It’s Not Over til It’s Over

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

“Thus can be understood the special place Barth assigns to the history of Israel. It is there, and not in China or elsewhere, that God has spoken. When Professor Edward J. Carnell of Fuller Theological Seminary asked if God could be encountered in reading Confucius, as some Chinese might claim, or in Mozart, whom Barth loves, Barth replied in effect that whatever might be encountered in other sacred writings, it is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

“Barth thus stresses the history of Israel as no modernist ever can. Salvation is of the Jews, and the culmination of their history is Jesus Christ and the empty tomb. In opposition to the liberals Barth insists that the apostles did not preach “the historical Jesus” (of Renan or Harnack) nor did they preach “the divine Christ” (Bultmann), but rather the one concrete Jesus Christ our Lord” (http://gordonhclark.reformed.info/special-report-encountering-barth-in-chicago/).

I recently read this from Clark and, aside from the great article as it concerns Barth, one statement his me like a diamond bullet in the forehead: “Salvation is of the Jews, and the culmination of their history is Jesus Christ and the empty tomb.”  Jesus ended Israel’s burden under the legislation of Moses.  Having done so, he set Israel free to seek after Christ.  If any Jewish person living at that time sought after Christ, they knew that this would bring them into direct opposition with those who demanded the obedience of the Laws of Moses (as they are stated) plus Christ.

 

Paul made this known in his letter to the Roman congregants, many of whom were Jewish.  To follow Christ meant to turn ones back on the outward duties demanded by the Nationalists.  To follow Christ, the fulfillment of all the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses (Romans 8.4), meant that the “Law of Christ” transcended and superseded Moses.  It must have been an offense to many hearing, “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself” (Hebrews 3.3).  The Gospel was not “faith in Jesus plus works of Moses”, but “faith in Jesus” which sprouts “fruits of the Spirit.”

The covenant made with Moses by the then people of Israel was cancelled when Jesus inaugurated a new covenant.  Yet, the promises made under the previous were not at all made void, but rather now by Messiah they can be fulfilled.  Watch this in Hebrews: “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later…” (3.5). Was faithful.  Whose house is it when the author wrote?  “but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (3.6).   The new people of God, joined together with those who lived in Moses’ house while it was (Hebrews 11.1-ff).  Moses was faithful and did all that God told him to do.  But, Jesus, the Messiah of Israel has come and set aside Moses as if to say, “I’ll take it from here, Moses, my son.”  To which Moses would reply: “You got it!”  The historical birth that Israel under the covenant of Moses gave us is Messiah. For that, we must always be debtors and in support of those who call themselves followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  That God brought forth a new covenant in Jesus does not at all dismiss our love for those of the Jewish Faith.  Rather, the new covenant demand of “love” tells us the exact opposite, even if they oppose our faith in Messiah, even if they are enemies (“love your enemies” ring a bell?).

Paul said this 2000 years ago: “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3.24).  He spoke this as a Jew.  When “Christ came” and died, was buried, and rose again and ascended, “the law” ceased being the guardian. “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (3.25).  Faith has come.

There was a horrible time of affliction when the Romans finally crushed the City of Jerusalem in the war from 66-70 (and a few years beyond) A.D.  National identity was lost.  This was the main feature of the Mosaic covenant.  Without such a city and temple, the old rites could not be performed.  Yet, very clearly, the promises made to Israel as found in virtually every one of her Prophets’ pages, were left unfulfilled.  Did the word of God fail?  One of the promises was that through the Messiah (often called, “the Branch” and “the Root” in the Prophets) would enlarge the nation of Israel by joining them together with the other nations (the Gentiles).  However, this would be accomplished only by instituting a new covenant (as found in the Hebrew Prophet, Jeremiah).  The new covenant made obsolete the old boundary created by the Nationalism of Moses’ covenant.  This, in turn, allowed for the inclusion of the nations “through the body of Christ” (the body and blood of the new covenant).

Let me put this in contemporary terms.  Let’s say that India and its religion of Hinduism were the people of God.  In order to become a person of God, one had to join the Hindi Faith and associate themselves to the Nation of India, following their rites, practices and laws.  Now, let’s say that you, an American, want to be a person of God.  Are you willing to go through all of that?  Or, rather, wouldn’t that be a barrier?  “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Let’s say you want to be Muslim.  Sharia Law.  Let’s say you want to be a person of God in Christ: faith that Jesus is LordLove your God with all your heart.  Love your neighbor.  Pretty light.  If your faith is genuine (a true gift from God), you’ll notice that new desires arise in your heart (fruits of the Spirit).  You’ll start acting in ways you didn’t in the past, “putting of the old man and putting on the new.”  It just comes.  The life you live in the flesh is no longer yours, but Christ is living in you by the Spirit, altering your conscience.  Not bad.  I don’t even have to chastise myself.  He does it for me.

Imagine hearing the Good News as a Roman: you have to be circumcised, you have to go to the Temple three times a year, you have to do this, and that, and always realize that you are not really one of us because we were born this way, so, in some sense, we are superior to you.  Jesus obliterated that.

Covenantal racism is defined by the Nationalism of Moses.  It is most explicitly found in Ezra 10.10: “And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel.”  The solution: “…Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”  Imagine that being applied in the Church (the House of God, Israel, who is the Church) today.  Did Paul ever say “divorce your unbelieving husband”?  Nope.  He said the opposite.  “Are you a Persian Christian?  You can’t have an English Christian wife!”  Nope.  Nationalism (the house of Moses) died when Jesus rose from the dead.  This is proven by the fact that Peter received a vision of the nations, and that God had pronounced them cleanThis is proven by the fact that Paul’s labors among the nations set the foundation for that which has been and is being to this day carried out: The Gospel to “every tribe, language, nation and people.”  Paul may not have been able to see from a map makers point of view how many nations actually were in existence during his day.  I mean, you had Britannia, Caledonia, Sarmatia, Lusitania (that’s just the west).  Germania Magna, The Parthian Empire, and the “silk route” east towards the Kushan Empire and the Han-Empire of China.  The Huns had what is now Russia.  What about South America and North America?  They were inhabited as well during that time, and so was Central America.  What, God has no knowledge about these folks?  No ambition of finding them out and announcing: Good News!  To limit the vision and promises of the Prophets to their time and their concepts of geography is, well, just a shame.  Maybe we should see the world as the Holy Spirit saw it, sees it.  Maybe as we appear to learn more about how big this “planet” actually is, it would broaden our understanding of just how big God is.  Israel’s Messiah was not just for Israelites under Moses.  He is for the whole world.  Wherever you step your foot on “dirt” (which is terra in Latin, ge in Greek, eretz in Hebrew, and eerde, eorpe, ertha  or erde from which we get “earth”) is the stuff of Creation.  “Dirt” (earth) is wherever it is found.  What was limited in the mind of the biblical authors expanded over time as more was learned “about those people, over there.”

My point is, would such a limited, Nationalism as Moses’ House was ever be able to take on such a world?  The New Covenant answered: no.  That covenant was geared to bring us to Christ, and Christ has come (and shall come again!).  The Presence of Messiah, the man from Galilee that can relate to all mankind because he is one of us, also is Logos, the Eternal Son, God Himself.  A human being sits at the right hand of the Father (and that’s hope for us!).  A human being, who looks just like one of us in form and identity, is also the Nature of God Himself (and that’s good for us!).  The human being, Jesus of Nazareth, by sitting at the right hand of God tells us that God (of whose Nature He also Is) is not finished with us.  He saved one of us and raised him from the dead, so when you see one of us broken, frail, shattered human beings you can tell them: it’s not over, yet, so long as you have Today and as long as you have Breath.  Here, let me help you….

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.