A Word of Advice

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.D.

I recently came across an article from the Heidelberg blog that supported an interpretative theory I am developing, and noted that this blog in particular is very “Reformed”, shall we say. It had to do with Eve in Genesis 4.1, and her declaration that she had given birth to ‘a man.’ Unusual to say the least, because there are a few terms for infants in Hebrew. No one gives birth to a mature man!

However, the article in question, written by T. David Gordon (here), even offers a translation quite different from the “standards.” I’ll let him speak for himself: “A “pre-observation” might also be made: RSV, ESV, NRSV, and NIV gratuitously add “the help of” in this verse, as though the word “help”/ezer—which Eve was to Adam (Gen. 2:18)—were present in the text, though it is not. They may also have judged that, otherwise, the passage expresses a near-intimacy between Eve and Yahweh: “I have gotten a man with the Lord,” which, of course, she did say. KJV is acceptable: “I have gotten a man from Yahweh” (without “help”). But the near-intimacy is, in some senses, the point of the passage; Eve hoped the “seed” promised by God she had “gotten” with or from God. If her language sounds eerily prescient of a virgin birth, so be it.”

The article itself is excellent, well documented and points out an issue I had not seen before. This is why I read so much, always knowing that I don’t see everything in a given text. My point here is that translations are often interpretations. I have no principled issue with this, either. Ancient Hebrew and Greek expressed itself in ways then that need to be fleshed out now in modern English. Some would call this method, ‘dynamic equivalence.’ We often hold our standard translations as on par with the actual meanings of the inspired authors. However, I was instructed that when doing the work of translation, have ten standard translations (at least) to work off of. Folks seem to get bent out of shape when writers give a translation (i.e, offer a proposed meaningful translation) that is not ‘exactly’ like their favorite.

On this point, all that matters is that one can show the work of why they are doing what they are. Gordon showed the work. ‘With the help of’ is not in the text. The birth of Cain, the ‘firstborn’, comes on the heels of the promise of a ‘seed’ (child) of the woman. Eve is ‘the woman.’ But, her ‘seed’ here is not the one who bruises the serpent’s head. Far from it. Cain is acting in accord with ‘sin’ who masters him (Gn 4.7). This is meant, then, to illustrate the nature of the promised ‘seed.’ Since we know that animals (called, the serpent) cannot mate with human beings, the ‘seed of the serpent’ would also be a human being – and this means we have entered into an invisible realm of ‘sin’ and its effects on the heart (see later in Gn 6.4-ff). Hence, Abel and Cain illustrate two kinds of seeds: one who operates in faith and obedience; the other who does not. This also means that this ‘serpent’ character is more than meets the eye, though not spelled out by name (we must dispel the notion of a snake in a tree talking to Eve).

My point in this is not to elaborate on the Genesis narrative, but to show that creative, interpretative ideas rooted in the syntax are often not born out in our translations (as great as they are). We have not plumbed all the nuances of meaning and textual structure in the Bible, and thus the charge of ‘novelty’ is false, because the Bible is old, not ‘new’ (‘novelty’ means ‘new’). In other words, the meaning is old – it’s what the author meant. This is why careful interpretation still yields the fruit of fresh understandings that may not have been seen before, or thoroughly studied: which is why continued research is paramount. We build on the past, all the while knowing that the past interpretations with either continued to be supported, or readjusted, or entirely chucked aside.

I have no issues with “traditions” being questioned. We know that our forefathers of the Reformation did just that. Yes, it opens a can of worms for every crackpot with a Bible to come up with some new idea, but it is not that we would then stifle a careful reader with a Bible, either. We affirm that a Bible should be in the hands of every believer. We do not affirm that ‘the authority’ alone ‘governs’ our conscience. The Bible is not the only authority, it is the ‘supreme’ authority. We start and build off of various authorities, as stated, and this will, oftentimes, bring us into conflict with a given “traditional interpretation.” So be it. It is this, or we would have to assume that every meaning already given in the last 1900 years has been exhausted; that there is nothing more to say on a subject, no better way to be seen (again, not brand new, but newly seen from an old text). The rigorous work has to be demonstrated, however (this tends to ward off the crackpots).

With this in mind, then, in my continued debate with Hyper Preterists, my contention with them is not that they have found something no one has seen before, for that is always a possibility in the world of hermeneutics explained above. It is that the work they are ‘showing’ contradicts the texts, and therefore suffers from internal conflict. I do not argue, at all, that ‘since the creeds have spoken, the matter is settled.’ Rather, I argue that their exegesis is incorrect, and that it is to be noted that tradition happens to agree with my assessment. Here, the Bible is the supreme authority, with the secondary authorities in tow.

But, we all know that this appeal does not ‘settle’ the debates, does it. We all claim, ‘the Bible says’. And, here, I can end this article by circling back to Genesis 3.2: ‘Did God say…’ What is it that God said, exactly? What verb did he use? What form of the verb? Did he use an adjective, an imperative? When did he say it? How did he say it? Did he accent the direct object, or was the verb used intransitively? There is much to be said here in that God has left us in this conversation, since we have no direct access to Moses, or Paul. Does this mean interpretation is hopelessly impossible? No. It does mean, however, that we are engaged in a quest for knowledge; God’s knowledge (which is what ‘theology’ attempts to show). It’s a dialogue with God’s Spirit, and with those who ‘call upon the name of the Lord,’ whoever they may be. Theology is an active pursuit, not static. It has a traditional-historical basis (we cannot ignore the past statements; we cannot ignore history) built into it. Paul passed on traditions – and this roots us in past expressions of the saints – but, at the same time, these saints are not the Apostles of our Foundation, the Church, and hence, unlike Paul, are subject to error. The tension between Tradition and Understanding that Tradition, Holding fast to that Tradition and developing fresh ways to get back to that original Tradition mark the enterprise of hermeneutics. For me, this requires broad reading (not just reading ‘our guys’, but ‘the other guys,’ too). It requires a far more ecumenical approach in our studies, and an occasional reaching across the aisle. You know, like Jesus told the Jews to love the Samaritans, because they may have some good insight you are going to miss because of your bias (do you think those large lexicons you read were written by conservative, Reformed, Bible-believing Christians? Think again). Since we already do this, and since the work of a theologian, or an exegete is already using source material from a wide swath of scholarship, then why do we hypocritically only flock with the birds of our feathers on appearance?

Saints, we are on this side of heaven; we are not in heaven, and heaven certainly has not come down to us – not yet. So, until then, all we have is each other, our books, and the added bonus, the superior bonus, of the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our studies; our ‘conscience’ as Paul called it. Yet, if we believe in progressive sanctification, and it is through the true knowledge of the Spirit by which sanctification comes, then our conscience should mature (this is called, ‘wisdom’). There are some things with me that are concrete; blocks of cement that will not ever be replaced; statements of Faith that cannot be assailed. But, there are other aspects of my own inferior being that I am willing and open to be corrected; corrected by brothers and sisters who confess: Jesus of Nazareth is Lord. God raised him from the dead. He is currently, body and soul, at the right hand of God, in heaven, and he shall descend from heaven and raise the dead and restore all things.

Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.D.

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 (The Ministry of Reconciliation, Baker Books, 1980), 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, designed and graded exams for their Hebrew Languages course. 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).  Adams wrote of Misplaced Hope as a "useful, scholarly work" (p.6 - though he disagreed with the overall thesis).  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, now 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 ran through its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019; though still available in Kindle form from American Vision).  Dr. Gentry also gave mention to Frost in his book, Have We Missed the Second Coming: A Critique of Hyper Preterism (Victorious Hope Publishing, 2016), noting him as "one of the most prominent" teachers within Full Preterism (135).  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 (McGahan Publishing House, 2021); 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), and worked directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc., for a year.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works with Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana, and Bethel Presbyterian Church, Knightstown, Indiana, where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon. 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, Lewisville, Indiana. Samuel also works part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for several years.  He has a solid, family reputation in the community, and has performed local marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle. Recently, he has completed his two year quest for a Th.D from Christian Life School of Theology Global, Georgia.

6 thoughts on “A Word of Advice”

  1. Yes, Sam, we are always in a state of flux, thank God. Our bodies grow, our minds advance, and our spirits mature in His wisdom. Should we not continue to enlarge our knowledge of Him and His will for us? The earth continues to change, our bodies age, our minds turn pages of wisdom guided by His Spirit. Thank God we do not lay dormant, but grow in His power to learn guided by His presence. 📖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good stuff, Sam. What would you think of the following translation: “I have gotten a man, even the Lord”? I’ve seen a couple of commentators (e.g., I.M. Haldeman, E.W. Bullinger) maintain that translation as the correct one. If correct, it would imply that Eve thought that Cain was the promised “seed.” Of course, she & Adam were the “original audience” of the promise made in Genesis 3. There was no other “woman” existing at the time. So that would be the first example—according to Fp’s—of a failed prediction, wouldn’t it?

    But if your colleague’s translation is correct, it could also mean that she was indirectly referring to Adam as Lord. With help from Adam, she would beget a seed—but not the promised seed. Through the help of Jehovah, the Bride (Israel) would beget two “seeds”—like Cain & Abel. The one would be according to flesh, the other according to spirit. In the “end of days” (see Genesis 4:3) the fleshly seed would kill his brother, and be subsequently banished from God’s presence—but Divinely preserved, and avenged sevenfold against the nations that would attempt to exterminate him.

    This is the Gospel narrative in a nutshell. What happened in the first century is a ‘recapitulation’—to use an Irenaean concept—an ‘anakephalaosis’—of what took place in the Garden and outside of the Garden, in Genesis chaps 2-4.

    Preterists confuse ‘anakephalaosis’ with fulfillment. For example, Revelation 12 talks about the woman being in labor, and bringing forth Christ—both Head & Body—via a process of tribulation. This points back to Matthew 2, in the case of the Head. In the case of the Body, it can only refer to a future salvation of “all Israel”—per Isaiah 66.

    “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.”
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:8‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    The call of the Gentiles is an intermediate dispensation that started in Acts 10, and began to be finalized after the Acts 28 council went sour. Unlike Dispensationalists, I believe that Gentiles are being added to the nation of Israel, through faith in Christ. However, unlike RCC and Reformed, I believe the church is primarily Jewish, and that once the Gentiles are cut off from the olive tree, the Jews will be grafted back in. When Christ returns the second time, He will be literally fulfilling all the promises made to Israel.

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    1. yes….the “pattern” repeats itself again and again until the “fulness” of it is reached. We see this right here “in the beginning” (the establishment of the pattern in the world at odds with God), and it repeats itself against through the various narratives and stories. Man sins, God “appears” as Judge, demands an “account for your deeds”, renders judgment, places the original blame on the serpent/Devil. In Job, acting as a man (ha adam), he is permitted to be tested (as was Adam). Satan fails (he always does), God shows up in judgement (Job 38-ff), renders judgment, and animals are offered (in Adam’s case, “a garment of skin” from an animal). Heck, we can do this all day long!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like your approach, Sam. Lots of stuff to chew on. Hey, what do you think about doing a podcast w me & Lance Conley? We are trying to get some discussions going on YouTube. Lance is AMil, but we see eye to eye on a lot of topics.

        Liked by 1 person

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