Joel McDurmon and Prophetic Multiple Fulfillment
Don K. Preston D. Div.
In the first of this short series, I noted the following:
At the 2011 Prophecy Conference sponsored by American Vision, of Powder Springs, GA., Joel McDurmon presented a speech entitled “Double Fulfillment: Double Cross.” In that presentation he examined the Dispensational practice and claim that Bible prophecy must be fulfilled twice. Thus, while many OT prophecies did have “audience relevance” for the ancient audiences to whom they were addressed, those prophecies will be fulfilled again in the last days. McDurmon categorically rejected this hermemeutic, opting for what he called the type / anti-type fulfillment paradigm.
In his book, Jesus –V- Jerusalem, which is truly excellent in many ways, McDurmon continued his attack of the Dispensational “double fulfillment” practice, especially as it relates to the anti-christ. Millennialists claim that the first century “anti-christ” that John spoke of as already present—in fulfillment of prophecy, by the way, “pre-figure” the final, greater” end times anti-christ. McDurmon said this double fulfillment practice “distorts the scripture” (Jesus -v-Jerusalem, Powder Springs, GA., 2011)185).
In addition to McDurmon’s comments, I cited other postmillennialists who reject (ostensibly) the Dispensational Double Fulfillment concept.
In spite of being on record against the Double Fulfillment of prophecy, in our formal public debate, held at the 2012 Preterist Pilgrim Weekend, in Ardmore, Ok. McDurmon Joel affirmed this about prophetic fulfillment:
“We hear a lot about this one hope and I was ‑‑ this was thrown at me that I apparently ‑‑ because of all these variegated, multiple fulfillments that I have…” (My emphasis).
“You don’t have to say, oh, well, where does it say this will be done twice? It doesn’t have to say it will be done twice. The nature of Biblical prophecy is variations upon the theme until you reach that vast final conclusion.”
So, McDurmon (as well as DeMar, Gentry, , Mathison, etc.) claim on the one hand to reject as un-Biblical the idea of Double Fulfillment, but then, they affirm that prophecy is fulfilled many, many times! It is “re-capitulated.”
Be sure to get a copy of the McDurmon -V- Preston Debate DVDs or Mp3s. You can order them here.
Now, make no mistake, the Bible affirms the type- anti-type concept. The Old Covenant cultus was itself a shadow and type of better things to come (Colossians 2:14f; Hebrews 10:1-2). However, type/anti-type is a far cry from a repeated fulfillment, over and over again, of prophecy! McDurmon’s (The entire Dominionist and Postmillenial paradigm) practice lays the ground work for not only accepting the Dispensational praxis, but, it opens the door for some blatantly anti-Scriptural ideas.
During the Q & A session of our debate, Joel was asked about 1 John 2:18. John noted “It is the last hour. As you have heard that anti-christ should come, even now there are many anti-christs, thereby you know it is the last hour.”
McDurmon had made a major argument from John 5-6 and the referent there to “the last day” maintaining that “the last day” is distinctive to John and must refer to the last day of human history.
It should be noted that throughout the debate, McDurmon made a huge issue of the fact that if given words were not found in a text, that it is wrong to identify that text with those words. See my article on “McDurmon’s “Final” Hermeneutic” for a discussion of this major hermeneutical fallacy.
The point here is that on the one hand, McDurmon argued that if a word (e.g. “final” is not in a given text—for instance Isaiah 25-27)—then it does not refer to the final resurrection. This in spite of the fact, as I noted repeatedly, that Paul’s end of the millennium resurrection doctrine would be the fulfillment of Isaiah.
On the other hand, McDurmon then argued that John 5:27; 6:39f and the references to the last day must refer to the last day of human history. Yet, to use his hermeneutic, “the words last days of human history” are not in the text! Such double talk and double standard of hermeneutic was glaring throughout the debate. But to continue.
The question on 1 John 2:18 clearly presented Joel with a daunting challenge. Here is what Joel had to say:
“The question is ‑‑ and it’s probably one of the best questions I’ve seen. Um, if “the last day of John,” which is exclusive to his language, is to be an hour of our own future, and yet in the apostle of John ‑‑ 1 John Chapter 2, I believe ‑‑ 2:18, is talking about the coming of anti‑christ and he says, “Now dear children this is the last hour,” and the implications is if there’s a last day, then the last hour obviously is a subset of that last day and it’s even shortened even more and he was expecting it in his time period. In fact, he said these anti‑christs are coming and now are. So he was clearly talking about his time. That on the surface does present a conundrum. But if you go back to the overarching framework that I’m working with, that you can have a near fulfillment of these things and so you can apply a language without a near-sight, and yet what is the controlling narrative? It is the curse removed from the earth? And if it’s not, then you can take both of those and move them into the future.
Now I realize that drags up other things like future anti‑christs, future Armageddons. We can deal with that if you want to. But that’s basically how I would view that. On the surface, it looks like a conundrum, but it’s not insurmountable.”
Do you see the problem? Joel certainly saw it, and realized its danger to his entire eschatological theory. If you affirm, as Joel does, the multiple, repeated fulfillments of prophecy until the final consummation, then since anti-christs were clearly present, in fulfillment of prophecy , when John wrote, then per Joel’s hermeneutic, there will be, must be, in our future, the appearance of anti-christs and another Great Tribulation!
But remember, McDurmon is on record as categorically rejecting the Dispensational argument positing this very thing as un-Biblical and unwarranted; it “distorts scripture”! To say that this is a “conundrum” is a huge understatement.
How did Joel seek to escape this “conundrum”? He simply appealed to his “overarching” belief system (translation: his presuppositional theology)! But, a presuppositional theology is not sufficient, and clearly does not deal with the conundrum of 1 John.
The “last day” is, as McDurmon acknowledged, a distinctive eschatological term in the gospel of John. It refers always to the consummative “last” resurrection, no matter how one describes it. It is patently true, as McDurmon admitted, that, “the last hour obviously is a subset of that last day and it’s even shortened even more and he was expecting it in his time period.” Therefore, to admit to the indisputable words of 1 John 2:18 that the “last hour” was at hand, in fulfillment of prophecy, is tantamount to admitting that the time had come for the consummative “last” resurrection, thus falsifying Dominionist, postmillennial theology.
This is no minor issue, and gives rise to still more daunting challenges to the Dominionist eschatological theory. We will look at some of those issues in our next installment.