T.O.L.M. Podcast – Mt. 24:341948? & Interview with Don Preston on 1 Thess. 4

Friday night October 9th at 5:30 P.M. Pacific Standard Time Michael Sullivan and myself will be continuing with part 2 of our podcast that we started 2 weeks ago discussing Hal Lindsey’s and Chuck Smith/Jon Courson’s (ie. Calvary Chapel’s) false interpretation of Matthew 24:34 and the issue of – was 1948 really a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?  After we finish what we started (with Don Preston joining this discussion), Don will begin to take us through  1  Thessalonians 4:13-17 and talk about his new book, “We Shall Meet Him in The Air The Wedding of the King of Kings!”


Listen Live

Here is part 1


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Kenneth Gentry: Eck Redivivus

On September 16, 2009, Kenneth Gentry and Kenneth Talbot were interviewed by William Hill on Covenant Radio. This is my response to Gentry’s part in the interview.

In the beginning, Mr. Hill asked Gentry to give “a basic definition” of “hyper-preterism.”

Gentry began his response by saying that the definition of “hyper-preterism” is a difficult question to answer, and that the question becomes more difficult day by day. This is because “the hyper-preterism movement,” said Gentry, is made up of divided, warring factions. It’s a fragmented and continually fragmenting movement that is continuing to “mutate.” It’s like “mercury” in that it “beads up in different directions.”

But then, oddly enough, Gentry immediately gave a basic definition of “hyper-preterism.” He said that “basically” hyper-preterism can be defined as the belief that all biblical prophecy (specifically, the Second Coming, the Resurrection, and the Final Judgment) was fulfilled by AD 70 and that history and sin on Earth will continue forever. Gentry added that this “basic,” “systematized” belief is “held across the board in all phases” of “the hyper-preterist movement.”

To sum up: Gentry was asked for “a basic definition” of “hyper-preterism.” He responded by saying that it is difficult to answer that question because the “hyper-preterist movement” is a continually fragmenting and mutating movement. But then he immediately gave a systematic, “basic definition” of “hyper-preterism” that is “held across the board” throughout the “hyper-preterist movement.”

As conspicuous as Gentry’s contradiction is, there is a much more important error to be addressed. Gentry does not seem to realize how his criticism of “the hyper-preterist movement” is a perfect echo of the Roman Catholic Church’s criticism of the Reformation and Protestantism. To see this, all we need to do is quote Gentry’s argument word for word, and replace the word “hyper-preterist”/”hyper-preterism” with the word “Protestant”/”Protestantism”:

Question: What is the basic definition of [Protestantism]?:

Gentry’s answer: “That question interestingly is a difficult question to answer, and it’s getting more difficult day by day, and what I mean by that is two things. In the first place, it’s hard to define because the [Protestant] movement is divided into so many warring factions that are running against each other, that if you critique one element then the other element will say, well you haven’t really gotten to the issue. Then if you go to them, another third element will come and say, well you haven’t dealt with our issues. So it is a fragmented movement. Furthermore, it is a continually fragmenting movement that is continuing to mutate. They are developing new doctrines all along the way, depending on which group you go with and how long you stay with them before they blow up. Basically though, [Protestantismconsists of the errors of Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura].”

Johann Eck could not have said it better.

Gentry later said that “hyper-preterists” are “very big on denying the legitimacy of the creeds.” He also argued, “How could the church be wrong for 2,000 years?” It was disappointing to hear Gentry use these tired, worn out arguments. Mike Sullivan personally gave him a copy of House Divided: Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology. Apparently Gentry hasn’t read it yet. As the book plainly demonstrates, it is misleading to say that preterists are “very big on denying the legitimacy of the creeds.” Certainly there are preterists who are anti-creedal, even as many futurists are anti-creedal. But preterists of Reformed background –the preterists with whom Gentry is interacting– cannot be painted with the broad brush of “denying the legitimacy of the creeds.”

As for the argument that the church couldn’t have been wrong about eschatology for about 2,00 years (or more accurately, about 1,800 years), Gentry is yet again using a Roman Catholic argument. How could the Reformers have been correct about “forensic justification by faith alone” when the post-apostolic church NEVER taught that doctrine until about the year 1500? According to Gentry’s fallacious reasoning, Reformed Theology must be an unbibical and damnable heresy. Gentry’s argument (”Hyper-preterism” is new in church history. Therefore it is false.) brings the Reformation down like a house of cards. “Forensic justification by faith alone” was just as “new” in the 1500’s as “hyper-preterism” was “new” in the 1800’s. Gentry, please read the free copy of the book we literally put in your hand. May it save you from using the methodology of Johann Eck.

When asked to elaborate on how “the hyper-preterist movement” is divided and fragmented, Gentry gave as one example that some preterists believe that Jesus’ resurrection “wasn’t really physical.” Can someone please help me with this? I’ve never heard a preterist say that Jesus was not physically raised from the dead. I don’t doubt that there has been some crackpot out there who has made this claim, but Gentry has been saying this about preterists for over 10 years now. He gives the impression that this is a prominent belief in “the hyper-preterist movement.” Someone please tell me, to whom is Gentry referring?

When Gentry was asked how he responds to the argument that he is largely responsible for the hyper-preterist movement, Gentry deflected responsibility by saying that “hyper-preterists” are building on the Bible as much as they are building on Gentry.

I must agree that Gentry’s partial preterism has been serving as a very effective stepping stone for multitudes of believers as they rely on Scripture to lead them to “hyper-preterism.”

Thank you, Ken. You have been serving “the hyper-preterist movement” well, even as, ultimately, Eck did for the Reformation. Keep up the good work, Brother. And God bless you.

David Green

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House Divided…parts 2 & 3

TLM note:  It is sad that critics of our book refuse to actually interact with the arguments of the book.  The only comments thus far have come from people who haven’t read it, or in this case have only sought to interact with half of a chapter and then run with their tail between their legs when a “back and forth” discussion begins.  Russell apparently experienced the same frustration, “The author desires to express his acknowledgments for the gratifying reception which his work has met with at the hands of many able and competent scholars. Though it has not commanded a wide circle of readers, he has every reason to be satisfied with the quality of those who have expressed their approbation. It was hardly to be expected that views, which come into conflict with traditional and popular opinion, should meet with ready concurrence; but the author must confess his disappointment that no serious attempt has been made to disprove any of his positions.” (J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia a Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming, Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, 1990, 1).

My Response #2 to Jon


Jon wrote: Dave wants to claim that Paul stands shoulder to shoulder with Hymie and Philetus on the nature of the resurrection.

My response: I didn’t claim that “Paul stands shoulder to shoulder with Hymie and Philetus on the nature of the resurrection.” I said that “for all we know from the context,” that could be the case. All we can derive from the text is that Paul considered Hymenaeus’ teaching on the timing of the resurrection to be a faith-overthrowing heresy. In order to maintain that Hymenaeus’ heresy concerned the nature of the resurrection, the best a futurist can do is assume that to be the case, based on nothing but the assumption of futurism. That’s where the question begging comes in when futurists anathematize preterists based solely on 2 Timothy 2:16-18.

Jon wrote: If you are with two groups of people – “pro-lifer” & “pro-choice” – and declare yourself a member of Operation Rescue and it is with respect to the sanctity of life that you are on trial, then everyone knows what you mean by that language. To respond, I wasn’t getting into the nature of life or when life begins, but merely that I support life is duplicitous. Paul declared himself a Pharisee, which meant a certain perspective on the resurrection of the dead, and he aligned himself with them.

My response: If we may, let’s change to an apples-to-apples analogy. Let’s say the Pharisees believed that angels were material beings and that Paul believed that angels were non-material beings, while the Sadducees denied the very existence of angels. Perhaps we can agree in this scenario that even though Paul and the Pharisees would be “worlds apart” on the “nature” of angels (material versus non-material), Paul could still say he was on the side of his fellow Pharisees against the Sadducees, because he believed in the existence of angels. I see no reason to assume that the Pharisees would have said, “Paul is being duplicitous! He doesn’t REALLY believe in angels. He thinks they’re non-material beings!”

It’s the same thing with the resurrection of the dead. Paul believed that there was going to be a resurrection of the dead. So did the Pharisees.That’s the only point of agreement (the “certain perspective”) that Paul needed in order to divide and conquer his enemies.

Jon wrote: The Pharisees would not “acknowledge” a non-physical resurrection from the dead.

My response: Is there historical evidence that tells us that one would be disqualified from being a Pharisee if he believed in a non-biological resurrection of the dead? Is there evidence that there was no room for disagreement within the Pharisee party on the literal, biological nature of the resurrection?

David Green

My Response #3 to Jon: Found here.

Jon wrote: As Wright point outs there are two basic meanings for resurrection in the Second Temple period. “In each case the referent is concrete: restoratin of Israel (’resurrection’ as metaphorical, denoting socio-political events and investing them with the significance that this will be an act of new creation, of covenant restoration); of human bodies (’resurrection’ as literal, denoting actual re-embodiment). Nothing in the entire Jewish context warrants the suggestion that…that the Jewish literature of the period ’speaks both of a resurrection of the body and a resurrection of the spirit without the body’.” End of discussion.

My response: You’re assuming that the saints who were in Hades did not take part with the living in the “restoration of Israel,” the “act of new creation, of covenant restoration.” There is no basis for that assumption. Beginning at Pentecost, the living –both Pagans and saints– were saved (or “spiritually resurrected”) through faith in the recently shed, age-changing blood of Christ (Acts 10:1-2; 11:14; Eph. 2:6; Rev. 20:4, 6). Did not the dead old covenant saints have the same need as the living old covenant saints? Did they not also have to hear and believe the newly manifested Gospel (”the voice of the Son of God“) and be saved (Jn. 5:25, 28; 1 Peter 4:6)? Did not the saints in Hades have the same need as the living old covenant saints: to be baptized into the universal Body of Christ through faith in His shed blood? Did the dead old covenant saints not participate with the living old covenant saints in regeneration/rebirth? Yes, they did (Isa. 26:19; Matt. 19:28; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Rev. 1:5). Therefore, the dead were resurrected in the same non-biological way (”new creation”) that the living were resurrected. “Behold, I make all thingsnew” (Rev. 21:5).

Jon wrote: Paul claimed to be a Pharisee. To not really be a Pharisee, yet claim to be and then use the language in the way he did is duplicitous.

My response: Paul was not really a Pharisee? I’m not sure where that came from.

I’m sorry you’re not continuing our “back and forth.” But we can leave it at this:

1. My position is “unexegetical.”
2. I make words mean anything I want.
3. I’m comparable to New Agers and Barack Obama.
4. I deny the divinity of Christ.

And I might add, I kill babies in their cribs and I push old ladies down stairwells.

Thank you, Jon.

David Green


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Response to Dr. Birks

Response to Dr. Birks

by Sam Frost on September 10, 2009[edit]

The Last Enemy “being destroyed”: A Response to Dr. Kelly Birks

This paper will be brief in that I will utilize three standard works on I Co 15.26.  First, a string of translations:

ESV: “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

MRD: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

DRA: “And the enemy, death, shall be destroyed last.”

These translations reflect the overall decisions of the VSS (versions).  Note that “to be” is infinitive, and “shall” or “will” is future.  The Greek, however, is “ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργεῖται ὁ θάνατος.  Here, “last enemy is being destroyed the death” (literally).   The word καταργεῖται (katargeitai) is declined as present, passive, indicative.

We turn first to The Corinthian Correspondence (Ed., R. Bieringer, Leuven University Press, 1996).  There, M.C. De Boer (“Resurrection Tradition in I Cor 15,20-28”) remarks that Paul “modified” Psalm 110 in order “to portray the risen Christ’s session at God’s right hand as a dynamic, apocalyptic process (over against the static, spatial conception of the Corinthians), whereby the inimical principalities and powers are being destroyed (καταργέω), culminating in the destruction of Death, the last enemy” (p. 648).  Further, “As the last enemy, death is being destroyed” (ibid.).  De Boer notes the tension (and controversy) over the fact that Paul used an aorist “he has subjected all things” in verse 27.  This would include Death.  Christ, already having been raised (perfect tense) has Death underneath Him, yet, at the same time, Death is to be destroyed at the parousia or “the end” when the dead are raised.  The resurrection of the dead signifies the ultimate defeat of Death.

De Boer notes Gordon Fee, and to his commentary we come to now (Gordon Fee, TNICNT, The First Epistle to the Corinthians – Eerdmans).  There we find, “The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling….the sentence literally reads, “the last enemy is being destroyed, namely death.”  The difficulty lies with the present tense and the passive voice of the verb….in a sense death, the final enemy to be subdued, is already being destroyed through the resurrection of Christ….” (pp.756-757).  Both De Boer and Fee take “death” here as not only the principality or power, but also the manifestation of its power: physical demise on the individual who is also in Christ.  They picture the ultimate demise of Death with the arrival of the parousia and the complete end of physical death (in fulfillment to Rev 21.3, “There shall be no more the death”).

Fee is to be noted in that he says this is a “puzzling” verse.  Why puzzling?  If the argument were as straightforward as Birks makes it sound, there is no puzzle here at all.  But there is a puzzle.  On one hand, Christ has been risen from the dead, from the realm in which the “power of the death” has dominion over them.  It’s power, therefore, has “already” been broken.  Those in Christ are already “being made alive” as Paul stated elsewhere.  The dominion of Death can be pictured, thus, as “being destroyed.”  For these commentators, they rightly see that Death is not merely physical demise, but also a power.  As Preterists, we drop off the physical demise as part of the power.  We see “the Death and the Hades” on the same horse, the fourth horse of the apocalypse.  Sheol and Death are represented as powers.

Finally, Anthony C. Thiselton has written the TNIGTC, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Eerdmans/Paternoster).  In location, he states, “It is difficult to do justice to the present passive καταργεῖται in translation.  As it stands, the Greek states, The last enemy is being annihilated, (namely) death.  It is arguable that Paul uses the present to denote the process of annihilation already set in motion by Christ’s (past) death and resurrection.  Thus the “stingless” death experienced by Christians already represents a partial annihilation of death in its fullest, most terrifying sense” (p.1234 – italics his).  He, of course, mentions other possible ways to understand the present as a “future” present expressing certainty of an event.  However, he sees at the parousia the overcoming of death in the “fullest sense”.  This full sense is, for him, the annihilation of physical death.  For all three commentators, physical death is the fullest expression of the power of Death.  For all three, Christ’s resurrection has already begun the process of annihilating Death, and, in a sense, for those in Christ as well.  This will culminate at the “end” (end=parousia) when physical death is obliterated.

Birks, on the other hand, wants us to believe that the Greek present here absolutely cannot contain the idea of “process.”  He thinks that the reason it is translated as future in most VSS. is because, not that death is understood as physical demise, but that, “Paul teaches that V.’s 21-23 occur first in the order of events in order for V.’s 24-26 to take place” (preteristdebate.ning.com).

Let’s review this. Vv. 21-23 state, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”  For Birks, this “occurs first” therefore, Death cannot be seen as being in process before the parousia (the word “coming” in Greek is parousia).  Birks, unlike the three commentators above, does not see any defeat or beginning process of Death’s annihilation in the firstfruit resurrection of Christ.  This, for me, is a strike against his view, for there is nothing in the grammatical structure that would make his claim absolute.

Vv. 24-26 read, “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  However, we must note the word “after” in the translation (ESV).  Christ’s reign begins, we believe, at His ascension.  The “must reign” denotes the current reign of Christ in the time of Paul’s writing (present infinitive which emphasizes linear action – see Fee).  Christ’s enemies, therefore, were already placed under His feet and the manifestation of that fact would be displayed at the “end” or “parousia”.  Birks makes the “end” and “parousia” two separate events, one happening after the other, which Fee and Thiselton would argue against.  They see it as two sides to one event: at the parousia, death is defeated, then Christ hands over the kingdom.  We cannot begin to do the necessary exegesis here, in that these are notoriously difficult passages.

It should be noted that, 1. Birks case that the present tense here cannot, absolutely cannot, have any meaning of present action is false.  It is “arguable” that it can have this force.  2.  Birks argued that none of the commentators (that he has read) has in mind physical death as the “fullest” manifestation of Death’s power, but that they are constrained by the context (“this comes after that, therefore, future”).  I have shown this to be false as well.  Every commentary I own on I Co sees Death as the complete annihilation of physical death.  This is what constrains them.  This, in a way, actually refutes Birks in that if the physicality of death is removed from the definition of “the Death”, then nothing in the context restrains us from seeing the present annihilation of death as process.   3.  It appears to me that none of the commentaries I have presented here make a sharp distinction between parousia and “end.”  There is a great issue (and controversy) over the use of the words “then” and “when” in the text.  Premillennialists have used a great deal of ink to show that the parousia occurs, then Christ rules over all things (Millennium), then comes the end.  Gordon Clark, who defended Premillennialism, argued in his commentary on I Co that this cannot be done; that way too much emphasis is given to “then.”  Paul was arguing for two events: Christ’s resurrection (firstfruits), then the harvest (the end, the parousia, the resurrection of the dead).  That scholars have sharply divided over these issues proves to me that such issue is not absolutely concrete as Birks makes it sound.

The fact of the matter is that present tense, even in non-preterist scholars, can be retained and used.  Their only issue with us is the definition of Death.  If physicality is involved in the “fullest” sense of Death’s annihilation, then clearly, the Preterist cause is lost.  If, however, “the Death” is not referring in any way to physical demise, then we have a strong, strong case here for the present annihilation of the Death that was already beginning to take place at the Firstfruit resurrection of Messiah, the application of the outpoured “last days” Spirit who was “making alive” the saints through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, to the final parousia when the powers of that age were finally defeated by the full entrance of the New Covenant – a heavenly fact demonstrated by the historical sign-destruction of what came to represent the powers that be: Jerusalem.  We can make that case, and we do have the support of the Greek in I Co 15 (though I would not offer this as absolute proof – it certainly makes a strong argument in our favor).

Also posted at www.thereignofchrist.com

I wanted to add to Sam’s good article here (TLM Moderator note)

Mike Sullivan

“As a last enemy, death is being abolished, for all things He put in subjection under His feet.” (1 Cor. 15:26 WUESTNT).

“The present, “is being annulled,” is the præsens futurascens, or the present of which the accomplishment is regarded as already begun and continuing by an inevitable law.” (The Pulpit Commentary: 1 Corinthians. 2004 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.) (487). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)


Verse 15:
“Moreover, we shall also be discovered to be false witnesses of God because we testified with respect to God that He raised up His Christ, whom He did not raise up, assuming then that dead people are not being raised up.”

Verse 16:
“For assuming that dead people are not being raised up, neither has Christ been raised up.”

Unfortunately, this translation is inconsistent with the present tense throughout the chapter. Consistency would demand these passages be translated in the same way:  “If the dead are not being raised at all…” (v. 29), “If the dead are not rising” (v. 32), “it is being sown in dishonor, it is being raised in glory…” “…it is being sown a natural body, it is being raised a spiritual body.” (vss. 43-44).

Other good comments on Sam’s article were given by Jack Scott and Bryan Lewis:

Jack Scott

Great summary of the weaknesses of Birk’s main points. I’ll include comments I made yesterday on a private email group when I became aware of Birk’s recent comments about me and my lecture in 08. Especially powerful is the point that you made at the end of your article above, the very “main point” of my lecture, regarding the relationship of the defeat of death to the completion of the New Covenant foretold by Jeremiah. I said the following:

“Somebody enlighten me as to what kelly has said. I’ve been out of pocket for several days as regards this stuff. I see he’s questioned my scholarship (a smart thing to do, since I have been wrong about so many things in the past), and implicated deficiency in my honesty (this he shouldn’t have done). What I’m wondering is, in all the posts floating around and comments he has made, all I see him dealing with is the present tense…has he said anything about the requirements of the “passive voice?” This carries significant weight in this discussion, both in my emphasis and toward the validity of his protests. It seems apparent to me that he is looking for variations of the rules applicable to the normal demands of the Present tense. The present tense alone was not the basis of my argument, just one factor. Birks essentially says he distrusts anybody’s ability with Greek who doesn’t acknowledge all the possible variations to the present tense, e.g. the historic, future, conative, gnomic, aoristic, etc. (Note: the reason these variations exist, is because of obvious demands of the contextual flow that vary from the normative). My assignment, and purpose, was not to talk about remotely possible variations of a standard rule regarding the present tense, rather it was to look at the context of 1 Cor. 15. Nothing in the text demands a futuristic present, or anything other than the normative present passive, which is an ongoing process wherein the subject is being acted upon. Only Kelly’s bad theology does that. My argument was that death was being defeated (present tense, passive voice), the passive showing the subject being acted upon in present time. He then suggested that the contextual flow of vss. 21-23 demand the parousia first before the defeat of death. I agree! But does this help kelly with his yet “futurist” view of personal body resurrection/glorification at his physical death. I don’t think so! The parousia is clearly the consummation, but how does that negate an ongoing process of participation in the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus (c.f. Rom 6:1-10), wherein and whereby God is progressively destroying death in the last days?

Birks, because of his reformed, creedal bias (my opinion) wants to remove 1 Cor. 15 from the progressive, “already but not yet,” context of the whole redemptive paradigm of the NT, because he can’t make physical bodies fit. Talk about a variation…Sorry, kelly, can’t let you do that. And I obviously question the scholarship of anyone who does so (not capability, just scholarship on this issue). Was not the return of Heb. 9:28 contingent upon making “all His enemies His footstool” (10:13)? And that such would be accomplished when the new covenant foretold by Jeremiah was fulfilled (10:14-17)? Yea! Verily!! And most importantly, was not “death” identified as the last of those enemies in the very context we are discussing, (1 Cor. 15:26)? Oh Yea! Do not these two contexts (Heb. 9-10 and 1 Cor 15) in fact describe an ongoing process (present tense) in which the enemies of God, that last of which is death, are being “progressively” defeated by God? Yea! Way Verily!!! So can someone point out to me the reason why we should look for a variation to the NORMATIVE RULES FOR THE PRESENT PASSIVE in 1 Cor. 15:26? The enemies, and the last enemy death, are progressively being subjugated by God who is progressively subjugating/defeating every enemy standing between the death of Christ and the parousia. An interesting question for kelly would be, “Do you acknowledge that God is in the process of subjugating/defeating any of the enemies spoken of during the last days?” If he does acknowledge this point, the fallacy of the basis of his whole argument (denial of a progressive defeat of death) is demonstrated . It is inconceivable to me that he can’t see the reality of this, and that he ridiculed Larry for not wanting to begin in vs 21. Good grief! I believe that kelly would never say anything this hermeneutically weak regarding any of his other preterit convictions. In fact, I believe that he would rightly castigate any efforts by anyone to remove the parousia from an overall textual analysis of all of scripture, as well as all other eschatological issues, suggesting the only way to deal with Heb. 9:28 is to go back just a few verses.”

Your quotes from Fee, etal, show the presuppositional bias preventing these very capable men from accepting what the text actually says. Unfortunately, Birks does the same thing. Good article Sam. You are certainly the guy to deal with this. It seems clear to me from other statements he has made that in fact he is not a full preterist and is in fact a futurist with preterist leanings. I’m hoping that he will accept Don’s challenge to him and Talbot to debate the larger issue of the Resurrection and its relationship to fulfilled redemption.

Jack Scott

Bryan Lewis

Theology Debate Members,

As a 2nd semester Greek Student, I am certainly looking forward to this debate and feel I have sufficient knowledge to comment on this debate.

I have been taught by looking at the verb ending of ἐγείρεται and σπείρεται they are certainly 3rd Person Present Passive Indicative Singular.

I have also been taught that the kind of action (aktionsart) of a Greek verb will fall into 1 of 3 categories:

1) Continuous / Progressive in action.
2) Completed / Accomplished in action, with possible continuing results.
3) Summary occurrence without any reference to the question of progress.

I have also been taught that the only place which “time” comes to bear directly upon the tense of a verb is when the verb is in the indicative mood. Which this is the case in 1 Co 15:43. Other moods and uses the aktionsart of the verb tense should be seen as primary.

I have been taught from week three first year of Greek that when the Present Tense is used in the indicative mood, the present tense shows action taking place or going on in the present time.

Conclusion: Taking all of this into account I see (It is being raised & It is being sown / ἐγείρεται and σπείρεται).

Have I missed something here? Am I not understanding The heart of the debate. Was I taught wrong? Sam or Dr. Talbot?

Great article Larry! One which you know hits home for me as formerly reformed and creedal driven.

One more thing to add to my previous 2 post. I should address the initial subject. The word καταργεῖται (1 Co 15:26) is also as you guys already know 3rd Person Present Passive Indicative Singular . So the same point is to be made as in my first post.

Bryan Lewis


Thanks for the posts (thanks Jack), especially the Pulpit Commentary response and Wuest’s NT translation. The “present future” defined by the PComm. is enlightening because it, too, acknowledges that when a speaker uses the present for something still future to a degree, he is doing so by the fact that what is still future has ALREADY been unalterably set into motion. It’s as good as done because it is ALREADY (process) being seen as effective. The only emphasis Paul deals with as far as resurrection is Christ’s (perfect tense, emphasizing past action with PRESENT results), thus the present tense brings out the continuing present abolition of death and the future (not yet) consummation, which, apparently, needed to be emphasized against the “some” who were denying that “dead ones are being raised.” This has lead many to regard the “some” as advocating a fulfilled or realized eschatology, which would be anathema to Paul’s soteriological outworking in light of Israel’s promised redemption. We believe that it was this sort of “replacement theology” going on in Corinth, separating Israel from the Church, the Body of Christ, when, in fact, Paul emphasized that the Church, the Body of Christ, is the one new man made in the heavenly image as a result of God saving Israel. The Gentiles were being brought into ISRAEL’s promises. It was not that Israel were being brought into the Church’s promises. The promises applied to the Church were Israel’s – therefore, to exclude Israel was to exclude Christ.


Hi Sam,

Yeah, I was curious about what some of the translators and commentaries had to say about this and came across those quotes which stregthen your/our case here.

I am glad I invested in the Logos Bible Software. I was able to find a translation, look at the grammar, and find but yet another commentator that give support to this interpretation.

It was interesting to read what the PC had to say of 1 Corinthians 15:51. Translators were trying to come up with a way to help correct Paul’s “mistake”:

Ver. 51.—I show you a mystery. I make known to you a truth now made known to me by revelation. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. There is a great diversity of readings in this verse, noticed even by St. Jerome and St. Augustine. St. Jerome says that all the Latin manuscripts had “we shall all rise,” and that the Greek manuscripts wavered between “we shall all sleep” and “we shall not all sleep.” Some Greek manuscripts had “we shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed.” This reading cannot be right, for it contradicts the next verse. There is little doubt that the reading of the Authorized version is right. It accounts for all the variations. They arose from a desire to shelter St. Paul from an apparent mistake, since he and his readers did all sleep. But (1) St. Paul may have written under that conception of the imminence of Christ’s personal return which he expresses in 1 Thess. 4:15–17, where he evidently imagines that the majority of those to whom he was writing would be of those who would be “alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord;…”



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House Divided…A Futurist Review at Last!

House Divided…

by David Green on September 9, 2009


A Futurist Review at Last!

House Divided: Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology has been selling now for about two months. In that time, the responses from futurist critics have been less than substantive. There were complaints that the title is a “rip off” of Bahnsen’s and Gentry’s book, House Divided: The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology (1989). There were complaints that the back cover contains an unattributed five-star “review.” (“A Must Read!”) One critic noted that we use the word “hyper-preterism” on the back cover, and then proceeded to declare that we “self-apply” the word and therefore accept it as an accurate description of our belief. He failed to notice the significance of the fact that we put the word in quotation marks. We were referring to so-called “hyper-preterism.”

Many other critics see no need for a further criticism against the book beyond, “Your book disagrees with 2,000 years of church history!” Ah, the joys of hyper-traditionalism. These critics still have not read our response to Charles Hill (chapter two), which deals specifically and directly with this “argument.”

The most stinging of the negative criticisms have come, ironically, from those who have not read the book. One such critic advised everyone to let their pets defecate on it. Another proposed having a public “book burning” in his back yard and posting the event on YouTube. There have been three or four inflammatory, one-star reviews on Amazon. Most, if not all of them, were obviously written by people who had not read the book. All but one of those reviews (so far) were deleted by Amazon.

So much for the first two months of critiques. It was a fun and glorious time. But it ended a week ago on September 4th. That’s the day that a futurist actually began posting a series of critical reviews wherein the arguments of the book are actually addressed. (We understand that there are one or two other such reviews in the works by other futurists.) It’s a fascinating development. The reviewer’s name is Jon/Jonathan Rollen, and he is writing at The Preterist Blog. http://www.preteristblog.com/?p=3083

What follows is the first of my (or our) responses to Jon’s forthcoming series of criticisms:

On page 162 of House Divided, I wrote that futurists are guilty of “question begging” when they anathematize preterists based on 2 Timothy 2:16-18.

Jon responded: Now, Green claims that the futurist is “question begging”, but, in reality, either side can claim that of the other, as even David says, “if we read the passage on the basis of [hyper] preterism, we should reason…” How is this not begging the question?

My response: My argument was not that preterist-anathematizing futurists are guilty of question begging simply because they read 2 Timothy 2:16-18 on the basis of futurism. My argument was that they are guilty of question begging because they smuggle the assumption of futurism into the passage while the passage itself resists that assumption.

There is no indication in 2 Timothy 2:16-18 that it was Hymenaeus’ teaching regarding the nature of the resurrection that Paul called “profane and vain babblings.” All we have in the passage is Paul’s condemnation of Hymenaeus’ teaching regarding the timing of the resurrection. Paul did not condemn Hymenaeus for saying the resurrection is spiritual or non-material. He condemned Hymenaeus for saying, “The resurrection is past already.” Paul condemned Hymenaeus’ timing of the resurrection, but futurists, based solely on the futurist framework, say that the damnable error of Hymenaeus was his teaching concerning the nature of the resurrection.

Therefore, one “begs the question” and makes an exegetically unwarranted assumption if one says that 2 Timothy 2:16-18 condemns those who hold to a non-biological resurrection of the dead. For all we know from the context, Paul stood shoulder to shoulder with Hymenaeus regarding the nature of the resurrection.

On page 168, I said that although Paul agreed with the Pharisees about the fact of the resurrection in Acts 23:6, “there is no reason to assume that Paul agreed with the Pharisees about the nature of the resurrection of the dead.”

Jon responded: Re: “no reason to assume…”, what else would, “I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees” mean other than assuming that Paul agreed with the Pharisees about what “the resurrection of the dead” meant. Declaring himself a Pharisee would be meaningless!

This argument would be weighty if the debate Paul was involved in was: Physical resurrection versus non-physical resurrection. But it wasn’t. The controversy was: Resurrection versus non-resurrection. In that context, we know whose side Paul was on. As Jon put it: “The Pharisees found the resurrection of the dead in the Torah [So did Paul!], but the Sadducees did not.” Well said. In that context, even “hyper-preterists” today stand squarely in the camp of Paul and the Pharisees against the Sadducees.

We cannot judge Paul’s argument by the standard of our own situation. We are in the midst of a debate about the nature (physical versus non-physical) of the resurrection of the dead. That was not Paul’s context or situation. The debate he was in was: afterlife/resurrection/judgment versus no afterlife at all. In that context, Paul was a Pharisee, no matter what he thought the resurrection would be like. Paul and the Pharisees agreed that there was an afterlife, and that there was about to be a “standing up” (resurrection) of the dead to be judged by God, and that this event was prophesied in Scripture. Paul and the Pharisees were not “worlds apart” on those crucial, ethical and eschatological doctrines. They were only “worlds apart” on what the resurrection of the dead would look like –which was a non-issue in Acts 23:1-10.

Jon argues that there is no indication that Luke (the writer of Luke and Acts) changed the usage of the word “resurrection” so that when it referred to Christ it meant a physical resurrection but when it referred to the resurrection of the dead it suddenly meant a non-physical resurrection:

If “resurrection” does not mean what it has meant from Luke 24 to this point [Acts 23], which is always the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, then these comments make no sense historically or to his friend Theophilus, because Luke has defined resurrection for him the narrative. At this point in the narrative, resurrection means a physical body leaving a tomb.

My response: Why begin at Luke 24 to find Luke’s meaning when he refers to the resurrection of the dead? Go back to Luke 20:27-36. There Luke recorded for Theophilus the Lord’s teaching regarding the nature of the resurrection of the dead. Jesus taught there that the resurrection would be non-biological; that there would be no marriage and no cycle of reproduction and death for the biologically dead after they were resurrected, because they would be “like angels,” i.e., “spirits” in heaven (Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:7; cf. Heb. 12:23).

If we are going to say that Jesus’ resurrection-experience was going to be exactly the same in every way to the experience of those who would be resurrected in the end of the age, then we will have to say that when Jesus was raised, He was like an angel (a spirit) in heaven and that He had no sex organs. We will also have to say —in the futurist framework— that Jesus had no blood in his resurrection body, because Paul said that “flesh and blood” cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

These are some of the absurd and Gnostic implications of consistent futurism. Thankfully, not many futurists are consistent in their futurism.

We look forward to Jon’s next installment.

David Green

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