Old Testament Israel and New Testament Salvation #5
The Resurrection and New Testament Salvation
In the previous articles I proven beyond any successful denial that the doctrine of the Messianic Banquet, which is in itself a resurrection doctrine, is directly – inseparably- connected to the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Israel (Matthew 8:11f). This verifies my proposition, which is that “There are no new eschatological prophecies in the NT. All NT eschatology was the expectation of the (imminent) fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel.”
Opponents of Covenant Eschatology (Full Preterism) literally laugh and scoff at me for making such an “obviously wrong” claim. My own personal theological upbringing had no understanding of the direct relationship between the Tanakh and the New Testament. A fundamental tenet of Amillennialism is that God was through with the Old Testament and Israel at the cross, and that beginning on Pentecost God was dealing with the church, totally divorced from Israel and her promises. Yet, as we have already seen in this series the evidence to prove that relationship is literally overwhelming for those willing to look.
This part of our study is to show that the source of the New Testament doctrine of the resurrection is clearly the Old Testament. We will also show that in many of the OT prophecies from the Tanakh, the resurrection is tied directly, unambiguously, to the time of the judgment on Old Covenant Israel / Jerusalem.
Paul, when considering the resurrection from the death of Adam, (1 Corinthians 15) posited that resurrection as the fulfillment of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel. He directly cites Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14. Most scholars also agree that he alludes to or echoes Ezekiel 37, Daniel 9, Daniel 12, the Psalms and other OT prophecies (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). This means that the promise of the resurrection made in the Garden (Genesis 3:15f) is incorporated into YHVH’s promises to Old Covenant Israel. So, the story of the Garden becomes the story of Israel. See my book, The Death of Adam / The Life of Christ for an in-depth discussion of this very important issue.
As just suggested, Paul is clear in affirming that the one eschatological hope (Ephesians 4:4-5) was nothing but that which was found in the Tanakh – in God’s promises made to Israel.
In Acts 24:13f – Notice that Paul affirms his solidarity with the hope of Israel by acknowledging that he believed in all things written in “the law and the prophets, that there is about to be a resurrection of the just and unjust.” Thus, for Paul, his resurrection doctrine was patently from the Old Law.
(It is commonly claimed that when Paul said he was a Pharisee that this proves that he believed in a physical resurrection of human corpses. This is not right, because although the Pharisees initially thought Paul was truly on the same page as them in regard to the resurrection (Acts 23), just over two weeks later, they wanted him dead because of his doctrine of the resurrection! Why did the Pharisees go from defending Paul on the resurrection to wanting him dead for what he taught about the resurrection? See my book, Paul on Trial: Paul, the Pharisees and the Resurrection, for an in-depth discussion of this critical, but mostly overlooked, issue).
In Acts 26:21f- Paul states emphatically that he was guilty of, “saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come.”
In Romans 8:23-9:1-3 The apostle spoke of the (imminent) adoption, i.e. the redemption of the body. In chapter 9:1-4, he tells us: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises.”
So, as in Acts 24 & 26, Paul tells us that his doctrine of the adoption, the redemption of the body, belonged to Israel after the flesh. This means that the resurrection doctrine found in 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 5, etc. are all based on God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. As we have seen just above, this is confirmed by the fact that in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul was anticipating the fulfillment of Isaiah 25 and Hosea 13 in the resurrection.
Notice Paul’s appeal to Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14. He said that the resurrection, the time when mortal would put on immortality, would be, “then shall come to pass the saying, Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O, Death where is your victory…?” Paul was affirming that the NT expectation of the resurrection was found in the OT promises made to Israel. It was not a new revelation about some doctrine unknown in the OT.
There are a couple of things to be observed here.
In Isaiah 25, that day of the destruction of death would be the realization of Israel’s eschatological hope:
And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
So, the time of the resurrection is posited as the time of Israel’s salvation. Notice how the term “in that day” ties the entire context together as a united discussion. Thus, as we have seen just above, the resurrection was the hope of Israel. But that is not all to be seen in the text. In verses 1-3, that day of the resurrection, the time of the Messianic Banquet, the day of Israel’s salvation, was also the time when Jerusalem would be destroyed and the temple turned over to foreigners:
O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For You have made a city a ruin, A fortified city a ruin, A palace of foreigners to be a city no more; It will never be rebuilt. Therefore the strong people will glorify You; The city of the terrible nations will fear You.
We thus have in Isaiah 25 the total vindication and verification of my premise: All NT eschatological promises are the reiteration of the Old Testament promises made to Old Covenant Israel, and in the OT prophecies of the end – specifically the resurrection – that event is inseparably tied to the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem and the temple. This is profoundly important, but is almost entirely overlooked or ignored in the literature. See my book, These Are the Days When All Things Must Be Fulfilled for an in-depth demonstration of this critical point.
Like Paul, Peter is very clear that his eschatological expectation was taken directly from the Old Testament prophets.
whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.
The times of restoration are the times of the New Creation, the resurrection, the time of the Lord’s coming. In fact, one might well say that the time of restoration (apokatastasis) is the ultimate eschatological goal. The full restoration arrives only after the parousia, the judgment and the resurrection according to Revelation 20-22. And those “times of restoration” were foretold by all of the prophets, from Moses, Samuel and “as many as have spoken.” There is no other eschatological goal that is different from the restoration of all things that Peter is discussing. That anticipated restoration is what the NT writers were pointing to. Yet, Peter said it was the Old Testament writers that spoke of those things. This means that the restoration of all things would be in fulfillment of Old Covenant promises, not New Covenant promises unrelated to or divorced from Israel and her covenant promises. That means that our thesis that there are no new eschatological promises in the NT is validated and confirmed.
For brevity, let me just say that the restoration of all things was likewise to be the “time of reformation” (reformation is translated from diorthosis) foretold by the OT prophets (Hebrews 9:10). Just like the restoration of all things was to be consummated at the coming of the Lord, in Hebrews 9 the time of reformation, the time of salvation, would come at the parousia of Christ (Hebrews 9:28. But the key to understanding the apokatastasis / diorthosis restoration is that in Hebrews 9, that time of reformation is undeniably posited as the end of the Old Covenant! For a full discussion of the “restoration of all things,” how that restoration began with John the Baptizer, and was consummated with the Lord’s coming in the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, see my book, Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory.
Peter’s declaration that those OT prophets spoke of his “these days” is highly informative. He was not speaking of days millennia removed from his days. Just as on the day of Pentecost, he quoted from Joel’s prophecy of the last days events and said, “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel,” he now affirms that all of the OT prophets spoke of his first century “these days.” The restoration of all things would be accomplished in the last days. Peter said that the first century days were the last days. Therefore, the first century last days were Peter’s “these days.”
And so, for Peter, just like Paul, his eschatology had no other source than the Old Covenant promises. And Peter undeniably taught that the time of the end, the last days, were present in his day and time. The same is true of the next passage from Peter’s pen.
2 Peter 3:1-2, 13 –
Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,
In verse 13, after speaking of the Day of the Lord to bring in the New Creation (the restoration of all things), he says:
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
As virtually all commentators agree, Peter had in mind Isaiah 65-66, which are the prophecies by the holy prophets of old, that explicitly foretold the New Heaven and Earth. (See my book, The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat, in which I document that scholarly consensus that Peter is referring directly to Isaiah 65-66).
Revelation – Need we vindicate the claim that John in Revelation was anticipating the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel. Per some sources John cites, alludes to, incorporates no less than 440+ OT passages in the book of Revelation! He draws on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, Malachi, just to name a few.
Specifically speaking of the resurrection, we know that in Revelation 10-11, John is drawing directly from the OT prophecy of Daniel 12 and the prediction of the resurrection of the just and the unjust.
Revelation 10:6f directly echoes the prophecy of Daniel 12 with its allusion of the angels standing on land and sea and lifting his hands to heaven, swearing by Him who lives forever. In 10:7, John was told that in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpet (an allusion to Isaiah 27:13), “the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” This is itself an echo of Daniel 9:24 where Daniel was told that “seventy weeks are determined….to seal vision and prophecy.” So, the sounding of the seventh trumpet would be the time when all prophecy would be finally fulfilled. (This agrees with Paul’s affirmation that the resurrection would be at the sounding of the “last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
In Revelation 11:15f we then have the sounding of the seventh trumpet:
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.
So, we have here the time of the kingdom (a promise of Daniel 2:44 / 7:21-23), the time of the resurrection (again, from Daniel 12), the time of the rewarding of the prophets and saints (from Daniel 12:13), the judgment of the nations (echoing Joel 3:1f).
Clearly, the promise of the resurrection is, as Paul affirmed in Acts, based on and taken from God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. What this means is that since the resurrection was an Old Covenant promise made to Old Covenant Israel, Israel after the flesh (Romans 9:1-3), that it is only logical that the resurrection would be the climactic consummation of Israel’s age. What connection with Israel is seen in the futurist eschatologies that posit the resurrection at the climax, consummation and termination of the Christian age, when the resurrection was never a New Testament prophecy given to the church divorced from Israel.
When one claims that God was through with Israel and the Old Covenant at the cross, this is a massive miscarriage of hermeneutic. Well after the cross Paul would affirm that God had not (yet) cast off Old Covenant Israel (Romans 11:1-4). He was even then fulfilling His promises to her through the righteous remnant: “Israel has not attained to that which he sought, but the elect has, and the rest were blinded” (Romans 11:7). The consummation of Israel’s history would be the salvation of the remnant at the coming of the Lord. That consummation was not far off (Romans 9:28) and Paul called it “life from the dead” (Romans 11:15).
The resurrection was to be at “the end of the age” (Matthew 13:39-43) in fulfillment of Daniel 12. In 13:39-40, Jesus said that the gathering / resurrection would be at “the end of the age” (suntelia tou aionos). Daniel also placed that event at the “time of the end” (kairou suntelias, LXX, v. 4. This could be accurately be translated as the appointed time of the consummation). Daniel placed the resurrection at “the end of days” (suntelian hemeron, 12:13). Jesus said the resurrection would be at “the last day.” There is no doubt that Daniel was predicting the resurrection of the time of the end that Jesus also anticipated.
So, Daniel foretold the resurrection would be at the “suntelian” at the appointed suntelian. Jesus likewise foretold the resurrection would be at the end of the age (suntelia tou aionos). And in Daniel, that appointed time of the end of the days would be, “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered.” We thus have the conflation of the time of the resurrection and the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Israel. These concepts are Siamese twins that cannot be separated, yet that is precisely what the huge majority of commentators do.
It should be noted that “the end of the days” in Daniel 12:13, which consummates in the resurrection, is clearly the “last day” of John 6:39, 44, etc. In Daniel, that would be, “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (12:7). Unless one wishes to say that Israel’s power is to be destroyed at the end of the Christian age, it would seem obvious that the resurrection was to be at the end of Israel’s covenant age which occurred in AD 70. This is why our study that we are engaged in is so critical.
So, here is what we have:
Daniel 12 foretold the end of days resurrection of the just and unjust.
Jesus and the NT writers foretold the end of days resurrection of the just and unjust, stating that they were proclaiming what the OT prophets foretold.
Therefore, the end of days resurrection of the just and unjust proclaimed by the NT writers was the end of days resurrection of the just and unjust foretold by Daniel 12.
Following on this, consider:
The end of days resurrection of the just and unjust proclaimed by the NT writers was the end of days resurrection of the just and unjust foretold by Daniel 12.
But the end of days resurrection foretold by Daniel12 was to be (was) fulfilled when the power of the holy people was completely shattered- in AD 70.
Therefore, the end of days resurrection of the just and unjust proclaimed by the NT writers was to be fulfilled when the power of the holy people was completely shattered – in AD 70.
Unless it can be shown that Daniel foretold a different end of days resurrection of the just and unjust, to eternal life or condemnation, from that foretold by the NT writers, then of logical necessity, the resurrection of the just and unjust to either eternal life or condemnation was in AD 70.
But in this regard consider the following:
In Acts 24-26 Paul affirmed that his resurrection doctrine of the just and unjust was from “the law and prophets” (Acts 24:14-15).
The only OT passage of “the law and prophets” that specifically foretold the resurrection of the just and unjust is Daniel 12:2f.
Therefore, Paul’s doctrine of the resurrection of the just and unjust was taken (partly) from Daniel 12:2f.
But, the resurrection of the just and unjust foretold by Daniel 12:2f was to be fulfilled when the power of the holy people was completely shattered – in AD 70.
Therefore, the resurrection of the just and unjust foretold by Paul was to be fulfilled when the power of the holy people was completely shattered – in AD 70.
We have therefore, established that all NT eschatological promises were based on and taken from the Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel. This article alone establishes that beyond dispute. This fact likewise proves very clearly therefore, that the eschatological consummation of the resurrection was to occur, indeed, did occur, at the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel that came with the desolation and destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, the priesthood, the entire cultus.
In our next and final installment we will look at the related subject of the New Creation. This is a topic that no one doubts is concerned with the eschatological promises and prophecies. As noted above, the New Creation is the time of the completed “restoration of all things” promised in Acts 3.Yet, once again, the fulfillment of that promised New Creation is commonly posited by futurists at the end of the New Covenant age of Messiah, and not in fulfillment of Israel’s Old Covenant promises. This is a miscarriage of hermeneutic and exegesis.