O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
I recently posted this response on a personal blog with some others but no one has responded to it yet so I’m going to repost it here in hopes I can get some interaction with some of you here on DID. My premise is in response to questions concerning the Judgment upon the Nations and the timing of it in relation to AD70 and judgment upon Israel. IMO it appears from all indications that Judgment must first occur concerning Israel and then Judgment occurs upon the Nations. As many of you know the idea is out there with some in Preterism that the Judgment upon the Nations can possibly be assigned to long periods of time and even stretching forth until the present and is ongoing. My position is that the judgment upon the Nations is a decidedly Covenant one and not a physical one. I’m going to present a view and some verses and would encourage the readers to interact with my premise and let’s consider the pros and cons.
I think what we often may overlook is that judgment upon the Nations is inextricably tied to judgment upon Israel. Mat 24:30, 25:31-46 appears to parallel Rev 13,14,19 & 20. First the judgment upon the apostate Jews and then the Nations appears the pattern. The fiery judgment is upon the Nations and the Lake of fire along with the apostate Jews is their eternal lot. Notice though in Rev 19 that they are destroyed by the "sword that comes from the mouth". I might also mention that not all Jews were destroyed physically in AD70 and so we need to be careful in wanting to carry the physical too far; we realize that there was enough left of them to effectively rise up against Rome a second time in AD135. I don't think we believe it required complete physical annihilation to fulfill the prophecy that renders them eternally cast out of covenant [the lake of fire]. The same with the Gentiles as the word of God is in actuality what renders them powerless.
Rev 19:15 ESV From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.
I have discussed on another blog [here & here] concerning the prophetic fulfillment of Zec 14 concerning the Nations coming annually to the City [Jerusalem] at the feast of Booths; so it seems that we need to first identify the nature of that City. Christ fulfilled the feast of Booths and IMO we are living in the 8th Day of that festival and Christ provides the spiritual rain. So in retrospect we must identify the "sword from the mouth" that strikes down. If Rev 21 identifies the new city and Eze 47 prophesizes it along with the land where Jew and Gentile live together then we as Preterist must correctly determine how a Heavenly City that comes down can be surrounded by the Nations. [Rev 20:9] Fire came down and consumed the armies of the Nations? Are we thus still trying to tie the faithful into a Physical City in Rev 20:9 and Zec 14: or does it all make sense when we understand that the surrounded City is the New Jerusalem identified in Rev 21 and Eze 48? [Rev 20:3, 7 appears to be post 1000 year period]
Have we yet learned how to effectively move seamlessly back and forth between Old Covenant Kingdom language and New Covenant Kingdom language? Once the signs of prophetic fulfillment have been completed against Israel then essentially the Game is over as the Nations are tied into Judgment upon Israel. Physical Israel becoming Spiritual Israel condemns the Nations to ineptitude and irrelevance in the new spiritual realm does it not? The destruction of the fleshly nature of Israel is accompanied by the destruction of the flesh of the Nations as illustrated in Rev 19:17-18. This picture seems gruesome but it is simply the destruction of the "mode of existence" by all men. When Adam's fleshly nature is destroyed, then subsequently the fleshly nature of the Nations were destroyed with it, being replaced with eating the flesh of Christ. See 1 Cor 15:39,42-49 & Jn 6:50-54.
Rev 19:17-18 ESV Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, "Come, gather for the great supper of God, (18) to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great."
Joh 6:54 ESV Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Ezk 38 & 39’s Gog and Magog also must be read with spiritual eyes and not physical and understand it's implication for the Day when Israel lives securely in the spiritual Land
Eze 39:18 ESV You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth--of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan.
Eze 39:26 ESV They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid,
Luk 3:6 ASV And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Joh 17:2 ASV even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life.
Act 2:17 ASV And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh:
Another deeper study is to recognize that the Nations were bound up from the beginning with Israel through Adam in the Garden. Ezekiel lays out that the Nations were in the Garden yet failed along with Adam and he describes them as Trees that were toppled. Eze 28:13, 31:8,9
Yet the land is again going to become like the Garden of Eden. Eze 36:35, however this is not a literal projection but is again pointing to the spiritual Land. The Jews in their literature [Jubilees] that brings commentary to the Garden go so far as to implicate that when Adam was cast out of the Garden so too were the animals. Adam who typifies Israel was instructed to offer sacrifices for himself but also for the animals. This is a clear allusion to the feast of booths where Israel is instructed to offer up sacrifices during their feast week also for the Nations.
Jub 3:29 And He sent out of the Garden of Eden all flesh that was in the Garden of Eden, and all flesh was scattered according to its kinds, and according to its types unto the places which had been created for them. And to Adam alone did He give (the wherewithal) to cover his shame, of all the beasts and cattle.
Of course Cornelius in Acts 10 is the first of the Gentiles representing all flesh through the vision of the animal flesh to come in.
In conclusion I will restate that we have to train ourselves to be cognizant of the subtle change in expectations from physical manifestations to Kingdom language which cannot be observed. I have a feeling that when it comes to Judgment upon the Nations that looking for a physical sign may be a misplaced idea considering the Covenant fulfillment that has just taken place with Israel.
Luk 17:20-21 ESV Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, (21) nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
The question: Just what physically if anything must occur after Israel’s judgment for the fulfillment of prophecy to have been completed concerning the Nations?