Benton’s 3rd Negative – Preston-Benton Debate
Obligation to keep the Law ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
As we close this part of the debate on this proposition, let me say that it was a pleasure to engage Don in this study. I appreciate the very challenging and thought-provoking study in the exchange between us. I have learned a lot from engaging this effort, and I appreciate the mostly honorable way that it was engaged by both sides. We both strongly disagree and that is expected to come out in the force of our arguments, but I am sure that we both want each other to see truth and go to heaven, and that means that we love each other enough to try to make that happen if possible.
I want us to keep a close look at the proposition. Keep asking yourself if you remember any verse that Don presented that shows that God was keeping people under “obligation” to “keep the Law” of Moses after the cross and up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. Now remember we are not debating a proposition that says: “Some promises found in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem”. Don and I both would agree on that proposition. We are not debating a proposition that says: “The dead go directly to heaven or hell” or “There is a zone in which the righteous are comforted but not fully and finally glorified”. We are debating whether obligation of all men was to Jesus Christ, His kingship, His Priesthood, and His New Covenant ratified by His Blood, or whether people remained obligated to the Law of Moses instead. Don’s proposition says that in spite or regardless of what Jesus did and established by His death, obligation continued on man to keep the Law of Moses all the way to the destruction of Jerusalem. Quite simply the issue is this: 1) Was every Jew obligated by God to keep the Law, or, were they obligated by God to believe and obey the Messiah-King-Priest and His law that went forth from Jerusalem after His death and resurrection? 2) Were some Jews wholly obligated to Jesus and therefore NOT obligated to keep the Law of Moses, while other Jews were obligated to the Law of Moses and therefore NOT to Jesus’ new changed Law and Priesthood? 3) Were some Jews obligated to the law of Christ and the Law of Moses at the same time? 4) Was GOD obligating people to continue to keep the Law of Moses instead of obeying Jesus, or were those condemned, unbelieving Jews continuing to hold on to practices of the shadows and forms of the Law by their own will and regardless of what God wanted and was obligating them to do? These questions get to the heart of the issues involved with this proposition. Don thought he could prove his proposition without answering these issues. This is why big, huge holes, continued to plague his whole line of argumentation. Failure to sufficiently address these questions left him unable to prove his proposition.
My role has been to examine evidence that seems to add credibility to Don’s proposition. I’ve examined every verse he used that has even remote implications toward his proposition. Now, we will examine his third and final effort on this proposition.
His Millenial Two-Law Argument
Don was upset with me for showing that he had argued that two laws could not operate in the millennial paradigm. I had pointed out that Don’s own arguments to the millenialist are the same arguments I would use against his 40 year period between the cross and the destruction of Jerusalem. This got him upset with me. So he hollered and threw dust and kicked cats and dogs around (just kidding here) and said:
Terry DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT DISPENSATIONALISTS ACTUALLY TEACH. Thus, he does not really understand the force and nature of my arguments, or,
2.) He DOES understand what the millennialists teach, and he does understand what I was truly teaching, but, has chosen to ignore that reality and proceed to distort the facts.
Well that was what I was expecting him to say and do, but it does not change the fact that he saw the problem of the two-law-obligation approach that THEY have, but refuses to see that is the SAME problem HE has in that 40 year period before the destruction of Jerusalem. He could only claim that I “distorted” things:
Quote: And MAKE NO MISTAKE, TERRY HAS DISTORTED THE MILLENNIAL VIEW in his (failed) attempt to pit Preston against Preston by using my writings against millennialism against me in this debate! –Unquote!
Notice that all I did was quote what DON said about their position and how HE argued that the two laws could not co-exist at the same time. I did not distort their view or his. I simply quoted him on them and observed that he has the same problem in the 40 year period as he says that they have with two laws in the millennium.
Quote: When the millennialists speak of the law of the millennium that they believe will demand animal sacrifices, the restoration of the Temple, etc., THEY EMPHATICALLY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT IS THE MOSAIC LAW RESTORED!! The topic of the current debate however, IS THE TORAH OF MOSES! Terry, did you know that? These are separate and distinct issues. –Unquote!
No, Don, the issue is about two laws that demand opposite things being bound and obligated at the same time by God. You do not get out from under the force of that argument by simply saying the Law they are advocating is not the Mosaic Law restored. You argued that two laws with opposite demands could not be in place at the same time. It does no good for you to say:
Quote: The millennial law and the Torah under discussion in this debate are totally different! Terry, did you know of this distinction? –Unquote!
I know that Don argued that the gospel and the law of circumcision were totally different and therefore could not both be binding at the same time. Yet, Don argues that two such opposite laws (the gospel and the Law of Moses) were binding at the same time for 40 years. THAT was the point. But, Don continues to ignore that point and try to make the issue one of my confusion about what law the millenialists believe will be in play. He says:
Quote: .) The millennialists believe that the law of the millennium is the promised New Covenant of Jeremiah 31. They do not believe that has been established yet, but, when it is in the millennium that it will demand animal sacrifices, Temple, priesthood, etc.. But, again, IT IS NOT THE TORAH discussed by Jesus in Matthew 5, and in this debate! Terry, did you know this? -Unquote!
Let me repeat: I know that Don argued that the gospel and the law of circumcision were totally different and therefore could not both be binding at the same time. Yet, Don argues that two such opposite laws (the gospel and the Law of Moses) were binding at the same time for 40 years. THAT was the point. But, Don continues to ignore that point and try to make the issue one of my confusion about what law the millenialists believe will be in play. He is hoping the smoke he raises will blind you to the dilemma of his own words and his own proposition. He says again:
Quote: In the millennium, the New Covenant has no types or shadows to be fulfilled. Millennialists do not believe that the sacrifices, the priesthood, the Temple, or anything about that cultus is typological. All of this is in diametrical contrast to the Torah we are discussing, that was, in the first century, “shadowy” and typological! –Unquote!
Again, this does not rescue Don. He argued that two covenants could not co-exist in diametrical contrast at the same time. He argued that in his case against the millenialists, but refuses to see that he has the same problem in his forty-year-period before the destruction of Jerusalem. He has, in the 40 year period, two laws obligating Israel at the same time. He cannot escape this dilemma. His arguments are smoke and nothing else. He says:
Quote: In the millennium, no one can die to the New Covenant by entering the death of Christ. This is in contrast to the New Covenant teaching that I have set forth, regarding dying to Torah by entering Christ. –Unquote!
None of these points rescue Don from his own argument that two laws cannot be bound during the millennium. The millenialists can take Don’s argument and set up the same scenario: 1) Some people could remain under the gospel, and 2) others could “die to the gospel” and come under the new Jeremiad covenant. In this way the millenialists can solve the dilemma in the same way Don did (or tried to do). They will see that he had:
Some people remaining bound and under obligation to the Law of Moses, while… 2) Others could simply “die to the Law” and come under the New Covenant of Christ. It is understandable that the argument ruffled his feathers, but it was HIS argument to them, and I was just showing that his arguments in this debate give them answers that will either discredit his argument to them or make his present arguments under this proposition invalid. All Don could do with this was to rant and rave about Terry “not knowing the issues of millennialism”. It was all smoke that obscures the point, but does not answer the point. Let the reader remember the point is about two contrasting laws being in effect and bound at the same time either in the millennium or in the 40 year period before the destruction of Jerusalem.
DANIEL 12 AND TERRY’S ADMISSIONS?
On the Daniel 12 passage I had offered that the context allows for a kind of resurrection such as Paul described in Rom.11:15, which was a raising from the dust of their spiritual deadness to new life in Christ when the plagues and hardships leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem finally awakened them to the truth of Christ, while those same hardships only raised a higher level of hatred for Christ and condemnation in others. I pointed out that this is not at all what 1 Corinthians 15 is talking about. So, Don responded:
Quote: Of course, Terry says, repeatedly, that this resurrection is different than the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15, but, the reader will note that HE DID NOT GIVE ONE SINGLE VERSE TO SUPPORT THAT CLAIM. –Unquote!
The reader will remember that I did offer the proof of 1 Corinthians 15 that Paul was talking about Jesus’ literal resurrection as a “firstfruits” that would be followed later by our resurrection. It is a resurrection of the same kind as Jesus’ resurrection. That context is far different than the kind of resurrection described in Daniel 12 or Romans 11:15 or even of Ezekiel 37. He then tried to draw parallels between the language of Daniel 12 and some points in 1 Corinthians 15. Similarity is not identity of topic. Jesus used similarity of language to talk about a spiritual resurrection and then of a literal resurrection in John 5. Similarity is not proof of identity or proof that both passages are identifying the exact same event. Don says:
Quote: Daniel 12 foretold the RESURRECTION. 1 Corinthians 15 foretold the RESURRECTION. –Unquote!
Correction! Daniel 12 speaks of a resurrection or awakening and seems to point to the shattering that took place in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. We can grant that because such a resurrection from the dust of unbelief was expected by Paul as he relates this in Romans 11:15f. But, while that is A resurrection of a certain type, the text of 1 Corinthians 15 is far different. It is about a literal resurrection of the kind and nature of Jesus’ literal, physical resurrection. Christ is the “firstfruits”(15:20) of this kind of resurrection. Thus, this resurrection is different from the one described in Romans 11:15 and Daniel 12. It is patterned after the literal resurrection of Jesus. Don got even more careless and said:
Quote: Daniel 12 foretold the resurrection “out of the dust of the earth.” Larry believes that 1 Corinthians 15 predicts the resurrection “out of the dust of the earth.” Interestingly, Terry takes the language of Daniel metaphorically- and properly so- but insists that the language of 1 Corinthians 15 must be literal! He gives us no justification except to say “they are different.” Proof, Larry, PROOF, not assumptions and assertions! –Unquote!
Don seems confused with who he is debating. At times he appears to be reverting back to his earlier debate with Larry Bunch, and then regains his bearings and comes back to me. He wants proof. Proof that 1 Corinthians 15 is speaking of a literal resurrection that is of the same kind as Christ’s literal resurrection. All right, notice the following from the context of 1 Corinthians 15:
1) If the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 15:13,16
2) Christ HAS risen (literally) and is the “firstfruits” – 15:20
3) For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead – 15:21
4) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 22
These point out that the resurrection is of the kind of which Jesus was the first. However, this is not the same with such passages as Ezekiel 37 (“can these bones live”?) which speak of the hopelessly dead condition of Israel as a nation and one day being revived from that dead state. The texts have some similarities, but similarity is not proof of identical identity. Don argues further on similarity:
Quote: The resurrection promise of Daniel 12 was a promise made to Old Covenant Israel. The promise of 1 Corinthians 15 was a promise made to Old Covenant Israel (Isaiah 25/ Hosea 13). –Unquote!
Actually, 1 Corinthians 15 revolves around Christians (not Old Testament Israel) who heard the gospel and stood in that gospel (v.1-2). A promise made to Israel would reach fulfillment when death was finally put down and destroyed, and these Christians would be a part of that. A prophecy to Israel affirms what Paul is saying to New Testament Christians at Corinth. Paul is speaking to New Testament Christians of Jew and Gentile heritage, thus another contrast between Daniel 12 and 1 Corinthians 15. But, Don argued further on similarity:
Quote: The resurrection of Daniel would be at the end of God’s dealings with Old Covenant Israel- at the fulfillment of His promises to them. The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be at the climax of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel (i.e “the end,” when her promises would be fulfilled, and when “the Law that is the strength of sin” (the Torah- per Terry!) was removed. (v. 19f, 56f). –Unquote!
The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of the literal resurrection that is of the same kind as Jesus’ who is the firstfruits and His kind of resurrection will be followed when the last enemy, “death”, is brought to an end. Don confuses every kind of resurrection and every kind of “end” regardless of context. We will have more to say about “the Law that is the strength of sin” later on, but his position would mean, in consequence, that there is no law and no sin because the resurrection took place in AD 70.
Now, how does he tie this topic of the resurrection with his proposition? Notice:
Quote: The resurrection of the dead would occur when the power of the holy people was completely shattered (Daniel 12:2-7).-Unquote!
He says “THE” resurrection as if to have proven an automatic association between an awakening described in Daniel 12 and THE final resurrection that follows suite with Jesus’ resurrection when death is finally put down. Don adds:
Quote: The power of the holy people was the Torah, and God’s relationship with Old Covenant Israel. –Unquote!
This point he assumed without proof. I would say again that the power of the holy people was in the perception of others that the Jews were God’s holy people. If the power was the Law, then God shattered the Law in AD 70. Even if we granted that, it would not prove that God held people bound to that Law while the new Law of Christ was in place. But, we do not grant Don that assumption. What was “shattered” was the power of the people of Israel. They had power because their wealth, influence, and Temple gave people that impression that God was with them. In the destruction of Jerusalem that power that Israel possessed would be shattered. Don needs to get us to read into this text a shattering of the Law of Moses at the destruction of Jerusalem. What is shattered then is the “power of the holy people”. They would no longer hold the same kind of power they held before. Don adds:
Quote: Therefore, the resurrection of the dead would occur when the Torah and God’s relationship with Old Covenant Israel was destroyed. –Unquote!
A resurrection (such as Romans 11:15 describes) took place among “many” when God poured out His wrath upon Israel. Thus, Don’s assumptions do not work. He adds:
Quote: The resurrection of the dead would occur when the Torah and God’s relationship with Old Covenant Israel was destroyed. –Unquote!
Again, destruction of the Torah is not the subject matter and the mention of “a resurrection” of many is not the same as the literal resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 that follows suite with Jesus’ resurrection as the firstfruits.
Quote: But, the Torah and God’s covenant relationship with Old Covenant Israel was destroyed in A.D. 70, in the destruction of Jerusalem (when Torah was completely fulfilled, Luke 21:22). –Unquote!
The Torah was not destroyed. Covenant relationship had been “broken off” at the death of Jesus and the rending of the veil of the temple that occurred at His death, but the final blow to Jerusalem would confirm that God was not associated with the Jewish system that continued to reject God’s great salvation in Christ. Don brings this series of false arguments to a concluding statement:
Quote: Therefore, the resurrection of the dead occurred when Old Covenant Israel was destroyed in A.D. 70. –Unquote!
Don’s logic chain was flawed from the start, and every link in his chain was full of assumptions, therefore his conclusion is wrong. He has not established:
1) That the Torah was the power of the holy people referred to,
2) That the Law was still binding up to the destruction of Jerusalem,
3) That Daniel 12 and 1 Corinthians 15 are talking about the same identical thing that happens at the same identical time, or that both passages are talking about the same kind of resurrection.
Therefore, Don’s arguments have all been assumptions built on top of further assumptions, and each assumption is full of holes. Thus, his argument on Daniel 12 and 1 Corinthians 15 did not stand. But, he acts like I did not answer his solid arguments:
Quote: What was Terry’s response? He said that the power of the holy people was not their covenant relationship with YHVH, but rather it was their “perception that they were still God’s people.” This is, frankly, another case of desperation gone rampant! –Unquote!
Don misrepresented what I said. I did not say that Israel’s power was in their (Israel’s) perception. I said the power Israel had was in the world’s perception that they were God’s people. That perception gave Israel power. By bringing God’s wrath down and destroying all the external basis of that perception, “the power of the holy people was shattered”. But, Don continued his misrepresentation by saying:
Quote: Another way to put this is to see that Terry is actually arguing that Israel’s “power” was a bad attitude! Talk about an unfounded assumption! –Unquote!
Again, Don misses the point. It was in the world’s perception that Israel had power. Even the Romans wanted to do the Jews a favor because they perceived wrongly that God favored them. The power was in the perception the world had. God would change that idea by His plagues and wrath upon them. When the Romans no longer perceived them the same way, the power of the holy people was shattered and the temple destroyed. But, Don continued his mistake:
Quote: The Hebrew word that is used for power in the text never, so far as I have been able to determine, in hundreds of occurrences, ever a reference to a misguided belief or bad attitude! -Unquote!
Perception gives power to others. For example, the 10 spies told Israel that “we cannot take the land” and “we were as grasshoppers in our own eyes”, and by perceiving the Canaanites in this way, they were giving undue power to the Canaanites. Don did not pay close enough attention to what I said and thought I was saying that Israel’s power in the Daniel 12 context was in their “bad attitude”. That doesn’t even come close to what I said. I said the “power of the holy people” was in the perception that others had of them. As long as Israel seemed externally prosperous and appeared to have God and the Temple, then Israel’s power was in the world’s perception of them. Israel had power in riches, wealth, and in the perception that God curses nations that curse her. The power was not in the old covenant that was superseded by the new covenant in AD 33, but in the external perception that since the Temple still stands, they must still be God’s favored people. That perception was shattered and destroyed in AD 70. Don continues:
Quote: So, we ask again, wasn’t it the covenant relationship with YHVH that had, for 1500 years, been the power of Israel? Of course, the covenant was Israel’s power, and that means that the covenant relationship was to be completely shattered in A.D. 70, and my affirmative is confirmed and proven. –Unquote!
Don is still mistaken. Because of unbelief Israel was broken off (Rom.11), and the Temple veil rent by a divine act of God when Jesus died on the cross. God was no longer associated with that people and their house. They were “broken off” and Christians of Jew and Gentile heritage were favored (Rom.11). Therefore, any power Israel had was in the externals that remained that gave strength to the world’s perception that Israel was still God’s people. The covenant relationship was broken off at the cross. Don should have known this. He continues:
Quote: Terry says what this really means is that not one jot or tittle would pass from the Law until the 10 commandments were fulfilled, but, not commandments concerning the sacrifices, with the attendant typological application to Jesus, did not have to be fulfilled for the Law to pass. –Unquote!
Here Don puts words in that I never said. I never said or implied that the Law of Matthew 5:17 context was merely the 10 commandments, nor did I say “not the commandments concerning sacrifices”, etc. I have said that Don’s extensive usage that all promises that are scattered throughout the Old Testament had to be fulfilled before “obligation to keep the Law” could end, is not so. That usage will not work because:
1) Jesus “changed” the law and priesthood (Heb.7:12) long before AD 70, and therefore long before all the promises were all fulfilled. Whatever Matthew 5:17f means, it cannot mean what Don affirmed.
2) The law of commandments was nailed to the cross and people ceased to be obligated to keep it long before AD 70 (See again Eph.2:14 and Col. 2:13-16), and therefore long before all the promises were all fulfilled. Whatever Matthew 5:17f means, it cannot mean something that contradicts plain passages that show that “obligations to keep the law” ended at the cross long before all the promises were all fulfilled.
What I affirmed was that Matthew 5:17 speaks of the obligations upon man, but not all promises God would fulfill that are found in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled all that needed to be fulfilled in order to “take it out of the way”. He fulfilled everything that made Him ready to be a perfect sacrifice. He fulfilled every essential prophecy that needed to be fulfilled at that moment regarding Himself. Other promises and prophecies that had later times in mind could wait without man remaining obligated to keep the law of commandments contained in ordinances.
Matthew 5: 17 Does Not Mean
There are things we can conclude about what Matthew 5:17 means and does not mean. It does NOT mean:
1. Obligation upon man would continue so long as there is even one promise that has not come to pass.
a) In this case, the law would STILL be binding and did not cease to be binding even after the destruction of Jerusalem. 1 Cor.15:54f shows that death would have to be abolished one day according to Old Testament scriptures. But…
Death has not been abolished and swallowed up in victory,
Sin is still around and is strengthened by the testimony of the Law,
The law still testifies about sin, and sin has strength against us today,
We still need the blood of Christ to help us against sin,
When the resurrection occurs, sin and death will be destroyed and this mortal will have put on immortality.
b) In this case, Jesus could not “take it out of the way”(Col.2 and Eph.2) until every promise was fulfilled.
2. The Law could not be “changed” (Heb.7:12) before every promise of the Old Testament has come to pass.
In this case, Jesus could not mediate a new covenant even after the destruction of Jerusalem because some promises have still not come to pass (See again 1 Cor.15:54f). But…
Death has not been swallowed up in victory and this mortal has not put on immortality,
Sin is still around and is strengthened by the testimony of Law, and so
Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 have not been fulfilled, and therefore, per Don’s argument, Jesus cannot be priest until the destruction of Jerusalem, and if his argument on Matthew 5:17 is true, Jesus cannot be priest and king even now.
3) Obligation to keep the Law would cease in AD 70. Matthew 5:17 cannot mean this either.
In this case, every prophecy would have had to have been fulfilled by then (AD 70), but every promise was not fulfilled then.
Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 would be jots and tittles that did not come to pass in AD 70. See 1 Cor.15:54f
Death has not been swallowed up and sin is still around. Therefore, per Don’s argument on Matthew 5:17, we are still under obligation to keep every aspect of the Law of Moses.
But, the argument that every promise HAD to be fulfilled before man’s obligation to keep the Law could be removed is faulty because:
a. Don admitted that Col.2 and Eph.2 shows that some men DID cease to be obligated even before the destruction of Jerusalem and before all promises were fulfilled.
b. Jesus had “all authority” and all men were under obligation to Him before the destruction of Jerusalem and before all promises were fulfilled.
c. Jesus changed the Law (Heb.7:12) and all people became subject to His Kingship and Priesthood even before the destruction of Jerusalem and before all promises were fulfilled.
d. All men were obligated to enter the death of Christ and pass out from under the Law of Moses before the destruction of Jerusalem and before all the promises were fulfilled.
1. Matthew 5:17 does not mean that Jesus could not have “all authority” and ratify His “new covenant” until every promise of the Old Testament was fulfilled.
In this case, He still would not have all authority and there could be no obligation to the New Testament because there still are promises in the Old Testament that have not been fulfilled.
Don has already admitted that the New Testament of Jesus Christ IS the covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 31 AND that it came into effect at the cross, and that was long before the destruction of Jerusalem and before every promise of the Old Testament had been fulfilled.
Don’s “Some of the Law” Argument Again
Quote: SO, TERRY COMPLETELY ALTERS THE WORDS OF JESUS TO SAY “WHEN SOME OF THE LAW AND SOME OF THE PROPHETS ARE FULFILLED, THEN ALL OF THE LAW WILL PASS!-Unquote!
I made no argument on when the Law would PASS. This debate has been about when “obligation to keep the Law” would end. I have been careful here to make this as plain as possible. But notice, DON’S PLAY ON MATT.5:17 MEANS:
1) Some people’s obligation to the Law can pass (even before AD 70) and therefore to THEM:
The entire Law and prophets passed away without every jot and tittle being fulfilled,
Jesus abolished it and caused it to pass away without every jot and tittle being fulfilled. So, in this case:
a) Jesus had no right to do this for anybody at that point in time,
b) Jesus could not do it legitimately,
c) Jesus causes people to sin by telling them it was alright for them to die to the Law that had not yet been fulfilled.
1) He has “completely altered the words of Jesus” to say: “When some of the Law and some of the Prophets are fulfilled, I will nail it to the cross for some of you, and for you the law will pass”, OR, Don alters the words to say: “When some of the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled I will allow all people to pass out from under the Law before every jot and tittle of it is fulfilled”.
Matthew 5:17 and 7:12
Don’s argument has been that none of man’s obligations to the Law could cease to be obligated until every promise in the OT was fulfilled, but, he allows Jesus to “fulfill” it in a sense before it was all actually fulfilled. That is, he pretends that it is all right to claim that Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets without all of the destruction of Jerusalem stuff of Daniel 9 and all the “death swallowed up in victory” stuff (Isa.25:8; Hosea 13:14) being fulfilled. He allows Jesus to have “fulfilled” the law in some measure suitable to allowing Him to release men from obligation to an unfulfilled covenant.
My position is that Matthew 5:17 is not about the issue of when will “obligation to the Law of Moses cease”, but about whether Jesus would destroy the Law in His teaching and Life or whether He would fulfill the demands of the Law. Jesus’ mission was to fulfill the demands of the Law to the point that He was qualified to be the perfect sacrifice. He fulfilled the demands of righteousness expressed in the Law. Did He, or didn’t He “fulfill” the law in so far as the righteous requirements were concerned? If so, then He was qualified in His death to abolish the “law of commandments contained in ordinances”. Now, the other issue of Matthew 5:17-20 was whether the level of righteous standards of the scribes and Pharisees (Jesus’ critics who claimed that Jesus’ life and teaching would destroy the Law) would, or had in effect, “destroyed” the Law or “fulfilled” it. Jesus shows in the context of this issue that His own principles fulfilled the Law (its righteous requirements) while their principles actually destroyed the Law in affect. Some basic points of how to treat people were some “least commandments” or “jots and tittles” that they were ignoring. The Golden Rule would have prevented their abusive language (“Raca” and “You Fool”, etc), their anger and treatment of brethren, their easy divorce attitude and empty oaths and lack of promise-keeping. The Golden Rule was found in the Law, but they were destroying it instead of fulfilling it. Now, Don chides me for pointing to a more limited context of “destroying” versus “fulfilling” the Law and prophets. But Don, not Jesus, is the one who expanded the issue of Matthew 5:17 to include every promise found in the OT. This was never Jesus’ issue. The issue was regarding “righteous” principles related through the law and whether Jesus would keep or destroy them. Regarding those righteous requirements of the Law, the standards of the scribes and Pharisees destroyed basic standards of righteous requirements, but all who would enter the kingdom of heaven would have to exceed their standards. The Golden Rule would fulfill those basic standards of the Law and Prophets.
Don asked: “Are you telling us that the Law would pass when Jesus treated other people like He would be treated, regardless of whether He kept the commandments to honor the Father?”
First, Jesus is not discussing “when” the Law would pass, if ever. He is simply affirming that it could not pass without being fulfilled. Honoring the Father was the main focus of the Law, but some jots and tittles, as far as the Pharisees were concerned, were these “least” or minor issues like anger, abusive words, hate, lust, adultery, lying, etc. Jesus was not going to let these issues be destroyed and pass from the Law till all were fulfilled. Therefore, His kingdom would fulfill even these by loving you neighbor as youself.
Secondly, the issue of Matthew 5:17 and 7:12 does not revolve around when the Law could be destroyed from existence or cease to be obligated. The Jews knew that a new Prophet was coming to whom everyone had to listen and submit (Det.18:15f; Acts 3:22f) and that a new covenant was coming that was unlike the old covenant (Jer.31:31f), and that therefore the old would be abolished when that moment came. The issue of Jesus in Matthew 5-7 is that He was not here to destroy the Law and the Prophets (although in a later moment at the time of His death, but not during His life, He would replace that entire system). He was here to fill up what was demanded, but the scribes and Pharisees were so unrighteous in their handling of the law that their classifications of big, important laws and little, unimportant laws had actually destroyed it in practice. Those jots and tittles, as they apparently classified them, would be fulfilled in the kingdom citizens who practiced the Golden Rule. The “least of these commandments” would be those commands least esteemed by the scribes and Pharisees, of which Jesus proceeded to enumerate and bring back to the attention of His hearers. These would, in summary, be fulfilled in the practice of the Golden Rule. The Law would be changed, abolished, and replaced whenever the Messiah fulfilled its demands for Him, but that is not the subject matter of His Sermon on the Mount. His subject matter there was “righteousness” and fulfilling “the least of these commandments”, the obligations that the Law demanded in regard to righteous living.
Thirdly, the Sermon on the Mount is not about when the promises of the OT will be fulfilled, but about “righteousness” and keeping even “the least of these commandments”. Those minimized commandments would be upheld and fulfilled by Jesus and all who would enter the kingdom of heaven.
Fourthly, Don’s eisegesis (reading into the text) does not work harmony with anything, not even his own arguments. It expands confusion. One the one hand he says that the Law could not cease to be binding until every promise of the OT was fulfilled, but, then, on the other hand, he allows it to be “abolished” for SOME Jews before it was all fulfilled. He lets it be partially abolished when he says it is lawful for some Jews to obey Jesus and some Jews to continue to obey Moses. He lets Jesus bring in the prophesied New Covenant of Jeremiah 31 before the entire old covenant was fulfilled, and allows some Jews to remain obligated to the old covenant rather than the new covenant, thus allowing some Jews to remain obligated to Moses and the Levitical priesthood and offerings, and others allowed to pass out from under that covenant to Jesus. Additionally, he has the gall to ridicule the millenialists for apparently having two binding laws in place at the same time. He reads into Matthew 5:17 a theory, but will not stick to the consequences of his eisegesis. My reading can be wrong, but even so Don’s would not be right and cannot be right. He is the one using that verse (Matt.5:17) to prove that “obligation to keep the Law ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70”, and has built his entire case on the premise that the law could not cease to be binding on one point until every single promise found in any context of the entire OT was fulfilled. The consequences of that premise are: 1) Jesus could not even abolish the law at the cross because every promise had not been fulfilled, 2) Jesus could not abolish the Law at the destruction of Jerusalem because every promise had not been fulfilled then either. Death had not been abolished and swallowed up in victory, mortality had not been abolished, and the resurrection that ends death and sin had not taken place then.(See Isa.25:8; Hosea 13:14 with 1 Cor.15:54-55). 3) Jesus could not abolish the Law until the final resurrection and abolition of sin and death. Don’s premise is loaded with assumptions, and consistency demands that he accept the full consequences of his eisegesis. He has not proven his eisegesis is correct, and therefore he has not and cannot prove such a proposition.
Fifthly, my view is that the context of Matthew 5:17 and 7:12 regard those commandments or obligations placed upon man, and the least commands would be satisfied by Jesus and in His kingdom of heaven disciples. We fulfill those matters by living in harmony with the Golden Rule. The Law as a system was fulfilled, abolished, and taken out of the way at the cross. Whatever Jesus was including in the terms “Law and the prophets” in Matthew 5:17 is also what He abolished in His flesh in Col.2:13-16 and Eph.2:11-14, having fulfilled all that was demanded.
His Affirmative Point on Daniel 9
Quote: But, Daniel 9 posited the fulfillment of all vision and prophecy at the end of the Seventy Weeks, at the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Therefore, not one iota of Torah would pass until the fulfillment of the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9, that terminated in the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. –Unquote!
But, Daniel 9 just says these weeks were determined “to seal up vision and prophecy”. It does not say or imply that every kind of prediction or “the entire body of prophecy” was under consideration. It does not say that sealing up vision and prophecy is the same thing as abolishing the Law of Moses and the obligations that Law placed upon all Jews. It does not say that “sealing up” vision and prophecy is the same thing as “fulfilling and ending” obligation to keep the Law. It does not say that sealing up vision and prophecy means “fulfilling all vision and prophecy” regarding other matters besides the issue of the coming fall of Jerusalem. The Law Jesus was speaking of was law obligation upon man (Matt.5:19-20). Did Jesus come and destroy the Law? Or, did He fulfill all the obligations of the law? By the time of the cross Jesus had filled the commandments of the Law with His perfect life. If He failed, then he was not a fit sacrifice for us. Don asserts Matt.5:17-19 includes every kind of predictive prophecy or promise found in the entire Old Testament, and then asserts that obligation to any point in the Law can never cease until every predictive element is also finished. Then, with those assumptions, he moves to assert that Daniel 9 combines sealing vision and prophecy with when the Law could pass, and when obligation to that Law could be cancelled. The law of commandments was terminated at the cross and prophecies regarding the fall of Jerusalem were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. Vision and prophecy in Daniel 9 does not equate with when the law of commandments contained in ordinances could be abolished. But, Don tried desperately to make that assumption appear, to the undiscerning, to be legitimate. The sealing of vision and prophecy in Dan.9 is about bringing those prophecies –pertaining to the Messiah and His plan to destroy unbelieving and disobedient Israel’s Temple and sacrificial system – to a completion. Again, it is not about when obligation to keep the commandments contained in ordinances would be abolished or about when other scattered prophecies on other topics might be fulfilled.
The Strength of Sin
Don said, “Terry himself admitted that the Law that is the strength of sin in 1 Corinthians 15, was the Torah”.
First, I said that any law that testifies of sin’s reality in us thereby strengthens the case of sin and therefore condemnation in us. The Torah is still a testimony to sin. Therefore, Don’s whole argument here is fallacious. The Law of Moses still testifies of Jesus, still testifies of sin, and therefore will always give strength to the case of sin against us and of our need for Jesus. But, it does all of those things without our being obligated to its law of commandments contained in ordinances. Even as Paul wrote to the Corinthians who were then already “dead to the Law” (Rom.7), the Law was still a witness to sin. Though it is abolished as a system of obligation, it forever stands as a witness for God, Jesus, sin, and righteousness. It still “instructs in righteousness”, and it still reproves (2 Tim.3:16-17).
Secondly, I did not say the Torah was now in force as “the strength of sin”. And therefore I did not imply that “bloody sacrifices” remain as the strength of sin. I pointed out that the “righteousness of the law” should be kept today (Rom.8:3f; 13:8-10; Eph.6:1-3), not because it is in the Law of Moses as a totally binding system, but because it is right to do right even if the Law of Moses gives additional testimony of what IS right. “Sin” is still around, and the testimony of the Law of Moses is still a witness to sin’s reality. Therefore the Law is still the strength of sin.
Thirdly, I did not argue that we are condemned ON THE BASIS OF ABROGATED LAW, but that even abrogated Law gives strength to the case of sin’s reality. Don claims that I did not explain how a law that has been nullified can have any “strength” and CONDEMNING POWER, at all. But, I did explain that. Don is just not listening. I said that abolished law was contained in the “scriptures” that still (though they were abrogated Old Testament scriptures) were profitable for reproof and “instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim.3:15-17). Now listen carefully Don! If those Old Testament scriptures still had power to reprove and instruct in righteousness, and they STILL do even now after the cross AND after the destruction of Jerusalem, then they still have power to testify of sin. If not, why not? Now watch carefully brother Don. If they still can point out and identify SIN, and they can and do, then they have POWER as a witness to sin in us. Now, sin is a reality even without that particular witness, but that witness STRENGTHENS the case against us. The Law has changed roles, from a binding system of law that legally holds people obligated to its entire demands, to a witness, a by-stander that still instructs on matters of right and wrong, and testifies to the truth of sin in us. Don, I hope you got it this time. Your argument from 1 Cor.15 is invalid.
Provision of a Covenant Remains Valid
Quote: I am calling on Terry to give us the following:
Some specific proof that any provision of a covenant remains valid and applicable after that covenant has been annulled. –Unquote!
First, let me see if I understand Don’s challenge. He seems to be asking, What did the old covenant provide that, though annulled as a binding covenant, continued to provide something valid and applicable? Well, let’s start a list:
1) The old covenant, though annulled as binding law, continues to provide testimony about the Messiah. Testimony about Christ is a provision that remains valid (John 5:39). Even though Paul was a Christian and “dead to the Law” (Rom.7), and believed that Christ had “abolished in His flesh the Law of commandments contained in ordinances”, still he found that that covenant still provided testimony about Jesus that remained as valid testimony (Acts 28:23) and as a testimony to the history of hearts that often didn’t want to see and hear the truth (Acts 28:25-28). Don, is that specific enough? Now let me get even more specific.
2) The old covenant provided truth about common sense wisdom. The book of Proverbs is provided by the Old Covenant. That book, provided by the Old Annulled Covenant, remains valid as a source of wisdom-making in young men in every age. Wisdom can still be gained from this provision of the old annulled covenant. Don, do you deny this?
3) The old covenant scriptures provided testimony that can make one “wise unto salvation” (2 Tim.3:15) and provisions that make it “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”(2 Tim.3:15-17). Notice, Don, that these provisions remained valid and applicable even after that covenant had been annulled (Eph.2:14f), and it remained valid for Christians in this role.
Don called upon me to “give us the following: Some specific example of the application (enforcement) of covenant provisions, after the annulment of the covenant containing those provisions”.
First, let me remind Don that the Law provided testimony to principles of right and wrong. Though the Law was “abolished in His flesh”(Eph.2:15),(thus was an annulled covenant), Paul still enforced a principle from that covenant just because it was “right” and testified of right (Eph.6:1-3). So, if a Christian child obeyed their parents in the Lord, the provision “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” remained a valid promise. Unless Don is willing to accuse Paul of misusing an annulled covenant at Ephesus, then this meets all of Don’s challenge to me. It is a “specific example of the application (enforcement) of covenant provisions (a command with promise) after the annulment of the covenant containing those provisions”. Conversely, if children do not obey their parents in the Lord, it will not be well with them, and they may not live long on the earth.
Secondly, the old covenant provided a command to listen to and obey all things the Prophet like Moses (Jesus) says to you (Deut.18:15f; Acts 3:22f) with a warning that “every soul who will not hear that Prophet (Jesus) shall be utterly destroyed from among the people”. Now let us suppose that after a person obeys the gospel of Christ and escapes the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of Jesus Christ (thus, to him that old covenant has been annulled or abolished) he quits believing in Jesus, will he still be “destroyed from among the people”(remember, the covenant has been annulled)? But, let us take this one step further. Since Don believes that the old covenant has been annulled at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, let’s see if his arguments work for the POST AD 70 Jews. Don’s argument to me has been that provisions, blessings or curses, cannot be applied after that covenant has been annulled. Therefore, Jews today (post AD 70) will not be saved by “calling on the name of the Lord” (Joel 2:28f) nor “destroyed from among the people” for not hearing that Prophet like Moses (Jesus) via Deut.18:15f. Since the covenant has been abolished in AD 70 (according to Don), the Jews today cannot be saved or cut off per Don’s argument.
Thirdly, post AD 70 Jews, per Don’s reasoning, have no obligation of any kind to the scriptures. They cannot be convicted of sin by these scriptures because Don says that annulled covenants cannot be applied or benefit or curse. Thus, post AD 70 Jews either are not lost because they have no law and therefore no sin, or they cannot be saved because they now have no obligation to respond to information found in an annulled covenant. All of this was necessary to show the fallacy of Don’s whole line of logic on “the strength of sin is the law”.
His Berlin Wall Illustration Again
He said people were obligated to the Law of Moses like people in East Berlin were obligated to the Law of East Berlin. He said people could escape from the Law of Berlin and die to that former law while it remained binding on others who did not escape. His theory broke down twice because the illustration does not fit all the facts. A true parallel would be that the Law of Berlin obligates all to escape when the middle wall of division is broken down and when that wall is broken down all would be obligated to come under the new covenant that the old law had been promising. The Law of Berlin would be telling people to listen to and obey the new ruler (Prophet – Deut.18:15f) who would save them if they did and who would destroy them if they did not. The old covenant (Law of Berlin) obligates all East Berliners to leave East Berlin when the new leader (Christ) comes to take all authority in hand. Those who do not will be destroyed. Thus, his illustration was flawed because it did not point out the truth that all were obligated to die to the former law and believe and obey the New Leader who abolished the old law in his flesh.
Don ignored my counter-points on this passage. So, I offer them here again.
First, as Paul wrote, the second covenant was in place, and he was himself converted over from being associated with Hagar and Mount Sinai. He argues that Hagar and Mount Sinai correspond to “Jerusalem which now is”. Paul is claiming that he was no longer associated with that Jerusalem. Paul is arguing that we are not obligated to the first covenant but the second covenant. If anyone remained associated with the Old Covenant, it was by BLIND CHOICE, not by obligation of God. From God’s perspective, all are obligated to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant. Those who rejected this Mediator and Covenant would be cast out at the destruction of Jerusalem. In this text, they are cast out because they rejected the New Covenant and all that the Old had promised. “Casting out” the Old Covenant in the destruction of Jerusalem does not mean that God was holding people “obligated” to live by that covenant.
Secondly, He is casting out the covenant and the children of that covenant because they preferred the bondage of that system over the liberty of the New Covenant. Waiting a while to visibly cast them out, is not the same as keeping people under “obligation” to that covenant. When were they “broken off” the tree of God? Paul says it was when they did not “believe”(Rom.11:15-21) when “the faith had come”(Gal.3:23-25). So, the covenant was cancelled at the cross (Eph.2:14; Col.2:14f), the unbelievers were “broken off”(Rom.11) and all that was left was to “gather them and throw them into the fire”(Jno.15:6). This is the phase called “casting out” in Gal.4:30.
Thirdly, Paul was not under two covenants at once. No one had a “right” or “obligation” to prefer the first covenant over the second. This is why I asked Don, and he did not answer, if all Jews were “obligated” to Jesus. If all Jews were obligated to Jesus, and they were (Jno.12:48), then they were obligated to His priesthood, sacrifice, and New Covenant. If they were obligated to Jesus in all these ways, then they could NOT also be obligated to the Old Covenant with priesthood and sacrifices at the same time.
The only thing that we really got out of Don here was that on the matter of Romans 11 where Paul said the unbelieving Jews were “broken off,” he said there was “an already-but-not-yet reality at work”. My point was that they were already broken off but not yet cast into the fire. That fits the facts of the case, and it also shows that obligation to keep the Law of Moses was not in place. Condemnation for not believing Jesus was in place, and this persecuting child will be visibly cast out and burned in the fires of destruction.
He says he is “guilty of honoring the text” on the matter of the present tense (remember the days, Sabbaths, etc, ARE a shadow?), but he ignores the text and fails to honor the main present tense that Jesus IS the substance (present tense). Therefore, though the Colossians could look at unbelieving Jews presently using the shadows, they needed to know that those things are a shadow of the SUBSTANCE now offered in Christ. No one has a right to keep the shadows instead of the substance, and no one then had an “obligation” to keep the shadows instead of yielding it all to the substance. Don says, “Terry cannot honor the text with his view”, but I do honor the text. Jesus is the substance. ALL were/are obligated to discard the shadows and honor the substance then and now.
Don says that I was guilty of double talk. He says now (as opposed to what he said earlier) – “How can something be abolished, and yet not pass? How can something be changed, i.e. no longer valid, obligatory, and yet, not pass? Now, compare that denial that a thing can be abolished without passing with this statement of his from his second affirmative. He said then, Quote: Significantly, TERRY ADMITS AND AFFIRMS MY POINT! He says: “Obligation to man’s requirements in the law could pass or be cancelled without the Law and all prophecies being cancelled and without the Law itself ever “passing away”.
AMEN, AND AMEN! That is my point! That is precisely what I have established, and, it shows beyond doubt that the Torah had not been removed at the Cross.-Unquote! He claims that the law was abolished for Christians without “passing”, but watch, he claims it actually did “pass away” in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Therefore, his theory holds that the resurrection occurred than, and the final enemy, “death”, has been put down, the cause of death, “sin”, has been put down, the law that gives strength to sin has been removed. All of this supposedly occurred in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. His theory is that death has been swallowed up in victory as of AD 70. His view of eschatology distorts every thing it touches.
Notice the progression of errors:
1) Every promise has to be fulfilled in order for the law to be abolished (error based on eisegesis of Matthew 5:17).
2) The days of vengeance (destruction of Jerusalem) is when “all things which are written may be fulfilled”(Luke 21:22).
3) Therefore, even the promise of Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 quoted in 1 Cor.15:54-55 had to be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in order for the “all things which are written”(Luke 21:22) to be fulfilled.
4) Therefore, the resurrection of Daniel 12 and 1 Cor.15 are the same, and therefore the conclusion that the resurrection is past, and the conclusion that death has been swallowed up, the mortal changed to immortal, all in AD 70.
When we refuse to allow Don the assumptions he attaches to each verse, then his theory does not work. So, let us analyze each point individually.
Error #1 is when he assumes that Matt.5:17 means the law cannot be abolished until every promise in the OT is fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled whatever was included under “the least of these COMMANDMENTS” and “took them out of the way nailing them to His cross” and “abolished in His flesh the law of commandments (Matt.5:19; Eph.2:14f; Col.2:14f). Also inherent within Don’s error #1 is the error that allows Jesus to abolish the law for SOME without every promise first being fulfilled. So, his first error is full of assumptions that we cannot grant to him and the text does not demand or allow, and the above inherent errors falsify his usage of Matt.5:17 and his proposition.
Error #2 is when he expands Luke 21:22 to include more than the context demands. Granted that “all things that are written” sounds all-inclusive, but a little thought would show that it is all things within a certain category. For example, the days of vengeance would not fulfill the things written about the birth of the Messiah, His death and resurrection. Those days would not fulfill the “law of commandments contained in ordinances”. Don wants this passage to mean only “the rest of what’s left that wasn’t fulfilled in Jesus”, but it says, “all things that are written”. So, what does it mean? Take a look at each context and you will find that “all things” is all things within a certain category. See Luke 2:39; 11:41. In Luke 18:31 “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished” on that trip to Jerusalem. But, there were things written by the prophets that concerned the Son of Man that were NOT “all” accomplished on that trip to Jerusalem. For example, the prophets also said He would bring an end to sacrifice and offering in that later time of the destruction of Jerusalem (Dan.9:26-27). Jesus did not fulfill those things on that trip to Jerusalem. In Jesus’ final moments on the cross John comments that “after this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst”. But, the resurrection had not been accomplished, so “all things” means “all things” within a certain category. Further, while “all things” were put under man’s feet (Psa.8:6), the Hebrew writer admits that “we do not YET see all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). Thus, there are contextual limitations to “all things” in a given context. “All things that are written” in the context of Luke 21:22,32 have to do with all things that pertained to the end of the Jewish Temple system, but not all things about the Messiah, His kingdom, final judgment, or the fulfillment of the righteous requirements of the Law, or the final putting down of death and Hades, or the final end of sin. If we allow Don too much eisegesis with Luke 21:22,32, he will make it appear that he has a valid point. If we carefully watch each context, we find that his theory is out of harmony with too many plain passages of scripture. Error #2 therefore cannot stand.
Error #3 is built on the first two errors. If you grant the first two errors and treat them as true exegesis of the text and context of Matt.5:17 and Luke 21:22, then you are prepared to swallow his theory that Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 have to have been fulfilled by the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and therefore, you are ready to accept that the resurrection described in 1 Corinthians 15 that promises that “when this mortal shall have put on immortality then will be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘O death where is your sting”- was fulfilled in the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Paul quotes Isa.25:8 and Hosea 13:14 and says those OT scriptures would be fulfilled in the resurrection. So, if you would accept Don’s first two errors, then you are ready to accept his third error that the resurrection had to have occurred when “all things” had to be fulfilled in the days of vengeance. Thus, you are ready to swallow the theory that the resurrection DID occur in AD 70. You then have to believe that death was swallowed up in victory. We cannot grant the assumptions applied each step of the way. The assumption that “promises” beyond the scope of the covenant cannot even be mentioned in a covenant, and in this case the old covenant, is a false assumption. A covenant can mention things that will exist beyond the scope of its own life or time limitations. To say it cannot is ludicrous. Where did we get that rule? Who made it up, and upon what basis? The Sinai covenant looked to an earlier time before its own existence, back to the beginning, and it can and does mention things beyond its own scope of life to a new covenant, a new king that will not continue the covenant that mentions this fact, a new priesthood, a new kingdom age, and to a future time when death will end and man will be fully restored back to God. Those things do not have to come to pass before the covenant that mentions it is replaced. The laws contained in ordinances were abolished at the cross. The promises of better things, or of a time when death would finally be swallowed up in victory, did not keep people under obligation to keep the Law of Moses until every promise was fulfilled or that the destruction of Jerusalem become a magical moment when obligation suddenly ended. We cannot grant that Don has proven that Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 fit within the contextual scope of the “all things” mentioned in Luke 21:22,32. Therefore, he has not proven his proposition or the arguments he used to build his case.
Error #4 was in combining Dan.12 with 1 Cor.15 and asserting that both texts are speaking of the same kind of resurrection AND assuming that both kinds happened at the same time or were the same resurrection in AD 70. But, a spiritual resurrection is the focus of Dan.12 and is of the sort mentioned in John 5:24 and Rom.11:15, while the resurrection of 1 Cor.15 is of the same nature as Jesus’ literal resurrection from physical death, and the whole argument of 1 Cor.15 is based on that resurrection being the “firstfruits” of all that will follow later. Thus, we could not grant Don the assumptions he made on both passages.
I understand why he wanted to make his eschatological theories so vitally important to proving his proposition. But, we cannot grant him such liberty of assumptions. Too many clear passages show that obligation shifted from Moses and the Prophets to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant. Unbelieving Jews were not obligated to keep the Law of Moses while ignoring the new law and Prophet like Moses (Jesus, the Messiah). All were obligated to die to the Law of Moses and all were obligated to give up their hold on that abolished system. All were obligated to hear that Prophet (Deut.18:15f; Acts 3:19,22-26). All will be judged by the words of Jesus (John 12:48). All were obligated to the Law of the Lord that went forth from Jerusalem (Acts 2ff with Isaiah 2:1-4). No one remained obligated to keep the Law of Moses instead. It is not all right to reject Jesus, His kingship, kingdom, priesthood and sacrifice, and continue as if obligated to the Law of Moses. That Law was abolished in His flesh. The wrath of God was upon those who continued to reject Jesus and who therefore pretended to be keeping obligations under Moses. Moses sends people to Christ where are all authority resides. All the world was obligated to “hear ye Him” (Matt.17), allowing Moses and the Prophets to have fulfilled their mission.
Hebrew 8:13: Ready to Vanish Away
The Inspired writer said:
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. NKJV
The passage he is quoting and analyzing is Jeremiah 31. The Hebrews writer says that God was speaking through Jeremiah, and “In that He says, “A new covenant”, He has made the first obsolete. Don disagrees with the text. He says that would mean that since Haggai and Malachi (and a few other books) had not been written when Jeremiah said this, then those books were “obsolete and ready to vanish away before they were even written”. My response here is that yes that is exactly what God through Jeremiah and the Hebrews writer is saying. That covenant and all that soon would be appended to it as part of that first covenant was considered by GOD to be old and ready to vanish away. When the new covenant was ratified, the old covenant vanished away. It was in standby mode and ready to vanish away as soon as God said “a new covenant”.
Don denies the Hebrews writer’s argument. He says that if that is so then as soon the church (a then new creation) was told to look for a “new creation”, then the argument on Jeremiah’s word “new” would apply here also to mean that the church was getting old and ready to vanish away. But, I didn’t see Don give a reference that compared something of the same kind such as: a covenant and a new covenant (which is what the Hebrews writer did). If Don has an argument here, his comparisons have to be of two things in the same category such as “church being told of a new church”. Don argued that the church was a “New Creation” that was immediately told that they would be yet be a New Creation (Acts 3). Thus, his argument would mean that the church was immediately old and ready to vanish away as soon as the word “new” was spoken in Acts 3. Well, I looked in Acts 3 to see what the comparison was, and there was no word “new” in there, so I thought Don must have given a wrong reference. I got to looking through a concordance and found nothing that would invalidate the Hebrews writer’s argument in Hebrews 8:13. You have to compare something in the same category. Church with “new Church” (implies the first is old and ready to vanish away when the new church replaces it). Jerusalem with New Jerusalem (implies the first is old and ready to vanish away when the New Jerusalem takes its place). So, all Don did here was throw up smoke and basically outright denied the argument the Hebrews writer made on Jeremiah’s statement that a new covenant was coming.
Next he argued about “nigh” unto passing, and said it means “at hand” and says that could not be because “at hand” means something is soon to take place and not wait hundreds more years to do so. He says that term cannot extend from Jeremiah to Hebrews in terms of the amount of time in between, because that is not the normal way “at hand” or “nigh” is used. I would grant that is usually the case, but this passage is speaking from His (God’s) standpoint. “In that He (God) said”…”He (God) has made the first obsolete”. So the argument is from God’s standpoint, and from His standpoint the first covenant was nigh unto passing away. From a human standpoint several hundred years is not “nigh”, but the Hebrews writer is not making observations from human standpoint. He is looking at it from God’s standpoint and analyzing that as soon as God said “a new covenant” is coming, He (God) viewed that first covenant as obsolete and ready to vanish away. A few hundred years is really close to a being Who sees a thousand years as one day. That would mean just a very short part of a day from His perspective. Jeremiah did not say the first covenant was “nigh unto passing away”, but the Hebrews writer is letting us look at what was in the mind of God when HE said “a new covenant”. He was seeing that first covenant as old and ready to vanish away. It soon did vanish away and was replaced with the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Now, when God says to a man that something is “at hand”, God is relating in terms that man understands and that is usually a short time for man. Thus, I see a difference in passages that relate to humans in terms of what is near or at hand to them, and Hebrews 8:13 that analyzes what was in the mind of God when He said “a new covenant”. The Hebrews writer is letting us know by inspiration that when God said “a new covenant”, He had made (from His perspective) that first covenant obsolete and ready to vanish away.
Now, as a matter of accommodation to Don’s argument that the Hebrews writer is speaking from his own perspective that the old covenant was “ready to vanish away” as of the time the Hebrews writer was penning these words, I granted for argument’s sake that something was “ready to vanish away”. I said that the temple service and sacrificial system , that was abolished at the cross by God but still carried on by unbelievers, was soon to vanish away. That was so as a statement of fact, but it was not the point of the Hebrews writer in 8:13. Now, Don made some good arguments here and I concede that this is not what the Hebrews writer was arguing. The writer of Hebrews was arguing that the covenant was ready to vanish away from God’s usage as a binding covenant when He replaced it with the New Covenant. From God’s perspective that first covenant was nigh unto vanishing away when He said “a new covenant” was coming. All we have to find out is when did the new covenant come into effect, and we will know when the old covenant did vanish away from God’s usage as a binding covenant. Don argues that the old covenant did not vanish from God’s usage as a binding covenant until AD 70, forty years after the new covenant had been ratified by the blood of Christ. Thus, he is arguing for two covenants obligating the Jews at the same time for forty years. Remember his millennial arguments! He has appealed to this passage as proof that “obligation to keep the Law ended at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70”. Thus, his view is that “ready to vanish away” (Heb.8:13) means that it had not yet ceased to be an obligation. But, the new covenant came into effect at the cross (Heb.9). Therefore, the Jews were obligated to two covenants at the same time for forty years until the destruction of Jerusalem. But, “ready to vanish away” was what God thought of the first covenant when He announced His plans for “a new covenant”. Thus, this passage does not affirm that two covenants were in place and holding Jews under obligation to both at the same time.
Don’s Other “Present Tense” Arguments
There Are Priests Who Serve According To The Law
Don argues that God was still “obligating” Levitical priests to serve according to the Law, and that they were doing so still when the Hebrew writer wrote (Heb.8:5).
Is the Hebrew writer saying that these Levitical priests were doing RIGHT? Is it saying that they were “obligated” by God and binding Law to continue that priesthood and reject the priesthood of Christ? This is what Don signed up to prove, but these texts do not prove his arguments. The fact that the temple and Levitical priesthood were acting by a law that was now nailed to the cross was only proof of unbelief and LACK of submission to the will of God. The coming destruction of Jerusalem would only verify God’s DISPLEASURE with them because they were NOT doing what they were “obligated to do” (namely, leave the non-binding Law of Moses, and believe in the Supremacy of Jesus Christ).
Imposed Until the Time of Reformation
In his second and third affirmatives, along with his present tense argument from Colossians 2:17, he argued that the shadows were “imposed until the time of reformation” (Heb.9:6-10), and he implies that the “time of reformation” would begin after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
First, the time of reformation begins when the New Covenant arrives and when Jesus could then be “High Priest” (Heb.8:6; 9:11), and when He could lawfully offer “His own blood” and enter the Most Holy Place “once for all” (Heb.9:12). This was all accomplished between His death and the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Thus, the time of reformation had begun.
Secondly, Jesus was High Priest and “changed the law” (Heb.7:11f) long before AD 70. Thus, the “time of reformation” began when Jesus “changed the Law” and became our High Priest. Clearly, if Priesthood and the Law have “changed”, then it was the time of reformation. Don says it was only in the process of being changed. If that is so, then Jesus was not yet Priest and King, just in the process of being priest and king. But, the text says that “He HAS an unchangeable priesthood”(7:24), and since he could not have that priesthood without a change of the law, then the LAW HAS BEEN CHANGED. Further, the Hebrew writer says “We HAVE such a High Priest”(8:1). But, if He was a Priest before the destruction of Jerusalem, then the law was CHANGED before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Thirdly, the fact that unbelieving Jews preferred the “impositions” over the “substance” of great salvation in Christ and tried to keep them above ground in no way implies that GOD was keeping those things IMPOSED at the same time that people were obligated to Jesus Christ as King and Priest forever.
Fourthly, if “obligation” to the law was still in place, then it was not lawful for a Man of Judah to offer sacrifice, to say nothing of offering up Himself. Those under the law could not accept an offering from a man of the tribe of Judah. Only Levitical priests could offer sacrifices while the law is still obligating them. Therefore, it would have been a SIN to accept the offering of Jesus (a man of Judah, not Levi) while under “obligation” to the full law of Moses. Of course, if “obligation” had changed from Moses to Jesus, and Jesus was given “all authority” (Matt.28:18f), and that long before the destruction of Jerusalem, then Don’s whole proposition and the major and minor premises he has used in his affirmatives become wholly proven to be false.
Fifthly, the Hebrews writer is looking at what the Holy Spirit was signifying by that first earthly tabernacle and those fleshly ordinances that were imposed until the time of reformation (Heb.9:1-10), and the very next verse shows that time had arrived…”But Christ CAME as High Priest of the good things to come (the time of reformation that was anticipated), WITH the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands…”(Heb.9:11). Thus, the earthly tabernacle and its fleshly ordinances were IMPOSED until Christ came with the greater, more perfect tabernacle. When Jesus came as High Priest he also came with the better tabernacle, and THAT is when the time of reformation began. That spiritual tabernacle is the church of Christ built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone, and the apostles and prophets (Eph.2:19f). All of this was long before the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, we see again that Don has missed some of the most basic points about the time of reformation by trying to see things through AD 70 glasses.
Don said that I was ignoring and changing the GREEK present tenses in all of his texts and denying the FORCE of the Greek text. No, I was very aware of those tenses. Don is ignoring the context of those verses and denying the force and context of other verses that show that Jesus was PRESENT TENSE (before the destruction of Jerusalem): 1) The SUBSTANCE of the OT shadows, 2) High Priest, 3) Mediator of a better covenant, which WAS established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6), 4) Son over His own HOUSE, whose house WE ARE (not WILL BE) (Heb.3:5,6). In order to say that the shadows, old Levitical priesthood, sacrifices, and old covenant were still “obligations” (Don’s proposition), he would have to affirm that God was holding some people obligated to the shadows rather than the substance, the Levitical priesthood instead of the present Priesthood of Christ, to the old covenant instead of the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah and ratified by Jesus. Don has a lot of gall to tell me that I am the one consistently denying the force of the Greek text.
Reformation (Diorthosis) and Restoration (Apokatastasis)
Don argued extensively about restoration and reformation all happening together at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He tried to piece a series of texts and prophecies together, but they all went nowhere in proving his theory. Don argues that the time of reformation in Hebrews 9:10 is speaking of the same thing as the period of the “restoration of all things” in Acts 3:19-24.
These are not identical. Reformation began when Jesus nailed the old Law to the cross, changed the Law and provided a better priesthood, sacrifice, and covenant. The restoration of all things is when Satan is cast forever into the lake of fire and man and God are restored to full glorified togetherness forever (Rev.20-22).
He argued that the terms for reformation and restoration are synonymous, but that proves nothing even it was so. There is reformation when you change anything, and a lot changed when the new law went forth from Jerusalem. There is restoration of relationship when reform takes place. But, that does not mean that every time the terms are used, they are always talking about a singular event in AD 70. I can have a reformation of life and restoration of friendship with someone without it meaning that my 55 Chevy (if I had one) was also “restored”. Don did nothing here but assert that the reformation of Hebrews 9:10 took place in AD 70. It did not. It took place when the law was changed, when Jesus was High Priest, when the new covenant was ratified by His blood, when the shadows of the old system were replaced by the SUBSTANCE in Christ. He did nothing but assert that the restoration of all things took place in AD 70. No, that happens after Satan is cast into the lake of fire, sin is no more, and we can be forever in paradise with God in a completely good environment like man had before. This happens after the resurrection when the kingdom is taken back to the Father, and death and sin are swallowed up in victory.
His “High Priest Coming Out Of the Most Holy Place” Argument
Don spent considerable time arguing that Jesus would have to “come out” of the Most Holy Place (MHP) if He would fulfill the typology of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. His conclusion was: “Therefore, the Old Law would remain imposed until Christ fulfilled the Day of Atonement actions of the High Priest, his offering of the sacrifice, the entrance into the MHP, and his coming out of the MHP.”
First, Don assumes more than is demanded by typology. Jesus fills the type with substance, but BETTER than the inferior type of the Aaronic High Priesthood, Jesus does not have to come out and do it all again next year. Those High Priests came out because they had to, not because the coming out would typify something Jesus would have to do. Jesus did not have to come out and come again with another offering year by year. He could sit down at the Right Hand because the typology was completely satisfied. His offering was fully sufficient and it was “consummated” enough for Him to sit down. He would not need to “go back out” (as Don says) till He was ready to bring the redeemed home and that when He is ready to appear a second time.
Secondly, Don’s whole speculative and wildly imagined rant on the “access to the MHP” was, to me, a very exhausting and confusing thing to follow. The book of Hebrews is not that complicated. The only “Day of Atonement praxis” that the Hebrews writer is concerned about is in the superior nature of Jesus’ “better sacrifice” and of His “better” place (into heaven itself, not into a mere copy) and of the better quality of the sacrifice (Himself being the sacrifice, not an unwilling animal) so that with these things it need not be repeated every year. Don is the one who tries to create an extended “praxis” that he thinks has to also have an antitype praxis in Jesus’ work. Well, then, let us see what else was the practice of the High Priest. If everything thing he did had to have an antitype fulfillment in Jesus, then we should look for other fulfillments too. So, after the High Priest came back out, he would go home, probably kiss his wife, change his clothes, etc. So, are we to look for an antitypical fulfillment for these things in Jesus? What is His antitypical fulfillment of the priest taking off his priestly garments? What is Jesus’ antitypical fulfillment of the High Priest waiting to do it again next year? Is there some typology that must be fulfilled in Jesus every year? Do you see what Don has done here? He is creating additional things that he says demands a fulfillment, such as coming back out of the MHP. The Hebrews writer did not make a type-antitype praxis of that detail unless it is inferred in the CONTRAST that the copy was so inferior because it was only a model of heavenly things and because it necessitated an exist from the Presence, and the nature of Jesus’ Priesthood and sacrifice was superior because it did not necessitate an exit. But, Don wants to force an exit praxis from the MHP. He makes one happen forty years later in the coming of the Lord to destroy Jerusalem. Here he can pretend that this event “opened the MHP” for access. Thus, as you can see, his eschatological theory guides his imagination into even the simplest of passages and corrupts them and distorts them, making them complicated as you try to find antitype praxis for everything a priest might practice or be forced by necessity to do.
Consummating the Atonement
Don’s theory says that unless Jesus came back out of the MHP, the Atonement was not “consummated”. He insisted that it is the coming back out that consummates the Atonement. Thus, forty years later, according to Don’s theory, Jesus finally consummated the Atonement. If we allow him that assumption it would mean that Jesus held people for 40 years under an “unconsummated Atonement” system. That means that Paul lived and died as a Christian with no valid atonement in Jesus. He died before AD 70, and the Atonement could not be consummated until Jesus came back out, and Don’s theory is that Jesus finally came back out to consummate the Atonement praxis and destroy Jerusalem forty years later. His theory holds that whatever Jesus was doing in heaven for 40 years with His blood, it was not validated or consummated until He came back out of heaven to destroy Jerusalem in A 70. This is how wild this AD 70 doctrine gets with every scripture it touches. It looks at everything through those colored and distorted glasses. Where you look into Hebrews and think you see that Jesus’ offering “HAS perfected forever those who are being sanctified”(Heb.10:14), and thus was fully and completely consummated when He offered Himself in the Presence, Don puts on his AD 70 glasses and denies that Jesus really accomplished His atonement work when He entered Heaven with His blood. Do you see how serious and perverted this whole doctrine is?
No Simple Proposition
If you thought this would be a simple discussion of when the Law of Moses ceased to be binding obligation, you have found that it was really complicated when placed in the hands of an AD 70 advocate. When you were looking for a verse that clearly points to the Law of Moses being obligated past the cross until the destruction of Jerusalem, you got a lot of stuff about eschatology, because there is no other way to give the proposition any appearance of biblical support. Thus, we went around the world with Don on the piecing together of verses to try to make verses work into support for the theory that became the basis for the proposition he affirmed. Give a man a lot of assumptions with his verses and he can make almost anything appear to work.
Some Concluding Matters
Don lines up 6 points to claim I misrepresented him on what he said about the comprehensive nature of “the law”.
His Comprehensive Use of “The Law” in His First Affirmative
He claimed that when Paul did not use a modifier with “the law” he invariably meant the Old Testament and that the term “the law” is the comprehensive term to include all 39 books of the Old Testament. (See his opening definition statement in his first affirmative). When I pointed out that “the law” is used without a modifier in Romans 7 and confronted him with the problem of saying that “the law” included all the promises of the Old Testament, he backed off a little admitting that there were “exceptional” uses of “the law” even though there were no modifiers attached. I pointed to Romans 7 to show that with the meaning Don was giving the term, Paul would thereby be saying that Christians have “died to the promises as well as commandments of the Law”. Don knew that would not work. So he came back in his second affirmative and asserted that Matt.5:17 is a “normal” usage and that there were exceptional uses. When I came back in my second negative and pointed out that Don conceded that his original statement was not accurate, he came back in his third affirmative and lambasted me as having misrepresented what he said, and that I distorted what he said and that I acted “dishonorably”.
On Peter Dying To the Law
Peter, in Acts 10, had not relinquished his hold on the dietary laws. So, God confronted him with some animals and told him to “kill and eat”. Peter did not know it or realize it but God had “cleansed” those animals so that they were no longer to be considered unclean. Don’s position is that God was still holding the Jews bound to the unclean animal laws of the OT, but that since Peter had “died to the Law”, those animals were now cleansed by God for him. Thus, God had two laws in place at the same time. One law is still bound upon unbelieving Jews, the other law bound upon believing Jews and Gentiles in Christ. Thus, when we get to the destruction of Jerusalem, Don says that the Jews will no longer be bound to the OT. So, where does that leave them? They were not bound to Jesus, because if they were, then they were bound to two diametrical contrasting laws at the same time (a thing he argues to the millenialists can’t be done). Don says they were bound to the Law of Moses until the destruction of Jerusalem. So, since the law no longer binds them and they are no longer under obligation of that Law, what law are they now under? They still perceive themselves to be under that Law of Moses. But, they are wrong now just as they were wrong about that after the cross of Jesus. The reason Peter was offered the food that was formerly considered unclean is because the law has changed and those foods have been cleansed for everyone. God did not hold Peter to that old Law, though his conscience had not become aware of that change, and likewise God was not holding any Jew to those old laws. The new covenant was what all were responsible for, regardless of whether their conscience had been made aware of it before the destruction of Jerusalem or even after the destruction of Jerusalem. They STILL don’t know the truth about the change of the Law. Don ignored my question asked in my first negative: Since all Jews remained obligated to keep all sacrifices and the rite of circumcision until AD 70 (according to your theory), what law did they come under after AD 70? If they were obligated to keep the Law’s required sacrifices, then were they also obligated to reject the offering of Jesus? Are all Jews obligated to Jesus Christ? When did they become obligated, or when did they cease to be obligated to Him? Will all Jews before and after the destruction of Jerusalem be judged by the words of Jesus? If the Jews were obligated to Jesus at all, then were they therefore obligated to Jesus in every way, including submission to His “all authority”? When did Jesus have all authority in heaven and on earth given to Him? We never heard a peep out of Don.
My Three Questions
Don made an attempt to answer three of my questions. For the sake of space and time let me make a note about his response to question #3.
3)Are all of God’s promises and predictions, though recorded in the Old Testament records, automatically tied to the Law of Moses so that God could not release man from his obligations before God has fulfilled every promise and prediction on every subject?
The essence of Don’s answer is that God could not release man from his obligations even at the cross until God fulfilled every promise and prediction on every subject. Don has failed to directly answer the question because he knows some people were released from obligation in the death of Jesus, long before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. This poses a major problem with his “paradigm”. He has some people out from under obligation to the Law of Moses before all the promises were fulfilled. This gives him the same dilemma he thinks my position has with Matthew 5:17. Thus, the answer to the question from Don’s standpoint would be: God could release SOME people from their obligation to the Law of Moses before God has fulfilled every promise and prediction found in the Old Testament. Remember this point because it is powerful against the arguments Don has posed under this proposition. It pokes a big hole in the entire premise of Don’s proposition. He was not able to sustain his major premises, and therefore his proposition was not sustained. But, additionally, it exposed some major flaws in his entire eschatological theories.
His Summary Points
Quote: In my final affirmative, I have reiterated and strengthened my original arguments.-Unquote!
Reiterating and strengthening erroneous arguments does not prove them to be true. We found that the big holes in the arguments grew bigger as major counter-points were ignored along the way.
Quote: I have shown that Terry is either ignorant of the millennial Law doctrine, or purposely misrepresented their view, in order to make his case. –Unquote!
This was not so either. I simply quoted Don as HE represented or misrepresented the millennial doctrine. I showed that he has two laws in place for 40 years, and therefore his argument about THEM having two laws in place is made invalid toward them, or it invalidates his own arguments in support of the proposition of this debate.
Quote: I have shown where Daniel 12 predicted the resurrection at the end of the Old Covenant Age of Israel in A.D. 70, and shown the total illogical and self-contradictory nature of Terry’s response to Daniel 12.-Unquote!
I must admit that I missed where he showed my argument on Daniel 12 or 1 Corinthians 15 to be illogical or self-contradictory. We showed that Don brought a lot of assumptions to the text. He assumed that it was “THE resurrection”, as if it were the only kind and only one the Bible ever talked about. The text did not say or imply it. He assumed that it spoke of the SAME one that 1 Corinthians 15 talks about. It does not. The one in Daniel 12 regarded something that would happen to the Jews (much like Ezekiel 37 and Rom.11:15), the one in 1 Corinthians 15 regards the one that Jew and Gentile CHRISTIANS hope for that follows the kind of which Jesus’ resurrection was the “firstfruits”.
Quote: I have shown repeatedly, that Matthew 5:17-18 demands that all of the O.T. not just some commands, and not just some prophecies, but all of it, just as Jesus said, had to be fulfilled for the Law to pass. I have shown that Terry’s position is that only SOME of the commands and only SOME of the prophecies- by his own admission!- had to be fulfilled. Terry admitted that some prophecy had to be fulfilled for the Law to pass! REMEMBER THIS, FOR IT IS FATAL TO HIS POSITION! If any prophecy had to be fulfilled, then prophecy is included in Jesus’ words in Matthew 5;17f, and that means that, after all, all prophecy had to be fulfilled.-Unquote!
We showed that having to fulfill some prophecy is not the subject matter of Matthew 5:17. That text regards fulfilling “commandments”, even “the least of these commandments”. Of the law and the prophets, the commands were the focus of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus fulfilled them and took them out of the way and nailed them to the cross. The commandments contained in ordinances were not inclusive of every promise found in the Old Testament. Something called “the commandments contained in ordinances” was nailed to the cross (Eph.2 and Col.2). This is what Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 5-7. Those commandments being nailed and abolish did not mean that all promises were also nailed and abolished though unfulfilled. Thus, we showed that Don’s argument did not work, and further, when we take his argument to its logical end, it means that Jesus had no right to abolish the commands for anyone until all the promises were fulfilled, and further, it also means that the OT never was abolished because death has not been abolished and swallowed up in victory. Don’s position proved FATAL to his own position and rendered in totally unbelievable for discerning minds.
Quote: I proved from Romans 11 that God’s covenant with Israel remained valid, and would remain valid until the parousia, an argument totally ignored by Terry.-Unquote!
He merely asserted things not in the text. The text only shows that God has always held out hope for His people, and has always held a door open for them to come back into covenant with Him. This passage says they were “broken off” because of unbelief and could be grafted into God’s tree by faith in Jesus. Meanwhile, while God yearns for their being brought back in, it cannot take place until they turn to Jesus to be saved “in this way”. The new covenant is still open to them. The old has been abolished in Jesus death. Romans 11 said nothing about the Law of Moses remaining an obligation until AD 70.
Quote: I proved that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be when the Law that was the strength of sin was removed. Terry admitted that the Law that was the strength of sin was the Mosaic Torah. This admission proves the validity of my proposition, and proves that all eschatology is covenantal. I offered an affirmative on 2 Corinthians 3- Terry ignored it.-Unquote!
This involved huge gymnastics of textual manipulation. The Law still testifies of sin and gives the issue of sin strength against us. This is, therefore, an argument in my favor and in favor of the text of 1 Corinthians 15. If sin is still around, and law still gives testimony to strengthen the case of sin against us, then that is proof that the resurrection HAS NOT occurred yet. It does not prove that the Law is still binding, nor that it was binding until the destruction of Jerusalem. Further, 2 Corinthians 3 did not affirm anything about the Law remaining bound until the destruction of Jerusalem. It proved that people were still reading the OT with a veil over their heart, but the new testament was the more GLORIOUS covenant to which all were OBLIGATED. Thus, Don lost his case for his proposition on both of those texts too.
Quote: I proved from Galatians 4 that the Old Covenant and people would be finally cast out for persecuting the church. This proves my affirmative.-Unquote!
Being finally “cast out” for persecuting the church and rejecting their obligations to the faith of Jesus Christ is only proof that they were doing something they were NOT OBLIGATED to do. Don’s proposition says that “obligations to keep the law ended at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70”. This passage only reveals that they were doing the WRONG thing (not what they were “obligated” to do) until it resulted in their being “cast out” some time after they had already been “broken off”(Rom.11), and this fits the illustration Jesus used on men being “cast out as a branch and withered” and then being gathered and cast into the fire (John 15). Thus, his use of Galatians 4 only proved that he mishandled that text too.
Quote: I proved from Colossians 2:16 that it was not the Law that was nailed to the Cross, but obligation to keep the Law for those entering the death of Christ. This totally destroys Terry’s paradigm, and yet, he has not offered one scintilla of exegetical refutation. Instead, as I have noted the many present tense verbs used to describe the then on-going passing of the Law, all he could do was ridicule me for honoring the Biblical text!-Unquote!
What Don overlooked is that everyone was OBLIGATED to enter the death of Christ, and no one was obligated to keep the Law of Moses. Thus, HIS paradigm was destroyed, and the present tense only further showed that since Jesus was PRESENTLY the SUBSTANCE depicted in those OT shadows, then obligation was presently to the substance and not the shadows. Thus, his argument on Colossians 2:16 only showed that while the shadows were presently being observed by unbelievers, God was holding all men obligated to the substance and men were ignoring their real obligations.
Quote: I have focused on the entrance into the MHP, and shown, irrefutably, that the way into the presence of God is related to the end of the Mosaic Law, at the parousia of Christ, to fulfill the typological actions of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. I have proven beyond any possibility of refutation that if man cannot enter the MHP today, then the Mosaic law remains valid, and that, in fact, Terry does not believe that man today is able to enter the MHP until the end of the Christian age!-Unquote!
He thought that if I admit that man enters the MHP right after death that it somehow lends some strange credibility to his assertion that that entrance came after the destruction of Jerusalem. This was a very strange leap of logic. Paul spoke of departing and being with Christ before the destruction of Jerusalem (Phil.1:23). So, Christ opened the way into the MHP long before AD 70. This does not help Don prove his proposition. It works against it and proves that the Mosaic system ended at the cross and the way into the holiest of all was made available by Jesus’ death on the cross long before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Quote: I have, finally, shown that entrance into the MHP would not only come at the end of the Mosaic Law, but that Revelation undeniably posits entrance into the MHP at the time of the judgment of the city “where our Lord was slain.” That can be no other city than Jerusalem, and my affirmative is firmly established.-Unquote!
First, finishing God’s promised wrath on Jerusalem is not at all the same thing as keeping man obligated to keep the Law till then. This was a huge leap of logic on Don’s part. No passage, including Revelation 16, says that covenant obligations on man ended at the destruction of Jerusalem.
Secondly, Revelation does not “posit entrance into the MHP at the time of the judgment of the city”. This was just another case of Don’s eisegesis (reading things into the text). His affirmative again suffered on the grounds that it was held up by assumptions attached to misused scriptures.
Don’s Concluding Statement and Then Mine
Quote: I have therefore, in every way, rebutted all of Terry’s attempts to negate my affirmatives, and I have proven my proposition.-Unquote!
Don really did not answer my arguments or prove his own. I have demonstrated some very serious flaws in each of his assertions or scripture eisegesis. Again, look carefully at the proposition.
The proposition Don affirms is:
Obligation to keep the Law ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Don did not and could not prove that proposition because:
1. The new covenant came into effect after Jesus’ death, about 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem. All were obligated to it.
2. All men were/are obligated to die to the Mosaic Law and believe and obey Jesus, and no one was obligated to stay under and obey the Mosaic covenant after the Law of the Lord went forth from Jerusalem (Isa.2:1-4; Acts 2ff).
3. Some Jews legitimately died to the Law and were married to Christ before all the promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. But, all Jews were obligated to do the same.
4. No Jew was obligated to keep the Law of Moses instead of obeying Jesus.
5. If some Jews could cease to be obligated to keep the Law of Moses even though all promises had not been fulfilled, then Don’s usage of Matthew 5:17 becomes falsified. If some Jews were obligated to enter the death of Jesus and thereby “die to the Law”, then all Jews were obligated to enter the death of Jesus and thereby “die to the Law”. But, if all Jews were obligated to Jesus, and they were and are, then no Jew was obligated by God to continue under the Law of Moses. Thus, Don’s proposition falls apart.
6. Jesus “changed the Law” by becoming High Priest of a different order (Heb.7:12f; 8:1), brought in a better covenant with better sacrifice, and therefore “the time of reformation” had begun when the new priesthood was installed and the new covenant ratified by blood. But this all happened long before the destruction of Jerusalem.
7. Regardless of promises that would be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem, the Law of commandments contained in ordinances was taken out of the way at the cross (Eph.2:11-14; Col.2:13-16). Therefore, obligation to keep the Law ceased, and obligation to serve the risen Savior began when the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah was ratified by Jesus’ blood. That covenant was in place and obligating all men long before the destruction of Jerusalem. (Heb.9:15ff).
The verdict is now in the hands of the reader. Don did the best he could with his proposition, and I did the best I could to negate what he was affirming. We both would hope that you will carefully consider both sides and come to conclusions forced by the evidence of God’s word. If you would desire other material for your study, please consider the website I mentioned earlier at www.pinelanechurchofchrist.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to assist you further. May God bless you in your study and may the gospel of Jesus Christ be realized and fully enjoyed, all its treasures be discovered, and finally when death is swallowed up in victory be among the host of the saved forever in heaven.
Terry W. Benton