O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
If you went ahead and read through that entire post of "Every eye shall see him...how scripture defines every eye", you might have caught that I do indeed see "something significant" happening at the end of that 7,000th year. As you have said, the number eight is a "holy day, set apart by itself". I would say the same thing about the end of the 7th millennium of human history and the beginning of the EIGHTH. I see the third bodily resurrection happening at the end of that 7th millennium, during what used to be the scheduled time for the Feast of Tabernacles, and probably at a year which would have been a Jubilee year, (if we were still counting Jubilee periods). Under OT law, this was when every man "returned to his possession". This I see as a wonderful picture of every saint who has lived and died under the New Covenant Age since the second bodily resurrection in AD 70 finally "returning to their possession" of a glorified, incorruptible, human body form.
Does this present a conflict with the Full Preterist position? Yes, it does. It presents the same problem that Revelation 10:4 gives to the Full Preterist position: i.e., that those SEVEN thunders (symbolic of the total of 7,000 years of human history, I believe), uttered something that John was told to SEAL UP. If we are consistent with the concept of SEALING UP something as putting a hold on a prophecy until a determined point of time in the future, (as all Daniel's prophecies were SEALED UP until they were later UNSEALED, or fulfilled in the AD 70 era), then this means that John's SEVEN thunders spoke about something in that SEALED prophecy that would be fulfilled AFTER AD 70's generation. That would also include things relevant to you and me and our future presently, Doug.
Revelation 10:4 is the single self-exception for total fulfillment that Revelation gives to us. If God had wanted us to know everything uttered by those 7 thunders, He would have left them unsealed. As it is, He has given us so much of His revealed word to chew on, combined with the internal presence of His Spirit, that we have no room to complain of the level of knowledge that has been granted to us in this NHNE Age of living totally under the New Covenant conditions.
I am convinced without a single doubt of the year for the end of the 4th millennium (the one that Rev. 20 speaks of). It was the day Christ resurrected and ascended in AD 33 - the "First Resurrection" (Rev. 20:5) of Himself, the "Firstfruits" (I Cor. 15:20, 23), and also those Matthew 27:52-53 resurrected saints, who are also called the 144,000 "Firstfruits" (Rev. 14:4), since they shared the same resurrection event with Christ.
If the pattern of "7 & 7" that you and I identify happens to be true, (and I am positive that it is by every other symbol in scripture that I see), then if we know the exact year when Christ arose and ascended (AD 33), we can know the year He will return (AD 3033). I am risking being lumped into the whole "Camping" crowd by positing an actual year for this, I'm well aware. But Christ's actual statement was "no man knoweth the day nor the hour" (PRESENT TENSE at the time He spoke back then). This does not automatically dictate that no man would ever know, or should ever even attempt to know the day or the hour. If you would like to consider this a "slippery slope", Doug, then I've already come to the bottom of that slope, and am perfectly content that the slide was directing me to the right place to land all along.
And since I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, as they say, I also see the transition to the next, 7th millennium being a cause for a great deal of change globally. Using the "7 & 7" pattern, (with Christ's resurrection in AD 33 giving us the exact year when each of the millennia change over to the next one), that means the end of our current 6th millennium will arrive in AD 2033. Fifteen years from now. Politics, finances, climate (not global warming, but a mini-ice age), and morals all seem to be heading for a perfect storm in our near future. I am not an expert on any one of these themes, by any means, but you would have to be a blind and deaf person not to sense that all these things collectively seem to be on the brink of...something.
That "something" I believe to be what I would call the "Sabbath millennium" coming in 2033, when the world is jerked back to a more basic level of existence, and our crazy pursuit of material wealth and sensual pleasure is stomped on by God. I'm not talking Armageddon, since that is obviously already fulfilled in the AD 70 era. I am talking about God taking His children apart into the "wilderness", where He can sweep aside the distractions of an over-busy life and bring them to His feet for more intimate fellowship and total dependence upon Him for their daily manna and water - the basics of life. This is an environment where the Holy Spirit's work can flourish at its highest level. By these means, the gospel can continue to spread like leaven in the world through saints that have been refined by hardship, persecution, or whatever it may take to revive God's people.
Just look at any Sabbath period described in scripture, (the seventh day, the seventh year, 70 years of exile, or a 7 x 7 year period of a Jubilee year), and try to picture that kind of environment being recreated during a 7th millennium that is soon to come upon us. I am not predicting doom and gloom. I am picturing conditions that can bring about a revival on this earth, to accomplish God's purpose of the leaven growing, the mountain of Daniel's image increasing in size until it fills the earth, and the mustard seed growing into the greatest of herbs. These are optimistic outlooks - every one of them - and fill me with hope for this earth's prospects.
Patricia, I sent my contact very basic information regarding preterism without getting into too much detail, but I have received no reply. It doesn't look like I will ever receive a reply since she usually replies immediately when I send her a message LOL. Some dispensationalists have a hard time picturing in their minds something different than the literalistic views they've been taught since childhood. It took me 2 years of reading before I finally made my break from dispensationalism in 2006.
It seems the hardest thing for many dispensationalists to imagine is that a resurrection has already occurred because they are so convinced that a resurrection can only happen at the "end"...that the whole globe will witness these events on TV etc. Also the idea that Christ's reign is here on earth for a literal 1000 years is extremely hard for them to give up.
You have done your homework for sure. I would love to believe that there is hope for this physical material earth. As I look around and see the intractable problems that the earth cannot physically handle (pollution of air, water, etc.), I can't imagine our ecosystems being able to handle it without divine help.
Of course, that divine help can (and I believe does) come every day the sun shines and the moon continues to light the night. I believe that help is invisible to the scientists, but that there are innumerable natural systems that fight against man's pollution.
In any case, bear with me as I lay out a few reasons why a "physical" millennial rest as you propose does not comply with the full preterist position. Perhaps you can attempt to reconcile these issues, since you are so well versed in scripture. If you can, then I am happy to add these ideas to my thinking also. I just haven't considered deeply a view that will continue physical history indefinitely past 70ad.
Problem #1: The rest discussed in Hebrews 4 is fulfilled in the rest we have in Christ. It was symbolically pictured by the physical rest Israel was commanded in the sabbath. Therefore, ADDING a millennial rest at the end of the 6,000th year of human history would add to the completed work of Christ, and somewhat nullify the complete spiritual rest we have in Christ. After all, why is there need for a physical rest for the earth if in Christ we already have our rest and it was fulfilled by the events culminating in 70?
Problem #2: There is no proof that there were 4,000 years before Christ. That is an assumption based on Bishop Ussher's chronology. His mathematical formula was based on a literal reading of the chronologies of Genesis. As a preterist, I believe those chronologies are symbolic, not literal and physical. I don't know if you do, but even so, one can do a lot with numbers that can make them say whatever you want them to say. If you don't have the correct starting point, you will have a faulty ending point. Archeologists can easily find 10,000 years or more of "modern" human history. So, assuming 4,000 years before Christ is a tenuous assumption that can easily be debated.
Problem #3: Does scripture affirm that there is a compelling reason to do something about the physical creation? It may. For example, "...except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]" I think God wills that mankind, in the flesh, should continue on the earth. As long as man continues to multiply, there are potential sons of God coming into the kingdom. Is it God's will that the earth be "saved" physically? Is the Noahic covenant that God made that He would not destroy man a statement God made that He wants to continue men on the earth always?
Just some things to think about!
There is no reply button directly below your message, so I hope this posts following your comment. Yes, those two issues of the bodily resurrection and the literal 1,000 year millennium are the two huge hurdles that typically arise to keep people from accepting the Preterist viewpoint. That is why my particular view of Preterism which INCLUDES AND ACCEPTS BOTH of these points leaves the typical Futurist with no argument on their side. I am straddling the fence between ALL the positions. Naturally, this tends to get me no acceptance from anyone!
My morning schedule is tight, so I can't spell out everything in one single comment, but here are a few links where I lay out the scriptural pattern for three bodily resurrection events in history, as an antitype fulfillment of the three main harvest feast celebrations in OT Israel (the First at Passover AD 33, the second at Pentecost AD 70, and the third in our future at the time for the Feast of Tabernacles AD 3033), and a literal 1,000 year millennium of the saints on earth joining in Christ's reign over a bound, restricted Satan from 968 / 967 BC - AD 33. This was exactly a literal thousand years of physical temple worship, a type which gave way at Christ's resurrection to the antitype of a new temple made of "living stones". It lasted from Solomon's temple foundation stone being laid until Christ's foundation stone of Himself was laid down as the "chief cornerstone".
I post in the following links under my own name of Patricia Watkins, or the username of "Three Resurrections"
http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/end-times-forum/what-... reply #26 and following
I have also covered my views about the 3 resurrections on this deathisdeafeated site several years ago in the post simply titled "Resurrection" that "Internet Troll" started. I believe my first comment started about page 26 of that very long thread.
And I wouldn't get discouraged at not hearing from your contact immediately, Steve. It is, after all, an almost total 180 degree turn from the dispensational training we were saturated in from our youth. Takes a while to chew on these things. And Preterism is NOT a belief system that renders everything into something metaphoric that completely ignores literal events and people. I have been amazed during my biblical studies at the overwhelming number of links between Revelation and Daniel's prophecies that were actual historical events and people that can be researched and verified.
For example, I am currently looking into the Tertullian record of the disciple John being boiled in oil by order of the proconsul of Ephesus. This I believe actually happened after the Ephesian riot of Acts 19 in AD 59 just before John went to Patmos. I believe this was so astounding an event that Demetrius the silversmith of Ephesus probably witnessed John surviving this and became the believing Demetrius that III John verse 12 gives a good witness for later on around AD 65. (And I believe from my research that John the beloved disciple - not the apostle John, son of Zebedee - was actually John Eleazar - the resurrected, beloved disciple Lazarus. If you are a bodily-resurrected individual with an incorruptible body, you can't die again by any method, including an attempt to boil you in oil.)
Patricia, I am familiar with the concept of bodily resurrection. The church I grew up in taught bodily resurrections although they were ultra-dispensational. They espoused the writings of E.W. Bullinger. Since becoming a preterist, I noticed that most preterists tend to see the physical body being discarded upon a resurrection. In other words, the physical body would remain in the grave while the new spiritual body is taken up to be with the Lord. I'm very open to the concept you are talking about. I actually find this topic quite fascinating. By the way, how is the sewing going?
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you - was working on a deadline for a set of custom bedding for a customer's mountainside "castle" . So, to answer your question, the 28-year custom-drapery sewing business continues to plod forward, although my heart hasn't been in it ever since Preterism entered my world 6 years ago. I actually hate sewing now by comparison, and I used to love creating things for the designers. I would much rather be writing and discussing scripture topics online with people such as yourself.
Topics such as the resurrection, for example. It is indeed, as you say, a "fascinating" subject that has held my attention for these six years I've believed in Preterist views. I am a firm believer that Christ puts value on the physical body forms of ours that He brought into existence and continues to uphold as long as He has determined for each of us to live before our "death appointment" arrives.
The death of our physical bodies is "precious in the sight of the Lord" (Ps. 116:15), partly because it is the sad, inevitable repercussion of sin's effects on our otherwise innocent fleshly forms that He paid His life's blood for. Our bodies are HIS property - not ours (I Cor. 6:19-20). He WILL reclaim and change His purchased property into an incorruptible form, even when it takes every bit of those 7 thousand years for every one of His saints to eventually be "made again" (as Job 14:4 LXX phrases it) in His likeness of resurrected flesh and bone.
James 5:7-8 hints at the prospect of God harvesting the bodies of His saints during two more resurrections after the "First Resurrection" of Christ and the other Matthew 27:52-53 "Firstfruits" saints during Passover week. "Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth" (the resurrection of the saints' bodies out of the grave), "and hath long patience for it, until He receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh (has drawn near)."
Just as the Jewish farmer anticipated both (#1) a barley harvest and (#2) a wheat harvest in the spring (from Passover to Pentecost after the "latter rain"), as well as an even greater (#3) harvest of ingathering in the fall (just before the "former" or "early rain"), in the same manner God the husbandman (John 15:1) was said to wait patiently until all three resurrections harvested the precious bodies of His dead saints - and at those exact harvest feast times based on the "early" and "latter" rain periods. What God has already performed twice in the past, He will do so again at a third resurrection in our future. This is the ONLY interpretation of the resurrections that acknowledges the truth of an AD 70 resurrection predicted for that first-century generation, and also the future hope of a similar bodily resurrection for us.
Hey, this interpretation even includes a "rapture" in AD 70 that took the two resurrected groups to heaven with Christ (both the Matthew 27:52-53 "Firstfruits" saints from the "First Resurrection", along with those newly raised out of the ground in AD 70.) NO translation-type change of the living saints happened, though. That's a made-up concept not even included in the "rapture" texts. I've done a study elsewhere on the I Thess 4 and I Cor 15 "rapture" verses from a Preterist view, if you're interested in a link, Steve. The only ones "changed" in those verses were the bodily remains of the dead saints into incorruptible forms.
Don Preston has been running many studies on the resurrection on Youtube. It's a series.
Do you agree with him about this topic?
If not, why not.
The scriptures you gave are interesting. I have always wondered about Mt. 27:52-53.
There are about a dozen unanswered questions when I think about this event. For example, were these saints in hades, waiting for this resurrection? If in hades, were they conscious? Perhaps they were in heaven and were sent on a mission to come and witness about Jesus. If they appeared to many, did they spend just a little time on earth, then go to be with Christ, or did they live a long time on earth. Were they just "physically resurrected" and then died again? What about Lazarus? For that matter, what about those resurrected in the old testament?
The questions are numerous, the answers are few.
I have studied these Matthew 27:52-53 saints for several years now, and have posted about them at length on a couple of websites. They are one of my most favorite subjects. Dr. Gentry didn't think much of my idea regarding them - he moderates people's comments carefully, and tends not to post those that he thinks disagree with his views. But I have links to several other places where I made comments that I can give you which might interest you.
Try this rather lengthy one: http://kloposmasm.com/2015/03/04/comparing-matthew-24-and-i-thessal...
Or this one at reply #15, which is more concise: http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/seventh-day-adventist...(sda)/who-are-the-144000/
Or if that one doesn't work, try this one at reply #31: http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/theology/144-000/
And finally this one where I commented about the Matthew 27:52-53 saints being in the besieged city of Jerusalem at the last; described as "the camp of the saints" who could not be hurt by the Second Death / aka Lake of Fire in Jerusalem in the AD 66-70 era: https://adammaarschalk.com/2017/01/24/did-all-of-the-judean-christi...
#1) "...were these saints in hades, waiting for this resurrection?" Yes, they were. They were brought out of the grave along with Christ - that "multitude of captives" in Ephesians 4:8 - the "gifts" which Christ gave to men that were composed of OT "apostles" (meaning "sent ones" not the 12 apostles group), "and some prophets; and some evangelists, and some pastors, and teachers."
#2) "If in hades, were they conscious?" Yes, because the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not the God of the dead, but of the living, even as Christ spoke those words to the Sadducees in Luke 20:37-38. The Matthew 27:52-53 saints that Christ would raise along with Himself were most certainly conscious in the realm of the spirits in Paradise, where Jesus' spirit went during those three days and three nights He was in the grave.
#3) "Perhaps they were in heaven and were sent on a mission to come and witness about Jesus. No, it was not possible that they were in heaven. Christ told Nicodemus that no man had yet ascended into heaven as of the time he was talking to him in John 3:13. Later in Revelation, we are told again that "no man was able to enter into the temple (in heaven) till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled." This means that no resurrected human was able to enter heaven until the bodily resurrection of AD 70 when the last, seventh plague was over and done. But these Matthew 27:52-53 saints WERE given a task to provide a testimony of Jesus to the world prior to AD 70's resurrection.
#4) "If they appeared to many, did they spend just a little time on earth, then go to be with Christ, or did they live a long time on earth?" They appeared to many in the city of Jerusalem, and continued to minister among the early church. This is how the Hymenaeus and Philetus heresy grew up. Those two probably either heard about or directly witnessed some of these risen saints, and were presuming that this was the only bodily resurrection that would ever occur. Therefore, they started teaching that the resurrection was "past" already (II Tim. 2:18). There were 144,000 of these "Firstfruits" saints raised along with Christ (according to Rev. 14:4) - an impressive number that could hardly have been ignored or overlooked. Paul said that the church still had these "Firstfruits" among their number in the days when he wrote Romans 8:23. They stayed on earth, some of them even within the city of Jerusalem itself as the "camp of the saints" (Rev. 20:9) until the very end when they were "raptured" out of the city when Christ set foot on the Mount of Olives at His bodily return on the day of Pentecost in AD 70 (according to Zechariah 14:4-5).
#5) "Were they just 'physically resurrected' and then died again?" Yes, they were physically resurrected, but for an incorruptible resurrected saint, raised by the Spirit of God, it is impossible to die again. You might as well say that the Holy Spirit can die. And you might as well say that Christ can die again too, since we are "fellow-heirs" with Him, having the same type of resurrected body destined for us.
#6) "What about Lazarus?" I love this question. No, Lazarus never died again. The Pharisees were formulating plans to kill him, but that doesn't mean it was a possibility. Like Brother Les on this forum and Pastor David Curtis of the Berean Bible Church, I have come to realize that John who wrote Revelation and the book of John, (and the epistles, too) was none other than John Eleazar - Lazarus. Tertullian's story about John surviving the boiling in oil was not so miraculous a story after all. You CAN'T KILL a resurrected person. Which is why Jesus gave the charge of His mother to this beloved disciple Lazarus (John Eleazar). What better way to provide for His aging mother than to put her in the care of a man He had resurrected, and who could never die, get sick, or sin ever again? Try this link where I discussed the indestructible Lazarus at length: http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/devotionals/lazarus-s...
#7) "For that matter, what about those resurrected in the old testament?" The number of those amounted to about 3 individuals, I believe, besides the ones the disciples and Christ raised from the dead during the 3 1/2-years ministry of Christ. The entire collective group of resurrected individual saints were "raptured" from this world at the same time and the same way the Matthew 27:52-53 saints left it - through the portal of the eastern gate of Jerusalem to meet Christ in the air as He left the Mount of Olives on Pentecost Day in AD 70. This was when He "received them unto Himself, that where He was, there they could be also" (a slight paraphrase).
I have mentioned before on this site the overwhelming emphasis in scripture on the direction of the EAST as a sort of "sacred" direction. The post-exilic Jews were to actually worship at this EASTERN GATE of the temple built by Zerubbabel in the Sabbaths and the new moons (Ezekiel 46:3). It was the gate for the PRINCE, which was to be kept closed except for the Sabbath, and the day of the new moon. Which tells me that this was intended to be a picture-type of the location and also the timing when Christ would be returning to receive the saints unto Himself.
It all matches with the Zechariah 14 location predicted for Christ's bodily return, as well as the "Lazarus and the rich man" parable, with the Kidron Valley in front of the Mount of Olives being "the great gulf fixed" between the besieged, tormented citizens of Jerusalem with its Lake of Fire and the returning Christ, joined by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets and saints coming from the 4 points of the compass (Luke 13:28-29).
You asked if I agree with Don Preston's views on his You tube Resurrection videos. I have listened to quite a few of Don Preston's "Mornings Musings" on various topics, but since I am aware he does not hold to a bodily resurrection, (which I am convinced is taught by all of scripture), I have not devoted much time to his you tube videos that have that particular theme. I remember thoroughly enjoying his Zechariah series, though, with his emphasis on the intact prophecy devoted to everything that happened "in that day". I took his material, and used it in my studies to go farther than the points he covered (which he would probably not agree with).
In other words, Zechariah, as I have said above, taught a physical return of Christ to a physical location, with actual resulting physical evidence of landslide rubble layers lying on the slopes of the Mount of Olives from two earthquakes: one from King Uzziah's day, and one from AD 70 when Christ stood on the Mount of Olives. Archaeological digs confirm the dates of these quakes, and the LXX account of Zechariah 14:4-5 confirms that rubble from the Mount of Olives' landslide when Christ returned on it was going to fill up the valley as far as Azal. It did, and it's still there, and has been photographed.
I love questions, Doug. Got any more? I could sit on this computer all day if only my work schedule would allow it.
Hi again Doug,
This is in response to your earlier Friday comment above. Your observations about the polluted ecosystems jogged my memory toward something I had recently heard about - a massive floating patch of plastic called the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" that is twice the size of Texas. It's the largest of five similar growing collections of plastic refuse that are plaguing the international waters. God has given this planet a marvelous degree of resilience, but it's possible humanity can strain the limits of that resilience with our carelessness.
I don't believe, however, that it is within man's power to ruin God's plans for this planet. I read too many verses that indicate God's intentions for the globe to continue forever, even after a final resurrection event in our future. Verses such as Isaiah 45:18: "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, HE FORMED IT TO BE INHABITED..." Combine this with Psalms 104:5: "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that IT SHOULD NOT BE REMOVED FOREVER." These texts and others like them show me that God intends to keep our planet in existence with resurrected saints present in dominion over it. This is contrary, as you know, to the usual misinterpretation of II Peter 3:10-12, which most believe is predicting a total annihilation of the planet by fire at Christ's return.
The ideal situation for the planet is one with nothing but incorruptible, bodily-resurrected saints present, with all the unbelieving wicked utterly destroyed out of it. As Psalms 104:35 puts it, "Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked BE NO MORE..." This involves a final annihilation of the wicked after judgment - NOT eternal torment destined for them.
Regarding the list of problems that you see connected with a "millennial rest" for the globe during a future 7th millennium: this idea does not nullify the picture of our rest in Christ. It's a reflection of it; a looking BACK with a memorial of it, just as the saints BEFORE Christ's finished work of crucifixion and resurrection looked FORWARD to that event happening. Christ's work is at the pivotal CENTER of all history - like the hub of a wheel. The middle, 4th millennium (the Rev. 20 one) in the center of human history, (similar to the 4th day of creation week), is what introduced "great light" by the knowledge of God granted to the world by the prophets' ministries.
Ultimately, the focus of the prophets' ministry was fulfilled in Christ, the Great Prophet, who provided peace between God and man at His ascension on His resurrection day in AD 33. We believers of this NC age have entered into that rest by looking BACKWARD on that finished work. The saints such as Abraham looked FORWARD with rejoicing, who was glad to see Christ's Resurrection Day with His exaltation coming in his future (John 8:56 cp. Psalms 118:22-24). By grace, we are saved even as they were in the OT, regardless of which side of the cross our perspective comes from (Acts 15:11).
The problem you are stating, Doug, is an issue that arises if you look at human history as simply a linear progression of time. God's revealed Word has patterns of recapitulation; a repetition of type and anti-type. For instance, I believe there was great significance in the reconstruction of the post-exilic temple under Zerubbabel's hands. God said in Haggai 2:23 that this man Zerubbabel was going to be a SIGN. Both genealogies of Mary and Joseph met in this one man. As the direct ancestor of Christ from both mother and stepfather's side, Zerubbabel laid the foundation stone of the post-exilic temple that curiously was described as having "seven eyes" in it (Zech. 3:9, 4:9-10) similar to the seven eyes in the Lamb of Rev. 5:6. In other words, Zerubbabel is a type of Christ, laying the foundation stone of the temple and also finishing it. A forecast of Christ's actions. A sign.
The revival taking place during the beginning of this post-exilic time was prophesied to occur "IN THE MIDST OF THE YEARS", as Habakkuk 3:2 predicted would happen, and which revival Ezra 9:9 says was being fulfilled in his days (in 467 BC - the dead center of the Rev. 20 millennium years of 968 / 967 BC - AD 33). Is it a stretch to call this 467 BC date the dead center of all 7,000 years of human history as well? I don't think so.
At any rate, back to your "Problem #1"...for the ongoing benefit of both men and the actual soil they cultivated, God programmed natural cycles of rest and renewal - just in the basic physical sense. Soil needs to lie fallow for a time to allow the nitrogen-enriched rain to recharge the organic health of the dirt. To artificially stimulate this process tends to create more problems than it solves. Just so when man's physical health is strained by continual productive labor with no rest cycles.
Because the OT Israelites ignored this very simple pattern of periodic rest for themselves and the soil (the 7th-year Sabbath rest for the land), God forced a 70-YEAR Sabbath rest for the land when the Jews were exiled from their homeland while "the land enjoyed its Sabbaths" (II Chron. 36:21). On this side of the cross in the NHNE Age, with the super-abundant blessings God has granted to us, humanity has abused His gifts of fertility, the revelation of God Himself in Christ, and the blessings of communication and technology which have been perverted into pornography, abortion, creative ways to kill one another, gluttony, and the worship of self-image, etc. Humanity needs a reality check, and we are ripe for correction. The tendency for mankind is that we have to be "MADE to lie down in green pastures" so that God can restore our soul. With a 7th "Sabbath millennium" of imposed rest on this planet at large, I believe God has designed a 1,000-year program which will bring about the rest in Him that humanity needs most desperately for the spread of the gospel, as He intended.
For their sins, the Israelites required 70 years of imposed "rest" in their exile. Because we have been granted so much more illumination and blessings in this NC Age than they were in the past, our correction will be of proportionately longer duration - i.e., a 7th millennium of rest before Christ's final return to a quieted planet.
For your "Problem #2", Doug, I don't make the mistake of thinking that a literal interpretation of Genesis' chronologies cannot also include symbolism. One does not preclude the other. In other words, I pretty much accept Ussher's dates, with a few exceptions. You are quite right that numbers can say anything, especially if one doesn't have the correct starting point, as you say. That's why I am pinning ALL my calculations by the "FIRST Resurrection" of Christ and the Matthew 27:52-53 "Firstfruits". This is the "hub of the wheel" that all other prophecies circle around. After all, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10).
If one fails to recognize Christ's AD 33 "FIRST Resurrection" as the central focal point that all history's dates can be based upon, then our calculations for dates can end up askew. Daniel's 70-week prophecy points directly to this AD 33 date of Christ's death and resurrection "in the midst of the week" of that last, 70th week. Why shouldn't a resurrected Christ have the pre-eminence when it comes to determining history's dates? "...By Him all things consist." (Col. 1:17).
I am not troubled by archaeologists' dating earth's components as being 10,00 years or older. There is room in Genesis 1:1 for an empty, formless mass of water-covered global material to have existed for some time prior to the literal 7-days (24-hour/each) of creation week. As far as human history on this planet is concerned though, I believe scripture's chronological accounts of literal years can be trusted to mean exactly 4,000 years before Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. Of course, people can and will debate this, but for myself, this concept aligns seamlessly with a Preterist paradigm of fallen mankind's history lasting for 7,000 years until the third bodily resurrection.
For your "Problem #3", it isn't necessary for procreation to still be going on by the usual human multiplication factor in order to have mankind continue to inhabit this earth in the flesh. I believe the entire universe will be the resurrected saints' "playground", if you will, after the final resurrection, with resurrected saints enjoying and having dominion over the globe - since God "created it to be inhabited". I have never had the means to travel this earth in my life so far, but in my final resurrected state of an incorruptible body of flesh and bone animated by the Spirit, I fully expect to explore every beautiful nook and cranny of a world inhabited by nothing but immortally-righteous saints. The gorgeous screensaver photos on my desktop computer will pale by comparison.
You asked the question, Doug, "Is it God's will that the earth be 'saved' physically?" There are others who twist Romans 8:21-23 to make it say that "creation" is going to "groan and travail in pain" (tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, etc.) until a curse on the globe is removed. However, that is a misapplication of the word "ktisis" (creature). "Every creature" in Romans 8:22 is referring to all the saints, dead or alive, waiting to be delivered from the bondage of a corruptible body form which will turn into a "redeemed" body in the resurrection; "glorified" to resemble Christ's post-resurrection form. We are "joint-heirs" with Christ (Rom. 8:17), which entails a flesh-and-bone body with all the capabilities of movement and the qualities that the flesh-and-bone resurrected body of Christ possessed - and still retains today. I made a few comments about the nature of our resurrected bodies at reply # 97 in this link: http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums/theology/why-did-jesu...
So no, I don't believe the incorporeal components that make up this planet need to be "saved" physically. If there was a curse of sorts on this earth at the Fall, it was removed by God after the Flood in Genesis 8:21: "...and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake..." The rainbow sign of God's continual covenant to preserve the earth remains in place through Revelation's image of a rainbow of God's covenant around His throne (Rev. 4:3, Rev.10:1). This tells me that even in the tumultuous transition leading to a NHNE existence, God's covenant promise to preserve the globe remains unchanged and intact.
I was very skeptical of your viewpoint that the Matthew 27:52-53 saints remained on earth during the 40 years leading up to the 70AD resurrection. However, after comparing Romans 8:23, Revelation 14:4, and 1 Corinthians 15:23, I can't just ignore this concept. I need to investigate.
It's been such a long time, but I vaguely remember the non-denominational church my parents were members of during my youth claimed that Matthew 27:52-53 were not in the earliest manuscripts, that those verses were "added" at a later time. They had very strict doctrinal views so that any deviation from those views by members could get that member labeled as "possessed"LOL. So I wonder if they claimed that those verses were added mainly because those verses refute a particular doctrinal viewpoint they espoused. Also, they claimed that the first-fruits in 1 Corinthians 15 was strictly referring to Jesus, not anyone else. They based that on verse 20: But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Btw, do you have a link to a decent website with early manuscripts?
Your parents' church sounds similar to one my husband and I were members of for about 16 years when we were younger - although ours was MUCH more controlling - it amounted to spiritual abuse, quite frankly. When we both left because we would not agree with allowing the philandering pastor to take the pulpit again, we were "delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh" in the dismissal letters we received. Took many years to recover from the experience, and we still have some lingering effects from it to this day.
But that is beside your point. You were discussing the study of the manuscripts that may or may not have included the account of the Matthew 27 resurrected saints. I regret to say I don't have a link to a sound website with the early manuscripts, over and above what you may have access to. I'll check with my husband, though. He may be aware of a reliable one that I can pass on to you.
If it were only this one Matthew 27:52-53 text that told of these saints' experiences, there might be room for doubt as to the veracity of the account; particularly, as you say, since there may have been textual critics who assert that Matthew 27:52-53 was added after the original draft. But there are so many texts referring to these saints and their intended purpose and activity (although not by name), that it cannot be considered a stand-alone account. Even the Old Testament gives us the picture-type of these saints, who would be raised as "a multitude of captives" along with Christ (Eph. 4:8).
It is God's usual practice for there to be at least two or three witnesses to establish a given truth in scripture. And so it is with the Matthew 27:52-53 saints. Look at Leviticus 23:9-14, for example. It describes the ritual of the "Firstfruits" of the barley harvest that was given in the temple as a "wave offering". A mere "handful" or "sheaf" of firstfruits barley grain was given, with the anticipation of the even greater wheat harvest to be celebrated 50 days later with the Pentecost offering (Lev. 23:16).
Along with this sheaf "handful" of barley "Firstfruits" offered, a SINGLE MALE LAMB without blemish was offered, with fine flour mingled with oil, and a drink offering of wine (perhaps a symbol pointing to the Last Supper rite of the Lord's Supper being instituted as a sign of the New Covenant). At any rate, the "handful" of "Firstfruits" represented the later Matthew 27:52-53 "gifts" raised from the dead in AD 33, and given by Christ to men. The single he-lamb without blemish represented Christ Himself, who "offered Himself without spot to God" in heaven on His resurrection day (Heb. 9:14).
Steve, you mentioned that there is some debate whether Christ ALONE should have the title of the "Firstfruit", since He is called the "First-begotten from the dead" (Rev. 1:5). The point is debated that the Matthew 27 saints could not also have this title of "Firstfruit" because the title belonged to Christ ONLY. However, there is a difference between Christ being the "First-begotten" and the Matthew 27:52-53 saints sharing the title with Him of being part of the "Firstfruit". The different status of the "First-begotten from the dead" is made by God in Psalms 2:7-8 (cp. Acts 13:33-34). Prophetically speaking of Christ's resurrection day, the Psalmist David said "The Lord has said unto me, 'Thou art my Son; THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession..."
These verses show us that the state of being the "First-begotten from the dead" by the Father had to include Jesus STANDING BEFORE GOD'S FACE in a glorified, incorruptible RESURRECTED HUMAN BODY IN HEAVEN. Christ was absolutely the FIRST one to do this. Not even Enoch had accomplished this yet. By His actions as the First-born, Christ was the one who "opened the matrix" for all His siblings to follow in a type of resurrection body identical to His. Our salvation "package deal" is not complete until we can do the same thing Jesus did on the day of His resurrection - standing in heaven before God's face in the same shared inheritance of a glorified, incorruptible human body, soul, and spirit.
Therefore, although the Matthew 27 saints each received this same type of glorified body when they were raised with Christ, yet they were not yet escorted to heaven to see God's face until they joined the rest of the newly-resurrected saints in AD 70 by being "caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." The Matthew 27 saints were the ones Paul was talking about in I Thess. 4:15-17 who had been made "alive, and REMAINED" (or were reserved) on the earth for that "little season" between their AD 33 resurrection and the AD 70 "rapture" of all the resurrected saints.
This is why the Rev. 14:4 group of 144,000 "Firstfruits" saints were "SEALED" in their foreheads. This was a sign that their eventual transport to heaven was an assured event, though it would be delayed for those few years until AD 70 while they served the early church. This is why those souls under the altar in Rev. 6:1 were told to "REST yet for a little season", just long enough until their fellow-servants and their brethren would be persecuted and martyred (by Nero, for example). But in the meantime, while they "RESTED" or "REMAINED" on the earth, they were each given their own personal "white robe", which is a symbol of the righteousness of a glorified, bodily-resurrected saint.
Do you see what I mean, Steve, about there being many scripture references to the Matthew 27 saints, even though they aren't specifically named as such? And there are quite a few more texts that can only make sense if they are also speaking of the Matthew 27 resurrected saints.
In addition to scripture references, there is one ancient source which referred to the resurrected saints (those individuals raised by Christ and His disciples - which probably intended to include the Matthew 27 saints as well). If you have a copy of Eusebius' Church History, check out the single mention he made of the now-extinct manuscript written by Quadratus (the earliest known Christian apologist). Quadratus wrote a defense of the believers and of the Christian faith, and addressed it to the emperor Hadrian ( AD 117 - 138), soon after the emperor's succession.
One point of Quadratus' defense of Christ and His followers was to say that the miracles of healing and raising people from the dead were authentic, genuine occurrences, not merely illusory tricks performed to seduce a following. To prove this, he wrote that those healed or raised from the dead by Christ and His disciples were still around for some time AFTER Christ had ascended. Moreover, Quadratus said that SOME of these individuals were still surviving up to the time he was writing that defense (around AD 117 when Hadrian became emperor).
I would say that those few who survived all the way up to Quadratus' time would have been those who received healing from their maladies - not those who were resurrected. He couldn't have been referring to those who had been raised from the dead, since those resurrected ones - the alive and remaining ones - were taken to heaven along with the newly-resurrected saints on that Pentecost Day in AD 70. However, this quote from Quadratus DOES claim that both healed AND resurrected individuals remained "for some time after His (Christ's) departure". Meaning Christ didn't take any resurrected saints with Him when He ascended in Acts 1:9-10. He left them behind for a purpose. That purpose was specifically stated in Ephesians 4:12. In other words, those "gifts" of resurrected apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers were to be "For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ".
Here is one more argument that I believe proves God's intention for leaving the Matthew 27 resurrected saints behind on earth until AD 70. As Preterists, we believe that Matthew 24:14 spoke truth when it said "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world" (the whole habitable world) "for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the end come." That end DID come in AD 70 for the OC Age. Therefore, all nations in all the world at large DID have the gospel presented to them.
Yet, on the other hand, we have Christ promising His disciples in Matthew 10:23 that "...Ye shall NOT have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." This appears to contradict the Matthew 24:14 verse above, but actually it doesn't. Not if you consider the evangelistic work that the 144,000 Matthew 27:52-53 resurrected Firstfruits saints accomplished by being left on the earth for that "little season" from AD 33- AD 70. The chosen disciples personally would not accomplish the goal of presenting the gospel to "all nations" before AD 70 arrived, but at least all nations WOULD hear it presented to them by a member of the resurrected 144,000 Firstfruits group.
Just think of the evangelistic access that even a single resurrected person could have had to EVERY nation on earth before AD 70. Without having the ordinary limitations of a human body for their ability to travel ANYWHERE and speak ANY LANGUAGE with no danger of dying, getting sick, or committing any sin for those 37 years - this means that total coverage of the planet with the presented gospel before AD 70 was an achievable goal. God made good on His promise. I believe He used the 144,000 resurrected Matthew 27 saints as those "laborers in the harvest" (Matthew 9:38) to accomplish that promise He made back in Matthew 24:14.
Keep investigating this subject of the Matthew 27:52-53 saints, Steve, because it really will fill in A LOT of the blanks. Like the year AD 33 of the "First resurrection" being the year the Rev. 20 Millennium ended, the reason the Hymenaean and Philetus heresy arose, the reason for the timing pattern of the 3 resurrections, the actual nature of the physical resurrection revealed, the "rapture" text applying to only bodily-resurrected saints in AD 70, the conundrum of the 144,000 coming only from the tribes of Israel, why there is a "camp of the saints" sitting inside Jerusalem when Gog in the person of Simon bar Giora comes against the city, etc. etc. These Matthew 27 saints are a subject we ignore to our own detriment.
If you read no other link I give you, Steve, please consider reading the comments I made related to the Matthew 27 saints on Adam Maarschalk's two posts - the one he called "Comparing Matthew 24 and I Thessalonians 4-5" at http://kloposmasm.com/2015/03/04/comparing-matthew-24-and-i-thessal...
and the one he called "Did All of the Judean Christians Flee to Pella?" at https://adammaarschalk.com/2017/01/24/did-all-of-the-judean-christi...
Generally speaking, these Matthew 27 saints are either ignored or ridiculed by ALL eschatological positions. That is a mistake. They form a critical part of the typology that tells us just when Christ will return for us in our future at His third coming, and they were a major comforting example for the persecuted saints who were destined for martyrdom in the first century.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 the inclusion of the phrase "and remain" is interesting in the context of this verse. The traditional view teaches us that only a fraction of a second will occur(twinkling of an eye) between the dead resurrected saints being caught up and the "living" saints being caught up together with them in the air to be with Christ. But this phrase "and remain" appears to mean that this particular group of living saints has been around for a while. If "and remain" was not included in the verse I would be inclined to disregard your theory altogether. If only a fraction of a second occurs between the dead saints being resurrected and living saints being caught up together it would seem that the natural flow of the verse would be: " After that, we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Maybe I am reading too much into this but the inclusion of "and remain" could have some significance.