Larry Bunch Versus Don K. Preston
Larry A. Bunch’s First Negative
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
Don wrote: <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.>
I am glad to be able to participate in this debate although I am not that familiar with eschatology and prophetic language. I was not raised in the church and what I have learned about the Bible has been by my own efforts without the benefit of a formal religious education.
Don wrote: <My responsibility is to define my proposition, so to that I turn.>
I do not see anything Don wrote that I would be in disagreement with, except, of course, the affirmation he is making and the wrong application of some Scripture.
Don wrote: <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.>
Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Jesus is not coming "to consummate the atonement and bring salvation to a reality" as Don affirms. He offered Himself one time for all time as a sacrifice for sin and He will appear a second time without a sin offering to take to the eternal home in Heaven those who are obedient to Him. There was to be no consummation of the atonement, not even if one applied Heb.9:28 to the destruction of Jerusalem. If this were so, then everyone from Pentecost (Acts 2) until 70 A.D. would be without the remission of sins.
Don wrote: <. 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.>
Which eliminates all hope of a Heavenly Home.
Don wrote: <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.>
What you have said, and some other things, cannot be said "kindly." While I am no expert in some matters (see my statement near the beginning of this negative), this does not mean that I don’t know what I believe! That is a ridiculous statement, Don. I don’t know that I espouse amillennialism; I don’t even know what it is! I suspect I know, but if you are going to use terms like that, you might want to define them! My free Webster online did not define it. I could not find the word doing a search of God’s Prophetic Word and Wallace’s commentary on The Book of Revelation.
Don, you seem to denigrate my lack of knowledge regarding the O.T. Tell us, can one be saved eternally if one has only the N.T.?
Don wrote: <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.>
The N.T. writers were inspired; Larry is not. Don, I wish you could debate the matter without innuendoes such as in the above paragraph, charging me with confusion.
Don wrote: <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.>
I deny that what Peter was writing about was the destruction of Jerusalem.
Don wrote: <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).> <It is undeniable that Paul’s eschatological hope was based on the fulfillment of God’s O. T. promises to Israel.>
Acts 24: 15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. 16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.
Acts 26: 21 For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."
This does not mean that all promises were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and that the judgment of all mankind took place in 70 A.D.! I will deal with 1 Corinthians 15 later. Don, you have so many passages in your affirmative that there is no way I could reply to them all without an excessive number of words! I will have another word about words later in this post. Please do not take my statement about words as a complaint, I’m just suggesting that the posts could be somewhat smaller, but am not binding such upon you. At one time I think we had a limit as to the number of words used but I do not know if such is still in force or not.
Don wrote: <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. .>
Don, I deny that I am preaching a different gospel than is found in the N.T.; the N.T. is what I preach! I do not delve in speculation of passages difficult to understand and formulate a doctrine on those passages that contradicts plain N.T. teaching, and will study the O.T. as circumstances dictate. Don, can one preach using only the New Testament?
Don wrote: <. Larry is out of touch with Biblical eschatology. .>
No, I’m out of touch with speculations contrary to N.T. teaching. I’m out of touch with Premillennialism and I’m out of touch with your 70 A.D. doctrine.
Don wrote: <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.>
I’m not sure that I clearly agree with this or not! I certainly do not agree with your conclusions about the matter when your conclusions contradict plain N.T. teaching.
Don wrote: <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.>
You have included no citation of Willis in your first affirmation. I copied some comments of Mike’s regarding 1 Cor.15 and your conclusions of when sin was (is) done away does not correspond with the resurrection of the dead at the end of time.
Don wrote: <"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.">
The passage quoted is 1 Cor.15:54-56, which I will deal with later.
Don asked: <1.) Is the overcoming of sin a resurrection motif?>
I suppose it depends on what you mean by the question. (motif 1 : a usually recurring salient thematic element (as in the arts); especially : a dominant idea or central theme 2 : a single or repeated design or color) If one desires to be raised to life eternal in Heaven, then sin must be forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus.
Don asked: <2.) Are the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 completely fulfilled?>
Tentatively, I say, "Yes." However, that does not include the end of the world and the final judgment with reward and punishment dealt out by the Lord.
Don asked: <3.) Is Old Covenant Israel still the covenant people of God?>
Don wrote: <Daniel 9, the putting away of sin, and Romans 11:25-27>
Romans 11: 25 Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; 27 "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins."
There is nothing in this that indicates that sins would not be removed until the destruction of Jerusalem. This began on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2). "And so all Israel shall be saved:" (KJV) is translated in the ESV as, "And in this way all Israel will be saved, ." Here is an approach to this phrase that is supported by the context. Sometimes, this little word "so" is equal to "therefore," — it introduces a conclusion. But, not always! Those with scholarly credentials in Greek tell us the word is sometimes an adverb of manner meaning, in the same way, or in like manner. I believe this is the way the word is used in Rom.11:26. I don’t think Paul is stating a conclusion; I think he is saying — all, of Israelite blood who are saved will be saved in the same manner as the gentiles! This phrase teaches that all Jews who are saved will be saved in the same manner as anybody else — by responding to Christ (obeying the gospel). A good parallel passage is Acts 15:11: "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved in the same manner as they,"
Foy E. Wallace: "In Rom.11:26 Paul declares ‘so all Israel shall be saved.’ The word ‘so’ is an adverb of manner and designates the way, or the manner, in which Israel should be saved. In both chapters ten and eleven he had shown that the ‘remnant’ had been saved by the gospel, but the ‘rest’ were hardened, or blinded. Now, if all, or the ‘rest’ are to be saved, it must be as the remnant had been saved. So–in this manner–shall all Israel be saved. No other way is provided for their salvation, and no other way can be devised for Israel’s conversion. The gospel is final to all, both Jews and Gentiles." (God’s Prophetic Word, p.98)
"In verse 27 the apostle quotes from Isa.59:20: ‘And the redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.’ Now, the premillennialists in order to provide for their unscriptural theory, have been forced to make the prophecy of Isaiah refer to the second coming of Christ (as you, Don, apply it to your perceived 2nd coming of Christ in the destruction of Jerusalem), thus skipping entirely over the first coming of Christ and the New Covenant, they apply the prophecy to the second coming of Christ and a covenant that he will then make with restored Israel in the millennium. In this effort their argument rests upon their bare and bald assertion, (emphasis mine, Larry) notwithstanding that Paul quotes this prophecy and applies it to the new covenant. Centuries before the first coming of Christ, Isaiah said there would come out of Zion this ‘Redeemer’ and ‘Deliverer.’ Premillennialists say that the Redeemer and Deliverer has not come; Paul said the ‘Deliverer’ had come ‘out of Zion,’ and Paul was quoting these prophecies to convince the Jews that this Deliverer and Redeemer had come, and referring to the promise made to them through Isaiah, he said: ‘For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’ Note the word ‘this’– ‘this is my covenant’–what was the covenant? ‘When I shall take away their sins.’ If that prophecy has not been fulfilled, the Jews cannot now have their sins taken away. But if their sins can be taken away now, that prophecy has been fulfilled– that was the covenant, that their sins should be taken away. Can the new covenant do that for a Jew? Does the new covenant do that? If not, then God must make another covenant in the future, a third covenant, by which to save Israel, and thus premillennialism repudiates the new covenant as to the means of salvation for the Jews. If they are right, Paul was wrong when he said in Rom.1:16: ‘for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ The quotation of this prophecy in verse 27 and its application to the new covenant constitutes a refutation of the premillennial doctrine of a future covenant, a third covenant for the millennial dispensation.
"The covenant to take away their sins explains ‘so all Israel shall be saved’–in no other way; the same salvation to all, and in the same manner–‘all’ shall be saved as the ‘remnant’ had been saved. It is not a declaration of universal salvation for the Jews, or national restoration of Israel, but rather stating the conditions upon which all Israel alike should be saved. The word ‘so’ is an adverb of manner. The ‘remnant’ had been saved by accepting the ‘covenant’ of forgiveness, the gospel. In the same way, and in no other way, all Israel should be saved. Israel as a nation cannot accept the gospel. No nation can do so. A nation can act only as an organized body, but accepting the gospel is an individual act. The Jews may continue in hardness to the end so far as Romans eleven is concerned." (God’s Prophetic Word, p.154-155)
Don, this reply has already become rather wordy and I fear we will discourage our readers with too many words. Consequently, I shall try to briefly refer to some of the things you wrote in the remainder of your post and promise to deal with 1 Corinthians 15 at a later time. Note that it may be in my first affirmative before I get to do that!
Don wrote: <Seventy Weeks were determined to put away sin (Daniel 9:24).&
gt; <The Seventy Weeks extend no further than the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.> <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.>
All was not fulfilled at Pentecost but the remission of sins was certainly fulfilled and did not have to wait until 70 A.D. for this to occur!
Don wrote: <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!>
No, my futuristic eschatology does not demand any such thing. Don, you have already admitted that some things were fulfilled before 70 A.D. What you need to realize is that the sin of Israel is taken away also in exactly the same way as the sin of anyone and on an individual basis, not a national one. In fact, Don, 3,000 Israelites had their sins taken away as recorded in Acts 2!
Don wrote: <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 theMost Holy Place
As I stated, I think in the questions I answered, I cannot apply all of Revelation to the destruction of Jerusalem. But even if Rev.20 refers to that time, it simply means I’m mistaken about one going to Hades at the time of death. Brethren are disagreed on this; some apply Revelation to a period of time after the destruction of Jerusalem and some maintain that the realm of Hades has been removed and one goes either to Heaven or Hell when one dies.
Don wrote: <Larry, why does your position not demand that the Old Covenant remains valid?>
Because Jesus nailed it to the cross.
With that, I bring my first negative to a close. Don had much more to say, but this is enough for me now.
Working with the Caprock church in Lubbock Texas
Larry A. Bunch
Lubbock TX 79414-4404
806-791-1951 (home phone)
806-252-0039 (cell phone)