Throughout the months of April/ May I preached sermons based on the “resurrection of the dead ones” a topic we find discussed specifically in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Romans chapter 8, Philippians chapter 3, and 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5 to name a few passages. You can listen to that series on podcast by clicking on the following link:
For the past couple months I have spent time investigating the resurrection of the dead. I have studied the traditional view (futurist) and have found it wanting. Let’s be clear that we are talking about the the “eschatological resurrection” that was coupled with the “coming of the Lord”.
Earlier today, I sent the following group email to those on my email list detailing Daniel chapter 9 and explaining the connection between Daniel 9 and the “resurrection of the dead”.
“Recently I finished reading through quite a few of Don Preston books detailing the resurrection. I started with “Seal up Vision and Prophecy”, and then moved on to “70 Weeks Determined for the Resurrection”, both which deal with the context of Daniel chapters 9 and 12. I have had discussion with others at The Blue Point Bible Church regarding the details of Daniel 9 and 12 and therefore want to share some of my notes. I will admit upfront, I am still challenging myself in these regards. I have about 3 more books I want to read on the topic- “Daniel in the Preterist’s Den” which will mos[5t likely be a challenge to my Preterist position (there is your reminder to always be willing to challenge your current paradigm), also a book by Jessie Mills detailing the book of Daniel, and I am going to re-review Duncan Mackenzie’s book/commentary on Daniel.
Here is the text we are specifically talking about:
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish trangression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place (Daniel 9:24)”.
Obviously the first thing any read of the text wants to do is immediately begin counting the seventy weeks. In verses 25-27, we are given a sort of time line of fulfillment. The clear start is when the ‘decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem…” which was between 458 B.C. To 445 B.C (read about this in Ezra chapter 7 when Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, gave this decree.
Seventy times seven would be 490 years and many commentators have noted that this brings the reader remarkably close to the date of Jesus’ public ministry, however others have noted that the numbers may be symbolic.
Here are some quotes from Don Preston and some others:
“Simply put, we believe the seventy week period is an indivisible unit. Jehovah gave the starting point, He gave the ending point. Chronological exactness is not the point. As Goldingay, certainly no preterist ,says, “The number 490 is not an arithmetical calculation to be pressed to yield chronological information. It is a figure that puts together two symbolic figures, the seventy years ( a lifetime) of Jeremiah 25:11/ 29:10 and the sevenfold chastisement of Leviticus 26:28. The result is a doubly symbolic figure extending from the beginning of the chastisement in the exile to whenever its seen as ending”.
“The 70 weeks embraces the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70 and there’s no way to fit that in chronologically”. -Jim McGuiggan; Commentary on Daniel
“…the seventy weeks are not absolute mathematical markers. But the passage, while not giving mathematical precision does provide a definite terminus a quo (point from which to begin), and a terminus ad quem (point up to, or ending)….The terminating point of the prophecy is to be shown to be the destruction of Jerusalem as foretold by the Lord in Matthew 24, and settled by his own quotation from Daniel’s prophecy in verse 15- and from this, to the believer in Christ, there can be no appeal”. -Foy Wallace
“It matters not whether we understand the “math” of the seventy weeks. If the elements foretold in the prophecy include the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, then we must submit to that “calculation”. This demonstrates that the seventy weeks were not to be calculated mathematically, but it is a symbolic period of time marked by a beginning point, interim events, and a consummation point, the final destruction of the Old Covenant world in AD 70”. -Don Preston
Also, there are some who posit that the fulfillment of Daniel took place during the time of the Maccabees, which is in contrast to how first century Jewish historian Josephus would have viewed is and how Jesus would have viewed the prophecy since He points to it in the future of His generation in Matthew chapter 24.
“In the very same manner Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them”.
Jesus spoke a bit more specifically when He said:
“Therefore when you see the ‘Abomination of Desolation’ which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-16)”.
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are the days of vengeance ,so that all things which are written will be fulfilled (Luke 21:20-22)”.
Therefore, with a bit of information from history, it should not be hard to understand that this “Abomination of Desolation” “… happened in A.D. 66 when Cestus Gallus surrounded Jerusalem, or in A.D. 68 when the Zealots and Idumaeans broke into the city and killed over 8500 people in the Temple area”.
Yet sadly, due to misinterpretation and a ‘futuristic’ paradigm, many have taken then position that this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled- completely ignoring that fact that Jesus was speaking to a direct audience and warning them “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies”. The views posited by Iranaeus and his student Hippolyptus dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries are in error and have no “contextual justification”. As Don Preston notes, “The very idea of a God that planned and predicted the establishment of the kingdom, at a given time in history, and sent His Son to accomplish that, only to see Him fail, is surely one of the most shameful theological concepts ever invented”
For example, as Don Preston notes:
“Peter affirmed that Israel’s last days, and the attendant blessings, were present in his day. Citing Joel 2:28 following the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:15). Sadly, the millenialists are willing to say that “Virtually nothing that happened in Acts 2 is predicted in Joel 2. This means that Peter’s ‘This is that’ actually means, “This is not that””.
So, I believe there is enough evidence to show that this prophecy was speaking about the Roman armies coming in bringing “the wrath of God” upon His people and their city. Now, I want to briefly lay out the Spiritual significance of this event.
TO MAKE ATONEMENT
Don Preston notes: “Daniel was told that seventy weeks were determined to make atonement. What many seem to miss is that the atonement for sin would not be consummated until the parousia of Jesus, at the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel! In Hebrews 9 the writer calls attention to the typological/ prophetic nature of the ministry of the High Priest. The Old Temple was a type of of the heavenly Temple, and the High Priestly services were a shadow of Jesus’ spiritual services (Hebrews 9:6, 24). Thus, Jesus appeared at the end of the age to sacrifice Himself (Hebrews 9:26). He entered into the Most Holy Place to offer Himself as a sacrifice (Hebrews 9:24, and He would appear again the second time for salvation (Hebrews 9:28)”.
“At what point of time on the Day of Atonement did Israel know that God had accepted their worship? Was it when the sacrifice was killed? No, that was the initiation of the process. Was it when the high priest entered the Most Holy Place? No, that was the ‘mid-point’ of the process, and a time of fearful waiting on the part of the congregation gathered outside the Temple”.
“The reference to Christ’s return to those who wait for Him draws its force in this context from the analogy with the sequence of events on the Day of Atonement. The people waited anxiously outside the sanctuary until the High Priest emerged from the Most Holy Place after he had fulfilled his office (Leviticus 16:17). His reappearance provided reassurance that the offering had been accepted by God
Simply put…. “If the atonement could not be perfected until the parousia of Christ, and if the parousia of Christ was in AD 70…then patently, this means that the seventy weeks could not have been completed 35 years before A.D. 70”.
TO FINISH TRANGRESSION
In the first century, Jesus was making it very clear that Israel was to “fill up the measure of their sin” in places like Matthew 23:29; Luke 11:49 and seen within the context of 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. Don Preston again notes: “The filling up of the measure of sin/ suffering was not to be completed until the number of martyrs was filled up, and the city guilty of that persecution- Babylon of Revelation- had completed filling the measure of her guilt (Revelation 6:9-11; 17:6; 18:20)”.
PUTTING AWAY OF SIN
The Old Testament context and passage that speaks about when the sins would be taken away from Israel is Isaiah chapter 27, which speaks of when her altars are destroyed. When after Jesus Christ were the altars of Israel destroyed? That’s right folks, in AD 70. Also, in 1 Corinthians chapter 15:54-56, the Apostle Paul details the last enemy to be destroyed- “the death”- which came from The Law- which gave power to “the Sin”. Therefore, when that which gave power to The Law was destroyed- the sin and the death would be destroyed, amen? This should remind us of Daniel chapter 12- the Temple and the City was the ‘power of the holy people’.
SEALING UP OF VISION AND PROPHECY
I quoted Luke 21:22 above to give context to Daniel 9 as speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, however the verse also offers more insight. This would be the fulfillment of ALL THAT WAS WRITTEN- which includes but is not limited to the prophecies recorded in the book of Daniel.
The “jots and tittles” that made up the Law of Moses (Matthew chapter 5) were in the process of being fulfilled, the Old Covenant was waxing old (Hebrews 8:13) but had not yet passed until all things were fulfilled. Milton Terry noted, “The sealing up of vision and prophet implies the confirming and fulfilling of all the sacred oracles that had spoken of the great day of the Lord and the glorious age to follow, in which the earth would be full of the knowledge of the Lord”.
Don Preston accounts that:
“The Bible gives the divine interpretation of the meaning of ‘seal up vision and prophecy’. In Matthew 24:15 Jesus cites Daniel 9 as the source of His prediction of the coming Abomination of Desolation. The parallel passage in Luke 21:20 reveals the Abomination of Desolation to be, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies”. Then in verse 22 our Lord says, “For these be the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled”.
WHAT ABOUT….EVERLASTING RIGHTEOUSNESS?
“Righteousness is a covenantal concept and is not a matter of rocks and trees. It has to do with man’s standing before God, not how green the grass is or how clean the water is”. – Don Preston
In Israel, righteousness stood far away (Isaiah 59:14) and their righteousness was as “filthy rags”. The Law was given to “increase transgression (sin)” which showed Israel their lack of righteousness and their “death”. It is through understanding “the death” of Adam by which we see the importance of ‘righteousness’. The ‘resurrection of the dead’ would be a reversal of this ‘death’ and lack of righteousness which would be revealed through the Messiah (1 Corinthians 15:21). It is explained by the Apostle Paul that righteousness could not be achieved by the Law (Galatians 3:20-21), however in contrast to the Law, many were waiting for the revealing of the “hope of righteousness” as we see promised by the prophet Daniel. The righteousness of God was being revealed through Jesus Christ as was written to the Romans:
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe…(Romans 3)”.
The Law and the Prophets promised “everlasting righteousness” as did Jesus Christ, and it was understood that way to be something that would be accomplished through “the new heavens and new earth” (2 Peter 3:13). It is at this point that I must instruct you to get a firm grip on what the “heavens and earth” were according to Scripture (I will assure you it is not the physical heavens and earth that must change, instead it was the covenant that needed to be changed, as I believe I have expressed through this writing alone). It was the Law that brought forth sin and death, therefore in the “new heavens and new earth” there would be no curse as promised in Revelation 21-22.
I believe the words of the ‘Prince of Preachers’ (Charles Spurgeon) are fitting here: “Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt-offering, or the red heifer, or any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the feast of tabernacle, or the dedication? No, because, though these were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away, and we now live under the new heavens and a new earth, so far as the dispensation of divine teaching is concerned. The substance is come, and the shadow has gone: and we do not remember it (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. xxxvii, p. 354)”.
There ya have it, my brothers and sisters. Daniel chapter 9- FULFILLED! We are now living in the NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH WHERE RIGHTEOUSNESS DWELLS!
“Daniel 9 is a definitive text in the study of eschatology. It gives a positive terminus ad quem (ending point) of all miraculous activity. It dispels all eschatological speculation so rampant in every generation. It allows us to correlate and accept, without wild rationalization, the chronological language of imminence in the New Testament that predicted the coming of the kingdom and the parousia of Jesus in His generation”. -Don Preston
As I was studying through these notes, I came across the following website that details the fulfillment of Daniel 9 in AD 70 as well. Enjoy.
In addition to reading about Daniel chapter 9, I also spent time reading through “We Shall Meet Him in the Air: The Wedding of the King of Kings” by Don Preston. In “We Shall Meet Him..”, Dr. Preston deals with the “death of Adam” and offers a commentary on 1 Thessalonians.
In order to attain a proper understanding of the resurrection, as with many of the important Biblical topics, we must start at the beginning of the Bible. Understanding the ‘narrative theology’ that runs through the Scriptures is vital.
It in in his letter to the Corinthians that the Apostle Paul explains the resurrection and brings us back to the “death of Adam”.
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22)”.
We must go back to the garden and gain an understanding of how “all” in Adam died. In Genesis 2:16-17, we read about God telling Adam that “in the day you eat (of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) you shall surely die”. So the question is…..how did Adam die in the day he ate of the tree? He lived biologically for another 900 years, so biological death isn’t the point. As we follow the story, the “type of death” being spoken about and alluded to in “resurrection passages” becomes all the more clear. For example, read through Isaiah chapter 25 and Hosea chapter 13 and determine the “death” being spoken of. What type of resurrection is being spoken of? Is it a stretch to say “national death”? Therefore, when 1 Corinthians 15 uses those verses to support the resurrection it speaks of- WHAT RESURRECTION IS THAT?!?!? Wouldn’t it be the same ‘death’ and ‘resurrection’ as in the passages being used to support the Apostle Paul’s doctrine? What death does Romans 6:23 speak about?
So that establishes the “death” for us. How everyone has become so obsessed with forcing “biological death” on the passages is just WRONG. Now, watch this.
When would the resurrection from this death occur? I established Daniel chapter 9 in the email I shared with you above- which pointed to the literal/historical events as well as Spiritual realities that occurred in AD 70 (The Jewish-Roman War). Go ahead and Read Daniel chapter 12. This passage speaks about “The Time of the End”, the “time of distress such as never occurred since their was a nation until that time”- when there would be the judgment when the book of life is opened- the resurrection of those in the “dust” will occur, and “those who have insight will shine brightly…”. This will be “as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people”. What is the power of the holy people in the time of Daniel? The city Jerusalem and the Temple! This is exactly what Jesus spoke about in Matthew chapter 24 & Luke 21. Go ahead and read that. Notice I am just giving you things to read- yet those things are saying exactly what I believe.
When you think of the current teachings about the “resurrection of the dead”, we are forced to immediately conjure up images of a zombie apocalypse- which I believe God could surely do, however the passages are not speaking about anything even remotely close to that. Instead, metaphor and “prophetic terms” are being used throughout.
The “death” was “national death” the Israel underwent when they violated the covenant (relationship agreement) they had with God. This was called the Law of Moses a.k.a. The Old Covenant. An example you can see in Scripture would be in Isaiah chapter 25 and Isaiah chapter 49.
Under this covenant which was given to “increase sin”, Israel experienced a blessing and a curse. Sin/ transgression of the Law would bring forth “covenantal death”. As per 1 Corinthians 15, resurrection is the time of the deliverance from sin (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). This is the story of Adam all over again. Thus this is referred to as being “in Adam”. Jesus Christ was the first to be raised from the death of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:19). The fact that the passage says that Christ was the “first” is a clue into what sort of death and resurrection we are speaking about. What Christ the first to be raised biologically? Go ahead and read 1 Kings 13:2; 1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4; Luke 7:13-15; Matthew 9:25; and John 11:43-44. Houston, we have a problem!
I choose to acknowledge that Christ is true, the Scriptures are trustworthy therefore am able to properly “prove” that the “death” that this speaks of with importance is not biological death. The text literally reads “out of the dead ones” which is from Sheol/Hadean realm to LIFE ETERNAL. Christ was the first to raise out of this death, as the others awaited the time of judgment/ vindication/ resurrection. Again, pointing out the significance of a sign which points to something of greater significance – Jesus’ physical/ biological resurrection was the ‘sign of Jonah’ (Matthew 12:39; 16:2; and John 20:30 to that “wicked generation”.
While we are on that topic, please allow me to share some thoughts on the “substitutionary death of Christ”. When Jesus cried out about God forsaking Him in Matthew 27:46 was a citation from Psalm 22:1. I ask you to read through Psalm 22 and tell me what “death” is being spoken of there. This is the “death” that Christ died on behalf of the people in passages such as Romans 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13, and 1 Peter 3:18. THE DEATH THAT IS BEING SPOKEN ABOUT IS THE DEATH THAT COMES BECAUSE OF SIN! WHEN JESUS WAS ON THE CROSS AND ‘SIN’ WAS PLACED ON HIM, HE DIED! HE DIED IN PLACE OF ISRAEL. HE DIED SO THAT NO MORE SACRIFICE IS NEEDED TO TRY AND ‘GAIN’ HIS PRESENCE. That is why the promises of John 3:15-16; John 3:36; John 6:50; John 10:28; and John 11:25-26 are valid. We will surely die biologically, however those of us alive in Spirit (born-again or simply born, allow me to avoid the semantics) will never die Spiritually.
James Jordan made this great statement:
“When the New Testament uses Old Testament citations we must go to the Old Testament to see what it meant in the Old Testament. We must interpret the Bible comparing Scripture with Scripture”
It is for that reason, that Full Preterists understand ‘death’ to be a covenant term meaning exile, alienation, and the cut off state from the presence of God. For example, death in Hosea 13:1 spoke about Assyrian captivity. In Isaiah 24:4 they had violated covenant relations with God, in Isaiah 27:7-8 they were sent away, and in Ezekiel 37:11, they were declared dead in captivity/ exile. Clearly, in the Old Testament exile is synonymous with death. Forgiveness is seen as a return from exile (Leviticus. 26:33; 26:43; 1 Kings 8:33-34; Lamentations 4:22; Isaiah 40:1-11; Jeremiah 31:10-12; Ezekiel 36:24).
In my sermon at the following link, I explain that the concern that the Apostle Paul is dealing with in 1 Corinthians 15 is “in what body will they come”.
It is necessary that we understanding the different bodies being contrasted in the New Testament. “The body of sin”, “humiliation” and death “in Adam” was Israel under the Old Covenant. We might dare to call it the Mosaic body (“body of Moses”) or Adamic body. Those who would be raised up to “eternal life” would come through the body of Christ. As Larry Siegle explained in his Fulfilled Dynamics broadcast, The TRUTH about ‘Bodily’ Resurrection, “One of the greatest misconceptions about the fulfilled perspective of the resurrection relates to the nature of it. The Bible teaches a bodily resurrection of the dead, contrary to the notion of some who seem to affirm “spiritual” resurrection instead what is not understood by some is the determination of the nature of the “body” under the construction”.
Well, it was RC Sproul who said in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus, “The greatest weakness of full preterism- and what I regard to be its fatal flaw- is its treatment of the final resurrection. If full preterism is to gain wide credibility in our time, it must overcome this obstacle”. Well, then….I pray that I have provided enough information to show you that the “resurrection of the dead” is hardly a weakness to the understanding the Biblical accurate position of Full Pretetrism.
I honestly, have so many more notes and details that I could mention, however maybe we can save that for further discussions. For further study, I would recommend the following resources:
First start with the sheets I gave you (below this article I have placed them) and simply read all the Bible passages I listed. With those in mind, set out to let the language of the Scriptures help you “prove which views are valid with Scripture. Check out Don Preston’s Morning Musing on Youtube entitled “Resurrection of the Dead”. I read “Seal up Vision and Prophecy”, “70 Weeks Determined for the Resurrection”, “We Shall Meet Him in the Air” all by Don Preston (you can order these either from Don’s website or through me by email). Also, a recent resource I have still yet to make my way through studying in the Summer 2013 issue of Fulfilled Magazine which detailed “Resurrection- What Is It?”. You can access that Magazine by visiting the following link:
I gave out info. sheets to the congregation at Blue Point Bible Church with the hopes that they will aid others in explaining the Biblical hope (the resurrection of the dead ones as the hope of Israel and what that means for us). Below you will find a typed up style of those sheets.
What does the term “Nekroi’ mean?
Who are these “dead ones”? And how were they to be affected by the “resurrection”?
What is the “hope of Israel”?
What does the “resurrection of the dead ones” have to do with the gospel?
What is the cause of death of the “dead ones”? (Hint- Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:
How would they (the dead ones) be “raised up”?
Have they been raised up?
What about “me”?
“WITH WHAT KIND OF BODY”?
Verses to consider:
Hosea 13; Isaiah 24-27; Daniel 9 & 12; Zechariah 14;1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3; Romans 8; 2 Corinthians 3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4; Acts 3
“Israel suffered THE DEATH under THE LAW of Moses. The Messiah came to bring/ THE LIFE to Israel. Through the Messiah the GENTILES were called to repentance and were offered LIFE and were “raised up” to right standing with God. What was LIFE to them revealed JUDGMENT/DEATH to Old Covenant Israel. At the TIME OF REFORMATION the DEAD ONES would be “RAISED UP” to LIFE and the DEAD ONES along with THE LIVING would be ONE BODY (the body of Christ)” – GLORIFIED!”.
“If forgiveness in Christ is objectively real today, then the atonement is completed. Forgiveness is the direct result of the completed atonement. But if the atonement is complete, Christ has returned, the resurrection has occurred”.
I conclude this blog with thoughts by Don Preston
“The real question then, is not how the Gentile Christians in Thessalonica, Rome, Athens, etc, could find comfort in the fulfillment of God’s OT promises to Israel. The real question is how did the modern church get so far removed from understanding the relationship between Israel’s promises and Gentile salvation?”.
Indeed. Praise God for the modern recovery of the Biblical hope. Reformation NOW!
Blessings in and through Jesus Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano