McDonald- Preston Formal Written Debate
Don K. Preston’s Second Affirmative
Jerry objected to my definition of the parousia as that which stands in contrast to his first coming. He noted that Jesus confessed to being king before Pilate, claiming this was the manifestation of his Kingship. This misses my definition.
Jesus’ Incarnation is defined as his coming when “a smoking flax shall he not quench” (Isaiah 42).
In contrast, his parousia would be as conquering King of kings and Lord of lords”- “in power and great glory.”
My definition stands.
I presented 23 affirmative arguments in proper syllogistic form. Jerry mentioned only one of them, and admitted that both major and minor premises are true, but claimed that the conclusion is wrong. Disingenuous to be sure. Instead of following my arguments as he pledged to, Jerry offered several affirmative arguments, i.e. on 1 Corinthians 15, Acts 1, Acts 2, etc.. I am under no obligation to address his affirmative arguments. I invite him to make those arguments when he is in the affirmative. I promise to refute them.
THE REMNANT: AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENT
Jerry says that if Paul preached the hope of Israel, they would have accepted his message. Well, the remnant of Israel did accept it!
Romans 11:7– “Israel has not attained that for which he sought, but, the elect has obtained, and the rest were blinded.”
Israel sought for something. They (the majority) did not obtain it. But, the elect– the righteous remnant that Jerry admits was coming into Christ– was obtaining what Israel longed for.
Thus, Paul did preach the hope of Israel, and the righteous remnant was entering it through Christ. But remember, the consummation of Israel’s covenant history would arrive when the “short work” of the last days salvation of the remnant was perfected at the coming of the Lord to fulfill His Covenant with Israel (Romans 11:26-27).
Jerry admits that the righteous remnant was receiving fulfillment of the OT promises. This affirms my proposition.
This remnant was undeniably the remnant of Old Covenant Israel.
So, let me develop an affirmative here.
Paul said the first century saints were eagerly anticipating the adoption, the redemption of the body (Romans 8:23).
But, the promise of the adoption was an OT promise made to Israel “after the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3).
Therefore, the promise of the adoption / resurrection belonged to Israel after the flesh.
This does not mean it would be a “fleshly” adoption or resurrection. It does prove that the promise of the resurrection was given to, and belonged to Israel after the flesh. It was the hope of the twelve tribes (Acts 26:7).
This is where Jerry has badly misrepresented me. Jerry is correct that Paul did not urge Jews to stay under Torah and that salvation was not through Torah. I HAVE NOT SUGGESTED OTHERWISE. To claim that I have suggests that Jerry has not read the literature to know what is truly being said, or, he does understand, but is purposely misrepresenting what is advocated, or, perhaps those of us who espouse the true preterist view have not been clear enough in our presentation
I am hopeful it is the latter. So, I will try to be more clear.
Paul preached that the church and gospel was the fulfillment of Israel’s OT promises- the church was an Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel.
Furthermore, Israel’s salvation would come at the end of her Covenant age, the time of the resurrection.
God’s OT promises were always to the righteous remnant. God never promised to save the majority of national Israel: “Though the number of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved” (Isaiah 10:21f).
God’s promise of the wedding– to remarry Israel– was to that righteous remnant.
Paul said that the remnant– which included him– of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1ff)– was being saved in the first century.
The salvation of the remnant taking place was in fulfillment of OT promises made to Old Covenant Israel (Romans 9:22-28)– Including the promises made to Hosea (Romans 9:26). Hosea was a promise made to the remnant of OT Israel. God was clearly not through with ethnic Israel- via the righteous remnant– at the cross.
“Has God cast off his people whom He foreknew?” (Romans 11:1-3). Jerry says, “Yes! Israel was cast off at the cross!”; Paul says, “God forbid. I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people.” Paul affirms his Israelite ethnicity. In the remnant God was keeping His OT promises to Israel.
That work of saving the righteous remnant of OT Israel would not be an unending process: “For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness; because a short work will the Lord make on the earth” (Romans 9:28).
The completed work of the salvation of Israel would be the salvation of “all Israel” (the perfected remnant– Romans 11:25-27): “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
The salvation of “all Israel,” to be finished shortly, would be at the coming of the Lord in fulfillment of Isaiah 27:10 and Isaiah 59:21– prophecies cited by Paul in Romans 11:26f.
For brevity, notice Isaiah 59:
Isaiah 59 breaks down into three headings:
ACCUSATION – God accused Israel, three times, of shedding innocent blood (59:3-7).
ACKNOWLEDGMENT – Israel confessed her sin, but did not repent (v. 12f).
ACTION – God determined to send His Intercessor who would come in judgment and salvation:
“He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies… So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. “The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”… “As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them…”
This is the coming of the Lord Paul anticipated in Romans 11. In other words, Paul’s eschatology was the OT hope of Israel.
This is the salvation of the righteous remnant in Israel.
This takes place at the judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood.
The salvation of “all Israel” (Romans 11:26-27– the consummation of the salvation of the righteous remnant that was to be completed shortly- Romans 9:28) would fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 59:20 (Romans 11:25-27).
The coming of the Lord of Isaiah 59:21 was to be the coming of the Lord in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood (Isaiah 59:3-11).
But, the judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood was to be in the first century in the AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem (Matthew 23).
Therefore, the coming of the Lord of Romans 11:25-27 (for the consummation of the salvation of the righteous remnant) was to be in the AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem.
Take special note: This coming of the Lord, for the salvation of the remnant would be in fulfillment of God’s covenant with Israel– “this is my covenant with them.” Thus…
The coming of the Lord for the consummation of the salvation of the remnan
t would be in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises made to Israel (Romans 11:26-27).
The coming of the Lord of Romans 11 would be the fulfillment of Isaiah 59– the prediction of the coming of the Lord in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood.
The coming of the Lord in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood was in AD 70.
Therefore, the AD 70 coming of the Lord in judgment of Israel was in fulfillment of God’s OT covenant promises to Israel.
This nullifies Jerry’s denial that Paul was threatening Israel with covenantal judgment in Acts 13. Paul warned his audience that if they did not accept Christ, that what happened in Habakkuk’s day– covenant judgment – would come on them. Since Paul tied the salvation of Israel and the judgment of Israel together– in fulfillment of God’s OT covenantal promises- this is prima facie demonstration that Acts 13 was about coming covenant wrath.
If, as Jerry says, God’s covenant with Israel was terminated at the cross, Paul was wrong to posit the fulfillment of Isaiah 59 in his future. Yet, he was undeniably anticipating the fulfillment of God’s COVENANT PROMISES to Israel, at the coming of the Lord in judgment of Israel for shedding innocent blood.
ISRAEL AND THE WEDDING
I asked Jerry, “When did, or will, God remarry Old Covenant Israel in fulfillment of His Old covenant promises to her. Jerry said: “He never did and never will.” He then said: “Don says that the eschatology of the New Testament writers was nothing more than Old Testament eschatology, and here, of course, I disagree with him. New Testament eschatology was prophesied in the Old Testament, but the Old Testament, itself, had no eschatology, it had no salvation, it had no standing after the cross.”
Nothing could illustrate the divide between myself and Jerry’s amillennial paradigm than this answer. I stand with Paul and the NT writers who all affirmed: They had one hope which was God’s OT promises made to Old Covenant Israel, “after the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3).
That singular hope was the resurrection: “For the hope of the promise of the resurrection am I on trial”, said Paul. The hope of the twelve tribes was the resurrection (Acts 26:6). Denial of this is futile.
Take note in regard to the marriage:
God was married to Israel: “Your maker is your husband” (Isaiah 54:5).
God divorced Israel (Hosea 2:1-2; Jeremiah 3).
God was going to remarry the same wife that He divorced: “I will betroth you to myself” (Hosea 2:19).
Jerry changes the “you” to “not you.” He is wrong.
Israel– the righteous remnant- surely had to be transformed into the body of Christ, under a New Covenant unlike the first. This does not negate the fact that it was Old Covenant Israel that He was to remarry!
Jerry actually admitted this critical point by saying that a righteous remnant did receive the promises. This is important!
Jerry denies that God married Israel at Sinai. Let’s see.
Deuteronomy 26:8-17-19 – “Today you have proclaimed the LORD to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and …that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the LORD your God, just as He has spoken.” (See Ezekiel 16:8f as well).
Marriage is entering covenant. The Hebrew word for both marriage and formal covenant is berith. God gave Israel the covenant at Sinai and said that is when Israel pledged to Him and He to her, in name, honor and praise. Israel took God’s name at Sinai, and entered into covenant with him, yet, we are not supposed think God married Israel at Sinai. If God did not marry Israel at Sinai when He gave her His covenant and His name, when did YHVH enter that marriage covenant with Israel?
Jerry says God married Israel in Abraham’s day. False. Ezekiel 16 depicts Israel as a newborn in Abraham’s day. It was when she grew up that He took her under His wing and made her His (Ezekiel 16:1-16). He clothed her with badger skins, a direct referent to the tabernacle which was given when YHVH made His covenant with Israel (Exodus 25-40).
God said He would RE-MARRY ISRAEL BY GIVING THE NEW COVENANT (Hosea 2:18). If God was to remarry Israel by making the New Covenant with them, it is illogical to say He did not marry them when He gave them the first covenant.
God undeniably married Israel at Sinai.
If God never did, or will remarry Israel, then He lied to her, or His promises failed.
If He never did and never will remarry them, then the New Covenant, to be made, “WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL” has not been established, AND WE GENTILES HAVE NO HOPE! (caps for emphasis)
All blessings for the nations would flow out of the restoration of the tribes of Israel (Isaiah 49:6-7). The “tabernacle of David” would be restored, “so that all men might seek Him” (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:14f).
Salvation was to be “to the Jew first, then to the nations.”
Jerry denies that God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel had to be fulfilled. He is wrong.
MATTHEW 22 AND THE WEDDING
Jerry’s desperation to avoid the ramifications of Matthew 22 has forced him to take unprecedented positions on the parable. It is absolutely essential for Jerry to be able to definitively prove that the wedding Matthew 22 is not the wedding of Matthew 25. If the wedding of Matthew 22 is the wedding of Matthew 25 Jerry’s eschatology falls. You would think he would devote time on this refutation. Instead, Jerry gave us not one verse to prove that Matthew 22 is not the same wedding as Matthew 25. He just says we should not press the details of parables. This is not convincing.
The marriage is THE CENTRAL THEME in Matthew 22! In the Greek, the number of times a subject is mentioned indicates its importance. The wedding is mentioned 8 times in Matthew 22, more than any other subject. Yet, Jerry says the wedding is an incidental element to be ignored.
In Matthew 25 the groom / wedding is mentioned five times. Yet, Jerry insists that Matthew 25 is the coming of Christ for the wedding. This is clearly self contradictory in regard to Matthew 22.
Jerry suggests that because Matthew 22 begins “the kingdom of heaven is like” this nullifies emphasis on the wedding. Really? Apply that “logic” to Matthew 25 since the parable begins, “the kingdom of heaven shall be liked to.” See the problem?
The wedding is the central theme of Matthew 22 and Matthew 25. Jerry insists that Matthew 25 is Christ’s second coming. There is no textual basis for saying that Matthew 22 is not the same as Matthew 25. This demands that the wedding at Christ’s second coming, was in AD 70. If there is textual evidence to divorce the texts from one another– or from the OT prophecies– Jerry needs to produce it.
Jerry asked: (Question #4): “What was the “new name” that was to be given by the mouth of the Lord in Isa. 62:2, and where is this new name found in the New Testament?” Answer: Christian and Antioch. Jerry thinks this helps his case. It does not.
Isaiah 62 said God would remarry Israel. Remember, Paul said he had betrothed the Corinthians, which included those of the righteous remnant of OT Israel.
The betrothal was a legally binding matter but it was not consummated until the marriage feast, the coming of the groom.
Isaiah said the marriage– the salvation of Israel– would be at the coming of the Lord in judgment and reward (62:10-12).
Jesus–citing Isaiah 62– said his coming in judgment would be in the first century (Matthew 16:27-28).
Remember, Jerry does not believe that the marriage takes place until the parousia, so where does that leave him with his “argument” on the name?
Jerry’s question #3 to me was: “When did Christ sanctif
y the church, and how did he do it?
Christ had (past tense) sanctified the church, “with the washing of water by the word.”Sanctification was preparation for the wedding, not the wedding itself. The presentation (wedding) was still future in Ephesians 5:25-26.
JERRY ON REVELATION
Jerry ignored my numerous syllogisms based on the inspired text. He offered external evidence, claiming he had proven his negative. No, this debate demands Biblical evidence. His citation of uninspired commentators demonstrates that he cannot prove his case from scripture.
He cites Johnson who claims that Revelation never uses the term “the great city” of Jerusalem. This is based, not on the text, but on the a priori idea that Revelation was written in the 90s.
The “great city” is “where the Lord was slain” (11:8) THIS IS AN INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT. It was spiritually called “Sodom,” NOT SPIRITUALLY CALLED WHERE THE LORD WAS SLAIN (caps for emphasis). The only city in all the Bible that is ever spiritually designated as Sodom was OT Jerusalem (Isaiah 1:10; Ezekiel 23, etc.).
Furthermore, Deuteronomy 32 said that in Israel’s “end” her “latter end” (32:19; 29-32f) she would be like the vine of Sodom.
Jerry says Revelation has nothing to do with Deuteronomy 32, claiming it refers to Moses’ day. This is an important issue. If Revelation (and the NT writers) anticipated the fulfillment of the Song, Jerry’s eschatology is falsified.
Consider then the Song:
Chapter 31:29-30– the introduction to the Song: Moses said, “I know that after my death, you will act corruptly to turn away from the way I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days.” Note that Israel would become “utterly corrupt,” i.e. she would fill the measure of her sin in the latter days. Jesus, who came in the last days, said that was to happen consummatively in his generation (Matthew 23:32).
Song 32:7 calls on Israel after “many generations” to look back on their history.
After those “many generations,” Israel would apostatize. Consequently, God would call the Gentiles to Him (v. 21). He would provoke Israel to jealousy by calling the Gentiles.
Paul applied that prophecy to his personal ministry to the gentiles (Romans 10:19; 11:11).
Question #1 for Jerry, did God call the gentiles to be his people in Moses’ day?
The Song predicted Israel’s last end. Jerry tried a bit of slight of hand, appealing only to the KJV of v. 19. However, most translations render v. 19 and 29f as “her end” or “her latter end.” Fact: Israel’s “end” or “latter end” did not come in Moses’ day. Jerry is simply desperate to evade the force of the text. He knows my affirmative is established if the NT writers anticipated fulfillment of the Song at the parousia.
Hebrews 10:35-37 quotes directly from Song (32:35-36) to predict the coming of the Lord in, “a very, very little while.” Other NT texts apply the Song to the first century.
Revelation 19 declares the Song fulfilled in the vindication of the martyrs at the judgment of Babylon.
Thus, the NT writers indisputably applied the Song to their day and the coming soon parousia of Jesus to vindicate the martyrs. Jerry is simply wrong to deny the first century application of the Song.
The Song of Moses was about Israel’s last days. If Babylon was Rome as Jerry claims, then since John applied the Song (the law of Moses) to the fall of Rome, this demands that the law of Moses and Israel’s latter days, extended to the fall of Rome in 476 AD.
REVELATION AND DOMITIAN
Jerry claims: “We have no evidence John was on Patmos at any other time than under Domitian.”
Now, admittedly, if Revelation was written when Jerry says, my position is falsified.
However: Jerry gave no scriptural evidence that John was exiled by Domitian. Let’s take a look.
Gentry lists Photus, Epiphanius (Heresies 51:12, 33), Arethas (Revelation 7:1-8), The Syriac versions of Revelation, “The History of John, The Son of Zebedee,” and Theophylact (John) as all saying John was banished to Patmos by Nero (Kenneth Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell,(Fountain Inn, South Carolina, Victorious Hope Publishing, 201)54).
Briggs says: “Patmos was not known in antiquity as an island of exile but was, on the contrary, a very active and spirited place albeit a hotbed of paganism.” He cites Aune (Revelation 1-5, p. 78), who likewise says there is actually no solid record of anyone being exiled to Patmos (Robert Briggs, citing Saffrey, in Jewish Temple Imagery in the Book of Revelation, Studies in Biblical Literature, Vol. 10, (New York, Peter Lang, 1999)35, n. 96).
This answers #1 of Jerry’s questions to me.
Even late date advocates are now saying of Domitian’s reputation as the persecutor: “Evidence to justify this reputation is scanty.” (F. F. Bruce, Cited in Gentry, Before, 289).
“The alleged evidence for a Domitianic persecution against Christians turns out on closer scrutiny to be highly nebulous at best and therefore ought to be dismissed as illusory.” (Briggs, Imagery, 38).
Niswonger says, “It cannot be proven without doubt that Domitian initiated a persecution against Christians. Roman records provide no clear evidence of even a small scale movement, let alone a concerted or large-scale persecution.” (Richard Niswonger, New Testament History, (Zondervan, Academic Books, 1988)271+).
The source of the persecution was, “those who say they are Jews but are not”, the “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9f; 3:9f). It was, “the city where the Lord was slain”; the city that had killed the prophets.
The persecutor in Revelation was not Domitian. If so, we demand that Jerry give us scriptural proof.
REVELATION AND THE WEDDING
Per Jerry, Babylon in Revelation was Rome.
But, the Wedding of Christ takes place at his coming in judgment of Babylon (Revelation 19:6-7): “The time of the wedding has come!”
Therefore, per Jerry’s view, Christ’s coming for the wedding was at the AD 476 fall of Rome.
However, Jerry says Revelation 21 is Christ’s coming for the wedding at the end of the Christian age.
Jerry has two wedding comings of Christ, at two different times! Are there two brides?
Yet, Jerry, denies that these “weddings” have anything to do with the fulfillment of the OT promises that God made to Israel, in spite of the fact that Revelation 10:6-7 says Revelation was focused on the fulfillment of those OT promises.
VINDICATION OF THE MARTYRS
I made numerous arguments based on the text of Revelation about the fulfilling of the OT prophets (Revelation 10:6-7), and the vindication of the martyrs. Instead of addressing these textually based arguments, he cited external sources. That is not sufficient.
Let me reiterate one of my arguments:
Jesus identified Old Covenant Jerusalem as the city that had killed the prophets (Matthew 23:29f). They were going to kill him and they were going to kill his apostles and prophets (Luke 11:49f). In killing his apostles and prophets, Jerusalem would fill the measure of her sin and be judged in Jesus’ generation (Matthew 23:33-36).
Paul, (circa AD 50s) said OT Jerusalem had killed the OT prophets, the Lord and they were killing Jesus’ apostles and prophets. In doing so, she was filling the measure of her sin. Judgment was about to fall (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16).
I was amazed at Jerry’s claim that 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 did not predict AD 70. He says v. 17-20 proves the judgment Paul refers to is the end of time. Those verses say no such thing.
Paul repeats Jesus’ words in Matthew 23. Jerry acknowledges that Jesus predicted the AD 70 judgment. Israel would fill her sin and be destroyed in that generation. Yet, without a single exegetical argument, Jerry claims that although Paul repeats Jesus, he ignores the impending judgment and speaks of another judgment
thousands of years removed.. This is eisegetic.
Wanamaker, citing Marshall, says the Greek of the text indicates that the wrath Paul refers to was, “so near that it was inevitably about to manifest itself, when the measure of their sins was completely filled” (Charles Wanamaker, New International Greek Testament Commentary, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, Paternoster, 1990)117).
John said Babylon had killed “the prophets” (16:5f). But, Rome, the Catholic Church, etc. never killed an OT prophet). Babylon is, “where the Lord was slain (11:8). She was guilty of killing the apostles and prophets of Jesus (18:20, 24). Her cup of the blood of the martyrs was now full. Judgment was coming shortly: “Behold, I come quickly!”
If Babylon was not Old Covenant Jerusalem, Jerry must prove that Rome killed a single OT prophet. He admits she did not do so. He claims– with not a word of proof- that the referent to the prophets in Revelation 16 cannot be OT prophets.
When the New Testament uses the term “the prophets” (72 times) or the anatharous “prophets” without a qualifier, Old Testament prophets are in view. Only 12 times does the term refer to prophets of Jesus. In these instances, context demands that they are NT prophets (Acts 13:1f; 15:32; Ephesians 2:20; 3:8, etc.). Revelation 16 contains no such qualifier.
Jesus, Stephen (Acts 7) and Paul identified Jerusalem as the city that killed the prophets. Jesus said of Jerusalem, “I send unto you apostles and prophets and wise men, and some of them you shall crucify…” (Luke 11:49). He said, “It is not possible that a prophet perish outside of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33f).
Jerry demands– with no proof– that John is distancing himself from Jesus, Stephen and Paul.
John, like Jesus, Stephen and Paul, is concerned with the OT prophets. Revelation is about the fulfillment of their hope (Revelation 10:6-7), and their vindication at the parousia (Revelation 11:15-19). Yet, we are supposed to divorce these facts from Revelation 16, per Jerry.
Jerry must prove exegetically – not with commentary citations– that John speaks of a city different from what Jesus, Stephen and Paul referred to, although every constituent element– including the time element– in Jesus, Stephen and Paul agrees with Revelation.
We will eagerly await Jerry’s textual arguments on this.
MORE AFFIRMATIVE ON MARTYR VINDICATION:
John saw the martyrs under the altar (Revelation 6:9-11). They cried out to be avenged. They were told they must rest, “for a little while, until their fellow brethren who should be slain as they were should be fulfilled” (v. 11. Per Jerry, they had to wait 400 years– or, perhaps they are still waiting!)
What is Jerry’s proof that these are not the martyrs of Matthew 23? He offered not a word of scripture. (See my book We Shall Meet Him In The Air, the Wedding of the King of kings, for a discussion of this).
The cry of the martyrs here is the cry of the martyrs in Luke 18, where Jesus promised, “he will avenge them (the martyrs) speedily (en tachei).”
Jesus said that all of the blood of all the righteous all the way back to creation, would be avenged in the AD 70 judgment (Matthew 23:35).
The “speedily” of Luke 18– and the “little while” of Revelation- is thus confined to Jesus’ generation and the judgment of Jerusalem.
Jesus said Jerusalem would fill the measure of sin in his generation. Paul said Israel was filling the measure of her sin via persecution (1 Thessalonians 2:15f).
Peter likewise, WRITING TO THE SAME CHURCHES AS JOHN– AND AFTER JOHN– speaks of their suffering, but promised that they would only have to suffer a little while (oligon) before the revelation of their salvation (1 Peter 1:6-7– caps for emphasis).
So, Jesus, Paul and Peter- all pre-AD 70- affirm that the filling of the measure of sin / suffering was to be fulfilled in a little while (1 Peter). Jesus said judgment was in his generation. Paul said it was about to fall. Peter said, “the end of all things has drawn near” (1 Peter 4:7, eggeken), and the “appointed time (kairos) for the judgment (to krino) has come” (1 Peter 4:17).
John writes to the same people as Peter, about the same persecution, at the hands of the same persecutors and promised vindication “in a little while” at the coming of the Lord against Babylon. Per Jerry, we are to ignore Jesus, Paul and Peter’s united testimony and apply Revelation to events hundreds- yea, thousands!– of years way. This is untenable. Let’s go now to 2 Thessalonians 1.
2 THESSALONIANS 1 AND THE MARTYRS
Note the following: (See my In Flaming Fire for a fuller exegesis of 2 Thessalonians 1).
Paul was writing to the church at Thessalonica.
They- not some distant church– were being persecuted (Acts 17:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16).
Paul said, “It is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation (thlipsis) those who are troubling (thlipsis) you” (v. 6). The tables would be turned; the persecutors would become the persecuted.
Who was it that was, when Paul wrote: “those who are (present participle) troubling you”?
Answer: It was not Rome, or the Catholic church. It was one entity: OT Jerusalem. This is historically undeniable.
“Those who are troubling you” would be, “punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power” (v. 9).
Question #2 for Jerry: Who was it that dwelt in the presence of God, but was to be cast out of His presence for persecuting the church?
The answer is in Galatians 4:22f: The Old Covenant seed “after the flesh” (who are the only ones who had ever dwelt in the presence of the Lord) was, when Paul wrote, persecuting the church, the seed of promise. As a consequence for that persecution, Paul said, “cast out the bondwoman and her son!” (4:30).
Paul said OT Israel was to be cast out for persecuting the church.
OT Israel did not persecute the church before the Cross / Pentecost.
Therefore, Old Covenant Israel was not cast out at the Cross.
Now watch: 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is a verbatim quotation of the LXX of Isaiah 2:19 which described the last days Day of the Lord, when men would flee to the mountains, (19-21). Christ’s coming in 2 Thessalonians 1 would fulfill Isaiah 2!Thus, Paul’s eschatology in Thessalonians was nothing but the hope of Israel found in the OT.
Isaiah 2-4 is a united prophecy of the last days ending in the day of the Lord. The repeated “in that Day” references tie the prophecy together. It is the time for the establishment of the kingdom (2:1-3). “In that day” would be a time of famine (3:1-3), God would arise to judge His people (3:13-24) the time of “the war” when the men of Israel would fall by the edge of the sword (cf. Luke 21:24). The “Branch of the Lord” would come and the remnant would be saved, “when the Lord shall purge the blood guilt from Jerusalem by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of fire” (4:4). YHVH would establish the Messianic Temple (v. 5-6).
So, in the last days the blood guilt of Jerusalem would be avenged at the Day of the Lord when men would run to the hills. (This hardly fits an “end of time, earth burning event)!
Jesus appeared in the predicted last days (before Pentecost!- Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 9:26). He said all the blood of all the righteous would be avenged in his coming against Jerusalem in his generation.
Furthermore, as he was being led to his Passion, the women who loved him wept over him. He told them to cry for themselves instead. The time was coming when men would run to the hills and cry to the rocks “fall on us!” This is a citation of Isaiah 2:19a (parallel Hosea 10:8- Isaiah’s contemporary).
Clearly, Jesus applied Isaiah 2:19 to AD 70. Virtually all scholars agree.
Paul, writing to the first century church being persecuted by the Jews, promised them “relief”(anesis
– never “reward”) from that persecution, “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven” (2:1:7f). That coming would fulfill Isaiah 2:19. So…
The coming of the Lord in 2 Thessalonians 1 is the coming of the Lord foretold in Isaiah 2:19.
The coming of the Lord in Isaiah 2:19 is the last days coming of the Lord to purge Jerusalem’s blood guilt by judgment, when the enemies of God would be cast out of His presence.
Therefore, the coming of the Lord of 2 Thessalonians 1 is the last days coming of the Lord to purge Jerusalem’s blood guilt by judgment, when the enemies of God (the persecutors) would be cast out of His presence.
Question #3 for Jerry: Did Jesus come, in the lifetime of the first century Thessalonian church, and give them relief from their then on-going persecution?
Let’s look closer:
The coming of the Lord of 2 Thessalonians 1 is the same coming of the Lord as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18- (Jerry agrees).
But, the coming of the Lord of 2 Thessalonians 1 would be at Christ’s coming in judgment of OT Israel for persecuting the saints– to cast them out of his presence (Isaiah 2-4; Matthew 23; Galatians 4; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9)– in AD 70.
Therefore, the coming of the Lord of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 was at Christ’s coming in judgment of OT Israel for persecuting the saints– to cast them out of His presence.
Revelation 6:12f, is the answer to the martyr’s prayer, the Day of the Lord. Catch the power of this: Revelation 6 – like 2 Thessalonians 1– anticipated the fulfillment of Isaiah 2:19-21- when men would flee from the presence of the Lord. So…
Isaiah predicted the last days Day of the Lord in vengeance on the persecutors of the saints- Jerusalem.
Jesus applied Isaiah 2:19a to the AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem for shedding his blood.
Paul applied Isaiah 2:19b to predict the impending judgment of “those who are troubling you” i.e. the Jews.
John applied Isaiah 2:19-21 to predict the in a “little while” vindication of the martyrs.
Jesus, Paul and John all cite the same verses in Isaiah. All had the same theme, gave the same promise and the identical temporal limitations.
I call on Jerry to give us his exegetical justification for divorcing Paul or Revelation from Jesus’ application of Isaiah.
Notice how this falsifies Jerry’s objections to the imminence of Revelation.
Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly” (Revelation 22:12). Jerry says “quickly”means with rapidity not soon. False.
If the avenging of the martyrs in Revelation 6 is the avenging of the martyrs of Matthew 23, then “Behold, I come quickly” is confined to Jesus’ generation. The parallels above prove you cannot divorce Revelation from Matthew 23.
Taxu does not emphasize rapidity over imminence. While taxus can mean, “at a rapid pace” it does not exclude “in a short time, soon” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1979, 807). Jerry’s own source includes imminence! It is presuppositional to exclude imminence from taxus.
En taxei (Revelation 22:12) never, (seven occurrences) emphasizes rapidity over imminence. (see my Who Is This Babylon, 2011, 181f) for an in-depth analysis of en taxei).
The imminence of en taxei is emphasized by the following.
Revelation is indisputably the reiteration of Daniel’s prophecies. This confirms that NT eschatology is the reiteration of God’s OT promises made to Israel. John was anticipating the fulfillment of Israel’s OT promises.
Daniel predicted the resurrection and the end of the age (Daniel 12:2-9). John predicted the resurrection at the end of the age.
Daniel said the resurrection would be, “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered.”
Jesus said “Behold I come quickly.”
If Jesus’ coming for the resurrection has not occurred, the power of the holy people– Torah– has not been shattered and Israel remains God’s “holy people.”
In v. 10 John was told not to seal the vision because the appointed time (kairos; Divinely appointed time) was at hand (engus). This was the kairos of Daniel 12:4. It was far off in Daniel’s day, but near in John’s. In v. 12 Jesus promised, “Behold I come quickly.” Watch carefully:
Sandwiched between those two statements of imminence is: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still…”
The coming of Christ was so near, so urgent, that the closing message of Revelation was, “let the wicked remain wicked!”
Jerry says Jesus has not come.
So, question # 4 for Jerry: Do you preach that Christ’s coming is so near that you say, “Let the wicked remain wicked”?
Clearly a “rapid, but not soon” coming at some indeterminate time, so far two millennia removed from John’s day will not work. The coming of the Lord in Revelation was so near that the Spirit said, “Let the wicked remain wicked!”
Jerry’s objection fails, badly. The coming of the Lord was so near that the message: “Let the wicked remain wicked” had validity.
This demands the objective, urgent nearness of the Lord’s coming.
The NT writers said explicitly that their one hope was nothing but the OT promises made to Old Covenant Israel.
Jerry denies this: “Paul (In Acts 24:14f, DKP) wasn’t stating that the hope was the reiteration of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel, he was showing that the hope was salvation which would come at the resurrection of the dead. This was all foretold to Israel in Moses and the prophets. However, it isn’t a reiteration of anything, it is the fulfillment of that which was prophesied so many years ago.”
This is clearly double-speak. Moses predicted the resurrection. Paul said he was preaching what Moses predicted. Thus, Paul was reiterating Moses. This is irrefutable.
Paul said, “I believe all things written in the law and the prophets, that there is about to be a resurrection of the dead” (Acts 24:14). Paul said the resurrection was in “the law.”
Jerry says that although the OT predicted the second coming and resurrection, that it has nothing to do with the Law of Moses.
This is an amazing claim and Jerry is wrong.
Paul said the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be when Isaiah 25:8 was fulfilled (1 Corinthians 15:55-56)– “then shall be brought to pass the saying, ‘death is swallowed up.’”
But, Paul called Isaiah “the law” (1 Corinthians 14:20-21).
Therefore, the prophecy of the resurrection of Isaiah 25 was “the law.”
The prophecy of the resurrection of Isaiah 25 was “the law.”
Not one iota of the law could pass until it was all fulfilled (Jesus).
Therefore, not one iota of the law could pass until the resurrection was fulfilled.
The resurrection was indisputably a foundational part of “the law of Moses.” This establishes my affirmative, no matter what Jerry says.
I asked Jerry:
Scripture said that the New Moons, Feast Days and Sabbaths of Israel’s festal calendar were “shadows of good things to come” (Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 9:6f; 10:1-3). What did the following feast days foreshadow and typify:
Feast of Trumpets
Day of Atonement
Feast of Harvest / Booths (Succot)
What did the seventh day Sabbath and the other festal Sabbaths foreshadow, and has that which the Sabbath (Sabbaths) foreshadowed been completely fulfilled?
Although Jerry promised to answer my questions, he said not one word in response to these questions. He needs to answer.
TYPOLOGY OF THE SABBATH AND FEAST DAYS
Jerry claims Colossians 2:14-16 proves Torah itself was nailed to the cross. Wrong. Dunn (New International Greek Testament Commentary, Colossians, in loc) shows that it was not Torah itself, but the debt incurred through violation of Torah that was removed in Christ.
aid the Colossians had died to Torah, by entering the death of Christ (Colossians 2:11-13). In Jewish thought, when a person died, they died to Torah. The Colossians, as the Romans, had entered Christ’s death through baptism. This falsifies Jerry’s Romans charts because it demonstrates that they had died to Torah– “you have become dead to the Law through the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4). Torah did not die.
This answers Jerry’s question #2 to me. Paul told the Colossians, who had died to the Law by entering Christ, not to be subject to the feast days.
However, Paul said the new moons, feast days and Sabbaths, “are a shadow of good things about to come.” He uses the present indicative along with mello in the infinitive. The Blass-DeBrunner Greek Grammar (University of Chicago Press, 1961, 181) says, “mellein with the infinitive indicates imminence.” The present indicative coupled with mello falsifies any claim that Torah itself was dead. The Law itself was still, “a shadow of good things about to come” but was, “nigh unto passing” (Hebrews 8:13; cf. Hebrews 10:1-2– See the Preston-Simmons Debate, The Passing of Torah, At the Cross or AD 70, for a fuller discussion).
Israel’s last three feast days (all Sabbaths) foreshadowed the eschatological consummation.
Rosh Ha Shanah (Trumpets) foreshadowed the Day of Judgment.
Day of Atonement the day of Salvation (Hebrews 9:24-28).
Feast of Harvest symbolized the resurrection.
(cf. Paul Kurtz, Sacrificial Worship of the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1980).
Edersheim says Sabbath (all of them) symbolized the rest of final salvation– “the eternal Sabbath of completed redemption” (The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, (Updated Edition, Peabody, Mass., 2004)134+).
Consider then the following:
The feast days and Sabbaths were the law of Moses.
The feast days and Sabbaths foreshadowed the day of judgment, final salvation and the resurrection.
Not one iota of the law of Moses would pass until it was all fulfilled.
Therefore, not one iota of the law of Moses– including the feast days and Sabbaths– would pass until all that the law of Moses foreshadowed, the day of judgment, final salvation and the resurrection, was fulfilled.
Jerry does not believe that what the feast days foreshadowed has been fulfilled. Therefore, the Law of Moses has not passed. If the Law of Moses has passed, but the eschaton has not occurred, then God’s covenantal promises to Israel failed. But God said His promises to Israel would not fail– they would be fulfilled at the coming of the Lord out of Zion (Romans 11:26-27).
The feast days were undeniably “the law of Moses.”
The feast days were irrefutably covenantal.
The feast days were indisputably prophetic.
Paul said the resurrection was in “the Law.”
The Decalogue commanded the Sabbath.
Sabbath foreshadowed final salvation i.e. resurrection.
Thus, resurrection was in the Decalogue.
The Decalogue was the Law of Moses, was it not? The Decalogue was God’s covenant with Israel, was it not?
Not one iota of the law of Moses would pass until it was all fulfilled (Jesus).
The Decalogue, i.e. the law of Moses, foreshadowed the resurrection via Sabbath.
Therefore, not one iota of the Decalogue i.e. law of Moses– including the Sabbath– would pass until the resurrection.
If the resurrection has not occurred, God’s covenant with Israel (Torah) remains binding.
If the resurrection has not occurred, Sabbath remains unfulfilled and binding.
These facts are indisputable. So, until what the eschatological feast days and Sabbaths typified was fulfilled God’s covenant with Israel would remain valid.
Daniel said the resurrection would be, “when the power of the holy people is completely shattered” (Daniel 12:2, 7). Israel’s only power was Torah, her covenant relationship with God.
Jerry responded that Israel’s only power is the gospel of Christ. Let’s test that:
The resurrection of the dead is when Israel’s power would be completely shattered (Daniel 12:2, 7).
But, Israel’s power is the gospel of Christ (Jerry).
Therefore, the resurrection of the dead is when the gospel is completely shattered.
However, scripture affirms, unequivocally, that neither the gospel or the kingdom will ever be “shattered.”
Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14– The kingdom shall never be destroyed.
1 Peter 1:25- The gospel abides forever, in contrast to things that fade away.
Question #5 for Jerry: Do you affirm that the gospel / church will one day be “completely shattered?” If so, give us scriptural proof.
Jerry’s position is an irreconcilable contradiction of scripture. Israel’s only power was her covenant relationship with YHVH. This agrees with the fact that the resurrection would be at the end of the Mosaic Covenant. Look closer at Daniel and 1 Corinthians 15.
Daniel 12 foretold the following:
v. 1- The Great Tribulation.
v. 2- The resurrection of the just and unjust.
v. 3- The righteous shining forth in the kingdom.
v. 4- The appointed time (kairos) of the end of the age.
v. 9- The Abomination of desolation.
Jerry believes– I assume– that the Great Tribulation and the Abomination of Desolation were connected to the AD 70 parousia. Yet, Daniel connected the resurrection with that Tribulation. Jerry’s position demands a so far 2000 year gap these two events and the resurrection. This is clearly not justified.
Pay close attention here:
I asked Jerry: Please define “the law” that Paul called “the strength of sin” and give scriptural support for your answer. Jerry responded: “The Law of Moses (1 Corinthians 15:56).”
All I can say is Amen! But this is fatal to Jerry’s eschatology.
The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be when the law that was the strength of sin was removed (1 Corinthians 15:55-56).
The law that was the strength of sin was the law of Moses (Jerry McDonald).
Therefore, the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 was when the law of Moses was removed.
This is irrefutable. Jerry has surrendered to my affirmative and destroyed his own eschatology, before he has even begun to affirm his position.
Notice the correlation between Daniel and 1 Corinthians 15:
The resurrection to eternal life (v. 2). —> Paul predicted the resurrection to eternal life (v. 54f)
The end of the age (v. 4)—> Paul predicted the time of the end (v. 24).
Daniel was told it was far off. He would die before fulfillment (v. 4)– Paul said: “We shall not all sleep” (v. 51).
Daniel was told fulfillment would be when the power of the holy people was shattered—> Paul said the resurrection would be when “the law” (the Law of Moses, Jerry agrees) was removed (v. 55-56)!
This proves that Torah did not pass at the cross. Where ever you posit the resurrection, it is there that Torah is removed. It proves that the resurrection was in AD 70.
Jerry’s question #5 to me: Was Christ the High Priest before A.D. 70?
Jerry thinks this engages me in great difficulty. Not so.
Christ was of the order of Melchizedec, the greater priesthood.
Christ died to Torah on the cross. He was no longer subject to Torah.
Christ ministered over the heavenly sanctuary– not the earthly temple (Hebrews 8:1; 9:24f).
If he were on earth, he could not serve because Torah was still in effect: “there are priests who minister according to the Law” (Hebrews 8:4-5).
Torah was “being changed” (Hebrews 7:12– present active indicative)– because it was, “nigh unto passing” (Hebrews 8:13).
I have fully sustained my affirmative with clear Biblical statements, proper hermeneutic and sound logic.
I have addressed
Jerry’s key negative arguments, and demonstrated them to be false.
I have given Biblical evidence. Jerry has offered uninspired commentaries.
I call on Jerry to do what he pledged to do, follow each of my arguments.
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