Tag Archives: Fulfilled

Kratt’s Critique of CBV Critiqued (Pt. 1)

Recently I read what was called “A Critique of the Corporate Body View of the Resurrection of the Dead (pt. 1)” by Jerel Kratt in the Summer 2017 issue of Fulfilled! Magazine. The foremost point I want to make through this response is that Mr. Kratt seemingly misunderstands and misses the point of the CBV. I say that all the while noting and appreciating his many contributions to the Full Preterist perspective.
The CBV understands the correlation of the “hope of Israel” as detailed through the Law and the Prophets with the Kingdom of God, and most significantly the resurrection of the dead (which is logically affirmed by reading Acts 26:22-23, and 1 Corinthians 15:50). To better help you understand the depth of this point, I direct you to the following articles by Mr. William Bell.

http://donkpreston.com/the-resurrection-the-kingdom-and-the-body-of-1-corinthians-15-3/
(This is part 3 of a 3 part series, links for part 1 and 2 are available within the article)

I fail to understand why so many like Mr. Kratt do all they can to understand the simplicity of the CBV and create illogical dilemmas and arguments to maintain their misunderstandings. To be fair, this is only a part 1 of his critique, therefore we will continue to engage his thoughts Now that I have given you some understanding of the CBV, I will proceed by looking at the texts brought forth and the misunderstanding it seems that fosters Mr. Kratt’s critique.
Just a quick point. This part 1 critique was based upon the mass confusion regarding the mention of “our body” found in the “resurrection texts”, namely Philippians 3:21 and Romans 8:23. Kratt points out the CBV argument that “…if the noun “body” is singular following a personal pronoun such as “our”, then the meaning is to be understood as a single corporate “body” (group, collective) to which everyone who is addressed belongs”. He then begins to point out exceptions and made the point – “it could go either way based on context”. So instead of focusing on exceptions and arguments against the simplicity of the “resurrection hope”, let’s look at the context of the two for-mentioned passages – Philippians 3:21 and Romans 8:23.
I must admit. I recently heard one of the most confusing and disheartening messages on the text of Philippians 3:21. I have to come to notice that opponents of the CBV will do all they can, even bore and confuse the masses, to demonize what we have come to understand as a true and wholesome understanding of the resurrection. In Philippians chapter 3 verses 2-3 seems to set the tone for the final points the Apostles are making known to the church at Philippi. They comparing those who claim to be of the circumcision (OC Jews) to those who are truly of the circumcision in Christ (a point also made in Romans 2:28-29). The “resurrection of the dead” otherwise known as the “hope of Israel” was the hope and desire to see God’s people manifest the righteousness of God. Of the flesh (naturally OC Israel) did not accomplish this, but the true Israel of God does (but it was not yet attained until the fulfillment of all things cf. Luke 21:22). In Philippians 3:18, the enemies of the cross are those Judizers seeking to upset the assemblies (bodies) (otherwise known as ecclesias) being planted and started. So, when we get to verse we are discussing, Philippians 3: 21, the corporate context should be evident. As they came into these local assemblies (bodies), which were hardly perfect and were struggling against legalism and idolatry prevailing all around them, they trusted that at the coming of the Lord they would go from one mind to another (be changed) and be a community that was fashioned and conformed to the image of His glorious body.
Moving over to the writing of the letter to the Romans it is important to note that various New Testament scholars have critiqued the current perspectives of this writing in more recent times. Noting the overtly Hellenistic interpretation that has led much of popular interpretation of this writing, these NT scholars have challenged us that this writing is much more Jewish in its details than many have noticed. This should cause us to pause and again ask, “What was the hope of the Law and the Prophets?”

Paying attention to pronouns is always important when reading through many of the New Testament letters, and so if the case in reading through Romans. Romans chapter 8 begins with a “therefore”, which calls us back to the details that were already being discussed. The context begins in chapter 5, wherein life under Law is being compared to being “in Adam” (“the death”) and how Christ overcomes that death through the gift of Eternal Life. Consider Romans 7:4 which reads, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”. Life under Law is the “flesh” that is being discussed (regardless to the vague argument Mr. Kratt sought to bring forth). Simply read the context! Life under Law could not produce righteousness (which is the “hope of Israel”), and therefore the only way God’s “dead people” would be raised into eternal life, saved from their groanings, would be to become “Spiritually-minded) – which happens to individuals as they come into the Body of Christ. The contrast of Romans 8:8 of “those in the flesh” is not speaking against humanity, but rather life under Law (flesh and blood Israelites claiming to be the people of God). Based upon the context, when we get to Romans 8:10 and Romans 8:23, the “body” that is dead and in need of redemption is those who are coming out of Judaism and trusting in the transformative Body of Christ -which was being redeemed in that that generation through the fulfillment of all jots and tittles of the Old Covenant.

In bringing this response to a conclusion, I want to point out a strange thing. None of this is information that Mr. Jerel Kratt does not know. As he pointed out in the first paragraph of his critique noting the point of the CBV of the resurrection of the dead, “…does not refer to individual dead people departing Hades, but of the corporate body of saints, both alive and dead, coming out of Judaism..”. Yes and amen. In AD 70, as the coming of the Lord came to reality, demonstrating the faithfulness of God, the dead and living saints who had come into the Body of Christ found themselves “changed” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51). No longer did they find themselves distracted, distraught, and confused by rampant persecution, but rather in-right standing (righteous) and saved in the eyes of God. So began the clarity regarding His Kingdom…We will follow Mr. Kratt’s next article regarding those who “are being raised” in the context in 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

May we continue to relish in the blessings of Christ’s glorious promises fulfilled!
– Pastor Michael Miano
The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org)
The Power of Preterism Network (www.powerofpreterism.com)

 

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“Human Fascination With Evil”

I recently picked up a book that looked interesting at a local thrift store. The book is titled “ANTICHRIST: TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF HUMAN FASCINATION WITH EVIL” written by Bernard McGinn. This might be the one of the best texts I have read that explains the various understandings of the devil, demons, antichrist, evil, and wickedness that I have ever read. McGinn writes in a textbook manner and offers so much historical data to consider and review. It’s safe to say I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this book I bought for less than $3 at the thrift store.

I have been working steadily on Wicked. (which is expected to be released at the end of May 2017). As I come to chapters in regards to these wicked things (Satan, evil, demons, etc) I have been reviewing some books I own on the topics. I was not expecting such a fascinating book as ANTICHRIST. Now, I want to say something about fascination and the topic of evil. Unfortunately our “total depravity” (to borrow a doctrinal term from reformer John Calvin) shows all to often when we are so quick to jump into topics about wicked things, and offer up our opinions and thoughts (leaning upon our own misunderstandings and offering more confusion to the mix). And boy oh boy are we quick to do so.

Last week I post a status on my Facebook page and it brought over 87 mostly aggressive comments within 2 hours. Yikes! Arguments went on and on. Some almost calling each other Satan and evil things. Wickedness ran rampant.

I’d like to say that my fascination with the topic is a bit different and prayerfully I will detail that as I share some of the points from ANTICHRIST with you in this blog. Ultimately of course, I would encourage you to keep an eye out for my upcoming book, Wicked. My fascination is more from the standpoint of a student of Scripture and a follower of Jesus Christ. I desire to know the depths of what the Scriptures are revealing. In doing so, I often times bump heads with the Establishment (the traditional Fundamentalist crowd within the Church). An honest study through history show this. Reading and studying through the chaos revealed through Church history on the topic is outrageous, especially detailed so fully in Bernard McGinn. This is or should be a textbook on the topic.

“…I write in the conviction that the Antichrist has already come – That is, the most important message of the Antichrist legend in Western history is what it has to tell us about our past, and perhaps our present attitudes toward evil”. – McGinn 

McGinn begins by detailing Isaac Newton’s distaste for those who were always searching for the Antichrist, as well as explaining that much of what people believe today as wickedness show influence of 2nd Temple Judaism/ Hellenism (ultimately confusion that ran rampant among national Israel (God’s vessel up until the time of Christ) from the 3rd century BC to AD 70. “Ultimately that and more led to the coming of the Lord in that generation”. I surely could appreciate even though we may disagree on many specifics – end times taken “seriously but not literally”.

There is so much that can be said about how McGinn shared all these details on the Antichrist. I loved the format of the book! McGinn highlighted the views that were noted (the resources he looked into could be compiled as an encyclopedia) throughout various points of history (which I will share near the end of this blog). Also, McGinn really piqued my interest in reading quite a few resources:

  • 2nd Temple literature/ Apocalypses, Enoch, etc)
  • The Maccabees and some highlights in Hellenism (1 Macc: 1:11-16; 2 Macc 4:7-18)
  • Sibylline Oracles and the Book of Jubilees

In talking about the ancient world McGinn rightly noted the importances of myths:
“Myths serve as archetypal narratives that exercise a special part of the human imagination” to which I would challenge with a proper understanding of the “prophetic imagination” as seemingly understood by the early Hebrews. McGinn notes, “Myth explains, not in an intellectual way by giving an argument, but rather by presenting an accounts of origin or essential structure that mediates meaning to the present”. Essentially myths were natural man’s way of “making sense of reality”.

McGinn really helps provide for an appreciate in regards to history. The style in which he writes captures what he refers to  as the “Matrix of Early Christianity” –
– Positive memories of Israel’s great kings
– Remembrance of oppressors and fear of worst in future
– The Messiah as an apocalyptic hope

The best way I can show you some of the great details McGinn brought forth is to use his historical outline/ sections and share my notes.

300 BC – AD 50 : A time marked by Jewish apocalyptic visions, 2nd Temple period, and the Qumran community.  A time filled with blasphemy against the One True God, persecution of His Faithful, and false religious leadership (hypocrites). We also see how these historic times mark out the internal conflict between good and evil, or what we might call the “psychological dualism of the struggle of the spirits of good and evil within the human heart”.

AD 50 – 100: A time of the 2nd Adam and His opposite. McGinn highlights that “After the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70, both Jews and Christians had to face a new religious situation, one that profoundly affected their respective beliefs and the increasing divergent roads these religious traditions would take”.

The teachings of Jesus Christ surely took precedent during this time. In literature and preaching we read of the “Man of Sin”, “the Beast”, Satan/ devil, the evil trinity, and the abomination of desolation. I love the following quote from Gerhard Eberling because it demonstrates that the Christian hope is based upon a reorienting all that was being hoped for through the lens of Jesus:

“What stands at the beginning of Christian theology is the apocalyptic modified by faith in Jesus”. 

AD 100 – 500: Throughout this time period we see the Antichrist develop as Christianity itself is developing. We read of “provocative new twists” from Church Fathers through this time of “persecution, heresy, and self-deceit”. Unfortunately, confusion runs rampant during this time. Surely applying the “end times” and the “Deceiver of the world” to a time past the events of the Roman-Jewish war is a misplace concept and bred much confusion in the Church. Some writings that stand out from this period which I seek to read and review in the near future are:

– The Apocalypse of Peter
– The Apocalypse of Elijah – which has been said to be “one of the most complete, but also obscure accounts of the Antichrist in patristic literature”.
– The writings of Hippolytus, presbyter in Rome from AD 200-235A
– The Catechetical Lectures by Cyril (AD 315-386) – these were instructions given to converts as the Roman world became increasingly Christian.

Prior to the Middle Ages it could be said, “….in the West at least, the apocalyptic theology advanced by Augustine and Tyconius emphasized a moral and internal reading of the Antichrist symbolism…”

AD 500 – 1100: The Middle Ages were characterized by various and different enemies being labeled “antichrist” by the Church. The confusion continued into what I would refer to as “scattered thoughts lacking consistency and context”. For example, a monk named Adso wrote some apocalyptic thoughts in which he detailed a 40 day period (or completeness) wherein the Elect would not be temped by the Antichrist due to offer up penance (“…the Lord will grand the Elect 40 days to do penance because they were led astray by the Antichrist”).  During this time we see the rise of the “Irish Antichrist tradition” (a writing that stands out is “The 15 Signs Before Doomsday”). Also, Islam saw a rise during this time, and the development of the Dajjal (Antichrist) which resulted from the Hadiths.

AD 1100-1200: In this period of time we saw the effects of the Great Schism in the Church between the East and the West. The formation of the Ordinary Gloss which is “a great Biblical textbook created in the nascent universities of the 1200’s”, which served as commentary during that time and further. We also read of the Moralized Bibles, or “medieval picture Bibles”  published during this period which largely included imagery of the Antichrist in different perspectives. This period of time provided interest in reading through the works of Honorious, namely his commentary on the Song of Songs.

AD 1200 – 1335: A time of Church issues and Papal name calling.

AD 1335 – 1500: Surely this period of time was seen as the eve of the Reformation. The term “Antichrist” during this time surely came to be a “symbolic representation of ultimate human evil”. We see the late medieval pessimism during this time with calculations of the coming Antichrist in almost every year (prophesies of 1346, 1347, 1348, 1360, 1365, 1375, 1387, 1396, 1400, 1418, —> and these are just some of the dates listed up until 1450 (that surely should cause us to pause and reconsider dating details that are so often abused in regards to Bible prophecy).

The rise of reformers during this time period is very evident and mark out some of the contemporary mindsets as well. John Wycliffe (1337) labeled the Papacy as Antichrist and John Huss (1372-1415) was apparently killed for referring to the Pope as Antichrist.

AD 1500 – 1660: During this reformation time we surely read of the cries of Reformation regarding the Antichrist Papacy. “Antichrist was definitely seen as a legendary projection of human evil forming the reverse image of the Christian Redeemer”. The splinter groups formed after the Reformation surely caused differences in regards to how evil was viewed, aways seeming to be defined in more contemporary styles. During this time we read of reformers such as Englishman John Jewell, Nicholas von Amsdorf, John Calvin, and Melchior Hoffman. Hoffman was an Anabaptist who prophesied of the end and the coming Antichrist in 1553. Von Amsdorf in 1554 wrote “Five Principles & Certain Signs Before the End”.

We also read of the “counter-reforms” being done in and through the Catholic Church during this time. We see the rise of various Jesuit understandings (some which pointed backwards in history as the fulfillment of prophecy rathering than regarding the Pope as Antichrist). It’s been said, “Catholic preaching and teaching on the Antichrist down to the latter half of the 17th century was partly a repetition of patterns inherited from early era’s and partly a reaction to the Protestant challenge”.

AD 1660 – 1900’s: McGinn properly noted, “While a number of important thinkers continued to speculate about the Antichrist, in many ways the Last Enemy became the hobby of cranks after 1660”. More defining of things based on contemporary situations led to more and more confusion. The early Puritans who had come to America viewed England as the Antichrist, in France due to the French Revolution there was a lot of throwing around of who was the “Antichrist”, and so we see the early confusion and void of clarity that allowed for a renewed interest in Milleniarism and ultimate Dispensationalism. These two doctrinal views has crept in and caused so many chaotic and confusing interpretations into the Christian Church.

That is where we are at now. McGinn’s eloquently detailed where all the confusion has led us: “…the increasing vagueness of the term Antichrist (as seen through the history of the Christian Church) has reached the point where universal invective overwhelmed effective application”. 

As I plan to continue to sift through and study these details further I am glad that I sit on the side of careful historical and context review. A Preterist. Every generation thinks excitedly that they are the “terminal generation” as shown through this lengthy review. Surely, I would apply much of the details found in prophecy to the generations it was prophesied to as well as ultimately the generation to whom Christ came and revealed things to. The Biblical Antichrist was revealed in that generation.

However, our understanding of Antichrist, or better said our understanding of evil, need not, must not, stop there. McGinn wrote and I couldn’t agree more, “…Biblical texts, such as the 1st epistle of John, and other major Christian thinkers – Origen, Augustine, Gregory the Great, William Langland – use Antichrist motifs – and insist that the true meaning of antichrist is to be found within, that is, the spirit that resists Christ”.  I regularly praise God that as I “study to show myself approved (2 Tim. 2:15)” and go through details for my writing of Wicked. I see the application of various concepts in Scripture.

In my upcoming release Wicked. I detail these “conceptual realities”, which the philosopher Paul Rocoeur in his seminal work, The Symbolism of Evil, explained very well when he noted how contemporary reflection on the symbols found in the ancient myths of the origin of evil could “still give rise to thought”; that is, they provide an “occasion for thought, something to think about”. Surely looking through history in regards to all the characters of evil we have pinpointed we have a lot to ponder. The Qumran community in the first century spoke of the “spirit of perversity” (which we all have the capability to live in and under) as the ultimate evil. In a similar vein, detailing “Who is the Antichrist?”, Church Fathers like Augustine noted “Everyone must question his conscience whether he be such”. In closing, let’s catch this concept as our definite understanding of the Antichrist:

“There you have the Antichrist – everyone that denies Christ by his works”. – Augustine

Some more contemporary resources I plan to take a look at (noting here for my and your benefit):

  • The Antichrist by Vincent P. Micelli
  • Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement by Ives DuPont
  • The Devil (4 part series) by Jeffrey Burton Russel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review – Fulfilled Eschatology by Tim Liwanag

As Pastor of The Blue Point Bible Church, I am always on the lookout for a simple enough yet concise and comprehesive resource to help others understand our views on Fulfilled Eschatology. Sure enough, in his book, Fulfilled Eschatology, Mr. Tim Liwanag delivers exactly that.

Right from the beginning of the book, one can easily notice that Mr. Liwanag has done much research and utilized many resources (books, articles, and learning from others in the Christian community) to formulate his excellent effort of systematizing the story within Scripture. Two teachers that I greatly admire wrote ‘introductions’ to the book, Mr. Joe Daniels & Mr. Larry Siegle, therefore I new it was going to be an enjoyable read, and there introductions to the book were right on target. Mr. Siegle mentioned that the book was full of great lists of Scripture and might offer some new insights to the reader, that surely explains the benefit of this great read. Mr. Daniels rightly noted Mr. Liwanag’s great exposition on the Deity of Christ, and his efforts to exalt Christ that are prevalent throughout the entire book.

It is not uncommon for me to read the works of other Believer’s who have come to agree with Fulfilled Escatology and yet find areas of major disagreement. This is largely due to the fact that the truths of Fulfilled Eschatology have the ability to cross denominational lines and bring light to the context and truth of Scripture. Yet confusion is still there. I am glad to say that Mr. Liwanag was not afraid to utilize Scripture to formulate conclusions even in areas that many Bible expositors are afraid to venture (i.e., the lake of fire a.k.a. “hell”, fulfilled eschatology’s application for today, resurrection, the book of Revelation, etc.), yet I found no areas of disagreement.

This is a testament to Mr.Liwanag’s respect for the context and application of Scripture. To that I must say, “Thank You”. The lists of passages provided to make points was so clear and concise, that I was excited to continue reading.

Mr. Liwanag’s explanation and usage of ‘audience relevance’ is commendable, and it clearly seen through his retelling of the story with a focus on Israel (what some have come to refer to as the “Hebrew Exclusivity” noted in Scripture). The lengths he went to provide lists of Scriptures and passages to support the details is astounding, and surely provided me with some lists I can use in teaching others.

According to John chapter 4, those who worship God must worship Him as He desires, and that is in Truth and in Spirit. The clear-as-day exaltation of Christ that Mr. Liwanag provides throughout the writing is refreshing, and shows us the goal of his writing this book. Also, it is a common trend today for many “Christians” to obsess over fantastic notions of ‘heaven’ that they have made up, rather than paying attention to “Covenant-Fulfillment”, which is expressed through understanding the ‘full narrative’ of Scripture- gladly Mr. Liwanag brings out these details in Fulfilled Eschatology as well.

This book is a must read, and for many of the discussions going on within Preterist circles, and the rapid expansion of Fulfilled Eschatology, this book is right on time! Just as the Preterists like things.

Nearing the end of the book, Mr. Liwanag notes, “So where do we go from here? The answer is not “towards fulfillment” but “from fulfillment in Christ onwards” and then he goes on to say, “At this point, however, what remains is for us to show by the Scripture again the fulfillment message is not finished yet, even though all things written to and for the Israelites were fulfilled”. Amen to that!

I can’t wait for Mr. Tim Liwanag to get his book, Fulfilled Eschatology, in print so I can put it in the hands of others who desire to understand the context of Scripture. Another great ‘Preterist Resource’ to enable others to see the power of living in “Christ’s Glorious Presence Now”.

In His Service,

Pastor Michael Miano

Blue Point Bible Church

www.bluepointbiblechurch.org

P.S.- There always seems to be confusion on what exactly is means to be a “Christian”. In his book, again noting how all encompassing the book really is, Mr. Liwanag gives a great description of the term “Christian” as applying to God’s people:

“At first believers had no distinctive name, but were called among themselves “brethren,” Ac 6:3; “disciples,” Ac 6:1; “those of the way,” Ac 9:2; “saints,” Ro 1:7; by the Jews (who denied that Jesus was the Christ, and so would never originate the name Christian), in contempt, “Nazarenes.” At Antioch, where first idolatrous Gentiles (Cornelius, Ac 10:1, 2, was not an idolater, but a proselyte) were converted, and wide missionary work began, they could be no longer looked on as a Jewish sect, and so the Gentiles designated them by the new name “Christians.” The rise of the new name marked a new epoch in the Church’s life, a new stage of its development, namely, its missions to the Gentiles.”

In the first-century Messianic age, it is a Christian’s creed, not only to represent Christ’s name, but also to be defamed for it:

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or asa thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:14-16; Revelation 3:12)

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My Defense and Explanation of Full Preterism

In 2010, I underwent a rather intense paradigm shift. For those who do not know what a “paradigm shift” is, it is a change in the way you approach a given situation or the assumptions you may have had. Basically, a change of thought.

As a Christian, I believed that the ancient Scriptures contained in the Bible are the way to know the “gospel” – the good news that Jesus came to take away sin and death. I believe that Jesus Christ was Lord and Savior. I also took serious the teachings which Jesus taught His disciples about the “end times”. I was taught the Christian view that the end times were soon. Jesus Christ could come any day, I didn’t agree with what was called the “pretribulation rapture”, but instead believed that everyone would be caught up with the Lord at the Second Coming. I believed that we were living in the end times and should take that serious. If people were going to live in a world of “great tribulation”- what were we doing to prepare? Wouldn’t that be the most loving thing? I could not understand why people didn’t seem to take serious what the “end times” would be about. I desired to see sinners repent and put their faith in Christ so they could enjoy eternal life both here and in the afterlife as well as urge people to take the teachings of Jesus Christ very seriously.

It was in the midst of this passionate following of Jesus Christ and seeking to “study to show myself approved ()” that I underwent the “paradigm shift”. I was challenged with a historical approach to properly understanding the “literary genre”, the original audience, and the context of the story contained within the Bible. However, I resisted and argued because as Maimonides once said, “…. those opinions of a man to which he has been accustomed to from his youth, he likes them, defends them, and shuns the opposite view”.

I’ll never forget the day that Pastor Alan Bondar of New Covenant Eyes Church met with me for lunch and told me that he believed that the “coming of the Lord”, what many refer to as the ‘Second Coming’ already happened. It seemed like a joke. Who believes that?!?!?! I wanted to prove this wrong and “defend the faith”, just as I had done with atheists, Jehovah Witnesses, and others who argued against the truth of God. The more I studied, seeking to “prove all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and show why I believed what I believed and that being what Scripture is about I began to realize how true the following statement by J.I. Packer really was:

We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition. In the forms of sermons, books, and established patterns of church life and fellowship. We read our Bibles in light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world…It is easy to be unaware that it has molded us. But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be “catholic” tradition, “critical” tradition, or “ecumenical” tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures” (quoted from Fundamentalism and the Word of God).

 Pastor Alan Bondar’s belief in “preterism” surely seemed laughable because of what I believed, but even so, I did the Biblically correct, least lazy, and ‘intellectually honest” thing to do- sought to prove it wrong by using Scripture.

It was then through actually reading the writings contained in the Bible in their context and allowing them to say what they said to who they were written (without putting myself as the primary audience) that I realized this view “Full Preterism” had some merit to it. I began looking around to see what others said about this “preterist” stuff. To my surprise, many popular teachers within Christianity believed in some parts of Preterism- what they call “Partial Preterism” but called “Full Preterism” heresy. I wanted to figure out why and prove this to Pastor Bondar.

I remember when Pastor Bondar first asked me, “Mike, what do you believe happens when you die?” I began to explain how the dead go into the grave, and then at the coming of the Lord they will be raised in the twinkling of an eye (1 Thessalonians chapter 4 & 1 Corinthians 15 seem to speak of this). Pastor Bondar explained this was called “soul sleep” and would have been foreign to the Jewish mindset and their view on Sheol/ Hades. I did my research and sure enough Pastor Bondar was right. This peaked my interest.

Reading through Matthew chapters 23-24 realizing that Jesus was giving His actual disciples answers to the questions they were asking. He was telling them about the soon coming destruction of the Temple and the “end of the age” (age does not mean world, instead it means the end to a period of time). Sure enough, reading the things Jesus spoke about in Matthew chapters 23-24 in light of the historical account that Apostles do in the New Testament (gospel being preached to the whole world- Romans 1:8, Romans 16:19, Colossians 1:6, 23 ; persecution – a read through the book of Acts will serve well, not to mention 2 Thessalonians chapter 1; false teachers – again are seen throughout the New Testament however read 1 Timothy 1:3-6, 2 John chapter 1, for some insight; and the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus’ written accounts of the Jewish-Roman War.

After hearing Pastor Bondar explain that he believed the resurrection of the dead already occurred I knew I had him pinned as a “false teacher”. I approached him with 2 Timothy, and how the early church was warned to stay away from those who were saying the resurrection had already occurred. The first point Alan made was – if the resurrection of the dead was understood to be biological corpses coming out of the graves – how in the name of reason could people convince others that this had occurred and they had missed it? I had to admit that was a rather good point. Alan also pointed out that in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, there were some who believed the “coming of the Lord” already occurred. It forced me to face the fact that the physical sighting of Jesus Christ that I demanded must happen in the future was an error. Actually stood in direct contrast to some of the things Jesus Himself said in John chapter 14.

Pastor Bondar then explained how what we read in the New Testament is referring back to things in the Old Testament. Jesus made it very clear He came to fulfill the Law (the Old Covenant/ Testament). It was His blood that was establishing the New. The Apostle Paul was emphatic about the fact that the gospel he preached was the hope of the forefathers of Israel, “the hope of Israel”, which was detailed in the Law and the Prophets (Acts 24:13-16; Acts 26:22; Acts 28:20). It is vital that we understand what the Old Testament before trying to understand or interpret the New Testament.

A major aspect of the Old Testament is the use of “prophetic language’. The Hebrew Metaphors and idoms that are used throughout the Old Testament are foreign to our common thought. Imagine trying to explain to an ancient Hebrew the expressing “It’s raining cats and dogs”. This would be just as confusing as them trying to explain how they used language such as “hearts melting” (Isaiah 13:7) and the sun turning black (Joel 2:21; Matthew 24:29) to depict the coming war with a foreign nation. I remember as I sought to understand how the ‘original audience’ would have understood these phrases, it caused me to change the way I understood writings in the New Testament. For example, if throughout the Old Testament the prophets used phrases such as “coming of the Lord” to speak about invading armies- why would we interpret Jesus’ words any different? Why all of a sudden to Jesus’ words mean literal cosmic events and a literal Jewish man coming out of the sky? Where do we get this understanding?

After understanding the use of the language, I then was able to pay attention to what are called “time statements” in Scripture. In speaking about the “end of the age” or the “coming of the Lord”, Jesus’ seemingly gave time frames when these things would happen. Obviously, the “end of the world” had not happened yet because I was living in it and there is no historical record of a man coming out of the sky. However, when the “prophetic language” is properly understood we realize the Scriptures speak of the “end of the age”, which was the “present evil age” the 1st century Jews were living in which would change at the “coming of the Lord” (again, I point out that this was a term depicting judgment of God that would come through foreign armies. An in-depth study of the following passages proves this point: Genesis 18:21; Exodus 3:8; Isaiah 19:1; Isaiah 64:3; Matthew 24; Luke 21; 2 Thessalonians 1-2, and so many more!

I knew that embracing the truth as I was seeing it, through a view called Full Preterism, was quite controversial and stood in contrast to the ‘traditional thinking’ most Christians utilize. However, I came to a point where I had to choose from what the Bible teaches in context or the comfort of tradition. This is what men of God like John Wycliffe and Martin Luther had to deal with. If these men where not ‘intellectually honest’ and had the courage to challenge the ‘status quo’, we would hardly have the Christianity we know of today.

By understanding the historical and redemptive context of the Scriptures, as is weaved through the Bible in a beautiful way, we can truly understand the Bible as the original audiences would have understood each of the writings. The Scriptures are not dealing with world history, that is why we do not read about those people in Australia or the natives in the Americas in the Bible. Instead, the Biblical writings are dealing with the God of Israel and His relationship with His people. The Messiah of Israel comes and through His fulfilling their promises, He invites others “through Jesus Christ” to enjoy the blessings of being “in covenant” with Him. That my friends is the glorious gospel as revealed through Scripture. The ‘death’ that Israel experienced in Adam, was taken away in Christ. Those that were without God, without hope, “far off” from covenant relationship with God, “the Gentiles”, were called to the New Covenant (Ephesians chapters 2-3 explains this).

So, all of this serves as my defense of my position as a “Full Preterist”. I have been willing to debate and defend these views- firstly, because I believe my position is correct. If you would like to discuss these things in more detail, I would love to explain. Secondly, I have been wrong once and am humble enough to be wrong again. However, I seek to be faithful to understanding Scripture in an effort to truly understand God- therefore I ask to be shown if I am wrong through the use of Scripture in context and not what ‘tradition’ teaches. I see much hypocrisy alive and well in the Church when it comes to “proving all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and instead of doing so, many have a “zeal without knowledge” as the first century Jews who persecuted Christ did (Romans 10:2). They believed they were right and the Christians were wrong- how do you suppose the Truth was made known? Go and read Acts 17:11- ‘SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES”. Scripture commands that we “study to show ourselves approved (2 Timothy 2:15)” and therefore I ask you, the reader of this document, to not only prove what I am saying wrong (if I am wrong) and prove your position through a historical and Biblically consistent examination.

 

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Two Controversial Passages (1 Thessalonians 4 & Romans 11)

I must say from the outset that having Dr. Don K. Preston as a teaching within the “Full Preterist Movement” with all of his debates, articles, and books are an invaluable resource at our disposal. In the last 2 days, I have finished reading through “We Shall Meet Him in the Air” which provided a commentary on 1 Thessalonians and I listened to his debate with Dr. Michael Brown over Romans chapter 11. You can listen to that debate by visiting the following link:

http://thefulfilledconnection.com/Preston_Brown.html

First, let us deal with 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Don Preston makes a great statement which I believe is necessary for us to understand at the outset:

“If a given interpretation of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 cannot be found in the OT prophetic hopes of Israel that interpretation is false. Paul said his eschatological doctrine was nothing other than what was promised in Moses and the Prophets”.

In Romans chapter 9, we read that the promises were given to Israel of the flesh, and then in chapter 15 we read the the Messiah came to fulfill the promises given to Israel of the flesh and it doing so would cause the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy. The Apostle Paul accounts again and again that he preaches nothing other than those promises that were given by the Law and the Prophets (Acts chapter 24; chapter 26; and in chapter 28 he refers to this as ‘the hope of Israel’).

That sets the precedent for what we read of the apostle Paul writing to the church at Thessalonica. Christ had ascended into the Spiritual temple in the heavens and would come “out of the Temple” and restore God’s presence to the people whom He promised. This “soteriological Temple” would restore God’s presence, fulfill the “resurrection promises” given to Israel in passages such as Isaiah chapters 2-4; Ezekiel 37, and Daniel chapter 9.

We must interpret 1 Thessalonians in light of the fact that it is a reiteration of God’s Old Covenant promises to Israel. To tabernacle among men (Revelation 21:3)

Let’s take a moment to look at the context being given throughout the letter to the Thessalonians. In 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, speaks about the ‘coming of the Lord’ that they were awaiting which would rescue them from “the wrath to come”. This is the wrath/ rescue that was spoken of by John the Baptist in Matthew chapter 3, and is referenced from Isaiah 40:10-11 and Jeremiah chapter 15.

In reading through 1 Thessalonians chapters 2-3, one must ask – “Where did Paul get the idea that persecution was appointed to them, and what is the connection to “the day of the Lord”? I would offer a cross referencing Matthew 24:9.

1 Thessalonians 3:13 is a cross reference from Zechariah chapter 14. I must be honest at this point. I personally have not had enough time to come to a firm and foundational understanding of Zechariah chapter 14 that I am comfortable with. I know Don Preston has various articles and videos that have dealt with the context of Zechariah chapter 14. Various other commentators have placed Zechariah 14 as fulfilled in AD 70. Here is a link that will take you to some of that information.

http://donkpreston.com/the-eschatology-of-zechariah-14-1/

Former full preterist Bible teacher, Frank Speer had written a great article about the context of 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 titled “To Me or Not To Me?” (which I can get you an emailed copy of upon request). Don makes a great point in explaining that Galatians chapter 4 is a direct commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1.

Sure enough, the fact that some had believed that Christ had already returned. As Don Preston rightly puts it, “If the Day of the Lord is an earth burning, time ending, cosmos destroying event, when every human who has ever lived comes out of the grave, how could anyone convince anyone that it had already occurred?”. We also see the same issue with those who believed the resurrection of the dead had already occurred.

When we get to the “man of sin’ metioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, we must look to the first century, during the time of the “Abomination of Desolation. This is still a topic I am willing to re investigate since I have heard a couple plausible options.

You may have noticed that I skipped right past 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 as I was going through various passages. I did this on purpose to establish the context in which we find the famous “rapture” passage in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. A grammatical error that takes place in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 and is muchly ignored is that the text should read “through Christ” not “in Christ” (dia Christos not en Christos). Reading this along with Ephesians 4:8 establishes who those who died through Christ were. We are reading about the ‘vindication of the martyrs” in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. This is a promise referenced in Judges chapter 5 and Psalms chapter 68.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, the Apostle Paul mentions that which He knows from the “word of Lord”, which scholars agree is Jesus speaking in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew chapter 25 and Luke 21). I have a chart that I have kept in the back of my Bible which shows the ‘verse-by-verse’ comparison of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4; Matthew chapter 24, and 1 Corinthians 15. If you are interested in obtaining this- please let me know.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, the Apostle Paul uses the term “apatesis” in Greek to say that the saints will “meet” Christ in the air (a point we will get to in a moment). Don Preston notes that, “The terms parousia and apantesis as technical terms as used and understood in the first century world, negates the idea of a removal of Christians from the earth….The terms parousia and apantesis…were used in the ancient world to speak of a king or royal dignitary that was to make a visit to a given city. As he approached the city for his visit (his parousia), the citizens of that city, being watchful for him, would, when his entourage was sighted, leave their city and go out and meet (apantesis) him. They would then escort him back to their city. The city was the destination of the dignitary”.

This is speaking about the coming of the Lord and the New Jerusalem as referenced in John chapter 14 and Revelation chapters 21-22.

Also, the term used for air, aer in Greek”, is a symbol of the heavenly or Spiritual realm (see, Ephesians 2:2, 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10;11). Ultimately what we are reading about is the Spiritual death of the martyrs and they life they awaited when Christ would be victorious in defeating Satan. This was detailed and expressed through the historical events of AD 70. Obviously, the context of the passage, and the proper understanding of Greek terms used shows that the common view taught about some metaphysical transformation occurring in the near future is completely false and is a false doctrine being perpetuated in many churches.

Another passages used by many who believe that the Full Preterist view is wrong is found in Romans chapter 11. As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog, Don Preston debated Dr. Michael Brown on this passage earlier this week. Herein I will share some of my notes from that debate.

Dr. Michael Brown started out with the premise that the modern church has become arrogant by saying that God is finished with ‘national Israel’ and has fostered the rise of supersecessioism and ‘replacement theology”. Now, I agree with Dr. Brown this was an issue that was being dealt with through the time of the first century when the promises that had been given to Israel of the flesh (see, Romans chapter 9) were being fulfilled. Many within the church thought that God had given up on Old Covenant Israel, but as Christ promised “heaven and earth would not pass away UNTIL all is fulfilled”.

Understanding the phrase “heaven and earth” and how that related to Israel could help very much in this discussion. However that did not come up. Clearly, Dr. Michael Brown does not understand the hermeneutic continually used throughout Scripture using metaphors and idioms. Throughout the debate with Dr. Preston, Dr. Michael Brown continually made the following statement, “Well if the words have any meaning…”- when he was trying to imply that the plain/natural reading must be read. Instead, I would reply that context and genre of the prophetic writing determines how the word should be defined. For example, Dr. Brown brought up the fact that Scripture promises that there will be no more war, and when did “swords get turned into plow shares”. In reading through passages such as Isaiah chapter 2, we understand the prophetic significance of what would be accomplished through the Messiah. Yes, Israel was used to defending their kingdom by constantly turning “plowshares” into “swords”, however when the Messiah brings forth the kingdom of God- Jesus will be the peace. The war will no longer occur- because all the enemies of God will be defeated through the glory of the Messiah. This is essentially the Biblical gospel of what occurred through the Messiah. It seems that Dr. Brown also fails to understand the context and usage of the term “death” as used throughout Scripture. Instead of the terms having no meaning within the Preterist understanding, it is the direct opposite- the words are FULL OF MEANING!

In response to this Don made a great point that the hermeneutic principle (interpretation took) that he uses is the fact that those in the Old Testament saw through “a veil” and did not grasp the full meaning of what God was saying through the prophecies, as the Apostle Paul says many times “the mystery was kept hidden”. However, we believe the Apostles did have that full understanding of what was being revealed in that time that had not been revealed before (Ephesians 3:4-5).

Another topic that Dr. Brown had brought up was the he believes the “restoration of all things” has not occurred. This runs in direct contradiction to what is spoken of occurring in those “last days” by the Apostle Peter in Acts chapter 3, what the Apostle Paul said about his generation being those who “upon whom the end of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11), and what the writer of Hebrews understood as the “time of reformation”. This was happening in the time of transition occurring in the first century and was all summed up in the events of AD 70. God’s presence was restored! The end of the age in correlation to the destruction of the Temple as spoke of by Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 24, occurred in AD 70! And that “time of reformation” surely occurred when the Old Covenant completely passed away and the New Covenant was fully consummated at the destruction of physical Jerusalem (see, Galatians 4:24-30).

Dr. Preston did a great job of bringing force the Biblical context of Romans 11;25-27. A proper reading and context surely brings an agreement that Romans 11 is speaking about promises and prophecies that were given to ‘ethnic Israel’, the Apostle Paul makes this quite clear both before in Romans chapter 9 and after in Romans chapter 15.
In Romans chapter 11:25-28, we read:
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation- that a partial hardening has happened in Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has com in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob”. “This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins”. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice, they are beloved for the sake of the fathers”.

Follow my logic here for a moment….. God made promises to the fathers, one of them being that He will save them from their sins (“their sins”which under covenant eschatology we understand comes from The Law and produces “the death”.). During the time awaiting the parousia, there was a “partial hardening” in Israel, allowing the Gentiles to come into covenant relationship with God, this partial hardening is to occur in an effort that “all Israel will be saved”. Keep in mind that the apostle Paul also taught that “All Israel is not Israel”, therefore it would be a remnant that would receive the benefits of the fathers. Some of those who had yet to repent were under the “hardening” and would eventually come into the truth of Jesus Christ- when the fullness of the Gentiles came in. That simply what Romans 11 is establishing.

Don Preston urges that we know the “prophetic background” that is being utilized in Romans chapter 11. Isaiah 59:20. Read Isaiah 59 and see the direct context about Israel’s separation from God and that which He will save them from. When He takes away “transgression”-sin. When does the prophet Daniel say sin will be taken away in Daniel chapter 9. At the end of the 70 weeks, that is another whole discussion we can have about the ministry of Christ and the events of AD 70.

I have just shown you a direct reference to AD 70 being made in Romans chapter 11. So where would we logically place the fulfillment?

As is common in Full Preterist discussions with “futurists”, Dr. Brown continually kept returning to the point that he was trying to make that those in “Israel” today are still hardened to the gospel, the gospel is still being brought to the ends of the earth, and we will have no more enemies. I would clearly show that “national Israel” found there end in AD 70, and what has become known as “Israel” today is not that which the Bible speaks. It can clearly be shown that according to Biblical testimony the gospel HAD been brought to “all nations” by the late AD 60’s. And as far as enemies, one must wonder if Dr. Brown has read and is familiar with Christ being the “peace” that turns enemies into “one new man” that is written about in Ephesians chapters 2-3.

In conclusion to all that was debated, Don explained that God never intended to save the entirety of Israel. God has always saved a remnant. In Amos chapter 5, God clearly says that a part of Israel will NEVER rise. Romans chapter 10 gives us the precursor to the “all Israel” being saved in Romans chapter 11 fulfilled. 

If someone asked my overall review, I would say that Dr. Don Preston did a great job of showing the “prophet background” contained within Romans chapter 11. Dr. Brown fails for one reason or anyone to see the context of the Biblical gospel, especially in regards to Israel and her last days. It seemed that Dr. Preston out of respect and humility held back from forcefully saying that the majority of those in “Israel” today are not the Israel of the Bible. What we know as Israel today is a mixed multitude that has by and large converted to secular Judaism. Plain and simple, this is not the Israel of “the fathers”.

Well that about sums up this evenings thoughts. I hope that my messages have not been overbearing, but have served to encourage you to read through and study these details.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Michael Miano

 

 

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1 Corinthians 15 Summaries

ImageBack in 2012 I had engaged a discussion on Sam Frost’s webpage (The Reign of Christ) regarding 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Many misled Christians have an erroneous view of this chapter and what is being dealt with. Currently, at The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.org) we are going through a discussion about “the resurrection of the dead ones” and the details of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 along with other “resurrection texts”. You can listen to those podcasts here:

 http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630

   Since the 1 Corinthians 15 discussions I had with Frost were on a page that is now deleted, I am sure glad I kept them as notes. I want to post those messages here for any insight you might require. 

“Sorry for the delay my friends, I have spent the last 2 days going through the entire book of 1 Corinthians, as well as re-examining my view to make sure it is what the Scriptures say (not a presupposition that I would like it to). I sure hope that is our intention, search the Scriptures and study to show ourselves approved rightly diving the word of Truth, as we discuss the exegete of this chapter.</p><p> </p><p>Gleaning wisdom from the whole book is might be important to point out the context of the letter. The Apostle Paul is writing to the Corinthian Church because he has heard from some of Chloe’s household that there are divisions among the Corinthian Church (1 Corinthians 1:10-17). We see these divisions ranging from who was baptized by who, who men follow, and later in the chapter the freedoms we have in the gospel. The Gentiles within the Corinthian Church clearly felt they were more superior to their Jewish brethren because they did not feel bound by the Law, but Paul continues to remind the Corinthians Church that he himself, along with the other apostles, who are Jews are suffering for this gospel. The grace of God is vital here therefore no man can boast as to where he stands in regards to Christ. But oddly, the Gentiles begin to feel they are something special.With all the context in mind Paul begins to address his brothers in faith at Corinth by reminding them of the gospel, which they have received and have taken their stand (v.1). It is this gospel that they are saved by, if they hold firmly to it, otherwise they have believed in vain (v.2). What Paul has been told as the gospel he has passed on, that according to the Scriptures Christ died for our sins (v.4) as well as being buried and raised on the third day (v.5). Christ then appeared to Peter and then to the twelve (v.5). After that he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers, most of who are still living, but some have fallen asleep (v.6). Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles (v.7), and last he appeared to me, as one abnormally born (v.8).Since I persecuted the Church, I dare not to even be called an apostle and consider myself the least of the apostles (v.9). But it is by the grace of God that I am what I am, and his grace is not without effect. I have worked harder than the other apostles, but it is not I, but the grace of God (v.10). No matter who it was then, this is the gospel that we preach and what you have believed (v.11).But, if we have preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead (v.12). At this point there really wasn’t much exegetical study to do besides context. I imagine we are all in agreement that Paul is writing to the Corinthian Church because he has heard of the divisions going on there and wants to encourage as well as strengthen the Believers there. In doing so, he has addressed the divisions, be they who people are subscribing their “followership to”, the freedom of the gospel, removing the insistent sinner from among them, etc. And now Paul has gone on to remind the Corinthians of the gospel which the apostles are preaching. I end where I do for this installment to make sure my post doesn’t drag on forever and to illustrate the context by which we enter this next part.There is clearly misunderstanding going on in these Believers minds. They believe in the gospel, they stand firm in it, yet they are misunderstanding the resurrection of the dead. This what Paul is about to address in this next part”. 

“Now in context we have Paul writing to the Corinthian church concerning the divisions amongst them, the Gentile-Jew divide that is occurring do to freedoms from the Law, and now we have Paul reminding the Corinthians of the gospel which he has delivered to them. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (v.3), He was buried and raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (v.4)”, and he appeared to Peter, and then to the twelve, after that more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most who were still living at the time of the letter, then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and lastly he appeared to Paul. It’s by God’s grace that Paul was called to be an apostle, therefore whether it was the others or Paul preaching, the gospel is the same, and this is what the Corinthian church has believed.

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead (v.12)”

Now it has been said that this is Paul dealing with naysayers of the resurrection of dead bodies, yet I read of no disconnect between the Corinthians who were addressed in verse 11. What it appears from reading the text (as as will be explained throughout the context) is a misunderstanding concerning the resurrection of the dead. “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised (v.13), And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (v.14)”.

       At this point to the common eye, it appears that Paul is being redundant. If Christ has not been raised there is no resurrection of the dead, well duh. But as he makes clear here, that if Christ has not been raised, and there is no resurrection of the dead, your faith is in vain, and as we will see in later context, if this is the case, there is a lose of hope (v.19).

We must understand this resurrection of the dead concept.The resurrection was the hope of Israel, that Paul always preached (For example, Acts 26 & O.T. Ezekiel chapter 37). If Christ was not raised, Israel was not raised (Hosea chapter 6) and if Israel is not raised, or being raised, then there is no hope for the Gentiles (Romans 11). The promises to the Gentiles are conditioned on the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, therefore the hope of Israel must be true. We clearly see no emphasis on physical body resurrection in this text, it must be forced to make the theme of a future bodily resurrection hope to be in the context.

So now, if Christ has not been raised the preaching of those who said He has appeared to them are false witnesses and those who have believed their testimony, believe in vain (v.15). If the dead are not raised (remember the hope of Israel) then Christ (who is the end of the Law and the fulfillment of the Scriptures) is not raised (v.16). And if Christ is not raised, the faith of those who believe in the gospel message of reconciliation is in vain and they are still in their sins (v.17).

“Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost (v.18)”.

Interesting. So, those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost if there is no resurrection of the dead. Why? Remember the context of this chapter. The first letter to the Corinthians is dealing with the divisions in the Church, and there was a strong sense of Gentile superiority in the first century church, because they weren’t under the Law because it was by grace that they had come to the knowledge of God. If the resurrection of the dead is the hope of Israel, and the Gentile salvation is governed by God’s providential promises to Israel, it is imperative that the resurrection of the dead happens! If there is no resurrection of the dead, those who have died as Christians, which is based on the fulfillment of the Law, are lost! There is no hope! “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men (v.19)”.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (v.20)”. Thank God, the proof of the hope for those who had fallen asleep in Christ and for the hope of the Believers is assured because Christ has raised from the dead, Him being the first fruits that prove the harvest was near (see, Leviticus 26).

“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead come also through a man (v.21). For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (v.22)”.

The biggest question of all is what death came through Adam? Many have said it was physical death, which there isn’t much of a basis besides mere speculation. What we do have in the Genesis chapters 2-3 account is God telling Adam that in the day he eats of the tree he will surely die (Genesis 2:17) and when he eats of it he feels shame and is cursed and removed from the garden, no longer having access to the tree of live, and eternal life. We know that in Christ we have eternal life and at the consummation of the promises to Israel (judgement and resurrection) we have access to this tree in Revelation 21-22. Did you see anything physical occur there? Neither did I. This text is speaking to Believers, simply because the ALL who die in Adam, are the ALL who are in Christ. Unless, we are to get into the universal view 🙂

“But each in his own turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power (v.23-24)

Well, there we go. Thank God that Christ was the first fruits of the resurrection of the dead, now we have hope in this life, and a faith that is not futile. God has fulfilled his promises to Israel, and therefore the Gentiles are welcomed into this reality. Next installment we will deal with Christ handing over the kingdom, after He destroys all dominion, authority, and power, and best of all DEATH!”.

 

“”Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). Ok, so the last couple posts we have been venturing through this text which was written to the Corinthian Church that was full of divisions and had some errors creeping in. We read from the beginning of this chapter that the Apostle Paul is reminding those in Corinth of the gospel which was taught by him and the other apostles. This gospel starts with the importance that “Christ died for our sins according the Scripture (v.3), “he was buried , and raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (v.4), and He appeared to Peter…..and so on. Concluding with the fact that Christ Jesus appeared to Paul, as one abnormally born (v.8).  The Apostle Paul begins to deal with the fact that some among the Church had began to say that there is no resurrection of the dead. Through this Paul begins to explain that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not raised, and if Christ is not raised their faith is in vain and they are still in their sins. Also, those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. Paul begins to illustrate that Christ was the first-fruits of the resurrection, and since death came through a man, Adam, therefore resurrection of the dead will come through a man. “As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (v.22)”. We concluded the last installment with joy that since Christ has been raised from the dead, as the first fruits, there would be a resurrection of the dead.

“….then when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come….” (part of verse 23-24). Didn’t Jesus tell us about His coming and the end? Let’s refer to Matthew chapter 10:1-23, or Matthew 16:24-28, or Matthew 24:29-35, or Luke 21:17-37. Clearly, the end of the age, right? We know what was ending as we can refer to Hebrews 8:13. I always find it interesting how the fulfilled view doesn’t have to hypothesize a million ways why Scripture can’t mean what it says. It’s as clear as day in every resurrection text that the Law of Moses was was brought knowledge of sin ( 1 John 3:4; Romans 6:22-23;Romans 7:7-25 ) and therefore death(Romans 8:6), and the salvation, or what was hoped for was the resurrection of the dead. What dead? Those that are dead under the Law! When the end would come (obviously I would content it has already) Jesus Christ would hand over the kingdom to the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. According to 1 John 3:8, the purpose of Jesus Christ was to destroy the word of the devil. Did He fail? I think we could all agree that He didn’t and therefore defeated dominion, authority, and power. “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all POWER according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the KINGDOM of light. For he has rescued us from the DOMINION of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:9-14)”. Therefore He must reign until He puts all enemies under His feet (which deals with the subjection of all things under the feet of man in Psalms chapter 8). “The last enemy to be destroyed is death (v.26). I think this is where many miss the boat. What death? In your leisure time read through Romans chapters 5-6, it’s an interesting parallel to the death that came through Adam and the life found in Christ.

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet (Romans 16:20). “Now when it says everything has been put under him, it is clear that it does not include God Himself, who put everything under Christ. When He does this, then the Son himself will be made subject to Him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all (v. 27-28)”. Talk about a good ole Colossians chapter 1:15-23 reference, huh?</p><p> </p><p>As far as verse 29, this verse intimidates me a bit, since it reminds me of the Mormons up the block. Apparently there were some baptisms being done in the hopes of the resurrection. And Paul is arguing that if there is no resurrection of the dead why are people baptized for them. This does make a good case for the fact that those who disbelieved in the resurrection of the dead were believers, therefore reminds me of Sam Frost’s argument that this passage is referencing unbelievers. Continuing on, Paul makes the point that if there is no resurrection of the dead, why are “we” (the apostles) endangering ourselves every hour (v.30). “I die every day-I mean that, brothers- just as surely s I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord (v. 31)”. Yet again another interesting reference to how the apostles were dying to the old way and being renewed by the new way; 2 Corinthians chapter 4). If the dead are not raised all the effort in preaching the gospel is useless (v. 32). To finalize this installment we see Paul encouraging those believers in Corinth to not be misled or corrupted by those who are teaching that there is no resurrection of the dead. This would be important because:</p><p> </p><p>”I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (Romans 1:16)”. Simply put, the text continues to illustrate the point that if the hope of Israel (the resurrection of the dead) is not happening or about to happen, then the faith is in vain. The problem being dealt with throughout the entire book of 1 Corinthians, dare I say most of the New Testament, is the divisions of those who felt bound to the Law and those set free, many within the Gentile camp felt superior to those in the faith who felt bound by the Law (which we see dealt with specifically just a couple chapters back in 1 Corinthians chapters 8-10).”

 

“But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” (v.35). Let us consider the context thus far. We have people in the church at Corinth who are saying there is no resurrection of the dead (v.12) which was the hope of Israel (Acts chapter 24). The church in Corinth as well many others, began to see the distress of division between the gentiles and Jews. A feeling of Gentile superiority ran rampant, and therefore the resurrection of the dead (the hope of Israel) is being misunderstood, or even denied as we see here. Paul begins to explain the gospel at verse 1 and illustrates that this is the gospel preached according to the Scriptures, the appearance of Jesus Christ starting with Peter, many others and ending with him, Paul, as one abnormally born by God’s grace (v.3-10). This is the message being preached whether you hear it from others or Paul, who was commissioned to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.</p><p> </p><p>Paul explains that if there is no resurrection of the dead then Christ has not been raised (v.13). If Christ has not been raised the preaching of the gospel is useless and so is the faith of those believing in it (v.14). Why? Read Romans 1:16 cf. John chapter 4. If their is no resurrection of the dead, and Christ is not raised as the firstfruits, then the faith of the church is Corinth is futile (v. 17). Christ was resurrected as the firstfruits (sure enough we read of Christ being the resurrection of Israel in Hosea chapter 6), and when Christ comes he will resurrect those who belong to Him (v.23). This will be the end of the age, and kingdom of God will reign (v.24). At this time all his enemies will be destroyed, even death. Sounds alike like bringing us back to the garden, huh? Ok, so now let’s start at verse 35. The term body here is soma which is singular, therefore it is not bodies, but rather with what kind of body do they come. Once again noting there is only ONE body (1 Corinthians 12:27 cf. Ephesians 2:11-22), yet the divisions in the early church were creating confusion. Would we be bound by the Law in the resurrection as the Jews? Would we all be set free? So, Paul goes on to say, “How foolish! What you sow  does not come to life unless it dies. THE GOOD OLE SEED ANALOGY. What body was dying? Maybe read other resurrection texts such as Philippians chapter 3 and 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5. It’s clearly the Old Covenant body that was dying and would resurrect as the New Covenant body in Christ (Hebrews 8:13). “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body (verses 37-38)”. What kind of body has God given us?  Keep reading!! “All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies: but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another, and the star differs from the star in splendor (v. 39-41)”. Ok, so now that we have clearly illustrated that there is a different splendor, or delight for each body which shows that the natural body of Israel had a splendor of it’s own. Remember what Paul is trying to illustrate to the Corinthian Church. Now watch this. “So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown perishable, is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body (v.42-44)”. And there you have it. What kind of body did God determine for us- a perishable one, that must die and will be raised imperishable. Interesting parallel to the aging and soon be done away with, or “desolate” (check out Matthew 23:37-38). When I read this I can’t help think of Romans chapter 8, which speaks about how “the creation” will be liberated from it’s groaning, and we know that the Old Covenant people were groaning in their bondage to the law of sin and death. “Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represents two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: “Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband”. Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman (Galatians 4:21-31)”.So now that we see through Scripture the “natural body” versus the Spiritual body that is being illustrated. It might be good to point out what exactly “natural” here demonstrates. The Greek word used, Φυσικός[fisikOs], is also used in James 3:5, Jude 19, and 1 Corinthians chapter 2.

“The first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam, a life giving spirit. The Spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the Spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are of those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven (v.45-49).

Interesting link back to verses 21-22. Those under the law of sin and death bore the likeness of the first Adam, the earthly Adam, and therefore “shall bear the likeness of the man from heaven”. Sounds alot like Galatians chapter 4, huh? Christ was set free and so would we be! Hebrews 9:28 is an interesting note to take here. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (v.50)”. Yet again interesting parallel, read John chapter 4 concerning being born again. Also, many times throughout the N.T. we see “flesh and blood” being referenced as human weakness or ignorance (Matthew 16:17; Galatians 1:16; Hebrews 2:14).”Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where O death, is your victory? Where O death, is your sting?” (v.51-55)”.”At that hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon. The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever”. And the twenty four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God saying: “We give thanks to you , Lord God Almighty, the One who is and was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great- and for destroying those who destroy the earth”. Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within His temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, pearls of great thunder, and earthquake and great hailstorm (Revelation 11:13-19)”.This citation sounds an awful lot like 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, and then we have the judgement and resurrection of the righteous and wicked. Also, the temple imagery is similar to Galatians 4.

Concerning the perishable putting on the imperishable, let us turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 5:”Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (v.1-5)”.

Now if we were to do an in context study of 2 Corinthians chapters 3-5, it would be clear the shift in covenants is being talked about here. Obviously speaking of the temple made with hands, contrasted to the heavenly temple, or as Galatians chapter 4 would put it- the New Jerusalem from above. Those under the Old Covenant knew the judgement that Jesus Christ had spoken on the temple and that system of things (refer to Matthew chapters 23-24) and therefore it was a hard transition while in the body (Old Covenant body of Adam) while waiting to be clothed with the heavenly dwelling (New Covenant body of Christ).”The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (v.56-57)”.That’s the clincher right there. So, as I have demonstrated, or as the Word says, the transition from the perishable to imperishable is speaking about the shift of covenants. In the New Covenant, death is defeated because the sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. Oddly enough, this whole chapter is summed up with the exhortation from the apostle Paul:”Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (v.58).This physical resurrection of the body nonsense is thrown out the window by the text. Thanks for joining me as broke down 1 Corinthians chapter 15, which without injecting any concepts into the text is clearly speaking about the transition of covenants, the body of Adam to the body of Christ.”.

 

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2 Thessalonians chapter 2 – A Response to Matthew Henry’s Commentary

In the last issue of Fulfilled Magazine you were offered the opportunity to examine for yourself views that spoke of “moving beyond full preterism” and full preterism being the “Hymenean heresy”. As Brian Martin so rightly said, I feel that Truth has nothing to fear from opposing or differing views. If full preterism is the true, Biblical interpretation of eschatology, then it will prevail against all challenges”.

In this article I desire to show you the “Berean spirit” (Acts 17:11) alive and well in the Full Preterist community. I personally have approached those who speak ill of Full Preterism and asked for “reasons” (1 Peter 3:15) for their view- only to be given apathetic responses and or ostracized for my “critical mind”. In contrast, many times I am offered the opportunity to answer questions which I more than welcome, I encourage it.

Recently, a friend of a member of my congregation offered the commentary of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 as a rebuke of the Full Preterist position. I would like to take some time to respond and deal with the issue that arise from a proper understanding of the text. Here is the link to the commentary offered by Matthew Henry:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/2-thessalonians/2.html

2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is an interesting passage for someone to use “against” Full Preterism . Bible teacher Kurt Simmons writes:

“One of the chief eschatological passages of the New Testament is II Thess. 2, which speaks of the “man of sin” whom the Lord would consume at his coming. (II Thess. 2:3, 8) Tradition among primitive Christians identified St. Paul’s “man of sin” with St. John’s “antichrist” and Revelation’s “beast,” many holding that these were references to Nero. In his fourth homily on II Thessalonians, St. Chrysostom (A.D. 347 to 407) states,

“For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work.” He speaks here of Nero… But he did not also wish to point him out plainly: and this not from cowardice, but instructing us not to bring upon ourselves unnecessary enmities, when there is nothing to call for it.”

So what I hope to provide you with in this “response” is information pertaining to the “eschatological confusion” that has been shown in regards to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, the culture and background of the confusion in different periods of time through church history (especially pertaining to Matthew Henry’s generation), and a contextual understanding of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2- with provided resources.

In his commentary, Matthew Henry notes that the purpose and opening of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is a refutation of the error regarding the “coming of the Lord”. Apparently, the Thessalonians thought the coming of the Lord had come and gone. That alone should come many to PAUSE.

If the “coming of the Lord” or the 2nd Coming as referred to by many, is this big cataclysmic event which involves stars falling to earth, a physical body of a 1st century Jewish man floating out of the sky on a horse, attended by the resurrection of biological bodies and the planet being destroyed- HOW IN THE WORLD COULD THESE PEOPLE HAVE MISSED IT?!?! This alone should cause many to reexamine their view and position of the “coming of the Lord”.

Matthew Henry lived during the 1700’s. This was a time when “end times interpretation” was greatly influenced by what is called the “Continuous Historical Approach”. This approach finds in the imagery of Revelation a continuous, chronologically sequential panorama of history reaching until the world’s end. The first to use this approach was Nicolas of Lyra (A.D. 1329) in his Postilla. Nicolas of Lyra was a Franciscan who rejected the apocalypticism of his fellow Franciscans. Instead, Nicolas offered a continuous-historical interpretation of Revelation beginning in the first century and reaching to his own time. This approach found its way into what we might call “mainstream though” through the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther, the German reformer. Luther equated his times and struggles with the fight against the Antichrist whom he deemed was the Pope. The continuous-historical method has few modern proponents. Its traditional interpretation equating the beast and harlot with papal Rome has not withstood serious scrutiny; no reputable scholars embrace it today. In some “cultish” crowds such as Ellis Scoffield and 7th Day Adventists one is likely to find these interpretation.

A proper understanding of “interpretation principles” enhances our understanding of the Bible. Many ‘Christians’ are content with a ‘face value’ or a 21st century influenced understanding of the ancient Scriptures which is dismaying to say the least. The ‘Continuous-Historical Approach’ is void of audience relevance, consideration of time statements, and the narrative-context of the Scriptures.

In his commentary, Matthew Henry says:

“From these words it appears that some among the Thessalonians had mistaken the apostle’s meaning, in what he had written in his former epistle about the coming of Christ, by thinking that it was near at hand,—that Christ was just ready to appear and come to judgment….and hereupon the apostle is careful to rectify this mistake, and to prevent the spreading of this error. Observe, If errors and mistakes arise among Christians, we should take the first opportunity to rectify them, and hinder the spreading thereof; and good men will be especially careful to suppress errors that may arise from a mistake of their words and actions, though that which was spoken or done was ever so innocent or well”.

Yes, the Apostle Paul was strongly speaking against “eschatological error” in the church at Thessalonica concerning the “coming of the Lord”. This is a work I have engaged in for the past 2-3 years now and it seems many in the Church want to “lessen” the importance of rectifying this error.

Why does it matter? This chapter of 2 Thessalonians clearly shows us the Apostles thought this was a serious issue and had the potential to distort the gospel (something I believe is being done in many churches across the world today). Therefore in writing this article and reproving errors I endeavor to follow the same logic in which Mr. Henry operated in taking ‘the first opportunity to rectify them”, even if that means showing that Matthew Henry’s interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2 was indeed in error.

Ok..So open up your Bibles to 2 Thessalonians. I urge you before this study to take a minute to read through 2 Thessalonians chapters 1-3, that way you can get the “full force” of the letter the Apostle wrote to the Thessalonians church in A.D. 51-52. Understanding that alone is important and gives credit to the historical reliability of Scripture.

At the beginning of this letter from Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus they are encouraging the Church at Thessalonica through persecution. Notice what is said:

“…in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:4-8)”.

So if this letter was penned in the first century and dropped off at the doorstep of the Thessalonians church which was undergoing persecution and is promising them relief when the “Lord comes”- isn’t it only right to question is the Lord was faithful to this promise and gave them relief? After all, this letter is set forth to clear the confusion and not confuse more- yet the words of Christ Himself to the Apostles alive in that time was that some of them would not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming with His angels on the clouds of heaven to bring judgment (Matthew 16:27-28).

As we move into chapter 2, we now can understand why the Thessalonians would “lose composure” or be disturbed by a message that the coming had already occurred- they were still experiencing persecution- where was this RELIEF?!?!

Speaking about the “gathering together to him” should remind us of Matthew 24:31. In an article in which Dr. Don K. Preston goes in depth about the ‘gathering together’ he writes this:

“An examination of Matthew 24-25 with II Thessalonians 1-2 is especially revealing. In Matthew you have the threat of persecution with the promise of the Parousia for vindication and judgment on the persecutors–the city of Jerusalem. In II Thessalonians 1 you have the church being persecuted, and that persecution is instigated by the Jews, Acts 17. Those being persecuted are promised vindication at the coming of the Lord in fire and vengeance. The Thessalonians were suffering the persecution promised and foreseen by Jesus. Why then is the coming of the Lord in vindication in Thessalonians not the same coming of Jesus in vindication and judgment as that of Matthew 24:29-31?”.

So this gathering would be done after the tribulation which Jesus Christ speaks about in Matthew chapter 24, which a proper historical study can offer is fulfilled through the events of the Roman-Jewish War of AD 70.

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exhalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)”.

Now I personally believe the proof of this passage being in the past is what I posted above about the “gathering together” which was to occur in AD 70. I believe the saints were “raised up” along with “the dead ones” and brought into the presence of God- which until every jot and tittle of the Law was fulfilled could not happen. However, let’s analyze the 2 things the Apostle Paul lists here that must occur prior to the “coming of the Lord” and the “gathering together”. Could these have happened about 20 years after the Apostle Paul penned the second letter to the Thessalonians?

“APOSTASY COMES”.... Dr. Don K. Preston again weighs in on this and says:

“In Matthew 24:12 Jesus said that in the days prior to his coming in the destruction of Jerusalem, “because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” In the previous verse he warned that false prophets would “mislead many.” In verse 10 he had stated that due to persecution “many will fall away.”

Can you see the comparison? In Matthew 24 the disciples asked when the Lord was going to come. Jesus said before he returned there would be a time when “many will fall away;” false prophets would “mislead many;” and “most people’s love will grow cold.” He then told them he would come after that apostasy but in that generation, vss. 29-34.

In II Thessalonians the brethren were believing the Lord had already come. To correct their chronological error Paul reminded them that before the Lord could come “the apostasy” had to happen.

He was reminding them of the apostasy the Lord himself had said must happen!”.

BUT…who is this MAN OF LAWLESSNESS? 

Clearly from the words of the Apostle Paul this ‘man’ was alive in his time (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).

Something was holding him back. There seems to be quite the controversy surrounding “he who know retrains” but with proper context I believe it is quite clear who this ‘man’ was.

Dr. Kenneth Gentry, who is NOT A FULL PRETERIST has some good details to share about identifying this man of lawlessness:

“The “man of lawlessness” is Nero Caesar, who also is the beast of Revelation, as a number of Church Fathers believe. This passage’s difficulty lies in the fact that Paul “describes the Man of Sin with a certain reserve” (Origen, Celsus 6:45) for fear of incurring “the charge of calumny for having spoken evil of the Roman emperor” (Augustine, City of God 20:19). Paul and his associates had already suffered at the hands of the Thessalonican Jews for “acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king – Jesus” (Ac 17:7). Wisdom demands discreetness when referring to imperial authority; his recent (1Th 2:17) personal ministry among them allows it: they were to “remember” that while with them he “told [them] these things” (2:5).

Paul clearly implies that something is presently (ca.AD 52) “restraining” (present participle) the man of sin “that he may be revealed in his own time” (2Th 2:6). The man of lawlessness is alive and waiting to be “revealed.” This implies that for the time being, Christians could expect at least some protection from the Roman government: the Roman laws regardingreligio licita  are currently in Christianity’s favor, while it remains a sect of Judaism. This begins to end after the malevolent Nero ascends the throne, for he begins persecuting Christianity in AD 64. Paul certainly enjoys the protection of Roman law (Ac 18:12ff) and makes important use of it in AD 59 (Ac 25:11–12; 28:19), when he seeks protection from the malignancy of the Jews”.

Or as author James Stuart Russel noted:

“But how striking are the indications that point to Nero in the year when this epistle was written, say A.D.52 or 53. At that time Nero was not yet ‘manifested;’ his true character was not discovered; he had not yet succeeded to the Empire. Claudius, his step-father, lived, and stood in the way of the son of Agrippina. But that hindrance was soon removed. In less than a year, probably, after this epistle was received by the Thessalonians, Claudius was ‘taken out of the way,’ a victim to the deadly practice of the infamous Agrippina; her son also, according to Suetonius, being accessory to the deed. But ‘the mystery of lawlessness was already working;’ the influence of Nero must have been powerful in the last days of the wretched Claudius; the very plots were probably being hatched that paved the way for the accession of the son of the murderess. A few months more would witness the advent to the throne of the world of a miscreant whose name is gibbeted in everlasting infamy as the most brutal of tyrants and the vilest of men”.

Bible Teacher Kurt Simmons would be inclined to historically explain that it was Claudius Caesar and the restraining power of the religio licita that kept the man of lawelessness from being revealed. 

Although being consistent with what is called “intellectual honesty” I must admit there are some who agree that this passage was fulfilled in the 1st century yet they would explain the details a bit different. For example, Bible teacher Ed Stevens would offer the high priest as the ‘lawless one”. He explains:

“The Jewish persecutors, the Judaizers, and the Zealots all show that this was fulfilled in the first century. The falling away was in progress as the last few NT books were written. One only needs to read things like the books of Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter and 1-3 John to see this. The falling away coincided with the great persecution and tribulation that descended on the church just before the Jewish revolt (A.D. 63-66). During this persecution James, Peter and others (such as Paul) were killed (A.D. 63). And it was probably about this same time that John was exiled to Patmos. The NT writers during this time of persecution were bravely challenging their fellow-saints to persevere. The faithful remnant did. But many others forsook the “better things” in Christ and returned to Judaism’s things that were “fading away” and about to be destroyed. The “falling away” and “the coming of the man of sin” were first century events. They occurred in connection with the persecution of the church just before the Jewish revolt in A.D. 66. The destruction and defilement of the temple at Jerusalem is explained in great detail by Josephus. While 2 Thess. 2:1-4 is usually associated with “THE” Antichrist, we need to remember that the anti-Christian spirit was already at work in the first century. The Jewish persecution was already underway when Paul wrote these words. The Holy Spirit was restraining its effect until the church reached a mature-enough condition to persevere. There was a close connection indeed between the tribulation and the apostasy. The anti-Christian forces were persecuting the church to get them to fall away.

There are many passages which indicate that the “anti-Christ” was actually the anti-Christian spirit which motivated the Jewish persecutors who worked against the church in the period before AD 70. Notice these passages in particular: 1 Jn. 4:3; cf. 1 Jn. 2:17, 18; and 2 Thess. 2:7. Whatever this “man of lawlessness” was, it was already at work during the time Paul wrote, and was evidently at its worst when John wrote, since he says, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we KNOW it is THE LAST HOUR.” (emphasis mine, ES). And, it is not just preterists who suggest the “man of lawlessness” was something other than an individual. Several of the amillennial and post-millennial theories suggest the same. As far as individual “antichrists” are concerned, some have suggested the various messianic contenders during the war with Rome (John of Gischala, Simon ben Giora, or Eleazar ben Ananias, Eleazar ben Yair — the leader at Masada, or the High Priest). The Judaizers could easily qualify as “antichrists” as well. As I explain in my article elsewhere on this website, I believe the “beast” was Jewish. Whether it was the Jewish Zealots as a group, or individual leader as a figurehead, is not of real big concern to me. If I had to choose an individual who fits all the criteria mentioned here in 2 Thess. 2 and Revelation, I would probably focus on Eleazar ben Yair who resurrected his cause at Masada”.

Sure enough….the “coming of the Lord” occurred when the Romans surrounded the city of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20). This event destroyed the persecutors of the saints (Galatians 4:23-31). The temple was destroyed and it was clear as day as the 1st century historian Josephus noted:

“And this seems to me to have been the reason why God, out of his hatred of these men’s wickedness, rejected our city; and as for the temple, he no longer esteemed it sufficiently pure for him to inhabit therein, but brought the Romans upon us, and threw a fire upon the city to purge it; and brought upon us, our wives, and children, slavery, as desirous to make us wiser by our calamities”.

The rise of Full Preterism can be quite intimidating to many people who want to hold to certain “traditional” teachings. What needs to be known that within the Full Preterist community there are Christians who seek simply to know, understand, and to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ- ALL THE TEACHINGS. I hope I have shown the ‘intellectual honesty’ in this response to the critics who may utilize Matthew Henry’s commentary and I hope that I have shown Mr. Henry’s thoughts on 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 to be flawed.

The fact remains- the letter of 2 Thessalonians was a first century writing to the Thessalonian church to encourage them to withstand persecution having hope in the “coming of the Lord” which would be judgement upon those who persecuted them. This judgment/ “coming of the Lord” occurred right on time as judgment came upon the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants. Those whom were santified in Christ were ‘gathered to the Lord’ as they heeded His teachings and sure enough as the 1st century historian Josephus accounts- NOT ONE CHRISTIAN DIED IN THE CITY!

 

Reference:

http://www.preteristcentral.com/The%20Road%20Back%20to%20Preterism.html

http://www.preteristarchive.com/Hyper/0000_preston_second-thess.html

http://www.preteristarchive.com/Hyper/0000_preston_how-possible.html

http://torreygazette.com/austinpreterism/2013/07/23/gentry-theology-man-of-lawlessness-identified

http://kloposmasm.com/2009/08/16/pp15-the-man-of-lawlessness-ii-thess-2-part-1/

http://www.preterist.org/preteristQA.asp

 

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