Responding to the Critics: Sam Frost: Up Side Down #1
A three part series.
I am pretty sure it came as a surprise to Sam Frost’s readers to know that unless they are students of text-criticism, the book of Revelation is confusing. You just can’t understand it until and unless Mr. Frost tells us how the book is actually to be understood. Pretty amazing stuff.
In his recent article “Is Up Down or is Down Up?” , Frost seeks to convince his readers that the book of Revelation is not all that concerned with the final consummation, although it discusses that, but, to show that it is about being faithful until death, whereupon we die and go (up) to heaven, where we wait until the annihilation of the cosmos. At that juncture, we leave heaven and come back (down) to a literal, physical “new earth.” (You must realize that for Frost, heaven is the “intermediate state of the dead,” and is NOT the hope of the faithful. Heaven (the Presence of God!) is okay, but, earth is the real Christian hope. Hebrews 6:19f totally falsifies this, but Frost rejects that testimony).
Frost’s article appeals to Revelation 2:10– “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” From this text, Mr. Frost concludes that Revelation is not about the coming of the Lord, but a timeless reference to individual Christians – throughout time– being faithful until death. But, this argument, increasingly common from Frost, ignores the actual context.
Frost has become an advocate of the “gap” doctrine. He reads that text, as well as Revelation 2:26 as, “To those who are faithful until they die, then, somewhere off in the future, at the end of time, they will be given the rule over the nations.” Notice that Frost conveniently omitted Revelation 2:25: “Hold fast until I come.” Thus, “the end” in view, as many of the letters to the seven churches shows, was the coming of the Lord. It was not simply the end of the life of the Christians. “The end” was the parousia of Christ in judgment and reward, “I will come to you quickly” (2:16; 3:11–> “Behold, I come quickly, hold fast what you”).
These are exhortations to live faithfully until the coming of the Lord, not simply until the end of life. When these passages are harmonized – and not ignored and not set at odds with each other – it shows that the coming of the Lord was to be in the lifetime of those first century churches. Thus, the paranesis was to be faithful in light of their then on-going persecution, even if that meant to be faithful until they died a martyr’s death, or, until the Lord came in judgment of their persecutors. It is more than revealing that Frost chose to totally ignore these “faithful until I come” passages.
Dying and Going to Heaven
Frost’s key point, based on the previously noted false claim, is that the faithful saints would enter heaven when they died. They go “up” until the end of time, when the faithful will come “down” to live on earth. In fact, Frost is on record claiming that Abraham and all the worthies, billions of the saints, who ever lived– before Christ died to make the Atonement– went directly to heaven. They would then – and are now – waiting for the end of time, the “annihilation of the kosmos.” The trouble for Mr. Frost is that there is no evidence whatsoever that the righteous saints entered heaven before the coming of the Lord. (And there is no proof that they are still waiting for the end of the current Christian age, because the current New Covenant age has no end!) This is an incredibly important issue, one on which Mr. Frost flounders. He is upside down.
Jesus was emphatic and clear: “No man has ascended into the heaven, except the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13). Attempts to explain this text away are facile and false.
Notice what Peter said on the day of Pentecost: “David is not ascended into the heavens” (Acts 2:34). Now if David did not go to heaven, are we to think that all the rest of the billions of the faithful went to heaven? David, the man after God’s own heart, did not ascend into heaven, but all the rest of the faithful did?
The writer of Hebrews is very clear that Christ was the “forerunner” into heaven. The word translated as “forerunner” is πρόδρομος, (prodromos, Strong’s #4274) and it means the first one to go before. Not only that, the word carries with it the idea of the first one who goes before and prepares the way. In Frost’s view, however, Christ was NOT the forerunner, he was not the first, and he was in fact, a “Johnny come lately” into heaven, since millions or perhaps billions of the faithful saints had entered heaven before him! Evidently, in Frost’s view, all of those saints that went to heaven prepared the way for Christ! In numerous FaceBook exchanges on this issue, ( Preterist Perspectives Discussion and Debate, 12-15-18), I challenged Mr. Frost repeatedly to explain Hebrews 6:20 and the significance of prodromos. I received not a single word of response. Total silence.
Make no mistake: in light of John 3:13, Acts 2:34 and Hebrews 6 (and other texts that we are about to explore) it becomes abundantly clear that Mr. Frost’s theology turns the Biblical narrative on its head– he turns it upside down.
FROST AND THE MOST HOLY PLACE
In the previously mentioned FaceBook discussion, I took note that in Hebrews 9:6-10 the writer emphatically declared that:
✔As long as there was no forgiveness there could be no entrance into the Most Holy Place– i.e. heaven.
✔As long as Torah, the Law of Moses stood valid, there was no forgiveness of sin.
✔Therefore, if the saints, prior to Christ, the saints who lived under Torah (where there was no forgiveness of sin!) – entered heaven when they died, then they entered the MHP before Christ ever came and shed his blood for the forgiveness of sin! This turns Hebrews 9 – and scripture – upside down!
Frost often appeals to the fact that Abraham was “justified by faith” long before Torah. No one denies that, but it does not mean he went to heaven when he died! (If one accepts Luke 16, and the story of Lazarus and the rich man as Jesus’ revelatory insight into life after death, under the Law, then it proves that Abraham was not in heaven, does it not?) Thus, Abraham’s justification was not objective. He looked to Jesus’ day for that and Jesus died to provide forgiveness! Jesus died to establish the New Covenant, “for the remission of sin” (Matthew 26:26f). He died to “for the remission of sins under the first covenant” (Hebrews 9:15). But, if those under the first covenant were objectively forgiven, then Christ’s death was superfluous. But the Bible is clear that there was no objective forgiveness of sin under the Law of Moses! Look at Acts 13:38-39:
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Paul said Christ gives what the Law of Moses could not give- forgiveness. So, if (since) the Law of Moses could not give forgiveness of sin then there was no “dying and going to heaven” depicted in Revelation prior to the eschatological consummation, when man could– and DOES– enter the MHP!
What does Mr. Frost do with Hebrews 9? He rejects the idea that the MHP represented heaven! But, let’s see:
Christ entered into that which is within the veil– (Hebrews 6:20), into the MHP.
Christ entered into Heaven itself ( Hebrews 9:24).
Therefore, the Most Holy Place is heaven.
This is irrefutable proof that Mr. Frost, in denying that the MHP represented heaven, is upside down. He is simply wrong. His denial manifests his desperation to avoid the truth of Covenant Eschatology. And there is more proof of this. In our next installment of Responding to the Critics we will explore that evidence in the next installment, so stay tuned.