The Great Tribulation

Sam Frost on the Great Tribulation

I have said many times since Sam Frost abandoned the truth of Covenant Eschatology that his eschatology continues to get more and more desperate, as he continually just makes things up as he goes along.

On 1-13-20 Frost offered another (brand new, historically unknown so far as I can tell) argument about the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:21.

Here is the text of Matthew 24:15-21:

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Take note of the following:

1. Jesus foretold the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation.

2. The Abomination would be set up in Judea.

3. That Abomination would be seen by his apostles.

4. When the Abomination was witnessed, by his apostles– by that generation- of those in Judea, they were to flee.

5. At that time of the Abomination (“Then”) there would be “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

These facts are indisputable, taken directly from the text. Up until fairly recently, Frost accepted this exegetical analysis. But, since his abandonment of the truth of fulfilled prophecy, he has hedged more and more, until he offered the following on 1-13-2020, on the Facebook page “Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past.”

“Ever read something 500 gazillion times, and then on the 500 gizzillionth and 1 time you read it, you say, “Whoa!”?

Well, that happened to me. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt 24.21). Now, in Greek: ἔσται γὰρ τ τε θλ ψις μεγ λη οἵα οὐ γ γονεν ἀπ’ ἀρχ ς κ σμου ἕως το ν ν οὐδ’ οὐ μὴ γ νηται.

Let me translate: for a great tribulation will, great tribulation not as has been from the beginning of the world until now – neither shall great tribulation ever be.

You see, the relative pronoun translated “such as” stands on the place of the noun it is attached to. In this case, great tribulation (feminine singular). The verb in the second clause (gegonen) has as its subject “great tribulation” as well. IN OTHER WORDS, FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF THE WORLD (SEE MARK’S ADDITION OF “CREATION”) UNTIL JESUS’ DAY (“NOW”) IS REFERRED TO AS “GREAT TRIBULATION”. That is, the whole period of time from creation to Jesus was “great tribulation.” Thousands of years. (My emphasis, DKP).

Noah’s flood, tower of Babel, Egypt’s enslavement, the wilderness, the conquest, up to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, on through the Greeks and Seluecids…right up to Jesus’ day: great tribulation.

The subject of the verb “it will be” is singular, too, and is “great tribulation” for its subject. “Great tribulation will be” – cumulatively compared to great tribulation of Creation to Jesus’ day, such will be, and is promised to “be no more”.

Now….this poses a question: if “great tribulation” characterized thousands of years, why is it now limited to “three and a half years”? Second, what could be worse than Noah’s flood? 70 AD? A drop in the bucket.

What Jesus is saying here is that “great tribulation” will continue as such until it is no more.

“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

In response, I offered the following:

//So, in your brand new paradigm, the Great Tribulation started at creation and has been on-going ever since?//

Frost responded: Don K. Preston try giving D.A. Carson on Matthew a read. Also, Craig Blomberg. Let me quote Blomberg, “It would seem that the tribulation Jesus has in mind must refer to the entire church age” (p.360). There he footnotes Carson and Herschel Hobbs.

Secondly, deal with the actual GRAMMAR.

He then added : Don K. Preston wants people who only read his books to think that I invent stuff like “brand new paradigm” – when, in fact, I don’t. I read books. Lots of them. Not just looking for ’70 AD’ stuff, either…I read everything.

He then added: Now, let’s look at this phrase, “great tribulation.” For example, ” And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction (the word here is “evil”) and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1.5).

Now, notice here, “”Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day” (Neh 9.32). Nehemiah is counting off the time from the beginning of Israel “all the hardship” (mochthos) “until this day” or “now”.

Finally, in the same prayer, “And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great tribulation” (Nehemiah 9.37). Here ‘great tribulation’ is the same phrase as Jesus used.

Thus, “great evil”, “hardships” and “great tribulation” are terms used to recount the severity of God’s dealing with Israel. Great tribulation “til this day”.

Later that day I responded:
Amazing! If you want to see “proof texting” -cherry picking proof texting, just read Sam’s little post! Amazing, and amazingly bad!

First of all, you cite Blomberg to claim that he supports your novel view that the tribulation began at Creation, but, guess what? That is not what he says, is it? He takes the view that the Great Tribulation refers to ” the entire church age” (p.360). There he footnotes Carson and Herschel Hobbs.

No wait just one minute! You don’t believe that there is such a thing as the church age, do you, Sam Frost? So, how can you even try to use Blomberg in support of your view? He did NOT say the Tribulation began at Creation.
And he speaks of “the entire church age” a concept that you categorically reject!

Edit and insert: Notice that Frost now says that he agrees with Blomberg about there being a church age,  or Christian age, which up to this point he has categorically denied! Just more flip-flopping from Mr. Frost.

Oh, and let’s not forget this, shall we? Jesus said that the Tribulation that he was predicting would begin at the setting up of the abomination of desolation, which he said his apostles would witness- and it would be in Judea!

“When YOU see the Abomination of Desolation, then let those in Judea flee, for THEN shall be great tribulation…” (“Then” means then and not until then,) Now, there is a LOT I could add here, but, I will withhold, just for fun.

Hmm, last I checked, the apostles were not alive at Creation– right, Sam Frost?

So,

The Great Tribulation that Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 would come as a direct result of the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation– Jesus.

The Abomination of Desolation was not set up at Creation.

Therefore, the Great Tribulation foretold by Jesus did not begin at Creation!

Wow! I mean, just WOW! How desperate do you have to be to invent a doctrine that is so diametrically opposed to and in violation of the Lord’s words– to the actual grammar of the text?

Now, from the above, one can determine that Frost is now saying:

1. He claims that the grammar of Matthew 24 demands that Jesus was saying that the great tribulation had been ongoing since Creation.

2 That Tribulation was continuing when Jesus spoke.

3. That Tribulation will continue until the (imaginary) end of time.

Now, I challenged the group of Frost followers who place an inordinate value on the early church writers, to document where any of the patristic writers taught what Frost is now saying. So far, after several days – total silence. And, there will be continued silence. The early writers either taught that the Tribulation of Matthew 24:21 began in the first century, (Chrysostom appealed to Josephus’ testimony that there had never been such a tribulation as the War of the Jews: Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, The Gospel according to St. Matthew. In P. Schaff (Ed.), G. Prevost & M. B. Riddle (Trans.), Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew (Vol. 10, p. 457). New York: Christian Literature Company– From the Logos Bible program). Some of the early writers taught that it would be at some point in the future. The point is that they assuredly did not suggest or even hint that the Great Tribulation began at Creation. That is the invention of Sam Frost.

Now, let’s look closer once again at the points I made above, taken directly from the text. Here they are again:

1. Jesus foretold the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation.

2. The Abomination would be set up in Judea.

3. That Abomination would be seen by his apostles: “When you see the Abomination…”

4. When the Abomination was witnessed, by his apostles– by that generation- of those in Judea, they were to flee.

5. At that time of the Abomination: “THEN shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Let’s take note of some grammatical perversions by Frost that these points expose.

Frost argues that the grammar demands that Jesus was saying there had been the great tribulation since the beginning of creation. This is an utter perversion of the grammar of the text.

Notice that an examination of 57 translations of verse 21 gives a unanimous rendering of “for then shall be great tribulation…” Catch the power of this. NOT ONE TRANSLATION SUGGESTS, HINTS, IMPLIES OR SAYS WHAT FROST CLAIMS! NOT ONE! I asked Frost is he is a greater Greek scholar than the combined number of those translators, but of course he refused to answer, but, his claim suggests that this is precisely what he is claiming!

Frost ever so conveniently ignores the fact that the Greek of the text is “estai gar tote” “for then shall be.” This means, undeniably, that the Great Tribulation is subsequent to and a direct result of, the Abomination. That is the Greek, that is the text. Frost’s rendering that claims that Jesus said, the great tribulation was on going since the beginning of Creation, is a perversion of the text. Abomination and the Tribulation are siamese twins that cannot be separated. Thus, if the great tribulation was on-going since creation as Frost claims, then the Abomination of Desolation was set up at the beginning of Creation– and Jesus’ apostles saw it – in Judea!

(Ask yourself the question: If the Great Tribulation would be literally unparalleled, unprecedented in its horrific magnitude, how could it have been on-going since creation? Furthermore, when Frost and his followers appeal to the flood to negate the application of Matthew 24:21 to AD 70, they are implicitly, but logically, demanding that the Flood was “THE GREAT TRIBULATION” since the flood was far greater in magnitude than anything that had ever happened since creation! Unfortunately for them, Jesus’ emphatic declaration that coming Tribulation was to be greater than anything that had ever happened, means that in God’s eyes, the coming tribulation was greater than the Flood, When we couple this with the fact that Jesus delimited the Abomination and the Tribulation to his generation, his now time, this also eliminates any future Great Tribulation).

I should note that Frost seeks to escape the force of this by claiming that we “would have to have a marker that says, “then AND ONLY then”….which you don’t have.” Total nonsense. Since, as just seen, the Abomination was a distinctive, predicted event, and since the Tribulation would be the direct result of the Abomination being set up, then the force of the language does in fact virtually demand that it was “at that time and only at that time.” You cannot divorce the Great Tribulation from the Abomination, yet that is precisely what Frost does.

Then, Frost says “Jesus’ statement that great tribulation has been from creation til his day (“now”), and shall be, does not exclude 70 AD….or 114….or 135….or 1005…1283…1945.”

Again, stunningly bad, displaying a willingness to overtly distort the divine text. Notice the stark contrast:

Frost – Jesus said the tribulation has been on going from creation to his day.

Jesus – “THEN” (tote in the Greek meaning, AT THAT TIME) with the setting up of the Abomination and not before, shall be great tribulation such as HAS NOT BEEN since the beginning of creation to this time.” Do you catch that– “SUCH AS HAS NOT BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF CREATION.” Nothing like what he was predicting had occurred from creation to his very day!

Frost changes Jesus’ “NOT SINCE CREATION” to “EVER SINCE CREATION” – a blatant perversion of the text.

He changes “has NEVER been” into “has ALWAYS been.” Perversion.

Frost changes Jesus’ “THEN (tote) shall be great tribulation” into “HAS ALWAYS BEEN great tribulation. Perversion.

Frost changes Jesus’ “nor ever shall be” to “tribulation will continue until the end of time.” Another perversion.

Thus, we have Frost– the tribulation on-going since creation, versus Jesus, “for then shall be tribulation such as has NOT BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF CREATION”!

The Greek is oia ou gegonen- the word “ou” means NOT. Thus, the actual grammar demands that the tribulation had NOT BEEN ON GOING SINCE CREATION. PERIOD. END OF STORY. That is the true grammar.

And then notice the emphasis in Jesus’ words “then shall be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of creation until this time, nor ever shall be.” (The Greek here is “by no means may happen” – oud ou me genetai. Jesus uses a double negative (ou me) to drive home the point that from Jesus’ “the now,” time which is the generation of the Abomination which his apostles would see, onward, there would NEVER be a tribulation like what he is predicting! The Great Tribulation is delimited to Jesus’ “the now” time– his generation. He said there would never be anything like what was coming when the Abomination was set up. And remember that his apostles would witness that Abomination, and it would be set up in Judea.

Here is what the grammar of the text demands:

THERE HAD NEVER BEEN tribulation like what was coming when the Abomination was set up, from creation – “until now” (literally, “until the now”- ἕϖς του νν ).

We cannot overlook Jesus’ emphasis on “the now.” That was his day, his time, his generation.

NOR EVER SHALL BE. Once again, the Greek here is “by no means may happen” – oud ou me genetai. Jesus uses a double negative (ou me) to drive home the point, that from Jesus’ “the now” time, which is the generation of the Abomination since his apostles would see it, onward, there would never be a tribulation like what he is predicting! No tribulation like what would happen in Jesus’ now time– “nor ever shall be.” Frost distorts this into meaning, “shall continue from the now time until the end of time”– which has no grammatical merit whatsoever.

So, after Jesus’ “now” time, after his generation, there would NOT be a greater tribulation than the one that was going to occur in his “now” time, in his generation, witnessed by the apostles in Judea. His now time was to be the time of the Great Tribulation. Not a time previous to his now time and not a time after his now time. The grammar does not say, suggest or imply that tribulation will continue until the end of time, or anything remotely resembling Frost’s claims.

Jesus’ teaching, the grammar is actually very clear. He said: There has never has been anything like it- from creation until the present time, and never will be anything like it again.

THAT is what the grammar of the text demands. This is how every translation renders it, without exception.

So, “Tribulation such as has not been since creation” cannot be perverted into “tribulation ever since creation.”

“Nor ever shall be,” AFTER JESUS’ “THE NOW” TIME, his generation, when the Abomination would be set up triggering that Tribulation, cannot be twisted into “shall always continue to be until the end of time.”

So, Yes, Mr. Frost, the grammar of the text is in fact explicit, implicit and undeniable- and totally falsifies your claims.

A final thought: The Abomination of Desolation and Tribulation would serve as signs of the end in response to the disciples’ questions, just like the fulfillment of the Great Commission served as a sign of the imminent end.

But, if the tribulation began at creation, as Frost contends, how in the name of reason could that tribulation serve as a sign of the imminent end? After all, Jesus said “when you see all these things, KNOW THAT IT IS NIGH, EVEN AT THE DOOR” (Matthew 24:32). But, in Frost’s newly invented “argument” the Tribulation could not be a “sign” of the imminent end! It was simply a part of on-going history! And that makes a mockery of Jesus’ words.

Much more could be said, but this is more than sufficient. It would be difficult indeed to find a more disingenuous perversion of the text, the context, the grammar, than Mr. Frost’s article. It fails on every level and manifests how far he has fallen.

Don K. Preston

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