Preston’s “Continued Revelation” Exposed

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Sam Frost continues to make totally false claims– claims that he knows full well are false. He says full preterists believe in continuing, additional revelation. Well, let’s take a look:
When Jesus said no man knows the day or hour, was there to be further revelation after that, Mr. Frost? Yes or No? Frost believes that there was. If he doesn’t believe that there was continuing, additional revelation after Jesus spoke those words in Matthew 24:36 then none of the NT books were inspired by God!
But, do preterists believe that there is, today continuing divine, inspired revelation? Frost knows that we do not. But, according to the views he gave in his Why I Left book, he has no grounds upon which to deny present day divine revelation- even the prophetic office!

The question is, are / were Jesus’ words, “But of That Day and Hour Knows No Man- (Matthew 24:36)– Eternally True Statements?
Does “Unknown When Spoken” Mean “It will Always Be Unknown”?
That Is a Patently Absurd Hermeneutic and Totally Ignores the Work of the Revelatory Spirit.

When Did Jesus Speak This? – Before the Sending of the Spirit!

“When the Spirit Is Come, He Will Show You Things to Come!” (John 16:7); “He Will Speak of Judgment…”
he Father – Who Knew the Time – Sent the Spirit and Caused the Inspired Authors to Say:
“The End of All Things Has Drawn Near!” (1 Peter 4:7)
“The Time Has Come for the Judgment!”
“In a Very, Very Little While He Who Is Coming Will Come and Will Not Tarry” (Hebrews 10:37)
The coming of he Lord has drawn near- James 5:8
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Which God Gave to Him, to Show to His Servants the Things That must Shortly Come to Pass” (Rev. 1:1-3).
All of these statements– and many more – were written by men inspired by the Spirit sent by the Father who knew the time of the parousia. Now, it is more than revealing the Frost must– absolutely MUST– negate, mitigate, destroy, an entire body of time words in order to maintain his new theology!

In All of the NT Time Statements It Was Thus, the Father Who Told Them What Time it Was!
Did the Father Inspire the Wrong Message?
What Was True in Matthew 24:36 Was No Longer True in the Epistles!
But, Catch the Power of This: Sam Frost Denies this “Later, Further Revelation Given By The Father!” Yes, He Does! He Is Even on Record as Saying He Is Not Interested in What the Bible Says about When the End Was to Be.
 
How Is That for Solid Scholarship, and Open Mindedness?

Take note of 1 Peter 1:10 where the Apostle Affirmed That Through the Spirit, the Father Was Revealing the Time and the Nature of the Salvation Foretold by the OT Prophets (Who Did Not Understand the Time and Nature). That Salvation Was to Come at the Revelation of Christ- the Parousia. Yes, Peter was receiving, at that time, further revelation. It was later revelation from that in Matthew 24:36. Right, Sam?

So, We Have in 1 Peter, Revelation from the Father, Who Knew the Time of the Revelation of Christ to Bring Eternal Salvation. And Peter Tells Us That the Spirit Was Revealing the Time and the Nature of These Events! Of Course, for Frost, That Just Can’t Be True. He Flat Denies Or Ignores What Peter Says.

What Did Peter, Inspired by the Spirit Sent from the Father Who Knew the Time of the End, Say about the End, the Time of the Eternal Inheritance? Well, Let’s See:

1 Peter 4:5– Christ Was “Ready to Judge the Living and the Dead.” “Ready” Is from Hetoimos and Means Not Only Morally Qualified and Ready, But, Temporally Ready As Well.

1 Peter 4:7 – The End of All Things Has Drawn near. (Not simply “at hand” but “has drawn near.”

1 Peter 4:17 – The Time Has Come – Literally the Appointed Time (Kairos); the Divinely Appointed Time.

For the Judgment– Not a Judgment, but the Judgment To begin!

In verse 17, Peter Uses the “Anaphoric Article.” That Is the Most Common Use of the Definite Article (See Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond Basics: an Exegetical Syntax of the N.T., 218)

The anaphoric Article Was When A Speaker or Writer Introduces a Subject. He Later Refers Back to That Subject by the Use of the Definite Article. This Means That “The Judgment” of Verse 17 Refers Back to Peter’s Earlier Discussion of the Judgment.

The Only Previously Mentioned Judgment in the Context Is Verse 5 – the Judgment of the Living and the Dead!

This Means, undeniably, that it Was the Father, Who Knew the Time of the End That Inspired Peter to Say That the End of All Things Had Drawn Near and That The Divinely Appointed Time for the Judgment of the Living and Dead Had Arrived.

To Deny this Is to Say That the Father Misled Peter.
To Deny this Is to Say That the Father, Through the Spirit, Lied to Peter.

Peter’s Discourse in 1 Peter and His Use of the Anaphoric Article Is a Total Refutation of the Facile and Anachronistic Application of Matthew 24:36 to All of the NT Texts Written after the Sending of the Revelatory Spirit by the Father.

Does (Will) Frost Deny That There Was Additional Divine Revelation from the Father after Matthew 24:36?
Does (Will) Frost Deny That That Further Revelation from the Father Entailed the Judgment and Things to Come?
Does (Will) Frost Deny That Peter Said That Both the Time and the Nature of the Coming of the Lord for Eternal Salvation, the Eternal Inheritance Was Being Revealed Through the Spirit to the Apostles in the First Century?
Does (Will) Frost Deny That Peter, Through the Spirit Sent by the Father Said That the End Was near and That the Time Had Come for the Resurrection, the Judgment of the Living and the Dead?
To Deny Any of These Things Is to Deny the Emphatic and Explicit Statements of Both Jesus and His Apostles, Inspired by the Spirit, Sent by the Father Who Knew the Time of the End.
1 Peter Was Further, Additional and Clarifying Revelation From That in Matthew 24:36.
 
Frost Rejects That Divinely Inspired Revelation; Preterists Accept It. Frost Is Wrong.

 

I realize that it take up a good deal of space, but I want to be fair to Preston because we have heard repeatedly that I misrepresent him, or take him out of context, or whatever.  Preston’s own words are printed here in full.

I will just simply dismantle to claims of Preston line by line.  “Sam Frost continues to make totally false claims– claims that he knows full well are false. He says full preterists believe in continuing, additional revelation. Well, let’s take a look:When Jesus said no man knows the day or hour, was there to be further revelation after that, Mr. Frost? Yes or No? Frost believes that there was. If he doesn’t believe that there was continuing, additional revelation after Jesus spoke those words in Matthew 24:36 then none of the NT books were inspired by God!But, do preterists believe that there is, today continuing divine, inspired revelation? Frost knows that we do not. But, according to the views he gave in his Why I Left book, he has no grounds upon which to deny present day divine revelation- even the prophetic office!

Note here that I am being accused, first, of being a liar.  I am making a false claim that I know to be false.  That is the very definition of a liar.  And, that is exactly what Preston wants his readers to think.  Sam is a liar.  A knowing liar.  First, my claim is that Full Preterists believe in “continuing revelation”.  Preston then goes on to make the point that, in fact, they do believe in “continuing revelation” – else the NT could not have been written.  Not sure where the “lie” is here!  Yes, Frost also believes that “continuing revelation” existed with the writings of the Apostles, and other letters of the NT.  But, note the “bait and switch” tactic that Preston uses here, and elsewhere (as I have proven in other articles).  “Continuing revelation” (inspiration of the Scriptures) now means continuing revelation in spite of what Jesus said on this particular subject: “it is not for you (the disciples) to know the times and seasons that Father has set by his own authority.”  Let me state this clearly.  Preston first claims the validity of “continuing revelation” (continuing inspiration), which we would both agree upon.  But, then he turns around and means, “more information” given to the statement of Jesus concerning the “times and seasons.”  Jesus said, “it is not for you to know.”  But, Preston argues that it was not for them to know right then, but later (continuing information) the Spirit would tell them. See the switch?

Let me state my argument very clearly: Jesus said, “it is not for you to know”.  He did not say, nor intimate “it is not for you to know right now, but later you will know the exact times and seasons the Father has set.”  The latter is Preston’s position.  My position is that “times and seasons” here echoes Daniel 2.21, “He changes the times and seasons” (kairos kai chronos).  This is God’s prerogative of implementing His will on earth.  In the context Daniel is praising God because he has given him insight into “dreams and mysteries” (2.19).  In the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, various kingdoms are seen.  It is God “who raises kings and causes them to pass away” (2.21).  God did not stop doing this.  He always does this as His Divine Prerogative.

Thus, the question of the anonymous disciple in Acts 1, “are at this time you to restore the kingdom to Israel?” comes after Jesus’ 40 day lecture on the Kingdom of God.  After this, with panting breath, the question is asked.  Apparently, Jesus did not address the timing of whenWhen, Lord?  “It is not for you to know the times and seasons” and I would add, “of the rising and falling of kings and kingdoms that have been set by the Father’s decree.”  This, in turn, is directly inferred in Jesus’ comment to other equal questions found in the Olivet Discourse.  When is heaven and earth going to pass away, and a new heaven and a new earth going to come, the restoration of all things, the restoration of the kingdom to Israel when all is made right with the world? (Matthew 24.1-ff).  Jesus, answering in terms of a coming catastrophe in their own generation, the destruction of Jerusalem, states, “Heaven and earth shall indeed pass away….but about that time (kairos, singular) no man knows the day or hour” (24.35-36).  Times (plural) and seasons (plural) will come before the “time” (singular) of the passing of heaven and earth.  When heaven and earth pass, all things will be fulfilled, every jot and tittle of the Scriptures in their entirety.  Jesus is now at the right hand of God, “reigning” until he abolishes “all power and authority and rule” – the last enemy, “Death” itself (in accordance with Revelation 20.11-15, when after a very long period of time, 1000 years, this happens after that time).  No one knows the duration, the end of the 1000 years, or the times and seasons within the 1000 years.  There is absolutely no way to get around this measurement of time as Preston must (and shrinks it down to a mere 30 something years!).

Now, that this has been made clear by the Scriptures, Preston is under the pressure of proving that Jesus, indeed, promised his disciples that God, by the Holy Spirit, would tell them every “time and season” the Father has set for their future onward.  And, of course, these “times and seasons” for Preston end at AD 70!  Maybe God got out of the time setting business altogether, fulfilled everything, then left the planet to itself, to its own course of affairs with no further intervention (many Full Preterists believe this very thing).  Let it be suffice to say that my denial of “continuing inspiration” is equal to my denial that the future times and seasons or world history according to God’s rule and reign (through Christ, sitting at the hand of the Father) are known.  We can “discern” the times.  We know when morals are going from bad to worse.  We are trained by the several repeated instances of past “times and seasons” (history is its best forecaster).  The Scriptures, ever living and active, can generally help us “discern” the times, our own times, when the moral barometer is moving in the wrong direction.  Usually there will be “famines,” “earthquakes”, “wars and rumors of wars…”  Sound familiar?  It should.  Keep your eye on North Korea.  While we do not have the prophetic dead-eye exactitude that our brother in the Faith Daniel had in his times, we have a general sense of urgency.  Your head is in the sand if you don’t.

Preston’s course of action is to take Jesus’ words that the Spirit would show them more things to come (inspiration), this means that he will tell them when the exact times and seasons would be – before AD 70, of course.  But, this is merely an interjection of Preston’s view into Jesus’ words.  If Jesus said, “not for you to know this” and “the Spirit will show you more things” one is not logically forced to say, “the Spirit is going to show them things not for them to know”!  But, that’s Preston’s whole argument!  None of the texts he cites (his usual list of “time texts”) proves his assertion.  The Spirit is going to show them things for them to know, not things not for them to know.

“Times and seasons” are specific.  They already knew that Jerusalem was to be destroyed.  Stephen’s accusers stated as much: “This man says that Jesus will destroy this place” (Acts 6.14).  Well, that was a true statement.  Jesus was going to destroy that place as he plainly and clearly stated he would in the Gospel accounts.  They knew that already.  They knew the time in their own generation that this would happen.  But, to equate this knowledge with the “times and seasons” (plural, chronoi – from which we get the word chronology) the Father has set in history?  Jesus is speaking way beyond their own immediate time (which is why it was not important to tell them).  “For he must remain in heaven until the times (chronoi – plural) of the restoration of all things” (Acts 1.6 reads, “are you at this time (chronos – singular) now restoring the rule to Israel?” and here, 3.21, “restore all things” – are in reference to the same idea, “this time” (are we to now know?) is now “until the times” – unknown).  Jesus reigns and rules “in heaven” or “from heaven” until he has abolished all rule and authority and powers, including death itself (1st Corinthians 15.23).  This didn’t happen in AD 70.  Of course, Preston says it does, but must perform amazing acrobatic exegesis that I myself formerly practiced to get there – mind boggling.

A few further points are in order here to be made.  Preston wrote, “This Means, undeniably, that it Was the Father, Who Knew the Time of the End That Inspired Peter to Say That the End of All Things Had Drawn Near and That The Divinely Appointed Time for the Judgment of the Living and Dead Had Arrived,”  What he wants the readers to take from this is that Peter thought the “resurrection of the dead” was to happen in his own generation.  But, this is not at all what Peter said.  God “who is ready to judge the living and the dead” merely echoes the Divine and often repeated attribute of God, “who raises the dead” (Acts 26.8), “The LORD kills and makes alive” (all Present Tense, 1st Samuel 2.6), and so on.  What is of emphasis in Peter is that  it is Christ who is “ready to judge the living and the dead” (1st Peter 4.5) – an attribute given to the LORD in the OT!  All power is in his hands, including “death and hades” (Revelation 1.18).  Preston wants to connect this to, “the end of all things is at hand” (4.7).  However, he leaves out 4.6.  Be that as it may, the “end” here that has already “drawn near” (Perfect Tense) involves the fact that Jesus, who heaven must receive until the times (chronoi), is now placed in authority as one ready and able to judge the living and the dead.  He holds the keys of life and death.  He makes alive and kills with the authority of the LORD.  He is LORD.  Preston wants to take this to mean that for Peter, every full meaning and expression of the promises of God, and every full meaning and fulfillment of the promises of God in their fullest intent in terms of their fullest manifestations was “at hand.”  And, this was AD 70, when the Romans, with their alliances, sacked Jerusalem.  Peter nowhere intimates the meaning that Preston smuggles in from his own already conceived of definition.

To underscore this point, God “who kills and makes alive”, proclaimed “the end of all things” in Ezekiel 7.1-ff.  The end had come.  God was ready to “judge”.  Evil has come (Perfect Tense).  The end “has awakened” (Perfect Tense).  “The time (kairos) has drawn nigh” (Perfect Tense).  God will pour out his wrath.  He will fulfill (accomplish, complete, finish) is anger.  “I will judge you according to your ways.”  “The time has come; the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is upon all their multitude.”  On and on the Prophet Ezekiel goes.  Sounds just like Peter.  Now, notice 4.6 in Peter’s text: “for this also to dead men was good news proclaimed, that they may be judged, indeed, according to men in the flesh, and may live according to God in the spirit.”  Those long dead heard the good news (whenever it was that they lived – doesn’t say).  This “judging” the dead (those who have died) so that they “may live” gives no time indication at all.  It is Jesus, the LORD of the OT, who has this power.  It is his Good News that stands as the announcement of life and death.  And, “according to the flesh” (when the dead were alive in their flesh) all men will be judged.  This is what God does.  This is hardly Peter saying, “the resurrection of the dead is at hand!”  But, this is what Preston wants you to think.

All in all, Preston’s rather confused notions and bait and switch tactics have been noted.  He reads everything in Scripture through the lense of AD 70, and nothing escapes it, not even clear passages that speak of the bodily ascension of the Lord, or the bodily resurrection of the dead.  All things are read in light of AD 70, which was no more significant that the Babylonians sacking Jerusalem in 589 B.C.  I say, ‘no more significant’ not to minimize the utmost theological importance and point the times of Jerusalem’s sacrilege has played (the Babylonians, The Seleucids of the second century B.C., and the Romans), but to make the sack of that city the foundation upon which every single stroke and tittle of the Scriptures are exhausted in this single time is far beyond the scope of Biblical Eschaology.  And, most Christians understand this.  Many former Full Preterists are seeing it and leaving this theory.  It is my continued effort to point out a much more comprehensive manner in which the Bible speaks to everyone, at all times, in unusual ways at times.  That “mystery” is still “mystery” and God has not revealed everything, not even to his Apostles. But, we have enough!  Preston’s theory, although seemingly attractive in some ways, fails to take in the complete and exhaustive drama of human history, the Purpose of God for the Ages, and the Upsetting of All Power, Rule, Dominion and Might – that when Jesus is done, there is none left but Him and His Kingdom to the Glory of His Father….forever.  Any other view is selling you something.  Maranatha.

 

 

Don Preston’s View Revealed

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

“Sam Frost, will you ever stop misrepresenting what I have said? 
Did I say that the promises would come through obedience to the Law of Moses? Not a word, and you know full well that I do not believe that.
Did I say that the setting aside of the Mosaic Covenant was the setting aside of the promises? Not a hint of that, and you know full well that I do not believe that. 
Did I suggest that righteousness came through Torah observance? Not a keystroke, and you know I do not believe that.

So, when you build your straw man here, it is pretty easy to knock it down and burn it, right? Trouble is that you know full well that I do not teach any of that, so why in the world do you make it out that I do? 
Is your reading comprehension ability that bad?

Here is the issue:
Jesus said not one jot or one tittle of “the law” could pass until it was all fulfilled. Undeniably true– and it haunts you.
In Jesus’ discussion in Matthew 5, ‘the law” was patently the law of Moses.
But, the law of Moses– the covenant of Moses- contained within it, the eschatological promises of the final resurrection.
The Abrahamic Covenant promises were assimilated into and became “the hope of Israel.” This is the continuity of the covenant– right, Sam?
There was not an Abrahamic eschatological hope and a Hope of Israel eschatology. There was but one eschatological hope– not an Adamic eschatology different from the Abrahamic, which was different from the hope of Israel. 
This means that the Adamic hope, the Abrahamic hope, and the hope of Israel would be fulfilled, when “the Law” passed away, because, those covenant promises had now become ‘the law” the hope of Israel – Matthew 5.
Paul is clear that the inheritance, i.e. the Abrahamic inheritance, would be given at the end of time of “childhood” the end of servitude under the “guardian” – the Law. 
It would be given when the children of the flesh- the children of Torah- were cast out for persecuting the children of promise- Galatians 4. The inheritance is never posited at the end of the (endless) Christian age, or some proposed “end of time.”
All of this means that until every jot and every tittle of “the law” – the Mosaic Covenant which had come to include the Abrahamic and Adamic promise- was fulfilled, not one jot or tittle of that Mosaic Covenant could pass. 

Let me state this even more succinctly:

Not one jot or one tittle of the law of Moses (the Mosaic Covenant, inclusive of the prophecies, John Stott) could pass until it was ALL fulfilled.

But, the Law of Moses (the Mosaic Covenant) predicted the eschatological resurrection.

Therefore, not one jot or one tittle of the law of Moses (the Mosaic Covenant, inclusive of the prophecies) could pass until the eschatological resurrection occurs, comes to pass.

Let me expound a bit on this:

The law of Moses– the covenant of Moses- contained within it, the eschatological promises of the final resurrection. The feast days of Israel, and the seventh day Sabbath foreshadowed the resurrection. The resurrection promises to Israel- contained in her Feast days, as well as in the overt prophecies (Isaiah 25-27 / Daniel 12 / Hosea 13) – were not the promises of a different resurrection from that promised to Adam or Abraham. If you say it is, then prove it!

Therefore until every jot and every tittle of “the law” the Mosaic Covenant- was fulfilled, the “the law”– “the Mosaic Covenant” could not be annulled– removed as you claim.

Since the eschatology of the Law of Moses is the same eschatology as Adam and Abraham, that means when God’s covenant promises to Israel were fulfilled, and the Mosaic Covenant was removed, it means that the Adamic promise and the Abrahamic Covenant promises were fulfilled. Not annulled, fulfilled. As just noted, the Inheritance was to be at the end of the Mosaic Law.

So, I reiterate my statement: for your claim that the Law of Moses- the Covenant- could be annulled and yet, there be future eschatological consummation, you have to show that the eschatological promises of the Mosaic Covenant were different from the eschatology of Adam and Abraham– but you can’t do it.

You have to show that “the law” in Matthew 5 could pass without the resurrection taking place- and yet, there be another Old Testament “the law” that contained the hope of another resurrection – that remains valid until your proposed end of the Christian age. I challenge you to set out to prove this. You simply cannot get that from Jesus’ words in Matthew 5.

To prove your case, you must prove that the hope of Adam, Abraham, and Israel, is now continued, unfulfilled, and is to be fulfilled at the end of the endless Christian age– but you can’t do it. After all, when the NT writers spoke of their eschatological hope, they invariably say it was the hope of Israel found in the Law of Moses, God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel.

As the entire corpus of Scripture shows– as I have proven repeatedly- the one hope of Adam, Abraham, of Israel, was to be realized at the end of the Mosaic Covenant age, when “the sons of the kingdom” were cast out (Matthew 8:11)– and the inheritance given to the children of promise (Galatians 4). It would be at the time of the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel (1 Corinthians 15:54-56).” (Complete extract from Don K. Preston)
The following is the complete “response” from Don Preston, for those of you who may have missed it.  While Don has been continually hammering away at my own theological musings in paper after paper (and I engaged him for a time with my own responses on this blog), we have been continuing to exchange FaceBook jabs.

So, I am just going to go through this line by line and comment as I go.  For me, this latest vociferation from Preston is enough to demonstrate what I have known all along: Preston does not have a clue as to what he is saying, and is so one-sided in his self-created “covenant eschatology” doctrines (which does not have the support from any sector of Christendom, or academia) that it appears to me that whatever I say in response is simply in one ear and out the other.  There is absolutely no attempt on Preston’s part to understand what others are saying in disagreement with him.  This is where I do have an advantage, for, as I have stated many time, Preston publishes my book when I espoused what he continues to teach.  I do understand his view, the Scriptures he uses, why he uses them and where he goes with them in his interpretations of them.  His entire reading of the Bible is viewed through the lens of “all prophecy was fulfilled by the time of the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.”  What is most, extremely important in his view (Covenant Eschatology, which, it must be noted, not all Full Preterists adhere to) is that the covenant made with Moses, what is called “the old covenant” by Paul (2nd Corinthians 3.14), was in full force until AD 70.

Now, I have not traded with Preston every recent article he has written about me.  The reason is that I have not heard anything from Preston that would even come close to refuting what I have said.  But, I tend to stop responding after I find that I am merely repeating my claims to no avail.  I have to rewrite arguments that I have already written.

Let’s take Preston’s line here: “Jesus said not one jot or one tittle of “the law” could pass until it was all fulfilled. Undeniably true– and it haunts you.
In Jesus’ discussion in Matthew 5, ‘the law” was patently the law of Moses.
But, the law of Moses– the covenant of Moses- contained within it, the eschatological promises of the final resurrection.”
It doesn’t “haunt” me at all.  Notice what Preston does, what I have called repeatedly, “the shell game” (found here).  Preston explicitly agreed with me that the “law and the prophets” refers to the “entirely of the Hebrew Bible.”  That is, every jot and tittle from Genesis to Malachi is the “law and the prophets.”  From the quote I used from John R.W. Stott, the same idea is made.  Stott wrote, “His reference now was only to ‘the law’ rather than to ‘the law and the prophets’, as in the previous verse, but we have no reason to suppose that he was deliberately omitting the prophets; ‘the law’ was a comprehensive term for the total divine revelation of the Old Testament.”  I have said this over and over again, consistently, explicitly.  Yet, Preston, who initially agreed with me on this point, now says, “the law” in Matthew 5.18 is exclusively and only the “law of Moses”, or “the covenant of Moses.”  Folks, this is called the ole’ shell game.  It may be missed by those who fawn all over Preston’s every word, but not to the many who have seen it with a critical eye.  So, let me say it again: the covenant made with Moses is in the Hebrew Bible, but is not the entirety of the Hebrew Bible.  Preston speaks from both sides of his mouth.

Now, Preston wants to connect the Promises to the old covenant itself.  That is, the promises cannot be fulfilled unless the old covenant is valid.  If the old covenant is rendered invalid, the promises cannot be fulfilled.  Yet, he writes, “This means that the Adamic hope, the Abrahamic hope, and the hope of Israel would be fulfilled, when “the Law” passed away, because, those covenant promises had now become ‘the law” the hope of Israel – Matthew 5. Now, notice here that he equates the Promises with “the law”, or “the old covenant.”  If the old covenant was dissolved, or abrogated in one jot or tittle, then the Promises could not be fulfilled.  Each jot and tittle had to be in full force.  Not one single jot or tittle of the covenant law of Moses could pass away until all of it did in AD 70.  The problem here is countered with one simple mention of the Apostle Paul: he did not circumcise his Gentile converts.  The Jewish believers, some of them anyway, preached, “unless the Gentiles are circumcised and obey the law of Moses, they cannot be saved” (Acts 15).  They preached what Preston preaches!  Well, at least they understood the matter better than Preston.  The Law demanded, explicitly, that anyone who assimilated into the commonwealth of Israel must be circumcised.  Paul explicitly taught against this.  This one jot of the Law must have “passed away.”

Now, Preston wants us to believe that the Promises are not based upon the old covenant.  In fact, her writes, “Did I say that the setting aside of the Mosaic Covenant was the setting aside of the promises? Well, yes.  He just did in the quote above!  If the Promises “has now become the law”, then the setting aside of the Mosaic Covenant (which is the Law, for Preston) would be the setting aside of the Promises!  The Promise of the resurrection of the dead, for Preston, “had now become the law”.  Therefore, if the Law is set aside, then so are the Promises.  I argued, and argue, that the old covenant was set aside at the Cross, but the Promises are fulfilled (are being fulfilled and will be fulfilled) in the New Covenant, the better covenant.  Preston so ties them together that the Promises made while the old covenant was ratified with Moses, could not be fulfilled unless the old covenant made with Moses was legitimate.  Quite simply, logically, if the old covenant, in any jot and tittle, were set aside (which it most explicitly was, as anyone can see in Hebrews), then the Promises, according to Preston, cannot be fulfilled.  So, when Preston says I misrepresent him, it is plain that I do not.  Preston says that he does not teach that the setting aside of the Mosaic Covenant means the setting aside of the Promises.  Yet, he also says, the Promises “had now become the law”!  Well, if you set aside the law, you set aside the promises!  This is a flat out contradiction on Preston’s part.
Let Preston state in his own words what I am saying he says, “All of this means that until every jot and every tittle of “the law” – the Mosaic Covenant which had come to include the Abrahamic and Adamic promise- was fulfilled, not one jot or tittle of that Mosaic Covenant could pass. Now, it is plain from these words that “not one jot or tittle” of the Mosaic Covenant could pass.  Yet, the Letter to the Hebrews explicitly says that the Levitical Priesthood was “set aside.”  That there must be “a change in the Law.”  The High Priesthood of Christ superceded, and set aside, the earthly priesthood.  The assemblies of God were called, “a nation of priests.”  What, are their two legitimate priesthoods going on in that era?  This is patently absurd.  Yet, “not one jot or tittle” could be set aside according to Preston.  This is double-speak, for Preston also argues that the New Covenant had indeed come in Christ.  He must, therefore, argue that two competing covenants, each ordained of God, were going on at the same time!  So, how does he “get around” this?  Well, if a Jew, born under the law, came to be “in Christ”, then that Jew, obligated as he was to every jot and tittle of the Mosaic Covenant, “died” to that very covenant, and was no longer under those jots and tittles!  This is his explanation for Paul’s clear break with the strict, legal, jots and tittles stipulations required by the law for the Gentiles.  However, if the Promises “have now become the law”, then any break with the Mosaic Covenant would be a break with the Promises!  Yet, the Promises, which have “now become the law”, are said to be fulfilled in the New Covenant!  How can the Promises be fulfilled in the New Covenant, when, according to Preston, the Promises “have now become the law” or “the Mosaic Covenant”?

Listen to Preston again, “It would be at the time of the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel.”Folks, notice what is going on here.  The Promises are not New Covenant promises, but Old Covenant promises!  Yet, the New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Old!  It is in the New Covenant that the Promises made under the Old Covenant are fulfilled, but, if that is the case, then the New Covenant, “which is not like the covenant I made with your forefathers” (the old), then in order for the New Covenant Promises to be realized at all, the old covenant has to be set aside!  That is the whole point of the Letter to the Hebrews, and Paul’s, and all the Apostles’ ministries!  The Spirit of the Lord, poured out on all flesh (not just the Jews), is a New Covenant Promise.  The forgiveness of sins is a New Covenant Promise (Jeremiah 31.34).  If the forgiveness of sins is required before one could be raised from the dead, and the forgiveness of sins is a New Covenant Promise, then, logically, the resurrection of the dead, the hope of Israel, is to be realized in the New Covenant, not the Old!  Yet, for Preston, the old covenant, the promises made under the old covenant, can only be realized when the old covenant was set aside in AD 70.  The resurrection of the dead, then, was fulfilled under the old covenant!  Keep in mind, “the promises had now become the law” and “the resurrection” was exclusively “contained within” the old covenant, not the new.
Folks, this is a mess.  An absolute mess.  The old covenant made with Moses was a temporary covenant.  It was meant to point out the weakness of the flesh, that in, by, through, and of the flesh the kingdom of God cannot be realized.  God had to become flesh in order to redeem flesh.  God had to, by his own oath to himself, make a new covenant wherein the Promises can now be applied to his people.  By making a new covenant, the first covenant became obsolete, old, so brittle that it was ready to vanish away with a blow of breath.  Poof.  It would not be the covenant through which the Promises were fulfilled.  If it was, then Christ died for nothing.  Righteousness is a requirement, a prerequisite to resurrection.  If righteousness came by the law, the old covenant, then Christ died for nothing.  If resurrection comes by the law, the old covenant, then Christ died for nothing.  Rather, what Paul preached is a “righteousness that comes by faith, APART FROM LAW, to which the Law and the Prophets testify!”  Now, this means that the Hebrew Scriptures, which contain within it the covenant of Moses, ALSO teaches “apart” from that covenant, apart from law, that righteousness comes by faith.  It teaches a new covenant, the eternal covenant that was always unfolding through the other covenants until Christ ratified it with his blood, setting aside all of those elements and commands which stood against mankind, nailing them to the cross.  This new covenant is the one through which all the Promises are “yes and amen” in Christ.  It brings us a righteousness that is by faith.  A righteousness that is required in order to be raised in glory at the last day.  If this righteousness, apart from the old covenant, the law, is the pre-requisite for resurrection, and this righteousness comes in the New Covenant, and not the old, rather, apart from the old, then Preston is sadly mistaken.  The Old Covenant reveals, testifies to, teaches, proclaims, as well as the Prophets, that righteousness comes APART FROM the old covenant laws, and if this is the case, then the Promises are fulfilled APART FROM the old covenant.  The New Covenant is “not like” the old.  The old was made weak through the flesh.  It could not bring about the Promises, nor the Fulfillments.  Yet, God swore on oath to himself, to Him who does not change, that “a change in the law” would come “so that” the Promises could be realized for all, and not just old covenant Israel.  If the Promises “have now become the law”, and the law, or “Mosiac Covenant”, “could perfect no one, then we are all most miserable people.

The Church of Facebook

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

I have been a member on Facebook for many, many years.  At it’s infancy, almost.  I saw the movie about Zuckerberg, The Social Network, and thought, “whatever.”  The fact is, FB has become a social norm.  In this link FB has the numbers almost more than Christianity.  As a theologian, I pay attention to things like that.  That is, I come from the Christian interpretative tradition that seeks to apply Scriptural reasoning and theory to every aspect of life; that Scripture has something to say about every aspect of life, and that is can be applied to every aspect of life.  On one occasion I asked my twin boys to name one subject the Bible does not address in one way or the other.  “Cars!” I replied, “Well, that would be horse power (from which we get the measurement of engines), or transportation.  The way we use transportation has moral issues, like, why are their speed limits?”  They said, “So that we are safe.”  “And why do I care about being safe, or looking out for another driver’s safety?”  They got the point: love your neighbor.  Biblical law applied.

Now, someone may reply, “I don’t need the Bible to know that.”  To which I would reply (the philosopher would come out), “know what?  What do you know?”  Yes, I am a Reductionist.  Sorry.  There is no such thing as “common sense.”

Now, then, does FB apply?  Oh yes.  Society and communication.  “Go ye and make disciples, teaching the nations all that I have commanded you.”  Letters are and were a form of media.  Media is just a Latin word (plural – medium is singular) that means “in between.”  The thing through which something else goes.  Communication goes through various media, words, speech, written letters, books, newspapers, television, computers, telephones.  These are forms of media, or medium-devices.  The news happens.  News reporters relate this news to you; they are the go between; the mediators.  Media.

The Bible itself is a medium.  The letters and books in the Bible are forms of media.  It’s how communication is made.  Before good, ole’ Zuckerberg there was Guttenberg, the inventor of the printing press.  Christians seized on this device by the truckloads.  They could get the message out far more quicker than sending individual letters, or copying them by hand.  Then came the camera.  The phone.  Wire service. The typewriter and the word processor.  All tools to use to foster the message; forms of media to use to further educate those who would listen.

Now, of course, these forms, as with anything else human beings create, wicked things that they are, have been abused and used for evil.  After all, Mein Kampf was published as well as the Marquis de Sade.  Pornography, perhaps one of the most destructive forms of media in the world then and now, is downright evil (downloadable evil).  So, do Christians flee these forms of media because they can be used for evil purposes?  Hardly.

Humans love to talk and communicate.  Expression of this kind has been around since Adam was told to “eat this, it’s good for you.”  From thought to expression of thought to another person, media is right there in the middle.  But, enough of my rambling.  The Church of Facebook, written by Jesse Rice (David C. Cook, 2009), is one of the first attempts to deal with the “Christian and FB” phenomena.  FB started in 2004, so I expect to see more stuff like this, especially in light of the article I linked above.  There are already several “blogs” on Christian sites, and some of them are good, but many of them come at FB from the perspective of idolatry.  That is, spending too much time on FB.  That FB is not real.  The communication on there is not real.  That its a loony bin for lonely people.

The church service I attended today, a Reformed Baptist community, had a new issue of TableTalk, published by Ligonier Ministries (senior Editor, R.C. Sproul).  This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation (1517).  And, I had already typed the first two paragraphs this morning before I attended their service.  I picked up the copy, took it home, and this is what I read: “And oh what opportunities we have today for spreading the good news!  Five hundred years ago, Guttenberg’s recent invention of the printing press meant that the light of the gospel could be spread at a speed never before witnessed.  Tyndale’s Bibles and Luther’s tracts could go out by the thousands.  Today, digital technology has given us another Guttenberg moment, and the same message can now be spread at speeds Luther never could have imagined” (TableTalk, October, 2017 – ‘Why the Reformation Still Matters’, by Dr. Michael Reeves, 10).  Guttenberg to Zuckerberg in 500 years.  Would Calvin have a webpage like “Geneva.edu” or something?  You bet he would.  The forms of media are arbitrary, whether a animal skin (vellum), or papryii, or type-set, type writer, xerox or PDF.  The point is mass publication.  How many trees have we saved with the computer?

Rice’s book focuses on the positive value of FB in particular and tries to pinpoint its success on a number of factors, mostly psychologically.  FB “connects” us.  “Connectedness mattered” (p. 43).  “Authentic connection is described as the core of psychological wellbeing” (45), and so on.  The lonely guy in the basement of his mom’s house can now “feel” like someone, and not just a face in the crowd, but with FB can be someone.  He can be heard by whoever will listen, far more than he could ever be heard before.  We all get this analysis.  And, a very funny episode of South Park captures this very idea.

Kyle is happy because he has a new “friend”.  However, Rice goes a little further.  Zuckerberg is not just stopping with FB as a place to create some hoopla.  It is predicted that FB will become akin to what the telephone was, and what the Yellow Pages used to be.  This is the dream of Zuckerberg (62).  That cranks up the stereo-type of South Park into the fact that FB is entering into a stage of legitmacy and seriousness.  FB is here to stay.  What’s being said on there is being used in the media, on your job and in your school or college.  The FBI uses it as well as the CIA. The Oval Office has its own FB page.  Professors, high academicians, universities and law firms use it.  FB is just as connected now as was the Internet, and is so linked to the Internet, that with one push of a button on many websites, you can “like” this page on FB.  In other words, what you say on FB stays on FB, and what you say on FB is what everyone can see.

“There is a force that is capable of synchronizing a large population in very little time, thereby creating spontaneous order,” says Rice (84).  This can be done in the area of education.  I can virtually Google any subject I like and find an academic paper on it, written with all the rules of Chicago/Turabian Style.  In other words, we have entered another area that affects education: overchoice, which is related to hyperconnection (101).  Want to know the “real reasons” for the Civil War?  Google it.  You will find there virtually all the pros and cons, the versus’, the why’s and why nots, and the “support” of “footnotes” galore from “history” and “professors” to support whatever it is that you want to support.  Was Jesus married to Mary Magdelene?  Google it.  You will find “proof” that he was!  With scholars and footnotes to back it up!  It must be true!

In another book, George Friedman’s hailed work, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (Anchor Books, 2009), the author sees an assault on what used to be called, reason.  “The computer represents both a radical departure from previous technology and a new way of looking at reason” (61).  The computer is binary, and operates on 0’s and 1’s.  “To a computer, everything is a number, from a letter on a screen to a bit of music…it can play music, but it cannot write it, or express its beauty” (62).  “The computer treats reason as an instrument for achieving things, not for contemplating things” (62).  The language of the computer, Java, C++, or Basic is an artificial language.  “It is the antithesis to natural language…[which is] filled with subtlety, nuance, and complex meaning determined by context and inference” (62).  In turn, artificial language can accomplish an amazing amount of things.  Natural language is impractical and shades of meaning (“what did you mean by that?”) causes conflict.  If we could become like computers, think like computers.

Computers get results and Friedman links the American Philosopher Charles Pierce and Pragmatism.  Pragmatism is common sense philosophy.  It is a reduction of all language into “what matters” and “can you get results”.  The fusing of this Philosophy, so American as it is, with the reduction of reason leaves us, quite possibly, with a culture that see no reasonableness at all to anything that smacks of metaphysical, contemplative, complex or the subtleties and nuances of thought.  In short, Christianity is on the way out.  Computers get results.  Christianity gets you the Pope, Evangelicals, Donald Trump and White Supremacy.  We know what we get when we use a computer language.  But, entering into anything metaphysical, philosophical, theological is for the birds.  All that gets is fighting.  Enter FaceBook.  FB is a world totally operated by .00001’s and .00000’s.  And, yet, just look at the divisions of all sects, arguing all around, throwing names, shouting in CAPS, and belittling your ideas as, “like, totally retard.”

What has been invented, the computer, and its wonderful simplicity in code, a tool for uniting all languages and peoples, a tower of Babel if you will, is, in fact, not uniting the world at all.  FB is a place that one can see just how divided the world actually is, from the armchair commentator, to the well, footnoted academician.  Predicts Friedman, “The twenty first century will be a period in which a range of new institutions, moral systems, and practices will begin their first tentative emergence.  The first half of the twenty first century will be marked by intense social conflict globally.  All of this frames the international struggles of the twenty-first century” (64).  The divisions of mankind were known, but not so pronounced. Now they are pronounced and given a platform on FB, the Internet in general.  Fragmentation has gone global.  What is united is that we are not united.  What is taught is that we can teach ourselves.  The creation of artificial language has allowed us to see, for the first time in history, the mess of natural language.

But, back to Rice’s point.  What if these fragmented groups finds other of like minds?  Their fragmentation in a local setting (say, in a small town there are only 4 people that “believe the way you do”), can now jump into the thousands globally who “believe the way you do.”  A whole group never before able to be united and show numbers (strength) can now be united on the very tool that demonstrates just how un-united we are, globally.  This can be good, or very dangerous (think, Terrorism).  Let’s face it.  What we had before ISIS were the bombings of the IRA in the seventies.  You don’t hear about that anymore.  ISIS united globally through technology.  How many of them are there?  Doesn’t matter.  ISIS spreads itself on FB and the internet through education.  So, why would not the Christian use this for the very same purpose?

We may be entering into an area where what was once described as “unreal” cyber connections (friends) are becoming real.  A person “friends” another on FB, and there is no way to say that I have 1200 actual friends, is there?  Well, there is.  A “friend” is not just someone that you live close by, someone you grew up with, but someone you have something in common with in terms of “what you believe” – and that is powerful.  We have to redefine the term, rather, expand the term, ‘friend.’  It is a meaningful connection, albeit a cyber one.  But, what, would you rather actually hear and see Martin Luther in 1517?  Of course.  But, what we have of that thinker is merely copy-text, much like cyber-text.  I only know of Luther, or any other figure in history I have never met through texts and my imagination.  I am ‘friends’ with Luther.  I’d like to think I know him a little through reading his profile (biography).  There’s nothing new under the sun…

However, there is one dimension the computer, and FB does not have.  A power far more greater than any power that can be named: Jesus Christ.  He knows everyone.  Communication is communication – it all comes from the heart, and he knows the heart of everyone pounding on the keyboard at 2:13 in the morning.  What may appear as that which is being organized around a tool that brings together a billion people (FB) – the computer itself, is actually being cause by a much greater Power that is the Cause of All Things.  FB is a tool no more complex than a printing press, or Paul’s fellow compatriots who copied his letters for the use to distribute them en masse.  And, God used those means.  Caused those means to work for a far more greater Good.  Does FB give us opportunity to reach those who we could never reach?  Absolutely.  Does that mean entering into the much larger place of arguments and disagreements?  Absolutely.  Does that mean when you present a case or argument for something you better know what you are talking about – because I can pull up and “fact check” at the speed of light -?  Absolutely.  Although error permeates the cyber world, it can also be used (and in my experience is being used) to combat error on a massive scale -with the click of a button.

May it be even possible to have a cyber-church gathering on a Sunday?  Already being done.  I’ll let that last thought just stand there…..(I can already hear many pastors say, “but what about my paycheck!”).  Well, they have Sunday morning television shows, and the Christians took to the TV like a fly on stink.  Why not a FB church?  Don’t throw stones yet….I don’t even know where I stand on that.  But, the discussion must be had.  FB isn’t going anywhere, and the cries that it is not “real” or not “meaningful” are becoming drowned by the numbers.

500 years, from Guttenberg to Zuckerberg.  I say, Happy Anniversary!