore it was at this historical redemptive event the miraculous gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge “ceased” (Pretermillennialism or Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

While the other creedal “orthodox” millennial views (Premillennial, Amillennial & Postmillennial) fight amongst themselves to see who is the most earliest and most Biblical, Full Preterism or Pretermillennialsim is solving the eschatological problems and contradictions of the Church — that these other millennial views have created!

***This critique/article of our debate is still in progress…. So keep coming back for new material being updated…

Source: Fulfilled

Jesus Fulfilled the Soteriological and Eschatological Day of Atonement Jubilee Promises of Sabbath Rest and the Day(s) of Vengeance in Isaiah 61-66 By AD 26–AD 66-70 (Appendix – exposition of Dan. 9:24-27)

Copyright 2018 Michael J. Sullivan – thank you for your Christian charity in advance.

Introduction

In this article I will demonstrate that when Yeshua quoted or alluded to Isaiah 61-62 He promised to fulfill these soteriological and eschatological promises between AD 26 – AD 66-70. Post AD 70 the Church is the New Covenant “Israel of God” or “New Jerusalem” that lives and rests in the finished work of Christ’s redemptive Jubilee Sabbath and invites the nations and sin laden sinners to enter into this rest (cf. Rev. 22:17).

Isaiah 61/Luke 4/Luke 21

Jesus begins His ministry by quoting Isaiah 61:1-2a. The Jews of Yeshua’s day understood Isaiah 61 and Daniel 9:24-27 to be Messianic and that He would come to usher in the soteriological and eschatological Jubilee (Daniel 9:17-27 based off of Lev. 25-26). They understood from Daniel 9 that He would arrive on the 10 th. cycle of the Jubilee (49 x 10) = 490. In their calendar the first temple’s destruction was in 424/422 BC and therefore they were expecting Messiah right around AD 17 – AD 27 to reveal Himself and establish the Kingdom.

Again, 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).

And,

“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).

And during the first century some Jews saw Isaiah 61 in an eschatological and Messianic way,

“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).

Based upon these historical facts of what the Jews were expecting in the first century, below are the various ways in which they were calculating Messiah’s coming based upon a 49 years or 50 years cycle for the Jubilee or from the 424 or 422 BC starting date:

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Also, based upon Josephus, one can calculate a seventh year sabbath around 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).

Theology of the Jubilee Sabbath – “Edenic Reset”

During the Jubilee (cf. Lev. 25-26) every 49th-50th. year the land would not be worked for 2 years and experience a sabbath rest. Jews who were poor and had to lease their land and work for other wealthier Jews as servants were “set free” from their debts and allowed to once again live in their rightfully inherited family and tribal allotted land.

The idea is that the land and people would experience an “Edenic reset” of sorts.  The unclean sins of the people and land would be cleansed and restored.  They would not have to work the land, because God Himself would cause the land to provide in abundance what they would need (as in Eden).  This picture with the Day of Atonement taking place in this Sabbath year, foreshadowed Messiah coming to cleanse us of our sin and restore us to our inheritance in Him – the Tree of Life.

The NT also develops the imminent AD 70 judgment of the fallen Watchers and Satan (Gen. 3-6) – thus restoring and making right what took place in Eden.

This Edenic reset would include God inheriting the nations once again and restoring what was lost in Genesis 10-11 (cf. Acts 1:8/Acts 2 = Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26; Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rev. 22:17).

It should not surprise us that Yeshua begins His ministry in Luke 4:18 giving a “proclamation of liberty” (cf. Deut. 15:12-18) in fulfillment of this long expected soteriological and eschatological 10th Jubilee Sabbath period or cycle (Dan. 9:24-27).  In 11 QMelch we learn that a Messianic figure would fulfill Isaiah 61; Daniel 9 with the “last days” of Israel being grounded in their understanding of Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15.

Margaret Barker writes,

“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 theLORD, 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.”

“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.). (Margaret Barker, THE TIME IS FULFILLED JESUS AND THE JUBILEE, 1999, http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/JesusAndTheJubilee.pdf).

Luke 21:20-32 and the 10th. Jubilee Cycle

Yeshua predicted that His coming soteriological and eschatological “redemption” and “kingdom” of the Jubilee of Isaiah 61–66 would arrive at the sound of a trumpet and would be accomplished within the first century “this generation” (Lk. 21:20-32/Mt. 24:30-34). This 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 were “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 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 first 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

Thebook 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”).

Christ caused the OC “heavens and earth” people to flee before His face and He established the NC people or “heavens and earth” to take their/it’s place. Christ has overcome “the sin” debt and spiritual separation that came through Adam and we right now have access to Him as our Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21-22:17).

Conclusion: Yeshua the Only Messianic Candidate and Faithful to Fulfill the Promises

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)?!?

The imminent eschatological Jubilee of Isaiah 61 and Daniel 9:24-27 found in 11Q13 or 11QMelch Yeshua and the NT authors attribute to Christ. Yeshua came to judge the Watchers within His contemporary generation and thus imminently in AD 70 (Jn. 10/Ps. 82/Mt. 24-25/1-2 Peter/Rev. 20-22). Yeshua’s Second Appearing as the Great High Priest to give salvation to the eagerly waiting congregation and burn up His enemies, was going to take place in the last days of the Old Covenant age and therefore “in a very little while” and would “not delay” (Heb. 9-10). This was the “another day” Sabbath Rest (the 10th cycle of the Jubilee 490 yrs. they expected in the first century) they saw “approaching” and was “at hand” – of which those that did not enter in were judged.

The NC age or the 50th. year of Jubilee rest is ours right NOW “in Christ.” We rest in the FINISHED work of Christ — from cross to parousia in AD 70. Won’t you come through the gates in faith today oh weary sinner and partake of Christ the Tree of Life and the living waters of His eternal life (Rev. 22:17)? This is a serious issue. Scripture teaches that you MUST “Kiss the Son lest lest you perish” or all that do not believe that Yeshua is LORD God (the great “I am”) will “die in their sins.”

Click on chart to enlarge:

Visio-Eschatology-chronomessianism-7

Isiah 62:11/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.”[1]

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 world and Israel awaiting the Seed of the woman or the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom, the span of some of the crowd’s lifetime was a short time for them to wait and 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[2] 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.[3] 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’”[4] But Mr. Ice does not produce one passage where Jesus’ phrase “Truly I say unto you” is ever used to separate the subject matter previously discussed! 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…

Matthew 8:10-12:

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

Gentry writes,

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

D.A. Carson writes,

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

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

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

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

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

Strengths:

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

Matthew 22:1-14:

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

Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,

“Here the first servant-messengers (another reference to the prophets, no doubt) were simply ignored. Another wave of servant-messengers (more prophets) are treated as such a nuisance that while some still ignored them, “the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (v. 6). Jesus is certainly adding [the murdering of the servants or prophets] here as part of the same indictment of Jerusalem He would give again in (Matt. 23:34-36).” “The murderers were the entire generation of Israelites….” “…the armies would set the murderers’ city on fire (again exactly what happened in AD 70).”

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

Strengths:

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

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

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

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

Weaknesses:

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 25:1-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Context of Isaiah 25:6-9

“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines. 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 All Together “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.”[12] Thus, His disciples were to expect its exhibition in power. It was not powerfully to evidence itself immediately, for many of His disciples would die before it acted in power. Yet it was to be within the lifetimes of others, for “some” standing there would witness it. This seems clearly to refer to the A.D. 70 destruction of the temple and removal of the Old Testament means of worship (cf. Heb. 12:25-28; Rev.1:1, 3, 9). This occurred as a direct result of Jesus’ prophecies (John 4:21-23; Matt.21:33ff.; 23:31-34:34).”[5]

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

Isaiah 63:1-6:

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? “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.

Revelation 14:17-20  

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).

Revelation 19:15-18

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.

THE NEW CREATION PROMISES OF ISAIAH 65-66; REVELATION 21-22; 2 PETER 3 AND ROMANS 8:18-23YLT

Unknown-2Reformed 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:

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“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).

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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.[1]

And again,

The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time,) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase…”.[2]

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.[3]   “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.[4]

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).”[1] 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.[2]   …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.[3] Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion.[4]

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’…”[5]

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 

DiscoursesAndSayings_SET

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 [1852]), 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 Unknown-4way 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:

519MJRVKT5L._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_“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).

 

51vnAiyJTxL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_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.”
https://americanvision.org/…/what-does-peter-mean-by-the-p…/

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).

Was a physical lowly body in the process of being conformed to a physical/spiritual glorious body at Christ’s “at hand” Second Coming in Paul’s day, OR was the OC body being transformed and conformed to the NC glorious body of Christ?

“…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)

TOPIC ALREADY/PROCESS AND NOT YET
Death “…is being destroyed”

(1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT)

AND 1 Cor. 15:54-55
Body / Resurrection / Image Ephs. 2:6

”…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…it is being raised…” (1 Cor. 15:43)

“…becomingconformed…”

(Phil. 3:21YLT)

“…are being transformed”

(2 Cor. 3:18)

AND 1 Cor. 15:52-53

Heb. 11:35-40

World /

Heavens & Earth / New Creation

2 Cor. 5:17

“…are beingdestroyed/dissolved.”

(2 Pet. 3:11)

“…this world is passing away.”

(1 Cor. 7:31)

“The world is passing away…”

(1 Jn. 2:17)

AND Rev. 21–22:7, 20

2 Pet. 3

New Jerusalem “coming down”

(Rev. 3:12 NIV)

AND Rev. 21:1ff.
Kingdom “receiving a kingdom”

(Heb. 12:28)

AND Lk. 21:31-32
Grace Rms. 5:2 AND 1 Pet. 1:13
Salvation Ephs. 2:8-10 AND Rms. 13:11-12
Forgiveness of sin 1 Jn. 2:12 AND Rms. 11:25-27

Heb. 9–10:37

Righteousness Jms. 5:16 AND Gals. 5:5
Inheritance Ephs. 1:11 AND Cols. 3:23-24
Sanctification 1 Cor. 6:11 AND 1 Thess. 5:23
Adoption / Redemption Gal. 4:4-6

Ephs. 1:7

AND Rms. 8:23

Lk. 21:28/Rms. 8:23

Eternal life 1 Jn. 5:13 AND Mrk. 10:30

Isaiah 66:15-16:

“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

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 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 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)!  

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 to fight in 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 on time (Lk. 17:20-37; 21:20-32).  Selah!

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.

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. Selah.

Appendix A Exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27

Click on chart to enlarge:

Visio-Eschatology-chronomessianism-7

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).

Matthew 23:37 

“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).

Matthew 23:38-39

“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).

Matthew 23-25

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.

The basic meaning of these words:
Seal  – chathamto make an end, seal (up), stop.
Vision – chazowna dream, revelation, or oracle: -vision.
Prophecy or Prophet – nabiy’ Is used 316 times in the OT and is translated prophet 312 times and only once is it translated prophecy here in Dan. 9:24.

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:

  1.  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).
  2. 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.

Jeremiah 3:16

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.

Brown’s Contradictions

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.

Perhaps we have missed something in Daniel 9:25. The Hebrew very well can support “From the the issuing of the WORD [prophetic word of Jeremiah] to restore and rebuild Jerusalem…there will be [490 yrs.]…” That is, the 490 years prophecy includes the 70 years of Babylonian captivity.  The context of what Daniel is reading of Jeremiah’s prophecy coupled with the Hebrew supporting the prophetic “word” going back to Jeremiah develops the idea that 70 years of captivity times 7 for breaking the sabbaths of Leviticus 23, 25-26 gives you 490 years.  Odd, how I learned that the countdown includes the 70 years of captivity from someone who hates Full Preterism  (Sam Frost) and an anti-Christian anti-Yeshua site (Jews for Judaism).  While all they can see is a non-Messianic prophecy, all I can see is a PERFECT Messianic prophecy fulfilled by AD 70. Selah.

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, [6]). 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).

Daniel 9:26

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).

Daniel 9:27

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

1). Seven of Days (7 days) — Work six days rest on the seventh (Gen. 1:31-2:3; Ex. 31:12-17).

2). Seven of Weeks (49 days) — Time between the feast of First Fruits and the feast of Pentecost (Deut. 16:9-12; Lev. 23:15-16).

3). Seven of Months (7 months) — The seven months of the Jewish religious calendar which contain all seven of the Jewish feasts (Deut. 16; Lev. 23).

*** 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).

For more on Daniel 9:24-27 and how Jesus fulfilled the 490 years of 10 th. cycle of the Jubilee go to my article here: http://fullpreterism.com/the-seventy-sevens-of-daniel-924-27/

And don’t forget to order our book of which our opponents have yet to respond:

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

[2] ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament.

[3] 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.

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

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

Source: Fulfilled

Jesus Taught His Soteriological and Eschatological “Already and Not Yet” Kingdom and Second Coming Promises Would Be Fulfilled Spiritually and “Within” a Person By AD 70. A Survey of Luke’s Imminent Eschatology With Emphasis on Luke 17:20-37

Introduction

Many theologians refer to the NT’s teaching on the Kingdom in terms of the “already and not yet.” In other words, they see the NT teaching a Kingdom and salvation that had begun at the cross, resurrection and ascension of Jesus (the “already”) but an inheritance of the Kingdom and salvation that arrives at the Second Coming event sometime in our alleged future as the “not yet.”

And if Evangelical or Reformed theologians do admit that Jesus’ Kingdom is to be realized “within” the heart or soul of a person (per Luke 17:20-21), they inevitably connect this to the “already” of Jesus’ Kingdom and salvation promises and not to the very clear and truly imminent “not yet” Kingdom and salvation promises — contextually and inseparably connected to the Second Coming. I will demonstrate that the Church no longer lives in the “already and not yet” period, but post AD 70, we live in the age that was “about to come” at Christ’s genuinely “at hand” “this generation” Second Coming event.

The goal of this article will be to demonstrate the following concerning our Lord’s teaching on the timing and nature of His Kingdom and Second Coming within the immediate context of Luke 17:20—18:1-8:

1. We shall give a brief overview of the various concepts of the kingdom during John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ day, while at the same time give a brief OT summary of the Kingdom promises and why the first century Jew would not be able to “discern” their “end.”

2. We will consider the contextual flow of Luke’s eschatology concerning the eschatological “not yet” of the kingdom’s arrival (not just the “already”) as being fulfilled imminently (“at hand” “soon” “this generation”). Special attention will be given to John the Baptist’s eschatology — especially since John was preparing the eschatological “not yet” “way” of salvation and judgment seen in Malachi 3-4 which is described as the “great and awesome day” or Christ coming as the “Sun of Righteousness” (see #4 below).

3. Jesus and Luke connect the spiritual “within” reception of Jesus’ coming at His Parousia to be fulfilled when the OC kingdom would be put to death as a corporate body at the feet of the swarming Romans pictured as vultures. In other word’s 17:20-37 is a chiasm focusing on the question of the Pharisees and then the disciples on the when and where the kingdom will be manifested. Jesus had predicted elsewhere that the kingdom would be “taken” from OC Jerusalem (Pharisees) and “given” to a “nation” (the Church) bearing the fruits thereof (Mt. 21:43-45). Thus, Luke 17:20-37—18 describes HOW, WHEN and WHERE this transfer of the kingdom will take place – and it is clearly when the Son of Man would be revealed at the Second Coming event.

4. Another focus of this article will be to demonstrate that Christ’s Parousia (Mt. 24:27 a parallel to Lk. 17:24) is better described as Him coming as the “Sun of Righteousness” from the east to the west – burning up the wicked while at the same time filling the Church/New Jerusalem “within” with His resurrection light and life (Rev. 21-22).

5. It will also be demonstrated that the parable of the persistent widow is connected to Luke 17:20-37 and thus gives an AD 70 “quickly” (18:8) time frame for the Second Coming.

6. And lastly, this exegesis will be in harmony with what Jesus teaches in the Olivet Discourse. In Luke 21, it is both the eschatological “not yet” of the Second Coming and arrival of the Kingdom that will be fulfilled in an “at hand” and “this generation” time frame (Lk. 21:27-32 – i.e. AD 70).

7. Therefore, we must conclude that John the Baptist’s eschatology along with Jesus’ teaching in Luke 9:26-27 and Luke 17-18 are snapshots of what Jesus will fully develop in Luke 21 — ALL of which point to an imminent and eschatological “not yet” to the coming of the Second Coming and Kingdom that will not be seen with the physical eye but be realized “within” the Church.

Messianic Kingdom and Eschatological Views of John the Baptist and Jesus’ Day

Essenes

They considered themselves to be…:

1. the children of light,

2. the fulfillment of the New Covenant promises (being filled with the Holy Spirit),

3. the “way” in the wilderness crying out for apostate Jerusalem and her priesthood to repent, before…

4. …they would both be involved in an imminent end time 40 years holy war (patterned after the reign of David) to be waged with the Romans. They believed Messiah would be in the flesh and with military might destroy both the Romans and apostate Jerusalem while establishing them as the heirs of the Kingdom.

5. The kingdom would be physically seen and would be set up on a geographical location.

6. All of this would be fulfilled during the time of the Roman Empire per Daniel.

Pharisees

They also had a carnal view of the Messianic kingdom which included the following:

1. Messiah would come in the flesh and destroy Rome and the apostate Jewish sects such as the Essenes and establish them as the rightful heirs of the Kingdom.

2. Messiah would destroy all the Gentiles.

3. The OC Mosaic Law of Moses would continue in the age to come.

4. Some believed that when Messiah came, He would recapitulate Israel’s history and thus usher in a second or new exodus by which Messiah would have a 40 years transitionary reign from their “this [OC] age” to the “age [NC or Messianic] about to come.”

5. The kingdom would be physically seen and set up in a geographical location.

6. All of this would be fulfilled during the time of the fourth world Empire (Rome) per the prophecy of Daniel.

The first century Jews understood the imminent timing of the Messianic Kingdom, but not the spiritual nature of it. They also correctly saw a 40 years new exodus generation predicted but failed to see that Messiah would have to suffer and be the Passover Lamb. This and that the nature of the second exodus was a deliverance from spiritual sin/death and slavery and not another political or military exodus and deliverance as previously experienced through Moses and Joshua.

They also viewed the Temple and the Promised Land of Israel to be a city of light shining (through God’s presence in the MHP and through Torah) as a light to the Gentile nations who were in darkness. This imagery is given in Revelation 21-22:17 where it is the Church that emerges as the vindicated and glorified New Jerusalem and New Creation giving light and healing to the nations through the everlasting gospel.

Why did most not “discern” what the Kingdom was to be?

a. God predicted through Moses that in Israel’s “last days” and within a specific “perverse and crooked generation” they would reject their “Rock” and thus their “end” would be “near” (Deut. 31-32). Moses tells Israel that she would not be able to “discern” what Her covenantal “end” would be. Why?

b. One of the reasons is that Messiah would establish a spiritual (“cut without hands”) kingdom or a “new thing” during the time of the fourth or Roman Empire and it would be established when the physical temple and city were destroyed and judged (Dan. 2, 7, 9, 12; Isa. 24-28; 40-66). While they were correct to expect an imminent Messianic Kingdom during the time of Roman dominion, they still wanted another physical geo-political kingdom on earth and didn’t want to believe that God would judge them (not Rome) for rejecting and “cutting off” their own Messiah. The concept of rejecting their own Messiah (their Corner Stone and Rock) and them being the focus of judgment and not the Gentiles, would be and was considered a “strange work” to them (Isa. 28).

c. It pleased God to reveal Himself and His Kingdom to the “babes” and “unlearned” “remnant” and not to the majority – arrogant and apostate establishment. God wanted to work with a believing remnant of which could only come to Him unless He sovereignly drew/drug them to Himself (Jn. 6; 10). This pattern is present in the OT and continues even to today in the New Covenant age.

In short, they failed to understand Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom because

· It was “cut without hands”/spiritual and thus a “new thing” and they wanted the new wine in old wineskins.

· They (not the Romans) were the objects of judgment for rejecting their Messiah and persecuting those NT prophets He would send to them.

· It pleased God to do it this way and to reveal Himself to people He would create to be a humble and persecuted remnant – of which He would show His mercy and be strong on their behalf (vindicate “quickly”).

Imminent “Not Yet” eschatological flow of Luke’s eschatology

The Eschatology of John the Baptist

John is found in the desert & baptizing in the Jordan (Lk. 3:2-3).

This immediately confirms the Jewish expectation of the Second Exodus. In order for the people to inherit the imminent arrival of the Messianic Kingdom and Second Exodus promises, they had to go back out in the wilderness, repent, and thus be rebaptized through the waters of Jordan in order to receive the inheritance. Again, some Jews considered the new or second Messianic exodus to be another 40 years generation period. The NT develops this same time frame everywhere!

John is preparing a smooth way/road for the Messianic King (Lk. 3:4/7:27 = Isa. 40; Ex. 23; Mal. 3-4). We will examine each of these OT passages.

1. Isaiah 40:

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice (John) cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up (humble exalted), and every mountain and hill be made low (pride abased); the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, What shall I cry? (judgment also)” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. 9 …say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him (Isa. 62:11cf. Lk. 9:26-27/Mt. 16:27-28/Rev. 22:10-12), and his recompense before him.”

What John is “crying” and the “way” he is “preparing,” is that of eschatological salvation and comfort for the remnant BUT judgment at His “coming” as well.

2. Exodus 23:20:

20 “Behold,I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. 22 “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”

Again, we have the second or new exodus motif. Just as the Second Person of the Godhead protected Israel from the rear against her enemies and then led Her into the Promised Land during the first exodus, so too John the Baptist and Jesus are point to and or leading God’s NC remnant into the “heavenly land” or “city” that was “about to be” inherited at Christ’s “in a very little while” AD 70 coming (Heb. 3-4; 10—13:14YLT).

3. Malachi 3:1—4:1-6:

Behold, I send my messenger (John as Elijah), and he will prepare the way before me (Christ). And the Lord whom you seek will suddenlycome to his temple (in judgment – at Christ’s S.C.); and the messenger of the [New] covenant (Christ) in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming (Christ S.C.), and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire…”

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the SUN of Righteousness shall rise with healing in its rays/wings. You shall go out … leaping like calves from the stall…”5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah (John) the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

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

“The day” that is “coming” is the Second Coming which is described here as the “Sun of Righteousness” “rising” manifesting Himself as healing raysfor the righteous and yet burning the unrepentant. He would at this time cause His Church to inherit the New Creation described by Peter as “the world of righteousness” (2 Pet. 3).

“SUN of RIGHTEOUSNESS”

Ellicott’s Commentary:

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

John Gill:

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

This concept of Christ’s Second Coming being described as the Sun Coming will be picked up later when we discuss Him coming as allegedly “lightning” “from the east to the west” (17:24/Mt. 24:27). I will argue against this translation.

“Leaping like calves from the stall” – Refers to the Christians in Jerusalem that would joyfully flee the city when they saw the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem, right before the Lord’s Second Coming described as the sun shining from the east to the west – in obedience to Jesus’ warning in (Luke 21:20-27, 33; Lk. 17:24-27; and Mt. 24:15-27).

Matthew Poole writes,

Ye shall go forth; go out of harm’s way, out of Jerusalem, before the fatal siege, obeying the call from heaven, Go hence to Pella, and that of Christ, Matthew 24:15,16.

“The great and awesome day of the LORD” – This further clarifies the earlier reference of Christ’s Second described as the “Sun of Righteousness.”

“Strike the land with a decree of utter destruction”– Again, this is consistent with our Lord’s eschatology concerning His Second Coming in Luke 21 which involves bringing “great distress upon the land andwrath against this people (contemporary Jews of Jesus and John’s day). They will fall by the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Lk. 21:23-24). The LORD had uttered this “decree of utter destruction” of OC Jerusalem long ago through the OT prophets, and with John and Jesus confirming it’s “at hand” fulfillment.

The Kingdom is “at hand.” (Mt. 3:2).

MacArthur writes of this verse, “The kingdom is now manifested in heaven’s spiritual rule over the hearts of believers (Lk. 17:21); and one day will be established in a literal earthly kingdom (Rev. 20:4-6). “At hand” [means] in one sense the kingdom is a present reality, but in its fullest sense it awaits a yet-future [literal] fulfillment.”

John is correct to connect the “at hand kingdom” statement (cf. Mt. 3:2) with the “within your heart” kingdom description of Jesus here in our text (Luke 17:20-21). However, MacArthur does not follow sound exegesis or hermeneutics, for if he did, he would see that in BOTH contexts, it is the eschatological “not yet” judgment and salvation that is “at hand” or would be fulfilled in an AD 70 “quickly” time frame.

Here is what MacArthur fails to exegetically deal with concerning John’s truly imminent eschatological “not yet” kingdom declaration:

1. John was preaching a judgment and wrath that was “about to” or “soon” to come (Lk. 3:7 GNT mello).

The predominant meaning of melloin the NT and in Luke’s writings is “about to be” or “soon” to be fulfilled.

2. John preached that God’s Ax was “alreadyat the root of trees” (Lk. 3:9) —- Again another metaphor for the soon coming judgment.

3. John preached that God’s “Winnowing fork”was also already in His hand” and thus the time of “harvest” separation imminent (Lk. 3:17)

Again another metaphor for the soon judgment for that first century Jewish audience because this particular tool was used at the end of the harvest process. So John, like Jesus in Matthew 13:39-43, is developing the eschatological “not yet” “end of the age” “harvest” to be “soon” fulfilled for his