Responding to the Critics

The Second Coming: Why We Should Still Be Waiting

This is my fourth installment in response to Dr. Russ Jurek a minister and elder of the EdgeHill Church of Christ in Petersburg, Virginia. Dr. Jurek recently wrote a paper entitled “The 2nd Coming of Christ: “Why We Should Still Be Waiting! An Expose of the A.D. 70 Theory.” (Hereafter simply Waiting). Be sure to read the first three installments of my response.

Jurek’s paper purports to be a refutation of my book Can God Tell Time? as well as a larger denunciation of the preterist view as a whole. When we received a copy of Jurek’s work, 1 I immediately sent word inviting him to meet me in a two hour debate on the world wide radio program The Voice of Reason, hosted by John Anderson of Lighthouse World Ministries. Dr. Jurek emphatically rejected my offer. Our offer still stands valid by the way. Furthermore, since Jurek refuses to debate, perhaps the churches of Christ in that area would be willing to sponsor a four night, public debate on the topic? Let them choose their defender of the faith, their highly regarded, representative and respected champion, and I will be glad to engage him.

The reader needs to be reminded perhaps, that brother Jurek is not the sole adversary in this “exchange.” After writing his initial work, and realizing that it had been passed onto me, Jurek then consulted with other church of Christ preachers from his area, and in collaboration with them, put the “finishing touches” on the manuscript. This finished work was then passed on to me as their definitive refutation of Covenant Eschatology. Therefore, it is important to understand that I am responding to the “collective wisdom,” and the “best shot” of a group of church of Christ ministers.

However, I need to take note that although Jurek took the time to write his “expose” of Covenant Eschatology, and took the time to gather around him a group of counselors to fine tune that work, he now will not even answer any further questions about the issue. As I was writing, I wanted to know his position on Matthew 26:64, so I posted a personal email to him, asking him this position. He responded with a very terse, very curt note telling me that he was only going to tell me “one time” that he will not waste another moment of his time thinking about or discussing this issue. He demanded that I not even send him another email because he would not read it or open it. I responded by noting the distinct similarities between him and the Pharisees.

A critical point here as well. This controversy is not about Russ Jurek or Don K. Preston. It is about the Truth of Christ, the Truth that sets man free. It is about the person of Jesus and his faithfulness. The Lord himself, as I have already noted, challenged his first century audience not to believe in him if he did not perform the works that the Father had given him (John 10:36f). One of those works was the work of the judgment and the resurrection (John 5:19-29). Jesus placed our ability to have full faith in him, on the post side of the work the Father gave him. This means that if he has not yet completed those works, that faith in Christ cannot yet be fully mature, fully grounded! 2 The significance of Jesus’ words in John 10–in light of John 5:19f– cannot be lightly dismissed, yet, is being virtually ignored by many commentators.

Furthermore, the dilemma of a failed Messiah is not being seriously answered by Jurek and other futurists! Their attempts to mitigate or to ignore the temporal element of Christ’s predictions is doing nothing but arming the skeptics. While Jurek and others affirm that the Bible says what it means and means what it says, when the skeptics read the Bible, they know, without any doubt, that Jesus and the Biblical authors said the parousia was near 2000 years ago. The skeptics use Jurek’s own stated hermeneutic of taking the language absolutely literally, and they know that, therefore, Jesus failed to keep his time promises! So, in order to even begin to respond to the skeptics, Jurek has to completely abandon his claimed hermeneutic that the Bible says what it means and means what it says! All the while, the skeptics literally laugh at such efforts, knowing that such efforts are linguistically and grammatically foolish and unjustified.

In the previous installment, we began an examination brother Jurek’s chief passages of appeal to prove a yet future coming of the Lord. Jurek offers Acts 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:15f, 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Peter 3:10 and Revelation 1:7. We focused on 1 Thessalonians 4:13f. Our next installment will be an in-depth analysis of 2 Thessalonians 1. For the moment however, I think it important to focus on brother Jurek’s hermeneutic, his interpretive key.

Jurek’s Hermeneutic: The Dual Application of Prophecy

Jurek’s key to interpreting prophecy is his appeal to the “Dual Fulfillment of Prophecy.” He cites Burton Coffman, who maintains that: “Practically all the difficulties in understanding this astounding chapter (Matthew 24, DKP), will disappear when it is remembered that in a single prophecy Christ foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the final judgment and destruction of the whole world, making the first a type of the latter, and choosing a number of details that apply to both.” 3

Now, I must confess to a bit of chagrin when I read Jurek’s appeal to Coffman’s work. While I respect Coffman’s massive labor, his work on the Olivet Discourse, is, without any doubt, one of the most confused and confusing presentations imaginable! Coffman says of the Discourse: “The wisdom of God is seen in the fact that the inadvertent confusion on the part of the disciples with reference to the two events, actually to be separated by thousands of years but appearing to them as scheduled simultaneously, has preserved incontrovertible proof of the authenticity of Matthew’s gospel.” (Coffman, 381). Now, neither Coffman nor Jurek explain just how Matthew is vindicated as authentic because of the confusion that Jesus’ words caused in the minds of the disciples! Will you think of that for a moment? We are supposed to stand in awe of Matthew’s record, and Jesus’ teaching, because the disciples were so confused? Just how is inspiration vindicated by saying that his own disciples could not understand what Jesus said? Personally, I find such a claim to be so illogical as to be ludicrous and borderline offensive to the genius of inspiration and Jesus’ ability to communicate!

The “logic” of Jurek / Coffman’s argument here escapes me. And here is why. On the one hand, Jurek argues that in Acts 1 the disciples were confused about the nature of the kingdom and Jesus chided them for that. (See my installment #1 for a refutation of this idea). On the other hand, when he comes to the Olivet Discourse, we are to believe that Jesus taught in such a way as to cause misunderstanding on the part of his disciples, and this confusion supposedly vindicates his genius! So, on the one hand we are to believe that Jesus did not want his disciples confused, but on the other hand the genius of his teaching is that his disciples became confused!

We will have more to say about Jurek’s comments on the Olivet Discourse in a later installment. For now however, we want to directly address his foundational argument of the dual fulfillment of prophecy.

It must be born in mind that Jurek admits that the Olivet Discourse, indeed even the
O. T. prophecies of the Day of the Lord, had an immediate and imminent fulfillment in historical events. In other words, and please catch the power of this, the time language was fulfilled literally, as in soon, but the language of the destruction of creation used to describe those imminent events, was metaphoric. However, Jurek then claims that the language of imminence does not actually indicate time at all, but the inevitability of the events, and that the language of the coming of the Lord on the clouds is to be taken literally! Again, exactly how we are to understand words to have two totally different meanings, in the same context, escapes me. 4 Now to a closer look at Jurek’s claims.

Jurek maintains that the preterist confusion would be solved by understanding his principle of hermeneutic: “Practically all the difficulties in understanding this astounding chapter will disappear when it is remembered that in a single prophecy Christ foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the final judgment and destruction of the whole world, making the first a type of the latter, and choosing a number of details that apply to both.”

Notice that Jurek claims that in Matthew 24 Jesus expressly made the fall of Jerusalem “a type of the latter” i.e. the end of time, destruction of the universe coming. But, as with so many of Jurek’s assertions, he offers not one word of proof! Where in the Olivet Discourse does Jesus utter one word about the fall of Jerusalem being a type or foreshadowing of something else, something greater? Where does Jesus say, “As it will be in the fall of Jerusalem, so it will be, on a larger, grander scale, at the end of time”? Jurek cannot even begin to point to such a statement by Jesus. And again, please note that he did not even attempt to offer proof from the text. His “proof” was the citation of Burton Coffman, the author who believes that the inspiration of Matthew is vindicated because of the disciple’s confusion! This does not commend itself well.

There are many, many reasons to reject Jurek’s hermeneutic of dual fulfillment of prophecy. For brevity, we will list some of the more outstanding reasons.

1.) In the Olivet Discourse itself, Jesus describes the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem, and says, “then shall be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world, until this time, or ever shall be.” Notice that Jesus did not say that the fall of Jerusalem would be the greatest event until the end of the world. But this is what Jurek needed for him to say.

Now, understand that Jurek demands that we take language at its face value: “The Bible says what it means and means what it says.” Well, will he take Jesus’ statement at face value, and accept that the fall of Jerusalem was to be the greatest event ever? Interestingly, Coffman (385) applies this verse solely to the events surrounding the fall of Israel. And by the way, Coffman, whom Jurek quotes approvingly for the Olivet Discourse, actually says: “The fall of Jerusalem was the greatest single event of a thousand years, and religiously significant beyond anything else that ever occurred in human history.” 5 If Jurek would accept that Bible fact, his theology would greatly improve.

So, Jesus himself called the events leading up to and consummating in the fall of Jerusalem the greatest in the history of the world. But, again, does Jurek believe this? No, he says that those events were merely a prelude and foreshadowing of the greatest event in the history of the world! Jurek believes that in verses 29f, Jesus metaphorically spoke of the fall of Jerusalem, but, not really, he actually was predicting the dissolution of the material creation at the end of time, when every living animal is burned up, the elements of creation melt, and human history comes to an end! So, for Jurek, the fall of Jerusalem was not, and could not be, the greatest event ever. Jurek says that what the fall of Jerusalem foreshadowed is to be the greatest event ever. But who is right here?

Would the end of the New Covenant Age, and the end of time, with the complete dissolution of the entire universe, not be exponentially greater than the fall of Jerusalem? Would not the end of the Age of Grace be incalculably greater than the end of the Age of Law? Jurek has tried to impugn the significance of A.D. 70 by suggesting that, “If anything at all occurred concerning a kingdom in A.D. 70, it was not the beginning of a kingdom but the final nail in the coffin of any remnant of the kingdom of Israel.” (Waiting 1st edition, 9 ). His lamentable failure to recognize the significance of the end of the Old Covenant Kingdom is manifest here, and his failure to consider that significance in the light of Matthew 24:21 destroys his dual fulfillment hermeneutic.

If Jurek’s dual fulfillment principle is correct, then why did Jesus not say what Jurek needed for him to say? Why did Jesus not say that the fall of Jerusalem was but a foretaste of “greater things to come?” Why did Jesus not say, “For then (A.D. 70, DKP), shall be one of the greatest events since the beginning of the world, until now, but, that event is but a picture of what shall be”?

2.) In Luke 21:22, verses that Jurek / Coffman apply to A.D. 70, Jesus said: “These be the days of vengeance when all things that are written must be fulfilled.” Jesus did not say that some things that are written would be fulfilled. He said that in those days “all things that are written” would be fulfilled. Jurek rejects Jesus’ statement in spite of his, “the Bible says what it means and means what it says” mantra. Does Jurek believe that God deceived the readers of Luke when He said that “all things that are written” would be fulfilled in A.D. 70? If God wanted to communicate the idea that “all things that are written” would be fulfilled in those events, how else could He have said it?

Our point is that Jesus’ emphatic declaration concerning the events of A.D. 70 completely falsifies Jurek’s dual application of prophecy. If the end of the Old Covenant Aeon of Israel fulfilled “all things that are written,” then they did not prefigure the fulfilling of all things that are written!

3.) Jurek’s hermeneutic has us still living in the time of the shadows and types, which is opposed to Paul’s emphatic statement that it was the Old Covenant World that was typological, not the New Covenant World of Christ (Colossians 2:15f). Jurek cannot produce a passage that says that Christ’s work was typological of other prophetic events. On the contrary, the N. T. writers are emphatic that it was the events of the Old Covenant Age that foreshadowed the consummative work of Christ (Hebrews 9-10).

4.) Jesus emphatically said, in regards to all of the events of Matthew 24:4-34: “Verily I say unto you that this generation shall by no means pass away, until all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). Now, were all of the preceding things, including Christ’s parousia and the destruction of creation of v. 29f fulfilled in that generation or not? Will Jurek take Coffman’s view, that “this generation” means that contemporary generation, but wait, that is not what it really means, not actually, what it really means is that the Jewish race will not pass away until the end of time? I ask this as kindly as possible, but with every ounce of my being: How in the name of reason
can anyone seriously suggest that the same term, in the same verse, means two totally different, contrasting things? This question does not even consider the lexical, grammatical, and contextual considerations. It is just a matter of common sense. Do we, as human beings use language in such an ambiguous, self contradictory manner when we are trying to teach important truths?

5.) Finally, consider the following. If prophecy has a dual application in the manner suggested by Jurek, will he be consistent with this hermeneutic? Let’s take note of some prophecies and see if Jurek and his band of counselors will stay consistent with their suggested hermeneutic.

A.) The Old Testament foretold the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days (Joel 2). Peter affirmed, “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:15f). Does Jurek believe however, that the events of the Day of Pentecost, the miraculous outpouring of the Spirit, was a mere foreshadowing of another, ultimate out pouring of the Spirit in the last days? If not, why not? After all, he says that we must believe in the dual fulfillment of prophecy? And he seems to believe that this is especially true of predictions of the Day of the Lord. So, what about the prophecy of Joel 2:28? Does it have a dual fulfillment? I feel safe in affirming that Jurek does not believe that there is a yet future fulfillment of Joel’s promise.

B.) The Old Testament foretold the establishment of the kingdom. Does Jurek believe that the establishment of the kingdom on Pentecost was a type or foreshadowing of a yet future, true, establishment of the kingdom? If not, why not?

C.) The Old Testament foretold the crucifixion and passion of Jesus! In the Psalms, in Isaiah, in Zechariah, etc., the prophets foretold the suffering and death of Jesus. Now, I can assure you that brother Jurek does not believe in the dual fulfillment of these prophecies! But why not? Where does he put the brakes on his hermeneutic? How does Jurek know that one prophecy had a dual fulfillment, and another prophecy does not? It will not do for him to simply say, “Well, it is obvious that the prophecies of Jesus’ death did not have a dual fulfillment!” He needs to provide the hermeneutical evidence, the solid evidence for his claims, and so far all he has done is make claims,. He has given no proof!

D.) The Old Covenant prophecies foretold the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Does Jurek believe that prophecy has a dual fulfillment?

E.) For the moment, just ask yourself the question, if we are to see a dual fulfillment of Matthew 24, why should we not see a dual fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 4? As we demonstrated in the previous installment, Thessalonians is a direct citation/allusion to the Olivet Discourse. So, if Matthew 24 is a “dual prophecy” applying first of all to A.D. 70, and then to a supposed end of time, then since Thessalonians is based squarely on the Discourse, this means that Thessalonians is primarily about A.D. 70.

Now, should Jurek, for argument sake, admit to this 6 and then say, “I could admit a dual application of 1 Thessalonians 4, first to A. D. 70, and then to the end of time. However, by so doing this still has a future resurrection and end of time, literal parousia, and this destroys the preterist view!”, there are some things that would have to be observed.

Should he make this argument, then this means that the Lord did come, with the dead, and he did gather the saints at his parousia in A.D. 70! You cannot for one moment admit to a dual fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 4:13f without admitting that these events were fulfilled at least typologically! And if 1 Thessalonians did have an imminent fulfillment of the parousia, this means that Christ did come precisely as preterists, whom Jurek calls false teachers, affirm! So, if he seeks to make the “dual application” argument in regard to Thessalonians, Jurek would be honor bound, and logically compelled, to take the preterist paradigm in regard to A.D. 70. He would agree that Jesus came, with the dead, and gathered the saints at his parousia in A.D. 70. He would then have to explain how and why, if Christ did that in A.D. 70, Christ will have to do that all over again at the end of the Christian Age, which of course, has no end!! The bottom line is that Jurek and his band of advisors do not take 1 Thessalonians as typological or a foreshadowing of any other event. Yet, to repeat, 1 Thessalonians 4:13f is the reiteration of the very part of the Olivet Discourse that Jurek claims is typological! If Paul is drawing from a typological context, and saying that he is just repeating that context, then Jurek cannot claim that Paul’s discourse is not therefore typological! Paul nowhere says that the Discourse was typological but that his presentation is about the antitype of the Discourse. He says that he is only reminding his readers of the words of the Lord himself. Thus, if the Discourse is typological then Thessalonians is typological. But, if Thessalonians is not typological then Matthew 24 does not have a dual fulfillment, and Jurek’s futurism is falsified.

Let us now apply Jurek’s dual application principle to a text that he brings forth to prove his case. In Waiting, p. 19, Jurek says Daniel 12, “spoke of the same events about which Jesus was questioned. Daniel indicated that the ‘end’ would take place a long time after the ‘time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up.’ He then tells Daniel to ‘wait till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will arise to receive your allotted inheritance.’ (Daniel 12:11-13). If this prophecy only refers to A.D. 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem, where is Daniel? Has he risen and received his allotted inheritance? Was this ‘promised’ resurrection and inheritance only figurative as the A.D. 70 theorists claim of the ‘resurrection of the dead?’” As with much of what Jurek says, it would take volumes to respond to all the false assumptions, false claims, and false logic. We can only briefly address a few of his major errors.

One thing that we need to note is that Jurek makes (another) totally ungrounded and false statement, without so much as offering a shred of evidence to support the claim. He says, “Daniel indicated that the ‘end’ would take place a long time after the ‘time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up.” Let me say this plainly: Daniel did no such thing! The resurrection would be at the time of the end (v. 2-4). But the time of the end would be when the power of the holy people was completely shattered (v. 7). Thus, the resurrection would be when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.” And this necessitates that the abomination and the cessation of the sacrifice all took place before the time of the end, “when the power of the holy people” was completely shattered. All of these events were to transpire before the end! This is what the text says. The text definitely says that the end would be after the abomination of desolation, we must keep all those events within the confines of the time of the end, terminating in the destruction of Israel. Jurek’s desperation is very evident here, and must be exposed.

Note that Daniel 12:2 foretold the resurrection, “many of those in the dust of the earth will arise, some to everlasting life, some to everlasting shame.” T
his is undeniably the resurrection.
But what does Jurek do? He claims that Daniel was told that the time of the end–you know, the time of the resurrection–would be a long time after the shattering of the holy people. More on this momentarily. But wait, this is simply false, and we have the voice of heaven itself as proof!

Please take note that Daniel 12:1-4 foretold four events:

1.) The Great Tribulation (v. 1)

2.) The resurrection (v. 2)

3.) The time when the righteous would shine forth in the kingdom (v.3)

4.) The time of the end (v. 4)

Notice again that verse 2 is the prediction of the resurrection. In verses 6-7 Daniel overhears one angel ask another: “When shall these things be, and when shall all of these things be fulfilled?” Now, note that the question was not, “When shall the great tribulation be, and by the way, when will the resurrection and time of the end occur as well?” The question was not, “When shall some of these things be fulfilled?” The question was, “When shall all of these things be fulfilled?” Now you must grasp the following point! Jurek believes that the great tribulation of verse1 was fulfilled in A.D. 70!

Jurek believes that the great tribulation was fulfilled at the time when the power of the holy people was completely shattered, as Daniel 12:7 affirms. However, does he believe that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2, the shining forth of the righteous in the kingdom of verse 3, 7 and the time of the end of verse 4 was fulfilled at that time as well? No! Notice his question: “If this prophecy only refers to A.D. 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem, where is Daniel? Has he risen and received his allotted inheritance? Was this ‘promised’ resurrection and inheritance only figurative as the A.D. 70 theorists claim of the ‘resurrection of the dead’”? 8

So, what does Jurek do? He teaches that one out of the four prophesied events of Daniel 12:1-4 was fulfilled in A.D. 70, but three out of the four are still future! Do you see what that means? Take a look again at verses 5-7. Daniel sees two angels, and one angel asks the other: “When shall these things be, and when shall all of these things be fulfilled?” To reiterate, the angel did not ask: “When shall most, or some, or a few, of these things be fulfilled?” He asked “when shall all of these things be fulfilled?” And what was heaven’s answer to that question?

Notice Daniel 12:7: “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all of these things will be fulfilled.” So there you have it. The angel asked when all of the prophesied events, including the resurrection and time of the end, would be fulfilled. And heaven responded by saying that “all of these things” would be fulfilled when Israel was completely shattered. But what does Jurek and his preaching friends do? They affirm that only one of the three events foretold was fulfilled by the appointed time! They teach, implicitly, that the actual question was, “When shall one of these things be fulfilled?” And they teach that heaven’s answer was, “One of these things will be fulfilled when Israel is fulfilled!” Jurek turns the scriptures on their head. He makes “all” mean “one.” 9 He makes the text mean the exact opposite of what it actually says.

Hasn’t Jurek written something about taking the inspired text for what it says? Does the Bible not mean what it says, and does it not say what it means? What has happened to Jurek’s insistence that we take the clear cut, emphatic declarations of the Bible at face value? Was God deceiving Daniel and his readers when He said that “all of these things” would be fulfilled when Israel was shattered? If Jehovah wanted to say that all of those things were to be fulfilled when the power of the holy people was completely shattered, how else could He have made it any plainer? And since the resurrection is included in the “all” of the prophecy it is undeniable that Daniel 12 foretold the resurrection at the time of the destruction of Israel in A.D. 70. It will do Jurek no good to simply ask: “Where is Daniel?” This is no argument; it is simply a complaint based on traditional presuppositional assumptions! But let’s take a closer look at Jurek’s dual fulfillment argument in light of Daniel 12.

I want the reader to notice again, as noted above, that Jurek does not want to apply his hermeneutic of dual fulfillment consistently at all. Does he apply that principle to Daniel 12? If not, we have the right to ask, why not? If so, then we need to ask some probing questions. The text says that “all of these things” would be fulfilled when Israel was finally destroyed. However, using Jurek’s principle of prophetic interpretation, let’s ask the following questions: If the prophecy of Daniel 12 is typological, what kind of resurrection is Jurek is willing to admit took place when the power of the holy people was shattered? Was it literal or spiritual? What is the typological resurrection that occurred when the people was destroyed? Jurek has hinted that he does not believe that verse 2 has a dual fulfillment, but is focused exclusively on the final resurrection. But how does he know this? If he insists that the prophecies of the Day of the Lord in the O. T. were prophetic of events that were in fact near, but are also to find a dual fulfillment at the end of time, then why is that not true of Daniel 12? He believes that the Day of the Lord prophecies of the O. T. had a near, spiritual, non-literal fulfillment, but are to have a literal end of time fulfillment. So, again, why is this not true of Daniel 12? Do not the Day of the Lord, the time of the end, and the resurrection go together? So, if the Day of the Lord prophecies had a near, spiritual fulfillment, as well as a far off literal aspect, then what was the spiritual, non-literal resurrection of Daniel 12 that was to have a fulfillment when Israel was destroyed? This is a very serious issue that Jurek needs to address. Of course, he will not address it in open dialogue because he has already informed me that he will not waste any more of his time thinking about this issue!

Jurek, Israel and Old Testament Eschatology

There is something else here that Jurek has completely overlooked, and I fully understand where he is coming from and the reason why he overlooks it. I was guilty of his error myself for many years. Jurek’s blindness is caused, not by dishonesty, but by the basic, but faulty foundation of his theology. Let me explain.

One of the absolutely foundational elements of Jurek’s amillennialism is his belief that God was through with Israel at the Cross. All of the O. T. was fulfilled by that time, and beginning at Pentecost, God began His relationship with the church, totally severed from the promises to Israel. There is now a totally new set of promises, with a new set of prophecies, and again, this is so important to realize, none of these prophecies have anything to do with the fulfillment of the Old Covenant promises made to Israel! I cannot begin to tell you how important this principle is to the amillennial world, and especially in the churches of Christ.

In several formal, and countless informal, debates with amillennialists, I ha
ve asked the following question: Are your eschatological hopes based upon the yet future fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises to Israel?” Almost invariably the answer has been an emphatic “No!” 10 What does all of this have to do with the issue before us, and Jurek’s hermeneutic? It has everything to do with it!

You see, Jurek wants to make the Old Covenant promises contain a dual application. (Although, of course, remember that he gives Matthew 24 a dual fulfillment, so this would even mitigate his own paradigm). However, he would not for one moment suggest that 1 Thessalonians 4, Acts 1, Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15 or Revelation 20-22 will have a dual fulfillment! Why? Well, because these are New Testament prophecies, that’s why! And while Old Testament prophecies have a dual fulfillment in Jurek’s confused world of eschatology, he would not concede for one nano second the possibility that any New Testament prophecy would have a dual fulfillment. But here is the fatal “achilles heel” of his eschatology

You see, all New Testament eschatological prophecies are grounded squarely in the Old Testament promises that God made with Israel! There are no “new” eschatological promises in the New Testament! New Testament eschatology is “Jewish” eschatology. There is no “church age” eschatology; all Biblical eschatology is focused on the last days of Israel, and the consummation of God’s dealings with her, not His final dealings with the church.

Patently, I cannot fully develop this in depth, so let me make a few simple, but undeniable points:

1.) Paul said that his doctrine of the resurrection, and surely, by any account, the resurrection qualifies as eschatology, was nothing but what “Moses and all the prophets” foretold (Acts 24:14f). In 1 Corinthians 15:54f he affirmed that the resurrection would be the fulfillment of Isaiah 25 and Hosea 13. Thus, Paul’s eschatological hope was nothing but that contained in the Old Testament promises made to Israel. New Testament. eschatology is O. T. eschatology reaffirmed!

2.) Peter anticipated the parousia, Christ’s coming to bring the restoration of all things, at the time of the fulfillment of “all his holy prophets since the world began…Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days” (Acts 3:21-24). Furthermore, this apostle anticipated the arrival of salvation at the parousia, in fulfillment of the prophets (1 Peter 1:5-10), and he even tells us that his eschatology was foretold by the prophets who have spoken before. His prediction of the New Creation springs directly from Isaiah 65-66). Thus, Peter’s eschatological hope was nothing but that contained in the Old Testament promises made to Israel.

3.) John in Revelation foretold the fulfillment of all the prophets (Revelation 10:7f), and his promise of the New Creation is Isaiah 65-66. He emphatically says that he was anticipating the fulfillment of the prophets (Revelation 22:6). Thus, John’s eschatological hope was nothing but that contained in the Old Testament promises made to Israel.

So, we have the unmistakable, undeniable, irrefutable fact that the eschatology of the New Testament writers is taken directly from the O. T. promises made to Israel. What this means is that when we read 1 Thessalonians 4, or 1 Corinthians 15, (or Acts 1), we are reading the reiteration and re-affirmation of God’s promises to Israel! To put it logically:

Major Premise: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is the promise of the resurrection of the dead.

Minor Premise: But the resurrection of the dead was the hope of Israel promised in the Old Testament (Acts 24:14f; 26:6f; 1 Corinthians 15:54f).

Conclusion: Therefore, the resurrection of the dead of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 was the hope of Israel promised in the Old Testament.

We will develop why this is important even more in a subsequent installment. For now, notice what it means to Jurek’s hermeneutic. Jurek wants to make the Old Testament prophecies of the Day of the Lord to be typological, anticipatory of a greater, ultimate Day of the Lord. However, all of the “New Testament” prophecies of the last days Day of the Lord are nothing but the reiteration of the Old Covenant predictions of the Day of the Lord (e.g. 2 Peter 3:1-2; 13). Therefore, if we adopt Jurek’s hermeneutic, we must conclude that every single one of the “New Testament” prophecies of the end will in fact have a dual fulfillment.

Here is Jurek’s dilemma:

1.) He cannot admit that all N. T. eschatology is the reiteration of the Old Testament promises made to Israel without surrendering his amillennial theology concerning Israel and the Old Covenant.

2.) He cannot admit that all N. T. eschatology is the reiteration of the Old Testament promises made to Israel without affirming that the Old Testament remains fully valid and in force. More on this later.

3.) He cannot affirm the fulfillment and passing of the Old Testament without thereby affirming the fulfillment of all eschatological promises, and that of course, would make him a preterist!

4.) He cannot affirm the dual fulfillment of O. T. prophecy without thereby affirming the dual fulfillment of N .T. prophecy, since all N. T. prophecy is simply the reiteration of the O. T. promises made to Israel.

5.) Jurek cannot affirm a dual fulfillment of “New Testament”prophecies, i.e. Matthew 24, without affirming the past fulfillment of the parousia, the judgment and the resurrection, in some form. 11 And we have the right to ask how that was accomplished. In what manner, and in what events were the prophecies of Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4 initially, and typologically fulfilled?

Remember, Jurek insists on the dual fulfillment of prophecy. So, Jurek owes it to his audience to explain the manner, and the time, when the prophecies of Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, Revelation were initially fulfilled. If he says that these prophecies were not initially and typologically fulfilled, then he has abandoned his dual fulfillment paradigm. Of course he would be quick to abandon that hermeneutic anyway. You will note that he appeals to that hermeneutic in regard to Matthew 24, claiming that many difficulties in understanding prophecy would be eliminated by understanding the dual fulfillment principle. However, does he apply that principle to Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, 2 Thessalonians and Revelation? Not for one moment! But why is the principle of dual fulfillment applicable to the Olivet Discourse and not to these other eschatological texts?

Jurek cannot escape the reality that the N. T. prophecies are the O.T. prophecies reiterated. Thus, if O. T. prophecies have a dual fulfillment, this demands that the N. T. prophecies have a dual fulfillment, since they are the same predictions. Now, Jurek might (would!), object by saying that in the N. T. the apostles were focused on the ultimate fulfillment, not the typological fulfillment. But this does not solve his problem! If the N. T. writers were focused on the ultimate, non-typological fulfillment, then they were still, undeniably, an
ticipating the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel
, as they unambiguously state, repeatedly. The N. T. writers never say that “Israel’s part” of the eschatological promises were fulfilled, and therefore they were awaiting “the church’s part” to be fulfilled. If the N. T. writers were anticipating the “ultimate” fulfillment of the prophecies, that demands that brother Jurek be able to show to us the initial, typological fulfillment upon which the N. T. writers were building their case. So, if, for instance, Paul was anticipating the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah 25 and Hosea 13, where can we find the initial, typological fulfillment of those prophecies in the past? When, in the past, was “death destroyed forever” as promised by Isaiah 25? When and where, in the past, did God overcome the power of the “grave” as foretold by Hosea 13:14?

The point is that brother Jurek’s entire hermeneutic of eschatology is fundamentally and fatally flawed, because of his false view of the Old Testament and Israel. His dual fulfillment hermeneutic destroys his own eschatology.

Where is Daniel and How Did He Get There?

Let me now address here a question posed by brother Jurek. And really, in a way, this simple question strikes at the very core of the differences between us. He asks: “If this prophecy (Daniel 12, DKP), only refers to A.D. 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem, where is Daniel? Has he risen and received his allotted inheritance?” Here is why this question is so important.

As an amillennialist and member of the churches of Christ, Jurek probably believes that today, and certainly in Daniel’s day, when a child of God died, they could not go to heaven because they did not have the true forgiveness of sin. Those under the Old Covenant could not go to heaven because “the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin” (Hebrews 10:4). So, if brother Jurek is consistent with the church of Christ position, he believes that when Daniel died, he went to “Abraham’s bosom” i.e. paradise, in the Hadean realm, to await the final judgment when, and not until then, would he and the rest of God’s saints receive the benefits of Christ’s finished work. So, for Jurek and his preaching compatriots, Daniel is still in Hades awaiting the forgiveness of his sin through the blood of Christ! 12

This view naturally raises all sorts of serious soteriological questions, and I can assure you that neither Jurek nor his preaching brethren have answers for those questions! To suggest that the child of God today is not better off than was Daniel under the Old Covenant is simply incredible. Yet, I once believed that doctrine myself! I just did not see the implications of what I was saying and believing. What good has Christ done, if the dead still have to go to the Hadean realm and be in the “holding tank” as many refer to it? If the child of God today has to go to Hades just like Daniel did, what is the difference between Christ’s sacrifice and the blood of bulls and goats? More specifically, does the child of God truly, objectively, have the forgiveness of sin, and the possession of eternal life in Christ or not? 13 (For an answer see Acts 13:38-39). If the child of God today, cleansed by the blood of Christ, is truly forgiven, what is it that prevents them from being in the presence of the Father?

According to the Hebrew writer, it was the failure of the Old Covenant to provide forgiveness that prevented man from entering the Most Holy Place. The blood of bulls and goats could never purge the conscience (Hebrews 9:12f; 10:3-4). And as long as that Old Covenant system stood, there could be no access to the Most Holy (Hebrews 9:6-10). However, that Old System was only to stand until “the time of the reformation” (9:10), and it would be at that time when man could enter into the Most Holy Place, i.e. the presence of God! But, while Jurek believes that the Old System passed away at the Cross, he (probably), denies that man can enter the Most Holy Place today! According to Scripture, man could enter the Most Holy Place when the Old Covenant was fulfilled i.e. at the end of the Old Covenant System. Jurek believes that the Old Covenant System was fulfilled and the Old Covenant System has ended. Yet, Jurek (probably) does not believe that man can enter the Presence of God today! This is a huge, huge problem in Jurek’s theology! It is part of the reason I abandoned the amillennial position; it impugns and denies the finished work of Christ.

So, where is Daniel? He is in heaven! He is not in Hades awaiting his reward. Daniel is emphatic that the resurrection, the time of the rewarding of the prophets, would be “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (Daniel 12:7). Yet, instead of bowing to heaven’s decree, all Jurek can do is ask, “Where is Daniel?” Had Jurek better understood preterism, he would not have continued to misrepresent our position, and, he would know immediately the answer to his own question! Jurek knows that Biblically, at the parousia the saints go to heaven! This is his own doctrine! Yet, because he did not personally see Daniel rise out of the ground, he rejects the Biblical testimony as to when the resurrection was to be and complains that he did not see it! This is not compelling argumentation! This is not logical refutation!

Let us let Jesus comment on this issue as well. Notice again that Daniel predicted that the prophets would receive their reward at the time of the end, the time when Israel was completely shattered. Do we find other passages that agree with this? We do indeed!

In Matthew 8:11 Jesus said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would sit down with those from the east and the west “in the kingdom of heaven.” This is a promise of the Messianic Banquet! 14 Why is this important? Because the Messianic Banquet would be spread at the time of the resurrection!

The idea of the Messianic Banquet is taken directly from Isaiah 24-25. We do not have space here to fully develop this, but it should be noted that virtually all of scholarship admits that Isaiah 24-25 and Isaiah 65 serve as the chief source for this prophetic theme. In Isaiah 24-25 we find the judgment of “the city of confusion” (24:10), and the judgment of “the land” and “the people” as a result of their “violation of the everlasting covenant” (24:5-14). There should be little doubt as to the referent of “the people,” the city” and “the land!” This is undeniably a prophecy of the judgment of Israel. And when this judgment destroyed the “heaven and earth” Jehovah would rule in Zion (24:19f). 15 It is at this time, the time of God’s rule in Zion, that He would create the Messianic Banquet (25:6f). When the Banquet was established death would be destroyed (25:7-8)! What is important to see is that this would also be the time of the consummation of all of God’s soteriological promises to Israel (v. 9), but more on this later.

So, Isaiah depicts the Messianic Banquet as the time of the resurrection. He posits it as the time of the judgment of Israel, i.e. the judgment of “the people,” “the land” and “the city.” He depicts it also, paradoxically, as the time of Israel’s salvation (25:9). It is the climax of
Israel’s history
, not the end of time. And this is precisely what we find in Isaiah 65 as well.

In this great chapter, the prophet speaks of Israel’s recalcitrance and rebellion (65:1-2), and how Jehovah was going to remember those sins. Jehovah then promised that His servants would eat, drink, and sing for joy, i.e. at the Messianic Banquet, while the rebels–Old Covenant Israel– was destroyed: “The Lord God will slay you, and call his people by a new name” (Isaiah 65:13f). So, we have perfect agreement between Isaiah 24-25 and Isaiah 65, that the Messianic Banquet, i.e. the time of the resurrection, would be when Old Covenant Israel was judged and destroyed! I call your attention to the fact that this is precisely what Daniel 12 foretold as well, so read those comments again, please.

Now, for a brief digression, take note again of brother Jurek’s hermeneutic. Remember that he claims that confusion concerning the end times would be resolved if we understood and applied the principle of the dual fulfillment of prophecy. Well then, in Isaiah 24-25, and Isaiah 65, we find the predictions of the resurrection, the Messianic Banquet, and the New Heavens and the New Earth! And don’t forget, that each of these prophecies is set firmly and irrefutably within the context of the destruction of God’s Covenant people due to their violation of the Covenant. So, let’s apply Jurek’s interpretative key to these prophecies.

1.) Does Jurek believe that there was in fact a resurrection, of some typological import, at the time of the judgment and destruction of Old Covenant Israel? If you will recall, in Waiting, Jurek decries the idea that anything substantive in regard to the kingdom occurred at the judgment of Israel. So, we want to know, and we have the right to ask, what typological resurrection occurred at the time of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel?

It will do no good for Jurek to simply claim, “Well, the promises of the resurrection are by nature predictions of the ‘real’ end, and are not typological.” This begs the question and fails to address the issue. The prophecies place the resurrection not after the time of the judgment of Israel, but at the time of Israel’s judgment.

2.) Does Jurek admit that a New Heavens and Earth came into existence at the time of the judgment of Israel? If not, how does he explain Isaiah’s prophecy? So, since Isaiah posited the New Creation at the time of the judgment of Israel, and since prophecy supposedly has a dual application, this means that Jurek must admit that the destruction of Old Covenant Israel did have some kind of eschatological, soteriological, significance. And, it was so significant that the prophets referred to what would become a reality at that time as the New Heavens and Earth! Does Jurek admit that Israel’s judgment was that important? Pretty clearly not! He is thus patently at odds with scripture.

3.) Notice that in Isaiah 24-25 and Isaiah 65, the eschatological blessings are inextricably linked with the destruction of a Covenant people. So, here is the question: if we are to see a dual application of prophecy, a.) Are we to see a dual fulfillment of Isaiah 24-25? And if not, why not? b.) If there is to be a dual fulfillment of these prophecies, what Covenant people will be destroyed at the time of the end being foretold? Remember now, Jurek stedfastly maintains that the key to understanding prophecy is the principle of dual fulfillment! So, if there is to be a dual fulfillment of these eschatological prophecies, does that not mean that God’s New Covenant people, i.e. the church, will be destroyed at the time of the resurrection? What New People will God create when He destroys the church? This is the only logical, consistent view one can take if one adopts Jurek’s hermeneutic!

Okay, back to the question: Where is Daniel? Since the resurrection, the rewarding of the prophets, the judgment of Old Covenant Israel, and the Messianic Banquet are inextricably linked, how does this tie in with Matthew 8? Perfectly.

Jesus said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, along with those from the east and west, would sit down at the table in the kingdom. This is the Messianic Banquet, and this is the resurrection! After all, this is the time of the rewarding of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, right? So, when would this grand event be? Read verse 12: “But the Sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” So, simply stated, the Messianic Banquet would be spread, the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for seating (reclining) at the Banquet, would be when “The Sons of the Kingdom are cast out.”

Question: Who are the Sons of the Kingdom referred to here?

Answer: It was Old Covenant Judaism. The term “Sons of the Kingdom” was a well known term used by the Jews to refer to the lineage of Abraham. If one takes the desperate view that the term refers to the church, then this means entrance into the kingdom will occur when the church is cast out of the kingdom!

Question: When were the Sons of the Kingdom cast out?

Answer: It was when, “The kingdom shall be taken from you, and given to another kingdom bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). It was “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered” (Daniel 12:7). It was when God fulfilled his threat, “The Lord God will slay you, and call His people by a New Name” (Isaiah 65:13-15). It was when Jesus’ words were fulfilled: “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:27-28).

Is Daniel now in the kingdom? If so, is he enjoying the Messianic Banquet? It would be interesting to know if brother Jurek believes that the Banquet is to be literal or if it is a spiritual Banquet of spiritual blessings? (I am pretty sure I know the answer to that question, and it has nothing to do with literal T-Bone steak!) If the Banquet is spiritual, why is the destruction of death attendant with the Banquet, literal? If Daniel is now in the kingdom, and if the Messianic Banquet has been spread for “all the prophets,” then, have the Sons of the Kingdom been cast out? Jurek would affirm that Old Covenant Israel has been cast out. I would venture to say that he would even claim that the Banquet is now spread. I would venture to say that from time to time he even sings: “All things are ready, come to the feast!”

Well, if the Banquet has been spread, if Abraham now partakes, if the Sons of the Kingdom have been cast out, then Daniel is at the table with Abraham and all the prophets. But if all of this is true, then the resurrection has occurred! No resurrection, no Banquet. No Banquet, no resurrection!

On the other hand, if the resurrection has not occurred, then the Sons of the Kingdom have not been cast out (i.e. Israel remains the chosen people of God, and still constitute the kingdom!).

If the resurrection has not occurred, then Jurek’s view of Hades is more, at least somewhat, more viable. But of course, if his view of Hades is viable, one still has to deal with the reality, or lack thereof, of redemption in Christ.

If the resurrection has not occurred then Jurek and his brethren should never sing, “All things are ready, come to the feast,” because the Feast is not ready, and will not be ready for who knows how long! 16

So,
in conclusion, Daniel is in heaven! Access to the Most Holy Place has been opened, and became open at the end of the Old Covenant Age (Hebrews 9:6-10). The Most Holy Place was opened “officially” when God’s wrath was completed in the judgment of Babylon, the city “where the Lord was slain” (Revelation 11:8; 16:16f). This was the time when the dead were judged and the prophets–and I can safely say that included Daniel– were rewarded (Revelation 11:15-17).

Brother Jurek’s failure, or refusal to see and accept this united and consistent Biblical testimony is part of the on-going futility of the amillennial paradigm. The Scriptures are clear about the time when the prophets were to be judged, and sit down in the kingdom. It was to be “when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.” That was not a typological fulfillment of the resurrection promise; it was the time of the fulfillment of all things that are written.

One final point here. Jurek’s hermeneutic convolutes God’s consistent modus operandi. Notice that Jurek is forced to admit that the prophecies of the Day of the Lord in the O. T. were in fact fulfilled. But of course, this demands that the fulfillment was not literal, not physical. God did not literally come out of heaven. Jurek admits and accepts the metaphoric use of the Day of the Lord language and says that God came instrumentally, in history, by Sovereignly using one nation to judge another nation. This is the preterist interpretation! However, he then says that those “spiritual” comings of the Lord foreshadowed the ultimate, literal, visible coming of Christ on the cumulus clouds! So, Jurek’s hermeneutic goes from the spiritual to the physical, from the metaphoric to the literal. This violates the very words of Scripture.

Notice that in 1 Corinthians 15:46, Paul says “that which is spiritual is not first, but that which is natural.” Here is God’s modus operandi, that is developed and presented consistently throughout the entire Biblical story. Jehovah gave types for certain. But the types were more literal, tangible, visible, as it were. But the types, the shadows moved to the spiritual, not the other way around. The Old Covenant animal sacrifice typified the sacrifice of Jesus. The Old Covenant priesthood likewise. The Temple signified the coming greater “true tabernacle” pitched by God and not man. The Land foreshadows the dwelling “in Christ” etc.

However, while Jurek claims that there was a spiritual coming of the Day of the Lord in the O. T., he insists that those spiritual Days anticipated a literal, visible coming of the Lord. As we can see from Paul however, this is clearly in violation of God’s normal way of doing things. He has always moved from the physical to the spiritual, not from the spiritual to the physical.

It is easy to see from the above that Jurek’s hermeneutic is simply a hermeneutic of desperation.

He cannot accept the emphatic declarations that resurrection would occur at the time of the judgment of Israel.

He cannot accept the clear cut, emphatic New Testament declarations of the nearness of the end times, so, he grudgingly admits to an imminent application, while maintaining that the imminent event was only typological of the ultimate far off end of time.

He thus demands that we are still living in the time of the shadows and types, instead of seeing that Christ is the body, not the shadow.

His hermeneutic demands also that at the judgment of Israel there was “a resurrection,”a New Creation, there was a New People created, etc. However, if he admits that these things are in fact related to the judgment of Israel, this destroys his contention that the fall of Jerusalem had virtually nothing to do with the kingdom or salvation.

His hermeneutic demands that at the judgment of Israel there was “a resurrection,” a New Creation, there was a New People created, etc., yet Jurek does not in fact believe that any of these things occurred at the time of the judgment of Old Covenant Israel. And if he suggests that he does, we emphasize again that we want to know, what resurrection occurred at the time of the judgment of Israel?

His hermeneutic demands the total destruction of the New Covenant people of God at the end of time and the creation of another Covenant people at that time. How can he argue for the dual fulfillment of prophecy, and then deny a dual application of these Old Testament texts? After all, he is the one that says that the key to proper understanding of prophecy is the dual fulfillment of prophecy!

Jurek’s hermeneutic denies Jesus’ emphatic declaration that the fall of Jerusalem and judgment of Old Covenant Israel would be the greatest event ever, past or future, and that in that event all things that are written would be fulfilled. Jurek’s interpretative key denies Jesus’ words!

Jurek’s hermeneutical key denies Jesus’ words. “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away until all of these things are fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). Jesus did not say that some of those things would be fulfilled. He did not say that the typological aspect would be fulfilled but that the “real” meaning would remain in the future. He said all of those things would be fulfilled in his generation.

Jurek’s eschatology is an outright denial of the oft repeated, strongly emphasized apostolic statements that their eschatological hopes were grounded firmly in, and nothing but, the “hope of Israel.” Jurek and his preaching peers in the churches of Christ, emphatically reject this foundational doctrine, and as a result have a disjointed, un-Biblical view of eschatology.

In sum, Russ Jurek has set forth a broken hermeneutical key that denies the express statements of Scripture. It alters the meanings of words beyond recognition. It disparages the very nature of the New Covenant World of Christ. It denies the finished work of Christ. It cannot explain why we are not still waiting for the establishment of the kingdom, why we are not still waiting for another fulfillment of the prophecies of the passion of Jesus, why we are not still anticipating a perhaps greater out-pouring of the Spirit, a yet future, greater calling of the Gentiles, and on and on it goes! Jurek’s hermeneutic has no merit in Scripture, in logic, or in Truth. It is a hermeneutic of desperation.

Of course, the moment one admits that Christ’s work in the first century was the final fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises to Israel (cf. Romans 15:8), then futurism becomes past tense! When one finally admits that the first century saints were not anticipating the revelation of more end times prophecies, but the fulfillment of the Old Testament end times prophecies, then eschatology quickly becomes covenantal, and not historical. When one finally submits to the Divine Word, they will quickly realize that God has been faithful. The dead, including Daniel, have received their reward.

Our next installment will continue our examination of Jurek’s proof texts for a future parousia, and we will focus on 2 Thessalonians 1.

End Notes

[1] Doug Radcliffe, a preterist, is a member of Jurek’s congregation, and is currently being threatened with dis-fellowshipment (i.e. excommunication), if he does not cease and desist teaching Covenant Eschatology. Radcliffe informs me that his repeated attempts to get the elders, including Jurek, to sit down with him and reason together, have resulted in refusal and stonewalling. Instead, Jurek condemns preterism from the pulpit and now in the publication of hi
s book. This is an all too familiar story, and one being repeated all across the world.
[2] I develop this point much more in one of my lessons in Fourth Annual Preterist Pilgrim Weekend, July 15-17, in Ardmore, Ok. . The CDs or cassettes of that seminar are now available. You can order that set of lessons from our website: www.eschatology.org The fact that Jesus placed full faith in him after the completion of the works the Father gave to him is not being properly considered by the majority of believers. On the one hand, it is gladly affirmed that we could not believe in Jesus unless he kept his promise to rise from the dead. In other words, faith only after fulfillment of his work. Yet, it is then affirmed that we can fully believe in him even though he did not keep his promise to come in the judgment and resurrection! This is illogical and contradicts his own words. Jesus’ work was multi-faceted, but is to be viewed as a comprehensive whole, not dichotomized and compartmentalized. If he failed in even one point, he is not the Messiah and Lord![3] Burton Coffman, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, (Austin, Firm Foundation, 1968) 380 [4] Coffman, who may be the source of Jurek’s eschatological views on the Olivet Discourse, is guilty of this sort of “conflicting definitions within the same context” sort of hermeneutic. Commenting on Jesus’ promise that the events of the Discourse would be fulfilled in his “this generation,” Coffman claims “‘this generation’ has a much broader meaning than the lifetime of those who heard him. If Christ had intended that kind of meaning, he would have used words similar to those in Mark 9:1. Therefore, we look for some special meaning of the term generation. As regarded the destruction of Jerusalem, ‘this generation’ had a limitation to the lives of the persons then living; but, as regards the final judgment, ‘generation’ referred to the descendants of Abraham, meaning the race of the Jews and that they would not cease as a separate people until the end of time.” (Coffman, 392). So, Coffman takes on himself to tell Jesus what kind of terms he could have used, and, he gives the same term “this generation” two, totally different, disparate definitions, in the same verse! This kind of hermeneutic would and does allow for any kind of textual manipulation and perversion, and is surely to be rejected by thinking people.[5] Burton Coffman, Commentary on 1, 2 Peter, (Austin, Tx., Firm Foundation Publishing, 1979)246 [6] We are not suggesting that Jurek does take a dual fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians. I am fully confident that he does not. I am unaware of any amillennialists, or anyone for that matter, that makes a dual application of the text. I am simply noting that you cannot affirm that Matthew 24 has a dual application without demanding that Thessalonians does likewise, and how Jurek might potentially, in desperation, attempt to make that argument. [7] The reason Jurek would not posit Daniel 12:3 at A.D. 70 is because Jesus directly alludes to Daniel 12:3 and says it would be fulfilled “at the end of the age” and coming of the Son of Man, in Matthew 13. And where does Jurek place Matthew 13? At the end of time! So, Jurek cannot admit that Daniel 12:3 is A.D. 70 without contradicting his view of Matthew 13. Jesus said the end of the age in Matthew 13 would be when Daniel 12:3 was fulfilled. But, Daniel 12:3 would be fulfilled “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (Daniel 12:7. Therefore, if Daniel 12:3 is A.D. 70, and if Matthew 13 is Daniel 12:3, then it is irrefutably true that Matthew 13 is A.D. 70.

[8] To suggest that preterists believe that resurrection is some kind of mystical, spiritual (i.e. unreal), resurrection is another one of Jurek’s misrepresentations and misunderstandings. The preterists that I know believe that Daniel and all the prophets were taken directly to heaven at the parousia. What Jurek and his associates miss is that the dead are, by the very nature of the case, in the unseen dimension! No one would have to see, with the human eye, the removal of the dead from Hades to Heaven, for it to be very real! The problem with Jurek is that he understands preterists to be saying that a spiritual resurrection is not really a resurrection at all! Nothing could be farther from the truth! I suggest that brother Jurek do his homework a lot better before he makes such pontifications.[9] We are fully aware that universalistic/comprehensive language can have a limited signification. For instance in Daniel 2:38-39, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that God had given him the sovereignty over all men and nations “where ever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field or the birds of the heaven.” And speaking of the third kingdom that would arise, Daniel said that it would “rule over all the earth.” So, this is “universal” language, that patently cannot be taken literally. However, in Daniel 12, we have a list things predicted, a question is asked about the items on the list, and the response is that everything on the list would be fulfilled at the predicted time. This means that one cannot exclude anything on the list of predicted events without violating the very question itself. [10] In the last of three public debates with Bill Lockwood, held in Spring, Tx., I asked that question in written form. He responded with “NO!!!” As I responded with the Biblical testimony, he got up and said that it was possible that there had been and continues to be “confusion about the relationship between the Old Testament and eschatology, and that perhaps I have even contributed to that confusion.” (Rough quote). Those three debates are available from me.[11] Jurek fails to realize that the promise of Matthew 24:31, the sounding of the great trumpet and gathering of the elect, is a prophecy of the resurrection, taken directly from the Little Apocalypse of Isaiah 24-29, and specifically Isaiah 27:13. This means that by admitting that A.D. 70 was the primary fulfillment of Matthew 24, he is tacitly admitting that the (a) resurrection occurred at that time. So, again, he is logically bound to explain the nature of the resurrection that occurred at that time. Obviously, he has no desire or intent to offer any such explanation. [12] I know that this doctrine will strike as strange most of those who read this. It is commonly held in the wider evangelical world that at his ascension Christ “emptied hades,” and that since his ascension the faithful go directly to be with Him in the heavenly realm. The problem of course is that the futurist view cannot logically and consistently explain why it is that someone in heaven, in the presence of God, has to leave heaven, come back to earth to get a body that they did not need to be in heaven, and then have that body raised and altered into something it never was, in order to go back to heaven where they were in the first place! The entire futurist world, whether that just iterated, or the amillennial view of Jurek and others, simply cannot answer nor address the issue of what happens after death without creating massive problems with the Biblical text.[13] In the churches of Christ, it has been, and still is in many circles, almost anathema to confidently affirm the present possession of eternal life in Christ. There is, regrettably, almost a fear of affirming “the security of the believer.” I have on my shelves many commentaries and debate books in which the church of Christ ministers stedfastly denied the present possession of eternal life in Christ, vehemently claiming that we only have the “promise” of eternal life now. Furthermore, in response to the question, “Do you know, without doubt, that if you died today, that you would go to heaven,” the common response has been: “Well, I sure hope so, but you have to be careful about saying that, because after all, ‘let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall!’” In the first place they don’t believe you can go to heaven until the end of time, and in the second place, they don’t think you can know, with assurance that you are saved! This doubt creating, fear mongering belief is, lamentably, still very much in sway in the churches of Christ. [14] For an excellent discussion of the background of the Messianic Banquet and its association with the resurrection, see Jack Scott’s presentation at the Fourth Annual Preterist Pilgrim Weekend. The entire seminar is available for $24.95 postpaid. Send a check or MO to: Don K. Preston, 720 North Commerce #109, Ardmore, Ok. 73401. Be sure to designate what you are ordering.[15] Notice, the resurrection Banquet would be enjoyed by those ruling with Jehovah in Zion, the heavenly city (Isaiah 24-25). But the N. T. author of Hebrews said, “you have come to Mt. Zion!” (Hebrews 12:21f). There could hardly have been a more powerful declaration that the eschatological consummation, i.e. the time of the resurrection, was near! By declaring emphatically that they were now approaching Zion, the writer was saying that the time of Israel’s salvation was nigh, for God’s rule in Zion would be the time of Israel’s salvation (Isaiah 25:6-9). Thus, once again, the N. T. affirms that the eschatology of the first century saints was inextricably tied to the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, not the end of the Christian Age.

[16] This raises serious questions therefore in regard to the Lord’s Supper. Is the Communion not a visible representation of the Messianic Banquet? (I am not affirming that the Supper is the totality of the Banquet. I do affirm however, that it is a visible symbol of the Banquet, and is a memorial of our deliverance from “the death”) Jurek’s view of things is that the Supper / Banquet is partaken until death is destroyed at the parousia, and then is discontinued. This is dissonant with Isaiah however, that posits the establishment and enjoyment of the Banquet at the time of the resurrection. Only by completely divorcing the Supper from any association with the Banquet and the memorialization of the deliverance from death, can Jurek even begin to sustain any coherent view of the Supper. I am convinced that it is entirely inappropriate to divorce the Supper from the Banquet. See my tape series on the Lord’s Supper for a fuller discussion of the significance and on-going function of the Supper.

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