We are examining the commonly held claim that when Paul discussed “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15, in his discussion of the resurrection, that he must have had the “end of time” in mind. This is the basic presupposition in virtually all discussions of the resurrection, but, the truth is that this is a false assumption. There is no evidence whatsoever that Paul or any of the NT writers ever even contemplated the end of time! Be sure to read the previous installments in this series, and be sure to read my book AD 70: A Shadow of the “Real” End? in which I completely dismantle the claims, mostly by the Amillennialists and Postmillennialists, that AD 70 was a typological fulfillment of the real end of the age, i.e. the end of the Christian age.
In this installment, we examine “the end” in light of Paul’s harvest imagery of Christ being the first fruit of the harvest. This is prima facie proof that Paul could not have had an end of time, or the end of the Christian age in mind.
The End as the Harvest– Christ the First Fruit of the Harvest
Christ is “the first fruit.” There is “each in his own order” (Greek tagma, meaning in order of occurrence). “Those that are Christ’s at his coming, “then comes the end.” Very clearly, in 1 Corinthians 15 “the end” is the climax of the harvest. While a great deal could be said of this, we will be brief and simply present the Dominionist self contradictions and problems with the motif of the harvest and AD 70.
As with other eschatological motifs and passages, the Dominionists differ strongly about the application of the harvest motif. Gentry applies Matthew 13 to the climax of human history, He Shall Have Dominion (2003,140) and says it teaches there will be no more days after the “end of the age” of Matthew 13:39f.
Revelation 14 likewise discusses the harvest of the earth (land). Although he does not comment specifically on the harvest motif, Gentry, definitely posits the fulfillment of Revelation 14 during the Jewish War,
In stark contrast with Gentry and Mathison, Leithhart says the parable of harvest in Matthew 13 refers to the end of the Jewish age, and God harvesting that age. DeMar concurs (Last Days Madness, 1994, 155). And McDurmon, as we have documented in the earlier articles, says Matthew 13: “describes the then soon coming end of that old age and the destruction of its children, and the beginning of the gathering in of the true children of God’s kingdom. It should not be understood as teaching anything beyond this.”(2011,49) As we have noted, McDurmon is wrong to see the end of the age as the beginning of the harvest. It is, as seen just above, the completion of the harvest of the Old Covenant world, as Leithart says.
Let me make a point here:
The harvest of 1 Cor. 15 is the harvest of Matthew 13. If not, why not? Was Jesus the first fruit of two harvests, at the end of two different ages, and two different parousias? No, there was but “one hope” in scripture, and from John, who announced the imminence of the harvest, to Revelation, the pronouncement was the time had come for the harvest. Take a look now at one of the insurmountable issues confronting Dominionism.
The harvest of Matthew 13 occurred in AD 70 and there is no further application – McDurmon.
The harvest of Matthew 13 is the harvest of 1 Corinthians 15. (Remember that as we have shown, McDurmon, in our July 2012 formal debate, agreed that there was a fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15 in AD 70. Be sure to get your own copy of that debate book).
Therefore, the harvest of 1 Corinthians 15 was in AD 70, and there is no further application.
This conclusion is confirmed by the indisputable fact of Jesus being the “first born” or “first fruit” of the resurrection. Acts 26:21 confirms that Jesus was “the first to be raised from the dead.” This is hugely problematic for those insisting that “the end” of 1 Corinthians 15 must be the end of human history, climaxing in a resurrection of human corpses out of the dirt.
Gentry patently sees a problem, and attempts to escape the force of it by saying: “Jesus is called the first born, yet we know that others physically arose from the dead prior to Him, some during his ministry. Thus, his resurrection was of a different order, a different order that made him a “first’ in that respect.” (1992, 283-284). You will note Gentry fails to define or explain this “different order.” It seems obvious he was simply trying to evade the force of Jesus being the first to be raised from the dead, yet clearly not the first to be raised from physical death. This is an insurmountable problem for those defining Adamic Death as biological death.
Paul’s use of harvest imagery and description of Jesus as the first fruit demands that the time of harvest was present in the first century. And undeniably, in 1 Corinthians 15 that harvest is the climactic, “final” end of the age harvest. It did not point to another harvest, as McDurmon claims, at another end. This falsifies the claim that there was “a fulfillment” of 1 Corinthians 15 but, we are still looking for the “final” fulfillment.