A Response to Jason Bradfield on Luke 21:22 – #2- What Does “All Things Fulfilled” Mean?
More Desperation from the Partial Preterist Camp
After posting the first in this brief series, Mr. Bradfield posted a “response” on the FaceBook page, “Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past.” Here are his comments:
<<Lying again. I have never said that the text is challenging for futurism. I swear dude, you can’t go 30 minutes without lying. Unbelievable.>>
So, Mr. Bradfield would have us believe that Luke 21:22, taken at its straightforward meaning, is not a challenge to futurism?
I responded to Mr. Bradfield’s incredible comments by giving more of his own words:
<“It is no secret that this is standard, hyperpreterist fare. So, the question posed to us “partial preterists” is a simple one: if Jerusalem was destroyed in ad70 and by that event, Jesus said that “all things that are written must be fulfilled”; how can we argue that there is prophecy left to be fulfilled post ad70?
Seems fairly plain, right? Well, not so fast.”> (All typos in the original).
Still, Mr. Bradfield refused to acknowledge that if Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 and “by that event, Jesus said that ‘all things written must be fulfilled’ how can we argue that there is prophecy left to be fulfilled” poses a challenge to futurism! To say this is stunning is a huge understatement! To say that Jesus said that all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70 is not a challenge to futurism? Frankly, there could not be a greater challenge!
So, I responded on 5-29-19:
If the “simple” and straightforward reading of “all things written” means that “all” in the unqualified sense, meaning truly all prophecy would be fulfilled by AD 70, then that means– logically– well, that all prophecy was fulfilled by and in those events.
If all prophecy- meaning “ALL” prophecy, was fulfilled by the time of and in the events of AD 70, then there are no more eschatological prophecies to be fulfilled.
If there are no more eschatological prophecies to be fulfilled, then your futurist eschatology is false, Mr. Bradfield!
See how simple that is? That is how logic actually works.
And yet, you say that you have never said that the text is challenging to futurism. Well, if all things fulfilled means ALL, futurism is D-E-A-D. If that is not a challenge, and you don’t see that as a challenge, well, “there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.”
As I post this, I am unaware of any response by Mr. Bradfield. But let’s face it folks, if Jesus truly mean that all things
Enough of this for now.
To continue with this series: Mr. Bradfield is on record as stating that what Jesus meant by “all things that are written” were simply the prophecies of the fall of Jerusalem. Okay, that is fine, but, that is a fatal admission. When Mr. Bradfield says that it was ALL (and he does mean ALL) of the “particulars” concerning the fall of Jerusalem that were fulfilled, he has effectively become a full preterist (again). The reason is simple, both the Old Testament and the New foretold the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and those prophecies of AD 70 are in fact eschatological predictions of the core issues of eschatology. Thus, to affirm that all things fulfilled means all things fulfilled concerning AD 70, that is fatal to futurism.
In the first installment I began examining just a few of the OT prophecies of AD 70 and pointing out the particulars, surrounding that predicted destruction. Those “particulars” included the destruction of “heaven and earth”, the Great Day of the Lord, the Avenging of the Blood of the martyrs, the glorious appearing of the Branch (Isaiah 4:1), the Messianic Tabernacle, the Messianic Banquet, the resurrection, the salvation of Israel, etc., etc.! Folks, these are the heart and core of eschatology! These are no peripheral, non-eschatological tenets. They “ARE” eschatology! So, if these things were inseparably linked to the fall of Jerusalem. As the previous article proved that they are, then to admit that all prophecies of the fall of Jerusalem were fulfilled in AD 70– as Bradfield does– is to surrender any and all futurist eschatology. Yet, Mr. Bradfield wants to deny that Luke 21:22 poses any kind of challenge to futurism!
Let’s continue now examining other OT prophecies of the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem, and the “particulars” of that event.
Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter your chambers, And shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, Until the indignation is past. For behold, the Lord comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; The earth will also disclose her blood, And will no more cover her slain.
We very clearly have a depiction here of the resurrection. However, we should see that the reference to being in the dust is a metaphoric reference to their state of captivity and alienation from God, to being downtrodden. This is typical Hebraic metaphor and hyperbole.
Notice that in 25:12, the prophet sees Israel’s enemies in the dust; they were to be defeated. (What we have in Isaiah 26 is the “shame versus honor” motif at work, but I will not develop that here. It will suffice it to say that the ancient Hebrews had an incredible sense of shame and honor. To be downtrodden, captured, enslaved, defeated, etc., was to be dead, in the dust -all the while very much alive physically. To be delivered out of that time of trouble was seen as vindication. It was resurrection).
When would that resurrection take place? It would be at the coming of the Lord “out of heaven” (v. 20) when the earth would no longer hide her blood (v. 21). In other words, it would be when the martyrs of God would be vindicated. (Numerous scholars could be cited on this, but, for brevity I will refrain).
So, we have here the prediction of the resurrection, at the coming of the Lord out of heaven, when the martyrs would be vindicated. When would the martyrs be vindicated? Jesus was emphatic that all of the blood, of all the righteous, all the way back to Creation, would be avenged in his generation– in the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem! Thus, here is what we have:
Isaiah 26 predicted the resurrection at the coming of the Lord in vindication of the martyrs.
Jesus posited the vindication of the martyrs at his coming in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
All things written concerning the fall of Jerusalem were fulfilled in AD 70– Bradfield.
Therefore, Isaiah 26 and the prediction of the resurrection, at the coming of the Lord in vindication of the martyrs was fulfilled at the coming of the Lord in vindication of the martyrs in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Isaiah 26 very much had to do with the “particulars” of the destruction of Jerusalem- and those particulars included the resurrection and the vindication of the martyrs! So, since Jason Bradfield assures us that all of the prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem were in fact fulfilled in AD 70, that means that the coming of the Lord, and the resurrection, were in AD 70.
In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong, Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea. In that day sing to her, “A vineyard of red wine! I, the Lord, keep it, I water it every moment; Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day. Fury is not in Me. Who would set briers and thorns Against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of My strength, That he may make peace with Me; And he shall make peace with Me.” Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit. Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him? Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him? In measure, by sending it away, You contended with it. He removes it by His rough wind In the day of the east wind. Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness; There the calf will feed, and there it will lie down And consume its branches. When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off; The women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, And He who formed them will show them no favor. And it shall come to pass in that day That the Lord will thresh, From the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
I have given the entire chapter because it is so important to understand the context. Notice the bullet points:
☛ Look at the reference in v. 1 to “in that day.” What “Day” is that? It is the Day of the Lord out of heaven, at the resurrection, for the vindication of the martyrs of 26:19-21.
☛ It would be “in that Day of the Lord” that Leviathan– i.e. Satan, that Great Serpent of Revelation 12, would be destroyed. This is nothing less than what Paul had in mind in Romans 16:20: “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” It is the final crushing of Satan at the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20!
That means that at the coming of the Lord and the resurrection, at the time of the vindication of the martyrs, Satan was to be slain! This is a major “particular” that deals with the destruction of Jerusalem, that Bradfield has inadvertently admitted was fulfilled in AD 70. Thus, all things fulfilled takes on a comprehensive significance after all!
☛ Isaiah foretold the salvation of Israel, but, he posited that within a paradox. Israel’s salvation would come at the time of Israel’s judgment: “Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin.” (One has the right to ask if Mr. Bradfield believes that God is now through with Old Covenant Israel. If not, the the entirety of the Old Law remains valid, and Israel– Old Covenant Israel- remains God’s Covenant people!)
Of course, the thing to be noted here is that in Romans 11:26-27, Paul anticipated the fulfillment of Isaiah 27:10, the taking away of her sin at the coming of the Lord out of Zion. (See my book, Elijah Has Come: A Solution to Romans 11:25-27 for an in-depth discussion of Isaiah 27).
So, when would this promised salvation come? What is the context or framework of that promised salvation? The very next sentence in Isaiah 27 gives the definitive answer:
“Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be covered; And this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness.”
Did you catch it? Israel’s salvation would come “When” the City and the Temple would be utterly destroyed! Tying these facts in with Romans 11 we find this:
The salvation of Israel at the coming of the Lord would be in fulfillment of Isaiah 27:10f (Romans 11:25-27.
The salvation of Israel in Isaiah 27:10f would be “When he makes all the stones of the altar Like chalkstones that are beaten to dust, Wooden images and incense altars shall not stand. Yet the fortified city will be desolate, The habitation forsaken and left like a wilderness” – the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
Therefore, the salvation of Israel at the coming of the Lord in Romans 11:25-27 would be (was) at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
So, once again, we have the “particulars” of the destruction of Satan, the salvation of Israel, firmly and undeniably posited at the time of the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. And there is more here.
☛ The Lord also promised that at the time of the destruction of the Temple and City: “For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, And He who formed them will show them no favor” (v. 11).
What is important to note is that this is a direct echo of Deuteronomy 32:28. Now, Deuteronomy 32 is the Song of the Last Days, and it is about Israel’s last days, her “last end” (32:19f; 29). It is not about the (imaginary) end of time or the end of the (endless) Christian age. It is not about the church, divorced from Israel. It is the time when the people whom God had created, the people that had no understanding, would no longer receive mercy from the Lord: their fortified city and temple would be utterly destroyed.
This is a very important “particular” involving the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple! Israel would be saved at the time of her judgment, in her last days, when the City and Temple would be destroyed. (BTW, it is important to realize that Jerusalem and the Temple were NOT destroyed in the Assyrian Invasion of Israel of Isaiah 30-37! Thus, Isaiah 27 is not a prophecy of that event).
☛ Finally, notice that in verse 13, at that time of judgment and salvation:
So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
Do you see the reference to “in that day” again which links this verse to the time of Israel’s salvation, and her judgment, when the City and Temple would be destroyed? You cannot divorce this verse from its context without doing violence to the entire prophecy.
What would happen “in that day” of the judgment and salvation of Israel? Well, “in that day” the Great Trumpet– which is the resurrection trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15 – would sound for the gathering of the elect. Now, anyone attuned to hearing the echoes of Scripture will instantly recognize that in Matthew 24:31, Jesus directly cites Isaiah 27:13, and in verse 34 posits its fulfillment for the first century generation! Scholars, both Jewish and Christian acknowledge this connection.
So, once again, we have a lot of “particulars” that are associated with the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem of AD 70. We have the salvation of Israel (i.e. the righteous remnant). We have the gathering of the elect at the sounding of the Great Trumpet. We have, as just seen, the destruction of Leviathan / that Great Serpent. And, to reiterate and emphasize, it would all take place “in that day” when the City and the Temple would be totally destroyed, when the people whom the Lord had created would no longer find mercy. (That surely cannot be the church!)
And so, in Isaiah 25-27, we find no less than three direct references to the coming AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem. Attendant with that judgment, we find the “particulars” of:
The Messianic Banquet
The Coming of the Lord. (I could also list the destruction of “heaven and earth” in Isaiah 24:19f and this would agree perfectly with Matthew 24:30).
The vindication of the martyrs.
The Destruction of Satan.
The Salvation of Israel.
The Sounding of the Great (Resurrection) Trumpet.
Here are seven particulars that are inextricably, inseparably linked to and bound to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple- and let’s face it, these “particulars” are eschatological to the core. They are clearly, then, about the fulfillment of all things. So, when Bradfield, or Kenneth Gentry, or anyone else, makes the argument that what Jesus meant in Luke 21:22 was simply that all prophecies about the fall of Jerusalem would be fulfilled, then I actually agree with that assessment. The problem is that those making that (fatal) admission are utterly failing (perhaps refusing) to see how many “particulars” are bound up in those prophecies of Jerusalem’s demise. But, we are not finished. Our next installment will develop even more particulars linked to the final destruction of Israel as a covenant people, at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, resulting in the New Creation. It would truly be when all things would be fulfilled. Stay tuned!