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Sam Frost’s Abuse of the Olivet Discourse

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Sam Frost’s Abuse of the Olivet Discourse

Sam Frost on “The End is Not Yet… Then Comes The End”

I have documented in the past the numerous radical changes that former preterist Sam Frost has made in his determined desperate attempt to find some fault in the true preterist paradigm. No where is this more evident, more glaringly manifest, than in his attempt to convince his readers that in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus was only somewhat slightly, but in reality, not very, concerned with the fall of Jerusalem and the temple. His real concern, although Mark and Luke do not record the apostles asking any question that could conceivably be construed as related to such an idea, was the end of time, the end of human history.

Just recently, on the FB page “Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past” (A page I left sometime ago due to the rampant and unchecked, blatant dishonesty being manifested there by some of the top posters). Barry Isaac was kind enough to share Frost’s posting with me, Frost offered his current “fresh take” on the Discourse. One will seldom find a worse distortion and manipulation of the text than that which Frost offers.

The reader needs to know before we begin about the radical changes Frost has made before finally “settling” on his current position. (Who knows what he will present in the upcoming months or years, but this latest iteration is his worst to date- without doubt).

On 3-31-19 Frost said this of the apostles’ questions on Matthew 24:3: “They did not “link” any “age” to the destruction of the temple. The temple was “destroyed” and the ages continued to march on….not end….”

Amazingly this was only a few months before (12-12-19) saying: //Now, it is plain, in my view (the view of how many I cannot count from historical commentaries til today), that the disciples conflated (Blomberg) all of this into what Jesus announced. Jesus did not announce the passing of heaven and earth. He only announced the destruction of the City and all therein. They, on the other hand, naturally so, would have understood that if Jerusalem is to be razed to the ground, then perhaps this meant also the end of the age. Totally understandable given the climate of the day (Second Temple Judaism).//

So, in March of 2019, Frost said that the apostles did not link the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of any age. But nine months later he said it was perfectly natural for them to think of the end of the world when Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple!

It is not necessary to examine every claim made by Frost in his latest offering. All we have to do is expose the underlying false assumptions and presuppositions upon which all of his claims are built.

It is noteworthy that Frost admits that when Jesus said “then comes the end” that he had a single end in mind, not two. This means that when the apostles asked about “the end of the age” and Christ’s parousia, they did not have two ends in mind. In other words, per Frost’s own logic here, when the apostles asked about the end of the age and the parousia of Christ, they were not thinking of the destruction of Jerusalem as one end, and then, another end, i.e. the end of time. They had one parousia, they had one end of the age, they had one “end” in mind. It should be noted that the term “end of the age” is from συντελείας τοu αἰonνος / synteleias tou aionos is singular. This reinforces the fact that in asking about the destruction of Jerusalem and “the end of the age / parousia of Christ, they had one consummative event in mind. And they undeniably linked that one, singular end of the age and parousia with that impending destruction of Jerusalem. Frost so much as admits this. It was “natural,” says Frost, that the apostles linked the destruction and the end of time. This is surely one of the most illogical, presumptive claims imaginable, although it is common.

Were the apostles aware that the Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Babylonians? To deny this would literally be absurd. The Jews had four fast days in which they commemorated that catastrophe (Zechariah 8:18). Did the apostles think that literal, material “heaven and earth” was destroyed in that destruction. To suggest that they believed such a thing is beyond the pale of possibility. Now, to be sure, they would have been aware that the BC 586 pogrom was described with “end of time” language (Jeremiah 4 / Zephaniah 1-2, etc.) but it is pretty safe to say that they did not believe that this language of “recreation” (essentially the same language of Matthew 24:29-35!) was fulfilled literally! After all, time went on, earth still stood. But if one adopted Frost’s new “Dispensational like” literalistic hermeneutic, the end of time should have occurred in that earlier destruction. All of which begs the question:

So, the apostles knew that Jerusalem and the temple had been totally destroyed in BC 586 BC, (with “end of the world language to describe it). Yet, they knew without doubt that “the end of the age/ time) had not ended, that earth had not been destroyed, that the physical cosmos had not been destroyed. What then, is the hermeneutic for declaring that in Matthew 24, it would have been perfectly “natural” for the apostles to think of the end of time, the end of material creation when Jesus predicted the destruction of that temple?

There are some critical questions that Frost did not address in his article and in FB correspondence he repeatedly refused to answer:

#1 – WERE THE APOSTLES CONFUSED, IGNORANT, OR SIMPLY WRONG, TO LINK THAT SINGULAR CONSUMMATION WITH THE COMING DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE.

Of necessity, Frost must take the position that the apostles were in fact either totally ignorant, totally confused, or just flat wrong. In light of Frost’s demonstrable confusion illustrated above, I hesitate to ascribe ignorance to the apostles but choose rather to say that it is Frost that continues to be confused– or simply wrong.

The belief that the apostles were confused or ignorant serves as the foundation for much of the futurist world’s interpretation of the Olivet Discourse. And Frost is quick to tell us of the countless numbers of commentators who agree with this. In fact, it is almost universally claimed by scholars that the apostles did link, in their mind, the fall of Jerusalem with Christ’s parousia and the end of the time. Of course, it is held that the apostles were confused, ignorant, or simply wrong.

That is a false assumption that has no evidence to support it. This demonstrates how tenuous the futurist view truly is. But Frost claims that the apostles must have been confused / wrong because, per Frost, Jesus supposedly corrected their ignorance. (Frost does this subtly, not overtly, so as not to come across as openly accusing the apostles of confusion or ignorance, but make no mistake, that is precisely what he is saying). He claims that when Jesus predicted wars and rumors of wars, but then stated, “but the end is not yet” that he was saying “the end is not the destruction of the temple.” This claim has no merit– none. (See my book, Watching for the Parousia: Were Jesus’ Apostles Confused? for a full refutation of the idea that Jesus’ apostles were confused, or ignorant).

Remember that the apostles were asking about the singular consummative end of the age parousia. Well, in v. 29-34, Jesus unequivocally posited that coming as something to occur in his generation. He said, “Verily I say unto you, this generation will be no means pass away until all of these things be fulfilled.” He did NOT say, “all of the signs will be in this generation but many millennial later the parousia will come.” If the signs were in the first century, logically, the parousia that the signs would point to as imminent, would also be in the first century. It is specious to suggest that the signs of the nearness of the end were 2000 years ago (Matthew 24:32), but the parousia (which the signs would prove was “nigh, even at the door”) has not yet occurred. That literally makes a mockery of language.

Over and over in his post Frost slips in his presuppositonal claim that “the end” must be referent to the end of time and human history. But he does not hit one keystroke to actually prove that is what Jesus and the apostles had in mind. It is assumed and is not to be questioned, evidently. If one challenges this, he is met with either silence, or “what other end might be in mind”? Well, what about the end of the age that the temple represented?

The indisputable fact is that the apostles had every right to link Jesus’ prediction of the coming destruction with the end of the age (but not some imaginary end of time). That linkage is found in OT passage after passage. In fact, in the Tanakh, virtually every OT prophecy of the last days coming of the Lord, the judgment, the resurrection, the New Creation, the kingdom, salvation, etc., is inseparably linked to the time of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel, Jerusalem and the temple. This is widely ignored, but I fully establish it beyond dispute in my new book, These Are the Days When All Things Must Be Fulfilled .

In light of this consider: Were the apostles unaware that:

That Isaiah 2-4 posited the last days Day of the Lord at the time of the coming of the Lord when men could “run to the hills” to escape that Day? Were they ignorant of the fact that the Day of the Lord was to be “in that day” i.e. the time of famine in Jerusalem the time when Israel’s men would fall by the edge of the sword (Isaiah 3)?

Were they ignorant of the fact that the Messianic Wedding Banquet and the resurrection were to occur when the “fortified city” i.e. Jerusalem and the temple would be turned over to foreigners (Isaiah 25:1-8)?

Were they ignorant of the fact that the New Heaven and Earth would come when, “the Lord God shall slay you and call His people by a new name” (Isaiah 65: 13ff)?

And were they totally ignorant of the fact that the time of the Great Tribulation, the resurrection and the appointed time of the end (the kairos suntelia- Daniel 12:3-4), was to be when “the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (Daniel 12:7)? (A long established tenet of the Jewish eschatological narrative was that immediately prior to the coming of Messiah and the resurrection the Great Tribulation was to take place. Were the apostles also ignorant of this long established teaching among the Jews?)

If they were in fact so totally ignorant of all of these facts (among many, many others), how could that have been and why didn’t Jesus castigate them for such horrendous ignorance. After all, on other occasions he forcefully chided them for their ignorance. But there is no such correction- in spite of Frost’s claim) in the Olivet Discourse.

And finally, if they were so ignorant of all of these facts, Jesus’ own words concerning the impending destruction of Jerusalem should have offered unmistakable clarification: “These be the days of vengeance when all things written must be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22). So, the apostles asked about the end of the age and Jesus’ parousia and Frost admits that it was “natural” for them to connect those events with the fall of Jerusalem. They knew Jerusalem had been destroyed at “the Day of the Lord” in BC 586. Yet, time and earth marched on. They (surely) knew that the OT prophets had foretold the end of the age Day of the Lord and the destruction. And Jesus emphatically declared that in the impending (AD 70) destruction “all things written must be fulfilled.” That temporal delimitation is a death blow to Frost’s claims.

Yet Frost would have us to believe that the apostles were so horribly, egregiously ignorant of their own history, that they actually naively thought that time and the cosmos would come to an end when the first century temple was destroyed. What would be so “natural” about such a linkage?

#2 – WHAT AGE DID THAT JERUSALEM TEMPLE REPRESENT AND SYMBOLIZE?

If one accepts Frost’s presuppositonal claims without questioning, without consideration, without thinking, then Frost can make his case. But when one considers that the Jerusalem temple did NOT, in any way, shape, form or fashion, represent the current Christian age or the end of time, that demands that one calls Frost’s entire post into serious question. Actually it demands a categoric and total rejection of his claims.

Considering that Jesus had just spoken extensively about the impending destruction, (Matthew 23) which elicited the apostles showing him the majestic temple stones, one has the perfect right to ask, where is there, ANYWHERE in the context, a hint of a clue, of a suggestion or a thought, of an end of time? Simply and undeniably, there is no such hint. Thus, when Frost subtly slips that subject into the discussion he is guilty in the worst way of eisegesis.

Notice again how Frost ever so subtly slips in his presuppositions into his post: //In other words, when “the end” occurs, the “beginning woes” have passed away and are no more.//

Do you catch what Frost has done here? He is affirming that after the end, there would not be– could not be- in his paradigm – any further wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilence etc. And if one grants his unproven assumption that “the end” is referent to the end of time, he is, of course correct. But, read the text carefully yourself. Where does the text say, imply, suggest or in any manner demand that these kind of events would no longer occur after “the end”? Now, was Jesus saying that there would no longer be any “Beginning of sorrows”? Yes, but that does not indicate that “the end” is the end of all war! So, simply stated, the text says nothing resembling what Frosts affirms.

BTW, take careful note that Frost is admitting that the signs were to be in Jesus’ generation, i.e. seen by the apostles. But, when Jesus affirmed that “this generation will not pass until all of these things are fulfilled” (24:34) Frost demands that this could not entail the parousia and the end of the age.

Speaking of the signs of the end, Jesus said, “when you see these things come to pass then know that it is nigh, even at the door” (24:32). So, Frost admits that the apostles themselves would see the events of wars, famines, etc.. But per Frost, the apostles themselves would NOT see the completion of the World Mission or, for that matter, the Abomination of Desolation. After all, if Frost admits that the apostles would personally see the signs that the end was near, that would mean that the end truly was near – in their lifetime. It would be near temporally, not in some vague spiritual, relational or spatial sense of, “The Lord is always near to you.” No, when the apostles would see the signs of the end- they were to know that the end was “nigh, even at the door.” (Cf. James 5:9).

Thus, the signs were to indicate that the end was truly near, truly at hand, objectively imminent. Those signs would be the completion of the world mission and the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation. And Paul affirmed, repeatedly, that the Mission had been completed. Thus, Frost has to either reject Paul’s testimony, or “explain it away.”

Furthermore, again, Jesus gave the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation and the consequent Great Tribulation as signs of the nearness of the end. And make no mistake, Jesus told those living apostles that they would witness the appearance of the Abomination: “When you see the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, let him who reads understand, let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15f). As noted just above, just as surely as the apostles would personally witness the “wars and rumor of wars, pestilence, famine” etc. THEY would see the signs, and THEY would know thereby that the end was near, right at the door.

Frost has to discount this, explain it away, or just reject it.

Frost said: //Thus, what is “the end”? First, “the end of the age.” Second, it is just called, “the end” (with the article). Third, it is described, and distinguished from the woes: “after the tribulation of those days” (24:29) as “the sun shall darken…etc.” (24:29). 24:29 is “the end,” and is not “the beginning woes” which come before it. This is marked by the word, “after.” Fourth, “heaven and earth will pass away.” 24:29 is descriptive of what is “after,” and so is 24:35. Heaven and earth “passing away” is “the end,” and not “the beginning woes.” The passing of heaven and earth concludes (ends) the “beginning woes.” In other words, when “the end” occurs, the “beginning woes” have passed away and are no more.

Hence, Hyper Preterism is false.//

This paragraph is chock full of Frost’s false assumptions and presuppositions that he does not prove. His conclusion is totally false.

Notice:

Frost: /Thus, what is “the end”? First, “the end of the age.”/
Response: True! But THE END OF WHAT AGE? What proof did Frost offer that “the end” must be some imaginary “end of time” or the end of our current Christian age? Not a key stroke!

Frost: //Second, it is just called, “the end” (with the article).//

Response: True again! But once again, the end of what? The answer is: The end of the age that the temple represented and symbolized, which, to reiterate, had nothing to do with the current age of Christ and the New Covenant. Fact: The Christian age, the New Covenant age, has no end (Matthew 24:35)!

Frost: //Third, it is described, and distinguished from the woes: “after the tribulation of those days” (24:29) as “the sun shall darken…etc.” (24:29). 24:29 is “the end,” and is not “the beginning woes” which come before it. This is marked by the word, “after.”//

Response: True– somewhat! It is true, of course, that the end – the parousia- would come (immediately) after the Tribulation. That is explicit in 24:29. But, it would be “immediately” not 2000 years later.
But, when would the tribulation be? Well, it would appear at the time of the Abomination and the Abomination would be in the first century generation. Jesus did not say that the tribulation would run until some far distant end of human history. The apostles would witness it. (Frost commonly cites with approval G. K. Beale and Craig Bloomberg who claim that the entirety of the Christian age is “the great tribulation, such as has never been”! To say this is disingenuous is a huge understatement. I wrote a series of articles addressing Frost’s claims about the Great Tribulation.

Once again, Frost inserts his assumptions into the text. The “the sun shall darken…etc.” (24:29)” – is taken in a woodenly literalistic (Dispensational) manner by Frost, in overt violation of what is more than evident: Jesus was employing typical Hebraic apocalyptic, non-literal language. He is using the language that was used to describe the BC 586 destruction. Frost wants– he must to sustain his views– impose a literalistic hermeneutic on metaphoric language. Frost has abandoned what he once knew to be true: Matthew 24:29-31 was not a description of literal physical events in the material cosmos.

Frost: Fourth, “heaven and earth will pass away.”

Response: Frost ever so conveniently overlooks (we are convinced purposefully) that the temple, whose destruction was the subject of the discussion, was called heaven and earth by the Jews of Jesus’ day. But Frost cannot admit to this inconvenient fact for it would call into question his entire post and position.

Frost concludes by claiming: //Hence, Hyper Preterism is false.//

Response: Wrong. You cannot refute a position that is based directly on the inspired text by:

✘ Ignoring audience relevance. Notice the Frost gives and Frost takes away. On the one hand the apostles would personally witness the signs of the end, but they would not witness the end! This in spite of the fact that the identical pronouns are used to speak of what “they” would see.

✘ Making false assumptions and presuppositions, i.e. “the end” is the end of the current age, and not the age represented by that Temple.

✘ Ignoring the fact that the apostles, especially in Mark and Luke’s version, never asked about anything remotely resembling FROST’S concept of “the end.” Eisegesis in the extreme.

✘ Ignoring any and all temporal parameters, all the while tacitly appealing to temporal imminence, i.e. the apostles would see the preliminary signs.

✘ Ignoring the nature of Hebraic Apocalyptic.

✘ Ignoring the fact that the signs that Jesus gave as indicators of the genuinely imminent parousia and end of the age appeared and were witnessed by the apostles and that generation.

✘ Ignoring the fact that Jesus said of the fall of Jerusalem: “These be the days in which all things that are written must be fulfilled.” Frost has to tell us that Jesus did not truly mean that.

In sum, Frost’s offering is nothing but a confused, confusing, convoluted and mis-guided attempt to avoid the power of the truth of preterism. It is an overt abuse of the text.

Needless to say, there is a massive amount more that could be added. But this is more than sufficient to expose Frost’s error. For an extended study of the Olivet Discourse– all of it– showing its application to the end of the Old Covenant age and Christ’s parousia in AD 70, see my study of the Olivet Discourse on YouTube.

One Reply to “Sam Frost’s Abuse of the Olivet Discourse”

  1. Don, Thanks for your article and refutation of Mr. Frost’s claims. He really puzzles me. He obviously is a smart man and a past FP. What happened to him to cause him to make such an abrupt 90 degree turn? Has he ever told you why he has changed his beliefs?
    Joe Miller

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