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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 2-4, the Last Days and Martyr Vindication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus, Isaiah 2-4 and Martyr Vindication

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

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

Paul, Isaiah 2-4 and Martyr Vindication

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

 

Martyr Vindication| Video on Matthew 21

Martyr Vindication| Jesus’ Parables

Historically, orthodox Christianity talks a lot about martyr vindication, and, even posits it correctly at the parousia of Christ.

Unfortunately, the historical church has egregiously missed – or distorted – what the Jesus and the Bible writers, both Old and New Testament, had to say about the framework and the time of that vindication as it relates to the entire story of eschatology.

In this short video on Jesus and Martyr Vindication, I discuss Jesus’ parable of the Wicked Vineyard keepers and the theme of martyr vindication. I show how what Jesus said in that parable saturates the entire story of eschatology. Take a look and be sure to share it. This is incredibly important stuff!

See my book, Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory. I can assure you it will change the way you look at eschatology -and  martyr vindication!

A study of Martyr Vindication in Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory
For a challenging study of martyr vindication, you must have a copy of this book!