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(Copyright 2008 Michael J. Sullivan – Thank you for your Christian integrity in advance).


“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27).


Most Reformed and Evangelicals understand this passage to be addressing the one and final second coming of Christ associated with the “end of the age.”  Partial preterists are divided on this passage.  Some think this is the final second coming and others think it is a description of Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. 


Keith Mathison looks to R.T. France for help in order to divide the discourse into teaching two second comings,


“According to France, Jesus said that everything mentioned prior to verse 34 would occur within the lifetime of some of those listening to him.  The things mentioned after verse 34, on the other hand, are yet to be fulfilled.  In other words, Matthew 24:4-35 refers t othe events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century, but Matthew 24:36-25:46 refers to the future Second Coming and Last judgment.” (WSTTB?, p.180.).


Mathison must have not read or mis-read France because France does not take “everything” prior to (v.34) as occuring by A.D. 70.  He arbitrarily claims the coming or parousia of Chirst as lightnening in (v.27) is Christ’s second coming at the end of time and His coming on the clouds and gathering His elect in (vs.30-31) is somehow the ascesion coming of Jesus.  Since I have already refuted Mathison and Frances ascencion coming theory I will focus now upon the parousia of the Lord in verse 27.  Since Mathison is appealing to France as an authority and he has misrpresented him I will quote France on (v.27).  France claims that because the Greek word parousia is used in (vs.27) and that lightening is sudden and visible, that this cannot be seen as Christ coming in the fall of Jerusalem in A.D.70:


“On the contrary, it will be as unmistakable and as universally visible as a flash of lightning.  (Lightning is also sudden, and that may be part of the symbolism; but the preceding verses, and the reference to visibility from the east…as far as the west, indicate that that is not the main point.)  Thus the mention of the parousia here is precisely in order to indicate that it is not to be looked for in the chaotic events of the Jewish War, but will be something of quite a different character.”[i]


Mathison in reality disagrees with France on this verse and does apply the parousia to the Jewish War as a covenant curse upon Israel


“The fact that this coming in judgment was to occur in the first century is verified by the fact that Jesus tells the Sanhedrin that they will witness His coming (26::63-64; cf. 27:25).  The mention of lightning seems to indicate both the direction from which the armies approached Jerusalem and the sudden nature of this destruction (cf. 2 Sam. 22:14-15; Ps. 18:9-15; Ezek. 21:1-10).  The reference to corpses in verse 28 indicates the horrible devastation that the outpouring of the covenant curses will bring (cf. Deut. 28:26).”[ii] 


But in reality Mathison doesn’t have a problem going against his OWN interpretation of the Olivet Discourse or with Frances interpretation because he has conveinently come down with a severe case of eschatological schizophrenia claiming it is okay to NOT include the coming of the Lord in (vss.27 or 30-31) with the “all things” being fulfilled in Jesus’ “this generation” (vs.34).  Irronically he references a contradictory interpretation to his own as another source of authority,  


“Donald Hagner and D.A. Carson believe that “this generation” refers to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking, but they argue that the “phrase “all these things” in verse 34 does not include the coming of the Son of Man.”[iii]


In short R.T. France, Hagner, Carson, and Mathison must reinterpret or add to Jesus words in (v.34) as to have Him say, “…till some of these things are fulfilled” instead of “all these things are fulfilled.”  Grammatically, it is impossible to separate the signs, the end of the age, and the coming of the Lord throughout the discourse either in the form of the disciples questions, or from the way Jesus answers them.    


Although Mathison’s interpretation of (v.27) is pretty much the standard partial or full preterist understanding of the text, another possibility is the fact that the “bright light” here is not a reference to lightning but to the sun which rises from the east and sets or appears even unto the west.  Matthew Henry took the text both ways and says this of possible concept of the sun being involved,


“Gospel light rose with the sun, and went with the same, so that the beams of it reached to the ends of the earth, Rom. 10:18. Compare with Ps. 19:3, 4. Though it was fought against, it could never be cooped up in a desert, or in a secret place, as the seducers were; but by this, according to Gamaliel’s rule, proved itself to be of God, that it could not be overthrown, Acts 5:38, 39.”[iv]

Perhaps a better translation could be, “For as the [Sun MJS] comes from the east and [shines MJS] to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Mt. 24:27)

I believe Christ’s parousia here and the Greek word associated with it astrape, is making reference to Christ’s presence being manifested within the hearts of His people in A.D.70 and causing them to flourish and be fruitful, while at the same time burning up the wicked–using the illustration of the sun’s rays shining “from east and flashing to the west.” The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon gives astrape, the meaning of a “bright light.”[v]

The Greek word for “shine” is phaino which according to the Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon can mean, “of growing vegetation, to come to light.” This can have a reference to the Sun’s light through the gospel and Christ’s parousia giving light and life to Israel (the fig tree) and to all the trees (the Gentile nations) in Matthew 24:14, 32; Luke 21:29-30. The Second Coming of Christ is referred to as being “high time” and “the night is far spent and the day is at hand” (Rms.13:11-12). “…as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2Pet.1:19). And “…I will give Him the morning star.” “I am the bright and morning star” (Rev.22:16). The idea here is that Christ’s presence and His righteousness is in and of itself, the chief reward and joy for His Church at His return. If this isn’t exciting enough for you go get a Hal Lindsey book at a garage sale for a twenty-five cents!

Jesus would not be revealing Himself in some dark inner secret room as the false Christ’s would shamefully being doing for they were of the darkness, but on that day, “they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isa.45:6; 19-25; cf. Mal.1:1, 4:1-2, 5-6). He would shine seven fold on that day burning up the wicked while at the same time His heat and light would not harm the remnant but only cause them to flourish and bear fruit to be gathered in His kingdom (Mt.13:6-9/Jms.1:11-18/5:1-9; Mt.13:43; Judges 5:31; 2Sam.23:4-7; Ps.121:6-7; Isa.30:26-27; Isa.16:19-20/Rev.21:23, 22:5).


In that Day, Christ as the “Sun of righteousness would rise with healing in His wings” and would cause the remnant of Israel (the fig tree) and the Gentile nations (“all the trees”) to have blossomed TOGETHER as the very Garden of God in His everlasting Kingdom (Lk.21:28-32/Rms.9-11; Cols.1:5-6; Isa.27:7; 35; 44; 55:10-13; 60:20; 61:10-11/Ezk.16:7/Rev.21:9- chapter 22).


A type of eternal life can be found in Josh.10:12-14 when God listened to Joshua and the sun stood still. Every day in the new creation is a day without darkness or bearing the reproach of our sins. In Joshua’s day this miracle was a sign to all that Jehovah was fighting for Israel. When those who are in darkness outside the gates of the City look at your life and see the joy, light, and warmth of God’s presence radiating from your inner being, God uses this to cause His elect to crave this enduring light and righteousness that can only come from your Lord. This also serves to harden the reprobate – as the sun melts the wax and hardens the clay. In Joshuah’s day this was a sign that the Lord was fighting for Israel and today Christ’s presence and eternal Day within His church demonstrates that nothing will ever be able to withstand her.


As plants receive life from the sun’s light and energy through photosynthesis, so the Church receives eternal life from Christ alone. In union with Christ, the Church becomes the leaves on the Tree of Life and the light of the New Jerusalem/Creation brings healing to the nations of the world. It is the light and living waters of the gospel preached to sinners that serves as “special revelation” to a thirsty sinner’s soul. No luminary lights of the physical creation can fully demonstrate the righteous ways of God! Only Christ and His Church serving as a heavenly Kingdom can bring the revelation needed for sinners to be saved. Without the “Sun of Righteousness” the light and glory of God’s imputed righteousness beaming in upon the heart and mind of man, all is lost. The world truly does revolve around the “Sun/Son of Righteousness.”


Let us move on to our next second coming passage: 


“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth/(land MJS) will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.  “When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.  “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  (Mt.24:30-31; Lk.21:27-32).


Most Reformed creeds, Sovereign Grace churches and Evangelicals are correct in associating this text with the “end of the age” “gathering” and resurrection harvest at the last day.  Most exegetes are correct in seeing the “change,” “catching away” and Christ “taking” the disciples to be with Him in (1Thess.4, 1Cor.15, Jn.14) with the “gathering” of Christ’s elect at His coming here in (Mt.24:30-31).  Many pre-tribulation “rapture” folks have somehow interjected a multiple comings idea here with the charismatic vision invention of the “secret rapture” doctrine.

A “House Divided” Approach Of This Text From Futurists

Within reformed critics of preterism we find another example of a “House Divided” (in teaching a divided Mt.24) approach when it comes to this passage.  In a multi authored “reformed response” to preterism one of the authors Kenneth Gentry, states of our view and thus our exegesis of Mt.24 and 25 that Preterists are unorthodox because of the “infallibly certain” position of the historic creeds,

“Rather, orthodox Christians believe that doctrines contained in the creeds are the doctrines of Scripture, and therefore the doctrines are deemed infallibly certain because they derive from God.”[vi]


Basically Gentry assumes what he needs to prove in this entire chapter and in this  assertion that the creeds contain doctrines that are “infallibly certain” on eschatology.  Gentry’s approach in his chapter is to refute preterism using the methodology of the Roman Catholic Church.  In other words the creeds and “authority” of Church tradition is the final word on doctrine.  Anything that challenges this “tradition” is wrong.  Gentry has also stated on articles on the internet that preterists are,


“outside of the faith of the historic Christian church,” and are “…adrift on the tides of wholesale theological change.” 


Of Course Mr. Gentry wanted to give the impression that his interpretations of Scripture need not be challenged in the same way “hyper-preterists” should since his are the historic and traditional views of the Church: 

“The interpreters or exegetes who agree with the historic, orthodox interpretations of the past and who find themselves in the mainstream of Christian thought should not be suspect.” (WSTTB 60, emphasis MJS)


But what one finds puzzling is that the partial preterism of Kenneth Gentry teaches that the “coming of the Son of Man” and “gathering” in (Mt.24:30-31; Rev.1:7) happened in A.D.70 in some fashion which is something that another author in the same book is adamant in saying is an error because of – well you guessed it – the creeds and traditions of the Church teach otherwise.  Charles Hill apparently doesn’t buy Gentry’s partial preterism either because he shoots Gentry in the foot when he quotes the Didache and states,

“10.5…Gather it [the church] together in its holiness from the four winds to thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it… 6.  Let grace come and let this world pass away (pareltheto ho kosmos houtos).  Hosannah to the God of David.”

“The same may be said of Didache 16.6-8, which anticipates the fulfillment of Matthew 24:30-31, a section of prophecy which can easily be seen as speaking of the unmistakable last coming of the Son of Man.  In any case, the author is still speaking of the present world to pass away;…”[vii]

Well, there you have it an “unmistakable” Creedal refutation of the partial preterist view of Kenneth Gentry and Mathison, and not just the “hyper-preterist” view!  The partial preterist view of Kenneth Gentry, R.C. Sproul, and Gary DeMar on an A.D. 70 fulfillment of Christ coming and gathering his elect in (Mt.24:30-31) is “unmistakably” wrong based upon the early authority of Church traditions.  I can hear Jesus’ statement ringing in the background – “on what standard you judge you will be judged!” 

However, the Preterist does not judge others by Church tradition but His authority comes from the Word of God and unless he can be convinced here – there is no other authority for him to bow before nor is there any other authority that he exhorts others to bow before!  Before my comments on our text here, I did want to cover these preliminary points to demonstrate the folly of condemning others to hell based upon the “authority” of uninspired traditions.      

Obviously I would be in more agreement with those who see this passage teaching the general resurrection at ONE consummative coming of Christ than the “secret rapture” idea followed with the second coming, or the two second coming theory proposed by partial preterism.  However, I would disagree with the timing of the creeds and identifying the “end of the age” with the end of the Christian age when in fact it is dealing with the destruction of the temple which contextually is the epitome of the end of the OC age.  We also disagree that this text and its NT parallels are teaching a biological casket resurrection at the last day for all humanity.  This text and those associated with it in the NT teach no such thing!  Because most accurately see this text as teaching the general resurrection, I will need to get into this subject at this point so this section will be much longer than our others thus far.  Many futurists have stumbled over this text and cannot fathom how Christ could have taught that the “rapture” or general resurrection would take place within “this generation” – A.D. 70.  Many partial preterists who do take the “these things” of “this generation” (Mt.24:34) literally have sought to avoid and do gymnastics in avoiding that this text has any association to the general resurrection coming of the Lord as found in (1Thess.4) and (1Cor.15) so we will need to spend some time refuting this notion as well.        

Of our passage here John Gill wrote, “he shall appear, not in person, but in the power of his wrath and vengeance, on the Jewish nation which will be a full sign and proof of his being come: for the sense is, that when the above calamities shall be upon the civil state of that people, and there will be such changes in their ecclesiastical state it will be as clear a point, that Christ is come in the flesh, and that he is also come in his vengeance on that nation, for their rejection and crucifixion him, as if they had seen him appear in person in the heavens. They had been always seeking a sign, and were continually asking one of him; and now they will have a sign with a witness; as they had accordingly.”[viii]

I would point out that Christ coming on the clouds and every eye seeing Him in (Rev.1:7) is parallel to Christ coming on the clouds here in (Mt.24:30-31).  In the context of (Rev.1:7) “every eye” who sees Him are those who “pierced” Christ – the Jews in Jerusalem were responsible for putting Christ to death.  The audience is again identified as Jews in the phrase “Tribes of the land”  (not “earth” – poor translation) being used.  This was a common phrase to describe the tribal system of Israel.  The Greek word for “see” optanomai doesn’t always mean see literally with ones physical eyes, but also means “to recognize, to be aware, to perceive.”  To “perceive” or “understand” is a better way of understanding optanomai here.  We still use “see” in this way in the English language, “Don’t you see what I am saying?”  “Okay, I see now.”  In the destruction of Jerusalem they “saw” or “understood” God coming on the clouds of heaven in judgment as He had done in the OT.          

Again, when God brings judgments on nations in the OT He uses metaphorical, symbolic, and apocalyptic language of de-creation and Him coming on the clouds (Ps.18; 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 the OT?

“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.  For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.” (Isa. 34:4-5)


What I find interesting is that futuristic eschatologies (even some “literal” dispensationalists) give lip service and admit that in the OT metaphorical language was used to describe God judging nations with invading armies, but then they will not allow the Bible to interpret itself when Jesus uses the same language of the prophets to describe the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 with the armies of the Zealots and Romans.  Some partial preterists (futurists) give lip service to this metaphorical, symbolic, and apocalyptic language in the Olivet Discourse in relation to A.D. 70 but then arbitrarily invent a future second coming (which is actually a third coming) to end the planet to appease and bow before the church creeds.  Such can seen in the writings of R.C. Sproul, Jay Adams, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, Greg Bahnsen, Marcelous Kik, Gary North, David Chilton (before he came to the truth of Biblical Preterism), and James Jordan. 


Mathison and the other “hyper-creedal” “preterists” I have quoted thus far are also misguided and do not offer a common sense approach to this passage.  Mathison once again takes the passage out of its context, but instead of projecting the prophecy with the “end of the age” as thousands of years past A.D. 70 unassociated with the temples destruction, he now wants to say Christ coming on the clouds here is not the consummation of redemption as most commentators see the text, but is allegedly referring to Jesus coming on the clouds going away from Jerusalemup” to the Father at the ascension (Dan.7:13-14) (WSTTB?, 185).  


John Murray had a better understanding of what the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds was in relation to the disciples question about the end of the age than Mathison does.  He also used the analogy of Scripture better when he understood (Mt.24:30-31; Lk.21:27-28) to be referring to the second and final coming associated with the judgment and resurrection,


“Verse 30, for several reasons to be adduced later, surely refers to the advent in glory, and the sign of the Son of man to the sign of the coming of Christ and of the consummation of the age in the disciples’ question (vs.3).” 


And again,


“3.  There is another index for the identification of the event specified in verse 30.  Luke 21:25-28 is parallel to Matthew 24:29-31.  Now in Luke 21:28 we read:  ‘When these things begin to come to pass, brace yourselves up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is night at hand’.  This word ‘redemption’ (apolutrwsiv), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rms. 8:23; 1Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:14; 4:30).  Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events. 

     4.  There is ample allusion to the sound of the trumpet and to the ministry of angels elsewhere in the New Testament, in connection with Christ’s advent (cf. cf. 1Cor.15:52; 1Thess.4:16).  Hence verse 31 can most readily be taken to refer to the gather of the elect at the resurrection.”[1]


What I find extremly troubling from men like Mathison and members of his co-author team, is that when we apply the “analogy of the New Testament teaching” to (Mt.24:27-31/Lk.21:27-32) with (Acts 1:11; Roms.8; 1Cor.15; 1Thess.4-5, 2Thess.1-2, and Rev.1:7) we are accused of using some kind of hermeneutical “cultic code” are “unscholarly” and ultimately “heretical” for doing so.  BUT when those within their hyper-creedalists tradition and collegues such as John Murray or the other writers of WSTTB? appeal to the very same texts we do along side of (Mt.24:30-31/Lk.21:27-28), that’s okay and they can just “agree to disagree.”  Because these men cannot do proper exegesis they are resorted to the level of name calling, scare tactics, and using false measures in their judmgents on us. 


The 1Thess.4:15-17/Mt.24:30-31 Connection.  Before making some obvious analogy of Scripture parallels between Mt.24 and 1Thess.4, it may be helpful for the reader to understand where all the authors are coming from in this debate in their understanding of what has or has not been fulfilled in these the epistles when it comes to Paul’s teaching on Christ’s second coming: 







Strimple Kistemacker Pratt


A.D. 70




1Thess. 4

A.D. 70




1Thess. 5

A.D. 70

A.D. 70




A.D. 70

A.D. 70




A.D. 70

A.D. 70

A.D. 70



All of the above authors and positions agree that Paul is using Matthew 24 as a foundation for his teaching concerning the Lord’s return in the Thessalonian epistles. 

This causes all kinds of problems however for Mathison in (1Thess.4) and this why he, Gentry, DeMar, and Sproul never addresses the parallels in 1Thess.4 with that of Matthew 24 as most Reformed commentators do.  Mathison is only willing to make selective parallels between Mt.24 and (1Thess.5) and some in (2Thess.1-2) in demonstrating an A.D. 70 fulfillment but avoids (1Thess.4) like the plague.  Reformed  amillennial theologians such as G.K. Beale correctly point out what we do as well in demonstrating the harmony between (1Thess.4-5) with that of Matthew 24.  Beale’s chart is practically identical to the one we have developed over the years:


“…4:15-17 describe generally the same end-time scenario as 5:1-10.  Specifically, Paul narrates the resurrection at the end of the age and then recapitulates in chapter 5 by speaking about the timing of this event and about the judgment on unbelievers, which will happen at the same time.  That both 4:15-18 and 5:1-11 explain the same events is discernible from observing that both passages actually form one continuous depiction of the same narrative in Matthew 24, as apparent from the chart…”



1 Thessalonians


Christ returns



From heaven



Accompanied by angels



With a trumpet of God



Believers gathered to Christ


24:31, 40-41

In clouds



Time unknown



Coming like a thief



Unbelievers unaware of  impending judgment



Judgment comes as pain upon an expectant mother



Believers not deceived



Believers to be watchful



Warning against drunkenness



Comparison of 1 Thessalonians 4—5 with Matthew 24


“Other significant parallels include:  the use of the word parousia for Christ’s coming, reference to Christ’s advent as “that day” (Mt.24:36) or “the day of the Lord” (1Thess.5:2); and a description of someone coming to “meet” another (eis apantesin autou, virgins coming out to “meet” the bridegroom in Mt 25:6; eis apantesin tou kyriou, believers “meeting” the Lord in 1Thess 4:17; see further Waterman 1975).[2]


We have been making these same arguments and charts for many years but it is best to allow other reformed futurists to make these same arguments in order to demonstrate the “house divided” problem within reformed creedal eschatology.  I will offer one more quote from Beale in him doing an excellent job of further tying (1Thess.4-5) together:


     “Within the larger context, 5:9-10 (appointed to receive salvation…so that…we mayh live) provides the basis for being self-controlled (5:8), the main point thus far in 5:8-10.  Being self controlled because of the prospect of salvation and resurrection culminates in the goal of 5:1-10 to which Paul has been aiming at throughout:  “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  The nearest thought sparking this final exhortation to encourage is the just mentioned consummated resurrection existence of God’s people who will join fellowship with the resurrected Christ (5:10).  That the phrase we may live in 5:10 alludes to the resurrection of God’s people is borne out by observing the parallels between 5:10-11 and 4:13-18, which show that Paul has returned to the earlier theme of resurrection as the basis for encouragement: 





(1) “Jesus died and rose” (4:14)

(1)  “he died for us” (5:10)

(2)  “the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive…will be caught up together with [hama syn] them.  …And so [in this manner of resurrection existence] we will be with the Lord forever” (4:16-17) 

(2)  “Whether we are awake or asleep [a metaphor for living and deceased saints] we may live together with [hama syn] him” (5:10)

(3)  “Therefore encourage each other [parakaleite allelous]” (4:18)

(3) “Therefore encourage one another [parakaleite allelous]” (5:11)[3]


These points made by preterists and amillennialists effectively and thoroughly refute Mathison’s thesis that Matthew 24 and (1Thess.4-5) teach two second comings: 1)  Mt.24:27-31 / 1Thess.5 = A.D.70 coming and 2)  Mt.24:36ff. / 1Thess.4 teaches a future coming.  Once again we see how both sides of the reformed “house divided” have an element of truth to what they are saying and how are position comes along to fix the crack.  In demonstrating consistently the parallels between 1 & 2 Thessalonians with that of Matthew 24, Mathison needs to become a more “progressive preterist” or a pure futurist such as some of his other co-authors!  His and Gentry’s partial preterism is extremely arbitrary and inconsistent when the bright light of the analogy of Scripture is shown upon it.  Mathison contends that there are two comings of Christ in Matthew 24 because of the use of “days” (plural) and “day” (singular) with one section having signs while the other does not:   

 “Before verse 34, the plural “days” is used.  After verse 34, the singular “day is used.     There are a multitude of signs of the coming in judgement before verse 34.  There are no signs after verse 34.  Before verse 34 fase christs, earthquakes, famines, wars, and other such signs enable observers to know for certain that judgment is near (vv.32-33).  After verse 34, no one can know (v.36).  It will be a complete surprise (vv.39, 42, 44, 50).” (Postmillenialism, p.143).

 Let’s now revisit these parallels a little more closely and see if Mathison’s arguments can hold any water in a teaching a division between (1Thess.4-5) and in Matthew 24 with an emphasis on refuting Mathison’s “signs” arguments.    


Christ Himself comes 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30 – We are told this is a future coming but it is taken from Mathison’s A.D. 70 signs section of Mt.24.


From heaven 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30 – We are told this is a future coming but it is taken from Mathison’s A.D. 70 signs section of Mt.24.


With a shout 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30 – We are told this is a future coming but it is taken from Mathison’s A.D. 70 signs section of Mt.24.


With angels 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30 – We are told this is a future coming but it is taken from Mathison’s A.D. 70 signs section of Mt.24.


With a trumpet 1Thess. 4:16 = Mt. 24:30 – We are told this is a future coming but it is taken from Mathison’s A.D. 70 signs section of Mt.24.


At which time believers & unbelievers are “snatched away” or “gathered” for salvation or judgment 1Thess. 4:17/2Thess.2:1 = Mt. 24:31, 40-41 – Because the “gathering” of Christ in 2Thess.2 involves “signs” and has too many connections with (Mt.24:4-34) Mathison and Gentry claim (2Thess.2) is referring to an A.D. 70 coming of Christ.  But only in the partial preterist eschatological schizophrenic mind can the “snatching away” coming of Christ in 1Thess.4 be separated from Paul’s “gathered to Him” in (2Thess.2). 


It is argued by Mathison and Gary DeMar, that since there are two different Greek words episynagoge in (2Thess.2:1) and harpazo in (1Thess.4:17), they cannot be referring to the same coming of Christ (Postmillennialism, pp. 230-231).  This is most puzzling logic and horrendous exegesis indeed!  Mathison also claims Christ coming in (2Thess.1:7, 9-10) refers to A.D.70 and yet there are THREE different Greek words in this chapter alone to describe the Lord’s return along with episynagoge in 2:1.  Yet he claims all four of these Greek words used together describe the Lord’s return in A.D.70: 


1)  orge (1:7, cf. 1Cor.1:7; 1Pet.1:7, 13, 4:13; Rev.1:1),

2)  prosopon (1:9; cf. Acts 3:19, 1Cor.13:12/Rev.22:4, Rev.6:16, Rev.20:11) and              3)  erchomai (1:10; cf. 1Thess. 1:10, 5:2; 2Thess.2:3; Mt.3:11, 6:10/Lk.21:27-31/32, 16:27-28, 21:40; 23:39, 24:30, 39, 42, 43, 44, 46, 48, 25:6, 10-11, 13, 19, 27, 31, 26:64; Acts 3:19; 1Cor.4:5, 11:26; Heb.10:37; Jude 1:14; Rev.1:4, 7-8, 2:5, 16, 3:11, 4:8, 6:17, 11:18, 14:7, 14:15, 16:15, 18:10, 19:7, 21:9, 22:7, 12, 17, 20).


QUESTION:  If Mathison can take these 4 different Greek words between (2Thess.1-2) as referring to the same coming of Christ in A.D.70, then hermeneutically why is there a  problem seeing two different Greek words used in (2Thess.2:1) and (1Thess.4:16) to be referring to the same coming of Christ in A.D.70?  It is because Mathison has some creedal preconceived ideas of what the resurrection is supposed to look like at Christ’s return that is making him not parallel (1Thess.4) with (Mt.24) and parallel (1Thess.4) with (2Thess.1-2).  No one denies that Jesus, Paul, and the rest of the N.T. authors used different Greek words to describe an imminent second coming of Christ.  We just consistently and exegetically apply the reformation principal of the analogy of Scripture to all of them in an A.D. 70 time of fulfillment.              


In the clouds 1Thess. 4:17 = Mt. 24:30 – We are told this is a future coming but it is taken from Mathison’s A.D. 70 signs section of Mt.24!  Mathison has refused to acknowledge these parallels up to this point because to do so is to admit that Jesus and Paul were teaching a coming of Christ to raise the dead in their generation and would make Mathison a full preterist.  Because this is not a creedal option or career option for him, he is hermeneutically and exegetically dishonest in not making these connections.  Like DeMar he only wants to make parallels between Mt.24 and 2Thess.2 or Mt.24 and (1Thess.5) because he thinks the resurrection is not in view in those chapters:


 “The language used in 1 Thessalonians 5 is also used in passages describing the coming of Christ for judgment in A.D.70.  We have already mentioned that the term “day of the Lord” (5:2) is used in 2Thessalonians 2 in a passage that refers to A.D. 70.  Another interesting parallel is found in verse 3, where the coming of this destruction is compared to “birth pangs.”  The same phrase is used in Matt. 24:8 to describe the judgments leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.” (Postmillennialism, p.226)   


Mathison dishonestly left out the comparison of Christ coming as a thief Mt.24:43/1Thess.5:2 because that messes up his artificial dividing of Mt.24 into two second comings.  I will have more to say about that under point #9 below.  Another example of Mathison being able to make some parallels with Paul in Thessalonians with Matthew 24 can be seen here in (2Thess.2):


“Some of these parallels are: 

            a.  a coming of our Lord (2Thess.2:1; cf. Matt.24:27, 30),

            b.  a gathering together to Him (2Thess. 2:1; cf. Mattt.24:31),

            c.  apostasy (2thess. 2:3; cf. Matt. 24:5, 10-12),

            d.  the mystery of lawlessness (2Thess. 2:7; Matt. 24:12),

            e.  satanic signs and wonders (2Thess. 2:9-10; cf. Matt. 24:24),

f.  a deluding influence on unbelievers (2Thess. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:5, 24). (Postmillenialism, p.230).


I at least appreciate Mathison’s attempt at honesty in interpreting the coming of the Lord in (2Thess.1) to vindicate the persecuted and martyred members of the church at Thessalonica by the hands of their own Jewish countrymen (1Thess.2:14-16) as occurring at the “Day of the Lord” in A.D.70.  God did give them “relief” when He returned not just at the coming of the Lord in (2Thess.1-2 & 1Thess.5), but at the return of the Lord in (1Thess.4) in the resurrection as the source of encouragement in light of their persecutions.  If Mathison affirms these saints and martyrs were vindicated and received “relief” in A.D.70 while the persecutors received judgment and wrath, then how do these Christians receive “relief” and God being “glorified in them” (2Thess.1:10) as not answering to the resurrection of Christ coming in (1Thess.4)?  As we saw in (Mt.23) and (Rev.6, 12, & 20) martyr vindication involves the time of the resurrection in a “little while” “this generation” time period! 


Therefore, having disposed of Mathison’s theory that 4:14-18 is a different coming and resurrection than the coming in 5:1-10, and the glorification and relief coming in (2Thess.1-2), we can now move on to lay waist the notion that Mt.24 is divided up into two sections – one with an A.D. 70 signs “coming” and another without signs “coming” in our future.      


The time is unknown 1Thess. 5:1-2 = Mt. 24:36 – Totally ignoring the Mt.24:30-31 parallels to 4:15-17 Mathison is now going to claim Paul is beginning a new topic with a different coming of Christ in 5:1ff.  This is similar to how he arbitrarily claims Jesus is changing topics to a future coming in Mt.24:36.  But as we noted from Murray and Beale, both Mt.24:36 and 5:1 “recapitulate” the same coming of Christ previously addressed and don’t “introduce” another coming!  Virtually all commentators and cross references see 5:1 as being parallel with (Mt.24:36 & Acts 1:7-WSTTB?, p.202).  Mathison is now flip flopping back and forth with his two comings theory selectively (see #9 below) pointing out some parallels between (1Thess.5) and Matthew 24The other interesting point is that most of the Thessalonian comparisons with Mt.24 work against Matheson’s division theory in Mt.24.  Most of the A.D. 70 fulfillments that he gives 5:1-10 with Mt.24 end up in the “no signs” end of time coming section he has artificially given the Olivet Discourse!  This next one is my favorite because this is where the Lord opened my eyes that “hyper-creedal” “preterism” was a man fearing and man pleasing system. 


Christ came as a thief in A.D. 70 as described everywhere in the N.T.!


Because Christ comes as a thief 1Thess. 5:2,4 = Mt. 24:43 – Mathison now claims Christ coming as a “thief” in 5:2 is the “Day [singular]of the Lord” coming of Christ in A.D. 70.  Yet in Matthew 24 according to Mathison, “day” singular and Christ coming as a thief is supposed to fall under the end of time “no signs” second coming section (Mt.24:36, 38, 43, 50, 25:13)!  This is very important because most postmillennial partial preterists use Christ coming as a thief to support Christ coming not in A.D. 70, but at the end of time suddenly and without warning or signs. One of Matheson’s main sources of authority Marcellus Kik writes,


“The unexpectedness and suddenness of the Lord’s return are illustrated by a thief coming in the night in Matthew 24:43.  The thief gives no sign of his intention to rob.  No indication of his coming is given.  This exemplifies the coming of the Lord.  Unmistakable signs are indicated as to the time o the destruction of Jerusalem but in regard to the coming of the Lord and the final judgment no definite signs were given.  This thought is re-echoed in verse 44:  “Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think no the Son of man cometh.””[4] 


It is interesting that Mathison gives NO discussion to Christ coming as a thief in (Mt.24:43) in any of his books!  Like Kik above, he does however see (vs.44) teaching a coming of Christ without signs to be only referring to the future second coming section in Mt.24.  QUESTION:  If it is admitted that Paul is getting his teaching from the Olivet Discourse (1Thess.4:15) and the “Day of the Lord” as a “thief” can be applied to an A.D. 70 coming in (1Thess.5), then why can’t it be referring to an A.D. 70 coming of Christ in Mt.24:43??? 


It was this very point in studying Christ coming as a thief in Rev.3:3 in my correspondence class with the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen that began me questioning the two second comings theory proposed by Mathison and other partial preterists in Matthew 24.  Bahnsen in his lectures on Revelation reasoned, “The very fact that it is conditional, that it is hypothetical, that it is conditioned upon something that they (my emphasis) are to do or not do, indicates that this is not the final return [as a thief] of Christ.”[5]  The problem with Bahnsen’s arbitrary reasoning was that EVERYWHERE in the N.T. where Christ comes as a thief He is addressing a first century Christian audience whom are likewise exhorted morally to be alert and watchful and live godly lives (Rev.3; 16:15; Mt.24:43; 2Pet.3).  It was when I read David Chilton’s comments on Christ coming as a thief consistently throughout the N.T. that all the lights went on.  In discussing Christ coming as a thief in (2Pet.3) Chilton following John Owen correctly wrote,


“…In this imminent “Day of the Lord” which is about to come upon the first-century world “like a thief” (cf. Matt.24:42-43; 1Thess.5:2; Rev.3:3), “the elements will be destroyed with intense heat” (v.10; cf. v.12).  What are these elements?  So called “literalists” will have it that the apostle is speaking about physics, referring the term to atoms) or perhaps subatomic particles), the actual physical components of the universe.  What these “literalists” fail to recognize is that although the word elements is used several times in the New Testament, it is never used in connection with the physical universe!  The term is always used in connection with the Old Covenant order (see Gal.4:3, 9; Col.2:8, 20).”[6]            


It became clear to me that Chilton was not dividing the Olivet Discourse into two different comings of Christ which is what I was seeing in my own studies.  This encouraged me to go speak to Mr. Chilton in person and then after reading Russell’s exegesis of the Olivet Discourse (which Chilton recommended me reading), I would write a private and public Open Letter To Dr. Greg Bahnsen challenging his arbitrary hermeneutics.[7]  Mathison proudly follows this tradition in arbitrary exegesis!  He claims that Christ coming as a thief in Revelation and (1Thess.5) is a coming of Christ “suddenly” in A.D. 70 and yet somehow Christ coming as a thief in (Mt.24:43) and (2Pet.3) is an end of time and planet coming.  Since Paul tells us that he is getting his teaching in (1Thess.4-5) from Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, and Mathison concedes 5:2 is referring to A.D.70, it only follows that Christ coming as a thief in (Mt.24:43) is THE A.D. 70 second coming and therefore the discourse cannot be divided! 


The other problem Mathison has in interpreting (2Pet.3) as an end of time coming of Christ as a thief, to burn up the planet, is that the “scoffers” seeking to deceive the church in Peter’s epistles are a “sign” of His return as recorded in Mathison’s A.D. 70 section (Mt.24:11-25).  Just as Mathison and Kenneth Gentry must interpret the then current first century arrival of the “Man of Lawlessness” in (2Thess.2) as a “sign” of the “Day of the Lord” as recorded in the Olivet Discourse, so too they need to apply the same hermeneutic to the “last days” “scoffers” as an A.D. 70 “sign” in (2Pet.3)!   Mathison claims that, “The coming of “perilous times” and of “scoffers” is explicitly said to be future.” (WSTTB?, p.190, emphasis added).  This is bogus!  Peter informs the church in Jerusalem as evidence that they are living in the “last time”- that they shouldn’t consider it a strange thing that they are going through all kinds of fiery trials which answers to them going through “perilous times” (1Pet.1) and the persecutions Jesus foretold in Mt.24.  Peter also had informed them that “scoffers” were already present claiming that Peter’s teaching of the second coming was originating from “cleverly invent stories” (2Pet.1:16).  There are plenty of “signs” laying the foundation for an imminent “Day of the Lord” in (2Pet.3) as well which none of our opponents in WSTTB? have addressed!              


Unbelievers are unaware of judgment coming 1Thess. 5:3 = Mt. 24:37-39 – We are told in Mt.24 that this is a future coming because unbelievers are caught unaware allegedly without any signs given as it was in the days of Noah we are told by reformed theologians.  Were there really no signs to Noah’s judgment?  How a man preaching judgment, a large boat being built, and then Noah and his family loading animals onto it cannot be considered “signs” of an imminent judgment escapes all reasoning to us but that is their “argument.”  Mathison tells us that this concept in Mt.24:37-39 must be evidence of an end of time coming preceded without signs but now in 5:3 destruction coming upon them “suddenly” he now decides applies to an A.D. 70 coming of Christ.  


Judgment, travail as upon expectant mother 1Thess. 5:3 = Mt. 24:8 – We are told by Mathison that in both Mt.24:8 and 5:3 birth pains (associated with signs) is Christ coming in A.D. 70.  Like we saw in Lk.17 and with Paul here, events in (Mt.24) are not chronologically set in perfect order to teach two different comings of Christ or two eschatological sections in the discourse! 


But believers persevere and are ready because they are preserved and not appointed unto wrath by God but salvation 1Thess. 5:4-10 = Mt. 24:22-24, Lk.21:23; Mt.24:45-46, 25:4, 10, 19-23, 28, 31-40.  The teaching that Christians would persevere because they were preserved by God and thus not appointed to wrath, along with moral exhortations to be ready and persevere are concepts found in both of Mathison’s artificial sections to Mt.24.  Mathison applies the “wrath” coming and “salvation” of 5:9 to be referring to Christ coming in A.D.70 as we do.  This “wrath” (Lk.21:23) was the “wrath about to come” John warned about in (Mt.3:7) and that Mathison never addressed.  As  John did not separate this “wrath about to come” from the arrival of an “at hand kingdom” and imminent end time harvest/gathering/resurrection in (Mt.3:2-12); neither did Paul in teaching a resurrection of the dead coming of Chirst in (1Thess.4) connected to Christ coming to give salvation to His people and wrath to the wicked in (1Thess.5)! 


Believers are of the day, watch, & are alert 1Thess. 5:5-6 = Mt. 24:42

Mathison claims that being “watchful” in Mt.24:42 doesn’t having anything to do with the signs coming of Christ in A.D. 70, but then doesn’t have any problem with this concept when Christ comes in A.D. 70 in 5:5-6.  As I said in my interpretation of (Mt.24:27/1Pet.1:16-19), Christian’s were of the Day and Christ was already shining in their hearts through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit – guaranteeing they would not be deceived (1Jn.2:26-27) and be overtaken at Christ’s imminent (1Jn.2:8, 17-18) return.   


Unbelievers are of the night & get drunk 1Thess. 5:7 = Mt. 24:44-50

Mathison claims that Mt.24:44-50 describes the final coming of Christ when drunken behavior and a rebellious attitude to not “watch” and discern the times will result in them being suddenly overtaken in the judgment at the end of world history.  However, now in 5:7 Mathison arbitrarily decides that unbelievers getting drunk and not being sober and watchful applies to them being overtaken by Christ “suddenly” in a coming of Christ in the A.D. 70 judgment.  If this concept applies in 5:7 it most assuredly applies to where Paul got it from (Mt.24:44-50)!


Paul tells us that he is getting his teaching here from Jesus and in particularly the Olivet Discourse, “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord…” (1Thess. 4:15).  There should be no doubt then to the “unbiased reader” that Paul understood Jesus coming on the clouds to gather His elect (Mt.24:30-31) to be THE RESURRECTION event to occur in his “this generation.” 


(1Thess. 4:17/Mt.24:30-31) the dead first and then the living


In seeking to refute dispensationalisms distinction between the “rapture” and the second coming Mathison states of (1Thess.4:14-17),


“If we examine the Scripture closely, however, we will se that the two words for and with present no real problem.  Christ comes with the saints who have already died and for the saints who are still alive.” 


Mathison and other partial preterists interpret Christ coming on the clouds with “angels” and the “gathering” of (Mt.24:30-31) to be the disciples as “messengers” preaching the gospel pre-A.D. 70 and post.  Mathison writes,


“The word translated “angels” in this verse is the same word that means human “messengers” elsewhere (e.g., Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24; 9:52), and there is no reason to assume that it cannot mean human messengers here. This prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when Christ sent His messengers to Jews and to Gentiles in all parts of the world with the goal of gathering His elect (cf. Acts 1:7-8; 28:28). (Postmillennialism, p.114)


However, as I have already demonstrated the great commission or the “goal of gathering His elect” in (Acts 1:7-8) had already been accomplished before A.D. 70 (Rms.10:18; 16:25-26) as a sign marking the imminent salvation for God’s people and the crushing of Satan (Rms.13:11-12, 16:20).  Since the prophecy is about the “end of the [OC] age,” and we have just finished a “recapitulation” of the “end” at (vs.14), Jesus is now concluding the next section in discussing the end result of the great commission that He had discussed in (vs.14).  As John Murray observed in the recapitulation structure of the Olivet Discourse, we have reached another “conclusion” in the Discourse all the while it being concerned with one second coming and one “end of the age” in view.  This is clearly NOT the beginning gathering at Pentecost due to Christ going into the glory cloud, but Him coming again on the glory cloud to receive His own (dead & alive) into His presence at His parousia. 


If what Mathison says is true in rejecting the two second comings of dispensationalism, then Christ coming with the dead saints (with angels in Mt.24:30-31) and for (or to gather) the alive elect is true as well.  Paul is getting his order of Christ raising the dead first and then Christ and the dead (now raised) coming “for” or to “gather” the remaining saints together into His presence from (Mt.24:30-31).  Even in the design of the atonement and the gathering of God’s elect  through the gospel, the order of – the hearing and raising of the spiritually dead nation of Israel came first before the gathering and salvation of the gentiles could come into their fullness (Jn.4:22; Mt.15:21-28; Jn.11:51-52/1Jn.2:2; Rms.1:16; Rms.11).  Both groups were dependent upon each other in order for “all Israel to be saved” (see also Heb.11:39-40). Those who had “fallen asleep” in faith awaiting the promise of a “better resurrection,” were predominantly Jewish believers from the O.T. and the firstfruits of the early church.                 


In using the analogy of Scripture, it should be pointed out – however one wants to define Christ coming here is how they should define Him coming with angels to gather and separate the righteous from the wicked at harvest time.  This would be when the kingdom comes in power at the end of Jesus’ OC “this age” in (Mt.13:39-43; Mt.16:27-28; & Mt.25:31-34).  We do not disagree that the gospel being preached after Pentecost was an event by which Jew and Gentile were being gathered into the kingdom through faith.  But the eschatological “gathering” of Christ/Shilo that is here discussed in (Mt.24:30-31) is that of THE judgment when the scepter would depart from Judah (Gen.49:10 KJV).  The scepter departed from Judah and the resurrection of the dead occured when the power of the holy people was completely shattered in A.D. 70 (Dan.12:1-7).  From this historical and covenantal event and on, Christ and the Church continue to rule the nations through the authority of the gospel.      


Jesus in (Lk.21:27-32) uses the same Greek word for the Kingdom being “at hand” as He has elsewhere in the gospels (Mt.4:17, 10:7) and that of John the Baptist in (Mt.3:2-12).  Clearly Jesus is not discussing the “already” of the kingdom or the “inauguration” of the kingdom gathering to come in His “this generation” as the ascension, but the “not yet” or as DeMar describes — the “consummation” of the NC kingdom!  Folks Scripture as a whole teaches there can be no coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven or “consummation” of the NC kingdom without THE judgment and resurrection of the living and the dead occurring at the same time!  We are living in the age of the application of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.  As Hank Hanegraaff said at Gary DeMar’s prophecy conference, “The Bible was not written to us, but it was written for us.”  In other words, just because fulfillment has come to most (partial preterism) or all (Gospel Eschatology or full preterism) Bible prophecy, does not mean the Bible has application for us today!  Once we finish building a house does that mean we don’t move in and enjoy the fruits of our labor?  Don’t we enthusiastically move in and invite our family and friends to enjoy our dwelling?  That’s what living in the “age to come” or the new heavens and earth post parousia (Isa.65-66 & Rev.21-22) is all about!  We are the new creation forgiven of our sins healing the nations through promoting An Eschatology of Realized Hope.  


We agree with reformed futurists whom understand that the coming of Christ on the clouds here and His “gathering” of the elect to be a reference to Christ’s one and final second coming to close the end of the age.  This is how John Murray and most of the other authors of WSTTB? understand these events.  We also agree with Mathison, Gentry, and Sproul that Christ coming on the clouds and the gathering of His elect was a spiritual event through the preaching of the gospel to be fulfilled in Jesus’ “this generation” – by A.D. 70. 


But what of Mathison teaching that the coming of Christ in Mt.24:30 is the 1)  ascension “coming” in (Dan.7:13-14)?  Is this passage in Daniel referring to the ascension or second coming?


Daniel 7:9-27 – The Son of Man coming on the clouds is contextually filled with the judgment and second coming themes not the ascension.  In fact most of the commentators see a connection between (Dan.7:13-14 & Mt.24:30) not to the Son of Man coming on the clouds “up” to the Father at the ascension, but to Jesus coming on the clouds at His second coming.  Of the 18 different translations I looked at only 3 translates the text with Jesus coming “up.” 


“In this very chapter before us there is no expression or any intimation whatever that the judgment is held in heaven. No place is named. It is only said that judgment was held over the power of the fourth beast, which came to a head in the horn speaking blasphemies, and that the beast was slain and his body burned. If he who appears as a son of man with the clouds of heaven comes before the Ancient of days executing the judgment on the earth, it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth. If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4; 104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14.[8]


When the Son of Man comes with the shout of the “trumpet” at the “end” is when Jesus “delivers up” or “over” the Kingdom in its transformed state to the Father  (1Cor.15:24).  Jesus is described as the Ancient of Days in Daniel’s vision (Dan.7:9/Rev.1:14).  “In the LXX version of Daniel 7:13 the translator has interpreted ‘he came to the Ancient of Days’ as ‘he came as the Ancient of Days’.[9]


This is the time of the judgment because “the court was seated, and the books were opened” (Dan.7:10/Rev.20:12).  Daniel 7:11-12 describe the judgment of the beasts which according to Revelation were apart of the judgment in the prophecy that would “shortly” be fulfilled at the “soon” return of Christ at the end of the millennium (Rev.1:1; 17-22:6-7, 10-12, 20).  Thus far the preceding context to (Dan.7:13-14) has nothing to do with the ascension but with the second coming of Christ in judgment.  In (v.13) there is a clear reference to Christ’s second coming on the clouds of heaven in which the tribes of the land of Israel would weep because of His judgment being poured out upon them for crucifying Him (Mt.24:30/Rev.1:7).  The following verse describes the solidarity between the Son and Father and describes the result of the second coming – the establishment of His eternal Kingdom over all nations forever.  The N.T. discusses the possession of the Kingdom with the blowing of the last trumpet (Dan.7:14/Rev.11:15-19/Mt.24:31/1Cor.15:24-26, 52; 1Thess.4:16).  In (vss.15-22) Daniel wanted to know more about the vision of the coming of the Son of Man to judge the beasts and in particular the little horn.  He also wanted to know more about this judgment because it was the time when the Ancient of Days came and the saints inherited the Kingdom (v.22/Lk.21:27-32).  So when Daniel describes what he saw in the vision to the angel, it is further confirmed that the ascension is not in view here.  And if that were not enough, when the angel gives the explanation of (Dan.7:9-22) in (vss.23-27) there is no reference to the ascension but to THE JUDGMENT of the little horn or King that waged war against the saints for 3 ½ years.  After the judgment of the little horn is the time the saints are given the Kingdom.  Sorry Mr. Mathison there is no reference to the ascension in (Dan.7:13-14) – good try though.  


Zechariah 12-14 The Tribes of the Land mourning.  Mathison in his work on Postmillennialism says of (vs.30), “The “tribes of the earth” who mourn are either the Jewish tribes in the “land” (ge in Greek) or the Jewish tribes scattered throughout the Empire.  The “coming” of the Son of Man is His coming in judgment upon Jerusalem (see vv.23-28), which is intimately connected with His ascension to the right hand of God (cf. Dan. 7:13-14).” (Postmillennialism, p.114).  Well, which is it?  Is Christ coming on the clouds in (vs.30) in judgment upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70, or is it Him “coming up” at the ascension?  Amazingly the reformed Hyper-Creedalists see (Mt.24:30) as teaching three comings of Christ:  1) A coming in the ascension, 2)  A coming of Christ in judgment upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and 3)  The “unmistakable last coming of the Son of Man” (WSTTB?, pp.71-72).  “Common sense” says the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds in (Mt.24:30) is referring to the second coming of Jesus to occur in Jesus’ “this generation” to put an “end” to the OC age.  There is no need to “redefine” the coming here as an ascension “going”! 


Revelation 1:7  Is a parallel passage to (Mt.24:30) and both are taken from (Zech.12:10).  In the Rev.1:7 text it is even clearer that the “mourning” involved here is coming from a judgment scene in which Christ is judging those Jews that were responsible for “piercing” Him.  They would “see” “understand’ or “perceive” (Mrk.1:44; Lk.17:22; Jn.3:36) through the sign of the troops surrounding Jerusalem and its destruction that Christ had indeed come just as He had promised.  The church would now be able to spiritually perceive and understand that the scepter had departed from Judah and that Christ had glorified Himself in and through His people.  Since:  1) all agree that the coming of Jesus on the clouds associated with the tribes of the earth/land being judged or mourning in (Mt.24:30/Rev.1:7) are referring to the same event, and 2)  Mathison and Gentry agree the texts are fulfilled in A.D. 70, then 3)  there should be no doubt that the coming of the Son of Man in these texts is referring to the period of A.D. 66 – A.D. 70 exclusively.  I must ask, “Which of Jesus’ enemies saw Him ascend let alone were mourning when they saw Him ascending on the clouds after His resurrection?  Throughout the book of Revelation Christ coming on the clouds in (Rev.1:7) was something that would take place “shortly” and would be “near” or “soon” not some cloud coming that had taken place some 30 years earlier at the ascension! 


Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 is also taken from the “In that Day” prophecy of  (Zech.9-14) in which the Messianic King comes to establish His Kingdom 14:8-9/Lk.21:27-32 in a day only known by the Lord 14:7/Mt.24:36 to destroy the enemies of the True Jerusalem (the remnant or Church).  These enemies include the nations or tribes making up fleshly OC Israel whom were persecuting the remnant and the various nations of the Roman Empire she stirred up to make war against the Church.  Since the prophecy as a whole describes two Jerusalem’s it also describes two kinds of mourning:  1) A godly sorrow for Jerusalem from above leading to salvation from sin and deliverance from her enemies, and 2) A worldly mourning and sorrow resulting in further hardening and judgment.  In a similar way that Pharaoh’s mourning in loosing his first born son led to further hardening and judgment upon himself and his armies, so to the context of the (Mt.24:30/Rev.1:7) “mourning” of the tribes of Israel’s land is not for repentance and salvation that resulted in God’s wrath being poured out upon them!  The prophecy is fulfilled with the Messiah’s return to set up His Kingdom and thus the New Creation comes in which there is no “unclean” Canaanite entering Jerusalem (14:20-21cf. Rev.21-22).                          


The Mt.24/Lk.17/Lk.21/1Cor.15 connections. 




Mt.24, Lk.17, Lk.21

1)  Christ’s parousia vs.22

1)  Christ’s parousia vs.27

2)  Time of the end vs.23

2)  Time of the end vss.3, 13-14

3)  At Christ’s parousia God would be “IN all” (Jew and Gentile) vs.28

3)  Lk.17:21-37 “WITHIN you.”

4)  Time to inherit the Kingdom vss.23, 50

4)  Time to inherit the Kingdom Lk.21:31-32/Mt.25:31-34 which could not be seen with the physical eye Lk.17:20-37. 

5)  Persecution vs.32

5)  Persecution Mt.24:9

6)  BUT at the sound of the trumpet call some would live in the 1st. century church at Corinth to witness Christ’s parousia & the resurrection v.51-52

6)  BUT at the sound of the trumpet call some living in Jesus’ “this generation” would live to witness Christ’s parousia and resurrection Mt.24:22, 27, 30-31, 34; Lk.21:18, 27-32. 

7)  The parousia of Christ would destroy the power of “THE DEATH” produced by the Mosaic “THE LAW” vss.26, 54-57

7)  The parousia would bring an end to the temple which was the epitome to the end of the “heaven and earth” of the OC Mosaic age of the Law Mt.24:3, 35 


Most reformed and evangelical theologians following the “analogy of Scripture” hermeneutic acknowledge that both Jesus and Paul are discussing the same parousia, end, trumpet call, time of the Kingdom, and resurrection/gathering event in Mt.24:4-31 and 1Cor.15.  However, what is not brought out in their “analogy of Scripture” hermeneutic is that both Jesus and Paul are instructing under inspiration that some of those living in that first century generation would be alive to witness and experience the parousia, end, trumpet call, resurrection/gathering, and kingdom event!  It is extremely evident that both sides of the reformed and evangelical house divided are suffering from a severe case of eschatological schizophrenia and “hyper-creedalism” when Mathison, Gentry, Sproul, and DeMar, refuse to allow (1Thess.4-5; 1Cor.15) to be read next to (Mt.24:4-34) as clearly teaching a first century fulfillment not only in the time of the parousia in Mt.24, but in the spiritual nature of that fulfillment!  


). The Isa.11, 24-28, 49, 60/Mt.24/1Cor.15 connectionsSince any good Bible cross reference or commentary will connect the gathering and trumpet call of (Isa.27) with that of (Mt.24:30-31) and (1Cor.15), perhaps we should take a closer look at Isaiah’s “little apocalypse” and note some more parallels:       

Israel is scattered and then will be gathered at the trumpet call (Isa.24:1; 27:12-13; Mt.24:30-31; 1Cor.15:52).  The trumpet call and gathering invoke several eschatological concepts and themes altogether:  War, judgment, deliverance, worship, harvest/resurrection/redemption.   

There is a de-creation, shaking, and burning of the “earth/land” and City (Isa.24:1, 6, 10-13, 18-23, 25:2; Mt.24:29). 

This judgment is the result of Israel violating her old covenant Mosaic law (Isa.24:5).  When Christ reigns from Zion the old covenant law will be destroyed and thus an “end” and fulfilling of its redemptive purposes and goal will be accomplished (Isa.24:3; 25:7; Lk.21:22; 1Cor.15:24-28). 

Harvest (which implies the great commission and resurrection themes) and horticulture imagery is used such as Israel taking root, blossoming/budding, filling the earth with fruit, gathering, trumpet, threshing, (Isa.24:13[17:5]; 27:2-6; 27:9, 12-13; Mt.24:14, 30-31/Lk.21:29-32/Cols.1:5-6, 23; 1Cor.15:20-22, 36ff.).

The Messianic Feast/Wedding will be prepared on Mount Zion for all people (Isa.25:6).  The Messianic Wedding/Feast motif is mentioned by Jesus in (Mt.22; 24-25).  Although this theme is not explicitly taught in (1Cor.15), Paul’s corporate and covenantal primer to that chapter is when Israel would “know” and be “known” (a sexual marital word, Holland, ibid. p. 120) and see her Messiah “face to face” in her “restored” or resurrected form 1Cor.13:12/Isa.52:8/Rev.22:4.  Theologically and allowing Scripture to interpret itself – no one can see God’s face and “know” Him unless the consummation of the wedding, resurrection, and glorification of the believer has occurred.  This is when God would be “all in all” (1Cor.15:28).  This means all that God is in His redemptive attributes and promises will be both in Jew and Gentile alike as His NC Bride. 

These predictions will be fulfilled “In that Day” (Isa.26:1; Lk.17:20-37/Mt.24-25).  Although not specifically mentioned, no one doubts that the resurrection in (1Cor.15) takes place on the “last day.”       

According to the prophecy of Isaiah, the judgment and resurrection as metamorphically described above with its various themes occurs “In that Day.” At that time, the people of the world “learn righteousness” (Isa.26:9) from observing this redemptive event.  But how if this is an end of the planet coming and judgment of God?  Because none of these prophecies in Isaiah either in the form of type vs. anti-type or direct fulfillment are used of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Lk.21:22) to be dealing with the end of the planet or history.  According to the other two “last days” or “in that day” Isaiah prophetic blocks of (Isa.1-5) and (Isa.60-66) there are those who “survive” the “Day of the Lord” judgment and evangelism continues even after the New Heavens and Earth are established.  This is the same pattern of Christ coming “soon” to reward every man in (Rev.21-22) to end the millennium.  When it all is accomplished evangelism continues through the New Creation and thus the nations of the world “learn righteousness” through seeing how God dealt with apostate Israel in judgment and then in rewarding the Church with eternal life as She continues to preach the gospel in the age to come (Rev.22:12, 17-20).  The fact that (1Cor.15) is a parallel passage to the resurrection and judgment which closes the millennium in (Rev.20-22) and that it is dealing with the “end” of the old covenant “the law,” instructs us that (1Cor.15) is not addressing the end of time.

There was gentile judgment and Jewish blood guilt oppression that had come from Israel’s enemies in the past and present such as Egypt, Assyria, and the rich and wicked among Israel whom had “ruled over” the remnant and “killed” her.  Thus their persecutors would not rise corporately and covenantally with the righteous remnant (Isa.26:13-14; 27:7; Mt.24:28).  In the book of Revelation old covenant Israel is described with the unbelief of their previous gentile “lords” who persecuted them with such titles as spiritual Egypt, Sodom, and Babylon.  It was true that the outer body, carcass, or shell of old covenant Israel would never rise again; but the life, remnant, and Church within the seed was being raised and would soon receive the redemption of Her Body (Lk.21:28/Rms.8:18-23YLT).   Paul needed to correct the gentile Christians in Corinth and in Rome whom prematurely thought they had re-placed Israel and there was no future for them.  They had erred on the resurrection by prematurely teaching that Israel would not rise with those “in Christ,” when in fact God was still dealing with hardened Israelites and that they (the Gentile Christians) were simply in-grafted branches of a Jewish “firstfruits” olive tree/harvest/resurrection (1Cor.15/Rms.9-11).          

Time for the resurrection and redemption of Israel is equated to that of child birth (Isa.26:17-19; Mt.24:8).  Although the child birth analogy in (1Cor.15) is missing, no one doubts that Christ as the “first born from the dead” (Cols.18) and Christ as the “first fruits” (1Cor.15:20ff.) are equivalents.  Since Christ was not the first to rise biologically, but was the “first” to overcome the spiritual death in Adam which was magnified under Israel’s Torah; it is understood that Christ was the first to overcome spiritual death – of which His physical resurrection was a visible sign.           

The persecuted and martyred remnant was to go in their rooms for a “little while” while God carried out His judgments upon those among Israel whom had persecuted and shed the blood of the remnant (Isa.26:20-21; 27:9; Mt.23-24:9; Rev.6).  The coming of Christ to judge and vindicate His martyrs and raise them from the dead was an imminent event in which some of them living in Jesus’ and Paul’s day would experience (Mt.24:34 “you” “this generation,”  1Cor.15:51/Mt.16:27-28 “we” “shall not all sleep,” see also the “little while” vindication of the martyrs at Christ’s “soon” return in Rev.6/20; 22:12.

God gathering His people at the sound of a trumpet, raising the dead, and rendering judgment upon the wicked would be when all the “altar stones” would be “crushed” (Isa.27:9; Mt.24:2).  Although there is no mention of the temple stones in (1Cor.15) the “end” associated with Israel’s “the law” that Torah produced – implies the “end” and destruction/overcoming of “the death” which came from the “power” of the Temple structure and system.   

In (Isa.27) there is the judgment of the Serpent and thus the time of God defeating not only death (Isa.25:8) but all of God’s enemies (1Cor.15:24-28; cf. Rms.16:20). 

Within the immediate context of (1Cor.15) Paul quotes (Isa.28:11) in (1Cor.14:21) with reference to the gift of tongues as pointing to an imminent judgment in Paul’s day.  The miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues were given to the first century generation to fulfill the great commission by the “end of the [OC] age.”  The Holy Spirit and the charismata were necessary to proclaim boldly a genuinely imminent judgment and resurrection of the living and the dead.  The Holy Spirit and the charismata were also necessary to interpret and unfold the mysteries of the Kingdom or “the hope of Israel” found in the law and the prophets to rulers and Kings (Mrk.13:10-11/Mrk.16:15-18/Mt.28:19-20; Acts 2-4, 6-7, 17, 24, 26, 28).  Since Mr. Mathison and his co-author team affirms:  1) the great commission and the end of the age has not been fulfilled (Mrk.16:15-18/Mt.28:19-20),  2) We are still in the “last days” awaiting the restoration of all things  (Acts 2-3), 3)  “That which is perfect – the second coming and consummation of the New Creation has not arrived (1Cor.13:8-12/Rev.22:4), I believe their next book should be a “scholarly defense for the gift of tongues today.”  Contextually the perfected consummation and judgment in (1Cor.13-14) is not a different consummation and judgment than in chapter 15!  If tongues has ceased with the impending judgment, then we are beholding God face to face and the Church is a raised and glorified Body today.       

In (Isa.28:21) God’s salvation of the remnant and judgment upon the wicked would be considered a “strange work.”  Those Jews whose hopes and interpretations of the law and the prophets that were founded upon a national redemption and salvation from Rome would consider this a “strange work” because they would end up being God’s enemies and the ones being judged.  This was the draw of the false prophets and messiah’s Jesus warned would come (Mt.24:22-24).  The “manner” or way The Scriptures foretold Israel would be “restored” and raised from the dead was spiritual and not referring to a biological or national resurrection of which she had seen before.  This was a “mystery” (1Cor.15:51ff.) revealed to the remnant and babes of the new covenant kingdom whose hopes were on things which could not be seen.  But this “mystery” was sovereignly hid from the wicked who’s eschatological hopes were on things that could be seen and who’s god was their belly. 

Israel had made a covenant with death (Isa.28:15, 18) in apostatizing from listening to God and turned to the counsel of idols (Isa.8:19).  This resulted in making an unholy alliance with Egypt in hopes of overthrowing God’s plans of destroying them.  Jesus and Peter warned of these “scoffers” and “mockers” (Isa.28:14, 22; Isa.1:10 –chapter 3, described as Sodom & Gomorrah) that would come in the last days just prior to the Day of the Lord.  The Jewish leaders of Jerusalem (described as “Sodom” and “Egypt” in Revelation) deceived the common Jew to follow after these false prophets and Messiah’s that entered into various sects and alliances (such as the Zealots & Idumeans) with hopes to overthrow their rival factions among themselves and the Roman Empire.  All this scoffing and mocking of Jesus’ predictions of their reliance on false prophets to save them from God sending these armies to burn and devour their city would not deliver them in the “end” (Mt.22:7; Mt.24:9-12).  A perverted reliance on “the law” along with “the death” is the enemy in (1Cor.15:56) which “deceived” Paul when he died spiritually as a Pharisee in (Rms.7).  A perversion of understanding the law and the prophets caused him to reject Jesus’ teachings of a spiritual kingdom “the hope of Israel” and disdain His teaching of an imminent destruction of the temple and OC system.  But when it pleased God to reveal His Son in him, Paul’s spiritual blindess would be healed and he would be found among the true elect of Israel.    


Sign/Banner will appear in heaven” & “Gathering” cont…


Since Mathison appeals to R.T. France as a source of authority (WSTTB?, p.180) on (Mt.24:4-35) and thus on the “sign in heaven” and the “gathering of the elect” in (vss.30-31) it appears we have not left the incredibly rich book of Isaiah proving that this passage is the consummation gathering and resurrection of the elect in A.D. 70France says of our text,  


“…point out that semeion is the LXX translation for the ‘standard’ or ‘banner’ referred to in the Old Testament as a signal for the gathering of God’s people; see, e.g., Isaiah 11:12; 49:22.  The ‘standard’ and the ‘trumpet’ (also mentioned here in v. 31) together become fixed in Jewish liturgical language about the ‘gathering of the exiles’.  At any rate it is clear that we are still in the area of apocalyptic symbolism, and that a literal identification of ‘the sign of the Son of Man’ is not likely to be possible.”[10]


The “gathering of the exiles” in the O.T. was when God raised Israel from the dead by  brining back a believing remnant into the Promised Land!  This “gathering” is clearly the time of the resurrection even by the admission of France and Mathison wether they realize it or not.  Of course the context of (Isa.11) is the new or second exodus and I would agree with practically any Bible’s cross references of (v.4) to Thessalonians chapter 2 as well of Mathison’s view that Christ coming in judgment consuming the Man of Sin and His enemies with the “breath of His mouth” happened in the A.D. 70 judgment (2Thess.2:8) (Mathison, Postmillennialism, pp. 228-233).  Therefore, the “gathering” of the “Day [singular] of the Lord” in (2Thess.2:1-2) is contextually and inseparably linked to when Christ would come and be “glorified in his saints” by the coming presence (Greek parousia) of the Lord.  This would be when Christ would repay the Jewish persecutors with the same kind of “tribulation” that they were giving the Christians and give these first century Christians “relief” (1Thess.2:14-19; 2Thess.1:6-10). 


Paul of course quotes (Isa.11:1, 10) in (Rms.15:10-12) along with the Song of Moses in (Deut.32:43).  Verse 9 of Isaiah 11 is directly connected to verse 10 and within the “in the day” theme is one of Mathison’s and the postmillennialists favorite verses, “For the earth/land shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.”  And yet as we have seen, Paul says this had been accomplished in his day (Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms.10:18; Rms.16:25-26).  Folks this is within a consumation “gathering” context!  To further solidify that consumation gathering is in Paul’s thinking is to examine the other O.T. passage he cites (Deut.32:43).  This passage in Deuteronomy states that when Israel is judged for her blood guilt is when the remnant and the Gentiles would rejoice in their salvation!  As we have seen previously in Matthew, Jesus had taught the disciples that Israel’s blood guilt would be avenged in His “this generation” (Mt.23-24).  Jesus and Paul understood that they were living in the terminal generation predicted by Moses in (Deut.32:5, 20).  Paul correctly understood  that the time of Israel’s wrath and judgment would also be the time of the true Israel’s resurrection, rejoicing, and the “near” “last hour” of Christ’s second coming out from Zion to turn away ungodliness and forgive His peoples sin (Deut.32:21, 39-43/Rms.10:19, 11:14-27, 13:11-12). 


Isaiah 11 is filled with the new heavens and new earth peace motifs as well (vss.6-8) indicating this is the consumation gathering into the new creation that is in view here.  And what of the context of the (Isa.49:22) passage France cites as the O.T. fulfillment to (Mt.24:30-31)?  It too is filled with the Gentiles being gathered together with Israel as the time of a bride – infering the time of the Messianic wedding has come (v.18).  The standard/sign and gathering here is clearly the time of judgment when Christ comes “shortly” and the Churches enemies get drunk with their own blood and bow at the feet of the once persecuted Church (vs.23/Rev.3:9, 2:6-9; vs.26/Rev.14:20, 16:6, 17:6).  In context, from this judgment and “gathering” “all flesh” will know that God is the Savior and Redeemer of the Church.  According to Revelation this is when John saw “another sign in heaven” concerning the “last plagues” in which the “wrath of God is complete” (Rev.15:1).  Mathison affirms that (Rev.15-16) is the judgment upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed during this time (Mathison, Postmillennialism, p.153).  Therefore, after Christ has come the saints sing the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb of the redeemed and gain access to God’s presence.   


France on the theme of gathering and the “banner” should have cited (Isa.60:4) as well.  The sign/banner and gathering theology of (Isa.11, 49, & 60-which he left out), has to do with the time of “glorification” and reception of the new creation through a time of judgment.  In short, in referencing France as an authority on (Mt.24:30-31), France and Mathison prove our point and thus prove too much! 


Because Matthew 24:30-31 is dealing with the resurrection at the end of the OC age I will attempt to cover this thread of “gathering” by way of the old covenant gatherings at mount Sinai, the various gatherings “in the land” verses a new covenant gathering “in Christ,” a harvest gathering at the end of the old covenant age in A.D.70, and a marriage gathering together at that time as well.      

A Gathering at Mount Sinai under the OldCovenantKingdom Verses the Gathering at MountZion under the New CovenantKingdom

In the formation of the OC and under the first exodus God gathered Israel with a trumpet call at Mount Sinai, put His words in her mouth, and made her his wife and thus formed her “heavens” and “earth” (Ex.19-20; Isa.51:15-16).  This is the background and picture by which we should see Jesus’ words here.  This “gathering” is parallel in nature to the “catching away” of (1Thess.4) & the “change” in (1Cor.15) and is not teaching a physical rapture into God’s Kingdom but a gathering into God’s presence in the NC kingdom when the old covenant kingdom would pass in A.D 70 – or in “this generation.”   

As Moses went up on the mountain or in the tent/tabernacle and communed with God “face to face” in the cloud and received a glory under the OC, so under the NC Christ gathered His Church at His coming in the clouds of His glory where we see His face now (2Cor.3/1Cor.13).  The “transformation” of Christians into the likeness of Christ for  the first century Church who were experiencing a changing of covenantal worlds whereby they were seeing God’s face in (2Cor.3) was/is not a biological transformation nor a literal seeing of God’s face.  The “face to face” seeing of Christ’s face is identical in (2Cor.3 & 1Cor.13).  The (2Cor.3) is obviously not a literal seeing of Christ’s face and therefore neither is the (1Cor.13).  We will deal with this more on our section of (1Cor.13) and the gifts ceasing at the return of Christ and at the end of the age in A.D.70.

Jesus described His kingdom as “not of this world” and that when it would come it would be at His return and not something visible with the naked eye but a reality perceived in ones heart (Lk.17:20-21; Lk.21:31-32).  John and Jesus describes this “gathering” here in (Mt.24) a bit differently in (Jn.14) not as a physical rapture into the sky, but when God would make His home in the believers heart (Jn.14:3, 23) and thus God would become “all in all” (1Cor.15:28).  Until that time the Holy Spirit’s presence was a pledge.  The Apostle Paul correctly understood both the spiritual nature of the kingdom and that when Christ would return He would place His glory in the believers heart, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Cols.1:27-28).  Paul likewise associated the second coming and gathering as when Christ would come to be glorified IN his holy people (2Thess.1:10-2:1).  In short, Jesus is discussing His gathering His Church into the NC Kingdom which was a spiritual kingdom/event and not a literal one.

The writer to the Hebrews makes the contrast of the old and new covenants/kingdoms with Mount Sinai and MountZion in (Hebs.12).  Here and elsewhere in the NT those under the OC as pictured by Moses, the Law, and Mount Sinai are described as being in a “world” of “bondage” and “death” awaiting a resurrection and victory into the consummated new NC world or creation (Gals.4:3, 9, 24; Rms.5-8; 1Cor.15:54-56).  The book of Hebrews explains that they had already begun gathering or assembling into resurrection life in Christ for they had come to Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, thousands of angels, to spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant (Hebs.12:18-28).  Thus they were in the process of “receiving” the kingdom and in a “very little while” would receive it at Christ’s appearing (Hebs.10:37).  Through Christ’s work on the cross and the Spirits work on Pentecost the transformation and process of receiving the: 1) NC glory, 2) New Creation, 3) kingdom, 4) resurrection from death, 5) reigning with Christ, 6) gathering together, and 7) salvation, that the OT prophets foretold had already begun (2Cor.3 – 4, 2Cor.5:17; Cols.1:13; Cols.2:12-13; Ephs.2:1, 5-6; Jn.11:47-52; 1Pet.1:5-12).  There was no literal and biological change in the above 7 NC kingdom fulfillment’s.  The non literal aspect of the kingdom and resurrection life was not just limited to the “already” aspect of kingdom fulfillment but was likewise a non physical fulfillment at the consummation of the “not yet” of the Kingdom promises when Christ would return in that generation.  The NC kingdom promises would remain a non-physical reality in ones heart and no literal and biological change or “rapture” would occur at that time (Lk.17:20-21ff.; Lk.21:27-32). 

In (Hebs.12) we see the first century transitionary Christians in the process of receiving the NC kingdom and thus in the process of being gathered unto MountZion whence Christ would come from to receive them to Himself and forgive their sins: 

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins” (Roms.11:25-27). 

The book of Hebrews tells us when Christ would come out of the heavenly temple or out of Zion a “second time” “apart from sin” and it was in a “very little while” (Hebs.10:37).  The “mystery” that Paul refers to in association with Christ coming out of Zion is in relation to Jesus’ gathering together the children of God  – both Jew and Gentile:

“And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” (Jn.11:51-52)

This “mystery” of the NC gathering into the messianic kingdom that the OT prophets predicted was the Gentile “other fold” in (Jn.10) that Jesus prayed for in (Jn.17) that would be “ONE.”  I believe it is also accurate to see the two houses of Israel coming together as well and this being a reference to the 10 northern tribes of Israel being united with Judah under one shepherd as predicted in (Ezk.37:19, 24-28; Hos.1:11).  Paul gives a great deal of time developing the maturation process of this “ONE” “new man” or Church/Kingdom in his writings (Ephs.2 – 5; Cols.1 – 4; Rms.9-11).  The NC “gathering” in (Mt.24:31) and “mystery” and “change” in (1Cor.15) at Christ’s parousia is describing the comsumative processes to the resurrection and transformation of this “new man” the NC Church “body of Christ” from the “old man” or as Paul states in Romans – the “body of sin.”  We will develop (1Cor.15) later on but for now I want to state my premise on this particular theme – that there was a “gathering” of Israel out from Mount Sinai = death and bondage, to Mount Zion = resurrection life and righteousness at the coming of Christ in A.D.70.   

A Gathering “In The Land” into the OC Kingdom Verses A Gathering “In Christ” into the NC Kingdom

Another picture In Israel’s history that demonstrated a “gathering” from death to life was found in God scattering and gathering Israel under the OC blessings and cursings (Deut.28-30).  If Israel was faithful to obey God’s law she would remain “in the land” but if she disobeyed the covenant God would “scatter” her and turn Israel over to her enemies.  During these times of exile as with the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities Israel was considered covenantally “dead” when she was outside the land away from the temple where God’s presence resided.  In Scripture and Rabbinical literature of the times, to be outside the land was to be among the Gentiles who were in “darkness” and “death” although they were biologically alive.  A good example of this corporate and nationalistic scattering and “death” into exile (under the Babylonians) and thus a corporate and nationalistic resurrection and gathering back into the land (in 586 B.C.) is found in (Ezk.37); which also contained a prophecy of the coming NC gathering salvation in Messiah.  The prophecy of the dry bones coming to life out of the graves is described as the resurrection of “the house of Israel” which is clearly defined as them coming back into their land (Ezk.37:9:14).  This text in no way teaches that at the second coming God will  reconstitute the molecules and atoms of our individual biologically dead bodies and unify them with our spirits – per most futuristic theology.  (Ezk.37)’s gathering and settling back into the land from the Babylonian exile served as a type and shadow of a greater “gathering” or “better resurrection” into a better or “heavenly land/country” under Christ in the NC. 

To be “gathered” back into the land from the bondage, oppression, and “death” of the Gentiles was a resurrection for the OC community.  God was teaching Israel and us through this typology that just as Adam’s sin brought spiritual death and enslavement to all men and he was scattered or banished outside the garden back to the desert or “dust” where he originally came from; so too Israel when she would sin and break the covenant would be scattered outside the land and experience covenantal sin death – separation of fellowship.  The book of Hebrews follows this “land” or “country” aspects to contrast the covenants.  In (Hebs.11) the writer clearly identifies that the OT prophets predicted not a physical nationalistic return and gathering into the land and country but a spiritual inheritance and thus entrance into a “better country” (Hebs.11:16)!  Within the same chapter the writer describes a “better resurrection” than the temporal and physical ones that the OT saw such as the with Elijah raising the widows son.  Jesus is the “resurrection and life”and those that believe on Him whether they were physically dead or alive would “never die” (Jn.11:25-26).  The Nationalistic resurrections or “gatherings” back into the land and physical resurrections that she saw under the OC pointed to Israel’s NC spiritual land/country/kingdom/resurrection “in Christ.”  Christ is the fulfillment of Israel’s land promises and to be “gathered” “in Christ” is to experience resurrection life!  The OT repeats “in the land” and Paul’s favorite description of salvation under the NC is to be “in Christ.”             

Christ was the “servant of David” or “one Shepherd” that united the two houses of Israel in the kingdom.  We have briefly addressed this gathering into a union for Israel under the shepherd theme (Jn.10; 11; 17) but note here that the millennial kingdom oneness is described in the temple motif as well: 

“Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. “My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  “The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”‘” (Ezk.37:26-28)


Paul quotes this passage in (Ezk.37) and explains to the CorinthianChurch that the Church is the kingdom temple foretold by the prophets (2Cor.6:16).  Please note that Paul did not say that the Church/Kingdom was a different or “parenthesis” in God’s OT Kingdom predictions.  Nor did he say that the Kingdom temple motif was fulfilled spiritually in the Church but would later get a another “literal” temple and another literal cubed “new Jerusalem” coming out of the sky someday when God’s time clock for Israel would start up again – per dispensationalism.    

Isaiah’s and Hosea’s Eschatological “Gathering” under the imagery of Marriage and Harvest

Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!” (Hos.1:11)


“Lift up your eyes, look around and see; All these gather together and come to you. As I live,” says the LORD, “You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament, And bind them on you as a bride does.


“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.  For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.  For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.” (Isa. 54:6-7)


The context of Hosea is that of God’s divorcing Israel through the picture of the Assyrian captivity and assimilation of the ten northern tribes of Israel into the Gentiles.  Israel by going after the other gods of Baal were committing spiritual adultery and were seeking to be married to Baal.  As the NIV Study Bible notes of (Hos.2:16) there is “a play on words.  Of the two Hebrew words for husband, one (master) is identical with the name of the god Baal.”  In other words God is saying in (Hos.2) that although you have played the adulterous and harlot with Baal and sought him to be your husband and I am divorcing you for this; yet there will come a day in the latter days (Hos.3) that I will take you back from him, and betroth and marry you again (Hos.2:16-23). 

Israel had forsaken God and called the Baal gods their master and husband.  So the time would come in which they would divorce that husband and be married to God.  So what we have here in Hosea is that God uses Hosea’s marriage, divorce, and remarriage with Gomer as a living parable of God’s dealings with Israel that stretches through to the new covenant period in which He would remarry her once again in “righteousness” in Israel’s last days.  God had continued to be married to Israel’s sister Judah but would divorce or judge her harlotries and adulterous behavior with fire and stoning as pictured in Revelation just prior to His marriage and consummation with the Church – the transformed and restored Israel of God at His second coming in A.D.70. 

Isaiah, who was a contemporary of Hosea describes not only God’s restoration of Israel and Judah – her two houses becoming one again, but gives a great deal of attention to the salvation and “gathering” of the Gentiles in Israel’s last days as well.  Thus it should not surprise us that Paul being an ambassador of Christ and thus serving as a minister of light or Apostle to the Gentiles, quotes Isaiah more than any other prophet. 

In Scripture, the marriage and temple themes are at times virtually inseparable.  In order to stay with my theme on this point of the eschatological gathering of Israel, Judah, and the Gentiles as seen in the wedding imagery, we should look at how some Jews and God-fearers of Jesus’ and the NT writer’s day understood the messianic temple and thus Israel’s NC marriage promises.  Tom Holland points out that during the time of the NT there had already been the teaching of a spiritual temple and wedding motif found in other texts of the time:

“Other texts from the scrolls tell of how the Davidic Messiah would complete his work by establishing a spiritual temple (a building of holiness).  It was not a physical building that he was going to construct, it was a spiritual one.  It would be made up of the Community Council in conjunction with the ‘sons of Heaven’.  

…He gave you authority, O ye (4) this was how He glorified it when you sanctified yourself to Him, when He made you a Holy of Holies…for all(5)

In the book of Ezekiel there was the expectation of an eschatological temple; so in Qumran.  This expectation was in fact based on Ezekiel’s vision in chapters 40-48.(6)  The Qumran community used the imagery of the Old Testament to describe their relationship with Yahweh.  As the Jews saw themselves to have become the bride of Yahweh in the wilderness, so they believed they had been called into the wilderness for this unique relationship.  It would be at this time, when Yahweh took her as his bride, that the Gentiles would enter the blessings of the covenant community.” (Holland, ibid. p.22-23, emphasis MJS).

According to the NT writers, the prophets never foretold a messianic kingdom whereby there would be a physical nationalistic restoration/resurrection, but rather a restoration/resurrection “gathering together” “In Christ” whom is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to Israel.  Under the NC wedding “gathering” whereby God remarries and gathers Israel back to Himself, the Gentiles can be seen to be included (Isa.25:6-8; Isa.49; Isa.54:1-8 [vs. 7 “I will gather you”], Isa.60 – 65).  There is no separating the eschatological wedding and feast from the second coming, new creation, New Jerusalem, and resurrection (Mt.24-25; Rev.20-22).

Marriage, Resurrection, and a “Gathering” From Spiritual Sin Death

As we have seen Hosea is a contemporary of Isaiah and both prophets discuss God divorcing Israel and remarrying her under a restored Israel in the NC.  In Hosea’s description of God’s divorcing Israel we have noted that exile from the land and captivity under the gentiles equals “death.”  But in Hosea the theme of God sowing Israel in the land of the gentiles is equivalent to the picture and time frame of God divorcing Israel and sending her out of the land.  Therefore, within the theology and context of Hosea God describes both His divorcing Israel and Him sowing her in the land of the gentiles as “death.”  In the immediate context and theological context of the Isaiah quote and in Paul’s context in (1Cor.15:54-56) the overcoming of “THE DEATH” is only when the power of the THE LAW has been dealt with.  And in the theological and immediate context of the quote taken from (Isa.25:7-8), is the wedding supper theme (vs.6).  Some  partial preterists such as James Jordan believe the church is in the wedding feast phase of the kingdom.  However, in Jewish customs, the feast always followed the consummation of the wedding.  Many Reformed theologians are correct when they note that the consummation of the wedding motif in scripture is synonymous with the consummation of all the eschatological promises – including the resurrection.  In Jewish hermeneutics during the time of Jesus and Paul when the Rabbi’s quoted or alluded to OT passages the entire context and theological themes and context surrounding that quote were meant to surface in the ears of the audience.    

Futurist Richard Hays, lists a couple of observations that are pertinent to our study when he exhorts his readers to study the overall context of an OT quote or allusion (“echo”) made by a NT author:

“Thematic Coherence How well does the alleged echo fit into the line of argument that Paul is developing?  Does the proposed precursor text fit together with the point Paul is making?  Can one see in Paul’s use of the material a coherent “reading” of the source text?  Is his use of the Isaiah texts consonant with his overall argument and/or use made of other texts? (Hays, ibid. p.38)

“Satisfaction  Does the proposed intertextual reading illuminate the surrounding discourse and make some larger sense of Paul’s argument as a whole?  “…A proposed intertextual reading fulfills the test of satisfaction when we find ourselves saying, “Oh, so that is what Paul means here in passage x; and furthermore, if that’s right, then we can begin to understand what he means in passage y and why he uses these certain words in that place.”  (Hays, ibid. p.44)

I could not agree more with the above quotes.  It is sad though that Mr. Hays does not apply his own interpretive principals when Paul refers to (Hos.13) and (Isa.25) in (1Cor.15).  We must ask “what in the world does a biological death and thus a future casket resurrection of believers have to do with overcoming “THE LAW” and “THE DEATH” in (1Cor.15:54-56) per Hays and all futurists interpretations?!?  How has physical death been in the process of being destroyed for over 2,000 + years now (1Cor.15:26)?  Shouldn’t we analyze the resurrection from “death” and issues of law in (Isa.25:7-8)?  Does “death” in Isaiah have anything to do with biological death and thus a casket resurrection from it?  Even within the theological context of Isaiah’s little apocalypse (Isa.24-28) does Israel’s national resurrection depicted in chapter 26 have anything to do with God someday restoring the atoms of our physical bodies with our spirits someday?  Well, then how about Hosea, what “death” is he describing in his original context (Hos.13:1; 14)?  In both passages that Paul quotes from the “death” that is under consideration is a death produced by breaking God’s law and going after other gods – thus they are sent into bondage and exile from the land – experiencing “death” while physically alive.  Breaking covenant and the law produces spiritual death!  Well, how about other hermeneutical questions we need to be asking the text in (1Cor.15) such as what does being “in Adam” or “in Christ” have to do with overcoming and experiencing victory over “the law” and “the death”?!?  And aren’t we suppose to be looking for other similar subject matters within Paul’s writings to help us understand what he is saying in (1Cor.15) with these phrases and terms?  Does not Paul address “the law,” “death,” “resurrection,” and being “in Adam” or “in Christ” in Romans 5 – 6?  Is not the “death” produced by Adam spiritual and the “justification of life” that is a gift of God being “in Christ” a spiritual soteriological resurrection life in (Roms.5)?  How about “the law” in this passage – was it added so that physical death may abound and to magnify the point that we are dead physically or that we will die physically?  Is not the death that is being overcome here continued in chapter 6 where being “dead to sin” has nothing to do with physical death?  In (Rms.6:4-5) is not the believers resurrection in the “likeness” of Christ associated with “walking in newness of life” in the here and now?  Again the “likeness” and resurrection from death here is spiritual and soteriological and is not dealing with the resurrection of an individual fleshly corpse.  

Previously in discussing the corporate resurrection or the “redemption of the body” and  the creation that was groaning in Romans 8 as OC Israel, I quoted N.T. futurist scholar Tom Holland where he emphasized that Romans 5-7 was addressing two corporate bodies one “In Adam” and another “In Christ.”  Holland argued that Paul was being consistent with the OT Scripture and a Hebraic world view.  Romans 5 – 7 according to futurist Tom Holland is not addressing a resurrection of individual men’s biological fleshly corpses but their covenantal standing before God.  A lot of Pretersts have been making these same arguments for years now, but we simply see the corporate body and creation being not only addressed in (Roms.5-7), but in chapter 8 and then when Paul again picks up the two creations of Adam and Christ in (1Cor.15) that he is addressing the same soteriological resurrection issues from spiritual death that he had in Romans.   However, Paul in Corinthians does extend his resurrection doctrine found in Romans to those whom had died in Christ.  We are simply not only agreeing with futurists such as Holland that Paul had a consistent theology of terms and phrases from letter to letter, but we agree with futurist Richard Hays that when Paul quotes an OT passage that we need to honor the context and meaning of that OT quote, echo, or allusion.          

Paul’s theme’s of being in a corporate body, whether in “Adam” or “Christ” in (Roms.5-6) and (1Cor.15) and being raised in the likeness of Christ or experiencing deliverance from “law” (Adam in the garden) or “THE law” (Israel groaning under the Mosaic law) in (Roms.5 – 8 & 1Cor.15) has nothing to do with a casket resurrection from biological death for believers.  This is a soteriological resurrection from the spiritual death we inherited from Adam and this spiritual death was magnified by the giving of “THE law” to Israel.  This was the “death” that Christ came to deliver His people from. 

Paul in referring his readers to (Isa.25:7-8) in (1Cor.15:54-56) is discussing the covering of the OC law and the spiritual “death” that it brought and magnified.  Again, I must ask if physical death is man’s ultimate enemy and the focus of his resurrection in (1Cor.15) then how has it been in the process of being destroyed under Christ’s reign now for over 2,000 + years (1Cor.15:26)?  Addressing this issue Sam Frost not only makes the accurate parallel to (Roms.5), but brings clarity to Gordon Fee’s confusion over the Greek here in (1Cor.15),

“Through Adam ‘the death reigned through the sin’ (Ro 5.12).  ‘The death (following Paul’s personification of the death in (Ro 5) is not ‘physical death,’ but the rule and reign of death discussed in Ro 5 that is tied to the ‘administration of the death’ (II Co 3.7), and is also tied to Adam both here and there.  Fee puzzles over the use of the present passive indicative (‘the death is being destroyed’) in verse 26.  ‘The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling…The difficulty lies with the present tense and the passive voice of the verb, plus the fact that no conjunction or particle joins it to what preceded.’

“…The reason it is puzzling is because Fee, and others like him, fail to see the time Paul was living in:  the last days, the end of the age, the time of redemption and the resurrection for the dead of Israel and the gathering up of all things to himself.  This culminated in the destruction of the nation of Israel ‘according to the flesh’ and concomitant resurrection of Israel ‘according to the Spirit’ in A.D. 70.  It is the failure to miss Paul’s ‘end’ in mind here that creates the confusion regarding this text.  It is not ‘puzzling’ whatsoever that Paul uses present passives to describe both the ‘resurrection of the dead’ and the destruction of ‘the death’ of the old covenant principalities and powers that characterized ‘this present evil age’ from which they would be ‘set free’ (Ga 1.4).[ix] 

Frost goes on to demonstrate that in the Greek “the death” and resurrection that is involved here in (1Cor.15) is a process.  The Greek structure is in the present passive tenses and literally reads, “…How are the dead being raised?  And what kind of body are they coming?” (vs.35)  “…It is being sown in corruption, it is being raised in incorruption (vs.42).  Again, in the traditional view, how have the physical corpses of dead bodies been in the process of being sown and dying and rising at the same?!? 

The Resurrection of Daniel 12 – A process?

Few from the Reformed and Sovereign Grace communities deny that the resurrection in Daniel 12 is the “gathering” and resurrection event of Matthew 13 and 24:30-31 at the end of the age, or the resurrection and “change” of 1 Corinthians 15.  So is there any evidence that the consummation of the resurrection event of Daniel 12 was not just an imminent event, but also an ongoing process?  James Jordan writes of the resurrection in Daniel 12:2 and Matthew 13,

“The resurrection of verse 2 seems to connect to the evangelistic and teaching ministry spoken of in verse 3; thus, it is some kind of historical resurrection that is spoken of, a resurectional even in this world, in our history.”

“…The Parable of the Soils fits here (Matthew 13:3-23):  three different kinds of people come to life, but only one of the three kinds is awakened to persevering, everlasting life. 

During His ministry, Jesus raised the nation back to life.  He healed the sick, cleansed the unclean, brought dead people back to life, restored the Law, entered the Temple as King, etc.  Then, as always, the restored people fell into sin and crucified Him.

 Thus, a resurrection of Israel is in view.  The wicked are raised, but do not profit from it, and are destroyed.  The saints experience a great distress, and live with God forever and ever.

“Some will accept that gospel, and others will reject it.  It is those who awaken to everlasting life who will be delivered in the Great Tribulation.

Those who awaken to everlasting life will be set on high as rulers, as stars.  This is picked up in the New Testament in two ways.  First, all the saints are pictured as those who appear as “starlights” (phosteer) in the world (Philippians 2:15).  Second, the pastors of churches are pictured as “stars” (aster) in Revelation 1:16 and 20.  Both faithful pastors and faithful saints are those who ‘turn the many to righteousness like the stars.’”

“…Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[x]

And let’s not forget what Reformed writer Peter Leithart admitted when he stated that the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13 was not about the Christian age or the end of the world, but about the end of the old-covenant age in A.D. 70.[xi] In an oral debate with Thomas Ice, Gary DeMar was questioned on how God had separated the sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25 in A.D. 70 and continues to do so.  DeMar replied, something to the affect, “God (through the gospel) has always separated the sheep from the goats and continues to do so.”  So combining these concepts together, we have the admission that through the gospel being planted throughout the land of Israel and the Roman Empire, the wheat and the tares were growing together and in the process of being separated, with a difinitive separation taking place at Christ’s return at the end of the OC age in A.D. 70.  This is one reason I believe the present tense and future tense of the sowing, dying, and being raised of the seed/body in 1 Corinthians 15 should be honored as not addressing the raising of biological decaying bodies, but a corporate body – the church. 

So how can God gathering/resurrecting the elect in A.D. 70 be applied post A.D. 70 for us?  In A.D. 70 Hades was empited and destroyed with the righteous being gathered into God’s presence and the wicked thrown into the Lake of Fire.  The alive and remaining of God’s elect were also gathered into God’s presence and covenantally changed into a glorified corporate body being united in God’s presence with their dead brethren.  This was accomplished in the spiritual realm since Christ and the kingdom came “within” the alive brethren in A.D. 70 (cf. Luke 17:20-21; John 14:2-3, 23).  The few alive unbelievers that didn’t perished in the destruction, continued in unbelief which Jordan and other partial preterists understand to be a resurrection of “everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2-3).  The gospel post A.D. 70 continues to press the conscience of men as to which side of the gates of the City they are on (cf. Revelation 21-22).  As Gary DeMar noted to Thomas Ice, God has always been in the business of separating the sheep from the goats through the gospel and I consider this to be the ongoing  application of fulfillment of God gathering or resurrecting people in the historical event of A.D. 70 and in todays NC age. 

And now let’s get back to the point of honoring the context of an OT quote in the NT of Paul quoting (Hos.13) in (1Cor.15) following the hermeneutics of futurist Richard Hays, we need to note the parallels and find out how Christ would bring the victory over “the law” and how “the death” is defined within the context of Hosea:   

(Hos.1:11)’s “gathering” sets the stage for the wedding (chapter 2). This “gathering” and wedding for the restored NC Israel is what Jesus is addressing and Paul in (Mt.13; Mt.22-23; Mt.24-25; 2Thess.2:1/1Thess.4, Rev.14; 20-22) when Christ comes to vindicate his martyrs, raise the dead, and gather the harvest. 


(Hos.2:23) and the “sowing” of Israel in the earth motif is a very rich theme throughout the book! God sowed Israel in the earth/Gentiles, and the time for the gathering of that fruit, harvest, resurrection, was to occur in AD 70 which at the same time was a resurrection and salvation for the world/Gentiles (Rms.11:15). We have looked at some parallels between Isaiah 24-28 and Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 so now let’s look at some parallel concepts between Hosea and 1 Corinthians 15 with Paul’s seed analogy:


(Hos.6:2 / 1Cor.15:4ff.) Christ’s resurrection was necessary for Israel’s resurrection. 


(Hos.6:11 / 1Cor.15:20) “harvest” “first fruits” motif.


(Hos.12:14; Hos.13:1 / 1Cor.15:20ff.) Sin of “blood guilt” resulting in covenantal,  corporate and spiritual “death.”


(Hos.13:10 / 1Cor.15:24-28) God/Messiah Himself will be “King”


*Sowing righteousness and “Awake to righteousness” (1Cor.15:34) echoing (Hos.10:12) and (Dan.12). 


*Sowing and seed analogy – this is the predominant theme throughout Hosea and (1Cor.15).


(Hos.13:14 / 1Cor.15:54-56) Spiritual covenant Sin/Death resulting in breaking “THE law” is finally swallowed up and defeated at Christ’s return at the “end” the OC age.

Paul in using the seed analogy in (1Cor.15) is echoing the context of Hosea and explaining how Israel would be eschatologically transformed, restored, and raised in the NC at Christ’s return in A.D. 70 when “the law” would finally be fulfilled.  In the meantime as the OC law was in the process of passing away and being destroyed, so too was the spiritual death it magnified (1Cor.15:26; 2Cor.3; Heb.8:13).  The time of the harvest, “gathering,” fruit bearing and blossoming of this resurrected Israel of God is at the end of the OC age in which Jesus lived and predicted the end of (Mt.13; Mt.24).  The “death” and “sowing” that Hosea is addressing is a spiritual corporate and covenantal death not an individual biological corpse death that would be defeated.

Conclusion to Part 3

Following the analogy of Scripture principle of interpreting Matthew 24:27-31 with the rest of the OT and NT, we have identified the coming of Jesus in Matthew 24:27, 30-31 as addressing the one and final second coming and that it occurred as one of the “all these things” in Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 24:34).  Through the giving of the Holy Spirit, the transformation of the church into Christ’s image had begun (cf. 2 Cor. 3).  The Church (God’s new Israel) was in the process of being sown or dying and rising waiting to be gathered and bring forth fruit at harvest time.  The “Sun of Righteousness” was coming from the East to the West with healing in His wings ready to give life to His maturing new garden.  The gospel had been planted in the Land and throughout the Roman Emipire and this garden had begun to bear forth fruit in obedience to the Great Commission (Mt. 24:14; Cols. 1:5-6, 23).   In A.D. 70, Christ returned and caused the fig tree (Israel) and “all the trees” (the Gentile nations of believers) to blossom in the Kingdom.  The wheat and the tares were in the process of growing together before God gathered the wheat into the barn of His Kingdom, and burned up the chaff and weeds of His enemies.

In Christ “gathering His elect” at His return in A.D. 70, He raised her out of her graves of “the sin” and “the death” brought through Adam, and gathered Her into His heavenly land which Abraham had embraced through faith afar off (Heb. 11-12).  The trumpet had sounded and God gathered His New Israel into Mount Zion purging Her of Her sin and raising her from the dead (Heb. 9:26-28; 10:37-chapter 12; Rms. 11:15, 26-27; 13:11-12).  Oh blessed Day of Lord in which He has purged, raised and glorified His Body the Church – I will rejoice and be glad in it!




[1] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2:  Systematic Theology, p.389, Banner of Truth Pub., 1977.  Unfortunately for Murray

he did not submit to Jesus’ teaching that “all things” in the discourse would be fulfilled in Jesus’ “this generation” (vs.34).  Had he really been concerned with the “analogy of Scripture” hermeneutic, he would have seen that Christ coming on the clouds and the de-creation language in the discourse was metamorphic language describing the fall of religious and civil powers as John Owen and other reformed theologians have.  The analogy of Scripture hermeneutic should have also directed Murray to see that the coming of Christ and the redemption/resurrection/judgment of the N.T. authors also pointed to the same time period of a glory and redemption that was “about to” take place within Jesus’ “this generation” (Rms.8:18-23; Acts 17:31, 24:15 YLT WEY).  Only our position truly uses the “analogy of Scripture” hermeneutic consistently throughout the discourse with all of Scripture both  O.T. and the N.T. 

[2] G.K. Beale, THE IVP NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY SERIES 1-2 Thessalonians, pp.136-137, IVP pub., 2003.  

[3] Beale, ibid. p.155. emphasis added. 

[4] Marcellous Kik, An Eschatology of VICTORY, p.163, P&R pub., 1971, emphasis added.

[5] Greg Bahnsen, tape # 00120 The Letter to the Church at Sardis, Revelation series.  Brackets added

[6] David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, ibid., p.542, emphasis added.  When one reads statements like this it is amazing that Gentry in his chapter wants to blame the church of Christ for the rise of the full preterist view in reformed churches???

[7] Mike Sullivan, An Open Letter To Dr. Greg Bahnsen, p.16-17, Kingdom Counsel, Vol. #5, Jan-Feb-Mar-1993.   

[8]  Keil, Carl Friedrich ; Delitzsch, Franz: Commentary on the Old Testament. Peabody, MA : Hendrickson, 2002, S. 9:646-647

[9] N.T. Wright, JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF GOD, p.625, Fortress Press Pub., 1996.

[10] R.T. France, ibid. pp.344-345

[i] R.T. France, Matthew, IVP pub., 1985, 342, (emphasis added MJS).


[ii]  Mathison, Postmillennialism, ibid., 114. 


[iii] Mathison, When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response To Hyper-Preterism, ibid., 179. 


[iv] Henry, Matthew: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody : Hendrickson, 1996, c1991, S. Mt 24:4


[v] Libronix Digital Library, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon.


[vi] Ken Gentry, When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response To Hyper-Preterism, ibid., 44 (bold emphasis  MJS)


[vii] Keith Matthison, When Shall These Things Be?  A Reformed Response To Hyper-Preterism, ibid., 70-72 


[viii] John Gill, Exposition of the New Testament (1809) Vol. 2, 239


[ix] Frost, Samuel, Exegetical Essays On the Resurrection of the Dead, 62-63, Truth Voice Pub. 2004, emphasis MJS   


[x] James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Pub., 2007), 618-621.


[xi] Peter J. Leithart, THE PROMISE OF HIS APPEARING AN EXPOSITION OF SECOND PETER, (Moscow, ID: Canon Press Pub., 2004,) 95.