Responding to the Critics: A Response to Jason Bradfield on Luke 21:22 – #4
More Desperation from the Partial Preterist Camp
As I reported in the previous article, After I posted an article on the authority of the creeds, responding to Bradfield’s claim that the Westminster Confession of Faith is authoritative, Mr. Bradfield told me on Facebook to cease and desist from tagging him. And now, it appears that he has completely blocked me on Facebook! When you are totally unable to answer solid Biblical arguments and can only engage in slander and un-Christian name calling that reveals your inability to engage in serious discussion, it is probably best to withdraw.
Keep in mind that this series is in response to an article that Bradfield posted just recently 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. He again is 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. And that is fine with me!
In the first three installments, #1 #2 #3 I have shared with the reader 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 to answer these arguments, his response was more name calling, more ungodly verbiage, and a total refusal to engage the issues- and then, blocking me. But, 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.
What I want to do now is to look at the “all things written” about the judgment of Jerusalem from the NT perspective. First of all, let me address a possible caveat that Bradfield might offer. It is an argument that was offered by Gentry in his article that I have alluded to already. Gentry claims that the force of the Greek text in Luke 21:22 demands that no NT prophecies are being referred to. After all, Gentry claims that Jesus’ words , “technically it does not even refer to any prophecy which Christ speaks. For these are not prophecies that have already been written. That being the case, the final resurrection (for instance) is outside of this declaration (Jn 5:28-29)
So, Gentry argues that the “all things written” must refer, as we have already seen that he argues, to Old Testament prophecies– and by that he means “all OT prophecies.” And yes, he did say ALL OT prophecies!
The problem with Gentry’s argument on the grammar of the text is that it is too atomistic. By that I mean this: He fails to consider the fact that by the time of the fall of Jerusalem, all the NT books would be written! Gentry himself agrees – or at least he did – with this! In his book, The Charismatic Gift of Prophecy: A Reformed Response to Wayne Gruden, Gentry argues that the charismata were signs of the impending Day of the Lord in A.D. 70, and that they were to cease with the completed revelation of inspired writ (Kenneth Gentry, The Charismatic Gift of Prophecy (Memphis; Footstool Publications, 1989), 53- 55).
So, if the revelatory process was completed by the time of AD 70, as Gentry posited, (and frankly, I do not know if Bradfield also still holds to this position) that surely means that all of the NT prophecies of the impending fall of Jerusalem would be fulfilled, just as all OT prophecies of that catastrophe would be fulfilled. So, that brings us to consider some of the NT prophecies of the coming judgment of Old Covenant Israel / Jerusalem / the Temple.
Matthew 21– In Jesus’ famous parable of the Vineyard and the Vine Dressers, he told of the killing of the workers sent at the time of the harvest. They were beaten and cast out. The Son of the owner was likewise slain. Jesus asked the Scribes and lawyers gathered around:
“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”
Notice that those Jewish leaders well understood that the Master of the Vineyard would “come” and utterly destroy those who had killed His Son. And they well understood that Jesus was speaking of them! That means that the coming of the Lord is inextricably connected to the destruction of the Jews! Since this cannot refer to Jesus’ first coming, it must, of necessity, refer to his “Second.”
Not only that, in a theme to be discussed in the next installment, it is undeniably clear that Jesus was tying the avenging of the blood of the martyrs, and the avenging of his own death, to the coming judgment of those rebellious and murderous leaders.
Notice also, that Jesus applied Psalms 118:22f and Daniel 2:44 to that coming destruction, but, the application of the Psalms 118 has direct application to the “construction” of the Messianic Temple. The rejection of the Stone would lead directly to the judgment and destruction of the “chief builders”– see Acts 4:11– but, implicit in all of this is the construction of the New Covenant, everlasting temple of Messiah.
Then, we have the creation of a New People– “the kingdom shall be taken from you and given to a nation that will bring forth fruit.” There is here a strong echo of Psalms 102, Isaiah 43 / 49 / 61-62 / 65-66 where the Lord promised that at the destruction of the Old Covenant people / nation, He would create a New People, with a New Name, in a New Creation.
So, as we continue responding to the critics, right here in Matthew 21, we have some very important “particulars “ – eschatological particulars– directly tied to– (interpreted by Jesus himself) – the impending judgment of Jerusalem and the temple. We have the coming of the Lord. We have the creation of a New People. We have the Messianic Temple, built on the Rejected Stone. We have the avenging of the martyrs, which, as we have seen already, was a key eschatological particular of many OT prophecies of the last days coming of the Lord, at the time of the resurrection. Be sure to go back and read our comments on Isaiah 26-27.
For brevity, and because I am enjoying writing this series so much that I want to develop it even further, I will let this installment on Matthew 21 suffice. But, in our next article I will look at another of Jesus’ parables where we find some amazing eschatological particulars that are absolutely tied to the AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem. Just keep in mind what Jason Bradfield and Kenneth Gentry (and some others as well) have admitted. They have admitted– fatally- that all OT prophecies of the AD 70 fall of Jerusalem were fulfilled. They have told us that all particulars tied to that event were fulfilled. Since we have proven that the kingdom, the Messianic Banquet, the resurrection, the avenging of the blood of the martyrs, the arrival of salvation, the final salvation of Israel, etc., etc., were particulars tied directly to that AD 70 destruction, then these men have effectively surrendered their futurist eschatology. And we have more, so stay tuned as we continue Responding to the Critics!
In the meatime, be sure to get a copy of my book, Seventy Weeks Are Determined…For the Resurrection. It is a powerful demonstration that the resurrection of the dead had to have occurred at the overwhelming flood of destruction in AD 70.