Seal Up Vision and Prophecy: The Manifest Desperation of Sam Frost
I continue to be saddened and amazed at the incredibly bad theology coming from the key board of former preterist Sam Frost. His posts, particularly on Facebook, seem to be increasingly disjointed and to say the least, contain a total lack of acuity, logic, and most of all, exegesis.
In a recent (July-August, 2017) discussion of Daniel 9:24f and the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24f, the discussion turned to the meaning of “seal vision and prophecy.” That discussion took place on the Preterist Perspectives Discussion and Debate forum.
Frost had this to say about the meaning of “seal up vision and prophecy”: “Although I do argue for a “closed canon” of the Bible in terms of the Doctrine of Inspiration, I do not believe that “seal up vision and prophecy” refer to that.” What is interesting about this quote is that in the Facebook exchange Frost cited Adam Clark to prove his point that the seventy weeks ended prior to AD 70, somewhere around AD 34-35.
While Frost cited Clark to prove a point, it is rather ironic that Clark contradicts Frost’s view of the meaning of “seal vision and prophecy. Here is what Clark says that term means: “To seal up (ולחתם velachtom, “to finish or complete”) the vision and prophecy; that is, to put an end to the necessity of any farther revelations, by completing the canon of Scripture, and fulfilling the prophecies which related to his person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.” (Adam Clark, on Daniel 9:24; For ease of access, I have drawn the citation from the website: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/clarke/dan009.htm). So, on the one hand Frost appealed to Clark but on the other hand he rejects him.
Clark is not alone in contradicting Frost’s claim that “seal vision and prophecy” does not refer to the finalization of the prophetic office through the completion of revelation and the fulfillment of all things. While there are a few dissenting voices, the vast majority of conservative scholarship, across the spectrum of futurist eschatologies, rejects Frost’s claim. I document this in my book, Seal Up Vision and Prophecy.
How the Scholars Define Seal Up Vision and Prophecy
Below are a just a few of the sources cited in that work that testify as to the meaning of “seal up vision and prophecy.”
1.) “Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344).
2.) “The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.” (Charles John Ellicott, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Cassell and Co; London, 1884), 387).
3.) “The vision and prophet will be sealed, that is accredited, because their final accomplishment has been reached in those events of blessing for God’s earthly people.” (A. C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Kregel, 1968), 133).
4.) “The reference is not to the accrediting of the prophecy, but to sealing it up so that it will no longer appear. Its functions are finished and it is not henceforth needed.” (Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1953), 200).
5.) “The words taken together refer to the final fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, i.e., when their functions are shown to be finished.” (James Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel,(Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1973), 250).
6.) “To set seal to them, to ratify and confirm the prophet’s prediction.” “The close of the seventy weeks will bring with it the confirmation of the prophetic utterances.” “A.V. and R.V. ‘seal up,’ means to close up, preclude from activity, the sense of the expression upon this view, being supposed to be that, prophecies being fulfilled, prophet and vision will be needed no more.” ( S. R. Driver, The Book of Daniel, (Cambridge University Press Warehouse, 1905), 136).
7.) “The idea is, that everything in the form of prophetic visions and predictions that had been produced in the course of theocratic development from the time of Moses should receive ‘sealing’ i.e. Divine confirmation and recognition, in the form of actual fulfillment (I Kings 21:8).” (John Peter Lange, Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Ezekiel-Daniel, edited by Phillip Schaff, (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1876), 195).
8.) “To fulfill the anticipations of all prophetic books.” ( J. R. Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, (New York, McMillan Co., 1923), 540).
9.) “The idea seems to be that they would at that time be all sealed, in the sense that they would be closed or shut up–no longer open matters–but that the fulfillment would, as it were, close them up forever.” Barnes also cites Hengstenberg, Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, and Langerke as concurring with the idea that vision and prophecy are sealed by fulfillment.” (Albert Barnes, Daniel Vol. II, (Grand Rapids; Baker, 1978), 145).
10.) “The sealing up of vision and prophet implies the confirming and fulfilling of all the sacred oracles that had spoken of the great day of the Lord and the glorious age to follow, in which the earth would be full of the knowledge of the Jehovah.” ( Milton S. Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics, (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1988 reprint), 201).
Anyone familiar with the scholars cited here knows that they are some of the finest Hebrew scholars in church history. Are they infallible? No. But, their united testimony should at least be considered. In addition to the above sources in my book Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, I provide an additional sources, some of the leading Hebraists in the history of the church, who say that “seal up vision and prophecy” referred to the final fulfillment of all prophecy, and the consequent cessation of the prophetic office. Thus, Frost’s contention that in Daniel 9:24 refers to putting prophecy under lock and key, not understandable, not interpretable, until the very time of the end, flies in the face of scholarship. They patently reject Frost’s definition in Daniel 9:24 of seal up vision and prophecy.
As an interesting personal anecdote, some years ago I was friends with a man that was a Hebrew scholar of first rank. He taught Hebrew on the university level and could read the Hebrew as well as I can read the English, with no hesitation, no struggle. He truly was amazing. I had the occasion to ask him what seal up vision and prophecy means in Daniel 9:24. With not a moment of hesitation, and without consulting his Hebrew text, he quoted Daniel 9:24 in the Hebrew, and then stated that seal up vision and prophecy means the final fulfillment of all prophecy and the subsequent and consequent cessation of the prophetic office. I was stunned, because he was a futurist in his eschatology and clearly did not see the implications of what he had just said. I asked him if there was any doubt at all about that meaning, and he assured me that there is no doubt; seal up vision and prophecy means “the final fulfillment of all prophecy.” I would trust this man’s Hebrew scholarship over Frost any day of the week. His comments were not “agenda driven” like Frost’s attempt to avoid the meaning of “seal up vision and prophecy.” Frost knows – knows full well – that if seal up vision and prophecy means what the vast majority of scholarship says it does, that his newly rediscovered – still evolving – futurist eschatology is falsified.
Now, Frost might rejoin by saying, “Well, Preston does not have a problem disagreeing with scholarship when they do not agree with him, so, it does not matter if I disagree with scholarship also.” And that is correct, when the evidence demands it I have no problem disagreeing with the scholars, church history or the creeds. The question of course is, does Frost present solid exegetical evidence that demands that we reject this unified historical scholarship as to the meaning of “seal vision and prophecy.” The answer to that is a resounding “NO!” The fact is that Frost’s explanation of “seal vision and prophecy” flies directly in the face of both the Old and the New Testaments. It flies in the face of Jesus, of Paul, of Peter James and of John. We will demonstrate that as we proceed. In the meantime, take note of the following.
It is interesting the Frost cited Adam Clark to prove that the seventy weeks ended in circa 34-35. But, observe that Clark stated that the sealing of vision and prophecy referred to the finalization of the canon and the fulfillment of all prophecy. Clark thus contradicts Frost.
Clark then said the seventy weeks ended somewhere around AD 34-35 – and Frost accepts that! But, needless to say, that is problematic! That would mean that all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 34-35. It would mean that all inspiration ceased by AD 34-35!! Frost probably saw the proverbial train coming and thus, to avoid this conundrum, rejected Clark and adopted a definition of “seal vision and prophecy” that extremely few scholars accept. He rejected the definition given by the very scholar that he appealed to! He also conveniently failed to tell his readers what Clark said about the definition of seal vision and prophecy!
So, how does Frost define “seal vision and prophecy” since he rejects the scholarly consensus? He now claims that it means to put prophecy under a seal so that it would not be understood! The meaning of prophecy would be essentially put under “lock and key” with no one knowing its meaning until it was / is actually fulfilled! He actually claims that the OT prophets revealed “very specific” times and seasons, but that the New Testament writers did not have a clue about the times and seasons. We will discuss that more in our next installment.
For now, notice Frost’s attempt to redefine “seal up vision and prophecy.” Commenting on Daniel 12, Frost defines “seal up vision and prophecy”:
“In Daniel, he is told, 2300 days….but seal up the vision…the prophecy…etc. This lets us know the extent, I believe, of what “seal up” means, AND the nature of WHAT is sealed up. Here, Daniel is TOLD times and seasons, down to the tee. 70 Weeks. Very specific. THIS aspect, then, of KNOWING through revelation exact “times and seasons” the Father has set (how many times are there? We don’t know. How many seasons? Not a clue. How long until? Not a peep. whereas, what USED to be a very specific function of vision and prophecy (announcing times and seasons) has CEASED…they will come….they are set…what the seven thunders uttered will happen….heaven and earth will pass…all things will be restored….but, no dates, no times, no limits have been “given” – they are sealed, known only to God.” (All caps his).
To say this is confused, confusing and simply false is a huge understatement. There are several texts that Frost echoes here in his attempt to avoid the meaning of fulfill vision and prophecy in Daniel 9. He appeals to Daniel 12 (seal up the vision); Matthew 24:36 (but of that day and hour no man knows, but the Father only); Acts 1:6f (It is not for you to know the times and the seasons”); and Revelation 9 (The meaning of the seven thunders was sealed up so that John could not write about them).
In our next installment, we will demonstrate how Frost abuses and distorts these texts and contradicts the very clear teaching of the Bible about the meaning of “seal up vision and prophecy” as it relates to the time of the end. Simply stated, Jesus, Paul, Peter, James and John all contradict Mr. Frost– and emphatically so.