Response to Preston Part 5; It’s Gettin’ Better!

By Samuel M. Frost, Th. M.

At the risk of sounding redundant, Preston starts his 5th “response” with yet again, a confusion of key words and terms.  He writes, “This raises an interesting question: Does Frost now believe in the literal passing of material “heaven and earth” i.e. their disappearance? In his Why I Left Full Preterism (p. 47) he speaks of a recreated, restored earth! So, does the heaven and earth literally “pass away” cease to exist, or is it restored? Frost once again contradicts himself.”

Apparently, Preston, who accuses me of being a “literalist” does not understand what the word, ‘renew’ means.  Does a caterpillar “cease to exist” when it becomes a butterfly?  Again, “this generation shall not pass away” (same word).  Have they “ceased to exist”?  Well, on one hand, yes.  One the other, no.  I realize this logical solution may go over the heads of many, but that is not my problem.  Nonetheless, that deals with that.

Again, Preston: “However, he appeals to Psalms 102 as proof that the heaven and earth will pass away. Keep in mind that Frost says of the law, in Matthew 5:17-18, that it will not pass away– cease to exist on paper- until it is all fulfilled. But, that same language is applied to heaven and earth: “heaven and earth shall not pass.” So, if the law will cease to exist when it is finally fulfilled, then that same definition must apply to the heaven and earth, yet, Frost affirms a new heavens and earth! Disappear does not mean new! It means, well, disappear!”

I argue, consistently, that the Scriptures (the jots and tittle, which is their written form) will indeed “pass away” when all of the Scriptures (not just the old covenant) are fulfilled.  The Law is “written on the heart” .  When all is fulfilled, the texts, as they now stand, in their written forms (Bibles), will cease.  “But my word shall never pass away.”  Huh?  If it is a case of form, the problem is solved.  Heaven and earth, as we now understand them, will cease.  A new (kairos in Greek) heavens and new earth is ­re­-formed.  Kairos speaks of a new quality.  “New and improved” does not mean the basic stuff of the older Windex has “ceased to exist”.  It’s been tweeked.   One as smart as Preston should understand this.

It gets worse, though.  Preston writes, “Frost claims that Isaiah 65 predicts the end of time: “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.”

Now, here is he is quoting me accurately.  But, then he amazingly says this immediately after: “Notice once again Frost’s literalistic hermeneutic at work. But of course, he cannot in any sense be consistent in that hermeneutic, for it would then destroy his entire argument.”

How can I be “literalistic” when I said, “fantastical, poetic hyperbole”?  I digress.

Let’s take Preston’s view at a glance, then point out the obvious errors of his procedure.  First, he goes into Isaiah 65.1-3 and shows that Paul quotes this passage in Romans 10.20.  And so he does.  Therefore, he reasons, this entire chapter must be fulfilled!  Well, no, not so fast.  First off, Isaiah is clearly (even from the scholar H.C. Leupold  who Preston quotes, notes) talking to his own people.  Isaiah is not saying, “765 years from now, I will hold out my hands to an obstinate people.”  No.  He was holding out his hands in Isaiah’s day.  Israel was obstinate then, and exile was coming upon them (by the Assyrians and Babylonians).  Paul is quoting this passage to prove his point that what was happening in his day concerning Israel as a whole was nothing new at all.  Stephen’s indictment was the same: you and your forefathers have always been stiffnecked!

As far as their sins being piled up, the exact same language is used by the Prophets in their own times, and Israel, as a result of piled up sins, received “double” when Babylon came and destroyed their land.  Where did “audience relevance” go, Mr. Preston?

But, Isaiah does go on and speaks of a “remnant” to be gathered together and brought back to the Land.  And, indeed, they were, as Ezra says, “we are but a remnant!”  Paul’s point again is to show that “remnant” salvation concerning Israel is nothing new.  He has always saved his people through a remnant.  So, Paul reasons, it is in his day.  A remnant of Israel was being “saved” by the Gospel.

One of the threats of punishment for breaking covenant is that God would raise up nations to make Israel “jealous.”  As it was in Isaiah’s day, so it was in Paul’s (which is Paul’s point).  God signaled Cyrus the Persian, converted Nebuchadnezzar.  Nehemiah 9.32-33, written after Isaiah, states this as the case.  God called to nations not his own, to a people who do not know his name.   Paul, therefore, it using this passage to show that God is perfectly well within his rule to call the nations.  In fact, this becomes the very problem of Preston’s view, as I will show.

The calling of the nations, of which Paul had been made an Apostle, is thoroughly found in Isaiah.  As we continue to read this chapter, 65, we see that a “remnant” will come forth and blossom and “fill the whole world” (65.9; 27.6).  This is found in 27.6 (and other places).  From a remnant God continues to move ahead His Purpose.  Paul’s point in Romans 9-11 is exactly that: God, in Christ, is moving ahead with a Purpose that has always been the case: a remnant to nations, from Noah to the Table of Nations, from Abraham to the blessing of nations, from Israel to the nations, from a remnant to the whole world, the nations.  With Jesus Christ having been raised from the dead and abolishing the old covenant system, fulfilling it, the same Purpose can now be accomplished with such power and encompass such a magnitude that Israel, while under the Mosaic Covenant, could not “birth”.  They got up to the point of birth, and “gave birth to the wind” (Isaiah 26.18).  Isaiah 66 (continuing from 65).8,9 uses this “birth” motif.  Israel, while burdened with the laws of Moses, could not bring to birth “the salvation of the world.”  And, as we know, they were exiled, and regathered again  as a remnant.  It would seem that at this time Isaiah would be fulfilled!  But, such was not the case.  The nations  will come in with their “riches” (wealth – 66.12).  And, so comes Cyrus and the Persians.  In fact, as we have recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah, they favored Israel and fostered her to rebuild Jerusalem.  Was salvation brought the world?  Did the wealth of the nations come in?  No.

Now, Preston wants to make a big deal about the “remnant” in Romans 9-11, and his point about God doing a work in Paul’s generation is to be noted.  “So it is in the present time” Paul wrote, citing the past instances where God saved a remnant.  The promise was that from a few would come an innumerable multitude.  Israel, time and again, were left with a few, and yet, no multitude or riches if the nations resulted.  Here is where Paul differs from the past Prophets: the riches of the nations (Gentiles) has come because Jesus, the Son of Man, has accomplished what was purposed in him to accomplish.  Isaiah and the past remnants didn’t have one thing: the Cross and Resurrection of King Jesus, Son of David.  They had David.  They had the Son of David (Solomon).  They had Cyrus, the Anointed (the Christ).  But, “we have not given birth.”  Well, birth has come!  But, what Preston fails to see, the elephant in the room for his view, is that the riches of the nations (Romans 11.9-15) has come in terms of fulfillment.  The “wild olive shoot” of Paul’s analogy is the Nations (Gentiles).  Paul also adds another point: these Gentiles/Nations coming in are also Israel!  This is to fulfill Isaiah 61.5-9, 60.1-ff.  In my last article, Preston was commenting on Isaiah 24 but omits where the “islands, the ends of the earth, from the east to the west (24.14,15) rejoice”.  We find this in Isaiah 66.19-ff where the “survivors” (remnant) will go to islands “who have not seen my glory nor have heard my name.  They will bring your family from all the nations to my holy mountain.”  The nations will be called, “My People” (Isaiah 19.23-25).  This is “all Israel”.

Now, a major problem for Preston is, if this is all fulfilled by the time the city was destroyed, then so was the prophecy to all the nations.  But, we do not see this pattern at all.  Rather, under Isaiah, the city is captured (Babylon in 589 B.C.), a remnant is saved, the nations bring her back, the wealth of the nations come flooding in and Israel is the source of blessing (fulfilling Abraham’s promise) to the whole world.  This kind of happened under David/Solomon.  This sort of happened under Cyrus Christ.  This IS happening under Jesus Christ.  A remnant of Israel (according to the flesh – see footnote below) were being saved, and from that root the riches of the nations were coming in.  Yet, Israel persisted, as a whole, in rebellion and her city was sacked (AD 70), but a remnant was saved (144,000) and from that remnant wild olive branches were added, who are also “sons of Abraham.”  A highway is built.  Israel is flooding the earth, and has been for 2000 years in fulfillment of Isaiah.  This is entirely inescapable for Preston, but yet he wants it all fulfilled by AD 70.

This brings us to the New Heavens and New Earth which stands in entire contrast to Israel as she was in the day of Isaiah.  As all along Isaiah foresees a time when the nations will learn the Law of God, and he himself will be their teacher.  He will build a highway from the remnant and call the nations who have never heard of his fame or glory to be called, “My People.”  They will be invited to great feast, to God’s Holy Mountain itself, and the shroud that covers them all, Death (Isaiah 25.8) will be lifted.  Jerusalem will “never again” be uprooted.  But, we see a process here.  “There will be a highway for the remnant” (11.15).  This highway is but the beginning (remnant) of what will become a massive flow in what will become Israel’s purpose to begin with: salvation of the world.

In that day shall there be a path from Egypt to Asshur, and Asshur shall come into Egypt, and Egypt into Asshur: so the Egyptians shall worship with Asshur.

 

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

 

A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.

 

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.

These verses from Isaiah shows us that a highway is first leveled.  A call then goes forth.  From a remnant of Israel, the riches of the nations shall come in (how long does that take?).  They are coming to the mountain (Jerusalem above, as Paul called it) where God will swallow up the shroud over all the nations: Death.  The Spirit, before such time, will be poured out, gathering together the clusters of grapes.  As a result, after all is said and done, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples- of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

This passage is remarkably like Isaiah 65.17-ff.  The earth has been made full of the knowledge of the Lord (remember to contrast that with the nations and islands “who do not know of my glory or have heard of my fame”).

Secondly, Paul quotes Isaiah 11.10 in Romans 15.12!  The “banner” is lifted on the highway which leads those called to the holy mountain where Death will be swallowed up in victory.  The call is to the nations, the islands, to the ends of the earth.  “All those who have been given to me I shall raise up at the last day.”  This is the New Heavens and New Earth.

I will continue this theme in my next blog, and on Preston’s Response #6 which he already has published (May 31st).  Stay Tuned!

 

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.

One thought on “Response to Preston Part 5; It’s Gettin’ Better!”

  1. “All those who have been given to me I shall raise up at the last day.” Yes, Christ is still receiving those who have been given to him. Souls that will be saved are still being born. Christ’s loving arms are not filled yet. PTL there’s still time to come in!

    Liked by 1 person

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