Formal Debate- On YouTube and FaceBook! Link for watching!

Don't miss this formal debate!!
Tune in this evening, May 10, 2017, for a formal YouTube Debate on the Salvation of Israel– Romans 11:25-27!

Formal Debate on YouTube / FaceBook!
Pickett -V Preston Exchange on the Salvation of Israel– Romans 11:25-27

The video of the entire formal YouTube debate held May 10, 2017,  between Dr. Himie Pickett, Progressive Dispensationlist, and Dr. Don K. Preston (true preterist).

Dr. Pickett presented himself as one of the leading authorities on Progressive Dispensationalism. He has openly stated that Dr. Preston has never debated anyone like him before. Just recently on FaceBook, he claimed that this debate will be “the death of preterism.”

Dr. Preston has had numerous formal debates on eschatology.

The topic of this formal debate of 90 minutes, livestream YouTube debate, centered on the “salvation of Israel” as promised in Romans 11:25-27.

Dr. Pickett affirmed that national, ethnic Israel will be converted at the Second Coming of Christ out of heaven, at the very height of the Great Tribulation period, some seven years after the Rapture has removed the church from the earth.

Dr. Preston will affirmed that the salvation of “all Israel” as promised in Romans 11 was fulfilled no later than the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

You may watch the debate in its entirety on YouTube,  It will also be archived on www.fulfilledradio.com.

Be sure to watch this formal debate on an important topic!

The Passing of the Law of Moses and the Increasing Desperation of Sam Frost – #2

The Passing of The Law of Moses and Sam Frost’s Growing Desperation – #2
As noted in our first installment, Sam Frost, former preterist, has offered his latest attempt to justify his departure from the truth of Covenant Eschatology. He gives us a labored “explanation” of Matthew 5:17-18 attempting to show that Jesus’ words there do not necessitate the fulfillment of the law of Moses– every jot and every tittle of it– before it could vanish away. This in spite of the fact that Jesus’ words are very clear: Not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law (which Frost agrees is a comprehensive term for the entirety of what we call the Old Testament) until it is all fulfilled.”

Among Frost’s many claims, he notes that the law cannot pass until it is all fulfilled, and among some of the jots and tittles of the law are predictions of the passing of “heaven and earth.” Thus, Frost concludes, until the material universe passes away, not one jot or one tittle of the Law will pass away.

Let’s be clear: Jesus did say “until heaven and earth passes, not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law.” So that is beyond dispute. The question before us, however, is, did Jesus mean that the law of Moses (Torah) will not pass away until the physical heaven and earth are destroyed? Second, where in the Tanakh do we find a prediction, or predictions, of the passing of the physical heaven and earth, per Frost’s claim?

I should observe that while Frost assures us that the OT predicts the end of the material heaven and earth, he did not give us any documentation. He offered not a verse to support that claim. He simply claimed: “We can also infer that the disappearance of the heavens and the earth is included in what the strokes of the pen of the Law and the Prophets say. That is, the Law and the Prophets contain within them the fact that the heavens and earth will disappear.” (P. 3 of 13).

Don’t you think it would be somewhat important to prove this foundational part of his argument? It is insufficient to simply claim something to be true, especially something that is critical to your argument. I took note in the first installment that Frost made the claim that material heaven and earth is what Jesus had in mind in Matthew 5, yet, once again, he offered no proof for his claims. His presumptive approach is, to say the least, disturbing and revealing.

But, once again, the question is, Does the Tanakh, what we call the Old Testament contain prophecies of the passing of the material creation, as Frost claims. I deny that it does. Let’s approach this in two ways:

1. The Old Covenant affirms the eternality of the material creation, and,

2. The Old Covenant predictions of the passing of “heaven and earth” are in fact predictions of the passing of the Old Covenant world of Israel– not predictions of the dissolution of material creation. Let’s look at the first point.

When YHVH had brought the flood, afterward, He declared:

“And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21-22).

Assuming– as Frost certainly affirms– that the Flood was universal, what do we find here? We find the Lord promising that He would never again destroy every living creature as He had done.

Now the normal argument is that what He meant by, “As I have done” is that He would never again destroy the world by a flood, but, that He will destroy it by fire – as 2 Peter is taken to mean. Thus, God was not concerned with Mercy, or even Magnitude, but just with a different Method of destruction! (Evidently, in that way of thinking, a Flood is messier than Fire!). I will not take the time to discuss it here, but suffice it to say that God promised in Isaiah to destroy “heaven and earth” with a Flood! He even used the language of Genesis to describe it! Perhaps this will pique the reader’s curiosity. I discuss all of this in my book The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat.

S, if we consider that YHVH was making this promise based on Mercy, not Method or Magnitude, then we have here a promise that He would never again bring a world wide judgment on the earth.

By the way, as to the question of Magnitude. The traditional view of the passing of heaven and earth– the view now of Frost – the supposed end of time, catastrophic conflagration would be (will be) absolutely incredibly greater than the Flood! After all, the heavens– the planets, the sun, the moon and the stars- were not destroyed in the Flood. Thus, God could not be saying, “I will not bring another cataclysmic judgment as great, as “universal” as the Flood, because in the traditional paradigm, that is precisely what He promised to do! In that supposed future judgment, God will destroy every living creature– which He did not do in the Flood. He will destroy the entire cosmos– which He did not do in the Flood!

Thus, God’s promise: “I will never again destroy every living creature as I have done” cannot be a promise that He would never again bring a judgment of the same magnitude, because, to reiterate, in the tradition view of the coming Day of the Lord, YHVH will bring about a judgment that is exponentially greater than the Flood! But that would create a contradiction in the Lord’s promise!

Psalms 148:1-6 offers insight into the promise of Genesis 8:
“Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.”

This great Psalm, which was the inspiration for one of the great church hymns, reflected on both the creation of the world, as well as the Flood. It speaks of How God established the “the heavens of the heavens and the waters above the heavens” and He “established them forever and ever.” This compounded declaration “forever and ever” often communicates the idea of eternality. It certainly speaks of the steadfastness, the abiding nature, of the creation in the Hebraic mind.

Psalms 89:34-37 likewise expresses the Hebraic view of the material creation, of the cosmos, and compares the throne of Messiah with the endurance of the cosmos:

“My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

So, reign of Messiah on the throne of David and the sun, the moon and the stars are equal in their endurance! When we realize that Messiah’s rule and reign on that throne is “without end” (Isaiah 9:6-9; Luke 1:32-33) this is powerful refutation of the idea that the sun, the moon and the stars of heaven will one day be burned up, at the so-called end of time.

There are other Old Testament discussions of the enduring nature of the material creation. See the first installment where we cite Ecclesiastes 1:4 for instance. But, this is sufficient and powerful refutation of Frost’s claim that the Old Testament predicted the passing of material creation.

It will naturally be rejoined that there are OT prophecies of the passing of “heaven and earth.” And of course, that is true. However, are those prophecies contradictions of the passages we have cited, or, is there something else about those predictions that must be examined? Is it possible that, in spite of Frost’s claim that it is “pernicious” to think so, those predictions of the passing of heaven and earth do in fact speak of the passing of Israel’s covenantal world? Do they perhaps speak of the passing of the Law of Moses, Israel’s covenantal heaven and earth? We will examine some of the OT prophecies of the passing of heaven and earth in our next installment, so stay tuned. In the meantime, get a copy of my book, The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat. You will be amazed at the wealth of evidence that I adduce to prove that the Bible did not predict the passing of the physical heaven and earth.

The Passing of the Law of Moses Was the Passing of Heaven and Earth
This book proves that Peter did not predict the “end of time!”

Up Coming Formal Debates

I want to remind our visitors of two important up coming formal debates.

May 10– I will be debating Dr. Himie Pickett, a Progressive Dispensationalist. Dr. Pickett is a member of the Pre-Tribulation group founded by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, but, rejects the standard Dispensational Premillennial view. That means that he ostensibly rejects the idea that Jesus came to establish the kingdom, but due to Jewish unbelief, the kingdom offer was postponed, and the church, which had never been predicted, was established.

Dr. Pickett nonetheless holds to the idea that at the future Second Coming of Christ, that will occur after the Rapture supposedly removes the church from the earth, that God will save Israel at the worst moment of the Great Tribulation. The Millennial kingdom, wherein ethnic Israel is restored, will then follow.

Romans 11:25-27 and Paul’s famous prediction that “all Israel shall be saved” will be the focus of this formal debate that will be carried live on YouTube, on May 10, 2017.

Contra Dr. Pickett, I will be affirming that Romans 11:25-27 was fulfilled in AD 70 in Christ’s coming in judgment of the Old Covenant world of Israel, sweeping away that Old Covenant creation, and saving the righteous remnant.

I will post the details and the link as soon as possible. In addition to being live streamed on YouTube, this formal debate will be carried on FaceBook, and, will also be archived on www.fulfilledradio.com. Be sure to tune into this formal Internet debate!

 

The Second Formal Debate we want to remind you about is my second formal public debate with Dr. David Hester, professor at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. This debate will be held at Dr. Hester’s home church, the Eastern Meadows church of Christ, 8464 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36117;    Phone:(334) 273-0001.  Dr. Hester and I had our first formal debate at the 2016 Preterist Pilgrim Weekend, July of 2016. DVDs and Mp3s of that first debate are now available from me.

As in the first debate, Dr. Hester will affirm that the resurrection of the just and the unjust is yet future and will occur at the end of time. I will affirm that the resurrection of the just and the unjust occured at the time of the fall of Jerusalem- the end of the Old Covenant Age of Israel – in AD 70.

This follow up debate promises to be lively and contain a wealth of information for research and study. You don’t want to miss it, so make your plans to be with us!

Blood Atonement and the Last Days – #5- Final Installment

Blood Atonement and the Last Days – #5– Final Installment

Be sure to read the previous installments:  #1   #2   #3   #4

Look now at how Revelation incorporates the key Old Testament prophecies of the Last Days and Blood Atonement that we’ve examined.

Deuteronomy 32:32, says that in Israel’s last days, she would become the vine of Sodom. In describing the city that killed the two witnesses, i.e., the prophets of God, she is spiritually called Sodom.

Likewise, at her destruction and demise, in Revelation 19, the paean of victory is sung and that victory is what? It is a direct echo of Deuteronomy 32: 43 that said He will avenge the blood of his saints. But in Revelation 19:2 we find, He has avenged the blood of his saints. Here is the Law of Blood Atonement fulfilled, as it was poured out on the city that had slain the prophets, Jesus and his apostles and prophets. They were unrepentant and hostile. There was no city of refuge for them.

Isaiah 2-4 predicted the last days vindication of the martyrs at the coming of the Lord. Yet, men would flee to the hills. Well, Revelation 6:12f, as we have seen, is a direct citation of Isaiah 2:19.

Isaiah 27 foretold the destruction of Leviathan at the time of the vindication of the martyrs. In Revelation 20:8f, we find the destruction of Satan at the end of the millennium.

Isaiah 59, the salvation of the remnant. Revelation 7 and 14, the salvation of the 144,000, the righteous remnant.

Daniel chapter 12 foretold the resurrection and the rewarding of the prophets. Revelation 11:15f, has the time of the dead that they should be judged, and the time to reward the prophets – once again a direct echo of Daniel 12. When would it be? At the fall of that city where the Lord was slain.

This raises another hermeneutical question. Each of these Old Testament prophecies posited martyr vindication – The doctrine of Blood Atonement – in Israel’s last days, at the end of the millennium and the destruction of Satan at the judgment of Old Covenant Israel. Revelation incorporates these Old Testament prophecies of the vindication of martyrs to promise imminent vindication at the judgment of Babylon. Revelation likewise incorporates Jesus’ promise of imminent vindication of the martyrs, the Old Testament prophets and Jesus’ apostles and prophets.

Remember Blaising’s quote that Revelation 20 is about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises. If Revelation 20, the end of the millennium judgment, is about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the vindication of the martyrs, then the end-of-the-millennium resurrection had to be in Jesus’ generation. All of these things would come upon this generation. Once again, Jesus undeniably posited vindication of the martyrs, all the blood shed on the earth, all the way back to creation, in AD70.

So a great hermeneutical question is raised: What is the justification for rejecting the Old Testament prophecies, Jesus’ emphatic promise, and Paul’s perfectly corresponding theology, and applying Revelation to a different persecuting power, a different set of martyrs, a different judgment, at the end of a different age, in fulfillment of a different set of promises, i.e., promises made to the church divorced from Israel? I suggest that there is no justification.

So I would ask you, and I would encourage you, yes, I would challenge you, to listen very carefully today. Listen very carefully to how the speakers who will follow — you know, well, I’ve got a target on my chest; I know I’m the first speaker, so here it is, you know, take a shot. But, listen very carefully to how the speakers deal with the undeniable fact that the consummative, not typological, but the consummative avenging of the martyrs is inextricably tied to Israel and her blood guilt in her last days, not the church divorced from Israel. Lamentably, far too few commentators honor this reality.

The Thessalonian Christians who were being persecuted by the Jews at that time would be given a relief “when the Lord Jesus is revealed,” and how they incorporate that with Jesus’ promise of vindication in that generation, thus delimiting the end of the millennium to that time.

I suggest that any interpretation of Revelation 20 that excludes Old Covenant Israel, her covenant promises and her blood guilt, thus her judgment, at the end of her covenant age, and ignores Jesus’ and Paul’s emphatic teaching on martyr vindication is prima facie false.

I think you can see that the vindication of the martyrs – and the application of the Law of Blood Atonement – is inextricably tied to the end of the millennium and to Israel, not the end of the church age.

Once again, Jesus emphatically posited vindication of all the martyrs, all the way back to creation, not just a small, isolated group, but all the martyrs all the way back to creation for his generation at the judgment of Jerusalem in AD70.

This agrees perfectly with all of the Old Testament prophecies, with what we have seen in Thessalonians and in Revelation. This definitively establishes my view. Does it raise all sorts of other questions? Indeed! But, all of the evidence points to the fact that the end-of-the-millennium resurrection was, “when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.” And no other time, and no other event better matches the Biblical datum than the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel that arrived with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.

Look now at how Revelation incorporates the key Old Testament prophecies that we’ve examined.

Deuteronomy 32:32, says that in Israel’s last days, she would become the vine of Sodom. In describing the city that killed the two witnesses, i.e., the prophets of God, she is spiritually called Sodom.

Likewise, at her destruction and demise, in Revelation 19, the paean of victory is sung and that victory is what? It is a direct echo of Deuteronomy 32: 43 that said He will avenge the blood of his saints. But in Revelation 19:2 we find, He has avenged the blood of his saints. Here is the Law of Blood Atonement fulfilled, as it was poured out on the city that had slain the prophets, Jesus and his apostles and prophets. They were unrepentant and hostile. There was no city of refuge for them.

Isaiah 2-4 predicted the last days vindication of the martyrs at the coming of the Lord. Yet, men would flee to the hills. Well, Revelation 6:12f, as we have seen, is a direct citation of Isaiah 2:19.

Isaiah 27 foretold the destruction of Leviathan at the time of the vindication of the martyrs. In Revelation 20:8f, we find the destruction of Satan at the end of the millennium.

Isaiah 59, the salvation of the remnant. Revelation 7 and 14, the salvation of the 144,000, the righteous remnant.

Daniel chapter 12 foretold the resurrection and the rewarding of the prophets. Revelation 11:15f, has the time of the dead that they should be judged, and the time to reward the prophets – once again a direct echo of Daniel 12. When would it be? At the fall of that city where the Lord was slain.

This raises another hermeneutical question. Each of these Old Testament prophecies posited martyr vindication in Israel’s last days, at the end of the millennium and the destruction of Satan at the judgment of Old Covenant Israel. Revelation incorporates these Old Testament prophecies of the vindication of martyrs to promise imminent vindication at the judgment of Babylon. Revelation likewise incorporates Jesus’ promise of imminent vindication of the martyrs, the Old Testament prophets and Jesus’ apostles and prophets.

Remember Blaising’s quote that Revelation 20 is about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises. If Revelation 20, the end of the millennium judgment, is about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the vindication of the martyrs, then the end-of-the-millennium resurrection had to be in Jesus’ generation. All of these things would come upon this generation. Once again, Jesus undeniably posited vindication of the martyrs, all the blood shed on the earth, all the way back to creation, in AD70.

So a great hermeneutical question is raised: What is the justification for rejecting the Old Testament prophecies, Jesus’ emphatic promise, and Paul’s perfectly corresponding theology, and applying Revelation to a different persecuting power, a different set of martyrs, a different judgment, at the end of a different age, in fulfillment of a different set of promises, i.e., promises made to the church divorced from Israel? I suggest that there is no justification.

So I would ask you, and I would encourage you, yes, I would challenge you, to listen very carefully today. Listen very carefully to how the speakers who will follow — you know, well, I’ve got a target on my chest; I know I’m the first speaker, so here it is, you know, take a shot. But, listen very carefully to how the speakers deal with the undeniable fact that the consummative, not typological, but the consummative avenging of the martyrs is inextricably tied to Israel and her blood guilt in her last days, not the church divorced from Israel. Lamentably, far too few commentators honor this reality.

The Thessalonian Christians who were being persecuted by the Jews at that time would be given a relief “when the Lord Jesus is revealed,” and how they incorporate that with Jesus’ promise of vindication in that generation, thus delimiting the end of the millennium to that time.

I suggest that any interpretation of Revelation 20 that excludes Old Covenant Israel, her covenant promises and her blood guilt, thus her judgment, at the end of her covenant age, and ignores Jesus’ and Paul’s emphatic teaching on martyr vindication is prima facie false.

I think you can see that the vindication of the martyrs – and the application of the Law of Blood Atonement – is inextricably tied to the end of the millennium and to Israel, not the end of the church age.

Once again, Jesus emphatically posited vindication of all the martyrs, all the way back to creation, not just a small, isolated group, but all the martyrs all the way back to creation for his generation at the judgment of Jerusalem in AD70.

This agrees perfectly with all of the Old Testament prophecies, with what we have seen in Thessalonians and in Revelation. This definitively establishes my view. Does it raise all sorts of other questions? Indeed! But, all of the evidence points to the fact that the end-of-the-millennium resurrection was, “when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.” And no other time, and no other event better matches the Biblical datum than the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel that arrived with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.

Be sure to get a copy of Sam Dawson’s excellent book, Revelation Revealed, for an in-depth study of the doctrine of Blood Atonement.

 

Blood Atonement and the Last Days – #4

Blood Atonement and the Last Days #4

Be sure to read the previous three installments in this series to grasp the full meaning of the subject of Blood Atonement

The fifth passage I want to examine is Daniel 12. Daniel 12, compared to 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20 very clearly contains the following constituent elements:

Number one is about the salvation hope of Israel, as we have demonstrated. It’s the time of the end. Daniel foretold the Great Tribulation. Where does Revelation 20 posit the tribulation? At the end of the millennium. Again we’re dealing with the resurrection to eternal life (Daniel 12:2) just as 1 Corinthians 15 is talking about the resurrection for eternal life, and Revelation 21 as well.

Notice that Daniel12 is about the vindication of martyrs, the time of the rewarding of the prophets. Likewise, Revelation 11 is the time of the dead that they should be judged and the time of the rewarding of the prophets. This is a direct allusion back to Daniel 12. Daniel 12 explicitly tells us that the resurrection would be fulfilled, “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (v. 7). Likewise, Paul said the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be when the law that is the strength of the sin would be fulfilled.

Here is a significant fact. The only law in scripture that is ever labeled as, described as, the “strength of sin” was Torah. Patently, the gospel is not the strength of the sin. Thus Paul agrees with Daniel in positing the end-of-the-millennium resurrection at the end of Torah, the strength of sin, when Daniel posits the end-of-the-millennium resurrection as a time when Israel’s power would be completely shattered.

My argument here is really quite simple.

Daniel 12 is the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15, the end-of-the-millennium resurrection of Revelation 20. (Now to my knowledge, every man on the dais today agrees with that except Kenneth Gentry. He once applied Daniel 12:2 to the “end of the world” (Kenneth Gentry, The Greatness of the Great Commission, (Tyler, Tx.; Institute for Christian Economics, 1993), 142). He now says, “Daniel appears to be presenting Israel as a grave site under God’s curse; Israel as a corporate body is in the dust (Daniel 12:2; cp. Ge. 3:14, 19). In this he follows Ezekiel’s pattern in his vision of the dry bones, which represents Israel’s ‘death’ in the Babylonian dispersion (Ezekiel 37). In Daniel’s prophecy many will awaken, as it were, during the great tribulation to suffer the full fury of divine wrath, while others will enjoy God’s grace in receiving everlasting life” (He Shall Have Dominion, (Draper, VA.; Apologetics Group, 2009), 538).

But the resurrection of Daniel 12 would be accomplished, “when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.”

Therefore, the end-of-the-millennium resurrection of 1 Corinthians and Revelation 20, was, or will be, accomplished when the power of the holy people is completely shattered. It is critical to realize that Daniel emphatically tells us that the kingdom of Messiah would never be destroyed (2:44; 7:13f). Similarly, Jesus said his word will never pass away. It cannot therefore, be suggested that the resurrection of Daniel 12 anticipates the resurrection at the end of the Christian age. Only one age was to come to an end, and that is the age represented by the Jerusalem Temple (Matthew 24:1-3).

For an exhaustive study of Daniel 12 and the Resurrection, including how it relates to the doctrine of Blood Atonement, be sure to get a copy of my book, The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Future or Fulfilled?

Blood Atonement and Resurrection are inter related!
This book is a major study not only of the resurrection, but of Blood Atonement as well.

Stay tuned for more on Blood Atonement!

 

Blood Atonement and the Last Days – #3

Blood Atonement and the Last Days – #3

Be sure to go back and read the first two installments in this series of articles on Blood Atonement. Number 1 hereNumber 2 Here.

The third text I want to look at is Isaiah, chapters 24-27, known as the Little Apocalypse. Beginning with verse 7 in chapter 25, the Lord said, “He will destroy on this mountain” – that’s Zion. I would like to have a lot to say about that, but I can’t – “the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all of the faces…and it will be said in that day, behold this is our God; we have waited for Him; He will save us…. We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” This is very clearly the end-of-the-millennium resurrection. It’s the very verse that Paul quotes in 1 Corinthians 15:55 when he said “this mortal has put on immortality… the corruptible has put on incorruption, then shall be brought to pass the saying, death is swallowed up in victory.” That’s Isaiah. Therefore, Isaiah is the end-of-the-millennium resurrection.

This is patently the salvation hope of Israel. But let’s look a little closer at the Little Apocalypse, let’s move into chapter 26. Now by the way, most of these men agree that the Little Apocalypse is speaking of the eschatological consummation, not a typological consummation. Isaiah predicted the end-of-the-millennium resurrection (Isaiah 25:8). Likewise chapter 26:19f, the earth shall give up its dead. But notice, it would be in the day in which the Lord shall descend out of the heavens and tread on the tops of the mountains (26:20).

But notice this. It is also the time of the vindication of the martyrs – the earth shall disclose its blood. Meredith Kline wrote a great article demonstrating this not too long ago. (Meredith G. Kline, “Death, Leviathan and Martyrs: Isaiah 24:1-27:1″ A Tribute to Gleason Archer, ed. by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. And Ronald Youngblood, Chicago; Moody Press, 1986), 229-249). But notice this. “In that day”; in what day? The day of the vindication of the martyrs, the day of the coming of the Lord, the day of the end-of-the-millennium resurrection. In that day, Leviathan shall be destroyed (27:1).

Note that in 27:10-11, it is at the time of the salvation of Israel which Isaiah 25:8-9 told us the resurrection is the salvation of Israel. Significantly, it is likewise, the time of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel, because in that day would be the time when He turns the stones of the altar into chalk stone, He destroys the fortified city, and, “the one who made them will no longer have mercy on them.” And why? Well, it tells us. Because, “this is a people of no understanding,” a direct citation or allusion to Deuteronomy 32:28. Deuteronomy 32:28 that said in Israel’s last days, here is what will happen: They will become like Sodom; I will destroy them. So, in Isaiah 24-27, we have Israel’s last days, the vindication of the martyrs at the destruction of Old Covenant Israel.

Passage number 4 – Isaiah 59. As universally acknowledged, Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59 serve as Paul’s source for his prediction of the salvation hope of Israel in Romans 11:25-27. Just like Deuteronomy 32, just like Isaiah 2-4, just like Isaiah 26-27, Isaiah 59 predicted the vindication of the martyrs at the Day of the Lord and also at the judgment of Old Covenant Israel. Isaiah 59 breaks itself down easily into three headings:

Number one – Accusation – four times in verses 3-7 God accuses Israel of shedding innocent blood, of being quick to violence, and that leads to point #2.

Point #2 – Israel Acknowledges her guilt. Notice what she says, “our transgressions are multiplied before you.” This is Deuteronomy 31:29: You will fill up the measure of your sin. So Israel even admits her transgression, “our transgressions are multiplied before you.”

And so, Point #3 – Yahweh decides to take Action in verses 16f: “He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, he was clad with zeal as a cloak, according to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies…so shall they fear the name of the Lord…the redeemer will come to Zion and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says the Lord. As for me, says the Lord, this is my covenant with them.”

Now, Romans 11:25-27 anticipated the parousia for the salvation of Israel in fulfillment of Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59; that is more abundantly clear.

However, Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59 foretold the coming of the Lord, and to be sure, for the salvation of Israel, i.e., the salvation of the remnant. And, that would be at the end-of-the-millennium resurrection (Isaiah 25-26).

Remember it would be at the destruction of Leviathan, Satan. When does the destruction of Leviathan take place? All you have to do is read Revelation 20:10-12 – at the end of the millennium. When would that be, however? According to Isaiah 26:21 and Isaiah 59:16, it would be at the coming of the Lord for the vindication of the martyrs. But that is not all. It would be when the fortified city would be destroyed, the altar crushed and the people whom Yahweh had created would be forsaken. That is not the church.

Thus, Romans 11, being the anticipation of the fulfillment of Isaiah 27 and 59 would be fulfilled at the end of the millennium, at the avenging of the blood of the martyrs, at the time of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel. But, we want to look a little closer.

I suggest that there is no futurist eschatology that properly honors what Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59 actually says.

Amillennialists redefine Israel in Romans 11, as somehow the church, or they posit the salvation of ethnic Jews throughout the entire span of the Christian age. Greg Beale does this. (Greg Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, (Grand Rapids; Baker, 2011), 706+). But these positions ignore the vindication of the martyr motif and the judgment of Israel motif explicitly found in Isaiah 27 and 59.

Post-millennialists likewise ignore the judgment of Israel and the martyr vindication (The law of Blood Atonement) specifically and explicitly found in Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59, as does Kenneth Gentry. While Gentry spends time discussing Romans 11 in his massive He Shall Have Dominion, (Draper, VA, Apologetics Group, 2009)254) he ignores the prophetic background and does not so much as mention the themes found in Isaiah 27 / 59. He posits the traditional Postmillennial view that Romans 11:25f speaks of a yet future “massive, world-wide conversion.”

Pre-millennialists posit unbelieving Israel as the victim of a foreign persecuting power, not the persecutor as Isaiah clearly says. I would suggest, therefore, that none of these truly honors what Isaiah says. I have not found a single Dispensational author who honors the prophetic source of Romans 11:25f and the proper identification of Israel as the persecutor. Invariably, Premillennialists posit Romans 11 as predictive of a future time when Israel, being persecuted by the anti-christ, cries out to the Lord and is saved at the parousia.

This raises a very serious hermeneutical question. Isaiah 26 and 27 predicted the end-of-the-millennium resurrection, the Day of the Lord, the destruction of Satan, the vindication of the martyrs at the time of the salvation of the righteous remnant, as well as the judgment on Old Covenant Israel, not the church.

Isaiah 59 likewise foretold the Day of Lord, the vindication of martyrs, the salvation of the remnant, the judgment on Old Covenant Israel as the persecuting power. Now Romans 11 anticipated the fulfillment of Isaiah 27 and Isaiah 59. What then, is the hermeneutical principle for saying Romans 11 anticipates a future salvation of the church or deliverance of Israel from a foreign persecuting power divorced from the context of judgment on Old Covenant Israel for her blood guilt for shedding innocent blood? More on Blood Atonement and the Last Days in our next installment.

For an extensive discussion of the doctrine of Blood Atonement and its relationship to eschatology, see my book The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Future or Fulfilled?

Blood Atonement and the Resurrection are inter-related subjects!
For a rich, persuasive look at the relationship between eschatology and Blood Atonement, get a copy of this major work.

2 Thessalonians 2:2 – Whose WaterLoo Is It Really? A Response to Howard Denham

 2 Thessalonians 2:2- Whose WaterLoo Is It?      A Response to Howard
The acerbic and caustic Howard Denham recently wrote an article on Paul’s statement in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2:

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (NKJV)

Denham calls this text “Preston’s Waterloo” Denham claims that:
1.) I have abused the text in my book How Is This Possible?, and that,
2. The proper translation should be, as the KJV renders it, “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ is just at hand.”
Denham is absolutely desperate to negate the NKJV rendering of “had come.” (It should be noted of course, that the NKJV was for the specific purpose of correcting some of the errors in the original KJV. So, when the NKJV renders the text as “has come” this is significant).
Denham knows that no one could convince anyone that his concept of the Day of the Lord, i.e. an earth burning, time ending event, had already come. The idea is ridiculous.
In addition, Denham seeks to create a “false contradiction.” His goal is to show that Paul was denying the imminence of the parousia as early as AD 52. This would- in Denham’s mind – somehow negate the other (and later) NT declarations that the Day of the Lord was at hand.
So, in his attempt to negate the NKJV rendering of “had come,” Denham cites different commentaries and lexicons, among them A. T. Robertson, Vincent, Perschbacher, Mounce, Thayer, Bloomfield, Lightfoot. After citing those sources, Denham then says:
“These and a myriad of other sources show that the construction is not referring, as Don Preston, has claimed to something that had already occurred – is in the past in the sense that Christ had already come, but rather it is impending and present, that it stands in the state of being upon them, so that Christ may appear at any moment!” The fact is that Denham has done nothing but reveal his willingness to ignore– even distort- the text, and the scholars, to maintain his futurist eschatology.
What Denham fails to share with the reader is that often, the motivation of these sources for rejecting the “has come’ rendering is due to the theological bias of the sources! This is found in many cases.
The Pulpit Commentary says that enesteken means  “literally is present,” although they confess they find it, “difficult to conceive how the Thessalonians could think that the day of the Lord was actually present. We cannot imagine that they thought that Christ had already come for judgment.” (Pulpit Commentary, Vol 21 (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1977), 24).
Similarly, the late F. F. Bruce, a world class Greek scholar, rendered the text as “present.” In his commentary he says, “It cannot be seriously disputed that ‘is present’ is the natural sense of enesteken.” He says there is, “considerable support for the sense of imminence,” but admits enesteken “will not bear” this. In similar fashion, Now, note Bruce’s reason for wanting to reject the indisputably correct rendering of “present”: “it cannot be supposed that the Thessalonians could have been misled that the events of I Thessalonians had taken place.”  (Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 45,(Dallas; Word Incorporated, 1982), in loc).  In my book, How Is This Possible? I document this kind of attitude even more.
Do you see what is going on here? These commentators- like Denham- believed in a literal, physical coming of the Lord at the end of time –- and because of that theological bias wanted to reject what they admitted was the undeniably correct linguistic translation, but, could not bring themselves as a scholar to do it.
Denham, thinking he has rendered the translation of “has come” as untenable, then tries to make his point:
“Remember, Don Preston has affirmed that mello with the infinitive means “about to be, at the point of” occurring relative to the coming of Christ a few years before this passage was ever written! A text that speaks of it in the present tense is not one that helps him. He needs this text to read “that the day of the Lord had come in the past,” and not “is come,” “is present,” “is at hand,” “is upon” etc.]”
As usual, Denham either misses the point, or abuses it.
First of all, Jesus had affirmed, unequivocally, that he was coming in the first century. He was “about to come”- Matthew 16:27-28- which is defined as in the generation of his audience.
Second, since Jesus had affirmed is first century parousia in judgment (Matthew 24:29-34 / 26:64f), then Paul could not have been denying that in Thessalonians, since he said he got his gospel message from Jesus!
With these preliminaries in mind, I want to offer a few brief observations that reveal the untenable and specious nature of Denham’s argument.
1. The irony of Howard Denham’s article cannot be overlooked. In on-line discussions with Denham in the past, between me and with others, Denham has absolutely – and harshly – condemned us for not honoring the Greek tenses in any text that he appealed to. He has called anyone that dared challenge his application of Greek tenses in a given text a “liar,” a “snake in the grass,” and other hateful terms. But, what has now happened in 2 Thessalonians 2? Denham rejects, categorically, the Greek tense of the Greek (the word is enesteken).
This word, is in the perfect active indicative. The perfect active indicative indicates the continuation and present state of a past action. Thus, the meaning, in a proper, accurate translation of 2 Thessalonians 2 would be “has come and is now present.” (Many translations render it just that way).

So, we have in Denham’s article, an overt self contradiction. On the one hand he has called anyone that dares not accept the Greek tenses in other texts a “heretic.” But, when we come to 2 Thessalonians 2, which, properly translated falsifies his eschatology– he says “No, No! Don’t pay attention to the Greek tenses!” Such irony! Such self-contradiction!

2. It is also revealing that Denham refused to share with his readers what the translations have to say about 2 Thessalonians 2:2. I have been studying the issue of 2 Thessalonians 2:2 for many years now, and am constantly examining the translational evidence. I have now examined well over 50 translations. To this date, I have found a total of nine translations (some of them rather obscure ones) that render the text as “at hand.” By far the vast majority of the translations render the text as “has come.”
So, we have the preponderant testimony of the translations arrayed against Denham. We have the acknowledged theological bias stated, by at least some noted scholars, as the only reason for their rejection of the indisputable linguistic translation. But, this is by no means all.
3. Could Paul– if one accepted the “at hand” rendering of 2 Thessalonians 2– have condemned the teaching that the Day of the Lord was imminent? Not without contradicting himself – and other NT writers –  for make no mistake, Paul affirmed the nearness of the Day of the Lord!
Take a look at Romans 12:11f, from Paul’s pen:
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” Observe just a point or two.
✔ Paul said that they “knew the time” (eidontes ton kairon). They fully understood what the appointed (kairos) time was!
✔ He even said that the “hour” (from hora) had arrived for them to rise out of their sleep. This is  resurrection language , and an echo of Daniel 12:2.

✔ He said their salvation– which would come at the Day of the Lord (Romans 11:25-27) was “nearer now than when we first believed.” Now, Denham would have us believe that this “nearer” simply means nothing! He would say that we today are even nearer than they were, thus destroying the time element.

✔ Paul “the Day has drawn near” (there is that pesky- for Denham –  perfect active indicative!).
So, what we have in Romans 13– and a host of other texts – is the clear cut affirmation by Paul that the Day of the Lord, the appointed time of the resurrection, had drawn near. Was he now contradicting what he said in Thessalonians? No, he was declaring the consistent message of the NT- the end of the age, Christ’s coming and the resurrection was truly imminent.
4.  Follow me here closely on this next and final point, for it is definitive.
In the past, Denham has – and continues to – appeal to 2 Timothy 2:17-18 as a condemnation of  preterists. Here is what Paul wrote to Timothy at Ephesus:
“And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.”
Denham says preterists are guilty of the Hymenaean Heresy, i.e. of saying that the resurrection is past, over, done! Do you see a train coming? If not, look closer! But, before proceeding to that, let me ask the reader to consider:
If the resurrection is a time ending, earth burning event, in which every human that has ever lived is raised out of the dirt, (as Howard Denham affirms)– ask yourself: How could anyone, convince anyone, that time had ended already, that the earth had burned up already, that the literal graves of every human who had ever died, was now empty? If you cannot explain how anyone could possibly believe that Howard Denham’s view of the resurrection was already past, then you have a serious problem with your eschatology! Now, to an exposure of Denham’s desperation.
To my knowledge, Denham, nor anyone on his side of the eschatological controversy, has ever suggested that Hymenaeaus and company were saying that the resurrection as “at hand.” (BTW, the Greek of 2 Timothy 2:18 is in the perfect infinitive indicative (“to have taken place, and stands).  The invariable appeal to 2 Timothy 2 is to say, “Hymenaeaus said the resurrection was already past. He was a heretic. Preterists say the resurrection is past. They are therefore, guilty of the same heresy as Hymenaeaus!”
Oh, my goodness! What a quandary for Denham! Let me state this as succinctly as possible.
The resurrection occurs at the Day of the Lord.
Hymenaeaus said the resurrection was past.
Therefore, Hymenaeanus said the Day of the Lord was past!
Would Denham deny that the resurrection occurs at the Day of the Lord? Well, he basically affirmed that the two events are synchronous in his 2016 debate with Holger Neubaur! And, make no mistake, in the church of Christ fellowship to which Denham belongs, there has never, ever been a suggestion otherwise. There is no doubt, not a hint of a clue of a suggestion, that Denham would deny the connection between the Day of the Lord and the resurrection. It is unthinkable for them.
Well, would – Will? – Denham now claim– in a drastic, 180% change of position –  that Hymenaeaus simply said that the resurrection was “at hand”?  Believe me, Denham and his followers are so desperate to counter preterism, that it is possible that they would now make such an incredible, unprecedented claim! I guess we shall see!!
So, again, if Denham admits – and make no mistake, he does – that Hymenaeus taught that the resurrection was PAST (not “at hand,” or “near”) then he was saying that the parousia of Christ had already taken place! This is indisputably true.
I should note that to my knowledge, there has never been a commentator that has ever suggested that Hymenaeaus was saying the resurrection was “near,” or “at hand.” There is not so much as a hint in any of the literature that this was the problem with Hymenaeaus! And I can assure you that Denham would never make that argument!
So, unless Howard Denham now wants to create a brand new, unprecedented claim that Hymenaeaus was simply claiming that the resurrection was near, then Denham has met his Waterloo.
Unless Denham now wants to say that the resurrection and the Day of the Lord occur at different times, he has met his Waterloo.
Unless Denham wants to say  that in Thessalonians 2 Paul was dealing with a totally different issue from that in 2 Timothy 2, then he has met his Waterloo. I can assure you that this is not Denham’s argument. His little article proves beyond any doubt that he believes that the false teachers in Thessalonica were saying that the “final” Day of the Lord – the resurrection day of 2 Timothy 2 – was at hand.
So, Denham’s “argument” that the false teachers in Thessalonica were saying that the parousia was “at hand” shatters in pieces in the light of 2 Timothy 2. He has never taught, and does not believe, that Hymenaeaus was saying that the resurrection / Day of the Lord was at hand / imminent. So, to reiterate, since Hymenaeaus was saying that the resurrection was past, then he was saying the Day of the Lord had already come.  To say that this is devastating to Denham is a huge understatement.
This is fatal. “Napoleon Denham” – Not Preston – has met his Waterloo!

The Law of Blood Atonement, Deuteronomy 32 and Eschatology – #2

The Law of Blood Atonement, Deuteronomy 32 and Eschatology – #2

As we demonstrated in the previous article, the Doctrine of Blood Atonement, and the prophecy of Deuteronomy 32 of Israel’s last days when the blood of the martyrs would be avenged, is a critical eschatological doctrine that is, lamentably, often ignored.

As promised in the previous installment, I want now to post an edited version of a paper I presented at Criswell College, in Dallas, Texas, in 2012. My paper was “The Preterist Perspective of the Millennium.” I approached that topic from the perspective of Martyr Vindication, the application of the Law of Blood Atonement. What is so interesting is that prior to the proceedings, the president of Criswell, Dr. Jerry Johnson, gathered all of the speakers, that included myself, Greg Beale, Ken Gentry, Craig Blaising, Craig Bloomberg in a back room. He urged us to not be afraid to address and rebut each other’s presentations, with proper decorum, of course. Even though I was the first speaker, not one of the speakers addressed anything that I said! Not one! It was as if I had not said anything! This was more than a little amazing and revealing, for as you can see as your read below, I did address the writings of Beale, Gentry, Blasing, etc. showing the inconsistencies of their views.

With all of this noted, I want now to present the main portion of my presentation at Criswell. This presentation shows how pervasive the doctrine of Blood Atonement and Martyr Vindication is in the Bible, and how clearly martyr vindication is invariably posited at the end of the Old Covenant Age of Israel in AD 70.

Isaiah 2-4, the Last Days and Martyr Vindication

Isaiah, chapters 2-4, predicted the last days (Isaiah 2:2) and the establishment of the Messianic temple. Beale has done a great job in his book on the temple and the church. I recommend that book. Isaiah likewise predicted the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:10).

Notice verses 19f, when men could run to the mountains, cry to the rocks, “fall on us.” Robinson said in his 1979 book, “exhortations or statements about fleeing to the hills and crying to the rocks, fall on us,” hardly comports with the idea of a Day of the Lord in an earth-burning, time-ending, over-in-a-moment, in the twinkling-of-an-eye event,” (John A. T. Robinson, Jesus and His Coming, (Philadelphia; Westminster Press, 1979), 74). I fully concur.

Notice in chapter 3 as the writer continues, Isaiah predicted that Jerusalem “declares their sin like Sodom. They declare it, and they hide it not.” This is a direct echo back to the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:32). Deuteronomy 32 – Israel’s last days; Isaiah 2-4 — Israel’s last days. Israel will become like Sodom; Israel will declare her sin like Sodom.

Notice in chapter 3:18f, it speaks of the time of THE war – definite article in the Septuagint, and it’s a time of the war when Israel’s men would fall by the edge of the sword. Jesus directly echoes that in Luke 21:24, when he said, speaking of the fall of Jerusalem in AD70, that Israel’s men would fall by the edge of the sword. Not only that, it was this time of THE war, the polemos, and in Revelation 16:14, 19:19, 20:8f, we find reference to the gathering of the kings of the earth.

So, Isaiah predicted the last days, the Day of the Lord, the vindication of the martyrs – and in Revelation 16:19-20, we have the motif of the vindication of the martyrs at the time of the gathering of the nations and the kings of the earth for THE war. Different war? No. It is the identical motif, the vindication of the martyrs.

But this event, this Day of the Lord, when Israel’s men would fall by the edge of the sword in the war, is likewise the time of the appearing of the glorious Branch. It’s either the appearing of the glorious Branch or the glorious appearing of the Branch, whichever you prefer there. But it’s the glorious appearing of Yahweh’s Branch, and notice – in that day, God would avenge the blood guilt of Jerusalem. It’s not the church. The blood guilt of Jerusalem by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of fire.

Now I want you to notice an incredible set of correspondences.

Isaiah 2-4, foretold the last days; the Day of the Lord, when Yahweh would judge Jerusalem for her blood guilt. This is the vindication of the martyrs.

Jesus, Isaiah 2-4 and Martyr Vindication

In Luke 23:28f, Jesus was being led to his death, and the women were weeping over him, and he turned to them and he said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, weep for yourselves and for your children for the time is coming in which they will… run to the hills and they will cry to the rocks, fall on us.” A direct citation of Isaiah 2:19, and of course, the parallel of Hosea 10:8.

Now scholars almost universally acknowledge that Jesus was referencing the coming AD70 judgment of Israel. But watch this:

Paul, Isaiah 2-4 and Martyr Vindication

In 2 Thessalonians 1:9, as Paul writes to the Thessalonians, being persecuted for their faith. He promised them imminent vindication of that suffering and relief from that persecution at the Day of the Lord. And, he quotes from the identical verse from Isaiah (2:19) that Jesus himself applied to AD70, and he quoted it to promise the imminent vindication for Thessalonian martyrs.

But that’s not all. In Revelation 6:9f, the souls under the altar had been slain for the word of God and the testimony which they held, they cried out for vindication, “How long, O, Lord, holy and true, do you not avenge us on the earth?” They’re told to “rest for a little while;” they weren’t told to rest for thousands of years. They were told to “rest for a little while,” and the answer to their prayer is the great and awesome Day of the Lord.

But note that John quotes from Isaiah 2:19, the identical verse from Isaiah that Jesus applied to AD70 in his, John’s, prediction of the imminent Day of the Lord for the vindication of the martyrs.

My question is, therefore, what is the hermeneutic of distinction? If Jesus applied Isaiah 2- 4 to AD70, and Paul and John quoted from the identical verse, what’s our hermeneutic of distinction to say that John and Paul were applying Isaiah to something totally different?

More to follow. In the meantime, be sure to get a copy of my book Who Is This Babylon? in which I explore and discuss Martyr Vindication and eschatology.

Who is This Babylon
This book contains a wealth of information on the Doctrine of Blood Atonement and the Vindication of the Martyrs.

Time of the End, or the End of Time? #5

The Time of the End, or The End of Time?

Be sure to read the previous installment in this series in order to properly appreciate this last installment.

Did the disciples not understand what Jesus said in Matthew 16:27-28? (See our article where I discuss this). Was the disciples’ understanding of Jesus’ teaching worse than that of the Pharisees in Matthew 21, so much so that although the Pharisees understood that Jesus was speaking of their impending judgment at the coming of the Lord, the disciples just did not get it? Did the disciples not comprehend Jesus’ emphatic declaration of the coming judgment of the city that had killed the prophets? Just how dense were Jesus’ disciples, if the modern day assumptions are correct?

Make no mistake. The disciples were often confused about Jesus’ teachings. That is not the issue. The telling fact however, is that in virtually every instance in which the disciples did not understand what Jesus said, the gospel writers plainly tell us that they did not understand! The question is therefore, where in the Olivet Discourse do we find anything resembling such a statement in Matthew 24?

In several instances in the Gospels we are told “they had not understood” (Mark 6:52).

In Matthew 15:17 Jesus asked his disciples if they now understood about what actually defiles a person.

In Matthew 16 and parallels, Jesus scolded the disciples for their failure to understand his comments about the “leaven of the Pharisees.” But, in that very text, in which the disciples did not initially understand what was said, after Jesus’ instruction, the Gospel writer tells us, “Then the disciples understood” (Matthew 16:6-12).

In Mark 4, after telling the parable of the soils and the disciples ask for the interpretation, Jesus said “If you do not understand this parable, how then will you understand all the parables?”

We have Jesus overtly chiding his disciples for not understanding what he said in regard to his impending death (Mark 9:32; Luke 24:25f; John 14). In fact, it was discussions of Jesus’ coming passion and resurrection that elicited more comments about their misunderstanding than any other occasion.

The point is that when the disciples did not understand something the Lord said the Gospel writers, looking back at those instances, tell us of their confusion or ignorance. They even tell us how later actions shed light on their understanding (John 12:16).

In stark contrast with these emphatic statements concerning the disciples’ confusion or lack of comprehension, there is nothing in Matthew 24 that even closely resembles, even slightly suggests in any way whatsoever that the disciples did not understand the nature of their own questions.

There is no, “They did not understand” declaration.

There is no, “After his glorification, then they came to know.”

There is no, “After he was risen, then the disciples remembered…” (Cf. John 2:19-22).

There is not a word from Jesus’ chiding them for mistakenly linking the coming destruction of the city and temple with his coming and the end of the age.

In every case that we know the disciples were confused, the way- the only way – that we know of their confusion is because the text explicitly speaks of it. So, we ask again, where in the Olivet Discourse do we find any idea, any hint, any suggestion, any statement, that the disciples were in error? It is simply not there. It has to be read into the text. Thus, when it is claimed, as some do, that since the disciples were confused about Jesus’ teaching, on other subjects and in other contexts, this demands that they were confused in regard to their questions in Matthew 24, this is an example of bad logic. It is a non-sequitur in the truest sense. This is like saying since a person is confused on the subject of math, that this means that they must be confused when history is being discussed.

So, let me reiterate: There is not a word from Jesus’ (or from the writers of the Gospels who record the disciples’ questions) chiding them for mistakenly linking the coming destruction of the city and temple with his coming and the end of the age. Since the text never says or indicates that they were wrong, misguided or confused, it is the modern student that is wrong to say that those disciples were wrong.

So, what does this mean?

1.) It means that we have emphatic OT prophecies of the end of the age and coming of the Lord that posit fulfillment at the time of the destruction of the Old Covenant world. The disciples, of course, were intimately familiar with these prophecies.

2.) We have Jesus citing one of the central OT prophecies of the end of the age resurrection which unambiguously places the consummation at the time of Israel’s destruction.

3.) Not only does Jesus cite that OT prophecy, but in three pericopes prior to Matthew 24 Jesus predicted the impending destruction of Jerusalem at the coming of the Lord.

4.) When Jesus told the parable of the end of the age, and cited Daniel 12, he then asked his disciples if they understood what he had taught them, and they affirmed that they did understand.

5.) We have the undeniable fact that in on all other occasions when the disciples did not understand what Jesus said, the Gospel writer records their misunderstanding. In fact, the only way that we know the disciples were ever confused is because the Biblical text unabashedly tells us! There is not a syllable about such confusion in Matthew 24.

6.) We have the disciples (Matthew 24:3) using the distinctive Greek term for the end of the age that Jesus had used when citing Daniel 12, which, again, the disciples claimed they understood. What right does any modern commentator have to deny their claim?

Thus, when Jesus predicted the impending destruction of the ultimate symbol of that Old Covenant world, the disciples were not only not confused, they were thinking with logical acuity informed by their knowledge of the Old Testament prophets! The end of the age and the coming of the Lord are in fact inextricably linked with the destruction of the Old Covenant Temple. The implications of this are profound, needless to say.

Since the disciples were not confused or in error to connect the end of the age with the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple, it is patently clear that it is the modern day disciples who are confused in their approach to Matthew 24. It is the modern day eschatological paradigms that are in confusion. Does it not border on theological arrogance to claim that the disciples were so horribly confused when in fact they affirmed their understanding?

I think that Wright expressed it well: “Matthew 24:3, therefore, is most naturally read, in its first century Jewish context, not as a question about (what scholars have come to call, in technical language) the ‘parousia’, but as a question about Jesus’ ‘coming’ or ‘arriving’ in the sense of is actual enthronement as king, consequent upon the dethronement of the present powers that were occupying the holy city.” (Jesus and the Victory of God, (Minneapolis; Fortress, 1996), 346).

Wright is mostly correct, but, it is patently obvious that the disciples were in fact asking about Christ’s parousia, and Jesus’ response emphatically answers their well informed questions: the parousia of Christ was to be in the first century in the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem. Jesus was not talking about “the end of time.” He was talking about the time of the end, the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel, that came to its cataclysmic end in AD 70.

The End of the Age or the End of Time? A Look At Matthew 24:3 #2

the end of the age
Is the end of the age the same as the end of time? Not according to the Bible!

Matthew 13, The End of the Age and the Disciples’ Understanding #2

Just as there is a consensus that the disciples were confused and mistaken in their questions to Jesus, there is almost total agreement that Matthew 13:39f is a prediction of the end of the Christian age. (E. G. Amillenialists (Riddlebarger, Amillennialism, 111). Postmillennialists (Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, (Draper, VA; Apologetics Group, 2009), 263, 325. Dispensationalist, Thomas Ice, Prophecy Watch, (Eugene; Or. Harvest House, 1998), 44f). It is assumed that the prophecy is about the church, and New Covenant promises and is not concerned with the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. The failure to see Jesus’ parables as an expression of the kingdom hope of Israel is the fatal flaw in all futurist eschatologies.

The parable in Matthew 13 is about the end of the age that the disciples were inquiring about in Matthew 24:3. One thing that helps identify that age is to ask the simple question: What age did that temple and Jerusalem represent? Did the temple in any way represent the current Christian age? Indubitably not. There was only one age that the temple and Jerusalem represented. That was the Mosaic Covenant age. There can be no disputation about this. Thus, if Matthew 13 and Matthew 24:3 are concerned with the end of the same age, then indisputably, Matthew 13 and Matthew 24 are about the end of the Old Covenant age.

When Jesus predicted the end of the age (Matthew 13:39-40, 49) he used a distinctive Greek term sunteleia tou aionos. This is the same term that the disciples utilized in Matthew 24:3. The topic is patently the same. The point that we just made is established even further by these facts.

Notice that Jesus said “harvest is at the end of the age” (Matthew 13:40). Jesus did not, as the KJV suggests, say that the harvest would be at the end of the world. He was predicting the end of the age. He then said that at that end of the age “then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father” (v. 43). So, the end of the age would be when the righteous would shine.

It is critical to understand Matthew 13:43 is a direct allusion / citation of Daniel 12:3: “Then (the time of the resurrection, (v. 2) and the end of the age (v. 4), shall the righteous shine…”

So, Daniel predicted the resurrection, the time of the end, and the righteous shining forth in the kingdom. Jesus predicted the harvest (the resurrection), at the end of the age, and said it would be when the righteous would shine in the kingdom. There is little doubt that Jesus was drawing from Daniel 12.

Note now where fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy is posited by the God of heaven. In verse 6 one angel asked another when “all of these things” would be fulfilled. Verse seven is heaven’s divine answer:

“Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.”

There could hardly be a clearer more definitive answer. Let me express my argument succinctly:

Jesus’ prophecy of the end of the age and harvest, when the righteous would shine in the kingdom is the reiteration of the prophecy of Daniel 12.

But, the prophecy of Daniel 12 posited the end of the age and harvest, when the righteous would shine in the kingdom, at the time when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered (Daniel 12:7).

Therefore, Jesus’ prophecy of the end of the age and harvest, when the righteous would shine in the kingdom, would be fulfilled when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered.

There is patently no other time and no other event that fits the description of the shattering of the power of the holy people than the cataclysmic destruction of Old Covenant Judaism in AD 70. ( For an examination of the incredible significance of the AD 70 catastrophe see my The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat (Ardmore, Ok.; JaDon Management Inc. 2007). The book is available on Amazon and my this site).

As an illustration of the power of Daniel 12, in July of 2016 I had a formal public debate with Dr. David Hester of Faulkner University, (Montgomery, Al). Prior to that debate I had asked Dr. Hester if, in his view, Daniel 12:2 is the same resurrection as in John 5:28-29 and Acts 24:14-15. His response was that Daniel 12:2 is in fact the same resurrection. So, in the debate I noted that Daniel 12 unequivocally posited that resurrection at the end of Torah, not the end of the Christian age.

Dr. Hester’s “response” was shocking and revealing. He rejected his own admission that Daniel 12 refers to the final resurrection. When that backfired on him, he changed his position – mid-debate – and simply made the claim, with not so much as a word of proof, that even if Daniel 12 does refer to AD 70 that it is not limited to that time. So, he took three positions in one debate!

Another shocking development in that debate, illustrative of Dr. Hester’s total desperation was when I noted that since Daniel 12 = John 5:28-29 and since John 5 = Acts 24:24-15, that this therefore (logically) demands that Daniel 12 is the same as 1 Corinthians 15. Dr. Hester objected from his table saying, “I never said that.” The fact is that he never explicitly and verbally connected Daniel 12, John 5, Acts 24 and 1 Corinthians 15. However, as I noted repeatedly in the debate– and Dr. Hester never offered a word of rebuttal – if in fact Daniel 12:2 is the same as John 5:28-29 and Acts 24:14-15, then unless one wants to take the (unprecedented) position that John 5:28-29 and Acts 24 speak of a different resurrection, at a different time from that in 1 Corinthians 15, then logically and inescapably, that means that Daniel 12:2 does in fact equal 1 Corinthians 15. This was, and is, a devastating falsification of Dr. Hester’s view.  (DVDs and Mp3s of that debate are available from me).

When Jesus told the parable of Matthew 13 the disciples would immediately have thought of the prophecy of Daniel. (Amazingly, Thomas Ice, citing Pentecost admits that Jesus’ prediction in Matthew 24:2 caused the disciples (mistakenly of course, per Ice) to think of Zechariah 14 and the prediction of the coming of the Lord at the destruction of Jerusalem. This is a tacit admission that scripture does in fact conflate the end of the age with the destruction of Jerusalem. http://www.raptureready.com/featured/ice/AnInterpretationofMatthew24_25_2.html). They would have known that the end of the age was not the end of the Christian age, but the end of the Mosaic age.

Daniel is not alone is positing the eschatological fulfillment within the context of the end of the Old Covenant world of Israel.

In Isaiah 24-27 a united prophecy of Israel’s last days fate, the time of Israel’s salvation, the resurrection (Isaiah 25:8-9), is posited at the time when the city and the temple would be turned over to foreigners. In chapter 27:9-10, that salvation, the time when Leviathan, the Great Serpent was destroyed at the coming of the Lord (26:21-27:1-2) we are told that Israel would be saved through judgment, once again when the city and the temple would be destroyed.

In Isaiah 65-66 the prophet posits the coming of the New Creation at the time when God would destroy the Old Covenant “heaven and earth” and create a New People with a New Name (Isaiah 65:13-19). And there are many other OT prophecies that likewise foretold the coming of the kingdom and salvation at the end of Israel’s aeon. For the moment however, we will allow our comments on Daniel 12 and Isaiah 24-27 and 65 to suffice.

The fact is that the Old Covenant prophecies contain many predictions of the last days, the day of the Lord, the resurrection, the end of the age. And it places those events, not at the end of the Christian age, and not at the end of time. Those prophecies place those eschatological events at the end of the Old Covenant age, and at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. The New Testament teaches the same thing. To ignore this is to miss the story of Biblical eschatology. We will have more on the end of the age and the disciples’ questions in Matthew 24 as we continue.

For a greater understanding of the end of the age, get a copy of my book, The Last Days Identified. You will be amazed at the evidence that proves that the end of the age was in the first century.

The Last Days Identified And Explained
This book contains powerful proof that the end of the age was in the first century!