Does Paul Predict the Objective Cessation of the Revelatory Gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 13? Not according to Joel McDurmon, Head of Research at American Vision in Powder Springs, Ga., He claims that Paul is focused on the miraculously gifted individuals, and that when those particular individuals arrived (arrive) at a state of personal, spiritual maturity, then the gifts cease in their lives, but not in the corporate church. By way of response, we have examined a few significant texts, both OT and New, the falsify McDurmon’s claims.
In our last article, we introduced and examination of Zechariah 13:
“In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. 2 “It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land. 3 It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.”
As we noted above, McDurmon’s position– at odds with the historical view of the church– is that Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, does not discuss the end of miracles in an objective sense and that 1 Corinthians 13 has no eschatological content: “I think that the whole endeavor to see 1 Corinthians 13:9ff as an indicator of any major eschatological, doctrinal, covenantal, or revelatory shift is to miss the point of the passage entirely.”
As we saw from our article on Daniel 9:24, however, YHVH did in fact predict a given time when the revelatory gifts would cease. Not when individual believers reached a point of personal spiritual maturity, but, by the end of the determined seventy weeks. This alone falsifies McDurmon’s pnuematological argument. Be sure to read my book, Seal Up Vision and Prophecy, for a demonstration that scripture did predict the objective cessation of the prophetic office.
In the previous article on Zechariah we noted that while most commentators claim that it speaks only of the passing of the false prophets out of the land of Israel, that for the description given in Zechariah to be valid, there had to be an underlying widespread belief and understanding that true prophets– the revelatory gifts– had passed.
There are several markers in Zechariah that demand a first century context for this. Time will not allow full development of this, but, Zechariah uses the term “in that day” extensively, to tie his discussion together. When one examines these statements, it becomes very clear that Zechariah’s prophecy was fulfilled in the first century, climaxing in the fall of Jerusalem.
There is a long history of interpreters who have seen that Zechariah predicted the AD 70 catastrophe. Some have, naturally, attempted to counter the application of Zechariah’s prophecy to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Attempts have been made to apply the prophecy to the Maccabean period or to a yet future time, the latter being the millennial posit.
The millennialist rejects the AD 70 application because of his insistence on a literal interpretation of scripture regardless of how the New Covenant scriptures apply them. Unger is a good example of this. See also Keil and Delitzsch. But long ago Eusebius responded to such views:
“Neither in the time of the Macedonians from Alexander onwards, not even if you include the reign of Augustus, was anything similar to the words of the prophet fulfilled. For when in those days did the Lord, Whom the prophet speaks of as divine, come among men and many nations know him and confess Him the only God, and take refuge in Him and be to Him a people? Or when in the times of the Macedonians or Persians did the king who was foretold come, sitting upon an ass and a young colt? When did He come and utterly destroy the royal array of the Jewish nation, here called Ephraim, and of Jerusalem itself, called chariots and horses, and conquer the army of the Jews?” (Eusebius, Proof, BK. VIII, chapt. 4, p. 144).
(Note how Eusebius recognized that in the fall of Jerusalem, Jesus came.)
Zechariah 14 has a strong tradition of application to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. We could multiply this kind of quote, but it is not necessary here. (See my Who Is This Babylon? For strong documentation).
When one does a comparative study of the Olivet Discourse and Zechariah 14 the parallels become very impressive indeed.
Zechariah 14 — Olivet Discourse
Siege of Jerusalem (v. 1-2) — Siege of Jerusalem (Mt. 24:2f).
Day of the Lord (v. 1, 5) — Coming of the Son of Man (24:30-31).
Coming with his holy ones (v. 5) – Coming with his angels (24:31).
Jews led away captive into the nations (v. 2) – Jews led away captive into the nations (Luke 21:24).
Flight from judgment (v. 5) – Flight from judgment (v. 15f).
Day known only to the Lord (v. 7) – Day known only to the Lord (v. 36).
The parallel between the passages can hardly be doubted. What is so significant about these parallels is that the great majority of the texts in the Olivet Discourse are almost universally acknowledged among the amillennialists and postmillennialists to be predictive of the AD 70 coming of the Lord.
So, if Zechariah is parallel to the Olivet Discourse and if the Olivet Discourse is admitted to be referent to the events consummating in AD 70, then Zechariah must be seen as predictive of the first century coming of the Lord.
What this means is that since Zechariah 13 posits the passing of the prophets out of the land at the time of “in that day”– the day of the events of chapter 14, then this demands the cessation of the revelatory prophetic office in the first century. More to come!