A vital question that must be asked when talking about eschatology, the study of the “end times”, is “the end of what?”. Rather than Scripture explaining an end to the “world” (as unfortunately many English translations have erroneously translated), what Scripture does point to is the “end of the age”. In my recent debate with Sam Frost (May 2019), he posited that we have not yet seen the judgement of the “wheat and the tares” as was told by Jesus Christ to happen at the end of the age (cf. Matt. 13:39).
I will be offering up a post-debate review in days to come, and of course I am appreciative to those who have already begun offering reviews and comments. However, I would like to highlight how it is that Sam Frost, in his new interpretive matrix, has failed to follow the Biblical narrative of “end of the age judgement” and how we today are to be properly placed within the larger metanarrative. I have also written about this many times before lamenting how many Christian perspectives, especially end times views, fail to consider narrative and metanarrative theology.
In the debate, Sam charged that the “wheat and tares judgement has not happened”, and followed that with “have the wicked been uprooted?” (***Although, he does make some confusing comments about the “wrath of God” and displays confusion on how the Day of the Lord relates to the details found in 1 Thessalonians chapters 4-5 during the Q&A).
When was the “end of the age”?
If we read the Gospel of Matthew and mark out the mentions of the “end of the age”, we can follow the parabolic details of Matthew chapter 13 (“Wheat and Tares”) to Matthew chapters 23-24. In Matthew chapter 23 we read the context of the judgement that would come upon Jerusalem and it’s leaders, “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed UPON THE EARTH (Matt. 23:35)” and we are given a time “All these things shall come upon this generation (Matt. 23:36). Furthermore, as we move into Matthew chapter 24, we find the disciples equating these things – the judgement of all the righteous blood shed upon earth – with the “sign of His coming” and the “end of the age” (cf. Matthew 24:3).
A great study on the Two-Age view understood by the Hebrews can be found at the following link, http://christeternalchristianchurch.com/learninglist/learning-activity-23/
In his book, Kingdom Come: Messiah’s Methodical Manifesto Hidden in His Parables, T.J. Smith writes, “The phrases, ‘this age’ and ‘the age to come’ have their roots in the ancient Hebrew expectations of the Messiah. They anticipated and expected their Mosaic era (the age when the Law of Moses ruled) to be replaced with the coming of the Messiah A.K.A. The Messianic age. The Jews of Yeshua’s day were living in the ‘this age’ (Mosaic) but were looking for the day when Messiah would come and transfer them into the ‘age to come’ (cf. Hebrews 9:8)”. He also cites Bible scholar N.T. Wright in talking about the text I mentioned above, Matthew chapter 24, “One of the main reasons I suppose, why the OBVIOUS WAY of reading the chapter has been ignored for so long must be THE FACT that in a good deal of Christian theology the fall of Jerusalem has had no theological significance. This has meant that not only that Mark 13 is found puzzling, but also all the references to the same event elsewhere in the gospels – EVEN WHEN IT STARES ONE IN THE FACE, as in Luke 13:1-5 – have been read as general warnings of hellfire in an afterlife, rather than the literal and physical DIVINE JUDGEMENT through Roman judgement that we have seen to be characteristic of Jesus’ story”.
I believe at this point you might see why dealing with Sam Frost’s “logic” and new matrix of interpretation can indeed be confusing. Not only is he wrong, but he knows much of this stuff, as I sought to make clear by citing some of his early, now renounced, works.
What happened in AD 70?
All throughout the Scriptures, God sought to make His kingdom known. I mentioned that in the beginning of the debate as a sort of outline to the narrative (cf. Duet. 4:5-9; Isaiah 26:18 ; Romans 8:20-21; Galatians 3:19; Ephesians 1:9-11). What is revealed through the New Testament verses is that it would be in and through Jesus Christ and the “Body of His Fullness, the church”, that would be revealed as the goal, that would bring forth His Kingdom.
If we follow the narrative appropriately and in context, we can discern that judgement was coming upon the Jews because in their carnality they impeded the progress of God’s kingdom. The 1st century Jews were “all that offend, and them who do iniquity” (Cf. Matt. 13:41). The gathering and burning of that wicked generation should remind the Bible reader of a couple chapters early where John the Baptist used such language toward that generation as well (cf. Matt. 3:10-12). Also, the Reformation Study Bible correlates all of these texts, just in case the common accusation toward FP is used that these verses should not be connected, “…the language of Matthew 24:31 is parallel to passages like Matthew 13:41; 16:27; 25:31…”.
Also, a great read on the Parable of the Tares and the Wheat can be found at the following link, https://www.allthingsfulfilled.com/kingdom-parable-of-the-tares-and-wheat/
Sam continued to emphasize the word “world” in many texts in an odd attempt to universalize the details found therein. I briefly highlighted that confusion in the debate. The Greek word ‘kosmos’ that has been translated as ‘world’ in many verses does not necessarily mean planet, but means ‘something that has been ordered or designed’. Many Biblical texts do not make sense if we try to universalize the word ‘kosmos’. For example;
Matthew 4:8 – Surely Jesus didn’t see the entire globe from the top of a mountain, right?
Matthew 5:14 – Can a city light the entire ‘world’ in the universalized sense, or is their context to this?
John 1:10 – Jesus did not venture into the entire planet.
Romans 1:8 – it would be historical impossible that the faith of the church at Rome (by early AD 50’s 60’s) was heard upon throughout the entire planet.
As I mentioned in the debate, the ‘world’ that was passing away, and coming under judgement, as per the context expressed them and herein, is the Old Covenant world (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:31; Hebrews 8:13).
So what was the result of this judgement?
As Jesus affirms in Matt. 13:43, which is a citation of Daniel 12:3, “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father…”. This is the Full Preterist reality. This is what men who by their “doctrines of men” are calling heresy. At the “scattering of the power of the holy people” (cf. Dan. 12:7) the dead were raised (cf. Dan. 12:1-2) and judgement were brought forth, and this was the time of the end (cf. Dan. 12:9) – The end of the age. That time established the ‘fullness’ of what was expected by the Old Covenant saints, and how they with the Church, would come into that reality (cf. Hebrews 11:39-40). Then, today, and forever, we Christians can reflect Christ’s glory by expressing the fruits of the Spirit and the “goal of our instruction (cf. 1 Tim. 1:5) by knowing His “faithfulness and mercy” (cf. Romans 15:8-9).
I do hope indeed this mighty clarify some of the points Sam made rather confusing the other evening. If and when edified, glorify God!
Michael Miano, pastor
The Blue Point Bible Church