Response to Preston, Part 4

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.

As this debate continues, I wish to point out the utter confusion Preston continues to labor under concerning what I espouse.  I don’t think it is deliberate.  I think it is simply not taking time to actually consider the other person’s view.  The blinders are on.  I have one advantage in all of this, however.  Preston publishes my old heretical book, Essays on the Resurrection, which is chalk filled with mistake after mistake.  In other words, I know his view, having taught it.  I understand it.  That is what makes it easier for me to dismantle it, and all signs are pointing to that fact.

For example in his fourth response, he writes, “Frost argued that Jesus did in fact say that until every jot and every tittle of the Old Covenant is fulfilled, it will not pass away. He said that every jot and every tittle will be fulfilled at the passing of the literal, material heaven and earth. Thus, the Old Covenant will not pass away– and we will share Frost’s idiosyncratic view on what not “passing away” means in a later article– the Old Law will remain.”  This is simply confused.  Notice what he says I say, “of the Old Covenant.”  Anyone who has read (and by the response most of you are seeing it because you are taking the time to see it) my articles on this matter knows that I have not, am not, never did say this.  We have already pointed out the shell game Preston plays (and proved that by his own words).  The Preston Shell Game is this: he agrees that the the phrases “law and prophets” and “law” stand for the entire Hebrew Bible.  Yet, when he tries to refute me, he speaks only of the 613 commandments of Moses made to Israel (Deuteronomy 5.1-ff); the old covenant.  It is an unfortunate thing that the King James Version started to divide the Bible up between the Old Testament and New Testament.  The Hebrew Bible is not the old covenant made with Moses.  The covenant made with Moses is in the Hebrew Bible, but is not the entirety of the Hebrew Bible, and I get tired of pointing out Preston’s massive contradiction here.

Having dismantled his approach to Psalm 102 in my third Response (which he barely interacts with), Preston, in this fourth article, moves on to consider Isaiah 24 and 25 and tries to focus this threatening prophecy exclusively on Israel and Jerusalem.  Now, If I dare consult any scholar or any commentary, I get charged with citing futurist commentaries!  After all, there is no major scholar that would touch Preston’s “covenant eschatology” with a ten foot pole (to which, it will be responded with, “that’s because they have power and position and are unwilling to follow the Bible” – i.e., Preston’s view).  You can never win.  When I person performs a shell game, the deck is stacked against the participant.

When I read Isaiah 24 and 25 I read that, first, God is not directing this prophecy solely to Israel.  Preston leaves out 24.13 (in fact, I’ll quote him. Before he “exegetes” this chapter, he heads it under this: “Isaiah 24:3-5; 19-21:”  Now, folks, this is an editing job! Why does he leave verse 13 out?  “For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.”  See that?  “among the nations.”  And, then, continuing in verse 14, “they” (the nations) will raise their voice from the East, West, North and South and in “the islands of the sea” (does Israel have islands)?  The threat of Israel’s doom also stands over the nations.  They have broken the everlasting covenant (24.5) and a curse (verse 6) is over them all.  And, in 25.6-8 the “shroud over all the peoples, all the nations will be swallowed up: Death!”  The result: “no more tears and he will remove the disgrace of his people.”  Now, it is here that Paul quotes the Prophet in 1st Corinthians 15, and the death he clearly has in mind there is, well, what every knows it to be.  Preston, to wiggle out of this, makes “death” merely spiritual in meaning.  But, if that is case, then, as many Full Preterists have concluded, why is “spiritual death” not swallowed up for all people?  Why is Universalism not the result?  This is a universal promise.  Where does Moses promise that if someone keeps the whole law, death will be swallowed up for them?  The Prophets mention this, but not Moses.

But, Preston goes one step forward.  The “Everlasting Covenant” mentioned in 24.5 is, you guessed it, the covenant made with Moses!  Let me quote the man himself: “The point here is that the everlasting covenant is the Law of Moses.”   This is an amazing admission.  Now, to understand what Preston has to do, indeed, must do, is make the everlasting covenant the old covenant (not very everlasting is it?).  And, since the earth is promised to be judged, then it must mean it is judged because it is under the old covenant.  However, since the old covenant has ended (not very everlasting is it?), then the destruction of “the earth” here cannot mean the “wooden literal” creation-earth.  And all of Preston’s followers marvel over his logic and skill.

I don’t have time, nor is it necessary, address all of Preston’s points.  The fact that he omits verses, and the fact that he totally confuses the promises with the Mosaic Covenant itself is enough to show the utter confusion here.  Full Preterists are so desperate to “prove” that “heaven and earth” do not mean “heaven and earth” because they must meet the fact that they have painted themselves into an AD 70 corner.  They refuse to see any other option, any other solution, and if one is posed to them they simply wave their arms widely and quote time texts.  The Bible, the whole Bible, is more than just time texts.

Preston continues, “Mind you, Frost now claims to believe that much of the Law of Moses is no longer binding, having been replaced, but, that the Law of Moses still “remains.” What does he mean by replaced but remains? He means that since the Law of Moses is still in books, in Bibles, literally on paper, that this is what Jesus meant by not passing away until the proposed end of time.

In a blog post of 5-16-17, Frost said his proof that the Law of Moses has not passed away is because “it is right there in your Bible!” So, Frost claims that in Matthew 5:17-18 the Jews and Jesus were not at all concerned with the abiding authority of the Law of Moses, as mandates to be obeyed and fulfilled. All they were concerned about was that books with the Law of Moses printed in them will not be destroyed until the end of time! This, again, is a misrepresentation.  How does Preston get from what’s written to the idea that the Jews and Jesus were not at all concerned with the authority of the Law of Moses?  I have no clue.  Other than, that’s what he wants his readers to understand, and, having easily dismissed it, means he has dismissed my argument.  This is called a straw man argument.  It never works…well, it does on the unsuspecting.  And here’s another word meant to infect the reader: “replaced.”  A little trickery there.  Frost (me) nowhere believes in “replaced” but in fulfilled.  Preston knows this.  He is just adding a little move here, and move there, what shell is the ball under?

 

The fact of the matter, when anyone consults the commentaries on these chapters, they get nothing as it concerns what Preston is.  It is funny that Preston constantly wants to appeal to the scholars and commentaries when hardly any of them agree with him at all on these more weightier matters.  For example, much respected scholar Willem VanGemeren says Isaiah 24 “introduces God’s universal judgment, the renewal of earth, the removal of death, and the effects of sin, the deliverance of his people, and the victorious and universal rule of God.”  Not according to Preston.  This chapter only introduces Israel, her sins, her deliverance and virtually says nothing else (omitting a few verses of course).  In fact, noting the Hebrew text, VanGemeren states that “the earth is compared to a city”, commenting on 24.12,13, “Desolation is left in the city; the gates are battered into ruins.”  Thus, the next verse introduces a comparison: “For thus it shall be for the midst of the earth, for the peoples (plural, some translations have “nations”, rightly understanding the plural form of “peoples” over and against the singular “people” of God).  Again, Preston omits this tidbit.

But wait!  There’s more!  Preston called the “everlasting covenant” the singular covenant made with Moses.  Is this the same “everlasting covenant” in Hebrews 13.20?  How can that be?  Secondly, if God removes “death” which is a shroud over “all the nations”, then how do they get the benefits of Israel’s old covenant?  Wouldn’t they have to be in the old covenant to get the promises?  If not, then, logically, they do not have to be in the old covenant at all in order to receive the promises.  But, if they receive promises made to those in the old covenant, and the old covenant has ceased, then how are they getting old covenant promises today?  Hmmm?  Mmmm?  Ah.

This Generation Shall not Pass

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.

Recently I have come to appreciate Jesus’ saying as recorded by Saint Matthew, who is one of the “foundations” of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21.14; Ephesians 2.20 – and, yes, I defend the thesis that Matthew, Jesus’ disciple and Apostle, wrote this gospel).  Jesus said, “Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets.  I have not come to destroy them, but fulfill them.  Truly I say to you that until heaven and earth pass not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law until all is accomplished” (5.17-18).  After Matthew has set the stage in the first four “chapters” (there are no chapters in the Scriptures, we put those in there), he launches the mission of Jesus in chapter 5, known popularly as ‘the sermon on the mound.’  It frames the whole mission of Jesus.  He came to fulfill every single jot and tittle of the Scriptures, and not one jot or tittle shall pass away until every single jot and tittle is accomplished.  We know that many jots and tittles have indeed been fulfilled, never to be repeated.  But, even these will not pass away until every single one is fulfilled.  Then they will pass away.

But, that was in another blog-article I wrote, so I won’t cover that here.  What I want to cover here is the fact that Jesus said that “heaven and earth” will pass away, too, along with the jots and tittles of Scripture (that is, in the new heavens and new earth, we won’t be comparing translations or Bible versions, or noting if P46 should be read over the Alexandrian Text. The word of God will, in its fullness, be written in us – I won’t need a “Bible” in heaven).  This statement lead me to another one recorded by the blessed Apostle, Matthew found in 24.34-36.

There, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 36 But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”  The grammatical structure here is almost exactly like that of 5.17-18.  I have to delve a little into the Greek, so forgive me.

“Truly, I say to you” is the same in both passages.  The word “pass away” (parerchomai) is the same in both texts.  The subjunctive phrase, starting with “until” (eos an) is the same.  And, of course, “heaven and earth” is given the same rendering ( ho ouranos kai he ge), where ‘heaven’ is singular.  Thus,

Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον καταλῦσαι τὸν νόμον ἢ τοὺς προφήτας· οὐκ ἦλθον καταλῦσαι ἀλλὰ πληρῶσαιἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ, ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται (Matthew’s text, 5.17-18)

ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ἕως ἂν πάντα ταῦτα γένηται. ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσεται, οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρέλθωσιν.  Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ ὥρας οὐδεὶς οἶδεν, οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι τῶν οὐρανῶν οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, εἰ μὴ ὁ πατὴρ μόνος (Matthew’s text, 24.34-36).

I have placed in bold the similarities in syntax.  The similarities are certainly remarkable as well as the subject matter.  The translation, or my translation, of 24.34-36 is, “Truly I say to you that this generation shall by no means pass away until all these things be accomplished.  The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but by no means will my words pass away.  Now, concerning that day (when the heaven and the earth pass away) and hour no one knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the son, except the father only.”  No one knows this day except the Father.  Not even the son of man, Jesus (the human being).

Now, first and foremost, it is a virtually settled matter that a great deal of, if not most, of what Jesus said in the previous verses (24.1-34) occurred in the generation of the first followers of him.  There is no shortage of materials showing that from the earliest post-first generation of the Church to today that Jesus is pointing to the razing of Jerusalem, the exile of Israel from here land, and the calamities that surrounded those years (up until 66-73, even until 135 A.D. with the Simon Bar-Kokhba Revolt.  That Jewish revolt left reportedly 580,000 Jews dead after a three and a half years siege by the Romans under Emperor Hadrian.  Jerusalem had been renamed Aelia Capitolina, named after Hadrian’s family line and the god, Jupiter.  Hadrian, after the Kokhba Revolt renamed Israel, Syria Palaestina (you may have heard the name, Palestine in the newspapers)).

The disciples had originally asked Jesus, which was in the air at his time, when the end of the world would be (24.1-3).  Jesus answers them in so many words that there will be coming catastrophes against Israel so great that if God didn’t cut them short, the extermination would be unreal.  This is typical Bible-speak for “the days ahead don’t look good”.  And, provided with historical accounts of that period, they weren’t good at all for Jews, Christians, and Jewish Christians.  After Caesar Vespasian sent his son, Titus (who would later become Caesar Emperor) to destroy Jerusalem, the situation for the Jewish people was grim.  After Hadrian, it was almost complete annihilation.  Christians also suffered great persecution beginning with Nero Caesar (65 A.D.) and ending with Maximinus II in 311 A.D.  Amazingly, Christianity not only survived, but thrived in numbers during those centuries following that first “generation”.

Somehow, I got stuck on history!  Back to the topic!  The question the disciples asked concerned the end of the word, or age, in their theology at that time.  We have all wanted to know when it will all end.  Virtually every religion has some sort of “end” to it, and even the atheistic community has an eventual burnout of the solar system.  The Bible is not lost on this basic, fundamental question.  And, Jesus answers them, first with telling them what will happen to them in their generation (and, with what would happen in every succeeding generation of Christians who bear the testimony of Jesus – famines, persecutions, wars, rumors of wars, calamity, uprisings, tumult, and the like).  But, keeping that generation specifically in mind, Jesus lets them know that the days ahead are not paved with gold, but with blood.

In the verses preceding verse 34, Jesus also lets them know that He, the Son of Manis in charge.  He will “send his angels” (the son of man has angels at his command?  A man has the power to send angels?).  He will come with the clouds of the heavens (which is descriptive only of God!).  The son of man will judge and protect and gather together his people, whom he has foreknown from eternity, gathering them together as a mother hen gathers her chicks.  In other words, all hell is coming after the Church, but the Church will prevail because Jesus is their Defender.  This message has comforted millions of persecuted souls over the span of history and has given them the hope that in spite of mutilations for Christ, Christ is King!

But, Jesus does eventually get to the passing away of heaven and earth.  And, interestingly, the words “that day and hour” refers to this.  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but that day and hour no one knows.”  He doesn’t tell them.  And we don’t know, either.  It will happen, as surely as the jots and tittles are all accomplished, “heaven and earth will pass away” along with the jots and tittles.

The fact that Matthew has so structured the saying in 5.17-18 with 24.34,35 provides us with a remarkable deduction from these two texts.  1. Whatever one wants to have “fulfilled” in the Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, it was not the accomplishment of every jot and tittle (else they, too, would have passed away).  2.  It was not the passing away of heaven and earth (for, if that were the case, then every jot and tittle would equally pass away, which they have not).  What is of interest here is that that generation did “pass away”, which is the same word used.  Therefore, we know what “pass away” means when Matthew used it here and there.  That generation is no longer here.  They have passed away.  And, if we applied this meaning to “jots and tittles” then they would not be here, either!  That’s what “pass away” means.  “This generation shall not disappear until all things are fulfilled.”  The “all things” concerns only those things spoken of that were to happen to them, but, clearly, the jots and tittles of the Hebrew Scriptures (the law and the prophets) are still here with us!  Therefore, also, heaven and earth in both passages are speaking of the normal, everyday understanding (and biblical understanding) of what ‘heaven and earth’ means; the things you see “up there”, and the dirt you walk on “down here.”  Jesus is specifically telling them that great tribulations were going to come upon his generation, and that his generation would, indeed, pass away.  Heaven and earth will also pass away, but not until every jot and tittle of the Scriptures are accomplished.  This is Matthew’s way of telling the readers, don’t confuse this, with that, because this is not that.  Concerning that day and hour, no one knows except God the Father.

In conclusion, then, Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, the Hebrew Scriptures, down to every jot and tittle.  Not one jot or tittle, after he finishes doing what he is doing, will pass away (be removed) until he has fulfilled every single one of them.  That means, that every jot and tittle will remain until every single one of them are accomplished.  Then, and only then, will they be removed, along with the heaven and the earth (which, too, will pass away).  That generation of the first believers and disciples of Christ has “passed away.”  They are gone.  Their bodies have long been decomposed.  This tells us what “passed away” or “disappears” means in the Matthaen lingua.  So, have the written “yods” (jots) and keraiai (strokes of a pen) passed away?  No.  Then, neither has “heaven and earth.”  They will.  When?  When the Son of Man accomplishes everything written.  When is that?  Only the Father knows.

 

Facing Death

There is a common thread in Scripture concerning “Death”.  First, in the Hebrew Bible (the Scriptures of Judaism), the word “death” is often accompanied with “grave”.  “Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death, or anyone who touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days” (Numbers 19.16, and so on, where the word, “grave” is ‘qever’).  Often times, it occurs with the Hebrew word, ‘sheol’ (translated ‘hades’ in Greek): “the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me” (Psalm 18.5, where some translations have ‘grave’ for ‘sheol’).  “Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; straight to the grave they descend, and their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their home” (Psalm 49.14).  Numerous other verse can be cited where Death and Sheol appear together in parallellistic form.

I bring this up only to point out the usage of the coupling in Revelation.  The first occurrence is in 1.18 where Jesus says to John, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”  If this were in Hebrew, ‘sheol’ would used instead in ‘hades.’  Nonetheless, Jesus is not stating something that is on the horizon, but something that He has in present possession when he spoke to John.  It is undoubtedly linked to the fact that he says, “I was dead.”  Being risen from the dead, the Lord is now “alive.”  This is the man, Christ Jesus (for, although Jesus is God the Son incarnate, he cannot be speaking here of his divine nature, but of his human nature, which ‘died’).  Holding the keys of Death means that He has authority over Death gained by his resurrection.

What is further revealed is that when Jesus opens the fourth seal of the scroll from God’s right hand, John saw a fantastic image: “When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth” (6.7-8).  Now, a few things are to be noticed here.  First, since it has been revealed that Jesus holds the keys, Death and Hades are commanded.  Second, they are “given power” by Him (who else?).  Third, their mission is to “kill” by means of war, famine and plagues, and by wild animals.  This unquestionably tells us what “death” is.  It is physical death.

Jesus was “dead and now alive”, and since he was raised from the dead, he now has total mastery over death only from the standpoint of being a man.  A man holds the keys of death.  A man has triumphed over death.  And now, at the right hand of God, a man gives death power to kill.  That what Death does, it kills people.  This is not “spiritual death” in the sense of “estrangement from God”, for that would hardly make any sense in the passage.  Only a fourth are made to be “separated from God”?  No, this is a scene of Death doing what it does: killing people, and the Grave follows right behind (logically so).

Throughout John’s revelation we see a great deal of death; that is, people dying.  By his revelation we know what is causing it: death.  More than that, the one who holds the keys to death.  Yet, the next time we see Death mentioned, along with the Grave, is in 20.13, where, “and Death and Hades gave the dead that was in them, and they (the dead) were judged”.  Then, finally, “Death and Hades are thrown into the Lake of Fire.”  As a result, “The Death shall be no more” (literal Greek translation, 21.5 – throughout the revelation, Death has the article, ‘the’ always).

Death is a killing machine.  It kills people.  These people go to the grave, and in the end, they give up the dead “in them.”  Ultimately, The Death will be no more.  That means, killing by death will cease to be.  If in the revelation Death is the agent of killing mankind, then the end of Death means the end of mankind being killed.  With Death out of the picture, the Grave logically serves no purpose (which, interestingly enough, is omitted when it says, “the Death shall be no more” instead of, “the Death and the Hades shall be no more.”  If the Death is gone, then Hades, who is on its coattails, vanishes.

Now, what is of further interest to me is that the Death is mentioned in the context of the new heavens and the new earth: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (21.1-5).  It has long been recognized that this passage is allusive to Isaiah 65.17, and 25.7-8: “or behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind….And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up THE Death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.”

From these passages it is quite obvious that the revelation and the Prophet envision the same thing.  The Death covers over “all peoples” and is a veil over “all nations.”  John sees the demise of The Death, when it will be cast into the Lake of Fire, and will be no more.  Dying will cease to exist.

What is of also great interest is that one of the Foundations of the Church, the Apostle Paul, quotes Isaiah 25.7 in his letter to the Corinthians (15.54,55): “And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  ‘THE Death is swallowed up in victory.’  What is this “the Death” in Paul (who uses the article)?  Well, “the last enemy is THE Death” (15.26)!  What does The Death do: it kills people.  What does Jesus do?  HE raises the dead that The Death has killed!  Praise His Holy name!  When does he swallow up The Death?  When the fullness of the New Heavens and New Earth come.  The Death is not found there at all.  It’s gone.

Now, to further our theological message, Paul gives us the answer as to where The Death came from: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead” (15.21).  This is also found in Romans 5.12: “because of this, even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin The Death; and thus to all men The Death did pass through, for that all did sin” (Young’s Literal).  The Death kills people.  This is not “separation from God” death (or what some call “spiritual death”).  The revelation has defined it.  It is killing death.  This death kills people.  It kills all people.  It is a shroud over all the people, and “in Adam all die”.  It is an enemy.  A principality, a power.  Jesus holds it in his hands.  Jesus sends it on its way.  And, Jesus will swallow it up, hurl it in the Lake of Fire and be absolutely through with it forever from that time forward.  Maranatha!

 

Response to Preston, Part 3

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Let’s just jump right into Preston’s third article where he states that I have not offered any “exegesis” as to a literal passing of heaven and earth.  I noted in ‘Response to Preston, Part2’ the reasons.  But, since he is now putting forth the claim that the Bible absolutely nowhere, in any shape, or form, ever presents a claim that the material cosmos will be transformed, I simply submit another article I have already written in response to another Full Preterist, Rick Cassidy.  The passage in question is Romans 8.19-ff where, again, the vast majority of non-Dispensationalist scholarship understands Paul here speaking of “the creation” as also participating in the glory to be revealed in the children of God.  I think this passage is most explicit.

The reader can access that article on this blog.  Let us continue with Preston’s analysis of several passages.  Well, no, let me first state that Preston has not even dealt with the major premise of my initial argument.  The “jots and tittles” are in reference to the written word of God (that’s what “jots and tittles” mean – written strokes on paper).  Jesus stated clearly enough that these would “disappear” along with “heaven and earth” – and Preston agreed in his second article – that this happens at the same time.  Yet, as anyone can see, the jots and tittles are still here with us.  Just “open your Bibles”.  Preston has also agree with me that “the Law” and the “Law and the Prophets” are both phrases that mean the “entire Hebrew Bible.”  This is where Preston pulls a fast one and tries to delimit the “jots and tittles” to the passing of the old covenant itself, after admitting that they refer to the entire Hebrew Bible!  Therefore, in his view, since “heaven and the earth” means “the old covenant dissolving” in AD 70 with the Temple (heaven) and the Land (Israel) being exiled, then “all things” were fulfilled.  But, as I have shown, and Preston has yet to deal with, this involves a massive problem.

Now to Preston’s “exegesis”.  He first considers Psalm 102.25-28.  This is quoted in Hebrews 1.10.  Preston believes that this psalm “is about the salvation of Israel at the Day of the Lord.”  His exegesis barely demonstrates this point.  He strings together some verses (as he understands them), then simply states that this psalm is not at all concerned with the passing of heaven and earth?  This is exegesis?

But, let’s get to the real heart of the matter with Preston’s assumptions.  For, as I stated in my first article, if Jesus’ words here in Matthew 5.17-18 are not what Preston means, then Preston’s entire covenant eschatology utterly fails.  In fact, he makes this very case: “Let me emphasize a critical point here: The promise of Psalms 102 is an Old Covenant promise made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. This logically means that it had to be fulfilled while Old Covenant Israel after the flesh existed (or exists) as God’s covenant people– while those covenant promises were still in effect.”  Here is where Preston, without any proof whatsoever states that this is an “old covenant promise”.  It can only be fulfilled while old covenant Israel existed.  This is the fatal flaw in Preston’s “exegesis”.

Allow me to quote from the author of Hebrews: “…God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His Purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised” (6.17).  Then, “For when there is a change in the priesthood there must also be a change of the law” (7.12).  God “swore on oath to himself” concerning “the promises.”  That cannot be changed.  However, the “change in the law” (it’s being “set aside” – 7.18) means that the “old covenant” had been superceded by a new covenant – an eternal covenant (13.20).  The promises are to be fulfilled in the new covenant, not the old covenant!   The author of Hebrews saying that just because the old “has been made” obsolete, the promises have not been made obsolete because the promises were not based on the covenant made with Moses!  The promises are based on God’s oath-swearing upon Himself – and this cannot change, whereas the “law is changed.”  The contrast cannot be made more plain.

Preston argues that all of the promises are all linked to one, single covenant: Moses’.  This is patently false.  What about the covenant made to Adam?  To Noah?  What about, using Preston’s own logic, the promise of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31?  Was it not uttered to those “under the law”?  In fact, let’s quote Preston and instead of Psalm 102, let us insert Jeremiah 31, “”Let me emphasize a critical point here: The promise of Jeremiah 31 is an Old Covenant promise made to Old Covenant Israel after the flesh. This logically means that it had to be fulfilled while Old Covenant Israel after the flesh existed (or exists) as God’s covenant people– while those covenant promises were still in effect.” Since it has been fulfilled, since it was an old covenant promise, and since the old covenant “disappeared”, then so does Jeremiah 31!  Is it any wonder, then, why many Full Preterists today see the logic of this very claim?  The Full Preterist Corey Schultz sees it, but he is ridiculed all day long by those who follow Preston!  Amazing.

Psalm 102 speaks of the passing of heaven and earth in very visible, clear terms.  The Jews of Jesus’ era understood this; the Qumranian community knew this.  The Psalms are replete with the assertion.  Romans 8.19-ff, which interestingly enough, may echoe Psalm 102.20, asserts it.  “In the beginning you laid the foundation of the earth” (102.25).  What beginning?  Genesis 1.1!  It’s amazing that this even has to be said.

So, Preston, under the weight of his own making, concludes, “This means that if Psalms 102 is not fulfilled, that Israel– Israel after the flesh– remains as God’s covenant people.”  And, since the old covenant is gone (as we all agree), then Psalm 102 must be fulfilled, and in order for it to be fulfilled, it can’t be taken literally.  Preston thinks that he has knocked off his opponents, but he only does so under the rubric of his own Full Preterist assumptions.  After these have been read into the text, he thinks he has championed a victory.  But, as we have proven, the old covenant was “set aside” and the law was “changed”.  The order of the priesthood of Melchizedek stands over the Levitical priesthood, as David was promised (not Moses).  God making Abraham into many nations was not fulfilled under the old covenant because it was “weakened by the flesh.”  Old covneant Israel could not bring about the promises by the very fact that she was enslaved.

Paul hammers this point home to his Jewish audience: “Or do you not know, brothers- for I am speaking to those who know the law- that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?  or the woman that hath an husband, whilst her husband liveth is bound to the law. But if her husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.  Therefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ: that you may belong to another, who is risen again from the dead that we may bring forth fruit to God (Romans 7.1-4).  The Jew is being told that in the same way death in a marriage annuls the vows between them, so the death of Christ, though his body (which Preston denies that Jesus retains), annuls the law.  The Jew has been made “dead”.  Jesus, who is God incarnate, also “died”.  The Bridegroom, however, has been raised from the dead to marry anew those who have “died to the law”.  This tells us that Preston is flat out wrong.  The promises were made did not require Israel to be “under the law” – rather, they are fulfilled (and are being fulfilled) when they are made DEAD to the law!  And, when were they made dead?  In the death of Jesus.

So, Preston wants three passages.  Psalm 102.  Hebrews 1.10.  Romans 8.19-ff.  I could also cite Revelation 20, 21, II Peter 3, Matthew 5.17,18, and Matthew 24.35.  Isaiah 65 envisions a new heavens and earth, too.  In it, fantastical, poetic hyperbole  is used to denote that it is quite a different scene than what is “normally” seen and experienced.  But, aside from this (and serious exegesis), Preston’s theory holds no water, and the assumptions he must make in order to interpret Jesus’ words concerning all of the jots and tittles of the Bible end up contradicting the very Bible he claims to believe.

Response to Preston, Part 2

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.

Don Preston’s second article, ‘The Passing of the Law of Moses and the Increasing Desperation of Sam Frost #2’, continues to open up the debate between us.  I will simple list the points here and respond.

First, Preston, right off the bat, misunderstands my argument.  He writes, “He gives us a labored “explanation” of Matthew 5:17-18 attempting to show that Jesus’ words there do not necessitate the fulfillment of the law of Moses– every jot and every tittle of it– before it could vanish away.”  Well, no.  I did not say this.  I said that the fulfillment of the laws of Moses (the 613 commandments) would not cause every jot and tittle of the entire Hebrew corpus to disappear, because the fulfillment of the laws of Moses does not equate to the entire fulfillment of the entire Hebrew Bible (of which the 613 commandments of Moses are only a part).  Preston, as proven in my first response to his series, plays the shell game here.  Even in this article, he states, “…Frost agrees is a comprehensive term for the entirety of what we call the Old Testament.”  I can’t seem to get Mr. Preston to understand the fact that the 613 commandments of Moses, which constituted a covenant made with Moses (Deuteronomy 5), is not the entire Hebrew Bible.

Yet, Preston continues to labor under this point.  Paul, in Romans 8.4, wrote, “…in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”  That word, “fulfilled” there is the same in our text, Matthew 5.17.  The Law is fulfilled in Christ and Christ in us.  Yet, clearly, there are many other “jots and tittles” that needed to be fulfilled at the time of Paul’s writing.  Therefore, by strict logic, the law was fulfilled, but not every jot and tittle passed away until all the other jots and tittles of the Hebrew Bible were fulfilled.  They all stand and pass away together.  Many prophecies have been fulfilled, but they have not “disappeared”.  The 613 commandments of Moses have been fulfilled, but they have not “disappeared”.  The fact that they have been fulfilled (at the cross and resurrection, and therefore, set aside), does not mean that they have “disappeared” any more than the fact that many prophecies at the time of Jesus were fulfilled, but did not equate to their disappearance.  We still read them.  Not one jot will disappear until they are all fulfilled.

Now, in spite of the fact that Preston does not address this issue, he dives right into the issue of heaven and earth.  Before he does this, however, he must first make an insinuation: “I should observe that while Frost assures us that the OT predicts the end of the material heaven and earth, he did not give us any documentation. He offered not a verse to support that claim.”  Well, no I didn’t because that was not the gist of my paper.  “Don’t you think it would be somewhat important to prove this foundational part of his argument? It is insufficient to simply claim something to be true, especially something that is critical to your argument. I took note in the first installment that Frost made the claim that material heaven and earth is what Jesus had in mind in Matthew 5, yet, once again, he offered no proof for his claims. His presumptive approach is, to say the least, disturbing and revealing.”  This is simply a smokescreen.  The point of my paper was not the materiality of the heavens and the earth, and thus, I did not labor on it.  How that is “disturbing” I have not clue, except that it is meant to throw the reader off.

Preston knows full well that the vast majority of scholars support my claim that the Bible addresses the “heavens and the earth” as, well, any school child knows what that phrase means.  Look outside.  In fact, in a very well received and critically acclaimed book, A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology, by J. Richard Middleton, Baker Academic, 2014, makes this entirely certain.  Even the renowned Hebraist and Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann responded with, “”Richard Middleton plunges boldly into a most-treasured misreading of the Bible. He shows the way in which ‘other-worldly’ hope of ‘going to heaven’ is a total misread of gospel faith. In a demanding, sure-footed way he walks the reader through a rich deposit of biblical texts to make clear that the gospel concerns the transformation of the earth and not escape from it. Middleton summons us to repentance for such a mistaken understanding that has had disastrous practical implications. This is a repentance that he himself avows. When his book catches on, it will have an immense impact on the way in which we think and act about our common future in the gospel, a common future with important socioeconomic, political derivatives. The reader will be rewarded by Middleton’s boldness.”  Preston’s view is just that: “going to heaven” is the goal.  The creation itself will never be transformed.  It is a “total misread of the gospel faith.”

Be that as it may, Preston labors again under the impression that the eventual end of the present heavens and earth as they now are means that I endorse a replacement of them by a new heavens and new earth.  This is entirely at odds with Biblical scholarship.  Rather, it is a transformation.  A caterpillar is not replaced with a butterfly.  It is transformed.  Re-created.  Huge difference.

Preston’s first point is: “The Old Covenant affirms the eternality of the material creation.”  Now, it’s hard to tell if he means by “old covenant” the entirety of the Hebrew Bible, or just the 613 commandments of Moses made with the Israelites in Moses’ day.  Regardless, I also affirm the same thing.  Heavens and earth will continue forever.  Transformation does not mean, logically, replacement.  Transformation cannot mean, by definition, that the sun, moon, stars and earth with “disappear” in terms of their constituent substance.  However, Preston thinks that this is what I believe.

Preston brings up the Flood, which actually illustrates my point.  The Flood was universal (I believe, but will not substantiate that here, and perhaps Preston will find that “disturbing and revealing” that I do not offer “proof” for my assertion…but that’s not the point of this paper).  The earth and the heavens were changed.  But not replaced.  The topography was changed.  Not replaced.  Even our Beloved Apostle stated, “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,  and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished” (2 Peter 3.5-6).  The world that then existed perished.  The heavens and the earth did not.  They will be transformed.  The world that now exists, with Death as an enemy, and Sin, and all the other atrocities, will perish.  Preston denies this, and in fact, preaches the infinity of atrocity.  Jesus’ prayer, rooted in Second Temple Judaism, makes it clear: thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Whatever the kingdom “is” in heaven, so it will be on earth.  Jesus’ kingdom will be the only kingdom left standing.  All others will perish at his feet, every rule, power and authority.

Nonetheless, Preston strangely states that since God promised never to destroy “every living creature” as he did in the Flood, then, somehow, he will not ever transform the heavens and the earth.  This is puzzling, and easily dismissed, because that final judgment is not a destruction of “every living creature” on earth!  Where does the Bible say this?  Are the Christians destroyed?  Secondly, the text of Genesis states,  “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:21-22).  That little Hebrew word, “while” means “as long as”.  “As long as the earth remains.”  How long is that?

After spending some time on the Flood, none of which dismisses my premise, Preston does rightly ask, “It will naturally be rejoined that there are OT prophecies of the passing of “heaven and earth.” And of course, that is true. However, are those prophecies contradictions of the passages we have cited, or, is there something else about those predictions that must be examined?”  In fact, we could have saved a lot of space and time here.  This is an admission.  Yet, the Bible also speaks of the passing of heaven and earth.  It also speaks, as Preston has quoted a few verses to this effect, about the continuation of heaven and earth.  Thus, we are set with a conundrum, a paradox, a supposed contradiction.  Ecclesiastes says, “the earth will remain forever” (1.4).  The psalmist says, “heaven and the earth shall be consumed.”  Can’t have both.  Logically, to solve this, one statement is wrong.  But, since we believe in the Bible, we can’t go that route.  Or, the dissolving of the heaven and the earth is not their destruction (i.e., they cease to be in terms of original substance), but their transformation.  Earth will endure forever, and this in no way mitigates against its being transformed.  Or, Preston is right, heaven and earth were merely symbols for Herod’s ego inflated Temple during Jesus’ day (which he failed to marvel at with his disciples), and the old covenant of Moses.  But, this is a stretch.  It certainly relieves the supposed paradox, but at what cost?  As we shall continue, the cost is very, very great.

Response to Rick Cassidy on Romans 8.19-ff

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.

One of the more problematic passages for the Full Preterist (FP) is Romans 8.19-ff.  The FP is under extreme stress to interpret this passage in light of their propositions that every shred of prophecy in the Christian Bible was fulfilled in 70 A.D., culminating in that horrible razing of the Herodian Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman military and its alliances.  Although many passages in Scripture do speak directly to that event, not all of them do, and this one is one of them that doesn’t.

The passage in view is this: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (English Standard Version, ESV).

Based on a plain reading of the text, it appears to say what so many millions in the past and present have said: creation was subjected to a corruption by God with the purpose of bringing it into an even greater realization which will never again be subjected to corruption.  That the people of God groan until this realization, the transformation of their bodies (resurrection of the dead), and that until such manifestation, they hope in what is not yet seen, but one day will be seen.

Pretty straightforward. Not so fast, says the FP.  This “utopian” dream (as it is caricatured to mean) is a myth.  The Bible never speaks about anything like this at all.  It was invented and read into the Bible by false men and women with false, vain, fleshly hopes.  Christianity and the foundations upon which was (and is) being built is false (a totally false hope).  This passage was entirely fulfilled in 70 A.D.

So, how do they get there?  How do they come up with such an extravagant claim that until recently no one ever announced?  Well, it’s not easy.  But, first, it has to do with the word, “creation” in the text.  In fact, “the creation”, “the whole creation”, “firstfruits”, “redemption of the body”, and “we/us”.  These terms have to be defined in such a way that is not normally understood.

The first line that an example of this type of argument (and I pick on Rick Cassidy, a FP) is that there is something fishy going on here.  How can “the creation” itself “eagerly expect” something?  That is, how can “rocks, trees, birds and worms” expect something?  Sounds absurd, right?  Well, no.  In the Psalms, creation itself actively “reveals” the Glory of God (Romans 1.20,25).  And, Cassidy points to these two verses.  He takes 1.20 to mean “creation” itself, and 1.25 to mean “birds, beasts, and men” – created things; creation.  Same word.  The Greek word simply means, “creation, what is created, created order, creature (of living beings); act of creation” (UBS 4th Ed, Greek NT).  Thus, man is “creation” or a “creature.”  So is a mountain.  So is a bird.  In the Scripture, creation is not some lifeless thing.  It is personified numerous times poetically so.  Trees clap their hands.  Stars sing.  Cows worship.  All of creation is sustained by, held together through, and brings glory to God.  It’s not pantheism, or even panentheism.  But, it is living in the sense that God sustains it by “the kol” – the Voice – Hebrew).  His voice moves all things, holds all things, superintends all things.  And, creation itself does reveal the Glory of God, and would so loudly and clearly to all – if it were not for one problem: Sin and Death, which has so marred the message of creation that even the Sun, Moon and Stars cannot convey their message so naturally infused in their being that God alone is God of all.  Man has fallen.  His sense of right and wrong have become seriously damaged.

Cassidy writes, however, “That is the usage by Paul in Romans 8…nothing more. We must always put ourselves into the language , culture , and time period of the writer and not impose common English word definitions that immediate (sic) strike our mind.”  In other words, since Paul calls a convert a “new creation”, then new converts are called “creatures” or “creation” and, thus, other created things (creatures like birds, trees, and lions) cannot at all be understood here.  Not good logic, for, as Cassidy has already noted, “creation” is understood in 1.20.  Paul knows what it means, and what it can mean.  He is not restricted to just one meaning, in other words.

Now, it is an interesting bit of language theory here.  Cassidy is against “imposing” on the text anything foreign.  And, that’s to be admired.  If he is guilty of such, then shame on him for breaking his own rule.  But, is there something necessarily wrong with first impressions?  If I see a word and think immediately of its meaning, then commonality in that expression has occurred (I am not even going to begin on Augustine or Malebranche and de Magistro at this point).  Did the sun have a different “impression” 2000 years ago?  Was it not that big yellow ball up there?  Were human brains wired differently?  I digress.  The point Cassidy wishes to set up at this point is plain: how millions upon millions of Christians, scholars and non-scholars alike have in the past and present understood this passage is based not upon Paul’s “time” and “culture”, but upon what immediately strikes their minds.  And, sense we should not always rely on this fashion of defining terms, we are warranted to dive deeper into the text to discover what hardly anyone has ever discovered.  And, always keep this in mind: we must dig deeper here to find another meaning than that which is ordinary because this passage MUST be interpreted to fit in with Full Preterism.  Sure, we all do this with the Bible.  The question is, how far, how deep and how much?  If one comes out with an almost entirely if not opposite meaning from what so many others have commonly seen together from all walks of life past and present, then it makes ones attempt at least highly suspect.  I mean, one can say, “everyone thinks Adam ate an apple, when the Bible does not say that” – and this can be easily shown, and we all have a chuckle (a keen logician would state, however, that it could have been an apple – we are not told either way)!  But, to come up with Adam was never a real person, never ate anything, and no fall ever occurred, well, that’s a stretch.

Nonetheless, there is enough there in this text to ask questions.  For Cassidy, “creation” or as some translations have it, “creature” can be spoken of man, a creature.  Reasonable enough.  Thus, “the creature” is eagerly expecting the manifestation of the sons of God.  Man is expecting this.

Even further, Cassidy argues that it the new creation (Christians) that is “the creature” in 8.19.  But, does this make sense?   The new creation (Christian) is eagerly awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God (the new creation – Christians)?  Well, he sort of changes his meaning.  The creature is “referring to humans destined to be children of God.”  But, in the verse he cites (II Corinthians 5.17) Paul already calls Christians, “new creations” and “sons of God”.  They were not awaiting to be called sons of God, they already were.  What the sons of God (or to be more gender-inclusive, children of God) were awaiting was the redemption of their bodies.  The fact that they were awaiting meant that they had already had a hope for it, which qualifies them as sons of God.  They were not sons-of-God-in-waiting, but waiting-sons-of-God.  Huge difference.

Thus, the creation itself is waiting for the sons of God to be manifested in terms of resurrection/redemption of their bodies: resurrection of the dead.  It wouldn’t make any sense any other way around.

Now, ever allowed to present his case, Cassidy thinks there is another reason in the text for suggesting something fishy.  Paul wrote, “the whole creation” which may mean something different from “the creation” (or may not, logically speaking).  “I saw the game.”  “Really?”  “Yes! The whole game!”  Here, “the game” and “the whole game” are the same.  One has an adjective, the other doesn’t.  No big deal.  Thus, it appears that based on the “the whole creation” and the phrase, “together with” implies two subjects here: the sons of God, and the creation – the whole creation “itself”.  That is, the whole creation itself will participate in the manifestation of the sons of God, when the Spirit quickens even the mortal bodies that quickened the mortal body of Jesus in the tomb (8.11).  When the sons of God are “glorified” (8.17) with Jesus (who is already glorified), after they have suffered with him.  Suffering comes before glorification.  Suffering with Jesus is something the FP doesn’t want to talk about much.  It ruins their eschatology.

Cassidy’s more candid words now take on a bolder charge, thinking thus far he has made his case indubitably: “So…specifically…in context…Paul means… the whole saved human creation. There is no reason to think Paul is injecting a completely different subject with that one sentence (v22)…the restoration of the physical universal creation of Genesis. The KJV translators with a restored creation bias decided to use the words “the whole creation” instead of the equally accurate “every creature” and that impression has permeated all English readers. However that is not what Paul is discussing.”  So, in 1611, at least, the bias KJV Greek scholars were so blind to Cassidy’s thinking (and Paul’s) that they completely, practically, rewrote the text.  What this means is this: in order for Cassidy’s FP to work, you must think that this is, in fact, the case!  Which, more or less, shows my point above.  This kind of charge does not help an argument….it weakens it.  However, why can’t Paul “introduce” a new subject matter wherever he wants?  Is there some rule against that?  I mean, how far away is “creature” from “creation” when it has already been attested by Cassidy that it can mean in other places, “creation”?  The fact that Paul introduces it is due to the fact that “the creation itself” (an emphatic form in Greek) was marred by the sin of Adam and mankind in Adam.  Here is some “Hebrew mind” for you: in Noah’s day God was not upset just about mankind, but by the LAND itself – IT itself had “become corrupt” (Genesis 6.11).  Same word used here in our text (see Septuagint).  The whole creation (typical in Second Temple Judaism) will come into the glorious renovation of the Sons of God.

Yet, there is one more point Cassidy thinks he has: Paul says, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (ESV).  Does this not prove that Paul does not have in mind the creation, but created people, and that he is contrasting them with us/we in his own day?  The created people, the whole creation, every creature (in Cassidy’s view, the Gentiles), are contrasted with The Jews who are in Christ.  How does he get this?  The word “firstfruits”.  I’ll let him speak to this point in his own words: “Verse 23 represents the strongest argument that the passage is referring to the Gentiles and not the non-rational creation. The first part “Not only so” is a reference to the suffering of those mentioned in verse 22. The verse contrasts those mentioned in verse 22 to “we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit.” This might seem to be some obscure, unknown reference, but its meaning is quite clear from the rest of scripture.

“In Israel, the first fruits were to be the first and best of a crop given as a sacrifice to God. In reference to the New Testament, the first fruits of Christ were the Jews who first believed and followed Jesus. Jesus made it clear that He was sent only to witness to the Jews: But He [Jesus] answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

There are a few things wrong here.  Paul is not writing to Jews only.  Paul was an Apostle to the Gentiles.  There is no indication here at all that he is singling out “we” as “Jews only”.  Although in other places, James, for example, calls his Jewish audience a “kind of firstfuits”, that does not mean Paul is using it in the same manner here.  Secondly, and more plain, it is the “firstfruits of the Spirit.”  This phrase is not at all talking about people who are called, “firstfruits”!  It is, rather, those who have the Spirit’s firstfuits, the guarantee, the adoption of sons, “For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God” (8.16).  The firstfuits of the Spirit is the “testimony” that we are sons of God.  “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (8.11).  Two things here: the Spirit now “dwells” in the believer (the firstfruits of the Spirit), and will quicken the mortal bodies of believers (the harvest of the Spirit).  From the first workings of the Spirit in the believer, we are being conformed to the image of the Son, through suffering and mortification of the desires of sin, resistance, patient enduring unto the quickening even of the body, glorification.  From first to last, the Spirit of Jesus is at work, proclaiming liberty, setting us free, and, ultimately, bringing us into glory and honor at its highest peak, higher than even Adam in his pristine day.

In short, Cassidy’s argument here (even in spite of quoting Gill and Clarke, who would never come to Cassidy’s conclusions) falls short of proof.  Paul is arguing for the redemption of the body, the quickening of the mortal body, having the firstfruits of the Spirit.  That creation, the whole creation (man included, not just the Jewish peoples, but all peoples – all of creation itself) “together with” those who have the Spirit’s firstfruits dwelling in them are awaiting a glorious manifestation, a momentous event of all events in which Jesus is the Goal, and in which all things, things in heaven, things on earth and under the earth shall be headed up in Him, reconciling all things to him, where every knee will bow, all of creation shall bow, and everything will be made new, where moth and rust no longer corrupt, where Death and Sin no longer exist, where all nations will have One King, One Lord and One God, on earth as it is in heaven, thy Kingdom Come, where all kingdoms shall perish, and his alone shall stand.  Maranatha Lord Savior! I eagerly desire You!  Even now!

Preston Takes the Bait

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

In my article, ‘Another Full Preterist Fallacy Faulted’, written here on my blog, Don Preston, leading teacher of Full Preterism, responds, and, as I predicted plays the “shell game”.  First off, let it be known that Preston has no kind words to say concerning my leaving the heresy known as Full Preterism.  “In reality, the problem was that Frost could not bring himself to jettison church history and the creeds. He chose the works of men over the Word of God.”  This is simply false, and thoroughly documented since my departure years ago, and also in my book, Why I Left Full Preterism.  It’s a blatant, false accusation.

Be that as it is, and it is, Preston boldly issues his own downfall: “Frost well knows that it is impossible to refute Covenant Eschatology without negating the force of Jesus’ emphatic words.”  Catch that.  If the words of Jesus in question (Matthew 5.17-18) do not support Preston’s claims, covenant eschatology (i.e., Full Preterism) is negated.  This passage of Scripture is a lynch pin.  If Preston’s claims about it are false, then his Covenant Eschatology is also false.  It all stands on what Preston believes are Jesus’ claims here.

Now, let us begin.  The first thing to note is our agreement.  In a previously written entry on Facebook I more or less, though far more brief than my article, stated the same conclusions.  To that Preston responded.  Here are Preston’s own words:

“Frost says: “Jesus said the Law and the Prophets, which, as can easily be shown, can mean the entire Hebrew Bible, with all of its promises, prophecies, psalms, laws, proverbs, histories and the like.

“Response: Thank you, Mr. Frost! This is precisely accurate, but, that means that until “the entire Hebrew Bible with all of its promises, prophecies, psalms, laws, proverbs, histories and the like” was fulfilled, not one jot or one tittle of the entire Hebrew Bible could pass. That is, after all, what the Lord said: “Not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law until it is ALL fulfilled.”

So, let it be known to all that the phrase, “The Law and the Prophets” stands for “the entire Hebrew Bible.”  “Bible” (Greek, biblios, simple means a “written book”).  Further, again from Preston’s own words:

“Frost says: “If we take Jesus’ second mention of “the Law” to mean an ellipsis (a shortening) of the antecedent “Law or the Prophets”, then what he is saying is simply repeated: not one stroke will not come to pass from the Law and Prophets until heaven and earth disappear.

“Response: Thank you again, Mr. Frost! Jesus said “not one stroke will not come to pass from the Law and Prophets until heaven and earth disappear.” Jesus was saying– the words are emphatic– “not one jot or one tittle of the law shall pass until it is all fulfilled.”

So, again, Preston agrees with me that even the phrase, “the Law” stands for, elliptically, the entire Hebrew Bible.  Please keep this in mind, and please keep in mind that so far, Preston and Frost are in total agreement.   The “Law and the Prophets” and “the Law” both stand for the entire Hebrew Bible from Genesis to Malachi.  I am not misquoting Preston, not twisting his words, not making him say something he isn’t.  In fact, he thanks me!

Now, watch this.  In his most recent attack on the historic faith, ‘The Passing of the Law of Moses and Sam Frost’s Increasing Desperation #1,’ Preston, right out of the gate, moves the shell on the unsuspecting observer: “Not one jot or one tittle of the Law of Moses could pass until it was all fulfilled, brought to pass, fully accomplished,” he says.  Did you catch that shift?  Jesus did not say, “the law of Moses”.  He said, “the law” and “the law and the prophets” – which we already seen above that Preston equates with the entire Hebrew Bible!  Now, I am not at all saying the laws of Moses are not included, since they are in the Hebrew Bible, and the entire Hebrew Bible can also be called for short, ‘the law.’  It’s like Christians saying, “the word of God” when meaning “the Bible”.  But, God did not utter every word in the Bible (although he inspired them).  Daniel’s words, David’s words, and Nebuchadnezzar’s words are in the Bible, the word of God.  Likewise, the “laws of Moses” make up roughly four books (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  There are 613 to be exact.  Was Jesus just speaking of these commandments and these commandments only?  Hardly.  And Preston, as seen clearly above, agrees.

Preston then issues the challenge: “The Law of Moses contained prophecies of the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ.  Therefore, until the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ took place, not one jot or one tittle of the Law of Moses could pass.”  One can only shake their head at the shell game going on here.  The entire eschatological catalogue are contained in the 613 commandments (the laws of Moses)!  What happened the Prophets?  As in, “the law and the prophets”, and “the entire Hebrew Bible”?  Preston follows with blind allegiance to the idea that the entire Hebrew Bible, every jot and tittle, is the old covenant.  This is about as false as saying my mother makes horrible ham and beans!

Again, Preston smuggles in his premise: “You cannot have the passing of the law of Moses without the fulfillment of the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ.”  This is, of course, based upon his already proven to be erroneous claims.  In fact, what he is saying is the direct opposite of what Jesus said, as we will show.  His second false premise is based on the first: “If the resurrection, the judgment, the end of the age and the coming of Christ have not taken place, every jot and every tittle of the Law of Moses remains valid and binding.”  This, again, is patently false based on what we both agreed upon above.  He smuggles in this word “valid” (i.e., in full force to be obeyed).  Jesus did not say, “the law of Moses remains in full force until they are fulfilled.”  He said, “the law shall not disappear (pass away).”  Apparently, Preston takes “disappear” to mean “in full force until”, which is simply false.  The word “disappear” means “disappear” – gone, vanished, out of here.  And, if Preston is correct, none of the jots and tittles of the entire Hebrew Bible have any force since, in his fanciful argument, all was “accomplished” in 70 A.D.!

Now, I must comment that Preston also misunderstands my own argument when he wrote, “In other words, every single stroke of the pen of the Law and the prophets would remain valid until every thing in the Law and the prophets would be accomplished” (surmising my argument).  But, I did not say that.  “Remain valid” is not in my article, anywhere.  Preston is under the spell that unless every prophecy is fulfilled, then every prophecy is remains valid.  But, again, this is patently absurd, for as even he admits: “I agree with Frost when he observes that Jesus’ words, of necessity, mean that what had to be fulfilled, in the future from when Jesus spoke, were the prophecies and elements of the Law that had not yet been fulfilled when he spoke. After all, when Jesus spoke these words, some prophecies of the Law had already been fulfilled, i.e. his Virgin birth among others.”  Well, hallelujah!  If SOME have been fulfilled, but not ALL, then ALL will NOT DISAPPEAR until ALL are fulfilled.  Strict, pure, syllogistic logic.  Therefore, if the “covenant” made with Moses (just one covenant out of many) is set aside because it was fulfilled, and since the one covenant made with Moses is not EVERY jot and tittle of the entire Hebrew Bible, then it follows on hard logic that the fulfillment of the laws of Moses is NOT the accomplishment of EVERY jot and tittle that comprises the Law and the Prophets (the entire Hebrew Bible).  Preston confuses the promises (made before the covenant of Moses, and after the covenant of Moses) with the setting aside of the covenant of Moses.  The author of Hebrews goes out of his way to show that this is not the case at all.

Allow me to continue this point of either the shell game, confusion, or both on Preston’s part: “He said, “The least stroke of the pen of the Law and Prophets remains until all things concerning them are ‘accomplished.’” (p. 2 of 13). In other words, every single stroke of the pen of the Law and the prophets would remain valid until every thing in the Law and the prophets would be accomplished.”  See that?  I wrote, “remains” and he added “remain valid.”  That’s con artistry.  Another example: “Frost well realizes that if he follows the logic of his own words, and the words of the text of Matthew 5, that Torah remains valid today– every single jot and tittle.”  This is what Preston wants the reader to think, but the only way Preston can reach this false conclusion is by smuggling in his own definitions and words into my argument!

He then quotes scholars, none of which would agree to his radical conclusions, and cherry picks a few quotes (as I used to do) to support his claims.  I guess we are lead to believe that none of the Hebrews knew what “heaven and earth” meant!  Abraham was asked to look at the heavens, the stars and number them, and walk the earth, and wherever his foot stepped on earth, was his.  I guess this is all symbolic of the temple!  I digress.  But, quoting scholars is a moot point with Full Preterists such as Preston, for whoever he quotes, whether France, Gumerlock, Wright, Beale, or Hays makes no difference.  For me, as for them, we have worshipped at the feet of false doctrine instead of Preston’s Covenant Eschatology.  And, it makes me chuckle a bit when Preston accuses me of “inventing” and “creating” a “novel view.”  Ahem.  Max King, anyone?  If Preston could simply state his own battle with his own words and stop pretending that the “scholars” are all behind him (which they are not).   What does he need the “scholars” for anyway?  Doesn’t he have his Bible?

Let’s back up here.  Preston, in the beginning of this article, clearly in his own words, thanked me for saying that the Law and the Prophets made up the entire canon of the Hebrew Bible.  The, he turns right around and equates all jots and tittles with the “laws of Moses” only.  Then, since the laws of Moses are no longer in full force today (or after the cross and resurrection of Christ in view of the millions of mislead scholars), then all the promises are fulfilled, too.  Folks, this is the old shell game.  It’s sophistry.  Jesus was not saying at all what Preston is forcing him to say.  This is another reason why Theonomy (i.e., Greg Bahnsen) never caught hold.  It’s not what Jesus was saying.  Very simply, Jesus said that HE came to accomplish EVERY SINGLE jot and tittle of the entire Hebrew Bible that, up to his own day, had not yet been accomplished.  That heaven and earth will not pass away, that not ONE jot and tittle of the sacred text will DISAPPEAR, until he accomplished all.  NO prophecy has “disappeared”.  They are all there for all to read.  No law of Moses has disappeared.  They are all there for all to read, every jot and tittle of the text (for that’s what a jot and tittle are – swipes of a pen on paper).  However, just as some prophecies have been fulfilled (as even Preston admits), does not mean that they remain VALID, or in force.  How could they?  They are fulfilled!  Have they disappeared?  No.  Are they still valid and in force?  No, they are fulfilled.  Therefore, a prophecy can REMAIN fulfilled, yet not in force precisely because it is fulfilled.  It will REMAIN (not disappear) until ALL of them are fulfilled, and then ALL of them will disappear together.

Hopefully, Preston will continue to respond, and I will continue to offer up the proper defense which as stood the test of time over and against his novel, made up, and invented “covenant eschatology.”