More on Sam Frost and the Great Tribulation- #3
Be sure to read the previous installments #1 #2 in our examination of the truly novel claims by Sam Frost in regard to the Great Tribulation predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24:21. The key thing to remember is that Frost is absolutely adamant that the language that Jesus used there MUST be taken as woodenly literal. Frost knows that if he admits for even a moment that Jesus was using metaphoric and hyperbolic language, that his entire claim is falsified. Not only that, in reality, his entire eschatology melts and runs off into the dirt.
There is a thought I want to share before proceeding. Frost claims that the Great Tribulation that Jesus was predicting is reference to the entirety of the Christian age. But, once again, the grammar of the text forbids and falsifies that. Jesus clearly contrasted what was to happen in his “the now” time with the past. Frost admits this. But, Jesus also contrasted the tribulation he was predicting with anything that might ever be. Look again at the text, and remember that all 57 English translations agree that the proper rendering has Jesus contrasting what he was predicting with anything that might ever come (taking the language literally as Frost does): “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (ESV); “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (NAS). Go to biblegateway and type in Matthew 24:21, and do a survey of all English translations and you will see, very quickly, that Frost’s claim that Jesus was predicting the end of tribulation at the end of time has ZERO merit. NO credibility. NO support. Every one of the translations have Jesus contrasting the coming tribulation with the past, and with the future! He was NOT predicting the end of tribulation, and he was not predicting the end of time. Those are imaginary fabrications from Frost’s mind.
So, since Jesus, by the 100% consensus of translations and totally supported by the actual grammar of the text, has Jesus contrasting what was to happen in his “the now” time with what would ever happen in the future, that utterly falsifies, destroys and denies Frost’s claim that the entire Christian age is the Great Tribulation. Frost has tried to counter the force of this by simply saying that the term “the now” is “extremely common” going back into ancient times, and that it just means “now,” “the present time.”
Reader, how is admitting that “the now” is extremely common and means “the present time” supposed to counter my argument that Jesus was emphasizing that his “the now” time was the crucial time for the Great Tribulation??? Frost’s admission fully supports the argument I am making! Waving your hand and and saying that the term is extremely common and means “the present time,” in no way suggests that it means anything but “the present time.” Frost’s comments were nothing but an attempt to deflect attention away from the importance of “the now” time- Jesus’ very own time, the first century generation.
When you consider that Frost has flip-flopped in his claim, when you consider that he has tried to mitigate the contrast between the times- the past time and the future time– with Jesus’ “the now” time, when you consider the unanimous translational evidence, it lets you know that Frost realizes that his eschatology just went down in flames.
So now, let’s look at the language that Jesus used: nothing like it before, or ever will be.
Just for fun, let’s look at what Josephus had to say about the AD 70 destruction:
“Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world. (Josephus Wars, Bk 6: chapter 9).
So, there you have it! The first century Jewish eye witness to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem said it was the worst thing that God had ever brought on the world! It is almost as if he had read Matthew 24:21!
Frost tries to negate the force of Josephus’ citation by claiming that he was talking about the AD 70 destruction, but that Jesus compared the coming tribulation with tribulation all the way back to creation. But, as usual, Frost distorts the evidence. Notice what Josephus actually said: “Accordingly, the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or GOD EVER BROUGHT UPON THE WORLD.”
So, Josephus actually said that the loss of life in the holocaust of AD 70 was worse than anything God had ever brought UPON THE WORLD. He did not say it was just the worst thing that had ever happened to Jerusalem, as Frost falsely claims. Just another example of Frost’s distortion of the evidence.
The reality, however, is that as a Hebrew, Josephus was using language in the way that the Biblical writers did, to describe some “world changing” event that was about to happen or that had happened. And, if you think about it, even today we even use hyperbolic language, even of non- “earth shattering events”: “Wow! That is the most beautiful baby in the world! That is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen!” Truth is, we have probably said that about several babies! (Probably a wise thing to do).
So, Frost may attempt to mitigate the language of Josephus, but the fact is that the language there casts doubt on Frost’s rendering of Jesus’ words.
Let’s take a look now at the language of Matthew 24:21 in light of how the language is used elsewhere in the Bible.
Exodus 10:14 – (ESV) – The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again.
Comment: The reality is that we have no way today to measure the true magnitude of that locust plague. However, it is difficult to image that it could have been worse than the 1870s plague that hit the American midwest plains in the 1870s when “TRILLIONS” (that is right- trillions) of locusts came! (https://timeline.com/in-the-1870s-12-trillion-locusts-devastated-the-great-plains-and-then-they-went-extinct-6f7c51a15d90).
Exodus 11:6 – ESV – There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.
Comment: If we apply Frost’s Dispensational literalism to this passage, the suffering experienced by the Egyptians during the plagues caused the worst suffering and cries of lament that will ever be! In fact, according to the words, there had NEVER been such a cry of distress and suffering and there would NEVER BE an equal cry of suffering! Well, that would contradict Jesus’ words – if taken literally. In fact, Frost believes that Jesus was predicting the “end of time” and the destruction of all the ungodly! Well, would that not demand that at that earth burning, time ending event, that there will be a far greater cry than Exodus describes? It would be ridiculous to deny it.
Jeremiah 30:7 – ESV – Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.
Comment: I am convinced that this is a Messianic prophecy. However, it may well be that Jeremiah had a contemporary application of the Chaldean invasion and destruction of Jerusalem in mind as well. Daniel certainly used the language of unparalleled destruction to describe that event:
And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem (Daniel 9:12).
So, here is Daniel speaking of the BC 586 destruction of Jerusalem and he said NOTHING LIKE IT HAD EVER BEEN DONE UNDER HEAVEN! This matches the language of Daniel’s contemporary prophet, Ezekiel, as he foretold that impending destruction:
And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations (Ezekiel 5:9).
So, according to Ezekiel and Daniel, the BC 586 destruction of Jerusalem was the worst thing that had ever been OR THAT EVER WILL BE! Now, Frost would respond by saying that Ezekiel and Daniel was speaking of what was happening to Jerusalem whereas Jesus was not talking about Jerusalem, but something world wide. No, the Great Tribulation Jesus describes was centered in Judea: “When you see the Abomination of Desolation, let those in JUDEA flee… for then shall be great tribulation such as has never been.” This is undeniably focused on Judea and Jerusalem, precisely as Ezekiel and Daniel.
The Lord said He said he would never do to Jerusalem what he was about to do– in BC 586! Uh, oh! Once again, taken in the woodenly literalistic manner of Sam Frost, this presents a direct inescapable contradiction! According to Josephus, AND HISTORY, AD 70 was FAR worse than BC 586!
Folks, AD 70 was far worse than BC 586! But, look at the language again. YHVH said that in BC 586 He was going to destroy Jerusalem AND HE WOULD NEVER DO THAT AGAIN! Yet, undeniably, the Lord did destroy Jerusalem in AD 70 and He did it on a greater scale than in BC 586! Now, atheists and skeptics would say there is a contradiction here. They would deny the hyperbolic nature of the language– just like Sam Frost. But guess what? If we must take the language literally, then there IS an insurmountable contradiction between Ezekiel / Daniel and Jesus. That is where Frost’s claims lead.
“Houston, we have a problem,” no, better stated, “Mr. Frost, you have a problem!”
Ezekiel and Daniel cannot be interpreted literally without contradicting Matthew 24:21.
Matthew 24:21 cannot be applied literally without contradicting Ezekiel and Daniel.
Dan 12:1 ESV – “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.
Comment: You need to understand that Frost applies Daniel 12:1 to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes- second century BC. He says the Great Tribulation such as never has been since there was a nation till that time, refers to the second century BC. If that is true, then the tribulation under Antiochus was greater than the BC 586 tribulation– contradicting Ezekiel and Daniel. And, if that is true, then the tribulation in the days of Antiochus was greater than the Flood! Furthermore, if that is true, then Jesus was wrong to predict a future to him Great Tribulation such as has never been “since creation until now, or ever shall be.” After all, in Frost’s construct, the time of Antiochus was the unparalleled and unprecedented Great Tribulation – the greatest tribulation EVER– greater even than the Flood!
So, if we take Frost’s application of Daniel 12:1 to the time of Antiochus and apply that language literally, then of necessity, Jesus was either ignorant of that application, or, he rejected Frost’s application, or, he, just like Daniel, was using the language metaphorically, hyperbolically. Both Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21 cannot be literally true of two (or three) totally different events separated by 200 years or more all of which were literally “nothing like it before or after.”
Joel 2:2 – ESV – A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.
Comment: Well, here is the interesting thing about this passage. It foretold a locust plague (1:4, 2:25) under the imagery of an army. How bad was that locust plague? The prophet said there had never been anything like it and would never be anything like it ever, in all generations! Was the prophet wrong? Was he not aware of Exodus 10-11? How could he say that the locust plague that hit Israel was the worst locust plage that had ever been or ever would be? Given Sam Frost’s literalistic hermeneutic, we have an outright contradiction between Exodus and Joel.
Note: Some scholars (e.g. The New American Commentary, Hosea, Joel, in loc, Logos Bible program) claim that Joel is describing a human army under the imagery of a locust plage. It really does not matter for our purposes. If Joel refers to a locust plague, then the problem of Exodus 10-11 applies. If he is speaking of an army, then it would contradict Matthew 24:21 if applied literally. So, either way, any kind of literalistic application of the language of, “none like it before or ever shall be” simply cannot be applied literally.
I think the reader can easily see that the language of Matthew 24:21 was typical Hebraic hyperbole. As just suggested, you cannot take the language literally without creating insurmountable contradictions in scripture. Frost’s hyper-literalism flies in the face of the Biblical usage of that language.
A final thought here in closing. In his discussions claiming that Jesus said the great tribulation had always been and would always be until Frost’s imaginary end of time, he ever so conveniently ignored Matthew 24:22:
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
Do you catch the power of what Jesus said? He is talking about the Great Tribulation that was going to happen in his own “the now” time; it had NOT been since creation and would not be after his own “the now” time. And then he said “unless those days be shortened, no flesh would be saved.” Wait! Those days of the Great Tribulation SHORTENED? Well, the days of the tribulation before Jesus and his “the now” time could not be shortened– they had already rolled on and on. Not only that, if the Great Tribulation is reference to the Christian age as Frost now claims, then it means that Jesus was saying that the Christian age will be shortened! Can anyone take such claims seriously?
Since Jesus excluded the Great Tribulation from being before his very own “the now” time, and since he excluded the Great Tribulation from the days AFTER his very own “the now” time, then of grammatical necessity, it was the days of Jesus’ own “the now” time that had to be shortened! (See 1 Corinthians 7:29– “the time has been shortened”; Paul was writing in Jesus’ “the now” time saying the time had been shortened)!
Jesus was not speaking of time, indeterminate time, being shortened. He was talking about the days linked to the Abomination, of his own “the now” time– his generation in which the Great Tribulation would occur. And this completely negates Sam Frost’s claims on the Great Tribulation. He is simply wrong. Irrefutably wrong.
A final note here: William Vincent, an acolyte of Frost, stated on FaceBook, in response to my comments: “Also, Don has never to my knowledge, given the reason that the tribulation continues past 70AD?”
I responded on 1-19-20: William Vincent– show where I have ever said that the Great Tribulation extends beyond AD 70. Total misrepresentation– as usual.
My analysis proves that Jesus said that the tribulation he was talking about had NEVER BEEN, since creation, up to his very own “the now”– and would NEVER BE.
That means- grammatically – that the Great Tribulation is confined to Jesus’ “the now” time – his generation. It would not and did not extend beyond Jesus own “the now” time. And since the Great Tribulation is temporally delimited to Jesus’ own “the now” time (his generation) that means that his coming in v. 29f is likewise delimited to that generation – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” (i.e. the Great Tribulation of Jesus’ “the now” time). See again my argument on this in the previous article. Frost has not touched it.
Funny how Mr. Frost conveniently ignored this grammatical argument – which effectively refutes virtually everything he wrote! LOL!
You see, you must catch this: On the one hand, Frost argues that the grammar of Matthew 24:21 demands that Jesus was comparing what was coming with previous tribulation. Ok, fine. I agree, (granting the literalism for argument sake). Then, he told us Jesus was comparing the Great Tribulation with other tribulation that might come after his “the now” time. (This statement is correct, but, realizing his error, Frost did a 180 and claimed that the tribulation he is describing ends at the so-called end of time. So, Frost is contending that tribulation– suffering of any kind (which is NOT what Jesus was talking about) had always been and always will be until the end of time. That is simply NOT what the grammar of the text demands or suggests. See again the translational evidence. Not one translation supports Frost on this.
I should note that Frost ridiculed me for appealing to the translational evidence, actually claiming that he agrees with that evidence. That is an unmitigated falsehood. Not one of the 57 translations I have consulted come even close to supporting Frost’s rendering of Matthew 24:21– “there shall be tribulation until there is no more tribulation.” So, when Frost ridicules me for appealing to the translations and says he supports them, he is being totally disingenuous– to be kind.
The actual grammar of the text demands that The Great Tribulation Jesus was describing would be limited to his “the now” time– his generation. But, acknowledging the fact that Jesus was speaking “comparatively” i.e. the Great Tribulation in comparison with what had been and what was coming, Jesus was NOT saying that tribulation would cease at the end. He was saying that what was to happen in his “the now” time was greater than anything that would ever be AFTER HIS “THE NOW” TIME.
In other words, tribulation would continue after Jesus’ “the now” time, but, nothing– not WWII, not ANYTHING– would compare with what was going to happen in his “the now” time, his generation– (if you take the language literally, but we have seen you cannot do that). Thus, Frost’s very own focus on the “comparative” nature of Jesus’ words destroys his narrative. Jesus did not say tribulation would cease with the Great Tribulation. He did not say Tribulation continues until the end of time. He never mentions the end of time. Imposing Frost’s Dispensational literalism on the text means that Jesus said that nothing that would ever come, AFTER HIS OWN “THE NOW” TIME, could compare with what was to happen in his “the now” time.
The reader must keep in mind that the Great Tribulation that Jesus was predicting was to be the direct result of the Abomination of Desolation foretold by Daniel (Matthew 24:15). That Abomination was to be set up in Judea. It was to be seen by Jesus’ apostles / disciples, i.e. that generation, which was Jesus’ “the now” time. These facts are irrefutable.
Strangely, but predictably, Frost says not say one thing- not a keystroke – about the Judea Centric nature of the Abomination. He says not a word about the fact that Jesus’ apostles (that generation) were to witness it, or that those in Judea were to flee from the imminent Great Tribulation. (If the Great Tribulation = the Christian age as Frost claims, how do you flee from it, by fleeing from Judea???) Frost not only conveniently ignores these issues but totally failed (refused) to comment on the significance of the grammatical power of Jesus’ “the now” time. He just waved his hand at the language, ignoring its power.
Frost’s entire argument on the Great Tribulation violates the grammar of Matthew 24:21. His own comments are self-contradictory. He flip-flops back and forth in his claims. His claims violate the normal hyperbolic nature of the “none like it ever or will be” language. There is literally nothing in Frost’s claims supported by the grammar, supported by proper exegesis or logic. The conclusions that he draws, based on his manipulation of the text are false to the core.
For an in-depth study of the Great Tribulation, and its inseparably connection to the resurrection, get a copy of my book, The Resurrection of Daniel 12:2: Fulfilled or Future. There is a wealth of infomation in this book that you will not find anywhere else!