Written Debates

A01 (Bunch-V-Preston) 1st Affirmative by Don K. Preston

Don K. Preston is currently (12-2-06) involved in a formal written debate on eschatology with minister Larry Bunch of the Caprock church of Christ, in Lubbock, Tx. The debate site sponsoring the debate is religiousdebates@Yahoo.com.

While I regret that Rudy Schellekens decided not to complete our debate, I am glad that Larry Bunch has decided to discuss the issue of eschatology. 

Here is Don K. Preston’s first affirmative presentation however. We will post each man’s presentation as the debate progresses.


Larry Bunch Versus Don K. Preston  

Don K. Preston’s First Affirmative

Submitted 12-1-06

 

Proposition: The Bible teaches that the Second (i.e. final) coming of Christ, the judgment and the resurrection of the dead occurred at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

 

Affirm: Don K. Preston

Deny: Larry A. Bunch

 

My responsibility is to define my proposition, so to that I turn.

The Bible- By "the Bible" I mean all 66 books that are called the Bible, including the O. T. and the N. T. from Genesis through Revelation.

Teaches– By teaches, I mean that the Bible sets this forth as truth.

– By teaches, I mean that the Bible sets this forth as truth.

By The Second Coming of Christ, the judgment and the resurrection of the dead –By these elements I mean those constituent elements and complex of events that comprise the "last things," the climax of the Biblically defined "last days."

By the "Second Coming," I am referring to that event predicted in Hebrews 9:28–the coming of Christ to consummate the atonement and bring salvation to a reality.

By "the judgment," I refer to the judgment associated with the climax of the Biblically defined "last days."

By "the resurrection of the dead," I refer to that time and event that would bring into a reality, the victory over and solution to the death introduced by Adam, "As in Adam all men die, even so in Christ shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22).

By "occurred" I mean took place, came into being, became a reality, was fulfilled.

By "at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70." While I think this is self explanatory, what I mean by this is that with the destruction of the Old Covenant city of Jerusalem that occurred in A.D. 70, all eschatological promises and prophecies of the last days, i.e., the "second coming, judgment and the resurrection" were fulfilled, came to pass, became a reality.

 

I trust that this sufficiently explains my proposition. If Larry wishes to challenge any part of it, he is free to do so.

 

To help set the stage for my affirmatives, let me note that I asked Larry a series of questions, and he was kind enough to provide his answers for me. He had no preliminary questions for me.

 

First question:

"Are your eschatological hopes, i.e. the hope of the second coming of Christ, judgment, resurrection, based upon the yet future fulfillment of the Old Testament promises/prophecies made to old covenant Israel? Yes or No?"

Larry responded, "I don’t know. My hope of eternal life rests in the New Testament."

, "I don’t know. My hope of eternal life rests in the New Testament."

Another question was: "At what point of time and with what event were, (or will), all of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel be fulfilled, and His covenant relationship with her terminated?"

: "At what point of time and with what event were, (or will), of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel be fulfilled, and His covenant relationship with her terminated?"

Larry answered: "I don’t know. The OT covenant was terminated with the institution of the NT by the death of Christ. However, there may be some things in the OT relating to eternal life that have yet to be fulfilled. I am not an expert on the OT and will base my arguments primarily from the NT."

"I don’t know. The OT covenant was terminated with the institution of the NT by the death of Christ. However, there be some things in the OT relating to eternal life that have yet to be fulfilled. I am not an on the OT and will base my arguments primarily from the NT."

 

Another question was: "As specifically as possible, please tell me, at what point of time, and in what event, (events) was the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, with the attendant blessings and judgments of verse 24, completely and totally fulfilled?"

: "As specifically as possible, please tell me, at what point of time, and in what event, (events) was the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, with the attendant blessings and judgments of verse 24, completely and totally fulfilled?"

Larry responded: "I don’t know and am not going to take the time to study the OT now. I personally think your problem is trying to dwell in the OT and make things fit where they do not fit just like many who think they can predict the time of Jesus’ return and those involved in Premillennialism and things of the kind. Brother Wallace writes, "The seventy weeks of Daniel are thus applied to the period between the decree for the restoration of Jerusalem after the seventy years of exile and the coming of Christ, including the conversion of the Gentiles and followed by the desolation of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans." (God’s Prophetic Word, p.515)."

"I don’t know and am not going to take the time to study the OT now. I personally think your problem is trying to dwell in the OT and make things where they do not fit just like many who think they can predict the time of Jesus’ return and those involved in Premillennialism and things of the kind. Brother Wallace writes, "The seventy weeks of Daniel are thus applied to the period between the decree for the restoration of Jerusalem after the seventy years of exile and the coming of Christ, including the conversion of the Gentiles and followed by the desolation of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans." (God’s Prophetic Word, p.515)."

 

Please note the following.

Larry says he does not know if his eschatological hopes are based on the O.T. promises made to Israel.

Larry says he does not know if all of the O. T. is fulfilled.

Specifically, Larry says he does not know if all of Daniel 9:24-27 has been fulfilled.

He insists that he is not going to study the O. T. now.

 

With Larry’s answers in mind, let me state, as kindly as possible, that it is very difficult to debate someone who does not know what they believe, or why, or the true source of Biblical theology! As a fifth generation member of the churches of Christ, however, I know exactly where Larry is coming from, (I was there!). The problem is, the amillennialism he espouses is fundamentally, fatally
flawed.

 

While Larry says that he does not know if his eschatological hopes are based on the O. T. promises made to Israel, or when all of God’s promises to Israel would be fulfilled, the N. T. writers did not labor under such confusion.

1.) Peter said his doctrine of the New Creation was promised by the O. T. prophets, and his discourse on that topic (2 Peter 3), was simply a reminder of what the prophets, (as well as the other apostles), had said on the topic.

his doctrine of the New Creation was promised by the O. T. prophets, and his discourse on that topic (2 Peter 3), was simply a reminder of what the prophets, (as well as the other apostles), had said on the topic.

It is undeniable that Peter’s eschatological hope was based on the O. T. promises made to Old Covenant Israel.

2.) Paul said that his hope of the resurrection was based on Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14 (1 Corinthians 15:54-56), and Moses, the Law and the prophets (Acts 24:14-15; 26:21-23).

that his hope of the resurrection was based on Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14 (1 Corinthians 15:54-56), and Moses, the Law and the prophets (Acts 24:14-15; 26:21-23).

It is undeniable that Paul’s eschatological hope was based on the fulfillment of God’s O. T. promises to Israel.

.

3.) John said that Revelation was about the fulfillment of the mystery of God foretold by the prophets, and that in the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the prophets would be fulfilled."

that Revelation was about the fulfillment of the mystery of God foretold by the prophets, and that in the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the prophets would be fulfilled."

It is undeniable that John’s eschatological hope was based on the fulfillment of God’s O. T. promises to Israel.

.

 

So, the apostles and chief authors of the N. T. all tell us, unambiguously, that their eschatological hopes were found in, based on, and nothing other than the O. T. promises to O. T. Israel.

They tell us that they were preaching nothing but the hope of Israel!

 

For Larry to say therefore, that he does not know if his eschatology is based on the O.T. promises made to Old Covenant Israel, and to say that he has no intention of studying the O. T. is truly lamentable. It is tantamount to saying that he preaches a different gospel than the N.T. writers. If Larry’s eschatology is not based on the O. T. promises to Israel, then Larry’s eschatology is not Biblical eschatology! If he cannot proclaim the eschatology of the O. T. prophets, he is not proclaiming the eschatology of Jesus and the apostles.

 

The very fact that Larry posits Biblical eschatology at the end of the Christian age, in fulfillment of N. T. promises made to the church, instead of, and divorced from, the fulfillment of O. T. promises made to Israel, and at the end of the Old Covenant age, demonstrates, prima facie, that Larry is out of touch with Biblical eschatology. Although these preliminary issues are critically important. that is enough for now.

 

My affirmative will be based primarily on Daniel 9:24-27.

It might be noted at the outset that the words, second coming, judgment, and resurrection do not appear in the text of Daniel 9. True, but they need not be. The elements of Daniel 9:24, at least four of them, are directly and inextricably related to the parousia, the judgment and the resurrection! Just because a specific word or words are not used in a text does not mean that the idea or doctrine is not present. Larry will agree with this I am sure. If not, I will prove it.

 

Let me make some observations:

1.) Daniel 9 has nothing to do with the end of the current Christian age, and Larry clearly agrees with this. If therefore, I can demonstrate that Daniel 9 does predict the resurrection, then prima facie, I will have proven that the resurrection occurred at the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel.

, and Larry clearly agrees with this. If therefore, I can demonstrate that Daniel 9 does predict the resurrection, then , I will have proven that the resurrection occurred at the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel.

2.) Daniel 9 is concerned with the consummation of Old Covenant Israel’s eschatological, soteriological, and Messianic hopes–in other words, Daniel 9 is concerned with the issue of eternal life! It is concerned with the ultimate and true "restoration of Israel", i.e. the "salvation of Israel." This is proven by the prophecy of the death of Messiah, the making of the atonement, the putting away of sin, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, the anointing of the Most Holy. These things constitute the climax and goal of Israel’s history.

Daniel 9 is concerned with the consummation of Old Covenant Israel’s eschatological, soteriological, and Messianic hopes–in other words, Daniel 9 is concerned with the issue of eternal life! It is concerned with the ultimate and true "restoration of Israel", i.e. the "salvation of Israel." This is proven by the prophecy of the death of Messiah, the making of the atonement, the putting away of sin, the bringing in of everlasting righteousness, the anointing of the Most Holy. These things constitute the climax and goal of Israel’s history.

 

Seventy Weeks Are Determined…To Put Away Sin (Daniel 9:24)

The putting away of sin is inextricably linked to the resurrection of the dead: (In his citation of Willis, Larry concurs with this). More importantly, this is what Paul affirmed.

"Now when the mortal has put on immortality, and corruption has put on incorruption, then shall be brought to pass the saying, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory, O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law."

Here is my argument:

The resurrection would be when sin would be overcome, in fulfillment of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel (1 Corinthians 15:54-56).

But, sin would be overcome, in fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel, at the end of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24-27, i.e. at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. (Larry Bunch agrees)

Therefore, the resurrection would be at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

If the putting away of sin is a resurrection theme, and it irrefutably is, then, if the resurrection has not occurred, the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 have not yet been completed.

If the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 have not been fulfilled, then Israel remains God’s covenant people.

So, here are a few questions for Larry:

1.) Is the overcoming of sin a resurrection motif?

Is the overcoming of sin a resurrection motif?

2.) Are the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 completely fulfilled?

Are the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 completely fulfilled?

3.) Is Old Covenant Israel still the covenant people of God?

Is Old Covenant Israel still the covenant people of God?

To continue…

Daniel 9, the putting away of sin, and Romans 11:25-27

,

Seventy Weeks were determined to put away sin (Daniel 9:24).

The Seventy Weeks extend no further than the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Jesus appeared in the last days "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26). Note that Daniel 9:24-26 contains both ideas of the putting away of sin, and the death of Mess
iah.

Jesus’ appearance in the last days, was to "confirm the promises made to the fathers" (Romans 15:8) i.e. the Old Covenant promises to Israel.

The consummation of that process of putting away of Israel’s sin, i.e. the completion of the atonement process, would occur at Christ’s "Second Coming": "To those who eagerly look for him he shall appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).

Paul anticipated the removal of Israel’s sin, in fulfillment of God’s O. T. promises to Israel, at the parousia, (The Second Coming of Hebrews 9:28), "The redeemer shall come out of Zion…for this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sin." (Romans 11:26-27).

I know that the complete fulfillment of Daniel 9 did not take place at the Cross, or Pentecost, or at the calling of the Gentiles, because the taking away of Israel’s sin was still future to Paul in Romans 11 and 1 Corinthians 15, and, it would occur at the coming of Christ.

The process (and ground) of taking away of sin undoubtedly began at the Cross, as Hebrews 9:26 affirms. It was not perfected and completed there, however. Larry’s futuristic eschatology demands that God’s promises to take away the sin of Israel, are not yet fulfilled, since he claims that 1 Corinthians 15 is unfulfilled! But, if the taking away of sin as promised in Corinthians has not been fulfilled, then the work Christ began at his death is not yet perfected!

Take note of the following facts and arguments:

The taking away of Israel’s sin was not completed when Paul wrote Romans 11. Thus, the seventy weeks were not completed.

The taking away of Israel’s sin would come at the "Second Coming of Christ"–the time of the resurrection (Romans 11:26f).

The taking away of Israel’s sin is confined to the seventy week period.

The seventy week period extends no further than the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Larry has agreed).

Therefore, the "Second Coming" of Christ, to perfect and consummate the "putting away" of Israel’s sin, occurred at the time of (no later than), the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

This means, indubitably, that the resurrection had to have occurred at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Finally, I want to develop a couple of more thoughts in regard to the putting away of sin, the seventy weeks, and Hebrews 9.

Anyway you want to express it, Daniel 9:24-27 foretold the time of the fulfillment of Israel’s Messianic hopes and prophecies–and the fulfillment of Daniel lies no further than the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Daniel foretold both the time of Israel’s salvation, and, the end of the Old Covenant world.

That Old Covenant could not take away sin (Hebrews 9:6-10), "in which sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect" (Hebrews 9:9)… "the blood of bulls and goats can never take away sin" (10:1-4).

That Old Covenant system was typological, and foreshadowing (i.e. prophetic) of the time when forgiveness would come–sin would be removed!– (Hebrews 9:6f)– "It is symbolic of the present time…" (Hebrews 9:9). That was clearly the author’s time, not our time.

As long as that Old Covenant system stood valid, man could never enter the Most Holy Place… "The Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Most Holy is not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle is still standing" (Hebrews 9:8).

That Old Covenant system would remain valid "until the time of reformation"… "Concerned with foods and drinks, various washings, imposed until the time of reformation" (Hebrews 9:10).

While the Old Covenant system stood, when the faithful died, they had to go to Hades (Abraham’s bosom), because sin had not been removed, ("They have Moses and the prophets" Luke 16:29).

In other words, because sin was not removed, and could not be removed by that system, the Old Covenant system was the time of Abraham’s bosom, i.e. the time of Hades.

Larry’s position (the position I once held), is that today, when the faithful Christian dies, they too –like those under Moses and the prophet– have to go to Hades (Abraham’s bosom)! They cannot enter the Most Holy Place!

The time of the resurrection would be when Hades was destroyed (Revelation 20:10-12) "death and Hades were cast into the lake." Man could then enter the Most Holy Place!

With these facts in mind, let me offer a few arguments.

The O. T. would remain valid–with no access to the MHP– until the time of the reformation, when man could then enter the MHP (Hebrews 9:6-10).

The time when man could enter the MHP is the time of the resurrection, and Christ’s "second coming" (Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 20:10-12).

Therefore, the O. T. would remain valid– with no access to the MHP– until the time of the resurrection and Christ’s "Second coming."

Consider the following:

:

The O. T. would remain valid– with no access to the MHP– until the time of the resurrection and Christ’s "Second Coming."

But, the resurrection and Christ’s Second Coming have not occurred, and will not occur until the end of the current Christian age (Larry Bunch).

Therefore, the O.T. will remain valid– with no access to the MHP– until the resurrection and Second Coming of Christ at the end of the current Christian age.

Does Larry believe that the Old Covenant System will remain valid until the end of the current Christian age? He must if he believes that man cannot today enter the MHP!

Since Larry Bunch argues that man cannot today enter the MHP, of necessity, this means that the Old Covenant system remains valid.

It means that sin has not been removed.

But if sin has not been removed, the seventy weeks are not yet fulfilled.

If the seventy weeks have not been fulfilled, Israel remains the chosen, covenant people of God.

The irrefutable fact is that as long as man could not enter the MHP, the Mosaic Law remained valid. Larry claims that man today cannot enter the MHP until the end of the current Christian age.

Larry, why does your position not demand that the Old Covenant remains valid?

It was the Old Covenant system, and its failure to put away sin, that kept man out of the MHP, so, why does the Christian age have to end for man to be able to enter the MHP?

What is there about the current Christian age, and the gospel, that keeps man out of the MHP?

Has "the time of reformation" arrived?

If the time of reformation has arrived, yet, upon death the righteous still have to go to Hades, exactly what did (does), the time of reformation reform and correct?

We eagerly anticipate Larry’s answers to these questions.

Consider:

The O. T. would remain valid until the time of the putting away of sin (i.e. the time of reformation).

But, the seventy weeks were determined to put away sin.

Therefore, the O.T. would stand valid until the time of the putting away of sin at the end of the seventy weeks.

The time of Christ’s parousia, for salvation, would be the time of the resurrection, when sin would be put away (1 Corinthians 15:54-56; Hebrews 9:28).

The O. T. would remain valid until the time of the putting away of sin (the time of reformation), i.e. at the end of the seventy weeks.

Therefore, Christ’s Second coming and the resurrection, when sin would be put away, would be at the end of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24f, i.e. at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Finally,

The time of Christ’s parousia, for salvation, would be the time of the resurrection, when sin would be put away (1 Corinthians 15:54-5
6; Hebrews 9:28).

But, Christ’s coming for salvation was very near when Hebrews was written "now in a very, very little while (hosan, hosan micron), the one who is coming will come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:37).

Therefore, the time of salvation, the time of the resurrection when sin would be put away, was very, very near when Hebrews was written.

Summary and Conclusion:

Daniel 9:24-27 stands behind and is the source of a great deal of N. T. eschatology.

Unlike Larry Bunch, the N. T. writers affirm, repeatedly, that their eschatological hopes are nothing but "the hope of Israel," and based squarely on the O. T. promises made to Israel "after the flesh." The motif of the putting away of sin is found throughout the N. T., but is rooted in Daniel 9.

Since Daniel 9 posits the time of fulfillment as the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70– i.e. at the end of the system that could never take away sin, this means that all N. T. eschatological texts predicting the putting away of sin were to be fulfilled at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

The only way for Larry Bunch to negate my affirmative argument is to demonstrate beyond doubt the following :

He must prove that the overcoming of sin in Daniel 9 is different from the overcoming of sin in Corinthians. (We will of course, demand proof, and not mere assertions).

However, in both Daniel and Corinthians the promise of the overcoming of sin belonged to Old Covenant Israel!

In both Daniel and Corinthians, the idea of overcoming sin is posited as the climax and consummation of Israel’s hope. It belonged to Israel’s last days, not the last days of the Christian age.

So, unless Larry can prove beyond a doubt that the putting away of sin in Daniel is a different putting away of sin from that in Corinthians, my proposition is proven.

He must prove that the putting away of sin–at the time of the resurrection– in 1 Corinthians 15 lies beyond the limits of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9. But remember, that Daniel 9 sat the limit and confines for the putting away of sin. 1 Corinthians 15 is concerned with the fulfillment of the O. T. promises made to Israel and the putting away of sin.

To falsify my proposition, Larry must prove that:

The sin of Israel had already been taken away, in fulfillment of God’s O.T. promises, when Paul wrote Romans 11. He clearly cannot do this, since Paul was still anticipating the taking away of Israel’s sin, in fulfillment of the O. T. promises to Israel, at the coming of Christ.

Larry must prove that the taking away of Israel’s sin was not to occur at the time of Christ’s parousia. Yet, Paul was anticipating the coming of the Redeemer out of Zion to take away the sin of Israel.

Larry would have to prove that the taking away of Israel’s sin was not, after all, confined to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9. But, however far Larry would extend the taking away of sin beyond the seventy weeks, it is that far that he extends God’s covenant relationship with Old Covenant Israel.

Larry would have to prove that the taking away of sin is totally unrelated to the resurrection. But of course, in his citation of Willis, he has already conceded this. More importantly, in 1 Corinthians 15, the connection between the taking away of sin and resurrection is unbreakable.

Finally, to falsify my affirmative, Larry would have to prove,

That the entrance into the MHP and the putting away of sin are unrelated concepts. He cannot do this of course, because Hebrews 9 says it was the failure of the O. T. system to take away sin that prevented entrance into the MHP.

He would have to prove that the entrance into the MHP is unrelated to Christ’s second coming and the resurrection. But of course, Larry believes that it is only at the resurrection that man enters the MHP!

He would have to prove that Hebrews does not teach that the O.T. would remain valid "until the time of reformation." He cannot do this because that system was "imposed until the time of reformation."

He would have to prove that the time of reformation is unrelated to the parousia and time of the resurrection. Yet, the time of reformation is the time of entrance into the MHP, and as we have seen, Larry believes that is the time of the parousia and resurrection.

He would have to prove that the coming of the Lord for salvation / resurrection of Hebrews 9:28, is not the same coming of the Lord for salvation (the time of the inheritance) as in Hebrews 10:35-37.

He would have to show why and how, if the O. T. has truly been removed, man today, though ostensibly forgiven of sin (the one and only thing to keep man out of the MHP!), is still barred from entering the MHP.

Larry Bunch cannot prove any of these things, nor disprove my affirmatives. I have proven from Daniel and the N. T. correlations that the Second (i.e. final) coming of Christ, the judgment and the resurrection of the dead occurred at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

More on Daniel 9 next time.

 

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