Stephen Whitsett BA
Giving an orthodox apologetic answer for Preterism / Dispensationalism
Death - Curse
“Our ultimate victory over “Death” was never intended to be the abolition of physical death. Those who say the “death” God threatened in the Garden was physical are making Satan the truth-teller and God the liar. God said they would “die” the very day they ate. Satan said they would not die. Who told the truth? If God was talking about physical death, then Satan was correct and God did not deliver on His death threat. God would not be immutable after all. But man was separated from God’s spiritual fellowship that very day. To be outside God’s fellowship and presence is Death. There was a worse kind of death than physical death from which mankind more desperately needed deliverance.” Preterists Quote
“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2
In the garden Adam and Eve were presented with a choice. To follow the command of God or not, knowing the consequences of breaking the command was death. Sin always leads to physical death as it is the punishment for sin. (Heb 9.28Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); I Peter 2.24Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); I Peter 3.18Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)) It was for our sin he died. Sin places under the sentence or pronouncement of physical death. As in any court of law, the lawgiver makes the rules and sets the punishment for violation of the law.
“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9.22Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) in the Old Testament law no provision was given for those who asked for forgiveness or for mercy. If certain rules were violated death came swiftly and the hands of the “judge” and allowed for no mercy.
In order for our sin to be forgiven blood must be shed to atone for sin. In the moment Adam and Eve sinned they became guilty in the eye of law for breaking the Law of God and fell under the penalty for sin which is a death sentence. That death sentence was carried out on Christ, in our – their place. (this is what
Preterist – Chilton did not understand-Christ was killed in their place.)
“21And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
It was in this act the justice of God was appeased and mercy extended to Adam and Eve in that an animal was sacrificed on their behalf and they were “covered over” by the death of another in their place. The great shadow of Christ who would come and pay that penalty for all, to be killed in an untimely manner for all men.
“For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.” Hebrews 9.15Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” I Peter 1.3Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)
Satan was correct and spoke half truth. He knew God would not “kill” them as God is a God of mercy and redemption.
God was also telling the truth, in that day they fell under the surety of death as penalty for sin, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”
-On the day you eat you will be pronounced guilty and come under the death penalty and you will die.
-He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2.2Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)
-In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. I John 4.10Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)
The command and justice of God demanded death, but the mercy of God demanded that another would die in our place. “sin” is the force in the destruction of relationship. It brings about death of the relationship we have with God; a separation of fellowship is mended through the shedding of blood that allows for the forgiveness of sin. “Spiritual death” then is rightly defined by the separation from God through the fallen nature of man, in that sin separates us from the life that comes from God. “We are as dead men” without Christ. (The last enemy to be defeated is -physical-death)
Heaven & the Earth
Genesis 1.1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
In any discussion about the heaven and the earth in the New Testament
Preterist automatically go to the Old Testament to prove heaven and earth does not mean the actual heaven and earth but the inhabitant of the earth.
Duet 32.1 “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.”
Now we have two scriptures one that define the heaven and earth as the real creation, and the other from prophetic language, but not necessarily “apocalyptic” language.. is the Heaven and earth used in a literal fashion in prophetic books?
Isaiah 37.16Open in Logos Bible Software (if available) ““O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.
Following the rules of language we know the heaven and earth cannot listen so we understand clearly this is a metaphor for the people who live under the heavens and on the earth.
The same prophetic language also uses “heaven and earth” in even a different manner.
Isaiah 66.1, “Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?”
Do we believe that God actual sits on heaven and props his feet on the earth?
“In Isaiah 51:13 God said that He had "stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth" Once again, is God speaking here of the literal heavens and earth?” "HEAVEN AND EARTH SHALL PASS AWAY" By Evangelist John L. Bray
argues that Isaiah 51.13 cannot be talking about the real heavens and earth, but when we look at the entirety of the passage in context,
“12 “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy?
“Your Maker”, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth…, The language rule is; If the words make sense and can be understood literally then no “figure of speech” is be being applied. Is God the maker of the heavens and earth? Did he stretch out the heavens around the earth, did he not lay the foundation of the earth? He goes on to say
“.It could not be talking of the formation of the literal heavens and earth, for that had taken place more than 3,000 years before! So, then, what is He talking about? The verse explains itself. He is talking about "Zion." He is talking about "my people" In other words, He is talking about Israel. He is talking in this verse about the formation of Israel”.
In the Preterist zeal to prove the real heaven and earth does not burn up they become “dishonest” with themselves and scriptures.
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so”.
It become painfully obvious the meaning of the word “Ge” is
determined by the usage and context within the verses it is used. As
Gentry points out the primary usage IS of the whole earth or the land
upon which all people walk, When God created the “heavens (which is not
just the sky above Israel) and the earth, meaning all of the earth, it
does not mean just the “promise land”. Just as the word “Ge” can mean a
specific region all the way out to the whole earth, “tribes ” also can
refer to the people group of Israel all the way out to the different
ethnic nations and people of the world. Rev 7:9
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,”
This scripture emphasizes this point that many times scriptures clarify or expands the meaning of the word inclusively to include the broader context.
Here are some common terms the scriptures use to expand the narrow definition of the earth:
“The whole Earth” “everything under the face of the heavens”, “from one corner under heaven to the other”, “from the four winds” from the four corners of the earth”..
Sometimes the word “world” is inclusive of all the people, of the earth and not just of a “certain land”. The “cosmos” can mean all of creation or just the created Earth.
People, tribes, languages, tongues, nations, are all used to specify and expound upon the idea it is not just one small “tribe” or group of people but what’s being said can apply to the whole “world”, or of all people from over the entire “cosmos”.
The failure then comes in trying to use “land” especially in the creation, to mean just the land of Israel. Preterism holds to the idea it was the land of Israel alone that experienced the tribulation of Revelation in order to fit their theology of the “last days”. It becomes very clear even from Josephus that it was not the rest of the world that experienced the “tribulation” of Revelation while it can be proven the tribulations of Mathew 24 that led up to the “Desolation of Abomination” were all plainly fulfilled in 70 AD upon Jerusalem only. For instance the beast system of Revelation 13,
“And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it.”
This is specific in including people from the whole earth not just Jerusalem. Preterist would limit this to people of the Roman Empire which would not be true as the other nations not under roman rule will be included under the beast system. We remove the setting of 70 AD to a broader one when we recognize that Revelation is not fulfilled in 70 AD and so the beast system includes every tongue, nation, people, nationalities, and ethnic groups of the world.
In Luke 21.35 "For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth". in context is about His second coming. Indicating as we know, His return will not just affect the "roman Empire" but of the whole world. It was not just the saints of Jerusalem" who were to be caught up but all of those who were of the elect. Knowing it did not happen in 70 AD, we see now the broader context of the whole earth as the gospel has also been preached to our whole known world presently