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.

Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Samuel M. Frost has gained the recognition of his family, peers, colleagues, church members, and local community as a teacher and leader.  Samuel was raised in the Foursquare Gospel tradition and continued in the rising Charismatic Movement of the early 1980’s.  While serving in local congregations he was admitted to Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, Florida where he lived on campus for four years earning his Bachelor’s of Theology degree.  It was there under the tutelage of Dr. Dow Robinson (Summer Institutes of Linguistics), and Dr. Frank Longino (Dallas Theological Seminary) that he was motivated to pursue a career in Theology.  Dr. Robinson wrote two books on Linguistics, Workbook on Phonological Analysis (SIL, 1970) and Manuel for Bilingual Dictionaries: Textbook (SIL, 1969).  It was under these teachers’ guidance that Frost entered into his Master’s studies, being granted a scholarship for Greek I and II at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, accredited, in Cleveland, Tennessee (adjunct of Lee University).  Frost completed his study under Dr. French Arrington, who used the text of J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners. Frost studied Hebrew for two years under Dr. Mark Futato (author, Beginning Biblical Hebrew, Eisenbrauns, 2003) and Dr. Bruce K. Waltke (author, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Eisenbrauns, 1990) at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. With combined credits from PTS and RTS, Samuel completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida under the direct tutelage of Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, co-author of the well reviewed work, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Whitefield Media, 2005) with Dr. Gary Crampton (and Foreword by the late, Dr. D. James Kennedy).  Dr. Talbot also oversaw Samuel’s Dissertation, From the First Adam to the Second and Last Adam (2012) earning him the Magister Theologiae (Th.M.) degree.  He also helped put together A Student’s Hebrew Primer for WTS and graded exams in Hebrew. Samuel’s studies lead him into an issue in the field of Eschatology where his scholarship and unique approach in Hermeneutics garnered him recognition.  Because of the controversial nature of some of his conclusions, scholars were sharp in their disagreement with him.  Frost’s initial work, Misplaced Hope: The Origins of First and Second Century Eschatology (2002, Second Edition, 2006 Bi-Millennial Publishing), sold over four thousand units.  While arguing for the Reformation understanding of sola Scriptura as defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith, Frost’s book launched a heavily footnoted argument for a total reassessment of the doctrine known as the Second Coming of Christ.  The conclusion was that the events of the war of the Jewish nation against their Roman overlords in 66-70 C.E. formed the New Testament authors’ eschatological outlook, and went no further than their own first century generation; a view otherwise known as “full” or "hyper" Preterism.  Internationally recognized Evangelical author and speaker Steve Wohlberg remarked, ‘On the “preterist” side today…we have such influential leaders as Gary DeMar, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul, Max King, James Stuart Russell, Samuel M. Frost, and John Noe.  To these scholars…the beast is not on the horizon, he’s dead” (Italics, his)” (End Time Delusions, Destiny Image Publishers, 2004, page 133).  It should be noted that only Noe, King and Frost supported the “full” Preterist position. Thomas Ice and co-author of the best selling Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, quote Frost’s work, Misplaced Hope, as well in their book, The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming under Attack (Harvest House Publishers, 2003, page 40).  Dr. Jay E. Adams, who single handedly launched “a revolution” in Christian Counseling with his work, Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, (1970, Zondervan), also wrote an analysis of Frost’s work in Preterism: Orthodox or Unorthodox? (Ministry Monographs for Modern Times, INS Publishing, 2004).  Dr. Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, wrote of Misplaced Hope that Frost, “attacks the problem of the early church in a much more thoroughgoing way than I have seen” (When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper Preterism, Ed. Keith Mathison, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003, ‘Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem’s Fall’ p. 110-ff.).  There were several other works as well that took the scholarship of Frost seriously, like Ergun Caner in The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective, Eds., Steve W. Lemke and David L. Allen (B&H Publishing, 2011). Because of the controversial nature of Frost’s conclusions on these matters, it was difficult to find a denomination within the Church-at-Large to work in terms of pastoral ministry.  That situation changed when Samuel was called by a Bible study group in Saint Petersburg, Florida to found a congregation.  Christ Covenant Church was established in 2002 operating under the principles outlined by Presbyterian historian James Bannerman’s work, The Church of Christ: A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, original, 1869).  By-Laws and a Constitution were drawn up in the strictest manner for what was considered an “Independent” establishment of a Presbyterian Church, granted that a “call” was received and recognized by Presiding Elders duly ordained from existing and recognized denominations.  Two Elders, one ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Mike Delores), and another ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America (Dr. Kelly N. Birks, now deceased) tested and reviewed the call, ordaining Samuel on October 20th, 2002, the Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity.  Proper forms were submitted to Tallahassee, Florida with the stamp of a Notary Public Witness.  Christ Covenant Church (CCC) functioned as a local church for five years with a congregation as large as 30 members.  Frost was gaining recognition after Misplaced Hope had been published in January of that year, and conferences were hosted that included debates with another prominent "full" Preterist educator, Don K. Preston.  CCC hosted best-selling authors, Thomas Ice, and Mark Hitchcock from Dallas Theological Seminary; and Dr. James B. Jordan (Westminster Theological Seminary), well-known author/pastor in Reformed theological circles.  Frost was invited for the next several years to speak at over 25 conferences nation-wide, was featured in articles and an appearance on local news in Tampa for one of CCC’s conferences.  The Evangelical Theological Society also invited Samuel to speak at the Philadelphia conference (Frost is currently a Member of ETS as well as Society of Biblical Literature). During this time Samuel had submitted one more book, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (TruthVoice, 2008; repr. JaDon Publishing, 2010); and co-wrote, House Divided: A Reformed Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Vision International, 2010).  Frost also wrote several Forewords for up and coming authors who were influenced by his teaching materials, as well as cited many times in books, lectures and academic papers.  However, because of certain aspects of Hermeneutics and Frost’s undaunted commitment to scholarship (with always a strong emphasis on the personal nature of devotional living to Christ), several challenges to the "hyper" Preterist view he espoused finally gave way, largely due to the unwavering commitment to Samuel by the Dean of Whitefield Theological Seminary, Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, who continually challenged him.  In what shocked the "hyper" Preterist world, Samuel announced after the Summer of 2010 that he was in serious error, and departed the movement as a whole, along with Jason Bradfield, Assistant Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida .  Christ Covenant Church had dissolved after 2007 while Samuel continued as a public speaker and writer, largely due to reasons that would unravel Frost’s commitment to "hyper" Preterism as a whole. The documentation of Frost’s departure was published by American Vision’s Founder, Gary DeMar, with a Foreword by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry.  Why I Left Full Preterism (AV Publishing, 2012) quickly sold out its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019).  Dr. Keith Mathison, Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida, endorsed the book as well.  Samuel has gone on to write, Daniel: Unplugged (Kindle/Amazon, 2019); The Parousia of the Son of Man (Lulu Publishing, 2019); God: As Bill Wilson Understood Him, A Theological Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous (Lulu Publishing, 2017).  He is also active as a certified Chaplain with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana, and enrolled with ICAADA (Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse) working directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon.  He also is working with Redemption Life Bible Church with Pastor Tyler Jackson in New Castle, Indiana.  Samuel, with his wife, Kimberly, helped to establish Heaven’s Bread Basket food pantry that donates food items to local families in need once a month – a ministry of the Session of First Presbyterian Church. Samuel has four children, one step-son, ages sixteen to twenty-eight and has worked part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for over five years.  He has a solid reputation in the community, and has performed marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle.

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