What Now? If the Lord Came in AD 70, What Now? – #1
Traditional futurist eschatologies have a mixed bag of theological concepts about what will supposedly take place after the end of the age. Some, mostly Amillennialists, believe in the end of the time-space continuum, with the destruction of the physical universe. At that point, all of the righteous are taken to heaven, and the wicked to hell. Time and history come to an end. This was the view I once held.
On the other end of the spectrum is the idea that at the end of the age the earth / universe undergoes a radical renovation. The righteous of the ages, now physically resurrected from the dead, live on this “restored” earth. (This was the view espoused by Joel McDurmon in our formal debate (July, 2012), and by Harold Eberle, (Nov., 2013). A book of the McDurmon debate and DVDs of both those discussions are available from me).
In the preterist community there seems to be a bit of confusion, and might I say, error, in regard to what occurred in AD 70 at the parousia of Christ. Some, taking what I personally consider to be a faith destroying position, affirm that everything came to an end in AD 70, and consequently, there is nothing for believers today.
I believe this view is misguided and based on false concepts, i.e. that the end has to be the end– of everything. That end, in this view, could not be the end of one system and the full establishment of God’s eternal New Creation. For some reason it is held that in the New Creation, there is no real ‘human history” per se, wherein man has responsibility toward God. There is no such thing as sin, death, faith or evangelism. While a great deal could be said on this, and will be in the future, this initial article will focus on just a few concepts that will hopefully provide food for thought, not to mention reassurance that the body of Christ still has a function and a purpose beyond AD 70, and that purpose and function will never end.
One Hope– God’s Eternal Purpose
To consider what was to happen at “the end” we must go back to the beginning. Consider that man was on earth, in time, in a mortal human body (from the dust) subject to biological death, and he was, in that condition, in fellowship with God. Note that he was “eating and drinking” while in the Garden, for YHVH told him to freely eat of every tree except one. Note also that Adam and Eve, prior to sin, were given the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:27-28). So, the natural human, biological and relational functions were undeniably at work in Adam’s body prior to sin.
I fully understand that many deny that man was created mortal, already subject to biological death, prior to sin. In support of this view, I have heard it argued that man was not in any kind of “spiritual fellowship” with God in the Garden, and that he did not die “spiritually” or even covenantally the day he sinned. This is proven, so we are told, by the fact that God continued to occasionally talk with Adam after he was cast out of the Garden. Be sure to get a copy of my book, The Death of Adam / The Life of Christ for a full discussion of this critical issue.
This is like arguing that even though a man and woman have gotten a divorce, since they still talk to one another occasionally, they have not severed the marriage bond! This denial of “spiritual / covenantal / fellowship death” is based on the presupposition, unsupported by the text, that the death introduced by Adam’s sin must be biological death. See my We Shall Meet Him In The Air, The Wedding of the King of kings, for a discussion and refutation of this presupposition.
My point is that when we consider man, in his pre-sin / pre-curse state, that it flies in the face of most views of man in the Garden. So, consider again the following:
☛ Man was on earth. This is not a facetious point. It is actually important.
☛ Man, on earth, was “in time.” The calendar had been established, and man was experiencing the march of time.
☛ Man was in a body made from dust. Genesis emphatically says that man was created from the dust outside the Garden (Genesis 2:6-7).
☛ Man was mortal, demonstrated by the fact that he was an “eating and drinking” person. After all, God told man, before he sinned, that he was free to eat of the fruit of any tree in the Garden. Thus, the normal, human, biological functions of the human body were at work in Adam.
☛ As William Bell sagaciously noted at the Preterist Pilgrim Weekend of 2013, if the restorationist views of those who posit a literal restoration to the pre-sin Eden are true, then man will be restored to the condition where temptation still exists, and, the law of sin and death still exists! After all, before he sinned, Adam was undeniably subject to temptation, and, he was indubitably subject to the law of sin and death.
☛ Finally, man, before he sinned and before the curse, was married and given the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:27-28).
This becomes hugely problematic for those who insist that man will, one day, be restored to the Edenic condition, and yet, they then turn around and argue that after the parousia of Christ (in the Edenic state), there will be “no marrying or giving in marriage.” I will demonstrate the major problem for the futurist argument in the next installment, so stay tuned!