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.

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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