The Millennium and the Resurrection of the Dead

I am firmly indebted to Don Preston for his presentation on the Millennium at the 2004 Preterist Research Institute Conference for much of the layout and content of the following.

Biblical eschatology is Jewish eschatology. A “time of the end” for the Church is never addressed in Scripture. Every passage that futurists and partial preterists say applies to a yet future apocalyptic event is easily tied to a promise made to Old Covenant Israel and fulfilled with the birth of New Covenant Israel.

The Resurrection of the Dead was the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel.

1 Corinthians 15 is, of course, the sine qua non of the doctrine of the Resurrection. Paul goes into much more depth here than anywhere else, and this one passage hosts a number of thematic and linguistic links to other passages that strongly suggest an integral unity between them. Let’s start by looking at verses 54 and 55. [All the following citations are from the NIV.]


When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?

Paul alludes to two Old Testament passages. Most commentators see in verse 54 that he applies language from Isaiah 25:7-8 to the Resurrection. Here is what it says:


On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death for ever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

Next, he paraphrases Hosea 13:14, which reads:


I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?

Now, this is the kicker: why must the Resurrection have occurred in the first century? Look at Paul’s next statement (v. 56):


The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.

When the Resurrection occurs, the Law is done away with. The Resurrection is the final fulfillment of the Law. Remember, Jesus says in Matthew 5:18 that “not one jot or tittle” could disappear before the Law was completely and totally fulfilled. Now, is the Law still in effect? If you don’t believe that the Law has been abolished, I trust you are still making animal sacrifices and following Mosaic dietary laws! Note also the correlation between sin and the Law that we see in Romans. Sin was finally done away with when the only true propitiation was made for it, which was Christ’s sacrifice, and the New Covenant was ratified and took full effect (cf. Hebrew 10:16-18). Paul correlates the Resurrection with the end of the Old and the beginning of the New Covenant in Romans 11:15, “For if their [Old Covenant Israel’s] rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their [the remnant comprising New Covenant Israel’s] acceptance be but life from the dead?” Do not miss, however, the fact that Paul in numerous places implies that the Law still lingered during his time: this ended with the destruction of the temple and of the Holy City.

Resurrection is not Christian eschatology. Jesus, Peter, and Paul never looked beyond AD 70 in their eschatology. They only looked to the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel. Paul in numerous places refers to the Resurrection as the fulfillment of the hope and promises God made to the twelve tribes. Consider these passages. In Acts, Paul is arrested by the Jewish leaders and sent around the known world on different trials. He asserts in Acts 24:21, “‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.” With this in mind, refer to the following passages:

Acts 24:14,15 “However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”

Acts 26:6-8 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O King, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

Acts 28:20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.

Cross-reference these with 1 Thessalonians 4:13: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who [have] fall[en] asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.” [Notice how I had to correct the NIV’s misleading translation of the Greek perfect tense!] Paul then proceeds to affirm what that hope is: the Resurrection. Make no mistake, the Resurrection of the Dead was the hope of Israel, and the final page of the Old Covenant promises. There are none left to be fulfilled. If all Israel was not raised, the Old Covenant is still in effect.

To recap, Paul here states that the time of the Resurrection would be

  1. the time of the removal of the Law, the “power of sin” (the “ministry of death” in 2 Cor 3:7)
  2. the time of the removal of sin, the “sting of death” (Heb 10)
  3. the time of the fulfillment of Israel’s promises (Isa 25:8, Hos 13:14, Mat 5:18, etc.)

The Resurrection of 1 Cor 15 and Rev 20:5 at the end of the millennium are the same.

Daniel 9 describes the fulfillment of Israel’s eschaton. It foretold that the completion of the seventy weeks was the time of the end for the people and for “the holy city” (v. 24), which was accomplished with the destruction of Jerusalem and the abolition of Judaism in AD 70. Referring to the coming time of judgment, Jesus said, “These are the days of vengeance in which all things that are written,” ostensibly including Daniel 9, “must be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22).

Daniel 9 and 1 Cor 15 are referring to the same event. Notice how both deal with:

  1. the promises made to Israel
  2. the time of the end
  3. the time of the Kingdom which is without end (Heb 12)
  4. the time of the putting away of sin
  5. the end of the age of Israel (Dan 9:27, 1 Cor 15:56)

Revelation 20:4-6 makes several obvious allusions to Daniel 7:9-27. In both passages:

  • The observer sees thrones set up (Dan 7:9, Rev 20:4)
  • The saints sit on the thrones and are given authority to judge (Dan 7:26, Rev 20:4)
  • The saints reign in the Kingdom (Dan 7:18, 22, 27, Rev 20:4, 6)

One may object that in Daniel, the Kingdom of God headed by the Son of Man is said to be without end (7:13, 14), whereas Revelation 20:4-6 makes reference to a 1,000 year kingdom. The difference is that Revelation 20 has mainly in view the specific prediction of certain events within that eternal kingdom. Does God’s reign really have an end? The thousand years were simply an apocalyptic description of the phase before the Resurrection and the coming of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21). It’s the same as hearing George say that Oswald Knodishall moved to Ireland and then remained there the rest of his life, and then hearing Reginald say, “Oswald Knodishall bought a car when he moved to Dublin. He then lived in Dublin 20 more years driving that same car. Then he finally got another car and used it to drive around Dublin for the rest of his life there.” When comparing these two accounts, we have no reason to assume that George and Reginald were talking of different Oswald Knodishalls.

Jesus in Matthew 5:18 put the timing of the fulfillment and removal of the Law at the same time that the “heavens and earth”, an Old Testament metaphor for the Old Covenant, would pass away. Now recall Isaiah 25:8 above, in which Isaiah synchronizes the swallowing up of death “for ever” as the point at which “the Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.” Does this ring a bell? Think Revelation 21:4. The “old order” which passed away was the “ministry of death”, the Law of Moses. The Resurrection Paul talks about is the end of Death and of his abode, Sheol/Hades. Either the Resurrection has occurred and death is no more, or the Old Covenant is still in effect! Where else do we see our heavens and earth (read: covenant) passing and being replaced? This is what the full and partial futurists must posit, sans scriptural references.

Many preterists, like myself, doubt that individual spiritual resurrections were ever primarily in view. Paul refers to the redemption of the “body” (singular), and draws a parallel between corporate participation in the Fall through Adam and corporate participation in the Resurrection through Christ. One is “resurrected” by God’s adoption of him as a son, and hence participates in the resurrection of Christ. Check out what Ward Fenley has to say on this point:


Finally, in regard to the resurrection body of Christ, the church is that resurrection body. We are raised together with Christ. Yes, it is a spiritual resurrection. The Church is His body, not some material form with literal arms and legs. Of course Christ was raised physically, but that was the outer sign to show that He was the first to rise from the dead spiritually. He was the firstfruit of the firstfruits (after all, Jesus said the harvest was plenteous then and Paul and James and John both affirmed first-fruits in the first century Rom 8; James 1; Rev. 14). Christ was the firstborn AMONG many brethren. Jesus died to bring many sons to glory (Heb 2). His bride cannot be separated from His glory resurrection, for she is ONE FLESH with Him. Just as the Husband is the glory of God, so the Bride is the glory of the Husband.

Now, do I completely understand all the mystical and practical differences between the Resurrection in 20:4 and in Revelation 20:5? No, but regardless of one’s view on the nature of the Resurrection, the timing is crystal clear: the fulfillment of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel were to be completed at the same time the New Covenant was established. The final Resurrection is everywhere presented as the completion of a covenant, and the Christian age established at AD 70 has no end. I could cite several irrefutable attestations of the eternality of the New Covenant in both the Old and the New Testament, and one would be hard-pressed to come up with Scriptures that say otherwise. None of Jesus’ parables that speak of the Kingdom of God make a distinction between a Kingdom coming in forty years and another coming in 2,000 or more years. Yet this is exactly what is mandated when you postulate a still futurized eschatological judgment event!

Summary

  • The Resurrection at the end of the age belongs to Old Covenant Israel and belongs to her last days.

  • Israel’s promises had to be fulfilled before the Law could pass (“not one jot or tittle”).

  • The time of the harvest (Matt 13) was fulfilled at AD 70.

  • The Resurrection in 1 Cor 15 correlates with the end of the Law, and thus pertained to the fulfillment of Old Covenant Israel’s promises.

  • There is no Scripture that supports a yet future event in which the Son of Man comes, resurrects the dead, and pronounces judgment.

  • The final Resurrection of the living and the dead cannot pertain to the end of the Christian age because the Christian age has no end.
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  • This will take much digestion. Thanks for your help.

    I understand preterism and its implications but you are so much better versed in how Old Testament/Judaistic imagery and lore play into eschatology.

    Perhaps “eschatology” is a misnomer in light of what you’ve discussed here. Instead of a word meaning “study of last thing” perhaps we should begin using a word that means “study of accomplished thing”.

  • This will take much digestion. Thanks for your help.

    I understand preterism and its implications but you are so much better versed in how Old Testament/Judaistic imagery and lore play into eschatology.

    Perhaps “eschatology” is a misnomer in light of what you’ve discussed here. Instead of a word meaning “study of last thing” perhaps we should begin using a word that means “study of accomplished thing”.

  • Nicely done, Steve. That’s a powerful argument and one that I could have a lot of sympathy for… I will look forward to digging into the texts to follow it in greater detail.

    Do you then equate the New Covenant and Christian Church with the New Jerusalem? If so, what does Rev 19:8 refer to when it says that the bride’s “fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints”?

  • Nicely done, Steve. That’s a powerful argument and one that I could have a lot of sympathy for… I will look forward to digging into the texts to follow it in greater detail.

    Do you then equate the New Covenant and Christian Church with the New Jerusalem? If so, what does Rev 19:8 refer to when it says that the bride’s “fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints”?

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  • Daniel D.

    This is my first blog post. That is pretty good Steve. I do believe that the resurrection mentioned those places happened in the first century. In Phil., Paul seems concerned about obtaining for the resurrection. In 1 Thes. the change he refers to might mean that at that point there was no more doubt in the destiny of the soul. That the living were brought under the new system. That we will all be changed and meet the Lord in the air (i.e. Our spirits will be seated in heavenly places for ever). Of course, Paul already seemed to think that we were there in other parts of the scripture. But then maybe he was prophesying. I mean in Hebrews Christ sat down, but Stephen saw him standing and in Daniel his “coming” is to the Father to sit down. I mean when Paul said resurrection, he basically mean the afterlife. All that being said, I still do not think the Second Resurrection of the Righteous and the Wicked to be judged by the open books has taken place yet. This is not the wheat and the tares or the sheep and the goats judgment. In both of those Christ is the judge, in the last judgment the Father is the judge and Christ is the standard. I mean in the tare and wheat and sheep and goats the people being judged are the servants of the judge. I mean the tares weren’t really but they were in his field. Sort of like the parable where the noble man says bring the servants who would not have me reign over them and slay them in my presence. Or, even the foolish virgins. These are obviously the Jews vs. the early church. But the last resurrection has nothing to do with the division of Jews v. Christians only what is written in the book of life.

  • Daniel D.

    This is my first blog post. That is pretty good Steve. I do believe that the resurrection mentioned those places happened in the first century. In Phil., Paul seems concerned about obtaining for the resurrection. In 1 Thes. the change he refers to might mean that at that point there was no more doubt in the destiny of the soul. That the living were brought under the new system. That we will all be changed and meet the Lord in the air (i.e. Our spirits will be seated in heavenly places for ever). Of course, Paul already seemed to think that we were there in other parts of the scripture. But then maybe he was prophesying. I mean in Hebrews Christ sat down, but Stephen saw him standing and in Daniel his “coming” is to the Father to sit down. I mean when Paul said resurrection, he basically mean the afterlife. All that being said, I still do not think the Second Resurrection of the Righteous and the Wicked to be judged by the open books has taken place yet. This is not the wheat and the tares or the sheep and the goats judgment. In both of those Christ is the judge, in the last judgment the Father is the judge and Christ is the standard. I mean in the tare and wheat and sheep and goats the people being judged are the servants of the judge. I mean the tares weren’t really but they were in his field. Sort of like the parable where the noble man says bring the servants who would not have me reign over them and slay them in my presence. Or, even the foolish virgins. These are obviously the Jews vs. the early church. But the last resurrection has nothing to do with the division of Jews v. Christians only what is written in the book of life.

  • Welcome to my blog, Daniel! Missed you at church this morning.

    I think you are making too much of the distinction in Christ and the Father being the judge. [Deleted bit: I mis-read your position] The thrones for the saints in Daniel and Revelation are for the judgment of all, not just the division of Jews and Christians: 1 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” Paul is obviously referring to Daniel 7:26 at that point, which also shows that the distinctions in other passages of the Father, the Son, and the saints being judges are not real but based on contextual emphasis, because Daniel 7:26 speaks of a “court” judging (i.e. more like a panel of judges).

    I think the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is an excellent example of Jesus’ replacement theology. I think it was meant to shock the Jewish leaders: Jesus said that the righteous and unrighteous are determined not by ethnic identity but by faithfulness. Every race would be on equal footing when it came time for judgment. Already in Galatians Paul asserted that “…there is no Jew or Greek.”

    Besides, as I said above, I can’t find any passages that predict an eschatological end of the Church age at which all the Righteous and Wicked from all time are judged; nor have I encountered anything that made a distinction between a final judgment just for Israel and one for everyone else. In fact, the judgment was to be about whether all people (Jew or Greek) were in Christ or not.

  • Steve

    Welcome to my blog, Daniel! Missed you at church this morning.

    I think you are making too much of the distinction in Christ and the Father being the judge. [Deleted bit: I mis-read your position] The thrones for the saints in Daniel and Revelation are for the judgment of all, not just the division of Jews and Christians: 1 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” Paul is obviously referring to Daniel 7:26 at that point, which also shows that the distinctions in other passages of the Father, the Son, and the saints being judges are not real but based on contextual emphasis, because Daniel 7:26 speaks of a “court” judging (i.e. more like a panel of judges).

    I think the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is an excellent example of Jesus’ replacement theology. I think it was meant to shock the Jewish leaders: Jesus said that the righteous and unrighteous are determined not by ethnic identity but by faithfulness. Every race would be on equal footing when it came time for judgment. Already in Galatians Paul asserted that “…there is no Jew or Greek.”

    Besides, as I said above, I can’t find any passages that predict an eschatological end of the Church age at which all the Righteous and Wicked from all time are judged; nor have I encountered anything that made a distinction between a final judgment just for Israel and one for everyone else. In fact, the judgment was to be about whether all people (Jew or Greek) were in Christ or not.

  • I’m glad it made sense to you, ElShaddai.

    I definitely equate the New Covenant and Christian Church with the New Jerusalem: this is what Paul could already see in Galatians 4. As far as the linens being the righteous acts of the saints, I think we have a clear parallel to the concept of the rewarding of good deeds based on performance seen in the Parable of the Talents. Jesus says in Revelation 22:12 that He was coming “quickly” (there’s one of the time statements!) in order “to repay each man according to his work”. Even more definitive of this is Matthew 16:27-28: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” That was obviously a first-century event!

    It’s funny you should ask that question, though, because lately I have come to see that the works of the righteous mean more than most Protestants would like to admit. James made it clear that it is by our deeds that our faith is known (for which his book was branded an “epistle of straw” by our Protestant father, Luther). In fact, an oft-ignored fact is that the Greek word for “faith”, pistis, means total adherence, and not just mental adherence (hence, “faithfulness”). I think that’s the task of the New Jerusalem Church: our deeds, how we deal with sin and problems in society, whether we take our restored Genesis 1 mandate for dominion seriously — this is Kingdom living. We rely on God to give us the grace, strength, and wisdom to do this.

  • Steve

    I’m glad it made sense to you, ElShaddai.

    I definitely equate the New Covenant and Christian Church with the New Jerusalem: this is what Paul could already see in Galatians 4. As far as the linens being the righteous acts of the saints, I think we have a clear parallel to the concept of the rewarding of good deeds based on performance seen in the Parable of the Talents. Jesus says in Revelation 22:12 that He was coming “quickly” (there’s one of the time statements!) in order “to repay each man according to his work”. Even more definitive of this is Matthew 16:27-28: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” That was obviously a first-century event!

    It’s funny you should ask that question, though, because lately I have come to see that the works of the righteous mean more than most Protestants would like to admit. James made it clear that it is by our deeds that our faith is known (for which his book was branded an “epistle of straw” by our Protestant father, Luther). In fact, an oft-ignored fact is that the Greek word for “faith”, pistis, means total adherence, and not just mental adherence (hence, “faithfulness”). I think that’s the task of the New Jerusalem Church: our deeds, how we deal with sin and problems in society, whether we take our restored Genesis 1 mandate for dominion seriously — this is Kingdom living. We rely on God to give us the grace, strength, and wisdom to do this.

  • I think that’s the task of the New Jerusalem Church: our deeds, how we deal with sin and problems in society, whether we take our restored Genesis 1 mandate for dominion seriously — this is Kingdom living. We rely on God to give us the grace, strength, and wisdom to do this.

    Now you’re preaching to my heart! Good thoughts, Steve – thank you.

    I’ve had the thought of a non-equal heaven reward for some time now – that the act of salvation, our key to heaven, is made available to all through the profession of faith, but our actual place in heaven is determined by the “working out of our salvation”, that is, our righteous deeds, our works, our treasure saved up in heaven’s storehouses.

    The person who professes faith but lives a unholy life in the flesh will be saved, but will be last in heaven’s order, while the person who professes faith and lives a righteous life will be first – sort of a “seven circles of heaven”, if you will.

  • I think that’s the task of the New Jerusalem Church: our deeds, how we deal with sin and problems in society, whether we take our restored Genesis 1 mandate for dominion seriously — this is Kingdom living. We rely on God to give us the grace, strength, and wisdom to do this.

    Now you’re preaching to my heart! Good thoughts, Steve – thank you.

    I’ve had the thought of a non-equal heaven reward for some time now – that the act of salvation, our key to heaven, is made available to all through the profession of faith, but our actual place in heaven is determined by the “working out of our salvation”, that is, our righteous deeds, our works, our treasure saved up in heaven’s storehouses.

    The person who professes faith but lives a unholy life in the flesh will be saved, but will be last in heaven’s order, while the person who professes faith and lives a righteous life will be first – sort of a “seven circles of heaven”, if you will.

  • Right — that’s more or less how I see it. The “saved through faith, not through works” reaction to Catholicism has in some circles swung too far in the other direction. But we’ll be rewarded for the grace we’ve availed ourselves of.

    So many people are turned off by preterism because they say, “Well, if it’s all fulfilled, what is there left to do?” Some people ask that because they think that Christians are just too helpless to do anything. I think our position is where it was always intended to be, and there’s nothing to wait for. How is waiting for the physical world to perish supposed to be hope?

  • Steve

    Right — that’s more or less how I see it. The “saved through faith, not through works” reaction to Catholicism has in some circles swung too far in the other direction. But we’ll be rewarded for the grace we’ve availed ourselves of.

    So many people are turned off by preterism because they say, “Well, if it’s all fulfilled, what is there left to do?” Some people ask that because they think that Christians are just too helpless to do anything. I think our position is where it was always intended to be, and there’s nothing to wait for. How is waiting for the physical world to perish supposed to be hope?

  • kev

    I think this is the kind of thing I need to read in the morning when my mind is fresh and I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand, Steve!

    But for now, I’ll take Renee’s advice and leave the following:

    (nods head in agreement)

  • kev

    I think this is the kind of thing I need to read in the morning when my mind is fresh and I have a hot cup of coffee in my hand, Steve!

    But for now, I’ll take Renee’s advice and leave the following:

    (nods head in agreement)

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  • Hi, sorry to be commenting on this so late, but I’ve only just found your blog.

    I’m not sure that you sufficiently respond to the ‘first resurrection = martyrs view’ above. I don’t necessarily think it’s answerable, but it has quite a bit to comment it.

    What would you think of the view of JS Russell, that Christ has returned, the first resurrection has taken place and we are now in the millennium? I think it has quite a bit to commend it.

  • Hi, sorry to be commenting on this so late, but I’ve only just found your blog.

    I’m not sure that you sufficiently respond to the ‘first resurrection = martyrs view’ above. I don’t necessarily think it’s answerable, but it has quite a bit to comment it.

    What would you think of the view of JS Russell, that Christ has returned, the first resurrection has taken place and we are now in the millennium? I think it has quite a bit to commend it.

  • Graham,

    I hope by now you have read my more recent posts on eschatology. In these, I go into more detail on how I see that the Resurrection at the end of the millennium had to have occurred in AD 70. Let me call your attention to a few things to look for in them.

    1) In my post called “Peter speaks”, I show that Peter clearly understood Jesus’ statements such as we have in Luke 21 as meaning the fulfillment of all OT prophecy was to occur immediately.

    2) In my post called, “The Sheep, the Goats, and the Judgment”, I show the correlation of the judgment of the nations in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats with the coming in Matthew 24. From there I argue that this judgment and the nations was the selfsame final judgment of the nations shown in Revelation

    Whether there is any current use for Sheol in light of Rev. 14 (especially v. 13) is also instructive. And I’m working on a post right now that argues that our understanding of the trajectory of history demands a completed work without an end of the world. Of course, Russell never claimed this.

    I love Russell, and held his view before I started noticing the inconsistencies I mention above. I can’t find any substantial Scriptural basis for a yet future judgment. But I’m perfectly willing to discuss it with you!

  • Steve

    Graham,

    I hope by now you have read my more recent posts on eschatology. In these, I go into more detail on how I see that the Resurrection at the end of the millennium had to have occurred in AD 70. Let me call your attention to a few things to look for in them.

    1) In my post called “Peter speaks”, I show that Peter clearly understood Jesus’ statements such as we have in Luke 21 as meaning the fulfillment of all OT prophecy was to occur immediately.

    2) In my post called, “The Sheep, the Goats, and the Judgment”, I show the correlation of the judgment of the nations in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats with the coming in Matthew 24. From there I argue that this judgment and the nations was the selfsame final judgment of the nations shown in Revelation

    Whether there is any current use for Sheol in light of Rev. 14 (especially v. 13) is also instructive. And I’m working on a post right now that argues that our understanding of the trajectory of history demands a completed work without an end of the world. Of course, Russell never claimed this.

    I love Russell, and held his view before I started noticing the inconsistencies I mention above. I can’t find any substantial Scriptural basis for a yet future judgment. But I’m perfectly willing to discuss it with you!

  • Yes, I’ve no read those other posts, Steve.

    I must say that it’s nice to read a preterist blog that has a brain behind it! One of the reasons that I stopped looking at eschatology for close to a decade was the perpetual presence of fruit-cakes! (Well, that and the constant bickering over exegetical minutiae.)

    I’m afraid that I find the ‘Peter Speaks’ post to be unconvincing. I would understand Peter’s “all” to be conditioned by his context. After all, he didn’t mean the end of the Roman Empire, or the end of Bush’s reign as President. As for Luke 21, it seems clear to me that it is saying that all things written about the days of vengeance were about to be fulfilled.

    I don’t think I have any problem with your second point. However, I don’t see any reason for viewing the events conveyed in Mt. 25 as less than an ongoing process.

    This position, I believe (and this would separate me from Russell), allows me to see our current time as that when God is placing all of His enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15).

    Nevertheless, I’m not completely sold on Russell and didn’t come here to squabble. This is meant to be a brief way of saying, “cool blog”! 😉

  • Yes, I’ve no read those other posts, Steve.

    I must say that it’s nice to read a preterist blog that has a brain behind it! One of the reasons that I stopped looking at eschatology for close to a decade was the perpetual presence of fruit-cakes! (Well, that and the constant bickering over exegetical minutiae.)

    I’m afraid that I find the ‘Peter Speaks’ post to be unconvincing. I would understand Peter’s “all” to be conditioned by his context. After all, he didn’t mean the end of the Roman Empire, or the end of Bush’s reign as President. As for Luke 21, it seems clear to me that it is saying that all things written about the days of vengeance were about to be fulfilled.

    I don’t think I have any problem with your second point. However, I don’t see any reason for viewing the events conveyed in Mt. 25 as less than an ongoing process.

    This position, I believe (and this would separate me from Russell), allows me to see our current time as that when God is placing all of His enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15).

    Nevertheless, I’m not completely sold on Russell and didn’t come here to squabble. This is meant to be a brief way of saying, “cool blog”! 😉

  • Thanks for your thoughts, and I’m glad you have enjoyed the site!

    In the interests, not of “squabbling”, but of clarifying my position, let me say a couple things.

    I had hoped that I would make it clear that I thought Jesus’ and Peter’s “all things” were not open-ended but contextually related specifically to all prophecies of the “days of vengeance”. Those days of vengeance were brought to fulfillment in AD 66-70, leaving no future “day of judgment” such as is pictured at the end of the millennium in Rev. 20 to be in our future. This is why I see the millennium as having ended, not started, at that time.

    Secondly, as for ongoing application that you see in Matthew 25, I agree that it looks as though the judgment as pictured in the Sheep and the Goats is simply a commencement of an ongoing process. In that sense, judgment in the sense of the separation of righteous and unrighteous will continue ad infinitum. Check out Isaiah 2, which is a beautiful picture of life as I think it stands now, in which the nations “stream to” the mountain of the Lord and the Judge stands as an arbitrator between all nations, which now have equal standing before Him. In fact, the leaves of the Tree of Life in Revelation are said to be for the “healing of the nations”. I see all this as a current reality.

    As far as God’s enemies under His feet, the last one is Death, which I argue has already been defeated because Paul associates its defeat with the passing of the Law and the emptying of Sheol, all of which occurred at AD 70. But that’s just me 🙂

  • Thanks for your thoughts, and I’m glad you have enjoyed the site!

    In the interests, not of “squabbling”, but of clarifying my position, let me say a couple things.

    I had hoped that I would make it clear that I thought Jesus’ and Peter’s “all things” were not open-ended but contextually related specifically to all prophecies of the “days of vengeance”. Those days of vengeance were brought to fulfillment in AD 66-70, leaving no future “day of judgment” such as is pictured at the end of the millennium in Rev. 20 to be in our future. This is why I see the millennium as having ended, not started, at that time.

    Secondly, as for ongoing application that you see in Matthew 25, I agree that it looks as though the judgment as pictured in the Sheep and the Goats is simply a commencement of an ongoing process. In that sense, judgment in the sense of the separation of righteous and unrighteous will continue ad infinitum. Check out Isaiah 2, which is a beautiful picture of life as I think it stands now, in which the nations “stream to” the mountain of the Lord and the Judge stands as an arbitrator between all nations, which now have equal standing before Him. In fact, the leaves of the Tree of Life in Revelation are said to be for the “healing of the nations”. I see all this as a current reality.

    As far as God’s enemies under His feet, the last one is Death, which I argue has already been defeated because Paul associates its defeat with the passing of the Law and the emptying of Sheol, all of which occurred at AD 70. But that’s just me 🙂

  • Thanks for your response, Steve.

    I must admit that the ‘last enemy to be destroyed’ is possibly the biggest weakness in Russell’s/my view. The way I make sense of it (read ‘get round the inconvenience of the Bible not agreeing with me’!) is to assume that 1 Cor. and Rev. 20 speak of two different deaths. I can’t see any insurmountable reason why that might not be.

    However, I think that the difficulty with your view is that you have martyrs being resurrected who haven’t been killed yet!

    Btw, I would see Isaiah 2 and Revelation 21-22 as both being fulfilled now, so our positions would be very similar.

  • Thanks for your response, Steve.

    I must admit that the ‘last enemy to be destroyed’ is possibly the biggest weakness in Russell’s/my view. The way I make sense of it (read ‘get round the inconvenience of the Bible not agreeing with me’!) is to assume that 1 Cor. and Rev. 20 speak of two different deaths. I can’t see any insurmountable reason why that might not be.

    However, I think that the difficulty with your view is that you have martyrs being resurrected who haven’t been killed yet!

    Btw, I would see Isaiah 2 and Revelation 21-22 as both being fulfilled now, so our positions would be very similar.

  • I know what you mean, Graham. The issues of the martyrs was my hang-up for the longest time. But then I realized that the 1,000 years were not quantitative but qualitative; those being martyred prior to AD 70 were resurrected and exalted on the spot. The “Resurrection” the martyrs were undergoing was the fact that they did not have to languish in Sheol as others dying in that time did. Now, since Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 equates the Resurrection with the conquering of Death, we can’t even be partaking of the first resurrection yet unless Death has been put under Christ’s feet.

    Anyway, it’s good to know how close our beliefs are in practical terms. Out of curiosity, what would you say we have to wait for?

  • I know what you mean, Graham. The issues of the martyrs was my hang-up for the longest time. But then I realized that the 1,000 years were not quantitative but qualitative; those being martyred prior to AD 70 were resurrected and exalted on the spot. The “Resurrection” the martyrs were undergoing was the fact that they did not have to languish in Sheol as others dying in that time did. Now, since Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 equates the Resurrection with the conquering of Death, we can’t even be partaking of the first resurrection yet unless Death has been put under Christ’s feet.

    Anyway, it’s good to know how close our beliefs are in practical terms. Out of curiosity, what would you say we have to wait for?

  • Hi Steve,

    I find that explanation really difficult to swallow. I wish I didn’t, as it would make other things easier, but it just seems like a stretch to me.

    My position would suggest that we have to wait for the end of evil and physical death, along with the second resurrection. But, even I can see problems with my position! (I wouldn’t make a good evangelist for Russell, would I?!) 🙂

  • Hi Steve,

    I find that explanation really difficult to swallow. I wish I didn’t, as it would make other things easier, but it just seems like a stretch to me.

    My position would suggest that we have to wait for the end of evil and physical death, along with the second resurrection. But, even I can see problems with my position! (I wouldn’t make a good evangelist for Russell, would I?!) 🙂

  • Steve

    Believe me, I understand your hesitation. I was staunchly on that side with that same objection not too long ago. I wish I could tell you what “flipped the switch”, but I think it was the preponderance of time statements that made me realize that, however imperfect my understanding of the nature of the Resurrection, the timing of it is, for me, unmistakable. To me it was sort of like snow on flimsy awning that held for awhile, yet in the end, broke through.

  • Believe me, I understand your hesitation. I was staunchly on that side with that same objection not too long ago. I wish I could tell you what “flipped the switch”, but I think it was the preponderance of time statements that made me realize that, however imperfect my understanding of the nature of the Resurrection, the timing of it is, for me, unmistakable. To me it was sort of like snow on flimsy awning that held for awhile, yet in the end, broke through.

  • Steve,

    Not to beat a dead horse (do you have that expression in the States?!), but can you clarify something for me from Rev. 20?

    If I understand your response above, you don’t necessarily see the first resurrection (of the martyrs) taking place before the Millennium (thus avoiding my “hang-up”). You’re suggesting that it simply means that when martyrs were killed – during the millennium – they immediately went to God’s presence?

    However, doesn’t the text say that they reigned with Christ ‘for a thousand years’? I can see that the text doesn’t explicitly say the resurrection took place first, but it does say that they reigned *for* – not just at some point during – the millennium.

    Perhaps I’m just being to literalistic?

    Also, doesn’t 1 Cor. 15 imply that those who belong to Christ are not resurrected until he comes? This would seem to fit with my schema, wouldn’t it? Christ comes, the martyrs are resurrected, they all then reign for ‘a thousand years’ – the period during which all enemies are being crushed beneath his feet and the nations are being healed by the leaves of the tree – then there is the 2nd resurrection of everyone else.

  • Steve,

    Not to beat a dead horse (do you have that expression in the States?!), but can you clarify something for me from Rev. 20?

    If I understand your response above, you don’t necessarily see the first resurrection (of the martyrs) taking place before the Millennium (thus avoiding my “hang-up”). You’re suggesting that it simply means that when martyrs were killed – during the millennium – they immediately went to God’s presence?

    However, doesn’t the text say that they reigned with Christ ‘for a thousand years’? I can see that the text doesn’t explicitly say the resurrection took place first, but it does say that they reigned *for* – not just at some point during – the millennium.

    Perhaps I’m just being to literalistic?

    Also, doesn’t 1 Cor. 15 imply that those who belong to Christ are not resurrected until he comes? This would seem to fit with my schema, wouldn’t it? Christ comes, the martyrs are resurrected, they all then reign for ‘a thousand years’ – the period during which all enemies are being crushed beneath his feet and the nations are being healed by the leaves of the tree – then there is the 2nd resurrection of everyone else.

  • Sorry, it looks like I’m being argumentative above. I’m really not.

    This are genuine questions about your position.

  • Sorry, it looks like I’m being argumentative above. I’m really not.

    This are genuine questions about your position.

  • Graham, don’t apologize. I want discussion.

    I do see the millennium as a prophetic expression. It bespeaks not a period of time but a period of fullness. I see this in the same way that the Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills in Psalm 50:10 (doesn’t He own all the cattle?).

    There are saints that were to be resurrected in 1 Corinthians 15, no doubt. We see this in 1 Thessalonians 4, as well. In no wise, however, does this mean that there were none resurrected before this. This is the “General Resurrection”. But look at Revelation 6. In this (and in Revelation 14), the slain witnesses to God are seen as in God’s presence (not dead), crying out, “How long, O Lord?” God’s answer? N.B verses 6:10-11, in which they cry out: “‘How long will it be, holy and true master, before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?’ Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little while longer until the number was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.”

    As I said above, the thousand years speaks of fullness, and there was a set number of martyrs that had to be killed before vengeance was taken. Both Rev 6 and 14 picture the wrath of AD 70 as the vengeance on those slain martyrs.

    As far as I can see, your scheme doesn’t make much sense of the putting of Christ’s enemies under His feet and particularly the last one being death. Clarify something for me, if you don’t mind: what of apocalyptic proportions (do you see the 2nd Resurrection as physical?) is yet to occur?

    (Thanks for the interaction!)

  • Steve

    Graham, don’t apologize. I want discussion.

    I do see the millennium as a prophetic expression. It bespeaks not a period of time but a period of fullness. I see this in the same way that the Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills in Psalm 50:10 (doesn’t He own all the cattle?).

    There are saints that were to be resurrected in 1 Corinthians 15, no doubt. We see this in 1 Thessalonians 4, as well. In no wise, however, does this mean that there were none resurrected before this. This is the “General Resurrection”. But look at Revelation 6. In this (and in Revelation 14), the slain witnesses to God are seen as in God’s presence (not dead), crying out, “How long, O Lord?” God’s answer? N.B verses 6:10-11, in which they cry out: “‘How long will it be, holy and true master, before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?’ Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little while longer until the number was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.”

    As I said above, the thousand years speaks of fullness, and there was a set number of martyrs that had to be killed before vengeance was taken. Both Rev 6 and 14 picture the wrath of AD 70 as the vengeance on those slain martyrs.

    As far as I can see, your scheme doesn’t make much sense of the putting of Christ’s enemies under His feet and particularly the last one being death. Clarify something for me, if you don’t mind: what of apocalyptic proportions (do you see the 2nd Resurrection as physical?) is yet to occur?

    (Thanks for the interaction!)

  • I always thought my schema makes perfect sense. I see the Millennium as being that period in 1 Cor. 15 where the Lord is reigning until he has put all of his enemies under his feet. So, my reading of 1 Cor. 15 goes:

    1) Resurrection of Christ
    2) Return of Christ (in 70) along with ‘those who belong to him’ – which I take as a reference to the first resurrection of martyrs in Rev. 20.
    3) He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (the Millennium)
    4) The ‘end’

    The very last enemy to be destroyed is actual physical death, which is something of a “symptom” of spiritual death. So, I see the 2nd resurrection as physical (I think).

    I think that Rev. 21-22 is occurring now, so the only part of Revelation left to be fulfilled is 20:7-10. I would have the same position as E. Hampden Cook, J.S. Russell and Duncan McKenzie (though the latter two are agnostic about a 2nd physical resurrection).

  • I always thought my schema makes perfect sense. I see the Millennium as being that period in 1 Cor. 15 where the Lord is reigning until he has put all of his enemies under his feet. So, my reading of 1 Cor. 15 goes:

    1) Resurrection of Christ
    2) Return of Christ (in 70) along with ‘those who belong to him’ – which I take as a reference to the first resurrection of martyrs in Rev. 20.
    3) He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (the Millennium)
    4) The ‘end’

    The very last enemy to be destroyed is actual physical death, which is something of a “symptom” of spiritual death. So, I see the 2nd resurrection as physical (I think).

    I think that Rev. 21-22 is occurring now, so the only part of Revelation left to be fulfilled is 20:7-10. I would have the same position as E. Hampden Cook, J.S. Russell and Duncan McKenzie (though the latter two are agnostic about a 2nd physical resurrection).

  • I know Duncan! He and I have conversed quite a bit about his forthcoming book. He’s a super fellow.

    The weakness in your view is that 1 Cor 15 is very clear about the Resurrection and the defeat of Death being tied in with the fulfillment and replacement of the Law (as I outlined above). If Death (which, as I argue above, is not physical) has not been defeated, then the Law is still in effect, and has been, for some reason, for two millennia. That, to me, is untenable, especially since the observance of the Law was inextricably bound up with the now-destroyed Temple.

    Also telling is that in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul speaks of the Resurrection as already occurring. As Sam Frost likes to point out, Paul often uses the present tense (although some translations don’t show this) to refer to the Resurrection, especially in 1 Corinthians 15. The judgment of the living and the dead, not just the martyrs, was to occur at the Resurrection, and this judgment was something mellei (“about to”) happen by the word of Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John.

    I don’t think physical death is symptomatic of spiritual death. I think it has always been in the plan. It is death that allows us to pass into the ineffable glory of the afterlife. God never intended pre-Fall for the physical world to be a substitute for the spiritual, heavenly dwelling. The physical world was always intended as a first stage. That’s my understanding of the issue.

  • Steve

    I know Duncan! He and I have conversed quite a bit about his forthcoming book. He’s a super fellow.

    The weakness in your view is that 1 Cor 15 is very clear about the Resurrection and the defeat of Death being tied in with the fulfillment and replacement of the Law (as I outlined above). If Death (which, as I argue above, is not physical) has not been defeated, then the Law is still in effect, and has been, for some reason, for two millennia. That, to me, is untenable, especially since the observance of the Law was inextricably bound up with the now-destroyed Temple.

    Also telling is that in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul speaks of the Resurrection as already occurring. As Sam Frost likes to point out, Paul often uses the present tense (although some translations don’t show this) to refer to the Resurrection, especially in 1 Corinthians 15. The judgment of the living and the dead, not just the martyrs, was to occur at the Resurrection, and this judgment was something mellei (“about to”) happen by the word of Jesus, Peter, Paul, and John.

    I don’t think physical death is symptomatic of spiritual death. I think it has always been in the plan. It is death that allows us to pass into the ineffable glory of the afterlife. God never intended pre-Fall for the physical world to be a substitute for the spiritual, heavenly dwelling. The physical world was always intended as a first stage. That’s my understanding of the issue.

  • When I first spoke to Duncan, whilst still proud to be a partial preterist, I would have said the same thing was the weakness in his position. However, ever Preterist must allow two meanings of the word ‘death’. Therefore, the death that is the last enemy to be destroyed is physical death, which fits with a second resurrection after the Millennium.

    This also removes the strength from your response that if death has not been defeated then the law is still in effect. Death (non-physical death) was defeated at the return of Christ..

    I don’t quite see the point you’re making about Sam Frost’s view. Is this in response to my suggestion that those who belong to Christ are not resurrected until he comes (1 Cor.), whereas Rev. has them resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium? I still think that my position presents the best parallel of the two passages.

    Your final passage is, I think, one of the biggest problems with not having an end to physical death and/or evil. This is the kind of thing that scares non-preterists and presents an eternal dualism, as well as a down-playing of Creation as only a precursor to the real drama. Doesn’t this end up making us sound like Dispensationalists, with little regard for environmental issues and such like?

  • When I first spoke to Duncan, whilst still proud to be a partial preterist, I would have said the same thing was the weakness in his position. However, ever Preterist must allow two meanings of the word ‘death’. Therefore, the death that is the last enemy to be destroyed is physical death, which fits with a second resurrection after the Millennium.

    This also removes the strength from your response that if death has not been defeated then the law is still in effect. Death (non-physical death) was defeated at the return of Christ..

    I don’t quite see the point you’re making about Sam Frost’s view. Is this in response to my suggestion that those who belong to Christ are not resurrected until he comes (1 Cor.), whereas Rev. has them resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium? I still think that my position presents the best parallel of the two passages.

    Your final passage is, I think, one of the biggest problems with not having an end to physical death and/or evil. This is the kind of thing that scares non-preterists and presents an eternal dualism, as well as a down-playing of Creation as only a precursor to the real drama. Doesn’t this end up making us sound like Dispensationalists, with little regard for environmental issues and such like?

  • I do not see any such bifurcation of death. Was “the death” that was defeated the last enemy or not? I would not say that there are two meanings: either the cessation of biological function or separation from God is truly death, while the other stands as a metaphorical approximation. I think it’s clear that the Curse did not cause physical death: God did not say to Adam, “On the day you eat of it, you will surely spiritually die. And then, centuries later, your physical being will expire.”

    Sam Frost points out that the Greek of 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of the Resurrection as occurring then, well before AD 70. Yet how is this possible if the First Resurrection and the Millennium didn’t begin until AD 70?

    The eternal dualism you refer to is a fiction of the modern Western mind. The ancient Hebrews conceived of many stories of conception, fall, and redemption/restitution, all throughout the Old Testament, seen plainly in the stories of Joseph, Israel, Elijah, the nation of Judah etc. They expected each story to have an end, but nowhere can it be shown that the Hebrews ever expected an end of all physicality. The Old Covenant world was expected to fall and be replaced by a better Covenant, but never one that saw the end of the universe. But I’m puzzled by your statement about this sounding like we have “little regard for environmental issues” — it is precisely my view that says that this is our earth over which we were given dominion, and over which our dominion has been restored, the need to take care of the earth for our posterity. It is an eternal physical universe that needs to be tended and cared for as Adam did the Garden.

    Regardless, what it sounds like to Dispensationalists and non-preterists is irrelevant. Rejecting an argument solely on an appeal to consequence is fallacious. I would hope that people don’t hold on to other views simply because of an idealogical commitment to a belief in physical death being eventually removed, particularly since that belief is not really able to be substantiated by Scripture.

  • Steve

    I do not see any such bifurcation of death. Was “the death” that was defeated the last enemy or not? I would not say that there are two meanings: either the cessation of biological function or separation from God is truly death, while the other stands as a metaphorical approximation. I think it’s clear that the Curse did not cause physical death: God did not say to Adam, “On the day you eat of it, you will surely spiritually die. And then, centuries later, your physical being will expire.”

    Sam Frost points out that the Greek of 1 Corinthians 15 speaks of the Resurrection as occurring then, well before AD 70. Yet how is this possible if the First Resurrection and the Millennium didn’t begin until AD 70?

    The eternal dualism you refer to is a fiction of the modern Western mind. The ancient Hebrews conceived of many stories of conception, fall, and redemption/restitution, all throughout the Old Testament, seen plainly in the stories of Joseph, Israel, Elijah, the nation of Judah etc. They expected each story to have an end, but nowhere can it be shown that the Hebrews ever expected an end of all physicality. The Old Covenant world was expected to fall and be replaced by a better Covenant, but never one that saw the end of the universe. But I’m puzzled by your statement about this sounding like we have “little regard for environmental issues” — it is precisely my view that says that this is our earth over which we were given dominion, and over which our dominion has been restored, the need to take care of the earth for our posterity. It is an eternal physical universe that needs to be tended and cared for as Adam did the Garden.

    Regardless, what it sounds like to Dispensationalists and non-preterists is irrelevant. Rejecting an argument solely on an appeal to consequence is fallacious. I would hope that people don’t hold on to other views simply because of an idealogical commitment to a belief in physical death being eventually removed, particularly since that belief is not really able to be substantiated by Scripture.

  • Hi Steve,

    I thought my response to the last enemy to be destroyed was clear. The very last enemy to be destroyed, according to my current understanding is physical death. Spiritual death (for want of a better phrase) was destroyed at the second coming.

    This seems to me to be the best way to square 1 Cor. and Rev. 20.

    Doesn’t Sam Frost’s view backfire? If the resurrection was occuring before AD 70, then perhaps that which is said to happen when Christ returns is something different.

    The reason that I suggested that this could sound like you have little regard for environmental issues,is because it makes this world something we are ‘just passing through’, on our way to the real show. That’s the kind of thing that many of those who were brought up evangelical are finally *unlearning.*

  • Hi Steve,

    I thought my response to the last enemy to be destroyed was clear. The very last enemy to be destroyed, according to my current understanding is physical death. Spiritual death (for want of a better phrase) was destroyed at the second coming.

    This seems to me to be the best way to square 1 Cor. and Rev. 20.

    Doesn’t Sam Frost’s view backfire? If the resurrection was occuring before AD 70, then perhaps that which is said to happen when Christ returns is something different.

    The reason that I suggested that this could sound like you have little regard for environmental issues,is because it makes this world something we are ‘just passing through’, on our way to the real show. That’s the kind of thing that many of those who were brought up evangelical are finally *unlearning.*

  • Graham, bear with me just a little bit longer!

    Let me recount to you 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 one more time:

    I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    As you see, Death was swallowed up in victory once and for all with the passing of the Law. There is not mentioned a “very last enemy”. Either the Law, the “ministry of death” (2 Cor 3:7), has passed or it is still in effect.

    There was a difference between what was going on while Paul was writing and what was to occur at AD 70. The aspect of the Resurrection that was to occur in the future as described in 1 Cor 15 was the General Resurrection, which led into the judging of the living and the dead that Peter declared was “about to” occur (1 Pet 4:5). Like I often say, as to the precise nature of what was going on pre-AD 70, I readily admit that I’m not certain; but the timing is manifest. Paul asserts this discussion of the Resurrection as relevant to his original audience (vv. 57-58): literally, “He is giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Law was passing away at that time and Paul was describing its completion. 1 Corinthians 15 never looks beyond the events of AD 70.

    As for “just passing through”, I mourn with you that evangelicals have by and large lost our focus on the stewardship of the earth. The “real show” is definitely here, now, both spiritually and physically. We are going to be held accountable in the next life for how seriously we took God’s charge of dominion in Genesis 1:28.

  • Steve

    Graham, bear with me just a little bit longer!

    Let me recount to you 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 one more time:

    I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    As you see, Death was swallowed up in victory once and for all with the passing of the Law. There is not mentioned a “very last enemy”. Either the Law, the “ministry of death” (2 Cor 3:7), has passed or it is still in effect.

    There was a difference between what was going on while Paul was writing and what was to occur at AD 70. The aspect of the Resurrection that was to occur in the future as described in 1 Cor 15 was the General Resurrection, which led into the judging of the living and the dead that Peter declared was “about to” occur (1 Pet 4:5). Like I often say, as to the precise nature of what was going on pre-AD 70, I readily admit that I’m not certain; but the timing is manifest. Paul asserts this discussion of the Resurrection as relevant to his original audience (vv. 57-58): literally, “He is giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Law was passing away at that time and Paul was describing its completion. 1 Corinthians 15 never looks beyond the events of AD 70.

    As for “just passing through”, I mourn with you that evangelicals have by and large lost our focus on the stewardship of the earth. The “real show” is definitely here, now, both spiritually and physically. We are going to be held accountable in the next life for how seriously we took God’s charge of dominion in Genesis 1:28.

  • Here’s a great in-depth discussion of resurrection by Don Preston. Here’s an interesting outtake:

    John, in 5:24-25 speaks of the beginning of the harvest — the firstfruits, if you will — “the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” He then speaks of the rest of the harvest in verse 28-29 — “Marvel not at this for the hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear.” The movement is from some who hear unto life, to all those who hear and some to condemnation.

    Revelation 14 contains the identical motif. In verses 1-5 we find the 144,000 who are the firstfruits unto God. These are the redeemed. They follow the Lamb. They hear his voice. In verses 14-20 the focus is on the remainder of the harvest and on condemnation just as in John 5:28-29.

    The parallels between John 5 and Revelation 14 are too obvious to be ignored. The “coming hour” of John 5 is “the hour of his judgment” in Revelation 14. And since Revelation 14 is so emphatic as to the imminence of that impending judgment we must see that the critical “coming hour” of John 5:28- 29 was not an event millennia removed from Jesus’ day but was to occur in his generation.

    That Revelation, and specifically chapter 14, deals with the A.D. 70 judgment against the Old Covenant World of Israel is illustrated in several ways. In verse 20 it says the “winepress was trodden without the city” — this term “without the city” is almost a technical term to identify Jerusalem, see Hebrews 13:12-13. Further, the writer says the blood from the judgment flowed for 1600 furlongs — almost 200 miles. As many commentators have noted, this is the measurement for the land of Israel. This is then a coded expression to signify not only the horrible nature of the impending suffering but to express its focus as well. Are we to believe that the writer expressed the judgment in terms that would bring Israel to mind when he actually had Rome in view?

    In Revelation 14 we find, as in 1 John and the book of John, the impending critical hour. In both 1 John and Revelation we find emphatic time indicators saying the consummative hour was imminent.

  • Steve

    Here’s a great in-depth discussion of resurrection by Don Preston. Here’s an interesting outtake:

    John, in 5:24-25 speaks of the beginning of the harvest — the firstfruits, if you will — “the hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” He then speaks of the rest of the harvest in verse 28-29 — “Marvel not at this for the hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear.” The movement is from some who hear unto life, to all those who hear and some to condemnation.

    Revelation 14 contains the identical motif. In verses 1-5 we find the 144,000 who are the firstfruits unto God. These are the redeemed. They follow the Lamb. They hear his voice. In verses 14-20 the focus is on the remainder of the harvest and on condemnation just as in John 5:28-29.

    The parallels between John 5 and Revelation 14 are too obvious to be ignored. The “coming hour” of John 5 is “the hour of his judgment” in Revelation 14. And since Revelation 14 is so emphatic as to the imminence of that impending judgment we must see that the critical “coming hour” of John 5:28- 29 was not an event millennia removed from Jesus’ day but was to occur in his generation.

    That Revelation, and specifically chapter 14, deals with the A.D. 70 judgment against the Old Covenant World of Israel is illustrated in several ways. In verse 20 it says the “winepress was trodden without the city” — this term “without the city” is almost a technical term to identify Jerusalem, see Hebrews 13:12-13. Further, the writer says the blood from the judgment flowed for 1600 furlongs — almost 200 miles. As many commentators have noted, this is the measurement for the land of Israel. This is then a coded expression to signify not only the horrible nature of the impending suffering but to express its focus as well. Are we to believe that the writer expressed the judgment in terms that would bring Israel to mind when he actually had Rome in view?

    In Revelation 14 we find, as in 1 John and the book of John, the impending critical hour. In both 1 John and Revelation we find emphatic time indicators saying the consummative hour was imminent.

  • Thanks for your response, Steve.

    Here are where my thoughts lie at the moment… in a muddle!

    I won’t try to respond to your points here, other than to repeat that sometimes when ‘death’ is spoken of it is physical and sometimes it is spiritual – and to reiterate that my understanding of Rev. 20 seems to place it squarely in that time when ‘he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.’

    Interestingly, I was reading Don Preston’s article that you link to above when I noticed that you’d replied to my comment. Don’t you hate it when you feel like the truth is out to get you?! 😉

  • Thanks for your response, Steve.

    Here are where my thoughts lie at the moment… in a muddle!

    I won’t try to respond to your points here, other than to repeat that sometimes when ‘death’ is spoken of it is physical and sometimes it is spiritual – and to reiterate that my understanding of Rev. 20 seems to place it squarely in that time when ‘he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.’

    Interestingly, I was reading Don Preston’s article that you link to above when I noticed that you’d replied to my comment. Don’t you hate it when you feel like the truth is out to get you?! 😉

  • Believe me, I know what you mean. 😀 I appreciate your interaction on these issues.

    As far as Preston’s article, it has challenged me, as well. I tend to sharply bifurcate the First Resurrection and the General Resurrection, whereas Preston makes a cogent argument that they are separated in time and target, but not in nature.

    I’ll never be done learning! My “undeception” will never be complete. But that’s ok.

  • Steve

    Believe me, I know what you mean. 😀 I appreciate your interaction on these issues.

    As far as Preston’s article, it has challenged me, as well. I tend to sharply bifurcate the First Resurrection and the General Resurrection, whereas Preston makes a cogent argument that they are separated in time and target, but not in nature.

    I’ll never be done learning! My “undeception” will never be complete. But that’s ok.

  • Thanks, Steve.

    Can you expand on how you bifurcate the first and general resurrection?

  • Thanks, Steve.

    Can you expand on how you bifurcate the first and general resurrection?

  • Steve

    I don’t really bifurcate them in a systematic way; what I mean is more that I failed to see the postmillennial resurrection as the continuation and completion of the firstfruits harvest that was the First Resurrection. I have even in my mind allowed that the “General Resurrection” may have had a slightly different nature than the first, although what the actual distinction was, I couldn’t tell you, because I couldn’t really validate it in Scripture. Perhaps it’s some of that old futurism lying around…

  • I don’t really bifurcate them in a systematic way; what I mean is more that I failed to see the postmillennial resurrection as the continuation and completion of the firstfruits harvest that was the First Resurrection. I have even in my mind allowed that the “General Resurrection” may have had a slightly different nature than the first, although what the actual distinction was, I couldn’t tell you, because I couldn’t really validate it in Scripture. Perhaps it’s some of that old futurism lying around…

  • Mariajozaf

    Yes, I’ve no read those other posts, Steve.

    I must say that it’s nice to read a preterist blog that has a brain behind it! One of the reasons that I stopped looking at eschatology for close to a decade was the perpetual presence of fruit-cakes! (Well, that and the constant bickering over exegetical minutiae.)

    Phoenix DUI Attorney

  • Hip Hop Songs

    I think you are making too much of the distinction in Christ and the Father being the judge.