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.