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"Last Things First" - Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology

 

I want to bring attention to a new book I’m currently reading.

I’m over half way through the book and I’m finding it quite useful and it supports much of what we covenant creationist have been postulating. However the author is a futurist there is no doubt but he fits somewhere in the company of James Jordan and Meredith Kline from the Reformed camp. It seems he’s more comfortable with Kline who was an old earth adherent and is thus more comfortable with taking Genesis further than Jordan does.

 

I see many parallels with his approach in his book as illustrated below with his Table of contents yet I’m not sure how much he falls in line with Gentry and others on the use of OT Law for new covenant Dominion applications. I’m getting the feeling that he doesn’t go that far but is comfortable hanging around the edges. I think it would be good for us to see how others are working toward similar ideas while still in the futurist partial Preterist perspective.

 

I will state that while he was leading Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian church he put out a huge series of sermons that are well worth investigating, especially his Genesis and Romans series. I’ve supplied the link to that data base below along with his Amazon book page illustrating that he is becoming quite the prolific writer.  He will very likely continue to gain prominence in some circles of the Reformed movement as he is only about 40 years old.  It seems to me that he has done an admirable job in picking and choosing from many of the same scholars that many of us have read and working them into a more coherent presentation. If he could translate Meredith Kline’s work he will have pulled off a worthy endeavor because of the difficulty of working through Kline’s presentations from the lay position.

 

However make no mistake that he is a futurist just as DeMar, Jordan and Gentry all are.

 

 

Last Things First

Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology

J. V. Fesko

 

Table of Contents

 

  1. Man in the Image of God
  2. The Garden-Temple of Eden
  3. The Covenant of Works
  4. Shadows and Types of the Second Adam
  5. The Work of the Second Adam
  6. The Sabbath
  7. Conclusion 

 

http://www.genevaopc.org/content/view/28/50/ 

 

http://www.amazon.com/J.-V.-Fesko/e/B001JP2RV0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1  

 

http://www.theopedia.com/J.V._Fesko 

Views: 1191

Comment by Micah Martin on March 24, 2011 at 3:19am

Yeah but listen to the first 2 sermons on Genesis. It's amazing! He will be rolling along basically putting out a non-concordance view and stressing the importance of seeing Gen. 1 within the larger story and then turn around and tow the Reformed line of "this present (evil) age" that we are living in.

 

I used to think it would be nice to go to seminary but the more I read and listen to these guys the more I see that once they do they turn off their brain in certain areas even if in other areas they are doing great work. If someone else said what they said in one area they would immediately see that it would force a change in another area but since they said it they don't even think to examine how it fits with the rest of their paradigm. 

 

I keep thinking of Chilton laughing at himself for not seeing it in his own writings. Oh well, maybe God is just telling me to be a better critic of what I write, who knows.

 

BTW, in the first sermon he actually stated that the modern YEC view came out of 7th Day Adventism and specifically E. G. White! He warned against swallowing that view as prioritized aspect of the text!

Comment by Norm on March 24, 2011 at 11:16am

Micah,

 

It's very frustrating to see some of these learned guys essentially waste their skills and talents because of their blind spots. Of course I'm over generalizing because it is apparent to me that Fesko does impart some solid teaching until he hits the wall.  It makes one want to evaluate ones own ideas and continue to refine them as I'm sure we are all laced with some baggage yet unseen.  However I do see progress in all of these various approaches in that they are always looking for fresh approaches in which to make a name for themselves. As new scholars arise each one will peel back the onion layers of their mentors and will keep bringing us closer to the truth. It's going to be a generational thing but at least Fesko recognizes that Preterism is making inroads into the Reformed world.  In 50 to 100 years the seminaries will not even look the same as new generations will make their modifications upon it. Old ideas die a slow death but they do die.

It would be interesting to know which approachs to Revelation and Genesis are more prevelant tody in Reformed circles. 

Comment by Norm on March 24, 2011 at 2:54pm

 

Since Fesko seems to be in the same arena of eschatology as G. K. Beale I went looking for some info on how to classify Beale. I think I’ve found it on Preterist archive at this link.

 

http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/b/beale_g-k.html  

 

Humorously I’m going to quote Tommy Ice on his impression of Beale whom he calls an “amill idealist” which sounds just about right for how I’m picturing Fesko as well. What caught my eye is that Ice describes the idealist as one who doesn’t really know when anything is going to happen and if you notice this is in effect Fesko’s approach although he doesn’t spell it out in so many words. Which makes sense for an idealist approach to eschatology.  [John Noe comes to mind]

 

So we can’t add Fesko and Beale to any eschatological approach that we are aware of in the classical sense but to one that gives them great leeway and wiggle room and essentially remain in the mainstream of orthodoxy because you can’t essentially pin them down. This is exactly the reason that Fesko chides Gentry for “newspaper exegesis” for referring to Josephus concerning Revelation as Fesko puts it off in the nether land.

 

I’m hardly a Tommy Ice fan but it does look like he may be quite astute in his appraisal below. Notice how Ice says that “Idealist used to be liberal”; however it turns out to be an approach to be liberal, scholarly, orthodox and Reformed all rolled into one. I’m getting more gray hairs daily as I figure these things out. ROFL

 

 Tommy Ice
"Then there is Idealism. That is the view that the book of Revelation (or any other prophecy) is not related to timing. It’s basically inspirational things. Do you remember Greg Beale? - mid-70’s, Dallas graduate - he’s a professor at Gordon-Conwell now. He just came out with a huge, 1,200 page commentary - he’s an amill idealist.

It's maddening to read through it. I just bought it. It retails for $75.00, and I got a real deal for $60.00. I want to keep it because he has a lot of good information in there on what everybody believes. He’s an idealist and he’s an evangelical. Almost all idealists used to be liberal, but now you want to be a scholar and all this kind of stuff.

Again, an idealist is a person who believes that the book of Revelation doesn’t relate to timing. We don’t know when anything is going to happen. Days don’t really mean days - symbolism. So, what we get is basically a good sermon, "We’re going to win!, we’ve won and let’s go rally the troops to hang in there whenever it’s going to happen." It doesn’t try to deal with the timing issues. It’s atemporal." (The Destructive View of Preterism)

End quote

Comment by Micah Martin on March 25, 2011 at 2:22am

I love the idea that Fesko accuses Gentry of newspaper exegesis. Does that mean anyone reading history and comparing the Roman, Greek, and Persian empires to Daniel's prophecies is doing the same thing?

 

The dirty little secret in the Reformed world is that it is a free for all. Most understand that the "Historicism" of the Reformers was just really bad. They conveniently sweep it under the rug as if it never existed, except for the hard core guys like Engelsma. They still believe the Catholic church is the beast and the pope is the Anti-Christ. (The also call post-millers unorthodox too, which is always fun to watch.) They are becoming a smaller and smaller minority.

 

From my involvement in my former church, one of the larger OPC churches, my impression was that there is a power struggle going on. Many want a hybrid "optimistic-amil" approach but they don't want to actually exegete it or defend it. Then comes someone like John Macarthur and he takes them to task pointing out that a true Calvinist will be a Pre-mil. Essentially, they don't want it to be an issue in their church because the understand there are SO MANY competing views within the partial preteris/amil/postmil world. So, being the good reformed guys they are they don't want the average person exploring it on their own because that might cause them to look further into other areas instead of asking the elders or the WCF what they should believe... did I just say that out loud?

 

As far as Genesis goes, it is almost the same type of thing. The unwritten rule is that OPC and PCA is hard core YEC. But when you get down to it the actual beliefs they are allowed to hold doctrinally are very wide ranging. My former church elders were involved in trying to get the "freedom" narrowed to only a YEC view. Of course they were rejected because then you are chopping off most of church history. The average person sitting in the pews have no idea that you can actually believe that the earth is older than Ken Ham says it is. They are shocked when they find out people can't be excommunicated for believing in an old earth. (But this doesn't stop OPC pastors from slandering their denominational brethren.) I am sure Fesko has taken flack for his "lax" view on the scientific reading of Gen. 1. He might even be one of the guys that has fought to keep the wide range of beliefs acceptable, who knows?

 

This is why I find it amusing when DeMar and others accuse us of being unorganized and all over the place. Anyone who can read can see that there is nothing close to a consensus in any Eschatological paradigm. Anyone who says the church is "unanimous" on this subject is just misinformed or ignorant. That goes for the visible "coming" as well. I brought up the fact that the pre-mil paradigm is outside of the confessions with my former elders and they never even bothered to address it. Quite an interesting non-conversation.

 

I will say that Tommy Ice has the best name out of all the debaters on this subject though... ICE MAN!!! I've always like seeing his name. LOL

 

Blessings,
Micah 

Comment by Tim Martin on February 10, 2012 at 12:55pm

Ok, I'm a little late to the party, but some of the stuff in this book is just absolutely amazing. Even the timing is remarkable. Fesko published this book in 2007, the same year Beyond Creation Science was released.

 

I'm going to post relevant quotes below from the Preface and Introduction, which is as far as I have carefully read to this point. These preliminary comments are easily worth the price of this book. If you are interested in how Covenant Creation works, this book is a valuable tool even given the fact that the author is clearly a Reformed futurist. His insights, however, translate perfectly for those who hold to the covenant eschatology / covenant creation model.

 

This is the future of Genesis studies:

 

In my lecture preparation I continually found myself turning back and forth between the books of Genesis and Revelation in an effort to understand what was occurring in the seemingly straightforward but nevertheless mysterious first three chapters of the Bible. The more I studied these chapters the more I realized the importance of interpreting them as the New Testament authors did -- with a view to Christ and eschatology. (p. 9)

 

This book was originally titled Protology, but my wife thought it sounded too much like 'proctology,' and my editor also thought it was too technical. (p. 11)

 

The common idea that Genesis speaks of the 'how' of creation, therefore, is misguided. Yes, Genesis is historical -- but its intended purpose is not to convey scientific information. (p. 26)

 

Second, contrary to Morris's claim, Genesis 1-11 is not about world history. Morris seems to imply that God set up a camcorder and taped everything that took place. Yet this type of interpretation ignores the details, particularly what is absent from the opening chapters of Genesis. For example, Genesis 1 includes nothing regarding the creation of angels or the fall of Satan. Furthermore, Genesis 4 leaves the reader with the impression that there are only four people on the earth: Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel. Cain, however, kills Abel, leaves, marries, and builds a city. From where does Cain's wife originate? Cities require people; it is hardly a city if the only inhabitants are Cain and his wife. Contrary to the claim of Morris, Genesis 1-11 is a selective history -- it does not deal with general world history but redemptive history, the historia salutis. (p. 27)

 

Christology informs Genesis 1-3 and therefore one must constantly interpret these chapters in the light of the New Testament. (p. 30)

 

Redemptive history as a whole, then, necessitates exploring Genesis 1-3 in terms of protology rather than creation. Moreover, one must recognize the connections between protology and eschatology, connections that have important implications for the interpretation of Genesis 1-2. (p. 33)

 

The completed work of the second Adam appears in the final chapters of Revelation, or in the eschatological context. If the second Adam takes up the work of the first Adam, then eschatology has an irrefragable connection to the beginning, or protology. This connection becomes even clearer when one considers that the categories of the beginning are embedded in eschatology, the creation of the heavens and the earth become the new heavens and earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22) and the garden of Eden reappears in the book of Revelation (2:7; cf. Isa. 51:3; Zech. 1:17). (p. 33-34)

 

The overall thesis of this essay is that Genesis 1-3 is not about science or world history but about the failed work of the first Adam, a fact which points the reader to the person and work of the second, or eschatological Ad

Comment by Tim Martin on February 10, 2012 at 12:56pm

(continued)

 

Adam. The patterns in Genesis 1-3 recur throughout redemptive history and reappear in the eschaton with the revelation of Christ on the final day. Genesis 1-3 must be read, therefore, eschatologically and christologically in order to understand its ultimate significance. (p.  38)

 

I highly recommend this book!

 

Tim Martin

BeyondCreationScience.com

Comment by Micah Martin on February 10, 2012 at 3:57pm

I believe Fesko is OPC.  I guess we will see how long that lasts.  (I listened to his sermons on Genesis.  Great stuff but you could tell that he would add things simply to keep himself safe from heretic hunters and more "conservative" among his audience.)

Comment by Dustin Curlee on June 6, 2012 at 5:07pm

John,

Your excerpts literally made me "LOL" in Starbucks.

Dustin...

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