Be sure to read article #1 in this short series. We are offering several facts that militate against a futurist application of 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul said the resurrection would be at “the end.” The great question, naturally, is, what “end” did Paul have in mind? Was it some proposed “end of time”, or was it another “end” that is seldom discussed or considered, but, that has better exegetical support. There are several facts that help us to determine what “end” Paul has in mind.
Fact #1 – The end under consideration is the time of the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Israel. As we have shown, there is but one eschatological hope in scripture (Ephesians 4). The eschatology of Genesis and God’s promises to Abraham are conflated with the promises of Israel. Fulfillment is posited at the end of Israel’s history. Hebrews 11 proves this definitively, by showing the one eschatological hope encompassed Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, to Moses, and consummated at Zion.
Galatians 3 discusses the Abrahamic promises. Paul makes sure to say Abraham’s promises were not to be fulfilled under or through Torah, for then they would not be promises of faith and grace. However, those promises were to be fulfilled when “the faith” i.e. the New Covenant of faith and grace, would arrive (3:23-24).
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul draws from Genesis (v. 22) and the prophecies of Israel in his discussion of the resurrection. He has one resurrection, one hope in focus. Fulfillment of the Edenic promises– and thus, fulfillment of the Abrahamic promises– would be when Isaiah 25 and Hosea 13 would be fulfilled.
This point is particularly troublesome for amillennialists and postmillennialists who believe God’s Old Covenant relationship with Israel was terminated in the first century. If God was through with Israel in the first century, how can His covenant promises to her remain valid until the “end of the Christian age”? If His covenant promises to Israel remain valid, they remain His covenant people. This is inescapable.
Incredibly, in the lead up to my debate with McDurmon, I asked him: “At what point of time, and in what event (events) were (or will) all (not just some, or most) but all, of God’s Old Covenant promises, made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh, be completely fulfilled, (fully accomplished) and His Covenant relationship with her terminated / consummated?” Joel responded, “The short answer to what you’re getting at is: the physical, bodily resurrection of the dead.”
(As a significant side bar: in my September 2013 formal debate with Steve Gregg, held in Denver, Colorado, popular radio show host, I asked him the identical question. He responded that all of God’s OT promises to Israel were fulfilled no later than AD 70. This answer, which I have received in numerous formal debates with amillennialists, and even postmillennialists, is, needless to say, self defeating, because the OT promised the resurrection, the second coming and the judgment, as promises to Old Covenant Israel! Thus, if all of God’s OT promises to Israel were fulfilled no later than AD 70, then of logical necessity, eschatology is fulfilled. Period! DVDs and MP3s of the Gregg debate will, Lord willing, be available shortly.)
This is just stunning. On the one hand, Dominionists argue, strongly, against the dispensationalists who claim that Israel remains God’s covenant people. (Remember that Gary DeMar claims all of God’s Old Covenant promises to Israel are fulfilled. See the first article for documentation). On the other hand, McDumon says Israel will remain God’s covenant people until “the physical, bodily resurrection of the dead.” So, on the one hand, McDurmon castigates the dispensationalists for their views on Israel, but then, he takes the Dispensational view that Israel remains God’s covenant people! See my series of articles on Dispensational Dominionism, in which I show that direct parallels between McDurmon’s Dominionism and Dispensationalism. Also, be sure to get a copy of my formal debate with McDurmon, either in book form or DVDs.
McDurmon is patently wrong. Paul said Torah and Old Covenant Israel were about to be cast out for persecuting the New Covenant Seed (Galatians 4:22f). So, Torah and Israel were about to be cast out, for persecuting the church in the first century. Yet, somehow, God’s covenant and His covenant relationship with them, will remain until “the physical, bodily resurrection of the dead” at the end of human history!
The point is, Paul never looks beyond the fulfillment of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel in his discussion of the resurrection. This is exceedingly strange if in fact he taught the resurrection would be the fulfillment of New Covenant promises at the end of the New Covenant age. Stay tuned for more!