The Passing of The Law of Moses – Response to Sam Frost – #5- A Look at Isaiah 65

the passing of the law of moses
The Passing of the Law of Moses – and the Passing of Heaven and Earth!

The Passing of the Law of Moses and Sam Frost’s Growing Desperation – #5
Does the Old Testament Predict the Destruction of Literal Heaven and Earth?
Isaiah 65

This is our fifth installment in response to Sam Frost who recently wrote an article on Matthew 5:17-18. In that article he claimed, with no attempt to prove his claim, that the Old Testament predicts the end of time and planet earth. Be sure to read the previous articles:  #1   #2   #3   #4

This raises an interesting question: Does Frost now believe in the literal passing of material “heaven and earth” i.e. their disappearance? In his Why I Left Full Preterism (p. 47) he speaks of a recreated, restored earth! So, does the heaven and earth literally “pass away” cease to exist, or is it restored? Frost once again contradicts himself.

Here is Frost’s conundrum. In his comments on Isaiah 65, he claims that it predicts “a new heavens and earth.” However, he appeals to Psalms 102 – and Matthew 5:17-18 – as proof that the heaven and earth will pass away. Keep in mind that Frost says of the law, in Matthew 5:17-18, that it will not pass away – cease to exist on paper- until it is all fulfilled. But, that same language is applied to heaven and earth: “heaven and earth shall not pass.” So, if the law will cease to exist -even in books, when it is finally fulfilled, then that same definition must apply to the heaven and earth. Yet, Frost affirms a new heavens and earth! Disappear does not mean new! It means, well, disappear! More could, and will, be said on this, but this is more than sufficient to show that Frost has not done a lot of critical thinking on his claims. But, now to Isaiah 65

Frost claims that Isaiah 65 predicts the end of time: “Isaiah 65 envisions a new heavens and earth, too. In it, fantastical, poetic hyperbole is used to denote that it is quite a different scene than what is “normally” seen and experienced.”

Notice once again Frost’s literalistic hermeneutic at work. But of course, he cannot in any sense be consistent in that hermeneutic, for it would then destroy his entire argument.

For brevity, I will offer bullet points from Isaiah 65, and keep my comments as succinct as possible.

1. Isaiah 65:1-3 – YHVH laments Israel’s recalcitrance and rebellion, and responds by saying that He would call another people to Him, a people that had not known Him
Application: In Romans 10:20 Paul cites directly from Isaiah 65:1-3, to speak of Israel’s rejection of the Gospel in his day, and to speak of his Gentile mission. Thus, no matter what else we might think, Paul, by inspiration, posits the fulfillment of Isaiah 65 in his generation!

So, unless Frost wants to adopt the Dispensational Gap Doctrine, and claim that Isaiah 65:1-3 was fulfilled in the first century, but that we are still waiting on the new creation– which has now been 2000 years from Paul’s application of Isaiah to his day, then this one point is fatal to Frost.

2. Verse 7 – Israel’s rebellion– again, remember that Paul applied this to his generation – God said that Israel would fill the measure of her sin, and He would respond to that sin: “Your sin and the sin of your fathers will I measure into your bosom.” As H. C. Leupold, notes, “This verse proves that there is such a thing as ‘mass guilt,’ where the sins of generation after generation are not completely broken with and the amount grows higher and higher. Ultimately, or time and again, it then happens that God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children.”

Of course, the important thing to note, is that in Matthew 23:29ff, Jesus emphatically said that Judah of his day would fill up the measure of their father’s guilt and judgment would fall on them in that generation.

3. Verse 8 – YHVH promises that in spite of the coming holocaust, He will spare a remnant. Once again, the inspired apostle comments on this motif in Romans and other passages. The doctrine and theme of the salvation of the remnant is eschatological to the core.

In Romans 9 the apostle unequivocally says that the remnant was being saved in his day, and even in his ministry. Thus, just like Isaiah 65:1-3 and Paul’s application to his generation, he applies the doctrine of the salvation of the remnant to his day, to his ministry and to his generation.

Not only did Paul apply prophecies of the last days salvation of the remnant to his day, he also said that the consummation of that salvation would not be a long drawn out process. Look at a bit of Paul’s discussion of the salvation of the remnant:

“And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.” And as Isaiah said before: Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”

Paul here cites Hosea and Isaiah as predictive of the salvation of the remnant, and notice that in verse 28 he cites God’s promise that the work of bringing that salvation to its glorious climax would not be prolonged. It would be “short.”

Two words in the text indicate that the then ongoing work of saving the remnant was to be completely soon. Paul says “his work he is concluding” or “completing” from suntelon. Then, he says that the work would be “short” (suntemnon). Both of these words are in the present active participle, indicating that the Lord was already bringing that work to its consummation. Frost, of course, wants us to ignore that emphatic time statements. After all, he is on record as saying that he no longer cares about time statements. They mean nothing to him.

The point is that we have Paul repeatedly drawing from Isaiah and specifically applying it to his day. The question them becomes, what is Frost’s hermeneutic for divorcing the prophecy of the new creation from that time context? All he has offered us so far is his decree that Isaiah is predictive of the passing literal creation and the creation of a new heaven and earth. But, his claims are not supported by exegesis.

4. Verses -9-13 – In these verses the prophet set forth the depth of Israel’s rebellion, “you are those who forsake the Lord and forget this Holy Mountain.”

God’s response would be awful; it would be catastrophic (v. 13-15:

“Therefore I will number you for the sword, And you shall all bow down to the slaughter; Because, when I called, you did not answer; When I spoke, you did not hear, But did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight.” … But you shall cry for sorrow of heart, And wail for grief of spirit. You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; For the Lord God will slay you.”

We have here a critical issue. I have noted that the promise of the new creation, including that in Psalms 102, was an Old Covenant promise, made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. Frost denied this, claiming that the Psalm was based on Abrahamic and Davidic covenant promises, and not Mosaic promises. This is the same dichotomized argument that Joel McDurmon tried – and failed – to make in our formal debate. This horrid doctrine is a denial of Paul’s emphatic affirmation that there was but one hope (Ephesians 4:4f) and that one hope was found in Moses, the Law and the prophets. He preached NOTHING, but what Moses and the prophets of Israel said! Paul did not have, Peter did not have, John, James, or Luke– none of the Biblical writers – had an eschatological hope divorced from the hope of Israel found in Moses, the law and the prophets. Frost is rejecting the Biblical fact that the hope of Adam, became the hope of Abraham, which became the hope of David, which became “the hope of Israel.” It was ONE HOPE– not an Abrahamic Hope distinct from the Davidic Hope, different from the Hope of Israel. This is critical and undeniable, yet Frost is denying this irrefutable truth in his desperation to refute Covenant Eschatology.

Get a copy of my debate with Joel McDurmon to see how the dichotomization of the eschatological narrative fails. That book is available from this website, Amazon and even Kindle.

Will Frost’s claim that the ultimate eschatological hope is Abrahamic and not tied to Israel after the flesh hold water in Isaiah 65? Not for a nano second! And I will demonstrate that beyond any doubt in our next installment. I will also show that Isaiah 65 is about the passing of the law of Moses. As I proceed to dismantle Frost’s literally unbelievable claims about the passing of heaven and earth. Make no mistake, Isaiah 65 is an utter, total refutation of Frost’s newly crafted theology. In the meantime, get a copy of my book, The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat” the first full preterist commentary on 2 Peter 3. It deals a devastating blow to the futurist application of 2 Peter 3– and Isaiah. Stay tuned!

The passing of "heaven and earth" was at the end of the Law of Moses!
This book proves that the Bible does not predict the passing of literal heaven and earth

The Passing of the Law of Moses – Sam Frost’s Growing Desperation – #4

passing of the law of moses- Don K. Preston's book is a powerful discussion!
The Passing of the Law of Moses is revealed as the time of the passing of Israel’s “heaven and earth.”

The Passing of the Law of Moses – Sam Frost’s Growing Desperation #4

What About Isaiah 24-25?

In his most recent attempt to negate the truth of Covenant Eschatology, Sam Frost wrote an article on Matthew 5:17-18, seeking to mitigate the force of the text. Frost argued that Jesus did in fact say that until every jot and every tittle of the Old Covenant is fulfilled, it will not pass away. He said that every jot and every tittle will be fulfilled at the passing of the literal, material heaven and earth. Thus, the Old Covenant will not pass away– and we will share Frost’s idiosyncratic view on what not “passing away” means in a later article– the Old Law will remain. He claimed, without so much as offering a syllable of proof, that the Old Testament predicts the passing of material creation. Since this is clearly a foundational element of Frost’s claim, I am examining the key OT prophecies of the passing of “heaven and earth” to show that they simply do not support Frost’s claims.

In our previous article we examined Psalms 102, which in my personal experience is the text most often appealed to by futurists for proof of a yet future end of time OT prediction. The reason it is the most often cited OT prophecy for the passing of heaven and earth is because it is quoted in Hebrews 1:10. But, as that article shows, Psalms says not one word about the passing of the literal creation!
The fact is that there are no OT prophecies that can be construed as predictive of the passing of heaven and earth, without completely ignoring or distorting the context of those prophecies. The next prophecy for us to examine is proof of that.

Isaiah 24:3-5; 19-21:

“The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, For the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish. The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,… “The earth is violently broken, The earth is split open, The earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, And it will fall, and not rise again.”

The language is graphic and powerful! Surely it is talking about the end of time, right? No, not at all. For brevity, I will make just a few bullet points.

1. This judgment / destruction would come because Israel “violated the everlasting covenant.” The parallel to this text, Hosea 6:7f
“But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me. Gilead is a city of evildoers And defiled with blood. As bands of robbers lie in wait for a man, So the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem; Surely they commit lewdness. I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled.” (Some translations render “Adam” as “man” but, I suggest that “Adam” is more appropriate).

The point here is that the everlasting covenant is the Law of Moses, and the judgment that was coming on “the earth” in utter destruction was the covenantal judgment from YHVH for Israel’s sin. 2. This is confirmed in verses 10-13 where we find that the judgment would be focused on “the city” in the midst of “the land” and against “the people.”

“The city of confusion is broken down; Every house is shut up, so that none may go in. There is a cry for wine in the streets, All joy is darkened, The mirth of the land is gone. In the city desolation is left, And the gate is stricken with destruction. When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people, It shall be like the shaking of an olive tree, Like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.” In Isaiah 29 this “city of confusion” is identified as Ariel, i.e. Jerusalem!

Ask yourself the question: In a Hebraic book, addressed to Israel, and in which the terminology of “the city,” “the land, and “the people” is used, if there is not a really strong set of contextual pointers otherwise, who would the readers think that the Lord was talking about?

For Israel, there was but one “the land.” They were “the people.” And, “the city” was none other than Jerusalem.

3. This assessment is confirmed in Isaiah 25:1-3, where the prophet continues his discussion of the announced judgment. In these verses, there can be no doubt that the context of the judgment on “heaven and earth” is the judgment on Jerusalem and the Temple.

“O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For You have made a city a ruin, A fortified city a ruin, A palace of foreigners to be a city no more; It will never be rebuilt.”

Notice back in chapter 24:19-20 that “the earth” would fall and not rise again. Now, in these verses, the city and the temple are doomed to destruction and “will never be rebuilt.” I suggest that this is not to be taken in a woodenly literal manner, as Frost tends toward these days. Rather, it is speaking of the permanent removal of “the land,” the people,” “the city” as a covenant entity! It is talking about the permanent, final dissolution of Israel’s distinctive, covenantal existence. She would fall and never rise again as a covenant people as she existed for 1500 years! (This is confirmed in Isaiah 65 which we will examine in this series).

So, what we find in Isaiah 24-25– and there is sooo much more that could be observed in this great text, but this will suffice– is that it simply cannot refer to an “end of time” scenario. It predicted covenantal judgment on Israel, her land, the city, the temple and the people, for violating the Law of Moses. That raises a critical question for which I have never received an answer.

If one takes Isaiah 24-25 as a prediction of the destruction of literal creation then it raises the question: Does your view of the destruction of the literal creation include in it, as the reason for the destruction of the heaven and the earth, Israel’s violation of the Law of Moses?

The text of Isaiah 24 is emphatic: the destruction of creation being foretold would be as a direct result of Israel’s violation of the Law of Moses. So, if one wants to argue that Isaiah 24 does predict the end of time and earth, that of necessity means- contextually– that earth will one day be destroyed as a result of Israel’s violation of the Law of Moses! To say this is problematic is a huge understatement!

I am unaware of any commentator, of any eschatological paradigm, that says literal heaven and earth will perish as a result of Israel’s violation of the Law! Not one! Not in the entire history of commentary! To say the least, therefore, if you take the view that Isaiah 24 is predictive of the future destruction of the earth– and thus, the passing of the Law of Moses– you have a severe problem.

The problem can be magnified and exposed like this: Virtually futurists claim that the Law of Moses has been done away. Frost’s friends in the Dominionist movement, Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry, Joel McDurmon, etc., all believe that the Law of Moses “passed away” in the first century, i.e. even in AD 70! I can’t help but wonder if these men are now embarrassed by Frost’s completely novel definition of what Jesus meant when he talked about the passing away of the Law.

Mind you, Frost now claims to believe that much of the Law of Moses is no longer binding, having been replaced, but, that the Law of Moses still “remains.” What does he mean by replaced but remains? He means that since the Law of Moses is still in books, in Bibles, literally on paper, that this is what Jesus meant by not passing away until the proposed end of time.

In a blog post of 5-16-17, Frost said his proof that the Law of Moses has not passed away is because “it is right there in your Bible!” So, Frost claims that in Matthew 5:17-18 the Jews and Jesus were not at all concerned with the abiding authority of the Law of Moses, as mandates to be obeyed and fulfilled. All they were concerned about was that books with the Law of Moses printed in them will not be destroyed until the end of time! More on this later.

But, back to Isaiah 24. What we have is this:

1. Isaiah 24 predicted the destruction of creation, as a direct result of Israel’s violation of the Law of Moses. There is no futurist paradigm that posits this scenario! This fact falsifies Mr. Frost’s new doctrine.

2. If one takes this language literally, then of necessity, since heaven and earth is destroyed as a direct consequence of Israel’s violation of the Law, this means that the Law must remain valid, as God’s law for Israel until that proposed end of time. Clearly, Mr. Frost cannot adopt this fact, for once again, if the Law remains valid until the “end of time” then this is “covenant eschatology” and he rejects this.

3. Point # 2 is, to say the least, not only not Biblical, it is simply not historical, not creedal, not traditional. It is unknown. Thus, Frost cannot appeal to Isaiah 24 as a proof text for his claim that the Tanakh predicts the end of literal heaven and earth. Isaiah 24 predicted the passing of creation at the time of the Messianic Banquet / Resurrection, and posits it at the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Israel / Jerusalem.

By the way, in a “response” to my earlier article refuting the idea that Psalms 102 predicts the “end of time” Mr. Frost claimed that I never proved that Psalms is about God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel. This is just stunningly bad.

I challenge the reader to read that article again. Note how I shared with the reader, the text of the chapter that proves it is about the time of the redemption of Zion, the time of the salvation of Israel, the time of the creation of a new people! Did Frost respond to any of these textual facts? Not so much as a keystroke! Instead, he fabricated the claim that I had not proven that Psalms is about Israel and her promises, and that the Psalms would be at the day of her salvation.

Now, I want the reader to catch the power of Frost’s denial that Psalms is an Old Covenant promise, made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. This surely one of the greatest examples of what I call “argumentum ad desperatum” (This a Latin expression that I invented, meaning argument from desperation)! The claim that Psalms 102 was not written to Israel, about her salvation, is surely one of the most revealing bits of Frost’s desperation that one can imagine.

Instead of offering a single syllable of exegetical work, Frost makes his false claims, and insists– again, without a key stroke of proof- that Psalms does predict the end of material creation.

Frost’s “response” is just another example of his increasing tendency and willingness to fabricate his theology “on the fly” and a lamentable willingness to make blatantly false claims, all the while claiming to have countered the truth of Covenant Eschatology. Not only that, his increasing reliance on a woodenly literalistic hermeneutic is leading him straight down the path of Premillennialism. He has no logical way out of that if he continues. Let me illustrate.

He claims that Psalms 102 predicts the end of literal heaven and earth. Psalms posits that at the coming of the Lord in glory. Frost takes these as literal, physical events. But, watch this:

1. Frost has written that the OT language of the Day of the Lord, the language of the dissolution of creation, is (quoting from my books) “metaphoric language to describe Jehovah’s powerful intervention into history.” And he says “I wholeheartedly agree.” (Why I Left Full Preterism, p. 30). So there you have it: Frost agrees that in the OT the language of the passing of creation is not literal, not predictive of an end of time. But, what does he do now, in Psalms 102? He says that the language that he “wholeheartedly agrees” is used metaphorically, must now be taken literally. And what proof did he offer us in his article? Not a syllable, just his claim that it is so. Hardly convincing.

2. Now, if we are to take the language of the passing of “heaven and earth” literally, why do we not take the language of the “redemption of Zion” i.e. Old Covenant Israel, just as literally? Frost never tells us, not so much as a word of exegetical proof.

3. And, did Frost type one syllable about the indisputable fact that the passing of the heaven and earth in Psalms is tied directly to the creation of a new people? He did not grace us with one word of response. Revealing. Reader, if Psalms 102 is about a future, end of time event, then at that time YHVH will create a brand new people– thus demanding the destruction of the “old people.” The church is the people of God, so, in Frost’s newly created paradigm, if he takes Psalms 102 literally, that means that one day, God will destroy the church and create a new people! To say this is a horrid, un-Biblical doctrine is an understatement of epic proportions.

4. Did Frost say a single word about the relationship between Psalms 102, the coming of the Lord in Glory, and Matthew 24:30f? In that text Jesus posited his coming in Glory– which incidentally would be for the salvation of Israel, the redemption of Zion– for his generation (v. 34). What was Frost’s response? It was the sound of silence.

This is more than sufficient to refute Frost’s disingenuous claims about Psalms 102.

In summation: Nothing about Isaiah 24 supports Mr. Frost’s claims. And we have more proof of that, so stay tuned!

The Passing of the Law of Moses and Sam Frost – #3- The Passing of Heaven and Earth

The Passing of The Law of Moses and Sam Frost’s Growing Desperation – #3
What About Those OT Prophecies of the Passing of “Heaven And Earth”?

Is the Bible about the passing of literal heaven and earth?
Does the Bible link the passing of the Law of Moses with the passing of literal heaven and earth?

As noted in our second installment responding to Sam Frost’s article on Matthew 5:17-18 is that among Frost’s many claims,he says that the Old Law foretold the passing of material creation, the literal heaven and earth. Let me remind the reader that I observed that he did not give one single text from the Tanakh to prove that assertion.

So, Frost says that the Law could not pass away until heaven and earth passes. He says that it would pass when it was all fulfilled– including the prophecies of the passing of heaven and earth. Yet, he did not offer a key stroke of proof for his claim that the Old Testament predicted the end of the space / time continuum. This is telling.

In numerous formal debates, I have challenged my opponents to provide at least three OT prophecies of the yet future Old Covenant prophecies of the “end of time” or the passing of material heaven and earth. The utter desperation of my opponents has been incredible! One debate opponent, Bill Lockwood, refused to even try to give and OT prophecy of the passing of heaven and earth. I pressed and pressed him until finally, in written response, he said “Enoch!” Hmmm, I did not realize that Enoch was an OT prophecy!

Side bar: One reason this issue is so important is because Peter says in 2 Peter 3:1-2 that his discussion of the Day of the Lord is simply a reiteration of what Jesus, the other apostles and the prophets who had spoken before, had to say about the Day. In his discussion of the Day of the Lord, he cites Isaiah 65-66. He also echoes other OT prophecies of the Day, including Daniel 9 and Malachi 4 among those that can be listed. My point is that if the OT prophecies that Peter cites do not predict the end of time, or the destruction of literal heaven and earth, then one cannot make 2 Peter 3 a prediction of the end of time!

Anyway, from time to time, futurists do offer a few OT prophecies of the passing of heaven and earth to maintain their view. Space considerations prevent an extensive examination of those texts, but, I will list four of the texts that have been offered– which is pretty much the sum total of those offered.

Let’s look now at the key OT prophecies that futurists claim predict the end of the physical cosmos.

Psalms 102:25-28:
“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.”

This passage is quoted in Hebrews 1:10 and we are assured by futurists that it must refer to the end of time. But, it is pretty clear that those who appeal to Psalms to establish the idea of a future cosmic cataclysm have not really read that chapter. They are proof texting. Let me make a few observations.

1. In verses 15-16, the Psalmist posits the fulfillment of his prophecy at the time of the redemption of Zion and the Day of the Lord:

“So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, And all the kings of the earth Your glory. For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, And shall not despise their prayer.”

This motif of the redemption of Zion is picked up in Hebrews 12:18f where the apostle says that Zion, is “heavenly” and it is “the church of the living God.” He also affirms that the coming Day of the Lord (for the redemption of Zion as foretold in Psalms) would be “in a very, very little while” and “will not delay” (10:37). Hebrews 12, picking up on chapter 1 and the prediction of the passing of heaven and earth, explains that it was the passing of the Old Covenant Zion- the Old Covenant creation, so that the everlasting kingdom would remain (v. 23-28).

2. This time of the redemption of Zion – the time of the passing of “heaven and earth”– is when God would create a New People!: (v. 18f-22):
“This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.
For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the Lord viewed the earth, To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem, When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.”

Now, unless futurists want to say that at the so-called “end of time” God will create another New People– necessitating the removal / negation / destruction of the body of Christ – then Psalms cannot be applied to any so-called end of time. The problem is that the only people to perish at the Day of the Lord, so that the Lord could create a New People, was Old Covenant Israel!

There is much, more that could be noted from Psalms 102, but this is more than sufficient to show that the Psalm is not concerned about the end of time. It is about the salvation of Israel at the Day of the Lord. That would be a glorious day, but also a horrific day. The bottom line is that it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the end of material creation.

3. Let me emphasize a critical point here: The promise of Psalms 102 is an Old Covenant promise made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. This logically means that it had to be fulfilled while Old Covenant Israel after the flesh existed (or exists) as God’s covenant people– while those covenant promises were still in effect.

It is axiomatic and undeniable that if a Law or covenant has been abrogated / annulled/ abolished, that none of its promises or penalties are valid and applicable. A dead law, a dead covenant, is, after all D-E-A-D. So, here is what that means.

The coming of the Lord of Psalms 102 is the coming of the Lord for the redemption of Zion, the salvation of Israel.

Paul said the coming of the Lord for the redemption / salvation of Israel would be in fulfillment of His Covenant with her (Romans 11:25-27)– “this is my covenant with her, when I take away her sin” (Romans 11:27).

Thus, God’s covenant with Israel would remain in effect until the coming of the Lord for the salvation of Israel.

This means that if Psalms 102 is not fulfilled, that Israel– Israel after the flesh– remains as God’s covenant people.

It is significant that in a FaceBook exchange with Frost, I asked him if Israel after the flesh was still God’s Covenant people. Frost’s vacillation and self-contradictory answers were astounding! He actually said that since God is the God of the living and not the dead, that this somehow proves that Israel after the flesh still exists!

The final point we will make from Psalms 102 is that David said the time of the passing of the heaven and earth would be at the Day of the Lord, when He would appear in Glory.

4. He shall appear in Glory– v. 15-16:
“So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord, And all the kings of the earth Your glory. For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.”

So, ask yourself, do we have any passages that speak of the coming of the Lord in glory? We have an abundance of them, actually:

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 “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.” (Matthew 16:27-28). The coming of the Lord “in the glory of the Father” the time of salvation, would be in the lifetime of Jesus’ audience.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 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.” (Matthew 24:30-31).

And when would this be? Jesus stated emphatically that it would be in his generation (v. 34). I can only observe ever so quickly that in verse 31, Jesus cites Isaiah 27:13, a resurrection prophecy which is about the time of Israel’s salvation (Isaiah 27:10f). So, like Psalms, Matthew 24 is about the time of Israel’s salvation, when the Lord would come in glory, and it would unequivocally be in Jesus’ generation! (Incidentally, but significantly, both Isaiah 27 and Matthew 24:29f posit that salvation of Israel / Zion at the time of the judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood. Salvation and judgment were synchronous events).

Well, I have gone on longer than I intended to, but I hope that this (still brief) excursus on Psalms 102 demonstrates that it has nothing to do with the end of time. The reason I have spent this much time on this particular passage because in my formal debates, it is the passage most often appealed to.

Psalms 102 is about the eschatological salvation of Israel at the Day of the Lord, the destruction of the Old Covenant people, and the creation of the New Covenant people. We will establish that even further as we proceed. In the meantime, be sure to get a copy of my book, The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat. In that book, I have even more in-depth analysis of Psalms and other OT prophecies that futurists often claim refers to a yet future passing of the physical cosmos.

Peter's passing of "heaven and earth" is not the passing of material creation!
2 Peter 3 has nothing to do with the end of time!

 
Stay tuned!

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.

 

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 Biblical Eschatology – #1

Blood Atonement, Deuteronomy 32 and Biblical Eschatology

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”
(Deuteronomy 32:43)

Be sure to read a corollary article that I posted a while back on Blood Atonement. In that article, I exposed the failure of futurist eschatologies to consider this critical doctrine.

Deuteronomy 32, otherwise known as The Song of Moses, is one of the foundational Old Covenant prophecies of the last days, specifically, Israel’s last days. Yet, in many circles, it is virtually unknown, or so it seems. (In my fellowship of the churches of Christ, I have no recollection of ever hearing a single sermon devoted to the Song). However, among critical scholars, the importance of the Song is not overlooked, at least ostensibly. I would, however, say that the implications of recognizing the Song as a true eschatological prophecy are not carried through in the literature. (The unfortunate fact is that in much of the higher critical world of academia, the idea of genuine OT prophecies is all but rejected. That is, even if and when the NT writers cite specific OT prophecies and say that they were fulfilled or being fulfilled in Christ, the idea is that the NT writers were “discovering” analogies between the OT events and what was transpiring in their day. The OT texts were not actual predictions of the first century events, they were simply being interpreted that way. I reject this hermeneutic as untenable in light of what the NT writers state emphatically, explicitly and repeatedly)

Wright refers to the Song of Moses as “a vital chapter in this great story” i.e the story of Israel (N. T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, (Vol. 1 & II, Minneapolis, Fortress, 2013), 77).

Hays is surely correct to note that:

“Deuteronomy provides a fundamental theological resource for Paul’s attempt to explain the puzzling experience of his own missionary activity. Gentiles believe; Jews do not. What is happening here? Deuteronomy offers Paul not only the explanatory narrative pattern (covenant election, Israel’s unfaithfulness, God’s judgment followed by God’s ultimate gracious act of reconciliation / new creation), but also the ‘jealousy’ theory, based on Deuteronomy 32:21, as an explanation of God’s surprising decision to bring many Gentiles to salvation before reclaiming unfaithful Israel.” (Richard Hays, Conversion of the Imagination, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2005), 181).

Other than these few scholarly references my purpose here is not to extensively chronicle the scholarly attitude and comments about the Song. For those who wish to look into that, I recommend J. Ross Wagner, who has an excellent discussion of Paul’s use of the Song of Moses and how it impacted the entire prophetic thought of the NT. (Heralds of the Good News, (Leiden, Brill Academic, 2003), 190, 189f).

I do think it is worthwhile before proceeding to our study to note that Josephus believed that the Song predicted the events that were taking place in his generation:

“Moses recited to Israel a poem of hexameter verse, which he has moreover bequeathed in a book preserved in the temple, containing a prediction of future events, in accordance with which all has come and is coming to pass, the seer having in no whit strayed from the truth” (Antiquities, 4:303).

As Wright says of this comment by Josephus, “It is the kai genetai which gives the game away; he believes himself, or is happy to give the appearance of believing himself, to be living in the long fulfillment of the Deuteronomic prophecies.” (Faithfulness, Vol. I, 2013, 131).

With these few comments in hand, I want now to focus on the two aspects of Deuteronomy 32:43 that are so significant for eschatological studies:

Deuteronomy 32 and What It Foretold

1. The Avenging of the blood of the martyrs. This is more than remarkable, since Israel as a nation was “brand new” when Moses gave the Song, and as far as the record of martyrdom is concerned, from Genesis 4 and the killing of Abel, to the time of the Song, we have only a handful of martyrs mentioned. This reinforces the point we will make below that the Song is not about Moses’ or Israel’s contemporary situation. It dealt with a time and event far removed from Moses.

2. The related theme of making Atonement for the land and the people. What we have here is a reference to the doctrine of Blood Atonement. I am convinced that this doctrine that lies behind many New Testament texts, yet, few commentators take note of that connection.

These two motifs are inextricably bound together. And to say that they are incredibly important for the study of eschatology is an understatement.

To properly appreciate the meaning and application of the Song, it is critical to set the context.

In Deuteronomy 31:29, the prologue to the Song, Moses gave a foreboding prediction:

“For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.”

Moses foretold that in the last days Israel would become “utterly corrupt.” This would not take place imminently, but after Moses’ death, and “in the last days.” (Some believe that the term “latter times” here means simply “in the time to come” or something akin to “in the years to come.” I believe, however, that there is much more than that at stake, as a closer look at the body of the Song reveals).

✡ Moses was specifically told that the Song was a description of events to take place after “many generations” (32:7f).

✡ Twice in the Song, YHVH said that it is about Israel’s last days, her latter end. There is, therefore, no doubt about the fact that this prophecy is about Israel and her last days:

V. 19-20: “And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them, Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters. And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be.”

V. 29: “Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would consider their latter end!”

So, we cannot miss the point that the Song is about Israel’s ultimate fate, her last end. This is not about the “end of time” or, the end of the Christian age. (The incredible significance of the Song for understanding Biblical eschatology seems lost on many futurists. As I point out in the article linked above, in my 2016 debate with (Amillennialist) Dr. David Hester, I noted that the salvation of Israel foretold by Paul in Romans 11 would be in fulfillment of Isaiah 27:10f, which cites the Song of Moses. I made the argument three times. I observed that the Law of Moses would remain valid until the fulfillment of the Song – at the coming of the Lord- which negates Dr. Hester’s paradigm. He seemed oblivious to the force of the argument and never said a word in response. Literally not a word). DVDs and MP3s of that debate are available from me, and, a book will be forthcoming.

Does not the fact that the Song is about Israel’s “last end” indicate that beyond that “last end” Israel would not have a distinctive place? What does “last end” mean?

So, the Song of Moses informs us that it is about Israel. It is about Israel’s last days. It is about (as the climax of the Song) the avenging of the martyrs and YHVH making Atonement for the land. With this in mind, let’s do a brief (very brief) survey of the issue of martyr vindication. (For an extended discussion, see my We Shall Meet Him In The Air, the Wedding of the King of kings).

I will present here an edited and revised portion of a paper I presented at Criswell College in Dallas, Tx. in 2012. My paper was on the Preterist Perspective of the Millennium. My approach in that presentation was that martyr vindication is a key to understanding Biblical eschatology, even the doctrine of the Millennium. I hope that the reader can see from this brief overview of some key Biblical texts that the doctrine of Blood Atonement is a critical element of Biblical eschatology. We will present that in the next installment.

For more on the incredible significance of martyr vindication for understanding Biblical eschatology, see my Who Is This Babylon.

Who is This Babylon
This book has an in-depth discussion of martyr vindication and eschatology. Nothing else like it!

 

Guest Article on John the Baptizer and The End- by Terry Cropper

John the Baptizer and The End

John the Baptist ministry was to condemn Israel of her sins and to warm them of the impending judgment of God. Speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees of God’s wrath John said. His 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 (Matthew 3:13).

Later after John was put in imprison and did not see the impending judgment on the Pharisees and Sadducees he conclude that Jesus might not be the Messiah. So John sent some of his disciples to Jesus asking if he was the ONE the Old Testament prophets wrote about concerning the wrath of God or should they look for another? (Luke 7:18)

There Jesus sent word back to John the Baptist by his disciples that he was fulfilling the prophecies. Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.'” (Luke 7:21-23)

Jesus was quoting from Old Testament Scripture from the book of Isaiah 35:4-6 Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come (with vengeance). With the recompense of God; He will (come and save you).” Then the (eyes of the blind shall be opened), And the (ears of the deaf shall be unstopped). Then the (lame shall leap like a deer), And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. (Emphasis, mine)

Notice here the “vengeance” of God and His “recompense” come and save you (salvation) are to happen synonymously. John fully understood the prophecies of Isaiah 35:4-6 about the comings of the Messiah which included the blind seeing, the lame walking, the deaf shall hear the judgment or vengeance of God and salvation.

John the Baptist, Christ, and the apostle Paul warned of impending wrath to come on that generation. But where did John the Baptist get the idea of using a winnowing fan and threshing floors as a metaphor to warn the Pharisees and Sadducees of God’s impending wrath to come?

John and the Message of Impending Judgment

John know what is written in the Old Testament a lot batter then most of us today. Jeremiah 15:5-7 “For who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem? Or who will bemoan you? Or who will turn aside to ask how you are doing? You have forsaken Me,” says the LORD, “You have gone backward. Therefore I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am weary of relenting! And I WILL WINNOW THEM WITH A WINNOWING FAN in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children; I will destroy My people, Since they do not return from their ways.

Winnowing fan and threshing floors, were long a part of the historical setting and culture, of Israel. So the Israelites’ familiarity with the winnowing fan and threshing floors, made it ideal for illusion for the purposes of God’s wrath.

Winnowing was accomplished by the use of either a broad shovel or a wooden fork which had bent prongs. With this instrument, the mass of chaff, straw, and grain was thrown against the wind. Because there was generally a breeze blowing in the evening, this was the time when it was normally done. So Naomi said to Ruth concerning Boaz: “Behold, he winnoweth barley tonight in the threshing floor” (Ruth 3:2).

When the Bible speaks of winnowing fan the shovel or wooden fork was used when unseparated grain and straw that was thrown against the wind. When the grain and straw, are not yet separated, they are thrown into the air, and the wind causes the mass of material to fall to the threshing floor.

Since the grain is the heaviest, it naturally falls beneath the fan to the threshing floor. The straw and the chaff are the lighter and are blown to the side into a heap. The chaff is later burned as Scripture often indicates. “And the flame consumeth the chaff” (Isaiah 5:24). David was also familiar with this concept. The Psalmist writes, “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4).

When you think of a threshing floor what do you think of? Threshing floors were used to separate grain from the chaff at harvest time. This was usually a two-step process. First, the cut stalks of grain were spread on the threshing floor and a threshing sledge was pulled over the stalks by oxen. The sledge was a simple wooden sled or heavy board with stone or metal spikes on the bottom that would break the heads of grain from the stalks.

Isaiah 41:15 “Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth; You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, And make the hills like chaff. The same thing could be accomplished by having the oxen trample the stalks (Deuteronomy 25:4) or by beating them with heavy sticks (Judges 6:11).

The second step was to toss the broken stalks into the air. The wind would blow the lighter chaff to one side, while the heavier grain would fall back onto the floor, the grain could then be gathered into the barn. Jesus also used this illustration about the “end of the Old Covenant age” in Matthew 13:30 ‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, BUT GATHER THE WHEAT INTO MY BARN.” ‘ ”

So Winnowing is this process of separating grain from chaff or tares by wind (Ruth 3:2, Isaiah 30:24). Because of the need for wind, threshing floors were normally located on hilltops or in large open fields, and were often used as landmarks (Genesis 50:10, 2 Samuel 6:6) or meeting places (1 Kings 22:10).

Threshing floors were critical to the harvest and to the life of the people of Israel, and they were highly valued. John the Baptist was familiar with the winnowing process and the burning of the chaff. “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:17).

Threshing and winnowing are common metaphors for judgment (Daniel 2:35; Isaiah 21:9-10; Jeremiah 15:7, 51:2, 33; Hosea 13:3. The good fruit is gathered and saved, in the barn the bad is burned with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:11-12; Luke 3:17). The separation of “wheat” and “chaff” could only occurred with the destruction of Jerusalem since John the Baptist applied the things of their historical setting and culture to THEM. Matthew 3: 7 But when he (John the Baptist) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, (he said to them), “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from (the wrath to come)?

For more on the significance of John the Baptizer– As Elijah – see Don K. Preston’s book Elijah Has Come: A Solution to Romans 11:25-27. This book effective proves, with a huge amount of evidence, that the ministry of John the Baptizer, as Elijah, lies behind Paul’s expected salvation of “all Israel.”

Elijah Has Come
John the Baptizer was the promised Elijah, and this gives incredible insight into one of Paul’s most enigmatic writings- Romans 11:25-27.

Time of the End or the End of Time? – A Study of Matthew 24:3 #3

 

the time of the end
Biblically, there is no such doctrine as “the end of time.” It is always, “the time of the end!” Huge difference!

The Time of the End or The End of Time? A Study of Matthew 24:3 – #3

In our previous article, we examined the relationship between Matthew 13 and the Olivet Discourse as it relates to the question of whether Jesus’ disciples wrongly linked the time of the end with the fall of Jerusalem and the temple. What we want to do now is to take note of some of Jesus’ other predictions of the time of the end that the disciples had heard prior to the Olivet Discourse, to see if it is justified to say that they were so horribly confused when Jesus spoke in Matthew 24. Surely it will be admitted that what Jesus had said prior to Matthew 24 would have informed the disciples’ understanding as Jesus spoke in Matthew 24. Take a look then at just a few of the passages in Matthew in which Jesus had spoken of the time of the end.

Matthew 16:27-28 – Jesus had predicted his coming in judgment before all of that current generation died. This coming, as Wright has corrected noted, was to be in vindication of his suffering and that of his disciples. (N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, (Minneapolis; Fortress, 1996), 338). It simply will not do to claim that this prediction was fulfilled just a few days later in the Transfiguration vision. (See Don K. Preston, Can You Believe Jesus Said This?, (Ardmore, Ok.; JaDon Management Inc. ), for a refutation of the claim that the Transfiguration was the fulfillment of Matthew 16:27-28).

The agreement between Matthew 16 and Matthew 24 is too strong to ignore. And this means that we have the twin statements that the events were to be in that generation (Matthew 16:28; Matthew 24:34). Now, did the disciples understand that Christ said he was coming in judgment of those who were about to kill him, and persecute them, in that generation (Matthew 16:27-28)? If they did, then it surely is difficult to argue that they were confused in Matthew 24 when Jesus had just warned them of the very same persecutions mentioned in chapter 16, and then promised vindication of those sufferings (Matthew 23:29-37). The correspondence is perfect, and is a challenge to those who would claim that the disciples were so confused about the time of the end in Matthew 24. If the disciples remembered Jesus’ prediction of Matthew 16, then upon what basis can it be argued that they were confused in Matthew 24?

The Time of the End in Matthew 21

Matthew 21:33f– Jesus told the parable of the Wicked Vineyard Husbandmen. The parable contains the elements of persecution of God’s prophets, just like Matthew 16:23f, Matthew 23 and Matthew 24:9f. It contains the promise of the coming of the Lord (v. 40-41), and the vindication of the suffering saints. And, there can be no dispute that the focus of the coming of the Lord in the text, the coming that would crush and grind to dust the enemies of the Vineyard owner (Matthew 21:40f)  was to be the judgment of the Pharisees and religious leaders. As Jesus predicted the impending judgment that would result in the removal of the kingdom from Israel, the text says that the Pharisees “understood that he spoke of them” (Matthew 21:45). This is then, an unequivocal judgment of the coming judgment of Jerusalem. Yet, it is the coming of the Master of the Vineyard!

What is so important is that Jesus’ citation of the OT prophecies of the Stone (Matthew 21:40f) that would crush the opposition must be viewed within the context of the establishment of the kingdom at the end of the age, i.e. in the last days (Daniel 2:28; 7:13f; Isaiah 8, etc.)– in other words, at the time of the end! The citation of Psalms 118:22f is an allusion to the Messianic Temple that would be established in the last days. So, Jesus’ citation of the OT prophecies of the Stone, in the context of the coming judgment of the Jerusalem leaders for persecuting the saints, must be viewed as an eschatological prediction. Furthermore, it must be seen in the context of the coming of the Son of Man.

Did the disciples not have a clue about what any of this meant? Those who argue for a confused group of disciples in Matthew 24 must be able to demonstrate that the disciples were likewise confused when Jesus uttered this parable. Of course, the difficulty with this is that Jesus specifically told the parables so that his disciples would understand his teachings (Matthew 13:10-16).

So, in Matthew 21 we find the very elements found in Jesus’ Temple discourse, which of course is what led to the disciple’s questions in the first place. We find the past persecution and the threat of future persecution. We find the promise that God was about to act in vindication of the suffering saints, and that promise would be fulfilled in the coming of the Master of the Vineyard. and that judgment was coming soon.

Are we to believe that although the Pharisees and chief priests “perceived that he was speaking of them” in Jesus prediction of the coming of the Vineyard Master to destroy his enemies, that Jesus’ own disciples did not understand that message? Where the Pharisees and chief priests truly more perceptive about Jesus’ message of impending doom– i.e. The Coming of the Lord!! –  than Jesus’ own inner circle? And, did the Pharisees or even the disciples believe that the predicted judgment was to be the end of the time-space world? How would one justify such a claim?

Matthew 22 and the Time of the End

Matthew 22:1f–The Parable of the Wedding– It is somewhat rare when commentators of virtually all stripes agree on a given interpretation. It is significant therefore, to discover that there is virtually no disagreement as to the application of Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22. As Hagner expressed it: “It is virtually impossible for post-AD 70 readers of the Gospel not to see the destruction of Jerusalem alluded to in these words.” (Donald Hagner, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 33b, Matthew 14-28, (Dallas; Word Books, 1995), 630).

What does Jesus predict in Matthew 22? One thing is certain: He did not predict the “end of time.” He chronicles how representatives of the King were sent to the invited guests, to tell them the Wedding (the eschatological hope of Israel, (Hosea 2:19f; Isaiah 62, etc.) was now ready. The invited guests persecuted and killed the messengers. The King sent his servants to destroy the murderers and burn their city. Likewise, in the Temple discourse, Jesus chronicled the sending of YHWH’s servants to Israel, and how those servants had been slain. Now, Jesus said, he would send his messengers who would in turn be slain. But, judgment and vindication would come in his generation. The murderers would be slain, their city destroyed.

These motifs continue right through the Olivet Discourse. Just as Jesus said in Matthew 23:34f that he would send his disciples to Israel, and they would kill his “apostles and prophets and wise men and scribes” in Matthew 24:9f, speaking to those very disciples that he was sending out, he told them “they will deliver you up to persecution” (thlipsis). The persecution of Matthew 24:9f is the persecution predicted in Matthew 21, by the Vineyard keepers and the same persecution as in chapter 22 by those who had been invited to the Wedding but refused the offer. Likewise, the persecution in chapter 23:34f is the first century Jewish persecution of Jesus’ disciples that would, just like in chapter 21 and 22, lead to the coming of the Lord in judgment of those persecutors.

To reiterate, In chapter 21, the owner of the Vineyard would come in judgment of the persecutors.That judgment was in AD 70.

In Matthew 22, the Father would send out His armies to destroy the city of the persecutors.That judgment was in AD 70.

In Matthew 23:34f Jesus predicted the coming desolation of the city that spurned him and his disciples.That judgment was in AD 70.

In Matthew 24, Jesus predicts the utter desolation of that Temple, and proceeds to explain why: the persecution of his disciples. That judgment would be at his coming on the clouds in power and great glory, in that generation (24:29-34).

The parallels are precise.

All of this raises the question: Did the disciples understand that Jesus was predicting the destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 21 and 22? Just how would they have misunderstood it? If they understood from Jesus’ parable that Jerusalem was to be destroyed as a result of the persecution of those who followed him, how could they then become so dense, to use the term, in Matthew 23-24 when Jesus is expounding on those very same topics?

So, we have several major texts (16:27-28; chapter 21, 22 and 23) in Matthew alone in which Jesus, prior to the Olivet Discourse, foretold the impending destruction of Jerusalem, at his coming and the end of the age – the time of the end.

Do we have any indication in those passages that the disciples misunderstood what Jesus was predicting? Not a syllable!

Did Jesus in any way rebuke the disciples for a failure to understand him? No.

Do we have a single word by the writers telling us that the disciples did not understand until after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension? No. This stands in stark contrast to other passages in which we are told – explicitly – that the disciples did not understand something Jesus said. But, and this is critical, we are never told this about any of Jesus’ eschatological teachings!

This raises the question then about why we should believe (assume) that the disciples were so egregiously ignorant and confused in Matthew 24. Exactly what is it that demands this? To help settle this, even though we have looked at Matthew 13 to some extent, let’s take another look at it. We will do that in our next installment in our study of The Time of the End or The End of Time, so stay tuned!

Be sure to get a copy of my book The Last Days Identified, to understand clearly that the Bible no where predicts the end of time. It is always “the time of the end.”

The Last Days Identified And Explained
This book proves that the time of the end in Scripture is not the end of time!

The End of the Age or The End of Time? A Look at Matthew 24:3

the end of the age
Did Jesus predict the end of the age – or the end of time? Were his disciples confused about this?

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

Which Disciples Were (Or Are!) Confused?
It is undeniable that the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25) is the key to understanding Jesus’ eschatology. It is certainly his longest discussion of the end of the age and his coming. To say the least, the Discourse is the source of a great deal of perplexity expositors. For the dispensationalist, Jesus’ discussion continues to provide fodder for their repeatedly failed prognostications that we are in the terminal generation.

This discussion of the Olivet Discourse will not deal with the verses 4f. We are concerned here about Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple and the questions that Jesus’ prediction elicited from the disciples. It is not too much to say that if one has a mistaken understanding of verses 2-3 that their entire perspective of the Discourse is thereby skewed. The proper understanding of the disciples’ questions is critical to understanding Jesus’ response. Here is why.

One of the most fundamental beliefs concerning the Discourse is that, yes, Jesus did predict the destruction of the temple. This of course is undeniable. The disciples however, upon hearing of that awful prediction, mistakenly associated that coming event with the end of the age and Christ’s coming. It is not too much to say that the idea that the disciples were confused, or simply mistaken, is one of the most fundamental beliefs about the Discourse. Calvin stated that the disciples: “did not suppose that while the building of this world stood, the temple could fall to ruins.” (John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, (Grand Rapids; AP and A, vol. 7), 462).

It seems not to have dawned on Calvin and those like him that the disciples were acutely aware that the temple had been razed in BC 586, and yet time marched on, the space time continuum did not come to an end! Being well aware of that destruction, why then would the disciples have been compelled to think of the end of time in response to Jesus’ prediction?

Just a few citations from modern representatives of the various futurist eschatologies will suffice to demonstrate how ingrained the idea is that the disciples were confused about the end of the age.

1.) Dispensationalist Thomas Ice says: “The disciples apparently thought that all three items, destruction of the Temple, the sign of Christ’ s coming, and the end of the age would occur at the same time. Yet this is not the cas.”(www.raptureready.com/featured/ice/AnInterpretationofMatthew24_25_2.html). Ice cites other Dispensationalists that likewise affirm that the disciples were mistaken or confused.

2.) Amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger, says, “It would be quite natural for the disciples to wrongly assume that the end of the age and the destruction of Jerusalem would be the same event. But this assumption may not be correct, for the destruction of temple, cataclysmic as it would be, was not the end of the age, nor did the Lord return in AD 70.” (Kim Riddlebarger, A Case for Amillennialism, (Grand Rapids; Baker, 2003), 161).

3.) Postmillennialist Keith Mathison says:“The disciples’ question indicates that in their mind the destruction of temple and the close of the redemptive history are closely related in time. They do not conceive of any significant temporal delay between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of redemptive history. Jesus’ response to their question, however, indicates that their understanding is in need of some correction.” (Keith Mathison, From Age To Age, The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology, (Philippsburg, NJ; P and R Publishing, 2009), 372).

All futurist eschatologies are to a great degree reliant on the concept that the disciples were mistaken. Both the Amillennial and Postmillennial paradigms believe that the Discourse is divided into two topics. It is held that in Matthew 24:4-35 Jesus discussed the destruction of the temple. However, we are told that in v. 36 he switched topics and began to discuss his coming at the end of the current Christian age. The dispensationalists on the other hand, claim that the only verses in the entirety of the Discourse that discuss the destruction of Jerusalem are found in Luke 21:20-24.

But, what if the disciples were not wrong to link the fall of Jerusalem with the end of the age and Christ’s coming? What if they were not as eschatologically challenged as modern commentators claim? If the disciples were right to link the fall of Jerusalem to the end of the age, then patently Israel stands at ground zero in God’s eschatological schema. And not only is Israel established as the key to end times understanding, but, eschatological fulfillment is positively confined to the first century. The implications for all of the futurist eschatologies, if the disciples were not as confused as is commonly assumed, are astounding.

The pressing question therefore is, were the disciples wrong to connect the fall of Jerusalem with the end of the age and the Day of the Lord? The unequivocal answer is that they were not mistaken. They knew what “the end of the age” meant.

Be sure to get a copy of my book, The Last Days Identified, for a demonstration that “the end of the age” is referent, not to the end of the Christian age, or time, but, to the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel.

The Last Days Identified And Explained
This book proves beyond any doubt that the end of the age – at the end of the last days – occurred in AD 70.

The Resurrection: Two Hours? Two Resurrections?

the resurrection
Are there two resurrections of two different kinds, at two widely separated times in John 5:24-29?

The Resurrection in John 5: A Time is Coming: Chiasmus in John 4-5- Guest Article by Jerald Davis

I am glad to share an excellent article by my friend Jerald Davis (M.Div.). This article discusses the popular notion that in in John 5:24-29, when Jesus referred to “the hour is coming and now is” and “the hour is coming” that he must have had two different resurrections, of two different kinds, at two totally separated times. But, in his discussion of the chiastic nature of the text, Jerald exposes that idea and proves that the resurrection of John 5 is one resurrection. Take a look! Also, I have discussed the issue of “the hour now is” and “the hour is coming” in a YouTube video. Be sure to watch it as well.

It is often difficult to recognize certain literary structures in ancient documents when we are not immersed in the language and customs of the day. The language and literary forms of the Bible often present a challenge to us because we do not easily recognize them.  One literary form that is getting the attention of students of the Bible is a form of inverted parallelism often called chiasmus.

Chiasmus is a structure where at least two parallel units are structured where the first and the last correspond, and the central units correspond.  An example in English would be: Winners never quit and quitters never win.  The structure is [A]Winners[B]never quit and [B’]quitters [A’]never win.  Put diagrammatically:

A Winners

B never quit

B’ and quitters

A’ never win.

Many passages throughout the Bible show this kind of structure. One such is  Luke 16:13 ESV  No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

A No servant 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.

Another example:  Rev 3:7 ESV  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

A who opens

B and no one will shut

B’ who shuts

A’ and no one opens.

Recognition of this structure can help us in interpreting the meaning of scripture.  For instance, consider how different translations render Matthew 7:6:

(ASV)  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.

(ESV)  “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

(NIV)  “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

(GNB)  “Do not give what is holy to dogs—they will only turn and attack you. Do not throw your pearls in front of pigs—they will only trample them underfoot.

(ERV)  “Don’t give something that is holy to dogs. They will only turn and hurt you. And don’t throw your pearls to pigs. They will only step on them.

(CEV)  Don’t give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don’t throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them.

Why the difference in the translations?  The first three basically follow the order of the Greek text.  The last three recognize that we probably have a chiasmus here:

A Do not give dogs what is holy

B and do not throw your pearls before pigs

B’ lest they trample them underfoot

A’ and turn to attack you.

It is more likely that dogs would be the ones attacking people than pigs.  This understanding of the verse was recognized by Adam Clarke in his commentary:

Give not that which is holy – Το αγιον, the holy or sacred thing; i.e. any thing, especially, of the sacrificial kind, which had been consecrated to God. The members of this sentence should be transposed thus: –

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,

Lest they turn again and rend you:

Neither cast ye your pearls before swine,

Lest they trample them under their feet

The propriety of this transposition is self-evident. There are many such transpositions as these, both in sacred and profane writers. The following is very remarkable: –

“I am black but comely;

“As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.”

That is,

“I am black as the tents of Kedar,

“Comely as the curtains of Solomon.”

See many proofs of this sort of writing in Mr. Wakefield’s Commentary.”

 

In John chapters 4 and 5 we have some identical wording that seems to be presented in a chiastic structure:

Joh 4:21 NRSV-CE  Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

Joh 4:23 NRSV-CE  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.

Joh 5:25 NRSV-CE  ‘Very truly, I tell you, the 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.

Joh 5:28-29 NRSV-CE  Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice  (29)  and will come out–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

In Jesus’ discussion with the woman of Samaria, she raised the question as to where the proper place for the worship of God was.  In answering her question, Jesus said that even in the present time of his ministry (the hour is coming and is now here) what God wanted was people to be “true” worshippers of Him.  As the Good News Bible renders it, “But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God’s Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants.” The place was not important; the attitude of people’s hearts was.

In Jesus’ confrontation in chapter 5 with those Jews who were condemning him because he healed a lame man on the Sabbath, he asserted that the Father had given the Son the full right to render judgment.  Jesus goes on to assert that in the present time of his ministry (the hour is coming and is now here) the “dead” will hear what he is saying and those who hear (and obey is implied) will live.  Most interpreters recognize that the “dead” here are those who are spiritually dead.  Those who are spiritually dead who respond with belief will experience new life in the Spirit.  John 4:23 and 5:25 correspond because both are reflecting what God wants to happen in the present reality of the time of Jesus’ ministry.

In John 4:21 Jesus gives a response to the specific question of the woman in regard to the place of Jerusalem for the worship of God.  There had been a rivalry between the Jews and the Samaritans going all the way back to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah as to the proper place for worship of God. When rejected by the Jews in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (see Ezra 4), the Samaritans built a temple on Mount Gerizim to worship Yahweh.  John Hyrcanus had destroyed that temple in 129 B.C. but the Samaritans had continued to offer sacrifices there.  In Jesus’ answer to the woman he indicated that there would be a time in the future (the hour is coming) when worship would not be done at either location.  When would that time be?  This certainly seems to indicate that time would be when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. and its location became like that of the Samaritans in Mount Gerizim.  The Jews would no longer worship God in the temple as he had authorized them to do with the Levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices.

What about John 5:28?  What is the coming hour that Jesus asserts will have those in the grave hearing his voice and coming out?  If indeed we do have a chiastic structure here in John 4 and 5 there is some correspondence between the time of John 5:28 and John 4:21.  “The hour is coming” would be the same time for both.  This would support the position that the time of the resurrection of 5:28-29 is the time of the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.  This would be the time of the resurrection of Daniel 12:2-3: ESV  And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  (3)  And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:8-13 indicates that the time of the resurrection would be at the time when the “abomination that makes desolate” would occur.  Matthew 24:15-34, Mark 13:14-30, and Luke 21:20-32 all indicate that the destruction of Jerusalem was the time of the “abomination that makes desolate.”  The resurrection of John 5:28-29 was a first century resurrection.

DKP – Be sure to get a copy of my new book: The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Future or Fulfilled? for an in-depth discussion of the resurrection. This book proves beyond dispute that the Bible does not predict a resurrection of human corpses out of the ground.

dan12-cover
This is one of the most definitive books on the resurrection of Daniel 12 that has been written! Powerful!