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The problem with men has been that they do not believe ALL of God's word. Luke 24:25. And when we don't believe ALL we become a higher authority than the Bible in our own minds. We become judges of the law and not doers of the law.

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The problem with men has been that they do not believe ALL of God's word. Luke 24:25. And when we don't believe ALL we become a higher authority than the Bible in our own minds. We become judges of the law and not doers of the law. ...

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The Argument That Jesus is NOT Coming in the Future #2

See the first article in this series. We were challenged by an AD 70 advocate, a “Realized Eschatologist” that we need to “see” a list of scriptures that supposedly prove that there is no future coming of the Lord, and that the only coming that the Bible talks about is one that happened in AD 70. We showed that there were many verses that were totally ignored, and that the Bible talks about various advents of the Lord in various times and ways, and that not all verses about His coming refer exclusively to the advent of AD 70. We took up the first two verses in their list in the previous article. Now we will look at some more.

#3 See this!! Mt.26:64
Matt 26:64 Jesus said to him (the high priest), "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." NKJV

Now, how and when would the high priest “see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power?” And, how would he see Jesus “coming on the clouds of heaven?” Now, while AD 70 showed Jesus in a sense riding on the judgment clouds of war and doom hanging over Jerusalem, Caiaphas was not alive to see it. It is true that the first “you” is singular pronoun while the second and third is third person plural (you all). But, Caiaphas did not live hardly 6 more years after this conversation, and many of the rest would die in that 40 year span between this conversation and the fall of Jerusalem. With the Holy Spirit miracles from Pentecost onward, could men not “see” Jesus sitting on the right hand of the Almighty POWER? And, will not not all men “see” Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven? In other words, this verse does not have to be talking exclusively about the temporal judgment coming on Jerusalem in AD 70. In other words, it can be talking about any time “hereafter” or “from now on.” They would have to deal with their own scriptures that had prophesied Jesus and His death and resurrection. Jesus at the right hand of the Power. They would have to contend with the empty tomb and eyewitness testimony (Jesus at the right hand of the Power). They would have to contend with the Holy Spirit miracles attending the disciples of Jesus. Again, verification that Jesus is at the right hand of the Almighty. All the living would see Jesus written all over the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, but all living and dead would see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven on the last day. So, while this verse may include a seeing of Jesus 40 years later in the destruction of Jerusalem, it does not rule out the final coming of the Lord in the last day. I hope our friends can “see” this, and can’t “unsee” the fact that this verse does nothing toward proving that no other verse talks about a future coming of the Lord and does not rule out that this very verse may include that final coming on the last day.

#4 See this!! Mt.24:34 Matt 24:34-
34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. NKJV

Now, this verse is obviously talking about the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. But, “seeing” this is not something we have not seen before and taught before. The verses in this chapter up to this point are about the coming of the Lord in a judgment on Jerusalem, the signs leading up to it, and it happened in that very generation. But, that does not prevent us from “seeing” other verses also that talk about a different kind of coming (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess.4:17f; 1 Cor.15:22ff). For example, I can see that this verse talks about the coming on Jerusalem in AD 70 while also seeing that Jesus also teaches that He will come in the manner in which He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:11). Seeing him come like He left is certainly a literal coming, a personal and visible coming. Now, the Lord rode on the clouds of judgment against Babylon (see Isaiah 13), but this was not a personal and visible coming of the person of the Lord.

The coming on Jerusalem was like the coming on Babylon. Neither was like the Lord visibly ascending into heaven and later descending in the same way he ascended. So, we can “see” the coming in judgment on Jerusalem as a different kind of coming. So, while one context can talk about the coming in judgment on Babylon or Jerusalem, other verses can and do talk about a different kind of coming. Unless this verse says, “this is the only kind of coming you can ever expect” it is hard for us to “unsee” the fact that it does not say or imply that. If the Old Testament can talk about different comings of the Lord (coming in war representatively and coming in a child being born), then why would we expect less of the conversations in the New Testament?

Now, consider these verses:

Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Is Paul saying that God will only perfect them until the destruction of Jerusalem? After that, no more performing a good work in them?

The Day of Christ would end the perfecting process. Paul said, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory.”(Col.3:4). Did you get this? The Colossian brethren did not see Jesus appear in the destruction of Jerusalem, and they did not appear with Him in glory in AD 70. Paul told the Philippian brethren to be “sincere and without offense till the day of Christ”(Phil.1:10). Did that mean that after AD 70 they did not have to be sincere and without offense? No! All would have to be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ because that is the day that sin and death will cease to be a threat (1 Cor.15:22-26). Paul told them that if they hold fast the word of life he would “rejoice in the day of Christ”(Phil.2:16). Does that mean he would rejoice when Christ destroys Jerusalem? No! The day of Christ is that glorious last day when the last enemy, death, is destroyed. It is the glorious day of rest for the people of God. We “eagerly wait for the Savior” (Phil.3:20) because that will be the glorious day He will “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body”(Phil.3:21). In case my brethren did not “see” these verses before, I hope you can “see” them now, and hope you cannot “unsee” these things. There is indeed a future coming of the Lord, and it was not the same kind as the day of the Lord upon Jerusalem. Paul told the Thessalonian brethren that our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing would be the Thessalonians in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ AT HIS COMING”(1 Thess.2:19). Would they be in His presence when He came in wrath upon Jerusalem? No! That is not the only coming, nor is it the most important coming taught by the apostles. Jesus is coming and all the faithful everywhere will be in His presence with transformed bodies, glorified bodies. Paul prayed that He “may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints”(1 Thess.3:13). Now I hope you cannot “unsee” this. What if many of these brethren lived past AD 70? Did their hearts no longer need to be established in holiness? Did the Thessalonian brethren join “all the saints” in the coming on Jerusalem? No! I hope our brethren cannot “unsee” that the Bible does NOT talk about the coming of Jesus on Jerusalem like it was the only kind they hoped for and talked about. Now, listen, “the day of the Lord” could be a temporal judgment on a city or country as the fall of Babylon and Jerusalem was surely “the day of the Lord.” But, those are nothing compared to the final day of the Lord. Listen, Paul is not talking about the judgment on Jerusalem when He says the following: 1 Thess. 4:13-5:5

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
5 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. NKJV
I hope all my brethren can “see” these verses and cannot “unsee” them. –Terry W. Benton

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Can Faith Alone Save Us?

There are many good and sincere people who are following the traditions of man rather than the commands of God (Matthew 15:9-13). It is common to believe what one has learned growing up without ever questioning what one believes. It is assumed that our beliefs must somehow be the right ones. However, the fallacy here is one could have been born in the Middle-East and raised a Muslim instead of being born in the U.S.A. and being raised a Methodist or Lutheran. Don't you think it only makes sense that we examine what we believe just in case we didn't just happen to be born into a family that teaches and practices all religious truth?

Perhaps the most popular error among those who claim to know Jesus as their Lord is that the only requirement for man to be saved is to respond to Jesus by faith alone. Before I continue let me make one thing perfectly clear: Jesus is the only way to salvation. Without the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ there would be no way of salvation. Jesus tells us: "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me" (John 14:6). Jesus Christ has provided the sacrifice; however, mankind must access His Blood in order to have sins removed by coming to Jesus on His terms. Jesus gave us some conditions which must be met by every sinner who will be saved.

Can faith alone save us? God says that faith alone cannot save us. (see James 2:14-26). God says that faith must work with a motive of love (Gal. 5:6). Every example found in Hebrews Chapter Eleven shows that the heroes of the hall of fame of faith, as they are often called, acted on their faith. Imagine if Noah had said, "I believe you concerning the coming flood, Lord, but I'll just stand here and wait for you to save me. I don't really believe I need to build an ark." Where would we all be if Noah responded like that?

Jesus, Himself, says that man must believe in Him (John 8:24); then, turn from sins in repentance--change his sinful ways (Luke 13:3,5), confess that belief (Matthew 10:32), be baptized (Mark 16:16), and remain faithful for life in following Him (Mark 13:13; 1 John 1:9). All of this is part of the will of Christ (Matthew 7:21). If not, why not? If not, can we refuse to do the will of Christ and still be saved in eternity? (Luke 6:46).

When man says, "Come as you are only believing," he is not saying the same thing that Jesus says. Which do you really believe? Would you be willing to follow Jesus all the way? There are numerous people who claim to believe in Jesus, but continue to party with the beer crowd, gamble, have sexual relations outside of marriage; which shows they are not living a penitent life. Some claim to believe in Jesus but never confess Him or were never baptized for remission of their sins. There are those who claim to believe or have faith in Jesus but no longer attend public worship, study their Bibles, pray, give to the poor, etc. but believe they are saved! Remember, even the demons believe and do tremble (James 2:19). --Michael R. Baggett

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The Argument That Jesus is NOT Coming in the Future

Quote from an AD 70 Advocate:
"The belief that Jesus is coming in the future is NOT supported by the Bible and those who believe it believe a lie." A belief that makes Jesus out to be a liar a fraud,and a failure.
My good friend once said once you see what the bible says you cant un-see it.
I agree, I have seen what the bible says and there's no way possible that I can ever un-see it.
See this!! Mt.10:23
See this!! Mt.16:27-28
See this!! Mt.26:64
See this!! Mt.24:34
See this!! Heb.10:37
See This!! Rev 2:25
See this!! Lk.21:20-22
See this!! Mt.24:30
See this!! Mt.23:35-36,38
See this!! Dan.12:4 Mt.24:15 Rev.22:10
See this!! James 5:8
See this!! 1Jn.2:18
See this!! Heb.1:2
I put it out here so you can see,and hopefully you won't be able to un-see it.
Act 17:11
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Scripture's above for the noble-minded's examination. –Unquote!

We want to show that we can SEE all of these verses and some verses that were not mentioned, and SEE that Jesus is coming in the future. So, what we will do is take an honest look at the verses listed above and show how those verses do NOT contradict a FUTURE coming of the Lord. Now, the premise of the AD 70 advocate is that all of these verses and ALL others point exclusively and ONLY to the coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70. From that assumption, they argue that there is no verse that talks about any OTHER coming of the Lord.

Now, let me offer this point. The Lord “comes” in various ways for various reasons. Sometimes He “comes” in a judgment against a nation. For example, He came against Babylon in a judgment against them (Isa.13). He came against Israel during their Babylonian invasion and captivity. But, that was not the same KIND of coming as when He came as a human in the flesh. While Jesus was about to face His death on the cross He told His disciples that He would “come again” to them in the representative help of the Holy Spirit. So, there is another way He “comes”. Further, he “comes” in to us when we repent and open the door of our hearts to Him (Acts 3:19; Rev.3:20-21). He came again in a judgment cloud upon Jerusalem in AD 70, and He also promises to come back personally as He left (Acts 1:11). So, there are not just two comings of the Lord. There are several representative comings in judgment against a nation, comings to enter the hearts of seekers, coming representatively in the work of the Holy Spirit, and a final coming when He destroys the final enemy, death (1 Cor.15:22f) and delivers the kingdom to the Father, giving immortality to the dead. The fallacy of modern advocates of Realized Eschatology is that they teach that there were only 2 comings ever under consideration: 1) the first time He came in the flesh, and the second time in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. They allow no other coming to even be considered. They deny there will be a final coming, and they insist the final coming already happened in AD 70. Of course, this is wrong, but let’s take the verses they want us to “SEE” above and demonstrate that we can and do “ see” them correctly and that these do not in any way deny that there is yet a future coming of the Lord.

1. Mt.10:23
23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. NKJV

First, this verse is true and yet it says nothing about whether or not there might be another coming to be considered elsewhere. Let’s say this verse is saying that before the disciples finished going through all the cities of Israel in preaching the gospel, the Lord comes in judgment on Jerusalem in AD 70. So, what does that prove? It does not say “I’m coming in just one way just one more time.” We can “see” a coming in judgment on Israel in AD 70 and that still would not prevent us from seeing that Jesus promised another coming that did not take place in AD 70.

Secondly, “seeing” this verse does not prevent us from seeing that Jesus promised that there would be a “last day” when ALL who are in their graves would hear His voice and come forth, some to a resurrection of condemnation, and others to a resurrection of life (John 5:28,29). We did notice that this was not in the above listing, and it seems obvious that the above writer did not “SEE” this. Further, we “see” that the “last enemy, death” was NOT destroyed in AD 70. But, Paul said it would be destroyed when Jesus “comes”. Paul also said there were “ages to come” (Eph.2:7) before that final coming and the “end”. Thus, we “see” that while Jesus “came” in one sense in AD 70, it was not the one where He would come at the end of the “ages to come” and destroy death for good. If people are still dying physically and spiritually, then death was not destroyed in AD 70. We wish our brothers could “see” this and not try to “unsee” it.

# 2. See this!! Mt.16:27-28
27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." NKJV

What I “see” here is that there are TWO kinds of coming in the works. First, not in order of time, but in order of mention, is the coming "in the glory of His Father with His angels," at which point He “rewards each according to his works.” That was said right after mentioning how valuable the soul is. So, we will need to value our soul because there is coming a day in which Jesus will “come in the glory of the Father with His angels”. Then, in the next verse he mentions that some living right then would see Jesus “coming in His kingdom.” Jesus came in His kingdom on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. He came in His kingdom representatively in the Holy Spirit who came in His name (John 14:23-28). Jesus said “we will come to Him” (v.23). That is a ”coming of the Lord” and it is a coming in His kingdom. The more visible aspect of this was in the visible powers demonstrated by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They saw the Lord coming in His kingdom. Now, did they see the Lord “come in the glory of His FATHER with His angels” on Pentecost? No! Did they see this in AD 70? No! They saw the Lord involved with a promised judgment upon Israel centered in Jerusalem, but they did not see Jesus “come in the glory of the FATHER with His angels” in the destruction of Jerusalem. That happens at the end of time on earth. We will demonstrate that now.

Jesus said the resurrection will happen at “the last day” (John 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24). Jesus said the judgment will also happen at “the last day.”(John 12:48). In none of these texts was He alluding to the last day of Judaism as a system under the Law. There was nothing in the context to qualify that Jesus was only talking about the last day of a system such as Judaism while other days would follow after that system ended. No! Jesus spoke of “THE LAST DAY” and that means after that there will be no more days to follow the last one. Now, we know that the resurrection of all the just and unjust will take place. “All that are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth”(John 5:28-29). It will be “the resurrection of life” for some and “the resurrection of condemnation” to others. This did not happen in AD 70. ALL in their graves DID NOT come forth in AD 70. Now, Paul adds that the “end” comes (1 Cor.15:24) “AT HIS COMING” (v.23). The END (the last day) comes when JESUS comes. This particular coming will happen at the end or last day. “He must reign NOW “till He has put all enemies under His feet” (v.25). That word “till” says there is a time limit of how He is reigning NOW. He has a goal of putting ALL enemies under His feet. That means that not all enemies are completely conquered. Till the “LAST ENEMY” is conquered, He will reign in the present way with a view to putting ALL enemies under His feet, and the last enemy conquered in this program is death. At the end of this final put-down of death, Jesus delivers the kingdom to the Father. Now, consider the following observations regarding the program of reigning TILL He has put down all enemies, and why the present tense is used in verse 26.

1 Corinthians 15:26
[The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.] Death, shall be destroyed;
, shall be counter-worked, subverted, and finally overturned. But death cannot be destroyed by there being simply no further death; death can only be destroyed and annihilated by a general resurrection; if there be no general resurrection, it is most evident that death will still retain his empire. Therefore, the fact that death shall be destroyed assures the fact that there shall be a general resurrection; and this is a proof, also, that after the resurrection there shall be no more death. (from Adam Clarke's Commentary).

If death still competes with Jesus for power, then the program of Jesus’ reign is still in progress TILL “all enemies” are put under His feet. Death is present and is still battling Jesus for souls. Jesus will reign TILL “all enemies” are under His feet, at which point He delivers the kingdom to the Father. Now, if death of any kind (physically or spiritually) is still in existence, then Jesus is not yet finished with His program. Now, it did not happen in AD 70 because death of every kind is still going on. This is so self-evident even to most Realized Eschatologists. Most think we are so sinful and dead to God’s truth that we cannot see what they see, and they feel desperate to try to save the church from their previous error. WHY? Because they know deep inside the last enemy has not been destroyed. But, they point to the present tense that says “is destroyed” and declare victory. They say all the versions that render it future tense, “shall be destroyed,” are false. But, hold on, there may be a good reason to use the present tense.

1 Corinthians 15:27

[The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death] The other foes of God should be subdued "before" the final resurrection. The enmity of the human heart should be subdued by the triumphs of the gospel. The scepter of Satan should be broken and wrested from him. The false systems of religion that had tyrannized over people should be destroyed. The gospel should have spread everywhere, and the world be converted to God. And nothing should remain but to "subdue" or destroy death, and that would be by the resurrection. It would be:

(1) because the resurrection would be a triumph over death, showing that there was one of greater power, and that the sceptre would be wrested from the hands of death.

(2) because death would cease to reign. No more would ever die. All that should be raised up would live forever; and the effects of sin and rebellion in this world would be thus forever ended, and the kingdom of God restored. Death is here personified as a tyrant, exercising despotic power over the human race; and "he" is to be subdued. (from Barnes' Notes).

1 Corinthians 15:27
The last enemy that shall be abolished is death
Eschatos echthros katargeitai ho thanatos
. A rather free translation. Literally, "death (note article, and so subject) is done away (prophetic or futuristic use of present tense of same verb as in 1 Cor 15:24), the last enemy" (predicate and only one "last" and so no article as in 1 John 2:18). (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament).

So, the reign of Christ is TILL all enemies are put under His feet. Within this planned program there IS the defeat of the last enemy, death. Does the fact that it is present tense mean that all enemies HAVE ALREADY been put under His feet? NO! It means only that within the program of Jesus’ reign, there IS this last enemy destroyed, namely death. I may have a program laid out to achieve. I will work TILL I have a good retirement plan in place. In my planned program I could say “there is my last obstacle, age 67.” Does the present tense mean I have already turned 67? No! It IS (present tense) my last obstacle, but, but I am not through with my last obstacle though I am presently working to master it. Likewise, the Greek word katargeitai was already used in verse 24 to talk about what “shall have been destroyed”, and so it is only natural to say that in the program we see the destruction of the last enemy.

Using the present tense is only within the vision of what “shall have” happened in the program. Thus, the translations that use future tense wording are contextually correct, though the present tense is technically used in the context of what shall have happened in the total program.

Brother Howard Denham observes:

The present with future force is used often in Revelation itself, as part of the use of imagery. Further, 1 Cor. 15:26 was written BEFORE AD 70. So, the AD 70 fellow has just argued that it could not be fulfilled in AD 70 as that was then still in the future! What proves too much proves nothing.
Finally, Paul's argument is that all enemies were yet to be subjugated under the feet of Christ. According to the AD 70 fellow who claims this could not be then in the future, it would have to be the case that Jesus had at that very time ceased reigning because all enemies would already be subjugated. Again, he proves too much.(HD private post).

The UBS New Testament Handbook Series observes:
1 Corinthians 15:26
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
The main theme of this entire chapter is the resurrection. So in this verse Paul is applying the text he has just used to this main theme.
This sentence is literally "Last enemy that is-destroyed, death." "Paul uses the present tense (though the defeat of death lies in the future) because he looks at the process as a whole" (Barrett).

Destroyed here is a strong verb. GeCL has "annihilated," that is, "made nonexistent." The word means that all the power of death is to be removed. The word for destroyed is sometimes used in the New Testament in speaking about the destruction of Satan as the one who has power over death (Heb 2:14). Paul may be thinking of death itself as one of the "spiritual rulers, authorities, and powers" mentioned in verse 24. In the light of all this, TEV's translation "defeated" seems a little weak; NJB has "done away with," and REB "deposed." (from the UBS New Testament Handbook Series)

Now, the program is for Jesus to reign TILL the last enemy is destroyed, and Jesus said the “last day” would be resurrection day and judgment day. At that point the kingdom is delivered to the Father, the dead in Christ are raised incorruptible, this will be “the LAST Trumpet” (1 Cor.15:52) and it will happen “in a moment”, “In the twinkling of an eye”. At this moment mortal man will put on immortality (v.53) and when corruption has put on incorruption THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”(v.54). That did not happen in AD 70. AD 70 did not present the last day, the resurrection of all from the dead, nor the changing of mortal to immortality. The Lord would “come” when all these things took place (v.23ff). But, keep in mind also that Paul said it would be “the Lord Himself” who would “descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God.” At this point the dead in Christ would rise first and we who are alive would be CAUGHT UP TOGETHER with them in the clouds to meet the Lord IN THE AIR.”(1 Thess.4:16-17).

This is not what happened in the coming that was on Jerusalem in AD 70. Therefore, it is not the case that the “Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:28) in the lifetime of some of those standing before Jesus is necessarily the SAME coming “in the glory of His Father with His angels” of verse 27.

One thing is certain, no matter how many different “comings” happened already, there is indeed one final coming, one last day, one last trumpet, one last moment before we are changed in the twinkling of an eye into incorruption and immortality. That did not happen in AD 70. We “see” what each of the listed verses talk about, and we also “see” that a lot of scriptures were completely ignored or twisted by those who made the limited list of scriptures above. We will take up the other verses in coming articles, but this is enough to “see” the part of the picture that Realized Eschatologists refuse to see. (To be continued). –Terry W. Benton

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The Four Causes of Man
By C. C. Crawford

According to Aristotle, there are four "causes" (explanations, ways of defining) anything; that is, four factors which combine to effectuate the constitution of any created thing. These are as follows; the material cause (the stuff of which a thing is made: the cause of which); the formal cause (that which gives to the matter the precise form or specificity it has, that which puts it into the class to which it belongs: the cause according to which); the efficient cause (that agent or power which unites the form and the matter, to give the object concrete existence: the cause by which); and the final cause (the end or function to be served by the object: the foreseen final cause that precedes all other causes: that which is first in purpose or motive, even though last in realization: the cause for which). Take for example, a statue: the material cause is wood, bronze; stone, marble, etc.; the formal cause is the idea embodied in the matter, a likeness of Washington, or of Lincoln, or of Venus of Milo, or of Athena Parthenos, etc., the efficient cause is the sculptor; and the final cause, ornamentation, commemoration, or it could be simply art for art's sake; in any case, it is that which motivates the sculptor. For another example, consider a human being: the material cause is the complex of living cells that make up the body; the formal cause is the soul (mind, power of thought, reason, etc.,) which informs the body and thus specifies man as man; the efficient cause is the Creative Intelligence and Power (First Principle, First Cause, God) which gave man concrete existence as homo sapiens, a mind-body unity; and the final cause, the natural and proper intrinsic and extrinsic ends to which man is divinely ordained, as indicated by the impulses of his nature, namely, Perfect Happiness in Union with God, to be achieved by the living of the Spiritual Life. (No human being ever sets out to make himself ultimately and permanently miserable). (Cf. Matt. 22:35-40; Gal. 5:16-25.)

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The Common Use of Necessary Inference

Jesus said that we use necessary inference all the time, every day. "When the fig tree branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know (draw the necessary inference) that summer is near." (Matt.24:32) He said that because you don't know the hour a thief may come and break into your house, you conclude that you need to be ready and take some precautions, and likewise since we do not know when Jesus is coming back, which can surprise us like a thief, then the necessary inference from this knowledge is that we need to be ready at all times for Jesus' return (Matt.24:43-44). He states His points and says "Therefore" you also be ready!" The "therefore" is bringing us to a necessary judgment, a conclusion drawn from the stated facts. Necessary inference is common sense. It is not something recently invented by preachers. It is used in the Bible and every day outside the Bible. When someone says, "I don't believe in that necessary inference stuff," they are saying that they reached the necessary inference (to them) that we ought not to use necessary inference. But, it was a faulty conclusion, not really a necessary conclusion. The fallacy in such a case is that they simply did not understand logical thought and how to properly reach a necessary verdict, inference, or conclusion. When a baby screams we draw a necessary inference that we better see what they need. If your car suddenly is giving a loud bumpy ride and the road looks smooth, we draw the necessary inference that we better pull over and check the tires. The process is necessary in studying the Bible to conclude if something applies to me. When Jesus commanded people in His day to repent of sin, is there a logical process of thought that makes you conclude that YOU need to repent even though Jesus was not talking directly to you? If so, then you do in fact believe in necessary implications and necessary inference. TWB

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The End of Earth-time and Preaching the Gospel

Don Preston says,
Since the Bible teaches that the church, established among men to be a teaching, evangelizing organization, is to have NO END, then any view that speaks of the end of the church age contradicts scripture! This helps us to better understand that when the Bible speaks about the time of the end it is actually speaking of the end of the Old Covenant "Heaven and Earth" of Israel, that was to give way to the unending New World of the Messiah. (Web material).

1. This is false and misleading. Paul said there would be an “end” here when Jesus comes and delivers the kingdom to the Father. 1 Cor.15:22ff

2. There is “the last enemy” that is to be destroyed, and that last enemy is death. When that last enemy is destroyed there will be no further need to preach to save people from death. There will be no more death.

3. If Preston contends that death was destroyed in AD 70, then the need for the church to evangelize and preach the gospel to save became totally unnecessary. If there was no more spiritual death after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, then there was no spiritual life that could be given to people after that point.

4. No one denies that there was an “end” to temple-centered Judaism in AD 70. The Law of Moses was “nailed to the cross” some 40 years earlier and was no longer binding. However, the unbelieving Jews still refused to accept that fact in Christ, and they claimed that the temple was still God’s standing proof that He was among them. By taking down Jerusalem with the outward priesthood of Levi visibly, it was a clear statement that God was NOT with the Jews who refused to believe in Jesus. It was a clear judgment in favor of Jesus and His church that God was in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself, not in the temple, and not in the Levitical services and sacrifices. So, it was a visible ending to what had been already annulled at the cross. It was a coming of the Lord in judgment upon the Old system. It was the end of the age of Judaism centered in the Jerusalem temple and Levitical priesthood.

5. But, it was not the “end” of the “ages to come” (Eph.2:7) in which the gospel of Jesus needed to be preached in order to bring spiritual life to those dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1-7). Long past the “end of the age of Judaism” would be “ages to come” in which the gospel of Christ would need to be preached. Yet, there would be an “end” to those ages to come as well. There would be a time when “the last enemy would be destroyed” (1 Cor.15:22ff) and the kingdom would be delivered to the Father, this corruptible body would be raised from the dead and put on immortality. Then death would be “swallowed up in victory.” That did not happen in AD 70. It would happen at the end of the “ages to come.” Thus, time on earth as it had been known would come to an end. This is what we mean when we say there is an “end of time.” When there is no more death, there is no more preaching the gospel, and when we are raised at the end with incorruption, then we are not subject to time. Time as we know it comes to an end.

6. The expression “end of time” does not have to be in the scriptures in that arrangement of words, but the idea is there. When this mortal puts on immortality and Paul says this is the “end” (1 Cor.15:22f), then obviously it is the end of time for mortal life on earth, the end of time for obeying the gospel of Christ, the end of time for entering the kingdom of Christ, the end of time for repentance and remission of sins. Yes, the Bible teaches there is an end of time as we know it now.

7. The nature of the kingdom now is heavenly and eternal, but we are still bound to bodies of death and mortality. The kingdom we enter in Christ at baptism will be delivered to the Father, a transition from one phase to another phase. Now it has earthly connections as we are still tied to mortality while living in the kingdom. The kingdom will take us into an immortal phase of our existence in the kingdom. It is the same kingdom but it has two stages of conditions. We have our souls and spirits translated into the spiritual kingdom now (Col.1:13) where our souls are redeemed from sin and condemnation. But Stage 2 is when we experience the redemption of the body.(Rom.8:11,23; Phil.3;20-21). This is when the last enemy, death, will be destroyed.

8. Heaven and earth will literally pass away. Its very nature is corruptible, not eternal. Jesus was not saying that merely the heaven and earth of Judaism would end in AD 70. That is not the whole picture. The literal heaven and earth will pass away when Jesus comes again. There will be a new heaven and earth in which the faithful will live.

9. When sin and death are destroyed, the gospel will have saved us from condemnation and delivered us into that immortal and eternal phase of our existence in Christ. There will be no more need to preach the gospel because the day of judgment will have ended all such opportunity. It is “appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment” (Heb.9:27). When the last enemy, death, is destroyed, there will be no more dying and “after this the judgment.” There will be no more physical death or spiritual death when the last enemy is destroyed. Thus, the gospel preaching phase of the church will end.

10. Do not be deceived by the rhetoric of the modern AD 70 advocate. They are preaching that the resurrection is past already, and that idea is still the cancer it was when it was being circulated in the first century (2 Tim.2:17,18). -Terry W. Benton

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The Argument That the Gospel Age Has No End

Don Preston argues:
As opposed to the time of the end, the Bible affirms the Christian Age will have NO END.
In Isaiah 9:6-7 it predicted the establishment of the rule of Christ on the throne of David and "of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end." Christ's throne is endless; not limited to a millennium nor until the end of time! Daniel 2:44 and 7:13-14 says Christ's kingdom will never be destroyed.
In Luke 1:32ff the angel told Mary that Jesus would be given the throne of David and "of his kingdom there will be no end." Paul says in Ephesians 3:21 that it is the mission of the church to give glory to God "world without end." What is the point here?
The traditional views of "the end" say the church will give way to the kingdom [premillennialism]; or Christ will give up his throne at the end of time, [amillennialism]. Both views teach that the Christian Age is temporary! Both views contradict scripture about the unending nature of the Christian Age! ( Quote from Website article).

1. If Preston used those verses correctly, and there is no end to the age of preaching the gospel, then:
a. There will never be a time when “the last enemy, death, will be destroyed.”(1 Cor.15:26).
b. But, if the last enemy, death, is destroyed at some time, then at that time there will be no need to save people from death by preaching the gospel to them.
c. There will be a “last enemy destroyed”, and that last enemy to be destroyed is death.
a. Since death has not been destroyed, AD 70 did not see the last enemy destroyed.
b. Physical death was obviously not destroyed in AD 70. Self-evident!
c. Spiritual death was not destroyed in AD 70. If Preston says that spiritual death was destroyed in AD 70, then universal salvation is in place. If universal salvation was put in place in AD 70, then there is no need to argue about anything or to try to save people with the gospel. Thus, the age of saving people by preaching the gospel ended in AD 70. Thus, Preston shoots his own argument in the foot as even he has the gospel age coming to an end in AD 70.

2. Isaiah 9:6-7 does not say the age of preaching the gospel to save would never end, but the “increase” of His government and peace would never end. What is meant by “the increase?” The Hebrew word means “greatness.” It is used one other time in Isaiah 33:23 in which it is translated “great.” Thus, it is not saying that Jesus’ government and peace would keep on “increasing” in size forever, else this earth, sun, moon, and stars would have to last forever. We know it is wearing down, so the sun will eventually burn out, and this earth will no longer hold life. The word also means “abundance.” In heaven there is endless abundance, as it is eternal in nature. So, Isaiah 9:7 does not prove that the government of Jesus will just keep increasing in number forever and ever, but that the bounty and greatness of His rule and peace will be endless.
3. Don referenced Dan.2 to show that the kingdom of Jesus will never be destroyed. That is true because it lasts beyond this earth. It has an eternal nature to it, and will be delivered to the Father (1 Cor.15:22-26) in heaven. Thus, the kingdom of Jesus cannot be destroyed as the other earthly kingdoms have been. So, this verse does not prove that the age of preaching the gospel to save souls will never stop. It only proves that the kingdom cannot be destroyed and replaced by other earthly kingdoms of men.
4. Don referenced Luke 1:32ff to prove the kingdom “has no end” and that is true, but that does not mean that the kingdom only has an earthly existence that “has no end.” No! It has a heavenly nature that is destined to a heavenly and eternal phase of its’ endless existence.
5. Don uses Ephesians 3:21 to suggest that “world without end” means “earth” life as we know it will be without end. However, that is hardly what this verse is saying. The “world” of Christians is without end, as our “mountain” cannot be touched (Heb.12:18,22,27,28). Our “world” or “age” is endless and eternal. But, our “world” is not this earth that was made. We are in a “heavenly Jerusalem” and we occupy “heavenly places in Christ.” This is our “world without end.”
6. Conclusion: None of the passages that Don referenced to prove that the gospel age will continue as is forever on this earth actually have anything to do with proving such an idea. There is a “last enemy,” death, that will be destroyed at some point in the future. If it is physical death on earth, then at some point the earth will fill up with bodies, unless at the point on earth when physical death ceases that no more births will take place. If there is no physical death and no new births, then the gospel will not be needed because no one will be “appointed to die and after this the judgment.”(Heb.9:27) If at some point there is no physical death on earth, no one will ever again face God in judgment, and thus the gospel to save from sin will not be needed. If Don argues that there is no “spiritual death” at any point, then his argument that the government keeps on increasing in number falls to the ground. If spiritual death never again occurs, then no one can be added from the lost and condemned side of the ledger to the saved and in the kingdom side of the ledger. Without spiritual death the gospel is no longer needed. Thus, either way, the gospel age comes to an end.

Think! If spiritual death was destroyed in AD 70 (via 1 Cor.15:26 coming true in AD 70), then there are no more cases of spiritual death. If there are no more cases of spiritual death, then the gospel can no longer give spiritual life. You cannot be given spiritual life if you already have it. If spiritual death was destroyed in AD 70 then everyone will be saved since then, and there is no need to ever try to convince anyone of the AD 70 doctrine, and no need to worry about preaching the gospel. Such is a completely needless exercise since no one can ever be lost (spiritual death) again. Either way, the “gospel” age (age of saving souls by the gospel) ends when the “last enemy” is destroyed. It becomes self-evident that those who teach “Realized Eschatology”, the AD 70 doctrine, must become universalists and stop bothering people about anything, if they would be consistent. If I believed that the last enemy was destroyed in AD 70, and no one could die physically or spiritually, I would certainly not bother with teaching a useless gospel that cannot save a soul anyway. I would be happy to know that no one is lost and no one can change that condition by any behavior, belief, or unbelief. This is where this doctrine logically goes. Try to open the eyes of the blinded with this article because that teaching is obviously false and damnable heresy! Terry W. Benton

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