The following correspondence was sent to me by a good brother that attended the recent (July 7-8, 10-11, 2008) public debate in Indianapolis, Indiana, between John Welch and myself. We have edited the email for confidentiality purposes, and for brevity. MP3s of that debate will be available shortly.
Dear brother Preston:
"I was at your debate with John Welch last week and talked with you briefly in the foyer on Tuesday night, I believe. Though I am in agreement with you on the date of the book of Revelation, I do not concur with your view of last things. ….You mentioned several times that the Wedding took place at the destruction of Jerusalem as based in part upon Matthew 22:1-14; however, a careful reading of the parable shows that the city was burned THEN others (a reference surely to the Gentiles) were invited the Wedding feast. So, according to your reasoning, Gentiles could not have been a part of the wedding until after A. D. 70. If your argument were true, then Cornelius could not have been saved unto A.D. 70?"
In Christian love, ………….
Brother …, please forgive the delay in response. I have, until the last couple of days, still been struggling with that pneumonia. It refuses to go away, although the last two days have been much better. In addition, I have been inundated by correspondence demands.
Anyway, let me offer a few thoughts in response to your comments on Matthew 22 and the Wedding.
I would like to suggest that your objection does not take note of the following:
1.) The Wedding belongs to the Old Covenant promises to Israel. Thus, if that Wedding has not yet occurred, then Israel remains God’s covenant people, awaiting the fulfillment of her promises (Hosea 1-3; Isaiah 62). Isaiah 62 unequivocally posits Israel’s salvation– the Wedding- at the time of Christ’s coming in judgment (Isaiah 62:2-12). So, wherever we place the Wedding, at the destruction of Rome, or the judgment of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of time, (as is still common to believe), it is there that Israel’s promises– her salvation takes place.
2.) According to the New Testament, the betrothal had taken place– probably at Pentecost– but, they were still awaiting the presentation of the Bride to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:1f; Ephesians 5:25f; Revelation 19).
3.) According to Revelation, the Wedding would occur at the time of the judgment of Babylon (Revelation 19:6f). Now, if we posit Babylon of Revelation as Rome, or the RCC, then that becomes even more problematic for your objection, since that would mean that the Gentiles would not be called until the fall of Rome or the destruction of the RCC at Christ’s parousia. My question would be, what relationship does, or would, the fall of Rome, or the destruction of the RCC have to the fulfillment of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel– and to her re-marriage? If, however, we see Babylon as Jerusalem, it correlates perfectly with Matthew 22.
4.) If, as I assume you do, you see Matthew 25 as the Wedding of Christ at the parousia, then, again, your position becomes even more untenable– in my estimation– for that demands, in the correlation with Matthew 22, that at the parousia for the Wedding, it is at that juncture that the Gentiles are called. Thus, your objection extrapolates the calling of the Gentiles into the future, at the end of time, but, demands that after the end of time, Gentiles are then, and only then per your objection, called into the kingdom. In other words, if you posit the Wedding into the future, then, you and I as Gentiles cannot now be called into the kingdom, for it is at the Wedding–at the parousia– that the Gentiles are called in!
5.) I believe your objection fails to consider also the fact that Biblically, salvation was to the Jew first and then the Greek. This story is told throughout Acts, and reiterated in the epistles. Furthermore, it was prophesied. Until Israel got her salvation, the nations could not receive their salvation (See Isaiah 49:6f for instance).
6.) May I kindly suggest that your objection fails to consider that there was a first fruit calling of the Gentiles, just as there was a first fruit calling of Israel (James 1:18; Hebrews 12:21f). Thus, the calling of Cornelius, and the ensuing conversion of the Gentiles, was the sign of even greater things to come. They, along with the remnant of Israel, were being called into Christ, to form the New Covenant people, to be married to Messiah.
7.) Your objection did not offer an actual explanation of the text of Matthew 22.
Is Christ the son, for whom the Wedding Feast was prepared?
When were the servants sent to call those who had already been invited? Traditionally, we have tried to say that this occurred before the Cross / Pentecost, and that as a result of their rebellion, Israel was cut off at the Cross. This fails to honor the context of Matthew 21 and 22. Israel had to be given a chance to "come to the feast"; and that invitation is found in Matthew 24:14! It is not exclusively a pre-Cross invitation, since the pre-Cross proclamation of the nearness of the kingdom was confined strictly to the cities of Israel, but did not go to the diaspora, the twelve tribes scattered abroad (see 1 Peter 1; James 1– See Romans 10 as well, where Paul recounts Israel’s rejection of the gospel call).
Is the Wedding of Matthew 22 the Wedding of Christ?
Is that Wedding the same Wedding of Matthew 25?
Is the Wedding of Matthew 22 the Wedding of Revelation 19, if not, whose Wedding is being discussed in each text?
Is Matthew 22:7 the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem?
If not, what is it, and who are the wicked men who killed the servants, and were then destroyed, and their city burned?
Did the Wedding take place before the destruction of that wicked city? If so, does that not posit the parousia of Matthew 25 before that destruction?
If Matthew 22:7 is not the destruction of Jerusalem, and if the Wedding has not yet occurred, what city will be destroyed and burned at Christ’s coming for his Wedding (per Matthew 22 and Revelation 18-19)– in fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Israel?
8.) Finally, I would ask that you consider again, very carefully, what I offered during the debate with brother Welch.
The parousia of Christ for the Wedding in Matthew 25 is the time of the parousia and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15.
The parousia and resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be in fulfillment of Isaiah 25:6-8– the time of the Banquet.
But, Isaiah 25, places the Banquet and resurrection at the destruction of the city (Jerusalem) and Temple (Isaiah 24:10f; 25:1-2; 27:8-11). This means that the Banquet of Isaiah 25 is the Wedding Banquet.
Thus, in perfect harmony with Isaiah 25– Matthew 22 posits the Wedding– the Wedding Banquet and resurrection– at the destruction of Jerusalem.
(Of course, this agrees perfectly with Daniel 12– and if you will remember, I presented charts on Daniel 12 in almost every one of my speeches, and all that brother Welch did in response was to misrepresent and distort my views. He never addressed my fundamental argument.)
These are just a few of th
e issues involved with Matthew 22 and the promise of the Wedding. It seems to me that the traditional view of amillennialism has completely divorced (pun intended) the N. T. references to the Wedding from their O.T. source, and their relationship to God’s covenant with Israel. We have turned the promise of the Wedding into a promise to the Church, divorced from Israel, and failed to honor the fact that– as I stated repeatedly in the debate in Indianapolis– all New Testament prophecies of Christ’s coming, including the Wedding– were based on and taken from God’s Old Covenant promises, made to His Old Covenant people.
If, as amillennialism claims, God was through with Torah and Israel at the Cross, how could the New Testament writers– virtually all Jews– be so eagerly awaiting and predicting the soon coming fulfillment of those supposedly dead promises, made to a disowned people?
I asked that question of brother Welch in virtually all of my eight speeches, and he uttered not one word of response to the question.
He knew, and I think many of the hundreds that were present at the debate now know, that this is a critical, fundamental question that historically, we have not addressed in the amillennial paradigm.
It seems to me that logically and scripturally, the very idea that the New Testament writers could be– as they undeniably were– drawing their eschatology– from an ostensibly dead Law– is simply untenable. Any appeal to a dead law is a dead appeal, and thus void and empty. This is clearly not the way the N.T. writers viewed it, however.
Peter said his expectation of the parousia was from the Law and prophets (Acts 3:21f; 2 Peter 3:13).
Paul said he preached nothing but what was found in the Law and the prophets (Acts 24-26).
John’s Revelation would be the fulfillment of the mystery of God foretold by the prophets (Revelation 10:7).
We must harmonize our view of Matthew 22 and 25, with the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel, and to suggest that YHVH was through with Torah and Israel at the Cross does not properly harmonize these facts and issues.
Well, I did not intend to write a book! 🙂 I will stop here.
I appreciate your consideration, and look forward to hearing from you again.
For His Truth, and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston