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My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3: The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 3-5)

In John 3, Matthew 3 and Mark 1 we learn that John the Baptist is one of the groomsmen or “friend of the groom” (Paul is the other) that is preparing the hearts and way of the remnant of Jerusalem for the restoration and reformation that is coming in an “at hand” harvest judgment and salvation.  Jesus was baptized not because of any sin He needed to repent of, but so He could fulfill the prophets — as the Messianic Groom, King and High Priest. Those that were being baptized during the transition period were communicating that they agreed to be betrothed and married to Jesus as Messiah.

John is baptizing in the “desert” which is where the Messianic meeting and betrothal period was said to take place. This being on one side of the Jordan is also communicating that God’s messianic second exodus was ready to begin. Israel must prepare her heart before she can enter the Father’s New Covenant heavenly home/kingdom/land.

Baptism also represented that the Church was corporately dying and rising from the Old Covenant age and glory into the “about to come” New Covenant age and glory. They were to be baptized “for” (Greek eis– or with a view to obtaining) “the remission of sins” at Christ’s Second Appearing (as the coming messianic Great High Priest and Groom) that would “in a very little while” “restore” or transform Israel (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:20-23; Heb. 9:15-28—10:37; Rms. 11:26-27; Lk. 21:27/Mt. 24-25).

John 4 and the Woman at the Well

As John 3 introduces and begins preparing the hearts of Judah (one sister) to her messianic groom, John 4 is a depiction of Israel (now the half-breeds of the Samaritans assimilated in the Assyrian captivity) being introduced to her messianic groom.

In John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the same well and at the same time (“midday”) that Jacob met his wife Rachel (Gen. 29:7 / John 4:6). We are told she has had five husbands (4:18). I believe God providentially ordered and orchestrated this woman’s life and circumstances of having five previous husbands, to match the history of Israel so as to give a deeper meaning as to when Messiah would meet her and her people in a coming wedding/salvation.  Allow me to explain what I mean…

After Israel was divorced through the Assyrian captivity, we are told in 1 Kings 17:30-31 that there were five groups that settled in Samaria, each worshipping their own pagan gods: The Babylonians worshipped Marduk; the men of Cuth worshipped Nergal; the men of Avva worshipped Nibhaz and Tartak; the men of Sepharvaim worshipped their city gods; and King Hadad worshipped Anath. So they broke covenant by physically intermarrying with these foreigners and spiritually they became married to their false gods. Because of this, the Jews of Jesus’ day considered the Samaritans defiled and unclean. In Jewish law and custom, a woman may be divorced up to two or three times at the most. Anymore divorces and remarriages than two or three, the woman would be considered socially immoral or unclean. Therefore, Samaria, like the woman at the well, had five husbands and per the Jews, both her and her people would be considered immoral and unclean. But God in His tender mercy, now stood before her and her people, as their true husband, ready to fulfill His promise that in Israel’s “last days” He would once again betroth and marry her to Himself.

In John 4 Jesus stands as one greater than Jacob, in that He not only gives living water, but He will be the Husband that will be able to unite the divided worship and people of the Samaritans and Jews into one people (or Bride) again and bring them to worship and feast at Mount Zion (cf. Isa. 25:6-9).

He can make what was once considered unclean and defiled – clean again. Just as Jesus had cleansed 10 lepers and made them go to the priest to undergo inspections and ceremonial baptism. This was done in order to now declare they were clean and that they were undergoing a change in social status so as to be embraced back into the covenant community.

John 4 and the Harvest Motif

One source I was reading said that “the sixth month of the year which on the Hebrew calendar is called Elul.  Like most of month’s in the Hebrew calendar, the name is not Hebrew, but was brought by Judah from the Babylonian captivity. Elul ( ‫אֱלוּל  ) is actually an Akkadian word that means harvest, and according to Jewish tradition, the word is an acronym for אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי – “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” – “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine . . .” (Song of Solomon 6:3). Jesus is connecting the coming eschatological wedding with the harvest motif when He instructs the disciples on the meaning of the woman bringing the town to hear Him teach and the time of harvesting has come (John 4:35-38).  The Samaritans will be apart of God’s harvest and resurrection promises – as foretold in the OT.

In 1 Corinthians 15 Jesus is the Firstfruit of the Jewish firstfruits of the coming resurrection harvest. The land of Israel is the threshing-floor, God’s winnowing fork was already in His hand, and the harvest would take place at the sound of a trumpet at the gathering into the Kingdom at the end of the Old Covenant age – at Christ’s Second Coming (Mt. 3:10-12; Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12;2-3; Mt. 24:30-31).  This would be the time of the resurrection “hour” which is also picked up in John 5.

The “already and not yet” of the coming eschatolocial “hour” in John 4-5

There are three concepts that connect John 4 and 5 together with Daniel 12 and they are:

1).  The coming “hour.”

2).  The receiving of “eternal (resurrection or harvest) life.”

3).  The chiastic structure of John 4-5 on this coming “hour” of “eternal life.”

The Old Greek (OG) Septuagint (LXX) of Daniel 12:1, 4 reads:  “And at that hour…” “the hour of the end.

Now let’s connect the “already and not yet” and the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-4 with the chiastic structure of John 4-5 concerning this coming “hour”:

A).  John 4:21: “…[T]he hour is coming (“not yet”), when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

        B).  John 4:23: “…[T]he hour cometh, and now is

        (“already), when the true worshipers shall worship the

Father in spirit and in truth.”

        B).  John 5:25:  “…[T]he hour is coming and now is

        (“already”), when the dead shall hear  the voice of the

Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

A).  John 5:28: “…[T]he hour is coming (“not yet”), in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice…”

(Special thanks to Jerald Davis for pointing out the chiasm structure here).

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – the “already”

The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth (receiving eternal life).

The dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and live (receiving eternal life).

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – the imminent “not yet”

God’s worshipers would no longer worship Him in Jerusalem (because they received eternal life and entered and ascended to the New Jerusalem / Mount Zion).

All who were in the graves would hear His voice (because they received eternal life and entered and ascended to the New Jerusalem / Mount Zion).

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – The “Already”

  • Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”
  • John 5:25: “…an hour is coming and now is…”

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – The Imminent “Not Yet”

  • Daniel 12:1: “And at that hour…”
  • John 5:28: “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,”

During the Earthly Ministry of Christ or Pentecost (AD 26-30) – The “Already”

  • Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
  • John 5:24: “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) – The Imminent “Not Yet”

  • Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”
  • John 5:29: “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.” (also related:  1 John 2:18: “Dear children it is the last hour…” and Revelation 14:7:  “…the hour of His judgment has come”).

Postmillennial Partial Preterists are now teaching that the coming resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 had an “already and not yet” progressive resurrection of Israel and the Church which climaxed in a spiritual resurrection of the dead and transformation in AD 70.

They also teach that the coming eschatological “hour” of John 4 was fulfilled in AD 70 along with 1 John 2:18 and Revelation 14:7.  But based upon the chiastic structure of John 4-5 connecting them with the SAME coming “hour” of “eternal life” in Daniel 12:1-4, it is pure eisegesis to isolate John 5:28-29 and claim it is a different “hour” 2,000+ years away that involves a different kind (biological) of resurrection, judgment and reception of eternal life.   John described the resurrection and judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:1-15 as an “already and not yet” resurrection that would be fulfilled “shortly” and Christ’s “soon” Second Coming event (Rev. 1:1—22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

The Apostle John did not have TWO eschatological already and not yet “hours” — this is a bogus invention of Postmillennialists who want to try and honor the Bible’s clear teaching on imminence on the one hand, but on the other, make it null and void due to their creedal “traditions.” 

The NT teaching on the resurrection is this:

*  There was an evangelistic resurrection or salvation of the soul taking people out of death and darkness into life and light of eternal life.

*  There was a corporate and covenantal resurrection by which the old covenant Israel/body was being changed/transformed/being raised into the new covenant Israel/body roughly during AD 30 – AD 70.

*  There was a resurrection of souls out from among Hades/Abraham’s Bosom to inherit eternal life in God’s presence.

*  This resurrection was from (and an overcoming of) “the [spiritual] death” that came from Adam the very same day he sinned against God.

Orthodox Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry need to give exegetical and logical reasons why the resurrection of John 5:28-29 is a literal biological resurrection to take place at the end of time when they affirm with Full Preterism that:

  1. The resurrection in the immediate context is spiritual (John 5:24-27). The spiritual voice (through the gospel) produces spiritual resurrection (Jesus in vss. 28-29 is not dealing with a literal voice and biological resurrection).
  1. The eschatological “not yet” coming “hour” of (John 4) is referring to AD 70.
  1. The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Jesus referencing it in John 5:28-29).
  1. Jesus elsewhere teaches that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 would be fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 (Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:3, 30-31, 34).
  1. John’s eschatological last “hour” in (1 John 2:17-18) and “hour” of judging the dead in (Revelation 14:7) was fulfilled in AD 70.

Gentry’s progressive Partial Preterism continues to lead his readers into the Full Preterist movement since he continually will not respond to our book and arguments directed towards him.  Selah.  He deserves the criticism from other futurists that his hermeneutics “lead to Full Preterism.”

John the Baptist in Matthew 3 and John 3 is the “friend of the bridegroom” who was introducing Judah to her last day’s messiah / groom. They were preparing their hearts in faith and undergoing a betrothal baptism with a view to the coming restoration/resurrection/remission of sins promises contained in the law and prophets.

In John 4 the messiah is being introduced to His last day’s bride of Israel (the lost and scattered 10 tribes who had become the Samaritans). Though she had been unfaithful and had gone through 5 husbands, messiah would make her clean and faithful to Himself and marry her again.

While I dealt with the betrothal “already and not yet” aspect to Israel’s baptism and her coming change of status in AD 70, below are some other NT betrothal concepts.  Let me first point out that there are four phases to the Jewish betrothal:

  • The wedding arrangement.
  • The betrothal ceremony.
  • The betrothal preparation or transition period (usually one year).
  • The secret arrival of the groom, seven days of consummation and wedding feast.
  1. The Wedding Arrangement

This was usually done between the father of the groom and the father of the bride.  Sometimes this was done when the groom and bride were still children.  In eternity past the Father chose His sheep or the Church as the Bride for His Son (knowing/loving them by name) and the Son gave His life as the purchase price or dowry for them (John 10:11-29; Ephes. 1:4-11; 5:25; Rms. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1:2, 18-19; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

A written contract or covenant was created which addressed the groom and brides responsibilities in the marriage (again food, clothing and sexual pleasure).  In Jesus’s sermon on the mount (the anti-type of Ex. 19-24), He comforts His bride by telling her that she won’t have to worry about food and clothing as long as she seeks Him and His Kingdom first (Mt. 6:25-34).  If she hungers and thirsts after His righteousness and if she keeps herself pure, she will be fed full of His righteousness and see God (Mt. 5:6, 8) at the consummation.

  1. The Betrothal Ceremony

The Cup of Wine – The groom would pour his potential wife a cup of wine (which represented blood or a oneness of flesh and covenant) and if she drank from it, she agreed to become his wife – or to become one flesh with him (cf. John 6; Matt. 26:17-30).  There was also a celebratory meal the followed the betrothal ceremony (again communion).  In AD 70 and beyond, the Church celebrates this cup of the new covenant or communion “a new [spiritually] in the Kingdom” or perhaps in the form on an ongoing wedding feast celebration of thankfulness for His incredible gift of eternal and resurrection life.

Baptism – I have addressed Jesus as the groom meeting Judah in John 3 and Matthew 3 and them undergoing the ceremonial baptism.  The baptism for the bride symbolized that she was undergoing a change in status over the next year into a maturing process from daughter to a wife.  Roughly from AD 26-30–AD 70 the Church/Bride was undergoing a baptism in which She was dying to the OC age/man and rising into the life of the NC age/man, or dying to the OC system/husband and being betrothed and rising into her status of being married to Christ (Rms. 6-7).  The baptism was a covenant ceremony that was “for” (eis – with a view to”) Christ’s Second Coming to give the “remission of sins” and “restore all things” (Acts 2-3).

There were Gifts Exchanged – The groom would give the bride a seal, pledge, or confirmatory gifts of his love to assure her that he would come again and receive her and consummate the marriage.  Jesus gave the early church the gift of the Holy Spirit and the miraculous as confirmatory signs that He would return and consummate the marriage with her “face to face” (cf. Jn. 14; Acts 2:1-43; 1 Cor. 1:5-8; 13:12; Ephs. 1:13-14).

The only “gifts” the bride could offer was her faith and repentance.  But Scripture tells us that in reality even these were gifts given by God so there would be no grounds for boasting and to demonstrate that salvation is of the Lord (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:25; Ephs. 2:8-10).

There was a Ceremonial Meal – Which sealed and brought an end to the betrothal ceremony (cf. John 6:54-59; Matt. 26:17-30; 1 Cor. 11:24-26; Acts 2:1ff.).

In Acts 2 the disciples were celebrating Pentecost which was also known as the “Feast of Harvest” or the “Day of First Fruits”, and it was a feast during which the people brought as an offering the first fruits of their grain harvest to thank God, as well as to express their trust that He would bless the rest of the coming harvest. So here in Acts 2 you have the closing of the betrothal ceremonial meal and the parting gift given by the groom – the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit and the charismata.   In the book of Acts you also have the gift of the Holy Spirit being given and filling the Samaritans and Gentiles with the charismata demonstrating that they too are a part of the bride of Christ.

  1. The betrothal preparation or transition period (usually one year).

Going to Prepare a Room – The groom would have already gotten his father’s permission to build a room or honeymoon suite onto his father’s house where he would then consummate his love for his bride. The groom would announce that he was “going to prepare a place” for her and would “come again when it was ready” (cf. John 14:2-3).  The Father’s “House” is His Temple, and the “rooms” the side-rooms. The Holy Spirit was sent to form Christ in Her and transform Her into His image, whereby He and the Father could abide within Her.

Only the Father Knew the Time of the Wedding – When the groom was asked when the wedding would take place, he replied that “only his father knows the time” (cf. Matt. 24:36; Acts 1:6-7). This “hour” (Mt. 24:36) was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD 70 as many Partial Preterists admit.

There Were up to Two Groomsmen – John the Baptist is one groomsman (the “friend of the bridegroom”) while the Apostle Paul is the other — calling the Gentiles into Israel’s New Covenant marital blessings and betrothing the Church as a chaste virgin (2 Cor. 11:2).

The Bride Wore a Veil – The bride would wear a veil to show that she was spoken for during this period.  Individually the OC veil was being taken off when one heard the gospel and began to see Christ’s face (2 Cor. 3-4), but corporately and covenantally, it wouldn’t be taken off fully until the wedding night when She came “face to face” with Her husband when He came for her  “soon” (1 Cor. 13:10-12/Rev. 21-22:4-7).

The Bride Prepared her Wedding Garment – The bride over the next year had the responsibility to consecrate herself and make her own Wedding Garments and Keep Them Clean – During the transition period the eschatological bride is putting off the garments of the old man and putting on Christ the new man. She is seeking and longing for the wedding day when she will be further clothed with the house/temple from heaven and with immortality. She is keeping herself pure and making sure there are no spots and wrinkles in her wedding garment (Ephs. 5:25-27; 2 Cor. 4-5/Rev. 21; Isa. 52:1; 1 Cor. 15:53-54; Rev. 19:7-8).

  1. The secret arrival of the groom, seven days of consummation and wedding feast.

With a Shout and Sound of a Trumpet – When the groom would come with his party he would come with a “shout” (I’m guessing his friends would shout, “the groom is coming”) and the sound of a trumpet.  This trumpet sounded in Jesus’ “this generation” at His Second Coming in AD 70 (Mt. 24:30-31, 34 / 1 Thess. 4:15-17 / 1 Cor. 15 / Rev. 10-11).

Sexual Consummation – Some sources suggested that previously there was an agreement that when the groom came for the bride, they could sexually consummate the marriage at the bride’s father’s house.  Other’s suggested the consummation took place at the groom’s father’s house.  Either way, after the coming for the bride, the groom would take the bride to his father’s house where there would be more sexual consummation and a honeymoon lasting seven days.

 Wedding Feast – During these seven days, a celebratory wedding feast was taking place whereby the guests wore the garments the groom’s father had provided (demonstrating they had been invited) and at which time the bride would wear her glorious wedding garment (Isa. 25:6-9/Mt. 8:10-11/Mt. 22:1-14; Rev. 19 & 21; Isa. 52:8/1 Cor. 13:12/Rev. 22:4).

And at the wedding in AD 70 and beyond in the NC age, He fulfills all aspects of the marital covenant as He is the Churches “bread from heaven” (John 6), the “Hidden Manna,” (Rev. ), we have have been clothed in His righteousness and immortality (1 Cor. 15:53-54), and we are “face to face” with Him and His banner over us is love (1 Cor. 13:12/Rev. 22:4).

 Summary and Connections Between the Wedding Feast, Harvest and Resurrection

In John 3-5 the “already and not yet” of the wedding motif is connected with the eschatological “already and not yet” motifs of harvest and resurrection.  Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry arbitrarily tell us that the “already and not yet” coming eschatolocial “hour” of John 4 was fulfilled between AD 30 – AD 70, but when Jesus uses the same phrases of the coming “already and not yet” eschatological “hour” in John 5, that somehow is turned into 2,000 years and counting time frame. But one can only arrive at this conclusion based upon the creeds and not the text.

Since Scripture does not separate Israel’s last days eschatological motifs of wedding, harvest and resurrection, and since we appreciate Partial Preterists such as James Jordan, Kenneth Gentry, and Gary DeMar finally admitting the resurrection of the dead in Daniel 12:2-3 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (and yet claim we await another physical resurrection at the end of time), when will they begin to openly teach TWO NT betrothals, weddings, and wedding feasts – one spiritual in AD 70 and one at the end of time?  Consistency to their hermeneutic demands it.  We will wait and see.  Again it is more than inconsistent for Postmillennial Partial Preterists to criticize Premillennial Dispensationalists for teaching TWO eschatological resurrections and TWO weddings, when in fact their faulty double vision hermeneutic does the same!

To Listen or View This Series:  

My First Lecture of the PPW 2017 Conference Part 1: The Problems For Postmillennialism – My Approach and Methodology

My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 2:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – God’s Divorce, Re-marriage and NC Betrothal

My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3:  The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 3-5)

My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 4:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – Wedding and Resurrection (Mt. 8:10-12/Mt. 22:1-14/Mt. 25:1-13)

My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 5:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Parable of the Wheat and Tares and the Resurrection (Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3)

My Second Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1:  The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (Mt. 23-24; Mt. 24:3, 14/Acts 1:8-11)

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Mike Sullivan