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

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