Recently a public letter signed by Jason Bradfield, Uri Brito, Ardel Caneday, Jeff Durbin, John Frame, Sam Frost, Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, Brian Mattson, Andrew Sandlin, Keith Sherlin, Jeffery Ventrella, James White, and Doug Wilson which demands that Gary DeMar answer their questions or face their wrath and withdrawal of support because they “love” him. Gary has posted that he wants the debate between Partial and Full Preterism to continue because he feels that both sides need to hash some issues out and that he wants the freedom to “study” these issues for himself. Not to mention he has some questions for them that they aren’t answering (ex. the parallels / the analogy of faith between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4-5).
Apparently, Gary is not allowed by the hyper-creedalists to “study” these issues out for himself or get answers from them publicly. It’s a one-way street. I find this odd since they claim to embrace:
- “Scripture alone,”
- “Reformed and always reforming,”
- Believe in the “priesthood of all believers,” and
- Confess and embrace what the WCF confesses and teaches about itself – that it may be in error as previous creeds and confessions have and is subject to revision based upon the exegesis and authority of the Word of God and His Spirit working through His Body.
- Some claim to be public “apologists” and yet have NO “answers” or “defense” (1 Pet. 3:15) to Biblical questions we have provided to them in private and public for many years regarding their Futurist “hope.”
But as time goes by and as our book response – House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology... to When Shall These Things Be? demonstrated – the Reformed Church has forgotten its humble roots. She and Luther once stood against the doctrinal contradictions coming from the various Popes, creeds, confessions, and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church – but has now embraced many doctrinal and eschatological contradictions herself, and worse yet, begun imposing the same kind of hyper-tradition and hyper-creedal “argumentation” and “inquisition” tactics that the Roman Catholic Church once wielded upon her!
Here is the short version of my response to this open and public letter to Gary DeMar. The authors and the eschatological systems they espouse are divided on which texts teach the “glorious Second Coming” to “end world history” whereby Christ “comes” to “judge the righteous and the unrighteous” or to “judge and reward all men according to what they have done” – that is the “quick and the dead.” This is why they offered NO texts in their letter let alone any exegesis. Some of these men take the following passages as fulfilled in AD 70 and yet want Gary to concede that these eschatological CONCEPTS must be fulfilled in the future or like Full Preterists he must be punished! Texts that some of these men and or their systems believe were fulfilled in AD 70 are the following:
Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Acts 17:31YLT / Acts 24:15YLT / Romans 8:18-23YLT / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31; 25:31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Matthew 13:39-43 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:7, 10-12, 20 / 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT / Revelation 11 / Acts 1:11.
When, how and with what authority did these men and other Partial Preterists make most of these texts (95%) teaching the glorious return of Christ, the judgment and resurrection of “all men,” and the passing of the first creation and arrival of the new fulfilled in AD 70 “orthodox” views for the Church and thus with what authority do they have to condemn us for either being consistent with the imminent time texts or implementing the historic Churches teaching using the analogy of faith to connect their parallels to AD 70? If the WCF and the creeds are wrong on texts like these, are they wrong on other parallel eschatological texts they would appeal to? It appears to me that at least Gary does not seem to be willing to bow the knee to the authority of eschatological CONCEPTS allegedly fulfilled in the Future, but rather to “Scripture alone” and to “see the work” or “exegesis” of those and other texts in question. If these men truly “loved” their brother one would think they would labor with him with an open Bible? But these kind of men have a horrible track record in the un-Christian way they have treated men like Walt Hibbard of Great Christian Books, David Chilton, and the list will continue to grow – as they see these want-to-be Emperors that walk around with no clothes on.
And those that don’t see these passages as being imminently fulfilled in AD 70, ironically and hypocritically label the other signers of the letter to be “HYPER Partial Preterists” (that is not “orthodox” or true Partial Preterists like themselves). They also accuse them of being “inconsistent” (that is if they were “consistent” exegetically and logically their positions would lead to Full Preterism). This seems like more of a “House Divided” than the authors of When Shall These Things Be? that didn’t turn out so well for Kenneth Gentry and Doug Wilson. We still to this day have received no exegetical refutation of our response: House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…
I will first post the letter and then we will take it a part exegetically and logically.
“An Open Letter to Gary DeMar,
We are your brothers in the Lord, long-time friends, supporters, co-laborers in his Word, and co-promoters and defenders of the Christian worldview. We have contacted you privately twice in the last few months regarding our concerns, with the following.
We are writing to you once again with an earnest plea regarding your doctrinal transitioning that we are witnessing.
Gary, we seriously and deeply hope that you will receive this as from deeply-burdened hearts and that you will respond to us as to those who love you in the Lord and have appreciated your public ministry.
As you know from our previous correspondence, we are deeply concerned over the eschatological direction you seem to be taking of late. Andrew Sandlin heard you speak at a conference in Texas about a year ago. At that time he was surprised that you would not acknowledge whether you believe in a future final judgment and a future physical resurrection of the dead. When asked, you also stated that you would not call full preterists “heretics.”
Due to certain statements you made publicly on Facebook recently, Ken Gentry asked you if you would affirm three simple, basic doctrinal positions. These questions have intentionally been kept limited and simple in order to avoid entangling interaction with the many variations within and permutations of Full Preterism (aka Consistent Preterism; aka Covenant Preterism; aka Hyperpreterism).
Furthermore, they have also been confined to doctrines clearly declared in the American Vision Statement of Faith. Those simple yes-or-no questions are now simplified and clarified even more:
- Do you believe in a future bodily, glorious return of Christ?
- Do you believe in a future physical, general resurrection of the dead?
- Do you believe history will end with the Final Judgment of all men?
To refuse to affirm the future, physical resurrection, the final judgment of the righteous and the unrighteous, and the tactile reality of the eternal state is to refuse to affirm critical elements of the Christian faith. To contradict these doctrines is not merely to contradict a few specific biblical texts; it is to contradict indispensable aspects of the Christian faith and the biblical worldview. As blunt as it might sound, it is to strike at crucial aspects in the very heart of the Christian faith.
This private letter of inquiry has been agreed upon by the signatories listed below. Please, Gary, receive this not as an attack upon you, but as a humble concern for your doctrinal orthodoxy and the integrity of American Vision. Please set the matter straight regarding these three fundamental issues so that we can lay this matter to rest. We love you and are continuing to pray for you.
In the love of Christ the Lord,
Jason Bradfield, Uri Brito, Ardel Caneday, Jeff Durbin, John Frame, Sam Frost, Ken Gentry, Phillip Kayser, Brian Mattson, Andrew Sandlin, Keith Sherlin, Jeffery Ventrella, James White, Doug Wilson”
Granted I don’t know all the men signing this letter and their various positions on major eschatological texts, but some I do. Let’s briefly look at what THEIR positions are, and we will quickly see why there were no Biblical passages cited in the letter and why they have avoided our questions and challenges to debate for many years!
Will history end with the Second Coming, transformation of the planet, and judgment and resurrection of all men?
Isaiah 65-66 / 2 Peter 3 / Revelation 21-22
Of course, the letter provides NO Scripture to support the Bible teaches the “end of world history.” Why is that? It’s because some signing this letter believe the coming of Christ and passing away of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new of 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 is addressing Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70 and the first heavens and earth that passed away was the old covenant age / world and the “new” is the new covenant age / world which replaced it in AD 70. Those teaching this who signed the letter would be Doug Wilson and Jeff Durbin. Gentry affirms the de-creation and re-creation of Revelation 21-22 was fulfilled at the “soon” coming of Christ in AD 70. Others who signed the letter would see these passages as teaching the Second Coming event which produces the “end of world history,” and entering the “tactile reality of the eternal state.” But these passages are clear enough that after this coming of the Lord and de-creation and new creation event is fulfilled imminently in AD 70, there are sinners present and evangelism taking place. And notice that these passages only state that there is ONE passing away of the first heavens and earth and arrival of the new – not two (one in AD 70 and another at the alleged end of world history).
James White and other Reformed Baptist Pastors have falsely accused those of us who take these passages as fulfilled in AD 70 as believing “we are in the eternal state” or that somehow, we deny the existence of the eternal state or heaven because we believe they were fulfilled in AD 70. Of course, they never prove this, it is simply a scare tactic. We believe the “eternal state” or “heaven” is where the dead are now after being raised out of Hades / Abrahams bosom in AD 70 and where we go when we die post AD 70.
Questions on Isa. 65-66 / 2 Peter 3 / Revelation 21-22 for the authors of this letter to answer:
The WCF states that the “soon” coming of Christ in the book of Revelation is the Second Coming event which would cause cause the first creation to pass away and cause the new to arrive. When did it become “orthodox” to believe this coming of Christ is actually His spiritual coming in AD 70 and the de-creation and new creation here are the old and new covenantal worlds of Israel and the Church? Who determined its “orthodoxy”?
Sam Frost’s has stated this is “inconsistent” “HYPER-Partial Preterism.” He has testified that it is this exegetical “inconsistency” that brought him into “Full Preterism.” If it’s “hyper” it’s not orthodox and if it’s “inconsistent” and it were to be “consistent” then it leads to Full Preterism. Indeed, a very incoherent statement coming from one of the signers of the letter.
The Partial Preterists in this letter believe that at the “soon” coming of Christ in Revelation 22:7, 10, 20 the New Jerusalem came down from heaven to earth and that we are currently in the New Jerusalem / New Creation and we are “healing the nations” by preaching the gospel and inviting sinners to come through the gates of the City (22:17). If this is the case, then the curse of “the death” is “no more” (Rev. 21:4) for those of us who are in the New Jerusalem / New Creation post AD 70. One of the authors of this letter Philip Kayser, believes the coming or parousia of 1 Corinthians 15:23 was fulfilled in AD 70 and yet others of the letter believe it is at this parousia event that “all” are raised and the curse of “the death” of verses 54-56 is done away and overcome for the believer. So did the “soon” coming or “parousia” of Revelation 22:7-12, 20 and 1 Corinthians 15:23 bring about the promise to “overcome” the “no more death” for the believer today in the new covenant age that “was about to” come in AD 70 or did it not?
Will history end and the planet be transformed at the physical bodily return of Jesus to raise and judge the quick and the dead?
Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Acts 17:31YLT / Acts 24:15YLT / Romans 8:18-23YLT / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 30-31 / 1 Corinthians 15 / Matthew 13:39-43 / Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12 / 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT / Revelation 11 & 20 / Acts 1:11
Again, since some of the signers of this letter believe the above passages were fulfilled in AD 70, it is clear as to why no Scripture references were provided in this cowardly public rebuke of Gary DeMar.
Daniel 12:1-7, 13
Kenneth Gentry and Partial Preterism as a system has been challenged by us for many years to explain why they can eisegetically cherry-pick the judgment and resurrection of the just and unjust from Daniel 12:2-3 from the other AD 70 events such as the Tribulation in verse 1. After all Daniel is told that “ALL these things” listed in verse 1-4 would be fulfilled together during a period of “three and half years” “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (vss. 5-7). They finally came around to admit Daniel 12:2-3 teaches a spiritual resurrection was fulfilled in AD 70. But who made that an “orthodox” position?
Kenneth Gentry concedes,
“In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.” “…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”
“Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse: Israel as a corporate body [like Ezek. 37] is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19).”
“…the arising of the new Israel from out of the dead, [of] old covenant Israel in AD 70…” (Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA: Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538-540).
When I challenged Ken on this in the Q&A period at the Criswell Conference on the Millennium, he claimed Daniel 12 teaches a double fulfillment of the resurrection or an “already and not yet.” He claims there was a spiritual and corporate resurrection of the dead in AD 70 and yet at the same time the text is teaching there will be an end of world history physical judgment and resurrection of the dead. Of course, when you actually read Daniel 12:2-4 you can’t derive this from the text itself. It is simply read into the text (eisegesis) so that Ken can admit the resurrection and judgment would be fulfilled when the Tribulation and deliverance is fulfilled (AD 67 – AD 70), and yet at the same time make a statement that saves his creedal carrier.
The text mentions this resurrection would be fulfilled at only ONE eschatological “not yet” “end” period and not two per Gentry (the “end” of the Jewish or old covenant age and then another alleged “end” to world history). Wycliffe emphasizes the importance of kairos being used in the LXX when he translates Daniel 12:4: “Daniel, close up the words, and seal the book, until the time ordained (or the appointed time).” This “ordained” or “appointed” time of the end would be during the Roman Jewish war – during the “three and half years” war of AD 67 – AD 70 “when the power of the holy people (first century Jews) will be completely shattered.” It is the last half of the broken seven years of Daniel’s seventy-sevens in Daniel 9:24-27. All of the soteriological and eschatological events listed in Daniel 9:24-27 were fulfilled within that last and 10th Jubilee as expected by first century Judaism (cf. 11QMelch).
G.K. Beale has also shown the connection between the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-4 being the “hour of the end” and this being the eschatological “not yet” “hour” of John 4-5. And yet curiously Gentry admits Jesus’ phrase in John 4 of an “hour is coming and is now here” is referring to the “already and not yet” period of AD 30 – AD 70. But when the same phrase is used by Jesus in John 5, it somehow is referring to another “already and not yet” eschatological hour spanning from AD 30 to the end of world history. But why? Gentry reasons it’s because John 5 discusses “all” coming out of their “graves” so this has to be a physical resurrection. But Gentry just got done telling us that the terminology of a resurrection coming out of the “dust” does not have to be taken literally or physically and this is a resurrection just like Ezekiel 37 were people come out of their “graves” having a non-physical fulfillment. And of course Reformed Partial Preterist eschatology has admitted that the eschatological and soteriological coming “hour” of judgment and wrath taught by Jesus and John elsewhere was imminently fulfilled in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:36; 1 Jn. 2:17-18; Rev. 6:17; etc…). Hmm, nothing to see here – keep walking.
The Jews understood the “in that day” “trumpet gathering” of Isaiah 27:12-13 to be the resurrection event and then they would “worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.” Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31 places this “trumpet” resurrection “gathering” to be in His generation to close the old covenant age and in John 4-5 places this time of worship and resurrection to be fulfilled in the coming eschatological “hour” of Daniel 12 to be AD 70. The Samaritans and Jews were debating over the physicality of this place of worship, and yet Jesus and the NT authors see this to take place within the spiritual new covenant Jerusalem / Mount Zion.
Another exegetical issue Gentry has no good answer for is this – if he can give the resurrection and judgment of the dead event (inseparably connected to the historic events of the Tribulation AD 67 – AD 70) in Daniel 12:2-3 a double fulfillment, then why can’t other Futurist views give the Tribulation or Abomination of Desolation two fulfillments – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history with another rebuilt Temple etc.?!? Gentry forbids this kind of double fulfillment or “already and not yet” but he sure imposes it when trying to get around the challenges of Full Preterism!
Phillip Kayser another co-signer of the letter also agrees that Daniel 12 teaches that there was an imminent resurrection of the dead that was fulfilled in AD 70. Gentry does not address how Daniel himself would be raised in this resurrection (Dan. 12:13) – he will only commit to a corporate spiritual resurrection. Kayser on the other hand believes that “many” (how many?) were physically raised from the dead in AD 70 per Daniel 12:2-3:
“Notice that the great tribulation (v. 1) immediately precedes a resurrection (vv. 2-3)
Let’s read Daniel 12:1-3. The context in chapter 11 ends with Herod the Great hearing news from the east, being troubled by the news that the wise men bring him, killing many, and then ending up dying himself. So it is a first century context. Chapter 12:1 begins,
At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.
The book of Revelation has been talking about Daniel’s Great Tribulation. But notice what happens right during that time. Verse 2:
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
Notice that “many” are raised, not all (v. 2). This implies another resurrection. Yet Daniel will be raised at the end of the time period being discussed (end of Old Covenant – or AD 70).
Notice that it says “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” It doesn’t say “all.” The word “many” implies that there are others who will be raised at yet another different time. So hopefully you can see that it is crystal clear that there is a resurrection in AD 70, but it is not the last one.” (Philip G. Kayser, Barley Harvest, https://kaysercommentary.com/Sermons/New%20Testament/Revelation/Revelation%2011/Revelation%2011_11-14.md?fbclid=IwAR3FVoxOgmAD5zTylIPuyGGpSLqLpTQ3LzPn5yKuTkVf7BGbS-7R19xDZfc).
Kayser, like Gentry, understands that this resurrection is inseparably connected to the Tribulation period in the events of AD 67 – AD 70. And like Gentry he attempts to get around his creedal problem by creating TWO different resurrections – one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history. His argument on the word “many” to make this distinction falls flat as David Green addressed in our book,
“Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the “many” in Daniel 12:2 referred to the whole company of all the dead from Adam to the Last Day.” (House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…, p. 178).
Unlike Gentry (and Jordan below) Kayser believes that there was a PHYSICAL resurrection of the OT dead and those who died in Christ in the events of AD 70. Amazing how Josephus and Roman historians missed this PHYSICAL event — so many decaying corpses coming out of their literal graveyards in AD 70!
James Jordan who is a Partial Preterist also writes the following on the resurrection of Daniel 12 being fulfilled by AD 70 and comes the closest to the truth:
“The resurrection of [Dan. 12:2] 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 resurrectional event in this world, in our history.” Daniel 12:2 tells us that in the days of Jesus the nation will undergo a last spiritual resurrection…” “Thus, a resurrection of Israel is in view..”.
The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event,…”
“What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom, he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.” (James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), pp. 618-21, 628).
Let’s now harmonize “Orthodox Partial Preterism” on the Resurrection and Judgment of Daniel 12:
1). There is an “already and not yet” or progressive process before the “end” “time of the end” “hour of the end” of this resurrection.
2). It is Israel’s last spiritual resurrection where her physical old covenant corporate body is transformed into or rises into the new covenant corporate spiritual body of the Church in AD 70.
3). This resurrection resulted in the OT dead one’s being raised out of Abraham’s bosom/Hades to inherit eternal life in AD 70.
Questions on Daniel 12 for the authors of this letter to answer:
Of course, neither Gentry nor Jordan give any kind of full exegesis of Daniel 12. We are left with such question as the following:
1). On what exegetical grounds does Gentry give this eschatological “not yet” judgment and resurrection of the dead event TWO “ends” or TWO “appointed” / “decreed” (LXX) end time periods when the text only gives it ONE?
2). Why won’t Gentry agree with Jordan that the passage says that Daniel himself would be raised at this ONE “end” event and how was he personally raised at the “end” of the Jewish age in AD 70 (v. 13)?
3). When the NT cites or refers to the resurrection of Dan. 12, how are we to determine which is the spiritual resurrection “end” time event in AD 70 and which one is the alleged physical “end” of world history event?
4). Why wasn’t there any admission here that some Jews before Jesus and in His day believed there would be a spiritual resurrection out of Hades (as Jordan is teaching) at the end of their old covenant Mosaic age and that it would be within 40 years after Messiah would be “cut off”? Seems like if you are going to come up with a view not taught in the early church fathers, you might want to develop a “historical context” for it?
5). Why didn’t Gentry and Jordan publicly confess that Full Preterism has been challenging them on their inconsistencies and cherry-picking of Daniel 12:2-3 and that they needed to respond but ducked it for decades?
6). Why didn’t they cite or admit that the spiritual resurrection position they are giving Daniel 12 – they got from being challenged by Full Preterists and that it is actually our view? And if not, again, when and where did any church father teach Daniel 12:2-3, 13 was a spiritual resurrection fulfilled in AD 70?
7). When and who made this spiritual resurrection of Daniel 12 an “orthodox” position and with what authority did they do so? Clearly some of the authors of the letter do not believe it is “orthodox.” And some Partial Preterists won’t answer the public and private questions/challenges that verse 7 brings — which connects the “tribulation” and “time of the end” with the resurrection (ex. Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin, and James White – please “answer” this exegetical challenge).
Recently there has been some debate and interaction between Gary DeMar and Ken Gentry on the translation of the Greek word mello (cf. Gary DeMar, How Should the Greek Word ‘Mello’ be Translated? https://americanvision.org/posts/how-should-the-greek-word-mello-be-translated/?fbclid=IwAR0tzWk2fvZ2As8Y-u8oRejYWDjsYwn3E3YXL_GEhmbHK6Z9_sR3WX9Ohz8).
In this dispute on Facebook and elsewhere, Acts 17:31YLT has also been brought up as a creedal text and some of the authors of this letter have challenged the Full Preterist position and even Gary with “how was the Roman world ‘about to be’ judged in AD 70”? But of course, this is the very position of one of the authors of the letter! Philip G. Kayser writes this of mello in Acts 17:31,
“So where do we get the idea that there would be an imminent resurrection in AD 70? It’s implied in the word firstfruits. If the AD 30 resurrection is a firstfruits resurrection, then the rest of the barley harvest should shortly happen.
Second, the next subpoint gives a boatload of Scriptures which speaks of an imminent judgment against Jerusalem, connected with an imminent resurrection that was about to happen, and an imminent age that was about to begin. Unfortunately, the Greek word μέλλω in each of those verses is sometimes translated away [which is what Gentry has sought to do seeing the resurrection train coming – MJS]. But that Greek word always refers to something that is about to happen. How do premils handle these verses? Well, they use them to prove that the Second Coming is about to happen and has been about to happen for the last 2000 years. Well, 2000 years after those Scriptures were written is not something that is about to happen. I won’t take the time to go through the whole long list of Scriptures that have the Greek word μέλλω, but each of those references in your outline show some massive changes that would happen soon in AD 70. For now I want to focus on the verses that speak of a resurrection that was about to happen, since that is the one that so many people miss.
Acts 17:31 speaks about a resurrection. It says, “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge [And the Greek word is μέλλω – “is about to judge” the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Why would Christ’s resurrection be a guarantee of imminent judgment? Because Daniel connects judgment against Israel with resurrection. And we will look at the Daniel passage in a moment.
So, Christ’s resurrection was a downpayment or an assurance (a firstfruits, so to speak) that guaranteed that there was about to be a judgment day with another resurrection. In terms of the barley harvest imagery that the Jews were familiar with, that would make sense because Christ’s firstfruits resurrection was the assurance of the rest of the barley harvest.” (Philip G. Kayser, Barley Harvest, https://kaysercommentary.com/Sermons/New%20Testament/Revelation/Revelation%2011/Revelation%2011_11-14.md?fbclid=IwAR3FVoxOgmAD5zTylIPuyGGpSLqLpTQ3LzPn5yKuTkVf7BGbS-7R19xDZfc).
So, the “appointed” or “decreed” “time” of the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:2-4 (LXX) and Acts 17:31 was “about to be” fulfilled in the lifetime of Paul’s audience and it was fulfilled in AD 70. Daniel 12 nor the NT places TWO eschatological “appointed” or “decreed” time(s), just ONE and it is imminently to be fulfilled in AD 70 and is inseparably connected to the “hope of the twelve tribes of Israel” and to her destruction and judgment.
Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 17:31YLT:
How many “appointed” “decreed” “hour of the end” judgments and resurrections are there in Daniel 12:1-7 and Acts 17:31YLT? Was only one “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 or not? And if not “where is your work” to prove that? How many of you are buying that the NT is teaching TWO eschatological harvests and judgments of the living and dead – one imminent in AD 70 and one at the end of the world history? Is that “creedal” and “orthodox”?
What if a combination of the authors of the letter are correct – the more classic Amillennial view is correct in that this is just ONE divinely “appointed” end of the age judgment and resurrection of the dead event for the righteous and unrighteous and Partial Preterism is correct in that it was “about to be” fulfilled at the divinely appointed end of the old covenant or Jewish age in AD 70? Instead of the authors of this letter gnashing their teeth and DeMar and Full Preterism, maybe they should spend more time trying to reconcile their MAJOR differences on key texts like these instead of trying to condemn people to hell for piecing their mess together into a consistent, logical and exegetical system? Just a thought.
Kayser again a co-signer of the letter writes of mello on this crucial passage,
“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15)
The word “will be” is the Greek word μέλλω which refers to something very very near. It is more literally translated “that there is about to be a resurrection of the dead.” Well, he said that about ten years before the AD 70 resurrection, so it was literally true. Look down at verse 25 where μέλλω occurs again.
Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come [literally, the judgment about to come], Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” (v. 25)
It was the very imminence of this judgment that made Felix afraid.” (Ibid.)
There are other issues in Acts 24:14-15YLT; Acts 26; and Acts 28 whereby Paul states that his resurrection “hope” only comes from the OT “Law and the Prophets” and it was the ONE “hope” of the “twelve tribes of Israel.” Post AD 70 there are no longer any ethnic, covenantal or national “twelve tribes of Israel.” Christ sent the Roman armies to burn their genealogical records in the Temple and took the Kingdom from them and gave it to the Nation of the Church which bears forth fruit today. That’s why when Gary debated Zionist Dr. Michael Brown and asked him what Tribe he was from he said, “I THINK I’m from Judah.” Lol. Jordan also demonstrates there are no ethnic covenantal Jews post AD 70 in his work on Romans 11 and the salvation of “all Israel.”
And the NT only knows of ONE eschatological “hope” of the parousia and resurrection. These Partial Preterists that have an eschatological “hope” and “resurrection” in AD 70 and then another one at the end of time are twisting the Scriptures as even any good Amillennialist will also agree with.
In an article on Acts 24:15 Gentry cites BDAG as support that mello should not be translated as “about to be” here but conveniently does not share with you that BDAG does translate mello as “about to be” in our next key passage – Romans 8:18-23YLT.
Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 24:15YLT:
How many judgments and resurrections of righteous and unrighteous are there according to Daniel 12:2-7, 17 and Acts 24:15YLT? If only one at the “end of world history” please show your work! If TWO one in AD 70 and one at the end of world history – show your work. If many of you only see ONE consummative “end” for this judgment and resurrection, then why does one of the signers teach it was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70? Ken, since you admit there was a spiritual resurrection of the just and unjust of Daniel 12:2-3 in AD 70 PROVE Acts 24:15YLT is not THAT AD 70 resurrection. Contextually in Acts 24; 26 and 28 this judgment and resurrection of the dead event is connected to the ONE “hope” of the “twelve tribes of Israel” and is not referring to “the end of world history.” Again, the OT context of Daniel 12 and historical context of Acts itself limits this judgment and resurrection of the just and unjust to “about to” take place when there were ethnic and covenantal “tribes of Israel” and just before Jerusalems judgment in the events of AD 67 – AD 70. There is no Futurist “end of world history” judgment and resurrection case here either.
Kayser again writes,
“Turn next to Romans 8:18. The whole context is the reversal of every facet of the curse, including the resurrection of our bodies, which in verse 23 Paul calls the “redemption of our bodies.” But I want you to notice the use of the word μέλλω in verse 18.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be [literally, “which is about to be”] revealed in us. (v. 18)
In context Paul is saying that this glory is the redemption of our bodies. That glory is about to be revealed in us. Paul had already revealed that he would die prior to Christ’s coming in AD 70, so he was about to be raised in AD 70.” (Ibid.).
Here is a proper and complete exegesis of Romans 8:18-23YLT since Kayser leaves so many exegetical questions unanswered:
Why has Kenneth Gentry retracted his comments of when mello is used in the aorist infinitive it “surely means” “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70? It’s because Paul’s theology in Romans 5–8:23 describes the same resurrection and overcoming of “THE Sin,” “THE Death,” and “THE Law” of 1 Corinthians 15. It is also the “appointed time” and “redemption” of Luke 21 and the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 which both men believe were fulfilled in AD 70.
Paul’s “ALREADY” Resurrection in Romans 6:
Rms. 6:3-4YLT/NRV/MNC: “are ye ignorant that we, as many as were baptized [that is united/planted through faith not water] to Christ Jesus, to his death were baptized? With him through the baptism to the death [spiritual], that even as Christ was raised up out of the dead through the glory of the Father, so also, we in newness of life might walk [or proceed in a new state of life – MNC]. * The PROCESS of resurrection & overcoming Adamic “THE Death” had begun.
Paul’s “Not Yet” Resurrection in Romans 6:
Rms. 6:5: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will [future] certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Rms. 6:8: “And if we died with Christ [to THE sin of Adam], we believe that we also shall [future] live with him [that is be accepted & enjoy His presence forever at His coming],”
Rms. 6:10YLT/AB/GNT: “for in that he [Christ] died, to THE sin he died once, and in that he liveth, He lives to God [in unbroken fellowship w/ Him].
A uniting into the death and resurrection of Christ in these texts are spiritual and have to do with being in or living in unbroken fellowship with God.
Rms. 7: “when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.” “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death [the body of Adam/Moses].”
Here Paul is portraying himself as being under Torah “in the flesh” before his conversion or is personifying himself as being in the corporate body of Adam and or Israel being under “THE Law.” For those in this corporate body, the Law of Moses only served to stir up or magnify the presence of “THE sin” and produced spiritual death or the awareness of being in the state of spiritual death.
Rms. 8:18-22YLT: For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory about to be revealed in us; for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God; for to vanity was the creation made subject — not of its will, but because of Him who did subject [it] — in hope, that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now. And not only [so], but also we ourselves, having the first-fruit of the Spirit, we also ourselves in ourselves do groan, adoption expecting — the redemption [resurrection] of our body;”
1). What time is it?—”…the sufferings of this present time (Greek kairos) or should be understood or translated – “the [now eschatological] appointed time…” man has been waiting for and the Prophets predicted has arrive (similarly 1 Pet. 1:1-12).
This is not kronos which means a duration of chronological time, but rather kairos meaning God’s “appointed time” “when things come to a head, a crisis or consummation.” How and where does Jesus use kairios that is related to Paul’s eschatology here in Romans?
Luke 21:8, 27-28: “For many will come in my name, saying, “I am he!’ and, “The [kairios or appointed time of “redemption” v. 28] is at hand!’ Do not go after them.” Why? Because…
Mrk. 13:10/16:15: “The gospel MUST FIRST be preached to “ALL NATIONS” or “TO THE WHOLE CREATION (Greek kitisis = Rms. 8:19-23).
How does Paul use kairos elsewhere in Romans?
Rms. 13:11-12: Besides this you know the [kairos or appointed] time, that the hour [that is “the hour/time of the end” of Dan. 12:1-4 OG LXX] has come…for you to wake from sleep [that is to “wake from the sleep” or enter into the fulfillment of the resurrection of Dan. 12:2-3]. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night [of the OC age] is far gone; the day [of the NC age of resurrection] is at hand.
Since the Gentile and Jewish “creation” had all heard the gospel, they and Paul knew they had entered into the eschatological “appointed time” of “redemption” or “to awake from the sleep” Jesus and Daniel prophesied. Therefore, Paul taught with inspired certainty that this “appointed time” was “at hand” or “about to be” or “soon to be” fulfilled by AD 70.
2). Contextually, what is the “glory” “about to be revealed” (v. 18)?
A). The immediate and previous context in (v. 17) makes it clear– “…in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
This is what Paul taught earlier in Rms. 6:5 – “if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” The resurrection of Christ here results in unbroken fellowship with the Father (v. 10) and so they too would “live with Him” (v.8). Resurrection = Presence of God restored. The context following our verse also makes it clear (vss. 19-23): They are waiting for the revealing of the adoption as sons or the glory of the children of God, the liberation of the creation, and the “redemption of the body” (vss. 19-23).
3). Where is this glory to be revealed (v. 18) and what is this unseen hope of (v. 24)? “…in us.”
Paul writes elsewhere:
Cols. 1:27: “to whom God has willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,”
Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32: When Christ would come from heaven in His contemporary “this generation” He and the kingdom would come in GLORY and power and be “WITHIN” His people and no one would be able to say “see here” or “see there.”
This was a “hope” “about to be” realized in AD 70 not the “sick” and 2,000 plus years and counting physical “hope” of Futurism (Prov. 13:12).
4). When would this eschatological “waiting” in (vss. 19-23) for the “glory” in them to be revealed (v. 18)? It was “about to be revealed” or “soon to be revealed” in AD 70.
Paul here uses the Greek word mello in the aorist infinitive. Gentry writes of John’s use of mello in the aorist infinitive in Rev. 1:19:
“…this term means “be on the point of, be about to.” According to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, Revelation 1:19 reads: “Write the things that thou hast seen, and the things that are, and the things that are about to come [mello] …after these things.” The leading interlinear versions of the New Testament concur. This is surely the proper translation of the verse. …when used with the aorist infinitive — as in Revelation 1:19 — the word’s preponderate usage and preferred meaning is: “be on the point of, be about to. The same is true when the word is used with the present infinitive, as in the Rev. 3:10. Unfortunately, none of the major translators cited above translates Revelation 1:19 in a literal fashion. (Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Beast of Revelation, (First Edition, Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), pp. 23–24, 141-142, emphasis MJS).
John Lightfoot is Gentry and DeMar’s favorite Partial Preterist theologian and yet he understands Rms. 8:18-23 in the following Full Preterist manner:
John Lightfoot on “creation”:
He identifies the “creation” of Rms. 8 with the gospel having been preached to “every creature” by AD 70 according to Mrk. 16:15 and Cols. 1:23. He points out the Jews understood the term to be, “…applied to the Gentiles…,” and that the OT prophets predicted the “…gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles…”
John Lightfoot on vanity, bondage & corruption:
After citing Rms. 1:21; Ephs. 4:17; and 1 Cor. 3:20; 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:33 where these terms are referring to the inner sin of man he writes,
“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state [of the planet], as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind.” The Gentile world shall in time be delivered from the bondage of their sinful corruption, that is, the bondage of their lusts and vile affections, (under which it hath lain for so long a time) into a noble liberty, such as the sons of God enjoy. If it be inquired how the Gentile world groaned and travailed in pain, let them who expound this of the fabric of the material world tell us how that groaneth and travaileth. They must needs own it to be a borrowed and allusive phrase.” (John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157, 158-159)
John Lightfoot on the “Redemption of the Body”:
“And of the same body [in context he is referring to the corporate Jew/Gentile mystical body of Christ just mentioned in Eph. 4:13] is his meaning in that obscure and much-mistaken place (Rom. viii.23; “And not only they,” i.e. ‘the whole creation,’ or πασα κτισις, ‘every creature,’ which means no other thing, than ‘the Gentile or heathen world’: not only they groan to come into the evangelical liberty of the children of God, but we, also, of the Jewish nation, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption, to wit, the adoption of our [corporate] body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our [corporate] mystical [Jew / Gentile] body. (John Lightfoot, Sermon on “Many Mansions,” cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/vol06.pdf… pp. 322-323).
Major Premise: The context makes it clear that the eschatological appointed time of the liberation of creation, the glory of the children of God, the adoption of the sons of God and the resurrection of Daniel or redemption of the body would all be fulfilled together when the glory would be revealed in Rms. 8:18.
Minor Premise: Since Paul uses the Greek word mello in the aorist infinitive, the glory was “about to be revealed in” the Church in AD 70 [Gary DeMar / Philip Kayser / Gentry’s appeals to BDAG ]. The creation here is the creation of men being delivered from the effects of inner sin and has nothing to do with the planet earth being transformed or redeemed [John Lightfoot].
Conclusion: The liberation of creation, the adoption and revealing of the sons in glory, and the redemption of the body was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70. At Christ’s “at hand” parousia to close the dark OC age in AD 70, the corporate Body of the Church has been set free or has arisen from the condemning corporate body of Adam / Moses and thus from The Sin, The Death & The Law. In short, the resurrection & deliverance of Rms. 5–8:23YLT is the resurrection & deliverance of 1 Cor. 15 from The Sin, The Death & The Law—-but in Romans it was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 and was (Rms. 8:18-23YLT)! And in 1 Cor. 15 Paul expected it to take place within the lifetime of those in Corinth – “we shall not all sleep…”.
There are many parallels between Romans 8 and Luke 17:20-37 and the Olivet Discourse. Not only that, but the eschatological second exodus theme is present. This is powerful when considering the “historical Jewish context” of some of the Jewish who believed there would be another 40 years “generation” “second exodus” between their old covenant “this age” and the Messianic or new covenant “age about to come”:
|The New or Second Exodus Motif in Romans 8:18-23YLT was “About to be” Fulfilled in AD 70|
|1). Israel – God’s “children” or “sons” (Deut. 32:5, 19-20)||1). Church – God’s “children” or “sons” (8:14, 16, 21)|
|2). God “created/made” Israel through the exodus event (Deut. 32:6; Isa. 51:15-16)||2). The “creation” of believing Gentiles and Jews the focus & not physical creation (8:22)|
|3). God “led” Israel (Deut. 32:12)||3). Church “led” by the Spirit (8:14)|
|4). Israel was “groaning” to be “set free” and “redeemed” from Egyptian slavery/bondage (Ex. 6:2-9)||4). The Jew/Gentile Church/Creation were “groaning” to be “set free” & “redeemed” from the inner “bondage,” vanity, and corruption of Adamic sin (8:20-22)|
|The Appointed Time of Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse & Lk. 17 was “At Hand” & “About to be” Fulfilled in Romans 8—13:11-12 by AD 70|
|1). Suffering & eschatological birth pains coming (Mt. 24:8-9)||1). Suffering & eschatological birth pains currently taking place (8:17-18, 22)|
|2). Kingdom to be realized “within” a person at Christ’s Second Coming (Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32)||2). Christ’s “glory” would be “revealed IN” the Church at Christ’s Second Coming (8:18; 13:11-12; cf. Cols. 1:27)|
|3). Called to “straighten up / lift heads” because “redemption” would be “drawing near” in their contemporary “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-28)||3). Look for with “eager expectation” (Gk. apekdechomai & apokaradokia– “to eagerly wait for fulfillment with an outstretched neck and head lifted forward”) (8:19-23)|
|4). Second Coming & “gathering” (resurrection) at the end of the Old Covenant age described “…as sunshine comes out from the east and is seen even in the west…” or “shining like the sun in the Kingdom” (Mt. 24:27-31 Aramaic English NT; Mt. 13:39-43 fulfillment of Dan. 12:2-3)||4). Second Coming & “awaking from sleep” (resurrection) described as the arrival of “the [eschatological New Covenant age] Day” (13:11-12 fulfillment of Dan. 12:2-3)|
|5). The “time” (Gk. “kairos” better translated as the eschatological “appointed time of fulfillment or consummation”) would be “near” in the first century “generation” or by AD 70 (Lk. 21:8, 32 “the time ordained” of Dan. 12:4 Wycliffe Translation)||5). The “time” (Gk. kairos better translated as the eschatological “appointed time of fulfillment or consummation”) was “near” and “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 (8:18YLT; 13:11-12)|
Questions for the signers of the letter on Romans 8:18-23YLT / Romans 13:11-12:
Here we have the same exegetical issues as with Daniel 12:1-4 and its connection with Acts 17:31YLT and Acts 24:15YLT. For Paul there was only ONE “hope” “appointed” or “decreed” time of fulfillment of the judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12 and it was “at hand” and “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70. Is Lightfoot’s view that the “creation” of Romans 8 is the “creation of men” and not referring to the planet “orthodox” to believe? If not, why not?
1 Thessalonians 1:10:
Like in Acts 17:31YLT, Kayser interprets Paul discussing Christ coming from heaven as something to be fulfilled “soon” in AD 70 and the “wrath” associated with His coming was about to fall upon “Israel and Rome” just as he took the judgment “about to” come upon the “world” in Acts 17:31YLT:
“The last verse of chapter 1 introduces a theme that will be repeated throughout the book – that these saints were eagerly waiting for Jesus to come and to do something soon. He isn’t talking about people 2000 years later. He is talking about these newly converted Thessalonians whom he has taught “to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Which wrath to come? Well, let’s jump ahead to 2:16. Speaking of the Jews who killed Jesus and persecuted Paul, it says, “forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.” It was about to fall. Though Paul had instructed these Christians that they would have to endure the Great Tribulation, none of them would have to endure God’s great wrath that was about to be poured out upon both Israel and Rome. But more on that when we get to chapter 4. He is not talking here (in chapter 1:10) about Christ’s coming at the end of history. He is talking about the imminent coming Jesus had promised in Matthew 24 that would happen within that generation. It was something to wait expectantly for during the first century. Mounce says that that word “wait” means to expect it. It is a waiting with an expectation that it is about to happen. It’s imminent. They will experience it.” (Kayser, 1 Thessalonians).
1 Thessalonians 4-5 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23:
We must continue with the wonderful admissions that Mr. Philip Kayser has provided for us to answer these three questions the authors of this letter have challenged Mr. DeMar with and indirectly have challenged Full Preterism with over the years. Let’s be clear – the authors of this letter and their Partial Preterist system has conceded that the coming or parousia of Christ in Mt. 24:27-31; 25:31; 1 Thess. 4-5; and 1 Cor. 15:23 WAS fulfilled in AD 70 and everyone is supposed to just look the other way as they want to hypocritically declare we are “damanable heretics” for agreeing with these statements and then trying to harmonize them with the work of the Spirit or the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation that has been performed through the rest of the Reformed Church (the classic Amillennial position) — and how they have interpreted these texts and the “parallels” they acknowledge. Nothing to see here folks – keep moving!
1 Thess. 4:16-17:
Kayser teaches that,
“…verse 16 tells us what happens to the bodies of those who died prior to AD 70 – that body and soul they go to heaven, while verse 17 tells us what happens to the souls of those who die after AD 70, and that he doesn’t deal with their bodies till a brief statement in chapter 5.” (Ibid.)
“…I believe this particular passage speaks of the very visible appearing of Christ with His angelic armies and chariots that came against Jerusalem. This is the coming referred to in the first half of Matthew 24, where Jesus said that He would come before that generation passed away. This is the perfect answer to liberals.” (Ibid.)
While we appreciate the honesty that this parousia of Christ was fulfilled in AD 70, the rest of Kayser’s exegesis and comments are an epic historical train wreck that every school of eschatology can destroy let alone “liberals.” Here is a Partial Preterist that believes the OT dead ones and those who died in Christ prior to AD 70 were physically and biologically raised in AD 70 and everyone missed it and didn’t record such an event?!? Now he claims he disagrees with other Preterists on a physical “rapture” of the living in AD 70 such as Ed Stevens, Milton Terry, Stuart Russell, Mike Bull, etc… (all of whom I see as defending Partial Preterism – a physical fulfillment – Full Preterism is “defined on BOTH the timing and NATURE [spiritual] of fulfillment”). But if you add in the physical rapture view of the Partial Preterists in AD 70, then you have the dead and the living OT and NT saints coming out of graveyards and flying into the sky and no one noticed and recorded it?!? No, I’m afraid this is not the “perfect solution to the liberals.” Lol.
But the Full Preterist view does answer the skeptics argument perfectly because Jesus taught that when He was revealed from heaven at His coming and arrival of the Kingdom, one would not be able to say, “see here or see there” because the Kingdom would be revealed spiritually “within” the heart of a person (Lk. 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32). Since Jesus taught one wouldn’t be able to physically see the event because it would be spiritually fulfilled within a person, and the resurrection involved souls/spirits being raised out of Hades in AD 70, then the liberal argument – “Jesus and the NT authors promised it would be physically fulfilled “soon” in their generation BUT it didn’t happen, so Jesus is a false prophet and the Bible is not inspired” — has no validity!
Another problem for Philip Kayser is that he takes the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Revelation 1:7 / Acts 1:11 as a physically and bodily seen five foot eight Jesus coming on a physical cloud. If Paul had taught the Thessalonians and other churches that Christ’s coming on the clouds was going to be physically seen and the resurrection of the dead ones and their beloved brethren in Christ whom had died would be raised physically and biologically – then this makes no sense of how Paul argued in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 and 2 Timothy 2:17-18 concerning those that were teaching that the coming of Christ and resurrection had “already” been fulfilled. If these were physically seen events all Paul would have to have said to refute these errors would have been, “how could you believe our Lord’s coming and the resurrection of the dead event has already been fulfilled – did you physically see Christ bodily on a cloud and have the graveyards been emptied”? But since orthodox Partial Preterism admits Paul was teaching there was a spiritual coming of Christ and a spiritual resurrection of the dead event that would imminently occur in AD 70, Paul’s response to this error in not correcting the nature of it and only the timing – makes perfect sense.
Additional problems for Kayser is that he says the coming of the Lord will only affect and raise the dead. The living are only “caught up” at their deaths. This is not consistent with 1 Corinthians 15 in that it is at the coming of the Lord or “at the last trumpet sound” that both the dead and the living will be raised and “changed” at “the twinkling of an eye” (vss. 51-52). So while we do agree that the living that experience Christ’s coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 will be alive on earth post AD 70 [not physically “raptured” off the planet], both 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 being in harmony with each other and Luke 17:20-27/Lk. 21:27-32 – teach there will be an inner and spiritual transformation of being “caught away” or “changed” the living undergo in inheriting the Kingdom at His parousia.
Since this is an important passage let me briefly exegete it.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” (v. 16)
How had God described His “coming down from heaven” to “reveal Himself” (2 Thess. 2:7) and “rescue” (1 Thess. 1:10) His people being persecuted in the past? Notice how David describes God coming down from heaven to rescue him from his enemies:
“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked (literally?), and the foundations of the mountains shook (literally?); they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils (literally?); consuming fire came from his mouth (remember 2 Thess. 1:7 – Jesus is “revealed from heaven in blazing fire…”), burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down (literally?); dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced (literally?), with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded (a literal voice?). He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare (literally?) at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me” (Ps. 18:6-17).
Christ is coming here in 1 Thessalonains 4:16-17 as God had come from heaven and on the clouds in the OT, as we discussed in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse. If the Church is willing to admit that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually with Jesus, describing His coming using common apocalyptic language of the prophets, and the Church is willing to admit that Paul’s teaching of Christ’s coming here in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 is the same event as described by Jesus in Matthew 24-25, THEN it is no stretch to understand that Paul likewise is using common apocalyptic language of the prophets and that 1 Thessalonians 4-5 was also fulfilled in AD 70 just as Matthew 24-25 was.
In fact, NT Wright comes very close to admitting that all of the language of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is common apocalyptic language:
“Unfortunately, it [the language of 1 Thess. 4:16] is also a highly contentious passage, being used with astonishing literalness in popular fundamentalism and critical scholarship alike to suggest that Paul envisaged Christians flying around in mid-air on clouds. The multiple apocalyptic resonances of the passage on the one hand, and its glorious mixed metaphors on the other, make this interpretation highly unlikely.” (N.T. Wright, THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 3 (Minneapolis, MN: 2003), 215, emphasis MJS)
We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Wright in that Paul is using common apocalyptic language. Yet it is not figurative language of a physical resurrection at the end of world history, but rather figurative language of a spiritual resurrection by which souls are raised out of Hades into God’s presence, and of God’s presence “meeting” the living within their hearts while on earth (cf. Lk. 17:20-37). If it is agreed by the Partial Preterist that the language of Jesus in Matthew 24:30-31 is describing Christ’s non-literal coming, on non-literal clouds, with a non-literal trumpet sound, and that the “gathering” is an inward resurrection of giving eternal life that the gospel produces (no biological change), while others correctly see Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 to be the same event, then we suggest the “catching away” for the living is not into physical clouds (as Wright admits), but is God producing the consummative giving of His presence and of eternal life to His saints while here on earth.
OT Echo to 1 Thessalonians 4:16
Other than the trumpet gathering and resurrection of Isaiah 27:12-13 (which I have addressed already), G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson connect this coming of the Lord “from heaven” with Isaiah 2:10-12’s “in that day”, “Day of the Lord” judgment:
“The main clause of 1 Thess. 4:16, “because the Lord himself will come down from heaven,” recalls…the prophetic literature of the OT that envisions “the day of the Lord,” when God will come to judge the wicked and save the righteous (Isa. 2:10–12;…).” (Weima, J. A. D. (2007). 1-2 Thessalonians. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos), 880, emphasis MJS).
But they also connect 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 with Isaiah 2, which reads:
“This (in context – giving the Thessalonians relief from their Jewish persecutors) will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out (excommunicated [from the heavenly temple] as they had done to the Christians) from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” (Ibid., emphasis MJS).
On this passage, Beale and Carson write,
“…eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” This description clearly echoes the triple refrain of Isa. 2:10, 19, 21, where on the day of the Lord the wicked are commanded to hide themselves behind rocks and in caves “from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might whenever he will rise to terrify the earth.” (Ibid., 885, emphasis MJS).
So, since both 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 fulfill the coming of the Lord “from heaven” in the judgment found in Isaiah 2, let me remind the reader that Jesus appeals to this same OT passage and understands it to be fulfilled by AD 70:
“And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us” (from Isa. 2:19 and Hos. 10:8) (Lk. 23:27-30).
There’s a consensus among the commentators that this passage was fulfilled in God’s judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70. We have found plenty of exegetical evidence that Paul too identifies the Lord coming in the judgment of Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled by AD 70. Even John in Revelation 6:15-17 appeals to the coming of the Lord in His wrath in Isaiah 2 to be fulfilled “in a very little while” to avenge the first century martyrs in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 6:11-17).
“…with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (v. 16)
There is definitely a chronological order, with the dead rising first and then the gathering, catching away or change for the living taking place second. Even Jesus addresses the dead first in John 11:
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die [OT worthies like Abraham or Daniel, along with those who recently died prior to AD 70], yet shall he live [be raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to inherit God’s presence and eternal life], and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die [that is not that they would never see biological death, but rather inherit God’s “within” kingdom and presence of eternal life]. Do you believe this (John 11:25-26)?”
We agree with the scholarship of G.K. Beale who correctly understands the gathering of the elect at the end of the age in Matthew 24:3, 30-31 in his commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians as the resurrection event:
“Paul’s particular combination of references from Matthew 24 shows that he interprets the whole of the Matthean text as referring to woes preceding the final coming of Christ (and though Matthew does not explicitly mention the idea of resurrection, he implies it in the phrase “gather his elect” in 24:31, which implies the gathering of all believers, both living and dead).” (Beale, Ibid., 1-2 Thessalonians, 138, emphasis MJS)
However, this creates a “thorny problem” for Beale when he begins leaning in the direction of a Partial Preterism in a more recent work where he writes:
“…it is likely better to see [Matt. 24:30]…fulfilled not at the very end of history but rather in AD 70 at the destruction of Jerusalem, in which the Son of Man’s coming would be understood as an invisible coming in judgment, using the Roman armies as his agent.” (Beale, Ibid., A New Testament Biblical Theology the Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New, 369)
Beale admits, at least indirectly, that holding to both of these views he has defended creates a “thorny problem” for him that deserves “further study” to resolve. I gave him a copy of our second edition of HD and told him we did the “further study” and our exegesis of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 solves the “thorny problem” that he has created for himself. But Beale’s “thorny problem” is simply a microcosm of the problem that the Futurist Church has as a whole.
“Gathered up” (Greek Harpazo) (v. 17)
The NCV translates harpazo as “gathered up,” thus giving it a theological and parallel connection to the eschatological gathering of Matthew 13:39-43, Matthew 24:30-31 & 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Other translations render it “snatched away” or “will be seized.”
Harpazo means to “take one’s plunder openly and violently, catch or snatch away.” Sometimes it is addressing someone being pulled, snatched away or rescued by someone from an enemy. But is 1 Thessalonians 4:17 discussing an inward spiritual rescuing into Christ’s glory cloud presence, or an outward and upward catching away into physical clouds in the sky and a biological change?
Here are some very clear uses of harpazo being an inward spiritual event:
1). Matthew 12:29 – Satan was “bound” and Christ was “carrying away” (harpazo) his plunder, which were people that were rightfully His who were held captive by Satan and demons. But how was He doing this? It was by casting out demons (an inward spiritual reality), and in some cases actually giving faith to these individuals to follow him (again an inward spiritual reality).
2). Matthew 11:12 – “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing (Christ casting out demons openly and publicly taking Satan’s plunder), and (in return) the forceful men (believers) lay hold of it” (harpazo – through faith, vigor, power, and determination in light of present persecution – such as in the case of John). People were violently laying hold of the kingdom through having faith (a spiritual and inward reality).
3). Matthew 13:19 – In the parable of the sower, the wicked one comes and snatches away (harpazo) what was sown in his heart (again, an inner spiritual reality).
4). John 10:12 – The wolf (Pharisees, sons of Satan) sought to snatch (harpazo) and scatter the sheep/ people of Israel. How did the Pharisees seek to “snatch” and “scatter” the Jews from following Jesus? The first phase involved seeking to deceive them in their hearts and minds (an inward snatching) by convincing them that He was not the Christ by perverting the Scriptures and accusing Him of having a demon, etc. The second phase was a physical excommunication or scattering of Christians from their synagogues.
5). John 10:28-29 – Anyone who has faith in Jesus cannot be “snatched” (harpazo) out of the Father’s hand. That is, he cannot be influenced (snatched inwardly) in his or her mind and heart to leave God. Like Peter, “Where else can we go, Lord? You alone have the words to eternal life.” The gift of faith is spiritually preserved in the heart and soul of the believer. He cannot be deceived to the point of committing the sin unto death (1 Jn. 3:9). Again, this is an inner spiritual reality of the heart/mind/soul of man.
6). Acts 8:39 – This simply means that the Holy Spirit directed Philip in His heart and mind (inwardly) to go elsewhere and the Eunuch did not see him again. There’s nothing in the text to support the idea that Philip was “raptured” into the atmosphere and was then instantly dropped off miles and miles away from where he was.
The eschatological “already” of the inward kingdom gathering and catching away was spiritual, and the eschatological “gathering” and “catching away” in the kingdom at Christ’s return would also be a spiritual event in AD 70. As we noted in our exegesis of Luke 17:20-37/Lk. 21:27-32, Jesus said when that the kingdom would come at His return (to gather all His elect Mt. 24:31), it would be an experience to occur “within” an individual and not something that could be seen with the physical eyes.
The inward realm of redemption or catching away is further evident from a study of the next two words, “clouds” and “air.”
“…in the clouds…” (v. 17)
As I have demonstrated thus far in our study of Christ coming on the clouds in the Olivet Discourse and God coming on the clouds in the OT, this is common apocalyptic language and not referring to physical clouds we see in the sky.
To “meet” the Lord… (v. 17)
This Greek word, to “meet,” is wedding language and is only used twice in the NT – here and also in the wedding motif that Jesus develops in Matthew 25:1-13 (which Partial Preterists correctly teach was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70).
In Jewish betrothals and weddings, the groomsmen would go ahead of the groom and blow a trumpet at a time the virgin and her bridesmaids were not expecting. Once at the virgin’s father’s house, it was customary for the groom to consummate his marriage sexually there before taking her to his father’s house where they would continue consummating the union for seven days and having the wedding feast.
This Greek word for “meet” was also often used of a king or dignitary coming to make his home in a city which his empire or kingdom had conquered or was about to conquer. On the news of the imminent coming of the king or dignitary, at the sound of a trumpet the members of the city would go out of the city and “meet” him and escort him back to their home/town. The king’s presence was established WHERE the people already lived. Again, the imagery does not support a literal “rapture” of people off of planet earth, but rather of God coming to rule and reign in the hearts of His people where they are – living on planet earth.
“…in the air” (v. 17)
But what of this meeting the Lord in the “air” (Greek eros)? The Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines it as: “From ‘aemi,” to breath unconsciously, to respire. By analogy, to blow. The air, particularly the lower and denser air as distinguished from the higher and rarer air.”
So the point is that this is the air “in” or “within” us.
The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains lists Eph 2:2, 1 Thess. 4:17, and Rev. 16:17 in its definition of eros as meaning “the space inhabited and controlled by [spiritual] powers.”
The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament says of the “air” in Ephesians 2:2 – “…Jewish conceptions, according to which, among other things, the air is the abode of demons.”
Ephesians 2 refers to Satan as the “prince and power of the AER.” He dwelt in the spiritual realm which extended to the souls of men. The war we see Christ and Satan fighting in the NT is for the spiritual condition of men – within their hearts and minds. Paul goes on to say that Satan “now works in the children of disobedience.” And consistently Jesus defines His kingdom as something that He is setting up “in” and “within” men, and transforming them into His image spiritually.
Prior to AD 70, Satan used his demonic legions to “possess” individuals within the realm of their minds and the spiritual realm of their being. Satan used the old covenant Mosaic law to blind their spiritual eyes, hearts and minds in the realm of the “air” – within their souls, hearts, and minds to produce an arrogant and zealous selfrighteousness which apart from Christ could only lead to utter despair (cf. 2 Cor. 3; Gal. 4:17-18; Rom. 7). Christ “bound the strong man” and was raising and delivering Christians from the darkness and death of this spiritual kingdom realm into His own realm (cf. Eph. 2:1-10). Christ snatched away His beloved and spoke peace and joy into the “air” of her heart, soul, and mind when He said, “It is finished” (Rev. 16:17/Heb. 9-10/1 Cor. 15)!
The powers of Satan, demons, the condemnation of the law, and the spiritual death Adam brought upon men were all conquered by Christ at His Parousia in AD 70 for those who put their faith in Him.
Had Paul meant to clearly communicate that believers would physically fly off the planet into the sky and atmosphere above, he would have used the Greek word “ouranos,” which clearly states this as its meaning.
The picture of the “rapture” is that Christ came down from heaven in / on a cloud to earth where He gathered the living into His presence, “within” us where we function as His Most Holy Place dwelling and throne through which He rules the nations. This is what we also see in Revelation where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven to earth and God establishes His presence within His Church here.
Let me give further evidence not only that there will not be an end-of-world-history physical rapture of Christians off the planet, but likewise there was not a biological rapture or change of the living in AD 70.
1). Paul could have easily rebuked the false teachers and Christians that were tempted to believe the Lord had “already come” (2 Thess. 2:2) by simply saying, “Aren’t you still here and the dead still in their graves? Obviously, He has not come!” But since Paul did not hold to the physical rapture view or a literal resurrection attended by Christ’s Parousia, he did not argue this way. Obviously, Paul understood the Lord’s coming to be a spiritual and unseen event as our Lord taught (Lk. 17:20-37/21:27-32), which was consistent with the “Day of the Lord” language of the prophets in the OT.
2). The coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is the coming of the Lord in Isaiah 66:5, 15, where Isaiah describes Christian survivors (66:19) who are found alive on planet earth continuing to preach the gospel in the new creation / new covenant age.
3). As we have seen in our exegesis of Mark 8:38-9:1, the Greek is different than Matthew 16:27-28 and actually teaches that those who were alive to witness Christ’s coming would be able to look back (while still alive on earth) on the historical events of Him coming in power and great glory in the destruction of Jerusalem and thus know that He and His kingdom had “already come.”
4). After Christ and the Father come and make their home (dwelling – mone – John 14:2, 23) within the believer, they were told, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe” (14:29). If they were literally raptured, I don’t think they would need to be reminded or exhorted to believe that it had been fulfilled! These words make more sense if it was a spiritual fulfillment that could not be seen with the physical eyes, and therefore it would take faith to believe that the Father and the Son had set up their presence within them.
5). Jesus of course directly promised to not remove the Church off of planet earth (John 17:15). Church history tells us that Christians were not raptured, but that they instead fled to Pella (in modern day Jordan). Historically, Pella is one of the first known Christian churches. Church history tells us that the Apostle John was still alive during Domitian’s reign in the mid-AD 90’s and that Timothy, Titus, and Luke lived beyond AD 70.
There is simply no exegetical evidence of a physical rapture at Christ’s coming in AD 70 or some imagined one at the end of world history. The physical rapture view is probably one of the greatest scams perpetrated upon the Church. It makes the sleeping giant of the Evangelical Church numb to getting involved in our culture and politics because they expect things to simply get worse so that they can get “raptured” just before it gets really bad. After all, “you don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.” We MUST get involved in our politics and be the salt and light of this great country and that of the world!
Gary DeMar and Kenneth Gentry on Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5
Gary posted a parallel chart of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 by Amillennialist G.K. Beale on his Facebook wall and wrote the following:
“If you believe like I do that at least Matthew 24:1-34 was fulfilled in the leadup to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (see my book ‘Last Days Madness’ where I argue that all of Matt. 24 was fulfilled), what do you think of 1 Thess. 4:13-18? Were those events also fulfilled in the same way and at the same time? I suspect most people would say no. They would argue that the events are not concurrent. Among amils and postmils, the Thessalonian verses refer to the Second Coming while dispensationalists apply them to the “rapture of the church.” The agreement is they consider 1 Thess. 4:13-18 to be an unfulfilled prophecy.
G.K. Beale in his commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians in The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (2003) argues that they are parallel accounts (page 137). This creates a dilemma for some preterists. If Beale is right, then 1 Thess. 4 is not a reference to the Second Coming. Beale is not a preterist. He believes both accounts are still future.
Should we believe a well-respected Bible teacher and commentator like Beale that they are parallel and refer to the same time or declare him to be incompetent and just plain wrong?” It’s interpretations like Beale’s that mess up “all-our-ducks-in-a-row” interpretation systems that lead people to ask questions.”
Notice how Partial Preterist Ken Gentry and Keith Mathison admit Matthew 24 is a source for Paul’s eschatology in 1-2 Thessalonians because of “parallels”:
Since Kenneth Gentry has to get rid of the apostasy in order to prop up Postmillennialism, he has to have 2 Thessalonians 2 fulfilled in AD 70. However, in order to do this, he has to appeal to the OD and recognize that Paul is drawing from material Jesus says would be fulfilled in the AD 70 “this generation.” Therefore, Gentry admits that,
“Most commentators agree that the Olivet Discourse is undoubtedly a source of the Thessalonian Epistles.” (Kenneth Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 100, n. 19. Here Gentry cites D.A. Carson, Matthew, in Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 8:489; and G. Henry Waterman, The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1and 2 Thessalonians, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 18:2 (June 1975); 105–113.
Yet, Gentry’s sources of authority end up “proving too much” in that both D.A. Carson and G. Henry Waterman make virtually the same parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4–5 that we do (big “oops”) and that DeMar is now challenging his readers to at least “study” more carefully than before. But before we get to those parallels, let’s continue to examine the “parallel” hermeneutic of Postmillennialism. Keith Mathison following Gary DeMar believes 2 Thessalonians 2 was fulfilled in AD 70 and Paul was following Jesus’ eschatology in Mt. 24 because of “these parallels”:
1). a coming of our Lord (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Matt. 24:27, 30),
2). a gathering together to Him (2 Thess. 2:1; cf. Mattt. 24:31),
3). apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3; cf. Matt. 24:5, 10-12),
4). the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:7; Matt. 24:12),
5). satanic signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9-10; cf. Matt. 24:24),
6). a deluding influence on unbelievers (2 Thess. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:5, 24).” (Mathison, From Age to Age, 515).
And of course, DeMar and Mathison make the AD 70 “parallels” between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 5 as well. Thus, Mt. 24 is no less of Paul’s “source” for his eschatology in 2 Thess. 2 and 1 Thess. 5 than it is for his teaching in 1 Thess. 4:15-17 — and that is what Gary is now open to consider and what is making Gentry and the others so nervous. But since Gentry and Jordan have conceded that Daniel 12:2-3 teaches there was a spiritual resurrection in AD 70, why isn’t 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that same resurrection?!?
Let’s not only look at the parallels between Mt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4 that Gary wants his Partial Preterists to re-consider as possibly being fulfilled in AD 70 and one of the authors of this letter attacking Gary ACTUALLY publicly states was fulfilled in AD 70, but let’s look at how Paul is drawing on the Olivet Discourse throughout 1 Thessalonians:
Paul’s eschatology in 1 Thessalonians is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 23-24 / Luke 21
1 Thessalonians 1–5
Matthew 23–24 / Luke 21
|1). Present persecution & suffering (1:6; 2:14)||1). Persecution, suffering & death (Mt. 23:34)|
|2). First century audience “you” “us” to experience Second Coming (1:9-10)||2) First century audience “you” to experience the Second Coming (Mt. 23-24 / Lk. 21)|
|3). Imminence – “eagerly wait” (1:9-10)||3). Imminence – “raise your heads” because fulfillment will be “near” in their “this generation” (Lk. 21:27-32)|
|4). Christ “comes/parousia” (2:19)||4). Christ “comes/parousia” (Mt. 24:27)|
|5). Comes “from heaven” (1:10)||5). Comes “on clouds of heaven” (Mt. 24:30)|
|6). To “snatch” from wrath to Christ (1:10)||6). To “gather” to Christ (Mt. 24:30-31)|
|7). Delivers believers from “wrath” but first century Jew’s experience “wrath” (1:10; 2:16)||7). Exhorted to flee from the Roman armies and the coming “wrath” upon Jews (Lk. 21:20-23)|
|8). Jews killed prophets, Jesus & persecuting the Thessalonians (2:14-15 / Acts 17)||8). Jews killed the OT prophets and NT prophets Jesus sends in that generation (Mt. 23:29-36)|
|9). Jews “filling up” sin of blood guilt (2:14-15)||9). Jews “filling up” sin of blood guilt (Mt. 23)|
|10). Coming of the Lord and wrath poured out to the “end/telos” (1:10–2:16)||10). Coming of the Lord and wrath poured out by the “end/telos” of the old covenant age (Mt. 24:3-30/Lk. 21:20-23)|
|11). Wedding terminology – Thessalonians exhorted to be “spotless” and a “blameless” [bride] as Christ “comes” for her [as the Groom] (3:13)||11). Wedding terminology – Only Father knows the time of the wedding (not even the Son), at the “shout of a trumpet,” be “wise” and “watch” (Mt. 24:30-31, 36; 25:1-13)|
|12). Christ “comes/parousia” (4:15-17)||12). Christ “comes/parousia” (Mt. 24:27)|
|13). “Descends from heaven” (4:16)||13). “Upon the clouds of heaven” (Mt. 24:30)|
|14). Accompanied by “Archangel” (4:16)||14). Accompanied by “angels” (Mt. 24:31)|
|15). At the sound of a “trumpet” (4:16)||15). At the sound of a “trumpet” (Mt. 24:31)|
|16). Believers “caught” to Christ (4:17)||16). Believers “gathered” to Christ (Mt. 24:31)|
|17). Wedding terminology – “MEET” the Lord in the clouds at His “trumpet” coming (4:16-17)||17). Wedding terminology – only Father knows the time of the wedding (not even the Son), at the “shout of a trumpet” Christ comes as Groom to “MEET” the bride (Mt. 24:30-31, 36; 25:1-13)|
|18). Exact time unknown (5:1-2)||18). Exact time unknown (Mt. 24:36)|
|19). Christ comes as a “thief” (5:2, 4)||19). Christ comes as a “thief” (Mt. 24:43)|
|20). Unbelievers caught off guard (5:3)||20). Unbelievers caught off guard (24:37-39)|
|21). Time of eschatological “birth pains” (5:3)||21). Time of eschatological “birth pains” (24:8)|
|22). Believers not deceived (5:4-5)||22). Believers not deceived (24:43)|
|23). Believers to be “watchful” (5:6)||23). Believers to be “watchful” (24:42)|
|24). Warning against “drunkenness” (5:7)||24). Warning against “drunkenness” (24:49)|
|25). “Sons of the DAY” (5:4-8)||25). Comes as “SUNSHINE” from the east to the west (24:27 Aramaic NT). Jesus previously taught – the “gathering” at the “end of the age” causes believers to “shine like the SUN” (Mt. 13)|
Again, we are thankful that a Partial Preterist in this letter agrees that the parallels of Christ’s coming between Mt. 24:30-31 and 1 Thess. 4:15-17 are the same event and were fulfilled in AD 70 while other authors of the letter and within the Reformed community see these texts describing Christ’s “glorious Second Coming” event. We agree with BOTH “orthodox” positions.
But since Philip Kayser is correct that both Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are the same event and that both were fulfilled in AD 70, but wrong in interpreting the resurrection as a physical one, we should now consider Partial Preterist James Jordan’s admission that Matthew 24:30-31 is referring to a spiritual resurrection in AD 70,
“Let us summarize Matthew 24:29-31. Immediately after the great affliction, the great persecution and martyrdom of the apostolic church, the world will be changed from the Old to the New Creation. No longer will sun and moon determine liturgy and worship; the former covenant with its lunar liturgy will be broken forever. No longer will angelic stars and heavenly powers govern humanity, for in Jesus, mankind has at last come of age. No longer will angels rule the world. They will vacate their heavenly thrones.
At that time, the promised sign will be given, a sign that shows that Jesus, a man, is truly enthroned in heaven. That sign is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The Jews will mourn over Jerusalem, and they will realize that the Church, which they had hoped to destroy, has now ascended to the Ancient of Days and has been given the Kingdom promised in Daniel 7. Those saints have been gathered by the angels in connection with the seventh and last trumpet described in the book of Revelation, their souls gathered from all the heavenly places in Paradise where they had been waiting for this day. The saints are gathered before the Throne in the highest heavens, and shortly will sit down on thrones with their Lord and Master. They will be the new stars and moon and will sit where the angels formerly sat in heaven.” (James B. Jordan MATTHEW 23-25 A LITERARY, HISTORICAL, AND THEOLOGICAL COMMENTARY, (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision Inc., – this book is currently at the printer to be published), p. 180).
So now we have an admission from a major Partial Preterist theologian – James Jordan that BOTH Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 24:30-31 are addressing a spiritual resurrection for the dead ones at Christ’s parousia in AD 70 while other Partial Preterists are admitting the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 are the same event and fulfilled in AD 70. Now we are getting somewhere – that is if we are open to being honest in that the creeds and our Futurist traditions have been in error just as they have been on a host of issues that the Protestant Reformation had to take head-on.
As you can see Partial Preterism and Futurism without Full Preterism to “bridge the gap” has been a “House Divided” and falling apart for a long time. But the hyper-creedalists in this letter just don’t want to address their own inconsistencies let alone someone like Gary (who has a large following) asking others to “study” for themselves and then go ask these men the tough questions and to “show me your work”! Kenneth Gentry and Doug Wilson have been able to censor Full Preterists and duck debates with us for a very long time. They don’t want Gary asking the tough questions publicly demonstrating that the creedal Emperor may not have his clothes on!
1 Corinthians 15:
It is also astounding that one of the critics of DeMar in this letter (again Philip Kayser) also believes the coming or parousia of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the same coming or parousia of Matthew 24:27 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16 that was fulfilled in AD 70! Kayser writes of Christ’s AD 70 coming / parousia in 1 Corinthians 15:23,
“So, when Paul speaks of bodies being raised each in his own order, he is listing the AD 30 firstfruits resurrection, then the resurrection at Christ’s coming in AD 70, then the resurrection at the end of time. The word for coming is παρουσία (parousia) and refers to the visible appearance in the sky that we saw was recorded by first century historians…” (Ibid.).
While we appreciate Gary asking his readers and followers to look at the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 in order to “study” to see if 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was also fulfilled in AD 70, we should point out that Gary is wanting to do an “in-depth study of 1 Cor. 15.” Once we see that Paul’s eschatology in 1-2 Thessalonians is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24, we need to consider if Paul’s eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is Jesus’ eschatology in Matthew 24 as well. After all, In the Reformed Study Bible edited by Postmillennial Partial Preterists R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison, we learn this of Matt. 24:30-31:
“But the language of Matt. 24:31 is parallel to passages like 13:41; 16:27; and 25:31 [passages which Partial Preterist Postmillennialists say were fulfilled in AD 70], as well as to passages such as 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thess. 4:14-17. The passage most naturally refers to the Second Coming.”
I believe even Sam Frost (one of the signers of the letter to DeMar) would agree with the above statement. But of course, the problem is that “orthodox” Partial Preterists trying to honor NT imminence and apocalyptic language, have correctly surrendered the coming or parousia of Christ in all the above passages to AD 70. Sam realizes that if the resurrection and “end” of Daniel 12 was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 to close out the “end of the OC or Jewish age” and the coming of Christ and resurrection of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 are the same event and were also fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, then 1 Corinthians 15 is the next domino to fall and is naturally fulfilled in AD 70 as well. This is why he refers to the other Partial Preterist signers of the letter as “HYPER-Partial Preterists” and “inconsistent.” So I’m a “damnable heretic” for making the classic Amillennial view and the Partial Preterist views exegetically consistent? I’m a “damnable heretic” for believing TWO “orthodox” views of the Reformed Church? Go figure – nothing to see here, keep walking folks!
Let’s looks at those “parallels” between Jesus’ eschatology in the Olivet Discourse and Paul’s eschatology in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:
And since we have Partial Preterists (some attacking Gary DeMar) that are admitting either the resurrection or coming/parousia of Daniel 12:1-7, 13 / Matthew 24:27-31 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 was fulfilled in AD 70, let’s get a visual of those connections – many of which any good classic Amillennialist would make as well:
|If A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) is = to B (Daniel 12:1-7)|
|Tribulation as never before 24:21-22||Tribulation as never before 12:1|
|Evangelism 24:14||Leading others to righteousness 12:3|
|End of the [OC] age 24:3, 14||Time of the end 12:4|
|Resurrection & or inheritance of the Kingdom 24:31; 13:43; Lk. 21:31-32||Resurrection & inheritance of the Kingdom 12:2-3, 13|
|Jerusalem surrounded, trodden down = times of the Gentiles (AD 67 – AD 70) Lk. 21:20, 24||Consummation – 3 ½ years when power of the holy people is shattered 12:7|
|And if B (Daniel 12:1-7) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)|
|Resurrection unto eternal life 12:2||Resurrection unto incorruptibility or immortality 15:52-53|
|time of the end of OC age 12:4||time of the end of OC age 15:24|
|When the power [the Mosaic OC Law] of the Holy people is completely shattered 12:7||Victory over “the [Mosaic OC] Law” 15:26|
|At the “end” of the OC age, OT dead would be raised at the same time the NT righteous living would shine in the Kingdom 12:2-3, 13||If the dead of the OT are not raised, neither would those who died in Christ be raised 15:15-18|
|Then A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)|
|Christ to come (Greek: parousia) at sound of a trumpet 24:27-31||Christ to come (Greek: parousia) at sound of a trumpet 15:23, 52|
|“The end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14||“The end” (Greek telos, the goal) 15:24|
|Kingdom (goal reached) Lk. 21:31-32||Kingdom consummation (goal reached) 15:24|
|All prophecy fulfilled Lk. 21:22||All prophecy fulfilled 15:54-55|
|Victory over the Mosaic Law/Temple 24:1||Victory over the Mosaic Law 15:55-56|
|Contemporary “you” or “we” 24:2ff.||Contemporary “you” or “we” 15:51-52|
|“All” of the elect (dead & living) gathered (or raised) in the Kingdom 24:31; Lk. 21:28-32||“The [OT] dead” raised with the dead “in Christ” 15:15-18|
|Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other|
|Matthew 24/Luke 21||Daniel 12:1-7||1 Corinthians 15|
|Gather/Raise “all” (dead & living) the elect at “end” of OC age 24:3, 31||OT dead raised with NT saints at the end of OC age 12:2-4, 13||OT dead raised with NT dead & living at “the end” of the OC age 15:15-18, 24|
|All OT fulfilled when Jerusalem surrounded, trodden down & times of Gentiles (3 ½ yrs.) fulfilled Lk. 21:22-24 – AD 67 – AD 70||Judgment and resurrection of the dead fulfilled at the end of the OC age, in a 3 ½ years period & Israel’s power shattered||Resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 13; Hosea 13:14 and Isaiah 25:8 fulfilled at the end of OC age & in the lifetime of Paul’s 1st cent. audience 15:51, 54-55|
Now let’s form some basic and logical arguments from what we have gathered from the positions of those writing this letter attacking Gary DeMar.
Major Premise: The resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the consummative ONE Second Coming and “end” of world history creedal resurrection and judgment of the dead event (classic Reformed Amillennialist authors and contributors to the letter).
Minor Premise: BUT there was a resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in AD 70 to close out the “end” of the Jewish or old covenant age in AD 70 according to Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 (Reformed Partial Preterism and author(s) or contributors to the letter).
Conclusion: The resurrection and coming / parousia of Christ in Daniel 12:2-3, 13 / Matthew 24:3, 27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 is the consummative ONE Second Coming and “end” of the old covenant age and was thus fulfilled in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).
Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 24-25 / 1 Thess. 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:
Some of you (like DeMar, Mathison, Terry, etc…) do not see Matthew 24-25 divided into TWO sections with TWO comings. And some of you take the “end of the age” (Mt. 24:3) as referring to the old covenant age in AD 70. Therefore, what is your exegetical evidence that the OD is referring to the end of world history? And if the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 is the SAME coming of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 and yet that coming / parousia was fulfilled in AD 70, then obviously your hyper-creedal “Futurism” has no case in these texts as well.
As we have seen the classic Reformed position is to equate the “end” or “end of the age” “gathering” in Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 30-31 to be the ONE Second Coming and resurrection event of Daniel 12:2-3, 13. And yet the Partial Preterists claim the “end of the age” resurrection in these texts were fulfilled in AD 70! Once again, the authors of this letter are pressing Gary on a resurrection and judgment of the dead to take place at the “end” of world history and yet some of their best theologians are correctly seeing this as taking place at the “end” of the old covenant age in AD 70!
Jesus of course cites the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 in Matthew 13:39-43 and places it’s fulfillment at the “end” of that current old covenant age. Jesus’ “end” and “shining like the sun or stars” in the resurrection is the “end” and “shining like the stars” predicted by Daniel 12. And yet Partial Preterist Joel McDurmon, commenting on the end of the age harvest judgment of Matthew 13:39-43, concedes it is the end of the old covenant age that is in view and not the end of world history:
“It is clear that Jesus did not have in mind the end of the world, nor did He mean the final judgment. Rather, Matthew 13:2430, 36-43 describe the judgment that would come upon unbelieving Jerusalem. During this time, the angels would “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (13:41) and these would be judged with fire. Many of them literally were burned in fire during the destruction of Jerusalem. During this same time, however, the elect of Christ— “the children of the kingdom” (v. 38)—will be harvested. While the explanation of the parable does not tell us their final end, the parable itself has the householder instructing the harvesters to “gather the wheat into my barn.” In other words, they are protected and saved by God.
This, of course, is exactly what happened to the Christians. Not only were they saved in soul, but they mostly fled Jerusalem before the Roman siege. This was consequent to Jesus’ advice to flee and not look back once the signs arose (Matt. 24:16-22); indeed, this would correspond with the angels’ work of harvesting the elect (24:30).” (Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51 – 20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: The American Vision, Inc., 2011), 48-49; see entire section 43-51).
McDurmon even develops Jesus’ two age model (“this age” = old covenant age) and “age to come” or “age about to come” (the new covenant age) in Pauline eschatology to be one and the same. After making his case in Ephesians 1:21; 2:1-7; 3:8-11; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 9:26, he concludes:
“So, from the teaching of Jesus, Paul and the author of Hebrews, we get a very clear picture of the two primary ages: one that endured up until the time of Christ, and another that began around that same period. I believe these two periods, being hinged upon the coming and work of Christ, pertain obviously to the Old and New Covenant administrations.” (Ibid.)
Let’s get a visual and make the argument based upon the analogy of faith and the admission of these eschatological systems attacking DeMar.
|Since A (Daniel 12) is = to B (Matthew 13):|
|Tribulation on National Israel as never before||12:1||13:40-42|
|Time of the end / end of “this” OC age separation||12:1, 4, 9, 13||13:39-41|
|Saints rise and shine in the eternal kingdom||12:2-3||13:43|
|Wicked rise to shame in eternal condemnation||12:2||13:39-42|
|And if B (Matthew 13) is = to C (Matthew 24-25):|
|Pre-kingdom evangelism by Jesus’ evangelism||13:37-38||24:14|
|Tribulation on National Israel as never before||13:40-42||24:21-22|
|End of “this” age / end of the age separation||13:39-41||24:30-31; 25:31-41|
|Sons of the day / hour shine with the Son||13:43||24:27, 30-31, 36|
|Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom||13:43||25:34/Luke 21:30-32|
|Then A (Daniel 12) is = to C (Matthew 24-25)|
|Tribulation and sanctification / Great Tribulation||12:1, 10||24:21-22|
|Hour / day / time of the judgment (aka separation)||12:1-2, 4 (OG) LXX||24:36; 25:31-33|
|Fulfillment at the time of the end / end of the age / the shattering of Israel’s world/power or her “heaven and earth” (the Temple etc…) / during the “3 ½ years” or “time of the Gentiles” treading down Jerusalem (AD 67 – AD 70)||12:4, 7, 9, 13||24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35; Lk. 21:24|
|Inheritance of and entrance into the kingdom||12:2-3, 13||25:34/Luke 21:30-32|
|The sons of the day / hour shine with the Son of life||12:3||24:27, 30-31, 36|
|Kingdom age evangelism via God’s shining ones||12:3||24:14, 25:29|
|Two or more things that are equal to another thing are also equal to each other|
|Kingdom age evangelism||Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25|
|Tribulation like never before||Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25|
|Time of the end (shattering of Israel’s power) / end of the Old Covenant age (destruction of OC Israel’s Temple)||Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25|
|Chosen ones raised and shine to eternal life and wicked raised to eternal condemnation / the righteous raised to shine and tares burn / sheep inherit eternal life goats to eternal punishment||Dan. 12 = Mt. 13 = Mt. 24-25|
Once again, we can see how the two main orthodox Reformed positions on the end of the age resurrection of Matthew 13:39-43; Matthew 24:3, 30-31; and Daniel 12:1-7 has formed the Sovereign Grace Full Preterist position:
Major Premise: The “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 31 as predicted in Daniel 12:2-3 is the ONE consummative resurrection event inseparably connected to the ONE Second Coming event of Matthew 24:27, 30-31 – classic Amillennialism.
Minor Premise: But the “end of the age” “gathering” of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 31 was fulfilled spiritually at Christ’s spiritual coming in Matthew 24:27-30 to close and bring an end to the old covenant age in AD 70. In AD 70 God raised and gathered the souls/spirits of men such as Daniel out of Hades or Abraham’s bosom into God’s presence to inherit eternal life – Partial Preterism.
Conclusion/Synthesis/Reformed and Always Reforming: Therefore, the ONE consummative Second Coming and “end of the age” “gathering” resurrection event of Matthew 13:39-43 and Matthew 24:3, 27-31 and Daniel 12:1-7 was fulfilled during the 3 ½ years of AD 67 – AD 70 to close the old covenant age in AD 70 – at which time souls/spirits where raised out of Hades and into God’s presence or thrown into “everlasting punishment” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism.
Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 13:39-43 / Daniel 12:2-3, 7:
Some of you claim the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43 is ONE consummative “end of the age” event while others see TWO. Please show your work and bring a consistent non-divided case or drop it. If Jeff Durbin takes the “end of the age” in Matthew 24:3 why would the “end of the age” of Matthew 13:39-43 be a different “end of the age”?
Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12:
Here we come up against another problem for the authors of this letter. Do these passages teach Christ’s “glorious Second Coming” at the “general resurrection and judgment” of “all men” at “the end of world history”? Not according to the Partial Preterists in this letter! “Each person” / “every man” / “all people” / “each one” / “everyone” etc… were “rewarded for what he has done” within the lifetime of those standing next to Jesus and thus at His “soon” coming in AD 70 according to Matthew 16:27-28 and Revelation 22:7-12.
These are creedal texts which allegedly teach this “glorious Second Coming” / “end of world history” / “general resurrection and judgment of all men” that the letter want’s Gary to submit to, but many of them take as fulfilled in AD 70. Is it no wonder there were no Scripture reference let alone any exegesis of them to back their eschatological Futurist CONCEPTS.
Questions for the signers of the letter on Matthew 16:27-28 / Revelation 22:10-12:
Are you guys “creedal” or not? Does not the WCF and other creeds refer to these texts as the Second Coming event and general judgment to “reward all men according to what they have done” and this is true OR were they fulfilled within the lifetime of Jesus’ contemporaries and thus “soon” in the events of Jerusalem’s fall in AD 70? “Show your work.”
When and who made these texts fulfilled in AD 70 to be an “orthodox” view? If we can change the creeds on these texts can other texts that are seen to be “parallel” with them also wrong and can they also be revised and seen to be fulfilled in AD 70? Who has the authority to have done this or can do it with more passages “parallel” to these?
1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT:
Once again, we have creedal passages which allegedly teach the “glorious Second Coming” at which time God is going to judge all men – the “quick (alive) and the dead” and yet some of the Partial Preterists that penned this letter see them as fulfilled in an AD 70 “at hand” and “about to be” time frame!
Gentry believes the “living and the dead” of 1 Peter 4:5-7 were judged in an “at hand” time frame in AD 70 but will never explain to us how the “dead” were judged without them being raised at the same time! Philip Kyser concedes that 2 Timothy 4:1YLT is referring to Christ’s glorious coming and kingdom that was “about to judge the living and the dead” in AD 70.
Questions for the signers of the letter on 1 Peter 4:5-7, 17 / 2 Timothy 4:1YLT:
Ken Gentry – how were the dead judged in AD 70 without them being raised? Again, these are creedal texts and the authors of this letter state they were fulfilled in AD 70 and thus are not referring to the judgment and resurrection of “all men” at the end of “world history.” Who made and when were these AD 70 fulfillments of these passages determined to be “orthodox” or are they not “orthodox”? No consistent case here – Futurist and Hyper-creedal case thrown out!
Revelation 11 & Revelation 20 / Daniel 12:
The Partial Preterism of Gentry, Wilson, Durbin and White are once again challenged with just how many general judgments of the dead does the OT and NT teach? Revelation picks up where the book of Daniel leaves off. Daniel is told that the judgment and resurrection of the dead of 12:2-3 will take place during a period of “three and a half years” “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered and Revelation 11 picks up stating Jerusalem (where the Lord was slain) would be trodden down under the feet of the nations for that same prophesied “three and a half years” period (i.e. AD 67 – AD 70) and that this would result in the judgment of the dead and the opening up of God’s presence (Rev. 11:1-18).
Not only this but the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead is not a physical or biological resurrection event, but rather deals with the emptying of souls or spirits out of Hades to either be in God’s presence to inherit eternal life or be thrown in the Lake of Fire and experience eternal punishment. This is when the “book(s) are open and the dead are judged for what they have done” (Dan. 12:1-2 / Rev. 20:12-15). And while Daniel is told to seal up the vision because the time of the fulfillment of the judgment and resurrection of the dead was “far off,” John is told that the fulfillment of the prophecy of this book (which included Rev. 20:12-15 and was the fulfillment of the judgment and resurrection prophesied in Dan. 12:2-3) was “near” and included the judgment and to repay “each person” for what they had done (Rev. 22:10-12).
Questions for the signers of the letter on Revelation 11 & Revelation 20 / Daniel 12:
Both Daniel 12 and Revelation 11 connect the resurrection and judgment of the dead with the historical event of Jerusalem’s judgment for “three and a half years” (AD 67 – AD 70). How were the dead judged in Revelation 11 during this period without the resurrection of the dead being fulfilled (this is for Ken Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin and James White)? And since the book of Revelation is laid out in recapitulation, wouldn’t the judgment of the dead of Revelation 11 be the end of the millennium judgment of the dead in Revelation 20:5-15 – like most classic Amillennialists point out? If not, why not? And if it is true (per at least two of the writers of this letter Gentry and Kayser) that there was a spiritual resurrection and judgment of the “just and unjust” in Daniel 12:2 in AD 70, why wouldn’t Revelation 11 and Revelation 20:5-15 be that AD 70 spiritual judgment and resurrection of the dead event? If not, why not?
Major Premise: it is true and “orthodox” to believe the ONE consummative resurrection and judgment of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 11 is the end of the millennium judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Revelation 20:5-15. The “soon” Second and Glorious Coming of Jesus throughout Revelation ends the millennium of Revelation 20 and fulfills this judgment and resurrection event (Reformed Classic Amillennialism)
Minor Premise: BUT it is also true and “orthodox” to believe the judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 11 were spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 at the “soon” and spiritual coming of Christ to close out the Jewish or old covenant age.
Conclusion: THEREFORE, it is also true and “orthodox” to believe the ONE end of the age divinely “appointed” time for the judgment and resurrection of the dead event of Daniel 12:2-3 and Revelation 11 were spiritually fulfilled at the “soon” Second and Glorious Coming of our Lord in AD 70 to close the Jewish or old covenant age and bring an end to the millennium.
Like the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-31 / 1 Thessalonians 4-5 / 1 Corinthians 15:23 / Revelation 1:7, Partial Preterists such as Milton Terry and contributing signer to this letter – Philip Kayser, see these passages and Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70. From what I have heard, Kayser has an audio teaching where he recently admits Acts 1:11 was fulfilled in AD 70. So, we have no “future” “physical bodily coming of Jesus” to attack DeMar and Full Preterists with here now do we?
If Gentry feels so strongly about Acts 1:11 being fulfilled in the future and to deny this is damnable heresy, then why does he publish and profit off of Milton Terry who took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70?!?
Unlike Gentry, Wilson and Gentry, Partial Preterists such as Milton Terry, Mike Bull and Philip Kayser in contrast, took/take a lucid, biblical approach, seeing the cloud comings of Jesus in Matthew 24:30–31, 34; Acts 1:11; and Revelation 1:7 as all being fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem at the end of the Jewish or old covenant age:
“Whatever the real nature of the parousia, as contemplated in this prophetic discourse, our Lord unmistakably associates it with the destruction of the temple and city, which he represents as the signal termination of the pre-Messianic age. The coming on clouds, the darkening of the heavens, the collapse of elements, are, as we have shown above, familiar forms of apocalyptic language, appropriated from the Hebrew prophets.
Acts i, 11, is often cited to show that Christ’s coming must needs be spectacular, “in like manner as ye beheld him going into the heaven.” But (1) in the only other three places where [“in like manner”] occurs, it points to a general concept rather than the particular form of its actuality. Thus, in Acts vii, 28, it is not some particular manner in which Moses killed the Egyptian that is notable, but rather the certain fact of it. In 2 Tim. iii, 8, it is likewise the fact of strenuous opposition rather than the special manner in which Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. And in Matt. xxiii, 37, and Luke xiii, 34, it is the general thought of protection rather than the visible manner of a mother bird that is intended. Again (2), if Jesus did not come in that generation, and immediately after the great tribulation that attended the fall of Jerusalem, his words in Matt. xvi, 27, 28, xxiv, 29, and parallel passages are in the highest degree misleading. (3) To make the one statement of the angel in Acts i, 11, override all the sayings of Jesus on the same subject and control their meaning is a very one-sided method of biblical interpretation. But all the angel’s words necessarily mean is that as Jesus has ascended into heaven so he will come from heaven. And this main thought agrees with the language of Jesus and the prophets.” (Milton S. Terry, A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 246-247).
Partial Preterist Keith A. Mathison has suggested that the coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 would be fulfilled when the Great Commission of Acts 1:8 is fulfilled. Thus, according to this point, it is rather easy to demonstrate throughout the book of Acts itself and Paul’s other writings that Acts 1:8-11 was fulfilled by AD:
Major Premise: The cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 / Acts 1:11 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and describe the “glorious Second Coming” of Jesus (classic Reformed Amillennial view).
Minor Premise: But the cloud coming of Christ in not only Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, but also Acts 1:11 (Partial Preterist authors – Milton Terry, Mike Bull, and contributing author of the public letter to DeMar – Philip Kayser).
Conclusion: The cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 / Acts 1:11 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and describe the “glorious Second Coming” of Jesus fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (Sovereign Grace Full Preterism – “Reformed and always reforming”).
Questions for the signers of the letter on Acts 1:11:
The signers of this letter and books and authors they promote are “divided” on this text as well. Are we allowed to hold to the “Reformed” “orthodox” position and that of the analogy of faith believing the cloud coming of Christ in Acts 1:11 / Matthew 24:30 / Revelation 1:7 is the same event and the Reformed “orthodox” Partial Preterist view that they were all fulfilled in AD 70 or not? When and who made it “orthodox” to take the cloud coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 / Revelation 1:7 as fulfilled in AD 70? If Partial Preterists such as Gentry and Wilson have the authority to make those AD 70 cloud comings “orthodox” and correct the creeds and early church fathers, then why can’t Partial Preterist Milton Terry and other Partal Preterists and Full Preterists make our AD 70 exegesis of Acts 1:11 “orthodox” for everyone to follow? You have no case here either. Your judgments, name calling, and threats are hypocritical and unwarranted.
As we have seen the classic Amillennialist and authors of this letter to Gary DeMar do NOT see TWO “comings,” “ends,” “resurrections,” “judgments” of “all men” and that of the “living and the dead.” Nor do they see the passing away or consummations of TWO heavens and earths or two arrivals of the new at TWO “comings”/parousia(s) of Christ in all of these texts — while the Partial Preterist system and that of some of the men in this letter – do see these events as fulfilled in AD 70. That’s not a small disagreement – that’s a contradiction and bringing forth a hypocritical judgment against the brethren as far as I’m concerned.
This is why I believe Gary DeMar requested to see their exegetical and historical “work” on “specific texts” and this is why the threat of this public letter offers no texts let alone exegetical work or proof! Therefore, in my humble opinion the authors of this letter (just like the divided authors of WSTTB?) offered a “house divided” approach that did “not stand” and had no teeth. They offered no Scriptural support or evidence for their claims to support an “end of world history” “judgment and resurrection of the dead of the just and unjust” or that of “the living and the dead.” “Case dismissed” or “thrown out” as far as I can see.
Here is how I would answer the three questions:
- Do you believe in a future bodily, glorious return of Christ? No, the analogy of faith principle of interpretation would require Acts 1:11 to be fulfilled when Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 are fulfilled and the Partial Preterists of this letter correctly see Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 as spiritually fulfilled in AD 70. And Partial Preterist authors of whom you publish and sell such as Milton Terry took Acts 1:11 as fulfilled in AD 70. Not to mention one of the authors (Philip Kayser) of this letter believes Acts 1:11 was fulfilled in AD 70!
- Do you believe in a future physical, general resurrection of the dead? No, the general resurrection and judgment of the dead according to Daniel 12:2-3, 7, 13 teaches that the righteous and the unrighteous dead would be judged during a “three and a half years” period “when” Jerusalem was judged between AD 67 – AD 70 or “when the power of the holy people is / was completely shattered.” This is why Paul taught this “appointed” or “decreed” time of judgment and resurrection for the dead was “about to be” fulfilled in the lifetime of his contemporaries (Acts 17:31YLT and Acts 24:14-15YLT). And according to Acts 24; 26; and 28 this judgment and resurrection is once again tied to first century Jerusalem in that it was the “hope of the twelve tribes of Israel” – which do not exist today. The Bible only teaches ONE eschatological “hope” of the “end” of the age resurrection event and it was fulfilled at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 and is a “hope realized” for us to experience now (Prov. 13:12) and when we die and enter the heavenly realm. And further more at least two of the authors of this letter (Gentry and Kayser) believe Daniel 12:2-3 teaches there was a resurrection and judgment of the dead in AD 70 with one (Kayser) conceding there was a judgment and resurrection of the dead in Acts 17:31 / Acts 24:15 / 1 Thess. 4-5 / 1 Cor. 15 / Rms. 8:18 that was fulfilled in AD 70. Your Partial Preterist theologians cannot agree on if the resurrection of Daniel 12 and say that of Matthew 24:31 was fulfilled spiritually or physically in AD 70 but the Scriptures are clear it was a spiritual resurrection that was fulfilled.
- Do you believe history will end with the Final Judgment of all men? Per “orthodox” Partial Preterism, the typical “end of the world” or “end of world history” type passages such as 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21-22 were fulfilled imminently in AD 70. And the Bible teaches that after the first heavens and earth of Isa. 65-66 / 2 Pet. 3 / Rev. 21-22 pass away and the new arrives, that there will continue to be evangelism taking place. The Bible does not predict “the end of world history” but rather the “end of the [old covenant] age” / the “time of the end [of the old covenant age]” / “hour of the end” in AD 70. I do not seek to “go beyond what is written” and speculate that it teaches the “end of world history.” The judgment of “all men” or the “quick and the dead” was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in judgment in the lifetime of the first century church (Mt. 16:27-28), “soon” at the Second Coming event in AD 70 (Rev. 22:7, 10-12) and thus was “about to be” fulfilled or “at hand” in the first century (2 Tim. 4:1YLT; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17). “All men” however must die and be judged (Heb. 9:27). Thus no man that ever lives will not be judged by a Righteous and Holy God.
Debate Challenges: Myself and Don Preston have requested a one-on-one debate or partner debate with some of the men listed in this letter – Kenneth Gentry, Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin or James White. It’s been many years for these men in not answering public biblical questions or even responding to challenges to debate. So, it’s kind of ironic that they are demanding that Gary DeMar answer their questions / challenges in a public forum. Again – hypocrites. Sam has yet to be able to convince Gentry, Wilson, Durbin or White to be his partner in debating me and Preston so as to refute his chapter in the first edition of “House Divided” where he discussed “Inconsistent Orthodoxy.” Maybe it’s because he refers to them as “HYPER Partial Preterists” (that is “unorthodox preterists”) and “inconsistent” (that is if they were “consistent” they would be Full Preterists). Selah.