Responding to the Critics: More On Luke 21:22 #6
More Desperation from the Partial Preterist Camp
A bit of refresher on the purpose of this current series. This series is in response to an article that Jason Bradfield- former preterist- posted claiming to be the answer to Luke 21:22. He admitted in that article that a “simple reading” of that passage would indicate that all prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70. Let me give, once again, what he said:
“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.”
So, Bradfield admits that a simple reading of the text sounds simple and “fairly plain.” But, of course, he knows that to accept that meaning is to falsify the entirety of futurism, so, he casts around to find a way to deny that “fairly plain” reading. He then assures us that the “all things fulfilled” of Luke 21:22 refers only to the prophecies of the AD 70 fall of Jerusalem and “all” of the particulars surrounding and tied to that event. As I have stated repeatedly, that is fine with me!
I want to call the reader’s attention to the fact Bradfield takes a totally different approach to solving the conundrum of Luke 21:22 than does the far more scholarly Kenneth Gentry. In an earlier article, I shared that Gentry appeals to the Greek of the text of Luke 21:22, and argues (futilely and falsely) that what Jesus meant when he said that “all things written” would be fulfilled in and by AD 70 was that all Old Testament prophecies would be fulfilled by then. Be sure to read my refutation of Gentry’s claim. Now, Bradfield was well aware of my expose of Gentry’s article, and so, he offered up a different twist to explain away the text. He says that all prophecies of the fall of Jerusalem, with all of the attendant “particulars,” would be fulfilled in AD 70. So, for Bradfield, “all things written” was not referent to just all OT prophecies, but, to all (and, yes, by ALL, he did mean ALL) prophecies of the AD 70 catastrophe were fulfilled in those horrific events.
I have shared with the readers here that the OT prophesied the AD 70 fall of Jerusalem, and attendant with that awful judgment, there are numerous eschatological ‘particulars” such as the resurrection, the Messianic Banquet, the establishment of the kingdom, the end of the age, the salvation of Israel, etc., etc.. When I have challenged Mr. Bradfield and others on that FaceBook forum to answer these arguments, the response has been more name calling, more ungodly verbiage, and a total refusal to engage the issues. Let’s face it: if one admits, as proper hermeneutic and exegesis demands, that the OT prophecies cited did predict that AD 70 judgment, then Mr. Bradfield’s eschatology is false. It cannot be salvaged. Thus, when he admits that “all”- and he did mean “all” prophecies of the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem were fulfilled then, he has surrendered his futurist eschatology. That is unavoidable and irrefutable.
In our last installment we examined Jesus’ parable of the Great Wedding Banquet, showing that the parable contains numerous eschatological “particulars” directly and inseparably tied to the coming judgment on those wicked workers, chief among them the eschatological Wedding. Thus, when one admits, as virtually all commentators do, that the parable was prophetic of AD 70, this demands that the coming of the Lord, the Messianic Kingdom, the vindication of the martyrs, the Messianic Temple– which are the particulars of the text– were fulfilled in AD 70.
We turn now to another NT prophecy of AD 70 to examine some of the key particulars linked to that event.
Matthew 23. 29-37:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
This text is, in my personal opinion, one of the most normative and paradigmatic of all of Jesus’ teachings. Realistically, it sets the foundation for the Olivet Discourse. And yet, while commentators often give what I will call “lip service” to it, the eschatological significance of this passage is commonly either never explored, or all but ignored. But, how can one ignore the eschatological significance of this passage when it is the key for understanding Hebrews 11, as well as the book of Revelation, not to mention a host of other NT predictions of Christ’s parousia? See my extensive development of Matthew 23 and Hebrews 11 in my We Shall Meet Him In the Air, the Wedding of the King of kings.
Now, needless to say, Jesus said that all of the blood, of all the righteous martyrs, all the way back to Creation, would be avenged in the impending judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70. This undeniable reality brings up a tremendously important fact and that is the “universal” nature of that AD 70 judgment.
One of the favorite arguments of the opponents of Covenant Eschatology is that AD 70 was strictly a local event, that virtually no one cared about, and most assuredly, no one in say, Corinth, Athens, Rome, etc., hundreds of miles away, would have cared about for even one moment! In my 2008 formal public debate with John Welch, church of Christ minister, he put up a chart showing how Jerusalem was 800+ miles away from some of the great population centers, and dramatically asked: “Who would have cared about the fall of Jerusalem in these far flung cities?” He repeated this argument that the distance of Jerusalem from these other venues and the localized nature of the destruction negated any claim that the events of AD 70 had any “universal” or“spiritual” significance.
In response, I noted that the crucifixion of Jesus was far more localized, far smaller of an event, than the fall of Jerusalem. Thus, per Welch’s own “logic,” if such it can be called, that means that the death of Jesus on the cross had no meaning for those in Corinth, and, most assuredly therefore, has no meaning for us today in America, since we are thousand of miles from Jerusalem, not just hundreds! The impact on the audience was visibly amazing, and Welch offered not a word of response. MP3s of that debate are available from me. Just contact me.
Ask yourself the question: Were there any “Jews” or Jewish martyrs around in the days of Abel, or Noah, Seth or any of the other faithful Worthies mentioned in Hebrews 11– all of whom were listed as martyrs in that chapter? Patently not. Thus, the judgment of the martyrs in Matthew 23- the vindication of the blood of the martyrs going back to creation, was not just a localized event with no spiritual implications or application. How can anyone even suggest that the AD 70 judgment was strictly localized when Jesus said that it entailed the vindication of all of the righteous martyrs all the way back to creation? That means that it entailed the last days coming of the Lord in vindication of the martyrs of Isaiah 2-4. It included the resurrection of Isaiah 25-27. It included the coming of the Lord for the final, consummative salvation of Israel of Isaiah 59. It means that it was inclusive of the judgment that would bring in the New Heavens and Earth of Isaiah 65-66.
Not only that, to admit that Matthew 23 foretold precisely what the Lord said it would include, demands that such texts as 2 Thessalonians 1– and by extension, 1 Thessalonians 4– was fulfilled in AD 70, since it is simply undeniable that 2 Thessalonians 1 is about the vindication of the suffering of the Thessalonians saints. Likewise, 2 Corinthians 4:16f, Hebrews 10-11, James 5, and 1 Peter and Revelation are all also focused on the impending vindication of the suffering of the first century martyrs. In fact, the theme and motif of the vindication of the martyrs is foundational to Biblical eschatology. Why then is this theme so often glossed over by the commentators? Preconceived ideas are powerful. For an outstanding treatment of this subject, be sure to order a copy of my Who Is This Babylon. It is a powerful, well done book that will open your eyes– guaranteed!
My point is that when one examines Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 23, and realizes how “universal” that coming vindication of the martyrs was to be, then any objection about AD 70 being a localized judgment is effectively eliminated. And, this raises the critical question, what are the “particulars” that are linked to that coming vindication? The list is extensive and long, but, I will give just a few of the soteriological particulars tied to the AD 70 vindication of the martyrs.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18– The Eternal Glory.
2 Thessalonians 1– glory with Christ at his coming– relief from that then on-going persecution.–> salvation in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4).
Hebrews 10:34-39– The saving of the soul, The Great Reward.
James 5- Vindication and glory.
1 Peter1:3f– the incorruptible, eternal inheritance. The salvation of the soul (v. 9).
Revelation 2-3– When one examines the letters to the seven churches, it quickly becomes apparent that what Christ promised those suffering churches was not only vindication, but eternal salvation in the Kingdom, the New Creation. Be sure to view the YouTube videos by Daniel Rogers, on my YouTube channel. Rogers shows, very effectively, that the promises made to the seven churches were eschatological promises, not some limited, localized, meaningless promises. You can view the first of his series of videos here.
Now, the texts listed are not exhaustive by any means. But, they are some of the more explicit passages that discuss the first century martyrdom of the saints and the promise of imminent vindication and reward at Christ’s coming.
So, what all of this means is that when it is admitted that all prophecies of the AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem / Judea were fulfilled, along with the particulars related to that event, then it is prima facie evident that all prophecy, all soteriological and eschatological prophecies were fulfilled in AD 70. There are no other particulars to be fulfilled besides those fulfilled in AD 70. Every eschatological element is inextricably tied to that judgment. To admit what Jason Bradfield admitted is, logically and Biblically, to admit to the truth of full preterism. There is no logical escape from this, so, there is little wonder that when I began exposing the glaring weaknesses in his claims, that Bradfield blocked me on FaceBok. He literally could not face the reality of the destruction of his own claims. And we will see this even more as we continue this series on Responding to the Critics, so stay tuned!