A Response to William Vincent’s “Until” Article — Sit At My Right Hand Until I Make Your Enemies Your Footstool
As promised, in this third installment in response to William Vincent’s article on the “until” passages of Acts 3 and Psalms 110, I want to explore another “until” context that is extremely important. Vincent did not mention the “until” passages that I will present and yet, these texts deal specifically with the resurrection. They not only deal with the resurrection, which Vincent insists is the climax of Psalms 110:4, but, they place that resurrection event in a very specific framework and context.
Be sure to read the first two installments: #1 #2
Follow along as I present a “time-line” from Revelation that includes that pivotal “until” concept that climaxes in the resurrection – the fulfillment of Psalms 110.
“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”
The significance of this passage has been noted by many commentators. John was able to see into the naos, the Most Holy Place in the heavenly temple! Now, in the Greek, there were two words that were widely used to refer to the temple. While there may be some exceptions to the rule it is nonetheless safe to say the following.
The word heiron was the word that referred to the entire temple complex. The word naos was the word that referred to the Most Holy Place, the place that designated God’s dwelling place. Between those two areas of the temple, between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place was the awesome Veil of the Temple. The beauty of that piece of tapestry must have been dazzling.
It is common for Amillennial and Postmillennial (Reconstructionist) commentators to apply the events of Revelation 11 to AD 70. Gentry, McDurmon, DeMar, Mathison etc., all admit that Revelation 11:15-19 was fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel. (Mathison equivocates from book to book, however). For documentation of this, see my upcoming article “Imposed Until the Time of Reformation,” in which I give the quotes from these men.
What I want the reader to see from Revelation 11:15-19 however, is that it is an undeniable prediction of the resurrection. It is the time of the dead that they should be judged and rewarded. It is the time of the coming of the everlasting kingdom. It is therefore the same as 2 Timothy 4:1-2– the judgment of the living and the dead, at the appearing and kingdom of Christ. It is the time of the vindication of the martyrs. It is the time when God’s enemies are put down; the time of the fulfillment of Psalms 110:
“The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
This is confirmed not only by the fact that the prophets were considered as martyrs, but, in the book of Revelation “the dead,” for instance in chapter 6, 16 and 20, are undeniably martyrs. Then, in 11:17 thanks is given to the Lord for his judgment on the City. This is the prayer of thanks of the martyrs in chapter 6, praising the Lord for answering their prayer for vindication on “those who dwell on the earth.” The Great Day of the Lord’s Wrath in chapter 6:12f for the vindication of the martyrs is now being viewed in chapter 11 as the time of the Lord’s Wrath against the city guilty of slaying the prophets and the Lord himself. All of this puts this judgment, the resurrection, the rewarding of the dead, squarely in the context and framework of the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem. Jesus emphatically posited the vindication of all of the martyrs, all the way back to creation, for his generation (Matthew 23:29-37). Where is the evidence that the vindication of the martyrs in Revelation 6, 11, 16, 17-18, 20-22 is something radically different from what the Lord discussed and predicted in Matthew?
What should not be missed is that all of this was to be fulfilled soon, quickly and shortly. All of the statements of temporal imminence of the Day of the Lord and the judgment of the persecuting city, Jerusalem, must be viewed through the prism of Matthew 23, and Jesus’ additional parabolic teaching on the first century vindication of the martyrs.
Peter Leithart says that Revelation 11:15f is tied to Revelation 10:7 by the sounding of the seventh trumpet, “sometime shortly after John wrote Revelation something will occur soon, without delay. Something that can be called ‘the finishing of the mystery of God’ occurred, something to do with the deliverance from slavery, inheritance, and rest. For John, the arrival of the new creation is not something past, or in the distant future, but in the near future, before the first century ended.” (Peter Leithart, International Theological Commentary, Revelation 1-11, (Bloomsbury, T&T Clark, London, New York; 2018), 437).
Significantly, Leithhart (2018, 437) sees Revelation 11 as the fulfillment of Rosh Ha Shanah, the Feast of Trumpets, the Jewish festival that foreshadowed the Judgment scene of Revelation 11: “The feast of Trumpets is over, and it is time for Yom Kippur, the only day when the Most Holy Place was opened to men.” He clearly sees the essentiality for the fulfillment of Israel’s festal calendar in the narrative of Revelation, something far too few commentators acknowledge. But, logically, if Yom Kippur and the resurrection, foreshadowed by Succot, the Feast of Harvest, were unfulfilled when John wrote, then the entirety of the Temple Cultus was still “imposed” until they were / are fulfilled.
The main point to see at this juncture is that John saw the temple in heaven and he saw there the Ark of the Covenant within the MHP, which meant that the Veil was gone. The Veil had been removed! To any Jewish reader of the first century, conversant with the Temple and its cultus, the shock, the impact, the implications of this, would have been (and should be for the modern reader) astounding!
Unfortunately, many commentators make the mistake of claiming that when Jesus died on the cross, and the veil within the temple was torn, top to bottom, that this meant that at that very moment, the Law of Moses was removed, nailed to the cross. Leithart hints at this view:
“The opening of the heavenly sanctuary follows the death and vindication of the two witnesses. When Jesus dies, the veil of the temple is torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). With the final sacrifice, the way is open into the presence of God. Jesus’ death annuls the exclusions inherent in the temple system. In Revelation however, the heavenly sanctuary is not opened until the martyrs, the two witnesses, share Jesus’ sufferings and are killed for their testimony to Jesus’ When they go to the cross, another veil is torn, another sanctuary is opened. When the witnesses die and rise, Ancient Ones who have been seated on thrones fall to the ground, leaving their thrones for triumphant martyrs.” (2018, 437).
The problem is, you cannot say that at the resurrection of Revelation 11, they were still awaiting the Atonement. (See Leithart’s comments above). To say this is to tacitly admit that the “exclusions inherent in the temple system” were not annulled. The Atonement had to be made before man could enter the MHP. Thus, to say the Atonement was not completed until AD 70 is to say that Torah was not removed at the cross.
In spite of this, focus for the moment on the incredible fact that John saw the Ark of the Covenant within the MHP spoke of something marvelous. But, the story was not complete, as the next verse to be examined shows.
“The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”
So, while John saw the Ark of the Covenant within the MHP, no one could actually enter that sacred, most holy place, the Presence of the Lord, until the seven plagues of the seven angels, contained in the seven bowls / vials, was poured out. Access to the Presence of the Lord would only come after – and in some manner through Wrath.
Notice that Revelation 15 specifically says that no man could enter the MHP “until” the wrath of God found in the seven bowls / vials was completed. Here is an incredibly important until, that is related to the coming of the Lord, the Day of Wrath, the Judgment, the kingdom and salvation, as we shall see.
The seven vials would be poured out in wrath against the great persecutor of the saints, Babylon (16:6-7). This ties entrance into the MHP to the vindication of the martyrs. Leithart noted this connection:
“The cross and resurrection (of Jesus, DKP) constitute, as he (George Caird, Don K.) argues, God’s “amnesty” granted to sinners; this unified act is God’s declaration of justification in itself. But, and perhaps in a stronger way than Caird suggests, the suffering of the saints is an integral part of the accomplishment of salvation. It is not merely that God’s finished work is witnessed by the saints; until the saints – in union with Jesus, in the power of the Spirit – absorb the power of evil by their suffering, the power of Satan is not yet exhausted. Thus they “fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.” (https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2013/04/overcome-by-blood/).
Notice the correspondence between chapter 16 and chapter 11. We have the Day of the Lord’s Wrath. That Day of Wrath is against the city that killed the prophets (11:6f / 16:6). In chapter 11 that Day is the resurrection, the rewarding of the dead, the coming of the everlasting kingdom of God. In sum, what we have in chapter 11 is the fulfillment of Psalms 110- to be demonstrated more below. Thus, to put this another way, the resurrection of Revelation 11, (the time of salvation and the kingdom) the fulfillment of Psalms 110, would come when the Wrath of God was poured out of the seventh vial in the judgment of Babylon.
Let me express the argument like this:
Entrance into the Most Holy Place would only take place at the pouring out of the seventh bowl of God’s wrath.
The pouring out of the seventh bowl of God’s wrath would be in the judgment of Babylon, the city where the Lord was slain (Revelation 11:8 / 16:6, 16-19).
Babylon of Revelation was Old Covenant Jerusalem
Therefore, entrance into the MHP was to be at the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Building on that, let me offer this:
The resurrection, the judgment and rewarding of the dead is the time of the fulfillment of Psalms 110, the time when the Lord would put his enemies under his feet.
Revelation 11 is the resurrection, the judgment and rewarding of dead.
Therefore, Revelation 11 is the fulfillment of Psalms 110.
And that leads us to this:
Revelation 11 is (depicts) the fulfillment of Psalms 110.
But, Revelation 11 was fulfilled in the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Therefore, Psalms 110 was fulfilled in the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem.
I can express this another way:
The time of the fulfillment of Psalms 110:4, the time of the resurrection and rewarding of the dead, is the time of the entrance into the Most Holy Place, the Presence of God.
But, the time of the entrance into the Most Holy Place, the Presence of God, was at the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem, i.e. Babylon of Revelation.
Therefore, the fulfillment of Psalms 110:4 was at the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem, i.e. Babylon of Revelation.
A closer examination of Hebrews 9 and Revelation is worth our attention.
Hebrews 9 anticipated the fulfillment of the typological temple cultus at the time of reformation.
Revelation depicts, as David Chilton (Days of Vengeance) Leithart (2018) and a host of other scholars have noted, that Revelation contains numerous allusions to the impending fulfillment of Israel’s festal calender.
Hebrews 9 anticipated entrance into the MHP.
Revelation anticipated entrance into the MHP.
Hebrews 9 anticipated the coming of Christ for salvation – at the time of reformation.
Revelation anticipated the coming of Christ for salvation (Revelation 19:1-2).
Hebrews 9 posited the coming of salvation at the end of Torah and the coming of Christ.
Revelation posited the time of salvation (19:1-2) entrance into the MHP, at the coming of Christ, in the judgment and destruction of Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Based on this parallels, let me offer now an argument or two from Revelation’s discussion of the entrance into the MHP.
There could be no entrance into the MHP until the end of the Law of Moses (Hebrews 9).
Entrance into the MHP would be at the fulfilling of the Wrath of God, in the judgment of Babylon of Revelation (Revelation 11 / Revelation 15:8–> Revelation 16:17f).
Babylon of Revelation was Old Covenant Jerusalem, the city where the Lord was slain (Revelation 11:8 – This is admitted by Sam Frost, although I have been predicting for some time that he was going to abandon this view, because it is fatal to his new theology. Just recently [August 2018] I have asked Frost no less than three times on FaceBook to say if he still posits Babylon of Revelation as Jerusalem. At the writing of this article, he has totally refused to answer that question).
Therefore, there could be no entrance into the MHP until the end of the Law of Moses, at the fulfilling of the Wrath of God, in the judgment of Babylon – Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Put another way:
There could be no entrance into the MHP, the presence of God, until the end of Torah at the time of reformation.
According to Revelation, there could be no entrance into the MHP, the presence of God, until the judgment of Babylon – Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Therefore, the end the Law of Moses – the time of reformation – was at the time of the judgment of Babylon / Jerusalem.
Now, since entrance into the MHP is the restoration of the life lost in Adam, i.e. resurrection, then since Psalms 110 is about the time of the resurrection, it follows inexorably that the resurrection, the restoration of the life lost in Adam and the fulfillment of Psalms 110 was at the end of Torah in the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70.
All of this dovetails together perfectly. After his resurrection, Jesus ascended to the Father’s right hand and was enthroned there – when Hebrews was written. He ruled in the midst of his enemies, awaiting the time appointed by the Father (which was revealed in Revelation 1:1-3) for him to come and destroy those citizens that had said “we will not have this man to rule over us.” That was the end of the Law of Moses, the law that was the strength of sin, the ministration of death. That was at the judgment of Jerusalem in AD 70. As the writer of Hebrews says, the time of the great reward, the time of the inheritance, the time of that promised second appearing, was coming “in a very, very little while, and will not delay” (10:35f).
Let’s summarize what we have seen in this article:
1. I have shown that Revelation posits the entrance into the MHP at the time of the judgment of the city where the Lord was slain – Old Covenant Jerusalem.
2. I have shown that this means that the Law of Moses did not come to an end at the cross, but, in AD 70.
3. I have shown that Revelation 11 predicted the fulfillment of Psalms 110, and that it would be in AD 70.
4. I have shown that the “until” passage of Revelation 15:8- no man could enter the MHP until the judgment of Babylon – when harmonized with the rest of the Apocalypse (and Acts and Corinthians and Hebrews) provides definitive, powerful proof that Psalms 110 was fulfilled at the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem in AD 70.
When we see all of the parallels presented, the parallels between Psalms 110, Hebrews 9, Revelation 11 (and Revelation 20, more on this connection coming up) – the evidence is all but overwhelming. Psalms 110 was fulfilled at the end of the Old Covenant, at the end of the Law of Moses, in AD 70.
Stay tuned, more coming.
The problem as I see it (and was guilty of myself is having two “not yet” in the established N.T. hermeneutic of the “already-but-not-yet. We see the “already” of Ps 110:1 being fulfiled in the enthronement of Christ on David’s seat according to the “already” of the Davidic Covenant [Acts 2:34-35; Heb 1:3 etc] and the “not yet” in Christ’s denouncing of the Sanhedrin [Mtt 26:64; Mk 14:62; Lk 20;42-43] which is His coming in judgment in A.D. 70. cf. [Mtt 24:30; Rev 1:7]
Also In [Rev 6:15-16] (which even some in non Preterist commentaries) admit is A.D. 70 “day of wrath” [Rev 6:17] we find Ps 110 is applied to that event along with the Day of the Lord of [Isaiah 2:10f] Much more could be said but this should suffice to show that that Partial Preterist and Futurist are highly guilty of distorting this already established N.T. rule of interpretation
Great article Don. But I still disagree with your exegesis of Heb 9:6-10 and the time of reformation. Heb 9:11f tells us when the time of reformation would be. Heb 9:1-10 (Outer court, daily offerings, OC) Heb 9:11f (Inner tabernacle, Yearly, New Covenant)