Jackson’s Second Negative
Christian greetings once again to the debate moderator’s, my new friend & opponent in this debate, Mr. Don Preston, & to all who in every place call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
‘Blessed our those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching…'(Luke 12:37).
It affords me great pleasure to return to this internet pulpit & present a second negative to the proposition Mr. Preston has signed to affirm…namely…that all miraculous activities of the Holy Spirit ceased in the first century of the churches existence.
Both Don & i agree that all miracles & special manifestations of the Holy Spirit in supernatural power & abilities would remain operative in the life of the church until the return of Christ from Heaven. But Mr Preston affirms that Christ returned to this world in the first century. Don the preterist would say that every prophetic event associated with Christ’s second coming was completely fulfilled at the time of God’s judgment upon Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Thus the descent of our Lord from Heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God, the resurrection & translation of the church in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air( 1 Thess 4:13-18)…& every other predicted event going before or necessarily following Christ’s personal coming again in the air & to the earth is for Mr. Preston some non-literal, mystical, spiritualized presence perfectly fulfilled in a past historical event. This type of misapplication of unfulfilled prophecy to historical persons, places, & things has been with the church from the beginning.
Were there not those in the apostolic church period who caused a disturbance in the minds of some by teaching that the ‘Day of the Lord had come, & is now present’ in the distressing circumstances prevailing at the time(2 Thess. 2))? That the church was suffering persecution could not be questioned, but this persecution & trouble was not to be confused with what the prophets & apostles identified as the ‘Day of Jehovah'(used some 75 times in the Old Testament)…a time period on earth when Divine wrath would be poured out upon this world for it’s persistent disobedience & rebellion toward God(for example Zephanah 1:14-18), a time from which the New Testament church of Christ had hoped to escape( 2 Thess @:2). This may have been a sincere misinterpretation on the part of some regarding unfulfilled prophecy…but regardless of the intention of these preachers, they were, like Mr Preston, in error as to prophetic fulfillment.
There were other ‘preterists’ in the early church that also received severe apostolic rebuke. Hymenaeus & Philetus were of this sort…saying that the resurrection is already past; & overthrew the faith of some(2 Tim. 2:17). Paul says of them that ‘concerning the truth they have erred'(2:18). I wish to affirm in all kindness that when Mr. Preston says that the second coming of Christ(including all events associated with that return) is already past…that he & all modern preterist’s are saying nothing new in promoting prophetic error.
I hope to clearly demonstrate this fact before this debate is over.
DEFINITION OF MIRACLE…
Don’s definition of miracle has several problems. Biblical demonstrations of Divine power were not always instantaneous(Mk.8:24), they were not always for dramatic demonstration, but simply a Divine expression of compassion(Matt 8:2-4), they could often be denied(Lk 16:31), & though perhaps perfectly given, they were not perfectly received by imperfect humans(1 Cor. 12:1). I will not take time to quibble here…except to say that Mr. Preston’s view of the purpose & scope of the miraculous in sacred history is extremely limited by virtue of his denominational background. But this will shown at the proper time.
MATERIAL PASSED OVER…
I confess that due to time constraints & other matters, i did indeed pass over much of the material brought out by Don in my first negative response. I hope to be more respectful of his thoughts in this, my second negative.
MIRACLES & THE MOSAIC COVENANT…
The mosaic covenant effectively ended at the rejection, crucifixion & resurrection of Christ(Rom. 10:4). Israel at this time was set aside because of blindness of heart(Rom. 11). The New Covenant originally made with & promised to Israel(Jer. 31: 31-37)will have a future application with those to whom it was made(for God’s word cannot be broken)…but for now many of the blessing of this New Covenant is opened unto all who believe. The church participates in the ‘root & fatness’ of the olive tree, which is Abraham & Israel(Rom.11). If Mr. Preston wishes to know how Gentile believer’s since the first coming of Christ partake of a Covenant not made with them…i answer that while the New Covenant was not made with anyone except Israel, the blessings of which it speaks can be ‘ministered’ to us(Eph. 3:1-6).
But the effectual end of the mosaic covenant of law(at the cross) in the purposes of God for Israel in particular, & for the blessing of the world in general…do not terminate the need for the charismata in the age which is now(an age which has lasted 2000 years).
The anticipated ‘consummation of the age'(1 Cor. 13) by the apostolic community generally refers to the completed perfected redemptive movements of God relative to both Israel(Rom. 11: 25&26), & to the church(Phil. 3:20-21)…which requires both advents of Christ.
SECOND COMING LANGUAGE & PROPHETIC TIMING…
If the final personal coming of Christ & the ‘end of all things'(1 Pet. 4:7)did not occur within first century Christianity…would it therefore indicate that the apostles misunderstood God’s prophetic calendar? Mr. Preston would say that unless Christ did return a ‘second time’ within a very short time period(by 70 A.D.), then the apostles & even Christ Himself were mistaken with regard to the timing of His return, & misunderstood the prophetic pronouncements concerning major Bible prophecy.
But Don misunderstands prophetic timing. First, the Kingdom of God was ‘at hand’ in the person of Christ Himself during His earthly ministry. So the King & it’s Kingdom were truly present in the first coming of Messiah. Further, it appears that the actual Kingdom of Heaven was ‘at hand’ in that the Christ had come to His own to proclaim His coming Kingdom, & was ready to take up His throne & reign over the house of David, in fulfillment of the prophetic word…but ‘His own received Him not'(Matt. 3:1-2, Jn 1:10-11). There is evidence to suggest that the offered Kingdom to Israel was thus postponed early in the ministry of Christ…& this rejection & withdrawal of the offered Kingdom prepared the way for the establishment of an entirely new, unheralded, & unexpected mystery program…Christ’s church(Matt. 23:37-39, Lk. 19: 42-
44, & 21:24). The parables of Matthew 13 reveal the whole course of the development of the Theocratic Kingdom from the rejection of the King by Israel during His first advent until His reception as Messiah by Israel at His second advent. A careful reading of Luke 19: 11-27 develops this same progression of thought in the experience of God’s people Israel.
No matter how Mr. Preston chooses to view the above statements, he must know that while the ‘the Kingdom of God’ was presented as ‘at hand’ in the early ministry of Christ…this was not the message of Jesus toward the close of His earthly ministry(). He did not again proclaim the Kingdom as nigh to the nation. Instead of a Kingdom offered to the nation, He now predicts a direful threatening of fearful incoming evils…dispersion & destruction resulting from their unrepentant state(Matt. 21:43, 23:37-38). This rejection of Christ as King by ‘His very own’ is temporary only, & the ‘Kingdom promises’ to Israel will be resumed, according to the Lord Himself, at His final coming in glory(Matt. 24: 30-31, Acts 1: 6-7).
Mr. Preston may say that i am merely reiterating a dispensational view of last things in response to his presentations…but like all systems of interpretations…none seem to be perfect, & all contain some weaknesses. Those who attack the Trinity of God do so on the basis of it’s complicated vocabulary & logical inconsistencies. But in the end…it is the best description of the biblical view of God we have. And so with the schools of prophetic thought. Don’s mystical, non-literal spiritualization of significant portions of Bible prophecy in which he forces a fulfillment of some prophetic event into a past historical person, place, or thing often ignores very plain, explicit & definite details in the events predicted.
Because the Holy Spirit had revealed to the apostles neither the hour nor the day of Christ’s return, but only it’s certainty…we find in the apostolic church an eager anticipation of a personal, bodily, perceivable, & unmistakable ‘coming’ again a second time to this world to judge the wicked, redeem the righteous, & purge the earth of all evil(2 Tim. 4:1)). This is the final eschatological visitation of the Mighty God in Christ anticipated throughout all prophetic pronouncments. This glorious appearing of Christ to the whole world when He comes to be glorified in His church was the blessed hope of early Christianity(Titus 2: 13-15). Then comes Don Preston & his group to say the church has got it all wrong. Bosh!
Certainly many references by the apostles may be best understood as a ‘coming of the Lord’ in judgment upon Jerusalem in 70 A.D…which to the eyes of the world ended fully the dispensation of Judaism to the age of Christianity. Thus this explains many of the ‘nearness’ & ‘at hand’ language attached to the Coming of Christ in the letters to the early churches. But the attempt of Mr. Preston to cram ALL SECOND COMING LANGUAGE into an A.D 70 fulfillment is simply poor biblical hermeneutics.
I wish to ask Mr. Preston…if he honestly feels that the words of the apostle to the church in Thessolanica(4:13-18) were really & actually fulfilled in Jerusalem’s destruction in the first century? And what about Paul’s further instructions(in the following letter) regarding specific events which would be associated with the coming of the Lord? Do you really see this 70 A.D. Roman invasion as fulfilling the terms of the inspired prophecy? Did Christ descend from Heaven bringing with Him those who had fallen asleep(died)in A.D. 70? Did somebody confuse the dust of the marching army as the clouds of 1 Thess. 4:17? Was there a cry of command, the Archangel’s call, the sounding of the trumpet of God in connection with the destruction of the temple? What living saints were translated to meet our Great God & Savior in the air to be united with those previously resurrected? Forget for the moment difficult systems of interpretation. Did Christ with His saints & mighty angels reveal Himself in flaming fire in 70 A.D…to take vengeance upon all those who do not know God, who refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus(2 Thess 1:8)? Did He ‘come’ as prophesied to execute judgment upon all, & to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, & of all the harsh things ungodly sinners have spoken against Him(Jude 1:15)?
I will repeat once again that the problem with preterism is that as a system of interpretation… it is simply to simple. Too many pieces in the prophetic puzzle are missing. It presents an incomplete ‘prophetic picture’. It requires a recasting of the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. By recasting i mean from primary principles(of interpretation) & fundamental facts(of application) to meet the demand of a new & novel order of things regarding the blessed subject of Christ’s return.
By the way, one of the greatest preachers ever produced by the churches of Christ, Foy E. Wallace Jr., never tired of silencing any form of prophetic extremism whether in the form of excessive literalism, or…& watch carefully…an over spiritualized application of God’s prophetic word. This great & godly man believed whole-heartedly in a future coming of Christ to this sin torn world, a literal & visible return not fulfilled by some past person or event…& said during a series of lectures held in Houston, Texas in 1945 that ‘the supremely grand subject of the coming of the Lord..transcends(mere)facts & faith in a doctrine…it is the hope of the gospel…a firm expectation of all things promised…(including)eternal salvation & happiness in Heaven…it is founded on the unchangeable truth of God…(and)is the ground of our confidence which can neither deceive our faith nor disappoint our hope…it is a refuge to the christian in life, and an anchor to the soul in death…it behooves us all to ‘wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come…& thus to lay hold of the hope set before us'(from The lectures of Foy E. Wallace jr.’).
If this godly man could appear in his ‘form which is from Heaven'(2 Cor. 5) & speak to the contemporary church of Christ, what would he say to this strange fire of revived preterism advocated by Don Preston, Max King, & others? What would he say to Don??? Now that would be a debate!
THE DIVINE PROGRAM OF THE AGES & THE CHURCH…
The division of time into ages during which well defined time periods are indicated in the scriptures may be denied by Mr. Preston…but there does indeed seem to be an ordering of succession of ‘ages’ in the sovereign purposes of God for Israel, for the church, & for the world. That God has a Divine program of ‘time segments’ denominated as ‘ages’ is clearly spoken of in both testaments(Deut. 30:1-10, 2:31-45, Acts 15:13-18).
Don insists however, that this present age(the christian age), referred to by the apostle as ‘the dispensation of the grace of God'(Eph.3:2) is the last ‘age’ in the program of God, & that it can have no end. I say kindly that Don reads too much in Paul’s momentary raptureous doxology in the latter part of Eph. 3 in we find the words…”Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen’. There is nothing in the verse which would suggest that the Age in which the church began & continues, could not at last fulfill it’s Divine program of purpose, & be followed by further ages. Indeed, it is often suggested in the apostolic letters that this age & dispensation of grace is followed by a series of ages which ARE TO COME(Eph. 2:4-7). The apostle is stating the sublime truth that God will be glorified by the church through Christ Jesus without ceasing forever & ever. Nothing here that would discourage further ‘ages’ in fulfillment of God’s purposes.
Numerous passages c
an be called upon to show a contrast between at least(since Christ) two distinct ‘Ages’ in the apostolic letters identifying that age in which the ‘then’ existing believers were living…with an ‘age’ in which conditions would be altogether different…sometimes contrasting the two ages for us in a single statement(Phil. 3:20-21). Mr. Preston seems to ignore the characteristics between these two ages, despite the reality of the situation prevailing within the two ages so clearly demonstrated in the New Testament. The age in which we now live is certainly not THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF TOMORROW described by God’s prophets & apostles.
The character & course of this present age, i repeat, is the development of the ‘mystery’ aspect of the Kingdom…the church(). This formulation of the church…made up of both Jew & Gentile…to form ‘the body of Christ’, the church, is spoken as a ‘mystery’, & declared by apostolic authority as something not previously revealed, & was therefore unknown, but now has been revealed. Mr. Preston will call this ‘reiterated dispensationalism’…but despite some obvious flaws in it’s overall literal approach to scripture, there are some features in it that should not be too quickly dismissed. The mystery aspect of Christ’s church is only one.
Mr. Preston will not deny that both Christ & the apostles spoke of these two ages…drawing sharp distinction between the two. Jesus often placed the Kingdom of God & the life which is eternal into that ‘age which is to come’…things which do not find their fullest fulfillment now, although the blessings of which they speak begin may begin to be experienced even now(John 5:24, Heb. 6:5). The believer is now in possession of eternal life, & cannot come into judgment…yet who would deny that there is a future feature to both not yet experienced by the church, in which both shall be further explored? The Judgment seat of Christ before which we will all appear to determine our stewardship of this earthly life below is no doubt to occur in the time after Christ comes for His church(1 Thess. 4:16&17). Mr Preston knows that ‘this present evil age’ referred to by Paul(Gal.1:4) would only conclude with the Coming of Christ from Heaven. Please correct me Don if i misrepresent you. But if we allow for a full apostolic description of the two contrasting Ages…it is crystal clear that something is askew in the preterist view of the distinct characteristics of these two contrasting ages.
This present Age is evil( Gal. 1:4). Satan is the ‘god of this age’ holding people in darkness(2 Cor. 4:4). This age stands in opposition to the Kingdom of God. The love of sin is predominant in this age(2 Tim. 3:1-4). All are ‘dead in sin’, & walking after the course of this age…until converted by the convicting power of the Spirit through the gospel(Eph. 2). The church of Christ is commanded to ‘not love the world, or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him(1 Jn. 2:15). For all that is in the world-the lust of the eyes, & the pride of life, is of the Father but of the world(& this present age). It is this ‘world’ that is passing away, & the lust of it. But there is promised an eternal world & age to those who do the will of God, an eternity that does indeed begin at conversion…but the fullness of which cannot now be comprehended.(1 Jn. 2:17, 1 Cor. 2:9).
Briefly then, this age is the period of Satan’s activity, an age of human rebellion, an age of sin, sickness, disease, & death. That Age which is to come, introduced by the Parousia of Christ, will be the age of eternal life & righteouness, when Satan is destroyed & evil swept from the earth. Now then.
This is not to deny that the blessings of the age to come have not entered into this evil age…so that an overlapping of ages is apparent. This overlapping of the two ages() is felt by the church in that while we live bodily in this age of sin & death, we live spiritually in the age of righteousness & life.
The reality of the situation demands a future fulfillment to these great & precious promises of deliverance from a whole creation groaning in travail together until now…as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies…THE MANIFESTATION IN REDEEMED BODIES ON THE RESURRECTION MORNING OF ALL BELIEVERS AS SONS OF GOD(Rom. 8:23).
DANIEL’S 70TH WEEK REVISITED…
I fully agree with Don as to the meaning of ‘seal up vision & prophecy’, however, i would simply add that Daniel’s unusual expression ‘to seal up vision & prophecy’ results quite naturally when all prophetic pronouncements have been completely fulfilled. If Mr. Preston could present a full & uncramped fulfillment of the prophet Daniel’s seventieth week…he would have our attention. But he cannot, & did not.
Daniel’s prophecy concerns only Daniel’s people(the Jews) the Holy city(Jerusalem).
Look again at Daniel the 9th chapter verses 24-27.
1. Has Israel’s course of apostasy, sin & world wide wandering been brought to an end…& thus ‘finish their peculiar transgression?
2. Has the sin of Israel been ‘sealed up'(marginal reading) in that God has turned away ungodliness from Jacob, & has taken from Israel all their sins?
3. Has the iniquity of Israel been forgiven as a ‘fountain’ opened to the ‘house of David’ & to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin & uncleanness?
4. Has an everlasting righteousness for Israel been established…in which that God raises up unto David a righteous branch, a King who shall reign & prosper…& in His days, Judah shall be saved, & Israel shall dwell safely?
5. Has vision & prophecy been sealed up if the completed fulfillment of these events for Daniel’s people & the Holy City have not come to pass?
6. And why couldn’t the anointing of the Most Holy Place be done in a future temple which stands in the midst of Jerusalem in direct fulfillment of prophetic testimony? Large portions of Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning a future Temple have never been fulfilled. And if Mr. Preston insists that Ezekiel’s Temple only symbolizes the blessings of the church in this present age…we will ask him to explain the symbol, & the thing symbolized!
The ‘cutting off’ of Messiah at the end of the 69 weeks, or after the 69 weeks does not of necessity place the crucifixion of Christ & the destruction of Jerusalem into the 70 weeks. To say as Don does, that ‘after’ automatically necessitates that the ‘cutting off’ of the Messiah would take place during the seventieth week is a grammatical fallacy. The word translated ‘after’ in Daniel 9:27 is a word that is just as easily translated to say…’when the 69 weeks are completed’. If anything, the language here would indicate that these events precede the 70th week, and the reading audience should bear in mind that intervals of time often do divide a prophecy’s fulfillment. The full fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1&2(as quoted by Christ in the Temple)includes the whole intermission between the first coming of Christ in which the ‘gospel is preached to the poor’, & His second coming which brings the ‘Day of vengeance of our God'(luke 4:16-21). Even Mr. Preston must admit of a small time gap(of 40 years)between the death of Christ & the destruction of Jerusalem although the prophecy reads as though the two events follow each other without any delay.
Mr. Preston has not established an argument for the termination of spiritual gifts from Daniel’s 70 weeks, because not only myself but perhaps a majority of biblical scholars have never felt that Daniel’s seventy weeks have run their full course.
DANIEL 12 & THE RESURRECTIONS…
Mr Preston believes that the historical events of 70 A.D. completely fulfill the prophetic words of Daniel. No wonder this novel doctrine is called ’70 A.D.ism’. Does Don’s interpretation do justice to Daniel’s prophecy? I
A quick reading of Daniel 11:36 to 12:3 composes a revelation given to Daniel which highlights some of the major factors existing at the ‘time of the end’ such as…A World Ruler, A World Religion, A World War, the Greatest Tribulation upon Israel ever known, A Deliverance Following this Awful Distress, Resurrection, Judgment, & Reward. Additional end time events are supplied by other prophets which can be seen to follow a chronological order to fulfillment. Don’s system of interpretation can only provide a mystical-spiritualized application of the prophet’s pronouncements…a ‘way’ of interpreting scripture which is unwarranted & inexcusable to a man of Mr. Preston’s ability.
Daniel’s revelation was that the time of the end will be a period of trouble such as the world has never known, trouble of such character that it could result in the extermination of the human race…if not cut short by the consummation(see Christ confirming (Matt. 24:22). Mr. Preston teaches this was fulfilled in the ancient middle east, in the city of Jerusalem, in the first century. Don’t believe him.
Daniel’s revelation promised a resurrection to life after such suffering & martyrdom…a resurrection of ‘many’, therefore not all, & not all at the same time, apparently. Even Daniel was assured of a real resurrection after his ‘rest’…& would come forth to stand with all the righteous at the end of days(12:13). Tell this reading audience Mr. Preston, who was resurrected at the end of the Jewish massacure by the Romans under the murderous fiend Titus?
It does not help the affirmative to demand a figurative or spiritualized application to Daniel 12 because this would only present a spiritual resurrection of Israel from among the graveyard of the nations to a renewed favor with God in the ‘time of the end’.
The fierce destructive influences brought upon Israel at this time(of the end) naturally brings to completion & to fulfillment the entirety of Daniel’s prophecy. The awful judgments which have befallen Daniel’s people throughout history, including those preceding & since the 70 A.D. holocaust, only partially fulfill(at most)the greatest of calamities predicted upon them at the end of that Age called by Daniel ‘the time of the end’.
If Mr. Preston’s private & mysticalized system of interpreting biblical prophecy were consistently applied to all scripture…who knows what form of metaphysical Christianity could appear in these latter days in fulfillment of real prophecy(2 Pet. 3:3-4)!!
I ask the reading audience to read carefully Daniel 11:36 through Daniel 12:3…& then finally the whole of chapter 12 & see how nothing in recorded history can correspond to the things therein spoken. Daniel chapter 12 does not sustain Mr. Preston’s style of preterism.
THE RESURRECTION & THE APOSTLE PAUL…
First, the apostle entertained no notion of a ‘spiritual resurrection’ which would occur within 40 years of his letter to the church at Corinth. It is a ‘physical body’ which dies & is buried…& it will be a resurrected ‘spiritual body’ at the resurrection. By spiritual body is not meant a body that is spirit, but rather, a body that is adapted to the environment of Heaven(God’s dwelling)… & subservient to the spirit in contrast to a body that is adapted to the earth & a spirit subservient to the limitations & frailties of flesh & bone.
Further, there is suggested by Paul, numerous resurrections, separated by time & order, the first of which was the resurrection of the man Christ Jesus Himself…followed by those who are His at His coming…then THE END which must include a resurrection of those not raised at His coming for His own. There is also the delivering up of the ‘Kingdom’ by Christ to God the eternal Father after He(David’s greater Son) has destroyed every rule, every authority, & every power( 1 Cor. 15: 23-28).
The resurrection of the dead in general(with Christ’s resurrection as an example), including the apostle’s description of the resurrection body, together with the coming reign of Christ over all until He has put all enemies under His feet…including death…& delivering up this Kingdom to God, even the Father, has no relation whatsoever to the Roman invasion of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. If so, the language of prophecy has no meaning!
Let the reading audience read again this great resurrection chapter by the apostle Paul to the Corinthians. Who would not see the necessity of a glorious & future fulfillment in these words of the inspired apostle…except someone who is determined to find credibility for a theory.
THE HOPE OF ISRAEL…
“Paul preached nothing but the hope of Israel. He affirms this repeatedly. He did not preach promises to the church different from the promises made to Israel! This is crucial to understand, since, in Richard’s view, the promises made to the church & the promises made to Israel are totally separate. Paul’s emphatic statements about the source & content of his gospel message falsifies this, however”(DKP). This statement by Mr. Preston betrays an essential flaw in the preterist scheme of things relative to fulfilled prophecy…& to biblical hermenneutics in general.
Mr. Preston thinks that the promises made by God to Israel are either spiritually fulfilled in Christ’s church, or if literal, they are conditional upon Israel’s response.
Don says that the HOPE OF ISRAEL is the ‘PERFECT STATE’…the ‘FACE TO FACE’ state described by the apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians, which state is also mentioned, he says, in Isaiah’s prophecy chapter 52. The problem with all falsehood is that there must be enough truth to make the falsehood float. So it is here.
The essential feature of the HOPE OF ISRAEL known by the converted Jewish apostle Paul was in a Jewish national hope…founded upon certain promises made of Jehovah God to the progenitors of the nation(Acts 26:6&7). There is, of course, a definite & intimate connection between the Christian hope, & the hope of Israel, which will appear as we move through this discussion. But for now, & quickly, let us establish a few key points relative to the HOPE OF ISRAEL.
Years ago when i found myself bewildered by prophetic speculations of all kinds, including the ‘realized eschatology’ promoted within the majority of the churches of Christ…it was, strangely enough, that very denomination which, to my surprise, produced some of the greatest students of the prophetic word. Alexander Campbell himself understood that much of the predictive prophecy pertaining to the nation of Israel has not yet been fulfilled…& will only be fulfilled in a ‘prospective future destiny(source upon request).
The HOPE OF ISRAEL therefore is the complete fulfillment of the PROMISES MADE OF GOD UNTO THE JEWISH FATHERS…which were not so much misinterpreted by Israel when Christ came the first time…but were misunderstood at to the ‘times & seasons'(Acts 1:6&7). The exhaustive fulfillment of the prophetic word will require both the FIRST & SECOND comings of Christ, especially so in regards to the realization of all the promises made by God to His elect people Israel. Just a few The trustworthiness of God to keep His word is the basis of this HOPE OF ISRAEL(Acts 26:6&7, Lev. 20:26, Jer. 30:11, Jer. 32:42, Jer. 33: 14-16 Jer. 3:17-18, Ezekiel 37:21- & 26:24 Jer. 31:10…to name just a few…in almost all of the prophets there is this anticipation of the advent of Messiah the King to judge the wicked, redeem & restore Israel, & purge the earth of wickedness… that time when God comes to establish His Kingdom in the world(Is. 2: 2-4, Ho. 3:5).
THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS…
Which will you believe? Don the preterist or Peter the apostle? Don says Christ will come again after all prophecy is fulfilled(if i u
nderstand him right… But Peter plainly declared that the heavens are to receive Him(Christ) ‘until’ the times of restoration( Acts 3)! The great David Lipscomb said of this passage, “Heaven must receive him until the times of restoration of all things. Then the time of restoration of all things must be when Jesus returns again to earth…When Jesus comes again, the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and all things in the world will be restored to harmonious relations with God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe”(David Lipscomb lectures).
Mr Preston’s attempt to confuse the present redemptive ministry of Christ in the church as a result of His first coming, with the final restoration of all things as a result of His second coming…is quite clever. The restoration of Acts 3 & the reformation of Hebrews 9 are parts of the whole redemptive drama centered in the person of our Lord, but to press the meanings of each setting of scripture into the present experience of each believer is not wise.
Much of what Mr. Preston says is certainly true, such as the symbolic nature of the first Covenant was in many ways only representative of that true worship of the Father now offered up through the church. But the church & it’s program does not entirely replace God’s covenants & promises to the fleshly descendants of Abraham through Jacob. I cannot help but think of the words of the apostle who states the obvious regarding Israel that ‘concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers'(Rom. 11:28). There is simply so much of the prophetic word that is not given serious attention by the modern apostles(Beagle, King, Preston, Scott, Geiser, & others) of ‘the presence movement’.
Be careful when you hear Mr. Preston demonstrate his magic ‘therefore’…as he concludes an attempted argument. It is in that moment one witnesses a truth mixed in with some error…but not always discerned by the unlearned. He says a lot to say that the ‘the time of reformation’ of Hebrews 9 is identical to ‘the time of restoration’ of Acts 3. His premises are promising, but his conclusions are deceiving. And he’s quick to insert an untruth. Don says that that the Second Coming of Christ was to occur at the time of the DIORTHOSIS(reformation)Hebrews 9:10. Really? It is Mr. Preston’s view(by way of scripture juggling) that DIORTHOSIS & APOKATASTASIS refers to events fulfilled by Christ at His first coming at the incarnation…& then further fulfilled by some meta-physical, mysticalized & spiritual coming ‘bringing us(the church) into the presence of God’ spiritually fulfilling the Lord’s promise of appearing a second time unto them who have eagerly watched & waited for Him & for His salvation??? Bosh!
I insist that Mr. Preston is not free to give scripture a private interpretation & application to fit his preterist fancy!
The spiritual experience of the church of Christ to stand justified in the presence of Almighty God by virtue of the death of His Son upon the cross…is a blessing full of glory i confess, but it & all other present blessings must be distinguished from those not yet received, specificly those blessings to be realized when HE APPEARS A SECOND TIME, APART FROM SIN, FOR SALVATION(). Mr. Preston knows that Christ came the first time to be humbled, despised, & put to death. His appearing a second time to those who look for Him will bring with Him a fullness to our salvation in body & soul which is now only partially received. I know that Don looks for a better day to dawn upon this world.
In fact, Mr. Preston knows all of this, & it grieves me deeply to think a preacher of his caliber has been sidetracked in this way. His clever attempt to make Acts 3 & Hebrews 9 is a good example of forcing a theory upon a text. The present ministry of Christ in the church, & His future ministry through the church to the world(after His coming)including the fulfillment of Israel’s national promises()…is really a question of ‘are we willing to believe all that the prophets have spoken()????
1 CORINTHIAN’S 13 & CONCLUDING REMARKS…
What has 1st. Corinthians 13 & Isaiah 52 have in common? Isaiah speaks of a future restoration of Israel to favor with God in the sight of all nations…with Messiah the Servant exalted & extolled, a future time when the God of Israel ‘REIGNS’. Paul speaks of the ‘complete & perfect Age’ in which all of the different programs of God are brought forward to a complete consummation. The immediate subject of Paul in His letter to the Corinthians being the gifts of the Spirit, & the termination of these gifts when the Perfect comes…is, of course, the tension between Mr. Preston & myself.
He will say that the ‘perfect state’ is now here by the coming of Christianity & the events of the first century, which brought an end to the Jewish state(decisively in 70 A.D.). But again…Mr. Preston finds fulfillment where there is none.
Only a non-literal approach to the prophetic words of Isaiah gives Mr. Preston any authority to apply the prophets words to the church. That this has been done in the past by apostolic example i will not deny(Gal.4)…but neither Don nor i have this kind of inspiration as interpreters of the prophetic word…so if the plain & literal sense makes sense, why seek any other sense? Actually, Isaiah 52 addresses many hopes & promises dear to the heart to God’s people Israel, to Jerusalem, to the reign of Messiah over the nations…a salvation & exaltation of the nation in the eyes of the world, & ‘they shall see eye to eye’…WHEN YAHWEH BRINGS BACK ZION(ISRAEL)(verse 8) as part of the RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS to be accomplished after ‘His return from Heaven'(Acts 3).
It is refreshing however to meet a church of Christ preacher who admits that the ‘perfect’ of 1 Cor. 13 is not a reference to the New Testament completed in writing! Mr. Preston knows, & thus admits, that the ‘perfect’ of which the apostle speaks must be associated with the Parousia of Christ. If Christ has not come…Don’s entire proposition falls flatter than a snake’s belly in a wagon wheel rut, because the necessary function of the miraculous charismata DO NOT CEASE UNTIL THEN.
Mr. Preston has sought to arrange scripture is such a manner as to support his proposition. I believe in each scripture he sets forth. I deny however, that his arrangement of scripture successfully establishes his affirmative proposition. It only establishes that Don is a master at mishandling the inspired word of God in this area, as all other preterists(& for an example of this, see Max King’s volumnious work, ‘The Cross & the Parousia of Christ). My head ached as i read the book! I do not question however, Max King’s sincere love for Christ & His word, & this would hold true for Mr. Preston as well.
Now Mr. Preston will complain that i am ignoring his points. I apologize in advance if this appears to be the case. But for the love of Christ…i have wanted to say that ‘much learning hath made thee mad Don(Acts 26:25)! I fear that for Mr. Preston the simple preaching of gospel essentials has become lost in this preteristic speculation which he has embraced as prophetic truth.
In his third & final affirmative, i want Mr. Preston to come out & actually state his full denial of the historic hope of the church relative to Second Coming of Christ for His baptized & faithful ones, although his denial is couched in preterist spiritualizations. I look forward to responding to his last presentation…& then on to my affirmative regarding the continuance of miracles & gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church of Christ.
I thank you,
The Cessation of the Charismata
Richard Jackson’s Second Negative