Exposing Futurist Schemes Part #2
Could God’s Kingdom Plans Get “Postponed” Either in
Jesus’ First or Second Comings?
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: ”Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Ps.2, cf. Act 2- 4).
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.”(Ps. 89:34-35)
“Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,'” (Isa. 46:10)
He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” And “Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isa. 42:4,9)
“And in the days of these kings (The Roman Empire) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Dan. 2:44)
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Dan. 4:34-35)
“because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead’” (Acts 17:31).
“But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4)
“as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephs.1:10-11)
(TLM Editorial note: Again, this is NOT an official response to Richard Pratt’s chapter in WSTTB Hyper-Preterism and Unfolding Biblical Eschatology. However, I had developed some material on Pratt’s views and I believe they fit well here under my series of articles on exposing the Futurist Schemes of interpreting the imminent time texts of the New Testament.)
Pratt tries to pieces together a theory that God genuinely offered an imminent Second Coming in the first century, but it allegedly got postponed because of a lack of faith and repentance on the part of “the covenant community.” What the “covenant community” is I’m not sure and would like an answer from Mr. Pratt. He tries to build his case (as Arminians and Open Theists do) on a few anthropomorphic prophetic texts in which God allegedly changes His mind or modifies His prophetic plan due to man’s repentance or lack thereof. It should be a red flag to the Reformed and Evangelical community when Pratt begins his chapter by telling us his approach and critique of preterism has never been given and it probably has to do with the fact most Evangelicals and Reformed believers disagree with his “complex” views which teach,
“…biblical prophecies are seldom fulfilled exactly as they are given” (WSTTB, 122, emphasis added).
Indeed, Pratt wants to educate the Preterist, Evangelical, and Reformed communities, that we have all adopted too simple a view of Moses test case concerning a true and false prophet, “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deut. 18:22). Apparently it is wrong for us to think a Biblical prophecy made through a prophet God has sent, is to be fulfilled when and how the prophet predicts. This passage has been used countless times against Mormons, J.W.’s and extreme charismatic sects, when their “prophets” have made false predictions concerning the Lord’s return. What is always interesting is how the cults respond. They argue along the lines of Pratt – “Even Biblical prophets were in error about the Second Coming and after all, if the New Testament authors claimed Jesus was coming soon and in some of their lifetimes and in their generation (and they were in error); what’s wrong if our “prophets” have done the same?” After reading Pratt’s chapter, we can hear them adding to their already worped excuses – “God genuinely predicted the end was going to come in the first century generation A.D. 30-70, or even the generations of 1832, 1914, 1948, but God changed His mind to return at these times and the Second Coming got ‘postponed.’ After all, Biblical prophecies are seldom fulfilled as and when God says they will be and in fact He changes His predictions based upon the will of man. There simply was not enough faith and repentance for Christ to return in 1832, 1914, 1948, etc… Maybe men like Hal Lindsey, Chuck Smith and Jon Courson, will begin adopting Pratt’s “apologetic” methods as to why God didn’t come in 1981 or 1999?
Because Pratt’s views sound so close and share some of the same presuppositions with that of Open Theism and Arminianism concerning God changing His predictions due to the responses of man’s will, he doesn’t want his proposition to be confused with theirs so he wants to disassociate himself from them and make distinctions. But indeed Pratt’s comments such as,
“Prophets did not want to inform their listeners about the future as much as they wanted to motivate their listeners to form the future” (WSTTB, p.138);
sound very similar to Arminian and Open Theist apologist Clark Pinnock who says,
“God invites humans to share in deciding what the future will be. God does not take it upon his shoulders.”
There really isn’t much Pratt and the Reformed futurist community can do apologetically to answer Pinnock’s views which stem from a failed New Testament eschatology among other things:
“The future is not stored up on heavenly video tape, but is the realm of possibilities, many of which have yet to be actualized. Peter gives us a nice illustration of this when he explains the delay of Christ’s return as being due to God’s desire to see more sinners saved – God actually postponing the near return of Christ for their sakes (2 Peter 3:9).”
“…dispite the Baptist, Jesus did not cast the wicked into the fire; contrary to Paul, the second coming was not just around the corner (1Thess. 4:17).
I was attending the Evangelical Theological Society in 2003 when they voted 67% to keep Pinnock in the society and thus leave these kind of statements as “Evangelical.” Because most Evangelicals are Arminian and futurists, or Reformed and postpone the Second Coming due to man’s will such as Pratt teaches, they haven’t a clue how to answer Pinnock and are forced based upon mutual doctrinal and eschatological presuppositions to accept Pinnock’s statements. Pinnock’s humanistic thinking associated with a failed and ever changing eschatology, have caused him to deny the inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures – things he at one time thought he knew how to defend. We gladly welcome Pinnock into a public debate since I find him more consistent than our Reformed opponents in the area of inspiration as it relates to an alleged postponing and unfolding of God’s eschatological plan of redemption.
A Denial of the Sovereignty of God — Postponing the Kingdom
Pratt’s “unfolding of eschatology” not only has more in common with how the last days cults, Arminianism, and Open Theism, approaches Bible prophecy, but it also follows the same pattern as that of Dispesntationalism. Most Reformed theologians cringe when they here such statements as this coming from Dispensationalists,
“When Christ presented Himself as Israel’s king, it was incumbent upon the Jews to repent of their sins in order for the messianic rule to begin. The issue of repentance overrides such expressions as “the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Please note some of the parallel reasoning of Dispensational doctrine with that of Pratt:
1) Dispensationalism: The kingdom was genuinely “at hand” in the first century (Mt. 3:2, 4:17) but it got postponed because there was a lack of repentance and faith from the majority of the covenant community.
Pratt: The kingdom associated with the Second Coming of Jesus was genuinely “at hand” in the first century, but it got postponed due to a lack of repentance and faith from the majority of the covenant community.
Typical Reformed response: Daniel and Jesus predicted that the kingdom would be established during the time of the Roman Empire and it was therefore genuinely “at hand” and inaugurated within the first century. Unbelief from the majority of the covenant community was God’s means by which He established the kingdom not the means of its postponement! It was not necessary that the majority of the covenant community of Israel believe on Jesus, because God saved Israel through faith and repentance of the remnant. This Reformed response would be the typical Amillennialist response. A Postmillennial response would address the “majority” of ethnic Jews needing to repent in the future. Is Pratt a Postmillennialist or an Amillennialist when it comes to the “covenant community”?
Our response: My response is identical from the typical Amillennialist Reformed response, except we recognize that Daniel, Jesus, and the New Testament authors genuinely predicted an “at hand” imminent kingdom during the time of the Roman Empire associated with the Second Coming to occur in Jesus’ “this generation” (Lk. 21:20-32/Mt. 24:15-34). The lack of repentance from the majority of the covenant community was a part of God’s sovereign plan to bring judgment and salvation at His return in A.D. 70. God did not postpone His kingdom plans through a lack of repentance from the covenant community of ethnic Jews under the old-covenant system and age, but rather ordained that this be a part of the process to establish His imminent kingdom plans with His return in A.D. 70.
2) Dispensationalism: Although the literal and nationalistic kingdom on earth was genuinely offered and intended by God to be set up within a first century “at hand” time period, the mere fact that Israel’s literal and nationalistic promises have yet to be fulfilled literally, proves the kingdom got postponed until Israel’s time clock begins ticking again in her last days.
Typical Reformed response: Dispensationalism postpones the imminent “at hand” offer of the kingdom of God within the “at hand” time frame of the Roman Empire, because it falsely assumes that the nature of the kingdom promises were to be fulfilled literally instead of spiritually as confirmed through how the New Testament authors interpreted the promises of the Old Testament.
Pratt: Although the Second Coming and kingdom was genuinely “at hand” in the first century, we know it got postponed because the fulfillment of these kingdom promises was not fulfilled literally. After all the literal planet has not been dissolved yet has it?
Our response: My response is identical to the Reformed response, in that it is the faulty presuppositions of both Dispensationalism and the Reformed community with their literal fulfillment of the kingdom assumptions, which allegedly postpones the “at hand” kingdom plans of God, either in His first or Second Comings. Because it didn’t occur in A.D. 70 in the way they think it should have, they reason it must have gotten “postponed.”
John MacArthur who is a Dispensationalist, claims to believe in the sovereignty of God and likewise believes Psalm 89:27-37 teaches a yet future literal kingdom on earth through the promised Davidic covenant. Yet verses 33-34 discuss how nothing will deter God from His great love for His people and He states in no uncertain terms, “I will not break nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David…” But if God predicted that the kingdom would be established during the time of the Roman Empire and Jesus said that the time of it’s arrival had come and would be fulfilled in an “at hand” and “this generation” time frame, to postpone the kingdom is to “alter” the promise. The rejection of the Jews would hardly postpone Israel’s “at hand” kingdom promises! In fact, their attempts only hastened their judgment and God “laughed” at their attempts to thwart His kingdom plans (cf. Isaiah 2 – 4; Psalm 2). The cross and resurrection did not postpone or alter His kingdom plans they established them according to the book of Hebrews and Peter. The rejection of Jesus the Son of David and the Son of God was “foreordained” within the Davidic covenant and the prophets to be evidence that Israel was in her “last days” and that Christ was already sitting enthroned in His kingdom reigning over His enemies after the ascension (Hebs.1-2/Act 2-4).
Again, the Scriptural position of the rejection of the Jews that resulted in the crucifiction and resurrection of Christ within an “at hand” “this generation” time period, was that it established Israel’s kingdom promises of both salvation and judgment. These promises and the same imminent time frame were connected to the Second Coming (Mt. 3:2-12; Lk.17:20à25-37, Lk. 21:20-32; Acts 2:40; Mrk. 8:38-9:1; 1 Pet.1:4-12, 2 Pet. 1:11 2:19=1Pet.4:5, 7, 17). I find it extremely disturbing that a “Progressive Dispensationalist” such as John MacArthur and Reformed theologians can say that “this generation” in (Lk.17:25) means the contemporary generation of Christ when it comes to the cross establishing some kind or “sense” of kingdom fulfillment for the Church; but when “this generation” is used to demonstrate the kingdoms arrival with the Second Coming, MacArthur and some Reformed theologians arbitrarily change the meaning of “this generation” and ironically claim we insist,
“on a too-literal interpretation of Matthew 24:34.”
According to most Dispensationalists its God’s will to save everyone and that His will is constantly being thwarted by the “free will” of man. Therefore, the question begging to be answered here is “How can Dispensationalists in their interpretation of Scripture ever gaurantee that God will save that “last believer” since part of the “sad reality” was that He couldn’t change the hearts of the Jews to accept Jesus the first time around!
Pratt claims he is a firrm believer in the sovereignty of God as do the last days cults, Arminain theologians and those holding to the views of Dispensationalism. Pratt’s futurist eschatology forces him to have more in common with these theological views, than one honestly defending the sovereignty of God and upholding the integrity of Bible prophecy.
The Unfolding of Moses Eschatology
“Moses anticipated that Israel would go into exile from the land. But once the people repented of their sins, they would be forgiven. And then, in the latter days, or the eschaton, they would be brought back to the land of promise and receive tremendous blessings.” (WSTTB, 141).
Moses predicted that Israel would come back into the land within her “last days” and would “heap up” her sin to such an extent during this period, that God would destroy her and His covenant of death with her while at the same time this being a time of saving Israel (the remnant) and an occasion of rejoicing for the Gentiles. Moses eschatology was actually very advanced and detailed laying out the coming seed of the Messiah through the Abrahamic covenant and the intimate salvations/gathering Messiah would accomplish when He came unto His people (Gen.1-3, 15, 49:10-12). Moses clearly predicted the coming of Messiah as the “greater prophet” and those that would not listen to Him would be destroyed from the old “covenant community” (Deut.18:15-18/Acts 2-3:23).
The Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 31-32 is probably the most descriptive of Moses eschatology and lays the foundation for Jesus’ eschatology and that of the rest of the New Testament authors. Along with Psalm 110, Deuteronomy 32 is the most quoted passage in the New Testament.
1) Moses predicted that in Israel’s last days, she will have become “utterly corrupted” (Deut. 31:29, cf. 32:34-35). This means there was coming a day in her covenant history with Jehovah, that they would “fill up the measure” of their sins through the “work of their hands,” whereby they would put to death their Messiah and the prophets He would send to her (Mt. 23:31-36; Acts 2:23; Rev. 6:10-11; 18:20-24).
2) Here Moses describes Israel as the “heavens,” “earth,” and “tender plants.” Isaiah and Jeremiah understood this language and followed Moses soteriological and eschatological pattern in referring to Israel as a creation and de-creation of the heavens and earth (Isa. 51:15-16; Jer. 4:19-31).
3) Moses foretold the “end” of Israel’s old-covenant or the “last days” of their age. This would occur within a very specific 40 year “crooked and perverse generation” time frame of which Jesus, Peter, and Paul identify as their own (Deut. 32:5, 20, Mt. 23:36, 24:34; Mk. 8:38, Acts 2:40; Phil. 2:15).
4) According to Pratt, Moses eschatology was not that advanced and did not include the Gentiles in a significant way. Yet Paul claims the prophecy to make Israel jealous through the Great Commission being fulfilled in his day fulfills Moses prophecy (Deut. 32:21; Rms. 10:18-19). Paul and the prophets predicted this would be a “short work” upon the land and therefore Christ’s return was “at hand” (Rms. 9:28, 13:11-12).
5) The Song of Moses predicts the fiery de-creation of the “earth/land” within the time of this perverse and last days generation (Deut. 32:22). John Lightfoot was in agreement with us, that this de-creation verse corresponds to the Olivet Discourse and the burning up of the old-covenant system in A.D. 70 in (Mt. 24:29; 2 Pet. 3).
6) Because of Israel’s apostasy in her last days, she is described as Sodom and Gomorra (Deut. 32:32), which forms the covenantal curse in Revelation against her along with being described as Babylon and Egypt (Rev. 11:8, 14-18).
7) When Israel’s latter days would come, the judgment that God had been storing up for her in His vault would be “near” (Deut. 32:34-35). This is what can be called projected imminence and can only be found in a few Old Testament prophecies, this being one of them.
8) Israel’s scattering out and then coming back in the Promised Land was described by Moses as a “wounding/healing & a death/resurrection” process. The Old Testament prophets and New Testament authors used these concepts to describe Israel’s death and resurrection and then her final death and transformation/resurrection under the new covenant (Deut.32:39/Isa. 25-27/Ezk. 37; Mt. 24:28; Lk. 21:24; Rms. 11:15; 1Cor. 15).
9) The destruction of old-covenant Israel in A.D. 70 was a judgment for Israel shedding the blood of all the Old Testament righteous, the prophets, Jesus, and the Apostolic prophets He would send to her. Israel being judged for her covenantal blood guilt marked the time for the salvation of the Jewish remnant among Israel and the salvation for the Gentiles (Deut. 32:43; Rms. 9-15:10ff.). Pratt claims that the Old Testament prophets developed the salvation of the gentile motif more than Moses did. However, it should be pointed out, that the Old Testament prophets got their salvation of the gentiles from Moses eschatology! Concerning the full number of the Gentiles coming in and Israel’s promises of salvation being accomplished as and when God had predicted, Paul states, “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Rms. 11:29). God’s promises to accomplish a “short work” of salvation upon the Land with Christ’s “at hand” return, were “irrevocable.” Paul interprets Moses eschatological promises using the Greek word ametameletoswhich is defined as,
“of God’s gifts and calling incapable of being changed, not to be taken back, inflexible (RO 11.29).
God Himself takes an oath that this judgment will occur within this specific last days generation of old-covenant Israel (Deut. 32:40-43/Mt. 23:31-36). Pratt portrays God as a liar and one who breaks His oaths of which He clearly says He would not!
Concluding Moses Eschatology. It’s understandable why Pratt has avoided the Song of Moses and how it is used by the New Testament authors. Nowhere in Moses eschatology is he discussing the end of the planet earth. As John Lightfoot pointed out, this de-creation language is referring to (Mt. 24:29; 2 Pet.3) and has nothing to do with the dissolving of the planet earth. As John Owen has pointed out, the term “the last days” or “latter days” in the Old Testament and the new, always refers to the dissolution of the old-covenant economy in A.D. 70 and has nothing to do with the end of the planet or new covenant age. When Israel had become “utterly corrupt” in her “last days,” is when her end would be “near.” This is the time frame John the Baptist enters the prophetic scene as Elijah announcing the kingdom was “at hand” and Israel’s last days harvesting “wrath” and salvation were about to be realized and fulfilled.
The Unfolding of Jeremiah’s Eschatology
Pratt’s theory concerning the prophecy of Jeremiah’s 70 year captivity and restoration is as follows: 1) The 70 years of captivity could have been avoided, 2) After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, Jeremiah’s predictions of restoration were postponed and partially fulfilled because, 3) the majority of Israel had not repented. Pratt is not specific on what exactly was supposed to occur at the end of these 70 years due to a lack of repentance for Israel! He claims Daniel is told that because all Israel did not repent their prophecies of restoration that were supposed to get realized after the 70 years, got postponed hundreds of years until the times of the New Testament. Therefore, Pratt in essence is saying had the majority of Israel’s “covenant community” repented at the end of the 70 years, apparently, the new covenant and the Messianic prophecies of salvation would have been fulfilled at these two Old Testament restoration periods, but got postponed (WSTTB 42-45). This is identical to the postponement theory of Dispensationalism, which teaches had all or the majority of Israel repented during the time of Christ, all the New Covenant salvation promises would have been realized and the cross, resurrection, and Second Coming promises contained in the Law and the Prophets, would have not been necessary for salvation.
I propose a much different “pattern” than what Pratt postulates, in which the New Testament authors follow the Old Testament prophets, from type to antitype.
1) God’s sovereign decrees of judgment and salvation in connection with the reliability of literal time texts.
a) The Old Testament type concerning a coming judgment, salvation tied to time texts: Like Arminians and Open Theist’s, Pratt seeks to build his theology on such isolated texts as (Jer. 18:1-10). And similarly, as Arminains love to argue that God said Pharaoh hardened his own heart but then hate to discuss the fact God had decreed this to ocurr and in fact God was the one who ultimately hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Pratt fails to discuss the majority of passages in Jeremiah. Pratt conveniently ignores the plethora of passages contained within Jeremiah’s prophecies that address the 70 year judgment/captivity and restoration that was a part of God’s sovereign “plan,” “decree,” in which He “purposed,” gave an “oath,” in declaring that this judgment “must” come upon Jerusalem and its wicked gentile neighbors through the hand of Babylon and then Babylon herself “must” be judged. These texts are so overwhelming clear along with the confirmation of God commanding Jeremiah to not pray for their repentance because their judgment was “certain” it is no wonder he avoids them – (Jer. 1:12, cf. 31:28, Jer. 7:16, 11:14, 17, 13:14, 23, 14:11-12, 15:1, 16:5, 11-13, 18:7-12, 21:10, 23:20, 29:10-14, 34:17-22, 38:3, 43:11, 49:13, 20, 50:45, 51:8-12, 29, 33, 35, 49).
God through Jeremiah calls the people to repentance in Jeremiah 4:4ff., 6:8 in light of the imminent fiery judgment upon their land and city. This does not imply they had the ability to repent or that their repentance would altar God’s plans to judge. This call to repentance served its desired results: a) the remnant among Israel and Judah did repent, and b) it served to further harden the consciences of the wicked that their rejection of God was their own fault and not God’s. There is an element in which the prophet is like a preacher of the Gospel – “If you repent, then…” The purpose of the “why will you…” statements is not to demonstrate God will change His mind, but to demonstrate reasonably to their consciences and all observing the judgment, that it is their love of sin that is brining this disaster upon them and therefore no injustice can be charged against God Himself for their imminent doom.
The time texts are taken literally and fulfilled literally in Jeremiah’s prophecies. God’s prophetic certain, decrees, plans, and covenant oath to destroy and judge Judah and the surrounding Gentile nations were inseparably connected to literal time texts. This prophecy of imminent judgment would affect Jeremiah’s contemporaries of his “this generation” in which some of them would witness Judah become a dead carcass and her land would become desolate (Jer. 2:31, 7:29). Pratt claims the prophecies of Jeremiah contradicts the Evangelical, Reformed, and Preterist understanding of Deuteronomy 18:22, in stating, “…prophets often predicted things that did not happen” (WSTTB, 131). However, in Jeremiah 27-28 we have Jeremiah appealing to Deuteronomy 18:22/Jeremiah 28:9 in his confrontation with the false prophet Hananiah whereby he prophesied Judah would go into captivity for a “long time” or 70 years (Jer. 25:11, 29:10, 28) as contrasted to Hananiah’s false prophetic utterance which predicted a restoration that would “soon” end – within 2 years (Jer. 27:16). Clearly Hananiah’s false prediction of a “soon” restoration is to be understood literally along with Jeremiah’s 70 year “long time” (Jer.29:28). God who is Lord over time isn’t having any problems here communicating the certainty and literal timing of His predictions of judgments in connection with (Deut. 18:22)!
God promises to bring judgment upon Moab by means of Babylon in an “at hand” time frame (Jer. 48:16). This was fulfilled within a literal “at hand” time period and was not “postponed” thousands of years. Then God “purposed” to judge Babylon “soon” by means of the Medes, and it likewise was fulfilled in this literal time frame and was not “postponed” thousands of years (Jer. 51:11-12, 33).
b) The New Testament atitype: The New Testament authors tell us God had “determined” “set” or “cut out a day” in which the judgment of the world and the raising of the “living and the dead” was “ready,” “at hand,” and “about to” to take place (Acts 17:31, 24:15 YLT & WEY; 1Pet. 4:5, 7, 17). This judgment and vindication was applicable to fall upon Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 23:36, 24:29-34).
The writer to the Hebrews addresses Jeremiah’s prophecy of the new covenant (cf. Jer. 31:31ff.) in Hebrews 8:8-12, 10:16-17. The inspired teaching of Hebrews 8-10 is that the old -covenant age was “soon to disappear” at the Second Appearing of Christ which was described as being “at hand” in a “very little while” and would “not be delayed” (Heb. 8:13, 9:26-28, 10:25, 37). This is also in fulfillment of God’s oath concerning the timing and spiritual nature of inheriting the Abrahamic covenant in which God could not lie as earlier stated in Hebrews 6:13-19. For Pratt to say Christ’s imminent return to judge old-covenant Jerusalem and give salvation to new covenant Jerusalem was genuinely imminent, but He decided to “postpone” and “delay” His Second Coming (when in fact God says just the opposite), is to make God a liar and breaker of His covenantal oath to judge old-covenant Jerusalem and save/gather new-covenant Jerusalem!
Like Jeremiah, those professors within the covenant community within his contemporary generation who had committed the “sin unto death” were not to be prayed for because it was “impossible” for them to repent and have life (cf. Heb. 2, 6, 10; 1 John 5:16-17). However, God had decreed and sovereignly willed that none of His Jewish or Gentile sheep would “perish” before His return (John 10, 2 Pet. 3:9).
Both Mathison and Gentry concede that old-covenant Jerusalem in the book of Revelation is the “Great City,” the “Harlot,” and “Babylon.” As we have seen in Jeremiah, God had “purposed” to judge Babylon “soon” and did. God’s antitype to the “soon” destruction of Babylonian was His determined counsel to judge Babylon/Jerusalem “soon” in A.D. 70. As Babylon was a destroying mountain to be burned up “soon” for her persecuting and shedding the blood of Jerusalem and therefore “must fall” (Jer. 51:25, 33, 35, 49); so too was old-covenant Jerusalem/Babylon to be set ablaze and cast into the sea/lake of fire for persecuting God’s new covenant Jerusalem (Mt. 21:21; Rev. 6:10-11; Rev. 8:8). As a remnant heeded Jeremiah’s prophecy and left Babylon and returned to Jerusalem before the Mede’s came to destroy her (Jer. 51:6, 45); Christians heeded the prophecy of Jesus and John and left old-covenant Jerusalem/Babylon to be spiritually gathered to a heavenly Jerusalem and physically gathered to Pella, before the Romans came to destroy Jerusalem in A.D. 66-77 (cf. Luke 21:20-22; Rev. 18:4).
2) De-creation language at the sound of the trumpet affecting a local earth/land.
a) The Old Testament type: At the sound of the trumpet call in Jeremiah 4:5, God uses Genesis 1:2 creation language to describe the de-creation of Israel by means of the Babylonian conquest. Jeremiah’s judgment only affected the local “land” of Israel and not the entire planet earth and yet Genesis 1 langue is used to describe its judgment Jeremiah 4:19-31. Even God’s judgment upon the “whole earth” of the gentiles Jeremiah is prophesying against were only the gentile nations surrounding Jerusalem at this time and included their local known world and not global nations and peoples (cf. Jer. 25:17-38, Jer. 46-51). Jeremiah wrote letters reaching the exiles of Israel within these gentile nations calling them and these nations to repentance and eventually to return to Jerusalem at the end of the 70 year period.
b) The New Testament antitype: At the sound of a trumpet call and using Genesis 1-3 language, the same pattern to describe a local judgment coming upon the then known earth/land in the New Testament is used Matthew 24:29-34; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 10:6-7 – 11:18-19; 1Corinthians 15; 1Thessalonians 4. And similar to the ministry of Jeremiah, Paul traveled and wrote letters to covenantal and ethnic Jews, and Gentiles throughout the then know world of the Roman Empire in which the great commission had been fulfilled Colossians 1:5-6, 23; Romans 10:18, 16:25-26.
3) God “sowed” or “planed” Israel
a) The Old Testament type: Israel going into exile and covenantal/spiritual death is described as God “sowing” or “planting” her as a seed among the gentile foreign nations (cf. Jer. 31:27, cf. Hos. 2:23, 8; spiritual, covenantal, and corporate death – Isa. 26-27; Ezk. 37).
b) The New Testament antitype: Israel was in the process of being transformed from old-covenant glory to new and “being sown” and “being raised” from “the death” produced by “the law.” This covenantal and corporate process was completed at Christ’s return in A.D. 70 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 3.
Concluding Jeremiah’s prophecies: The bulk of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerns a call to repentance primarily for Israel, in which she would go into captivity for 70 years and at the end, a believing remnant would be gathered back into Jerusalem. This process would be a time of Rachel weeping for her children as described in Jeremiah 31:15. The antitype begins with Israel or Rachel weeping for her children in Matthew 2:17-18 and concerns another period of roughly 70 years in which Israel’s King is born and through faith in Him, Israel and the gentiles begin a journey of coming out of the Babylonian captivity of spiritual sin and death and into the new-covenant life of Christ and inheriting the New Jerusalem by A.D. 70. There is no exegetical evidence in which one can claim not enough Jew’s from the “covenant community” repented in order to fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy as Pratt suggests! It was predicted that a “remnant” and “great throng” would return and “none would be missing.” This group of 42,360 is documented for us in Nehemiah 7. Pratt’s statements are false and there simply is no evidence here of a “postponed” prophecy due to a lack of repentance!
1) Daniel 2: Daniel interprets a dream concerning “what will happen in days to come.” 2:28. During the time of these 4 world empires, God will set up His eternal kingdom and it will never be subjected to others taking it over and nor will it ever end. The “rock cut without hands,” is Christ and His kingdom whom will take over Israel and judge the 4 previous kingdoms by striking the power of the gentiles at the feet or during the time of the Roman Empire. During this Empire, God’s kingdom will grow into a huge mountain covering the “whole earth/land” 2:34-35. Christ is the “stone” (Isa. 28:16; Mt.21) of which Israel and the gentiles stumbled over as the Great Commission was preached throughout the Roman Empire.
2) Daniel 3-6: Not a “hair” perished on the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace 3:27 as a type of the remnant making it through the firery trails preceding the wrath that would be poured out upon Jerusalem in AD 66-70 (Lk. 21:18, 1Pet. 1:5-7). Daniel is saved from the lions as a type of God delivering the remnant from Satan whom roared about as a lion seeking to whom he may devour – but they would overcome and God would deliver them (1Pet. 5:8; Rev. 2:9-10, 3:8-10).
3) Daniel 7: Jesus comes as the Ancient of Days during the time of this fourth kingdom/beast which is described as being unlike the others. He comes to judge the “little horn” for his persecution of the saints. The time of judging the little horn, is the time for the books to be opened and Christ’s Second Appearing in judgment takes place. There has been speculation as to the identity of who the little horn is among Preterist interpreters – Rome and Nero, or old-covenant Jerusalem and or some ruler of the first century “synagogue of Satan” whom persecuted the first century Christians before they inherited the kingdom in AD 70.
4) Daniel 8: This chapter is about Greece overcoming the Medes and Persian Empire. This is about Antiochus IV Epiphanes seeking to throw down the stars or heavenly people of the Jews and him desecrating the Jewish temple in the periods of (168-164 BC). It is described as “the time of the end” 8:10-19. Because this prophecy concerned the “distant future” in comparison to Daniel’s life span, he is told to “seal up the vision” 8:26. This chapter once again confirms that time statements are literal and Israel as a covenant people, are described as a heavenly people. Thus stars falling from the heavens etc. are not literal stars.
5) Daniel 9: Daniel intercedes for the people in order to return to the land as Jeremiah’s prophecy foretold. However, God gives Daniel revelation that goes beyond Jeremiah’s 70 year exile and restoration prophecy and includes the times of the Messiah which would take place during the time of the fourth Gentile Empire – Rome.
Again Pratt claims God allegedly explains to Daniel that the restoration for the exiles at the end of the 70 years Jeremiah foretold, “…had been extended from seventy years to seventy weeks of years, or about 490 years. Because the people had refused to repent, God decided to multiply the length of the exile by seven” (WSTTB, p.145). Really? Examining Nehemiah’s prayer and the repentance that took place from the remnant in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, it seems clear enough that the people repented and were restored back into the land after 70 years just as Jeremiah’s prophecy predicted. Apparently Pratt doesn’t want to discuss that prayer and those prophetic books in connection to Jeremiah’s 70 year captivity and restoration prophecy. God is answering Daniel’s prayer and explaining the fulfillment of the new covenant prophecies contained in Jeremiah and giving more revelation concerning the days of Messiah. In other words, God is revealing the time frame of the antitype of what the 70 years of exile/restoration prophecy pointed. There is no “postponed” or failed eschatology here! Again, just as Jeremiah’s 70 year type exile/restoration prophecy was fulfilled in the literal time frame it was predicted to come; so too were the antitype promises of the new covenant exile/restoration fulfilled in a “this generation” “at hand” “shortly” “in a very little while” time frame. From Christ’s birth to His parousia in A.D. 70, was a period of 70 years in which Christ as THE eschatological Cyrus, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, etc., restored and rebuilt the eternal City of the Living God. There was no postponement or delay to the remnant returning to the Land in the type of the 70 year prophecy of Jeremiah, as there was no delay in Christ building up and establishing the New Jerusalem by A.D. 70 at His imminent return (Heb.3, 10:37, 13:14WEY, Rev. 22:1-2, 22:6-7, 10, 12).
Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy as interpreted by Jesus, clearly foretells the establishing of the Messianic Kingdom during the time of the fourth gentile kingdom, which virtually every futurist acknowledges as the time of the Roman Empire. However, the book of Daniel, Jesus, nor the New Testament authors limit the arrival of the kingdom to Christ’s first coming but understand that the kingdom’s establishment involves Christ’s Second Coming during the Roman Empire as well (Dan. 7:15-27, 9:24-27, 12:1-7). Jesus tells us that when He would return on the clouds of heaven marking the time of the abomination of desolation of which Daniel foretold, is when Daniel’s prophecy, indeed all Old Testament prophecy concerning the last things would be fulfilled (Mt. 24:15, 30-31/Dan. 7:13-14/9:24-27/12:1-7; Lk. 21:20-22). All Old Testament prophecy, the Second Coming, and the everlasting Messianic kingdom promises were established by A.D. 70 during the time of the Roman Empire. Daniel nor any of the New Testament authors interpreting Daniel, teach a “postponed” or “delayed” Second Coming. Dispensationalists are in error by interjecting a 2,000 + year gap between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks. Reformed theologians are in error for trying to squeeze all the redemptive events of the 70 weeks into the personal ministry of Christ and the cross.
6) Daniel 10-11: Once again, although God is Lord over time He is able to sufficiently communicate literal time language to man. Daniel is told concerning the prophecies in these two chapters that they concern events “many days yet to come” (Dan. 10:14). They are addressing the “time of the end” and not the end of time (Dan. 11:35, 40). Contrary to Pratt’s theory, the angel assures Daniel that these prophetic revelations have to do with God “appointing” the time of there fulfillments and have thus been “determined” and and thus “must take place” (Dan. 11:35-36). Suffice it to say these are not prophecies that “seldom” got fulfilled, postponed, delayed, or are just left up in the realm of the “who knows” what’s going happen and when category. Even in their typological fulfillments concerning the Medes, Persians, and Greece, they were fulfilled how and when God determined them to be fulfilled.
7) Daniel 12: This chapter poses all kinds of problems for futurists especially for Reformed theologians such as Gentry, Mathison, Sproul, and DeMar whom claim the great tribulation and abomination of desolation were fulfilled by A.D.70. The angel tells Daniel that when the power of the holy people is completely shattered (Jerusalem and the temple destroyed), is when “all these things will be completed” (Dan. 12:7). Exegetically, it is impossible to cherry pick the fulfillment of the great tribulation and the abomination of desolation with the destruction and judgment of Jerusalem and its temple in A.D. 70 without including the “all things” of the judgment and resurrection that are contextually interlocked with these other two eschatological events! Jesus identified the resurrection of (Dan. 12:2-3) to occur at the end of the old-covenant “this age” He was living in and addressing in (Mt. 13:39-43, 24:30-31).
Concluding Daniel’s prophecies. Since it is admitted that Daniel 2, 7, 9, and 12 are chapters giving prophecies concerning Israel’s last days and refer to the general resurrection and judgment at Christ’s return, we need to ask the straightforward question on the timing issues:
Did God change His method of telling time
Between Daniel & John concerning the same subject matter?
DANIEL WAS TOLD:
1· “Seal up the vision”
JOHN WAS TOLD:
1· “Don’t seal up…”
2· Why? “the appointed time was long…” and
3· “…the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
2· Why? “…for the time is at hand.”
3· “…for the time is near
(Rev. 22:10 & 1:3)
4· Daniel was told that he would not live to see this prophecy fulfilled.
4· John was told that he could live to see the prophecy fulfilled.
(Mat. 16:27-28, Mat. 10:22-23; Mat. 24:34; Jn. 21:18-22)
God who rules over time apparently had no problem communicating to man (Daniel) who is bound by time, that this prophecy wouldn’t be fulfilled until a “long time” either in referring to typological fulfillments prior to A.D. 70, or referring to A.D. 70 specifically. Indeed the time of fulfillments didn’t come until some hundreds of years from the time Daniel received the visions. God’s time phrase of a “long time” was related to Daniel in the terms of his physical life span. Since some 300+ years was well beyond his life span, it was a “long time” away. In Revelation, John is told the opposite of Daniel, “Do not seal up the the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” (Rev. 22:10). God’s time phrases of “near,” “shortly,” “quickly,” and “at hand,” to John and the seven churches which were in Asia were promises also related to their life spans. John and the other disciples were promised that some of them would live to see these things come to pass in their generation (Matt. 16:28; 24:34, Jn. 21:18-22). Both visions of Daniel and John (and the prophecies in Peter’s epistles) deal with the kingdom, the Second Coming of Christ in judgment, the tribulation, and the resurrection of the dead. According to the futurist, the time is still “near” for John’s vision to take place even though it has been some 2000+ years since John had his vision. Why would God now change His way of communicating the time of the fulfillment of Daniel’s and John’s visions concerning the same subject matter? The answer is that He didn’t. At the time when Daniel had his visions which included the Second Advent and His kingdom, the time of its designated fulfillment, AD 70, really referred to “many days yet to come.” When John had His vision concerning the Second Coming of Christ and His kingdom, it was only seven or fewer years away. Therefore, “a long time” meant a long time and “near” really did mean NEAR!
Although Reformed theologians such as John Lightfoot and Gary DeMar are very inconsistent in trying to harmonize their preterism, with their creedal confessions, I would agree with such statements as this, “John Lightfoot, in a sermon on Revelation 20:1-2, concludes that ‘where Daniel ends John begins, and goes no farther back, and where John begins Daniel ends, and goes no farther forward. For Daniel sheweth the state and persecutors of the Church of the Jews, from the building of Jerusalem by Cyrus, to the destruction of it by Titus, and he goes no farther.’”
The “pattern” from Old Testament prophecy to the New is not the “seldom fulfilled,” failed, postponed, or “delayed” theory Pratt would lead the Reformed and Evangelical community to believe; but rather, God determining certain prophecies to be fulfilled within literal time texts, and God being faithful to watch over and thus fulfill His Words!
When we examine the prophetic Old Testament types and the New Testament anti-types, a different “pattern” emerges than the failed eschatology of Richard Pratt. God kept His covenant oaths and promises and did in fact cause His people to come back into their land through Ezra and Nehemiah and experience a resurrection from the dead. These being types of another resurrection to take place not “in the land,” under the old covenant, but rather “in Christ,” under the new covenant. This resurrection would be fulfilled as and when Jesus and the New Testament author’s claimed they would. Jesus and the New Testament authors understood Moses last days terminal generation to be their own! There is no other “covenant community” and period of time of which the New Testament addresses an imminent fulfillment.
Jeremiah appealed to Moses test cast for Israel to judge between his prophetic utterance and that of Hananiah’s false prediction. Likewise, this judgment of the two prophets contained literal time frame references not to be spritualized away. Jeremiah’s prophetic utterances of Israel and the surrounding nations contained literal time frame statements which were fulfilled as and when God said they would be fulfilled. Pratt’s futuristic “scheme” has been exposed as portraying God as not Sovereign and keeping His decreetive oaths and promises.
There is simply no way one can argue that the repentance of the “covenant community” among ethnic and old-covenant Israel could be repeated in our future. There was only one period within redemptive history in which the old and new covenants were overlapping with the old to soon disappear and the new “about to” to be fully realized. That old-covenant system vanished in A.D. 70 never to return (Heb. 8:13-10:37). I have addressed the main text Pratt appeals to in 2 Peter 3:8-9 under my article entitled, THE ESCHATOLOGICAL TIME TEXTS IN 1 AND 2 PETER. The reader is encouraged to now turn to that article in order to read my final response to Pratt’s groundless futurist scheme. Here I also address the eschatological time texts in 1 and 2 Peter as a response to Mathison and the other authors of WSTTB?
 Pinnock, Clark, A Case for Arminianism The Grace of God, The will of Man, p. 21, Zondervan pub. 1989
 Pinnock, ibid. p.20 emphasis MJS
 Mal Couch, ed. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, The End Times Controversy, (Eugene Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 304.
 John MacArthur, The SECOND COMING Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1999), 72.
 MacArthur ibid, p.80 emphasis added.
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. 46
 Reformed theologians such as Meredith Kline teach that the 70 weeks is not a literal 490 years prophecy and that the 70 weeks are symbolic of the period of Christ’s Jubilee or His redemptive work spanning a period between Jesus’ First and Second Coming. If the 70 weeks is not to be taken literally but symbolic of the time Christ accomplishing salvation and redemption, and Israel understood that when Messiah would come He would “recapitulate” or relive and identify with Israel’s deliverances and redemptive history under the Patriarchs, then perhaps the 70 years of Babylonian captivity and the 70 years of Christ as King of Israel in His flesh and spirit are significant? During these years Christ began delivering His remnant (the church) out from among the old-covenant Babylon/Jerusalem into Himself through faith.
 Gary DeMar, BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW MAGAZINE, The Prophecies of Daniel: Why They Don’t Point to Us, p.16, Vol. .23, #10 & 11, Oct / Nov. 2007, emphasis added.