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SOLVING THE VIOLENT PUZZLE OF ISLAM, ISRAELI ZIONISM & PREMILLENNIAL ZIONISM – THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON / GOG AND MAGOG FULFILLED WHEN MESSIAH/JESUS CAME UPON THE CLOUDS “SOON” IN THE EVENTS OF AD 67 – AD 70

 

INTRODUCTION

“The War of Ideas” = “The War of Theology or Eschatology”

Everyone looking at the conflict in the Middle East (and U.S. policy affecting that area) realizes that while engaging militarily at times is necessary, the ultimate solution will have to come from another area. Therefore, many see the various conflicting religious theologies / eschatologies fueling these areas as being solved ultimately through a “war of ideas.” What they mean by this, is really a “war of theology/eschatology” that needs to change in order for peace to emerge.

The Problem Summarized 

Unfortunately, these three Futurist eschatologies all share common errors that perpetuate conflict in the Middle East and the U.S. such as:

  • God allegedly has predicted end time “signs” that are being fulfilled right before our eyes today such as natural disasters, wars, and an imminent arrival of an evil ruler or “Antichrist” “man of lawlessness” etc….
  • God allegedly will cause its religious system to overcome others or inherit certain local “holy land” areas and ultimately the earth.
  • There is an alleged future “end time” “great war” (ex. the battle of Gog and Magog) in which their religion wins over the other wicked ones.
  • God allegedly will send Jesus or Messiah to save Israel (or condemn Israel from the Islamic view), bring global peace, defeat the antichrist and infidels – and thus usher in paradise on earth.

But what if it can be proven that these Biblical “end time” “signs” and “holy war” scenarios have already been fulfilled? And what if the OT prophetic material concerning Israel being saved or gathered “in the land” have been fulfilled through the Church and “in Christ” under the New Covenant? Does the God of the Bible really support or recognize modern day Israel as His beloved people connected to a holy land? Is modern day Israel and the events of 1948 a fulfillment of Bible prophecy? Are Christians in the U.S. supposed to support modern day Israel because God will bless any Nation that blesses Israel? Or is modern day Israel just another unbelieving nation among many others that needs the gospel? And what if it can be proven according to Allah’s “revelations” that Muhammad was a false prophet, and thus the Quran is not a revelation from God? These are all very important questions when analyzing these three “end time” religious systems and trying to find an effective “war of ideas” that can bring as much peace as is possible among them. Therefore, let me answer some of these questions and give the reader my propositions from the outset:

  • Jesus predicted that His coming, the end (of the old covenant) age, and all of the signs described in Matthew 24-25 would be fulfilled within His contemporary “this generation” and were (Matthew 24:34).
  • While under the Old Covenant there was a literal “in the land” militaristic kingdom or theology, but it served as prophetic literal types and shadows of Jesus’ spiritual kingdom or being “in Christ” under the New Covenant.
  • The “time of the end” and “the great war,” battle of “Gog and Magog,” or “Armageddon” was prophesied to be fulfilled “shortly” and “soon” and was during the Roman Jewish War of AD 67 – AD 70 resulting in the Temple being destroyed and thus marking the end of the Old Covenant age.
  • The events of 1948 have nothing to do with the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Modern day Judaism nor Islam have any religious right to “holy land” in the Middle East or the planet today.

Outline and Approach to the Solution

My approach is twofold:  First, summarize the erroneous overlapping eschatological material that each of these systems hold to and secondly, demonstrate how these overlapping prophetic concepts have either been proven to be false and failed predictions or have already been fulfilled when the Old Covenant age (“the end of the age” “the end” “time of the end”) “soon vanished” (Heb. 8:13) in AD 70 and the New was matured and established at that time.

I should also note that since Islam claims Jesus never claimed to be God and rejects the Deity of Christ (as does modern day Judaism), this subject will be dealt with in chapter six.

CHAPTER ONE

The Violence of Islamic Theology / Eschatology

Before we begin, we should note that there are two religious’ sources within Islam which teach the “time of the end” eschatology. The first is the Quran which is viewed as inspired and infallible allegedly describing God giving the prophet Muhammad revelation from the angel Gabriel and compiling the doctrine which resulted from those revelations. Not much eschatology is found in the Quran except affirmations of a future coming “hour” in which Allah will resurrect men and judge the world. The second source is the Hadith and is not considered as infallible as the Quran because it contains teachings and stories about Muhammad’s life that were not considered direct revelation from Allah. These teachings were compiled some 200 years after Muhammad’s death. As we will readily see, Muhammad and Islam seeks to steal OT and NT Scriptures and joins them and their concepts with other “revelations” from “angels” or “prophets” giving them the alleged “true” meaning (similar to what the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons etc.… do).

The main points to cover in outlining Islamic Eschatology which are relevant to our discussion in solving the circular religious violence in the Middle East and elsewhere are the following:

1).  Islam and Holy War

2).  Islam and Sacred Space the Caliphate Conquest

3).  Islam and a “Very Soon” Second Coming of Jesus and End Time Battle of Gog and Magog

1).  Islam and Holy War

 

I will briefly examine the evidence which demonstrates why Islam and its eschatology is inherently violent and cannot be “reformed” into a peaceful religion.  The core of Islamic eschatology and theology is fulfilled through war as can be seen in studying it’s teachings in the following areas:

 

  • The doctrine of Sunnah and following Muhammad’s life example and revelations in Mecca v. Medina
  • The doctrine of abrogation
  • The life of Muhammad and his revelations in both Mecca and then in Medina – form the two divisions of the Quran
  • What is taught in the Quran
  • The Three kinds and or stages of Jihad
  • Unity on the meaning of Sharia Law and Jihad

 

The doctrine of Sunnah and following Muhammad’s life and revelations in Mecca v. Medina

“Say [to people], ‘If you love God, then follow me [Muhammad]; God will [then] love you and forgive your sins’” (Quran, 3:31).

 

“Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.” (Quran 33:21).

 

“By explaining the Qur’aan through his words and actions, the Prophet through his Sunnah, gives us the best example of how this book is to be understood and practiced.” (Muslim web site).

 

This is somewhat similar, and a rip-off of what Jesus teaches His followers:

 

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mrk. 8:34).

 

As we will see, the difference of course is that following Jesus as the “way” entails humbling ourselves, denying our pride and lusts, being peacemakers, loving our enemies, etc… On the other hand, following the “conduct” of Muhammad’s life and revelations feeds pride, lust and violence.

 

Muhammad in Mecca

 

Muhammad for the first 12 years preaches to his home tribes a relatively peaceful message of tolerance and cooperation with the “people of the book” (Jews and Christians). It is during this period that we hear Muhammad teaching things like, “Leave unbelievers alone in their errors and bear with them for a little while” and there is “no compulsion in religion” (cf. Quran 109:1-6; 2:256; 73:10-11). He declares he is getting revelations from Allah (a monotheistic god) through his angel Gabriel. This results in very few followers and much ridicule from his polytheistic tribe and family members along with Jews and Christians that find his “revelations” contrary to their Scriptures and beliefs.

 

However, while preaching peace during this period, behind closed doors, Muhammad was telling the leaders of his home tribes that if only they would acknowledge Allah as the only God and himself as His Apostle, Allah would give them victory (through war) over their rival Arabs, the Jews and Christians – thus exposing he had violent intentions of gaining an army and that of military conquest even at this early stage.

 

This message of peace (while concealing the true intent of violence through Jihad) will later be developed and known as the doctrine or practice of taqiyya (lying and deception is allowed to advance Islam when in the minority – cf. Quran 3:26; 3:54; 9:3; 16:106; 40:28).

 

Muhammad’s public message of peace eventually gets a bit bolder whereby he begins denouncing his tribe’s polytheistic god’s in a harsh manner.  As a result, they end up denouncing Muhammad and Islam. While Muhammad secretly desires to conquer various Arab tribes, Jews and Christians, he allows these groups at various times to help him and his small so-called “persecuted” followers.

 

Muslims claim Muhammad was being “persecuted” during this time period for preaching the truth (thus playing the victim card). Yet, when Muhammad denounced their god’s it was “persecution,” but when Muhammad mocked theirs, it was the “truth.”

 

During this period “revelations” are given that Muslims may fight to defend themselves when persecuted (Quran 22:39-40).  But being outnumbered Muhammad flees to Medina.

 

Muhammad in Medina

 

While in Medina Muhammad finds a more receptive audience. Here the Arab tribes are in civil war warring against each other while at the same time trying to fight Jewish tribes.

 

Muhammad’s “revelations” become violent teaching that Muslims can kill unbelievers, steal their wealth, and rape and take their women as sex slaves or wives. And if they die in battle, they will inherit wealth and sex in “Paradise.”

 

This message of greed and lust appeals to Medina and Muhammad’s hopes the appeal to the carnal mind will unite them against a common enemy – the Jews and Christians begins to take form.

 

Instead of living peacefully in Medina, he returns to Mecca launching 7 attacks on their caravans. Muslims attack during the sacred month of Rajab (when fighting was forbidden) and kill their first victim.  Afterward, convenient “revelations” are given that this deception and killing was justified – because persecuting and criticizing Islam is worse than Muslims killing unbelievers.

 

The pagans realize Muslims will not stop attacking them, so they form a large army to protect and defend themselves.  Muhammad continues attacking and even with a smaller army succeeds. This was known as The Battle of Badr.  All the Quraysh were captured or killed (ex. be-headed etc…).

 

Islam is to “strive” or wage war/Jiahd against unbelievers and be-head them along with apostates and hypocrites among Islam (Quran 9:73; 47:4; 9:29; 9:123).

 

This is a fight involving the followers of Allah and those of the friends of Satan (Quran 4:76).

 

Engaging in Jihad (killing unbelievers and apostates) is the “highest rank” or calling in Islam which produces salvation and guarantees for those that “slay and are slain” to inherit paradise (Quran 9:19; 9:111).

 

There is no spiritualizing away or “reforming” these passages, because their historical context of what Muhammad was doing, confirms they are meant to be taken of literal warfare to be followed.

 

The doctrine of abrogation

 

“Whatever a Verse (revelation) do We {Allah} abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is able to do all things?” (Quran 2:106).

 

“When We substitute one revelation for another—and God knows best what He reveals (in stages)—they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.” (Quran 16:101).

 

If there is a contradiction or apparent contradiction, Muslims are to follow the revelation that was the most recent which will then serve to abrogate earlier ones. Therefore, Muslims teach and are called to follow the violent passages in the Quran that come later, rather than the peaceful ones that were given by Muhammad when he didn’t have an army.

 

A similar concept can be seen in the Christian Scriptures in that when Jesus and the Church fulfills the Old Covenant promises, it “soon vanished” (Heb. 8:13) and became obsolete in AD 70. We understand that we don’t need to be circumcised, perform animal sacrifices, and take up the literal sword taking dominion over peoples of a particular land. The New Covenant abrogates these covenant types and shadows, and we are now following Jesus’ final marching orders in the New Covenant age – that of loving our neighbor and advancing the kingdom through the Word of God (the sword of the spirit – the gospel). In Islam it is the complete opposite. Their OT so to speak is Muhammad’s life in Mecca which contain relatively peaceful teachings, whereas their final marching orders in their NT so to speak, is Muhammad’s life in Medina where he gets an army and begins having so-called “revelations” of violence and Jihad.

 

The teachings of the Quran

 

Putting this altogether so far, in the Quran we see it directly and explicitly teaching murder, violence, deception, and perversion as the sunnah or “perfect way of conduct” of Muhammad living out his so-called “revelations” with his followers faithfully emulating them.

 

We further learn from the Quran and the life of Muhammad such violent and depraved teachings such as the following:

You can rape, marry and divorce pre-pubescent girls: Quran 65:4

You can enslave women for sex and work and formed prostitution: Quran 4:3; 4:24; 5:89; 33:50; 58:3; 70:30

You can beat sex slaves, work slaves, and wives (cf. Quran 4:34).

You can kill Jews and Christians if they do not convert or pay tax (cf. Quran 9:29).

You can crucify and amputate non-Muslims (cf. Quran 8:12; 47:4).

You can kill non-Muslims to receive 72 virgins in heaven (cf. Quran 9:111).

You can kill anyone who leaves Islam (cf. Quran 2:217; 4:89).

You can behead non-Muslims (cf. Quran 8:12; 47:4).

You should kill and be killed for Al’llah; (cf. verse of the sword – Qur’an 9:5).

You can commit acts of terror against non-Muslims (cf. Qur’an 8:12; 8:60).

You can steal from non-Muslims (cf. Quran chapter 8 – booty/spoils of war).

You can lie to strengthen Islam (cf. Quran 3:26; 3:54; 9:3; 16:106; 40:28).

 

Three kinds and stages of Jihad

 

There are three kinds of Jihad and it is developed in three stages.  The three forms of Jihad are:  1). “Jihad of the heart” – fighting evil within, 2). “Jihad of the mind and tongue” – Agreeing with the right behavior of others while confronting those who have not fully submitted to Allah and have gone astray from his teachings and 3). “Jihad of the sword” – Enslaving or killing unbelievers.  Many Western Muslims either try and deny or lie about the Quran teaching this third violent form of Jihad or seek to muddy the waters by defining Jihad within the limited categories of the first two.

 

David Wood correctly summarizes the three stages of Jihad within Islam:

 

“STAGE ONE OF JIHAD

 

When Muslims are completely outnumbered and can’t possibly win a physical confrontation with unbelievers, they are to live in peace with non-Muslims and preach a message of tolerance. We see an example of this stage when Muhammad and his followers were a persecuted minority in Mecca. Since the Muslims were entirely outnumbered, the revelations Muhammad received during this stage (e.g. “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion”) called for religious tolerance and proclaimed a future punishment (rather than a worldly punishment from the sword of Islam) for unbelievers.

 

STAGE TWO OF JIHAD

 

When there are enough Muslims and resources to defend the Islamic community, Muslims are called to engage in defensive Jihad. Thus, when Muhammad had formed alliances with various groups outside Mecca and the Muslim community had become large enough to begin fighting, Muhammad received Qur’an 22:39-40:

Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them; Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: our Lord is Allah. . . .

 

Although Muslims in the West often pretend that Islam only allows defensive fighting, later revelations show otherwise.

 

STAGE THREE OF JIHAD

 

When Muslims establish a majority and achieve political power in an area, they are commanded to engage in offensive Jihad. Hence, once Mecca and Arabia were under Muhammad’s control, he received the call the fight all unbelievers. In Surah 9:29, we read:

 

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

 

Notice that this verse doesn’t order Muslims to fight oppressors, but to fight those who don’t believe in Islam (including the “People of the Book”—Jews and Christians).”[1]

 

Unity on the meaning of Sharia Law and Jihad

 

Gregory M. Davis correctly points out that Sharia Law is not optional for the Muslim to follow and yet Sharia Law necessitates a nationalistic hostile form of totalitarianism against other countries and their unbelief or the other religions they may embrace:

“Unlike many religions, Islam includes a mandatory and highly specific legal and political plan for society called Sharia, which translates approximately as “way” or “path.” The precepts of Sharia are derived from the commandments of the Quran and the Sunnah (the teachings and precedents of Muhammad as found in the reliable hadiths and the Sira). Together, the Quran and the Sunnah establish the dictates of Sharia, which is the blueprint for the good Islamic society. Because Sharia originates with the Quran and the Sunnah, it is not optional. Sharia is the legal code ordained by Allah for all mankind. To violate Sharia or not to accept its authority is to commit rebellion against Allah, which Allah’s faithful are required to combat.

There is no separation between the religious and the political in Islam; rather Islam and Sharia constitute a comprehensive means of ordering society at every level. While it is in theory possible for an Islamic society to have different outward forms — an elective system of government, a hereditary monarchy, etc. — whatever the outward structure of the government, Sharia is the prescribed content. It is this fact that puts Sharia into conflict with forms of government based on anything other than the Quran and the Sunnah.

The precepts of Sharia may be divided into two parts:

  1. Acts of worship (al-ibadat), which includes:Ritual Purification (Wudu), Prayers (Salah)
    Fasts (Sawm and Ramadan), Charity (Zakat), Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj).
  2. Human interaction (al-muamalat), which includes: Financial transactions, Endowments, Laws of inheritance, Marriage, divorce and child care, Food and drink (including ritual slaughtering and hunting), Penal punishments, War and peace, Judicial matters (including witnesses and forms of evidence)

As one may see, there are few aspects of life that Sharia does not specifically govern. Everything from washing one’s hands to child-rearing to taxation to military policy fall under its dictates. Because Sharia is derivate of the Quran and the Sunnah, it affords some room by mediaplayer”” o:button=”t” style=”width: 10pt; height: 10pt; visibility: visible;”> for interpretation. But upon examination of the Islamic sources (see above), it is apparent that any meaningful application of Sharia is going to look very different from anything resembling a free or open society in the Western sense. The stoning of adulterers, execution of apostates and blasphemers, repression of other religions, and a mandatory hostility toward non-Islamic nations punctuated by regular warfare will be the norm. It seems fair then to classify Islam and its Sharia code as a form of totalitarianism.”[2]

 

Again, to implement Sharia law means waging war against unbelievers (non-Muslims).

Gregory Davis also exposes the violence of Islam when he writes on the unity of understanding the meaning of Jihad within Sharia Law among various sects of Islam,

 

“One of the common elements to all Islamic schools of thought is jihad, understood as the obligation of the Ummah to conquer and subdue the world in the name of Allah and rule it under Sharia law. The four [main Sunni]…schools — — all agree that there is a collective obligation on Muslims to make war on the rest of the world. Furthermore, even the schools of thought outside Sunni orthodoxy, including the [Shia school Jafari], agree on the necessity of jihad.”[3]

The way to bring out the true motivations of Muslims, is to poll if they desire to have the nations of the world be governed by Sharia Law.  Alarming statistics of Muslims wanting to promote Sharia law are as follows:

  • 51% of Muslims in the U.S. back some form of Sharia.
  • 77% of Muslims in S. Asia support Sharia.
  • 74% of Muslims in S.E. Asia support Sharia.
  • 64% of Muslims in various areas of Africa support Sharia.
  • 99% of Afghanistan’s want Sharia law (we have allowed 11,000 to have green cards from Afghanistan – in 2009-2013).
  • 91% in Iraq want Sharia law (we have allowed 83,000 Iraqis [same time period] to have green cards).
  • 84% in Pakistan want Sharia law (we have allowed 83,000 Pakistanis to have green cards [within the same time period]).
  • (updated) – If this all wasn’t scary enough, it was just reported that our government totally lost track of at least 9000 Muslims that came to the U.S. on a temporary VISA, and some were very questionable!

Then next ask how Muhammad (as the perfect messenger of Allah) sought to bring it about upon the nations and how the Quran commands them to live it out – emulating the ways of Muhammad.

 

2). Islamic Eschatology has a sacred land / world Caliphate mandate

 

Islam divides the nations of the world into two houses or spheres.  First, there is The House of Islam (dar al-Islam) which consists of those nations and lands that have already been conquered and submitted to Allah and Sharia Law.  The second, is The House of War (dar al-harb) which consists of those nations and lands that have yet to be conquered and submit to Allah and Sharia Law.  Islam is called to conquer all the religions of the world (cf. Quran 61:9, 48:28, 9:3).

 

In Islam, land that was once conquered under Islam will always belong to Islam. For example, since Muhammad conquered Jerusalem and allegedly ascended from the site of Solomon’s Temple, Islam will NEVER concede that Jerusalem belongs to any other than that of Islam and its caliphate ambitions.  Even the alleged “moderate” “reformer” Zuhdi Jasser who appears on FOX News made a slip of the tongue in the last 5 minutes of an interview challenging his “reformed” views when he referred to Israel as “occupied territory.”[4]

So, no matter how you slice it, even Jasser who is trying to practically form his own Islamism, subscribes to some form of religious and divine right to “holy land” throwing more oil on an existing fire – not bringing any kind of “peaceful” solution which is what he claims to be doing.

Muhammad and the Caliphate Mandate

Muhammad sought to make his bloody conquests beyond Arabia contacting rulers (King of Persia; Emperor of Rome; and others) inviting them to believe in Allah and thus to “embrace Islam and you will be safe.” Obviously, implying that if they didn’t embrace Islam they would suffer the same fate as others (cf. Muslim, book 19, no. 4382; Bukhari, vol. 4, book 56, no. 2941).

 

Muhammad also promises that the first of his armies to invade Constantinople, “will be forgiven their sins.” An interesting side note here is that later the Catholic Pope and various monks would use this same manipulative technique to motivate the crusaders granting them the forgiveness of sins if they partook in this “the end is near” “holy war” battle against the Muslims – seeing them as the beast of Daniel and Revelation.

 

The Muslim Caliphate dwarfs anything the Roman Empire produced, and Muslims had a Caliphate up until WWI in Turkey. Some view Iran as an Islamic Caliphate of sorts and of course ISIS had resurrected the “end is near” Islamic Caliphate expectation.

 

3). Islamic Eschatology – teaches a “soon” Second Coming of Jesus and end time battle of Gog and Magog

 

Islam is willing to forget its rich history of alleged “inspired” and yet failed eschatological predictions.  Space forbids to address all of them, but here are a few that are relevant for our topic:

  1. Muhammad predicted the “Last Hour” would come within the lifetime and generation of his contemporaries: 

“Anas reported: A young boy of Mughira b. Shu’ba happened to pass by (the Holy Prophet) and he was of my age. Thereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: If he lives long he would not grow very old till the Last Hour would come (to the old People of this generation).” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 7053).

  1. Muhammad predicted that everyone would die on the earth within a hundred years (thus predicting the end time/last hour events of the judgment and resurrection):

“Once the Prophet led us in the ‘Isha’ prayer during the last days of his life and after finishing it (the prayer) (with Taslim) he said: “Do you realize (the importance of) this night? Nobody present on the surface of the earth tonight will be living after the completion of one hundred years from this night.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 1 Book 3, Number 116).

  1. Muhammad predicted the great war, the coming of the Antichrist and thus the end of the world would take place after the conquests of Jerusalem (636 AD) and Constantinople (1453 AD): 

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The flourishing state of Jerusalem will be when Yathrib is in ruins, the ruined state of Yathrib will be when the great war comesthe outbreak of the great war will be at the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Constantinople when the Dajjal (Antichrist) comes forth. He (the Prophet) struck his thigh or his shoulder with his hand and said: This is as true as you are here or as you are sitting (meaning Mu’adh ibn Jabal).” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 37, Number 4281).

Other but more complex views would be Muhammad’s belief that the world was roughly 6,500 years old during his lifetime and that all of the prophecies would be fulfilled no later than when the earth reached her 7,000th year (Btw, many Jewish and even Christians have tried this approach as well in predicting the end of the world – always ending in failure as well). Obviously, the “last hour” (a world-wide literal resurrection and judgment of the dead and literal transformation of the planet earth, etc…) did not happen 500 years from Muhammad’s death.

Since Islam teaches that Allah inspired the OT, then according to Allah, the “prophet” Muhammad was a false prophet and should have been stoned to death (Deut. 18:20-22).

Islam keeps the failed prophetic ministry and manipulation of Muhammad alive today.  We shall look at ISIS as just one example.  The title of ISIS’s magazine DABIQ helps us understand Islamic eschatology and worldview. The Syrian town of Dabiq is where the Prophet Muhammed is supposed to have predicted that the armies of Islam and “Rome” (or the Christian West) would meet for the final battle that will precede the end of time and the triumph of true Islam. In the 15th. issue of ISIS’s DABIQ, is an article entitled, Break the Cross, where they seek to persuade all gullible young men into joining the final end time holy war or Jihad. Why? Well, because their version of Jesus’ Second Coming is going to take place “very soon” (i.e. will be fulfilled in our lifetime, pp. 48-49) therefore everyone needs to get on the side of Islam and accept their perverted version of Jesus’ Second Coming or face imminent judgment from the Islamic Jesus.

ISIS writes,

 

“As the world progresses towards ‘the Great Battle’ to be held at Dabiq, the option to stand on the sidelines as a mere observer is being lost.”

 

The propaganda goes something like this: “The FINAL Jihad has begun. We have captured the land, where the last holy war is now being fought. This is your “final opportunity” because there will be no other wars in which you may martyr yourselves for Allah and secure your place in paradise.” When American aid worker Peter Kassig was murdered by ISIS many ISIS videos — said of Kassig:

 

“We bury the first crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the rest of your armies to arrive.”

 

In other words, ISIS is trying to self-fulfill their prophecies by provoking the West into invading Syria and into a ground war – which they believe will cause the Second Coming of Jesus to take place and then he will call out to Allah in order to finish off killing the infidels for them.

 

Dr. Sebastian Gorka of FOX News writes in his book Defeating Jihad:

 

“Like Judaism, Christianity, or any other major religion, Islam has a well-developed eschatology. Christian eschatology, based in part on the Book of Revelation, [where there are] …a series of battles before Judgment Day between the forces of an Anti-Christ and the last Christians on earth, culminates on the plains of Megiddo in northern Israel.”[5]

 

He goes on to demonstrate that in a distinct parallel between what a lot of Christian Zionists believe, Islamic eschatology also teaches “…a diabolic figure who will lead the forces of the infidels into a series of great battles…”[6]  So, the Islamic Megiddo for Muslims is actually the territory of Syria and Iraq. ISIS in their publications claim Jesus’ Second Coming is going to take place “very soon” in our lifetimes because of wars they are initiating.

 

The truth is that EVERY sect within Islam (not just ISIS) sees their current wars in the Middle East (even Muslims on both sides of the civil war in Syria for example) as fulfilling their end time prophecies and creating an atmosphere to where they all believe Jesus’ Second Coming is “near.”[7]

Futurist Christians and Muslims Debate Who is a True Prophet — the NT Jesus or the Quran’s Muhammad

 

So how do Futurist Christian Apologists and Muslim Apologists deal with the fact that both Jesus and Muhammad taught the consummation would be fulfilled within the lifetimes of those standing next to them?  Jesus clearly taught that He would return in the lifetime and generation of those he spoke to and Muhammad taught that Jesus’ Second Coming and the “last hour” judgment would be fulfilled in the lifetime and generation that he spoke to (or 500 years after his death), it becomes very interesting to say the least, when Futurist Christians debate Muslims on issues related to the reliability of the Bible, the reliability of the Quran, or the validity of Jesus or Muhammad as a faithful and accurate prophet.

 

Let me give you a brief summary of how the James White (Reformed Christian Apologist) and Shabir Alley (Islamic Apologist) debates went when this subject came up:

 

Shabir Alley – argued that since Jesus and the NT teaches the Second Coming of Jesus was supposed to occur in the lifetime and generation of the first century church, then this proves the Christian Jesus is a false prophet and the NT has been corrupted and added to. Therefore, Allah gave Muhammad the most accurate revelations about Jesus as revealed in the Quran and Haddiths.

 

James White – Surprisingly totally ignored Shabir’s argument and his appeals to NT imminence. He refers the listeners to listen to his teaching on Matthew 24 where he tells his church that he “dreads” teaching on this subject. In the debate with Alley he pointed out that the Temple was destroyed in AD 70 in Jesus’ generation. Alley countered – his point was that Jesus promised that His Second Coming would also take place in that first century generation. White was silent from then on, because in his teaching on Matthew 24 he believes the coming of Christ there is His Second Coming and not a coming that was fulfilled in AD 70.  Interesting sidenote, passages White claims are referring to the ONE NT Parousia or Second Coming event, one of his co-Elders Jeff Durbin, claims were fulfilled spiritually in AD 70 (thus forming my position – the ONE NT Second Coming event was fulfilled spiritually and imminently in AD 70).

 

So, what is the REAL Christian response to the Muslim argument here of Jesus’ teaching on imminence?

 

Christian Full Preterism – Jesus was a faithful prophet when He came upon the clouds “shortly and “soon” in the lifetime and generation of the first century church as the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and Omega, The Word of God, and the King of Kings bringing an end to the Old Covenant age in AD 70.

And since Jesus did come when He promised, this proves Muhammad is a false prophet.

 

Not only this, but per the Islamic argument and standard of uttering imminence for a prophet, then this further condemned Muhammad as a false prophet for teaching a “soon” Second Coming.

 

As far as the Muslim argument that the Christian Bible has been corrupted or added to, we would respond as White has, that this is not the position of the Quran and the early sources within Islam. Alley’s “corruption of the text” argument wasn’t invented until 1064 which is when Islam realized that Muhammad’s teachings were not in fact compatible with the Jewish or Christians Scriptures.

 

These are arguments only a Full Preterist can make when it comes to countering the Muslim argument on NT imminence while at the same time addressing the failed imminence within their own sources. After reading my articles and response to both he and White, this is why Shabir Alley said he would only debate me on the subject of the deity of Christ and not the imminence of Jesus’ eschatology or that of Muhammad’s.  Telling indeed.

 

We should close this section on Islam by pointing out how drastically different Muhammad’s depraved and non-miraculous predictions compare To the NT Jesus and His teachings really are:

Jesus was born of a virgin (having divine origins). Muhammad born naturally – but conceded that Jesus was born miraculously of a virgin.

  1. Jesus claimed and proved Himself to be God (see above and below). Muhammad a mere man.
  2. Jesus proved to be God and divine by being tested of Satan (without sin), driving out demons, and ultimately “crushing” Satan “shortly” through the cross and His Second Coming in AD 70 (Rms. 16:20). Muhammad thought on several occasions that he was demon possessed.
  3. Jesus taught that his words were those of the Father and those that would accept them would receive eternal life (male and female).
    Muhammad had to retract the “satanic verses” from his teachings, and eternal life is only for men and not women in Islam.
  4. There are no contradictions within Jesus’ teachings.
    There are plenty of contradictions within Muhammad’s teachings and again some of them being attributed to Satan.
  5. Jesus performed miracles proving He was a prophet. According to the Quran, Muhammad performed no miracles. Realizing this was a problem when trying to sell Muhammad’s teachings and Islam to Christians, they later began attributing miracles to Muhammad hundreds of years later in Hadiths etc…
  6. Jesus was the Great High Priest (and Lamb of God) being a mediator between God and man restoring God’s presence with man.
    Muhammad served no such role – except to deny that Jesus ever died on the cross and rose from the dead.
  7. Jesus is a risen and eternal King ruling from heaven – and His kingdom continues to increase. His kingdom was not of this world and His servants have never had to fight with a sword to produce converts. The “sword of the Spirit” (the Word of God), and the effectual call of the Holy Spirit produce repentance and faith – followers of Christ. Muhammad attempted to be some kind of a king (after the way of others through violence). If he ever even did exist, he is dead and long gone. His religion is spread through violence and coercion.
  8. Jesus lived a sinless life. Muhammad again thought he was demon possessed on several occasions, lived a life of stealing, raping, and killing – leaving this as an example for his followers to emulate.
  9. Jesus rose from the dead proving He was God (up to 500 witnessing to this event). He and the Father have made their home within believers. Muhammad if he even existed is long dead and gone.
  10. Jesus came to serve – demonstrating true humility and leadership. He was God and had nothing to prove by “lording it over” others as was and continues to be the corrupt way of Gentiles.  Muhammad came to be served and subject Jews and Christians to its violence – “the way of the Gentiles.”
  11. Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets and did. We have prophetic material thousands of years predicting his birth, what He would do in his life and ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming upon the clouds as the eternal Ancient of Days. Muhammad gave NEW “revelations” which served to give the Arab’s a religion/political/military movement to unite them. No miraculous predictions of Muhammad’s life. Muhammad even conceded that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jews – thus fulfilling their prophecies concerning Him.
  12. Jesus is worshiped – because He proved Himself to be God. Muhammad proved to be a thief, liar, pervert (having sex with a 9 year-old girl), killer, and founder of a false religion.
  13. There is historical evidence that Jesus existed and performed miracles (even from non-Christian sources) – during the life of Christ and shortly after. One might be surprised to learn that there is no real historical evidence that Muhammad even existed (see Robert Spencer’s books and Reformed theologian Robert Morey on this point) – during his life or shortly after. Because of this many historians and theologians believe he was created to unite the Arabs giving them a political/military/religious cause. Instead of converting to Christianity, they created their own version based off of bits and pieces they knew of Jewish and Christian beliefs.
  14. Jesus said blessed are the peace makers, while Islam teaches that those that perform Jihad and kill the infidels is the highest services performed.  Jesus taught that the greatest commandment was to love God and your neighbor as yourself. Islam teaches the greatest commandment is to love Allah and wage Jihad.
  15. Jesus condemned anyone trying to protect him with a sword. Muhammad demanded and needed bodyguards in his presence.
  16. Christ was crucified for His Church knowing all of their names from eternity past. Islam promotes the crucifying of others.
  17. Christ put in the hearts of the early Church to sell their possessions and give to the poor. Muhammad’s followers lived off of stealing from others.
  18. Christ makes His people cheerful givers to encourage ministry to the poor and for the preaching of the gospel. Islamic mosques need to tax or force non-Muslims to pay for the spread of their religion.
  19. OT or Old Covenant war prescribed to inherit “in the land” promises pointed typologically to NT or New Covenant promises to be fulfilled spiritually and peacefully “In Christ” (the ultimate fulfillment). Chronology from the Quran is from deceptive peace to violence (with later writings being most important and taking precedence over earlier ones).
  20. Apostates in Christianity are simply said to be professors of Christ (not true Christians) going out from us, for if they were of us they would have continued with us. Apostates in Islam are to be killed. Professing believers in Christ that become Muslim are not killed by other Christians. Muslims that leave the empty and hateful religion of Islam for Christianity are be-headed by Muslims.
  21. Christ commands Christians to love their enemies. Islam teaches that one is not to be-friend non-Muslims but rather to enslave them, tax them, and ultimately kill them if they do not convert to Islam.
  22. Christ commands the husbands in His Church to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Christ gives eternal life to women. The Quran teaches men that they can beat their wives and that women cannot inherit eternal life – only men can.
  23. Christ and Christianity need no suicide bombings from its followers or from the children of its followers to survive and thrive. Islam commends and encourages suicide bombings from its followers and its children in order to thrive and survive.
  24. Jesus predicted and promised that His Second Coming / Parousia would take place within some of the lifetimes of those He spoke to and in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to bring an end to the old covenant age and establish the new covenant age. In AD 70 He did just that (see my/our book, “House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…”) – coming upon the clouds of heaven “as the Ancient of Days” to be “worshiped” (cf. Dan. 7:13-14 (OG) LXX/NIV/Matt. 26:62-64/Rev. 1:7, 13-18). Muhammad taught that the “last hour” would take place within a hundred years of those he spoke to and demonstrated once again that he was a false prophet.

Conclusion – The Eschatological Goals of Islam

 

Clearly the eschatology of Islam calls for the military conquest of all the nations of the earth subjecting them to Sharia Law or be enslaved and even perish by the sword. Its violence is due to the doctrine of Sunnah (the example and pattern of Muhammad), doctrine of abrogation (latter violent passages are the final marching orders for Islam), and what is taught in the Quran itself to militarily conquer all the religions and nations of the earth.

 

There are only two kinds of Muslims claiming Islam is peaceful:

 

  1. Those ignorant or professing Muslims that haven’t truly studied the life of Muhammad or the Quran.
  2. Those practicing stages 1-2 of Jihad where they are called to lie and deceive in order to preserve and spread Islam in countries where they are outnumbered.

 

In predicting that the last hour judgment and Second Coming of Christ would occur within a 100 years of the children standing next to him, or that the great end time battle would occur no later than 500 years after his death, Muhammad has been proven to be a false prophet.  But this doesn’t stop virtually all sects of Islam from thinking their civil wars, wars with the West, famines, plagues, etc. are all signs pointing to their version of the “soon” Second Coming of Jesus and end time war.

 

 

Chapter 2

The Violence of Israeli Talmudic Zionism

 

Introduction

While there are various strains and forms of Zionism, my focus will be on religious/Talmudic Zionism or Messianic Zionism. This is where Zionists try and equate modern Christian Arabs or Muslim Arabs living in Palestine with the ancient Amalekites under the Old Covenant and therefore have convinced themselves that they have a divine right and calling today to perform ethnic cleansing of these groups — because again they believe they are “God’s people” and have a “divine right to the land.” They also believe that it is through these modern wars, theft, and ethnic cleansing that they will usher in the Messiah’s coming and world “redemption.”

Before we dive into the three areas of religious Messianic Israeli Zionist eschatology, it is very important to address fundamental questions such as:

1).  What is the religious source of authority for the Jew and does it teach racism and violence which will be connected to its eschatology?

2).  Do modern Jews in the modern state of Israel have a racial right as “God’s people” to the ancient boundaries to Israel in the Old Testament?

3).  If modern Jews do not have a pure racial right to the land of Palestine, then where did they come from and what are their theological or eschatological goals?

After the destruction of the Temple during the Babylonian captivity beginning in 586 BC, the need arose for the Jews to interpret the law in Babylon without the Temple. The offices of the Scribes and Pharisees were created to fill this function. These men claimed God gave the 70 elders at Mount Saini more profound revelations and traditions than that which Moses was given when he received the Torah.

Many Christians think that the modern religious Jew finds the OT Scriptures as his main and only source of authority when in fact for many the Talmud is his main source of religious authority in forming doctrine and life practice.

So, what exactly were some of the “traditions of men” and the “hypocrisy” of the Pharisees by which they were seeking to make “null and void the commandments of God” in the Torah that Jesus rebukes them for in such passages as Mark 7:13 and Matthew 23? Why were they so arrogant, exclusive and violent then and now? Other than the depravity of man, the other explanation is what they had orally memorized from the Talmud and would officially be canonize in 426 BC and believed to this day.

The authority of the Talmud

The modern religious “Jew” reaches the following conclusions about the importance and authority of the Talmud:

The Talmud is more important than the law of Moses and it is more wicked to question a Rabbis than to question the Law of Moses.

The decisions of the Talmud are words of the living God. Jehovah himself asks the opinions of earthly rabbis when there are difficult affairs in heaven.

Jehovah himself in heaven studies the Talmud, standing, since he has such respect for that book.

Wow, since the Talmud has so much authority, what exactly is the Zionist “Jew” to submit and commit himself to believing and living out?[8]

There is a reason why the Talmud was kept unknown or secret to non-Jews for so long.  It was only until 1934-48 that it was even translated into English.  As we will see, there is a reason why non-Jews exiled Jews from their countries and burned the Talmud when they found out what the Talmud taught – which explained the hateful treatment they received from them.

The view of Gentiles in the Talmud

Jews have souls and are humans, but Gentiles do not have souls. Gentiles are mere animals created in human form, created for the purpose of serving the Jews.[9]  “When the Messiah comes every Jew will have 2800 slaves (Simeon Haddarsen, fol. 56-D:, Erubin 43b).[10]

 

Jews are to “make (‘continuous’) war with Gentiles by deceit and trickery” in order to “free themselves from them and rule over them.”[11]

“All property of other nations belongs to the Jewish nation, which, consequently, is entitled to seize upon it without any scruples.” Stealing from and “…cheating of a non-Jew at any time pleases the Lord.”[12]

“A Jew may do to a non-Jew female whatever he can do. He may treat her as he treats a piece of meat.”[13]

Summary: A Jew could rape, steal from, deceive, and kill a Gentile at any time, (if they could get away with it) because Gentiles have no souls and were only created for the purpose of being slaves to the Jews.

The Talmud’s views on Jesus and Christians

Views on Jesus Christ

Jesus’s mother played the whore with many carpenters. Therefore, Jesus was a bastard child.

Jesus seduced and destroyed Israel by performing magic and teaching heresy and apostasy. Therefore, he is currently being punished by being boiled in his own urine and excrement never to enter the world to come.[14]

Views on Christians

A JEW WHO KILLS A CHRISTIAN COMMITS NO SIN, BUT OFFERS AN ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE TO GOD AND SHALL HAVE A HIGH PLACE IN HEAVEN.[15]

Christians are idolators, Jews must not associate with them.[16]

Suggests Christians have sexual relations with animals.[17]

Marriages between Christian and Jews null.[18]

Christian birth rate must be diminished.[19]

Christian churches are places of idolatry.[20]

Avoid eating with Christians, breeds familiarity.[21]

It is permitted to deceive Christians.[22]

Usury may be practiced upon Christians.[23]

Jew may lie and perjure to condemn a Christian.[24]

Kill those who give Israelites’ money to Christians.[25]  But they love taking money from Dispensational Zionists of course and Dispensational Pastors and stupid enough to give it to them!

Make no agreements and show no mercy to Christians.[26]

On Rabbi’s Teaching the Talmud

While the Talmud teaches the greatest Rabbi ever Jesus, is being boiled in the afterlife, it says that a Rabbi teaching the Talmud can never go to hell.[27]

Knowledge of the Talmud for a Gentile Strictly Forbidden:  “Every non-Jew who studies the Talmud and every Jew who helps him in it, ought to die.”  A Jew is to lie and make false vows to Gentiles if they ask what is taught in the Talmud, because if the Gentiles find out what is taught about them, they may desire to persecute or kill the Jews.[28]

What happens when Gentiles do find out what is in the Talmud and how these “Jews” are living it out?

Once Gentiles have found out what these so-called Jews have been teaching in their Talmud about them and what they have been up to — we find the Jews being thrown out of 47 countries in the last 1,000 years. These so-called “Jews” claim they are being persecuted for their righteousness and have been the victims of “Anti-Semitism.” Yet from the perspective of these countries the reasons include:

Their starting of revolutions and persecuting and killing of Christians (ex. Bolshevik revolution where 66 million Christians died). While we agree Hitler killing 1 – 6 million Jews (depending on your source) was wrong, we cannot ignore what Communist Jews did in Russia in killing 66 million Christians.

Their predator lending practices and manipulating their currency (ex. Rothschild Dynasty)

Their arrogance and attitude toward the Gentile nations that have hosted (and often protected) them.

Profiting from both sides of war (ex. Rothschild Dynasty).

The modern state of Israel and its consistent land grab in Palestine, is a consistent expression of the Talmud – it is nothing but stealing land and committing racial genocide (murder) of “non-Jews” – all in the name of “God.”

Most don’t know that the modern state of Israel has committed more war crimes and violations (per the UN) than any nation in the world.

According to the 1964 Jewish-American press about half of the Jews at that time in Israel were black or dark-skinned Orientals.  There is a constant charge and history of “discrimination” raised by the Oriental Black Jews against the Western Jews.

Israel’s interior minister Eli Yishai has said of refugees coming into Israel that they “…think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man.”

Israel overwhelmingly segregates its schools, apartments, neighborhoods, whole cities and towns and even in the settlements they stole from Palestinians. Israel even segregates public transport and has “Jews only” roads in the occupied territories.

In Israel it is illegal for a Jew to marry a non-Jew.

A Christian must renounce his faith before becoming a citizen in Israel.

In Israel Jews constantly hit and spit upon Christians in public and urinate on their churches.

But now that the racism and violence of the Talmud has become more public, some such as Benjamin Netanyahu and other religious Zionist fanatics, want to make it the law of the land! Newspaper headlines read, “Report: Netanyahu Promises Talmud Will Be Israeli Law”

Netanyahu has said, “We will legally define the Talmud as the basis of the Israeli legal system,” Vider reportedly told the haredi news website Kikar HaShabat last night.

And again, “…This is a very important law that will change how Israel looks in the future.…[the new bill] will be a Basic Law that [shows] the State of Israel rose and exists on the basis of the Torah and the Jewish tradition,” Netanyahu allegedly told Vider.

Critics even within Israel point out, “..now Benjamin Netanyahu wants to have Israel declare that its legal system is based on the Babylonian Talmud rather than on the secular western common law it was founded on.”

I would go on to add this is a classic “bait and switch.” Deceptively convince the Gentile nations you will agree to a two state Palestinian occupation of the land in 1947 and build your laws on Western values, but once in, begin driving the Palestinian Christians and Arabs out and seek to establish Talmudic law. Since the Talmud is considered more inspired than the Torah itself, if the Talmud is adopted as the law of the land, how can anyone avoid the theological racism and violence that is interwoven throughout — which justifies and paves the way for Israel’s coming Messiah?

Why is it when Islam practices Sharia law in Muslim countries conservative commentators such as Sean Hannity condemn them as not being consistent with Western or Christian values, but when Israel lives out the violent and racist ambitions and worldview contained in the Talmud (even some wanting to make it the law of the land) not only is it not condemned, we are actually called on by Hannity and others to continue giving Israel 5 – 15 billion a year to keep doing it?!?  Why did Glen Beck and Sean Hannity obsess over trying to warn us about those Obama surrounded himself with (which would indicate his destructive worldview), but not do the same with Benjamin Netanyahu who surrounds himself with violent racists and Talmudic zealots?!? I agreed when Hannity and Beck tried to shed light on Obama or criticize the violence and hypocrisy of Islam, but why the lack of consistency with Benjamin Netanyahu?

It seems more than hypocritical to engage in Islamic “extreme vetting” (which I agree with and should continue), but then allow Mossad operatives, organizations/cells and dual citizens to thrive (even serve in high levels of our government) here in the U.S.! Here are some helpful quotes from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin that are worth meditating upon:

“They (the Jews) work more effectively against us, than the enemy’s armies. They are a hundred times more dangerous to our liberties and the great cause we are engaged in… It is much to be lamented that each state, long ago, has not hunted them down as pest to society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America.” (George Washington).”

“Jews, gentlemen, are Asiatics, let them be born where they will nor how many generations they are away from Asia, they will never be otherwise. Their ideas do not conform to an American’s, and will not even thou they live among us ten generations. A leopard cannot change its spots. Jews are Asiatics, are a menace to this country if permitted entrance, and should be excluded by this Constitutional Convention.” (Benjamin Franklin).

Sean Hannity and many of FOX News are only following Ronald Reagan’s prophetic view of modern Israel and it was public knowledge that Reagan was following the Charismatic Zionist writings of Hal Lindsey. Lindsey of course knows nothing about Biblical eschatology and has been proven to be a fraud as we will see when we address Christian Dispensational Zionism.

Are modern “Jews” the Jews of the Old and New Testaments and do they have a right to the ancient land of Palestine? 

 

I would hope the encyclopedias below (especially the Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem) will not be deemed as “anti-Semitic,” but one never knows today.  Consider the following quotes:

 

The American Peoples Encyclopedia, 1954 “In the year 740 A.D. the Khazars were officially converted to Judaism. A century later they were crushed by the incoming Slavic-speaking people and were scattered over central Europe where they were known as Jews.”

The Encyclopedia Brittanica 1973 “The findings of physical anthropology show that, contrary to the popular view, there is no Jewish race.” “The only race to which the Jews have not achieved assimilation is the Nordic.” (cf. Vol. 12, p. 1054)

Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem (1971) “It is a common assumption, and one that sometimes seems ineradicable even in the face of evidence to the contrary, that the Jews of today constitute a race, a homogeneous entity easily recognizable. From the preceding discussion of the origin and early history of the Jews, it should be clear that in the course of their formation as a people and a nation they had already assimilated a variety of racial strains from people moving into the general area they occupied. This had taken place by interbreeding and then by conversion to Judaism of a considerable number of communities. . . .”

“Thus, the diversity of the racial and genetic attributes of various Jewish colonies of today renders any unified racial classification of them a contradiction in terms. Despite this, many people readily accept the notion that they are a distinct race. This is probably reinforced by the fact that some Jews are recognizably different in appearance from the surrounding population. That many cannot be easily identified is overlooked and the stereotype for some is extended to all – a not uncommon phenomenon” (cf. Vol. 3, p. 50).

Encyclopedia Americana (1986) – “Some theorists have considered the Jews a distinct race, although this has no factual basis. In every country in which the Jews lived for a considerable time, their physical traits came to approximate those of the indigenous people. Hence the Jews belong to several distinct racial types, ranging, for example, from fair to dark. Among the reasons for this phenomenon are voluntary or involuntary miscegenation and the conversion of Gentiles to Judaism” (cf. Vol. 16, p. 71).

Collier’s Encyclopedia (1977) – “A common error and persistent modern myth is the designation of the Jews as a ‘race! This is scientifically fallacious, from the standpoint of both physical and historical tradition. Investigations by anthropologists have shown that Jews are by no means uniform in physical character and that they nearly always reflect the physical and mental characteristics of the people among whom they live” (cf. Vol. 13, p. 573).

Dr. Benjamin H. Freedman correctly wrote, “…these Eastern European, Yiddish-speaking Jews who form the Zionist group practically in entirely, have NEITHER a geographic, historic NOR ethnic connection with either the Jews of the Old Testament OR the land known today as Palestine.”

Some seeing the problem here claim a “Jew” is simply a person who has converted to the religion of Judaism. But as we will see later, the covenant that undergirds “Judaism” ended when the “scepter departed from Judah” (Gen. 49:10) in AD 70. Also, since the birth and genealogical records were burned in AD 70, there are no provable “racial Jews” let alone “Levites” to even get “Judaism” off the ground — even if they had a re-built Temple.

The Irony

History, archeology and now DNA testing confirms that some 92% of Zionist “Jews” in the modern state of Israel today have roots in the ancient Turkish Khazars. This is pathetic in that most of the Palestinians (Christian or Muslim) have more DNA relationship to Abraham and the ancient Hebrew people than these phony Zionist Khazarian “Jews” do! And yet they have tried to convince the world that they and they alone, have the exclusive racial rights to the Old Covenant ancient land and boundaries of Israel. This has to be one of the biggest scams of ALL TIME!

The other irony here is that when you present these historical and genetic issues to the public, this powerful group seeks to silence you by calling you “anti-Semitic” when they aren’t even some kind of pure provable Jewish race!  I usually know I’ve won a debate with a Muslim and Zionist “Jew” when they resort to calling me “Islamophobic” or I’m allegedly “anti-Semitic.”

History of the Khazarian Empire

The Khazar kingdom was a large Turkish people that at one time stopped the expansion of the Islamic caliphate empire. They became wealthy through trade and placing an overbearing tax upon those they conquered. They also specialized in being a mercenary army – renting out their army of 40 – 50 thousand men to the highest bidders. After battle took place they were known to rape and pillage. Not surprisingly, the people in the area didn’t care for them much and ended up driving them out of Turkey in around 500 AD to what would be considered today as southern Russia or Georgia. From here their kingdom thrived from 660 – 1016. It wasn’t long before they began enslaving those in that area as well.

 

Eventually they were put in a dilemma. Coming down from the North was Byzantine Christianity and coming from the South was Islam. They knew to choose either of these sides would put them in conflict with the other and this would affect their prosperous trading with both sides. So, they did the politically expedient thing and decided to make their Empire convert to Judaism. They quickly saw the wickedness, racial supremacy, and violence found in the Talmud would fit in well with their violent and immoral worldview that built their Empire in the first place.  It was a perfect fit!

In 965 AD they were weakened by the Vikings. In 1140 they were overrun by the Mongols and driven west and settle in parts of eastern Europe. Over time they convinced themselves they were ethnically and racially “Jewish” – adopting Jewish names etc.…

History of Rothschild Khazarian Dynasty

One of the Khazarian Talmudic “Jews” that settled in Europe was Mayer Amschel Bauer — who changed his last name to Rothschild. Rothschild means “red-shield.” Thus, he hung a sign of a red six-pointed shielded star as his logo for his money merchant shop. It is through his religious views on the Talmud and money he and his 5 sons attain, that will set the stage for the events of 1948 to become a reality.

Mayer Rothschild eventually befriends William the 9th who was a Hession warrior and leader of a mercenary army. For 12,000 you could hire William and his army to do anything. England hired them to keep the U.S. Colonists in check. At this time William is one of the richest people in the world (worth 200 million) and the Rothschilds made a great deal overseeing his estate and making financial decisions for him. William steals millions owed to his army and then when Napoleon comes after him, he entrusts 3 million to the Rothschilds who in return end up stealing it from him. The Rothschild’s use this un-kosher and unclean money to begin its international banking venture. The five Rothschild brothers obeyed their father’s command and branched out into the various countries in Europe. From here, they end up financing not just various wars, but in some instances both sides of the same war.

The Balfour Declaration in 1917 was created when the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declared in a letter to the Rothschilds that his government would support a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It is important to note, that before this declaration was given, it was agreed upon that if the Rothschild’s could get the U.S. into WWI to help defeat the Germans, that Britain in return would give the land of Palestine to the Rothschild’s and Zionists.

The Rothschild’s funded the early Khazarian settlers from Europe to relocate in Palestine. In 1948 they also funded and armed terrorist groups, which bombed and terrorized 800,000 Palestinians to leave the land of their birth.  Modern Israel is simply the State of Rothschild. This is even evident with them paying for the construction of the Israeli parliament building, the Knesset, and the Israel Supreme Court. The Israeli flag symbolizes both its territorial ambitions and that it is owned by the Rothschilds. Modern Israel uses the same six-pointed star on its flag that the Rothschild’s used as their family symbol (just changing its color from red to blue). The two blue lines above and beneath the star symbolize the ancient borders / rivers given ancient Israel under the Old Covenant – and thus gaining all of that land is the ultimate goal (even if modern countries surrounding them stand in the way).

 

The Influence of the Talmud on the Rothschild’s

Mayer’s father’s wish for his son was that he would one day become a Rabbi strictly teaching and following the Talmud. Although not becoming a Rabbi, Biographer Frederic Morton, in The Rothschilds, points out how important the Talmud was in guiding the Rothschild dynasty in their unquenchable drive for money and power. He writes,

“On Saturday evenings, when prayer was done at the synagogue, Mayer would invite the rabbi into his house. They would bend towards one another on the green upholstery, sipping slowly at a glass of wine and argue about first and last things deep into the night. Even on workdays…Mayer…was apt to tear down the big book of the Talmud and recite from it…while the entire family must sit stock still and listen”[29]

He goes on to tell us that Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his five sons were “wizards” of finance, and “fiendish calculators” who were motivated by a “demonic drive” to succeed in their secret undertakings. And Morton adds that it is difficult for the average person to “comprehend Rothschild nor even the reason why he having so much, wanted to conquer more.” All five brothers shared their father’s spirit of Talmudic cunning and conquest.

The Influence of the Rothschild Dynasty

“The Rothschild’s are the wonders of modern banking… We see the descendants of Judah, after a persecution of two thousand years, peering above kings, rising higher than emperors, and holding a whole continent in the hollow of their hands. The Rothschilds govern a Christian world. Not a cabinet moves without their advice. They stretch their hand, with equal ease, from Petersburg to Vienna, from Vienna to Paris, from Paris to London, from London to Washington. Baron Rothschild, the head of the house, is the true king of Judah, the prince of the captivity, the Messiah so long looked for by this extraordinary people. He holds the keys of peace or war, blessing or cursing… They are the brokers and counselors of the kings of Europe and of the republican chiefs of America. What more can they desire?”[30]

President Andrew Jackson, the only one of our presidents whose administration totally abolished the National Debt, condemned the Rothschild’s and international bankers as a “den of vipers” which he was determined to “rout out” of the fabric of American life. Jackson claimed that if only the American people understood how these vipers operated on the American scene “there would be a revolution before morning.”

In 1911, John F. Hylan, mayor of New York said that “the real menace of our republic is the invisible government which, like a giant octopus, sprawls its slimy length over our city, state and nation. At the head is a small group of banking houses, generally referred to as ‘international bankers.’”

“The house of Rothschild has arisen from the quarrels between states, has become great and mighty from wars. The misfortune of states and peoples has been its fortune.” (Friedrich Edlen von Scherb).

Having provided the reader with the proper education on the modern “Jew” and or the modern state of Israel – which he or she was never provided by the media or Hollywood let alone Bible College or Seminary, we shall now press forward in examining the Zionist eschatology as it pertains to 1).  violent “holy war” ambitions, 2).  sacred space / “holy land” or world domination expectations and 3).  an imminent expectation of a military Messiah to usher in the end time war of Gog and Magog.

1).  Religious or Messianic Zionist Eschatology is Fulfilled Through Violent Holy War

There is a Messianic view within religious Zionism which is very similar to what we see in Islamic eschatology. It sees war and the suppression of the Gentiles or unbelievers and their nations to take place prior to and actually paves the way for the Messiah — who will then come to completely destroy the Gentiles and give each Jew 2,800 Gentile slaves in a “kingdom on earth” or “paradise.”

Mai-mon-ides (a famous Mid-Evil Rabbi) ruled on Sanhedrin 98b. giving the following as the definitive criteria for identifying the messiah: “If we see a Jewish leader who…wages the “battles of God”—such a person is the “presumed messiah.” If the person succeeded in all these endeavors and then rebuilds the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and facilitates the in-gathering of the Jews to the Land of Israel—then we are certain that he is the ‘actual messiah.’”

 

Going as far back to the Jewish Zealots of AD 67 – AD 70 and up until today, there have always been those claiming to be “Jews” and “God’s chosen people” that think killing and making war will usher in the “redemption of the world” and or the coming of Messiah.

 

In the twelfth century one of those Khazarian “Jews” I addressed earlier, believed he could bring Messiah’s coming by conquering the land of Palestine (i.e. through war).  He and his followers claimed that,

 

“…the time had come in which god would gather Israel, His people from all lands to Jerusalem, the holy city.”[31]

Gershon Salomon boldly proclaims – “The mission of the present generation is to liberate the Temple Mount and remove the defiling abomination (the Dome of the Rock).” “The Israeli Government must do it. We must have a war…The Messiah will not come by himself; we should bring Him by fighting.”[32]

Max Mandelstam, 1898 World Zionist Congress July – “The Jews energetically reject the idea of fusion with the other nationalities and cling to their historical hope of world empire.”

 

Morris A. Levy Secretary, 1946 World League of liberal Jews – “The only true path to follow to gain real peace and honest government is through Judaism. And the Jewish people can and will lead the people to lasting peace. The promise of Jehovah for the Jewish people to rule the world and for the Jews to hold high places in world government has arrived.”

 

Here is an article by Mr. Feldman, entitled, Violence in the Name of the Messiah showing the development of a violent Zionist messianic eschatology within Israel:

 

“…reflecting the mystical-messianic aspect of the act. The killing was supposed to function cosmically, further awakening the messianic sparks to help bring about a new Jewish kingdom on earth. So, who is the king messiah, and what does he want?

 

The kings of Israel were anointed with oil, and the word “messiah” means “the anointed one.” But the ancient Israelites didn’t speak of the “king messiah.” It was the early Jewish community, which produced Jesus and the Christian faith, that came to understand the possibility of a messianic king whose reign would be spiritual and actual.

 

With a few exceptions over the centuries, the Christian associations with a king messiah have mostly stopped Jews from using the phrase to designate a living person. It re-entered contemporary Jewish religious thought roughly 30 years ago, in the lifetime of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh grand rabbi of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

 

Schneerson, known widely as “the Rebbe,” believed fervently in the imminent advent of the messianic age. He taught and preached about the subject, urging followers to spread religious practice among Jews to hasten the messianic moment.

 

In the years before the Rebbe’s death in 1994, some of his followers began to declare that he was the messiah and to implore him to reveal himself. In his presence and at his home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, entranced followers sang songs and posted banners declaring, “Long live our master, teacher and rabbi, the king messiah.” Schneerson, who had been slowed by a stroke, may not have fully understood the implications — but in any case, he did little to damp the hopes of his followers. After his death, the belief in his messianic status didn’t abate.

 

What does this have to do with the settler movement?

 

The religious nationalists of the hilltop settlements generally aren’t followers of the Rebbe. Although many believe they are living in the beginnings of a messianic age, their messiah is more typically associated with the state of Israel and its sovereignty, not with Schneerson.

Enter Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, the man who more than any other has fused Chabad messianism with national-religious messianism — and has emerged as a messianic candidate in his own right. Ginsburgh, who was born in 1944 in St. Louis, embraced orthodoxy as a young man. After studying philosophy and mathematics at the University of Chicago, and getting a master’s degree in math from Yeshiva University, he moved to Israel in 1965, engaging there with the theology of Chabad-Lubavitch and gradually becoming a full-time teacher and writer. In 1982, he founded a school that opened at the traditional site of Joseph’s tomb, in the heart of Nablus, and named it Od Yosef Chai, “Joseph Still Lives.”

 

In the early 2000s, the school, or yeshiva, moved to the hilltop settlement of Yitzhar. There, Ginsburgh further developed his distinctive combination of Chabad Hasidism and national-religious-settler theology. His best-known writing is a short book called “Barukh ha-Gever,” “Blessed is the Man.” That’s a play on the name of Baruch Goldstein, the American-born settler who killed 29 Palestinian men and boys in prayer and injured 125 more at the mosque above the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron in 1994. The book is an extended justification of Goldstein’s actions. It identifies the Palestinian people with the biblical Amalekites, whom God orders the children of Israel to extirpate.

 

Ginsburgh’s fusion of Chabad messianism and settler messianism is potent because it allows the identification of a specific figure as the messiah, or at least as the living person most qualified to become the messiah should the world merit his revelation. According to the Rutgers anthropologist Harel, who has spent time at the yeshiva, Ginsburgh identifies Schneerson as a “messianic model.”

 

Ginsburgh heads a quasi-political movement called Derech Chaim, “The Way of Life,” which aspires to make Israel into a Jewish monarchy with Ginsburgh presented as the candidate for king. This, combined with his position on the Rebbe, effectively invites followers to identity Ginsburgh as the current messiah. To Ginsburgh’s followers, the practical application of his messiahship is clear: They must commit themselves to act on behalf of the “wholeness of the land of Israel” and awaken mystical-messianic sparks by their actions. Those actions must include violence against the Amalekite enemy.

 

In other words, the deaths of Saad Dawabsheh and his wife and son were almost certainly understood by the killers as a redemptive messianic act. This is Jewish terrorism that goes beyond even Goldstein’s conflation of Palestinians and Amalekites: It conceives what the terrorists called “revenge” as a means to making the king messiah live and hastening the coming of his kingdom.

 

Yet according to Jewish tradition, God’s law continues to apply in the messianic age. How then could the terrorists intentionally firebomb a home that they knew might well have children inside?

 

As with much of Jewish law, the answer lies in a book. Not just any book, but probably the most notorious work of Jewish legal and religious thought published in the last decade, “Torat ha-Melekh,” which means “The Law of the King.” The work exists only in Hebrew, and the translations provided here are my own. Its subtitle is, roughly, “Laws of Life and Death Between Israel and the Nations.” (The Hebrew phrase used, “dine nefashot” ordinarily refers to Talmudic criminal law.)

 

It was published in 2009 under the imprint of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva. Its authors are two rabbis, Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, who are followers of Ginsburgh.

 

“The Law of the King” is really two books in one. The first is a legal treatise offering new interpretations and applications of traditional Jewish legal sources regarding rules of engagement and the use of force against civilians. The second, interspersed in six “appendixes” throughout the book, is a work of mystical philosophy devoted to explaining the differences between Jewish and non-Jewish souls. Its views are mostly drawn, the writers say, from the teachings of Ginsburgh.

 

Both parts of the book reach horrifying conclusions. The most well-known, and the one with chilling connections to Duma, concerns the killing of children: “There is an argument for killing them because of the future danger that will be caused if they grow up to be evil like their parents.”

 

In a more expanded discussion of “revenge” — one of the words written in graffiti at the site of the Duma attack — the writers explain that “according to this calculus, children aren’t killed because of their evil, but rather because there is a general need for revenge against evildoers, and the children are those whose death will satisfy that need.”

 

The metaphysical dimension is equally shocking. The authors write: “In a perfected situation, there would be no prohibition on the killing of a non-Jew, because the existence of a non-Jew who does not fulfill the basic commandments is not legitimate.” Behind this position lies a mystical view that the soul of the non-Jew has less value than the Jewish soul. Indeed, the authors opine that a Jew may kill an innocent non-Jew to preserve his own life, although he may not kill an innocent Jew for the same purpose.

 

Many conclusions of the book would be disputed by most Orthodox rabbis. But the sources cited and discussed are all perfectly ordinary Biblical and rabbinic materials. The religious tradition offers sufficient material to justify the intentional killing of innocents — provided the sources are interpreted the way the terrorists want. In short, “The Law of the King” provides a legal and theological blueprint for revenge killings of the kind undertaken by the new Jewish terrorists. As far as the terrorists are concerned, their actions are not merely permitted by Jewish law, but required.

 

When “The Law of the King” first appeared, more moderate religious Zionists filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice seeking to have it banned and its authors arrested for incitement to racism and violence. The authors were brought in for questioning. No one was prosecuted. The book went through three printings and garnered significant international attention — in part because of the efforts made to suppress it.

 

“The Law of the King” functions much like fatwas or other legal opinions by Muslim jihadi writers that justify the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians. Its reasoning matters less than its existence and form, which is more or less that of a legal or theological text.

Books by themselves are rarely sufficient to cause terrorism. But in book-oriented cultures like the yeshiva or the madrasa, works written to encourage and justify the killing of innocents play a significant role in legitimating the unthinkable. Muslim terrorists can’t claim to be Islamic without invoking some Islamic authority to condone their actions. The same is true for Jewish terrorists. “The Law of the King’s” justification for revenge killings against children foretold the killing of an 18-month-old child in Duma — and foretells more attacks to come.”[33]

 

This is a Zionist group that believes in a violent Jewish state should govern the biblical land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, and possibly beyond.

 

And of course, we can’t ignore the communist “Jews” who see themselves as a corporate Messiah conquering the world with violence and bringing about Talmudic “redemption”:

 

“The Jewish people as a whole will become its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races, by the abolition of frontiers, the annihilation of monarchy and by the establishment of a world republic in which the Jews will everywhere exercise the privilege of citizenship. Thus, will the promise of the Talmud will be fulfilled, in which it is said that when the Messianic time is come, the Jews will have all the property of the whole world in their hands.[34]

 

In A Program for the Jews and Humanity, Rabbi Harry Waton, on pages 143, 148, and 206 we read the following:

 

It is not an accident that Judaism gave birth to Marxism, and it is not an accident that the Jews readily took up Marxism; all this was in perfect accord with the progress of Judaism and the Jews. The Jews should realize that Jehovah no longer dwells in heaven, but he dwells in us right here on earth; we must no longer look up to Jehovah as above us and outside of us, but we must see him right within us,” (p. 148). ”. . . the communist soul is the soul of Judaism . . . in the Russian revolution the triumph of communism was the triumph of Judaism . . .” (p. 143).

 

“The poor working class is the lowest and most backward class in society. It is therefore the supreme duty of the Jews to identify themselves with them. All other classes will disappear, but the working class will endure forever, for all of mankind will become workers. For identifying themselves with the working class the Jews will incur the displeasure and hatred of the ruling classes, but the Jews must not fear the ruling classes: their rule will be only for a while.”

 

“. . . the aim of Judaism is to realize the destiny of mankind. This aim cannot and will not be changed, for the destiny of mankind was predetermined by God from eternity unto eternity. And no matter what may come to pass, races, nations, states and empires may come and go, the predetermined destiny of mankind will inevitably be realized. What is the predetermined destiny of mankind? This is the kingdom of God on earth. What is this kingdom of God on earth? It is a human society resting on universal communism.” (p. 206).

 

Rabbi Harry Waton: “We can say with Nietsche that the Jews are the highest aristocrats in the world…. The Talmudtells us that the whole world was created only for the sake of the Jew; the Jew is the spiritual aristocrat, the excellent man. The Jews differ from all other races and peoples because of Judaism; Judaism differs from all other religions because of Jehovah; and Jehovah differs from all other gods. All other gods dwell in heaven. But Jehovah comes down from heaven to dwell on this earth and to embody himself in mankind. Judaism concerns itself only about this earth and promises all reward right here on this earth. Judaism is communism, internationalism, the universal brotherhood of man, the emancipation of the working class and the human society. It is with these spiritual weapons that the Jews will conquer the world and the human race. The races and the nations will cheerfully submit to the spiritual power of Judaism, and all will become Jews….”

 

2).  Sacred Space or Holy Land Eschatology

 

Because our three themes are so inseparably connected with each other, I think it is safe to say we have covered the modern Zionists view of sacred space within Talmudic theology and eschatology.  They believe they are “Jews” and “God’s people” (truly human with souls) and are called to rule over and enslave the Gentile nations or non-Jews (who are more akin to animals which have no souls) from the eternal city and land of Jerusalem / Israel.  It is from this sacred space that they will rule the world.

 

Rabbi Yisrael Meida, “It is all a matter of sovereignty. He who controls the Temple Mount, controls Jerusalem. And he who controls Jerusalem, controls the land of Israel.”

Dr. Nahum Goldmann 1960 President world Zionist congress, “The Jews might have had Uganda, Madagascar and other places for the establishment of a Jewish fatherland, but they want absolutely nothing but Palestine. Because Palestine constitutes the veritable center of world political power, the strategic military center for world control.”

David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first President) wrote, “Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel and world Jewry; it aspires to become the spiritual center of the world…” (Jewish Chronicles, London, Dec. 16, 1949). In LOOK Magazine (1962) he wrote, “All continents will become unified in a world alliance, at whose disposal will be an international police force. All armies will be abolished and there will be no more war. In Jerusalem the united nations (a truly united nations) will build a shrine of the prophets to serve the federated union of all the continents this will be the seat of the supreme court of mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah.” The irony here is that according to the Talmud Gentiles have no “legal rights”!

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be considered as representing humanistic Judaism by some, but he does have some interesting views worth noting. Speaking on the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Poland he declared that Israel becoming a state in 1948 was the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37,

“The Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed,” “Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesized: “Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore, prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.”[35]

The Prime Minister is very tight with the American Dispensational Zionist movement (often speaking with them when arriving in the U.S. before our Presidents) and shares their erroneous view that 1948 was a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. This is important since our next section discusses what Zionists believe about the next chapter of Ezekiel 38-39 concern the last days end time war of Gog and Magog.

Before leaving the topic of the Prime Minister, it should be noteworthy that he and his political hero’s drove Palestinians out of their land whom have more in common with racial and ancient Israelites than himself (being a descendant of the European Jews).

 

In Zionist eschatology, the Messiah will gather the people back in the land (which necessitates war, violence and theft) and or will be the one who will regain the territory of Muslims (Dome of the Rock) in order to re-build the Temple (again requiring war).  It is taught that the coming Messiah will help wage this war to regain all of the land of Israel, or the Jews themselves are called to wage holy war from their land to usher in the coming Messiah.  No matter how you slice it up, Talmudic or Messianic Zionism is racist and either justifies and promotes violence or looks to a future end time bloody war.  And to this theme we turn next.

 

3).  A Talmudic Zionist understanding of the end time battle of Gog and Magog

 

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism. He wrote of the end time battle of Gog and Magog within Judaism:

“Gog and Magog are the peoples who will wage war against the Jews before the advent of the Messiah. These two names appear in the vision of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 38, 39) where Gog is the ruler of the country of Magog. Gog will lead his people in war against the land of Israel but will be defeated and God alone will reign supreme. Since Ezekiel prophesied in exile about the return of the Jewish people to its land, it is possible that he was thinking of contemporary events. Attempts have been made to identify Gog and Magog with nations whom the prophet may have thought to pose a threat in the immediate future to the Jews who were to return to the land.

On the other hand, as a number of biblical scholars understand it, the prophet himself may have had in mind events in the remote future as part of his apocalyptic vision. In subsequent Jewish eschatology, both Gog and Magog are understood to be persons and the “wars of Gog and Magog” become part of the whole eschatological scheme.

As with regard to Jewish eschatology as a whole, there is a considerable degree of uncertainty about what is said to happen at the “end of days,” the picture is really an amalgam of various folk-beliefs, some of them contradictory.

In the eschatological account given by Saadiah Gaon (Belief and Opinions, viii. 6) an attempt is made to accommodate the wars of Gog and Magog into the scheme. Interestingly enough, however, in Maimonides’ scheme at the end of his great code, the Mishneh Torah, in which messianism is interpreted in largely rationalistic terms, there is no reference to the wars of Gog and Magog only to the Messiah fighting “the battles of the Lord” in order to reconquer the land of Israel, rebuild the Temple, and establish God’s reign on earth. Even in Orthodox Judaism, the details of these terrible events are vague, and wars of Gog and Magog do not feature at all prominently in Orthodox theology.

Yet, at the time, World Wars I and II did tend to be seen as the wars of Gog and Magog, as the essential prelude to the coming of the Messiah. Some of the Hasidic masters saw the struggle between Napoleon and Russia as the wars of Gog and Magog.”[21]

This of course begs the question that if Jews (and Christians) could view the “current events” at the time of Napoleon and World War I and II as the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the end time battle of Gog and Magog, then they will just re-work the failed system to suit OUR current events and seek to self-fulfill them!

As pointed out earlier, Benjamin Netanyahu believes the national gathering and resurrection of Ezekiel 37 was fulfilled in 1948. This brings up the concern and question as to if he agrees with Zionists and Evangelic Zionists that what’s next for Israel is an “end time” holy war allegedly found in Ezekiel 38-39? Since most modern Jews reject the notion of a Messiah that is divine and prefer the concept to be a King or Presidential warrior type which will lead through military action, the concern could be that Netanyahu (or others) might consider himself to be a messiah figure of sorts defending and seeking to self-fulfill end time prophecies in the Torah that were fulfilled between AD 67 – AD 70?

Who really teaches a Messianic failure?

Like Islamic Apologists, Jewish Apologists also claim the Christian NT Jesus was just a heretical man and the NT is likewise guilty of producing false prophecy since Jesus didn’t come upon the clouds to usher in a physical militaristic kingdom on earth in His generation.  They claim all one needs to do is look out their window and they can clearly see that Messiah and his kingdom have not been established or set up upon the earth.

What they don’t tell you is that their own sources teach that Messiah needed to come before the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and that their own sources likewise teach Messiah would be the divine cloud rider of Daniel 7:13.  Jesus both claimed to be the Messianic divine cloud rider of Daniel 7:13-14 worthy of worship and that He connected this coming with the destruction of the second Temple in AD 70.

It is more than telling that Judaism stopped teaching that Messiah was a divine being around 100 AD, because Jesus claimed to be Him!

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has also revealed that during the very time of Jesus the Messiah was expected to show up according to their interpretation of Daniel’s seventy sevens (cf. Dan. 9:24-27).  Not only that, but the war between the Romans and Jews in AD 67 – AD 70 was viewed as the end time war.

We will address these issues further when we present the case for the truth of Christian Full Preterism in sharing the true gospel with Muslims and Zionists using common ground from their own sources of authority.

Concluding Israeli Talmudic or Messianic Zionism

Due to the events of 9/11 and the actions of ISIS, many now know of the violent beliefs of Islam and the Quran and their desire to manipulate their follower to self-fulfill them.  But unfortunately, not many have been educated on the racism and violence contained in the Talmud and how this too perpetuates war in the Middle East.  Just as ISIS seeks to manipulate Muslims into Jihad in order to usher in their version of a “very soon” Second Coming of Jesus and end time battle of Gog and Magog, we can see how Talmudic Messianic Zionists are doing the very same thing – waging war with Islam to pave the way for the coming of their Messiah.  Both false religious systems and eschatology’s see themselves as the righteous persecuted victim and that their imminent coming Messianic figure will deliver them and punish the other ending in a violent global war.  Until the real “war of ideas” emerge – that is until a real biblical education emerges (Christian Full Preterism), both of these violent religious systems will create unrest for the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the WOKE popular face of Christianity today is a hundred and fifty-year-old heretical system called Premillennial Dispensational Zionism.  As we are about to see, this system is not much farther adrift than Islam, Talmudic Zionism when it comes to wanting and thinking current events once again prove an imminent “holy war” or “soon” Second Coming of Jesus or arrival of Messiah.

CHAPTER 3

Christian Premillennial or Dispensational Zionism

Introduction

The Premillennial Dispensational Christian eschatological view of Bible prophecy has only been around for about 150 years. Premillennialism itself was condemned as heresy in early creeds and confessions (who adhered to Amillennialism) because its hyper-literal hermeneutic of a Messianic Kingdom on earth was based upon the unbelieving Jews of Jesus’ day and not the teachings of Christ and the NT.  The aspect of Dispensationalism was founded and systematized by the teachings of John Nelson Darby, and then picked up and popularized through Cyrus Scofield (The Scofield Reference Bible), D.L. Moody and Donald Barnhouse. Its largest boost has come through the radio and television airwaves.

Popular so called “prophecy expert” authors that liter the contemporary Christian store shelves are Charles Ryrie (The Ryrie Study Bible), John Walvoord, Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, Grant Jeffrey, John Hagee, Chuck Smith and Hal Lindsey. Religious institutions peddling this false view of Bible prophecy are the Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Assembly of God Bible Colleges, Calvary Chapel Bible College, The Master’s Bible College and Seminary, etc.

U.S. presidents that have embraced this system have been Jimmie Carter and Ronald Reagan. Reagan told Tom Dine, AIPAC’s executive director,

“I turn back to your ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if we’re the generation that is going to see that come about.”

This remark was published by the Jerusalem Post and widely distributed by the Associated Press. This raised red flags not just among the liberal left, but among conservative Christians that understood their Bibles better than Reagan and the “prophecy experts” he and his mother had been influenced by.

The ICEJ (The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem) was founded in 1980 with the goal to “comfort” Israel by educating Jews on their national heritage and convince them to leave other countries and come back into the land of Israel. I say “comfort” in quotations because it is the ICEJ’s agenda to usher in the “rapture” of the church which would involve in their theology – a 2/3’s death of the Jewish population during the Great Tribulation. This is ironic since they claim Preterists or those that don’t support their cause are anti-Semitic and yet their theology is the most insulting and dangerous view of the modern “Jew” today! The organization has joined up with the already entrenched and powerful Jewish lobbyists to support the Israeli land and policy agendas to the U.S. and other foreign nations.

1).  The Violent History of Premillennial Dispensational Christian Zionism

This eschatological system is violent in that its theology forces its followers to financially fund and prayerfully support the Talmudic Zionist terrorism of modern Israel in its stealing land through murderous aggression.  If there is no modern Israel in the land and no re-built temple, it’s eschatology is destroyed.  They claim the modern “Jew” and “Israel” are “Gods people” and that if we “bless them” in their theft and aggression, “God will bless us” back.  If the Church doesn’t support modern Israel, then we are in “sin.”       

John Nelson Darby was the founder of Dispensationalism (late 1800’s-1900’s). He taught that Christ would rapture up the elect (the spiritual bride) and after they disappeared from the face of the earth, God would then deal with the Jews (his allegedly earthly bride) by causing them to return to Palestine and exterminate all the Muslims and thus inherit the Holy Land. Therefore, per Darby AFTER Christ returned, the “Jews” would inherit Palestine by exterminating Muslims.

 

William Blackstone (1800-1900’s) took some of Darby’s concepts and meshed them with Zionist false teaching and philosophy of his day (ex. Theodor Herzl / Rothchild). He pushed for an early inheritance of Palestine (prior to the second coming and millennial period). He Was looking for a pre-second coming and millennial inheritance of and extermination of Muslims from Palestine.

 

Blackstone published his first eschatological book on this subject in 1878 entitled Jesus Is Coming. As most Dispensationalists constantly teach no matter what period of time they are in, he claimed there were various “signs” in his day which, he thought, conclusively demonstrated that the end was near – one of which was the emergence of political Zionism among Jews in Europe.

 

Around 1917 many Evangelical leaders voiced their support for the Jewish people to conquer Palestine and exterminate all Muslims because, they maintained, the Jews are God’s “Chosen People.” They made comparisons between early Americans taking the land from Indians (American Manifest Destiny) and “Gods people” liberating the land of Palestine which included unbelieving Muslims but ironically also included Christian Palestinians.  American Christian Zionists and these so-called “Jews” were seen as forming a holy alliance as God’s People, to expand the Judeo-Christian ethic or civilization as far as they could.

By far the most influential Christian Zionist was Scofield. The Oxford University Press (Zionist funded) owned The Scofield Reference Bible from the beginning, and Scofield was housed and funded to wright his “notes” while also receiving handsome royalties from Oxford. Oxford and the Zionists successfully marketed Scofield’s bible, with its “Christian” Zionist footnotes making it a standard for interpreting scripture in “Judeo-Christian” churches, seminaries, and Bible study groups. The Bible notes heretically teaches that if a Christian or the U.S. doesn’t support the modern Zionist state of Israel we are in “sin” and will be judged.

Modern Evangelical Dispensational Zionists are on par with “the end is very soon” eschatology of Islam and as we saw earlier even some sects of Israeli Zionism. John Haggee (known as “Dr. Armageddon”) is very excited to fly “Jews” into Israel so that some can be slaughtered in a “Tribulation” period so as to hasten the “rapture” of the Church. Hagee is known as “Dr. Armageddon” because many of his critics not only have discerned that he wants Armageddon to take place in his lifetime, but he is willing to be a very active participate in order to bring it about. At a July 19, 2006 CUFI event in Washington D.C., Hagee gives his prophetic scenario for Israel and the U.S.:

“The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West … a biblically prophesied end time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation … and [the] Second Coming.”

John Hagee has built a foreign policy advocacy organization called Christians United for Israel (CUFI) centered around this false doctrine and false interpretation of Scripture. He is pushing for a pre-emptive war with Iran to quicken the “rapture.” In 2006 while lobbying in Washington Hagee was clear in his agenda,

“The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West,” he said.

This was supposed to be a step in the right direction as allegedly mapped out in the Bible,

“a biblically prophesied End Time confrontation…which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation…and the Second Coming of Christ.”

Hagee not only uses guilt manipulation techniques on the members of his church and T.V. audiences to tithe to his “ministries” through his false prosperity gospel, but also uses guilt manipulation to push his false Dispensational Zionism doctrine. Hagee clearly insists that if you are not on board with him and his alleged Holy Spirit led agenda of believing Jews coming back in the land in 1948 was a fulfillment of prophecy, and that God has a literal real estate “forever” in the literal city of Jerusalem today, any other view for a Christian to embrace is “sin.”[15]

It is sad that this false doctrinal system / “gospel” of Hagee’s is tolerated among Evangelicals and it gets even more scary when he is allowed to lecture and manipulate our politicians and give them “altar calls” while pushing this agenda as part of his “gospel” of redemption etc…

2).  Dispensational Zionist “In the (Holy) Land” Theology

The date of 1948 and the “Jews” inheriting their land and becoming a nation again is essential to Dispensational Zionism.  For without an Israel, there can be no Jerusalem.  Without a Jerusalem and the Torah being active today, there can be no rebuilt Temple.  And without these, there can be no “Anti-Christ” to defile the Temple and a Great Tribulation for two-thirds of the “Jews” to die in.  And without the Anti-Christ to lead the charge, there can’t be the battle of Gog and Magog or Armageddon to fight against Israel.  All of these are necessary elements to be in place before the “soon” “rapture” of the Church or the “soon” Second Coming of Jesus can be fulfilled.

The Scofield Reference Bible writes of Deuteronomy 30:5,

“It is important to see that the nation has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic covenant nor has it ever possessed the whole land.”

Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes,

At no point in Jewish history have the Jews ever possessed all the land from the Euphrates in the north to the River of Egypt in the south.”[36]

Greg Laurie of Calvary Chapel appeals to Ezekiel 37-39 and Mark 13:28-29,

“On more than one occasion in Scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree (see Judg. 9:11; Hos. 9:10; Joel 1:7-8). I believe that Mark 13:28-29, along with many other Scripture passages, such as Ezekiel 37-39, speak of the rebirth of Israel—the re-gathering of God’s people. When the nation of Israel comes back into existence, Jesus was stating prophetically, it is a supersign that His coming is near.”[37]

But pay attention to what the borders are to the “land” these Dispensational Zionists want us to support Israel in taking.  The borders of this land include parts of modern-day Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Saudi Arabia.  Some of these countries are our allies in the region, so their greedy land grab and unbiblical agenda will inevitably put us into military conflict with even our allies!

Dispensational Zionists take OT and NT passages out of context to make the claim that Jews coming back into the land in 1948 was a fulfillment of Bible prophecy and was the “super sign” of Jesus’ “soon” Second Coming to take place in our generation.  We will look at those alleged “proof texts” in the next chapter.

3).  Premillennial Zionism and the Battle of Armageddon or Gog and Magog

Like Talmudic Zionism and or Benjamin N., Dispensational Zionism appeals to Ezekiel 37-39 to prove 1948 was not only a fulfillment of Bible prophecy for modern Israel to become a nation again (allegedly Ezekiel 37 teaches this), but that an end of time war of “Gog and Magog” (allegedly taught in Ezekiel 38-39) is truly imminent for our generation.

The first to propose that the battle of Gog and Magog supposedly involves modern day Russia was John Cumming in 1864. Another cult picked this up – The British Israel movement in 1940.  This group believes the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh lived on in the Ango-Saxon races and one of their leading teachers A.J. Ferris wrote a book entitled, Armageddon Is at the Doors in which he proposed Ezekiel 38-39 taught Russia would soon attack British Israel.  But Hal Lindsey in the 70’s popularized this “Gogology” theology.  During the Cold War Dispensational “newspaper eschatology” began telling everyone that Russia would play a role in this end time battle and attack Israel in our generation.  Why?  Because the “prince of Meshek” – rosh meshek in Hebrew sounded a lot like Russia and Moscow.  Wow, serious scholarship there.

But as the newspapers and current events change, so too does Zionist eschatology in its various forms be it Israeli Zionism or Dispensational Zionism:

1970 – Lindsey claimed Russia was the threat and focus of the Gog and Magog Battle.

1994 – Lindsey changed it to “Islamic fundamentalism.”

1997 – Then he changed it again to “the Russia-Muslim force.”

1999 – And then again to the “Muslim-Russian alliance.”

In 2000 Lindsey was the first to have a Charismatic revelation that America was also found in the book of Revelation.  Why?  Well, because our flag has an eagle on it, so the wings of an eagle in Revelation 12:14-17 that carries the woman to safety must be a description of a U.S. airlift rescue mission of the Jews.   So, I guess when your hermeneutics and exposition is so bad, you just claim the Holy Spirit is guiding you in your teaching.  After all, who can challenge the Holy Spirit?  Ugh.

4).  Dispensationalism’s View of NT Imminence or Jesus Coming “Soon”

The Dispensational Zionist position on NT imminence is about as clear as mud.  On one hand we are told when we read a NT author teaching that Christ’s Second Coming was “near,” “at hand,” “soon,” “about to be” fulfilled, will be “in a very little while and will not delay,” etc., this means:

  1. For the last 2,000 years, the “rapture” (which most see as taking place 7 years before the Second Coming) was truly imminent and could have happened at any time – even for the first century church.

Yet on the other hand we are told:

  1. God never wanted the first century church or us to interpret these statements as literal nearness because God is outside of time.

But if that isn’t confusing enough, the plot thickens because what was kind of sort of literally “near” for the first century church (the “rapture”) is only really “near” for us today.  Why?  Because allegedly our contemporary generation is the terminal “this generation” of (Mt. 24:34) that will see the rapture and Second Coming.  Why?  Because our generation is the only generation that has seen the “super-sign” of Israel coming back into the land in 1948.

The obvious question arises — how could the coming of Christ have been literally “near” for the first century church when the 1948—1988 (and counting) “this generation” was thousands of years away?!?  In other word’s we have a “carrot and stick” alleged real “nearness” for 2,000 years which only becomes truly near really “near” for OUR generation.

“Our generation will be the generation that sees the Lord’s return”

 

Hal Lindsey popularized the idea that Christ had promised to return in our generation in his book, The Late Great Planet Earth,

 

“The most important sign in Matthew has to be the restoration of the Jews to the land in the rebirth of Israel. Even the figure of speech ‘fig tree’ has been a historic symbol of national Israel. When the Jewish people, after nearly 2,000 years of exile, under relentless persecution, became a nation again on 14 May 1948 the ‘fig tree’ put forth its first leaves. Jesus said that this would indicate that He was ‘at the door,’ ready to return. Then He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this generationwill not pass away until all these things take place’ (Matthew 24:34, NASB). What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs—chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like forty years. If this is a correct deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives believe that this is so.”[38]

 

One of my former Pastors as a new believer (Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel movement), followed Lindsey’s sensationalistic prophetic calculations and thus gained a large following for himself preaching and writing,

 

“If I understand Scripture correctly, Jesus taught us that the generation which sees the ‘budding of the fig tree,’ the birth of the nation of Israel, will be the generation that sees the Lord’s return. I believe that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[39]

 

Smith joined Hal Lindsey in making a career and gaining a large following from this kind of sensationalistic manipulation. Gary DeMar would agree with me in addressing Smith’s fundamental flaw,

 

“In Chuck Smith’s Revelation Commentary, Dateline Earth he informed his readers in 1989 that “the rapture is at hand.” Before this he wrote, “Very soon there are going to be some strange and terrible things happening on this planet of ours.” These “very soon” happenings are based on his reading of Revelation. He reinforces this claim when he argues emphatically, “Jesus is coming back, and He’s coming back soon.” In his book The Final Curtain, he writes, “It is later than you think. It is time to wake up from your lethargy and realize that the coming of the Lord is at hand!” Notice the use of “soon” and “at hand,” a phrase that is most often translated as “near” (Matt. 24:32–33; 26:18; James 5:8; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev. 1:3; 22:10)

 

As a reader, what do you think Smith wants to convey when he uses “soon” and “at hand”? He sees them as time indicators. By his use of them, Smith is conveying his belief that the prophetic events he has been describing in all his prophecy books since 1976 is that the “rapture” is on the horizon not thousands of years in the future. So why is it when the Bible uses “at hand” (lit., “near”) that it does not mean soon to take place? Skirting the implications of the time references in the Bible is a major problem with dispensationalism.”[40]

 

For “prophecy experts” or “teachers” like Chuck Smith and Hal Lindsey, the rapture or Second Coming is only really imminent for our generation who allegedly witnessed the “super sign” of the Jews returning to their land in 1948 as allegedly being the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. When Smith says Jesus is coming “soon” he means it literally, but somehow when the New Testament authors claim this, we apparently shouldn’t interpret their inspired comments so literally!

 

In 1997, Lindsey wanted to keep a good thing going for his book sales so once again he started claiming that through his prayers, the Holy Spirit was giving him special insights into the Book of Revelation in order “to crack the Apocalypse Code.” Apparently, these were insights only recently given to the Church through him of course. Lindsey claims God had not given previous generations the insights he had been given that related to the issue of imminence because the time of fulfillment was only now drawing near for us.[41]

 

Jon Courson is another very influential Pastor within the Calvary Chapel movement whom instead of exposing Lindsey’s and Smith’s false predictions, decided he wanted to get into the prophetic game too and see if he could salvage the system. He admits,

 

“1981 came. So did 1982, ’83, ’84, ’85, and ’86. And then something began to happen. A whole bunch of radical Christians began to cool off, saying, “Maybe we’re here for a while after all. Maybe we shouldn’t be so committed to this kingdom thing.” Oh, they didn’t say it in those exact words, but that’s what they were thinking. And a dulling of expectancy swept over our generation.”[42]

 

Courson decided Jesus’ “this generation” prediction was actually a period of 51 years and not 40, so 1999 became the new target date, “…Thus, scripturally, there is validity for a Biblical generation to be 51.4 years.”[43]

 

“God’s week of human history is rapidly coming to completion”

 

This false view teaches that a day is equal to a literal 1,000 years and thus the following prophetic equation emerges: 4,000 years (the earths alleged age) + 2,000 years (since the time of Christ) = the earths age nearing 6,000. Therefore, many so-called “prophecy experts” speculated and continue to speculate that sometime around A.D. 2000 Christ would or still will return and propel the earth into a literal sabbath rest. This rest is allegedly accomplished with Christ’s return and He establishes his reign in literal Jerusalem for another literal 1,000 years (Rev. 20).

 

As noted earlier Islam and Talmudic Zionism have various versions of this theory to manipulate their followers as well into an imminent consummation expectation that never arrives.

 

Grant Jeffrey, another self-acclaimed “prophecy expert” who writes,

 

“We could look for the beginning of the seventh day (the Millennium—a thousand years of peace, Revelation 20:2-6) to commence in the fall of the year 2000 on the fifteenth of Tishri, the first day of the Geast of Tabernacles—exactly two thousand years from Christ’s birth.”[44]

 

Courson trying to find further support that our generation is the one that will see Jesus return also jumped on this train,

 

“When is the seven thousandth year? When will Christ return? Thus, the calculation is complete:

 

Day 1 Adam is created – 4000 B.C.

Day 4 The coming of Jesus Christ A.D. 1

Days 5–6 Israel goes through hard times A.D. 1–2000

Day 7 Israel revived during millennium A.D. 2000

 

I am not alone in this interpretation.” “God’s week of human history is rapidly coming to completion. The return of Christ is nigh. I believe you who are in your teens and early twenties are very possibly the last generation. Set your heart on things above. Live for heaven. Seek first the kingdom, and you will be happy presently, rewarded eternally, and grateful constantly. You who are older, continue setting an example for us who are younger. Continue to make the Lord top priority in your life. We’re looking to you in a very real sense. Please keep the fire hot. Fellow baby boomers, we need to realize that Jesus Christ is coming soon. We don’t have time to play around. We don’t have time to chase worldly pursuits any longer. We need to return to ministry and service, worship and prayer, Bible study and street witnessing. Whatever it was you used to do when you were fired up about Jesus in the 70’s, do it again. Maranatha!”[45]

 

Jon Courson was right about one thing — Christians do go away in total disillusionment and their faith “dulled” and hearts turn cold as ice due to his false teaching and that of his spiritual fathers – Lindsey and Smith.  Instead of repenting, these “prophecy experts” just reformulate their prophetic calculations and continue to stretch out the meaning of “this generation” just like the last days cults of Mormonism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  It also reminds me of the “global warming” or “climate change” folks who constantly tell us the world is going to end every 12 years and when it doesn’t, they just rework the system to tell us it will end in another 12 years – and on and on it goes.  Sad that this “the terminal generation is our generation” “Jesus is coming soon for us” carrot and stick eschatology is the main “distinctive” of the “growth” and “success” of these cults, and it is the same and main “distinctive” to the “growth” of even my former church – the Calvary Chapel movement and the Dispensational Zionist movement as a whole

As we will see in the next chapter, the truth is, Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 24:34) was His contemporary generation AD 30 – AD 70, and that is why as that generation was ending, the NT authors (under divine inspiration) said His Second Coming was truly “near.”  I will demonstrate that this inspired promise was fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

Concluding Islamic, Talmudic and Christian Zionist Eschatology

As we have seen, both Islam and Zionism believe the Quran and the Talmud call them to help usher in their version of the Second Coming of Jesus or a Messianic deliverer through waging literal war to pave the way for the imminent end time war of Gog and Magog.  This is necessary for them in order to take control of sacred space and land as a platform to eventually rule the world and enslave others.

Since Dispensational Zionism shares the same faulty hyper-literal hermeneutic of the so-called “Jewish” Zionists, they too encourage Christians to give money to the Zionist cause.  This cause includes the theft of property and killing of Palestinians (even Christian Palestinians).  Like the others, this group exhibits a morbid desire to see war in the Middle East and in some cases is willing to pressure our politicians to involve ourselves in wars so as to usher in the battle of Armageddon or Gog and Magog so as to make the Second Coming take place “soon.” This group would also have Christians believe bizarre teaching such as the many OT prophecies made to Israel cannot be fulfilled in the church – not even the New Covenant itself!  If that wasn’t heretical enough, we are actually supposed to tithe our money to re-build a Temple to help Israel re-institute a sacrificial system.  And lastly, if we don’t support Israel, then we are in sin, guilty of anti-Semitism, and God’s wrath is resting upon us.

But the truth of the matter is that all three of these religious systems have blood on their hands and their concept of Messiah’s Kingdom couldn’t be further from the truth.

CHAPTER FOUR

 

The Peaceful Christian Full Preterist Solution

 

1).  Sacred Space – Israel’s Kingdom Promises Fulfilled “in the land” or “in Christ”?

 

Introduction – The Constituent Elements of Israel’s Old Covenant World / Heavens and Earth

In this chapter we will look at the physical typological constituent elements that formed Israel’s Old Covenant world or “heavens and earth” and how they pointed to the spiritual New Covenant anti-types or true realities “in Christ.”

  • When God delivered the Hebrews out from the bondage of the Egyptians and established His covenant with them, He “established the heavens” and “laid the foundations of the earth” (Isa. 51:15-16).

Of Isaiah 51:15-16, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge accurately states:

“The heavens. ‘Heaven’ and ‘earth’ are here put by symbolic language for a political universe. That is, that I might make those who were but scattered persons and slaves in Egypt before, a kingdom and polity, to be governed by their own laws and magistrates.”[46]

And probably the greatest Reformed and Puritan theologians of all time likewise agrees that the creation of the heavens and earth of Isaiah 51:15-16 is Israel’s Old Covenant world:

“Then we must consider in what sense men living in the world are said to be the ‘world,’ and the ‘heavens and earth’ of it. I shall only insist on one instance to this purpose, among the many that may be produced, Isa. 51. 15, 16. The time when the work here mentioned, of planting the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth, was performed by God, was when he ‘divided the sea,’ verse 15, and gave the law, verse 16, and said to Zion, ‘Thou art my people,” – that is, when he took the children of Israel out of Egypt, and formed them in the wilderness into a church and state. Then he planted the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, – made the new world; that is, brought forth order, and government, and beauty, from the confusion wherein before they were. This is the planting of the heavens, and laying the foundation of the earth in the world.[47] 

 

God’s covenant community became His special creation, world or heavens and earth.  But what constituent elements made up this world?  What did citizenship look like in her Old Covenant kingdom which was a type of the Messianic prophesied New Covenant kingdom to come?

 

  • To be a part of Israel’s world or heavens and earth, one was born a physical descendant of Father Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 17: 6; 21:12; 26:3-4; 28:14-15).
  • After eight days an infant boy needed to undergo physical circumcision and a baptism/washing for purification (Gen. 17:10; Lev. 12:3).
  • As one grew up being a citizen of the Old Covenant Kingdom Creation his or her faith and worship was inseparably connected to residing in a physical promised land (Gen. 15:18-21).
  • In the promised land citizens of Israel’s kingdom were required to offer up physical sacrifices (Lev. 4:35, 5:10). These sacrifices required a physical priesthood from the sons of Aron and the tribe of Levi who were sanctified or set apart for this purpose through the sprinkling of blood and washing/baptism (Ex. 6:18, 20; 28:1; 29:4, 20-21; Lev. 8:6, 22-29).  They were to offer up sacrifices for their sin and that of the people (Lev. 4:3-35).
  • This physical sacrificial system and priesthood was to be conducted within the physical structure of a tabernacle or temple (Ex. 25-40; 1 Kings 6-8).
  • Although God wanted to be Israel’s King over His Kingdom, He allowed her to have a physical King to sit on a literal throne in Jerusalem (1 Sam. 8). Ultimately, the Messiah would come as King and sit on the Davidic throne (cf. 2 Sam. 7:10-13; 1 Chron. 17:11-14; 2 Chron. 6:16; Jer. 23:5; 30:9; Isa. 9:7; 11:1).

I cannot stress enough the importance of the Jew understanding his covenant with God in connection with the temple and the city of Jerusalem as being a cosmos or “heavens and earth.”  Amillennialist scholar G.K. Beale points this out,

“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.”[48]

The Jew understood his covenant, city, temple and land to be a heavens and earth filled with the light of Torah while the Gentile nations were outside the covenant relationship lost in outer darkness – needing to come in the gates of the city for conversion.  If a Gentile wanted to renounce his gods and follow Yahweh and become a citizen of Old Covenant Israel, he likewise would undergo a physical circumcision, baptism/washing and offer up sacrifices — after which time the Rabbis would pronounce him a “new creation” and he would then be a part of the “heavens and earth” of Israel.

According to the OT prophets, Israel in her last days would reject her Messiah/Groom and God would cause the Old Covenant heavens and earth kingdom or people to pass away and He would establish a New Covenant heavens and earth or people.  Under the New Covenant, God was about to be transformed.

The Spiritual New Covenant Birth

Jesus chided Nicodemus for not knowing his OT Scriptures when He said that in order for one to be a part of His Kingdom he or she needed to be “born again” / “born from above” or “born of water even the Spirit (John 3).  According to the OT and NT did Jesus ever undergo a “firstborn” or type of born-again experience and to what OT Scriptures could He have been exhorting Nicodemus on?

Paul in Acts 13 references Psalm 2:7 and establishes that Christ’s resurrection was when the Father says to the Son, “You are My Son, today I have begotten you” (cf. Acts 13:26, 30-32; Ps. 2:7).

Christ’s resurrection is described as Him being the “firstborn” or “first fruits” from among the dead ones.  That is while Christ was physically raised (a “sign”), He was not the first to rise from physical death, but He was the first to overcome the spiritual death that came from Adam and the death the Old Covenant system could only magnify but not overcome.

Our Lord was “…put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18).  That is Christ was put to death under the weak Old Covenant system of flesh but was the first to be raised in the glorious New Covenant system of the Spirit of which He is the Head and Trailblazer for His posterity.

In Acts 3 we learn that Israel had entered into her “last days” of Joel 1-3 in which the Spirit would be poured out.  In Ezekiel 36-37 we learn that at this time God would establish His New Covenant with Israel by sprinkling clean water on her and giving them a new heart.  That is Israel would undergo an individual and corporate body new birth or resurrection.  When Jesus says that Nicodemus that he should have understood what He meant by him needing a New Covenant birth by “water even the Spirit” He is referring to the promise of Ezekiel 36-37.

The Spiritual New Covenant Circumcision and Baptism

Paul both in Galatians and Colossians is battling the Judaizers and their Gentile proselytes who were seeking to influence the Church.  He is concerned over the Christian Jews and particularly Gentiles who put their faith in Christ and does not want them to go back under the “bondage of the elements” of the Old Covenant world (Gal. 4:3, 9; Cols. 2:8, 20).  The first Christian Gentiles were probably Gentile proselytes Paul had preached to in the synagogues.  They had been circumcised and were under the elements of the Old Covenant world as were the Jews.

Paul taught that their “citizenship” was in heaven and that they were not to place their minds and hopes upon the things of the earth or better translated “land” (Cols. 3:1-2, Greek ge) – as in the Old Covenant land of Palestine as the Judaizer and their Gentile proselytes were doing.

Paul informs them that not only is their New Covenant citizenship spiritual, but so was their circumcision and baptism that was necessary to become a citizen:

In him (not “in the land” of the OC world) you were also circumcised. It was not a circumcision performed by human hands. But it was a removal of the corrupt nature in the circumcision performed by ChristThis happened when you were placed in the tomb with Christ through baptism/union/induction. In baptism you were also brought back to life with Christ through faith in the power of God, who brought him back to life” (Cols. 2:11-13 GWT)

Paul is consistent – New Covenant salvation “in Christ” involves a SPIRITUAL “Putting on of Christ” (Gals. 3:27), undergoing a SPIRITUAL circumcision (Cols. 2:11), and a SPIRITUAL baptism (Gals. 3:27/Cols. 2:12/Ephs. 4:5), which are necessary to place us into the SPIRITUAL corporate “ONE Body” or SPIRITUAL “Jerusalem from above” (1 Cor. 12:13; Gals. 4).

No doubt Jesus and Paul have Ezekiel 36-37 and Isaiah 52:1-2, 15 in view here when it comes to entering into Israel’s spiritual New Covenant salvation:  1).  being spiritually circumcised, 2).  being spiritually sprinkled / washed / baptized in order to enter 3).  The spiritual New Jerusalem.

John the Baptist knew his OT Scriptures when he proclaimed that while he baptized with water in the Jordan, Messiah would baptize with the Spirit in the living waters/river of eternal life that would flow through His people (Mt. 3:11; Ezek. 36:25/Isa. 52:15; Ezek. 47/John 7:37-39/Rev. 22:17).

The Spiritual New Covenant Land

After the prideful rebellion at the Tower of Babel (man seeking to force God to come down on his terms and fill his temple – perhaps the 300 foot high ziggurat temple of marduk at Babylon), the nations were judged and divided into 70 (Genesis 10-11). God in effect disinherited them and would eventually start over by making one nation as His inheritance and heritage. It would be through Abraham’s seed (and the formation of a covenant made with national Israel) that Messiah and salvation would come – in order to reconcile the nations to Himself once again. As briefly as possible we will demonstrate how the OT and NT see this process being played out through physical Old Covenant Israel being blessed “in the land” to her Messianic NC spiritual NT fulfillment realized “in Christ.”

 

Since Talmudic Zionism, Islam and Premillennial Zionism are termed the “three great Abrahanmic faiths” of the world, it is probably best to begin with the Abrahamic covenant.

In Genesis and Exodus God promises Abraham that through his descendants He would form: 1). a great nation, 2). He will give them a land, and 3). through Abraham’s seed the nations would be blessed.

 

Promise #1: A Great Nation

 

God promised Abraham that through him he would form a great nation – to be as numerous as the stars in the sky, the dust of the earth, and as numerous as sand on the seashore.

 

a).  Genesis 46:3 – God tells Jacob or Israel to “not be afraid to go down to Egypt,” because He was going to “make him a great nation there.”

 

Fulfillment:

 

a).  Deuteronomy 10:22 – Here we read of the fulfillment, “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the Lord has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.”

 

The NT confirms this:

 

b).  Acts 7:17 – “But as the time of the promise was approaching which God had assured to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt.”

 

c).  Hebrews 11:11-12 – “even Sarah received ability to conceive…since she considered Him faithful who had promised; therefore, also, there was born of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

 

While this promise was physically fulfilled under the Mosaic Old Covenant, the NT writers inform us that it would be fully fulfilled in Christ forming the Church as His new “nation.” In AD 70 he “took” the kingdom from physical Israel and “gave it” to “another nation” – which is the spiritual New Covenant “elect nation” or “Israel of God” (cf. Mt. 21:43-45; 1 Pet. 2:9; Gals. 6:16). It is through this “nation” or “New Jerusalem” “from above” that the gospel of Christ is preached and flows – healing and reconciling the rest of the nations of the world back to Himself (cf. Gals. 4:21-31; Heb. 11—13:14YLT; Rev. 21-22:17).

 

Promise #2: A Land

 

God promised Abraham that through his descendants he would inherit a land.

 

a).  Genesis 15:18 – Here we learn what the boundaries of the land promise entailed, “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.’”

 

Talmudic Zionists and Evangelical Zionists argue:

 

Since Israel never inherited all the land God promised to Abraham and his descendants, we need to financially and politically support modern Israel in taking as much of it back (even if this means military action and killing Christian Arabs). Wow.

 

Scriptural response:

 

a).  Joshua 21:43-45 – “So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; everyone was fulfilled.”

 

b).  2 Samuel 8:3-4 – We learn that King David, “went to restore his control along the Euphrates River” which means the kingdom had extended this far north.

 

c).  1 Kings 4:20-21 – “The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore (this means he understood this to be a fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise); they ate, they drank and they were happy. “And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.”

 

d).  1 Kings 8:56 – “Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

 

e).  Nehemiah 9:7-8, 24: “You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.” “Their children went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you gave the Canaanites into their hands, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased.”

 

Again, the physical Old Covenant blessing of being “in the land” of Israel was typological pointing to the ultimate blessing of being spiritually “in Christ” in the New Covenant Israel of God (the Church). Fighting wars over sacred space such as modern “Israel,” or “Jerusalem” is completely un-biblical.

 

Not only is financially supporting modern Israel in their killing and theft of land un-biblical, it creates problems for us with other allies in the region. If we support and give Israel all of her land ambitions, this would consume Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc…

 

Promise #3: The Seed Promise

 

The inspired NT authors make the case that the seed promise made to Abraham is fulfilled “in Christ” and the Church:

 

a).  Acts 3:25-26 – “It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, `And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one {of you} from your wicked ways.”

 

b).  Acts 13:32-33,38 – “we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus…that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”

 

c).  Galatians 3:8-9 – “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.” So, then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”

 

d).  Galatians 3:18 – “For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.”

 

That land “inheritance” “promise” comes through having faith in the seed of Messiah:

 

e).  Galatians 3:29 – “if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

 

Scripture could not be clearer – the author of Hebrews says Abraham longed for a “heavenly country/land” and “city” that was “about to come” in their day (Heb. 11:10-16/13:14YLT).  Paul affirms that all of the OT promises of God are “yes and amen” “in Christ” and thus indirectly teaching they would no longer be realized “in the land” (2 Cor. 1:20).

 

God placed Old Covenant Israel at the center of the Gentile nations as a light to those outside the covenant with Abraham. But even in the OT, Gentiles were allowed to partake in covenant with God – being circumcised, worshipping Yahweh through the sacrificial system, and even living and inheriting land God promised to Israel.

 

The Exodus was not just to deliver Israel from the bondage of Egypt, but to demonstrate God’s power and glory to all nations and have His name “proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:14, 16). In chapter twelve we learn that some Egyptians did see God’s power and believed in Yahweh forming the “mixed multitude [that] went up with” the children of Israel (Ex. 12:38). Therefore, they along with Israel, experienced deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. They were present at the giving of the law when God shook Mount Sinai. They were with the Hebrews when together they were “baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” eating from the same manna and drinking from the same water which flowed from the rock (both of which pointed to Messiah/Christ John 6; 1 Cor. 10:1-4, 11). They along with the Hebrews came “out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt” and became for the LORD “…a people of inheritance” (cf. Deut. 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jer. 11:4).

 

It was a common practice in Israel that an adopted heir could inherit the land:

 

“A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren,” (Proverbs 17:2).

 

Even a famous “Jewish” Rabbil, Rashi comments on this verse:

 

“A righteous proselyte is better than a wicked person who was home born, and in the future, he will share the spoils and the inheritance among the children of Israel, as it is said (Ezek. 47:23): “And it shall be, in whatever tribe the stranger will live, etc,…”

 

I agree with biblical scholars who see Ezekiel 47:21-23 referring first to the scattered remnant of the 12 Tribes of Israel and believing Gentiles inheriting the land under Ezra and Nehemiah after a second exodus from the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. Gentiles inheriting the land was consistent within the law of Moses,

 

“When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:33-34).

 

Therefore, even early on God sees believing Gentiles as “a people of inheritance” partaking in Israel’s deliverance, redemption, and salvation promises which helps create a covenant people in the land, “as numerous as the sand on the seashore” (participating in the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant). Both believing Jews and Gentiles were involved in helping rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and build up the Temple during the restoration leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.

 

This all served as typological fulfillments of what God was going to do spiritually in gathering believing Jews and Gentiles “in Christ” under Messiah and building up His spiritual Temple, Israel of God, New Jerusalem, etc. in the coming New Covenant age.

 

The “Everlasting” Nature of the Land and Circumcision Promises

 

Israeli and Dispensational Zionists love to discuss that the Abrahamic and Israel’s land promises were “everlasting” and yet don’t do a very good job of demonstrating how the “everlasting” circumcision promise (Gen. 17:13-14) required to not be “cut off” from being in the land has been working out or will in the future.

 

Like animal sacrifices, Dispensationalist Zionists struggle over this issue.  Some claim that “yes” circumcision is required by all Jews in the land “forever” and through the future millennial period.  Circumcision would also be required by the believing Gentiles coming to allegedly worship in a fourth physical Temple (Ezek. 40 – 46).  Other Zionists see this as more symbolic language and spiritually fulfilled today in the New Covenant.  But there is nothing mentioned in the OT about a transference from physical circumcision and physical sacrifices to spiritual circumcision and spiritual sacrifices, and yet that is exactly how the inspired NT authors see them being fulfilled.

 

So, if animal sacrifices and “everlasting” circumcision are not physically everlasting and can be fulfilled today spiritually in the New Covenant, then this type versus anti-type fulfillment can and has been fulfilled for ALL of Israel’s promises.  As we will see in Hebrews and Colossians, Gentile Christians were commanded to not set their eschatological hopes on the OC types and shadows of the OC age which were about to come to end because they only pointed to the NC realities “in Christ” that were “about to come” and did in AD 70.  The Judaizers would have loved the eschatology of Dispensational Zionism while Paul would condemn it as the heresy it is!

 

The Spiritual Sacrifices of the New Covenant

 

Israel’s atoning sacrifice system began in Egypt when the firstborn of the Egyptians and a lamb were substitutes for appeasing God’s wrath.  Jesus is both the “firstborn” and the “lamb” slain to take away the sin of His Church – the New Covenant Israel of God.

 

Christ’s blood in the New Covenant is spiritually sprinkled and applied to the hearts and consciences of His people and accomplishes what the Old Covenant sacrificial system could not (Heb. 10:22).  Through Adam came spiritual sin spiritual death and condemnation and thus “the sin,” “the death” and “the law” (Mosaic Law) reigned until Christ.  But through Christ’s High Priestly atonement process in His passion in the cross, resurrection and appearing a second time out of the temple at His “in a very little while and will not delay” Second Coming at the endof the Old Covenant age, He has brought spiritual eternal life, righteousness and pardon and has thus overcome the condemnation of the sin, the death and the law (Rms. 5-8; 11:26-27; 13:11-12; 1 Cor. 15; Heb. 9:26-28—10:37).

 

The Apostle Peter tells us that we “offer up spiritual sacrifices” (1 Pet. 2:5).  The author of Hebrews informs us that these consist of “offering up a sacrifice of praise to God” “acknowledging His name” and “to good” to others (Heb. 13:15-16).  We are called to “present” ourselves to God with “spiritual worship” (Rms. 12:1).  The Apostle Paul was a priest “offering the Gentiles” through the gospel which sanctifies us through the Holy Spirit (Rms. 15:16).

 

The Spiritual Priesthood of the New Covenant

 

The Apostle Peter tells us that we are “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9).  John confirms this in the book of Revelation when he writes that Christ through His blood has “made us priests to God” (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6).

 

In order to be a priest, one had to be from the right family – Aron or the tribe of Levi.  We have been “born again” and thus placed into Christ’s family or priesthood (1 Pet. 1:22; Heb. 7:11-12).

 

Aron and the Levites were sanctified and separate by the sprinkling of blood and the washing/baptism of water and oil.  As members of the New Covenant Israel of God we are all Priests set apart by the sprinkling and washing of Christ’s blood upon our hearts (cf. Heb. 10:19-22) which “purifies our souls” (1 Pet. 1:22).

 

Priests could not have any physical defects (cf. Lev. 21:17-23) being typological of Christ’s perfect righteousness as our High Priest and Him imputing that righteousness to our account (cf. Heb. 4:15; Rms. 5:15-21; 2 Cor. 5:21).

 

The priests such as Aaron and his sons partook of a meal in that they were permitted to eat the remainder of the flesh of the ram of consecration (cf. Exod. 29:31-34; Lev. 8:31-32).  We spiritually eat and partake of the flesh of Christ daily to sustain us (Jn. 6:50-54).

 

The Spiritual New Covenant Temple

 

Jesus said that the living water of eternal life through His Spirit would flow out from within believers “as the [OT] Scripture has said” (Jn. 7:37-39).  In Ezekiel 37:26 and chapters 40-48 we get the prediction of the New Covenant Temple and through it flows the river of eternal life (cf. Ezek. 47).

 

In John 14 Jesus taught that in His Father’s “House” (or Temple) are many “rooms” (side rooms to this Temple) and that He was preparing them so that at His return He and His Father would dine within believers.

 

In Revelation the New Jerusalem is a perfect cube and thus becomes the Most Holy Place structure of the Tabernacle/Temple system that was in the process of “coming down” to earth and “shortly” would in AD 70 for God to dwell within (Rev. 1:1; 3:12 NIV; 21:16ff).  John describes the living and healing water flowing from the Temple of Ezekiel 47 being the New Jerusalem with Her gates being open for the nations to drink from and the source for their healing (Rev. 22:1-17).

 

James is given the miraculous gift of knowledge to understand the OT Scriptures and to discern that the Gentiles being saved and given the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of Amos 9:11-12 and thus David’s tent/tabernacle/dynasty was in the process of being re-built (cf. Acts 15:6-21).

 

Peter and Paul instruct us that Christ is the “Cornerstone” of this spiritual New Covenant Temple, the 12 Apostles and Prophets are the “foundation” and that the Church are the “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5; Ephs. 2:19-22).

 

The typology of Hebrews 9 depicts the “first” compartment of the Holy Place being symbolic or typological of the “present” Old Covenant age in which the writer and his audience were living.  The “second” section of the Most Holy Place represented the New Covenant economy and worshippers of God.  The Old Covenant Law was still “imposed” until the first would be removed in the times of reformation.  Between AD 30 – AD 70 the two covenants overlapped with the first being “ready to vanish” (Heb. 8:13) at the “in a very little while” and would “not be delayed” Second Coming of Christ (Heb. 10:37).  This is why the New Covenant Jerusalem is the shape of a perfect cube (cf. Rev. 21:16) of the Most Holy Place of God and no other section (ex. the Holy Place – a long rectangle) of the temple remains after the “soon” “at hand” Second Coming of Jesus was fulfilled in AD 70 (Rev. 22:6-7, 20).

 

The Spiritual New Covenant Kingdom

 

It is regularly taught by Dispensational or Premillennial Zionists that Christ offered and predicted a physical earthly kingdom.  However, all one needs to do is read the gospels to see this is false.  Jesus says His words and teachings are “spirit” and “life” (John 6:63).  Jesus offers a spiritual kingdom were His citizens are sovereignly and spiritually born from above (Jn. 3), eat and drink spiritual water and bread (Jn. 6), receive spiritual eternal life and thus never die (Jn. 8 & 11).  The Jews did not understand their OT scriptures and expected Messiah to bring a carnal earthly kingdom and Jesus rejects it (Jn. 6).  If all of this is not clear enough, He clearly says His “Kingdom is not of this world” and at His return in their generation they would not be able to say, “see here or see there, for the kingdom of God is within” the heart of man (Jn. 18:36; Lk. 17:20-37; Lk. 21:27-32).

 

Both King David and King Solomon reigned for forty years.  David was a mighty warrior putting his enemies under his feet and Solomon built the Temple up and established peace in the Kingdom for forty years.  Both were typological of Christ ascending to a spiritual throne in AD 30 and placing His enemies under His feet and then returning imminently in AD 70 to burn those first century enemies (cf. Heb. 10:13-37).  We are placed in the Kingdom or New Jerusalem of the “Prince of Peace” and He has overcome “the sin” “the death” and “the law.”

 

The Spiritual New Covenant Heavens and Earth

 

Isaiah foretold a time when God would perform a “new thing” and the “former things” would no longer be remembered (Isa. 42-43).  This is the promise of the passing of the Old Covenant heavens and earth and people of God and the arrival of the New Covenant heavens and earth and New Jerusalem “seed” or people of God taking their place (Isa. 65-66).  This new “seed” (New Covenant people) consists as a spiritual “nation” (Isa. 65:1, 66:7-9) of which Paul interprets as the Jew / Gentile Church (Rms. 10:19-21).  The Apostle Paul also identifies believers as the spiritual “new creation” or heavens and earth of Isaiah 65:17 (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17).  The promise and arrival of the New Covenant Creation and New Jerusalem are synonymous both in Isaiah 65-66 and in Revelation 21-22.

 

As we noted earlier, the Jew understood the Old Covenant, his land and temple to be God’s creation of “heaven and earth” (Isa. 51:15-16).  At Christ’s “soon” Second Coming in AD 70, God caused His physical Old Covenant Kingdom heavens and earth to be replaced by the followers of Messiah/Jesus — depicted as the arrival of the New Covenant Kingdom or heavens and earth.

 

It should be abundantly clear this is not referring to a physical global removal/renewal, since in both Isaiah 65-66 and in Revelation 21-22 sinners remain in the New Creation and are evangelized.

 

Revelation 21-22 ends with the familiar world view of the Jew.  Remember, the Jew understood his covenant, land and temple to be a heavens and earth in which the light of Torah shone, and the Gentiles were outside in darkness needing to come through the gates of Jerusalem to become converted to Yahweh and become a citizen of Israel.  Well, Revelation ends with the New Jerusalem being the new Temple and new Creation with sinners in darkness needing to come through the gates of the City to be healed and converted to the light of the Gospel.

 

This is not as complicated as so many have made it.

 

Literal land or global real-estate inheritance concepts coming from say Christian Premillennialism and or even Postmillennialist systems were deemed to be “heretical” by the early church and even some today who were and are primarily Amillennialists.  They correctly saw/see these views to be on par with unbelieving “Jewish dreams and myths” originating in a hyper-literal non-apostolic hermeneutic that connected God’s kingdom to earthly real-estate and we too reject them as such.

 

Refuting the Zionist “Prooftexts” for 1948

Let’s briefly address some of the passages that Dispensational Zionists and even Israeli Zionists use as their “proof texts” to “prove” “Jews” coming back in the land in 1948 and forming “Israel” was somehow a fulfillment of prophecy.

Ezekiel 20:33-38

The context of this passage is dealing with the Babylonian captivity and has nothing to do with Israel being re-gathered back into the land in 1948! The context is that Israel was being unfaithful to God and wanted to be like the heathen nations around them. Therefore, God would take Israel out of her land in the wilderness (symbolic of the Babylonian captivity) and “purge” the wicked there so that the unbelievers would perish as God had purged the unbelieving generation under Moses in the wilderness. So, this text actually teaches the opposite of what Dispensationalists say, because it would be the unbelievers who would be purged and die outside the land and not enter it. How is this passage teaching us that unbelievers would be re-gathered in the land of Israel in 1948 “in unbelief” is baffling to say the least!

Paul combines and applies both Isaiah 52:11 and Ezekiel 20:34 to the Church age in 2 Corinthians 6:17 which Dispensationalists claim cannot be done in any way.

Ezekiel 22:18-22 

Again, the context is the “near” (vs.3-4) judgment of Israel by means of the Babylonians in B.C. 586 for their sins of spilling innocent blood and idolatry. The unbelievers are “dross” and would “melt.” This prophecy has nothing to do with God gathering Israel in the land in 1948 as a covenant gathered blessing, and it definitely does not teach a gathering of Israel in unbelief in 1948 either!

Ezekiel 36:22-24 

The immediate context of this chapter is describing Israel’s sins of idolatry and her sins of blood guilt. For these reasons she was scattered into the Gentile nations and made slaves. As slaves they remained unfaithful to God and were thus a poor witness of Jehovah to the nations in which they were scattered. But God for His own great name sake would cleanse them from their sins and call them back into their land to rebuild the waste places. In type form, this prophecy (and chapter 37) was fulfilled under the restoration of Nehemiah and Ezra when the people came back into the land in repentance and began re-building the waste places of Jerusalem. There is NO contextual evidence whatsoever that there was a “re-gathering” of Israel in “unbelief” let alone any suggestion whatsoever that 1948 is the focus of this prophecy!

Ezekiel 37, 40-48 

Everyone agrees that the resurrection depicted in Ezekiel 37 is a “national” resurrection. In other words, Israel experienced national and covenantal “death” when she was scattered from her land and experiences a “resurrection” when she is restored back into the land. Again, like chapter 36, this prophecy was partially fulfilled through typology when the two houses of Israel came back into the land under the restoration and leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, both chapters contain elements of Messiah’s work of salvation (the anti-type) with the coming Messianic New Covenant.

The New Covenant promises

Since the gathering back into the land and New Covenant prophecies of Jeremiah 30-31parallel much of the same historical re-gathering and New Covenant material found in Ezekiel 36-37, we should probably examine the blatantly unbiblical comments of Dispensationalists who claim that the New Covenant promises made to Israel are not being fulfilled in the Church today. Dwight Pentecost writes,

“the Church cannot be presently fulfilling the New Covenant.”[49]  John Walvoord agrees, saying that “the New Covenant is with Israel and awaits the second coming of Christ for its fulfillment.”[50]

Pentecost concedes that if the Church has been redeemed with the blood of Christ under the New Covenant, then the other covenants must also be applied to the Church and that would mean the Bible does not teach an earthly millennium,

“The whole covenant takes on importance, in addition, for amillennialism attempts to show that the church is fulfilling Israel’s covenants because the church today is redeemed by the blood. If the church fulfills this covenant, she may also fulfill the other covenants made with Israel and there is no need for an earthly millennium.”[51]

We would agree with Charles Ryrie when he claims the Bible condemns Dispensationalism if the New Covenant is being fulfilled in and through the Church,

“If the church is fulfilling Israel’s promises as contained in the new covenant or anywhere in the Scriptures, then [dispensational] premillennialism is condemned.”[52]

These are obviously startling statements to say the very least. How can any Christian claim that he or she has not been redeemed by the blood of Christ’s blood under the New Covenant when the Scriptures are so clear that we are? The answer is that these men have become so engrossed in defending their eschatological system, that this has forced them into rejecting foundational elements to the gospel and indeed the Christian faith.

Per Jeremiah 31:31-34 and how the authors of the NT develop it, New Covenant promises made to Israel through Jeremiah apply and are fulfilled in the Church (cf. Lk. 22:20; Heb. 7-12 especially see 8:6-13; 2 Cor. 3:6).  I have already demonstrated how Jesus and Paul identified the New Covenant Temple promises of Ezekiel 37 and Ezekiel 47 to the Christian and Church today (cf. Jn. 7:37-39=Ezek. 47 and 2 Cor. 6:16=Ezek. 37:27).

Ezekiel 38-39    

There is nothing in these two chapters that even remotely suggests that Israel is being “re-gathered” in “unbelief” in 1948 as the fulfillment of this prophecy. It is said that God’s judgment of the wicked will be a witness to the nations of Himself. He also states that He will make Himself holy in the ones He calls back into the land 39:27-29 and this as well is a witness to the nations. Again repentance, faith, cleansing, and restoration in the hearts of Israel are necessary requirements to be gathered from among the nations back into the land. We can understand from the text how FIRST the wicked being judged are a witness to the nations of God’s holy character, but how was 1948’s alleged re-gathering in unbelief a witness of God’s holiness and faithful covenant dealings with Israel? The answer is that it isn’t and simply does not meet the covenantal requirements.

We will come back to the last days war of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-38 in our next chapter.

Isaiah 11:1-12 1948’s “Second Exodus” Leading to a Millennial Period for Modern Israel?

Dispensational Zionists understand this section of Isaiah 11to be teaching a literal future thousand years millennial period and or some cite it as some kind of proof text for a gathering of Israel in unbelief in 1948 marking the beginning of the second exodus running into Israel’s millennial period in our imminent future.

But again, the text only supports a gathering of the remnant of Israel and the Gentiles into the Kingdom in belief and not unbelief (vv. 11-12)!

Virtually everyone agrees that Isaiah 11 is Messianic. After the Assyrian desolation and then the Babylonian captivity in 586BC, Judah was desolate like a stump. But within the Davidic dynasty and promises would eventually arise the Messianic King like a branch emerging from the stump. Assyria functioned as God’s rod 10:5, 24 desolating the land, and in Israel’s last days, God would use the Roman armies to desolate the land of Israel.

 

Isaiah 11 is addressing the coming of Messiah as the “branch” (Isa. 11:1) to fulfill the “in that day” “second” exodus gathering (Isa. 11:10-11).  The promises of peace the Messiah would bring described as the “wolf laying with the lamb” and “the earth being full of the knowledge of the LORD” would be fulfilled “in that day” (Isa. 11:10-11).

The Apostle Paul in Romans states the “in that day” Messianic period had arrived.  Quoting Isaiah 11:10 Paul writes, “And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” (Rms. 15:12).  G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson correctly note,

“…for Paul, that time [of salvation] has arrived (see Isa. 11:1-9).”[53]

“Paul, too, understands the text to speak of the Messiah, the new David, who has arisen to rule over the Gentiles. Yet Jesus rules not by the sword, but rather by his resurrection from the dead (see 1:1–7). The nations enter into the salvation that he brings as they place their hope in him. It is in this way that they submit to him. Paul’s mission of effecting the “obedience of faith” (1:5; 15:18; 16:26) is embedded within this citation. His apostolic “priestly service” [hierourgeō[15:16–18; cf. 1:9]), by which the Gentiles are reclaimed, is thus an echo of the Messiah’s “service” (diakonos[15:8]).”[54]

The wolf laying with the lamb (Isa. 11:6-8)

Paul applies this passage to him being the Apostle to the Gentiles and fulfilling the Jew / Gentile “mystery” and fulfilling Isaiah 66:20 with him being a priest offering up the Gentiles as a sweet sacrifice to God (Rms. 15:16).  Paul is taking the poetic language of Isaiah 11—the “in that day” “wolf laying with the lamb” as the Gentile / Jew union presently being fulfilled spiritually in the Messianic Kingdom rule of God.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain (Isa. 11:9)

The Old Covenant Kingdom did advance through the literal sword with Jews being commanded to subdue and have dominion over the Gentiles, but the New Covenant Kingdom of Yeshua advances through the sword of the Spirit – or the Word of God/the everlasting Gospel which brings unity to the ONE Jew / Gentile “nation” whereby the rest of the “nations” receive “healing” and peace (Mt. 21:43-45/1 Pet. 2:9/Isa. 66/Rev. 21–22:17).

Knowledge of the LORD covering the earth (Isa. 11:9)

Virtually everyone agrees that the promise of the knowledge of the Lord covering the earth is the fulfillment of the Great Commission taught by Christ and the Apostle Paul.  Therefore, it is critical to see when they see it fulfilled:

Prophecy:  “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).

Fulfillment:  “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” [Greek oikumene] (Rom. 10:18).

* One definition of oikumene – “The Roman Empire (Acts 17:6); the Jews in the world (Acts 24:5).  Of Palestine and the adjacent countries (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28).”

Prophecy:  “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” [Greek ethnos] “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’” [Greek ethnos] (Mark 13:10).

Fulfillment:  “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations…” [Greek ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26).

* These were the same “all the nations [ethnos] under heaven” Jews came from in (Acts 2:4-5).

Prophecy:  “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world [Greek kosmos] and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Fulfillment:  “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6).

* One definition of kosmos – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…”

Prophecy:  “And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15).

Fulfillment:  “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisis] under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister” (Col. 1:23).

* One def. of kitisis – “In rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).” The creation of men not literally the planet earth.

Prophecy:  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8).

Fulfillment:  “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:  ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world’” (Rom. 10:18).

* One def. of ge – “The then known lands, regions, territories, countries etc…”

The Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul use every Greek word Jesus used to describe the Great Commission being fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to close the OC age — to make it CLEAR it was fulfilled in Paul’s day!  The “knowledge of the Lord (the gospel through Messiah) had covered the then known world.

 

The second exodus gathering (Isa. 11:10-11)

The Jews prior to Christ and during his day, based upon Psalm 90:15 and other OT passages, believed “the days of Messiah” would be a transition period between the OC “this age” and the Messianic NC “age to come” and that this would be another forty-years second exodus period:

“How long will the days of Messiah last?  R. Akiba said, Forty yearsas long as the Iraelites were in the wilderness.”[55]

The NT follows this first century Jewish teaching and eschatological expectation that their “this age” was the OC age (not the NC Christian age) and the “age about to come” was the Messianic NC age (not the end of world history) and that there was a forty-years “this generation” second exodus between them.  There was a first exodus from physical slavery to sabbath rest in inheriting and being “in the land” and there was a predicted second exodus from the slavery of sin to sabbath rest of inheriting and being “in Christ.”

1).  Moses threatened at birth (Ex. 1:22).  Jesus threatened at birth (Mt. 2:16).

 

2).  Moses fled to Midian until the wrath of the king passed (Ex. 2:15).  Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to Egypt until the wrath of the king passed (Mt. 2:14).

 

3).  God called Moses back to his country to be his people’s deliverer (E. 3:10).  Jesus was called back to His country to be their deliverer (Mt. 2:20).

 

4).  Moses fasted 40 days and nights in the wilderness before given the law on a mountain (Deut. 9:11; Ex. 19).  Jesus taken in the wilderness and fasts for 40 days and nights in the wilderness before going on a mount to give the proper interpretation of the law and New Covenant Kingdom principles of living it out (Mt. 4:1–chapter 5).

 

5).  Moses face shone with God’s glory on a mountain (Ex. 34:29).  In a vision given to Peter James and John, they saw Christ’s face shine like the sun (Mt. 17:2).

 

6).  While being tested by Satan for 40 days Jesus quotes three scriptures found in the Exodus wilderness testing (Mt. 4:4/Deut. 8:3; Mt. 4:7/Deut. 6:16; Mt. 4:10/Deut. 6:13 & Deut 10:20).

 

7).  God through Moses appointed 70 elders to exercise authority with Moses (Num. 11:16).  Jesus appointed 70 disciples to exercise authority with Him (Luke 10:1-17).

 

8).  Old Covenant Israel consisted of 12 tribes (Gen. 32:28; 49:1-28).  Jesus begins restoring and forming the New Covenant Israel with an inner core of 12 Disciples or Apostles being the foundation (Mt. 10:1-4; Ephs. 2:20; Rev. 21:14).

 

9).  God’s Old Covenant people were delivered from His judgment upon Egypt by the first Passover which was substitutional (death of the Egyptian firstborn and by blood of a lamb).  God’s New Covenant people were delivered from the wrath (Jesus being the “firstborn” and “Lamb” of God).

 

10).  There was a miraculous outpouring of the Spirit’s work in building the Old Covenant tabernacle (Ex. 31:1-11) before God’s presence would move in.  The AD 30 – 70 generation also saw the miraculous work of God in the “last days” in which the building and erecting of the spiritual New Covenant tabernacle/temple of God was taking place. The first was a physical building with the hands and the later was a spiritual built up by the preaching of the Word and by the laying on of hands of the Apostles.  Micah 7:15 predicted miracles would occur in this new exodus under Messiah.  The NT confirms miracles lasted until He would return “soon” to bring an “end” to the Old Covenant age and at which time the sign and revelatory gifts would “cease” or the office of prophet would be “stopped” (cf. Mrk. 16:15-18/Mt. 28:18-20; Mt. 24:3-34/Lk. 21:22-32; Dan. 9:24-27/1 Cor. 13:8-12/Rev. 22:4-7).

 

11).  3,000 die – at the giving of the Law & 3,000 saved – at the giving of the Spirit (Ex. 32:28; Acts 2:41).

 

12).  God was grieved with the unbelieving Old Covenant generation and did not allow them to enter the promised land and Sabbath rest (Heb. 3-4). God was grieved with the adulterous and wicked generation of His day and did not allow them to inherit His heavenly rest in His kingdom – “In Christ” (Mark 8:31-9:1, Matthew 23:34-46, Hebrews 3-4, 10).  The wilderness wandering generation was baptized into Moses (by believing in his doctrine and revelation given him) passing through the red sea whereby they would receive a physical salvation from their persecutors – water did not touch them but destroyed their enemies (1Cor. 10:1-2).  This was a “type” for Paul’s contemporary generation that would see “the end” of the Old Covenant age (1 Cor. 10:11 DBT/BLB).  There likewise was a baptism of fire and persecution in which the first century Church underwent that was separating the gold (true believers) from the wood (professing believers) and would eventually burn up the persecutors in God’s wrath of which they were not appointed (Mt. 3:11; Lk. 8:13-14; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Pet. 4:12; 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 1:4-12). The children or remnant (Joshua & Caleb) of Moses generation that went through the red sea would enter into the rest and salvation of the Promised Land.  The remnant of spiritual Israel would inherit and enter the Heavenly Country Sabbath Rest (the “another day” that was “at hand”) “In Christ” (Hebrews 3-4, 10:25, 37) with Peter describing the spiritual New Covenant salvation and entrance into the kingdom as the salvation of the “soul” “ready to be revealed” and thus “near” to arrive in AD 70 (1 Pet. 1:4-7; 4:5-7).

 

As we saw Paul interpret Ezekiel 37:27 in 2 Corinthians 6:16 (the so called future physical millennial Temple of Premillennial Zionists) as the Church in his day, Paul once again dismisses the Dispensational Zionist theory that Isaiah 11 is dealing with a future millennial period when he quotes Isaiah 11 in Romans 15:8-12 being fulfilled in his day.  Here Paul makes it crystal clear that God was in the process of fulfilling His covenant promises to Israel because this fulfillment was resulting in the salvation of the Gentiles in the Church. Clearly if the “gathering” of Israel is the “in that day” millennial period which results in the salvation of the Gentiles, then Paul is emphatically teaching that this prophecy was being fulfilled and that the Church was already in the millennial period.

How the NT authors understand and interpret Isaiah 11 destroys virtually every pillar of Premillennial Zionism!

Isaiah 35:10

John Hagee appears to believe that Isaiah 35, 43, 44 and 6 are dealing with literal “agricultural accomplishments” fulfilled in 1948 and today,

“If Israel as a nation had not been reborn, if the Jews had not returned to the land, if the cities of Israel had not been rebuilt, if the Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) had not been occupied, if the trees that the Turks cut down had not been replanted, if the agricultural accomplishments of Israel had not been miraculous, there would be a valid reason for every person to doubt that the Word of God is true. But listen to the prophets of God declare his intention for the Jews of the world to reinhabit Israel.”[56]

It is indeed true that under the blessings and curses of the Old Covenant Mosaic Law that God would withhold rain (harden the land) or give rain (cause fruitful produce) for Israel in order to picture the state of their hearts. The desert beginning to blossom and bloom is really dealing with the hearts of God’s people turning to Him in faith and repentance under Ezra and Nehemiah, but is ultimately fulfilled in the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit upon Jew and Gentile (the Church) in the NT.

Verse 3ff. is quoted in Hebrews 12:12. Within the immediate context, this passage is designed to comfort the fearful among Israel of the invading Gentile Lords. Eventually God would come and deliver them and bring them back into their land through Cyrus, Nehemiah, and Ezra – all types of Christ. Therefore, in type form, this historical coming of the Lord in judgment and salvation would picture the imminent “in a very little while and will not delay” return of Jesus in the events of AD 67 – AD 70 (Heb. 10:37).  In Hebrews 12:11-13, the writer interprets the agriculture, the way/path, and healing of Isaiah 35 as a “harvest of righteousness” and “peace” to be realized in the salvation of Jesus. Unfortunately for Hagee and Dispensational theology in general, the writer to the Hebrews in chapter 12 does not teach that Israel’s kingdom promises of salvation and a New Covenant were “postponed” until 1948 (and counting into the “literal” 1,000 years millennial period), but rather that they were being fulfilled and received in the first century by the Church!

Jesus performed literal miracles of deliverance in the Gospels for the “unclean” from their blindness, deafness, not being able to speak, leprosy and being lame (vv. 5-6), because these infirmities pictured the bondage of sin in the heart of man. Jesus would bring the ultimate healing (the forgiveness of sins) through the cross, outpouring of the Holy Spirit and at His parousia in AD 70.

Isaiah’s promises to Israel of a “highway of holiness” and “Way” that the “redeemed” travel on (vv. 8-10), have not been postponed for thousands of years, but are being fulfilled today in the Church age through faith in Christ (cf. John 14:6).

Isaiah 43:5-6

Clearly God did bring His scattered children back into the land from the south, north, east and west from the Assyrian and Babylonian (cf. v.14) captivities through the deliverance of Cyrus and the restoration period of Ezra and Nehemiah’s day. As in Isaiah 11 the “second” or “new” exodus under Messiah is the contextual setting here and was ultimately fulfilled in Christ’s blood and parousia.

God gathered all kinds of His children from the east, west, north, and south into His kingdom through the preaching of the Gospel and at His return in AD 70 (Isa. 27:13/Mt. 24:14-30-31; Lk. 21:22-32). These children included not just the remnant of Israel, but the Gentiles and they were gathered into the kingdom when the Old Covenant Kingdom was judged and taken from the Jews and given to the Church in AD 70 (Mt. 21:33-43; Lk. 13:28-30).

Again, Christ and His New Covenant salvation is the “way” and “new thing” (cf. Jer. 31:21-22, 31) in the desert which causes men’s hearts to blossom as the very garden of God (43:19-21).

Isaiah 44:24, 26

Here it becomes abundantly clear that the “miraculous” “agricultural accomplishments” that Hagee literalizes, the prophet Isaiah identifies as the water and outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of His people. The water is the Holy Spirit and the grass, meadow and poplar trees are God’s people (vv. 1-4).

The time of deliverance here is clearly typified during the time of Cyrus who functioned as God’s shepherd and would, “…accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, Let it be rebuilt, and of the temple, Let its foundations be laid.” (v. 28).

Perhaps there is some application for false prophets such as Hal Lindsey, Chuck Smith, Jon Courson and John Hagee in verse 25. God clearly has made “foolish” their “Holy Spirit led” false predictions of the 1948 “this generation” scenario –“overthrowing” them, and making them “nonsense” and “fools” in His sight!

Isaiah 61:4 and Daniel 9:24-27

Premillennial Christian Zionists assume the re-building and agricultural accomplishments in Isaiah 61 refer to modern day Israel[57] as they likewise assume there is a 2,000 plus years gap between the sixty-nineth seven and the seventieth in Daniel’s seventy sevens prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27.  When Israel became a nation in 1948, we are told by these self-proclaimed “prophecy experts” that “Israel’s prophetic time clock of Daniel 9:24-27 began running again.”

Since both Isiah 61:1-11 and Daniel 9:24-27 deal with the coming Messianic soteriological and eschatological Jubilee salvation, I will address them together here.

The “miraculous” “agricultural accomplishments” or the “planting of the Lord,” according to Isaiah has to do with His people being “oaks” and displaying the sprouting of His righteousness and praise before the nations (vv. 3, 11).

Examining the Context of Isaiah 61 in the NT – Luke 4 / Luke 21

Old Testament scholar Margaret Barker points out the Jews in Jesus’ day were looking for Messiah to arrive in the 10thJubilee prophesied in Isaiah 61 and Daniel 9:

“The first miracle was an exorcism (Mark 1.21-26), setting one of his own people free from the power of Belial. He spoke of a woman bound by Satan and released her (Luke 13.16), of slaves to sin whom the Son could release (John 9.31-38). He forgave sins and illustrated his teaching with a parable of two debtors whose debts were cancelled (Luke 7. 41-48). The healing miracles restored to the community people who would have been excluded as ritually unfit: the disabled, the lepers, a woman who was bleeding. This was the great ingathering of the Jubilee. Jesus spoke of those who would inherit the earth (Mat.5.5) and at the Last Supper, he spoke of the New Covenant and of his blood poured out for the remission of sins (aphesis, the Jubilee word, Mat.26.28).

The Jubilee also brought the Day of Judgement, vividly described in 11QMelch. Melchizedek would take his place in the heavenly assembly and, as described in Psalm 82.1, begin to judge the `elohim, the heavenly beings. This was to be the year of Melchizedek’s favour, a very significant alteration to Isaiah 61.2, which proclaims the Jubilee as the year of the LORD’s favour. Similarly, with Psalm 82.1; it is Melchizedek who takes his place in the heavenly assembly, whereas in the original Psalm it is God. The only possible conclusion is that Melchizedek, the heavenly high priest, was the LORD, the God of Israel.  In 11 QMelch he has armies and brings the vengeance of divine judgement, and these were expected to appear in the tenth Jubilee. 11 QMelch explains why Jesus is depicted as judge and warrior in the Book of Revelation and why the Book of Revelation is described as ‘The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place’ (Rev.1.1). These were the teachings of Melchizedek, revealing in the tenth Jubilee the ends times of the world. When the Lamb takes his place in the heavenly assembly (Rev.5.6-14 fulfilling Ps.82.1) the judgement begins. The Word of God rides out from heaven, wearing a white robe sprinkled with blood; he is the high priest who has taken the atonement blood into the holy of holies. He rides out with his with his army (Rev.19.11-16) and the judgement follows.”

“There is insufficient evidence to say with confidence how closely the Parousia expectations of the early church were bound up with the Jewish nationalism of the first century CE. They had Jubilee expectations in common, but the present form of the gospels invites us to believe that Jesus spiritualized the Jubilee, interpreting release from debt and slavery as forgiveness of sins and release from the power of Satan. This, however, is exactly the interpretation in 11QMelch, which was quite clear about the events of the tenth Jubilee. A spiritual interpretation of Jubilee does not necessarily indicate a separate agenda from the nationalists. Jesus did warn that the blood of the prophets would be required of his generation (Luke 11.50), in other words, that the Day of Judgement would occur within the lifetime of his hearers. This explains the urgency of his words: ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the good news.’”[58]

Jesus begins His ministry by quoting Isaiah 61:1-2a. The Jews of Yeshua’s day understood Isaiah 61 and Daniel 9:24-27 to be Messianic and that He would come to usher in the soteriological and eschatological Jubilee (Daniel 9:17-27 based off of Lev. 25-26). They understood from Daniel 9 that He would arrive on the 10 th. cycle of the Jubilee (49 x 10) = 490. In their calendar the first temple’s destruction was in 424/422 BC and therefore they were expecting Messiah right around AD 17 – AD 27 to reveal Himself and establish the Kingdom.

Again, in the Jewish mind,

“422 BC is associated with when the first temple burned 70 Sabbaticals (490 years) before the second temple burned in 70 AD.”[59]

And,

“The 2nd century CE rabbinic work Seder Olam Rabbah, which formed the basis of the era counting of the Hebrew calendar, interpreted the prophecy of seventy weeks in Daniel 9:24-27 as referring to a period of 490 years, with a “week” being interpreted as a period of seven years, which would pass between the destruction of the First and Second Temple. This is used to date the destruction of the First Temple to 423 BCE (3338 AM) – about 165 years after the current scholarly dating of the event. The discrepancy between these two dates is referred to as “missing years.”[60]

For more support of Barker’s research of the first century Jew understanding Isaiah 61 in an eschatological and Messianic way,

“In 11Q13 phrases from Isa. 61:1–2 are linked with Lev. 25:13; Deut. 15:2; Ps. 7:8–9; 82:1–2; Isa. 52:7 to portray the expectation of the eschatological Jubilee.”[61]

Based upon these historical facts of what the Jews were expecting in the first century, below are the various ways in which they were calculating Messiah’s coming based upon a 49 years or 50 years cycle for the Jubilee or from the 424 or 422 BC starting date.  At best they could calculate the end to be within 1-2 years but definitely not the “day and hour” (Mt. 24:36) of Israel’s end:

Also, based upon Josephus, one can calculate a seventh year sabbath around AD 27.  Upon this information and my math, the 10th Jubilee cycle is or begins in around AD 26/28 and this is when Jesus makes the declaration in the synagogue that He is the fulfillment of the Jubilee of Isaiah 61:1-11 in Luke 4:16-21. This would give a Jubilee Sabbatical or seventh year sabbatical in the following years (all falling within the last 10th Jubilee cycle of the 490 years):

1).  AD 26/28 — Jesus begins fulfilling the soteriological and eschatological 10th. cycle of the Jubilee — ministry — “cut off” — inaugurates NC age — First half of Daniel’s last “7.”

2).  AD 33/35 – Seventh year sabbath

3).  AD 40/42 – Seventh year sabbath

4).  AD 47/49 – Seventh year sabbath

5).  AD 54/56 – Seventh year sabbath

6).  AD 61/63 – Seventh year sabbath

7).  AD 67/69 — Jesus fulfilling “Days of vengeance” — end of OC age — maturity of NC age — last half of Daniel’s last “7”

AD 67 falls within the Second Coming of Christ event — that is the “day of vengeance” of (Isa. 61:2) which was fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” and described by Him as “…the days of vengeance in fulfillment of all that has been written” and Israel’s “redemption” (Lk. 21:20-22; 27-32=Dan. 9:24-27/Isa. 61:1-11). Josephus also records that the temple was destroyed on the 10th of Ab, the same date on which the first temple was destroyed (Josephus, Wars, 6:4:5).

Amos 9:11-15 is a parallel prophecy to Isaiah 61:4 and the rebuilding and restoration here is clearly identified as the salvation of the remnant of Jews and the Gentiles in Acts 15:16-17. This rebuilding of the ancient ruins was fulfilled in type form during Nehemiah’s ministry and fulfilled in anti-type form through the building up of Christ (the “Chief Cornerstone”) and His master builders the NT Apostles and Prophets (as the “foundation”) to the Jew / Gentile Church (“living stones”).

 

Theology of the Jubilee Sabbath – “Edenic Reset”

During the Jubilee (cf. Lev. 25-26) every 49th-50th. year the land would not be worked for 2 years and experience a sabbath rest. Jews who were poor and had to lease their land and work for other wealthier Jews as servants were “set free” from their debts and allowed to once again live in their rightfully inherited family and tribal allotted land.

The idea is that the land and people would experience an “Edenic reset” of sorts.  The unclean sins of the people and land would be cleansed and restored.  They would not have to work the land, because God Himself would cause the land to provide in abundance what they would need (as in Eden).  This picture with the Day of Atonement taking place in this Sabbath year, foreshadowed Messiah coming to cleanse us of our sin and restore us to our inheritance in Him – the Tree of Life.

The NT also develops the imminent AD 70 judgment of the fallen Watchers and Satan (Gen. 3-6) – thus restoring and making right what took place in Eden.

This Edenic reset would include God inheriting the nations once again and restoring what was lost in Genesis 10-11 (cf. Acts 1:8/Acts 2 = Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26; Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rev. 22:17).

It should not surprise us that Jesus begins His ministry in Luke 4:18 giving a “proclamation of liberty” (cf. Deut. 15:12-18) in fulfillment of this long expected soteriological and eschatological 10th Jubilee Sabbath period or cycle (Dan. 9:24-27).  In 11 QMelch we learn that a Messianic figure would fulfill Isaiah 61:1-11; Daniel 9:24-27 with the “last days” of Israel being grounded in their understanding of Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15.

The Six Events of Daniel 9:24 Fulfilled by AD 70

1).  Finish transgression

Jerusalem “filled up” or “finished transgressions” against God and His Messiah within Jesus’ “this generation” (Mt. 23:31-38; Dan. 9:24a).  Premillennial “Jewish” Zionist Dr. Michael Brown cites James E. Smith as understanding this verse likewise to be, “To fill up [or restrain] the transgression.  Within the 490 year period the people of Israel would commit their final transgression against God.  Jesus indicated that the leaders of his generation were about to fill up the measure of the sin of their forefathers (Matt. 23:32)…”[62]

And Dr. Brown himself takes this interpretation when he writes,

“…take seriously Yeshua’s words spoken in Matthew 23:32, when he sarcastically exhorted the hostile Jewish leaders of his day, “Fill up the measure of the sin of your forefathers!”  Thus, the generation that rejected the Messiah would suffer the culmination of the sins of all the previous generations: “Upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth…I tell the truth, all this will come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:35a, 37).”[63]

Unfortunately, Brown’s commitment to Premillennial Zionism causes him to not “take seriously Yeshua’s words spoken in Matthew 23…,” because this is the consummative judgment of the living (the Pharisees) and the dead (martyrs) going all the way back to Genesis.  As that contemporary generation was ending, the book of Revelation confirms the same first century time frame of fulfillment in that the vindication of the martyrs blood at the hands of the great harlot city Babylon (which is OC Jerusalem where the Lord was crucified – Rev. 11:8) would be fulfilled in a “very little while” at the “soon” Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 6:10-11; 17–22:6-7, 10-12, 20).  The judgment and resurrection of the dead is once again connected with the fall of Jerusalem in Daniel 12:1-7 – during a “3 ½ years” period (AD 67 – AD 70) “when the power of the holy people would be shattered” (Dan. 12:7).

2).  Put an end to sin

As we have seen in our brief discussion of entering into the sabbath rest in the book of Hebrews, Christ put an “end to sin” at His imminent “in a very little while” Second Appearing as the Great Anointed High Priest fulfilling the NC promises made to Israel and to close the “last days” of the OC age in AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28/10:37; Rom. 11:26-27/13:11-12; Dan. 9:24b.).

3).  To atone for wickedness or the covering over of iniquity

See references in #2. In the New Creation our sins are remembered no more and covered in the depths of the sea (Isa. 65-66; Micah 7:19).

4).  To bring in everlasting righteousness

Peter:  At the Day of the Lord in AD 70, He brought in “everlasting righteousness” or a “world of righteousness” per 2 Peter 3 – the “end of all things” being “at hand” in Peter’s day (1 Peter 4:5-7).

Paul:  “But also on ours, to whom it [righteousness] is about to be reckoned — to us believing on Him who did raise up Jesus our Lord out of the dead,” (Romans 4:24). “For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” (Galatians 5:5).

5).  To seal up vision and prophet

Many commentators agree that Daniel 9:24-27 is a tiny snapshot of fulfilling the first and second redemptive comings of Jesus.  Yet at the same time, commentators struggle with the fact that the prophecy ends with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 per Jesus (Lk. 21:20-22ff).  Jesus’ teaching is clear, all of Israel’s OT promises and prophetic material concerning His redemptive work (including His Second Coming) would be accomplished within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Luke 21:22-32).

OT scholars Keil and Delitzsch correctly give the meaning of “seal up vision and prophet” to be,

“Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.”[64]

I like this definition because it addresses the office of prophet ceasing at the same time the seventy sevens prophecy is fulfilled.  The Hebrew nabiy’ is used 316 times in the OT and is translated prophet 312 times and only once is it translated prophecy here in Daniel 9:24. I used this argument in my public debate over prophecy, tongues and knowledge ceasing in AD 70 with Charismatic Zionist Dr. Michael Brown and he had no counter argument.

 

Charles John Ellicott echo’s similar thoughts correctly connecting the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 ceasing when Daniel 9:24-27 is fulfilled,

 

“The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.”[65]

Premillennial Zionist James Leon Wood agrees,

“The words taken together refer to the final fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, i.e., when their functions are shown to be finished.”[66]

6).  To anoint the most holy place

Christ anointed and consummated the New Covenant Church as His Most Holy Place and Bride in AD 70 (Ex. 20, 29-31, 40; cf. Hebrews 9:6-10; Revelation 11:18-19, 19–21:16).  As David Green writes,

“Finally, it was through the anointing of the Holy Spirit that the whole city of Jerusalem was made new and became “the Tabernacle of God,” when the worldly Holy Place fell in 70 (Heb. 9:1, 8). Under the old covenant, every article of God’s tabernacle was consecrated by the anointing of oil (Ex. 30:25-30; 40:9; Lev. 8:10, 12). In the same way, in the Last Days, God taught His elect ones the truth of His gospel through the anointing of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21,22; I Jn. 2:20,27), until all of them had come to know Him (Jn. 6:39). Then came “the end” (Dan. 9:26), when the Body of Christ, all His holy ones, the living and the dead, were raised up to become His anointed (God-taught) “Most Holy Place” in the new covenant world (Jn. 6:44-45; Eph. 2:21-22; Heb. 8:11-13; Rev. 21:3).”[67]

Zephaniah 2:1-2 

This is but yet another prophetic passage that has to do with the Babylonian captivity which was “near” and would hasten “quickly” during the time the prophecy was written (Zeph. 1:7, 14). The context is dealing with a casting out of Judah from the land in judgment because of sin and not a “re-gathering” back into the land in unbelief in 1948! God was calling Judah to gather together in repentance or face her imminent judgment. They refused this exhortation (3:6-8).

Matthew 24 / Luke 21

I will give an in-depth exegesis of the Olivet Discourse later but for this section we must note Premillennial Dispensational Zionists appeal to Jesus connecting His return and wrath upon the “land” of “Jerusalem” and her “Temple” – connected with a flight from “Judea,” this somehow necessitating 1948 being the beginning building blocks of a fulfillment of this prophecy.[68]

Of course, the painful and contextual truth is that Jesus and the disciples are discussing the destruction of the Temple they are actually looking at.  This would be connected with His wrath upon the “land” they are currently standing on.  The armies that would be surrounding the “Jerusalem” they are currently in would be the Romans.  And they and other first century Christian Jews would “flee Judea” (not the modern “West Bank”) to Pella right before the wrath and events of AD 67 – AD 70 had begun.

Zionists have no problem throwing out sound hermeneutics and honoring context when reading into Matthew 24 and Luke 21 — 1948 with a modern “Jerusalem” “Judea” “land” anticipating a re-building and destruction of a “Temple” and discussing the imminent end of the world is more exciting to pawn off.  Ugh.

Romans 11 and the Salvation of All Israel

Similar to the butchering of Matthew 24 and Luke 21, Premillennial Zionists assume that just because Paul is addressing “Jews” and the “salvation of all Israel,” in the book of Romans, this must mean Paul has the salvation of modern “Jews” with “Israel” becoming a nation in 1948 (and beyond) in his mind.

Even though God’s old covenant people in their last generation were being hardened and excluded from the coming inheritance, that did not mean that God had rejected old covenant Israel (Rom. 11:1– 2). Although it may have looked like Israel was being utterly cut off in her last generation, the truth was that old covenant Israel was being saved in her last days. God was actually saving “all Israel”—fulfilling His promises to “the fathers”—partly by means of the hardening of its last generation. Here’s how:

  1. By means of old covenant Israel’s transgression/failure and rejection in her last days, riches and reconciliation (through the gospel) were coming to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:18). As Paul said, “They are enemies for your sakes.” (Rom. 11:28)
  2. The salvation of the Gentiles was making last days Israel “jealous,” so that a remnant was becoming zealous for righteousness and being saved. (Rom. 11:2–10,11,13,14)
  3. The hardening, or reprobation, of old covenant Israel in her last generation was to continue until the fullness of the Gentiles came in, i.e., came into Israel. (Rom. 11:25)
  4. In this manner, or by this process, all of the saints of historic, old covenant Israel were going to be saved (resurrected) along with the last days remnant, and with the believing Gentiles who had been grafted into historic Israel. The consummation of this process took place in the Parousia of Christ in AD 70, according to the promises made to the fathers. (Rom. 11:26) That is when Israel died, and was raised up a new, transformed Israel. That is when all of the elect (the Old Testament saints, the last days Jewish remnant, and the believing Gentiles) were consummately united in Christ and became the fulfilled “Israel of God.” It was thus that all Israel was saved.

Concluding the Zionist “Prooftexts” for 1948

Ripping these OT passages out of their historical contexts or from how the NT writers teach they are spiritually fulfilled in Christ and through the Church — is an interpretive scam of great proportions!

Concluding the Sacred Space and Typological World of Old Covenant Israel

 

In typological form Israel’s land promises were fulfilled during the reign of Solomon. God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation and make his descendants as numerous as “the dust of the earth” and as the stars of the heavens was fulfilled in the OT (Gen. 12:2; 13:16 = 2 Chron. 1:9; 1 Chron. 27:23; 1 Kings 4:11). Even Israel’s land promises “from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates” were fulfilled (Gen. 12:7; 22:17 = 1 Kings 4:20; Josh. 11:23; 21:41-45; Neh. 9:21-25).

 

Once we reach the NT, we learn that Israel’s promises have their ultimate fulfillment not in the literal land or literal real-estate, but rather in the New Covenant or being “in Christ.” Christ Himself and those united to Him through faith are blessed with Abraham and fulfill the seed promise (Gal. 3:9, 16, 18, 28-29). We also learn that Abraham’s faith in the promise was rooted in a spiritual fulfillment of a heavenly land and city that were “about to” be received at Christ’s “in a very little while” Second Coming to close the OC age (cf. Heb. 9:26-28—10:37—11:10-16—13:14YLT).

 

Or in the context of the book of Revelation we can say that the heavenly land and city (New Jerusalem) Abraham looked for was in the process of coming down in John’s day and “shortly” did at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 1:1, 3:12 NIV—chapters 21:1–22:20).

 

The New Jerusalem / New Creation is not a literal cubed city that will someday float down to earth, but rather the perfecting of the New Covenant people of God within the New Covenant (the “Jerusalem from above” – Gals. 4).

 

The coming Tabernacle/Temple of Ezekiel 37, 40-48 is referring to the Body – the Church (Ezek. 37:27=2 Cor. 6:16).

 

The New Creation is not physical real-estate, but rather New Covenant believers (Isa. 65:17=2 Cor. 5:17) and God tabernacling within them.

 

Even Paul’s statement that believers would inherit “the world” (Rms. 4:13) is understood in context to mean believers (Jew and Gentile) in all nations (Rms. 4:11-12, 16-17).

 

The hearts, minds and souls of God’s people (not a sacred land or globe) are His sacred space today in the New Covenant age post AD 70. 

 

Premillennial Zionist “proof-texts” in the OT and NT’s that allegedly prove a 1948 re-gathering second exodus leading to modern Israel being “saved” and entering into a future literal thousand years millennial period has been de-bunked for the hoax it is!

 

This position plays loose with the Scriptures.  OT passages that refer to Jews being re-gathered in the land (with repentance and faith) through the restoration and re-building efforts under Nehemiah and Ezra are somehow turned into God re-gathering modern “Jews” to become “Israel” in 1948 through unbelief!  They claim OT passages given to Jews (including New Covenant promises) cannot be fulfilled today in and through the Gentile Church – which of course virtually ALL of the NT authors clearly do!

 

Here is a helpful chart that summarizes what Old Covenant “in the land” Israel’s function was in pointing to the spiritual “in Christ” coming Messianic New Covenant age:

 

 

 

 

FIVE

2).  The End of the Old Covenant Age War of Armageddon or Gog and Magog Fulfilled “Shortly” Between AD 67 – AD 70

By far, the term “Armageddon” connected with the “end of the world” are the two most talked about subjects among those that speculate on Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. Evangelical so-called “prophecy expert” Zionists flood the TV and radio airwaves and liter the “Christian” bookstore shelves under the “prophecy” section instead of the “fiction” section were their books really belong.  They are supposed to be the guiding lights many professing Christians, Christians that don’t study their Bibles, the curious unbeliever and media look to for answers on this curious subject. Because Dispensational Zionists have mega churches or are presidents of so-called Christian Universities, they are the ones invited on FOX News to pontificate upon Bible prophecy, Islam, Israel, Russia, and current events in the Middle East. From the inception of the Dispensational Zionist movement (especially gaining ground in the 60’s and 70’s), the subject of Armageddon and current events go unchallenged and are just expected to go together and be settled fact.

 

I think it’s safe to say that most Christians and even non-Christians have an idea that the battle of Armageddon or Gog and Magog is predicted to take place somewhere in the book of Revelation. But if you asked these same individuals where this same end time or last day’s battle was predicted in the OT and to which of these OT texts Jesus uses to develop His eschatology on this subject, most would have no clue. So, let’s begin in the OT and how Jesus interprets these passages before digging into the book of Revelation.

 

When did Jesus say, “the end” and the “last days” war of Daniel 9; 12 and Isaiah 2—4 would be fulfilled?

 

 The Coming of the Son of Man / the Time of the End / “the War” of Daniel 7; 9 & 12

 

There is a majority consensus among scholars that the prophetic book of Daniel contains recapitulation (that is the same events are described differently) in chapters 7, 9 and 12 – and these chapters will be our focus.

 

Daniel 7:13-22

 

In Daniel chapter 7 we learn that Messiah or the Son of Mab and His Kingdom would come during the time of the fourth world power (the Roman Empire).  The Old Greek Septuagint describes one “like the Son of Man coming upon the clouds” coming “as (not up to) the Ancient of Days” and receives service/worship from the Nations (OG LXX Dan. 7:13-14 – John following the OG LXX in His description of Christ coming upon the clouds both as the Son of Man while at the same time being the eternal Ancient of Days and the “First and Last” in Rev. 1:7-18).

 

In Daniel 7, Daniel is also told that the Messiah coming upon the clouds as the Ancient of Days to establish and receive His “Kingdom” would occur after a severe time of persecution for His saints took place (cf. Dan. 7:21-22ff.).  We learn in chapter 7 and chapter 2 of Daniel that this Kingdom is spiritual and eternal and thus much different than the previous four earthly kingdoms.

 

 

 

Daniel 9:24-27 

  

I have already addressed two important factors of this important prophecy in the previous chapter.  First, was the time period of the seventy sevens or 490 years according to Jewish first century expectation found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (using the Jewish calendar) being the period from the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians in 420 BC to the destruction of the second Temple by the Romans in AD 70 = 490 years.  I also demonstrated how the six events of verse 24 were fulfilled by AD 70.  I now turn our attention to the war that would culminate in the last half or the last seven:

 

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [the end], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9:26-27).

 

The first prince of verse 25 of which the prophetic word of Jeremiah foretold was Cyrus.  Cyrus’ actions correspond to the first Jubilee period (7×7 = 49 years) that would set in motion the next series of Jubilee sevens.  The second Jubilee period of sevens or cycle is referring to the re-building of Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah (62×7 = 434 years) leading up to the coming of Messiah or the fulfillment of the last 7.  “AFTER” these two prophetic Jubilee periods (49+434 = 483 years) another prince or Messiah arrives to accomplish the redemption and judgment of the last prophetic 7 years.

 

Jesus begins His earthly ministry (3 ½ years) announcing that the soteriological and eschatology Jubilee they were expecting out of Daniel 9 and Isaiah 61 had arrived and He was the fulfillment (around AD 27).  After His 3 ½ years of earthly ministry in fulfilling the first half of the last 7 He is “cut off” (crucified).  After this there is a second exodus generation of transition (the “already and not yet”) between the OC “this age” and the in-breaking NC “age about to come” that will climax in the fulfillment of the last 3 ½ years between AD 67 – AD 70.

 

The “people of the Prince/Jesus” that will bring about the desolation of the Temple and Jerusalem between AD 67 – AD 70 will send His armies/people to destroy the city during this period.  Remember Jesus said that “the King (that is Christ Himself) would “send His armies” (Romans) to kill those murders and burn their city (Jerusalem)” (Mt. 22:7).  Just as God was sovereign in the OT and came upon the clouds through His armies (the Babylonians or Assyrians etc. to judge Israel), Messiah/Jesus would sovereignly come upon the clouds through sending His army (the Romans) to judge and desolate her in AD 70.

 

Daniel 12:1-7

 

We now turn to Daniel 12 where we learn additional material about the same time period Daniel 7:13-22 and Daniel 9:24-27 has addressed.  Daniel 12 is addressing the eschatological “end” of the seventy sevens and connects the “desolation” of the coming war to be during the last lalf of Daniel’s last 7, that is “…for a time, times, and half a time… (that is 3 ½ years)” with having the effect “…when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7).

 

Jesus Interprets Daniel 7:13-22 / Daniel 9:24-27 / Daniel 12:1-7

 

In the Olivet Discourse, the disciples correctly understood the destruction of the Temple would be the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy and thus the “end” of their OC age and that this would be the time of His coming upon the clouds in judgment (Mt. 24:1-3).  They requested some signs to know when this event might draw near.  Jesus gives those signs and says that “Assuredly I say unto you, this generation (AD 30 – AD 70) will by no means pass away until all these things(1. signs, 2.  destruction of the Temple, 3.  end of the OC age, 4.  His coming, 5.  the tribulation, 6.  The great commission, 7.  abomination of desolation / the war [armies surrounding Jerusalem], 8.  Resurrection and 9.  arrival of the Kingdom) are fulfilled” (Mt. 24:3-34/Lk. 21:).

 

I will demonstrate how all of these events were in fact fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” in another chapter, but for now we must focus on the abomination of desolation that results in the time of the end war.  Let’s compare and look at how Matthew and Luke’s parallel accounts fulfill Daniel 9:26-27:

 

  • “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [the end], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9:26-27).

 

  • “So, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place(let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Mt. 24:15-16).

 

  • “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written” (Lk. 21:20-22).

 

Luke’s account of Daniel’s “desolation” differs slightly from Matthew’s.  Matthew adds “abomination” with “desolation” and “when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place…” whereas Luke’s account only mentions “desolation” and replaces “standing in the holy place” with “seeing Jerusalem surrounded by armies.”  When we first read “holy place” we are tempted to think this is taking place in the Temple itself.  But as John L. Bray points out,

 

“…in the Apocrypha (inter-biblical writings) “the holy place” meant the whole area of the “holy land.”  In 2 Maccabees 2 it said, “As he promised in the law, will shortly have mercy upon us, and gather us together out of very land under heaven into the holy place.”  This included the city and the temple, all of which were looked on as “holy.”  The land was called “holy” (2 Maccabees 1:7), and the city was called holy (2 Maccabees 3:1).

 

Meyer’s Commentary on the New Testament, on Matthew 24:15 says, “Others, and among them de Wette and Baumgarten-Crusius (comp. Weiss on Mark), understand the words as referring to Palestine, especially to the neighborhood of Jerusalem (Schott, Wiesler), or to the Mount of Olives (Bengel), because it is supposed that it would have been too late to seek escape after the temple had been captured, and so the flight of the Christians to Pella took place as soon as the war began” (Meyer, vol. 1, 414-415).

 

By standing in the holy place, or where it ought not, needs not to be understood the temple only, but Jerusalem also, and, any part of the land of Israel (Lardner, 49).”[69]

 

Godet agrees but adds the observation that the slight difference is for Luke’s primarily Gentile audience,

 

“The sign indicated by Luke is the investment of Jerusalem by a hostile army. We see nothing to hinder us from regarding this sign as identical in sense with that announced by Matthew and Mark in Daniel’s words (in the LXX.): the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Why not understand thereby the Gentile standards planted on the sacred soil which surrounds the holy city? Luke has substituted for the obscure prophetic expression a term more intelligible to Gentiles.”[70]

 

Now it is much easier to harmonize Matthew and Luke’s account of Daniel’s abomination that causes or brings about desolation which is connected to the end time war with armies surrounding Jerusalem.  Let me harmonize and summarize:

 

“when you [the disciples and first century Christians] see the abomination of [the Gentile Roman] armies surrounding and standing in/on the holy place of the land of Jerusalem, then know it’s desolation has drawn near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart…”

 

Luke’s account describes the end of the Jewish age Roman / Jewish war of AD 67 – AD 70 more than Matthew’s account when he later adds,

 

  • “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Lk. 21:24).

 

Jews and Jerusalem falling by the edge of the sword and being led captive among all nations is an Old Covenant curse for Israel found in Deuteronomy 28:64-68 for violating the Mosaic covenant.  This creates a problem for most Premillennial Zionists and Christians with other eschatological views since they believe the Old Covenant ended at the cross or by AD 70.  This being the case, how can an Old Covenant Mosaic covenant (which ended thousands of years ago) curse be applied to modern Israel?  But since the Old Covenant (and its curses) was “ready to vanish” (Heb. 8:13) after the cross, but still imminently enough for the contemporaries of the author of Hebrews, the Jerusalem of Jesus’ contemporary generation experiencing the war in the events of AD 67 – AD 70 fits perfectly.

 

The phrase, “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” is another reference back to the seventy-sevens prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 and even more specifically to the “end” period in connection with “desolation” specifically referred to as a “3 ½ years” time frame found in Daniel 12:1-2, 7.

 

It is painfully clear that Jesus understood Daniel’s “the end” time “the war” to be fulfilled within His contemporary “this generation.”

 

Isaiah 2—4 The “last days” “The War” 

 

Isaiah 2—4 predicts Jerusalem’s “last days” “in that day” “Day of the Lord” coming by which Jerusalem’s “mighty” would “fall by the sword” “in the war” (Isa. 2—-3:25). In that day or during this war, men are described as fleeing to the caves in the rocks and holes in the ground. At the time of this war God would come in “majesty” “shaking” Jerusalem’s “earth/land” or kingdom (2:10-19).

 

Jesus’ teaching on “the war” of Isaiah 2-3 in Luke 23

 

Jesus clearly identifies the time of this last days war for Jerusalem to be the events leading up to AD 70 in Luke 23 where on his way to the cross he prophesies against Jerusalem saying,

 

“…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’” (Lk. 23:28-30).

 

Clearly futurists that admit this passage was fulfilled in AD 70 fail to look at the context of Isaiah 2–4 which develops this in the “in that day” “last days” “Day of the Lord” (Isa. 2:9-21) “war” (Isa. 3:23) that is in view which causes men and women to flee and call to the mountains and hills to cover or hide them.

 

b).  Jesus’ teaching on Isaiah’s last day’s war in Matthew 23

 

In Isaiah we also learn it is through this coming “war” and “Day of the Lord” judgment, that God would forgive the remnant among Jerusalem for her sin of bloodguilt:

 

“when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodguilt from the heart of Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning” (Isa. 4:4).

 

Jesus once again connects this last days “war” with Jerusalem’s sin of bloodguilt when the vindication of the martyrs would be fulfilled – i.e. at His coming in judgment in the Pharisees contemporary “this generation” to make their “house” or Temple desolate in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 23:31-39).

 

Since Dispensational Zionists such as Thomas Ice admit such passages as Luke 21:20-24; Luke 23:28-30; and Matthew 23:31-38; were fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary generation when Rome surrounded and desolated Jerusalem in the events of AD 67 – AD 70, and since Jesus is stating that Daniel’s last half of the last seven of Israel’s “last days” war would be fulfilled then, then Dispensational Zionism falls on its face but yet once again.

 

Let’s now turn to the book of Revelation and see if John’s eschatology lines up with Jesus’ on when and why the “time of the end” “the war” is fulfilled.

 

Revelation

 

Everyone seems to agree that the book of Revelation is John’s version of the Olivet Discourse. Therefore, we should expect to have John’s eschatology on “THE war” line up with Jesus’ eschatology on the end of the Old Covenant age war.  After all Jesus predicts the war would be “near” within His “this generation” and toward the end of that generation John informs us that the content of his prophecy (including Armegeddon and Gog and Magog war) would be fulfilled “shortly” (Rev. 1:1—22:20).

 

There also seems to be consensus that the book of Daniel and Revelation uses prophetic recapitulation and John picks up where the prophet Daniel left off. What was to be “sealed up” because the time of fulfillment was “far off” in Daniel’s day is “not” to be sealed up in John’s, but the time of fulfillment was “at hand.”

 

Revelation 11 – Measuring of the Temple & Trampling of the City by the Gentiles for 3 ½ yrs.

 

This “end” or “time of the end” (not end of time) war of Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 12:1-7 is during the “three and half years” “when the power of the holy people would be completed shattered” (Daniel 12:7).  Likewise, Revelation is when OC Jerusalem (“where the Lord was crucified”) would be trodden down by the unclean heathen or Gentile nations for a period of “42 months” or 3 ½ years (Rev. 11:1-2, 8).

 

The protection of the Church in the war described as measuring the Most Holy Place

 

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple [Gk. naos – The Most Holy Place] of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months (3 ½ years) (Rev. 11:1-2)

 

The measuring of the Most Holy Place section of the Temple[71] is a symbolic act depicting the New Covenant Christian worshipers will be protected from God’s coming wrath implemented through the trampling of Jerusalem by the Zealot and Roman armies for the 3 ½ years period that was imminent in John’s day (AD 67 – AD 70).

 

Measuring can be a symbol for preservation, protection or building up (ex. Zech. 2:1).  Like John, Ezekiel measures a perfect cubed (Most Holy Place) Temple that is “like a city” “where the Lord is” (cf. Ezek. 40-48).  As we have discussed in the previous chapter, the Church is that Temple where the Lord dwells in the New Covenant age (Ezek. 37:27=2 Cor. 6:16; Ezek. 47=John 7:37-39=Rev. 21-22).

 

The only other place in Revelation where measuring is used, it is used in a positive way to describe the New Covenant Jerusalem as a perfect square or as God’s Most Holy Place dwelling (Rev. 21:9-16).

 

 

Since it is true that the book of Revelation is John’s version of the Olivet Discourse, and since it is true that both the Olivet Discourse and Revelation are the fulfillments of Daniel’s end time war, it becomes clear this was the imminent Roman Jewish war lasting 3 ½ years from AD 67 – AD 70:

 

  • But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations (Gentiles), and they will trample the holy city (Jerusalem) for forty-two months (3 ½ yrs.)” (Rev. 11:2).

 

  • They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampledunderfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles (3 ½ yrs.) are fulfilled” (Lk. 21:24)

 

Some have argued that “the holy city” in Revelation 11:2 cannot be Old Testament Jerusalem because that city was no longer holy after the veil was ripped in two in about AD 30.  In this argument, it is implied that the holy covenant that was established with terrible and blazing fire, an earthquake, darkness, gloom, fear, trembling, whirlwind, and the staggering blast of a trumpet (Heb. 12:18–21) came to a final end in God’s sight with the tearing of the veil (which was later sewn back together).  And therefore, earthly Jerusalem ceased to be holy at that time.

 

In contrast to this futurist myth, the author of Hebrews taught that the covenant that began with momentous signs was going to end with momentous signs in the near future:

 

“And His voice shook the earth then [at Mount Sinai], but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things [the old covenant world], in order that those things which cannot be shaken [the kingdom of Christ] may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:26–29).

 

The old covenant did not vanish when Christ died on the Cross (Heb. 8:13).  Therefore, Jerusalem was still holy after Christ died because it was still the covenant city of God, even though it was being “shaken” and was being nullified (2 Cor. 3:7, 11–12) through the age-changing power of the Cross.  It was still the holy city of God even though it had become “Babylon,” “Sodom,” and “Egypt” because of its sins.

 

To the holy-yet-hardened Jewish nation belonged “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Rom. 3:2; 9:4). Those blessings were all still intact even after the Jews murdered the Lord and persecuted His church (1 Thess. 2:15).  The unbelieving Jewish nation was still in the kingdom of God after the death and resurrection of Christ; but its days were numbered.  It was soon to be cast out of the kingdom in the Parousia of Christ in the consummation of the ages (Matt. 8:12; 13:41; Gal. 4:21–31).

 

The tearing of the veil was a sign of the coming judgment upon that generation and its temple and world.  The biblical record is clear that the old covenant law remained in force for the Jews, both believing and nonbelieving, even after the Cross, until “heaven and earth” passed away in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13; 2 Cor. 3:7–18; Matt. 5:17–19; Acts 21:20–26; 24:17).

 

Like the book of Daniel, the book of Revelation is presented in a common prophetic recapitulation construct – again, meaning these are simply different ways of describing the same end time war or judgment scene. There is only one final war or end time judgment in Revelation, and it is consistently referred to in John’s use of the Greek phrase “to gather them for the war” in (cf. Rev. 16:14; 19:19; 20:8).  The definite article “the” is purposely placed in front of “war” to describe one very specific and important end time war.

 

Before leaving Revelation 11, it is important to see the continuity between it and the war or battle of Gog and Magog as described in Revelation 20.  In chapter 11 the New Covenant Church is being protected and described as the Most Holy Place structure of Temple worship.  In Revelation 20:7-9; 21:16 The New Jerusalem or “Beloved City” is also measured and protected from the persecution and waring “nations” seeking to devour Her.

 

Revelation 16 – “THE war” and Armageddon

 

The passages I want to develop here in Revelation 16 are verses 14-16, 19-20:

 

“They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle (or the war) on the great day of God Almighty. “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Rev. 16:14-16).

 

“The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.” (Rev. 16:19-20).

 

The first point I would like to make and that we should take careful notice of, is that the context for the gathering of the armies in “Armageddon” and the coming “THE war of the Great Day of God” that ensues in Revelation 16, is for the purpose of judging Babylon. Therefore, to understand when this war takes place, we need to identify who Babylon is in the prophecy.

 

Earlier in Revelation 11:8 we are told that Babylon or this great city is OC Jerusalem – “where our Lord was crucified.” So “Armageddon” and “THE war” here has nothing to do with Babylon being the Roman Catholic Church, the lands or nations of modern-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, Muslims, China, the Russians, or even modern Israel. This is a “war” and judgment upon OC Jerusalem.

 

The rest of the prophecy tells us why “THE war,” comes about or why Babylon is to be judged. In chapters 17-18 we learn it is because OC Jerusalem or Babylon has played the harlot and has a history of killing all the prophets God sends to her and has gotten drunk off the blood of the Apostles, prophets, and martyrs (again that Jesus promised to send to her in Matthew 23 – before He judged that generation and desolated her Temple), and as a result, then judges her because she has now filled up the measure of their suffering, and the thus the cup of God’s wrath is now full and ready to be poured out. The time of avenging the last Apostles and Prophets Jesus had sent to her along with all the blood of martyrs going as far back to Genesis and it had come!

 

The coming “Great Day” of God’s judgment and wrath in Revelation 16 in relation to bringing judgment upon Israel’s sin of bloodguilt, has also been previously addressed in Revelation 6. In Revelation 6 John is consistent with Jesus’ time frame of “the war” and vindication of the martyrs as developed in Isaiah 2—4. John tells us that the vindication for the martyrs would be in a “very little while” after their number would be completed. This corresponds with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23 where He says the blood of the martyrs would be filled up or completed within their generation when He would come and judged their city and Temple.

 

John, like Jesus, also cites the last days war and coming Day of judgment of Isaiah 2—4 in Revelation 6:15-17. Here people are seeking to hide themselves from the majesty of the Lord’s “Great Day” of judgment coming – in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And in both Revelation 6 and our Armageddon prophecy here in Revelation 16, parallel de-creation language is used. “Every mountain and island was removed” in chapter 6 is parallel to “Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found” in chapter 16. So thus far John is using the last days war of Isaiah 2—4 to be against OC Jerusalem for shedding the blood of the martyrs and to be judged imminently in that first century generation just as Jesus used Isaiah 2—4 in Luke 23:28-30 and Matthew 23:31-39.

 

So then what relationship does the term “Armageddon” have with “THE war of the Great Day of God”? Armageddon simply means “Mount Megiddo.” There is no “mountain” there because it is a plain, but the closest one is Mount Carmel. This term and geographical locations are referred to because they function as a symbol for famous battles Israel and her enemies had there. As David Chilton and Farrer explain,

 

“Megiddo” thus was for St. John a symbol of defeat and desolation, a “Waterloo” signifying the defeat of those who set themselves against God, as Farrer explains: “In sum, Mt. Megiddo stands in his mind for a place where lying prophecy and its dupes go to meet their doom; where kings and their armies are misled to their destruction; where kings and their armies are misled to their destruction; and where all the tribes of the earth mourn, to see Him in power, whom in weakness they had pierced.”[72]

 

Christ coming as “a thief” in the following verse is another way of describing the coming of “the Great Day of God.” And we know from Revelation 3:3, 11 Christ coming as a thief was His AD 70 “soon” coming. Not only this, but His coming as a thief once again connects this event to Christ coming in the generation of AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:43).

 

In putting this together – so far, we learn:

 

Premise #1 – Revelation 16-18 teaches us that the gathering for “the war” in “Megiddo” was for the purpose of bringing judgment upon the Great City of Babylon (who is identified in 11:8 as OC Jerusalem – “where the Lord was crucified”) for shedding the blood of the martyrs.

 

Premise #2 – The war designed to Judge OC Jerusalem and vindicate the martyrs in Revelation chapters 16-18 is referring to the same “Great Day” of judgment and vindication of the martyrs in Revelation 6 to take place “in a very little while” and is the “last days” war of Isaiah 2—4.

 

Conclusion: Both Jesus and John prophesied that “the war” and vindication of the martyrs in Isaiah 2—4 would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” or “in a very little while,” when Jerusalem (or Babylon) would be judged in “THE war” between AD 67 – AD 70.

 

Revelation 19 – “THE War” with the Beast

 

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth/land, and their armies, gathered together to make [THE] war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army” (Rev. 19:19).

 

Again, chapters 18-19 are contextually tied to the defeat of “Great City” of “Babylon” which in Revelation 11:8 and Matthew 23 has been identified as Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified and the persecutor of the OT prophets and apostles, NT prophets and messengers Jesus would send to her.

 

Revelation 19:11-21 is simply another recapitulation of the same end time battle and judgment we have seen in chapters 11 and 16 — except described differently with different imagery etc.

Amazingly the Dispensational “prophecy experts” claim the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 is the “antichrist,” but there is absolutely no exegetical evidence for this. Here in chapter 19 once again the rider of the white horse is described as Jesus Christ. In chapter 6 Christ comes on the white horse (His Second Coming) conquering – thus vindicating the martyrs “in a very little while” in the “great day of His wrath” pouring out the covenant curses of Deuteronomy 28 upon the land of Israel.  We previously saw Jesus appealing to the Old Covenant curses of Deuteronomy 28 in connection with the end time war in the Olivet Discourse.

 

The Beast Various Concepts That Fit the AD 67 – AD 70 Context

 

Since here in Revelation 19 we see that the end time war involves “the beast,” we should probably address how the book of Revelation addresses this theme throughout.

 

A).  The Beast as Nero and Rome

 

Beast – Beasts in Daniel represented the four Gentile Kingdoms (Babylon, Medes & Persians, Greece and Rome) that would rule over Israel (Dan. 7:1-7). But the fourth beast took on qualities of the other three and was more “dreadful and exceedingly strong” than the others. It also is described as taking on some of the attributes of the other beasts (Dan. 7:7) as we see here in Revelation 13.  This could be simply because Rome was the fourth and had consumed and assimilated those other world empires, she takes on those characteristics as well.

 

The beast is described as having 10 horns, 7 heads, and rising out of the sea.

 

10 horns – Possibly a reference to Rome whereby she was divided into 10 provinces making up the Empire which were: Italy, Achaia, Asia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Germany (F.W. Farrar, The Early Days of Christianity (Chicago & New York: Bedford, Clarke & Co., 1882) p. 532).

 

7 heads – Most likely a reference to the 7 hills of Rome which was a symbol of the imperial city. Revelation 17:9-10 informs us that the seven heads are seven mountains of which the harlot (apostate Israel) sits.

 

Rising out of the sea – Satan is calling on this beast from the sea which often times in Scripture represents the Gentiles or Rome.

 

Most Partial and Full Preterists see the corporate “beast” in this chapter to be the Roman Empire and her head to be Nero.  With Rome and Nero being the beast, the following evidence is given:

 

  • Rome was known to be the famous “city on seven hills” and the seven heads is later interpreted as seven mountains (cf. 17:7).

 

  • The beast comes up out of the sea and the sea in Scripture often times represents Gentile nations and powers as do fierce animals with horns (13:1-2).

 

  • The seven heads are not just seven mountains, but seven kings (17:9-10) of which five have fallen or have previously died when John is writing (Julious, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius), the current one “now is” (the sixth being Nero), and when the seventh comes (Galba) his reign will be brief.

 

  • Rome and Nero persecuted and killed Christians with ferocity – “prevailing” against them for a time as even Daniel 7 predicted before they would inherit the kingdom. Nero was known as a “beast” and put Christians on stakes, lit them on fire and rode his chariot naked. He also was crazy and often placed young boys in animal skins and raped them.

 

  • Nero committed “blasphemies” through making coins of himself depicting him as the sun god or a new Apollo worthy of worship (13:5-6, 8).

 

  • Archaeologists have documented the Hebrew spelling (Nrwn Qsr – Nero Caesar) which comes to 666 or six hundred and sixty-six. Alphabets also functioned as a numerical system (n = 50; r = 200; w = 6; n = 50; q = 100; s = 60; r = 200) – which gives us 666.

 

  • If one did not take the mark of the beast (that is acknowledge he was the supreme king – “we have no king but Caesar”), Rome made the buying and the selling of goods difficult and often times put them to death for not making this declaration.

 

  • Nero/Rome was engaged in a war with the Jews for 42 months or 3 ½ years – from Nov. AD 64 – June AD 68 (13:5).

 

  • After Nero dies, the Roman Empire seems to have come to an end with several civil wars erupting – but the Empire recovered and revived (13:3, 7).

 

B).  Beast as Purely Jewish View

 

However, some Preterists have proposed that the beast in Revelation is not Nero and Rome, but the Jewish led Zealot movement working with the religious Jewish false prophets.  The following evidence is provided for this position:

 

  • Israel was known for having seven hills or mountains as well: 1). Mt. Ararat (ark landed here)

2). Mt. Moriah (temple here), 3). Mt. Sinai (law given to Moses), 4). Mt. Nebo/Gerizim (Samaritans worship here), 5). Mt. Carmel (transfiguration), 6). Mt. Tabor (Jesus tempted here) and 7). Mt. Olivet (Jesus arrested here).

 

  • The ten horns refer to 10 Jewish generals that were given authority in AD 66 – AD 67. The 7 heads or kings are said to correspond to 7 Zealots within the family of Hezekiah.

 

  • The Zealots worked with the Jewish false prophets to try and persuade the people to stay and fight Rome. They persecuted and even killed Jews who didn’t see their vision of how the messianic kingdom was allegedly about to come through them.

 

  • This beast has characteristics of other world Gentile powers (cf. also Dan. 7). OC Jerusalem is described elsewhere in Revelation as Gentile powers such as Egypt, Babylon, Sodom and Gomora.

 

  • The NT develops the Jews as being the primarily guilty party in being the “accusers” of Jesus and the Christians with heresy and blasphemy.

 

  • The Jews and Zealots within Jerusalem between AD 66 – AD 70 were described by Josephus as “beasts” who were devouring their own through civil war.

 

  • The Jewish leadership kicked Christians out of the synagogues and they were treated as dead to their families and communities. Jews would not buy from or sell to Christians and they didn’t permit Christians to buy from them or sell their products to them.

 

Josephus describes the Jews in Jerusalem between AD 67 – AD 70 as a Jewish “beast” devouring their own flesh (the infighting between the Priests, Zealots, and Idumeans) that would eventually burn down their own city.

 

Adam Maarschalk argues that the beast here in Revelation 19 is not Roman but Jewish. He connects the beast’s fate in Daniel 7 and Revelation 19 thus,

 

““…I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame” (Daniel 7:11).

 

“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).

 

If the Roman Empire was the beast of Revelation, how was this empire captured, slain, destroyed, burned, and cast into the lake of fire? Rome actually came out of the Jewish-Roman War (AD 66 -73) stronger than ever. History tells us that Rome was stronger in the second century AD than it was in the first century AD.

 

Someone might say that this applied to Nero, who is said to be the beast in a singular sense. Nero was indeed killed – with his own sword, but he was not captured, and he was not burned. Nor did he go down at the same time as any false prophets who worked with him.

 

It was Israel that was captured, slain, destroyed, and burned – as we can see in great detail in “Wars of the Jews” by Josephus.”[73]

 

And of the false prophets working with the Zealots Adam writes,

 

“Josephus wrote the following about numerous false prophets who deceived the Jews during the time of the Procurators Felix (52-58 AD) and Festus (59-62 AD):

 

“These works, that were done by the robbers, filled the city with all sorts of impiety. And now these impostors and deceivers persuaded the multitude to follow them into the wilderness, and pretended that they would exhibit manifest wonders and signs, that should be performed by the providence of God. And many that were prevailed on by them suffered the punishments of their folly; for Felix brought them back, and then punished them. Moreover, there came out of Egypt about this time to Jerusalem one that said he was a prophet, and advised the multitude of the common people to go along with him to the Mount of Olives…”

 

In Josephus wrote about various false prophets and deceivers who worked to persuade the people to revolt against the Romans and who killed those who refused to revolt:

 

“There was also another body of wicked men gotten together… These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of Divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty…for a company of deceivers and robbers got together, and persuaded the Jews to revolt, and exhorted them to assert their liberty, inflicting death on those that continued in obedience to the Roman government, and saying, that such as willingly chose slavery ought to be forced from such their desired inclinations; for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men, and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire; and this till all Judea was filled with the effects of their madness. And thus, the flame was every day more and more blown up, till it came to a direct war.”

 

In Wars 6.5.1-2 Josephus talked about how, when the temple was burned down, the number of people killed in that blaze was especially high because so many people listened to the words of a false prophet. Josephus also revealed that this false prophet was one of many false prophets who had been hired by the Zealots to control the people and keep them from fleeing from their control:

 

“A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now there was then a great number of false prophets suborned [hired] by the tyrants to impose on the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting” (Maarschalk, Ibid.).

 

C).  Beast as Satan / Dragon / Ancient Serpent / Seven Headed Beast of Underworld

 

During the Roman / Jewish war we can’t forget that angelic armies were seen fighting in the sky and clouds as witnessed and verified by Jewish and Roman historians.  This supports what the book of Daniel and Revelation teach on the “Watchers” “Angels” “Michael” “Satan” all being involved in the last days war.

 

I believe this also corresponds with the historical fact that the multi-headed beast theme within the ancient world view involved the underworld of Satanic or demonic figures who influenced, mirrored and imaged evil world kings and empires to do their bidding.  They described their gods or heroes as slaying this multi-headed beast. John demonstrates that only the Lamb had power to slay Satan and throw him in the Lake of Fire or as Paul says God would “crush” him “shortly” at His “soon” and or “at hand” coming in AD 70 (Rms. 13:11-12; 16:20/Gen. 3:15).

 

The ancient beast comes from the abyss/sea and influenced Nero and the Romans to persecute Christians and then turn and devour Jerusalem.  The abyss in the ancient world was a watery spiritual underworld area right beneath the ocean.

 

Revelation 13 addresses two beasts – one from the sea (cf. Rev. 13:1) and another on the land (cf. Rev. 13:11).

 

David Chilton introduced chapter 13 in his Revelation commentary with the ancient two-beast theme of Leviathan (sea beast) and Behemoth (land beast) admitting that the beast theme involves much more than just human rulers and kingdoms,

 

“In a visual, dramatic sense, the mighty Roman Empire did seem to arise out of the sea, from the Italian peninsula across the ocean from the Land.  More than this, however, the Biblical symbolism of the sea is in view here.  The sea is, as we saw in 9:1-3, associated with the Abyss, the abode of the demons, who were imprisoned there…”[74]

 

G.K. Beale gives a scholarly treatment of how these two beasts and the seven-headed beast theme was understood in the ancient world and within Judaism,

 

“The depiction of the two beasts in ch. 13 is based in part on Job 40–41, which is the only OT depiction of two Satanic beasts opposing God. Commentators cite the Job passages but rarely discuss them or develop their relationship with Revelation.176 These two beasts are echoed throughout Revelation 13, particularly from the LXX. One is a land “beast” (θηρίον, 40:15–24) to be slain by God with a “sword” (40:19 MT; cf. Rev. 13:10, 14). The other is a sea “dragon” (δράκων, Job 40:25) who conducts a “war waged by his mouth” (40:32). “Burning torches” and “a flame” go “out of his mouth” (41:11, 13). “There is nothing on earth like him” (41:25). Both are thus given demonic attributes, and both are described as “made to be mocked by the angels” (40:19; 41:25 LXX).177

 

The Job text alludes to a primordial defeat of the dragon by God (cf. 40:32 LXX; so also Midr. Rab. Exod. 15.22), but also implies a yet future battle (40:19, 20–24 LXX; 41:25 LXX), which is necessitated by the sea beasts’ continued attitude of defiance (e.g., 41:33–34 MT). Though the beast was defeated, he continues to exist in a subdued condition (Job 7:12; Amos 9:3; cf. Apoc. Abr. 10; 21). On the assumption that the beginning of history must be recapitulated at the end of history, Judaism crystallized the implicit expectation of Job. Rev. 12:1–11 also echoes this Jewish tradition. The tradition held that on the fifth day of creation God created Leviathan to be in the sea and Behemoth to dwell on land (1 En. 60:7–10; 4 Ezra 6:49–52; 2 Bar. 29:4; b. Baba Bathra 74b–75a; Pesikta de Rab Kahana, supplement 2.4). These two beasts were symbolic of the powers of evil and were to be destroyed at the final judgment (so explicitly in 2 Bar.; Midr. Rab.Lev. 13.3; and b. Baba Bathra 74b, and implied in the other three texts just cited above).

 

This tradition may come into use here in the Apocalypse because people in Asia Minor thought of whatever came “from the sea” as foreign and whatever came from the land as native. That is, one of the initial expressions of the first beast was Rome, whose governors repeatedly came by sea to Ephesus. Roman ships literally seemed to be rising out of the sea as they appeared on the horizon off the coast of Asia Minor. The second beast represented native political and economic authorities.

 

Vv 1–2 are a creative reworking of Dan. 7:1–7. The “beast coming up from the sea” and his “ten horns” are based respectively on Dan. 7:2–3 and Dan. 7:7, 20, 24. Many understand the “seven heads” as a reference to an ancient Near Eastern sea monster myth from before the time of Daniel (Leviathan with seven heads in CTA 5.I, 1–3; 3.III, 37–39; cf. also Job 40–41; Pss. 74:13–14; 89:10; Isa. 27:1; 51:9; Odes Sol. 22:5).”[75]

 

In the ancient world (Jew or Gentile) talk of sea beasts or seven-headed beasts or dragons were understood to apply both to underworld evil influences mirrored and imaged through their evil human rulers and kingdom partners who worshipped them.

 

The great red dragon with seven heads is introduced in Revelation 12 where it seeks to devour the Church or New Israel of God, but she flees to the wilderness and is safe.  This is simply a prophetic and apocalyptic description of the same end time war and flight Jesus described for us in Luke 21:20-24 of which we looked at previously.

 

As the gospels are filled with the second exodus theme so too is the book of Revelation.  Due to space limitations, I will not go into that in detail here.  But for the sake of our discussion, let’s re-visit Isaiah 51 where God described taking Israel out of Egyptian bondage and parting the sea as not only creating the “heavens” and “earth,” but a slaying of a sea beast/dragon,

 

“Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon?” (Isa. 51:9)

 

In Hebrew “Rahab” is understood to be a chaotic dragon sea monster.  G.K. Beale demonstrates that the Septuagint version of Ezekiel 29:3, reads, “Pharaoh the great dragon”[76] connecting the evil earthly power to this spiritual underworld being.

 

In Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 the King of Tyre is understood in terms of being a mere man and yet as Satan or an angelic figure.

 

In Revelation 9 the siege of Titus for five months is connected to the activity of the abyss and demonic locusts.  This is but yet another example of the demonic underworld working through evil rulers.  G.K. Beale writes the following on Revelation 9:11,

“Abandon” is depicted “as the hellish home of Belial, the satanic “asp,” in 1QH 3(11). 16, 19, 32. There the “pit” and “abyss” open and fulminate out billows, arrows, and “the spirits of the asp” (3[11]. 16-18; 5[13].27) against hardened hypocrites (3[11].25-27), “leaving [them with] no hope.”

These Jewish sources refer to “angels of destruction from the pit, who inflict “most sorrowful chagrin and most bitter misfortune” as allies of the spirits of perversity and darkness.”[77]

These Jewish sources Beale appeals to demonstrate that these demonic spirits cause men to believe false doctrine and worship but the righteous are protected from such. There may be a play on Apollyon and Apollo and how the Romans understood their leaders and the false worship (see Daniel Dutra Morais’s comments below). Seems to me that God is using Satan and the demonic — working through the Romans, Zealots and Pharisees to judge and destroy Jerusalem.

Beale points out that some connect the “destroying angel” in the first exodus (Ex. 12:23) with the descriptions here (Rev. 9:1, 4-5, 11) – “…the “destroying angel” “the angel of death, to whom is given the power to destroy, but has no dominion” over the Israelites (Targ. Pal. Exod. 12; Targ. Pal. And Jer. Exodus 4 use the same titles for the angel who opposed Moses). Jubilees repeatedly identifies this angel as “prince Mastema,” another name for Satan and therefore a parallel to the angel of Rev. 9:11 (the “king” of the demons; Jub. 11:5; 17:16; 18:9, 12; 48:2-15). This prince-angel was the one who tried to kill Moses on his return to Egypt and who struck down the Egyptian deluge, so that he became known as “chief of the [evil] spirits” (Jub. 10:7-8; 11:5; 19:28). Not only does “the destroyer” oppose Moses, but he opposes the Israelites after they leave Egypt (Wis. 18:22-25).”

Beale goes on to point out in the,

 

“…OT and Jewish tradition based on Exodus 12 affirms both that God is the one who struck down the firstborn and that he used an angelic agent to execute his will [Exod. 12:23]. The Satanic source of the plagues is also noted in Wis. 17:14 (where the plague of darkness came from “the bottoms of …hell”).

In Hermas, Vision 4:1, the seer has a vision of “a huge beast, like some sea monster, and from its mouth flaming locusts were pouring out.”[78]

Daniel Dutra Morais makes more of a connection with Titus and the events of AD 70,

 

“The name Apollyon is a Greek play on words for “Apollo” (Apollon in Greek) and “Destroyer.” Revelation 9:11 reads, “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).” Abaddon means “destruction or ruin” which is “apoleia” in Greek. Though Abaddon means “destruction or ruin” it is truly the place of destruction or ruin which in Greek is Hades or bussos or abussos (Abyss). Why does John call the angel of the Abyss the name for “destruction” or “the place of destruction” in Hebrew but then use the Greek word “Apollyon” meaning “destroyer” which is not an exact Greek translation of the Hebrew Abaddon? John appears to call the angel of the Abyss “Apollyon” rather than using more exact Greek translations of Abaddon like “apoleia,” Hades, “bussos” or “abussos” because of the similarity between the words “destroyer” (Apollyon) and Apollo (Apollon) in Greek. In other words, this word selection appears to be a word play for “Apollo” (Apollon) and “Destroyer” (Apollyon).

 

The fact that Apollyon is used to intentionally call to mind the god Apollo is hinted at throughout Revelation 9. The Anchor Bible Dictionary says the following concerning the link between Apollyon and Apollo:

 

In one manuscript, instead of Apollyon the text reads “Apollo,” the Greek god of death and pestilence [or plague like the plague of locusts mentioned in Revelation 9] . . . . Apollyon is no doubt the correct reading. But the name Apollo (Gk Apollon) was often linked in ancient Greek writings with the verb apollymi or apollyo, “destroy.” From this time of Grotius, “Apollyon” has often been taken here to be a play on the name Apollo. The LOCUST was an emblem of this god[.]” [Emphasis mine.]

 

Concerning this perceived link between Apollyon and Apollo, Isbon Beckworth writes, “Some (Boss, Holtzm.-Bauer, al.) find in the name Apollyon an indirect allusion also to the god Apollo, one of whose symbols was the locust and to whom plagues and destruction were in some cases attributed (see Rosher, Lex. d. Griech. N. Rom. Mythol. s.v.)[.] The use of the name Apollyon is meant to call attention to this agent’s identification with the Greek God Apollo (hence the plague and locust imagery as well as implicit references to “destroy” in Revelation 9) and his active role as the “destroyer” of Jerusalem. So, who could this be, and why is this figure called the “Destroyer” in Greek so as to imply a link to Apollo?

 

The earthly reflection of Apollyon is Vespasian’s son Titus, the commander of the Legio XV Apollinaris (Fifteenth Apollonian Legion). Initially the commander of the Fifteenth Legion, Titus then went on to succeed his father as general over all the Roman legions during the Jewish War after his father had become Caesar, a title also bestowed on Titus at his father’s coronation. As Caesar, Titus was entitled to worship as a god in the imperial cult, and like Apollo, the son of Zeus, could also be labeled the Son of God–a perfect title for the beast.

 

At the start of the Jewish War, Titus was the general of the Fifteenth Legion. With Apollo as its patron, the Fifteenth Legion was suitably nicknamed Apollinaris, a name meaning “devoted to Apollo.” The Fifteenth Legion would always carry an emblem of Apollo or one of his holy animals wherever it went. Not surprisingly, the locust was one of Apollo’s holy animals. Now it is easy to see why the author of Revelation chose locusts to symbolize the soldiers of the Roman army following the precedence set in Joel. So “devoted to Titus” was his army that at the taking of the Jewish temple, they unanimously declared him emperor of Rome in fulfillment of v. 11 in which Apollyon is said to have been “king over them.”

 

This play on words for “Apollo”–the god of death and plague–and “Destroyer” in the name Apollyon perfectly describes the man directly responsible for the remaining plagues of Revelation who was the “destroyer” of Jerusalem.  And who coincidentally besieged the city FOR EXACTLY 5 MONTHS just as stated in Rev 9:10!” [79]

 

While at a Berean Bible Church Conference, I had the pleasure of speaking along-side Robert Cruickshank Jr. where he spoke on this subject directly.  Here is a helpful quote from his notes addressing Nero being the beast and yet influenced and made in the image of the Satanic beast of the underworld,

 

“In “THE BACKGROUNDS AND MEANING OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST,” Rebekah Yi Liu makes the interesting observation: “The Bible starts and ends with the making of an image.

 

The first mention of making an image is found in Gen 1: the making of human beings in God’s image. The language of Revelation 13 alludes to the Genesis story of the creation of human beings. Verbally, the language of Revelation 13 parallels the language of creation in Genesis 1-2. The same nouns occur in both passages, i.e., sea (Gen 1:10, Rev 13:1), land (Gen 1:10, Rev 13:11), beasts (Gen 1: 24, Rev 13:1, 11), image (Gen 1: 26, 27, Rev 13:14).” Drawing on the Septuagint, she notes that “the verbs used for the making of the image are the same” (p. 97).

 

In Genesis, God “makes” man in his own “image” (Gen. 1:26) and “breathes” life into his nostrils (Gen. 2:7). In Revelation 13, an “image” is “made” of the Sea Beast, and life is “breathed” into it (Rev. 13:14-15).  This represents “a reversal of the creation account” (Yi Liu, p. 98).

 

Verse 15 talks about The False Prophet causing people to worship the image of the Beast. Steven Friesen notes: “Sacrificial activity for the emperors took place in a myriad of contexts. Emperors were worshipped in their own temples, at temples of other gods, in theaters, in gymnasiums, in stoas…in judicial settings, in private homes and elsewhere. Imperial cults,” says Friesen, “were everywhere” (Satan’s Throne, p. 363).

 

Just as man was made to be God’s image-bearer, by subduing the earth and bringing order to God’s Creation, Nero became the image-bearer of Leviathan (God’s age-old enemy) and attempted to bring chaos to God’s newly created order – the New covenant Church.”[80]

 

The last of Daniel’s four beasts is Rome and it comprises both Roman elements (iron) and that of the apostate Jews and Herodian dynasty (clay) (Dan. 2:40-43).[81]  These groups have a love-hate relationship which made the kingdom vulnerable and weak.  At first, they both come together in seeking to destroy Christ and the early church, but since clay does not mix or cling with iron, the apostate Jews (clay) rebel against the Romans (iron) in this results in the Roman Jewish war.

 

As we move into Revelation, the beast theme is addressing Nero the sixth king, the Roman Empire (the sea beast), the apostate Jews (the land beast) and the Satanic seven headed beast or dragon from the underworld who is pulling the strings of these other beasts to come against Christ, His saints and to eventually turn on each other tear apart Jerusalem and her temple. Therefore, the judgment of Satan within the beast theme was also fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 along with the other enemies in the great end of the age war of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

While the Roman Empire did not end in AD 70, its ability to rule or “shake” God’s kingdom did.  The 4 Gentile world empires that ruled over God’s people in Daniel were able to “shake” God’s Old Covenant kingdom of Israel (destroy and loot her city and temple).  But in AD 70, Rome’s power to do so was destroyed and lost because post AD 70 God’s kingdom (city and temple) on earth is set up within the hearts of His people and thus could no longer be shaken, plundered or destroyed.  The riches of this kingdom are found in the righteousness of Christ buried deep within the hearts of His people never to be taken!  It is in this way that the entire statue of Daniel 2 (the four Gentile Kingdoms & apostate Jews) comes crashing down when the stone (Christ & His Kingdom) strike it.

 

This end time “THE Battle” of Revelation 19 goes on to describe the covenant cursing divorcement and judgment of God’s OC Wife/Jerusalem, while at the same time He consummates His marriage to His NC Wife/the New Jerusalem (the Church). While the wedding feast takes place for the NC Wife/Jerusalem, the OC Harlot Wife/Jerusalem gets fed to the birds – “all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh” (Rev. 19:6-9; 21).

 

This is in direct harmony with Jesus’ teaching concerning the Roman / Jewish war – in that OC Judaism would be a left a dead body feasted upon by the birds (Mt. 24:28/Lk. 17:37).  John is also in direct harmony with Jesus concerning the eschatological wedding theme when at the time of the wedding God was going to send His armies (the Romans) to “kill those [OC Jewish] murderers” and “burn their city” (Mt. 22:7).  Like the unfaithful wife of a priest, OC Jerusalem is both stoned and burned in the unfolding events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

Revelation 20 – THE war of Gog and Magog

 

Men like James Jordan, [82] Gary DeMar[83] and David Lowman believe the battle of Gog and Magog was fulfilled during the time of Esther when Haman gathered the nations at that time to come and attack Israel but were defeated by God.  Let me seek to summarize the main points of this position:

  • “Ezra and Nehemiah both mention the large amounts of silver and gold that the Jews brought back from exile. These are the same items we are told the approaching armies were attacking to plunder.

 

  • The battle with Haman’s armies takes place after Israel is returned to the land—during Darius’ reign. Ezekiel prophesied until just a few short decades before this time.

 

  • Esther and Ezekiel’s enemies from the north both contain Persia and Ethiopia.

 

  • In a very short battle [in Esther] the Israelites destroy Haman’s army killing nearly 100,000 despite being greatly outnumbered.

 

  • Both passages state that the Jews were attacked by all of Persia’s provinces. DeMar argues well for parallel boundaries between the Persian Empire in Esther’s day and Gog/Magog and her allies in Ezekiel’s vision.

 

  • In Ezekiel’s vision, the Jews were living in unwalled towns. DeMar notes that this was also the case in Esther’s day, which makes sense since they were part of the Persian Empire at that time, an empire known for its benevolence and for taking good care of its subjects.

 

  • Haman (the enemy of Esther) is shown to be an “Agagite” and even a “Gogite” in some manuscripts. That the invaders in Ezekiel’s vision would be buried in the Valley of “Hamon-Gog.”

Others such as William Hendriksen see the first historical and typological reference to the war of Gog and Magog to be during the time of the Seleucids,

 

“The expression ‘Gog and Magog’ is borrowed from the book of Ezekiel, where the term undoubtedly indicates that power of the Seleucids especially as it was revealed in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the bitter enemy of the Jews. The center of his kingdom was located in North Syria. Seleucus established his residence there in the city of Antioch on the Orontes. To the east his territory extended beyond the Tigris. To the north the domain over which the Seleucids ruled included Mesheck and Tubal, districts in Asia Minor. Accordingly, Gog was the prince of Magog, that is, Syria. Therefore, the oppression of God’s people by ‘Gog and Magog’, refers, in Ezekiel, to the terrible persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of Syria.”[84]

 

If this view is correct and the attack of Gog and Magog (Syria under Antiochus Epiphanes) was the last great oppression which Israel endured to close the OT, it stands to reason that John in the book of Revelation would use this as a symbolic or type/anti-type description of the end time battle to close the Old Covenant age and the liberation of the New Covenant Israel of God.

 

Either way, John is using the symbolism of a past battle of Gog and Magog within Israel’s history to depict a future (but “shortly,” “at hand,” “soon,” and “about to be”) persecution and battle for John and his contemporaries to experience and relate to.

 

Also notice that the use of ancient weapons is being used and burned (Ezek. 38:4-5; 39:9) which would fit the warfare, destruction and fire of AD 67 – AD 70 more than it would a description of nuclear or modern-day warfare.

 

Here we have Satanically led nations being gathered from the four corners of the earth (or better translated as the land of Palestine) to make war and surround the New Jerusalem (the Church).  The Greek word here for “earth” is ge and is consistently and accurately translated as “land” in Revelation from the Young’s Literal Translation.  These are not nations gathered from all ends of the globe, but are rather from the world as they knew it (the Roman Empire) or the “land” of Palestine or that of the Jews.

 

But who are the “nations” involved?  Well, the Roman army consisted of all the nations of the then known world that she had conquered and as we have seen both Nero and Rome were known as a/the “beast” which persecuted and thus waged war with the early Church (the New Jerusalem / the Saints God loves).

 

But the apostate Jews also persecuted and waged war against the first century Christians known to be a part of the beast and as James Stuart Russell points out, they too were understood to be “nations” and “kings,”

 

“In our Lord’s time it was usual to speak of the inhabitants of Palestine as consisting of several nations. Josephus speaks of ‘the nation of the Samaritans…” ‘the nation of the Galileans…’ etc… Judea was a distinct nation, often with a king of its own; so also, was Samaria; and so, with Idumea, Galilee, Perea…all of which had at different times princes with the title of Ethnarch, a name which signifies the ruler of a nation.”[85]

 

So, what we have here is an apocalyptic description of perhaps one or both persecuting powers – the Romans and apostate Jews seeking to destroy the New Covenant Jerusalem.  Before the Christians fled to Pella, there was in a sense a city (the New Covenant Jerusalem from above) within a city (the then present Old Covenant Jerusalem from below).

 

At some point, the Christians see the sign of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (Jewish, Roman or both) and flee the city to Pella as the Lord directed them.  They were protected by God while the nations who persecuted the Church destroy each other and are defeated in their effort to destroy the New Jerusalem.  In Revelation 21-22 the gates of the New Jerusalem are continually open post AD 70 in the New Covenant age — not only as a symbol for evangelism for the nations to come into her for salvation and healing, but as a symbol that there is no threat of Her destruction because God has defeated her enemies and watches over Her.

 

Christian Full Preterism brings together and harmonizes the classic Christian Amillennial view and the Christian Partial Preterist views regarding the time frame of this ONE end time war in the book of Revelation. Consider the following:

 

Major Premise:  If “THE war” and judgment scenes of Revelation 16 – 20 are depicting ONE time of the end event (through typical prophetic recapitulation – Classic Amillennial View).

 

Minor Premise:  But “THE war” and judgment scenes of Revelation 16-19 were fulfilled in and by AD 70, (Partial Preterist View).

 

Conclusion: Therefore, “THE war” (which is ONE and the same) and judgment scenes of Revelation 16-20 were fulfilled in and by AD 70 (the Full Preterist View).

 

The Martyr Vindication Theme

 

The “soon” Second Coming that took place at the end of the millennium was to vindicate the martyrs here in Revelation 20. Again, this is consistent with what we saw in Revelation 6 and 16-18 along with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23-24.

 

Through the imprecatory prayers of the persecuted Church and the cries of the martyrs, they call fire down upon the apostate mountain of OC Jerusalem and have it thrown into the sea (Mt. 21:18-22 / Rev. 8:1-8). It was through the preaching of the gospel throughout the then known world, the filling up the measure of Israel’s guilt in their killing of the martyrs, and the imprecatory prayers of the saints, that God uses to take the kingdom from OC Israel and give it to the Church in her restored, matured, and glorified form.

 

Concluding Full Preterism and Middle East Eschatology on the Last Days “THE War”

 

Contrary to the teachings of Muslims, Zionists, and Dispensational Zionists, and the ignorant speculations of Hollywood and the media, the gathering of the armies for “THE war” in the battle of Armageddon and or “The war” of Gog and Magog was an event that was fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary generation and thus “shortly” fulfilled in John’s day. When the first century Christians saw the sign of either the Zealot Idumean armies or the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem, they left the city and God used these armies to bring desolation and destruction upon the city and Temple.

 

The Church today is not to look to a sign of “wars and rumors of wars” or nuclear developments in the Middle East that allegedly will bring about “THE” final war and “rapture” of the Church. And she most assuredly is not to fund and support them – directly or indirectly!

 

SIX

 

THE NT IMMINENT SECOND COMING FULFILLED BY AD 70

 

The third area we are critiquing Islam, Israeli Zionism and Premillennial Zionism on is their understanding of an imminent Second Coming of Jesus (Islam & Premillennial Zionism) or a coming Messianic deliverer (Israeli Zionism).

 

In previous chapters we noted how Islam and Muhammad predicted an imminent Second Coming of Jesus and last hour of judgment to occur within his generation or within a hundred years of him passing.  This alone disqualifies Islam.  But ironically, modern Islamic apologists seek to disqualify the Christian NT Jesus, since he clearly predicted His Second Coming and end of the world would occur within His generation.  Since the end of world history did not occur in his generation, they reason he is a false prophet, and we need to trust the Quran’s teaching on Jesus.  But as pointed out, the Muhammad Jesus failed to come when he said he would to.

Modern apologists of Judaism use the same “argument” as to why Jesus could never be the Messiah – he failed to come when he said he would and say, “just look around, obviously the glorious Messianic kingdom has not arrived” – they reason.

 

And as we noted earlier, Premillennial Zionists simply stick their heads in the sand and pretend that Jesus and the NT authors never really predicted a first century Second Coming of Jesus.  They also have the same carnal misunderstanding of the Messianic Kingdom being a literal glorious kingdom on earth.  They likewise reason that “since the planet earth didn’t dissolve in AD 70 and Jesus didn’t float down on a literal cloud in AD 70 to rule and reign on earth, Christ’s kingdom must be “postponed” until he comes in our near future to set up an earthly Kingdom during a literal thousand years millennial period – with another Temple and animal sacrifices taking place.

 

All three of these religious systems fail to understand and embrace either the imminent time or apocalyptic nature of the Second Coming as taught by Christ and the authors of the NT.  And to this subject we turn our attention.

 

The Big Three  

 

Here I will exegete correctly what Islamic and Jewish apologists (along with other Bible critics) appeal to as “the big three” texts where Jesus allegedly is found to be a false prophet.  They also point out these three passages were understood by the writers of the NT to buttress their doctrine of a first century Second Coming and end of world history event — that failed to happen. They reason this failure proves the NT is not an inspired book as it claims to be.

 

While I agree with my critics that Jesus and the NT authors claimed both divine inspiration and the fulfillment of a first century Second Coming event, their failure is in not understanding the familiar OT apocalyptic (symbolic & metaphorical) language of Christ coming upon the clouds, stars falling, ect., and that Jesus nor any NT writer ever predicted the end of world history – on the end of the Old Covenant world.

 

If I can prove the above premise, then I will have proven the following:

 

1).  Jesus is both Messiah and God (as He claimed).

2).  The NT is an inspired document whereby we learn to live out our lives with grace and peace.

3).  Islam, Israeli Zionists and Premillennial Zionists need to come to the Jesus of the Scriptures and not one they have imagined and fashioned to fit their political and religious agendas.

 

#1 Matthew 10:17-23

 

  • “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.  You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.  “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

 

The first century disciples are clearly told that they (not us) would not run out of cities within Israel to flee to (for protection – cities of refuge) before the Son of man came upon the clouds to judge Jerusalem in AD 70.  As D.A. Carson correctly points out,

 

“vv. 17–22, pictures the suffering witness of the church in the post-Pentecost period during a time when many of Jesus’ disciples are still bound up with the synagogue.  vv. 23 The “coming of the Son of Man” here refers to his coming in judgment against the Jews, culminating in the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.”[86]

 

Unfortunately, not many Reformed or Evangelicals are as honest as Carson is on our first text.  Most can’t comprehend how Christ could “come” in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70 so they simply make-up the idea that somehow Christ means Him “coming” in the events of the cross, resurrection or at Pentecost.  There are two main problems with this theory.

 

First, Jesus is very specific that there are some events that would transpire before His “coming” “salvation” and “end” arrive:  1. Some would be scourged in synagogues, 2. Some would be brought before governors and kings, 3. The Holy Spirit would be given as miraculously defense and 4.  Some would be put to death during a period of severe persecution.  NONE of these events took place before the crucifixion, but ALL of these are laid out for in the book of Acts and took place before Christ came in the judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70

 

Secondly, Jesus’ teaching here in Matthew 10:17-23 is a snapshot and introduction of the same event described more in-depth in Matthew 24 – the persecution, the power of the Holy Spirit for a defense, the preaching (GC – still local – known Roman world), and parousia (or Second Coming of the Son of Man) are all said to be fulfilled in the same first century time period (i.e. their “this generation” vs. 34).

 

Matthew 10:17-23 and the Olivet Discourse – the Analogy of Faith (Jesus interprets Jesus)

 

Matthew 10:17-23 Olivet Discourse
1).  Delivered up to local councils and synagogues (Mt. 10:17) 1).  Delivered up to local councils and             synagogues (Mrk. 13:9)
2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mt. 10:18) 2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mrk. 13:9)
3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them     (Mt. 10:19-20) 3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them (Mrk. 13:11)
4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mt. 10:22) 4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mrk. 13:12-13)
5).  The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted in preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the “end” and Son of Man would come (Mt. 10:23) 5).  The disciples & Paul were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place (Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10)

 

 

Jesus is not saying in this text that the first century disciples would not be able to finish evangelizing all the towns of Israel before His Second Coming would be fulfilled.  Rather, He is comforting and instructing them that while completing their mission to Israel (roughly between AD 26 – AD 66) they would not have run out of cities to flee to for safety before He returned.  Right up to the end, He would provide them with a city of refuge, somewhere in Israel.  After all Paul confirms that all nations throughout the then known Roman world had heard the gospel in his day (cf. Rms. 10:18; 16:25-26; Cols. 1:5-6, 23;).

 

#2 Matthew 16:27-28 / Mark 8:38—9:1

 

  • “For the Son of Man will (or is “about to…” YLT) come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Mt. 16:27-28).

 

  • “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has [“already” Rotherham Translation] come with power” (Mrk. 8:38—9:1)

 

Before I begin my exegesis of this key text, it is important for others to see that conservative Christians have correctly pointed out our passage is both referring to Jerusalem being destroyed in AD 70 and that it functions as a guide to understanding Christ coming as apocalyptic language and NT imminence is to be interpreted literally.

 

Matthew Henry correctly points out that the coming of the Son of Man in judgment here is referring to,

 

“…the destruction of Jerusalem, and the taking away of the place and nation of the Jews, who were the most bitter enemies to Christianity. Many then present lived to see it, particularly John, who lived till after the destruction of Jerusalem, and saw Christianity planted in the world. “Behold, the Lord is at hand. The Judge standeth before the door; be patient, therefore, brethren.” (Jms. 5:7-9).”[87]

 

Reformed theologian and Westminster “divine” John Lightfoot also agree,

 

“[The kingdom of God coming in power.] In Matthew, it is the Son of man coming in his kingdom. The coming of Christ in his vengeance and power to destroy the unbelieving and most wicked nation of the Jews is expressed under these forms of speech. Hence the day of judgment and vengeance: I. It is called “the great and terrible day of the Lord,” Acts 2:20; 2 Thess. 2:2,3. II. It is described as “the end of the world,” Jeremiah 4:27; Matthew 24:29, &c. III. In that phrase, “in the last times,” Isaiah 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Peter 3:3; that is, in the last times of that city and dispensation. IV. Thence, the beginning of the “new world,” Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13. V. The vengeance of Christ upon that nation is described as his “coming,” John 21:22; Hebrews 10:37: his “coming in the clouds,” Revelation 1:7: “in glory with the angels,” Matthew 24:30, &c. VI. It is described as the ‘enthroning of Christ, and his twelve apostles judging the twelve tribes of Israel,’ Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30. Hence this is the sense of the present place: Our Saviour had said in the last verse of the former chapter, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels,” to take punishment of that adulterous and sinful generation. And he suggests, with good reason, that that his coming in glory should be in the lifetime of some that stood there.”[88]

1). “For the Son of Man is about to come…” (Mt. 16:27YLT)

 

The YLT, DARBY, WUESTNT, and WEY translations correctly translate Jesus’ return here as “about to come” or “soon to come.” These translations are accurate since this is the consistent usage of the Greek word mello in Matthew’s gospel let alone it’s predominated usage in the rest of the New Testament. Let’s briefly see how mello is used in Mathew’s gospel:

 

A).  In Matthew 2:13 WEY, Herod is “about to” seek to kill Jesus, and therefore Joseph and Mary need to “escape.”  Mello here is communicating a near imminent danger not just a certain or general danger to be aware of.

 

B).  In Matthew 3:7 GNT, John was preaching to the Pharisees concerning a “wrath about to come.”  The GNT of mello here as “about to” is supported by the immediate context in that John was preaching a kingdom that was “at hand” (Mt. 3:2) in which both the wrath and kingdom would be manifested imminently since God already had His ax at the root of the trees (Mt. 3:10) and His harvesting winnowing fork was already in His hand (Mt. 3:12).  This “winnowing fork” was the tool used at the end of the harvest period to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Jesus likewise teaches the “end of the [Old Covenant] age” resurrection harvest gathering would be fulfilled in His contemporary generation (cf. Mt. 13:39-43/Mt. 24:3, 31-34).

 

C).  In Mathew 17:10-13 mello is used twice. The first occurrence refers to the Jews expecting Elijah “about to” come to prepare the way for Messiah.  In other words, Elijah was the one the entire nation understood to be “about to come” in their day and the text tells us that he had already come in the person of John the Baptist.

 

Many Premillennial Zionists reject Jesus’ direct teaching here that John is the fulfillment of the one who would prepare the way for Christ’s “about to come” “great and dreadful day” of Malachi 4:5-6.  They instead speculate that he will again appear in the future as one of the witnesses in Revelation 11!

 

The second occurrence of mello in this passage is not referring to the general fact that Jesus is going to suffer, but that He was “about to” suffer and be mistreated as John the Baptist was.

D).  In Matthew 24:6 WEY, “Before long” the disciples would begin hearing of a general sign of “wars and rumors of wars,” but Jesus said the “end” (of the Old Covenant age) was not.  Jesus gave general signs that they would begin hearing about in their near future, while the two specific ones (the Great Commission (Mt. 24:14) and the “armies surrounding Jerusalem” (Lk. 21:20) would mark that Christ’s Second Coming was indeed “near.”

 

To conclude this point, Christ’s “about to” coming (Mt. 16:27) is consistent with Christ’s coming in the lifetime of “some” of the crowd listening to him in the next verse – 28!  After thousands of years of the world and Israel awaiting the Seed of the woman or the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom, the span of some of the crowd’s lifetime was a short time for them to wait and thus it was “about to” be fulfilled.

2). “Verily I say unto you…” (Mt. 16:28)

Jesus’ phrase “verily,” “truly,” or “most assuredly I say unto you,” is used some 99 times in the gospels and gives the meaning of “Absolutely,” “really,” “may it be fulfilled,” and is used as a phrase of emphasis to drive home a point that has gone before it. It is never used to introduce a new subject.  Yet in-spite of this fact, Thomas Ice who is a Dispensational Premillennial Zionist has sought to refute our exegesis of this text by claiming,

 

“…verse twenty-seven looks at the establishment of the kingdom in the future, while a promise of seeing the Messiah in His glory is the thought of verse twenty-eight. They are two separate predictions separated by the words ‘truly I say to you’”[89]

 

But Mr. Ice does not produce one passage where Jesus’ phrase “Truly I say unto you” is ever used to separate the subject matter previously discussed and to introduce and new subject! Since he cannot produce any evidence for his statement, his point at the very least is unscholarly and at worst, irresponsible and deceptive.

 

I remember attending the Evangelical Theological Society one time where a Premillennial Zionist was speaking on the subject of Preterism.  When he approached Matthew 16:27-28 he regurgitated Thomas Ice’s point that “very I say unto you” can be used to introduce a new subject.  In the Q&A session I publicly asked, “can you give me just ONE instance in the teachings of Jesus where the phrase “verily I say unto you” is used to introduce a new subject?”  He stalled for a long time and said, “no.”  I then responded, “please do not parrot the so-called “scholarship” of other Zionists who likewise have not done the homework you clearly haven’t done either.  I have looked up the phrase everywhere it is used and not haven’t found one place where it introduces a new subject.  Just the opposite in fact is the truth –  it is always used to link the previous subject matter with what follows and that is how it is used here in Matthew 16:27-28.  The fact that Christ was “about to come” was exciting to the crowd listening and Jesus wanted to ram-home the point by pointing out it was so near in fact that “some of you standing here shall not die until” you see it fulfilled.”  It was a mic drop moment and I enjoyed it.

 

3). “Some standing here shall not taste of death” and “the kingdom of God” (Mt. 16:28)

As we study Christ’s teachings elsewhere in the Gospels and other related passages in the Old and New Testaments concerning: 1) The physical death of some of the 12 and their first century contemporaries along with 2) The Son of Man coming and the arrival of the kingdom of God in power, we discover Christ is addressing a very specific and prophetic persecution coming in the Apostolic generation than just alluding to some of them dying off of because of mere old age. The only event in the teachings of Jesus that associates the death of some of the Apostles or Saints with the Kingdom of God is the persecution preceding his Second Coming event (cf. Mt. 10:16-23; Lk. 21:16-32; Mt. 23:31-36; Jn. 21:19-22; Rev. 6:10-11, 17; 16:6, 15; 18:5, 20.) The only exception to this is the death of Judas.

 

Daniel’s prophecy confirms Jesus’ teaching.  In Daniel 2, 7, 9, and 12 we learn the following:

1) The kingdom would come and be established during the time of the Roman Empire (cf. Dan. 2 & 7). 2) There would be a time of persecution and death for believers before the Son of Man would come upon the clouds in judgment (Dan. 7:13-22).  Another OT source for Jesus’ coming in our text is Daniel 7:13-14 and Jesus made it clear that Daniel’s prophecy (and “all” OT prophecy) would be fulfilled in His generation (Mt.24:15, 34; Lk.21:20-22).

Some of our opponents have made some real crucial mistakes in trying to refute us on this text. Again, Thomas a prominent Premillennial Zionist, makes another blunder in trying to refute us on this critical passage,

 

“A further problem with the preterist view is that our Lord said “some of those standing here…” It is clear that the term “some” would have to include at least two or more individuals…” “…Peter notes that “John only survived among the 12 disciples till the destruction of Jerusalem.”[90]

 

In other word’s Ice is claiming that the twelve apparently were the only ones Jesus was addressing in this text and therefore if only John was alive till the destruction of Jerusalem, then that does not meet the definition of “some” because “some” necessitates more than one. However, Mark’s account clearly states, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said:…” (Mk. 8:34 – 9:1).

 

This is but yet another embarrassing printed “argument” that is blatantly false.  The first was that “verily I say unto you” (Mt. 16:28) was allegedly used to introduce a new subject (the transfiguration) when the truth is it is never used to introduce a new subject but rather connect what went before with what follows.   Now we have a second embarrassing “argument” in that exposes this Premillennial “prophecy expert” “debater” doesn’t even to take the time to read Mark’s account to see Jesus was speaking to an entire “crowd” and not just the 12?!?  Amazing!

 

4). “…in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh…” (Mk. 8:38).

 

This passage is not dealing with his listeners sleeping with women other than their wives.  It is referring to Israel being known as committing spiritual and covenantal adulterous by rejecting the Messiah / Groom standing right in front of them.  While Christ does not specifically mention Jerusalem’s divorce and remarriage directly in our text, it is implied in Him being “ashamed” of His contemporary “adulterous generation” at His Second Coming event which necessitates both of these eschatological motifs. This and one of Jesus’ OT sources here, addresses Him coming with His “reward” and the eschatological wedding motif. (cf. Isa. 62:4-5, 11).

 

Under the Old Covenant God was married to (cf. Israel Ex. 19-24). This marriage was both pictured as a monogamous marriage (God married to a Mother/Israel) and then after the splitting of the northern kingdom and the southern kingdoms, a polygamous marriage. The picture then becomes God taking two daughters (or sisters) as His wives: 1) Israel (Aholah / Samaria capital of Israel) and 2) Judah (Aholibah / Jerusalem capital of Judah) (cf. Jer. 31:31-32; Ezek. 1:1-4; 1 Kings 11:9-13). These two sisters were notorious for their adultery and playing the prostitute (cf. Ezek. 23:3; Jer. 3).

 

Although God divorced Israel through the Assyrian captivity, He remained married to His other harlot wife Judah, from which line Jesus would come. Judah/Jerusalem was judged by the Babylonian captivity but never divorced (Ezek. 23:22-45).

 

The book of Hosea describes God divorcing Israel through the Assyrian captivity.  He divorced her and put her to death by burying her like a seed in the land of the Gentiles.  Hosea also predicts Judah’s harvest divorcement / judgment in her last days.  But there is hope in that Hosea also predicts God will betroth and re-marry Israel in those same last days.

 

Under the Old Covenant a wife caught in adultery would be stoned and the wife of a priest would be burned.  As we looked at in Revelation 19 the harlot wife of Old Covenant Jerusalem was both stoned and or burned!

 

Therefore, Jesus in Matthew 16:27/Mark 8:38 is describing the judgment of the “adulterous generation/wife” in an “about to be” AD 70 time frame.  Concerning the phrase “be ashamed of” – the adulterous Old Covenant wife would be left without a wedding garment stripped naked and left ashamed (Rev. 17:6), while His New Covenant wife would be clothed in Christ’s righteousness as His New Jerusalem or “house from above” – unashamed and “further clothed” with costly gold, gems, etc… (cf. Mt. 22:1-14; Rev. 3:18; 19:8/2 Cor. 5:1-21; Rev. 21:11ff.).

 

We will pick up the divorce and re-marriage motif in connection with Christ’s first century Second Coming again in Matthew 25:1-12 and in Revelation 17-21 (where it is more directly mentioned).

 

5). “…There, are, certain of those here standing, who shall in nowise taste of death, until they see the kingdom of God, alreadycome in power.” (Mrk. 9:1 Rotherham Translation).

In Mark’s parallel account, we learn that some within the crowd Jesus is addressing live to see His return and His kingdom coming — when he uses the perfect participle while Matthew uses the future tense. In other words, Mark is saying that some of the disciples would live to be able to look back on this event knowing that the coming of the Lord and His kingdom had already come in power. Kenneth Gentry concedes this point citing J.A Alexander:

 

“Here “come” is “not, as the English words may seem to mean, in the act of coming (till they see it come), but actually or already come, the only sense that can be put upon the perfect participle here employed.”[12] Thus, His disciples were to expect its exhibition in power. It was not powerfully to evidence itself immediately, for many of His disciples would die before it acted in power. Yet it was to be within the lifetimes of others, for “some” standing there would witness it. This seems clearly to refer to the A.D. 70 destruction of the temple and removal of the Old Testament means of worship (cf. Heb. 12:25-28; Rev.1:1, 3, 9). This occurred as a direct result of Jesus’ prophecies (John 4:21-23; Mt. 21:33ff.; 23:31-34:34).”[91]

Jesus tells the disciples that some of them would live to “see” His coming and that the Kingdom would have “already come” in power to bear witness of His return. The Greek word here for “see” is eido. Strong’s Concordance defines eido as to “know how” and “perceive” as well as physical sight.

 

Through observing with the physical senses Christ coming through the power of the Romans to desolate the outer shell of the Old Covenant Kingdom, Temple and City in AD 70, “some” of Jesus’ contemporary audience would be able to “perceive” and “know how” Christ’s spiritual Kingdom had “already come” “within” them (cf. Mrk. 8:38-9:1; Lk.17:20-37; Cols.1:27; Jn. 14:2-3, 23).  By connecting Mark 8:38–9:1 with Luke 17:20-37 Christians today can also experientially know and can see from reading our Lord’s words and the testimony of the Scriptures, that Christ’s Second Coming and His Kingdom have “already come” and been established “within” us and the rest of His Body.

 

Just a sidenote.  This text is one of many that refutes a literal so called “rapture” off the earth for the living and remaining at Christ’s return! The fact that they would remain on the earth and “know” He had “already come” coincides with what the prophet says in Isaiah when we learn there are “survivors” of the “Day of the Lord” which continue preaching the gospel to “sinners” in the New Creation (cf. Isa. 65-66).

 

6). Matthew 16:27-28 and the Olivet Discourse – the Analogy of Faith (Jesus interprets Jesus)

 

Earlier we saw that the content of the coming of the Son of Man as developed in Matthew 10:17-23 was a snapshot of what Jesus would develop more fully in the Olivet Discourse.  The same can be said of Matthew 16:27-28 being an abbreviated form of Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse concerning the same events and same first century time of fulfillment.

 

Matthew 16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1).  Christ comes in glory (Lk. 9:26) 1).  Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30)
2).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27) 2).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31)
3).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 3).  Christ comes in judgment

(Mt. 24:28-31; 25:31-34)

4).  Christ and the kingdom come in power(Mrk. 8:38) 4).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32)
5).  Some of the disciples would live

(Mt. 16:28)

5).  Some of the disciples would live

(Lk. 21:16-18)

6).  Some of the disciples would die

(Mt. 16:28)

6).  Some of the disciples would die

(Lk. 21:16)

7).  Christ would be ashamed of some in His “this adulterous generation” (Mrk. 8:38) 7).  All of this would occur in His contemporary“this generation” (Mt. 24:34)

 

 

7).  How the NT authors develop Matthew 16:27-28 confirm our exegesis/interpretation

 

If the Preterist exegesis of Matthew 16:27-28 is correct in that Jesus’ “about to be” Second Coming event (vs. 27) was so imminent, that it would be witnessed in the lifetimes of some of those listening to Him (vs. 28), and thus He would be ashamed of their contemporary “this adulterous generation” at His coming (Mrk. 8:38–9:1), then as that first century audience and generation was closing, then the same events of Matthew 16:27-28 listed would be connected to a “soon” Second event as that generation was closing.  And that is exactly what we see:

 

Matthew 16:27-28 / Mark 8:38—9:1 Revelation 22:12 / Revelation 17:16”
1).  “The Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels,…” 1).  “Behold I am coming soon;…”
2).  “then he shall reward every man according to his works.” 2).  “…bringing my reward with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
3).  “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” 3).  “They will make her (the adulterous prostitute – Old Covenant Jerusalem) desolate and naked…”. *Adulterous women in the ancient world were put to shame and stripped naked (cf. Isa. 47:2-3; Jer. 13:26; Lam. 1:8-9; Ezek. 16:37, 39; 23:29; Hos. 2:10; Nah. 3:5).

 

 

The Apostle Paul taught that some of his contemporaries would live to witness Christ’s Second Coming event – “we shall not all die,…” “we who are alive…” (1 Cor. 15:51; 1 Thess. 4:15).     

 

8). Matthew 16:27-28 and the Transfiguration event

Premillennial Zionists such as Thomas Ice who seek to disprove some of the first century disciples Jesus is addressing in Matthew 16:28 would live to witness the Second Coming event in verse 27 try and argue that since the transfiguration event is followed by Jesus’ teaching here in all three synoptic gospels, this must be the event Jesus is referring to.[92]

 

Remember that Dr. Ice claimed “verily I say unto you” can be used to introduce a new subject – when in fact it is never used to do such.  So, Mr. Ice is attempting to pawn off the theory that the event that some of the first century disciples would live to witness is the transfiguration event in the following chapter.  And while “verily I say unto you” is never used to transition to a new subject matter (rather it is used to link the subject which has gone before with what follows), the Greek word kai or “and” is used often as a change of subject and Jesus uses it here – “and after six days Jesus…” (Mt. 17:1).

 

Since the transfiguration event does follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 16:27-28, is there a relationship?  We believe there is.  In the vision, when Peter wants Moses and Elijah to remain and abide with the other disciples and Jesus, God causes the glory of Moses and Elijah to disappear. The theology of the vision is directed at the appearing and disappearing of the Old Covenant order pictured in the glory of Moses and Elijah (the law and the prophets), with the emphasis on the eternal abiding glory of the New Covenant words of Christ – “here Him” (Mt. 17:5-8; cf. Mt.24:35). To seek the abiding glory and nature of the Old Covenant (Moses and Elijah) along with the new (the glory of Christ) was the theological error of the Judaizers and mockers of Peter’s day were making! With this in mind we can now understand Peter’s appeal to the vision as an apologetic against the mockers and false teachers of his day.

The 1 Peter 1:16-19 passage is now very easy to understand. Peter is under attack by the Judaizers who are claiming that he and the other disciples have been teaching Christians “cleverly devised stories” about the Second Coming (2 Pet. 1:16a). Peter’s apologetic against this charge is that he has two other Apostolic witnesses that will bear witness that they got their teaching of the Second Coming as direct revelation from the Father and the Son on the Mount of Transfiguration–verses 16b-18. Although Peter does not use the Greek word metamorphoo, he describes the Church going through a similar process in verse 19a when he says it is “…a light shining in a dark place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.” The “day” singular is none other than the “last day” of John’s gospel and the “in that day” or last day (singular) of (Lk.17/Mt.24-25).

There are only two other places in the New Testament where this Greek word transfigured or transformed is used:  Romans 12:2 & 2 Corinthians 3:18.

 

Paul’s “therefore” of Romans 12:1 is linking it with his teaching on the unsearchable riches of the New Covenant “mystery” (Jew/Gentile) or salvation that he has been developing throughout and reaches its peak here in Romans 11:15, 25-36.  In Romans 7-8 the issue with the Old Covenant law of sin and death and the New Covenant law of the spirit, is realized within the “mind” and walking in this newness.  In chapters 12 and on, are the practical applications of living out this New Covenant salvation and life which was imminently coming at Christ’s return is described as the “night” (of the Old Covenant age) fading away or being “far gone” and the “day” (of the New Covenant age) being “at hand” (cf. Rms. 13:11-12.)

The only other New Testament passage in which metamorphoo is used is in 2 Corinthians 3:18. This text is even a clearer covenantal contrasting section within Paul’s writings. The Church was in the process of “being transformed” into the likeness of Christ which was connected with the Old Covenant veil being lifted from the eyes of their minds and hearts. This was obviously not a literal or biological transformation process but a spiritual and covenantal one!  The Old Covenant glory was “passing away” (2 Cor. 3:7-11) just as the glory of Moses and Elijah had disappeared in the vision given on the mount!  The Old Covenant glory was like Moses seeing God’s face and then that glory fading away, while the New Covenant glory of the gospel is like the creation of the light of day manifested in our hearts – resulting in seeing Christ’s face which does not fade away (2 Cor. 4:6/Rev. 22:4-7ff.).

Since we agree with most who understand the transfiguration event to be a foreshadowing or prefiguring of the parousia we need to ask where in the vision are the following: 1) the passing and burning of the planet earth, 2) Christ floating down on a literal cloud someday and 3) corpses flying out of their caskets at the end of time to be united with their spirits?  The vision of the parousia in the transfiguration event gives us a theological picture/description of what the parousia was going to be all about – the passing and fulfilling of the Old Covenant promises and the bringing in and establishing of the abiding New by AD 70.

 

The first two coming of the Son of Man passages in Matthew 10:17-23 and Matthew 16:27-28/Mark 8:38—9:1 are small snapshots and actually form the main content of Christ’s teaching of His Second Coming the Olivet Discourse:

 

Matthew 10:17-23/16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1).  Delivered up to councils and synagogues 

(Mt. 10:17)

1).  Delivered up to local councils and synagogues (Mrk. 13:9)
2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mt. 10:18) 2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mrk. 13:9)
3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them

(Mt. 10:19-20)

3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them (Mrk. 13:11)
4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mt. 10:22) 4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mrk. 13:12-13)
5).  The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. (Mt. 10:23) 5).  The disciples (and later Paul) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place.

(Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10)

6).  Christ comes in glory (Lk. 9:26) 6).  Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30)
7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27) 7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31)
8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 24:28-31;25:31-34)
9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mrk. 8:38) 9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32)
10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming  (Mt. 16:28) 10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming (Lk. 21:16-18)
11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Mt. 16:28) 11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Lk. 21:16)
12).  Christ was “about to come” and would be ashamed of some in His contemporary

“this generation” (Mt. 16:27YLT/Mrk. 8:38)

12).  All of this would occur and be “near” and “at the door” in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:33-34/Lk. 21:27-32)

 

#3 The Olivet Discourse Matthew 24-25 / Mark 13 / Luke 21

 

“Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things [Temple’s destruction, signs, end of the Old Covenant age and coming of the Son of Man] take place” (Mt. 24:34)

 

“So also, when you see these things taking place [signs, coming of the Son of Man, armies surrounding Jerusalem, etc.], you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place” (Lk. 21:31-32).

 

Before giving a rigorous exegesis of the Olivet Discourse, it may be good to see how it ties into the previous context of Matthew 23.  Some commentators connect Matthew 23-25 with a chiasm which begins with Pharisees hypocritically judging the people from Moses seat and ends with the Son of Man sitting upon His throne righteously judging those same hypocrites.  The issues in the middle are found primarily in Matthew 23-24 with the promise of Christ coming to judge the living and the dead and destroy the Temple within Jesus’ contemporary generation.  While I won’t develop a chiasm here, we should point out some comparisons, contrasts and issues that link them inseparably together.

 

The context and connections between Matthew 23-24

 

Matthew 23 Matthew 24-25
1).  The Pharisees sit in Moses seat and hypocritically judge the people and therefore will not inherit the Kingdom and are sentenced to hell (Mt. 23:2ff.). 1).  Jesus would sit on His glorious throne and judge those very hypocrites and they would not inherit the Kingdom (Mt. 25:31, 41-45).
2).  The “blind” Pharisees and Scribe’s evangelism produced “sons of hell” (Mt. 23:15). 2).  The evangelism of Jesus’ disciples would produce the end of the age, “look up” [to metaphorically see] the “near” “redemption” or inheritance of the Kingdom (Mt. 24:14/Lk. 21:28-32).
3).  They swore by the gold and beauty of the Temple, but Jesus prophesied the destruction of their Temple (Mt. 23:16-36). 3).  Jesus prophesied the destruction of their Temple and cursed them to eternal punishment (Mt. 24:1-2).
4).  The Pharisees would “fill up” the sin of Israel’s blood guilt and it would be completed after they persecuted and killed some of those Jesus would send to them (Mt. 23:31-36). 4).  The Pharisees would experience “wrath” and the “days of vengeance” for beating [in their councils and synagogues] and killing those of whom Jesus sent to evangelize Israel and Nations (Mrk. 13:9-13; cf. Mt. 10:17-23).
5).  This would be the time for the judgment of the living (the Pharisees) and the dead (vindication of the martyrs) (Mt. 23:31-36). 5).  This would be the time for the judgment of the living (“wrath against this people” “fall by the sword” “be led captive”) and the dead (Lk. 21:20-24; Mt. 25:31-46).
6).  The Pharisees had seven woes pronounced upon them and they would be judged when Christ came “again” to desolate their Temple (Mt. 23:13ff.) 6).   The “stars [Israel’s religious and civil rulers] would fall from heaven to earth when Jesus came upon the clouds to judged them and desolate their Temple (Mt. 24:3,29-30).
7).  In their contemporary “this generation,” they would see Him come “again” to judge them and “desolate” their Temple

(Mt. 23:31-39).

7).  The contemporary “this generation” of the disciples and Pharisees would witness Christ come in judgment and “desolate” their Temple (Mt. 24:1-2—34).

 

If we allow for some connections between Matthew 23 and Luke 17 (the same Second Coming event – even with Christ coming as the great light of the Sun shining from east to west) the Pharisees would be judged for what was “within” their unclean hearts, while when Christ and His Kingdom came in AD 70, it would be realized “withinthe hearts of a person [believer] (Mt. 23:27).

 

Let’s now turn our attention to how the Second Coming of Christ is described in Matthew 23:

 

“For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:39 / Psalm 118:26).

The Song of Ascent of Psalm 118:26 and taken from other Psalms, was supposed to be a song of joy and salvation that the Jews would sing on the walls of Jerusalem welcoming the pilgrims to their feast days, but God turned it into a “stage work” for their judgment (not the judgment of their enemies – the Romans).  The Jews were bottled up in Jerusalem (in AD 67 – AD 70) deceiving themselves into thinking God was going to save them from the Romans and usher in a carnal earthly kingdom in fulfillment of OT prophecies (the very mentality that Jesus warned about concerning the coming false prophets in Matthew 24).  In essence, God was forcing them to welcome their own judgment (in song form).  Instead of being met and welcoming pilgrims for the feasts (seeking peace and salvation), they were met with and forced to welcome, God coming in judgment through the Roman armies (as God had “come” in the OT – through the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc…).

That the Jews would not “discern what their end would be” was predicted in yet another song – the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:29). God/Messiah as their “Rock” is also a common theme in Deut. 32. Because they forsook God as their “Rock” (Jesus the coming “Corner Stone” of Psalm 118) and trusted in others, He brought upon them certain “disaster” in a particular “perverse generation” which the NT declares was the AD 30 – AD 70 one (cf. Deuteronomy 32:5, 20/Acts 2:40). The OT prophets would go on to describe this coming judgment as God’s “strange work” (judging them at a time when they expected God to judge their enemies).

The exegete also needs to pay attention to how Jesus uses Psalm 118 elsewhere.  Psalm 118:22 sheds light on how Jesus is using verse Psalm 118:26 in Matt. 23:39.  If Jesus uses Psalm 118:22 as being fulfilled in the AD 70 judgment (cf. Matt. 21:42-45), then the burden of proof is upon the Zionist to demonstrate that He is using Psalm 118 in a completely different way – ie. referring to a 2,000+ years distant future context for Israel’s alleged salvation.

Three simple points on Matthew 23:39:

1). Since Jesus used Psalm 118 elsewhere in Matthew to refer to the judgment coming in AD 70, this points us in the direction that He is using Psalm 118 in Matt. 23:39 to the same event.

2). The immediate context of Matt. 23-24 points to AD 70. It is this discussion of Christ “coming” in their (AD 30 – AD 70) “this generation” to destroy their “house” or “Temple” which spurs on a continued discussion regarding the SAME “coming,” the SAME time frame “this generation,” for the destruction of the SAME “Temple.”  It is commonplace for commentators to acknowledge that the disciples understood the Temple’s destruction to take place at Christ’s coming at the end of the age. However, these same commentators based upon a futurist bias claim the disciples were “mistaken” to connect these events. The disciples “understood” Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” (Matt. 13:39-51) and when we identify the “end of the age” to be the end of the Old Covenant age instead of the end of world history, all three (Temple’s destruction, coming of Christ, and end of the age) fall naturally within the “this generation” time frame.

3). Their “stumbling” over Christ produced a “strange work” (Isa. 28:21, etc… – God would come to judge them not deliver them – thus Jesus’ irony in using a song of salvation for their judgment)!

 

We definitely agree with our Premillennial Zionist opponents on the importance of correctly interpreting the Olivet Discourse, because how one understands it will dictate how one understands Bible prophecy throughout the Bible,

 

“A proper understanding of the Olivet Discourse is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to gain a clear picture of God’s plan for the ages.  This discourse is so significant that the way a person interprets it will impact his understanding of the rest of the prophecy in the Bible.”[93]

 

Matthew 23 ends with Christ coming again to judge the Pharisee and desolate their Temple in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”  There is a subtle “sign” in that Jesus hints this will be during one of their feasts when they sing the song of ascent from Psalm 118 upon their walls (“blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

 

Matthew 24 begins or picks up where Matthew 23 left off.  The Temple’s destruction, Jesus’ coming, and the signs are now developed in more detail, but again, with the alarming declaration that all of this will be fulfilled in their “this generation.”

 

The importance of the Olivet Discourse – the Rosetta Stone of all Bible prophecy

 

Thomas Ice writes the following on the alleged differences between Jesus’ use of “this generation” in Matthew 23 and 24:

“In fact, when one compares the use of “this generation” at the beginning of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 23:36 (which is an undisputed reference to AD 70) with the prophetic use in the Matthew 24:34, a contrast becomes obvious.  Jesus in contrasting the deliverance for Israel in Matthew 24:34 with the predicted judgment stated in Matthew 23:36.”[94]

In both Matthew 23-24 there are themes of deliverance and judgment.  In Matthew 23 there is the theme of vindication / deliverance for the martyrs and judgment upon those who have persecuted them — resulting in Christ coming and the destruction of the Temple – both to take place in their contemporary “this generation.”  In Matthew 24, there are likewise the same themes of vindication / deliverance for the persecuted in the city with their flight from Judea and then that of judgment upon those who persecuted them — resulting in Christ coming and the destruction of the Temple – both to take place in their contemporary “this generation.”

While Zionists like Ice admit “this generation” in Matthew 23 is “an undisputed reference to AD 70” and therefore means the contemporary generation of Jesus, they give “this generation” in Matthew 24 an entirely different meaning in order to defend their false Futuristic Zionist theology.  We are told that their re-definition of “this generation” in Matthew 24 is justified because, “…it is obvious that these things did not occur…in AD 70.”[95]

The only thing that is “obvious” to me when interpreting Matthew 24 and other prophetic material in the OT and NT is that Premillennial Zionism interprets prophetic apocalyptic language which uses common symbolism and metaphors with a “literal hermeneutic” and then spiritualizes away and twists clear literal statements such as “this generation” “at hand,” “soon,” “quickly,” “in a very little while and will not delay” to mean nothing!  When we allow the Bible to interpret itself it becomes very easy to see how “all these things” in Matthew 24:3-34 were fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”  So, let’s turn our attention to proving just that!

  • “As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age (Mt. 24:3)”?
  • “And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place” (Lk. 21:7)?

 

The end of what age?

 

The first thing we notice between Matthew’s account placed alongside Mark and Luke’s is that after Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple, Mark and Luke do not include the “and end of the age” (Greek suntéleia ho aiṓn) in the disciple’s question(s)).  The fact that this phrase is only used in Matthew’s gospel three times (cf. Mt. 13:39-43; 24:3 and 28:18-20) and in the book of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:26-28) communicates its Jewishness.

 

Since the “end of the age” is referring to the end of the Old Covenant age when the Temple would be destroyed, there is no conflict between the accounts.  If so, are we to expect that Mark and Luke were so careless as to not introduce the subject of the alleged end of world history into the most important account of Jesus’ teaching on Bible prophecy?  For Mark and Luke when the Son of Man comes upon the clouds in judgment, is when the Temple would be destroyed (which for Matthew is when the Old Covenant age would end as well).

 

We should briefly examine Matthew 13:39-43 where Jesus has used “end of the age” (Greek suntéleia ho aiṓn) before.   Partial Preterists Joel McDurmon commenting on the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43 concedes it is the end of the Old Covenant age,

“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).”[96]

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; Cols. 1:26; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 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 hindged upon the coming and work of Christ, pertain obviously to the Old and New Covenant administrations.”[97]

 

Getting back to the disciple’s question in Matthew 24:3 DeMar correctly writes,

“The disciples question involves three interrelated, contemporary events: (1) the time of the temple’s destruction; (2) the sign that will signal Jesus’ coming related to the destruction of the temple; and (3) the sign they should look for telling them that “the end of the age” has come. These questions are related to the destruction of the temple and the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system and nothing else.”[98]

 

In the 1994 version of DeMar’s Last Days Madness he wrote the following concerning the “end of the age” in the Olivet Discourse with Matthew,

“The “woes” of Matthew 23 and the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem were a result of all that John the Baptist and Jesus had been warning the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests regarding the judgment that would come upon them if they did not repent. “All these things,” Jesus cautioned, “shall come upon this generation” (23:36). It is after hearing about the desolation of their “house” – the temple – that the disciples ask about the “temple buildings” (24:1). Jesus answered the disciples’ questions relating to the time and signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, always with the background of Matthew 23 in view, since His comments in that chapter had precipitated the questions (24:3). The Old Covenant order would end with the destruction of Jerusalem. This would be the “sign” of the “end of the age,” the end of the Old Covenant, and the consummation [bringing to maturity] of the New Covenant.[99]

 

DeMar explains his position on the “end of the age” and then uses a quote from George Hill, to support its historical relevance,

“Notice that the disciples did not ask about the end of the “world” (kosmos), as some Bible versions translate the Greek word aion. In context, with the temple and city as their primary focus, they asked about the end of the “age.” They were asking when time would run out for the temple, the city of Jerusalem, and the covenant promises that were related to the Mosaic system of animal sacrifices, ceremonial washings, and the priesthood.

Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods, the age of the law and the age of the Messiah. The conclusion of the one was the beginning of the other, the opening of that kingdom which the Jews believed the Messiah was to establish, which was to put an end to their sufferings, and to render them the greatest people upon the earth. The apostles full of this hope, said to our Lord, immediately before his ascension, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? [Acts 1:6]. Our Lord uses the phrase of his coming to denote his taking vengeance upon the Jews by destroying their city and sanctuary.  The “end of the age” refers to the end of the Old Covenant redemptive system with its attendant sacrifices and rituals.”[100]

“End of the age” – were the disciples “confused”?

All Dispensational Zionists begin with the disciple’s question in Matthew 24:3 and simply assume what they need to prove when they assume that the disciples were “confused” in associating Jesus’ coming and end of the age with the destruction of the Temple. Since Zionists theology separates these events by thousands of years and the disciples linked them to be fulfilled altogether, they merely assume the disciples were mistaken and not themselves or their Zionist Futurist system.  Here are some key hermeneutical steps the Zionist willfully skip:

 

1).  The Jews of Jesus’ day understood and connected the phrase “this age” to be the Old Covenant age of Moses and the Prophets with the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple as predicted in Daniel.  They understood the “age to come” as the New Covenant or Messianic age.  The context supports the destruction of the Temple the disciples and Jesus are looking at and discussing, would mark the “end of the age” — they were currently living in – the Old Covenant age not the end of world history.

Daniel in chapters 7, 9 and 12 was told that the eschatological “time the end” events such as the desolation of the temple, the resurrection, the tribulation, the coming of the Son of man and the arrival of the kingdom – were “all” to take place together when the city and temple would be destroyed or “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (cf. see the consummation and recapitulation scenes in Dan. 7:13-22; 9:24-27 – climaxing in Dan. 12:1-7).

2).  Isaiah in his “little apocalypse” (cf. Isiah 24-27) posits all of the eschatological events (judgment, de-creation, avenging the sin of blood guilt, the blowing of the trumpet / eschatological gathering / resurrection, etc…) to be fulfilled when Israel violated the Old Covenant and thus would take place together when the Temple would be destroyed or “when he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces” (Isaiah 27:9).  Again, the judgment and destruction of the City and Temple were inseparably connected together just as in Daniel.  Why are they “confused” to link them together when the OT prophets connected them together?!?

3).  In Matthew 13:39-43, 51 Jesus taught that the judgment and resurrection (“the time the end” of the eschatological events of Daniel 12:2-3) would “all” take place at the end of their Old Covenant “this age.”  Jesus specifically asks them if they understood His teaching on the time of this harvest at the end of their “this age” and they emphatically responded “Yes” (vs. 51).  We have direct evidence that they DID understand Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” contrary to the false assumptions pawned off by Zionists.

4).  As we have seen and proven thus far, Jesus had previously taught the disciples that He would return in some of their lifetimes and be ashamed of some within their contemporary “this generation” (Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28/Mark 8:38-9:1).

So, before we even get to Matthew 24, the disciples could have discerned from such prophets as Daniel and Isaiah, that all of the eschatological events would be fulfilled together when Jerusalem was judged, and her Temple destroyed.  And before we get to Matthew 24 Jesus had already clearly stated He would return in some of their lifetimes and connected this coming with the desolation of their “House” / Temple (Mt. 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 23:36-39).  If this isn’t clear enough, the record clearly states that the disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on the end of their “this age” with a resounding “yes” (Mt. 13:39-51)!  We do not seek to divide what God has joined together or go beyond what Scripture teaches – while the Premillennial Zionist does.

Since there is no direct evidence here in Matthew 24 that the disciples were “confused,” Zionists and other Futurist systems appeal to the fact that the Gospels often point out that the disciples were confused over various issues.  But this proves nothing here in Matthew 24 or it is a classic example of “proving too much.”  Here is how — in each case Jesus (or Matthew as a responsible narrator of his gospel) explicitly points out when the disciples are confused or ask a question that needs correction (cf. Mt. 16:6-12, 21-23; 17:4-5; 19:13-15; 20:20-25).  Therefore, since we don’t find Jesus or Matthew claiming the disciples were “confused,” in asking the question they did, the burden of proof is now cast in the lap of Futurist Premillennial Zionism to prove the disciples are confused in Matthew 24.

Milton Terry was spot on when he wrote of Jesus’ teaching on the “end of the age” in the Olivet discourse and elsewhere in the NT (such as Hebrews 9:26-28) as the end of the Old Covenant age and not the end of world history:

“The ‘end of the age’ means the close of the epoch or age—that is, the Jewish age or dispensation which was drawing nigh, as our Lord frequently intimated. All those passages that speak of ‘the end,’ ‘the end of the age,’ or ‘the ends of the ages,’ refer to the same consummation, and always as nigh at hand.” “…the writer regarded the incarnation of Christ as taking place near the end of the aeon, or dispensational period. To suppose that he meant that it was close upon the end of the world, or the destruction of the material globe, would be to make him write false history as well as bad grammar. It would not be true in fact; for the world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. It is futile, therefore, to say that the ‘end of the age’ may mean a lengthened period, extending from the incarnation to our times, and even far beyond them. That would be an aeon, and not the close of an aeon. The aeon of which our Lord was speaking was about to close in a great catastrophe; and a catastrophe is not a protracted process, but a definitive and culminating act.”[101]

 

After all the Second Appearing or coming of Christ to close the Old Covenant age is further described as Christ coming “…in a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).  Again, the inspired NT authors both understood what “age” would end and when Christ would come to bring its end!

 

If Jesus’ coming in AD 70 ended and changed the Old Covenant age, then there is really no justification for reading into the text (eisegesis) the disciples  “confused” or that the Olivet Discourse has anything to do with the end of world history.

How were all the signs fulfilled prior to AD 70?

 

While it is easy to show how all of the signs Jesus gives to mark His coming and end of the Old Covenant age would be “near” and thus fulfilled by AD 70, it is important to point out that there are two groups of signs Jesus discusses.  The first set would be general signs of the times that would “not” mark the near end of the age and His coming while there would be two that would.  The two that would mark the “near” “end” of the age and His coming were the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem.

 

Let’s first address the general signs that were fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary generation.

 

“False Messiahs and Prophets”

 

Jesus predicted that false messiahs would come in the generation of the first century disciples and they did: Theudas Acts 5:36; 13:6), Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), and Simon (Acts 8:9-11) to name a few.  In the epistles of John, John writes (as that generation was ending) that they knew it was “the last hour” because the antichrists had arrived (1 John 2:17-18).

The Jewish historian Josephus writes of a false prophet during the destruction of Jerusalem which deceived the Jews to stay and fight the Romans:

“Of so great a multitude, not one escaped. Their destruction was caused by a false prophet, who had on that day proclaimed to those remaining in the city, that “God commanded them to go up to the temple, there to receive the signs of their deliverance.” There were at this time many prophets suborned by the tyrants to delude the people, by bidding them wait for help from God, in order that there might be less desertion, and that those who were above fear and control might be encouraged by hope. Under calamities man readily yields to persuasion but when the deceiver pictures to him deliverance from pressing evils, then the sufferer is wholly influenced by hope. Thus, it was that the impostors and pretended messengers of heaven at that time beguiled the wretched people.” (Josephus, Wars, 6.3.6.).

“Wars and Rumors of Wars” 

“In AD 40 there was a disturbance at Mesopotamia which (Josephus says) caused the deaths of more than 50,000 people. In AD 49, a tumult at Jerusalem at the time of the Passover resulted in 10,000 to 20,000 deaths.  At Caesarea, contentions between Jewish people and other inhabitants resulted in over 20,000 Jews being killed.  As Jews moved elsewhere, over 20,000 were destroyed by Syrians.  At Scythopolis, over 13,000 Jews were killed.  Thousands were killed in other places, and at Alexandria 50,000 were killed.  At Damascus, 10,000 were killed in an hour’s time.”[102]

“The Annals of Tacitus, covering the period from AD 14 to the death of Nero in AD 68, describes the tumult of the period with phrases such as “disturbances in Germany”, “commotions in Africa”, commotions in Thrace”, “insurrections in Gaul”, “intrigues among the Parthians”, “the war in Britain”, and “the war in Armenia”.  Wars were fought from one end of the empire to the other. With this description we can see further fulfillment: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7)[103]

When Jesus was addressing wars and rumors of wars, He was not referring to what is going on in modern day Russia, China, Israel, Iraq, the United States, or Europe today.  To reach into Matthew 24 and back into the OT and twist these passages and prophecies by asserting that they are referring to these modern-day countries is irresponsible exegesis to say the least.

“Famines & Pestilence”

Again, the Bible and history record famine and pestilences during “the last days” (AD 30 – AD 70) of the Mosaic Old Covenant age and generation (cf. Acts 11:27-29; 1 Cor. 16:1-5; Rms. 15:25-28).

In AD 40 and AD 60 there were pestilences in Babylon and Rome where Jews and Gentiles alike suffered. Tacitus, Suetonius and Orosius all record a famine in the Autumn of AD 65 that killed more than 30,000 throughout the Roman Empire.

 

Sorry, but corona viruses are the subject of the Olivet Discourse.

 

“Earthquakes” 

 

The book of Acts records for us an earthquake occurring in the Apostolic generation (Acts 16:26).  “…just previous to 70 AD there were earthquakes in Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, and Judea.”[104]

 

“Put to Death” 

 

As we discussed in our treatment of Matthew 10:17-23 first century Christians were expected to be brought before Gentile kings and rulers, imprisonment, beatings, for the sake of Jesus.  Please read the book of Acts 4:3,17; Acts 5:40; Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1; Acts 9:1; Acts 12:1-3; Acts 14:19 to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy here in Luke 21:12 and Matthew 10:17-23.

 

In fulfillment of our Lord’s words, Paul and Silas were beaten (Acts 26:23) and Paul was brought before rulers and kings – Gallio, (Acts 28:12), Felix (Acts 24), Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25).   Peter and Paul were put to death in the persecution of Nero.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

The reader at this point says, “I got you. How are you going to be able to prove the gospel was preached throughout the entire globe before AD 70?!?” Allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, this is not difficult to prove at all:

 

Prophecy Fulfillment
1). “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumenefor a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14) 1). “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” [Greek oikumene] (Rom. 10:18)
*One definition of oikumene – “The Roman Empire (Acts 17:6); the Jews in the world (Acts 24:5). Of Palestine and the adjacent countries (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28).”
2). “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” [Greek ethnos“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’” [Greek ethnos“‘. . . I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19-20) 2). “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations. . . .” [Greek ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26)
*These are “all the nations [Greek ethnos] under heaven” that were gathered in (Acts 2:4-5) and they returned to those “nations” to preach the gospel and would be followed up by Paul preaching to those same nations prior to AD 70.
3). “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world [Greek kosmosand preach the gospel to every creature” 3). “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6)
*One definition of kosmos – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…”
4). “And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15) 4). “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisisunder heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)
*The creation [kitisis] of men – “in rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).”  The creation of men is preached to.
5). “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8)

 

5).  “But I say, have they not heard?  Yes indeed:  ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world
*One definition of ge – “The then known lands, regions, territories, countries etc…”

 

It’s no accident that the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to use ALL of the very same Greek words Jesus used to describe the extent of the Great Commission — to proclaim this “end” time sign had already been fulfilled and therefore teach an “at hand” and “about to be” Second Coming and resurrection event (Phil. 3-4:5; Acts 24:15YLT; Rms. 13:11-12). Not sure how else he could have communicated Jesus’ “end” of the age sign had been fulfilled – exactly when Jesus said it would be, within Paul’s contemporary “this generation.”

I believe that Jonah was not just a type of Christ, but perhaps for Peter and Paul as well being instruments of crossing the Jew/Gentile barrier in fulfilling the Great Commission to the nations of the then known world which was similar to the dispersion of the nations in Genesis 10-11.

I will address more of how Acts 2 reverses the curses laid upon the nations in Genesis 10-11 when I address “What about Acts 1:9-11”?  But for now, just some brief typological thoughts.

Many have seen how Jonah was a type of Christ, but I want to explore how the life of Jonah shares some characteristics with “Peter son of Jonah” and Paul also in their mission to reconcile the nations to Christ.  First Christ:

Jonah a type of Christ

 

  • Both preached a message of repentance.
  • Both appeared alive after three days or from “Sheol.”
  • Jonah gave Nineveh 40 days of testing to repent, Jesus gave Israel and the Nations 40 years.
  • Jonah’s mission grants Gentiles salvation, while later bringing judgment upon unrepentant Israel. Jesus’ mission through the Apostles brings salvation to the Gentiles while later bringing judgment upon unrepentant OC Israel in AD 70.
  • Jonah offered a willing substitutionary death (his life for the sailors); while Jesus offered a willing substitutionary death for the Church – those whom He calls in faith to follow Him.

 

In Acts 2, Peter preached to Jews gathered “from every nation under heaven.”  After 3,000 were converted, they would return back to those “nations” with the gospel and share it with others.  Paul would then travel to these nations and further preach and establish the gospel in those nations.

 

Jonah and “Peter son of Jonah”

 

  • The Bible records the sin and pride of both men.
  • Jonah and Peter faced a crisis during a storm.
  • And for our main purpose here – both Jonah and Peter were first to cross Jew/Gentile boundaries.
  • Jonah fled from Joppa to Tarshish in order to flee from going to the Gentiles; while Peter is commissioned to go to Joppa and raise Dorcus and then commissioned back to Joppa to preach and give the Holy Spirit to Cornelius in Acts 9-11.

 

Jonah and Paul:

  • Both were heading to Spain – Jonah 1:3 Jonah fled to Tarshish (in Spain – the end of the world in the ancient world) and Paul wanted to go to Spain/Tarshish, with tradition teaching he did (cf. Rom 15:24, 28).
  • Both sailed on the Mediterranean – Jonah boarded a ship on the Mediterranean to get away from the Lord’s calling (cf. Jonah 1:3) and Paul was led by the Spirit to sail on the Mediterranean to fulfill his (cf. Acts 27:1).
  • Both experience a great storm on the sea – (cf. John 1:4; Acts 27:13-14).
  • Both crews threw cargo overboard to lighten the ship (cf. Jonah 1:4 Acts 27:18).
  • Presence/absence of seeking the Lord’s guidance – Jonah is exhorted by a pagan to pray, while Paul through answer to prayers assures the captain and crew (cf. Jonah 1:6; Acts 27:24).
  • The miraculous sign of the great fish causes the Ninevites to be amazed and plays a part in their repentance while the miraculous sign of Paul being bitten by a poisonous snake play a role in the conversion of crew members and foreigners on an island.

The Churches Great Commission today in the New Covenant age post AD 70 is found in Revelation 22:17 where the “Spirit and the Bride” invite sinners from the darkness outside the New Jerusalem to come through her gates through faith and drink the waters of eternal life.

“Abomination that causes desolation” or “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies its desolation has come near”

 

Let’s compare and look at how Matthew and Luke’s parallel accounts fulfill “the end” of the Old Covenant age “war” and “desolation” of Daniel 9:26-27.  While we have covered this in our chapter on the end time war, it bears repeating:

 

  • “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [the end], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9:26-27).

 

  • “So, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place(let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Mt. 24:15-16).

 

  • “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written” (Lk. 21:20-22).

 

Luke’s account of Daniel’s “desolation” differs slightly from Matthew’s.  Matthew adds “abomination” with “desolation” and “when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place…” whereas Luke’s account only mentions “desolation” and replaces “standing in the holy place” with “seeing Jerusalem surrounded by armies.”  When we first read “holy place” we are tempted to think this is taking place in the Temple itself.  But as John L. Bray points out,

 

“…in the Apocrypha (inter-biblical writings) “the holy place” meant the whole area of the “holy land.”  In 2 Maccabees 2 it said, “As he promised in the law, will shortly have mercy upon us, and gather us together out of very land under heaven into the holy place.”  This included the city and the temple, all of which were looked on as “holy.”  The land was called “holy” (2 Maccabees 1:7), and the city was called holy (2 Maccabees 3:1).

 

Meyer’s Commentary on the New Testament, on Matthew 24:15 says, “Others, and among them de Wette and Baumgarten-Crusius (comp. Weiss on Mark), understand the words as referring to Palestine, especially to the neighborhood of Jerusalem (Schott, Wiesler), or to the Mount of Olives (Bengel), because it is supposed that it would have been too late to seek escape after the temple had been captured, and so the flight of the Christians to Pella took place as soon as the war began” (Meyer, vol. 1, 414-415).

 

By standing in the holy place, or where it ought not, needs not to be understood the temple only, but Jerusalem also, and, any part of the land of Israel (Lardner, 49).”[105]

 

Godet agrees but adds the observation that the slight difference is for Luke’s primarily Gentile audience,

 

“The sign indicated by Luke is the investment of Jerusalem by a hostile army. We see nothing to hinder us from regarding this sign as identical in sense with that announced by Matthew and Mark in Daniel’s words (in the LXX.): the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Why not understand thereby the Gentile standards planted on the sacred soil which surrounds the holy city? Luke has substituted for the obscure prophetic expression a term more intelligible to Gentiles.”[106]

 

Now it is much easier to harmonize Matthew and Luke’s account of Daniel’s abomination that causes or brings about desolation which is connected to the end time war with armies surrounding Jerusalem.  Let me harmonize and summarize:

 

“when you [the disciples and first century Christians] see the abomination of [the Gentile Roman] armies surrounding and standing in/on the holy place of the land of Jerusalem, then know it’s desolation has drawn near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart…”

 

“Great Tribulation”

Luke’s parallel account differs slightly on the great tribulation period as it does on the “abomination that causes desolation,” so let’s compare both and then look at the language of contemporary authors such as Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls:

  • “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt. 24:21).

 

  • “For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Lk. 21:23-24)

 

  • “Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world; for, to speak only of what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives,…[107]

 

  • And it shall be a time of distress…their afflictions there will have been nothing to equal it from its beginning until its end…”[108]

 

Matthew writes, “great tribulation [Greek thlipsis]” while Luke, “great distress [Greek ananke].”  This is easy to harmonize since The Abbott-Smith Lexicon lists the two as synonyms.

 

Both Matthew and Luke’s accounts begin with “For…” which inseparably connect the tribulation/distress with their versions of the “desolation” of Jerusalem and her Temple connected with the same exhortation to flee from Judea to the mountains (Mt. 24:16-21; Lk. 21:21-24).  This is the same historical flight the Christians obeyed when they saw the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem and fled to Pella to escape God’s covenantal wrath upon Jerusalem.  Luke also adds the desolation and tribulation period would be God’s “wrath” upon “this people” (Jews) in their local “land” and not the globe!  This is the same “wrath” that John the Baptist told the Pharisees was “about to” be unleashed upon them in their lifetimes (Mt. 3:7GNT, 10-12).

 

Matthew addressing a Jewish audience, adds some commonly known hyperbole:

 

“…such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt. 24:21).

 

Compare this language with:

 

  • “behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you [Solomon] has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:12)

 

  • He [Hezekiah] trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him (2 Kings 18:5).

 

  • “Before him [Josiah] there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him” (2 Kings 23:25).

 

Is there a contradiction in the Bible as to which King was the greatest in Israel and or had the most loyal heart for God – Solomon, Hezekiah or Josiah, or is this common Hebraic hyperbole to stress that these three Kings were great within the history of Israel and loyal to God?  The later is obviously the case.

 

And even more applicable is the common Hebraic hyperbole connected with historical judgments upon Jerusalem such as:

 

“And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again” (Ezek. 5:9).

 

This was referring to the “Day of the Lord” that was “near” in Ezekiel’s day when God came through Nebuchadnezzar’s armies (cf. 2 Kings 25; Ezek. 7:7; 33:21) to judge Jerusalem and her surrounding nations around 586 BC.  This historical judgment by the Babylonians can help us understand the Olivet Discourse:

 

1).  The “Day of the Lord” judgment was manifested through an invading Gentile army (Babylonians).

2).  These historical judgments were described as God figuratively coming on the clouds (cf. Ezek. 30-32).

3).  There was the darkening of the heavens, sun, moon and stars or de-creation type language (Ezek. 30–32:7-8).

4).  The language of imminence concerning this judgment being “near” and “without delay” is interpreted literally in relationship to the lifetime of the prophet and his contemporaries (Ezek. 7:7ff. 12:25; 30:3).

5).  The prophet uses common Hebraic hyperbole – this judgment was the worst in relation to Israel’s past and future (Ezek. 5:9).

 

This fits perfectly with Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse:

 

1).  The judgment “Day” of the Lord would be manifested through an invading Gentile army (Romans).

2).  This historical judgment was described as Christ figuratively coming upon the clouds.

3).  The sun and moon would not give there light / de-creation language.

4).  The language of imminence such as “near” “this generation” is to be interpreted literally and referring to the fulfillment being within the lifetimes of the Prophets contemporary audience.

5).  The prophet uses common Hebraic hyperbole – this judgment was the worst in relation to Israel’s past and future.

 

“They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations”

 

Luke’s description also depicts the Jews falling by the sword of the Romans and them being led captive.  Adam Clarke gives a good description of this fulfillment as documented by John Bray,

 

“The number of those who fell by the sword was very great.  Eleven hundred thousand perished during the siege.  Many were slain at other places, and other times.”  “Besides those many of every age, sex, and condition, were slain in the war, who are not reckoned; but, of those who are reckoned, the number would have appeared incredible, if their own historian had not so particularly enumerated them.  See Josephus, WAR, book li. C. 18,20; book iii. c. 2,7,8,9; book iv. c. 1,2,7,8,9; book vii. c. 6,9,11; and Bp. Newton, Vol. li. P. 288-290.

 

Many were also lead away captives into all nations.  There were taken at Jotapa, 1,200.  At Tarichea, 6,000 chosen young men, who were sent to Nero; others sold to the number of 39,400, besides those who were given to Agrippa.  Of the Gadarenes were taken 2,200.  In Idumea above 1,000.  Many besides these were taken in Jerusalem; so that, as Josephus says, the number of the captives taken in the whole war amounted to 97,000.  Those above seventeen years of age were sent to the works in Egypt, but most were distributed through the Roman provinces, to be destroyed in their theatres by the sword, and by the wide beasts; and those under seventeen years of age were sold for slaves.”[109]

 

“…and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” 

 

Pat Robertson interprets the “times of the Gentiles” as a sign that took place in 1967 marking the rapture to take place in 2007 – oops,

 

“The year 586 B.C. was the time that Nebuchadnezzar took over Jerusalem, and that condition lasted, …until the Six Day War that took place not too long ago. When did it happen? 1967. …The Jews took over Jerusalem for the first time since Nebuchadnezzar took it. What is the significance of all this?… At this point of time, a clock began to tick. A generation is 40 years, and a clock began to tick that said there’s 40 years from 1967. (http://www.patrobertson.com/Teaching/TeachingonBabylon.asp– 1-21-2010).”[110]

 

Here are some passages that will help us understand Jesus’ words here and how the Jews of His day would have understood them:

 

“The Lord has rejected all my strong men in my midst; He has called an appointed time against me to crush my young men; the Lord has trodden as in a wine press the virgin daughter [Jerusalem] of Judah. [The Jewish Targum adds, “established a time to shatter” “defile the virgins of the House of Judah until their blood…was caused to flow like wine from a wine press when a man is treading grapes and grape-wine flows] (Lam. 1:15).

 

But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations (Gentiles), and they will trample the holy city (Jerusalem) for forty-two months (3 ½ yrs.)” (Rev. 11:2).

 

“…the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So, the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.  And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia” (Rev. 14:18-20).

 

Lamentations 1:15 [and the Targum referred to] is looking back at a past event [Babylon’s military desolation of Jerusalem in 586/587BC] as an “appointed time” when the Lord had “trodden” down Jerusalem like grapes crushed in a winepress in which her blood flowed, and she was “shattered.”  This is talking about a very specific and limited time of military treading down of the city not a protracted period of hundreds of years.  Babylon surrounded Jerusalem and the military campaign of treading her down lasted roughly 2-3 years (from 589 BC to 586/587BC).

 

Revelation 11 and Daniel 12 describes the trampling of Jerusalem by Rome (the 4th Gentile Empire in Dan. 2 and 7) as a period of 3 ½ years which would be a “complete shattering of the holy people.”  Therefore, when we compare Scripture with Scripture and honor this event to take place when Jerusalem would be “surrounded by armies” in Jesus’ contemporary generation, the 3 ½ years war (Dan. 9:26-27/12:7) between AD 67 – AD 70 is what Jesus is prophesying of – nothing else – not 1967 nor any other event!

 

Revelation 14:18-20 confirms the treading down of Israel’s land in a winepress with her blood flowing throughout the exact dimensions of the land of Israel.  As John Gill points out on these dimensions is most likely referring to the then known dimensions of the land of Palestine,

 

“…the measure of the land of Israel, and the common notion of it among the Jews, who make it to be the square of four hundred parsoe: hence they often speak of the land of Israel shaking and moving four hundred “parsoe”, upon some extraordinary occasions; and a “parsa” contained four miles, so that four hundred “parsoe” made a thousand and six hundred miles; and if miles and furlongs are the same, in which sense only the land of Israel could be so large, here is the exact space; for Jerom, who was an inhabitant of it, says, it was scarce 160 miles in length, to which agrees R. Menachem; and it may be observed, that the Arabic version renders the words, “by the space of a thousand and six hundred miles.”[111]

 

“These are the days of vengeance to fulfill all that is written”     

 

Some of our Partial Preterist Reformed opponents have attempted to argue that Jesus is only referring to “all” OT prophecies concerning the fall of Jerusalem and not His Second Coming, end of the age, resurrection, etc…. They appeal to Luke 18:31, where Jesus says that when He and His disciples go up to Jerusalem (in about AD 30), “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.”  They argue that since the Second Coming did not occur at that time, it follows that when Jesus says in Luke 21:22 that “all things written” will be fulfilled when Jerusalem is destroyed in AD 70, He is referring only to prophetic predictions that concerned the destruction of Jerusalem and not to all eschatological prophecy in general.

 

Of course, no one disagrees with the observation that the context of Luke 18:31 limits “all things written” to prophetic material pertaining to Jesus’ passion. But Partial Preterists assume what they need to prove when they assume that Christ’s coming in Luke 21:27-28 was only “a” coming and is not the “actual Second Coming” which fulfills all prophecy in general.  Reformed Partial Preterists such as Keith A. Mathison or Gary DeMar are having a hard time convincing anyone that Christ’s coming in the Olivet Discourse is not His Second Coming event.

 

Luke here also varies from Matthew’s account in that he adds the events of AD 67 – AD 70 would be the fulfillment of “all that is written” in the OT, while Matthew teaches the abomination of desolation is the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24-27 and Daniel 12:1-7.  These are easily harmonized since these two sections of Daniel encapsulate in a nut-shell, pretty much all of the end of the age eschatological events predicted in the rest of the OT:

 

Daniel 9:24-27 Daniel 12:1-12 Matthew 24/Luke 21
1).  Abomination that causes desolation (9:27). 1).  Great Tribulation & Abomination of Desolation (12:1,2).

 

1).  Great Tribulation & Abomination of Desolation (Mt. 24:15, 21/Lk. 21:20-23)

 

2).  Judgment upon the Jews and City & atonement made (9:24, 26-27).

 

2).  Judgment & Deliverance (12:1).

 

2).  Judgment & Deliverance                   (Mt. 24:13/Lk. 21:18-22, 28).

 

3).  Bring in everlasting righteousness & fulfill all OT vision and prophecy (9:24 – i.e. Isa. 25:6-9; Hos. 13).

 

3).  Resurrection & Evangelism (12:2-3).

 

3). Resurrection, Evangelism & fulfill “all” OT prophecy (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:30-31; Lk. 21:22-32).

 

4).  “The end will come like a flood” (9:26, 27).

 

4).  “The end” or end of the Old Covenant age (Dan. 12:4, 6, 8-9, 13).

 

4).  The end or end of the Old Covenant age (Mt. 24:3, 14).

 

5).  When Fulfilled?

 

a.  Using the Jewish calendar (not Gentile) – within a period of 490 years (10 Jubilees 49/50 years periods of time 10 x 49 or 70 x 7 = 490) from the “word” of Jeremiah and the destruction of the first temple to the second (420 BC – AD 70 = 490).

 

b.  The prophecy of the 70 7’s ends w/ the abomination of desolation – which is the main sign Jesus gives (Lk. 21:20-24/Mt. 24:15ff.).

 

5).  When Fulfilled?  “All these things” (vss. 1-7) will be fulfilled:

 

a.  “Far off” from Daniel

 

b.  In a “3.5 years” time frame.

 

c.  “When the power (the Old Covenant) of the holy people (1st. century Jews) is completely shattered.”

 

 

 

5).  When Fulfilled?  “All these things” (Mt. 24:34/Lk. 21:32) would be fulfilled:

 

a.  “Near” in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation.”

 

b.  “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,” it’s
“desolation” will be near
& be the “times of the Gentiles” (or 3.5 yrs. – AD 67 – AD 70) when “Jerusalem is trampled” under their feet (cf. Lk. 21:20, 24/Rev. 11:1-2, 8ff.).

 

 

 

Since it is agreed upon that the book of Revelation is John’s version of the Olivet Discourse and that it has more references to OT prophecies than any NT document, is it in line with Jesus’ teaching that “all that is written” in the OT would be fulfilled by AD 70?

 

In the book of Revelation, it is said from beginning to the end (Rev. 1:1; 22:6–7, 10–12, 20) that the prophecy of this book (not prophecies of books) would be fulfilled “shortly.” Those soon-to-be-fulfilled prophecies included the Second Coming, the resurrection of the living and the dead, the judgment, the passing of the first heavens and earth and the arrival of the new heavens and the new earth—in other words, literally “all things written.”

 

In Revelation 10:6-7 we learn that there would be “no more delay” to the blowing of the seventh trumpet (the last trumpet) ushering in the maturing and fulfilling of the mystery of God as predicted by “His servants and the prophets.”  Paul identifies this “mystery” as the Jew/Gentile one New Covenant Body (cf. Ephs. 3), of which he proclaimed being predicted in the “prophetic writings” (or OT Scriptures).   Therefore, Revelation is consistent with Jesus in Luke 21:22 in that “all” that had been written in the OT prophetic Scriptures would be imminently fulfilled by AD 70.

 

Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:11, is also in line with Jesus’ teaching.  Here he tells his first-century audience, “Now all these things happened to them as examples [types], and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  As stated earlier, Jesus’ and Paul’s audience understood the phrase “this age” to be a reference to the Old Covenant age, and the “age to come” as a reference to the Messianic or New Covenant age. They also understood that under the umbrella of the Old Covenant “age” (singular) there were various “ages” (plural), or covenants. The covenant that God made with David is an example of this and yet being within the promises of the Old Covenant age. Thus, when the Old Covenant age was consummated, it was then that all of Israel’s “ages,” as contained in “the Law and the Prophets” (“all things written”), were consummated.

 

Peter’s eschatology is in line with Jesus’, John’s, and Paul’s.  Per Peter his contemporaries were living in Israel’s “last days” “crooked and perverse generation” that Moses said would witness the “near” “end” of Israel, and that is why Peter said, “the end of all things is near” (Deut. 32=Acts 2:40=1 Pet. 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 3).  Peter is very clear in telling his contemporaries that all the OT prophets spoke of a fulfillment and eschatological “inheritance” “ready to be revealed” for them at an “at hand” resurrection and judgment event (1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7, 17).

 

What About a Double Fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse?

 

I think everyone agrees that many prophecies in the Old Testament were typologically fulfilled and awaited full realization in the New Testament. This phenomenon reflected the contrast between Old Testament types and shadows, and the New Testament Anti-Type or Body, i.e., Christ (Col. 2:17).

 

But this principle in no way implies or leads to the notion that New Testament prophecies, which are fulfilled in Christ, will be fulfilled multiple times over potentially millions of years of time. The fact that the Old Testament was “typical” and “shadowy” in no way suggests that the New Testament is of the same pre-Messianic character. The Cross of Christ will not be fulfilled multiple times until the end of human history, and neither will Christ’s Second Coming (Heb. 9:26–28).

 

Ken Gentry who is a Partial Preterist, teaches that the time texts of the New Testament “demand” a fulfillment in AD 70, and that the theory of “double fulfilling” the book of Revelation for example, is “pure theological assertion” that has “no exegetical warrant.”[112]

 

Another Partial Preterist Gary DeMar, rejects openness to the double fulfillment theory here in the Olivet Discourse:

 

“Either the Olivet Discourse applies to a generation located in the distant future from the time the gospel writers composed the Olivet Discourse or to the generation to whomJesus was speaking; it can’t be a little bit of both. As we will see, the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in any of the synoptic gospels does not allow for a mixed approach, a double fulfillment, or even a future completion. Matthew 24:34 won’t allow for it.”[113]

 

The fulfillment that has been wrought in Christ is no piecemeal fulfillment that has remained a “yes and no” fulfillment/non-fulfillment for 2,000 years, as futurists such as Mathison imagine. The Law of Moses does not remain “imposed” as it did between the Cross and the Parousia (Heb. 9:10, NASB). Rather, Christ returned, and the Old Covenant vanished in His Presence forty years after His Cross (Heb. 8:13).  If He did not return, and if the dead were not raised in Him, then the Old Covenant never vanished, and we are still in our sins. This is the inevitable implication of denying that literally “all things written” are fulfilled in Christ today.

While I agree with the Partial Preterist comments on the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation not being “double fulfilled,” I disagree with these men that the coming of Christ in Revelation and Matthew 24:27-31 “is not the actual Second Coming event.”

 

Apocalyptic language – “The stars shall fall from heaven” and “the Son of Man coming on the clouds”

 

The first thing that we need to take note of is that the de-creation language of Matthew 24:29 is associated with the same time-frame and events of the tribulation, distress, abomination, desolation, the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem, wrath upon the Jews and the flight of the Christians from Judea to Pella – in that it says, “immediately after those days…”. And the coming of the Son of Man in verse 30 begins with “then” also connecting all of these events together in the unfolding events of AD 67 – AD 70.  There is no gap of thousands of years between these events.

 

God’s coming on the clouds and stars falling from heaven (de-creation language), as used elsewhere in the Bible, are metaphors or symbolic language referring to in-time historical judgments of nations, not the destruction of the physical planet.  This can be seen in such O.T. passages referring to the fall of Babylon (cf. Isa. 13:6), Egypt (cf. Ezek. 30:2-3), Idumea, Bozrah and all the local nations of that time (cf. Isa. 34), a shaking of the then known nations through Darius King of Persia (cf. Hag. 2:6); Judah and Israel (cf. Isa. 13:9-10; 19:1; 34:4-5; Ezk. 32:7-8; Amos 5:21-22; Zeph. 1:7, 14; Zech. 14:1; Psalm 18; Psalm 104; Hab. 1:2ff.).  Just a few examples, did God come on a literal cloud when he judged Egypt by means of the Assyrian’s in 670 B.C.:

 

“Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt” (Isa. 19:1)?

 

Was the literal heaven “dissolved” and rolled back like a scroll and did literal stars fall down from heaven to earth when National Idumea (or Edom) was judged by God in the OT:

 

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

 

Another striking passage is found in Jeremiah 4 concerning the judgment of Jerusalem in 586BC:

 

“I looked at the earth/land, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone.  I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying.  I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away.  I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger.  This is what the Lord says: “The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.  Therefore, the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.”  At the sound of horsemen and archers every town takes to flight.  Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks.  All the towns are deserted; no one lives in them.  What are you doing, O devastated one?  Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold?  Why shade your eyes with paint?  You adorn yourself in vain.  Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.  I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child— the cry of the Daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, “Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers” (Jer. 4:23-31).

 

Jeremiah is reaching back into Genesis 1-2 and applying that language to the de-creation of Jerusalem (as John will do in Rev. 21-22).  As we pointed out before, Old Covenant Israel understood her land and covenant to be a “heaven” and “earth,” and here they are being desolated through an in-time local judgment that sounds as if it is the destruction of the globe and or the end of world history.

 

Most Evangelical Zionists are clueless that for centuries older and modern commentaries describe the de-creation language and coming of Christ in Matthew 24/Luke 21/Mark 13 as common apocalyptic language that was fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  John Bray’s book, Matthew 24 Fulfilled offers the most documentation of Christians commentators (past and present) that I know of.  I will offer just a few examples.  Quoting N. Nisbett on the de-creation language of Matthew 24:29,

 

[T]his language was borrowed from the ancient hieroglyphics:  for as in hieroglyphic writing, the sun, moon, and stars were used to represent states and empires, kings, queens, and nobility; their eclipse and extinction, temporary disasters or overthrow, &c. so in like manner, the holy prophets call kings and empires by names of the heavenly luminaries; their misfortunes and overthrow are represented by eclipses and extinction; stars falling from the firmament are employed to denote the destruction of the nobility, &c. (Warburton’s Divine Legation, vol. 2, book 4, section 4, quoted by N. Nisbett, Our Lord’s Prophecies of the Destruction of Jerusalem, 22-23).”[114]

 

Adam Clarke after addressing the historical judgments and apocalyptic language of Isaiah 13:9-10; Ezek. 32:7-8 goes on to address,

 

“The destruction of the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes is represented by casting down some of the host of heaven, and the stars to the ground.  See Dan. Viii. 10.

 

And this very destruction of Jerusalem is represented by the Prophet Joel, chap ii. 30, 31 by showing wonders in heaven and in earth—darkening the sun, and turning the moon into blood.  This general mode of describing these judgments leaves no room to doubt the propriety of its application in the present case (Adam Clarke, commentary on Matthew 24:29).”[115]

 

As we have seen the context in Matthew 23-24 is the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple.  The sun, moon, and stars represented the universe of Israel and her rulers which would fall from her covenantal significance by AD 70 for rejecting Christ and His Apostles and prophets (cf. Matthew 23:31-36).

 

Reformed and Puritan theologian John Owen had this to say of the de-creation language in Matthew 24:29,

“And hence it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that language that seems to set forth the end of the world.  So, Isa. 34:4; which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom.  And our Saviour Christ’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24, he sets it out by expressions of the same importance.  It is evident then, that, in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by ‘heavens’ and ‘earth’, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, are often understood”[116]

John L. Bray correctly writes of the stars falling from the heavens of Matthew 24:29:

“Jewish writers understood the light to mean the law; the moon, the Sanhedrin; and the stars, the Rabbis.”[117]

“Heaven and earth will pass away”

So far, we have found contextual and grammatical reasons to interpret the “end of the age” as the Old Covenant age in vs. 3, the stars falling from the heavens in vs. 29 to be the religious and civil rulers falling from the places of power when Jerusalem and her Temple was destroyed in AD 70, but what of verse 35 which addresses the “heaven and earth” passing away? Surely that is referring to the end of planet Earth?  Once again, we must follow a contextual, grammatical and historical hermeneutic that is within the Christian church to help understand this too can be referring to the Old Covenant heavens and earth and it’s Temple.

While not a Preterist, G.K. Beale’s research indicates,

“…that ‘heaven and earth’ in the Old Testament may sometimes be a way of referring to Jerusalem or its temple, for which ‘Jerusalem’ is a metonymy.”[118]

Reformed theologian John Brown in identifying the passing of “heaven and earth” in Matthew 5:18 writes:

“But a person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.”[119]

Commentators are correct to identify the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 5:18) as the “heaven and earth” of (Matthew 24:35), but the context of both point us to the Old Covenant system passing away and not the planet earth. According to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-18 if heaven and earth (and all OT prophecy) have not passed away (or been fulfilled), then we are currently under all of the “jots and tittles” of the Old Covenant Law.

And now specifically of the passing of heaven and earth here in our text, Evangelical Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis makes the following comments on Mark 13:31/Matthew 24:35:

“The temple was far more than the point at which heaven and earth met. Rather, it was thought to correspond to, represent, or, in some sense, to be ‘heaven and earth’ in its totality.” And “. . .  [T]he principal reference of “heaven and earth” is the temple centered cosmology of second-temple Judaism which included the belief that the temple is heaven and earth in microcosm. Mark 13[:31] and Matthew 5:18 refer then to the destruction of the temple as a passing away of an old cosmology.”[120]

 

Indeed, the Temple was set forth as a creation of heaven and earth:

 

Day Creation Tabernacle
Day 1 Heavens are stretched out like a curtain (Ps. 104:2) Tent (Exod.26:7)
Day 2 Firmament (Gen. 1:2) Temple veil (Exod.26:33)
Day 3 Waters below firmament Laver or bronze sea (Exod. 30:18)
Day 4  Lights (Gen.1:14) Light stand (Exod. 25:31)
Day 5  Birds (Gen. 1:20) Winged cherubim (Exod. 25:20)
Day 6  Man (Gen. 1:27) Aaron the high priest (Exod. 28:1)
Day 7 Cessation (Gen. 2:1)

Blessing (Gen. 2:3)

Completion (Gen.2:2)

Cessation (Exod. 39:32)

Mosaic blessing (Exod. 39:43

Completion (Exod. 39:43)[121]

 

Jesus nor any NT writer ever predicted the end of the planet earth or world history as is simply assumed by so many here in Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and elsewhere in the NT.

When we take a combined look at some of the best theologians within the Reformed and Evangelical communities, we find a Preterist interpretation of virtually every eschatological de-creation prophecy in the Bible. Combined, John Owen, John Locke, John Lightfoot, John Brown, R.C. Sproul, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Keith Mathison, Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis, Hank Hanegraaff, and N.T. Wright (to name just a few) teach that the passing away of heaven and earth (cf. Matt. 5:17–18; 24:3, 29, 35; 1 Cor. 7:31; II Peter 3; I Jn. 2:17–18; Rev. 21:1) refers to the destruction of the temple or to the civil and religious worlds of men—either Jews or Gentiles; and that the rulers of the Old Covenant system or world, along with the Temple, were the “sun, moon, and stars,” which made up the “heaven and earth” of the world that perished in AD 70. See the following works:

John Owen, The Works of John Owen, 16 vols. (London: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965–68), 9:134–135. John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica: Matthew – 1 Corinthians, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1859], 1989), 3:452, 454. John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of our Lord, 3 vols. (Edinburgh: The Banner by mediaplayer”” o:button=”t” style=”width: 10pt; height: 10pt; visibility: visible;”> of Truth Trust, [1852] 1990), 1:170. John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke: A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul Volume 2, (NY: Oxford University Press, 1987), 617–618. R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998). Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992), 363–365. Kenneth Gentry (contributing author), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), 89. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church (Powder Springs: GA, 1999), 68–74, 141–154, 191–192. James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1998), 269–279. Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (contributing author) Eschatology in Bible & Theology (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 145–169. Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2004). Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1999), 114, 157–158. N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 345–346. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 645, n.42. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2007), 84–86.

These interpretations are, individually considered, “orthodox.” Yet when Full Preterists consolidate the most defensible elements of Reformed and Evangelical eschatology, anti-Preterists unite in opposition to even some of their own stated views.  The Full Preterist combines the two competing “orthodox” views on the coming of the Lord and de-creation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 to form a consistently exegetical and historical position:

Major Premise – Classic Amillennial: The coming of the Son of Man in Matthew 24-25 is the ONE second coming event and the de-creation spoken of here is referring to the end of the current age or end of world history.

Minor Premise – Partial Preterist View:  But the coming of the Son of Man happened spiritually and the end of age, de-creation of verses 3, 29 and 35 are descriptive of the passing of the Old Covenant creation/age and establishing the New Covenant age by AD 70.

Conclusion – Full Preterist View:  (Synthesis of above views – “Reformed and always reforming”): Therefore, the coming of the Son of Man is the ONE Second Coming event fulfilled spiritually, with the end of the age and de-creation language spoken of in verses 3, 29, 35 referring to the Old Covenant creation/age passing away in the events of AD 67 – AD 70, while  establishing the New.

Having given an exegetical and orthodox/historical evidence that the Olivet Discourse predicts the end of the Old Covenant age/heavens and earth and Christ’s coming upon the clouds is common apocalyptic language of God coming through an invading army (the Romans) in the events of AD 67 – AD 70, let’s dig a little deeper into the coming of Christ texts mentioned in Matthew 24:27 and verses 30-31.

“As lightning [or sun light] comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man”

Matthew 24:27 is usually interpreted by Futurists, Partial Preterists and many Full Preterists to mean Christ’s coming here is as “lightning.”  Preterists who see Christ coming as “lighting” here describe Christ coming through the means of the Roman armies to be sudden and quick like lightning – which very well may be true.[122] But there are other Partial Preterists and Full Preterists like myself that believe Jesus’ Second Coming (Greek parousia) here is being described as the sun with its light shining for flashing from east to west.

 

I agree with Partial Preterist author Steve Gregg that translators have done as a disservice on this text,

 

“The word “lightning” is the Greek astrape. This word is in fact, the correct term for lightning, but this is not always it’s meaning.  When defined in the lexicons, astrape is said to mean either “lightning” or, more generally, “bright shining.”  It is in this latter sense that the word is used in Luke 11:36—“If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining [astrape] of a lamp gives you light.”

 

Interestingly, the same translators who rendered astrape as “lightning,” in Matthew 24:27, quite reasonably chose to translate the same word as “bright shining,” in Luke 11:36, where it refers to the brightness radiating from a light source.  But what prevented them from translating the word this way in Matthew 24:27?  Would it not present a very different image if Jesus were to have said, “For as the bright shning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be”?  Instead of a lightning bolt, this would clearly be comparing His coming to a glorious sunrise!”

 

If one should arise before the dawn and watch the eastern horizon, the sky will be observed to change from nearly black to a lighter blue.  On the edge of the horizon a ribbon of red-orange will gradually appear, and the whole sky will become progressively lighter and lighter, nearly like daytie even before the upper rim of the sun is visible.  Within seconds, the sun will fully present itself, and the dawning of the day is complete.”[123]

 

“…the Kingdom’s glory will increase more and more until the moment Jesus appears…”[124]

 

Christ’s parousia (presence) here and the Greek word associated with it astrape, is making reference to Christ’s presence and Kingdom being manifested “within the hearts” of His people in AD 70 using the illustration of the sun’s rays shining “from east and flashing to the west” (see my exegesis of Luke 17:20-37). And it seems to me that there may be a contrast being made between the false prophets and messiah’s hiding in a dark secretive “inner room” of the Temple in the previous verse, with Christ being revealed openly and dramatically as the sun and daylight itself is.

 

Christ’s salvation manifested in both His first and Second Coming events are referred to as Him coming as the “Sun,” or associated with the “day” bringing “healing” or as the “morning star dawning” presence within the hearts of His people:

 

  • “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (Mal. 4:2).

 

  • And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; or you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk. 1:78-79).

 

  • “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand” (Rms. 13:11-12).

 

  • “…as a light that shines in a dark place, until theday dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19).

 

  • “…I will give Himthe morning star” (Rev. 2:28).

 

  • I am the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16).

 

Malachi 3:1—4:1-6:

“Behold, I send my messenger (John as Elijah), and he will prepare the way before me (Christ). And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple (in judgment – at Christ’s Second Coming); and the messenger of the [New] covenant (Christ) in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire…”

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the SUN of Righteousness shall rise with healing in its rays/wings. You shall go out … leaping like calves from the stall…”5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah (John) the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Malachi 3-4 predicts TWO messengers: 1). John being the eschatological Elijah preparing the way for 2). the imminent Second Coming of Jesus as the Messiah fulfilling and bringing to maturity the New Covenant promises.

“The day” that is “coming” is the Second Coming which is described here not only as “the great and awesome day of the Lord,” but also as the “Sun of Righteousness” “rising” or manifesting Himself with healing rays for the righteous and yet burning the unrepentant.

Ellicott’s has some helpful comments,

“The fathers and early commentators have understood Christ by the Sun of Righteousness, and they are so far right that it is the period of His advent that is referred to…”. “As the rising sun diffuses light and heat, so that all that is healthy in nature revives and lifts up its head, while plants that have no depth of root are scorched up and wither away, so the advent of the reign of righteousness, which will reward the good and the wicked, each according to his deserts…”[125]

John Gill writes,

“…Christ: and thus it is interpreted of him by the ancient Jews, in one of their Midrashes or expositions (a); they say… until the Messiah comes, as it is said, “unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise”, &c.; and Philo the Jew (b) not only observes, that God, figuratively speaking, is the sun; but the divine “Logos” or Word of God, the image of the heavenly Being, is called the sun; who, coming to our earthly system, helps the kindred and followers of virtue, and affords ample refuge and salvation to them; referring, as it seems; to this passage: indeed, they generally interpret it of the sun, literally taken, which they suppose, at the end of the world, will have different effects on good and bad men; they say (c), “in the world to come, God will bring the sun out of its sheath, and burn the wicked; they will be judged by it, and the righteous will be healed by it:’’[126]

John Lightfoot sees the connection with John as the fulfillment of Elijah and the “wrath” of God coming in Matthew 3:7ff. and Malachi 4 as Christ coming spiritually in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70,

 

“…To fly from the wrath to come.] These words respect the very last words of the Old Testament, “lest I smite the earth with a curse,” Mal. 4:[6]; and denote the most miserable destruction of the nation, and now almost ready to fall upon them.”[127]

 

Adam Clarke is most helpful and the clearest that Malachi 4:2 is Christ’s spiritual coming in the events of AD 67 – AD 70:

 

“Malachi 4:1:  Behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven – The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.  And all the proud – This is in reference to Mal 3:15 of the preceding chapter. The day that cometh shall burn them up – Either by famine, by sword, or by captivity. All those rebels shall be destroyed.  It shall leave them neither root nor branch – A proverbial expression for total destruction. Neither man nor child shall escape.

Malachi 4:2:  You that fear my name – The persons mentioned in the sixteenth verse of the preceding chapter, ye that look for redemption through the Messiah.  The Sun of righteousness – The Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah; the Hope of Israel.  With healing in his wings – As the sun, by the rays of light and heat, revives, cheers, and fructifies the whole creation, giving, through God, light and life everywhere; so Jesus Christ, by the influences of his grace and Spirit, shall quicken, awaken, enlighten, warm, invigorate heal, purify, and refine every soul that believes in him, and, by his wings or rays, diffuse these blessings from one end of heaven to another; everywhere invigorating the seeds of righteousness, and withering and drying up the seeds of sin. The rays of this Sun are the truths of his Gospel, and the influences of his Spirit. And at present these are universally diffused.

And ye shall go forth – Ye who believe on his name shall go forth out of Jerusalem when the Romans shall come up against it. After Cestius Gallus had blockaded the city for some days, he suddenly raised the siege. The Christians who were then in it, knowing, by seeing Jerusalem encompassed with armies, that the day of its destruction was come, when their Lord commanded them to flee into the mountains, took this opportunity to escape from Jerusalem, and go to Pella, in Coelesyria; so that no Christian life fell in the siege and destruction of this city.”[128]

So, we learn from the ancient Jewish commentators and Christian commentators that Christ coming as the “Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2 is:

 

1).  Understood to be Messianic.

2).  It is the Second Coming event.

3).  It was Christ coming spiritually in salvation for the Christians (an inner spiritual infusion of imputed righteousness) while at the same time a physical salvation or flight to Pella—while being a judgment of fire burning up the wicked in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

All three of these the author defends to be true and applicable to achieving the goals of this work.

 

The other references to Christ being the Morning Star at His Second Coming event manifesting His inner salvation within the hearts of His people as an “inheritance ready to be revealed” or to receive His “soon” reward/presence in the New Creation at His “soon” spiritual Second Coming in AD 70 – the author also fully agrees with (Rev. 2:16, 28–Rev. 22:7-16).  Again, the commentators are divided as to if the coming of Christ and inheritance of Christ being the “Morning Star” was received at His spiritual “soon” coming in AD 70 or will be fulfilled at the Second Coming.  This of course is not an “either or” but a “both and” Futurist dilemma which Full Preterism solves.

 

And of course, the “Sun of RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Mal. 4:2) caused us to “inherit” the New Covenant “world of RIGHTEOUSNESS” when He fully arose in the hearts of His people – described as the “salvation of the soul” (1 Pet. 1:4-12/4:5-7; 2 Pet. 1:19/2 Pet. 3).

 

Paul likewise taught that Christ’s Second Coming being and “at hand” was the “Day” light and life for Christians in the New Covenant age in AD 70 while the “night” of the Old Covenant age was passing away – had to do with the “salvation” of inner forgiveness and not the transformation of physical bodies at the end of world history (Rms. 11:26-27/13:11-12).

 

Here in our text (Mt. 24:27), the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon gives astrape, the meaning of a “bright light” so the question arises as to what great light is Jesus referring to – lightning or the sun?  The Greek word for “shine” is phaino which according to the Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon can mean, “of growing vegetation, to come to light.”  Well, is there a “bright light” that causes “vegetation to grow” that shines “from east to west”?  To me the great light being the sun and it is shining from the east to the west giving light and life to the Church as His garden in salvation makes more sense than Him coming as lightning – which is generally speaking more north to south.

Jesus would not be revealing Himself in some dark inner secret room of the Temple as the false Messiah’s and prophets would shamefully be doing, for they were of the darkness, but on that day, “they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none beside me.  I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:6; 19-25; cf. Mal.1:1, 4:1-2, 5-6).

Perhaps a type of eternal life can be found in Joshuah10:12-14 when God listened to Joshua and the sun stood still. Every day in the new creation is a day without darkness or bearing the reproach of our sins (Isa. 60:19-20; Rev. 21:23-26).  In Joshua’s day this miracle was a sign to all that Jehovah was fighting for Israel. When those who are in darkness outside the gates of the City look at your life and see the joy, light, and warmth of God’s presence radiating from your inner being, God uses this to cause His elect to crave this enduring light and righteousness that can only come from your Lord.

 

This also serves to harden the reprobate – as the sun melts the wax and hardens the clay. In Joshuah’s day this was a sign that the Lord was fighting for Israel and today Christ’s presence and eternal Day within His Church demonstrates that nothing will ever be able to withstand her.

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

 

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mt. 24:30-31)

 

Before beginning an exegesis of our text, let’s first point out a similar passage where again Jesus promises that His contemporaries (the religious rulers) could live to witness Him coming upon the clouds in judgment:

 

“And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”  But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. “Then, the sign, of the Son of Man in heaven” (Mt. 26:62-64).

 

The first thing we need to point out is that the de-creation of the preceding verse 29 which begins with “immediately after those days (the distress/tribulation and wrath upon the land and their flight from Judea)…” and verse 30 begins with “then” – demonstrating all these events transpire together and that there is no gap of thousands of years between them.

Some commentators such as Hofman or Meyer’s thought the sign here was possibly when Josephus discusses that Jews during the AD 67 – AD 70 time-frame, saw an apparition of a glorious man in the clouds above the temple while Jerusalem was under siege,

“R. Hofman thinks that the reference is to that apparition in the form of a man which is alleged to have stood over the holy of holies for a whole night while the destruction of the capital was going on (Meyer’s Commentary on the New Testament, vol. 1, 423).”[129]

Sepher Yosippon (with Steven B. Bowman translating the Hebrew) writes of this event mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus,

“…Now it happened after this that there was seen from above the over the Holy of Holies for the whole night the outline of a man’s face, the like of whose beauty had never been seen in all the land, and his appearance was quite awesome.  Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire.”[130]

And

“When the holiday of Shavu’oth came in those days, during the night the priests heard within the Temple something like the sound of men going and the sound of men marching in a multitude going into the Temple, and a terrible and mighty voice was heard speaking: ‘Let’s go and leave this House.”[131]

Here is another description of the same event from another source,

“Also, after many days a certain figure appeared of tremendous size, which many saw, just as the books of the Jews [Yosippon?] have disclosed, and before the setting of the sun there were suddenly seen in the clouds chariots and armed battle arrays, by which the cities of all Judaea and its territories were invaded.”[132]

Others point out that the Greek of the text is not referring to a sign is in the sky, but rather the destruction of the desolation of Jerusalem and the Temple by the invading Roman armies is the actual sign that the Son of Man was sitting at the right hand of the Father and ruling in heaven.  Keith Mathison writes,

“The Greek text of this verse does not state that the Son of the Man will appear in the heavens.  Rather, what appears is the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.  In other words, the destruction of the Jerusalem will be the sign that the Son of Man, who prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, is in heaven.”[133]

Marcellus Kik similarly writes,

“One must note that the verse speaks of a “sign” and not of the personal appearance of Christ Himself.  If Christ had referred to his visible coming in the heavens, he would have said, “And then shall appear the Son of man in heaven.”  But he prophesied the appearance of a sign of the Son of Man who dwells in heaven.

To what sign did Christ have reference?  This had been the question of the disciples:  “Tell us, when shall these things be?  And what shall be the sign of they coming, and of the end of the age?”  Christ had informed them of the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, and when they asked, “when shall these things be?” he indicated to them the sign of his coming and the end of the pre-Messianic age.  The sign of the passing away of the pre-Messianic age and the beginning of the Messianic reign was the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple.  As the old dispensation passed away, the sign would introduce the new dispensation.”[134]

“…and then all the tribes of the earth/land will mourn,…”

Many assume the entire “tribe” of the globe of mankind and or all nations of the globe therein is supposed to physically see Jesus return someday because many translations translate the Greek word ge as “tribes of the earth” instead of correctly translating it, “tribes of the land” as the International Standard Version and Darby Bible Translation correctly have and can be seen the local land of Palestine in the following texts – Matthew 2:6, 20; 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 4:25; 21:23; John 3:22; Acts 7:3.

The Greek word here for “tribes” is phule and is another clear link to the tribes of Israel in the local “land” of Palestine which is the subject of the coming of the Son of Man and not a global event.  Jesus’ OT reference here is to Zechariah 12:10-12 and in that context the mourning involves the “tribe of David,” “tribe of Nathan,” “tribe of Levi,” “tribes of Shimeites” and are connected to a “mourning in Jerusalem.”  Again, the subject matter concerns the are the tribes of Israel that are in view not the globe.

I would agree with Russell who points out when ge (land) and phule (tribes) are used together as they are here, “…its limitation to the land of Israel is obvious…” “restricted,” and “undisputed.”[135]

 

D.A. Carson connecting Matthew 24:30 with Revelation 1:7, 6:15-17 points out that “most scholars” agree that the “mourning” involved here is that of “despair, not repentance.”[136]

 

Since both Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 draw from and are the fulfillment of Zachariah 12:10 and both are seen to be the same eschatological event, we should give it too a brief exegesis at this point.

 

“Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the land. Yes! Amen!” (Rev. 1:7 YLT DARBY).

 

The immediate context tells us that the content of Revelation (thus Rev. 1:7) would be fulfilled “shortly” and within John’s contemporary audience (the seven churches in Asia – Rev. 1:1).

 

Contextually, “every eye” that sees Him are “even those who did pierce him” – that is “all the tribes of the land.”  So, those that “see” Him coming upon the clouds are first century Jews who by their own hands crucified Christ (Acts 2:23).

 

The Greek word for “see” is horao and has the meaning, “of mental and spiritual perception perceive, take note, recognize, find out (AC 8.23);[137] to see with the mind, to perceive, know. 3 to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience.[138]

 

We use this same sense or definition of see as perceive or understand today – “do you see (understand) what I’m saying?”

 

These first century Jews would understand and perceive that Christ was coming upon them in judgment, just as He said He would and as God had come upon the clouds judging their Nation in the past (i.e. the Babylonians, Assyrians, etc.).

 

Josephus, records the Jews saying, “the Son cometh” as the Romans hurled 100 pound boulders over the walls to crush the Jews.[139]

 

Theses apostate Jews knew of Christ pronouncing that they would see him coming upon the clouds of heaven to judge them through the Roman armies and had heard the NT authors proclaim the same message.  Even before they killed James in around AD 63 James once again uttered,

 

“And he answered with a loud voice, Why, do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven.’”[140]

 

The Church understood Christ and the Kingdom had “already come” in power (Mrk. 8:38—9:1) when looking back upon their deliverance from the destruction of Jerusalem, and the apostate Jews “saw” and understood this event to be their doom (mockery or not).  In spite of knowing His predictions, they believed the false prophets predictions until the end–that God would deliver them from the Romans and establish their earthly carnal kingdom.  They would not have Christ rule over them, so they were “slain before Him” (Lk. 19:14-27).

 

Jesus’ OT sources for Matthew 24:30

 

As we have previously seen in Luke 21:22-32, Jesus states very clearly that all OT scripture would be fulfilled and brought to maturity in His contemporary “this generation.”  Therefore, we should look at two of those OT passages Jesus is drawing upon here in Matthew 24:30:  1).  Zechariah 12 – 14 and 2).

 

Zechariah 12 – 14

 

1).  A gathering and siege of Jerusalem by the surrounding nations takes place (Zech. 12:2-3 = Lk. 21:20-22).

 

2).  Judgment of the Nations takes place while Jerusalem (the remnant or New Jerusalem) is saved (Zech. 12:7-9 = Lk. 21:27-28; Mt. 25:31-46).

 

3).  They look upon Jesus whom the Jews had pierced and mourn (Zech. 12:11-12 = Mt. 24:30).

The false prophets and demons are cleansed and judged from the land (Zech. 12:2-3 = Mt. 23—25:31-46).

 

4).  In that day the Lord would prepare a way of escape for the righteous remnant (Zech. 14:4 = Lk. 21:20-22).

 

5).  This day is only known by the LORD (Zech. 14:6 = Mt. 24:36).

 

6).  There is always light (Zech. 14:7=Mt. 24:27/Lk. 21:30-32/Rev. 21:25; 22:5-7) —Christ comes as the Sun/Son and His light shines from east to west and is the light of the New Jerusalem that never ceases in the kingdom.

 

7).  Living waters of salvation or redemption flow from the New Jerusalem when the King and the Kingdom arrive (Zech. 14:8-9=Lk. 21:27-32/Rev. 11; 21-22:7-17).

The Last 3 eschatological Fall Feasts of Zechariah 12-14 (Trumpets / Ingathering / Day of Atonement) fulfilled by AD 70

I agree with Premillennial Zionist Dr. Michael Brown that we can see the last three eschatological feasts of Israel between Zechariah 12-14.[141]  But since these Feasts are a part of the Mosaic Law (cf. Lev. 23/Cols. 2) they had to have been fulfilled by AD 70 or the Church remains under “all” of the Mosaic Law (cf. Mt. 5:17-18) in observing it’s feasts, sacrifices and sabbaths – all of which formed it.

 

Pastor David Curtis explains these three feasts – Trumpets, Ingathering and Tabernacles

 

“There were “ten days of awe and repentance” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Israel’s redemption) – which was to be in preparation for the time of judgment. During the 10 days they would prepare their hearts for the judgment when the “books were opened.” But they didn’t know when it would take place (the “day and hour”) because the “new moon” had to be visible before the trumpet would sound and the feast to take place. The High Priest would send three witnesses on three different mountains to look for the moon to be visible emerging from the clouds so that the trumpet and atonement process could be finished for the year. There were “ten days of awe and repentance” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Israel’s redemption) – which was to be in preparation for the time of judgment. During the 10 days they would prepare their hearts for the judgment when the “books were opened.” But they didn’t know when it would take place (the “day and hour”) because the “new moon” had to be visible before the trumpet would sound and the feast to take place. The High Priest would send three witnesses on three different mountains to look for the moon to be visible emerging from the clouds so that the trumpet and atonement process could be finished for the year. There were “ten days of awe and repentance” between the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement (Israel’s redemption) – which was to be in preparation for the time of judgment. During the 10 days they would prepare their hearts for the judgment when the “books were opened.” But they didn’t know when it would take place (the “day and hour”) because the “new moon” had to be visible before the trumpet would sound and the feast to take place. The High Priest would send three witnesses on three different mountains to look for the moon to be visible emerging from the clouds so that the trumpet and atonement process could be finished for the year.  It was the ONLY feast of which it was said, “But of that day and hour knows no man…”.[142]

The Day of Atonement looks back at the sacrifice of Christ in His first coming (the first 4 spring feasts) but also anticipated Christ as the Church’s High Priest returning a “second time” out of the Temple to apply His blood and salvation to the eagerly awaiting congregation. This “Second Appearing” is described in Hebrews to take place in the last days of Israel’s Old Covenant age and thus “in a very little while” and would “not tarry” and thus by AD 70 (Heb. 9:26-28—10:37).

Curtis continues explaining the Feast Tabernacles,

“The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is not just a harvest celebration, but the time when Solomon completed and dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 5:1-3). It took Solomon 20 years to compete the Temple (1 Kings 9:10) and when it was finished and dedicated to God, the shekinah glory filled God’s House so strong that the priests could not stand to minister (2 Chron. 5:13-14).

During Sukkot 70 bulls were sacrificed daily according to the pattern designed by King David and carried out by his son Solomon. The nations of the world are connected to the Feast of Tabernacles through Solomon’s dedication of God’s Temple during Sukkot with his sacrificing of 70 bulls. God had originally disinherited the seventy nations of the world in Genesis 10-11, but through Israel being a light to the Nations, they once again would be united to Messiah and He would bring them to the New Jerusalem for healing. Add to this that Zechariah 14:16-17 speaks of a time when the nations, which came against Jerusalem, go up year to year to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Hosts during the Feast of Tabernacles, else they won’t receive a physical and spiritual refreshing of rain.”[143]

Some have given good evidence that Jesus was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Jn. 1:14) and circumcised on the eighth day of Sukkot. If so, perhaps John is using the Feast of Tabernacles to be two theological bookends in describing Christ’s First and Second Comings. He came from heaven to earth and “pitched his booth/tent” among us, and in AD 70 He brought His heavenly presence (kingdom of heaven) to be “within” us as His Most Holy Place Temple/City at His parousia – again, during the Feast of Tabernacles when He destroyed the Old Covenant Temple and established the New in September of AD 70 (Lk. 17:20-37/Jn. 14:2-3, 23, 29/Rev. 21:16–22:17).

Just as we saw in Isaiah 2-3 that in Israel’s “last days” and at the “day of the Lord,” there would be a godly remnant of survivors and the nations would begin to flow to Zion or the New Jerusalem to receive healing through the gospel.  This is exactly what Zechariah 12-14, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation 21-22 teach us.  In AD 70 at the trumpet call God gathered all of His Elect Jew/Gentile into His Kingdom and then post AD 70 the nations continue to be gathered within the New Jerusalem to drink of the Living Waters.

 

Daniel 7:13

 

Our other OT fulfillment or echo Jesus is appealing to in His coming upon the clouds in Matthew 24:30 is Daniel 7:13.

 

Many assume Daniel 7:13 is the ascension event and somehow Jesus is applying it to both His ascension and His coming in AD 70.  I personally believe Christ and the NT authors are following the (OG) LXX where Christ is coming “as” the Ancient of Days and not “up to” the Ancient of Days.  But for the sake of argument, let’s look at other concepts that could be seen as Christ coming “up” to the Ancient of Days that is not the ascension, but connected with Christ’s parousia in AD 70, then I will present my view.

 

The presentation of the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:13 is perhaps a reference to Christ in His Parousiadelivering up the kingdom (“the saints”) to the Father (“the Ancient of Days”) in AD 70.

 

“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Cor. 15:24).

 

Or perhaps “the Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13 signifies the Body of Christ (the saints, “the fullness of Christ”) in His Parousia (Eph. 4:13). In this view, the universal church (“the New Man,” “the Son of Man”) was presented to Christ (“the Ancient of Days”) and united with Him in the end of the age, in His Parousia in AD 70 (2 Cor. 4:14; 11:2; Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22, 28; Jude 1:24).

 

However, my preferred interpretation is similar to that of F.F. Bruce.  According to the Old Greek Septuagint translation of Daniel 7:13, the Son of Man came “as the Ancient of Days” on the clouds of heaven, not “to the Ancient of Days.”  This translation is in harmony with verse 22, which says that it was the Ancient of Days Himself who came in judgment and gave the saints the kingdom.  Also, the New Testament does not give the slightest hint that “the coming of the Son of Man” on the clouds of heaven would be fulfilled in the Ascension.  Keil and Delitzch  points out that Daniel 7:13-14 is addressing Christ coming down in the Second Coming event,

 

“…it is manifest that he could only come from heaven to earth. If the reverse is to be understood, then it ought to have been so expressed, since the coming with the clouds of heaven in opposition to the rising up of the beasts out of the sea very distinctly indicates a coming down from heaven. The clouds are the veil or the “chariot” on which God comes from heaven to execute judgment against His enemies; cf. Ps. 18:10f., 97:2–4; 104:3, Isa. 19:1, Nah. 1:3. This passage forms the foundation for the declaration of Christ regarding His future coming, which is described after Dan. 7:13 as a coming of the Son of man with, in, on the clouds of heaven; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Mark 18:26; Rev. 1:7; 14:14.”[144]

 

It is also important to point out that John in the book of Revelation alludes to Daniel 7:9, 13 in his description of Christ as both the Son of Man who comes on the clouds to judge those who had pierced Him (first century Jews) and as the eternal Ancient of Days in Revelation 1:7, 13-16.  Again, the context concerns Christ’s “soon” (Rev. 1:1) Second Coming, not His Ascension.

 

And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Mt. 24:31)

 

The Futurist system is conflicted over our passage.  Some teach the coming of Christ here was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, while others say this could be a problem for their creedal system in that the analogy of faith teaches us this coming of Christ is the same as that of 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4.

 

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 13:4116:27; and 25:31 [passages Postmillennialists such as Mathison and DeMar 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.”

 

This is more than a bit odd since R.C. Sproul and Keith Mathison believe and teach the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 (and Mathison 25:31) was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70 – and yet we learn in their own Study Bible these passages “most naturally refer to the Second Coming”!

 

John Murray appealing to the “analogy of faith” principle of interpretation in examining this passage also correctly observes,

 

“There is ample allusion to the sound of the trumpet and to the ministry of angels elsewhere in the New Testament in connection with Christ’s advent (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).  Hence verse 31 can most readily be taken to refer to the gathering of the elect at the resurrection.”[145]

 

 

Some Partial Preterists while admitting the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:30 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, have thought the gathering of the elect here refers to a post AD 70 evangelism, when in fact the analogy of faith principle of interpretation teaches us that this is the resurrection event to take place at the end of the Old Covenant age.  Let’s pay attention to another passage where Jesus mentions the eschatological “gathering” and judgment that was to take place at the “end of the age” is the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3:

 

  • “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt. 13:39-43)

 

The parallels between Matthew 13; Matthew 24 forming the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12 cannot be denied by any honest exegete of holy Scripture:

 

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…) 12:4, 7, 9, 13 24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35

 

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

 

Premillennial Zionists claim there are two future physical resurrections – one before the thousand years millennial period and another after that period.  But Daniel and Jesus teach there is only one judgment / resurrection / separation for both believers and unbelievers at the end of the Old Covenant age in Daniel 12; Matthew 13 and Matthew 24 – along with John 5.

 

Unfortunately, Pre-tribulational Zionists also believe there are two different comings or two phases of one coming separated by seven years.  They give two main arguments.

 

The first “argument” is that Christ must come in a “secret rapture” “for” Christians separated by seven years.  After this, then the Second Coming is fulfilled when Christ comes “with” the Church.  The “rapture” coming is for the Church while the Second Coming is for Israel to fulfill and bring God’s kingdom and millennial promises for her to earth.

 

The second “argument” is that the Second Coming is a “sign-less” coming while the “rapture” could happen at any time.

Mark Hitchcock presents this “argument”:

“The rapture is an imminent, signless event, which, from the human perspective, could occur at any moment.  But contrast, the Second Coming will be preceded by many signs (see Matthew 24:1-29).  The same event cannot logically be both signless and yet portended by numerous signs.  This is flatly contradictory.”[146]

And looking for support he appeals to John MacArthur,

“Scripture suggests that the Second Coming occurs in two stages—first the Rapture, when He comes for His saints and they are caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17), and second, His return to earth, when He comes with His saints (Jude 14) to execute judgment on His enemies.  Daniel’s seventieth week must fall between those two events.  That is the only scenario that reconciles the immanency of Christ’s coming for His saints with the yet unfulfilled signs that signal His final glorious return with the saints.”[147]

 

Early founders of Dispensational Zionist eschatology such as John Nelson Darby and William E. Blackstone back as early as 1925 cited Matthew 24:36-42 arguing for the rapture, so we will add it here to make the system’s support for the two-coming theory:

 

No signs before “rapture” “for” saints Signs before Second Coming “with” saints
Matthew 24:36-42 Matthew 13:41 / Matthew 24:27-31
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Luke 17:20-37 / Luke 21:25-28

 

It should be clear enough that the Apostle Paul is following Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse – virtually almost in the same order.  There is no exegetical evidence that Jesus nor Paul is teaching or expecting two comings:

 

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/gathered together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact time unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ comes as a thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers caught off guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of birth pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers not deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to be watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/sunlight shinning from e. to w. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And if B (1 Thessalonians 4) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
The sleeping to be raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The living to be caught/changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s coming (Greek: parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the sound of the trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to stand firm 4:18 15:58
Same contemporary “we” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matthew 24 & Parallels) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
Christ to come (Greek: parousia) 24:27 15:23
His people to be gathered/changed 24:31 15:52
To come with the sound of a trumpet 24:31 15:52
To be “the end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All prophecy fulfilled at this point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/Temple Mt. 24:1 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” Mt. 24:2ff 15:51-52
Two or More Things that are Equal to Another Thing are Also Equal to Each Other
Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4 1 Corinthians 15
At His coming (24:27-31) At His Coming (4:16) At His Coming (15:23)
At the trumpet (24:31) At the trumpet (4:16) At the trumpet (15:52)
Dead raised, All Gathered (24:31) Dead raised (4:16) Dead raised (15:35-44)
All living gathered
(24:31)
Living caught together to Him (4:17) Status of living changed (15:51)

 

First, let me address my former Pastor and College President – John MacArthur’s treatment of NT “imminency.”  Sadly, MacArthur’s attempt at explaining NT imminence was not only an embarrassment to the Church on an exegetical level, but it was also an embarrassment in response to liberal skeptics, Muslims and Jewish Zionists.[148]

 

MacArthur provided no Greek word study on the various words the NT uses for Christ’s imminent “rapture” or Second Coming.

 

He admits that Paul taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Christ could have come at any time for Paul and his contemporaries and this is indeed what Paul was expecting for his contemporaries and thus those living in his generation.[149]  Apparently it doesn’t dawn on John that if Paul was inspired and believed and taught Christ’s coming would take place within the lifetime of some of his contemporaries, then Paul was not inspired and wrong!  Paul does not give us his opinion on when he thought Christ would return, he gives us divine revelation that Christ would come within some of the lifetimes of his contemporaries.

 

MacArthur like many Dispensational Zionists believe the return of Christ was just as imminent in the first century as it is today and oddly concluded his section on an “imminence” in the NT that isn’t really imminent at all by writing,

 

“I suppose it is also possible that Christ could delay His coming another 2,000 years or longer.”[150]

 

This of course is the exact opposite position of the Biblical testimony of Christ coming in “a very little while” and “would not delay” the author of Hebrews teaches under inspiration (Heb. 10:37).

 

Premillennial Zionists have a very hard time explaining How the “rapture” or the Second Coming events were truly imminent for the first century Christians since the Temple had not been destroyed in AD 70 when Paul was writing let alone another alleged “re-built” one?  But perhaps we should back up even further, how could they have expected a truly imminent coming of Christ if in the Zionist view, the gospel had not been preached throughout the entire globe?  Or when Paul was writing, the Jews being scattered throughout the world let alone being re-gathered (in unbelief – which is also an unbiblical tenant of this system) and become a nation again (ex. the “super sign” of 1948 – another abuse of Scripture) hadn’t even taken place or was even close to being fulfilled?

 

Since all of these events are necessary to take place before the “rapture” or Second Coming could be fulfilled, how can MacArthur even pretend to say that the “rapture” was “imminent” and therefore Paul and his contemporaries expected it to happen?   Perhaps MacArthur’s explanation of NT imminence should be equivalent to what he has to say of the Charismatics speaking in “tongues” today — just plain unbiblical “gibberish.”  Selah.

 

Now let’s address the two arguments concerning signs and no signs and Christ coming for and then with saints.

First, there is no “contradiction” of Christ coming “with” the dead saints that He just raised out of Hades (and coming with the angels) “for” the living, whereby they would both reside in the kingdom and God’s presence.  The exegetical support for there being a seven-year gap between these two comings of Christ is no less of a heretical and unbiblical view than the Partial Preterist who sees thousands of years between two comings of Christ (one in AD 70 & another at the end of world history) or that of the Jehovah Witnesses for that matter!  The idea that Jesus in the Olivet Discourse or Paul in 1 and 2 Thessalonians (or the NT in general) teaches two different comings of Christ separated by seven or seven thousand years is nothing but pure eisegesis and created out of thin air to uphold their eschatological system.

Secondly, both Dispensational Zionists and Partial Preterists make a distinction in Matthew 24 and Thessalonians that is not present when it comes to a “coming of Christ preceded by signs” verses another one “without signs.”  And to that subject we turn as to if there are two comings of Christ or two sections involved or just one.

Division Theories to justify two comings of Christ refuted – Signs vs. no signs & Luke 17:20-37  

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:37-51).

 

Let’s review the Zionist Pre-tribulationalist and Partial Preterist “arguments” that this section allegedly proves two different comings of Christ are allegedly taught in Matthew 24.

 

A Dispensational Zionist view: 

 

Signs mentioned so “rapture” coming seven years before Second Coming No signs mentioned so Second Coming
Matthew 24:27-31 Matthew 24:36-42
Luke 17:20-37 / Luke 21:25-28 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

A Partial Preterist view: 

 

Signs mentioned so

Christ’s spiritual coming in AD 70

No signs mentioned so

Future Physical Second Coming

Matthew 24:3-34 Matthew 24:36ff.
Luke 17:20-37 Luke 17:20-37

 

It is always humorous to watch these two views attack and debate each other over the Olivet Discourse and Luke 17 and try and explain which verses are referring to AD 70, which verses are Second Coming verses and which ones could or shouldn’t be “rapture” verses distinct from Second Coming ones.  Some Dispensationalists think Matthew 24:36-42 is the Second Coming while others think it’s the secret rapture.  Some Partial Preterists think Luke 17:20-37 is referring Christ coming spiritually in AD 70 while others think it’s a Future Second Coming event.  It’s like the blind leading the blind.  There is no consistency and thus no real answer to the Bible skeptic, Talmudic skeptic or Muslim.  But that’s all changing!

 

Recapitulation in Matthew 24-25 Disproves the two-coming theory

Jesus is using common Hebraic or prophetic recapitulation in Matthew 24-25 concerning just ONE coming.  This is even more obvious when the parallels in Luke 21 and Mark 13 only address ONE coming of Christ.  Are we really to believe they forgot to mention that Christ really taught on TWO different comings of the Christ spanning 7 years or thousands of years per Dispensational or Partial Preterist interpretations?  Matthew’s account is simply emphasizing recapitulation and adding more parables due to his Jewish audience when addressing the same coming of Christ and same judgment.  Matthew 24 is addressing only one coming of Christ and it was either fulfilled by AD 70, or it is a Future to us event.  While not a Preterist, John Murray correctly points out that Matthew 24 is “recapitulatory” in its structure concerning one coming and one judgment,

“The [Olivet Discourse here in Mt. 24], as to structure, is recapitulatory…” “It is not, therefore, continuously progressive.  We are repeatedly brought to the advent and informed of its various features, [i.e. contemporary, concurrent or interrelated events], and consequences (vss. 14, 29-31, 37-41; 25:3146.”[151]

And is it even true that Jesus is not addressing signs in Matthew 24:36-42ff.?  The truth of the matter is that when Jesus exhorts the disciples to “watch and pray” or to “be ready,” this is contextually tied to His discussion of the signs the disciples asked about an He already covered in Matthew 24:3-30.

And if Jesus was trying to use Noah as an example of a “sign-less” “secret rapture” (per Dispensationalism) or a future Second Coming event (per Partial Preterism), wouldn’t building an ark for a very long time be a sign to Noah’s contemporaries?!?

There simply is no exegetical evidence that there are two different comings of Christ (a sign coming and a non-sign coming of Christ) taught by Jesus in Matthew 24-25.

The parallels between Matthew 24-25 and Luke 17 disproves the two comings theory

When we compare Jesus’ teaching of His coming in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, it becomes even more obvious that Jesus is not addressing two different comings or Matthew has “two section” to his account.

Gary DeMar is a Partial Preterist who like me, disagrees with other Partial Preterists and Dispensational Zionists who try and make this two comings of Christ distinction of signs v. no signs “argument” in the Olivet Discourse.  We disagree with Kenneth Gentry and other Partial Preterists that “argue” Christ’s coming in Matthew 24:27-30 is His coming in AD 70 because Jesus gives “signs” and Christ’s coming in Matthew 24:36—chap. 25 is allegedly His future coming because no signs are allegedly mentioned.  We also disagree with Dispensational Zionists who claim the coming of Christ in Matthew 24:27-30 is the Second Coming event because signs are discussed while Matthew 24:36-42 is a different coming due to no mention of signs.  Gary writes,

Many futurists claim that the phrase “took them all away” (Matt. 24:39) refers to a rapture that is still in our future. On the contrary. “In the context of 24:37–39, ‘taken’ presumably means ‘taken to judgment’ (cf. Jer. 6:11 NASB, NRSV).” The phrase ties the judgment of the world in Noah’s day with the judgment of the Jews’ world in Israel’s day that took place with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

 

Who was taken away in the judgment of the flood? Not Noah and his family. They were “left behind” to carry on God’s work. John Gill writes in his commentary on this passage: “the whole world of the ungodly, every man, woman, and child, except eight persons only; Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives. . . .” were taken away in judgment. And what does Gill say about those in the field?: They shall be taken away “by the eagles, the Roman army, and either killed or carried captive by them.” The Bible gives its own commentary on the meaning of “took them all away” in Luke 17:2729: “Destroyed them all” is equivalent to “took them all away.”

 

A number of commentators (e.g., J. Marcellus Kik and Kenneth Gentry) argue that Matthew 24:35 is a “transition text.” It’s at this point, they argue, that Jesus is referring to a time period that is still in our future. Luke 17:22–37 describes five Olivet-Discourse prophetic events that are identical to those found in Matthew 24. The difference between Matthew 24 and Luke 17 is in the order of the events, a characteristic of the passages that few commentators can explain. Ray Summers writes:

 

This is a most difficult passage. The overall reference appears to be to the coming of the Son of Man—Christ—in judgment at the end of the age. Some small parts of it, however, are repeated in Luke 21 in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), and larger parts of it are in Matthew 24, also in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. The entire complex cautions one against dogmatism in interpreting.

 

Taking Matthew 24 as the standard, Luke places the Noah’s ark analogy (Matt. 24:37–39) before the events of Matthew 24:17–18 (“let him who is on the housetop not go down”), verse 27 (“for just as the lightning comes from the east”), and verse 28 (“wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather”). If the five prophetic events of Matthew 24 that are found in Luke 17:22–37 are numbered 1–2–3–4–5, Luke’s numbering of the same events would be 2–4–1–5–3. While this is not positive proof of an A.D. 70 fulfillment for chapters 24 and 25, it certainly adds credibility to the position.))

 

 

 

 

Another line of evidence offered by those who believe that events following Matthew 24:34 refer to a yet future personal and physical return of Jesus is the meaning given to “after a long time” (24:48; 25:19) and the “delay” by the bridegroom (25:5). On the surface these examples seem to indicate that two different events are in view, one near (the destruction of Jerusalem) and one distant (the second coming of Christ). This is the view of Stephen F. Hayhow.

 

Both parables, the parables of the virgins (vv. 1–13), and the parable of the talents (vv. 14–30), speak of the absence of the bridegroom/master, who is said to be “a long time in coming” (v. 5) and “After a long time the master of the servants returned” (v. 19). This suggests, not the events of A.D. 70 which were to occur in the near future, in fact within the space of a generation, but a distant event, the return of Christ.

 

Notice that the evil slave says, “My master is not coming for a long time” (Matt. 24:48). The evil slave then proceeds to “beat his fellow-slaves and eat and drink with drunkards” (24:49). But to the surprise of the “evil slave” the master returned when he least expected him (24:50). The master did not return to cut the evil slave’s distant relatives in pieces (24:51); he cut him in pieces. The evil slave was alive when the master left, and he was alive when the master returned. In this context, a “long time” must be measured against a person’s lifetime. In context, two years could be a long time if the master usually returned within six months.

 

The same idea is expressed in the parable of the “talents.” A man entrusts his slaves with his possessions (25:14). The master then goes on a journey (25:15). While the master is gone, the slaves make investment decisions (25:16–18). We are then told that “after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them” (25:19). In this context “a long time” is no longer than an average lifetime. The settlement is made with the same slaves who received the talents. In every other New Testament context, “a long time” means nothing more than an extended period of time (Luke 8:27; 23:8; John 5:6; Acts 8:11; 14:3, 28; 26:5, 29; 27:21; 28:6). Nowhere does it mean centuries or multiple generations. The delay of the bridegroom is no different from the “long time” of the two previous parables. The bridegroom returns to the same two groups of virgins (25:1–13). The duration of the delay must be measured by the audience.

 

This brief analysis helps us understand the “mockers” who ask, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:3–4). Peter was aware that Jesus’ coming was an event that would take place before the last apostle died (Matt. 16:27–28John 21:22–23). The doctrine of the soon return of Christ was common knowledge (Matt. 24:3426:64Phil. 4:5Heb. 10:251 John 2:18Rev. 1:13). It is not hard to imagine that the passage of several decades would lead some to doubt the reliability of the prophecy, especially as the promised generation was coming to a close. The horrendous events of A.D. 70 silenced the mockers.”[152]

 

Luke 17:20-37

 

Just as Matthew 23-25 is written with a common chiastic structure connecting these chapters as to who really deserves to be sitting and judging Israel (the hypocrites sitting in Moses seat or the Son of Man sitting on the throne who would come and judge those same hypocrites)—addressing the same coming of Christ, the same judgment for the living and the dead, the destruction of the same Temple – in the same time frame “this generation;” Luke 17:20-37 is also structured with a chiasm.

 

Since some may be asking “what in the world is a chiasm”(?), let me briefly point out its basic structure.  Here is the classic example.

 

(A)  No one can serve two masters,

(B)  for either he will hate the one

(C) and love the other,

(C) or he will be devoted to the one

(B) and despise the other.

(A) You cannot serve God and money.

Usually in a chiasm the beginning and end correspond with each other and ram home the point.   The middle also corresponds with each other and the beginning and end and can serve as the main point or the meat in the middle.  In ancient Hebrew and Biblical times this form of teaching was popular because the parallel structure made it easy to memorize the teaching.

Now notice the chiasm structure in Luke 17:20-37 begins and ends with two questions and the point Jesus is addressing is when and how His Kingdom will be manifested.

(A)  The question by the Pharisees – when will the kingdom come or be realized (17:20-21)?  It will come “within the heart of a person.”

(B)  When the coming of the Son of Man is revealed as the Sun (17:22-25).

(C)  This will be like in the days of Noah (17:26-27).

(C)  This will be like in the days of Lot (17:28-29).

(B)  When the Son of Man is revealed (17:30)

(A) The question by the disciples – Where, Lord? “Where the dead body is.”

Luke 17:20-37 is a chiasm centered around two questions (the Pharisees and then the disciples) addressing the eschatological point as to when, how and where the kingdom will come and be realized.  The answer for the Pharisees is that when the Kingdom comes, it will be unseen and realized “within” the hearts of their enemies – when the Son of Man is revealed from heaven (which will be like the days of Noah or Lot).  The answer to the disciple’s question, as to when, how or “where” the Kingdom comes—is connected to when their enemies would be “gathered” together in order to be slain like a dead body the birds of the air would pick apart.  This too would be realized when Christ would be revealed from heaven (which would be like the days of Noah or Lot).  Remember, Jesus taught elsewhere that the kingdom would be “taken” from the Pharisees and “given” to the Church or “Nation” bearing the fruits thereof (Mt. 21:43-45). Our text here in Luke 17 DESCRIBES HOW, WHEN and WHERE that transfer would be accomplished in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

“Within you”

 

Some modern translators translate entos as “among you” or “in your midst” without any linguistic justification. They appear to do this for two reasons.  First, they can’t have Jesus’ spiritual “within” kingdom associated with the eschatological “not yet” or at Christ’s Parousia, so “among you” or currently “in your midst” places the phrase comfortably in the here and now of the “already.”  And secondly, they think that if you translate the passage as “within you” this would have Jesus saying the unbelieving Pharisees had the kingdom within them.

Therefore, let’s consider the linguistic evidence for “within you” or “within your heart” and also to whom is Jesus referring to when He says within “you.”

Strong’s Concordance pretty much nails the definition of entosas as “within you”:

“1787. ἐντός entós; adv. from en(1722), in. Within. Used also as a prep. with the gen. (Luke 17:21, “the kingdom of God is within you,” meaning it is located in your heart and affections, not external). With the neut. def. art., tó entós, the inside (Matt. 23:26; Sept.: Ps. 39:4; 109:22). Zodhiates, S. (2000).”

Consider the following arguments that prove with 100% certainty that entos should be translated as “within you”:

1).  The context of Luke 17:21 is giving a contrast between something that is outward and physically seen – “lo here or lo there” as opposed to something that is spiritual and “within.”

2).  Entos is only used one other time in the NT and it is located in Matthew 23:26, where again there is a contrast being made between what the hypocritical Pharisees do outwardly – sitting in Moses seat and doing their deeds to be “SEEN by men,” dress to be SEEN by men, and love the best seats so as to be SEEN by men.  But Jesus drives the point home when He addresses they are overly concerned about outward washings and cleanliness, not realizing that they are unclean and spiritually dead from the “inside” (entos) – (23:25-28).

There are also some other parallels between Matthew 23 and Luke 17-18. Christ’s Second Coming will fall upon them “quickly” or within their “this generation” for persecuting the Messiah and killing the OT prophets and those Jesus will send to them – and thus both passages deal with the vindication of the first century persecuted church at the hands of the Pharisees (Mt. 23:29-39 / Lk. 17-18).  I will show how Luke 17 is connected with Luke 18 in a bit.

3).  Strong’s also appeals to the LXX which universally translates the OT Hebrew being ““within” a building such as the temple or something taking place “within” a person’s “inward parts” or within the spiritual nature of man as contrasted with the outward – see also the LXX. in Psalm 103:1Psalm 109:22Isaiah 16:11.”

4).  Outside the NT, entos never means “among.”

5).  In order to express “among, amidst,” or “in the middle of,” the New Testament always uses mesos already employed in the Old Testament 307 times, and in the New Testament there are 27 occurrences with Luke, often using mesos much more than any of the other gospel writers. This clearly implies that Luke would certainly have used mesos in 17:21 if the meaning were “among you.”

6).  Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that in Liddell-Scott, (p. 577), gives Luke 17:21 the translation of entosas to be “in your hearts.”

  1. All the early church fathers who were closer to koine Greek than we are, universally understood entosas to be “within you.”

8).  It has only been in recent times that some translations have rendered entos as “among you” in the fear that Jesus is teaching the kingdom of God would be “within” the unbelieving Pharisees.  But as William Hendriksen points out,

“The pronoun you (whether singular or plural) have more than one meaning such as “a person” or “one.”[153]

Therefore, Jesus is teaching that when the kingdom of God comes (at His Second Coming) you will not be able to physically see it, because it will be realized and fulfilled “within the heart of a person.”

One last point on Luke 17:20-37.  Luke’s account of Jesus’ teachings often times closes a discourse with a parable (6:20-49; 10:1-37; 11:14-36; 11:37-12:21; 12:22-48; 16:9-31; 17:20-18:8). Thus the “day(s) of the Son of Man” will include: inheritance of the kingdom & Parousia, but also severe persecution requiring vindication of which Jesus now turns His attention to. While the disciples may be tempted to want the kind of kingdom the Pharisees wanted (a violent vindication from their Roman enemies) due to the coming persecutions, Jesus does assure them that His Parousia would include an aspect of physical deliverance and vindication of their enemies. This would occur “quickly” (Lk. 18:8) at His Second Coming and not thousands of years in the future.

 

Concluding the parallels of Matthew 24:37-51 and Luke 17:20-37

 

There is no exegetical evidence to support Matthew 24-25 is addressing two comings of Christ as some Dispensational Zionist have taught (ex. Darby) and as some Partial Preterists (ex. Gentry) teach.

Was Luke so confused and forgetful that when Christ taught on His Second Coming in Luke 17 and Luke 21 he only addresses ONE coming while Matthew points out that there are really TWO comings?  If Luke understood Christ teaching two comings in the Olivet Discourse, then why does he mix up the order of those events in Luke 17 to be one and the same event?

 

When we compare Jesus’ teaching on His Second Coming and the arrival of His Kingdom in Luke 17:20-37 with Luke 21:27-32 we realize that both His Kingdom and Second Coming would be fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” and His Kingdom and Parousia presence would not be physically seen, because it would be revealed “within the hearts” of His people.  He would come as “The Sun of Righteousness” “shinning from the east to the west” “healing” and bring resurrection life “within the hearts” of His people – while the Old Covenant Kingdom would be desolated and never remembered.

 

 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates/door” (Matthew 24:32-33) / “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near” (Lk. 21:30-32)

 
Premillennial Zionist “prophecy experts” claim this text is a “super sign” teaching us that when Israel (the fig tree) became a nation in 1948, Christ’s coming and the arrival of His Kingdom are “near” for our contemporary “this generation.”  In a similar way some like Pat Roberts reasoned the “times of the Gentiles” was somehow fulfilled in 1967, so we are the “this generation” that will experience the secret “rapture.”

 

But the clear contextual meaning is that the fig tree and all the trees beginning to put forth their leaves is = to the signs being fulfilled (specifically the sign(s) of the great commission and the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem).  This would indicate that the arrival of “summer” was “near” is = to the desolation of Jerusalem being near or the Kingdom and Second Coming being “near.”

 

“Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf,… When the disciples would see the sign of “Jerusalem being surrounded by [Roman] armies [& or the GC of Mt. 24:14]…
…you see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near(Lk. 21:30-32) …know that its desolation is near (Lk. 21:20).  Or, they would know that the coming of the Son of Man and His Kingdom would be “near” or “at the door” in their “this generation” (cf. Lk. 21:27-32).

 

In Matthew and Luke’s accounts there is slight difference.  In Matthew’s account of the parable the disciples are exhorted to just look at the fig tree (one tree), while Luke adds “and all the trees.”  So, if modern Israel becoming a nation in 1948 is the “fig tree” beginning to bring forth her leaves, then they need to explain what “and all the trees” sprouting forth their leaves means in Luke’s account – which of course they never attempt to do.  If the fig tree is Israel, then “all the trees” would be the other nations?  If so, what happened to all of the modern Nations of the globe in 1948 per this bizarre twisting of God’s Word?

 

It is true that in the OT and even the NT the fig tree can represent Israel.  But Jesus on a previous occasion cursed the fig tree (Israel after the flesh) so that it would never bear forth fruit again (Mt. 21:18-19).  Not only this, but the Kingdom would be “taken” from the Pharisees and Jews and “given” to “another Nation” [the Church] that would bear fruit after Israel was judged in AD 70 to never bear fruit again (Mt. 21:43-45/1 Pet. 2:15).

 

The other slight difference between Matthew’s account and Luke’s, is that Luke includes the “Kingdom” being near at this point while Matthew does not mention the Kingdom being near but rather Christ Himself.  As we will see in our study of Luke 17:20-37 the coming of Christ and the Kingdom are once again linked together and them being “near” in the disciple’s generation in Luke 21 is further explained as to this being manifested or fulfilled “within the hearts of a person” in AD 70.

 

The best evidence that our exegesis is accurate is if the inspired NT writers understood these signs being fulfilled in their time and likewise taught the Second Coming was “at the very gates/door” (Mt. 24:33).  And of course, that is exactly what we find James writing,

 

“…the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door” (Jms. 5:8-9).

 

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Mt. 24:34 KJV)

Other relevant translations which understanding this is referring to Jesus’ contemporary generation correctly understand the meaning to be,

“Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died” (Mt. 24:34 GNT).

“I tell you the truth, all these things will happen while the people of this time are still living” (Mt. 24:34 NCV).

There are three texts which answer the disciples question as to when the Temple would be destroyed and the signs, coming of the Son of Man and the end of the age would be fulfilled.  They are:

 

1).  After the gospel had been preached throughout the then know “whole world” or Roman Empire “then the end [of the Old Covenant age asked about in v. 3] will come” (Mt. 24:14).

 

2).  “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies then know that its desolation has come near” (Lk. 21:20).

 

3).  And the third is here when Jesus sums up that everything the disciples asked about and which He just finished answering, would “all” be fulfilled in their contemporary generation.

 

In the immediate context here in Matthew 24:1-34 and Luke 21:5-32 there is no confusion on what the “all these things” are.  They are:

 

1).  All of the general signs that would “not” mark the near coming of the Lord and end of the Old Covenant age.

 

2).  The two specific signs of the Gospel being preached throughout the then known world (or “nations”) within the Roman Empire and the armies surrounding Jerusalem would mark the “near” “end.”

 

3).  The Great Tribulation.

 

4).  All OT prophecy would be fulfilled.

 

5).  The casting down of Israel’s “stars” or religious rulers.

 

6).  The flight of Christians from “Judea” to escape the “wrath coming upon this people (Jews), which would be “the days of vengeance” when those Jews would “fall by the end of the sword” or Jerusalem would be trodden down during the “times of the Gentiles.”

 

8).  The “gathering of the elect” or “redemption” (resurrection) that would occur at the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds or when the “Kingdom” would arrive.

 

When we understand that Matthew 24-25 is written in the common prophetic and Jewish genre of recapitulation, then we understand the “day and hour,” “passing of heaven and earth” the time of the parables [including Israel’s wedding] describing His coming before the judgment of the nations, the Devil and his angels–also all fall under the umbrella of being fulfilled within Jesus’ contemporary “this generation.”

 

The Thayer Greek-English Lexicon and Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words defines “generation” (Greek genea) here in Matthew 24:34 (and in the other relevant passages), as Jesus addressing His Jewish contemporary generation (AD 30 – 70) and therefore this generation and no other generation is the subject of the prophetic pronouncement,

the whole multitude of men living at the same time: Mt.xxiv. 34; Mk. xiii. 30; Lk. i. 48; xxi. 32; Phil. ii. 15; used esp. of the Jewish race living at one and the same period: Mt. xi. 16; xii. 39, 41 sq. 45; xvi. 4; xxiii.36; Mk. Viii. 12, 38; Lk. Xi. 29 sq. 32, 50 sq.; xvii. 36; Heb. iii. 10…” “…who can describe the wickedness of the present generation, Acts viii. 33 (fr. Is. Liii. 8 Sept.).”[154]

“…of the whole multitude of men living at the same time, Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 1:48; 21:32; Phil. 2:15 Matt. 24:34;…i.e., a period ordinarily occupied by each successive generation, say, of thirty or forty years, Acts 14:16; 15:21; Eph. 3:5; Col. 1:26; see also, e.g., Gen. 15:16.”[155]

Although somewhat inconsistent, the most impressive Greek work and interpretation I have come across thus far comes from Collin Brown,

 

“In Matt. it has the sense of this generation, and according to the first evangelist, Jesus expected the end of this age (Time, art. aion) to occur in connection with the judgment on Jerusalem at the end of that first generation (see Mk. 9:1 and Matt. 16:28).”[156]

And again,

“But if these events were expected within the first generation of Christians (and “generation” is the most probable translation of genea), either Jesus or the evangelists were mistaken…” or “…there is an alternative interpretation of the passage which points out that insufficient attention has been paid to the prophetic language of the passage as a whole.

The imagery of cosmic phenomena is used in the OT to describe this-worldly events and, in particular, historical acts of judgment. The following passages are significant, not least because of their affinities with the present context: Isa. 13:10 (predicting doom on Babylon); Isa. 34:4 (referring to “all the nations”, but especially to Edom); Ezek. 32:7 (concerning Egypt); Amos 8:9) Amos 8:9 (the Northern Kingdom of Israel); Joel 2:10 (Judah). The cosmic imagery draws attention to the divine dimension of the event in which the judgment of God is enacted. The use of Joel 2:28-32 in Acts 2:15-21 provides an instance of the way in which such prophetic cosmic imagery is applied to historical events in the present (cf. also Lk. 10:18l Jn. 12:31; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Pet. 3:10ff. Rev. 6:12-17; 18:1).  Other OT passages relevant to the interpretation of the present context are Isa. 19:1; 27:13; Deut. 30:4; Zech. 2:6; 12:10-14; Mal. 3:1.  In view of this, Mk. 13:24-30 may be interpreted as a Son of man will be vindicated. Such prophecy of judgment on Israel in which a judgment took place with the destruction of Jerusalem, the desecration of the  Temple and the scattering of Israel – all of which happened within the  lifetime of “this generation.” “…Such an interpretation fits the preceding discourse and the introductory remarks of the disciples (Mk. 13:1ff. par).”[157]

Brown is at least attempting to allow the Bible to interpret itself unlike Dispensational Zionists.  And if I’m not mistaken, he seems to be consenting the “rapture” or resurrection passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as being fulfilled by the “historical event” of AD 70 just as the apocalyptic language of Matthew 24 can or should be interpreted.

False interpretations of “this generation”

There have been many false interpretations of “this generation” given by Dispensational Zionists and even other Futurist Christian systems.  These include the following:

1).  Popularized by the Zionist funded and friendly Scofield Study Bible, this view teaches Jesus meant that the entire Jewish race would not pass away until all things were fulfilled.

My Response – If this was Jesus’ meaning He would have used the Greek word genos which means, “1) kindred 1a) offspring 1b) family 1c) stock, tribe, nation 1c1) i.e. nationality or descent from a particular people 1d) the aggregate of many individuals of the same nature, kind, sort.”[158]  But clearly Jesus did not use genos, He used genea.

2). Our contemporary generation which saw Israel (the “fig tree) become a nation in 1948 and the “times of the Gentiles” end in 1967, is the end time generation. Hal Lindsey, an alleged “prophecy expert” who, based on current events and not the Bible claimed,

“WE are the generation that will see the end times… and return of Christ.” And “unmistakably… this generation is the one that will see the end of the present world and the return of Christ.”[159]

And then this view was fueled from the pulpit from mega church Pastors such as one of my former Pastor’s, Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel movement,

“…that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981. (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).”[160]

That 1981 was the alleged date was further solidified in his book Future Survival (1978) where he writes,

“From my understanding of biblical prophecies [and genea], I’m convinced that the Lord is coming for His Church before the end of 1981.”[161]

My Response – As we have seen in our exegesis of these passages, the parable of the “fig tree” “and all the trees” is referring to the disciples seeing the signs being fulfilled in there generation.  These signs being fulfilled would mark the “near” “at the door” arrival of “summer” which is the arrival of the Son of Man upon the clouds and inheritance of the Kingdom event.

The “times of the Gentiles” when the Gentiles would tread down Jerusalem according to Luke 21; Rev. 11 and Daniel 12 would be the period of 3 ½ years or between AD 67 – AD 70. 1948 nor 1967 have anything to do with our Lord’s prophetic utterance.

3). Jesus’ uses the phrase “this generation” to be referring to a future generation that is alive to witnesses these signs whenever they begin to be fulfilled.

My Response – Jesus does not say “that [as in a future] generation,” He says, “this [His contemporary] generation.”  And we have seen how all of the signs and Christ’s Kingdom were fulfilled when Jesus said they would.

4).  Jesus is simply describing an evil generation of people that is descriptive of the last days generation – whoever that may be.

My Response – Just because Jesus adds an adjective of “evil” “sinful” or “adulterous” before “this generation” does not justify changing the meaning of genea to be spanning thousands of years as an “evil people.”  The commonsense understanding is that Jesus was describing His contemporary generation as being evil, sinful and adulterous, because they had rejected Him and would crucify Him.  Because of that, they (the tribes of the land of Israel) would mourn and see Him coming in judgment using the Roman armies.  This is not difficult.

Uses of “generation(s)” or “this generation”

We will start with how “generation(s)” or “this generation” is used within the gospel of Matthew itself.

1).  “So, all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations” (Mt. 1:17).

Obviously 42 “races” which came from Abraham does not work here.  Clearly, genea means, the whole multitude of men living at the same time” “a period ordinarily occupied by each successive generation, say, of thirty or forty years.”   

2).  “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, (Mt. 11:16).

 

In context “this generation” is the contemporary generation Jesus is speaking to who falsely accused John the Baptist of “having a demon” (v. 18) and Jesus “a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (v. 19).  It is the same generation that was expecting the “about to coming” of Elijah which Jesus said was John and thus were also expecting the about to be coming of the great day of the Lord to be imminent after his appearing (cf. vss. 8-15).

 

3).  But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also, will it be with this evil generation” (Mt. 12:39-45).

Jesus’ contemporary generation was “evil” and “adulterous” is seeking a sign.  But just as Jonah being raised out of the great fish after three days was a sign to Nineveh that they needed to repent, Jesus’ contemporary generation would experience the “sign” of Him being raised after three days and nights. 

Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” was so “evil” it was like a demon possessed man who after having a demon driven from him was not thankful nor repentant (did not get his house/heart in order with such graces), and thus the later state (the demon got seven others to enter the man) was worse than before.  Israel’s history was that of persecuting the prophets, but her judgment coming in AD 70 would be a seven folded most severe one because in killing Christ and the NT messengers He would send to her, she would “fill up the measure” [store up severe wrath] of her sins throughout her history. 

4).  “And Jesus answered, “O faithless and crooked generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Mt. 17:17-20).

Here Jesus is echoing the language and prophecy of Deuteronomy 32:5, 20 which would be Israel’s terminal generation.  The disciples contemporary generation was characterized as not having faith in its Messiah and even they needed to increase their faith in order to engage in imprecatory prayers to uproot and move the apostate mountain(s) of Israel, to cast it into the sea in the imminent judgment of fire that would come upon that generation (cf. Mt. 21:18-21/Rev. 8:3-8/Deut. 32:5, 20, 22[162]).

5).  “Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation” (Mt. 23:36).

The context is clear, the contemporary generation of the Pharisees of whom Jesus is talking to would “fill up the measure” of the sin of blood guilt and it would be manifested in the destruction of “their house” or the Temple in AD 70.

Now we will move beyond Matthew’s gospel and see if the meaning is the same throughout the NT.

3).  “And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).

 

The same understanding and interpretation of genea as in Matthew 1:17 is to be understood.  Or as Ecclesiastes 1:4 teaches, “A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.”  These are “successive generations” or periods of 35-40 of people living at the same time.”

 

4).  “But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Lk. 17:25-30).

 

It should go without saying, it was the first century contemporary “this generation” of Jesus that would cause her Messiah to “suffer” and be crucified.  And as we have pointed already, the context before this verse and after, is referring to the coming of the Son of Man in the judgment of AD 70.  I think it is safe to say that the reference of that generation crucifying Christ and experiencing judgment in AD 70, are two themes brought together well in Revelation (cf. 1:7; 11:8ff.; chapters 17-19) and also see Matthew 21:33-45; 22:1-14; 23:1-36.

 

5).  “And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40).

 

This passage falls within Peter’s sermon in which his contemporary generation was living in the “last days” having with their own hands–crucified the Lord of Glory (Acts 2:14-23).  Therefore, they needed to “call upon the name of the Lord” in repentance and thus be “saved” from the “great day” of the Lord’s coming in their “crooked generation” (v. 20-40).

 

Peter, like the Lord, appeals to the terminal “last days” “crooked generation” of Deuteronomy 31-32 that would see her “end.”  Peter clearly understood his contemporary generation would experience the final end of Israel when he taught “the end of all things is near” (cf. 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17).

 

6).  “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,” holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain (Phil. 2:15-16).

 

Now like Jesus and Peter, Paul will likewise teach that his contemporary generation is Israel’s “crooked generation” (Deut. 32:5, 20) that will experience “the day of Christ” which he says in chapter 4:5 was “at hand” and thus to be fulfilled in AD 70. 

 

One last example will do. 

 

7).  “Therefore, I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways’” (Heb. 3:10).

 

The first thing we notice is that if a NT author wants to communicate a past or different generation than the one He is addressing, “that generation” is referred to.  So again, if Jesus meant a future generation would witness “all these things” listed in the Olivet Discourse, He would have naturally said, “that generation.”  Hebrews 3:10 uses the Greek word ekeinos which is primarily translated by the KJV and Strong’s (1565) as “that” in the NT – (that 99x), those (40x), the same (20x), they (14x), misc. (38x).  In Matthew 24:34 Jesus uses the Greek word houtos which is primarily translated by the KJV and Strong’s (3778) as “this” in the NT – this (157x), these (59), he (31x), the same (28x), this man (25x), she (12x), they (10x) and misc. (34).

 

The context of Hebrews 3-4 and 10 is that the forty years wilderness wandering “generation” was a type of “another day” of receiving sabbath rest in Christ.  The author in chapter 10 says this “another day” he spoke of in the earlier chapters “was drawing near” when Christ would come in judgment and salvation “in a very little while and would not delay” (Heb. 10:25-37).

 

When we piece together the evidence of “this generation,” it’s pretty clear the 40 years wilderness wandering generation was typological of the imminent judgment and salvation that would be realized in Christ’s contemporary and terminal generation at His imminent coming in AD 70.

 

I was very disappointed in my former Pastor and College President John MacArthur’s attempted refutation of my/our position here of “this generation” (Mt. 24:34), claiming we use a “wooden literalness”[163] when interpreting it.  If my former Pastor means I/we allow the rest of Scripture to give us the literal meaning of Jesus’ words, then I guess I’m gladly guilty.  Odd, that a “wooden literal” Dispensational Zionist is accusing us of giving “this generation” its normal meaning.  Go figure.  

 

Having already addressed and connected the “heaven and earth” passing away with the end of the Old Covenant “age” passing away along with the de-creation of Matthew 24:29 being the civil and religious rulers falling from their places of authority in AD 70, we shall now turn to the “day and hour” of Matthew 24:36.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Mt. 24:36).

 

While Jesus predicted His Second Coming event would occur “near” and within His contemporary “this generation,” he said no one would know the exact “day and hour” of it.  Here are other commentators who correctly understand/see the “day and hour” of His coming being fulfilled by AD 70.

 

Adam Clarke writes,

“Verse 36. But of that day and hour—…here, is translated season by many eminent critics, and is used in this sense by both sacred and profane authors. As the day was not known, in which Jerusalem should be invested by the Romans, therefore our Lord advised his disciples to pray that it might not be on a Sabbath; and as the season was not known, therefore they were to pray that it might not be in the winter; Matthew 24:20.[164]

Even Premillennialist John Gill correctly noted that Matthew 24:36 is referring to AD 70,

“Ver. 36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, &c.]… …the coming of the son of man, to take vengeance on the Jews, and of their destruction; for the words manifestly regard the date of the several things going before, which only can be applied to that catastrophe, and dreadful desolation: now, though the destruction itself was spoken of by Moses and the prophets, was foretold by Christ, and the believing Jews had some discerning of its near approach; see #Heb 10:25 yet the exact and precise time was not known: it might have been: calculated to a year by Daniel’s weeks, but not to the day and hour; and therefore our Lord does not say of the year, but of the day and hour no man knows; though the one week, or seven years, being separated from the rest, throws that account into some perplexity; and which perhaps is on purpose done, to conceal the precise time of Jerusalem’s destruction: nor need it be wondered at, notwithstanding all the hints given, that the fatal day should not be exactly known beforehand; when those who have lived since, and were eyewitnesses of it, are not agreed on what day of the month it was; for, as Dr. Lightfoot {i} observes, Josephus {k} says,

“that the temple perished the “tenth” day of “Lous”, a day fatal to the temple, as having been on that day consumed in flames, by the king of Babylon.”

And yet Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai, who was also at the destruction of it, as well as Josephus, with all the Jewish writers, say it was on the “ninth of Ab”; for of this day they {l} say, five things happened upon it:

“On the “ninth of Ab” it was decreed concerning our fathers, that they should not enter into the land (of Canaan), the first and second temple were destroyed, Bither was taken, and the city ploughed up.”

Though the words of R. Jochanan, cited by the doctor, refer to the first, and not to the second temple, and should have been rendered thus:

“If I had been in the generation (which fixed the fast for the destruction of the first temple), I would not have fixed it but on the tenth (of Ab); for, adds he, the greatest part of the temple was burnt on that day; but the Rabbins rather regarded the beginning of the punishment {m}.”

And so, the fasting of Rabbi, and R. Joshua ben Levi, on the “ninth” and “tenth” days, were on account of the first temple; for they were under the same difficulty about the one, as the other:

no, not the angels of heaven; who dwell there, always behold the face of God, stand in his presence ready to do his will, and are made acquainted with many of his designs, and are employed in the executing of them, and yet know not the time of God’s vengeance on the Jews; to this agrees the sense that is given of the day of vengeance in #Isa 63:4 it is asked {n},

“what is the meaning of these words, “the day of vengeance is in my heart?” Says R. Jochanan, to my heart I have revealed it, to the members I have not revealed it: says R. Simeon ben Lakish, to my heart I have revealed it, ytylg al trfh ykalml, “to the ministering angels I have not revealed it.””

The Ethiopic version adds here, “nor the son”, and so the Cambridge copy of Beza’s; which seems to be transcribed from #Mr 13:32 where that phrase stands; and must be understood of Christ as the son of man, and not as the Son of God; for as such, he lay in the bosom of the Father, and knew all his purposes and designs; for these were purposed in him: he knew from the beginning who would betray him, and who would believe in him; he knew what would befall the rejecters of him, and when that would come to pass; as he must know also the day of the last judgment, since it is appointed by God, and he is ordained to execute it: but the sense is, that as he, as man and mediator, came not to destroy, but to save; so it was not any part of his work, as such, to know, nor had he it in commission to make known the time of Jerusalem’s ruin:

but my Father only; to the exclusion of all creatures, angels and men; but not to the exclusion of Christ as God, who, as such, is omniscient; nor of the Holy Spirit, who is acquainted with the deep things of God, the secrets of his heart, and this among others.”[165]

Clearly, Matthew 24:36 is not evidence of another coming of Christ at the end of world history.  Partial Preterists like Kenneth Gentry simply abuse its context in hopes of tolling the creedal line in order of keeping his creedal “orthodox” job.

The eschatological marriage

  • “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:5-12).

 

Classic Premillennial Dispensational Zionism teaches there are two kingdoms, two elect predestined peoples of God (earthly Israel and heavenly Church), two plans of salvation, two gospels, two hopes, two Second Comings all mysteriously and mystically coexisting in the Scriptures.  So, it should not surprise us that they teach two eschatological weddings, one for the Church (His heavenly people/bride) and another for Israel (His earthly people).  Of course, there is no hint of this two-comings or two-weddings eschatology anywhere in the OT or NT and surely there is no hint of it here in our Lord’s teaching on the eschatological wedding.

 

I think Reformed eschatology also has a problem with a two-comings or two eschatological wedding and wedding feast doctrine.  Partial Preterists teach the eschatological wedding and or wedding feast in the following passages teach Christ consummated His marriage to His New Covenant wife/Jerusalem in AD 70 when He divorced and judged His Old Covenant wife/Jerusalem in the following texts:  Matthew 8:11-12; 22:1-14; 25:1-13; Rev. 19-21.  Classic Amillennialist authors point out this eschatological wedding and wedding feast motif found in these Scriptures is the fulfillment of the resurrection “in that day” of Isaiah 25:6-9 and therefore must be fulfilled in the future.  Since Partial Preterism has evolved into also teaching two resurrections (a spiritual one in AD 70 and a so-called physical one at the end of world history), it too must necessitate a two eschatological wedding and wedding feast motif to match.  I’m wondering which Partial Preterist will be the first to try and develop that?

 

Here is an article (from a lecture) I produced on the problems for the Reformed community concerning the fulfillment of the eschatological wedding and wedding feast as it pertains to the end of the age resurrection event.

 

Matthew 8:10-12:

 

10 When Jesus heard this [expression of the Gentile’s faith], he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west [Gentiles] and recline at the table [wedding feast of Isa. 25:6-9] with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven [in the resurrection], 12 while the sons of the kingdom [Pharisees and unbelieving Jews] will be cast out into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Gentry writes,

 

“In Matthew 8:11-12 we read of the faithful gentile who exercises more faith than anyone in Israel. We hear once again of the people from the east. This time they sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the rightful place of the Jews). While the Jews themselves are “cast out” into “outer darkness.” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 175). And, “God is preparing to punish his people Israel, remove the temple system, and re-orient redemptive history from one people and land to all peoples throughout the earth.” “This dramatic redemptive-historical event…ends the old covenant era…” (He Shall Have Dominion, p. 342).

 

Strengths:

 

The “casting out” of the “subjects of the kingdom” is a reference to OC Israel being judged in AD 70, at which time the believing Jewish/Gentile Church takes her place at the end of the OC era (but notice he is afraid of using the term “age”).

 

The “casting out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” he says refers to AD 70.

 

Weaknesses:

 

There is no mention of Isaiah 25:6-9 as Jesus’ source (cf. Mt. 5:17-18). They do the same thing in the OD when it comes to the resurrection gathering of Isa. 25-27/Mt. 24:30-31!

 

There is no consistency on Jesus’ phrases of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” to Matthew 24:51 and 25:30. There is nothing throughout Matthew’s gospel that indicates there are TWO (casting out into outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth) judgments in Jesus’ teaching throughout the gospels.

 

Unanswered questions – Why isn’t this the fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3, 13 and Revelation 20 in AD 70 when Daniel’s soul was raised out of the realm of the dead to inherit eternal life and God’s presence – since some Postmillennialists are teaching this now?

 

Commentators who are not Postmillennial Partial Preterists have no problem pointing out the OT passages Jesus is referring to when He addresses the eschatological wedding feast.

 

D.A. Carson writes,

 

“The picture is that of the “messianic banquet,” derived from such OT passages as Isaiah 25:6–9 (cf. 65:13–14)…” and “…the presence of Gentiles at the banquet, symbolized the consummation of the messianic kingdom (cf. Mt 22:1–14; 25:10; 26:29). “Son of” or “sons of” can mean “sons of the bridal chamber” [9:15; NIV, “guests of the bridegroom.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, pp. 202–203).

 

Bloomberg writes, “Jesus characterizes that bliss as taking “their places at the feast,” the messianic banquet image depicting the intimate fellowship among God’s people in the age to come (cf. Isa 25:6–9; 65:13–14).” (Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 142). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers).

 

Leon Morris connects this “feast” with “the coming bliss of the messianic banquet,” to be fulfilled “in the world (or age) to come.” (Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel according to Matthew (p. 195). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press).

 

R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible admits that the table and feast of Matthew 8:11 is,

“A reference to the messianic banquet theme of Is. 25:6-9. Gentiles now appear in place of the natural sons.” (p. 1684).

 

Strengths:

 

Jesus is teaching on the fulfillment of the messianic wedding banquet and resurrection of Isa. 25:6-9 and inheriting the new creation of 65:12-14 at the end of the then current age, and in the age to come.

 

They connect the judgment of being “cast out into darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” with Matthew 24:51 and 25:30 as ONE separating judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel.

 

Weaknesses:

 

They ignore the time texts and clear references to the ONE AD 70 judgment throughout Matthew’s gospel and the time texts of the wedding and resurrection in Mt. 24-25 and Revelation – “this generation,” “soon,” etc…

 

The hermeneutical steps are incomplete in that no work is done on the context of Isaiah 24-25 or Isaiah 65 which demonstrate an “in time” and local judgment and not an end of time and global transformation event.

 

Matthew 22:1-14:

 

And again, Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So, the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

 

Joel McDurmon writes of verses 2-7,

 

“Here the first servant-messengers (another reference to the prophets, no doubt) were simply ignored. Another wave of servant-messengers (more prophets) are treated as such a nuisance that while some still ignored them, “the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (v. 6). Jesus is certainly adding [the murdering of the servants or prophets] here as part of the same indictment of Jerusalem He would give again in (Matt. 23:34-36).”

“The murderers were the entire generation of Israelites….” “…the armies would set the murderers’ city on fire (again exactly what happened in AD 70).”

 

And of verses 8-14, “…yet, after this destruction…” “…during this post-destruction wedding feast, some would sneak in who did not belong.” “…Whether [the man w/out the wedding garment] should be interpreted as the Judaizers who would cause so much dissention in the NT Church, or whenter these should just be understood as general heretics in the Church, is not clear.” (Jesus v. Jerusalem, 157-158, bold emphasis MJS).

 

Strengths:

 

The Great Commission invitation to the feast is between AD 30 – AD 70 in verses 1-7.

The sending out, rejection and killing of the servants is equated to Mt. 23 and the AD 70 judgment.

 

The judgment and burning of the city closes the OC era/age in AD 70.

 

The AD 70 judgment is once again characterized as being “cast out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

Weaknesses:

 

Again, there is no mention that Jesus came to fulfill Isaiah 25:6-9 or 65:12-14 because they would have to address the timing and nature of the resurrection.

 

Postmillennialists miss that Mt. 22:1-14 is structured with recapitulation:

 

a). vss. 1-7: 1. There is an invitation to the wedding feast, 2. It is rejected, and 3. this rejection leads to the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70 – burning their city.

 

b). vss. 8-13: 1. There is an invitation, 2. BUT there is NEW information given to us about the same time period that vss. 1-7 didn’t tell us about. This rejection results in the invitation to the undesirables – the 10 northern tribes/Samaritans and Gentiles (as laid out in Acts 1:8) and describes the success of the GC between AD 30 – AD 70. And then finally 3. There is a judgment for their rejection (except this time it’s described differently – with a Jew or Judaizer trying to achieve salvation by works of the law and not through belief in the Son and His grace – who is then “CAST” out in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (which is the same language used for the AD 70 judgment Postmillennialists give Mt. 8:11-12). So there is no exegetical evidence that vss. 8-13 is a post AD 70 GC resulting in a different judgment at the end of time.

 

As far as commentators that are not Postmillennial or Partial Preterist, they again have no problem connecting our Lord’s teaching here with the eschatological wedding feast consummation and resurrection of Isaiah 25:6-9. And most give lip service to God sending His armies to burn the city to be the AD 70 judgment (some such as Kistemaker try and downplay it). But these men refuse to interpret the rest of the parable as referring to AD 70 let alone connect Isaiah 25:6-9 with that judgment since it would destroy their Futurism.

 

Matthew 25:1-13

 

1″At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ 7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ 9″‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11″Later the others also came. ‘LORD, LORD,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ 12″But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ 13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Postmillennialists such as Keith Mathison, Gary DeMar, Joel McDurmon, Mike Bull, etc… no longer divide Matthew 24-25 into two comings of the Lord. They correctly see every reference to the coming of Christ in the OD to be His spiritual coming in AD 70.

 

As I pointed out earlier, the reference to “day and hour” not being know by the Son but only the Father (24:36) is echoing the OT betrothal/marriage/resurrection motifs coming in Israel’s last days terminal generation (AD 30 – AD 70) — of which Jesus came to fulfill (Lk. 21:22; Mt. 5:17-18).

 

Others such as Kenneth Gentry see the coming of the Lord and “day and hour” in 24:36—25:31-46 as THE Second Coming consummative event with apparently another eschatological wedding and wedding feast to follow!

 

So again, Postmillennialists are face with TWO eschatological marriages, feasts and resurrections when the NT only knows of ONE.

 

So, let’s do what the Postmillennialists won’t do (they won’t even MENTION Jesus fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9) and what the other Futurists won’t (they mention Jesus is fulfilling Isa. 25:6-9 or Isa. 65:12-14 but then won’t develop those OT contexts).

 

Context of Isaiah 25:6-9

 

“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.  In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

 

In context, the Messianic wedding banquet comes as a result of judgment upon OC Israel for her breaking the Old Covenant Torah (cf. Isa. 24:5). This makes no sense in the Futurist paradigm because all the Mosaic Law was supposed to have been fulfilled and passed away at the cross or no later than AD 70.

 

The Messianic wedding banquet comes when Old Covenant Jerusalem is judged with her city becoming a “heap of rubble” (cf. Isa. 25:2). Again, this points to an “in time” and local event and not an end of time or global destruction and renewal.

 

Therefore, Jesus is using Isaiah 24-25 consistently and accurately to demonstrate that the Messianic wedding banquet and resurrection would be fulfilled in AD 70 when OC Israel would break Torah, was judged, and her city and Temple were left in a heap of rubble.

 

I would further add that one of the OT references for the “trumpet” call and “gathering of the elect” (Mt. 24:30-31) is the fulfillment of the resurrection of Isaiah 26:12-21–27:12-13.  This would also be the time of punishing “Leviathan” and the “dragon” (Isa. 27:1).  According to Isaiah 27, this would be “when He makes all the stones of the altars like chalkstones crushed to pieces…” and when the “fortified city [Jerusalem] would be “forsaken” and made “like a wilderness”—and thus would “not have compassion on them” and “He who formed them will show no favor” (Isa. 27:9-11).  As we have here in Matthew 24-25 the desolation of Jerusalem and her Temple would be the time of Christ’s trumpet gathering and the punishment of Satan and his angels.

 

Context of Isaiah 65:12-14

 

I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will fall in the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.

 

Here we are told that God was going to judge OC Israel “by the sword” and their fathers “in full” measure.  But at the same time would save a remnant along with the Gentiles (cf. Roms. 10:20—chapter 11).

 

In that day of judgment, the remnant of believing Jews and Gentiles would feast at the wedding supper and be called by a new name (an everlasting NC name – the New Jerusalem) while OC Israel would not feast, but rather starve and would be remembered no more. This is in line with the “soon” AD 70 coming of the Lord throughout the book of Revelation.  In Revelation 19-21, while the Church (the transformed Israel of God) feasts at the wedding feast, OC Israel not only starves, but is actually feasted upon by the birds of the air.

 

Putting it All Together “Bridging the Gap”

 

The Analogy of Faith or Analogy of Scripture Hermeneutic: Teaches us that Scripture interprets Scripture, and Scripture cannot contradict Scripture.

 

In mathematics and logic:  If A bears some relation to B and B bears the same relation to C, then A bears it to C. If A = B and B = C, then A = C.  Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal A=B=C.

 

A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) = Wedding or wedding feast, end of the age, and parousia fulfilled by AD 70.
B (Isa. 25:6-9) = The wedding feast & resurrection are fulfilled together “in that day.”
C (1 Cor. 15) = The resurrection and end of the age are fulfilled at the parousia.

 

If A bears some relation to B – Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach that His eschatological wedding feast would be fulfilled at His parousia to close the end of the OC age in AD 70.

 

…and B bears the same relation to C, – Paul uses B (Isa. 25:6-9) in C (1 Cor. 15) to teach that the resurrection would take place at Christ’s parousia and at “the end [of the age].”

 

…then A bears it to C – Both Jesus in A (Mt. 8; 22; 25) and Paul in C (1 Cor. 15) use a common source B (Isa. 25:6-9) to teach the resurrection will be fulfilled “at the end [of the OC age]” parousia event.

 

Therefore, things which are equal to the same thing are also equal to one another. If equals be added to equals, the wholes are equal – The ONE Parousia/Second Coming, Eschatological Wedding, End of the Age and Resurrection event of A (Mt. 8; 22; 25), B (Isa. 25:6-9) and C (1 Cor. 15) was fulfilled in AD 70.

 

When we harmonize what Partial Preterist Postmillennialists are teaching when it comes to the eschatological wedding and wedding feast with a spiritual resurrection taking place in AD 70 at Christ’s parousia, with what other Futurists are teaching on this being THE ONE consummative event for the Second Coming, resurrection and wedding to occur at the end of the age —- we get Full Preterism.”[166]

 

The coming of the Son of Man and the judgment of the nations

 

  • “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:31-46).

 

The coming of the Son of Man here in glory with His angels is the same coming of Christ as mentioned previously in Matthew 24:30 (and Mt. 16:27-28) to be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary generation.  Again, this is common Hebraic or prophetic recapitulation Matthew is developing while Mark and Luke do not.  There is no evidence this is a different or future to us coming of Christ.

 

The judgment separation of the sheep from the goats is the same event mentioned by Jesus in the separation of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:39-43 or the “wrath about to come” separation in the “harvest” John the Baptist was teaching in Matthew 3:7-12GNT.

 

There are differing views as to who the “nations” are that Jesus is referring to.  Are they strictly the nations of the Jews or do they include the nations of the Gentiles within the Roman Empire and previous evil Kings and Nations in Hades?

 

  1. Stuart Russell makes the connection of Christ coming in judgment upon the mourning tribes of the Land of Palestine in Matthew 24:30 with the Jewish “nations” here,

 

“In our Lord’s time it was usual to speak of the inhabitants of Palestine as consisting of several nations.  Josephus speaks of ‘the nation of the Samaritans,’ ‘the nation of the Batanaeans,’ ‘the nation of the Galileans,’—using the very word which we find in the passage before us.  Judea was a distinct nation, often with a king of its own; so also was Samaria; and so with Idumea, Galilee, Perea, Batanea, Trachonitis, Ituraea, Abilene,–all of which had at different times princes with the title of Ethnarch, a name which signifies the ruler of a nation.  It is doing no violence then, to the language to understand… [this judgment to be upon]…as referring to ‘all the nations’ of Palestine, or ‘all the tribes of the land.’”[167]

 

While Russell offers a compelling argument here, I should point out that the Great Commission of Matthew 24:14 was not limited to the “nations” of Palestine, but rather the “whole world” and the “nations” that made up the Roman Empire.  Paul’s mission was to the Jews and Gentiles of this world and these nations.  Paul would preach to the Jew first and then to the Gentile.

 

It was his custom to begin in the synagogues where there were Jewish members who had been scattered throughout the Roman Empire and their Gentile proselyte converts.  Some within these synagogues were converted to Christianity and thus a Church plant had begun.  Those that were not converted to Christ began to persecute the Jews and Gentiles that had in these early churches.

 

Most likely Nero being married to a Jewess who had friends in high places such as the Pharisees who had an ax to grind with the Christians, came up with a scheme to blame the Christians for the fires Nero had started.  So, these synagogues for a season were somewhat protected from the wrath of Nero.

 

When the feasts of Israel began in and around AD 67, Jews and Gentiles from the synagogues (Judaizers or Christians) within the Roman Empire would have traveled to Jerusalem.  Those that had not converted to Christ would have been deceived by the false messiahs and prophets to stay within the walls of Jerusalem and not leave (just as those Jews and their Gentile converts would have who lived in Jerusalem)–thus Christ’s wrath fell upon them and He gave them the same kind of “trouble” they had given the Jewish and Gentile Christians (cf. 2 Thess. 1:5-10) through the hands of the Romans.

 

When Roman Jewish tensions began to heat up during the beginning of the war, Jews throughout the Roman Empire also revolted, and Rome was no longer favorable to them and thus wrath fell upon them and many perished from both groups.  But the Jewish and Gentile converts would have fled to Pella and would be safe.

 

In this way the Great Commission and God’s wrath and judgment extended to the “nations” of the Roman world as well.

 

The gospel itself preached throughout the nations of Rome and the nations of Palestine served as judgment being an “aroma of life” to those God sovereignly called to it and an “aroma of death” to those who rejected it (cf. 2 Cor. 2:16).

 

I think Russell also misses that this was also a judgment that took place in the spiritual realm for “the Devil and his angels” with Hades being emptied and all those in it being judged at Christ’s coming.  Jesus connects the vindication of the dead going as far back as Genesis in Matthew 23, so this was not just a local judgment upon Palestine.  Therefore, it would have included all of the wicked Jewish and Gentile Kings and those “nations” of the OT who had died and were awaiting judgment at Christ’s coming in AD 70 (cf. Revelation 20:5-15—chap. 22).

 

Jesus Himself identified “the day of judgment” connected with His coming at the end of the Old Covenant age to not just involve unbelievers within the disciple’s local Jewish towns and nations of Israel, but also to that of “Sodom and Gomorrah” (cf. Mt. 10:15, 17-23).

 

The author of Hebrews mentions it is appointed to die once and then experience judgment (Heb. 9:26-28).  This would apply to those who died prior to AD 70 awaiting the judgment and those who die post AD 70 and either continue in God’s presence or are immediately cast in the lake of Fire only to continue having no rest day and night being eternally separated and tormented.

 

Jesus said that if anyone did not believe that He was the great “I am” then he would “die in his sins” (Jn. 8:24).  The same principle applies today as we continue to preach the everlasting Gospel to the “nations” in the New Covenant age (cf. Rev. 22:2, 17).  In fact, the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the wrath involved is a testimony not only of the Deity of Christ, but of one’s eternal destiny in responding to His gospel.  For if God took the sin of rejecting His Son so seriously that He came upon the clouds to judge His own covenant nation, how much more will He pour out His wrath upon those today who hear the message of the “Spirit and the Bride” concerning the “Faithful and True Witness” in fulfilling His prophecies of His passion and parousia in the historical events of AD 30 – AD 70?!?  Selah

 

If our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse has been accurate, we should continue to let the Bible interpret itself for further support.  Therefore, we will briefly examine how the language of OT imminence was interpreted in connection with metaphoric and symbolic apocalyptic language.

 

Harmonizing OT and NT apocalyptic language and imminence

 

I recently debated Charismatic Zionist Dr. Michael Brown on the subject of “that which is perfect” (1 Cor. 13:8-12) proving the sign and revelatory miracle gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge “ceased” in AD 70 at the “soon” Second Coming and we are spiritually seeing His face today in the New Covenant age (cf. Rev. 22:4-7).[168]

 

In that debate knowing Dr. Brown is also an OT scholar I challenged him with the fact that in the OT de-creation language was not only figurative and metaphorical, but these imminent judgments were fulfilled within the lifetimes of the prophets or their contemporaries.  I will summarize his answer and then critique it – since it is applicable to concluding the harmony of Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse with the OT prophets.

 

Dr. Michael Brown’s answer summarized:  “OT imminence may be understood in a few ways.  First, the “Day of the Lord” being “near” (ex. Isa. 13) may be referring to a truly imminent coming of the Lord in the lifetimes and generation to whom the prophecy was given.  Secondly, it may be referring to a coming of the Lord being “near” to the immediate audience while at the same time being typological of the Second Coming to be fulfilled at the end of the age or to end world history.  And lastly, it may be referring to projected imminence, that is when the prophecy will be fulfilled, or begin to unfold it will be “soon” at that point.  I could provide you with a list if you like?  NT imminence follows this OT pattern, and I could believe that the coming of the Lord in Matthew 24:27 for example was imminently fulfilled in AD 70, and this wouldn’t affect my position at all.  And yet when I read the coming of the Lord is “near” in the NT, I believe God is using a different calendar (2 Pet. 3:8) or standard (than that of OT imminence?) and is simply a way of God wanting every generation to think His coming is “near” for them.”

 

The O&A session was very short so we could not get into all of these OT prophecies and examine them.  I did ask for a “list” of OT time texts that were not fulfilled within the lifetime of the prophet or his contemporaries so we could examine them, but he did not provide his proof texts.  So, let’s go to a book Dr. Brown has endorsed hoping to refute Full Preterism, Debunking Preterism for that list and see if it supports the Full Preterist exegesis or the Premillennial Zionist position.  Brock Hollett writes,

 

  • “…the historical manner of interpreting the time statements finds its origins in the Old Testament Prophets.  The prophets warned of an impending judgment upon the wicked at the day of the Lord:

 

  • “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!” (Isaiah 13:6)
  • “…its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged” (Isaiah 13:22)
  • “For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near” (Ezekiel 30:3)
  • “Alas for the day!  For the day of the LORD is near” (Joel 1:15)
  • “the day of the LORD is coming; it is near” (Joel 2:1; cf. Isaiah 9:9; Malachi 4:1)
  • “For the day of the LORD is near upon all nations.  As you have done, it shall be done to you” (Obadiah 1:15)
  • “For the day of the LORD is near (Zephaniah 1:7)
  • “…in a little while” (Haggai 2:6)”[169]

My response – There are really three issues here we must address: 1).  OT imminence of the day of the Lord being near being a pattern to NT imminence of the day of the Lord being near, 2).  OT types and NT anti-types or double fulfillments of the day of the Lord, and 3).  Did or does Psalm 90:4 or 2 Peter 3:8 change the meaning of any OT or NT imminent prophetic material to mean thousands of years?

1). OT Imminence – the day of the LORD is near  

In our debate I appealed to such passages as Ezekiel 7 and 12 along with Isaiah 13:6 and asked if the day of the Lord judgment in these texts were truly “near” and “without delay” and thus fulfilled within the time of the prophet’s audience and Dr. Brown affirmed that they were – kind of sort of.  I emphasized that in Ezekiel 7 and 12 where we learn that “the day of the Lord is NEAR” and would be “WITHOUT DELAY” (12:23-25; 7:7) and it was the FALSE prophets who sought to change the meaning of God’s revelation from “near” and “without delay” to “The vision he [Ezekiel] sees is for MANY years from now, and he prophesies about the DISTANT future” (12:27).  This misapplication and twisting of God’s truly prophetic imminent coming in judgment caused God’s anger to burn against these false prophets and therefore He affirmed once again, “None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD” (12:28).  What a stinging rebuke for the Futurist (Evangelical or Reformed) and Charismatic Futurists of our day such as Dr. Brown whom, seek to change the Second Coming and Day of the Lord being “near” “in a very little while and would NOT be DELAYED” (ex. Heb. 10:37) in AD 70, to be, well, in reality fulfilled in the “distant future” from the first century Church.  As you can clearly see Mr. Brock Hollett did not include a discussion of Ezekiel 7 and 12 in addressing OT imminence.  How revealing indeed.

Let’s go ahead and address the “list” Brown and Hollett have come up with:

A).   “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!” (Isaiah 13:6) and “…its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged” (Isaiah 13:22)

Response:  Unfortunately, many think this prediction is referring to the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Medes years beyond Isaiah’s contemporaries.  But the truth is this is referring to the judgment upon Babylon at the hands of Assyria some 15 years from Isaiah’s prophetic word.  Thus, the prophecy was literally “near” as even a Dispensationalist Zionist commentary points out,

“After Sargon II died in 705 there was much rebellion in the Assyrian Empire. The Elamites put Mushezib-Marduk over Babylon (692–689); he made an alliance with several nations including the Medes. To subdue the rebellion in Babylon, Sennacherib marched there in 689 and destroyed it.” (Martin, J. A. (1985). Isaiah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures(Vol. 1, p. 1061). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)

“Isaiah 13:14–18 (BKC): The statement I will stir up against them the Medes (v. 17) has caused much discussion among Bible students. Many interpreters, because of the mention of the fall of Babylon (v. 19), assume that Isaiah was (in vv. 17–18) prophesying Babylon’s fall in 539 (cf. Dan. 5:30–31) to the Medes and Persians. However, that view has some difficulties. In the Medo-Persian takeover in 539 there was very little change in the city; it was not destroyed so it continued on much as it had been. But Isaiah 13:19–22 speaks of the destruction of Babylon. Also the word “them,” against whom the Medes were stirred up (v. 17), were the Assyrians (referred to in vv. 14–16), not the Babylonians. It seems better, then, to understand this section as dealing with events pertaining to the Assyrians’ sack of Babylon in December 689 b.c. As Seth Erlandsson has noted, “The histories of the Medes, Elamites, and Babylonians converge around the year 700 in the struggle against the Assyrian world power and … Babylon assumes a particularly central position in that great historical drama from the latter years of the 8th century down to the fall of Babylon in 689”[170]

“Babylon was besieged no fewer than three times – in the lifetime of Isaiah, viz., in 710 by Sargon, and in 703 and 691 by Sennacherib.”  Babylon’s fall in 689 is, however, “die einzige wirkliche Zerstorung von Babylon, die uberhaupt stattgefunden hat.”

“With regard to Babylon’s role in the history, her position mainly in the 6thcentury has been delineated when dealing with Old Testament texts.  The main reason for this was that Babylon’s history during the Assyrian period was less familiar, while, on the other hand, the historical events involving Babylon in the 6thcentury were well known.  It is therefore significant that when the new Akkadian text-finds from Mesopotamia began to be published towards the end of the 19thcentury, they gave rise to a reconsideration of the current interpretations of various passages…”.

“…we have arrived at the culmination of the many bloody struggles, namely the fall of Babylon.  When the king of Elam was smitten by a stroke of apoplexy in April 689, Sennacherib took advantage of the occasion and marched against Babylon to take there his revenge against Elam and put an end to Babylon’s power once and for all. In December 689 the city was captured and Mushezib-Mushezib-Arduk taken prisoner.  That which no one previously had dared and which was considered to be out of the question, Sennacherib now accomplished.  Marduk’s famed and holy city had laid in ruins.  “like the on-coming of a storm I broke loose, and overwhelmed it like a hurricane” (cf. Isa. 21:1).  “I completely invested that city…whether small or great, I left none.  With their corpses I filled the city squares (wide places)…The gods dwelling therein, –the hands of my people took them, and they smashed (usabbiru) them” (cf. Isa. 21:9). “The city and (its) house, from its foundation to its top, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire.  The wall and outer wall, temples and gods, temple towers of brick and earth, as many as there were, I razed and dumped them into the Arahtu Canal.”  His final gesture was to have huge volumes of water released over the ruins in order to obliterate every trace of that city which had constantly been in revolt.  “I made its destruction more complete than that by a flood.  That in days to come the site of that city, and (its) temples and gods, might not be remembered, I completely blotted it out with (floods of) water and made it it like a meadow.”  That event must have had to the effect of a bomb on the contemporary world and it is significant that Sennacherib’s successor, as his first measure, sets himself to the reconstruction of the “holy” city.  He laid stress on Babylon’s cosmopolitan character and its destiny as an open city and gathering place of the peoples.  What had befallen Babylon as a result of Sennacherib’s fury should never happen again.  When the Neo-Babylonian kingdom had come to an end 539 and was succeeded by the Persian, no one did violence to Babylon.

This historical excursus has thus shown that the histories of the Medes, Elamites and Babylonians converge around the year 700 in the struggle against the Assyrian world-power and that Babylon assumes a particularly central position in that great historical drama from the latter years of the 8thcentury down to the fall of Babylon in 689.[171]

Dr. Brown while agreeing that imminence was literal in Isaiah 13:6, 22 mentioned that Isaiah 13 was going on to deal with the destruction of the planet.  Yet again the hyper-literal Zionist Bible Knowledge Commentary admits,

“The statements in 13:10 about the heavenly bodies (stars.… sun … moon) no longer functioning may figuratively describe the total turnaround of the political structure of the Near East. The same would be true of the heavens trembling and the earth shaking (v. 13), figures of speech suggesting all-encompassing destruction.” (ibid., p. 1059)

There is nothing in the passage which tells us this is a type of a literal “day of the LORD” resulting in the end of world history and the destruction of the planet that Jesus allegedly picks up on Matthew 24:3, 29, 35 and applies to our future.  But this is simply assumed here in Isaiah and in Matthew 24.  The truth is that both Isaiah 13 and Matthew 24 are referring to two contemporary and imminent judgments using common non-literal apocalyptic language.

B).  “For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near” (Ezekiel 30:3). “When I blot you out, I Will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord God. (Ezek. 32:7-8)

My Response – This is addressing a historical judgment upon Egypt Around 587 BC by the Assyrians and was literally fulfilled in a “near” time frame using symbolic apocalyptic language.

Again, nothing in the passage telling us this is a type of a physical cloud coming of God in the future to destroy the planet.

C).  Obadiah 1:15 – The “day of the LORD is NEAR”

My Response – The quote below is part of what John Gill had to say of this passage which was true, but later he begins dropping the ball and compromising of an end of time judgment for Edom and Rome connected to “antichrists.” But for the accurate statement here it is,

“Edom and the other surrounding nations/heathen to Jerusalem rejoiced to see God’s people punished by Him through the Babylonians (somewhere between 605 – 586BC or in the Jewish calendar 439 – 420BC), and so God would come in a “near” time frame upon them (within 5 years) after His judgment of Jerusalem. The “nations” here are local nations:  the Edom, Egyptians, Philistines, Tyrians, Ammonites, Moabites and others…”[172]

God was able to deceive Edom and other nations – giving them over to their pride. He allowed even their “friends” to deceive them (v. 7). God likewise laid a trap for Old Covenant Jerusalem in AD 70 giving them over to their pride and false prophets – in thinking and calculating Daniel’s seventy weeks so as to think it was the time in which God was going to deliver them from the Romans, when in fact the opposite was the case — they would be food for the vultures of Rome for rejecting their Messiah/Jesus.

We have learned from the Dead Sea Scrolls that even the Essenes were even caught up in their self-righteousness thinking God was going to deliver them (the true children of light) from the Romans and Apostate Jerusalem.

But as the Apostate religious rulers of Jerusalem learned along with those Monkish Essenes who isolated themselves, all who rejected Jesus would perish at the hands of their own brethren, friends and Rome in the events of AD 67 – 70.

D).  “Alas for the day!  For the day of the LORD is near” (Joel 1:15) “the day of the LORD is coming; it is near” (Joel 2:1; cf. Isaiah 9:9; Malachi 4:1)

My Response – Joel 1-3 is address two Days of the Lord.  One that was literally “near” for Joel’s immediate audience and one that would be near in the last days.  The second is consistent with say Deuteronomy 31-32 which taught Israel’s “end” would be “near” in her “later days” when a specific “perverse and crooked generation” arrived – which Peter tells us were predicting his contemporary generation and therefore the time of the “end of all things is NEAR” (Acts 2:40/1 Pet. 1:10-12, 4:5-7).

 

Don Preston, points out,

 

“So, the language of the Day of the Lord is used in the Old Testament. When the Old Testament prophets said the Day was near, they were not referring to the end of the age, consummative Day of the Lord. When they referred to a Day of the Lord that was near, it was an event that was to occur in their lifetime (See Ezekiel 12.21f again). However, when they were speaking of the last days, when the kingdom would be established, the resurrection, etc., they were told that it was not near (cf. Isaiah 2.2-21f).

 

This is clearly illustrated in Joel. In the first two chapters, the prophet declared “the Day of the Lord is near.” (Joel 1.15; 2.1, 10). He repeatedly describes events that took place historically, in an in-time Day of the Lord, as we have documented above.

 

However, in verse 28 the prophet said: “It shall come to pass afterward.” What does “afterward” mean? It means after the events he had been describing, at another time known as the last days, the events that he then describes would be near. Notice that in 3:1, he then says “In those days (the last days, DKP) and at that time…”

 

Joel is a case of projected imminence. That is my term to describe what happens in the O.T. when a prophet speaks of events that were not for his day, but, he describes events in the distant future. As he describes those events, he says that in the days under consideration, other events would be near. Moses did this in Deuteronomy 4.25f, when he spoke of Israel’s coming future. He said that after they had dwelt long in the land, and then became corrupt, that then, a long time off from his perspective, when they became corrupt, “you will soon utterly perish from the land.” Moses was not saying that they were, when he wrote, about to utterly perish. He was projecting himself and his audience to a distant time, and saying that when certain things happened, their apostasy, that then their destruction would be near.

 

This is what happens in Joel. The writer speaks of events that were for his day. They were truly near. Then, however, he turns to the distant future, and says that when those distant days came, then, and not until then, another Day of the Lord would be near (Joel 3.14). Joel was not affirming that the last days Day of the Lord was near, or else Peter was wrong in 1 Peter 1.10!”[173]

 

Malachi 4:1: Dr. Brown writing of Malachi 3:1-5,

 

“…God would visit the Second Temple, purifying some of his people [bringing salvation] and bringing judgment on others.  “There would be a divine visitation of great import that would occur in the days of the Second Temple.” “I ask you, did this happen?  If it did, then the Messiah must have come before the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.; if not, God’s Word has failed.”[174] 

The context of Malachi 3:1-5 / 4:1-6 and how it is applied to John the Baptist (as Elijah) is very clearly referring the Second Coming of Jesus in AD 70.  

Brown arbitrarily divides the “divine visitation of God” in a judgment of fire whereby He saves and purifies some and brings wrath on others here in Mal. 3:1-5 as AD 70, from the SAME coming day of the Lord approaching and judgment of fire in Mal. 4:1-6.  Let’s once again take a look at the context and description of this ONE coming of the Lord in AD 70 and John the Baptist’s imminent “already” and imminent “not yet” eschatology in developing these OT passages.

1).  Luke 1:77-79; 7:27:“…for you [John] will go before the LORD to prepare his ways,…” “…whereby the sunrise [inclusive of the imminent “not yet” Second Coming Mal. 4:2] shall visit us from on high…”.This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

2).  Malachi 3:1-5/4:1-6: “Behold, I send my messenger [John as Elijah], and he will prepare the way before me [Jesus]. And the Lord [Jesus] whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple [Second Coming]; and the messenger of the [New] covenant [Jesus] in whom you delight, behold, he is coming [Second Coming], says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming [Second Coming], and who can stand when he appears [Second Coming]? For he is like a refiner’s fire…” “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the SUN of Righteousness [Second Coming] shall rise with healing in its rays/wings. You shall go out … leaping like calves from the stall…” “Behold, I will send you Elijah [John] the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes [Second Coming]. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

3).  Matthew 3:2: “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

The context will develop that the Kingdom being “at hand” is not just the arrival of the imminent eschatological “already,” of the Kingdom, but the imminent judgment or “not yet” of the Kingdom as well.     

4).  Matthew 3:3: “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” 

And yet the context of what John is “crying” and the way he is preparing is one of not just salvation but judgment,  

5).  Isaiah 40:5-10: “A voice cries…” “…the glory of the LORD shall be revealed [seen], and all flesh shall see it together,…” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” “… Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him [cf. Mt. 16:27-28], And His work before Him.”  

6).  Matthew 3:7: “Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is [Greek mello] coming soon?”  (Mt. 3:7 CEB). “…the punishment [or wrath] God is about to send (WUESTNT; GNT)?”

7).  Matthew 3:10-12: “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fireHis winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:10-12).

We prefer the Reformed Historic Premillennialist view of this passage over Dr. Brown’s Dispensational or Zionist friendly one,

“…the awful judgment of God, which Christ was ready to execute, and in a short time would execute on the unbelieving and impenitent Jews: hence it is said to be “in his hand.”  …By “his floor,” is meant the land of Israel, where he was born, brought up, and lived; of which the Lord says, “O my threshing, and the corn of my floor!” #Isa 21:10.”[175]

Concluding Malachi 3-4 and John the Baptist’s imminent “not yet” eschatology:  The truth is the Church has identified the coming of the Lord here as both His imminent coming in judgment in AD 70 and as the Second Coming event.  As Full Preterists, we acknowledge both positions are true.

E).  “For the day of the LORD is near upon all nations.  As you have done, it shall be done to you” (Obadiah 1:15)

My Response – Matthew Poole points out there was truly and imminent judgment of Edom and the surrounding nations here,

“For the day of the Lord, of just revenge from the Lord upon this cruelty of Edom, the time which the Lord hath appointed for the punishing of this and other nations, is near upon all the heathen; which God had given to Nebuchadnezzar, and which by this man’s arms God would punish, as Jeremiah 27:2-7; and that day may justly be accounted near, which shall come within the compass of one man’s life, and that well advanced in years, as Nebuchadnezzar now was.  

As thou hast done, perfidiously, cruelly, and ravenously against Jacob, with a hostile, revengeful mind, it shall be done by thine enemies to thee, as Obadiah 1:7; and this came to pass on Edom within five years after Jerusalem was sacked and ruined; within which space of time Obadiah prophesied, reproving Edom, and threatening him for what he had done against Jerusalem and its inhabitants.”[176]

Again, there is no exegetical evidence within Obadiah that this is a truly imminent judgment upon Edom and the surrounding nations that is typological of another NT “day of the Lord” of which “near” then means 2,000 plus years and counting.  Brown’s “argument” is “bizarre” and “fascinating” to use Dr. Brown’s phrases in our debate.

F).  “For the day of the LORD is near (Zephaniah 1:7)

My Response – This is descriptive of an imminent judgment upon the Jews at the hands of the Babylonians.  John Gill writes of this passage and the genuine nearness of the event,

“For the day of the Lord is at hand; the time of his vengeance on the Jewish nation for their sins, which he had fixed in his mind, and had given notice of by his prophets: this began to take place at Josiah’s death, after which the Jews enjoyed little peace and prosperity; and his successor reigned but three months, was deposed by the king of Egypt, and carried thither captive, and there died; and Jehoiakim, that succeeded him, in the fourth year of his reign was carried captive into Babylon, or died by the way thither; so that this day might well be said to be at hand:”[177]

Again, there is no exegetical evidence here of a truly imminent day of the LORD that is typological of a NT day of the Lord that is said to be “near” but really isn’t!

G).  “…in a little while” (Haggai 2:6)”

My Response – Here is a section taken from our book on this passage concerning its truly imminent fulfillment in Haggai’s day and then the truly imminent anti-type in the fulfillment of the book of Hebrews of which was fulfilled within that first century audience in AD 70,

“The prophecy of Haggai 2:6–9, 21–23 was fulfilled, in a “typical” sense, in the lifetime of Zerubbabel. In about four years (“in a little while”) after the prophecy was given, God overthrew all the nations, (He “shook the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land”) and the desire or wealth of all nations came, and the temple was filled with glory (with gold and silver). (Compare Haggai 1:15; 2:10 and Ezra 6:15.)

This all took place when Darius King of Persia overturned Israel’s enemies, who for years had been preventing the rebuilding of God’s house. Darius decreed, “May God . . . overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem” (Ezra 6:11–12). Darius forced Israel’s enemies themselves to pay the full cost of the rebuilding, as well as the full cost of all the daily, priestly services (Ezra 6:8–10).

The military and political power of Israel’s enemies was overthrown.  They had tried to turn the king against Israel (Ezra 5), but God turned their own stratagems against them. He made them subservient to His people, taking their own wealth for the building of His glorious, earthly house. God had thus “moved heaven and earth” to keep the covenant that He had made with His people through Moses (Ezra 6:18; Hag. 2:5).

The prophecy of Haggai 2:6–9; 21–23 also foreshadowed the fulfillment of the better promise (Heb. 8:6) that was fulfilled in Christ’s generation. Israel’s building of the greater, earthly house in Zerubbabel’s generation was an example of the building of the true, heavenly “House” in Christ.

Within perhaps only four years (“in a little while”) after Hebrews 12:26 was written, God overthrew all the nations. He “shook the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land.” The desire of all nations came, and God’s Temple was filled with Glory.

This happened when God overturned His kingdom-enemies who, in their persecution of the church, had furiously resisted the construction of His new covenant temple (Eph. 2:21–22; I Peter 2:5). Despite the rage of the enemies, God enlisted countless multitudes of them to build His new House (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21; Rev. 5:9); and the enemies who resisted to the end were crushed, and were cast out of the kingdom in AD 70 (Matt. 8:12; 21:43; Lk. 13:28; Acts 4:25–28; Gal. 4:30; Rev. 3:9).

God “moved heaven and earth” to keep the covenant that He made with His elect through the blood of Christ. Now the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell eternally in the universal church, which is the new covenant House of promise (Jn. 14:23; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 2:21–22; 3:17; Col. 1:27; II Peter 1:19; Rev. 3:20; 21:2–3). rough the power of the eternal gospel, the desire of the nations flows into “the more perfect tabernacle” today and forever (Heb. 9:11; Rev. 21:26–27), and God Himself is its unfading Glory (Rev. 21:23). Amen.”[178]

This is truly a convoluted and contradictory position to take. Especially when Dr. Brown has endorsed a book by Brock Hollett saying essentially the same thing, yet also affirming if you do believe there was an imminent “this generation” or “soon” coming of the Lord in AD 70 (Partial Preterism), this will lead to Full Preterism.    

2). OT types & NT anti-types or double fulfillments

My Response –  As I addressed previously of Jesus’ teaching in Luke 21:22 that all OT prophecy would be fulfilled and this is not discussing “double fulfillments” of Jesus’ teaching in fulfilling those OT promises  – I think everyone agrees that many prophecies in the Old Testament were typologically fulfilled and awaited full realization in the New Testament. This phenomenon reflected the contrast between Old Testament types and shadows, and the New Testament Anti-Type or Body, i.e., Christ (Col. 2:17).  I pointed out in my debate with Dr. Brown that the author of Hebrews goes from physical OT typological fulfillments being fulfilled “better” and spiritually “in a very little while” in AD 70.  There is no inspired text teaching us the author of Hebrews says his imminent spiritual anti-type fulfillment is really just another typological fulfillment of another literal fulfillment in the distant future.  “Bizarre” understanding and interpretation from Dr. Brown indeed.  He is guilty of going “beyond what is written” in Hebrews and the rest of the NT for that matter.

But this principle in no way implies or leads to the notion that New Testament prophecies, which are fulfilled in Christ, will be fulfilled multiple times over potentially millions of years of time. The fact that the Old Testament was “typical” and “shadowy” in no way suggests that the New Testament is of the same pre-Messianic character. The Cross of Christ will not be fulfilled multiple times until the end of human history, and neither will Christ’s Second Coming (Heb. 9:26–28).

The New Testament is the revealing of the salvation promises contained in the Old Testament, and those promises were to be realized and found “in Christ” and in His Body the church (2 Cor. 1:20).  Dr. Brown would have us believe that the New Testament is a further obscuring of the meaning of kingdom prophecies (with more shadowy and typical fulfillments), which will only become clear at the alleged end of the very age that Christ died to establish, the age that Brown is forced to see as “evil.”

Dr. Brown does not keep the jots and tittles of the Old Covenant law or the sabbath.  And again, we need to point out that one of his contributing Charismatic authors (Sam Storms) believes “heaven and earth” “passed away” in AD 70 per (Mt. 5:17-18).  It irresistibly follows that if we are no longer under the Old Covenant, it is because Christ’s Second Coming took place at the end of the Old Covenant age and brought to consummation every “jot” and “tittle” of its promises (cf. Matt 5:18; Heb. 8:13, 9:26–28, 10:25–37). There is no possibility of double-fulfilling or partial-fulfilling every jot and tittle of the Law and the prophets.

Dr. Brown’s double-fulfillment-in-the-New-Testament theory opens Pandora’s Box to double-fulfilling everything: the earthly ministry of Christ, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection, His Ascension, His pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and His Second Coming; even the allegedly future millennium could be double-fulfilled. Even the casting of Satan into the Lake of Fire could be double-fulfilled – if not why not?

Every New Testament promise in the Bible becomes ultimately uncertain in Dr. Brown’s theory. Therefore, unless we want to end up adopting a liberal, postmodern approach to God’s word and turn all of His promises into “yes and no,” Dr. Brown’s double-fulfillment theory must be firmly and finally rejected.

3). Does 2 Peter 3:8 change the meaning of NT imminence and if it does why not OT imminence? 

My Response – “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one dayThe Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:8-9)

Peter is quoting from Psalm 90:4 which in context reads,

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Ps. 90:2-12)

In our debate Dr. Brown appealed to 2 Peter 3:8 and claimed Peter was using it to communicate “God has a different calendar than we do” and therefore NT imminence of “near,” “soon,” “about to,” “quickly,” “in a very little while and will not delay” can really mean 2,000 plus years and counting.

There are several points I would like to make on these passages.

Point #1 – Since Dr. Brown and Mr. Hollett have admitted the OT days of the Lord that were “near” were genuinely near and fulfilled within the lifetimes of their audiences, and Psalm 90:4 is an OT passage, then how is it that “God’s calendar of time that isn’t ours” didn’t change the meaning of “near” in the OT?!?  As seen in Ezekiel 7 and 12, God was upset when the false prophets changed the meaning of “near” and “would not delay” to “far off” or to a fulfillment for “many days” beyond their lifetimes.  If Dr. Brown’s interpretation of 2 Peter 3:8 is correct, then God had no right to be angry and the false prophets could have appealed to Psalm 90:4 and reasoned, “we know Ezekiel is saying the day of the Lord’s judgment is “near” and will “not be delayed,’ BUT “remember, with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” therefore, really the prophecy is “far off.””

If Psalm 90:4 wasn’t used in the OT to change the meaning of the day of the Lord being “near,” it most assuredly wasn’t being used by Peter or any NT author that way.

Point #2 – The context of Psalm 90 is that the generation of unbelief are perishing in the desert just as God had determined and promised.  They were not outlasting God’s judgment for God’s word was sure and accurate.  The Psalm begins with a reminder going as far back to Adam who returned to the dust after 930 years.  Psalm 90:4 is a contrast of Adam returning to dust not achieving a thousand years and God considering man’s longest days as nothing or a “day” in His sight. Even when man may come close to a thousand years—Methuselah lived 969 years (Gen 5:27)—in God’s reckoning it is but “a day.”  As mentioned in Ezekiel 7 and 12, the POINT was not only they were twisting the meaning of “near” but were boasting that they could OUTLAST God’s predicted judgment.

The context of the mockers in 2 Peter is similar.  In the case of the “mockers” they were mocking Jesus’ prediction to come in their generation as if it would not come and they would outlast it.  “All things continue” (2 Pet. 3:4) was their response to a definite prophesy of their demise.  But Peter has to point out that they are deliberately forgetting to remember certain aspects of their history of which Psalm 90 covers – when God has determined a judgment upon man (Adam returing to dust, the flood, perishing in the wilderness, etc…) it is certain to take place when God says it will, and most assuredly they too would not outlast or dismiss it away.  Peter’s point is that others like the mockers within our history have thought they could outlast or deny God’s certain and imminent judgments, but they couldn’t. While they appealed to a history lesson of their fathers since the creation of the Old Covenant age, at the same time they were deliberately leaving out very important things concerning the judgments of their people. So, YES Jesus is KEEPING His promise and despite their mocking, they would not outlast His “NEAR” (1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17) judgment coming upon them anymore than others thought they could.

Not only that, but the Rabbi’s used Ps. 90:15-17 to teach a 40 yrs. second exodus generation in which Messiah would have a transitionary reign between their Old Covenant “this age” and the Messianic “about to come” New Covenant age.  So, YES Jesus is KEEPING His promise would be another point in appealing to Psalm 90.

Psalm 90:4 is also brought up in Revelation 20 as well with the Church currently being within the 1,000 years millennial reign.  Here were some of my thoughts on this text taken from our book,

“Adam falling short of the 1,000-year lifespan by 70 years (Gen. 5:5) may represent his being created a mortal being and perishing in sin outside of God’s presence. If this is the case, then it is more than reasonable that the number 1,000 took on the symbolism and representation of Christ’s and the church’s victory over Death in contrast to Adamic man’s vain existence apart from God’s salvation (Eccl. 6:6).

Some Evangelicals and Reformed theologians along with some preterists such as Milton Terry do not understand the long lifespans in the early chapters of Genesis to be literal.[3] They believe that the lifespans were symbolic and contained numerological elements. But even if Adam’s lifespan was a literal 930 years, this does not exclude an anti-typical, symbolic 1,000 years in Revelation 20.

When Messiah came as “the last Adam,” His reign in and through the church for a symbolic thousand years brought the church not to the dust of the earth separated from God’s presence, but to the Tree of Life and into the very presence of God (Rev. 20–22:12). Through faith in and union with Christ as the Last Adam (the Tree of Life and New Creation), Christians have achieved what Adam could not. The church was clothed with “immortality”; it attained unto the “fullness” of life in AD 70; and it will never die for the aeons of the aeons (2 Cor. 1:20; 1 Cor. 15:45–53; Rev. 21–22; Jn. 11:26–27).”[179]

Christ and the Church were reigning for a symbolic 1,000 years period (Rev. 20). Old Covenant Israel and its “mockers” would not outlast this transitionary or probationary period.  They would become a “corpse” picked apart by the Roman vultures/eagles by AD 70, while the Church would continue with Him in the Spirit having eternal life and having dominion over the nations through the everlasting gospel. Selah.

While I would not agree with this commentator on all that he has to say of our text, I would agree that Peter’s emphasis is that God was not slow or producing a delay to His coming,

“The idea that “the Lord” is not slow is probably an allusion to Hab 2:3: “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” In some Greek translations of the OT exactly the same word is used for “delay” that 2 Peter uses. Furthermore, one could understand the Greek as saying, “He will not be slow” or “He will not delay.” While a similar thought is expressed in Isa 13:22, Sir 35:19 (LXX; 35:22 in the NRSV) is closer to our thought here, “Indeed, the Lord will not delay, and like a warrior [or “upon them”] will not be patient until he crushes the loins of the unmerciful.…”[180]

Unfortunately, this commentator does not see the significance of my next point (#3) below in connection with these OT reference he cites in relation to Jesus’ and Peter’s prediction of a genuine nearness that “will not delay.”

Point #3 – The very fact that the mockers (Judaizers – false prophets and teachers) were mocking the reality of Yeshua’s coming in light of some of the early church fathers having already died, — demonstrates that the coming of the Lord was not a limitless coming but one in which was well known to be prophesied to take place within some of their lifetimes, in their generation and thus “near” to them (Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:27-34; 1 Pet. 4:5-7, 17). The fact that the text implies the false prophets understood NT imminence better than Dr. Brown and other Futurists is a sad commentary indeed.

Point #4 – If a Bible College or Seminary student asked the instructor in a hermeneutics class,

“If I have over 200 clear text on a given subject and I only have 1 passage that seems to give a contradictory interpretation of the clear 200, which passage, or passages should I go with?”

Everyone knows what the hermeneutics instructor would say (no matter what the denomination), “You go with the 200 clear passages and interpret the 1 passage in light of the others or in such a way that does not contradict them.”

And yet when the Full Preterist has over 200 OT and NT clear texts which demonstrate the “Day of the LORD” was “near” or “without delay,” so many of these same instructors are willing to throw NT imminence under the bus of a misunderstanding of 1 passage (2 Pet. 3:8) in order to toll the creedal line and keep their jobs.  Sad really.          

Summing up OT & NT imminence in light of Psalam 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 

In examining the “list” of OT day of the Lord passages that were “near” we found that God was capable of communicating with man in language he understands “near” “without delay” to be.  There was no exegetical evidence that “near” or “without delay” meant thousands of years and that this is somehow the way to interpret over 150 direct imminent statements in the NT.     

In a few passages in the OT there were some typological passages or projected imminence passages in which when the prophecy would begin to be fulfilled in Israel’s last day’s they would be near.  But once in the NT, since the last days had arrived the “nearness” of that day of the Lord had literally come.  We also looked at a passage which developed the partial fulfillment type and the NT anti-type and found that both used “nearness” literally to their respected audiences (ex. Hag. 2/Heb. 12).

While no one disagrees that the OT predicted partial or typological fulfillments, what Brown and men like Hollett are unwilling to see, is that the NT writers are developing the imminent eschatological “not yet” anti-types to be fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.  This is one of the reasons why I asked Dr. Brown in the cross-examination period to demonstrate from the book of Hebrews or any NT book where Yeshua or the author goes from the OT physical typological promises, gives them a spiritual and imminent anti-type fulfillment, and THEN goes back to develop a physical fulfillment.  He did not answer the question or give me a passage.

God “set a day” on His eschatological “calendar” that was “about to be” (Acts 17:31YLT) fulfilled concerning Jesus’ truly imminent Second Coming in judgment by AD 70 and He communicated it’s nearness in language we understand.

It was also odd to see Dr. Brown admit the coming of the Lord in Matthew 24:27 could have been fulfilled literally “near” and “soon” in AD 70 and yet also assert this would not do any damage to his position.  This is not only wrong in that NT imminence of the “soon” coming of the Lord flows from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:27-34, but Dr. Brown gave a glowing review of Brock Hollett’s book in which Hollett admits Partial Preterism (the belief NT imminence is literal) logically leads to Full Preterism.  So again, to use statements Dr. Brown used in our debate – Brown’s position on OT and NT imminence is “bizarre,” “strange,” and “rips the Bible apart.”  Selah.

Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 NEVER changed the meaning of what “far off” “many days” or “near” means.  Daniel and Revelation contain the same eschatological promises and God communicated consistently in language man can understand concerning the prophetic material of both inspired books.  Daniel was told to “seal up” his vision because the time of fulfillment was “far off” or would be fulfilled in “many days” from Daniel.  Daniel is told that he would die and not be able to witness the event.  But John is told the exact just opposite – “do NOT seal up” his vision because the time of fulfillment was “near” and that he could live to witness it (cf. Mt. 16:27-28Jn. 21:21-23):

Daniel Revelation
·      “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now” (Dan. 8:26)

 

·      “and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” (Dan.10:14)

 

·      “But you Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.” “…go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”(Dan. 12:4, 13)

 

 

 

 

 

·      “And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near

(Rev. 22:10)

 

Review and Concluding “the Big Three” (Mt. 10:17-23; Mt. 16:27-28; Mt. 24:3-34)

 

When we examine the coming of the Son of Man passages in Matthew 10:17-23 and Matthew 16:27-28 we found that they are abbreviated forms or snapshots of what Christ would fully develop in the Olivet Discourse.  And in all three cases, Jesus promised that His Second Coming event would be fulfilled in some of the lifetimes and contemporary generation of the first century church:

 

Matthew 10:17-23/16:27-28 & Parallels The Olivet Discourse
1).  Delivered up to councils and synagogues 

(Mt. 10:17)

1).  Delivered up to local councils and synagogues (Mrk. 13:9)
2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mt. 10:18) 2).  Brought before governors and kings to be witnesses to the Gentiles (Mrk. 13:9)
3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them

(Mt. 10:19-20)

3).  Holy Spirit would speak through them (Mrk. 13:11)
4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mt. 10:22) 4).  Family members would betray and kill each other, all men would hate disciples, but he that would stand firm to “the end” would be “saved” (Mrk. 13:12-13)
5).  The disciples would not have run out of cities of refuge to flee to as they were being persecuted preaching the gospel to the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would come. (Mt. 10:23) 5).  The disciples (and later Paul) were to preach the gospel to the then known “world” and “nations” at that time before “the end” (of the OC age) and coming of the Son of Man would take place.

(Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10)

6).  Christ comes in glory (Lk. 9:26) 6).  Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30)
7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 16:27) 7).  Christ comes with angels (Mt. 24:31)
8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 16:27) 8).  Christ comes in judgment (Mt. 24:28-31;25:31-34)
9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Mrk. 8:38) 9).  Christ and the kingdom come in power (Lk. 21:27-32)
10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming (Mt. 16:28) 10).  Some in the crowd would live to witness the Second Coming (Lk. 21:16-18)
11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Mt. 16:28) 11).  Some in the crowd would die before the Second (Lk. 21:16)
12).  Christ was “about to come” and would be ashamed of some in His contemporary

“this generation” (Mt. 16:27YLT/Mrk. 8:38)

12).  All of this would occur and be “near” and “at the door” in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:33-34/Lk. 21:27-32)

The Bible skeptic which now includes Muslims, Talmudic Jews are dead wrong in thinking that Jesus predicted that He would float down on a literal cloud to bring an end to planet earth and world history in His contemporary generation.  He clearly was prophesying the end of the Old Covenant age and the de-creation of Israel’s world or heaven and earth.

Dispensational Zionists who parade themselves as “prophecy experts” do nothing but twist the teachings of our Lord here.  The Olivet Discourse has nothing to do with current world events nor is its content being fulfilled “right before our eyes in the Newspapers” etc.  The Church needs to get back to Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis.

But not all is lost.  When we combine the sounder observations the Church we arrive at the Biblical position:

Major Premise:  The coming of the Son of Man in the Olivet Discourse is the ONE Second Coming event to be fulfilled at the end of the age or when heaven and earth pass away (Classic Amillennialism).

Minor Premise:  But the coming of the Son of Man throughout the Olivet Discourse is the spiritual coming of Christ to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  It was at this time Christ brought an “end” to Israel’s Old Covenant “age” or “heaven and earth” and ushered in the New Covenant spiritual one (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion:  Therefore, the coming of the Son of Man in the Olivet Discourse is the spiritual coming of Christ to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  It was at this time Christ brought an “end” to Israel’s Old Covenant “age” or “heaven and earth” and ushered in the New Covenant spiritual one (“Reformed and always reforming” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

While some Partial Preterists such as Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison have admitted that the coming of Christ in Matthew 10:22-23; Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24-25 (along with every reference to Christ’s coming in the book of Revelation) was spiritually fulfilled in AD 70, they depart from common sense and even their own creedal position which states the coming of Christ in the Olivet Discourse and throughout the book of Revelation is the actual Second Coming event.

Their system is forced to teach that Christ had little or nothing to say of His Second Coming and that God would work through Paul latter in developing this revelation and doctrine in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.  This doesn’t even pass the smell test.  Most of Christianity understands Paul is following Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse and many admit that he too expected the Second Coming to occur in the lifetimes of his contemporaries:

If A (Matthew 24) is = B (1 Thessalonians 4)
Christ returns from heaven 24:30 4:16
With voice of Arch Angel 24:31 4:16
With trumpet of God 24:31 4:16
Caught/gathered together with/to Christ 24:31 4:17
“Meet” the Lord in the clouds 24:30 & 25:6 4:17
Exact time unknown 24:36 5:1-2
Christ comes as a thief 24:43 5:2
Unbelievers caught off guard 24:37-39 5:3
Time of birth pangs 24:8 5:3
Believers not deceived 24:43 5:4-5
Believers to be watchful 24:42 5:6
Exhorted to sobriety 24:49 5:7
Son/sunlight shinning from e. to w. / Sons of the Day 24:27, 36, & 38 5:4-8
And if B (1 Thessalonians 4) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
The sleeping to be raised 4:13-14 15:12-18
The living to be caught/changed 4:15-17 15:51-52
Christ’s coming (Greek: parousia) 4:15 15:23
At the sound of the trumpet 4:16 15:52
Encouraged to stand firm 4:18 15:58
Same contemporary “we” 4:15-17 15:51-52
Then A (Matthew 24 & Parallels) is = to C (1 Corinthians 15)
Christ to come (Greek: parousia) 24:27 15:23
His people to be gathered/changed 24:31 15:52
To come with the sound of a trumpet 24:31 15:52
To be “the end” (Greek telos, the goal) 24:3, 14 15:24
Kingdom consummation (goal reached) Luke 21:30-32 15:24
All prophecy fulfilled at this point Luke 21:22 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/Temple Mt. 24:1 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” Mt. 24:2ff 15:51-52
Two or More Things that are Equal to Another Thing are Also Equal to Each Other
Matthew 24 1 Thessalonians 4 1 Corinthians 15
At His coming (24:27-31) At His Coming (4:16) At His Coming (15:23)
At the trumpet (24:31) At the trumpet (4:16) At the trumpet (15:52)
Dead raised, All Gathered (24:31) Dead raised (4:16) Dead raised (15:35-44)
All living gathered
(24:31)
Living caught together to Him (4:17) Status of living changed (15:51)

 

Once again, we solve the heated division within the orthodox Christian church and continue the work of reformation in the area of eschatology and solve this debate:

 

Major Premise:  The analogy of faith and parallels between Matthew 24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 teach us that Paul is simply developing and elaborating on the doctrine of our Lord’s ONE return at the end of the age (Classic Amillennialism and Historic Premillennialism).

 

Minor Premise:  But the coming of Christ in the Olivet Discourse was fulfilled spiritually in Jesus’ contemporary generation to bring about the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (Partial Preterism – mostly Postmillennialists)

 

Conclusion:  Therefore, since Christ’s ONE Second Coming event in the Olivet Discourse was spiritually fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70, and since the analogy of faith and parallels between the Olivet Discourse and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 and 1 Corinthians 15 teach us this is the same event, then Christ’s ONE Second Coming event was fulfilled spiritually at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (“Reformed and always reforming” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEVEN

If the Second Coming of Jesus was fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70, then…

…WHAT ABOUT…:

  • The resurrection of Job 19:25-27; Daniel 12:2-3; Acts 24:15; John 5:21-29; John 11:25- 27; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15?
  • The thousand years millennial period and the abolition of death, pain, mourning and Satan in the New Creation of Revelation 20-22?
  • The “in like manner” return of Christ in Acts 1:11?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about…:

  • The resurrection of Job 19:25-27; Daniel 12:2-3; Acts 24:15; John 5:21-29; John 11:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 15?

Introduction

Jewish Views on the Resurrection

Many Talmudic Zionists, Muslims and Dispensational Zionists simply assume that the only concept of the resurrection of the dead in the OT and during Jesus’ day was a biological fleshly one in which an alleged individual’s physical/spiritual body would emerge from the literal grave at the end of time and thus be fitted for the afterlife in the New Creation.  But this is simply not the case.

I like how Lester L. Grabbe points out that during the Second Temple period the interpretations of the resurrection in the OT were not all necessarily understood to refer to the physical body. They included the view that the resurrection involved only the souls/spirits of individuals being fit for God’s presence either at death, or only their souls were raised at a general judgment of the dead event.  He points out there is no evidence that the physical view was any more dominant than the spiritual view.  While lengthy, I think his historical comments will be helpful before we begin an exegesis of the OT and NT resurrection texts and simply assume they are addressing a biological resurrection at the end of time when Jesus or Messiah comes.

 

It is sometimes asserted that the resurrection of the body was the characteristic Jewish belief. This is not borne out by the data. A variety of beliefs seem to be attested about the same time in Israelite history. One of these was the resurrection of the body, but there is little reason to think that it was earlier or more characteristic of Jewish thinking than the immortality of the soul or resurrection of the spirit. And it is clear that some Jews still maintained the older belief in no afterlife. The Sadducees (see section 2.7) are one group who thought so; so did Ben Sira. Writing about 190 bce Ben Sira does not seem to think of any life beyond death, as interpreted by the vast majority of scholars. Therefore, it would be quite wrong to refer to any of these beliefs as ‘characteristically’ Jewish or the Jewish belief on the subject.”[181]

 

He continues,

“The exact form of the resurrection is not always specified, but we should not expect it always to entail resurrection of the body. Sometimes only the resurrection of the spirit is in mind, as in Jubilees 23:20–22:

And at that time the Lord will heal his servants, and they shall be exalted and prosper greatly; and they shall drive out their adversaries. And the righteous shall see it and be thankful, and rejoice with joy for ever and ever; and they shall see all the punishments and curses that had been their lot falling on their enemies. And their bones shall rest in the earth, and their spirits shall have much joy; and they shall know that the Lord is one who executes judgement, and shows mercy to hundreds, and to tens of thousands, and to all that love him.

Belief in the immortality of the soul is known at least as early as the Book of Watchers (1 Enoch1–36). The souls of the various sorts of people are preserved in hollow places after death (1 Enoch 22):

And from there I went to another place, and he showed me in the west a large and high mountain, and a hard rock and four beautiful places, and inside it was deep and wide and very smooth . . . Then Raphael, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered me and said to me, These beautiful places are intended for this, that the spirits, the souls of the dead, might be gathered into them; for them they were created, that here they might gather all the souls of the sons of men. And these places they made where they will keep them until the day of their judgement and until their appointed time – and that appointed time will be long – until the great judgement comes upon them.

As the rest of the passage indicates, the souls of the dead are already experiencing reward and punishment in their intermediate state. In this case, the existence of the soul after death seems to be combined with the idea of a final judgement. This may imply a general resurrection, though this is not stated explicitly. In other sections of 1 Enoch, a resurrection is mentioned (46:6; 51:1; 90:33; 91:10; 92:3–4).

Other sources give no indication of a resurrection at all, only the immortal soul. A good example is Wisdom of Solomon which speaks of the soul (e.g., 3:1–9) but does not mention the resurrection. Whether Wisdom thinks the souls of all are immortal, or only those of the righteous, is debated. Many feel that immortality is not inherent in the soul itself but is a gift given only to the righteous.

The Testament of Abraham gives the clearest picture of how the souls are judged after death (Version A 11–14; Version B 9–11). The souls are brought before a throne on which Abel sits as judge. The one who presents the souls for judgement is Enoch, the scribe of righteousness (Version B only). The judged souls go either through the strait gate which leads to life (for the righteous) or the broad gate to destruction (for the sinners). Although there is a brief indication of belief in a general resurrection in the Testament of Abraham (Version B 7:16), judgement of each individual seems to take place immediately after death, and the emphasis is on this immediate judgement of the soul while the body rests in the grave.

On the other hand, the immortal souls and the resurrection may be combined, as in 2 Baruch 29–30:

[30:2] And it shall come to pass at that time that the treasuries will be opened in which is preserved the number of the souls of the righteous, and they will come out, and the multitude of souls will appear together in one single assembly; and those who are first will rejoice, and those who are last will not be cast down. For each one of them will know that the predetermined end of the times has come. But the souls of the wicked, when they see all this, will be the more discomforted. For they will know that their torment is upon them and that their perdition has arrived.”[182]

 

Murray J. Harris after examining the intertestamental period of Judaism agrees,

 

“And there is the concept of the immortality of the soul or spirit that is gained at death or at the End [of the Mosaic age], with or without a resurrection of the [physical] body.”[183]

 

Christian Views of a Spiritual Resurrection in AD 70

 

Many Christians are unaware that Reformed Partial Preterism teaches there was a spiritual resurrection of the dead at the coming of Christ in AD 70.  This position teaches the exact same concepts I will be developing in that the OT and NT supports there was:

 

1).  A spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection from the death of the Old Covenant body of Israel being transformed and raised into the life of the New Covenant body of Israel between AD 30 – AD 70.

 

2).  This spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal resurrection is consummated at Christ’s coming upon the clouds in the events of AD 67 – AD 70 when God empties the souls from Abraham’s Bosom or Hades and causes His righteous to inherit God’s presence and eternal life.

 

Unfortunately, the weakness of this position is that both the OT and NT teaches this is the ONE end of the age (Old Covenant age) consummative resurrection event and not just “a” resurrection.

 

I will be arguing in this chapter that the above “orthodox” Christian understanding of a spiritual, progressive, covenantal and corporate body resurrection, is THE general end of the age resurrection event that was fulfilled imminently by AD 70.

 

The resurrection of Job 19:25-27?

 

  • “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me” (Job 19:25-27).

 

Note how the American Standard Bible translates verse 26 having the exact opposite meaning as the physical resurrection proponents would read it,

 

“And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed, Then, without my flesh shall I see God;”

 

The Anchor Bible reads and understands the Hebrew as “without my flesh” and the NIV concedes this can be the meaning and adds a note “from my flesh.”

 

OT and Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch translate the Hebrew in the key verse thus,

 

“And after my skin, thus torn to pieces, And without my flesh shall I behold Eloah, Whom I shall behold for my good, And mine eyes shall see Him and no other – My veins languish in my bosom.”

 

And further elaborate that this text should not be used to support a fleshly resurrection,

“If we have correctly understood על־עפר, Job 19:25, we cannot in this speech find that the hope of a bodily recovery is expressed.”[184]

 

Barne’s Notes on the Bible renders it,

 

“after I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of my flesh shall I see God.”

 

The Hebrew can actually teach the exact opposite of an expectation of a physical resurrection in that Job is saying “apart from my flesh” or “without my flesh” he would see God.  Therefore, this passage could easily be supporting an understanding of a resurrection of the soul in seeing God.

 

Some have postulated that Job was one of those raised out of the tombs with Jesus in Matthew 27 and therefore saw Jesus standing on the earth before He ascended.  If so, there is no evidence that Job took a physical body to heaven or ascended with Christ.  If such a view was correct (and I don’t think it is), then Job’s physical resurrection was a “sign” type miracle, and he went into the town testifying of Christ and then would die again – as the purpose of Lazarus’ resurrection served.

 

A more probable interpretation given by Futurists and Preterists alike is that Job is looking for vindication in this life and is not discussing a physical or spiritual resurrection hope in the afterlife.  As David Green writes,

“But even if we translate the phrase to read, “from my flesh” (i.e., from the vantage point of my flesh), this could be taken to mean that Job expected to see God within his own lifetime, while still in his flesh.  And, as a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened.

 

After Job’s time of tribulation and anguish, his Redeemer at last arose on the dust and answered Job out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1). After God’s “archers”/“troops” (i.e., Job’s accusers) surrounded and “devoured” Job, and after Job was filled up with the afflictions of his flesh, he was redeemed from his sufferings.  He was vindicated as “a perfect and upright man” and his enemies were judged (cf. Job 19:29 and 42:79).  Thus Job, with his own eyes, and from his flesh, saw God: I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen You. (Job 42:5)

 

Regarding Job 14:13-17:

 

O that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would keep me secret, until Your wrath be past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!  If a man dies, shall he live again?  All the days of my appointed time [literally, “warfare”]will I wait, till my change come [or, “until my exchanging or replacement come”].  You shall call, and I will answer You.  You will have a desire to the work of Your hands. (Job 14:13-15)

 

If Job was prophesying concerning the resurrection of the dead in this passage, then we must say that Job was triumphing in the idea that his wretched and miserable condition (his “warfare”) would continue for hundreds or even thousands of additional years while in Sheol (Job 14:14), and that only at the end of human history would God’s “wrath” (Job 14:13) against him pass, and that only then would Job be relieved from his warfare as a battle-wearied soldier is replaced by another (“changed”) (cf. Job 10:17; 14:14-15).

 

Either God remained/remains angry with Job for hundreds or thousands of years after Job’s death, or Job was not speaking of a vindication at the resurrection of the dead.  As the context leads us to believe, what Job desired was vindication instead of death.  Instead of resigning himself to dying, stricken of God, Job yearned by faith for vindication and redemption in his own lifetime.  He hoped that God would not crush him as an enemy, but would instead relent and restore him to Himself (Job 14:14b, 15).  As we know, Job’s hope was not deferred, as per futurism (Prov. 13:12). Instead, it was fulfilled, and Job was delivered and vindicated in his own lifetime.  “So, the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).”[185]

 

The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3

 

  • “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;[a] and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel asks and is told by the angel when all this would be fulfilled in v. 7)7…that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.” (Dan. 12:1-4, 7)

 

Daniel 12:2-3 is by far the most important and clearest OT text on the resurrection.  Jesus and NT writers appeal to its fulfillment in Matthew 13:39-43; John 5; Acts 24:25; Revelation 20:5-15 and even 1 Corinthians 15.

 

“All these things”

 

Daniel is clearly told in verse 7, that the resurrection of verses 2-3 would be fulfilled at the same time as the “tribulation” period and during the “time of the end [of the Old Covenant Mosaic age].”  This would be a 3 ½ years period of time [the last half of the last 7 years of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy] when God would “shatter the power of the holy people” in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

Jesus has already connected the “end of the age” resurrection “gathering” and “tribulation” period to be a part of the “all these things” to be fulfilled in Jesus’ contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3-34).  This “end of the [Old Covenant] age” gathering is the same event Jesus described in Matthew 13:39-43:

 

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…) 12:4, 7, 9, 13 24:3, 13-14, 28-29, 34-35

 

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

 

Partial Preterist James Jordan now understands the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (and Daniel’s personal resurrection in verse 13) as being a spiritual and corporate resurrection that took place from Jesus’ earthly ministry to AD 70. Jordan even believes that Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s bosom according to Revelation 20 in AD 70.  Here are some selected quotes from his commentary on Daniel:

 

  • “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 spoke of, a resurrectional event in this world, in our history.”[186]

 

  • “…Daniel 12:2 tells us that in the days of Jesus the nation will undergo a last spiritual resurrection, but some will not persevere and their resurrection will only be unto destruction. The Parable of the soils fits here (Mt. 13:3-23):  three different kinds of people come to life, but only one of the three different kinds of people come to like, but only one of the three kinds is awakened to persevering, everlasting life.

 

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

 

Thus, a resurrection of Israel is in view.  The wicked are raised, but do not profit from it, and are destroyed.  The saints experience a great distress, and live with God forever and ever.”[187]

 

  • “The death of the Church in the Great Tribulation, and her resurrection after that event, were the great proof that Jesus had accomplished the work He came to do. The fact that the Church exists today, nearly 2000 years after her death in the Great Tribulation, is the ongoing vindication of Jesus work.”[188]

 

  • “Revelation takes up where Daniel leaves off, and deals mostly with the Apostolic Age and the death and resurrection of the Church.”[189]

 

  • “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.”[190]

Kenneth Gentry is also just now recognizing the resurrection of Daniel 12 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70:

 

  • “In Daniel 12:1-2 we find a passage that clearly speaks of the great tribulation in AD 70.”[191]
  • “…But it also seems to speak of the resurrection occurring at that time…”[192]

 

  • “Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse: Israel as a corporate body is in the “dust” (Da 12:2; cp. Ge 3:14, 19). In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represent Israel’s “death” in the Babylonian dispersion (Eze 37). In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of the divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life. Luke presents similar imagery in Luke 2:34 in a prophecy about the results of Jesus’s birth for Israel: “And Simeon blessed them, and said to Marry His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed.’”

 

Christ Himself points out that some from Israel will believe and be saved, while others will not (e.g., Mt. 10:34-36; 13:11-15), that in the removing of the kingdom from Israel many will be crushed and scattered like dust (Mt. 21:43-45).  He even speaks of the saved Jews as arising from the “shadow of death” (Mt. 4:16).  Though in AD 70 elect Jews will flee Israel and will live (Mt. 24:22), the rest of the nation will be a corpse:  “wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Mt. 24:28).  Indeed, in AD 70 we see in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Mt. 22:7) that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt. 22:14).  Elsewhere he employs the imagery of “regeneration” to the arising of the new Israel from out of the dead, old covenant Israel in AD 70:  “You who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you also shall sit upon tweleve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mt. 19:28).”[193]

 

  • “…it appears that Daniel is drawing from the hope of a future, literal resurrection and applying it symbolically to the first century leading up the tribulation in AD 70. That is, he is portraying God’s separating believing Jews out of Israel through the winnowing of Israel in AD 70.”[194]

 

  • “Daniel only picks up on resurrection imagery and, like Ezekiel, applies that to corporate Israel. He is teaching that in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection.”[195]

 

Let’s summarize the position of Jordan and Gentry here on what the resurrection of Daniel 12 entails:

 

1).  It is Israel’s last spiritual and corporate resurrection.

 

2).  Both Israel and the Church participate in this spiritual, covenantal and corporate resurrection whereby the New Covenant Church or New Israel of God is raised out of the corpse of Old Covenant Israel in AD 70.

 

3).  There was an “already and not yet” type evangelism taking place between Christ’s earthly ministry to His coming in AD 70 which brought about the consummative resurrection or “end” of Israel during the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

4).  This resurrection resulted in Daniel’s soul being raised out of Abraham’s bosom to be seated on a throne to reign with Christ.

 

My Response – Jordan appeals to the evangelism taking place in the parable of the soils instead of dealing with the evangelism taking place where Jesus actually quotes Daniel 12:2-3, and that is in the parable of the wheat and tares (cf. Mt. 13:39-43).  Jesus clearly places this pre-kingdom evangelism and the resurrection of Daniel 12 to be fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age and nowhere else!  And as I demonstrated earlier in our discussion of the end of the age in Matthew 24:3 and 13:39-43, a colleague of Jordan and Gentry’s is Joel McDurmon, who does admit the end of the age in Matthew 13:39-43 is the Old Covenant age.

 

It is important to note that Gentry at one time criticized Dispensational Zionism for having two resurrection (one before and one after the 1,000 years millennial period):

 

“Contrary to dispensationalism and historic premillennialism, there is but one resurrection and one judgment, which occur simultaneously at the end of history:  Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:31-32; John 5:28-29…Acts 24:15).”[196]

 

Gentry says “it appears” there is a double fulfillment of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 (one in AD 70 and another at the end of world history).  Yet he argues against other views giving the tribulation period a double fulfillment or any kind of fulfillment beyond the 3 ½ years Daniel mentions which he correctly sees being fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  Daniel is told “all these things” (the tribulation and resurrection) would be fulfilled together during the “time of the end” [of the Old Covenant age] or during the 3 ½ years–when Israel’s power is completely shattered.

 

When we harmonize Jordan, Gentry (#1 and #2) and McDurmon on the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43 we get the biblical position of NT resurrection:

 

Major Premise:  The resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is “one” general resurrection of the just and unjust to be fulfilled “at the end of the age” and forms the resurrection of Jesus’ teaching and that of the NT authors [Mt. 13:39-43; John 5; Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15; Rev. 20:5-15; etc.] (Gentry #1).

 

Minor Premise (A):  But the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 has an “already and not yet” pre-kingdom evangelism connected with it that addresses the inward heart and soul of man or the living (Jordan).  This pre-kingdom evangelism is mentioned in Matthew 13:39-43 and 24:14 and was a sign fulfilled before the “end of the Old Covenant age” in AD 70 (McDurmon).

 

Minor Premise (B):  But Daniel’s soul was raised out of Abraham’s bosom in AD 70 at this last spiritual and corporate resurrection in which the New Covenant Body of Israel was raised out from the Old Covenant Body of Israel in AD 70 (Jordan and Gentry).

 

Conclusion:  The “ONE” (spiritual, progressive, corporate and covenantal) resurrection of the just and unjust was fulfilled after a pre-kingdom evangelism affecting the hearts of the living –roughly from AD 27 – AD 67.  This resulted in the New Covenant Body of Israel being raised out from the corpse of the Old Covenant Body of Israel—a historic event in AD 70 which also resulted in souls being emptied out of Abraham’s bosom to inherit God’s presence and eternal life in AD 70 in the spiritual world (the position of the author – “Reformed and always reforming” – Sovereign Grace Full Preterism).

 

Some get confused over Daniel’s phrase “sleep in the dust.”  This is merely a figure of speech as David Green points out,

 

“The dead were not literally sleeping, nor were they literally in the dust.  They were “in dust” only insofar as, in their death, they had not ascended into God’s presence in Christ.  In terms of the righteousness and life of God, they were earth-bound.  From a literal standpoint, they were in Sheol/Hades (the abode of the Adamic dead), and it was from out of Sheol that they wre raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2).”[197]

 

Shining like the Sun in the Kingdom

 

Before leaving the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 and Matthew 13:39-43, we should note that at the end of the Old Covenant age, Jesus teaches that “the righteous would shine like the Sun in the Kingdom” (Mt. 13:43).  This connects well with my position of Christ’s Second Coming being fulfilled in AD 70 as the great light of the Sun shining from east to the west in Matthew 24:27 and Luke 17:24. This was a “within” resurrection for the living and a resurrection for the righteous dead out of Hades or Abraham’s bosom in which both groups inherited eternal life.

 

Before leaving Daniel 12, Gentry and Jordan have understood the resurrection of Daniel 12 to be similar to that of Ezekiel 37 which was a non-biological coming out of the “graves” or covenantal and corporate resurrection.  On the subject of coming out of the graves we turn our attention to how Jesus understands the resurrection of Daniel 12 to be fulfilled in John 5.

 

The resurrection of John 5:20-29

 

  • “For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (Jn. 5:20-29).

 

Commentators have long understood that Daniel 12:2 is the source for Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection in John 5:28-29 because the only OT passage which mentions a resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked is Daniel 12:2.  This, and the only OT passage addressing “eternal life” is Daniel 12:2.  G.K. Beale points out an additional connection – in that Jesus is following the (OG) LXX of Daniel 12:1-2, 4 when it comes to this coming resurrection “hour” of both believers and unbelievers.[198]  Beale points out that Jesus gives the resurrection hour of Daniel 12:1-2 a soteriological and eschatological “already and not yet,”

 

“…notice that Jesus also clearly refers to the same Daniel prophecy in verses 24-25 and applies it to people presently (or imminently) coming to life (“an hour is coming and now is”).[199]  He provides this helpful chart and adds,:

 

Daniel 12:1-2 (OG) John 5:24-25, 28-29
 

 

 

 

12:1:  “And at that hour…

12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise [anatesontai]…some unto eternal life and others to reproach…and to eternal shame.”

5:24:  “…he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

5:25:  “…an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”

 

 

5:28:  “…for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,”

5:29:  “and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection [anatasin] of judgment.”[200]

 

“Jesus understands the Dan. 12 prophecy [and the coming “hour”] to have begun fulfillment.”[201]  But adds, “Dan. 12:1-2 refers to the hour of tribulation followed by resurrection.  In fact, the “hour” of Dan. 12:1 is further understood as “the hour of the end” in Dan. 12:4 OG.”[202]

 

But as we have seen in combining the writings of James Jordan, Kenneth Gentry and Joel McDurmon, in Daniel 12:1-3 and Matthew 13:39-43, Jesus has placed the “already and not yet” of the resurrection to find its consummation at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.  This was when Israel and the Church were receiving eternal life and being raised from the death of the fleshly Old Covenant Body of Israel into the spiritual New Covenant Body of Israel.  This “already and not yet” resurrection would result in souls being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades into God’s presence.

 

I was able to share Beale’s concept of the already and not yet hour of Daniel 12 and John 5 with my co-author in “House Divided” David Green, along with the chiastic structure connecting “the coming hour and now is” of John 4, and we came up with this in response to our critics,

 

“In order to understand John 5:28 and 29, we must first look three verses above it, in John 5:25, where Jesus said that the hour “now is” when “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”  As most Reformed interpreters agree, Jesus in that verse was referring to the preaching of His death and resurrection.  The preaching of that message commenced at Pentecost.  “The dead” were physically living people who were spiritually dead in sin, and “the voice of the Son of God” was the gospel.  Having heard the gospel, those who were spiritually “dead” were spiritually resurrected.  They lived in that they received eternal life through faith in the gospel (“the voice of the Son of God”).

 

Then, in verses 28 and 29, Jesus expanded His teaching on the resurrection to include those who were not only spiritually dead, but who were also physically dead.  He did not call them “dead” (as He had already called the living who were spiritually dead), but He referred to them through another figure of speech as “all who are in the graves.”  They were not literally in their graves or tombs, of course, but were in Hades/Sheol.

 

What is often missed in this passage is that, like the physically living in verse 25, the physically dead in verse 28 were also going to live by means of hearing Christ’s “voice.”  As we know from verse 25, that “voice” is the gospel.  The physically dead therefore were going to hear the gospel (cf. 1 Pet. 4:6.) and were, as a result of hearing the gospel, going to be resurrected (regenerated, born from out of death and Hades).  This means that the physically dead were, like the physically living, spiritually dead.  And this inescapably means that both the physically living and the physically dead were going to be spiritually resurrected by means of the gospel-voice of the Son of God.  One resurrection in two main stages:  First, the last days saints; then, the Old Testament dead (“the rest of the dead” in Revelation 20:5). Note the parallels between John 4:21, 23 and John 5:25, 28:

 

  1. . . [T]he hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. . . . (Jn. 4:23)
  2. . . [T]he hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (Jn. 4:21)

 

  1. . . [T]he hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (Jn. 5:25)
  2. . . [T]he hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. . . . (Jn. 5:28)

 

These two sets of prophecies are parallel.  They speak of the same timeframes, which were these:

 

Pentecost (AD 30)

 

  1. The true worshipers would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

 

  1. The dead would hear the voice of the Son of God, and live.

 

Fall of Jerusalem (AD 70)

 

  1. God’s worshipers would no longer worship Him in Jerusalem.

 

  1. All who were in the graves would hear His voice.

 

After hearing the gospel, the dead were raised out of their Adamic graves (Hades) in the end of the age.  And those among them who believed the gospel received eternal life in the kingdom of God.  But those who hated the gospel (those who had done evil) were raised out of Hades only to stand before God and to enter into “eternal punishment” / “the second death” (Matt. 25:46; Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:14).”[203]

 

Excellent Job by David Green.  Let me briefly point out the chiastic structure connecting “the hour that was coming, and now is” of John 4-5:

 

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

 

(B)  [T]he hour cometh, and now is (the “already”), when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in    spirit and in truth. . . . (Jn. 4:23)

(B)  [T]he hour is coming, and now is (the “already”), when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (Jn. 5:25)

 

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

 

This is interesting in that Kenneth Gentry gives the “already and not yet” of “the coming hour and now is” of John 4 as referring to AD 27/30 – AD 70 in that the “not yet” of the “hour” was realized in AD 70 when the earthly Temple was destroyed—the Church now worships God in spirit and in truth as God’s Mount Zion.  In appealing to John 4:21-23 Gentry writes,

 

“The New Testament anticipates this imminent change of the old typological temple era into the new final era of spiritual worship.”[204]

 

For Gentry, Jesus’ teaching in John 4:21-23,

 

“…concludes the anticipatory old covenant era (John 4:20-23; Heb. 1:1; 12:18-29), which “will soon disappear” (Heb. 8:13); it finally and forever closes down the typological sacrificial system, reorienting the worship of God (Heb. 9-10); and it effectively universalizes the Christian faith by freeing it from all Jewish constraints…”[205]

 

Gentry equates Jesus’ phrase, “the hour has come” (the eschatological “not yet”) with other AD 70 time texts such as “the time is short,” “the day is approaching,” “it is the last hour,” “in just a little while.”[206]

 

Therefore, since John is linking John 4-5 together with this chiasm, it should be very apparent that the “already and not yet” of the “hour is coming and now is” of John 5 is also referring to the AD 27/30 – AD 70 transition period.  If not, why not?  And if not, the burden of proof is upon the Futurist and Gentry to prove it is being used differently than in John 4:21-23!

 

It’s not difficult to know when the eschatological “not yet” “hour” of John 4:21 and John 5:28 would arrive when we allow John to interpret himself:

 

“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:17-18)

 

“And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come…” (Rev. 14:7)

 

“Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So, he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.” (Rev. 14:15-16).

 

And of course, Partial Preterists such as Gentry understand this eschatological “not yet”
“hour” of John in these texts as imminently fulfilled when the Old Covenant world passed away, when Babylon (Jerusalem) was judged, or when Israel’s harvest/resurrection was fulfilled in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

Major Premise:  The “already and not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) is the resurrection “already and not yet” “hour” of John 5:25-29.  The “not yet” hour is further described by John in 1 John 2:17-18 and Revelation 14:7, 15-16.

 

Minor Premise:  But the “not yet” resurrection “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) was spiritually fulfilled in the “hour/time of the end” described as the “3 ½ years” “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” – i.e., in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.  As John and his contemporaries approached or where in the AD 67 – AD 70 time frame, he stated clearly that the “last hour” of that harvest judgment and resurrection of Israel had come.

 

Conclusion:  The eschatological “already and not yet” “hour/time of the end” resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) and John 5:25-29 was a progressive, spiritual, covenantal resurrection in which the New Covenant Body of Israel was being raised out of the death of the Old Covenant Body between AD 27/30 – AD 70.  It would include “all” the souls of the wicked and righteous being raised out of Abraham’s bosom or Hades to either inherit God’s presence/eternal life, or eternal punishment.

 

There needs to be compelling evidence that “hour is coming, and now is” of John 4:21-23 is a different time period than the “hour is coming, and now is” of John 5:25-28–and Gentry provides none!

 

There needs to be compelling evidence that the spiritual “already and not yet” resurrection Jordan and Gentry give us for Daniel 12:2-3 that took place between AD 27/30 – AD 70 is not the same “already and not yet” resurrection time frame of John 5:25-29–and we receive none.

 

Just as Jesus placed the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 13:39-43), He consistently is taking the “coming hour” judgment and resurrection of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) in John 4:21-23–5:25-29 as something imminent and to be fulfilled by AD 70.

 

  • “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:37-40).

 

The “last day” is simply the last day of Israel’s “already and not yet” “last days” eschaton from AD 30 – AD 70.  Those living within that generation who believed and were thus sovereignly called to do so (vss. 37, 44), would be raised up to inherit resurrection eternal life at the same time the dead would (Jn. 11:25-27).  God’s “longsuffering” was working out His salvation and granting repentance – not willing that any of His Jewish or Gentile elect ones should perish (2 Pet. 3:9-10).  As the gospel was being preached throughout the Roman Empire before “the end” of the Old Covenant age (Mt. 24:14), the Father had given the Son a Jewish remnant and group of in-grafted Gentiles to believe in Him before the events of AD 67 – AD 70 unfolded.

 

Since God has always been and always will be omniscient, omnipotent and all sovereign, those coming through the gates of the New Jerusalem partaking of the living waters are also ordained or chosen to do so (Rev. 22:17).  This will always ring true as long as there are sinners and the gospel is preached – “Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!  We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple” (Ps. 65:4).

 

As the cross is an in-time historical event accomplished for our salvation and the forgiveness of sins, so too was His second appearing apart from sin to save the members of His Body – the Church.  The first century elect ones were anticipating being raised into eternal life in AD 70.  Positionally through Christ’s redemptive work–His death, resurrection and Second Coming, His entire Body (past, present and future) have been raised and made perfect in His sight.  Those that believed in Christ living to AD 70 were raised at the last day of the Old Covenant age and they “never die,” just as we today who believe the gospel have been raised and “never die.”  And to that subject we now turn our attention.  But before we do, there is no exegetical evidence that John 5-6 teaches a biological resurrection at the end of world history.

 

  • “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)?”

 

The death that held both the believing dead [in Abraham’s bosom or Hades] and the living prior to AD 70 in its grip, awaiting Christ’s redemption through the cross and Second Coming, was the spiritual death that came through Adam.  Consider the following 7 points or arguments that supports this exegesis.

 

1).  Common Hebraic parallelism in our text makes it clear that both “resurrection” and reception of “life” are equivalent to each other in meaning.  Therefore, since the reception of “life” through faith means to “never die” (overcoming the spiritual death that came through Adam the very day he sinned), then the “resurrection” for those that had died in faith should have the same or similar meaning.  That is, both the dead and the living would receive spiritual New Covenant or resurrection life and enjoy God’s presence forever in His Kingdom.

 

2).  An examination of Jesus’ “I am” statements proves a spiritual fulfillment of the resurrection is in view.  Thus far in the gospel of John all of Jesus’ “I am” statements are spiritual:

 

1).  I am the Bread/Water of Life (John 6:35) – spiritual Bread & Light
2).  I am the Light of the world (John 9:5) – spiritual Light
3).  I am the Door (John 10:9) – spiritual Door
4).  I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11) spiritual shepherd
5).  I am the Resurrection (John 11:25) – is this the only “I am” that is physical?
6).  I am the True Vine (John 15:1) – spiritual Vine
7).  I am the Way (John 14:6) – spiritual Way

 

Those that believe in Christ as “Bread” or “Water” – partake of Him or find this fulfilled spiritually.  The same can be true of all of these “Light,” “Way,” abiding in Him as the “Vine” etc…

 

3).  Thus far in the gospel of John (cf. chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10) all references to “life” are spiritual.

 

4).  In John, the primary purpose of miracles (other than proving Jesus is a prophet sent by the Father, or He is the Great “I Am”), is to point to a spiritual truth.  Feeding a great multitude is to point to the fact that Jesus is the bread from heaven who gives spiritual eternal life (Jn. 6:26-35).  He heals the blind to prove He can heal those who are spiritually blind [thus those who are spiritually dead] (John 9:39).  In Mark’s gospel, Jesus heals a cripple man to prove He has the power to forgive sin (Mrk. 2:10-11).  So here in John 11 Jesus is going to perform a physical sign miracle of raising Lazarus biologically, to prove and point to a deeper meaning that He is “the (spiritual) resurrection and (spiritual) life.”

 

5).  We must allow John to interpret John elsewhere.  In John’s version of the Olivet Discourse (the book of Revelation) we learn the following on when and what the resurrection looks like:

 

A).  The judgment of the dead and or the resurrection out of Hades into God’s Most Holy Place presence, is connected to something that would be fulfilled “shortly” or “soon” and therefore by AD 70 and not the end of world history (Rev. 1:1—22:20).

 

B).  The judgment of the dead [and thus the resurrection of the dead] was connected to when the “Great City” “Egypt” “Sodom” “Babylon” (Old Covenant Jerusalem – “where the Lord was crucified”) would be judged in AD 70 (Rev. 11:8-19; see also the harvest/resurrection motif in chapters 7 and 14).  Revelation 11 also mentions the 3 ½ years that is connected with the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-7.

 

C).  Revelation 20-22 mentions NO biological resurrection of corpses, just souls being emptied out of Hades at the “soon” Second Coming bringing an end to the millennial period (Rev. 20–22:7, 20).

 

  • There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”  And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.  Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question” (Lk. 20:27-40).

 

This argument by the Sadducees (who denied life of the soul/spirit after death) worked well against their Pharisee opponents. Why? Because many of the Pharisees believed that the OT Torah would be carried into the New Creation or Messianic age. Therefore, the Sadducee challenge could be summarized like this:

“Since you believe in a physical bodily resurrection to fit men and women to live in the New Creation and you believe Torah will be practiced at that time, then explain to us whose wife will this woman belong to once all seven brothers are raised and they are all living in the new heavens and new earth together?!?  After all, there are women giving birth in the new creation (cf. Isa. 65:23) so are these illegitimate children?  Are these births taking place within Torah ordained marriages?  So, is this woman raised in the resurrection with her seven husbands going to have children by all of her husbands?”

 

You can almost hear them chuckling because this was forcing the Pharisees into the practice of polyandry (the practice of a woman having more than one husband at once), which unlike polygamy (which was condoned and practiced under the OT law) was not lawful and considered an abomination of sorts.

While this argument worked for the Pharisees it did not work for Jesus. Why?

First, Jesus did not teach that the resurrection involved physical bodies capable and ready to sexually produce (as they had in their lives upon earth).  Believers in Abrahams Bosom or Hades would be raised out of Hades into God’s presence to be like the angels in heaven – spiritual beings not producing offspring in the spiritual or heavenly realm.  They would not be placed upon the earth in physical resurrected bodies.

Secondly, Jesus refutes the notion that the OT law (Levirate marriage law) would be applicable in the New Creation or New Covenant age. The practice of marrying your husband’s brother for the purpose of raising up physical seed was inseparably tied to inheritance laws connected to being “in the land” and was typological and “ready to vanish” in AD 70 (Heb. 8:13).  In the New Covenant age, sons of the resurrection are produced or “raising up” through the gospel and producing an inheritance found “in Christ” (not “in the land”).

Jesus effectively silenced BOTH groups.  He silenced the Sadducees who denied that Abraham and the rest of the dead were still alive in the afterlife–“He is not the God of the dead (Sadducees view), but of the living” (inferring that Torah supports and He likewise teaches Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still very much alive).

 

He also refuted or silenced the Pharisees on two points.  First, by teaching the dead would be raised from Hades to be “like the angels” (not having physical bodies) so the issue of “marrying” and producing biological children is a moot point for them.  And for the living who inherit the Kingdom and continue in the New Covenant Messianic age, the Pharisees were also wrong to think the Mosaic law (and thus the Leverite marriage law), would continue being applicable.

 

Jesus’ teaching silenced and amazed both groups and the crowd listening to this critical debate on how the resurrection would be played out in the Messianic New Covenant age.

 

This however does pose a challenging question to the Talmudic Zionist or Premillennial Zionist and that is, if you employ a literal hermeneutic to Isaiah 65:17-23 and if everything is perfect in the New Creation, then why are there sinners and biological death there and are these births taking place painless deliveries?

 

Concluding Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection

 

At the beginning of this section, we looked Jewish and Christian views which taught at the end of the Mosaic Old Covenant “this age,” there would be a resurrection of souls or spirits (not a biological fleshly corpse resurrection) out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit everlasting life in God’s presence, or inherit everlasting punishment and condemnation.

 

We also looked at Christian views which teach there was a progressive Great Commission “already and not yet” period or “coming hour and now is” between AD 27/30 – AD 70 before the Old Covenant “this age” would end, whereby the New Covenant Body of Israel was being raised out from the death of the Old Covenant Body of Israel.  Not only this, but at the end of this process in AD 70, souls were raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit God’s presence and rule with Him.

 

In examining Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection, we find His teaching to be in harmony with these spiritual concepts of the resurrection which were believed by Jews before His ministry in the intertestamental period and were continued to be believed by some during His ministry.  This understanding of the resurrection has even continued with us in an orthodox Christian exegesis of Daniel 12:2-3.  We simply argue that Daniel 12:1-4 does not teach two or double fulfillments of an “already and not yet” eschaton(s) or resurrection(s) for Israel and the Church separated by thousands or millions of years.  The exegetical evidence within Daniel 12:1-7 itself and how the NT develops this passage, — supports there is only ONE consummative “end of the age” resurrection event and it was fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age in the events of AD 67 – AD 70.

 

Paul and the “about to be” resurrection of Acts 24:13-15YLT

 

  • “…nor are they able to prove against me the things concerning which they now accuse me. ‘And I confess this to thee, that, according to the way that they call a sect, so serve I the God of the fathers, believing all things that in the law and the prophets have been written, having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous; and in this I do exercise myself, to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always” (Acts 24:13-15 YLT).

 

  • “And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?”  “…To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: (Acts 26:6-8, 22)

 

 

1).  Paul’s imminent expectation of the resurrection:  can be found in the following literal translations, properly translating the Greek word mello in Acts 24:15as “about to be”:

 

“…there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous…” (Young’s Literal Translation)

 

“having a hope in God, which they themselves also await, that there is about to be a resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust.” (The Berean Literal Bible)

 

“having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, [that] there is about to be a resurrection of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous;” (Literal Standard Version).

 

“and having a hope directed towards God, which my accusers themselves also entertain, that before long there will be a resurrection both of the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Weymouth New Testament)

 

“Having hope to God, which they themselves also admit, a rising from the dead about to be, both of just and unjust.” (Smith’s Literal Translation)

The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament, (1897) and The Lexham English Septuagint (LES) Interlinear works also translate mello here in Acts 24:15 as “about to be.”

 

2).  Paul’s source for his resurrection hope:  Paul’s false accusers were claiming he was preaching against the Law and the Prophets.  Yet here he stood in his own defense, boldly testifying that he preached no other things except that which could be found in the Law and Prophets.  This and the fact there is no other OT text which describes a resurrection for the just and unjust places Daniel 12:2 as the passage Paul believed was “about to be” fulfilled.

 

3).  Paul’s declaration that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was the ONE “hope” of Israel:  Notice Paul does not give the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 a double meaning or double fulfillment!  He clearly does NOT teach an imminent spiritual resurrection coming to close the Old Covenant age in AD 70 and then another future physical one for the just and unjust at the end of world history.

 

Does this not fit the orthodox Christian view and exegesis of Daniel 12:2 such as that of James Jordan and Kenneth Gentry?

 

Jordan teaches the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is referring to “…in the days of Jesus the nation [Israel] will undergo…[one] last [in AD 70] spiritual resurrection…” that would result in Daniel’s soul being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom.  Paul says Daniel 12:2 is his and Israel’s one “hope” (singular) of the resurrection and that it was “about to” take place.

 

And Kenneth Gentry usually appeals to the Young’s Literal Translation and that of other Literal Translations when wanting mello to be translated as “about to be” in the book of Revelation, so according to that standard, Paul has AD 70 in view.  And what about Gentry interpreting the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as, “He is teaching that in the events of AD 70, the true Israel will arise from old Israel’s carcass, as in a resurrection”?!?  There are no other Mosaic Old Covenant Israel’s beyond AD 70 in Mr. Gentry’s theology.  That and Paul does not say there are TWO hope(s) of Israel regarding the resurrection of Daniel 12:2.

Therefore, Paul interpreted the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as his current day’s Israel and tweleve tribes ONE “hope” of a resurrection and that it was “about to be” fulfilled in the coming events of AD 67 – AD 70 to close the Old Covenant age–just as Jesus interpreted Daniel 12:2-3 in Matthew 13:39-43 and John 5:25-28.

 

Paul and the “about to be” glorification and “redemption of the body”

 

  • “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to berevealed 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 of our body;…” (Rms. 8:18-23 YLT)

 

As I discussed in our exegesis of the Olivet Discourse, how one interprets the discourse is how one will understand NT eschatology in general.  Why?  Because in a nutshell, it is the eschatology of the NT.  So I would agree with those like John Murray who understood the “redemption” of Luke 21 with Paul’s redemption here in Romans:

 

“Now in Luke 21:28 . . . [t]his word ‘redemption’ (apolutrosin), when used with reference to the future, has a distinctly eschatological connotation, the final redemption, the consummation of the redemptive process (cf. Rom 8:23…). Hence analogy would again point to the eschatological complex of events.”

 

Since Gentry adds Matthew 24:28 as a text supporting his view that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was a corporate resurrection for Israel in which the New Covenant corporate body of Israel was raised from the corporate corpse/body of Old Covenant Israel in AD 70, I have added it as a possible parallel.  This and that one of Ken’s favorite theologians John Lightfoot, understands the “redemption of the body” to be a corporate body (the Church).

 

A = The Olivet Discourse & Luke 17 B = Romans 8:17-23YLT
Suffering to come (Mt. 24:9) Present sufferings (Rom. 8:17–18)
Christ comes in glory (Mt. 24:30) Receive and share in Christ’s glory

(Rom. 8:17–18)

Kingdom would be realized “within” a person at Christ’s return

(Lk.17:21–37; 21:27–32)

Glory to be “in” believers

(Rom. 8:18)

Redemption and salvation – resurrection

(Lk. 21:27–28; Mt. 24:13, 30–31/Mt. 13:39-43)

Redemption and salvation (“at hand” “nearer”) – resurrection

(Rom. 8:23–24; cf. 11:15–27; 13:11–12)

Birth pains of the tribulation (Mt. 24:8) Birth pains together (Rom. 8:22)
“Heaven & earth” of the Old Covenant “age”was to “pass away”

(Mt. 24:3, 29, 35)

The Old Covenant “creation” of Israel was “eagerly longing” & “groaning” for “adoption” and “liberation” (Rom. 8:19-23)
All Fulfilled in the 1st century AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:34) All “at hand” & “about to be” (Greek mello)fulfilled (Rom. 8:18-23YLT; 13:11-12; 16:20)
Gentry interprets the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 as Old Covenant Israel being a corporate body “corpse” (cf. Mt. 24:28) that would be raised into the spiritual New Covenant Body of Israel in AD 70 Paul believed the glorification and redemption of the corporate body of Israel/Church was “about to be” fulfilled (cf. Rms. 8:18-23–11:25-27—13:11-12)

 

The creation of men groaning – not planet earth

 

As we saw in our study of the Olivet Discourse, terms like God establishing the heaven and earth and then Him destroying or causing the heaven and earth to pass away (Jer. 4) can refer to God forming the creation of Old Covenant Israel (Isa. 51:15-16) and then causing her to pass away in AD 70 (Mt. 5:17-18; 24:35) – while at the same time establishing a New Covenant heaven and earth or New Covenant people.  This is exactly what we have Paul doing here in Romans 8:18-23.  The “creation” here is not referring to the physical planet at all.  It is referring to the creation of men – most likely the creation of men of Israel groaning under the law seeking Messianic redemption.

 

Reformed theologian John Lightfoot correctly associated the “earnest expectation of the creature” and the “whole creation groaning” with the mind and heart of man, and interpreted this passage as having nothing to do with the planet Earth— not even poetically.

 

“. . . [T]his vanity [or futility] is improperly applied to this vanishing, changeable, dying state of the [physical] creation. For vanity, doth not so much denote the vanishing condition of the outward state, as it doth the inward vanity and emptiness of the mind. The Romans to whom this apostle writes, knew well enough how many and how great predictions and promises it had pleased God to publish by his prophets, concerning gathering together and adopting sons to himself among the Gentiles: the manifestation and production of which sons, the whole Gentile world doth now wait for, as it were, with an out stretched neck.”[207]

 

And again,

 

“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.”[208]  

 

Lightfoot is on solid ground here citing 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 11:3; and 1 Corinthians 15:33. Not only is there lexical evidence to interpret “vanity,” “corruption,” and “decay” as ethical and moral putrefaction in the heart and mind of man, but contextually the passage has nothing to do with hydrogen or oxygen or squirrels longing for a better day when they won’t get hit by cars.

 

“Redemption of the body” the corporate body of the Church – not individual biological resurrections at the end of time

 

John Lightfoot not only interpreted the “creation” of Romans 8 to be the creation of men and NOT the physical planet, but he understood the “redemption of the body” to not be a resurrection of physical bodies, but rather, the “mystical body” of the Church.  In his sermon on “Many Mansions” Lightfoot states,

 

“And of the same body [in context he is referring to the corporate body of Christ in Ephs. 4:13 previously cited in the sermon], 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 body:” we wait for the redeeming and adopting of the Gentiles, to make up our mystical body.”[209]

 

Clearly Lightfoot understood the “creation” to mean the creation of men and not the planet earth and “redemption of the body” to be the “mystical body” of the Jew/Gentile Church and not an individual physical body.  He was a head of his time!

 

Paul’s reference to the “sufferings of this present time” does not have anything to do with losing one’s hair, gaining weight, cancer, etc.  Paul’s mention of the “sufferings” and “the redemption of the body” have nothing to do with those kinds of issues. The context of the “groaning” of the first-century Christians can be found in the previous chapter. The sufferings Paul has in mind here were eschatological —the birth pains that were to precede Christ’s return in AD 70 (Matt. 24:8; Rom. 8:22). They had to do with the last days persecutions and with the saints of the universal church groaning under the tyranny of Sin and Condemnation under the Law.

 

For Paul, Sin had produced “death,” but not physical death. Contrary to Postmillennial and most Futurist assertions, “the body,” “death,” and “the flesh” in Romans 5–8 have nothing to do with the idea of men biologically dying as a result of Adam’s sin. Paul’s concern is with corporate-covenantal Death, as even some Reformed theologians teach.  Tom Holland is a Reformed theologian who sees Paul’s “body” of flesh, sin, and death not referring to our physical flesh but to the corporate body of Sin in contrast to the corporate Body of Christ—the church.[210] He counters Gundry’s individualistic views of soma in Paul’s writings.  He also argues for “consistency” in Paul’s use of corporate terms).  “Bondage,” according to the immediate context, had to do with groaning under the condemnation of the Law (cf. Rom. 7:2, 7, 15).

 

For Paul, the glorification, liberation and redemption of this corporate body/creation was “about to” take place (Rms. 8:18ff.YLT)

Still, one might object that the “redemption” associated with the coming of Christ in Luke 21:27-28 has a clear time text (“this generation”) associated with it (v. 32), but the “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 does not; therefore, one might conclude the two passages are not necessarily parallel. Those who argue this way suggest that the redemption in Luke 21 might simply refer to relief from persecution and nothing more. The premise of their objection, however, is false.

 

There is an imminence text associated with the redemption of the body in Romans 8.  Verse 18 reads, “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” (YLT; cf. NSRV, AV, & WEY: “soon to be manifested”).

 

At least Postmillennialists such as Gary DeMar concede the “glory” in Romans 8:18YLT was “about to be” fulfilled in AD 70 but pretends he doesn’t know what it is,

 

“Whatever the glory is it was ‘about to be revealed…”[211]

 

DeMar also understands the “salvation of all Israel” in Romans 11 to be fulfilled in AD 70.  Thus, the “salvation” and “redemption of the body” in Romans 8 and 11 are not dealing with biological or planetary events at the end of time, but rather, imminent redemptive events for the mystical Jew/Gentile corporate body/creation change or resurrection that was to imminently take place in AD 70.

 

Partial Preterists such as Kenneth Gentry and Keith Mathison don’t address mello here in Romans 8:18.  But interestingly enough though, according to Gentry and Mathison one of the things that was “about to come after” John wrote Revelation 1:19YLT was the arrival of the New Jerusalem and New Creation of Revelation 21:1ff. Mathison and Gentry tell us in their other works that the time texts in Revelation point to a near fulfillment of the passing of “the first heaven and earth.” They point out that Revelation 21:1 is referring to the passing of the Old Covenant “creation” in AD 70 and is a fulfillment of Isaiah 65–66. Gentry even says:

 

“The absence of the sea (Rev. 21:1) speaks of harmony and peace within. In Scripture the sea often symbolizes discord and sin (13:1–2; cf. Isa. 8:7–8; 23:10; 57:20; Jer. 6:23; 46:7; Ezek. 9:10). Christianity offers the opposite: peace with God and among humankind (Luke 2:14; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:12–18; Phil. 4:7, 9).”

 

If the removal of the sea represents the removal of sin and discord within, then AD 70 was much more than a physical flight to Pella.

 

Gentry argues that “when used with the aorist infinitive—as in Revelation 1:19, mello’s  predominant 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 Rev. 3:10. The basic meaning in both Thayer and Abbott-Smith is: ‘to be about to.”[212] Gentry is correct. The problem, however, is that when the word mello refers to the resurrection and judgment of the living and dead in Acts 17:31; 24:15 and 24:25, it is used with the infinitive. In the case of Acts 24:15 in a recent article on his site Gentry appeals to BDAGthat when mello is used with the future infinitive, it communicates certainty and shouldn’t be translated as “about to” take place.  But of course, as I pointed out in our exegesis of Acts 24:15, there are translations, lexicons and Interlinears that do render mello there as “about to.”  Not only that, but Gentry and Mathison also fail to address in their writings that mello in Romans 8:18 is in the aorist infinitive (of which they say has the “preferred meaning” of “be on the point of, be about to”) and also has two other imminent Greek words within the immediate context – apokaradokia and apekdekomai which further solidifies this translation of mello.  And lastly, BDAG (Gentry’s source for trying to place Acts 24:15 at the end of world history) places Romans 8:18 as having the rendering “about to be revealed.”  So much for consistency!

 

Contextually there is no reason to not understand Paul’s expectation of the “about to be” glorification and “redemption of the body” to be when the corporate New Covenant Body of Israel was raised from the corporate Old Covenant Body of Israel in AD 70.  This Body/Creation was groaning under spiritual Adamic death (magnified by Torah) and was liberated from that death into the life and liberty of Christ’s “at hand” salvation/coming in AD 70.  And to that we now turn our attention.

 

Like Jesus, Paul understood the “hour” of Daniel 12:1-4 (OG) resurrection in Romans 13:11-12 to be “at hand”

 

  • “Besides this you know the time, that the hour [Dan. 12:1-4 OG] has come for you to wake from sleep [Dan. 12:2]. For salvation [or “redemption of the body”] is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand [when the righteous would shine like the Sun when Christ came as the Sun of Righteousness – Mt. 13:43/Mt. 24:27/Mal. 4:2].”

 

It is not a stretch to see that Daniel’s “hour” in Daniel 12:1-2 (OG) of awaking to resurrection is not only Jesus’ eschatological “hour” (John 4:21-23–5:25-28) but also Paul’s imminent “hour” here in Romans 13:

 

Daniel 12 Romans 13
12:1 “And at that hour…” 13:11:  “…you know what hour it is…
12:4:  “the hour/time of the end 13:11:  “how it is full time…”
12:2:  “Many of those who sleep in the width of the earth will arise…” 13:11:  “The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep…”

 

Having examined Romans 8 and 13, Paul expected the “about to be” corporate bodily resurrection of the New Covenant Creation/Body and for her to “awake” out of the “hour” of “sleep” of Daniel 12:1-4, 7-13.  Paul not only sees the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 to be “about to be” fulfilled in Acts 24:15, he sees it imminently fulfilled in these crucial eschatological texts as well.

 

Paul expected some of his contemporaries to be alive and witness the coming of Christ and the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15

 

Space does not permit me to give an in-depth exegesis of every verse of 1 Corinthians 15, but I will address much of it.  For a detailed exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 see my co-authored book, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology… and see David Green’s exegesis.

Before beginning, I think we need to stick with just the basics on what we have learned so far and ask the following questions:

 

1).  I don’t think anyone disputes that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the same resurrection as Daniel 12:2-13.

 

2).  Having established this, we have learned from the immediate context of Daniel 12 that this resurrection would be at the same time as the Tribulation and the “time of the end” – that is, “all these things” would be fulfilled together and during a 3 ½ years period of time “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:7).

 

3).  Most agree that Jesus’ teaching on the “Tribulation” and “end of the age” in Matthew 24 is the same “Tribulation” and “time of the end” found in Daniel 12:1-4.  And yet Jesus places the end of the Old Covenant age and Tribulation to be fulfilled during the times of the Gentiles or the 3 ½ years period of AD 67 – AD 70 in His contemporary “this generation” (Mt. 24:3, 21f.; Lk. 21:20-24, 31-32).

 

So then if Matthew 24/Luke 21 is equivalent to the same time frame and events as Daniel 12:1-7 and Daniel 12 is the same resurrection as 1 Corinthians 15, lets break this down more and get a logical visual.

 

A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21)

B (Daniel 12:1-7)

C (1 Cor. 15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If A (Mt. 24/Lk. 21) is = to B (Daniel 12:1-7, 13)
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 & inheritance of the Kingdom 24:31; 13:43; Lk. 21:31-32 Resurrection & or inheritance of the Kingdom 12:2-3, 13/Mt. 13:43
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, 13) is = to C (1 Cor. 15)
Resurrection unto eternal life 12:2 Resurrection unto incorruptibility or immortality 15:52-53
time of the end 12:4 time of the end 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 & living unforgiven 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 at this point Lk. 21:22 All prophecy fulfilled at this point 15:54-55
Victory over the Mosaic Law/Temple 24:1 Victory over the Mosaic Law 15:55-56
Same contemporary “you” or “we” 24:2ff. Same contemporary “you” or “we” 15:51-52
“All” of the elect (even the dead) 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, 13 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/Mt. 13:43 OT dead raised with NT dead & living at “the end” of the OC age 15:15-18, 24, 51
All OT fulfilled when Jerusalem surrounded & 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 when 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

 

We have also learned up to this point the following:

 

4).  A Christian orthodox position on the resurrection of Daniel 12 involves an “already not yet” progressive, spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection taking place between AD 27/30 – AD 70 whereby the New Covenant Body of Israel was being raised out from the death of the Old Covenant Body of Israel by AD 70.

 

5).  The Apostle Paul taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 was “about to be” fulfilled or was “at hand” (Acts 24:15YLT; Rms. 13:11-12).

 

6).  The Apostle Paul connects the corporate body of Israel’s “creation” and “redemption of the body” to also be “about to be” fulfilled by AD 70 (Rms. 8:18-23YLT).

 

Therefore, as we approach the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15, we want to see if this critical chapter also involves what we have found thus far in Paul’s teaching on the resurrection.  That is, does 1 Corinthians 15 teach a corporate body resurrection that was in the process of taking place in Paul’s day–of which he taught under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would be fulfilled within the lifetime of some of his contemporaries?  We believe so.

 

There are several exegetical observations that demonstrate that Paul’s eschatology in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a depiction of a biological resurrection for all men that will occur at the end of world history:

 

The parallels and analogy of faith with Matthew 24 demonstrates a first century generation fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15.

 

Paul’s argumentation and use of logic (modus tollens) demonstrates the resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth were not denying resurrection in general, but a resurrection for a particular group (the OC dead of Israel).

 

Paul’s use of the present tense of the resurrection already taking place demonstrates it is not an end of time biological resurrection.

 

Paul’s use of familiar corporate body words and phrases within the Corinthian letters and within his other Epistles demonstrates an individual biological corpse resurrection is wrong.

 

Paul’s appeal to Hosea 13 and Isaiah 25 demonstrate that an end of the world biological resurrection is not in view.

 

There would be no victory over “the death” until victory over the Mosaic OC “the law” was reached. This does not fit within a futurist frame work, but does within the Full Preterist one, because “the law” (administration of death) was “soon” to vanish at the end of the OC age in AD 70 in Paul’s day.

 

The Parallels – Analogy of Faith

Again, let’s look at those parallels that demonstrate Paul’s eschatology here in 1 Corinthians 15 is that of Jesus’ in Matthew 24/Luke 21:

  1. Christ to come (Greek parousia) – Matthew 24:27 = 1 Corinthians 15:23
  2. His people to be gathered/changed – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
  3. Comes with the sound of a trumpet – Matthew 24:31 = 1 Corinthians 15:52
  4. To be “the end” (Greek telos– the goal) – Matthew 24:3, 14 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  5. Kingdom consummation (goal reached) – Luke 21:30-32 = 1 Corinthians 15:24
  6. All prophecy fulfilled at this time – Luke 21:22 = 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
  7. Victory over the law/temple – Matthew 24:1 = 1 Corinthians 15:55-56
  8. Same contemporary “you” or “we” – Matthew 24:2ff. = 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

The classic Amillennial position as does the Historic Premillennial position agrees with us that the above parallels support Paul’s eschatological one hope as expressed in 1 Corinthians 15 is the same teaching Jesus developed in the Olive Discourse.

We also agree with Partial Preterists that Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70.

Premise #1:  If it is true and orthodox to believe that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70 (Partial Preterism)

Premise #2:  And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the trumpet coming-end of the age-gathering of Matthew 24:30-31 is the coming and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 (Classic Amillennialism)

Premise #3:  And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is the SAME resurrection as 1 Corinthians 15 (everyone agrees).

Premise #4:  And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was a progressive, spiritual, corporate, covenantal resurrection between AD 30 – AD 70 that resulted in the righteous being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit eternal life at Christ’s parousia to close the OC age (Partial Preterism).

Conclusion/Synthesis:  Then it is also true and orthodox to believe that the coming of Christ and resurrection in Daniel 12:2-3, Matthew 24-25 and 1 Corinthians 15 involves a progressive, spiritual, corporate, covenantal resurrection between AD 30 – AD 70 that resulted in the righteous being raised out of Abraham’s Bosom or Hades to inherit eternal life at Christ’s parousia to close the OC in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

1 Corinthians 15:1-15 – ONE Gospel Preached

 

Most futurist commentaries on 1 Corinthians 15 merely assume the resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth denied the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection in general.  They believe Paul’s appeal to the 500 who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of his correction that the group rejected Jesus’ resurrection.

 

This view has many problems which we will cover shortly, but in reality, Paul lays forth the historical resurrection of Christ in the beginning of the resurrection conflict at Corinth NOT because the resurrection deniers at Corinth denied Jesus’ resurrection, but because the Gentile Christians were pridefully and ignorantly denying the resurrection of a Jewish sect (the OC dead one’s whom had died prior to Christ).  This denial was similar to what some Gentile believers were saying about Israel and the Church at Rome (see Romans 11).  One group or party was denying the resurrection of the other.  The schisms of the various groups at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10 – 3:23) reach their main conflict here in chapter 15 in which Paul now desires to set straight.  Paul being the leader of the erring gentile party whom boasted of themselves and Paul as their leader, now humbles himself among the Apostles (vss. 7-9) in order to correct this arrogant spirit.  He ties his gospel message in as being ONE with the leaders of the Jewish leaders (v. 11-12).  The resurrection of Jesus and gospel message was united and agreed upon in the preaching of Christ’s resurrection by all the parties!  Paul will use this agreement to make his case against them!

 

Perhaps some of their misunderstandings and arrogance began as early as (Acts 18) when they heard Paul say, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”  I believe that a misunderstanding of Paul here and perhaps some of his teaching that gentiles were one body with the Jews and that a true Jew was one who had been circumcised of heart led to a replacement theology and denial of an OC Jewish (the dead ones) eschaton / resurrection.  After humbling himself and showing his solidarity with the Jewish leaders in preaching the same doctrine, Paul now begins to correct their error.

 

1 Corinthians 15:12-19Paul’s Modus Tollens form of Argumentation

 

To further prove that the resurrection of the dead deniers were not denying Christ’s resurrection or the resurrection for all in general, we need to take a look at Paul’s form of argumentation.  The futurist view makes no contextual sense if you follow Paul’s argumentation and the logic he uses.  Paul uses a familiar modus tollens or if then logical argument.  That is, “If P, then Q.  Therefore, not P.”

 

1)       “If P”

 

  • “If there is no resurrection of the dead ones…”

 

2)       “Then Q”

 

  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then not even Christ has been raised.
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then our preaching is useless…
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then and so is your faith [useless].
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then we are found to be false witnesses about God.
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then your and my baptism (of suffering & martyrdom) on the part of the dead is meaningless.
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then the Father is subject to Christ.
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then some of you are ignorant of God.
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then why are some undergoing a baptism (of suffering & persecution) on behalf of the dead?
  • If the dead are not rising (and will rise)…then there will be no resurrection for anyone and why all might as well eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

 

3)      “Therefore, not P”

 

  • Therefore, your (resurrection of the dead deniers) premise that the resurrection of the (OC) dead will not take place is false (or “therefore, not P”).

 

Paul’s argument is also known as reduction ad absurdum.  This form of argument demonstrates that a statement is false (the dead will not rise) by showing that a false, untenable, undesirable or absurd result follows from its acceptance.  Again, Paul is using things he has in common with them and that they would affirm in order to overthrow and show how absurd their false premise that the dead ones would not rise actually was.

 

The Resurrection of the Dead Error Identified

 

Since the Corinthians believed in Christ’s resurrection and a resurrection for those whom had died “in Christ,” then to whom is left to deny a resurrection for?  In short, the error at Corinth was an extreme view (or a hyper-dispensational or replacement theology of sorts) that divided up the people of God in extreme ways.  They could not reconcile how the dead prior to Christ’s arrival could be raised into or with the Body of Christ.  In short, they were denying a key ingredient to “the better resurrection” that the writer to the Hebrews outlines:

 

“Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they [the OT or Old Covenant dead] might obtain a better resurrection:   And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they (“the [OT/OC] dead”) without us (the NT/NC saints “in Christ”) should not be made perfect” (Heb. 11:35-40).

 

The resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth saw the “better things” for those who were “in Christ” (dead or alive – their side of the cross) but could not reconcile how the OT or Old Covenant dead (on the other side of the cross) could participate in order for both groups to be “made perfect” together in the Body of Christ.  They had the NC “better things,” and thus the OT or OC dead were left without participation in the better resurrection to come – was their reasoning and error.  They did not deny the doctrine of the resurrection in general, just the all-ness or oneness (with all of God’s of people) to the resurrection.

 

Extreme views and excluding the righteous dead was not uncommon – even among the Jews.  Some Jews believed that anyone who died outside of the Promised Land would not participate in the resurrection:

 

“The Talmud records speculations on the various matters connected with the process of Resurrection.  There was a firm belief that the momentous event would take place in the Holy Land.  Some Rabbi took the extreme view that only they who were interred there would share in the future life.  ‘Those who die outside the land of Israel will not live again; as it is said, “I will set delight in the land of the living.”  (Ezek. 26:20)—those who die in the land of My delight will live again, but they who do not die there will not’…” “Even a Cananite maidservant in the land of Israel is assured of inheriting the World to Come’…”[213]

 

So, in this extreme view those righteous dead who died outside of being “in the land” would not participate in Israel’s corporate resurrection.  Similarly, some at Corinth took Paul’s teaching that all prophecy or all the promises of God were fulfilled spiritually “in Christ,” too far in that they concluded the resurrection could only take place for those who believed “in Christ” (their side of the cross) – and all others perished outside of being in Him.

 

Therefore, since the Old Covenant dead were not present to place their faith in Christ, then they couldn’t be a part of the spiritual New Covenant body that was in the process of being raised in their day.  They lost sight of the great cloud of witnesses who saw Christ’s day and were glad and would thus share in the “better resurrection” with them.

 

According to both of these extreme views, men such as Moses had no resurrection hope but perished outside of being “in the land” or perished outside of being “in Christ.”

 

We see a similar inability to reconcile the OT promises made to Israel and how they would be fulfilled in the NT Body of Christ coming from modern day Dispensationalists who think there are opposing theologies between the OT and NT.  There are two complete separate bodies of believers or peoples of God needing two separate comings of Christ or programs of salvation etc.  Of particular interest to our discussion here is in the comparison of dividing the OT dead from those that died “in Christ.”

 

Dispensationalists such as Charles Ryrie and Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer argue,

 

“those who died before Christ’s first advent” are not among “the dead in Christ” (Charles Ryrie).[214]

 

“The Old Testament saints were not part of the New Creation in Christ,” and “the nation of Israel sustains no relation to the resurrection of Christ” (Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer).[215]

 

And again, per Chafer, the dead OT saints were not “in the new federal headship of the resurrected Christ…”[216]

 

In 1937 William Everett Bell argued against Pretribulationalism providing evidence that at Christ’s Second Coming (after the Tribulation period), all the righteous dead were to be raised.  The ever-evolving pre-tribulational rapture theory countered with a two resurrection view – one for those that died “in Christ” at the “rapture” “coming,” and then one for those that died outside of being “in Christ” (OT dead not “in Christ”) seven years later (after the Tribulation) at the Second Coming.  The resurrection of the dead deniers also divided God’s people up in a way that was contrary to the teachings of Paul, except for them, the best way to avoid the problem (they created for themselves) was to deny resurrection for the dead – period and only accept a resurrection for those “in Christ.”

 

These examples (one within the Talmud and modern ones) should be sufficient to demonstrate how it could be possible for some to miss how the OT dead could or even would participate in the salvation of the ONE NC Body of Christ.

 

Romans 11 & 1 Corinthians 15

 

Perhaps the best parallel to what is taking place among the Gentile resurrection of the dead deniers at Corinth can be found in Romans 11.  Paul has to explain that the Gentiles did not replace OC Israel and that there remained a future eschaton and expectation of fulfillment for her.  And this future is explained in such a way that without God fulfilling those promises to OC Israel, there would be no forgiveness of sin or resurrection life for the Gentiles (cf. Rms. 11:13-27).  In Romans the Gentile arrogance over against the Jews was illustrated by an olive tree, branches, and the root to demonstrate the solidarity of the Gentiles with Israel’s resurrection and covenant promises.  As we will see in our next point, Paul uses the illustration of the “first-fruits” harvest to connect the two.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-28First-fruits and Solidarity

 

Paul is going to now further his argument to connect Christ’s resurrection with that of Israel’s, by using the first-fruits analogy.  How could the gentiles deny Israel’s role in the resurrection when they themselves (along with the believing Jews) were apart of the first-fruits awaiting the harvest at Christ’s return (Jms. 1:18, Rms. 8, Rev. 14)?  Paul’s resurrection hope was the “hope of Israel” and the harvest is Israel’s harvest of which they were blessed to be apart of.  To deny “the dead” or Israel’s future role in the resurrection/harvest was akin to theologically denying Christ’s and theirs at the end of the OC age harvest.

 

First-fruits, Imminence & Analogy of Faith

 

Whenever the first-fruits were offered up as a pledge this was a symbol that not only the harvest was guaranteed, but that it was already ripe and being cut.  Paul uses this argument of Christ being the “first-fruits” resurrection to teach that He controls the destiny of Israel’s harvest (the dead) – that Paul’s first century “we” audience would experience at “the end” of the OC age.

The imminence of this coming harvest judgment was first developed by John the Baptist.  He warned of an “about to” come wrath and punishment (Mt. 3:7GNT).  His ax and winnowing fork were already in His hand – indicating that the judgment and end time harvest would take place in some of their lifetimes (Mt. 3:10-12).

 

Jesus also taught a spiritual sowing and coming judgment / resurrection harvest which would take place at “the end” of His Jewish audiences “this age” (which was the OC age) in Matthew 13.

 

The first-fruits and harvest resurrection and judgment of Revelation 7 and 14 was to be fulfilled “shortly” at Christ’s “soon” and “at hand” AD 70 Second Coming (Rev. 1:1—22:6-7, 10-12, 20).

Paul’s inspired teaching on an imminent harvest resurrection to take place at “the end” (of the OC age) is in harmony with the teaching and eschatology of John the Baptist, John the Apostle and Jesus.

 

Premise #1:  If it is true and orthodox to believe the harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 7 and 14 were fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Partial Preterists agree with Full Preterists)…,

 

Premise #2:  And if it is true and orthodox to believe that the harvest judgment and resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 7 & 14 and 1 Corinthians 15 is ONE and the same event (Classic Amillennial agrees with Full Preterism)…,

Conclusion/Synthesis:  THEN it is also true and orthodox to believe that the ONE harvest judgment / resurrection of Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:39-43; Revelation 7 & 14 and 1 Corinthians 15 was fulfilled at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Full Preterism).

 

First-fruits and the Nature of Jesus’ Resurrection Body

 

In Pauline theology, Christ is described as the “First” (first-fruit or first-born Cols. 1:18) from among the dead ones.  Since clearly Jesus was not the first to be raised from biological death, many futurists reason that this must then mean He was the first to be raised with a glorified and immortal body the third day – which they assert was different because it could walk through walls and could never biologically die again.  But there is no exegetical evidence that Jesus’ biological body that was raised the third day was substantially different (glorified) than the one He had before He was crucified.  Prior to His resurrection, He was able to walk on water, disappear in the midst of a crowd and transport / teleport Himself and a boat full of disciples instantly to the shore (i.e. defy physics).  So, to assume that just because Jesus could appear or disappear after His resurrection, does not prove that His body was different and that somehow at the end of history we too will get a “body” like His (that can defy the laws of physics etc…).

 

The truth however, is that Jesus’ body wouldn’t be glorified until some 40 days later at His ascension/enthronement and just prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, the resurrection body of Christ that came out of the tomb is not the “same” or “first” “immortal” and “glorified” body that we allegedly will get at the end of world history.  If it was and ours will be just like it, then since Jesus still had His wounds, then will Christians be raised without limbs, deformities etc…?

 

But Jesus was the “first” to overcome covenantal sin/death or spiritual separation that came from Adam the very day he sinned against God and was banished from His presence.  Jesus “became sin for us…” – that is He took the full curse (of separation) for His posterity, was raised and 40 days later glorified and restored into the “glory” and presence of the Father He had before the world began.  Exactly how Jesus “became sin” for us and was abandoned by the Father’s presence contains concepts that we will not be able to fully understand (such as the incarnation and trinity) – but it is what Scripture teaches nonetheless.  At Christ’s parousia in AD 70, He restored God’s presence with the righteous dead (OC & NC) along with the living.

 

Therefore, the purpose of Jesus being raised from the dead on the third day was to be a sign (like all of His other miracles that pointed to a deeper spiritual truth) that validated He alone had conquered the curse (sin/death/separation) which came through Adam.  Jesus never came to conquer biological death for Christians.  Jesus repeatedly taught that those who believe on Him (alive or dead – Jn. 8:51; 11:25-26) would “never die.”  In other word’s “never die” is synonymous with “eternal life” (i.e. spiritual life and existence in God’s presence).

 

In Adam or in Christ

 

Through the corporate body of Adam – “all” come into this world spiritually dead and separated from God (15:21-22), while through Christ and His overcoming of that death, “all” His corporate body or covenant posterity will be restored to God’s presence and have their sin completely taken away at His parousia.  We will pick up Paul’s in Adam or in Christ doctrine and how he addresses these terms and concepts in Romans 5-8 in verses 44-58.

 

At His Parousia

 

Paul’s teaching on the parousia (15:23) is not different than what Christ taught of His parousia to take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:27-34, 37).  The NT knows of only ONE eschatological parousia of Christ to bring about ONE eschatological “the end” or “end of the age” and that was His parousia to close “the end” or “end of the [OC] age” in AD 70.

 

Then Comes the End & the Kingdom

 

“The end” (15:24) here is consistent with Jesus’ teaching on the end of the OC “this age” to be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24).

 

It is Daniel’s “time of the end” (not the end of time) when the resurrection would occur at Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70 – i.e. “when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered” (Dan. 12:1-7).

 

In harmony with Jesus’ teaching on the end of the age, before we approach 1 Corinthians 15, Paul has already informed us that “the end” of the world was “shortened” and the end of the age was to take place in the lifetime of the Corinthians (cf. 1 Cor. 7:29, 31; 10:11).

 

Paul taught that the NC Church age was an “age without end” (Ephs. 3:20-21) so why would he here teach that he expected its end to take place within the lifetime of the Corinthians?  It is the OC age that is in view and indeed did pass away within the lifetime of Paul’s audience.  The NC age was “about to” fully come in – therefore, the OC age was about to end (Ephs. 1:21 WUEST).

The “increase” (that is the everlasting gospel) of Jesus’ government (that is His kingdom and thus His rule in the NC age) is also described as having “no end” (Isa. 9:7).

 

Concerning the timing of the consummation of the Kingdom: – Per Daniel chapter seven, the Kingdom would arrive in its fulfilled inherited form just after a time of severe persecution (Dan. 7:21) and at Christ’s Second Coming (Dan. 7:13, 18, 22).  Jesus informs us when Daniel’s prophecy would be fulfilled in Matthew 24.  He instructs His disciples that just after a severe persecution takes place, the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies (the abomination that causes desolation), and just prior to His parousia, the Kingdom would be inherited in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Lk. 21:1-32).

 

Christ’s Pre-parousia Reign & His Enemies Placed Under His Feet

 

As David and Solomon’s reigns over Israel were 40 years, so too was Jesus’ pre-parousia reign (roughly from AD 30 – AD 70).  Through the proclamation and power of the gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit given in the midst of imprisonment and persecutions, and the imprecatory prayer’s of the saints against their first century Jewish persecutors, Christ’s enemies were being placed under His feet and would at the end of the OC age.  This is consistent with the teaching of the author to the Hebrews when He instructs us that the first century Jewish “enemies” to be “made his footstool” were “about to” experience a judgment of fire at Christ’s “in a very little while” AD 70 coming that could not be delayed (Heb. 10:13-37YLT).

 

Last Enemy “The Death” Was in the Process of Being Destroyed

 

Note that death was in the process of BEING destroyed (present passive indicative):

“As a last enemy, [the] death is being abolished, for all things He put in subjection under His feet.”[217]

 

Gordon Fee in his work on 1 Corinthians puzzles over this,

 

“The grammar of this sentence is somewhat puzzling…” “The sentence literally reads, “The last enemy is being destroyed.”[218]

 

Others comment on the reality of the present tense here:

 

“It is difficult to do justice to the present passive καταργεῖται in translation. As it stands, the Greek states, The last enemy is being annihilated, (namely) death (v. 26). It is arguable that Paul uses the present to denote the process of annihilation already set in motion by Christ’s (past) death and resurrection.”[219]

 

There is no confusion or difficulty over the last enemy of “the death” being destroyed during Paul’s day when we realize that this death was spiritual Adamic death which was being magnified through Israel’s OC Torah – “the law” or “administration of death” (1 Cor. 15:56-57; 2 Cor. 3).  When the definite article “the” is in front of death, it is the spiritual death that came through Adam the very day he sinned that is in view.

 

However, there is understandable confusion and difficulty for the present tense of the death being destroyed for futurists who assume it is biological death and resurrection that is the last enemy to be destroyed throughout 1 Corinthians 15.  How was biological death in the process of being destroyed in Paul’s day and up to ours for the last 2,000 years?!?  Are arms sticking up out of the graveyards today – with biological corpses in the process of rising and overcoming death?!?  Obviously Paul has something else in view and futurists are not understanding him correctly.

 

The Present Passive Indicative – The Dead Were Rising

 

Related to the problem for the futurist for “the death” in the process of “being destroyed” in Paul’s day, is Paul’s use of the present passive indicative in other places in this chapter.

Although it is rare that a translation or commentator will point this issue out here in 15:26 (as I have cited above), they are all virtually silent when the present tense is being used in the following verses:

 

“But God is giving it a body” (v.32).

“…it is being..” (v. 38).

“…it is being raised in glory…” (43).

“…it is being raised in power…” (v. 43)

“…It is being sown a natural body, it is being raised a spiritual body…” (v. 43).

Since most think that the giving of a “body” and it being “sown” a natural body and then being raised in glory and power is allegedly addressing a biologically transformed individual body at Christ’s parousia to end world history, the present tense seems impossible.  But when the corporate body of Christ (the OC dead, those dead “in Christ” and those alive – that constitute that ONE body) is in view, Paul’s theology/eschatology begins to make more sense.

 

Let’s not forget that Postmillennialists such as James Jordan believe the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 was a progressive spiritual resurrection between AD 30 – AD 70 that resulted in Daniel’s soul being raised out of the realm of the dead ones into God’s presence, while at the same time Reformed orthodoxy tells us the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3 is ONE and the SAME resurrection as that of 1 Corinthians 15.  Therefore, there is simply no reason to not see the progressive and spiritual resurrection that is taking place in 1 Corinthians 15 and honor the present passive indicative.

 

That God May Be All in All

 

This is the eschatological goal of the NT – that “all” of God’s presence would be in “all” of God’s people (the NC body Jew and Gentile).  The Holy Spirit’s presence was with the early church through the charismata and in forming Christ’s image (a spiritual transformation) in the Church.  But it was only at the Second Coming of Jesus in AD 70 that the Father and the Son would then make their home within the Church (ex. John 14:2-3, 23, 29; Lk. 17:20-21ff.; Cols. 1:27).  At the “end” of Christ’s pre-parousia reign, He would deliver the kingdom up to the Father and its process of being changed (2 Cor. 3) would be complete and consummated into it’s heavenly form.

 

1 Corinthians 15:29-34 – Baptism on Behalf of the Dead

 

There has been much debate on the meaning of those being baptized on behalf of the dead (15:29).  However, the context would seem to indicate this is a baptism of suffering that is in view (vss. 30-32; see also Lk. 12:50/Mt. 20:20-23; Mt. 23:29-36; Heb. 11:39-40).  Paul’s point and overall argument is that if the OC dead were not and would not participate in the resurrection, then those Christians (such as Himself) that were undergoing a baptism of suffering, persecution and death/martyrdom on their behalf (the ONE body of Christ that included the OC dead) – were suffering and perishing in vain.  If the dead would not rise with those who had fallen asleep “in Christ,” then one might as well adopt the fatalistic mindset of “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” – for there would be no resurrection for anyone.

 

1 Corinthians 15:35-58The Body (Greek soma) & Consistency within Pauline Theological Terms & Motifs

 

Much has been said and debated in recent years in regards to Paul’s use of the “body” (Greek soma) in his various epistles.  Many would insist that when Paul uses “body” in his letters to the various churches, he is mostly referring to an individualistic biological or fleshly body.  However, theologians such as Tom Holland are developing a proper cultural context in which Paul is writing with a Hebraic mindset or within a worldview that is rooted in the OT Scriptures – which sees the body more in a corporate sense and context.  Holland does a great job developing this in Romans 5-7 and 1 Corinthians 1-12 but we find him inconsistent and drops the ball in Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

Holland also has correctly observed that most of the time Paul uses particular theological phrases and terms in a consist way in writing to various churches – so that there is little confusion among them.  (Holland, Tom, CONTOURS IN PAULINE THEOLOGY, Mentor Imprint Christian Focus Pub., 2004, see pages 90 – 107 for this discussion).  And while we agree with this, we believe Holland is inconsistent with Paul’s consistent use of “the law” “the sin” and “the death” in relationship to being “in Adam” or “in Christ” when addressed in Romans 5-8 and then how he understands these terms and themes in 1 Corinthians 15.  In Romans Paul does not use these terms and the Adam / Christ motif to be discussing biological death and resurrection, but rather corporate modes of existence.  We argue that Paul uses these terms and motifs virtually the same way in 1 Corinthians 15 and thus is not addressing a biological death and resurrection motif of biological corpses.

 

Paul’s Seed Analogy & Being Buried Alive

 

Since the resurrection of the dead deniers did not deny a corporate bodily resurrection for themselves and those that had died “in Christ” (their side of the cross), then what is Paul’s point in using the seed analogy?  If Paul was correct in what he was saying thus far in his argumentation, then their objection would be something like, “How or what kind of body could the Old Covenant dead ones possibly be raised in since they died in the state of death found in Adam prior to Christ’s coming (thus they were susceptible to weakness, perishable and merely natural) – unattached from us who are “in Christ” where resurrection life is being realized (cf. 15:35)?”

 

Paul’s statement, “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be,…” summarizes their thinking and error.  For them, they were the one spiritual body that was BOTH being sown spiritually and would be raised spiritually.  In other word’s they thought they sowed the same spiritual body that would be, which couldn’t be attached to the Old Covenant body which they believed perished outside of Christ.  Paul uses the seed analogy to demonstrate that they (along with the Old Covenant dead ones) were not sown a spiritual body, but rather they had the same sowing/seed origins that the Old Covenant dead ones were in – i.e. still in a “perishable,” “dishonorable,” “weak,” “natural,” “Adamic” body of death.  The corporate body of Christ did not originate their side of the cross out of thin air, it originated in and came out from within the Adamic Old Covenant body (along with the Old Covenant dead ones).  The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to see that they were still apart of the Old Covenant body/world (with the Old Covenant dead) that had not passed away yet.

 

If Paul has a resurrection of biological corpses in view, then he doesn’t know how to teach and use illustrations very well.  Futurists believe the passage teaches that in biological death the body dies and then is buried or sown into the earth to be raised at the end of world history into a different form.  But for Paul in verse 36, the seed/body was not only in the process of being sown (under the earth), it was still alive and concurrently dying only to be raised into a different form.  Futurists are at odds with Paul’s teaching and illustration – which would amount to burrying corpses while alive, only to undergo a process of dying and then be raised.

 

In order to understand Paul’s buried alive and concurrently dying doctrine, or how “body” here in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a fleshly individual body but a corporate body, we must allow Paul to interpret himself elsewhere.  We will pick this subject up in Romans 5-8 when addressing the nature of the body in Adam or Christ when it surfaces again in verses 44-58.

I believe Don K. Preston’s thesis of Paul using Hosea 6 – 13 as an inclusio and working outline in 1 Corinthians 15 is an excellent observation

 

Hosea: The Outline for Paul’s Resurrection Hope!

 

  • “Hosea: “He has torn but he will heal, after two days He will raise us up

1 Corinthians 15: Christ rose 3rd Day according to the Scriptures Paul introduces Hosea   at the very beginning of his discourse– and he closes his discourse by quoting Hosea.

 

  • Hosea: Israel the Seed (Jezreel–God sows): Israel sown in the earth (2.23).

1 Corinthians 15: Except a Seed– “That which you sow is not quickened unless it die”      (Jhn. 12).

 

  • Hosea: Israel destroyed/died (1.5– I will cause to cease the house of Israel): Continuity/discontinuity Israel):  Continuity/discontinuity Israel destroyed–Israel restored.

1 Corinthians 15: You do not sow that which shall be (v. 37) That which you reap is not   what you sow–that which is spiritual is not first, but the natural.

 

  • Hosea: Israel of Old carnal, sinful.

1 Corinthians 15: It is sown a natural body (v. 42f).

 

  • Hosea: Israel sown in the earth (2.23).

1 Corinthians 15: As we have borne the image of the earthy

 

  • Hosea: Harvest appointed for Judah when I return my people (6.11).

1 Corinthians 15: Jesus the first fruits (Jesus of Judah), of those who slept; OT saints i.e. Israel!! (15.12f).

 

  • Hosea: Time of the harvest= resurrection (13.14).

1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection when Hosea fulfilled (15:54-56).

 

  • Hosea: Israel like the first fruit (9:10).

1 Corinthians 15: Christ the first fruit of Israel (15:20f).

 

  • Hosea: They transgressed the covenant (6.7; they died, (v. 5; 13.1-2, 10)– Death for violating the Covenant.

1 Corinthians 15: The strength of sin is “the law.” (15.56)–Death for violating the Law.

 

  • Hosea: New Covenant of Peace (2:18; Cf. Ez. 37:12, 25f)—> Covenant is covenant of marriage.

1 Corinthians 15: 15:25– sit at my right hand…Heb. 10:14–time of the New Covenant      (Rm. 11:26f.)– The marriage, thus, the Covenant —>Rev. 19:6.

 

  • Hosea: Israel restored in the last days when “David” rules (3.4-5).

1 Corinthians 15: End of the ages has arrived (10.11), “then comes the end (15.20f)          Christ on the throne (15.24f).

 

  • Hosea: I will be your God. I will be your king! (Hos. 13:10).

1 Corinthians 15: 1 Corinthians 15:28 (God shall be all in all).

 

  • Hosea: Resurrection= restoration to fellowship.

1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection when “the sin,” the sting of “the death, removed.”[220]

 

The resurrection of the dead deniers needed to be reminded that they were apart of OC Israel’s seed/body that was promised to be raised in the last day’s harvest to close her age.  Without their union in them into that seed/body, there would be no resurrection.

 

Israel had been sown in death and captivity but she was in the process of being raised, united together, and transformed through the good news of the new covenant.  Israel’s process of being transformed and being sown and rising from old covenant glory into new covenant glory in 1 Corinthians 15 & 2 Corinthians 3 should be viewed together.

 

The Natural Body & Spiritual Body

 

In the rest of the NT and within 1 Corinthians itself, “natural” does not have the meaning of a fleshly body or physicality:

 

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  (1 Co 2:14)

 

And here are some other relevant texts,

 

This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” (Jas 3:15)

 

“These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” (Jude 1:19)

 

The point of contrast is not the physical substance of man but rather man’s relationship to God under the realm of a covenant of death or being filled with the Holy Spirit walking in the newness of life under the NC.

 

It is difficult to see how the futurist view of a fleshly biological death and resurrection is in view when Paul goes out of his way to describe the resurrection for those in Christ as being raised into a “spiritual body” (15:44).  Or if the futurist believes “flesh and blood” is literal, how does that jive with Paul’s statement that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,…” (15:50).

 

As we will see below, it is not a stretch to understand Paul’s Adamic “natural body” to be the Pauline Adamic “body of sin and death” or the “old man.” Likewise, in Pauline theology being “in Christ” or being conformed to His image is the “spiritual body.” This is Paul’s “new man” that was in the process of dying and rising and being conformed to Christ’s image.  Paul’s doctrine of the Church being in the process of taking off the old man and putting on the new while dying and rising in Romans and Colossians is in harmony with the Adamic seed/body simultaneously dying and rising in 1 Corinthians 15.

 

In Adam or in Christ & the Corporate Body Cont. 

Let’s take a look at the Pauline view of being in the corporate bodies of Adam (as a type) and Christ.

 

“But the death did reign from Adam till Moses, even upon those not having sinned in the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of him who is coming (Greek mello – or is about to come)” (Rms. 5:14 YLT).

 

To further demonstrate the resurrection for those in Christ is a spiritual resurrection is to notice that in Pauline “in Adam” or “in Christ” theology, Adam is a “type” and Christ the anti-type.  In the book of Hebrews the first was the physical type and shadow with the second and better being the spiritual anti-type.  The point is the anti-type is always spiritual, and that is what we see here in 1 Corinthians 15 of the second being a “spiritual body” that the NC Israel/Church is raised up into.

 

As I pointed out earlier, there are many similarities between Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.  Therefore, let’s spend some time here in Romans to see how Paul develops these themes.

Here in Romans 5:14, the context is involving an eschatological future (“about to”) coming of Christ who is the anti-type of Adam.  It will be when the future hope of glory in verse 1-5 is realized (which Rms. 8:18YLT says was “about to be revealed”) and when they would be saved from a coming wrath in verse 10.

 

Most futurists such as Postmillennialist Keith Mathison believe Romans 5:12 teaches physical death for man and decay for the planet earth came through Adam’s sin and thus at Christ’s return He will reverse what Adam had brought upon the planet,

 

“As Paul explains, death entered the world because of Adam’s sin (Roms. 5:12).  God’s entire work of redemption from the moment of the Fall onward has been aimed at reversing the effects of sin in man and in creation.” (WSTTB?, p.196).

 

However, the immediate context of verse 12 is dealing with spiritual salvation described as “reconciliation” being given to the believer in verse 11.  The phrase “…death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” is discussing spiritual death not physical death or people would physically die when they “sin.”  As I discussed before, in Genesis Adam died spiritually the very day he sinned.  Through Adam came the reign of spiritual “death” and “condemnation” in verse 18.  This spiritual death and condemnation that came through Adam is countered by Christ because through Him the “free gift” of the gospel which is “grace” (v. 15), “justification” (v. 16), a “reign of life” (v.17), of which makes one “righteous” (v. 19) before God is realized.  These are spiritual graces upon the heart of man undoing the reign of spiritual death and condemnation brought through Adam.

 

Verses 20-21 are important, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  When the Mosaic law entered the picture, it did not make physical death any worse, but it did increase and magnify the power and reign of spiritual death and sin in the heart of man.  This is most eloquently described by Paul in his struggle of what the law produced when it was brought upon his conscience in chapter 7.  Saul and the self-righteous Jew thought they were “alive” under the law but when they realized that the law could only magnify their sin and it could not completely take it away they “died” (7:9).  Obviously, Paul did not biologically die the day he realized this.  The entire context of Romans is dealing with overcoming the spiritual death passed down through Adam which was magnified through the giving of Torah.  This spiritual death was found in the corporate body of the sin, the death, and the flesh which Paul brings into and develops more in chapter 6.

 

As previously mentioned, fortunately, some Pauline reformed theologians are beginning to see what we have in these Pauline terms.  Paul is not addressing an individual resurrection of a physical “fleshly” corpse in Romans 6.

 

“the concrete mode of existence of sinful man, can sometimes be identified with sin as the ‘body of sin’ (Rom. 6:6), the ‘body of flesh’ (Col. 2:11), the ‘body of death’ (Rom.7:24).  Accordingly, the life from Christ by the Holy Spirit can be typified as a ‘doing away with the body of sin’, ‘putting off of the body of the flesh, ‘putting to death the earthly members’, ‘deliverance from the body of this death’ Rom. 6:6; Col. 2:11; 3:5; Rom. 7:24) … All these expressions are obviously not intended of the body itself, but of the sinful mode of existence of man.”[221]

 

Quoting T.F. Torrance,

“in his death, the many who inhered in him died too, and indeed the whole body of sin, the whole company of sinners into which he incorporated himself to make their guilt and their judgment his own, that through his death he might destroy the body of sin, redeem them from the power of guilt and death, and through his resurrection raise them up as the new Israel[222]

 

This corporate view of the “body of sin” is also shared by F.F. Bruce,

“This ‘body of sin’ is more than an individual affair, it is rather that old solidarity of sin and death which all share ‘in Adam”, but which has been broken by the death of Christ with a view to the creation of the new solidarity of righteousness and life of which believers are made part ‘in Christ.’”[223]

Holland feels that T.W. Manson has come the closest to the truth,

“He questioned the traditional assumption that in the phrase ‘body of Sin’ the term ‘of Sin’ is a genitive of quality; he argued that it ‘does not yield a very good sense’.  He took it to be a possessive genitive, and said, ‘It is perhaps better to regard “the body of sin” as the opposite of “the body of Christ”.  It is the mass of unredeemed humanity in bondage to the evil power. Every conversion means that the body of sin loses a member and the body of Christ gains one’”[224]

 

And developing the corporate body motif commenting on Romans 6:6,

 

“Also, in 6:6 Paul refers to ‘putting off the old man’.  Once again this has traditionally been seen as a reference to the sinful self that dominated the life of the believer in the pre-converted state.  However, the same terminology is used in the Ephesians 2:15 where Paul says, ‘to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace’.  He then goes on to say in 4:22-23, ‘put off your old self (anthropos – man), created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’  The exhortation is parallel to that in Romans 6:6ff.  Thus, the new man, which Paul exhorts the Romans to put on, is corporate, for ‘the new man’ in Ephesians is the church, and the two who have been united to form this new man are the believing Jews and the believing Gentiles.  This corporate understanding is further supported by Colossians 3:9-15…  The realm where distinctions are abolished (here there is no Greek or Jew, v. 11) is clearly corporate.  This is indicated by two considerations.  First, ‘here’ is clearly the realm where all distinctions are abolished, and this is the new man.  Second, the meaning of the one body into which they were called (v. 15) is obviously corporate.  These descriptions of corporateness are in the context of the description of the old and new self (vv. 9, 10).  The rendering of anthropos as self by the NIV and sarx as flesh in the AV has inevitably promoted the individualistic understanding and confused the mind of the English reader.  Furthermore, that Paul’s exhortation is corporate is shown in that he appeals to them, “as God’s chosen people clothe yourselves’ (v. 12).  Thus, identifying the imagery of the old and new man as being corporate, and appreciating that it is part of the description of the ‘body of Sin’ in Romans 6:6, along with the other considerations we have presented, establishes a corporate meaning for the term the ‘body of Sin’.”[225]

 

Paul’s Consistent Use of Terms

 

Not only do I agree with Holland in his development of Paul being a Hebrew and thinking in Jewish collective or corporate body terms, I also agree with him that Paul has a “system of theology” that he draws on when he uses certain words, terms, and phrases throughout his various writings:

 

“Also, it seems quite inconceivable that a man of Paul’s intellectual caliber should be so haphazard as to be indifferent to these alleged inconsistencies.  At Paul’s instruction, his letters were being passed around the churches (Cols. 4:16).  Was he not concerned with consistency?”[226]

 

Paul’s themes of being in a corporate body, whether in “Adam” or “Christ” in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15 and being raised in the likeness of Christ or experiencing deliverance from “law” (Adam in the garden) or “THE law” (Israel groaning under the Mosaic law) has nothing to do with a casket resurrection from biological death for believers.  This is a soteriological resurrection from the spiritual death inherited from Adam.  The order of being planted or buried first and then simultaneously dying only to be changed and resurrected into Christ’s image is also the same in Romans and 1 Corinthians 15.

 

Daniel Rodgers does an excellent job of point out how Paul elsewhere uses phrases such as “corruption v. incorruption,” “dishonor v. glory,” “weakness v. power,” “natural v. power,” “earthy v. heavenly” and “flesh and blood v. Spirit”:

 

“Corruption v Incorruption

 

Corruption (φθορά – G5356): Romans 8:21; Galatians 6:8; Colossians 2:22; 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:12, 19

 

Incorruption (φθορά – G861): Romans 2:7; Ephesians 6:24; II Timothy 1:10; Titus 2:7

 

After reading the above verses to see how Paul and the other New Testament writers use them elsewhere, it can be seen that the term “corruption” has reference to life under the Law of Moses and life “in Adam.” Notice that it was possible to be under a state of “corruption” without having to be dead physically. Instead, this term had reference to life under the dominion of sin.

 

Likewise, “incorruption” was used to describe those in the body of Christ. Those enjoying the “incorruption” or “immortality” were those who had been added to the body (church) of Christ by responding positively to the gospel. Just as the church had to progress towards perfection, the individual Christians within the church had “incorruption” while at the same time waiting for it to come on the day when God’s wrath would be revealed (Romans 2:7). This idea is called by some the “already but not yet” of Eschatology. Because the “already” was not of a physical nature, it makes sense that the “not yet” would be of the same nature. If you saw the head of a dog coming around a corner, you would expect you see the tail of a dog – not of a cat – following shortly thereafter. The dog doesn’t change into something else just because it is fully revealed. In like manner, the nature of the incorruption remains the same from initiation to consummation.

 

Dishonor v Glory

 

Dishonor (ἀτιμία – G819): Romans 1:26; Romans 9:21; 2 Timothy 2:20

 

Glory (δόξα – G1391): Romans 2:7, 10; Romans 6:4; Romans 8:18; Romans 9:23; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 3:8-18

 

While there are many more verses we could reference, these are sufficient to show that “dishonor” can reference things that are contrary to the will of God. Compared to the glorious body of Christ, the body of Adam (death) could certainly be labeled as dishonorable. It was this body, which had been overcome by the last enemy, that Jesus was saving His people from by translating them into the kingdom and into His body.

 

Glory describes God. We, being a people who wish to conform to His image, seek for glory and honor. This glory is only to be found in the body of Christ. Paul describes the glory of the Old Covenant world to be in the process of passing away in the first century (2 Corinthians 3:11). What was being revealed was something more glorious: the perfect stature of Christ. The whole creation was shaking off the rags of sin and death to reveal attire of righteousness, of glory, and of honor.

 

Weakness v Power

 

Weakness (ἀσθένεια – G769): Matthew 8:17; Romans 6:19; Romans 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:2; Hebrews 7:28

 

Power (δύναμις – G1411): Matthew 24:30; Mark 9:1; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 6:5

 

The New Testament writers used the word “weakness” to describe anything from sin to physical infirmities. Paul said that “flesh” is weak because of sin (Romans 6:19). It was for this reason that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul also said that “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). How then does on get out of a state of weakness? What force does God use to enact this change? Paul stated in Romans 8:26 that the Spirit assisted the first century church with their infirmities, and truly the Spirit was sent to change the Old Covenant body of weakness into the New Covenant body of power (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

The “power” has reference to the kingdom of God, to the gospel of Christ, and to those who are in the spirit. The kingdom was to come in power within the generation of those living in the first century at the same time that Jesus would come with power (Matthew 16:27-28). This would come after the time that God’s power unto salvation (the gospel) was preached unto all of the world (Matthew 24:14). After that planted seed had time to grow, the harvest was gathered and what was sown in weakness was raised in power (1 Peter 1:9, 18).

 

Natural v Spiritual

 

Natural (ψυχικός – G5591): 1 Corinthians 2:14; James 3:15; Jude 1:19

 

Spiritual (πνευματικός – G4152): Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 2:13, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:1; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 1:19; 1 Peter 2:5

 

Within the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul compares the natural man and the spiritual man. Those were opposed to the gospel of Christ in Paul’s day were described as “natural.” Paul described them this way in 1 Corinthians 2:14 and 1 Corinthians 1:18. It was also used to describe those who were so focused on earthly things that they could not see the spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:1). Jude used this word to describe the Jews who were trying to bring the first century church under bondage (Jude 1:19).

 

On the other hand, the word spiritual describes the things that are from above. Those who have their focus on spiritual things can understand the importance of Jesus’ life-giving sacrifice while those who are more fleshly oriented cannot. The church is a spiritual organization made up of spiritual people (1 Peter 2:5). Christians, therefore, make up the spiritual body while those “in Adam” make up the natural body. Through the gospel of Christ, many were becoming dead to the natural body so that they could take part in the perfected spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

 

Earthy v Heavenly

 

Earthy (χοΐκός – G5517): Only used in 1 Corinthians 15:47, 48, 49

 

Heavenly (ἐπουράνιος – G2032): John 3:12; Ephesians 2:6; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 12:22

 

Earthy, again, describes those that are “in Adam.” When we are born again, we are no longer of the flesh of Adam, but are of above (John 3:3, 31). As seen in the verses above, heavenly things are things pertaining to the kingdom of God. The kingdom is described as heavenly and those that are members of the kingdom are also called heavenly.

 

If the first century church was heavenly already, and, at the same time, looking for the heavenly Jerusalem that was to come, why should we expect that the nature of the “not yet” be any different from what was already present? Paul boldly declared in Hebrews that they had arrived at Mount Zion which is the heavenly Jerusalem – the same Jerusalem that John saw descending from Heaven in Revelation 21 after the resurrection of the dead ones out of Hades. Are we still collectively at the mountain waiting to enter the kingdom, or are we currently residing therein?

 

Flesh and Blood v Spirit

 

Flesh and Blood (σάρξ – G4561; αἷμα – G129): Matthew 16:17; John 1:13; Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 2:14

 

While the word “spirit” is not mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:50, we can certainly see it used in the context and can understand that it is the opposite of “flesh and blood.” While “flesh and blood” cannot inherit the kingdom of God, those that are spiritual can. The question is, then. How can one go from being “flesh and blood” to being “spirit?” We will start with Jesus who serves as the firstfruit, and, therefore, the example by which we follow. Jesus was the only begotten of the Father according to the flesh, but the firstborn of many brethren according to the Spirit. Jesus was, and will always be, the only person to ever be born in the way that He was – that is, by God through the flesh. No seed of man was involved in the birth of Jesus, because He was born of a virgin. This birth is unique, and He is the only one that will ever be the Son of God in this way, but thanks be to God that we can become the sons of God by being born of the Spirit.

 

Speaking of Jesus’ resurrection, Paul said, “God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’” (Acts 13:33). Here’s a question: why was Jesus said to have been begotten of God at the time of His resurrection? Wasn’t He always the Son of God? Certainly, He was! What this passages teaches is that Jesus was born again. Jesus took on flesh and blood (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14). When Jesus was resurrected, He left the covenantal realm of flesh and blood (that is, “in Adam”), and He became the first one to be born according to the Spirit and became the first member of the New Creation (Revelation 3:14).

 

To illustrate this, Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6). Peter said, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). Following Jesus’ rule that He set out in John 3, when He was “born of woman,” He was “in the flesh,” but when He was begotten of God according to the Spirit, He was raised “in the Spirit” and became the “firstborn of many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

Those “brethren” are those called by the heavenly calling (Romans 8:28-29; Hebrews 3:1). They are the group that has chosen to put off corruption and to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. Paul exhorted the church at Rome saying, “And do not be conformed to this world [age – DR], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Paul wrote the book of Romans to encourage the Gentile Christians to not submit to the bondage of the Old Law – that is, the “present evil age” that would pass away at the coming of the Lord (Matthew 24:3; Galatians 1:4). Instead, Paul wanted them to be born “…. not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

 

Conclusion

 

The words used in 1 Corinthians 15 show us that Paul is not dealing with physical bodies, but two battling spiritual bodies – the body of the dominion of sin and the body of the domino of righteousness. The body of death was corruptible, dishonorable, weak, natural, earthy, and of flesh and blood. Members of that body cannot be a part of God’s kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21). The body of life is one of incorruption, glory, power, spirit, and of heaven. Members of this boy, the body of Christ, have all spiritual blessings because they have been resurrected into the heavenly places to reign with Christ (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6).”[227]

 

Back to the Corporate Body Motif

 

David Green helps harmonize Paul’s corporate body motifs,

 

“To find Paul’s meaning, we need only find where in Scripture Paul elaborated on the doctrine of a human “body” that had to be sown/planted/entombed and concurrently put to death, in order that it could be made alive and changed in the resurrection of the dead.  This takes us to Romans 6-8, Colossians 2, and Philippians 3.

 

In these Scriptures, especially in Romans 6, Paul teaches that believers had been bodily “planted,” through Spirit-baptism, into death / into the death of Christ, in order that the body that had been planted/buried (the “body of Sin,” the “mortal body,” the “body of Death,” the “body of the sins of the flesh,” the “vile body”) would be abolished / put to death, and then be made alive and changed/conformed to the image of the Son of God in the kingdom of heaven. Note the order: Burial then death.

 

This sequence in Romans 6 is exactly, step by step, what Paul teaches concerning the resurrection of the body in 1 Cor. 15:36-37 and its context.  Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15 both speak of concurrent body-burial and body-death, followed by consummated body-death, body-resurrection, and body-change. Futurist assumptions notwithstanding, there is no doubt that 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 6-8 are speaking of the same burial, death, resurrection, and change—and therefore of the same body.

 

The Body

 

What then is “the body” that was being put to death in Romans 6-8 and 1 Corinthians 15? What is the meaning of the word “body” in these contexts?  Essentially, or basically, the “body” is the “self” or “person/personality” or “individual,” whether that of a singular saint or of the singular church universal (the body of Christ).

 

According to definition 1b of the word σωμα (body) in Arndt and Gingrich’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, the word “body” in Paul’s writings is sometimes “almost synonymous with the whole personality . . . σώματα [bodies] =themselves.”

 

Note how that “body” and “yourselves” are used interchangeably in Romans 6:12-13:

 

Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting your members [of your mortal body] to sin as instruments of unrighteousness;

but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members [of your mortal body] as instruments of righteousness to God.

 

Compare also 1 Corinthians 6:15 and 12:27, where “you” and “your bodies” are synonymous:

 

. . . your bodies are members of Christ . . . . (1 Cor. 6:15)

. . . you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)

 

See also Ephesians 5:28, where a man’s body-union with his wife is equated with “himself”:

 

So, husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

 

However, the word “body,” when it is used in reference to the eschatological resurrection, means more than merely the “self.” Paul is not using the word as a common reference to “the whole person.”

 

It does not refer to man’s anthropological wholeness (i.e., Material body+soul+spirit=the body). Paul is using the word in a theological eschatological sense to describe God’s people as they are defined either by the wholeness/fullness (body) of Adamic Sin and Death or the wholeness/fullness (body) of Christ. The body is either the “person” united with Sin and Death, or the “person” united with Christ, whether individually or corporately.

 

We can begin to see this in Colossians 3:5 (KJV), where the body parts (members) of the Sin-body are not arms and legs or other physical limbs. The members of the “earthly body” were death-producing “deeds,” such as “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness . . . ” (cf. Rom. 8:13). Thus John Calvin wrote in his commentary on Romans 6:6:

 

“The body of sin . . . does not mean flesh and bones, but the corrupted mass . . . of sin.” Since a body is the sum of its parts, and since the parts of the Sin-body are sins/sinful deeds, it follows that “the body of Sin” is not the physical aspect of man.

 

Instead, the whole of the sins/deeds of the body equals the body of Sin. Or more accurately, the body of Sin was God’s people as they were identified with and defined by the Sin-reviving, Sin-increasing, Death-producing world of the Law.

 

When Paul said that believers were no longer walking according to “the flesh” (Rom. 8:1, 4, 9), he was saying that believers were putting to death the deeds of the “body” (Rom. 8:10-11, 13). The parts/members of the body equaled the deeds of “the body,” which equaled the walk of “the flesh.” “Flesh” and “body” in this context, therefore, describe man as he was defined by Sin, not man as he was defined by material body parts.

 

In Colossians 2:11, Paul said that God had buried believers with Christ, raised them up with Him, and had removed “the body of the flesh.” “The body of the flesh” was not the physical body. It was the Adamic man/self/person that had been dead in transgressions and in the spiritual uncircumcision of his “flesh” (Col. 2:13). That “body” (or as Ridderbos puts it, that “sinful mode of existence”) had been “removed” in Christ and was soon to be changed into the glorious, resurrected “body” of Christ.

As a comparison of Colossians 2:11 and Colossians 3:9 reveals, “the body” of Sin is virtually synonymous with “the old man”:

 

. . . the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh . . . . (Col. 2:11)

. . . having put off the old man with his practices (Col. 3:9; cf. Eph. 4:22)

 

Compare also 1 Corinthians 15:42 with Ephesians 4:22:

 

[The body] is sown in corruption . . . . (1 Cor. 15:42)

. . . the old man being corrupted . . . . (Eph. 4:22)

 

Compare also the references to “man” and “body” in Romans 7:24:

 

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of Death?

And in Romans 6:6,

 

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Rom. 6:6)

 

And in 1 Corinthians 15:44, 45:

 

. . . There is a natural body [the old man], and there is a spiritual body [the new Man]. And so it is written, the first [old] man [the natural body] Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [the last Man, the spiritual body] a quickening spirit.

 

Since the natural body is nearly synonymous with the old man, we should expect that the spiritual body is nearly synonymous with “the new man,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 with Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10 and Romans 13:14:

 

For this perishable [body] must put on the imperishable [body] . . . . (1 Cor. 15:53-54)

 

and put on the new man [the spiritual body], which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Eph. 4:24)

 

and have put on the new man [the spiritual body] who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. (Col. 3:10)

 

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ [the new man, the spiritual body], and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)

 

As most futurists agree, “the old man” and “the new man” are not expressions that describe man in terms of physicality. “The old man” was man as he was in Adam, alienated from God and dead in Sin. He was “the body of Sin.” The new Man is man as he is reconciled to God in Christ, the lifegiving Spiritual Body.”[228]

 

The Eschatological Mystery

 

Elsewhere in Paul’s teaching on God’s “mystery,” he demonstrates how the OT predicted (and the NT revelatory gifts developed) the Jew / Gentile unity in the body of Christ.  Here, Paul is demonstrating how the living will be changed and raised with “all” the dead (including the OC dead) together – into the ONE raised and glorified body of Christ.

 

The Trumpet Change

 

While no one disputes Paul’s trumpet change here is the same trumpet catching away in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, Partial Preterist’s object that it is somehow different than Jesus’ trumpet gathering at His parousia in Matthew 24:27-31.  Of course, this is pure eisegesis on their part and a failure to harmonize Jesus’ eschatology with Paul’s – as previously demonstrated.  While we agree that the coming of Christ in Matthew 24-25 was fulfilled spiritually in AD 70, we disagree with Mathison’s un-creedal and unorthodox position that Matthew 24-25 is not the “actual” Second Coming event and disagree with his error that Matthew 24-25 is not the same parousia and resurrection event as described for us in 1 Corinthians 15!

 

Paul is in harmony with Jesus when he says not everyone in his contemporary audience would die before experiencing Christ’s Second Coming trumpet change/gathering into the Kingdom (Mt. 16:27-28; 24:30-34/Lk. 21:27-32).

 

The living would be “changed” not in their physical biological substance, but rather in their covenantal stance before God.  The Adamic and OC body of death was natural, weak, mortal, and subject to being perishable.  It needed to be clothed and changed by the heavenly man.

 

The Perishable to be Clothed with Imperishable – the Mortal with Immortality & 2 Cor. 3-6

 

Paul is not describing an individual’s biological body as being “perishable” and “mortal,” but rather the Adamic and Mosaic corporate body as “perishable” and “mortal” needing to be “clothed.”  To better understand Paul here, again it is important to let him interpret himself.

In 2 Corinthians 3-6 Paul contrasts the glories of the OC and NC with two houses/temples.  In 2 Corinthians 4 the resurrection is in view (vss. 13-14) and closes by expressing that this hope is not grounded on things which can be seen (that is physical and temporal), but on things that cannot be seen (that is spiritual and eternal) (v. 18).  The “earthly tent/house/temple” in 5:1 that would be destroyed is the corporate OC temple/house/system and the the spiritual “heavenly dwelling/temple/house” is the corporate NC system.  Their groaning for this house to be revealed from heaven to clothe them is realized in an AD 70 “soon” and “shortly” time frame in the form of the glorified New Jerusalem (which is the corporate body of the Church) coming down from heaven to earth in Revelation 21-22.  The NIV correctly captures the “already and not yet” of the New Jerusalem already being in the process of coming down (cf. Rev. 3:12).  This already and not yet process is in harmony with the eschatological Pauline process of putting on Christ, being transformed into the image of Christ, dying and rising, and being sown and rising into a spiritual body.

 

Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16 further elaborates that the NC Temple promised in Ezekiel 37:27 (and thus that of 40-47), is the corporate body of the Church.  Premillennial Dispensationalists would do well to follow the contextual flow of Paul and heed his teaching instead of following their hyper-literal hermeneutic which forces them to believe Ezekiel’s Temple promise will be a literal structure with Jesus sitting on a throne smelling its animal sacrifices in an imaginary future 1,000 years millennial period.

 

The “groaning” to be further clothed in 2 Corinthians 5:2ff. which correlates to the clothing resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the “groaning” and AD 70 imminent “about to be revealing” of God’s glory within the Church – which in context, results in the full adoption of sons, the liberation of creation (of God’s people) and the “redemption of the body.”

 

Gary DeMar admits the Greek word mello in Romans 8:18YLT should be translated as “about to be” and was fulfilled in AD 70.  But to admit this is to admit the events of 18-23 were also fulfilled in AD 70.  Lightfoot correctly observed the “redemption of the BODY” is the corporate body of Christ as in Ephesians 4:13.  And we agree, there was a corporate bodily change that was “about to be” fulfilled according to Paul and that was a transformation from groaning in and being under the Adamic/Mosaic body of death to be liberated and raised into the glorious and redeemed body of Christ at Christ’s coming in AD 70.

 

Paul’s OT Echo’s – Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25

 

As there is a movement within the Reformed and Evangelical community that seeks to develop Paul’s Hebraic corporate body origins that is beginning to see what Full Preterist’s have for the last 30 years, there is also a movement led by Richard Hayes which emphasizes developing the OT context of an OT reference or echo mentioned in the NT.  For example, Hayes writes,

 

“Thematic Coherence How well does the alleged echo fit into the line of argument that Paul is developing?  Does the proposed precursor text fit together with the point Paul is making?  Can one see in Paul’s use of the material a coherent “reading” of the source text?  Is his use of the Isaiah texts consonant with his overall argument and/or use made of other texts?”[229]

 

And,

 

“Satisfaction Does the proposed intertextual reading illuminate the surrounding discourse and make some larger sense of Paul’s argument as a whole?  “…A proposed intertextual reading fulfills the test of satisfaction when we find ourselves saying, “Oh, so that is what Paul means here in passage x; and furthermore, if that’s right, then we can begin to understand what he means in passage y and why he uses these certain words in that place.”[230]

 

In other words, one is encouraged to find and develop as many similarities between that OT original context with the context and flow of the NT author in order to understand how he is using it.  Therefore, it is important to examine what kind of bodily death and resurrection are taking place in Hosea 13 and in Isaiah’s little apocalypse Isaiah 24-28, to help understand Paul’s use of them in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.  This will help us understand the kind of bodily resurrection Paul has in mind.

 

Isaiah 24-28 – Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse

 

Due to Israel breaking her OC law (primarily for persecuting and putting to death their poor brethren – the sin of blood guilt), Israel’s covenantal world undergoes an apocalyptic de-creation and shaking process and she corporately and spiritually dies in the form of being ruled over by Gentile leaders.  Through captivity and bondage, Babylon scattered her outside of her land.  When Israel repents and is gathered back into the land she undergoes a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection as described in Ezekiel 37.

 

In other word’s Israel is a corporate Adam, and just as when Adam broke Edenic covenantal law and died a spiritual covenantal death resulting in Him being scattered from God’s presence, so too when Israel broke covenant, she underwent a covenantal spiritual death that resulted in her being scattered from God’s presence away from their temple and land.

 

The time of the eschatological wedding is the time of the resurrection (Isa. 25:6-8) and Jesus identifies the time of the wedding to take place when the Roman armies would judge and burn Jerusalem, or within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 22:1-14; Mt. 24:27-34—25:1-13).

 

Paul’s other reference to Isaiah is his trumpet change which takes place at Christ’s parousia bringing about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23, 52 is the trumpet gathering of Isaiah 27:12-13.  And again, this is the OT echo and foundation to the trumpet gathering and trumpet catching away of Matthew 24:30-31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that would take place in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and of which Paul taught (under inspiration) and thus expected his first century “we” audience to experience.

 

 Hosea

 

Hosea’s context is clear enough as well.  Due to Israel’s spiritual adultery with Baal and breaking their OC law, God gave Israel a certificate of divorcement.  The corporate body of Israel breaking the OC law resulted not only in a divorce, but is also described as Israel dying a covenantal and spiritual death.  This death is described as God sowing Israel as a seed into the Gentile lands throughout the Assyrian Empire.  Once again we see the same kind of corporate covenantal death that came through Adam and Israel when they broke covenant and became spiritually dead and scattered/separated from God’s presence.

 

But Israel would once again be betrothed and married to God in her “last days.”  The “last days” are the last days of the OC age which ended in AD 70 and is consistent with the “this generation” coming of Christ that results in the eschatological wedding / marriage that takes place in the OD.

Simply put there is no biological casket resurrection that takes place at the end of world history found in Hosea or Isaiah – of which Paul uses as his source for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.  The parallels are a spiritual corporate and covenantal resurrection – not an individual biological resurrection.  This is consistent with what we have seen earlier when harmonizing Paul with Paul in Romans 5-8 and 1 Corinthians 15.

 

Victory Over the Mosaic OC “the Law” = Victory Over “the Sin” and “the Death”

 

Some commentators not only puzzle over the present tense of “the death” being destroyed in Paul’s day, but they also puzzle over his reference to the OC “the law” thrown in with the timing of the victory over “the sin” and “the death.”  These last two references seem to correlate well with the resurrection, but what does the Mosaic OC “the law” have to do with it — especially since most futurists see the OC Mosaic law being done away with at the cross?

 

However, there is no problem for the Full Preterist who correctly sees the resurrection as “about to” take place in Paul’s day bringing an end to the OC’s “this age” at Christ’s “this generation” parousia (Acts 24:15YLT; Mt. 13:39-43; Mt. 24:27-31, 34).  When it came to Paul’s teaching on the resurrection before his accusers, he claimed he wasn’t teaching anything that couldn’t be found in the law and prophets – and Hosea 13 / Isaiah 25 / Daniel 12 are resurrection passages contained in the OC “the law” and prophets which Jesus said would be fulfilled in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (cf. Lk. 21:22, 32).  Jesus does not posit the OC “heaven and earth” of the law and prophets to be fulfilled at the cross, but rather in His generation (Mt. 5:17-18 / Mt. 24:34-35).  This is when it was all fulfilled and that heaven and earth system “soon vanished” (Heb. 8:13).

 

Death would be swallowed up and victory over its sting would only be accomplished when victory over “the law” was attained.  This was brought to fruition at Christ’s first century generation parousia that closed and fulfilled the promises contained in the Mosaic OC age of “the law.” 

 

Concluding 1 Corinthians 15   

      

After a careful examination of Paul’s modus tollens logical form of argumentation it becomes evident that the resurrection of the dead deniers were not denying Christ’s resurrection or those Christians that had died “in Christ” (the NC side of the cross).  They were in effect denying resurrection to a specific group – the OC dead, whom they assumed they had replaced or were not a part of the NC body of Christ as they were.

 

As we have seen the parallels between Matthew 24 and 1 Corinthians 15 demonstrate that a AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” and contemporary first century “we” expectation of the parousia and resurrection was realized and fulfilled in AD 70.

 

When we allowed Paul to interpret himself (using Romans 5-8) we came to a Scriptural understanding of “the body” that was in the process of concurrently dying and rising (present tense) and was “about to be” redeemed.  The corporate and covenantal context and transformation of 2 Corinthians 3-6 also helped us understand what kind of body the early church was “clothed” with (and continues to be clothed with) at Christ’s parousia in AD 70.

 

The examination of Paul’s OT texts (Isa. 25 & Hos. 13) to support His resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 were found to have nothing to do with a casket resurrection of individual biological corpses.  Rather, the cohesiveness and harmony for using those OT texts for Paul was to develop a spiritual, corporate and covenantal resurrection to close the OC age in AD 70 at Christ’s ONE imminent parousia.

 

When victory over the Mosaic OC “the law” came, then victory and resurrection over “the sin” and “the death” was realized.  Victory over the OC “the law” was realized when all of it’s promises were fulfilled and or it’s “heaven and earth” “soon” passed away at Christ’s imminent AD 70 “in a very little while” Second Coming which ended the last days of the OC age (Lk. 21:22-32; Mt. 5:17-18; Heb. 8:13; 9:26-28; 10:37).

 

“Orthodox” Postmillennial Partial Preterism is teaching that there was a progressive, spiritual, corporate, covenantal resurrection for Israel and the church between AD 30 – AD 70 that resulted in souls being raised out from the realm of the dead into God’s presence at the parousia of Christ in AD 70 (per Dan. 12:1-7,13 and other texts).  As we have seen, THIS IS the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15!  Selah.

[1] (David Wood, Jihad, http://www.answeringmuslims.com/p/jihad.html).

 

[2] (Gregory M. Davis, Islam 101, http://www.jihadwatch.org/islam-101).

[3] Ibid.

[4] (Pamela Geller, Jasser’s Jihad, http://pamelageller.com/2009/05/jassers-jihad.html/).

 

[5] (Dr. Sebastian Gorka, DEFEATING JIHAD THE WINNABLE WAR, (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2016), p. 116).

[6] Ibid.

[7] (Mariam Karounv, Apocalyptic prophecies drive both sides to Syrian battle for end of time, Reuters, April 1, 2014; Leo Hohmann, Popular Muslim Personality: Jesus Christ is Among us, http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/popular-muslim-personality-jesus-christ-is-among-us/#omxjVrhqwfLyIqlS.99).

 

[8] Mischna Sanhedryn 11:3; Rabbi Issael, Rabbi Chasbar, et. al.; Rabbi Menachen, Comments for the Fifth Book; Tractate Mechilla/Me’ilah).

[9] -Saba Mecia 114, 6; Midrasch Talpioth, p. 225-L; -Simeon Haddarsen, fol. 56-D

[10] Simeon Haddarsen, fol. 56-D:, (Erubin 43b).[10]

[11] Talmud: Zohar, I. 160a.

[12] Talmud: Zohar, I. 160a.

[13] -Hadarine, 20, B; Schulchan Qruch, Choszen Hamiszpat 348; Moses Maimonides (“The RaMBaM”), Jak. Chasaka 2:2.

[14] Sanhedrin, 107b; Mishna Yebamoth 4,13; Sanhedrin 106a; Tosephta Sanhedrin X, 11: Jerusalem Sanhedrin 25c,d; Sanhedrin 107b; Taanit 65a; Gittin 56b, 57a; Mishna Sanhedrin X, 2.

[15] Sepher Or Israel (177b); Ialkut Simoni (245c. n. 772); In Zohar (III,227b); Zohar (I,38b, and 39a).

[16] Hilkhoth Maakhaloth.

[17] Abhodah Zarah (15b, 22a).

[18] Eben Haezar (44,8)

[19] Zohar (II, 64b)

[20] Abhodah Zarah (78).

[21] Iore Dea (112, 1).

[22] Babha Kama (113b).

[23] Abhodah Zarah (54a).

[24] Babha Kama (113a-b).

[25] Choschen Ham (388,15).

[26] Hilkhoth Akum (X,1).

[27] (Hagigah 27a).

[28] Sanhedryn, 59a, Aboda Zora 8-6, Szagiga 13; Libbre David 37; Szaaloth-Utszabot, The Book of Jore 17

[29] Frederic Morton, The Rothschilds (New York: Scribners, 1988), 33

[30] (Niles Weekly Register, 1835-1836).

[31] (cf. John L. Bray, Israel in Bible Prophecy, pp. 42-43).

[32] (Sam Kiley, ‘The righteous will survive and the rest will perish’ The Times, 13 December 1999, p. 39).

[33] Noah, Feldman, Violence in the Name of the Messiah, https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2015-11-01/violence-in-the-name-of-the-messiah), bold emphasis MJS

 

[34] Baruch Levy, Letter to Karl Marx, printed in La Revue de Paris, p. 574, June 1, 1928

[35] See his speech here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAuZA17genk&feature=related

[36] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Land is Mine Issues, 2.4 July 1982

 

[37] Greg Laurie, ARE THESE THE LAST DAYS? HOW TO LIVE EXPECTANTLY IN A WORLD OF UNCERTAINTY, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books From Gospel Light, 2005), 20

[38] Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970), 53–54

[39] Chuck Smith, End Times, (Costa Mesa, CA: The Word for Today, 1978) 35.

[40] Gary DeMar, Chuck Smith’s Prophetic Confusion http://www.americanvision.org/articlearchive2007/11-20-07.asp www.americanvision.org/

[41] Hal Lindsey, Apocalypse Code, back cover and p. 38, 1997.

[42] Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 179, (emphasis added).

[43] Ibid., 179.

[44] Francis X. Gumerlock, the Day and the Hour Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Pub., 2000), 319-322.

[45] Courson, Jon: Jon Courson’s Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 179

[46] Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Revised and Expanded, Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. 802

[47] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Banner of Truth pub., Vol. 9 see pp. 132-135, 138-139, MJS emphasis added).

[48] (G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25).

 

[49] Keith Mathison, DISPENSATIONALISM Rightly Dividing the People of God?, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 1995), 28

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] (Charles Ryrie, THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE NEW COVENANT TO PREMILLENNIALISM [unpublished Master’s thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary 1947), p. 31]).

 

[53] G.K. Beale, D.A. Carson, COMMENTARY on the NEW TESTAMENT Use of the OLD TESTAMENT, p. 690

[54] Ibid.

[55] Dr. BOAZ COHEN, NEW AMERICAN EDITION Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York:  E.P. Dutton & CO., 1949), 356

 

[56] John Hagee, IN DEFENSE OF ISRAEL, THE BIBLE’S MANDATE FOR SUPPORTING THE JEWISH STATE, (Lake Mary, FL: FrontLine Publishing, 2007), pp. 150-151

[57] John Hagee, IN DEFENSE OF ISRAEL, THE BIBLE’S MANDATE FOR SUPPORTING THE JEWISH STATE, (Lake Mary, FL: FrontLine Publishing, 2007), pp. 150-151

[58] Margaret Barker, THE TIME IS FULFILLED JESUS AND THE JUBILEE, 1999, http://www.margaretbarker.com/Papers/JesusAndTheJubilee.pdf).

[59] A Treatise on the Sabbatical Cycle and the Jubilee, 1866, by Dr. B. Zuchermann, Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary

[60] Missing Yearshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_years_%28Jewish_calendar%29).

[61] (M. P. Miller 1969; J. A. Sanders 1975: 85). (Pao, D. W., & Schnabel, E. J. (2007). Luke. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (p. 288). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos).

 

[62] Michael Brown, AJOJ, Vol. 3, p. 93

[63] Ibid., p. 96, bold emphasis MJS

[64] Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344

[65] Charles John Ellicott, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Cassell and Co; London, 1884), 387

[66] James Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1973), 250

[67] David Green, From Babylon to Babylon, preteristcosmos.com

[68] John Hagee, In Defense of Israel, Ibid., pp. 155-157

[69] John L. Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, Fifth Edition, 2008), 58

[70] Godet, F. L. (1881). A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke,  A commentary on the gospel of St. Luke. (E. W. Shalders & M. D. Cusin, Trans.) (Vol. 2, p. 266). New York: I. K. Funk & co.

[71] Jay Adams, THE TIME IS AT HAND, (Philadelphia, PA: self-published, 1969), pp. 68-69

[72] David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, (Fort Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), 412

[73] Adam Maarschalk, Who Was the Beast? (Five Clues) – Long Island Conference Presentation, https://adammaarschalk.com/2017/04/09/who-was-the-beast-five-clues-long-island-conference-presentation/

 

[74] Chilton, Ibid., 326

[75] Beale, G. K. (1999).  The book of Revelation: a commentary on the Greek text, (Grand Rapids, MI: Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press., 1999), pp. 682-683

[76] Ibid., 633

[77] Ibid. 503

[78] Ibid., 502-504

[79] Daniel Dutra Morais, Who is Apollyon in Greek Culture, https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/28647/who-is-apollyon-in-greek-culture

[80] Taken from Robert’s notes and lectures at the Berean Bible Church Conference.  Special thanks to Robert’s work in this area and sending me his notes.

[81] See James B. Jordan, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL A Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 2007), pp. 183-184; 380-408

[82] James B. Jordan, The Battle of Gog and Magog, http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical-horizons/no-2-the-battle-of-gog-and-magog/

[83] Gary DeMar, IDENTIFYING THE GOG-MAGOG ALLIANCE WHY THE END OF THE WORLD IS NOT IN YOUR FUTURE, (Powder Springs, GA, American Vision Press, 2008).

 

[84] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors, (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Book House, 7th reprint 1990), 193.

 

[85] James Russell, The Parousia, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, third printing, 1990), 105

 

 

[86] Carson, D. A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8, p. 252, bold emphasis MJS).

[87] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1995, bold emphasis MJS), 1699

[88] John Lightfoot, COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT FROM THE TALMUD AND HEBRAICA, Vol. 2, (Hendrickson pub. 1979, emphasis added), 422

 

[89] Tim LaHaye, Thomas Ice, END TIMES CONTROVERSY THE SECOND COMING UNDER ATTACK, (Eugene, OR:  Harvest House Publishers, 2003), 87, emphasis added.

[90] Ice, Ibid., 88

[91] Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, third edition 2009), 219-220, emphasis added

[92] Ice, Ibid., 88

[93] Ibid., 151

[94] Ibid., 93

[95] Ibid.

[96] 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.

[97] Ibid., 46-47

[98] Gary DeMar, Last Days MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: Fourth revised edition, 1999), 68.

[99] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1994), 41, (bold and underline emphasis MJS).

[100] Ibid., 68

[101] Milton S. Terry, Biblical HERMENEUTICS A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 441-442.

 

[102] Bray, Ibid., p. 28

[103] Gary DeMar, LAST DAYS MADNESS Obsession of the Modern Church, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, 1994), p. 62

[104] DeMar, ibid., 64

 

[105] John L. Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled, (Powder Springs, GA:  American Vision, Fifth Edition, 2008), 58

[106] Godet, F. L. (1881). A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke,  A commentary on the gospel of St. Luke. (E. W. Shalders & M. D. Cusin, Trans.) (Vol. 2, p. 266). New York: I. K. Funk & co.

[107] Josephus The Complete Works, Chapter 9:4, https://ccel.org/ccel/josephus/complete/complete.iii.vii.ix.html

[108] 1QM 1:11-12

[109] Bray, Ibid., p. 91-92

[110] Don K. Preston, The Times of the Gentiles?  Past-Present-Or What? https://donkpreston.com/the-times-of-the-gentiles-past-present-or-what/

[111] Gill, Ibid.,

[112] Kenneth Gentry, Four Views on the Book of Revelation, ed. C. Marvin Pate (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 43–44.

[113] Gary DeMar, The Olivet Discourse: The Test of Truthhttp://www.americanvision.org/blog/?p=190).

 

[114] Bray, Ibid., 136

[115] Ibid. 137

[116] John Owen, Ibid., 134

[117] John Bray, Ibid., 125

[118] G.K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission A biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2004), 25

[119] John Brown, Discourses and Sayings of Our Lord (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990 [1852]), 1:170

[120] Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis a contributing author in, ESCHATOLOGY in Bible & Theology Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, (Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), 157

[121] See also, J.V. Fesko, Last things first Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology, (Scottland, UK, 2007), 70.

 

[122] Bray, Ibid., pp. 120-128

[123] Steve Gregg, EMPIRE of the RISEN SON A TREATISE ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD—WHAT IT IS AND WHY IT MATTERS BOOK ONE:  THERE IS ANOTHER KING, Maitland, FL:  2020), 388-389

[124] Ibid., 389

[125] Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/malachi-4.html

[126] John Gill’s Exposition, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/gill/malachi/4.htm

[127] Lightfoot, J. (2010). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Matthew-1 Corinthians, Matthew-Mark (Vol. 2, p. 78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[128] Adam Clark, Commentary on the Bible [1831]

 

[129] Bray, Ibid., 161

[130] Sepher Yosippon, A Mediaval History of Ancient Israel, translated from the Hebrew by Steven B. Bowman

[131] Ibid.

[132] Pseudo-Hegesippus, online text, public domain, translated from the Latin into English by Wade Blocker, made available online by Roger Pearse in 2005.  This taken from chaper 44, corresponding to pp. 391-394 in Latin critical text edited by Vincente Ussani entitled, Hegesippi qui dicitur historiae libri V, found in the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum series, volume 66, Vienna: Holder-Pichler-Tempsky (1932).  Special thanks to Ed Stevens for sending me these sources.

[133] Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism An Eschatology of Hope, (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 1999), 114

[134] J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory (Phillipsburg, NJ:  P&R Publishing, 1971),  137-138

[135] James Stuart Russell, The Parousia A Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord’s Second Coming, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Book House, third printing 1990), 77

[136] D.A. Carson, F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Vol. 8, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 505

[137] Friberg, Timothy ; Friberg, Barbara ; Miller, Neva F.: Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, 2000 (Baker’s Greek New Testament Library 4), S. 284

[138] Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G3708

[139] Josephus, The Jewish Wars, v.vi.3

[140] Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, vol. II, ch. 23:13

 

[141] Michael L. Brown, Answers to Jewish Objections to Jesus, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Books, 2000), 83-84

[142] See David Curtis’ 8-part series on the Feasts of Israel fulfilled by AD 70 https://www.bereanbiblechurch.org/studies/series.php  I highly recommend this series.

[143] Curtis, Ibid.

[144] Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F., Commentary on the Old Testament. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), (Daniel 7:13-14), bold emphasis MJS.

[145] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY 2 Systematic Theology, (Carlisle, PA:  THE BANNER OF TRUTH TRUST, 1977), 391

 

[146] (Mark Hitchcock, COULD THE RAPTURE HAPPEN TODAY?, (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2005) 80-81

[147] Ibid., 81

[148] John MacArthur, THE SECOND COMING, pp. 51-68

[149] Ibid., 52

[150] Ibid, 57

[151] John Murray, COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOHN MURRAY Vol. 2:  Systematic Theology, (Edinburg: The Banner of Truth Trust Pub., 1977]), 398

 

[152] Gary DeMar, Is the Rapture Found in Matthew 24? https://christianfamilystudycentre.home.blog/2020/12/07/is-the-rapture-found-in-matthew-24/

[153] William Hendriksen, Gospel of Luke, p. 805

[154] Joseph Henry Thayer, D.D., A GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), 112 (bold emphasis added).

[155] W.E. Vine (edited by F.F. Bruce), VINE’S Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Bible Publishers, 1981), 42 (bold emphasis added).

[156] Colin Brown, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 37-38 (bold emphasis added).

[157] Ibid., 38-39

[158] Greek English Online Bible Greek Lexicon, Online Bible Software, Ibid, (emphasis added).

 

[159] Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon, back-cover, p.144, New York: Bantam, 1980

[160] Chuck Smith, End Times, The Word for Today, 1978, 35.

[161] Francis X. Gumerlock, The Day and the Hour Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World, (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 2000), 290.

 

[162] I would agree with Lightfoot who takes Deuteronomy 32:22 as the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70.  And other commentators who see the “mountains” (plural) to be referring to the seven hills/mountains that represented and were present within Israel.  Israel was also known as a “mountain” (singular) or “Mount Zion.”  The Church had become the New Covenant Mount Zion and Old Covenant Israel had become apostate and rejected her Messiah.

[163] John F. MacArthur, THE SECOND COMING Signs of Christ’s Return and the End of the Age, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999), 80

[164] See Clarke’s comments on Mark 13:32, Adam Clarke’s Commentary – available online https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/24-36.html

 

[165] See John Gill’s Commentary on Matthew 24:36 – free online https://www.studylight.org/commentary/matthew/24-36.html

 

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

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

[167] Russell, Ibid., 105.

[168] Review of My Debate with Dr. Brown Over 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, https://fullpreterism.com/reviewing-and-critiquing-my-debate-with-charismatic-dr-michael-brown-over-1-corinthians-138-12-and-introducing-a-full-preterist-chronomessianic-interpretation-argument-on-daniel-924-27-that-went-un/  The debate on my YouTube includes viewing the charts and Power Point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5DZRv56eQg&t=185s

 

[169] Brock Hollett, DEBUNKING PRETERISM How Over-Realized Eschatology Misses the “Not Yet” of Bible Prophecy, (Kearney, NE:  Morris Publishing, 2018), 21

 

[170] The Bible Knowledge Commentary quotes from the scholarship provided in, The Burden of Babylon: A Study of Isaiah 13:2–14:23. Lund, Sweden: C.W.K. Glerrup, 1970, pp. 91–2)

[171] Seth Erlandsson, The Burden of Babylon A Study of Isaiah 13:2—14:23, 91-92

[172] John Gill, Ibid.,

[173] Don K. Preston, Can God Tell Time, p. 29-30

[174] Brown, Ibid. AJOJ, Vol. 1, pp. 77-78 

[175] John Gill’s Commentary, Ibid. free online

[176] Matthew Poole’s Commentary, also free and available online

[177] John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Ibid.

[178] David Green, Ed Hassertt and Michael Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, pp. 63-65

[179] House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 130

[180] Davids, P. H. (2006). The letters of 2 Peter and Jude (p. 278). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.)

[181] Lester L. Grabbe, An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel, and Jesus, (T&T Clark Publishing, 2010), see pages 93-96

 

[182] Ibid.

[183] Murray J. Harris, FROM GRAVE to GLORY RESURRECTION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT Including a Response to Norman L. Geisler, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 70

[184] Kiel and Delitzsch, The Pulpit Commentary, from the Bible Hub website https://biblehub.com/commentaries/job/19-26.htm

[185] Green, Hassertt and Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology…, Second Edition, Ibid., 194-195

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

[187] Ibid., 618-619

[188] Ibid., 620

[189] Ibid. 621

[190] Ibid., 628

[191] Kenneth L. Gentry, JR., HE SHALL HAVE DOMINION A POSTMILLENNIAL ESCHATOLOGY THIRD EDITION REVISED AND EXPANDED, (Draper, VA:  Apologetics Group Media, 2009), 538

[192] Ibid., 538

[193] Ibid., 538-539

[194] Ibid., 539

[195] Ibid., 540

[196] Kenneth Gentry, The GREATNESS OF THE BREAT COMMISSION, (Tyler, TX:  ICE Publishing, 1990), 142

[197] House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 178

[198] G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of The Old Testament In The New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131-132.

[199] Ibid., 131

[200] Ibid., 132

[201] Ibid., 132

[202] Ibid., 132

[203] House Divided Second Edition, Ibid., 179-178

[204] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, FOUR VIEWS ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION, (Grand Rapids, MI:  1998), 89.

[205] Ibid. 46

[206] Kenneth Gentry, co-authored book, THREE VIEWS ON THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND, (Grand Rapids MI:  Zondervan, 1999), 246 footnote 45.

[207] John Lightfoot, Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, Volume 4 (Hendrickson publications), 157. Lightfoot, Hammond, and Gill understand the “creation” to be referring to Gentiles. “ . . . Crellius (Comm., Para.) explains it as a reference to regenerate Christians and Le Clerc (Supp., NT) refers it particularly to Gentile Christians.” See also John Locke, The Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke.  I tend to see it as more of believers within Old Covenant Israel groaning under the law (Rms. 7) awaiting Messianic deliverance, but there is no reason to exclude righteous Gentiles also longing for the seed of the woman to deliver them from Adamic death and sin which the Mosaic Law only magnified.    

[208] Ibid., 158–159, emphases added

[209] John Lightfoot, Sermon on “Many Mansions,” cf. https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/lightfoot/vol06.pdf… pp. 322-323

[210] Tom Holland, Contours In Pauline Theology (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 85–110.

[211] Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness, Ibid., 225

[212] Kenneth Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, TX: Institute for Biblical Economics, 1989), 141-142; emphasis added

[213] Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, Everyman’s TALMUD, (New York:  E.P. DUTTON & CO., INC., 1949), 361-362

[214] quotes taken from:  Curtis Crenshaw and Grove Gunn, Dispensationalism Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, 204

[215] Ibid.

[216] Ibid.

[217] Wuest, K. S. (1997). The New Testament: An expanded translation (1 Co 15:20–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans

[218] Gordon D. Fee, THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans pub., 1987), 756

[219] Thiselton, A. C. (2000). The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A commentary on the Greek text (1234). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, emphasis MJS

 

[220] Don K. Preston, 2005, 2712 Mt. Washington Rd. Ardmore, Ok.

 

[221] Tom Holland, CONTOURS OF PAULINE THEOLOGY A RADICAL NEW SURVEY OF THE INFLUENCE ON PAUL’S BIBLICAL WRITINGS, (Mentor Imprint, Scotland, UK:  2004), 90, emphasis MJS).

[222] Ibid, 91

[223] Ibid., 91

[224] Ibid., 91

[225] Ibid., 95-96

[226] Ibid. 107

[227] Daniel Rodgers, The Last Enemy and the Triumph of Christ, (Ardmore, Ok: JaDon Management, 2017),  47-51

 

[228] (David Green, Ed Hassertt, Michael Sullivan, House Divided Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to When Shall These Things Be?, Ramona, CA: 2009 Second Edition, 206-210).

 

[229] (Richard Hays, The CONVERSION of the IMAGINATION Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture, Eerdmans pub., 2005), 38

[230] Ibid., 41

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