When Did the Millennium Begin? in AD 70, or Before?
Jonathan Campanik’s Final Affirmative
Don’s next to last installment was sprinkled throughout with distortion, exaggeration, and unwarranted assumptions regarding my eschatology. It is too bad that, rather than being able to close this debate with fruitful dialogue, I will end up spending most of my time in this (my last) installment untangling and correcting the misrepresentations Don has made per my eschatology. Nonetheless, upon a more charitable reading, I do find that most of Don’s objections are expressed in such a way that reveal more genuine confusion than an attempt to deliberately mischaracterize. But hopefully I have succeeded in correcting them in such a way the reader finds engaging, enlightening, and informative to his own study.
With that said, I highly recommend the reader refer to my last installment to get a clear and concise picture of where I stand on eschatology, as it more or less presents a systematic summary of the major themes of preterist eschatology: from the transition period to the millennium, the nature of double-fulfillment, the post-millennial release of Satan, the two resurrections, the restoration of Israel, and so on.
But before moving ahead to address the many distortions found in Don’t latest “critique”, let the reader pause and note once again the kind of trickery Don seems to relish engaging in. Once again, Don makes the unjustified claim that I am “ignoring” his arguments, while simultaneously avoiding those aspects of my analysis most damaging to his own eschatology.
In fact, “damaging” is an understatement. The arguments he chose to pass over so precisely destroy the whole paradigm he is working with that it is almost pointless to continue the debate. Since he refuses to address them at all, I will repeat (for the benefit of the reader) how those particular points demolish the eschatological edifice he has laid for himself.
Don appears to think these pesky issues will somehow magically disappear, or he is trying to bide more time, or he is hoping I will forget and move on. Either way, he will have to confront them at some point, and justify his stance inlight of the damning evidence presented. If he does not, let my words here stand as a testament to the fact Don is deliberately avoiding them.
First, Don has repeatedly made two points throughout this discussion very clear:
1. All biblical prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD.
2. The great tribulation martyrs (Rev. 20:1-6) reigned during the millennium.
Don, when exactly did the millennium “expire” and Satan”released” (Rev. 20:7)?
Note that full preterists continue to do battle with each other over this issue. It is a major point of contention within their circles. And (of course!) they are no closer to figuring it out today than they were decades ago.
a.) Some full preterists argue Satan was released in 66 AD at the beginning of the war with the beast (i.e. during the great tribulation), claiming the millennium ended before the war. This (of course) is in order to preserve that single point upon which their whole eschatology paradigm stands or falls: all biblical prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70. Thus, the Millennium ended (they claim) in 66 AD. Satan is then released and he enters the lake of fire in AD70.
But as we amply showed before (and full preterists concur!), the martyrs who came through the tribulation reigned during the millennium–because that is what John explicitly says! (Cf. Rev. 20:1-6). Thus, they could not have reigned during the Satanic rebellion (which only occurs after the millennium expires -cf. Rev. 20:7)!
b.) Other full preterists try to avoid this gross contradiction by substituting it for a new (equally destructive) one: the Millennium ended in AD 70, and at this time Satan is released. (It seems that most who hold this view believe theend of his short release came with the Roman sack of Masada around AD 73.)
But now this contradicts the entire framework and foundation of full preterism, which argues that all biblical prophecy (including the release and subsequent destruction of Satan) was fulfilled when the last remnants of the Old Covenant disappeared in 70 AD according to Dan. 9:24-27, Heb. 8:13, etc!
In short, there is no room to accommodate a Satanic release that occurs afterthe expiration of a 30-70 AD ‘millennium’! The only way a (post-millennial) Satanic release can be accommodated is to realize that the first resurrection inaugurated the millennial reign in 70 AD!
In other words, we are forced to admit the Satanic rebellion is an event which precedes the end of time and provokes the final revelation/unveiling in history of that same parousia event which was revealed once before in the middle of history (AD 70). This final unveiling is recorded for us after the millennium has expired (cf. Rev.20:11-15)–when ‘torments’ (‘Hades negative’) is finally cast into the lake of fire. Again, we know this because the wicked do not “live again”until “the thousand years were finished” (Rev. 20:5)! And we know this isn’t AD 70 given the clear proofs we have offered for a 70 AD start to the millennial reign.
Do not expect a FP resolution to the problem of the Satanic rebellion. It will never occur. The Holy Spirit has inspired the ordering and arranging of this information so as to preempt any possibility of interpreting the years 30-70AD (transition period) as somehow inclusive of (or constituting) St. John’s millennium!Stop, and let that sink in.
Thousand Year reign of the War (Great Tribulation) Martyrs
Secondly, and directly related to the above, the very fact St. John distinguishes between one group of 30-70 AD martyrs (the pre-war “fifth seal” martyrs in Rev. 6) from another, later group (the war/tribulation martyrs who refused to worship the beast in Rev. 20:1-6) prevents even the remotest possibility the millennium began in 30 AD.
If Rev. 20:1-6 is a recapitulation of AD 30, why does St. John explicitly tell us the latter group “lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4)? Did they go back in time and start reigning from 30 AD forward? Talk about “time warp” eschatology! The implications are plain and straightforward: it was not just the pre-war martyrs in Rev. 6, but all of the transition martyrs who “lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years”–the full thousand years!
The absurdity of a 30 AD recapitulation is so overwhelming it is risible that any biblically literate or well-informed full preterist remains loyal to this paradigm! St. John has these martyrs reigning for the full thousand years, and Don wants you to believe they reigned for an extremely brief time at the very end of the millennium! Can anyone take this seriously?
These two points alone demonstrably prove that Mr. Preston’s entire edifice is built on sand. Consequently, it is in light of these two points that all exegesis concerning Ezekiel 38-39, Rev. 20:7-10, and Romans 11 must be conducted. The same goes for all texts on the general resurrection, which we will reiterate and unpack again as this installment proceeds.
Since the Gog/Magog Battle happens at the end of the millennium (Rev.20:7-10)–a millennial reign which is currently ongoing–then Ezekiel needs to be read in terms of a future battle and future ingathering and conversion of Jews (i.e., post-70). There is no getting around it.
Untangling a Mess
Now let’s address Don’s new claims.
Don levels some very interesting (and tedious!) accusations right from the start. The obtuse nature of these charges is unbelievable. It makes me wonder if Don gave the remotest attention to my words. To summarize, he claims:
1. My position on the nature of the resurrection of the just in AD 70 involves “corpses” being raised.
2. Thus, I believe the resurrection in 70 is of the same nature as the “end of time” coming-to-life of the wicked.
3. The resurrection of “human corpses” at the end of time only occurred for the wicked.
4. The righteous have “no part in the resurrection” at the end of theMillennium.
Where does one even begin untangling this web of confusion? Here is my position again, summarized briefly for simplicity:
– The “general resurrection” is a singular, holistic (psychosomatic) process and experience for the human person (righteous or wicked). The individual does not experience two different resurrections. That is dualistic.
– “Hades” (or Sheol) and “the grave” are euphemisms for one and the same Death, which constituted the temporary separation of the soul and body.
– Death was turned back for the righteous in AD 70 when they came out of Abraham’s Bosom (first resurrection), inaugurating the process of biological transformation to a higher state than that which Adam possessed prior to his descent into a lower key (i.e., into “flesh and blood”) at the fall.
– This process of biological transformation was initiated after the tribulationwhen God restored access for the (righteous) dead to the “tree of life” which is “in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7;14:13).
– The wicked who remained unrepentant in ‘torments’, to whom Christ preachedupon His descent into Hades (I Pet. 3:19), were confirmed in their sins and sealed unto the “second death” at this time.
– The first and second resurrections, rather than describing two different resurrections each person must experience, is (rather) designating two different groups representative of two ages: a.) those from Adam to 70 (OldCovenant age), and b.) the full number of those on Earth who die to the presentage at the end of fallen history (Rev. 20:11-15).
– The full number of mankind from Adam to the end of human history come into their full glorified estate at the transformation of the created order (Rev.20:11-15).
– Since the release from Hades and the assumption of biological immortality are both integral to the resurrection of the human person (and race), the release from Hades symbolizes this fullness. That is why the wicked are depicted together with the righteous in Dan. 12:2, even though the wicked would “not live again” for another “thousand years” (Rev. 20:5)!
Don (unsurprisingly) does not address any of this. He couldn’t because he was busy spinning webs (straw men) that were utterly irrelevant to my eschatological statements.
The reader may have missed the significance of my bullet points for Don’s fourth objection , so I will quickly repeat it, as it is subtle. Don states that on my view, the righteous could have “no part in the resurrection” after the millennium. But of course this ignores the fact that those martyrs who entered Paradise during the transition age were not permitted access to the tree of life until after the great tribulation! This renewed access to the tree specifically marks their transition to a new status relative to the resurrection, eternal life, and immortality! (We will discuss the tree of life and paradise more below.)
We see from Don an almost chronic failure to place the words of his interlocutors into their proper context.
Romans 11:25-27ff., Daniel 9:24-27, and the End of (Israel’s) Sin
Preston says Rom. 11:25-27 / Dan. 9:24-27 re: making an end to sin (Daniel) and taking away the sins of Jacob (Romans) are both totally fulfilled in AD 70.
The redemptive work of Christ in the first century (inclusive of the Parousia in 70 AD) is the ground of the Jews’ salvation, both of the remnant that was being saved then (spiritual Israel), and the rest of physical-national Israel (in the future) who had been completely cut out (“blinded”) by 70 AD.
There is clearly a direct soteriological link between these two passages as pertains to the work and person of Christ in the first century, something I have never denied! That is not the problem. The problem for Preston arises when he asserts the remnant being saved constituted the “all Israel” that would be saved by the year AD 70.
Preston defines “all Israel” (Rom. 11:26) as “spiritual Israel” –constituting the “remnant” being brought into the Church before the destruction of the temple. This is wrong on several few prima facie counts:
– Olive Tree (“All Israel” vs the “Remnant”):
The olive tree of Paul (Rom. 11:16-24) spans both the Old and New Covenants, since he says the Gentiles were being grafted into it, while many Jews were being cut out (cf. vv.17,19, 24).
This is devastating for Preston. The Jews who believed and were brought into the Church were not being grafted in. They were already in! Those Jews who rejected their Messiah were cut out! It was the Gentiles who were being grafted in! The olive tree is Jewish! The Jews are the “natural branches”, and Paul says they can (once again) be regrafted into “their own olive tree” (vs. 24)! In short, the Gentiles were being grafted into the Jews’ olive tree!
Preston’s view that the first-c. Jewish remnant constitutes the fullness of “all Israel” in Rom. 11:25-27 would only make sense if the olive tree were completely new! But the Church was not established as a break with Israel. It is the continuation of Israel’s covenant! Not the covenant (Old Covenant) which only foreshadowed the fullness that was to come in Christ, but the covenant promise of God to save “all Israel”, His covenant of grace that is eternal and indestructible.
This is what Paul alludes to in Rom.11:5 re: the “election of grace”. And 11:5 needs to be read in conjunction with 11:28-29: “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” This is the olive tree, which stands for the “election of grace” (covenant of grace).
The gifts and the calling of God on Israel are irrevocable. Don says these “gifts” and this “calling” are revocable! Just the opposite of what Paul argued!
As demonstrated by the foregoing, then, the salvation of “the rest” that “were blinded” (11:7) refers to physical-national Israel–that physical-national Israel that was finally cut out of “their own olive tree” (vs. 24) in 70 AD! It is they to whom Paul refers when he says that “…they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again” (vs. 23)!
If you didn’t catch this the first time, reflect on it again: those who were still in the process of being cut out of “their own olive tree”–a process which was not definitively finished until AD 70–are said to be capableof being regrafted! Paul doesn’t tell us this promise gets rescinded and revoked if they don’t repent by the time the temple is leveled to the ground. It is a standing promise!
Preston would argue he is not revoking anything because the “rest” are the remainder of the remnant. But that means the covenant is revocable for the majority of unbelieving physical-national Israel beginning in 70 AD! Paul and Preston are at loggerheads!
Further,”…blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Rom. 11:25-26). If the “fullness of the Gentiles” were a 70 AD event, the majority who were blinded would have been brought in at that time! For St. Paul says this blindness prevails until the fullness of the Gentiles arrives. After that, “all Israel will be saved” (i.e., the majority who were blinded)! God had committed the Jews “to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all” (vs. 32). Mercy “on all” who were “blinded”, not a tiny remnant.
Preston’s conflation of “all Israel” (inclusive of the blinded and unbelieving as distinct from the believing “remnant”) with the fullness of the Jewish remnant makes a mockery of all his readers’ intelligence. The focus of Paul’s “mystery” in this instance (vs. 25) has nothing to do with the joint salvation of first-century Gentiles together with a remnant of Jews; the “mystery” concerns the salvation of “all Israel” (the blinded, national majority) after the fullness of the Gentiles have come in (vv. 25-26). “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all” (vs.32)! The “mystery” is nothing less than the salvation of all the blinded!
In the relevant words of Preterist author, Dr. Duncan McKenzie in The Antichrist and the Second Coming: “If Paul was simply teaching that the rest of the remnant of Israel was about to be saved, that would not be much of a mystery.”
That my interpretation of Paul in Romans 11 is the correct one will become even clearer as we expound in more detail later on Ezekiel 38-39. After our discussion of Ezekiel, we will then come back full circle to Romans 11 and take a fresh look at 11:25-27 ff. in light of Daniel 9:24-27.
– Luke 21 (“Times of the Gentiles”), Ezekiel’s Captivity, Gog &Magog:
Before moving on to the next major theme of Preston’s offering, we should clarify an issue he briefly raised. He says my claim is “false” that he sees Luke 21:24b’s “times of the Gentiles” as Paul’s “fullness of the Gentiles” in Rom. 11:25. He argues he only made explicit connection between Luke’s “times of the Gentiles” and St. John’s “time, times, and half a time” from Rev.11.
I was addressing the necessary implications of his stated position–which he made explicit for us in his latest response–viz. that the “fullness of the Gentiles” in St. Paul has a 70 AD termination and fulfillment. If Luke’s “times of the Gentiles” relates to the 42 month trampling of the Holy Temple (Rev. 11:2) which was fulfilled in 70 AD, then necessarily it is directly related to the “fullness of the Gentiles” first-c. salvation on his own view!
My point in bringing that up was to show Luke’s “times of the Gentiles” cannot be related to John’s “time, times, and half a time” since the “times of the Gentiles” (Lk. 21:24b) come after the Jews are led away captive in AD 70 (21:24a)! Which (incidentally) is totally consistent with the timing of Ezekiel’s captivity (39:27-28), as we shall now see.
Preston dismisses my rejection of Ezekiel’s captivity (39: 23) as belonging to the Babylonian captivity in the 6th c. BC. With a flick of the wrist Preston refuses to countenance the idea the captivity here is a prophecy concerning the (future) plight of the Jews resulting from the Roman invasion in AD 70. He asserts there is no substance to this view, even though Deut. 28:68 (for example) states his unfaithful people would be taken captive again to Egypt for breaking the covenant–something that was literally fulfilled in 70 AD when many Jewish slaves from the Roman-Jewish war were sent in bondage to Egypt! Did this ever happen after the Exodus and before 70 AD. Nope!
Even more importantly, though, the Jewish bondage in Egypt had a spiritual fulfillment, as God sent those Jews who rejected Christ back into bondage to sin (cf. Gal.4:25). God explicitly says (in Deuteronomy) that at the time the covenant curses were fully visited on Israel the Gentiles would rejoice with His servants!:
“For they [Israel] are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had surrendered them?…If I whet My glittering sword, and My hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me [cf. Luke 21:20-24]. I will make My arrows drunk with blood and My sword shall devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captive, from the head of the leader of the enemy. Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants and render vengeance to His adversaries; he will provide atonement for His land and His people.”(Deut. 32:28-29, 41-43)
The Gentiles rejoicing with God’s people did not happen at the Babylonian captivity, but at the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation!
As Dr. McKenzie notes: ” ‘They [Israel] have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God, they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation’ (Deut. 32:21; cf. I Pet. 2:4-10). Paul quotes this verse in Romans 10:19 and says it was being fulfilled in his day by the Gentiles who were coming to know the God of Israel through faith in Jesus (cf. Rom. 9:30-32).
“Again, the fulfillment of the Gentiles becoming part of God’s people happened at the time of the ultimate visitation of the covenant curses in AD 70. This is important because God’s promise to bring physical Israel back to the land was to happen after she had experienced the full extent of the covenant curses (i.e., after AD 70) and been driven into the nations of the world…” [emphasis mine]
Second, the Gog and Magog invasion (Ezek. 38-39; Rev. 20:7-10) does fit into the context of the Roman invasion of Jerusalem in AD 70. The latter invasion resulted in Israel’s being sent captive into the nations, whereas the Gog and Magog invasion happens after Israel has been regathered from the nations (Ezek. 39:27-28). Furthermore, Israel is delivered from this invasion.The very opposite of what happened in AD 70! Any attempt to spiritual Israel here in the context of the Gog and Magog invasion is fruitless. Spiritual Israel (New Covenant believers) was not slain by the sword and sent captive into the nations because of her iniquity.
Third, it is only after God regathers Israel from the nations that the Gog and Magog invasion happens (Ezek. 38:8). It is after His deliverance of Israel from this attack that He fully reveals Himself to Israel as the One who kept His covenant with national Israel to regather her from the nations. This is when He has mercy on the ‘captives of Jacob’ (Ezek. 39: 25; cf. Rom. 11:25-32).
Don, play close attention. We have already proven from the nature and timing of the Satanic rebellion that the Millennium could not have occurred during the 30-70 AD transition period without compromising your whole paradigm. We also showed from St. John that he distinguishes the wartime martyrs (66-70 AD) from the pre-war martyrs “under the altar” (Rev.6), saying explicitly that the millennium started when the former were found victorious in AD 70! Now, thirdly, we see that St. Paul’s statement in Rom. 11:25-27 regarding His taking away of Israel’s sin, in addition to having a Christological (first century) basis, also has a more specific, particular, and futuristic fulfillment in the specific salvation of “all Israel”. St. Paul quotes Ezek. 39:25 in the context of the Gog and Magog invasion, which happens after the millennium (Rev. 20:7-10), not in AD 70!
Fourth, the description of the return of Israel to the land in Ezekiel speaks of something greater than that which had occurred upon Israel’s return from Babylon. Preston claims my argument Israel was not brought back from “many peoples” or “nations” after the Babylonian captivity is baseless and entirely lacking in substance. We will see.
I will provide two sample quotations from two scholars, Bøeand Kiel respectively (emphases mine), to show that I am not alone on this:
“Ezekiel 38-39 emphasizes the background of previous exile and the present peace for Israel at the moment of Gog’s attack: Israel is said to be ‘a land restored from war, a land where people were gathered from many nations on the mountains of Israel, which had long lain waste. Its people were brought out from the nations, and now are living in safety, all of them’ (38:8; cf. 38:12 and the appendix, 39:27-28). Again we see the plural form of nations from where the exiles were gathered, 38:8. Along with the use of ‘Israel’ instead of ‘Judah’ or ‘Jerusalem’ this points to the gathering of all 12 tribes like in 37:15-28. Events greater than the return of some few thousands of Judeans [from Babylon] in 538 B.C.E. is implied. The time of exile had lasted long (38:8: ‘had longlain waste’).” (Gog and Magog, pg. 109)
“Gathered out of many peoples points also beyond the Babylonian captivity to the dispersion of Israel in all the world, which did not take place till the second destruction of Jerusalem [in AD 70], and shows that [it] denotes a much longer devastation of the land than the Chaldean devastation was.” (Ezekiel, Daniel,Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 9, C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Hendrickson 2001 reprint.)
Sixth and finally, while I do not wish to linger on the following point, it is also worth mentioning that a study of the lands and combination of nations led by Gog in Ezekiel 38-39 who would come against Israel does not fit any past invasion of Israel. Here is a representative quote from Bøe:
“1. All the lands listed are remote nations, geographically as well as culturally. 2. Many of the nations listed were bygone powers [at the time Ezekiel wrote], only heard of in historical accounts. 3. None of the peoples with whom Israel and Judah had actually been engaged in war are listed here, e.g., Babylon, Assyria,Egypt, Syria, Edom, Moab, Ammon, the Philistines, etc. 4. The only nation with whom Israel ever came to be politically involved is Persia, and that took place after the days of Ezekiel. 5. All the names, except for Gog, are also found in the tables of the nations in Genesis 10 and I Chronicles 1. 6. Since these names are also found in the table of nations as ordinary nations, there is little reason to suppose that they were meant as anything but exactly ordinary nations. Theories of seeing the peoples comprising Gog’s army as demons or mythological figures seem to be contrary to the way the text itself presents these peoples. 7. The directions from which Gog’s army has been recruited give an impression of a universal plot against Israel;” (Gog and Magog, 106-107.)
Isaiah 27/59, and the”Remnant” of Jacob
Don again seeks to use Isaiah 59 to prove his case that Israel’s salvation (“all Israel”) occurred in AD 70. Check out the sleight-of-hand. He says:
“Isaiah 59 – Just like Isaiah 27 this prophecy foretold the salvation of Israel – in fulfillment of God’s covenant with Israel– at the coming of the Lord in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood. But, Isaiah 27/ 59 / Daniel 9 foretold the salvation of “all Israel” at the time of Israel’s judgment for shedding innocent blood. Israel was judged for shedding innocent blood in AD 70 (Jesus- Matthew 23).Therefore, the salvation of “all Israel” (no matter your definition of “all Israel”) took place in AD 70.”
Pay close attention. Don’s conclusion in the final sentence is controlled by his commitment to the assumption that the “remnant” saved out of Israel in Isaiah 27, 59; Dan. 9 is “all Israel”. In fact, by putting “all Israel”in quotes he gives the reader the distinct impression this phrase is directly used in those texts–but it isn’t! Only St. Paul uses the phrase in Rom. 11:26!
As to the shedding of innocent blood, nothing controversial there. We both agree the Jews were judged in 70 AD for shedding innocent blood as attested to in Matt. 23:31-36, Isaiah 59:3, 7. Everything rides on Preston’s interpretation of “all Israel” as somehow constituting the fullness of the remnant of Jacob who came out of the tribulation in the first century (cf. Isaiah 27:5-6).
Don will want to press home the point that Paul’s quotation in Rom. 11:26-27 is an allusion to Isaiah 27:9; 59:20 and conclude that, therefore, St. Paul’s “all Israel” came in by AD 70. The problem for Don is that Paul’s quotation is also an allusion to Ezekiel 39:25 which, as we have shown, is fulfilled after a millennial reign that began in 70 AD, not 30 AD.
And, as we also noted, Israel’s return in Ezekiel occurs just before the Gog and Magog conflict, a conflict which physical Israel wins! (And again, if it is said spiritual Israel is the subject of this battle, Don will have to explain when she was led captive and put to the sword per 39:23!) In AD 70, just the opposite occurred: the Jews fled into all the nations, they had not just returned from exile!
Furthermore, Isaiah 27 proves my view of Ezekiel 38-39 (cf. 38:8, 12) by affirming that physical Israel would lie desolate for a very long period from the time of her judgment in AD70. A Babylonian exile is not in view here–and by Don’s own admission (!), since he believes Isaiah 27 is an explicit reference to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in AD 70. Read these verses from Isaiah 27, which come after vv.5-6 noting the70 AD salvation of the remnant of Jacob, and after vs. 9 regarding the 70 AD removal of Jacob’s sin (cf. Rom. 11:25-27):
10 The flock that dwelt there shall be left like an abandoned flock, and for a long time the field will be for pasture; and their flocks shall lie down to rest. 11 And after a time, there will be nothing green in it because of the withering. [cf.Ezek. 38:8: “had long lain waste”] Come here, you women who come from that sight. For it is a people of no understanding; therefore He who made them will have no compassion on them, neither He who formed them; and He will show them no mercy. 12 And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will close it from the channel of the river to the Brook of Egypt. And you will gather the sons of Israel one by one. 13 So it shall be in that day that they shall blow the great trumpet, and the lost ones in the country of the Assyrians and in Egypt will come, and they shall worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.
These verses are describing the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, which lies desolate for a long time after the Roman invasion. Those upon whom He has “no compassion” (27:11) are the majority who were blinded according to Paul in Rom. 11:7 (“…the rest were blinded.”) However, during this long desolate period, a remnant continue to trickle in: “And you will gather the sons of Israel one by one” (27:13). All of this is a prelude to the regathering of the Jewish people in Ezekiel after the Millennium just prior to the Gog and Magog battle.
It is significant that the Jews who are still being gathered post AD 70 are called here “the sons of Israel”! Even though the Old Covenant has ended, physical Israel remains, and so does the olive tree into which they continue to be engrafted!
Romans 11 and Daniel 9 (Again)
All of this vindicates my earlier remark that there is no reason to consider Rom. 11:25-27 totally unrelated to Dan. 9:24-27. St. Paul alludes (simultaneously) to Isaiah in an AD 70 context and to Ezekiel in a post-AD 70 (postmillennial) context. The redemptive work of Christ (inclusive of the Parousia and Seventy Weeks) is the soteriological and ontological basis for the salvation of both the first-century “remnant” and the (much later) national majority (per Ezekiel).
In brief, as concerns the salvation of “all Israel”, Christ’s turning away of Jacob’s sin in AD 70 is the first-century basis upon which the majority later turn to Him in Ezekiel 38-39/Rev. 20:7-10! St. Paul’s simultaneous allusion to Isaiah 27:9/59:20 and Ezek. 39:25 reconciles “all Israel”. And again, that Paul had the salvation of the whole nation in view is made explicit in Rom. 11:32: “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.”
The “all” which God has committed to disobedience are obviously not the remnant who were being saved. They are the “rest” of the Jews. Paul does not say the “rest of the remnant”, but all the rest who are blinded, period! And God says the point of committing them “all” to disobedience is that He might have “mercy on all” [all the rest, not all the “remnant”]!
Preston doesn’t just want us to recognize the “natural branches” were being cut out; he wants the olive tree chopped down and replaced by a new tree! For Preston, the olive tree must become a (brand new) ‘Christian’ olive tree after AD 70–in direct contradiction to the olive tree analogy of St. Paul (Rom. 11), and in direct contradiction to Isaiah (Isa. 27:12) who calls Jews the “the sons of [physical] Israel” after AD 70! The post-70 Jews in Isaiah 27:10-13 who are being gathered “one by one” are regrafted into “their own olive tree”(!), for they are (still) the “natural branches” (Rom. 11:24)!
But real Jews don’t actually exist anymore (implies Preston)! Do you ever wonder why full preterism has a problem with anti-Semitic hatred in its midst? This is it! (Dispensationalists, on the other hand, fall into an extreme philo-Semitism with their own unique disregard for the olive tree of Paul, seeing instead two covenants in parallel, rather than a “replacement tree”, as Preston imposes on the text of Holy Scripture.)
So in brief, what we are seeing in Daniel’s Seventy Weeks is an objective, sacrificial “end to sin” in Israel via the redemptive work of Christ in the first century. This objective taking away of Israel’s sin in AD 70 leads to (according to Paul and Ezekiel) the subjective appropriation of that mercy extended to Jacob when the regathering of “all Israel” takes place in the future.
Revelation 7 and the Tribes of Israel
Preston employs mockery and sarcasm against me on Revelation 7 over the fact Israel’s 12 tribes are specifically named in vv.5-8. These are the 144,000 of 7:4, and Don can’t imagine how the names of these tribes would be invoked unless St. John were telling us these are the Jewish “remnant” (Rom. 11:5) which he falsely conflates with “all Israel” (11:26). He rhetorically asks which of these tribes the Baptists, Methodists and so on belong to.
Well, if Don were up on his olive tree theology he would know that spiritual Israel belongs to a Jewish olive tree (Rom. 11:24), since according to Paul it’s Gentiles (not Jews) who were being grafted into it for the first time! So the tribes listed are spiritual Israel in Rev. 7! Don’s “mystery” (equal status of Jew and Gentile) from Eph. 3:3-10 is write large in Rev. 7:4-9!
And it isn’t as if this is the first time Scripture has used the term “Israel” to denote the Christian community. “Israel” is also used in a spiritual sense by St. Paul in Rom. 9:6 when he notes “not all [physical] Israel are of [spiritual] Israel.”
Another strike against Don’s paradigm is the fact the 144,000 are martyrs. So even here his paradigm fails. Even if he could prove (which he can’t) the 144,000 are only Jews, they could not be the whole “remnant” of St. Paul since they are only the martyrs! (We will return to this theme shortly–and prove our claim–when we encounter Don’s objections to my martyrial theology based on his interpretation of Heb.9:6-10.).
The “Mysteries” of Ephesians 3/Collossians1 & Romans 11
Incidentally, Don thinks the “mystery” of Jew-Gentile equality (Eph. 3) is the same “mystery” Paul makes reference to in Rom. 11:25f. Apples and oranges. Paul explicitly refers to the mystery of Ephesians as the mutual equality of Jew and Gentile within the Church, whereas in Rom. 11:25-26 Paul explicitly defines the “mystery” there as the salvation of “all Israel” after the “fullness of the Gentiles” comes in!
Note: regardless of how one wants to define “all Israel” in this debate, one thing is agreed upon by both participants: “all Israel” (11:26) is a reference to the salvation of physical Jews! Don has already told us “all Israel” was the first-c. Jewish “remnant”. This conclusion means he is forced to admit Paul is treating of the specific destiny of the Jewish “remnant” and the salvation of the “rest” [of the remnant, according to Don] who were “blinded” as a distinct issue from the fullness of the salvation of the Gentiles mentioned in these same verses!
The paradigm Preston has adopted is literally forcing him to conflate verses with different subject matter just because they use similar terms (like “mystery”). This is the kind of shoddy work the paradigm itself forces him to make. It is not that Don is unintelligent, it is that his hermeneutic has blinded him to simple truths that he would easily recognize if he would be willing to exercise enough humility to remove the scales from his eyes.
“The Fullness of the Gentiles”
Preston assures us, “The fullness of the Gentiles is not a numeric fullness”, and goes on to demonstrate why from a N.T. word study of ‘pleroma’. He believes this fullness is a first-c. fullness that relates back to the equality of Jew and Gentile, the fulfillment of the “mystery” from Eph. 3 and Col. 1:26-27.
First off, I completely agree this fullness is not numeric, but one does not need to hold to a first-c. fulfillment to recognize that. The “fullness” of the Gentiles (in my view) is the millennial fullness of Gentile salvation, after which the regathering of Israel and salvation of “all Israel” is fulfilled, to be followed by the Satanic rebellion after the millennium has expired (Rev. 20:7-10).
Now, catch what Ezekiel says about the aftermath of the Battle of Gog and Magog. He does not say history will immediately end. Just the opposite! The “cleansing” of the “land” after the battle (Ezek. 39:11-16) takes “seven months” (vs. 12)! Israel will use its enemies’ weapons as “fuel” for the next “seven years” (39:9)! In the meantime, as a result of the miraculous victory God brings against Gog, He will be “known in the sight of many nations” (38: 23)! More Gentiles are being saved just prior to the end of time at the final revelation of the Parousia (Rev. 20:11-15) when Satan is thrown into the lake of fire and “torments” is destroyed!
Second, Preston has again (!) falsely conflated the “mystery” of Eph. 3 (Jew-Gentile equality) with something else entirely: the “fullness of the Gentiles”! And it only gets worse for Mr. Preston…
The Transition: Thrones and Binding
Preston thinks the “binding” of the “strong man” (cf. Matt. 12:28-29) during the ministry of Christ is the binding of Satan for the Millennium in the “bottomless pit” (abyss) from Rev.20:1-3. He thinks Satan’s casting from heaven to earth (John 12:31, Rev. 12:9) is the bottomless pit! Earth is the bottomless pit? Huh?
Further, Preston thinks Satan comes up out of the bottomless pit for the rebellion in AD 70. Since he conflates the pit with the earth, I guess he must believe this means Satan comes up from the earth! Earth is the “prison” from which Satan was released (Rev. 20:7)? Really? How can that be when Satan’s release from prison is the very thing which enables him to “go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth” in the first place (Rev. 20:7)?
So, check it out. Preston’s view results in this contradictory nonsense: “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be release from his prison [the earth] and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth…”
You got that, right? Satan will be released from the earth to go out on the earth to deceive the nations of the earth. That’s risible! Yet it is this very comedy sketch which has been proffered in books and articles by full preterists for decades now!
The binding of the strong man in Matthew is only preliminary to the full-scale binding of Satan in the abyss. We know this because the “binding” in Matt. 28-29 is illustrated explicitly by the fact Christ is casting out demons (performing exorcisms)! This is a far cry from sending Satan himself, personally, to the “bottomless pit” and binding him by a “great chain” so that he should “deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished” per Rev.20:1-3!
Did you just catch what else Preston’s view of Satan’s binding entails? If the binding of the “strong man” in Matthew constitutes Satan’s binding in the “bottomless pit” by a “great chain” so that he should “deceive the nations no more…” then how is it that Satan is “the god of this [pre-AD 70!] age” (II Cor. 4:4) who has a “throne” in Pergamos (Rev. 2:13), and to whom “the whole world is under control…” (I John 5:19)? It certainly sounds like Satan is deceiving the nations of the earth pre-AD 70 to me!
This sheds a lot more light on the meaning of Eph.2:4-6. This passage states the saints during the transition period have been “raised up” by Christ to sit “in the heavenly places”. But like the binding of the strong man in Matt. 12:28-29, this is purely positional and partial (preliminary) relative to the fullness of heavenly rule in the MHP during the Millennium!
I have challenged Preston on this issue from my very first installment and he has not so much as attempted to address how the earth and pit/abyss can be synonymous. Total silence. To use one of Preston’s favorite phrases: “Not so much as a keystroke!”
Further, and as a result, Preston cannot make sense of the fact the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire before Satan is! The beast and false prophet are there already when Satan is cast there after the millennium (Rev.20:10)! This can only make sense on my view that we are in the millennium now. If Preston is correct in arguing the millennium ended in AD70, Satan and the beast/false prophet should have been cast into the lake of fire simultaneously! But this just isn’t the case.
The Slain Dragon and the Abyss (“BottomlessPit”)
In attempting to show Satan was cast out forever in the lake of fire in AD 70, Preston hangs his hat on one flimsy thread. He insists the dragon’s (Satan’s) “crushing” (Rom. 16:20) and “slaying” (Isaiah 27:1) do not apply to the “bottomless pit” (Rev.20:1-3) but to the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:10).
But the “bottomless pit” most certainly does symbolize and represent mortality and death! The bottomless pit is also explicitly mentioned in Rev. 17:8: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition.” The beast “is not” because he is in the “bottomless pit”. Why? Because he was “mortally wounded” for a time (Rev. 13:3)! But, the “deadly wound” was “healed”, causing such amazement that “…the world marveled and followed the beast” (Idem). What is featured here is nothing short of a miracle! The beast received a mortal wound, yet it is miraculously healed!
Satan most certainly was “slain” when sent to the “bottomless pit” (abyss)–just like the beast was slain (“mortally wounded”) before his miraculous return from the abyss! Satan is only free to maneuver when he is on the earth. In the abyss he can go nowhere. He is only able to leave for a “short time” after theMillennium because the one with “the key to the bottomless pit” (Rev.20:1) allows him to return!
Just like the beast, Satan will also “ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition” from his “mortal/deadly wound” after theMillennium, “where the beast and false prophet [already] are” (Rev.20:7-10)!
Finally, Preston accused me of “blatant self-contradiction” on this text, saying:
“On the one hand, you said Revelation 20:1-3 = Isaiah 27 or Romans 16 (even though Revelation does not use the specific words of Isaiah or Romans). But now you tell us that because Revelation 12 and 20:1-3 does not use the specific words used in Isaiah and Romans that Isaiah and Romans do refer speak [sic] of the same thing as Revelation 20:1-3 after all! This is a blatant self-contradiction.”
Regarding the presence of a “contradiction”, absolutely not. Yes, I did affirm the binding in the abyss in Rev. 20:1-3 corresponds to the timing of the “crushing” (Rom. 16:20) and the “slaying” (Isaiah27:1) of the dragon/Satan. And therefore, yes, the “crushing/slaying” and “binding” refer to the same event.
The reason I pointed out the language of Isaiah and Paul is not explicitly found in Rev. 12 and 20 was to emphasize that we cannot draw a quick conclusion (as Preston did) as to whether Paul/Isaiah referred to the binding or to gehenna (lake of fire) based solely on the two terms employed by them, namely “crushed”/”slayed”.
The Martyrs and the Most Holy Place
Preston violently opposes the idea the millennial reign in the MHP (Most Holy Place) is a martyric reign only. Naturally he thinks this because he needs the Millennium to be over by AD 70 (even though this is impossible, given a first-c. postmill/pre-70 Satanic rebellion precludes this very notion.)
Don makes this astounding comment: “The Bible no where [sic] says only the martyrs could enter the MHP. Jonathan inserts (eisegesis!) this; neither the word “only” or the concept is in the text. The fact that the martyrs are mentioned as a focal point of the discussion does not suggest or demand such an idea.”
Is he kidding?
“The Bible no where [sic] says only the martyrs could enter the MHP.”
Argument from silence, since we only ever see martyrs entering the throne room in the heavenly temple in the Apocalypse (Revelation 7:13-15;20:4-6)! Therefore, I don’t need an explicit statement saying no one other than the martyrs goes there during the Millennium. Because the martyrs are the only ones mentioned as going there!
The ball is in Preston’s court here to prove me wrong, and to demonstrate otherwise. This is hardly “eisegesis” on my part!
Where are Don’s proof texts disproving me? Show me anywhere in the N.T. my martyric reign view is overthrown. Show me a passage that clearly shows anyone other than the martyrs going to the MHP to rule during the Millennium. He can’t do it.
It is unbelievable that in spite of Rev. 7 and 20 focusing solely and explicitly on the martyric nature of the millennial reign Preston should say the very “concept” I defend is missing from Holy Scripture, or that the fact these passages focus on the martyrs (as he admitted!) “does not suggest” what I am claiming.
Further, in Revelation, “white robes” and “white garments” are martyric (Rev. 3:4-5; 6:9-11;7:13-15; 19:14). The martyric “firstfruits” “before the throne” in Rev. 14:4-5 are the “144,000” martyrs of 7:13-15! Notice the 144,000 in Rev. 14:4-5 go “before the throne.” As we just showed, only martyrs go before the throne to serve in the temple as priests (Rev. 7:13-15; 20:4-6)!
Daniel 7, I Cor. 15, Revelation11, and the Millennium
Now, what does this all mean? It means Christ brought all things under His Father’s feet, and became Himself subject to the Father (I Cor.15:25, 28) in AD 70, inaugurating the Millennium in the process. So full preterists are correct in saying all things were made subject to the Father by Christ in AD 70 (we will demonstrate how this works in my view momentarily), but they are mistaken in thinking this brought the Millennium to an end.
To make this demonstration easier for the reader, we will quote all of I Cor. 15:25-28, and then we will compare it with Rev. 11:15 by quoting that whole verse:
I Cor. 15:25-28:
25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
This shows God became “all in all” in AD 70 when the “kingdoms of the world” became the “kingdom of our Lord [the Father] and of his [the Father’s] Christ.”
Also, a new kind of reign is initiated in AD 70! “For He [Christ] must reign until he has put all His enemies under His feet” (I Cor. 15:25). This is the transition period reign from 30 AD-70AD. But a new kind of reign was inaugurated when God became “all in all” (I Cor. 15:28) at the time the “kingdoms of the world” were finally subjected to Him (i.e., the Father), Christ being made subject to Him at this time as well. This began in AD 70.
It as this juncture Preston strenuously objects by noting the reign in Rev. 11:15 is “forever and ever”, not for a mere thousand years. Therefore (he says), the Millennium ended in AD 70.
The problem for Don here is twofold:
First, “until” (I Cor. 15:25) does not imply Christ would cease to reign in AD 70 when He became subject to His Father. A new kind of reign started in AD 70 (when God became “all in all”), but Christ did not stop reigning in AD 70. Christ’s reign is “eternal” from the time of His Ascension (Luke 1:32-33) as much as it is “forever and ever” from the time all things were subjected to the Father at the Parousia in AD 70 (Rev.11:15)!
Therefore, and in the same way, the delimitation of a “thousand years” has as its focus, not the reign of God over all His enemies, but rather the extent and longevity of fallen history and the number of those who are both brought into the Kingdom and who inherit the “second death”.
The full number of these will be brought in after the Millennium, when the Parousia is unveiled to the world for the last time, resulting in the transformation of the fallen, created order (Rev. 20:11-15).
– Hades vs Sheol:
Second, Paul says “the last enemy to be destroyed [in AD 70] is death” (I Cor. 15:26).
The meaning of this text has gone right over the heads of full preterists. Paul is writing to Corinthian believers; the wicked are not the subject of this “death”. In short, this is not Hades (torments). This is the “death” that is the “enemy” of Christians (which was defeated in AD 70)!
Torments (Hades) is not destroyed until the end of the Millennium, a “thousand years” after the martyrs have entered the Most Holy Place! For “the rest of the dead [wicked] did not live again until the thousand years were finished” (Rev. 20:5a).
It is true that, in their most common usage, Sheol/Hades are synonymous. But Hades can be used particularly to refer to the state of the damned between Christ’s Resurrection and Parousia. (Cf. Luke 16:22-23 where “Abraham’s Bosom” is explicitly contrasted with “Hades”–where the rich man was in “torments”.)
Also, Christ entered into the state of death (Sheol), but not that of “torments” (Hades).
I will close this section with a nice summary statement from Dr. McKenzie from The Antichrist and the Second Coming which targets Mr. Preston’s very objection to my view from Dan. 7 on the timing of the Millennium (emphasis mine):
“The millennial kingdom is said to be a thousand years (which again is symbolic, not literal). Daniel 7 says that the kingdom of God is an everlasting kingdom (Dan. 7:27). Does this make the reign of the millennium and the reign of God’s kingdom two different reigns? The answer is no. The meaning of God’s kingdom being everlasting is that it would not be overthrown like the four kingdom (Dan.7:3-7) that had come before it. ‘…His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed (Dan. 7:14; cf. vs. 27). At the end of the millennium, the reign of Jesus and his people is not overthrown or destroyed but is made more glorious as evil is finally eradicated in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:7-10).”
The Tree of Life & Paradise (Double-Fulfillment)
Don’s major objection to my view on the tree of life is found here:
“Jonathan says the righteous (non-martyrs) do not enter the MHP, but they nonetheless partake of the Tree of Life! This is just unbelievable! Where is the Tree of Life as depicted in Revelation 21-22? In the new creation, AFTER THEMILLENNIUM! Jonathan, tell us how the just who died since AD 70…are allowed to partake of the “TREE OF LIFE”! The Tree of Life is in the “Postmillennial” Most Holy Place!”
Don did not grasp the implications of my exposition on double-fulfillment from my previous installment, so we will have to reiterate it again:
– The new heavens and earth have a double-meaning and application during the Millennium, corresponding with the earthly realm (Millennium/New Covenant) on the one hand, and the heavenly realm (Paradise, MHP) on the other.
– The earthly aspect of the “new creation” (which is millennial, contra Preston) sees non-believing nations coming to faith in Christ, which is symbolized by their partaking of the treeof life (cf. Rev. 22:2).
Here, the “tree of life” is the Cross, manifested by the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ) in the Church.
And, as we have always maintained, Don is correct in seeing Isaiah 65:17-25 and Ezekiel 47:1-12 as accurate and valid descriptions of the earthly/millennial character of the “new creation”.
– The heavenly aspect of the “new creation” sees a different kind of partaking of the tree: a partaking by believers, after death, who were already saved (Rev. 2:7; 21:14).
-Rev. 21-22 (and other texts throughout Revelation) offer this double-application scenario to the water of life, the tree of life, etc. in order to indicate that the fullest expression or manifestation of the”new creation” (which was fully inaugurated in AD 70!) will be seen only when the millennial period ends and our (collective) earthly experience of the kingdom gives way completely to the heavenly.
Don says my view of the partaking in 2:7 “negates any concept of an ‘end of time.'” How is that, pray tell? The partaking is ongoing in the afterlife after AD 70 for all “the dead who die in the Lord from now on” (Rev. 14:13). And only when their intermediate bodies reach full maturity (like Moses’, Enoch’s, and Elijah’s!) at the end of time at the Parousia (Rev. 20:11) will the “new creation” on earth become completely heavenly, as the Church has always taught!
Don rhetorically asks (of Rev. 2:7), “…where does it say the partaking promised in Revelation 2:7 is something greater (different) from that found in Revelation 21? Where does it say they would have to die to partake?”
Easy. The “tree of life” in 2:7 is very specific as to its location: it is “in the midst of the paradise of God.” And where is paradise? It is where the Thief went on the day Christ was crucified and descended into Hades (Luke 23:43); it is where St. Paul was “caught up” (aka, the “third heaven”) in II Cor. 12:2-4! What more proof does Don need that this is a partaking which occurs in the afterlife?
The fact that this is the case is another solid proof for my thesis the millennium began in 70, for 2:7 states this partaking would not occur until after the Great Tribulation (AD 70). And since we know Paradise and the MHP are two distinct places in heaven (since the transition saints were going to paradise prior to the opening of the MHP to the martyrs or to the tree of life in the “midst” of Paradise), the tree of life clearly does communicate bodily immortality in some way. In short, there is some connection between our intermediate (millennial) body in the afterlife and our earthly body.
Hebrews 9:6-10: Torah & the Most Holy Place
Preston objects (on the basis of Heb. 9:6-10):
“AS LONG AS TORAH STOOD VALID, THERE COULD BE NO ENTRANCE INTO THE MHP! There is no justification for saying that some can or have entered, but that others cannot enter. If Torah has been removed as Jonathan claims, THE MHP IS OPEN TO ALL! But, if the faithful (not just martyrs) cannot now enter the MHP, THEN TORAH REMAINS VALID.”
Preston is confused. His first sentence is prima facie correct. As long as the Old Covenant (Torah) was in place, no one could be admitted into the MHP. But then he jumps ahead to the conclusion that, therefore, all entered, not just some. How does this remotely follow? The only condition that needs to be fulfilled is for the MHP to be opened, and thus Torah is superseded! That is the only point the author of Hebrews makes! Thus, it does not follow that Torah must remain in force unless everyone enters into the MHP. That is absurd.
Preston’s logic, as we can clearly see, is literally disjointed and all over the map.
Finally, again with regard to the tree of life and whether or not it communicates biological life, Preston says:
“This cannot be settled by appeals to Macarios – who, by the way flatly contradicts Jonathan! Macarios said man before the fall was immortal. Jonathan–supposedly orthodox! – says man was neither mortal or immortal! See what appealing to “orthodoxy” gets you?”
Preston is muddled because he only pays attention to isolated words in a vacuum, rather than to their usage in sentences or in their larger context.
First off, “Jonathan” did not argue Adam was neither mortal nor immortal. Jonathan was borrowing from several Orthodox Christian luminaries who have stated that very concept, in just that very way! Secondly, Macarios’ usage of “immortal” in the passage I quoted from him was used to express that Adam could not die before the fall–i.e., that he was not mortal. Third, those who stated Adam was “neither” (mortal or immortal) did so to express the idea that at the time of the creation of Adam, he was not immortal in the sense of being like God. That is, he was able to fall and descend to a mortal state. Thus he was not confirmed in a perfected (immortal) state!
Don once again blows everything out of proportion by jumping the gun and ripping my words (and St. Macarios the Great’s) out of their original and intended context. See what failing to appeal to Orthodoxy gets you?
Fullness of the Time(s) vs. Times ofRefreshing/Restoration (Conclusion)
Don drops the ball again, chiefly by doing what he has come to do time and again. He seizes on an instance of common word usage, and then makes unwarranted associations between disparate texts. Just as he associated the “mystery” of Eph. 3 with the “mystery” of Rom. 11:25 (even though they spoke of completely different things!), he thinks that because John the Baptist was to come in order to “restore all things” (Matt.17:11), the “times of restoration of all things” in Acts 3:20 must have the precise same connotation and must be talking about the exact same thing. This is completely irresponsible.
I agree with Don (I don’t know why he thought otherwise) that Mal. 4:5-6, Isaiah 40:1-10 details the fact the ministry of Elijah (John the Baptist) is directly related to the coming Great Day of Judgment in AD 70! Everything he did was designed to prepare the way of the Lord. And not only for His ministry, death, burial, and descent into Hades, but also for His Resurrection, Ascension, and Parousia! Nor do I divorce the times of restoration from the ministry of the Holy Spirit (as Preston contends).
My main point was that Luke, in Acts 3:20, says of Christ that “…heaven must receive [Him] until the times of restoration of all things…”. These are the “times of refreshing” (3:19) as well. “Times” (plural). This is important because, as I said before (above) concerning the different aspects of the “new creation” relative to its manifestation on earth (millennium) vs. in the heavens, the restoration/refreshing is a process–fully established by AD 70 but coming to perfect maturity of expression when the Parousia is manifested for the last time at the time of the second resurrection (Rev. 20:11-15).
“By denying that the restoration of all things is consummated at the parousia, you are denying that there is a coming of the Lord in the future!”
But I don’t deny this, Don. It’s all in your head (as usual). I have the self-same Parousia being revealed on earth twice theophanically, once in AD 70 and again after the Millennium to bring an end to sin, Satan, and “torments” (Rev. 20:11-15). This means two things relative to the times of refreshing/restoration:
1. Both the full establishment of the kingdom and its apex (full maturation) are fulfilled at the Parousia.
2. The “times” of refreshing/restoration, therefore, gradually unfold in growth and maturity during the Millennium.
It is time for Don to realize that full preterism has been eclipsed by something far more relevant, far more ancient, and (last but not least) far more Scriptural.