Understanding the Covenants

Currently, there are two main ways to divide between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant (also there is a third way which is much lesser known).

1. Covenant Theology: This view basically de-emphasizes the division between the OC and the NC. They would say that the NC is a Renewed Covenant, not actually a NC. This is the root system behind the Messianic movement and Theonomics.

2. Dispensationalism: This view divides between the Law Age and the Church Age (Law vs Grace). This view rightly sees that the NC is nothing like the OC and cannot be a renewal (Hebrews 8:9), but overall, it is a Biblically weak and flawed system. This teaching points forward to ending in the Laodicean Age and apostasy; then the wrath of God will show up again. So according to Dispensationalists, God poured all His wrath on Jesus on the cross, we now live in an age of grace where God remembers our sin no more, but then we are going to sin so much that God will get wrathful again and come pour out the Book of Revelation…. Yeah, that’s actually believed by some people!

New Covenant Theology: This very small stream of theologians have risen up and written some amazing books which devastate the Covenant and Dispensational systems, yet they present a third option which has many of its own problems. Basically they teach that Jesus came as a new Moses and created a New Law system. They gather up any directive in the New Testament and turn it into New Law. So in the OC there was 613 rules, according to New Covenant Theology, the New Testament has 1050 Laws!

As I have been studying and teaching about the Covenants of the Bible, I have been asked many times which of these three systems I hold to, my answer is none.

I have studied the works of theologians in all three camps extensively and have arrived at a completely different view which is yet unnamed.

Last week in my Bible school I finally went public with the name of my system of understanding the Biblical Covenants. I shared the following ten points below which show the pillars of my system. Enjoy!

 

Introducing: Better Covenant Theology (BCT), based on Hebrews 8:6: “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”

The defining characteristics are:

  1. Jesus’ birth fulfilled the Abrahamic covenant (and some of the Davidic covenant).
  2. Jesus’ death created the NC (at the cross, there was: No substitution, no punishment, and no wrath)
  3. The NC is between the Father and the Son (we receive the benefits by the Two becoming one, we are united with Christ)
  4. His ascension/enthronement fulfill the Davidic Kingdom promises
  5. The destruction of 70AD removed the OC finally and fulfills Heb. 8:13
  6. Between the cross and the 70AD, there was a 40-year covenant transition for the church.
  7. The OC and the NC co-existed for forty years (30-70AD)
  8. The “End of the Age” and the “Last Days” are first century references to the last days of the OC and the end of the OC age.
  9. There remains no application of the Mosaic Kinship/Vassal Covenants. The feasts, Sabbaths, Civil laws, ceremonial, and moral laws are done away with.
  10. The Law of the NC is “Love one another as I have loved you.”

 

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Most Commonly Asked Question

As a Partial Preterist, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is regarding “The Millenium.” No, I don’t mean Han Solo’s ship, I mean that obscure passage in Revelation 20 which has divided Christianity into four differing factions (Amillennial, Premillennial, Post Millennial, and Historic Premillennial).

Although I have been a Partial Preterist for over ten years (ie. Matthew 24 and most of the Book of Revelation were fulfilled in the first century). I have taken years to determine which position I believe regarding the millennium of Revelation 20.

Even after all my study, I land somewhere between Amillennial and Post Millennial (I hold the symbolism of Amil, but the optimism of Post Mil).

Here is the section from Raptureless 2nd Edition, The Art of Revelation, in which I look in greater detail (Available on Amazon and Kindle).

Enjoy!

 

Part 1 (Revelation 20)

I have studied the many views regarding this passage, and as of yet, I found none of them to be perfectly satisfying. Even David Chilton, the scholar who wrote the 750-page masterpiece, The Days of Vengeance, also concluded that his was a mixture of two of the main views of the millennium.1 Rather than getting into the theological terms and their definitions, I will simply say I agree with Chilton’s blending, which has no particular name per se. Now let’s jump into examining the text:

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time (Revelation 20:1–3).

The Figurative Nature of the Millennium

These three verses have been the source of countless debates, divisions, novels, and poor quality Christian movies! Nowhere else in Scripture is a thousand-year time period specifically mentioned. In fact, to the Jewish people, the number one thousand simply meant “a whole lot.”

For example, look at the song in First Samuel 18, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands” (1 Sam. 18:7). This sounds impressive, except that David had only killed Goliath. With this example, we see it’s important to remember the Jewish approach to numbers was not the same as the modern literalism we have been taught.

Another example is the claim that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (see Ps. 50:10). Actually God owns all the cattle on all the hills of the planet, yet to the Jewish reader, using the number one thousand was not limiting God’s cattle ownership!

A third example is in this verse: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…” (Ps. 84:10). If understood literally, this verse would mean 1,001 days elsewhere would be better than a day in the house of God. Clearly, that was not the psalmist’s message.

Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California, said this regarding Revelation 20:

We have statements in scripture concerning the beasts and the thousand years. For example, it says that the dragon will be bound with chains and cast into a bottomless pit for a thousand years. Now I don’t want to take away your millennium… I just want to suggest that we might not know what we are talking about because there are only a couple of verses in the Bible on the subject!

Then Bill Johnson begins to ask questions of the audience:

Bill Johnson: The Dragon, literal or figurative? Is it a real dragon?

Audience replies: Figurative

Bill Johnson: The Chains, literal or figurative? Is it actual chains?

Audience replies: Figurative

Bill Johnson: The Bottomless pit, literal or figurative?

Audience replies: Figurative

Bill Johnson: The Millennium, literal or figurative?

To this question, the audience replies only with stunned silence.

 

Bill then goes on to speak about how we have allowed our interpretation of the millennium and other passages to cancel out our responsibility to demonstrate the Kingdom of God in the present—as if many of the Bible’s promises are not for today.

To that I say, “That’s a good word, Bill!”

 

During the Millennium

Now let’s look at what the Bible says will happen during the millennium:

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4).

 

The English translation of this passage makes it seem like there are two groups of people in view here, yet in the Greek it is clear that John was describing one group of people, the same group from Revelation 6:9–11:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice,“ How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.”

In chapter 6, we find these martyrs under the throne crying out for justice, but in chapter 20, the same martyrs are given thrones of their own to reign in judgment upon! I know this because of the next verse:

(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

 

This phrase, “The rest of the dead,” makes it clear that this group of people is a select number from among the dead. To find out what separates these ones who reign on thrones from “the rest,” we need to look at the passage right before chapter 20 begins:

But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh (Revelation 19:19–21).

 

The ones in question, “The rest of the dead,” were those who died in the AD 70 destruction, the non-believing Jews. We know this to be true because the time indicator in Revelation 19:20 tells us this happened at the same time as the destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet, that is Nero and the Jewish Rulers.

Thus far, this is what we have found in Revelation 20:

•A time period that is very long, symbolized by the number one thousand

•First-century martyrs sitting on thrones and passing judgment

•First-century Jewish non-believers being judged

•The dragon (devil) being bound in his ability to deceive the nations

 

Importantly, we have not found any of the following popular ideas:

•A rebuilt temple in Jerusalem

•The reestablishment of the Old Covenant system

•Jesus reigning physically upon the earth

 

These concepts that are not found in Revelation 20 have been injected by the system Darby founded in the most abusive form of eisegesis (reading one’s own ideas into a text). Darbyists construct their view of the thousand years by taking passages from Jeremiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah and tearing them out of context in order to make them fit with Revelation 20.

 

If I were to simply paraphrase my understanding of Revelation 20, I would explain it this way: The thousand years represents the Kingdom of God. When Jesus came to earth, He bound the devil (the strong man, as in Matthew 12:28–29), and the devil could no longer deceive the nations (see Rev. 20:3).This paved the way for the disciples to disciple all nations (see Matt. 28:18–20).The first-century martyrs were given thrones to reign upon in the Kingdom; this occurred in Revelation 11, when Jesus was declared the King over the kingdoms of the earth (see Rev. 11:15) and the first resurrection was indicated (see Rev. 11:17–18). We now live inside the Kingdom of God on the earth, which is growing as the mustard seed and as the leaven going through the loaf (see Matt. 13:31–33).We are in the millennial reign, which is a spiritual Kingdom that is bringing Heaven into the earth progressively (see Matt. 6:10). Someday in the future, the Kingdom will have advanced so far that the only thing remaining to do will be to finally and completely judge the devil. He will be released from his chains to gather up whoever still resists the Kingdom, and the lot of them will be thrown into the lake of fire.

 

Why the Difficulty?

As we have seen, the Book of Revelation contains weird and mysterious symbols throughout that require interpretation. Comprehending these symbols becomes easier when we understand the symbols are based mainly on the Old Testament and point to the shift from the Old Covenant into the New Covenant.

Yet when we reach Revelation 20, it seems like a dozen interpretations appear, and each interpretation has many credible adherents. Why is Revelation 20 so difficult?

As I worked on writing this section, I had about twenty commentaries open on a table in Starbucks. Each of the books I had brought in my box came from what I consider to be the optimistic perspective. Yet they still held a lot of various answers regarding Revelation 20. Comparing them all, I have determined that, in my opinion, the perspective of James Stuart Russell is most sensible regarding this passage.

I must take a moment to clarify that I do not adhere to James Stuart Russell’s beliefs as a whole. His remarkable work, The Parousia, published in 1878, is still a magnum opus proving all this end-times stuff has already happened and isn’t about our future. The problem is that Russell goes too far and says Jesus isn’t coming back and there is no future judgment or resurrection. This is in direct contradiction to what I believe, as I have laid out clearly in Raptureless in Chapter 14, “The Big Three.” Russell’s belief is commonly referred to as full preterism.

 

Russell’s understanding of Revelation 20 is very helpful and insightful, yet it is what he says about this passage that actually causes the purist full preterists to reject Russell and claim he is not a true full preterist.

 

Russell starts by disagreeing with his colleagues (the full preterists):

Some interpreters indeed attempt to get over the difficulty by supposing that the thousand years, being a symbolic number, may represent a period of very short duration, and so bring the whole within the prescribed apocalyptic limits; but this method of interpretation appears to us so violent and unnatural that we cannot hesitate to reject it.

 

He is referring to the fact that the full preterist claims the one thousand years is figurative and refers to AD 30–70. Even one hundred years after Russell wrote this, many full preterists still make this claim. I, of course, find it unconvincing and agree with Russell on that. He continues:

“The act of binding and shutting up the dragon does indeed come within the “shortly” of the apocalyptic statement, for it is coincident, or nearly so, with the judgment of the harlot and the beast; but the term of the dragon’s imprisonment is distinctly stated to be for a thousand years, and thus must necessarily pass entirely beyond the field of vision so strictly and constantly limited by the book itself.”

 

I agree with Russell’s interpretation that the dragon (devil) was bound in the bottomless pit in the first century by the work of the cross. Yet by stating this very large number of years (the metaphor one thousand years), John passed beyond the immediate AD 70 destruction that, until that point, has been the main focus of the text of Revelation. In this one instance, we have passed outside the bounds of events shortly to come to pass.

 

“We believe, however, that this is the solitary example, which the whole book contains of this excusion beyond the limits of “shortly;” and we agree with [the famous commentator] [Moses] Stuart that no reasonable difficulty can be made on account of this single exception to the rule. We shall also find as we proceed that the events referred to as taking place after the termination of the thousand years are predicted as in a prophecy, and not represented as in a vision.”

 

Russell makes a very strong point here; the rest of the Book of Revelation is a visionary experience, yet in this passage, John is not seeing a vision but begins to declare a prophecy. He has moved from operating as a seer with a vision to interpret, and he has started operating as a prophet speaking declaratively regarding the future.

 

“This act of seizing, chaining, and casting into the abyss is represented as taking place under the eye of the Seer, being introduced by the usual formula, “And I saw.” It is an act of contemporaneous, or nearly so, with the judgments executed on the other criminals, the harlot and the beast. This part of the vision, then, falls within the proper limits of apocalyptic vision….”

 

Once I saw Russell’s explanation, this passage began to make sense to me. Ninty-nine percent of Revelation is a vision with symbols to interpret regarding the destruction of the Old Covenant world and the establishment of the New Covenant. Yet there is one percent of the Book of Revelation found in chapter 20 that passes outside the time and space restrictions of the rest of the book and speaks of the distant future. This is clearly shown by the figurative use of the one thousand years idiom.

 

After the Millenium

All of the main views of the endtimes (premillenial, postmillenial, amillenial, partial preterist, futurist, historicist, and idealist), except for a few teachers on the fringe (full preterists), believe that the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11–15 is a future event at the end of human history. While Revelation is the revealing and unveiling of Jesus Christ and His New Covenant—which removed the Old Covenant veil—the following verses were not fulfilled in AD 70.

 

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. [The city He loves is not the natural Jerusalem, which was being judged, but the heavenly Jerusalem.] But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

 

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7–15).

 

The famous Bible scholar, Milton Terry, wrote a stunning statement about this period of time we live within: “How long the King of kings will continue His battle against evil and defer the last decisive blow, when satan shall be “loosed for a little time,” no man can even approximately judge. It may require a million years.”

 

 

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Michael Brown, Hyper Grace, and the Confession of Sin.

There has been a heated debate going on regarding 1 John 1:9. The point of contention is whether a New Covenant Christian must confess sin to be forgiven.

This originated from Joseph Prince’s book, Destined to Reign, which was the genesis of many modern teachings on grace. Personally, I find Joseph Prince to be the only character on Christian TV that I can stomach. He is an amazing Bible Teacher; he exudes love and grace, and demolishes many wrong belief systems. I also read Destined to Reign a few years ago and found it to be very agreeable. I disagree with something in practically every book I read, so there is no reason to be nitpicky.

The First John 1:9 debate came up because Prince basically says that Jesus forgave all sin at the cross, past, present and future, thus we are already forgiven and should only confess that we are the Righteousness of God in Christ. To confess our sin is to reinforce a “sin-consciousness”. Since Prince’s book, there have been dozens of young grace teachers which have echoed this concept.

Enter Dr. Michael Brown.

Dr. Brown released his response book Hyper-Grace in January 2014. He presented many contentions with the “Grace Movement”; one of the main ones being the Joseph Prince view of confession of sin no longer being necessary.

Although I strongly disliked his book, Dr. Brown actually does a great job looking at the foundation of Prince’s argument. Prince and those in his boat say that 1 John 1:9 was written to gnostics and not to Christians. Dr. Brown takes a detailed look at the claim and it crumples like a dead tree stump. There is no reason to believe that the first chapter of the first letter from John was written to gnostic non-Christians. In fact, I do agree with Dr. Brown that all the evidence points away from such an absurd conclusion. While I do not continue to agree with where Dr. Brown’s conclusion take him, I am in agreement that it is a mistake to teach that any part of First John was written to gnostics. Here are a few reasons:

#1. The early church was under tremendous persecution, for this reason, none of the books of the New Testament were written to non-Christians. Gnostics in the first century were not reading the letters of John. It is ridiculous to even consider such a theory.

#2. The argument has been presented that 1 John 2:1 begins with, “My Dear Children,” thus this supposedly is the beginning of where John is writing to Christians. Yet John actually continues by saying “My dear children, I write this to YOU so that YOU will not sin…” (Emphasis mine) John connects the second chapter with the first and tells his readers why he wrote the first chapter to THEM, so that THEY would not sin. He tells whom he has been writing to in the first chapter and why.

#3. John writes inclusively of himself and his Christian readers, “if WE confess OUR sins, He is faithful…” Otherwise John should have aimed it at the non-Christians, “if YOU confess YOUR sins, He is faithful…”

Ultimately, I believe the debate has been framed wrong. It is not about: “Do we confess we are righteous or do we confess our sins.” That has NOTHING to do with what John is addressing in 1 John 1:9

 

Let’s start by getting the context right. Here is 1 John 1:5-2:2

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 1:5-2:2).

 

In this passage about walking in the light, John contrasts parallel thoughts in verses 8 and 9. In verse 8, John’s point is that if someone will not be open and honest about their mistakes, then they live under self-induced deception. Whereas in verse 9, John says that if a person will be open and honest about their mistakes, then they will be forgiven and purified.

The contrast is between Claim or Confess; Claim to be without sin (live in denial), or Confess that you have sin (receive forgiveness).

You cannot receive forgiveness if you cannot admit you have made a mistake. The parent of any three year old can understand this. If your child defiantly stands in the kitchen with chocolate all over their face and lies to you about eating the chocolate, then you have the “Claim’s to be without Sin kid” and they are being a liar, if you have the “Confesses they ate the chocolate kid” then they get their face washed and they run off to play in the yard.

John is not writing to say that a believer will never be free from the grip of sin; otherwise, why would he say in 2:1 that, “I write this to you so that you will not sin”?

John’s perspective was that Christians do not have to sin, but if they happen to sin (eat the chocolate), they should be open and honest about it so that they can receive forgiveness and purification. This is not about whether we are righteous or sinners, it’s about what we do if we sin (eat chocolate), do we lie, hide and cover up; or are we honest, in the light, and transparent?

John is basically saying, “If you eat the chocolate, don’t lie about it. God is a good Father; He will wash your face and send you off to play. Jesus is your advocate, your Father is the judge, the whole courtroom is in your favor, and Jesus died for your chocolate forgiveness perfectly. Stop hiding your mistakes, just be transparent, there is no reason to hide your chocolate eating.”

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Stunned by Kris Vallotton’s post…

On Saturday, March 22nd, Kris Vallotton posted on Facebook: “Wow- I love Kim [Clement]. I think he is an amazing prophet. I simply do not agree with the word he has supposedly shared about Putin. No disrespect to Kim, just judging the word as I understand it.”

I found this stunning.

I love and appreciate both Kim Clement and Kris Vallotton.

Kim Clement recently wrote the foreword to the 2nd edition of Raptureless for me; which was such a blessing because so many people were too scared or busy to write the Foreword, I appreciated his boldness.

Also Kris Vallotton has been a hero and an outspoken advocate for Optimistic Eschatology.

When I say that Kris’ post was stunning, I don’t mean this in any negative way. I was so blessed by the fact that he posted this. Typically, when I hear someone disagree, they do so from of place of not liking the person that they disagree with, therefore it is much nastier. But Kris loves Kim. That’s awesome.

It always surprises me to read the types of responses that come on a thread like Kris’ post. Three basic categories:

  1. I agree, atta boy!
  2. I disagree, you smell bad, go away!
  3. I don’t think Christians should ever disagree, debate, name names, address issues, blah blah blah

I prefer numbers 1 and 2.

Maybe you can’t relate, but it is very difficult to be a national leader in the church and to keep your mouth shut in love toward all the crazy stupid crap that other leaders are saying on a regular basis.

I regularly get emails about “Blood moons”, “Harbingers”, “Nephilim”, and dozens of other similar nonsensical topics which are being taught by major leaders in the church. Yet I often hold my tongue and do my best to teach the Kingdom of God in love.

Yes, I also want to scream when I hear the latest youtube video from a prophet or prophetess I have looked up which is telling us to pray against: WW3, Avian Flu Apocalypse, Swine Flu Apocalypse, FEMA camps being setup, etc. It is overwhelming to see people that you look up to get into such foolishness. Yet life goes on and we continue to operate in love and self control, I just so appreciate when a major leader will pop their head up and say, “I DISAGREE!” Because it could cost that leader some measure of their influence, but they are doing the right thing.

So….Thank you Kris Vallotton. Thank you

Jonathan Welton

PS. I purposefully did not look up the word from Kim Clement. I have no idea what he said or if I agree. It doesn’t matter, I am just pointing out that I appreciate Kris Vallotton saying something.

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Offended…. Two years later?

Two years ago I posted a Blog about John Crowder entitled: Offended. I haven’t seen John Crowder in person since then but we have kept in touch since that initial meeting. Two weeks ago my wife and I were in Toronto, Canada at the same time as John and he graciously met me for 6am coffee before he had to go to the airport. I wanted to follow up and say that my appreciation for John and our friendship has continued to grow over the last two years.

This blog isn’t about John Crowder though. I wanted to tell you about something else that happened the weekend that I met John two years ago. I also met my incredible friend, Linsey Wallace.

Yes, I could say, an incredible worship leader, Linsey Wallace, an incredible employee, Linsey Wallace, an incredible leader, Linsey Wallace. But I am most honored to be able to say, “My Friend, Linsey Wallace!”

When we were introduced, a pastor friend (Darren Stott) said to me, “Linsey is legit, she is the real deal” and Darren’s words go a long way in my book. Linsey was at the Crowder meeting as a local musician helping lead worship for the weekend. She gave me a copy of her first CD and her contact info and that was it; nothing else to the story…… until I listened to the CD. Wow! (Click here for Linsey’s music on iTunes)

I called her and began to see if she would come and lead worship for our Supernatural Bootcamps. She agreed and as the events progressed, she took on many more responsibilities until she was administratively overseeing all of our events.

At this point, Linsey is the Executive Director of Welton Academy. She is the highest member of my staff and holds one of the only three executive positions in Welton Academy.

Yet I don’t simply want to tell you the story of Linsey, the incredible employee. I am regularly reminded that Linsey is one of the best worship leaders in the Pacific Northwest, and I am not speaking in superlatives here.

When Bobby Conner, Georgian Banov, Stacy Campbell, Patricia King, Sean Feucht, or many others come to the region, you will likely find that Linsey has been brought in with her team to lead the worship. She has led worship for the majority of the well-known leaders in our movement.

I honestly believe that the Lord is lifting the veil off Linsey Wallace and the next five years are going to reveal her as one of most cutting edge worship leaders in the United States. I am so honored to have her on my team.

After two years of asking her to put out a new album, she finally will have a new CD out in the next couple weeks. It’s a collaborative effort with a few other amazing artists in the Pacific Northwest. They have come together under the title of “Sound and Sea.” (See the Video)

I urge you to sow into Linsey Wallace and what the Lord is doing in her life. “Sound and Sea”

is the next step in her journey and we all get to be a part of this stage of her development. Thank you Lord for this opportunity!

Sincerely,

Jonathan Welton

To give to Linsey and her new project, go here.

To purchase Linsey’s music on iTunes, click here.

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Matthew 24: Double Fulfillment Is Not Possible (by Adam Maarschalk)

I highly appreciate this article by Adam Maarschalk and wanted to share.

In a previous post, I shared J. Stuart Russell’s argument against the idea of a dual fulfillment in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21). Russell argued (well, in my opinion) that neither in Jesus’ own words, nor in the words of any other New Testament author, does any teaching appear which supports “a twofold reference in the predictions of Jesus concerning the end.”

An article written in 2004 by Michael Fenemore goes into even more detail on why the idea of dual fulfillment does not work when it comes to Jesus’ famous words in Matthew 24:

Some prophecy teachers, while acknowledging a fulfillment of Matthew 24 in the first century, predict a future second fulfillment, but this time, with worldwide implications… We might wonder whether those who promote the double-fulfillment theory ever took the time to test it by reading over the text even once. How could this be fulfilled twice?

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (v. 14, NASB throughout unless otherwise noted).

Will the “great commission” be fulfilled twice? Does “the end” come twice? If it does, then, the first one wasn’t the end.

A modern second fulfillment is usually presented as a worldwide catastrophe, but notice verse 20: “…pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.” What relevance would this have today? Outside modern-day Israel, relatively few people in the world keep the Sabbath. And what if they do? In ancient times, the gates of Jerusalem were shut on the Sabbath preventing escape (Neh. 13:1922Jer. 17:2124). However, this is not a problem for anyone today. Most Christians probably live out their entire lives without ever praying their “flight” will not take place on the Sabbath. Mark’s account adds this: “…be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues” (Mark 13:9). How could this be fulfilled worldwide in our time?Today’s Sanhedrin has no jurisdiction outside Israel. There are likely very few Christians in the world, if any, who worry about being “flogged in the synagogues.”

Will there be two “great” tribulations? “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again” (Matt. 24:21, NLT). Since this anguish would “never be so great again,” how could it occur twice? Some might protest that such language is hyperbolic; it was not intended to be taken literally. Perhaps that is true. But then, the same people should be able to understand that the rest of Matthew 24 is replete with the same Old Testament-style hyperbole. They should not require a second fulfillment just because some events did not occur exactly as Jesus described them.

Will the “elect” be gathered twice? “He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (v. 31). This is referring to the “last trumpet” of 1 Cor. 15:51-52: the resurrection and the moment when the living Christians would be “caught up” and “changed.” If Matthew 24 was to be fulfilled twice, then, clearly, the resurrection must have occurred during the first fulfillment within the lifetimes of Christ’s listeners. But if all God’s people in Hades were resurrected in the first century, and now Christians go straight to heaven at death, how could any saints be resurrected from Hades in the future?

Jesus never said Matthew 24 would be fulfilled twice, and there’s no rule anywhere in the Bible saying prophecy should be interpreted this way. The double-fulfillment concept is simply an untenable fabrication created in desperation, probably deemed necessary because its adherents expect literal fulfillments of the highly figurative, cosmic predictions in Matthew 24 and other places, which of course, have never occurred (and never will). In some cases we find types and antitypes in scripture. For instance, Israelite worship under the Old Covenant was a type or “shadow” of things to come under the New Covenant (Col. 2:16-17). However, the New Covenant does not create more shadows for greater fulfillments later. Here is another example of biblical typology:

Old Testament types: Sodom, Egypt, Babylon
New Testament antitype: Jerusalem

Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon were probably the three most detestable place names from Israel’s past. To this day, Sodom symbolizes sexual perversion (sodomy). Egypt and Babylon represented sin and captivity. However, by the first century, the sins of God’s own people, the Jews, had become so repugnant that in Revelation, he called Jerusalem by all three names: “…the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8); “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5). See also Isa. 1:21. It’s possible, if not probable, Jesus intended to draw the Babylon parallel when he described Jerusalem’s destruction in Matthew 24:

…the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light (v. 29)

The same pronouncement was made against Old Testament Babylon:

The sun will be dark when it rises
And the moon will not shed its light. (Isa. 13:10)

Jerusalem had become the antitype of Babylon. Jerusalem’s destruction would be the antitype of Babylon’s destruction.

It’s all fulfilled. There is no third fulfillment. The destruction in Matthew 24 is not a type of something in the future; it’s the antitype of something from the past. The New Testament does not create new types requiring future antitypes. Types and antitypes might be considered double fulfillments by some, but if a double-fulfillment rule should be applied to all biblical predictions without exception, we should expect two Messiahs, two crucifixions, two judgments, two kingdoms, etc. It gets ridiculous.

Evidently, many influential Bible teachers spend little time testing the double-fulfillment idea before teaching it to trusting Christians. They routinely predict events which actually occurred long ago. For instance, some prophecies require a Roman Empire, but since it no longer exists — and hasn’t for over 1,500 years — they predict a “revived” one. However, if they would give up their literal-fulfillment requirements (stars falling from heaven, etc.) and fully accept the first and only fulfillments of New Testament prophecies, there would be no need for any such flimsy double-fulfillment theories, and credulous Christians could be spared a lot of useless speculation.

Objection

Objection: Pastor John Hagee says prophecy should be interpreted by the double-fulfillment model because of “the law of double reference” (John Hagee, From Daniel To Doomsday [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 1999], 181).

Answer: Those who promote the law of double reference are unable to show where in the Bible this “law” is mentioned. It is a law only because they say it is, not because of any biblical directive.

Hope this helps.

Original blog post: http://kloposmasm.com/2013/07/22/matthew-24-double-fulfillment-is-not-possible/

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Q & A with Jon Welton

It is that time again! Time for some Questions and Answers. Here are two that I have been frequently receiving.

Q: I find that many of my friends will listen to my perspective that Matthew 24 was fulfilled in AD 70. They then start going into this secondary fulfillment stuff about how Matthew 24 was fulfilled but will reoccur in our future. How would you respond biblically to the concept of a second fulfillment of prophecy?

A. Well first of all, there can only be one true fulfillment of a prophecy. The confusion that people get into is that in the Old Testament there were shadows, which later had a fulfillment in the reality, which is Christ. Some have been confused and see it as precedent for so-called dual fulfillments.

The key with Matthew 24 and why it could NEVER be REPEATED is that the disciples were asking about the End of the Aion (Age), which is the transition from the Old Covenant Age into the New Covenant Age. That cannot be a shadow and cannot be repeated because we are in the perfect, better and permanent New Covenant.

Q: Jon, would you consider doing a blog entry in regards to theologies and beliefs surrounding the “third temple’. I believe it is a much overlooked but equally important component of the entire end-times discussion. We all know it is unnecessary but, it would seem, there are as many Christians eagerly awaiting and supporting the rebuilding of the temple as are awaiting the return of Jesus.

A: Yes, for decades the rumor mill has churned up tales of “Red Heifers” that have been bred for the new temple, clothing that is prepared for the priests, and Levites that have been found to re-establish the system of Temple worship.

First of all, part of what was so devastating to the Jewish nation in 70AD is that the genealogies were burned, therefore the priesthood lineage was lost and it would be IMPOSSIBLE to ever re-establish the temple system.

Also even the leading Pre-tribulation theologian, Dr. Thomas Ice, has honestly stated: “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘there is going to be a third temple.’” (from the book, Ready to Rebuild: The Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple, [published 22 years ago in 1992, I guess imminent is a loose term…] Page 197-198)

The idea of a rebuilt temple is a fantasy, which is required by those that won’t accept the fulfillment of the Bible’s prophecies in the first century.

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